* Posts by Pete 2

3267 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Federal agencies buying Americans' internet data challenged by US senators

Pete 2 Silver badge

We know you know, you know.

> The Defense Department last year responded to his queries but applied a classification that prevents Wyden from making the details public.

But we can guess! Maybe something along the lines of

Dear Mr. Wyden,

We acknowledge your request for data, we knew you were going to ask that as we regularly monitor your email and web activity. If you want to know what it is that we know about you, just look at your own browser history. It's all there (though we suspect someone else has been using your computer, unless you are a fan of oiled-up bunny rabbits)

In closing, let me say that while you are now aware of this information, we have classified this report as Top Friggin' Secret. That means that the only copies are in our files, In your possession and scattered around Mar a Lago. Possibly now in Putin's dacha, too.

Have a nice day.

IT services giant Wipro fires 300 for moonlighting

Pete 2 Silver badge

restrictive conditions?

> working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors. We've actually discovered 300 people in the last few months were doing exactly that

Did their contract of employment explicitly prohibit that?

It also makes you wonder, how does Wipro know that they were working for them (Wipro) before starting work (moonlighting) for someone else. It could be that their Wipro gig was the moonlighting.

Still, it sounds like they have another job to fall back on.

You've heard of the cost-of-living crisis, now get ready for the cost-of-working crisis

Pete 2 Silver badge

Relative pronouns

> 41 percent complained that their organization had too many tools that do the same thing.

Should that be too many tools that who do the same thing

Wearables sales slacken as the novelty wears off

Pete 2 Silver badge

Missed opportunities

Almost everyone has two wrists, yet they are only likely to put a "wearable" on one.

I feel there is the chance for certain fruity marketing departments to fill that void.

Next up? ankle-wear for non-criminals. How about an electronic frivolity to hang from your nose ring, too?

SETI seeks amateur astronomers to find hot Jupiter-like exoplanets

Pete 2 Silver badge


> Much better use of time than 'hot singles in your area'

And likely easier to find, too

Don't want to get run over by a Ford car? There's a Bluetooth app for that

Pete 2 Silver badge

Alternative uses

> lets drivers know if a pedestrian is dangerously close

Unless the users app is tied to a pulse monitor or something else that demands an actual living being nearlby, then all this does is warn the car there is a BLE beacon in the vicinity. Something that can be picked up cheap and in quantity. That could not only be placed at strategic points such as near to crossings, schools or other populous places, but could be put to use to slow newer Ford vehicles for any other purposes, Thus making them "think" they were always surrounded by people. (Just imagine if one of those was nefariously attached to someone's car)

It makes you wonder what would happen if a car encountered a "person" while screaming up the motorway?

Though it could have the benefit of making other vehicles keep a suitable distance from your own (non Ford) car.

Arm execs: We respect RISC-V but it's not a rival in the datacenter

Pete 2 Silver badge

Open or closed?

> acknowledged that RISC-V was driving “some competition” against the British chip designer.

> “It's a very exciting market right now,” he said.

> “It helps us all focus and make sure we're doing better.”

Which is precisely what you would expect to hear from a marketing department that was scared spitless of an upstart that threatened their very existence.

RISC-V could well turn out to be the hardware version of Linux. Whether that would be interpreted as something that stays in the margins for decades, or something that disrupts the cosy world of established CPU makers, is the more interesting question.

US bans some foreign investments in chips, AI, quantum computing

Pete 2 Silver badge

Spying in the 21st century

> consider is whether a foreign investor could undertake "activity designed to undermine the protection or integrity of data in storage or databases or systems housing sensitive data."

Is that how modern espionage works: "I've just bought a share in your company ... now you have to give me the plans to all your research!" I have a feeling it isn't quite that simple.

Or is this more about assuaging the feelings of politicians, detached from reality, who *think* that's how it goes.

Samsung investing $5b in efforts to be carbon neutral by 2050

Pete 2 Silver badge

Time to re-evaluate

> In California, $17.9 billion worth of residential and commercial buildings could be inundated by seawater by 2050,

Although I doubt they would be worth $17.9bn once that happens.

However, given the very high prices of beachfront homes in CA, that would be far fewer properties than you might think.

Ex-Googler Eric Schmidt's think tank warns China could win global tech race

Pete 2 Silver badge

Common goals

> the US urgently revise its innovation policies and practices to ensure the private and public sectors collaborate

Well, the private sector wants to make enormous profits for reasons of self-enrichment. The public sector (or at least the people employed in it) want much the same. With an added portion of recognition of how clever they all are.

So the question comes down to how much money is the USA-ian government willing to throw at the initiative?

Brain-inspired chips promise ultra-efficient AI, so why aren’t they everywhere?

Pete 2 Silver badge

Don't feed your AI any cheese

> a brain-like AI chip

The only problem being that when you "sleep" the machine, it starts to dream.

Just like when I put my phone into low-power mode, it keeps making noises like battery powered woolly grass-eaters.

Elon Musk claims SpaceX was in talks with Apple on iPhone 14 satellite services

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Only marginally useful

> may find this feature useful?

There are plenty of outfits thst already make satellite distress beacons which do exactly this. Garmin is one example and it works whether you have an iphone or an Android phone or no phone at all!

If you actually had a need, you would already be using one.

So no, I'm afraid all that has happened is that Apple have told you that you need something and you then rationalise a case for wanting one.

A complete victory for their marketing department.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Only marginally useful

> contacting emergency services where there is no coverage, such as an injured climber on a remote mountainside.

Providing that climber didn't land on their iphone and break it. And that it wasn't a caver with neither signal nor view of the sky

And then there's always the question of whether the battery has gone flat and the assumption that the caller can physically use or reach their phone.

In all, this just sounds like a marketing tool. I am sure they will find someone, somewhere whose life was saved by this, but I personally have never felt the need for this.

NASA picks a tailor for Artemis moonwalking suits

Pete 2 Silver badge


> a $228.5 million deal to develop a moonwalking system

If I was developing a "moonwalking" system, I would not put a person inside it.

There will be people in the lander (capsule), but it seems to me that is where they should stay. If you want something outside, send a robot. Have it controlled in real time by the occupants of the lander.

Or better: leave the people on Earth and use Mars-style rovers. A 4 - 5 second round trip time isn't so bad. Without the need for (heavy) life support systems, the carrying capacity and return-to-Earth capacity of the craft would be much increased.

But where's the "swagger" and prestige in that?

Asus packs 12-core Intel i7 into a Raspberry Pi-sized board

Pete 2 Silver badge

Because we can?

> a 12-core/16-thread Intel processor with Iris Xe graphics into a 3.5-inch form factor.

Until you account for the size of the heatsink needed and the power supply for such a beast.

Having such a small board becomes a bit pointless with all the ancillary equipment it requires.

NASA's Artemis rocket makers explain that it's a marathon and a sprint

Pete 2 Silver badge

Covered in ... ?

> it's a marathon and a sprint

So a cross between the old-named Snickers bar and a knock-off KitKat?

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

Pete 2 Silver badge

Coding is the easy part!

> You cannot pick up a phone to Ubuntu and scream "Stop! Stop! In God's name, stop!"

And you cannot complain to any of the Word, or lookalike, designers that when you want to edit a document, that is the one thing the Edit tab does not let you do!

I am just waiting until the inevitable time when a user, looking for assistance, clicks on Help and the application just laughs at them.

The underlying issue is that designing a good interface is difficult. Making it intuitive requires talent - that almost all coders lack. And having it reflect a sensible workflow seems to be nigh-on impossible.

NASA sees our space future as both government and privately run

Pete 2 Silver badge

We do what we do, because that's what we do

> "We do Artemis for three reasons," said Zurbuchen. "There is, without a doubt, a reason to do science

> … a second one is a reason to inspire,

> and the third one is to show national and international leadership."

So how's that all going?

The H2 leaks which are plaguing Artemis and embarrassing NASA are lessons that were not learned when the same basic faults occurred with the Space Scuttle.

As for inspiration, SpaceX seems to be winning at the moment and in the future with Musk's "My rocket's bigger than your rocket"

It seems to me that all this leadership stuff is only going to inspire bureaucrats and administrators. People who can turn an 8-year project (Apollo) into a 17-year boondoggle (Constellation / Artemis) and still have nothing to show for it. Even though it was based on proven, if flawed, technology from 40 years earlier.

NASA scrubs Artemis mission yet again because SLS just can't handle the pressure

Pete 2 Silver badge

> this scrub was on the lines pumping the fuel IN to the rocket.

The worrying thing is that this (loading H2) is something that has happened many times before on this hardware. NASA should not be discovering that their equipment is broken at this stage in the preparations.

And the one part that cannot be tested is the SRBs.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Third time's a .... ?

OK, one scrub - that happens.

Twice - unlucky

but after that it's starting to look like incompetence is creeping into the picture.

Chances good for NASA Artemis SLS Moon launch on Saturday

Pete 2 Silver badge

Classic coding approach!

> If NASA encounters the same issue in the next launch, it will just ignore it.

Never test for a condition you don't know how to handle.

Man wins competition with AI-generated artwork – and some people aren't happy

Pete 2 Silver badge

> The stunning "AI-generated" images you see around on the Internet are an enormous selection bias, they are maybe the best 1% of what the tool actually does

TBF, the same applies to human-generated art, too, much of which turns a £30 blank, stretched, canvas into a £20 "artwork". However, it seems to me that what makes it into galleries and is considered "good" art by critics, is more a victory for its marketing and promotion, than of the skill of the creator.

The same applies to other "artistic" endeavours, too: acting, writing - success being largely random.

Here's how 5 mobile banking apps put 300,000 users' digital fingerprints at risk

Pete 2 Silver badge

The other 2%

> Worrying that 98% were iOS apps

Actually, as an Android user, I am hugely relieved to hear that.

Braking news: Cops slammed for spamming Waze to slow drivers down

Pete 2 Silver badge

Tools are what we use to get a result

> from those saying they've actually clocked cops where they were Waze markers, to those accusing the police force of devaluing the tool

So presumably no member of the public (not all of whom are happy with speeding vehicles in their neighbourhoods) has ever done the same?

Voyager 1 data corrupted by onboard computer that 'stopped working years ago'

Pete 2 Silver badge


> When was the last time you did some troubleshooting on 1970s tech?

A few years ago ... Okaaaay, maybe 10 years ago, I cleaned up the leaky batteries in my Sinclair Scientific calculator.

It still wouldn't work though :(

You can never have too many backups. Also, you can never have too many backups

Pete 2 Silver badge

A maze of twisty little backups

Just don't create a long line of backups, each labelled "latest backup"

77% of security leaders fear we’re in perpetual cyberwar from now on

Pete 2 Silver badge

No more coding!

Software development is the process of writing faulty code.

Upgrading is a way in which new problems can be introduced into working software (even if it already has bugs).

Maybe the solution is a world-wide moratorium on software development: new O/S releases, new applications, upgraded "features" - until all the currently known and soon to be discovered bugs, flaws, backdoors, vulnerabilities and attack vectors have been shut down.

Doctor gave patients the wrong test results due to 'printer problems'

Pete 2 Silver badge

Never do this

> it is often easier to find and apply a solution than it is to educate a user

Pro tip: never try to explain to a user what the problem was. I know the urge to show off one's technical skills can be irresistible, but (from personal experience) the inner glow of superiority is brief and it is not worth the weeks, months and years of questions, queries and "how can I ... " that inevitably follow. especially as there is little chance they actually understood what you said,

Apart from that, there is a very practical point. One that anyone who has done any IT teaching knows: Teach 'em everything they know, but not everything you know

There is a follow-on rule, but I would refer you to the above.

T-Mobile US and SpaceX hope to deliver phone service from space

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: I am very dubious about this!

> I cannot see how this can possibly work as promised; my reasons for saying this:

Oh, I don't know.

All you'd need is a 4G microcell that has connects to your starlink box.

Though if you want to use your smartphone as a mobile phone, then a hat with a starlink antenna on top will be needed. As will a shopping trolley to lug around the batteries to power it all.


Pete 2 Silver badge


> There will be some technical challenges to overcome around the compatibility side of things.

At present this is a marketing announcement. We have absolutely no clue how to make it work in practice.

Meet the CrowPi-L – a clever, slightly rustic, Raspberry Pi laptop chassis

Pete 2 Silver badge

Buy now, Pi later

> a $220 laptop chassis designed to house a Raspberry Pi 4B.

Sounds interesting. It is only held back by the total lack of available Pi 4B's

NASA's Space Launch System rocket is on track for August 29 liftoff

Pete 2 Silver badge

What's missing?

> If it all goes to plan, however, the rocket will soar into the sky taking the Orion spacecraft with it

Hopefully. It would be a real shame after all that time and money if someone forgot to put that capsule on the top of the rocket.

NASA identifies landing sites for America's return trip to the Moon

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: luggage problems?

> Well it said 'Moon'

So would than be Moon in: ,





South Dakota



or Moon, France.

And which one is Artemis most likely to land on?

However, there is one big step that the project seems to have missed. Nobody has registered the .moon TLD. How can they send a mission without selfies?

This tiny Intel Xeon-toting PC board can take your Raspberry Pi any day

Pete 2 Silver badge

taking the Pi's

Oh, you can buy Raspberry Pi4's now. But only if you are an industrial grade customer¹. The original user-based of the device has been left in the dust as success (and a broad range of enthusiast developed free software) brings more profitable clientele.

[1] From the pi-man: we’ve consistently been able to build around half a million of our single-board computers and Compute Module products each month ... Right now we feel the right thing to do is to prioritise commercial and industrial customers – the people who need Raspberry Pis to run their businesses

Pete 2 Silver badge

more for more

you won't find this thing retailing anywhere close to the RPI 4B's $35 MSRP. Aaeon is offering the i3 equipped variant for $812

So basically just another example of more expensive stuff performs better

Keep your cables tidy. You never know when someone might need some wine

Pete 2 Silver badge

fail - over?

> more than 3 months before we could finally get the local hardware support company to re-install the parts

So an annualised uptime of less than 75%

BOFH: Who us? Sysadmins? Spend time with other departments?

Pete 2 Silver badge

An important role

> work with divisions of the company to help foster workplace relationships

There was a lovely quote in The Week UK last week:

The great mistake made by

intelligent people is to refuse

to believe that the world is

as stupid as it is.”

It sounds like this Internal Relationship Manager will help in two ways. First as a personal example and secondarily by showing the sysadmins what all the other people in the company are really like.

I expect tears, but not of joy.

You'll soon be able to ghost a WhatsApp group without making everyone hate you

Pete 2 Silver badge


> in small groups, when people communicate with A, B, C, and C leaves quietly, it could cause misunderstanding

Worse than that, depending on the age demographic of the group, the remaining members could think they have died

Pete 2 Silver badge

Already has that function

> Now we get notified of pretty much anything and everything, regardless of relevance

Its pretty simple to mute notifications from entire Whatsapp groups.

So no need to leave, just let the unread messages pile up.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to inform everyone I have ever met that I've posted something on El Reg.

Rescuezilla 2.4 is here: Grab it before you need it

Pete 2 Silver badge


> images an entire drive to an image file

The original function of the dd command was to do exactly that.

From personal experience of other zero-cost solutions, the measure of their worth - or time wasting - is how they deal with bad blocks on the source disk.

NetBSD 9.3: A 2022 OS that can run on late-1980s hardware

Pete 2 Silver badge

And then, what?

> Installing NetBSD is a great learning experience

Would that lesson be to not do it again?

Yeah, we'll just take that first network handshake. What could possibly go wrong?

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: The guiding principle @heyrick

> which calls a library function that the author subtly changes for no good reason except to keep their Github current

> which returns a result that the coder ignores

Pete 2 Silver badge

The guiding principle

> how an inappropriate packet would be dealt with. "They (rather smugly, I thought) replied that we should not allow that."

Which does seem to be how pretty much all code gets written. Whether in 1980 or 2020, very little has changed in the rush to get product out the door ASAP. Following the four stages of development:

1.) does it compile

2.) does it run (not core-dump)

3.) does it produce the expected results from the expected inputs

4.) does it consume less resources than what a medium-sized country might have available

After that, it's golden. Send the customer the bill!

Why the end of Optane is bad news for all IT

Pete 2 Silver badge

One foot in the past

> But Intel made it work, produced this stuff, put it on the market… and not enough people were interested

For all its supposed innovation and speed of new products (some of which actually work), the world of IT is actually quite conservative. It only likes change if that takes it further in the direction it is already going.

So the 8086 architecture was extended, embiggened and sped-up. But even a 5GHz i9 processor boots itself in 16-bit real mode. You might even (I haven't tried) get it to run code from the 1970s.

I would expect that it is impossible for hardware to make the break for the same reasons there is still COBOL being written today. The cost of radical change is just too high,

Google: We had to shut down a datacenter to save it during London’s heatwave

Pete 2 Silver badge

Heat island

> the hottest day on record in London

Not helped by London being generally warmer than areas outside the city. An effect worsened by all the datacenrtes enormous power consumption.

In addition, given the serious lack of electricity infrastructure in the capital, you have to wonder how sensible it is to locate datacentres there. Or to give them planning permission.

It isn't as if they create that many jobs, either.

Reg readers tell us what they wanted for SysAdmin Appreciation Day

Pete 2 Silver badge

The easy life

Make your sysadmins life easier. Just for once RTFM, or try switching the box off and on again before calling support. Then, when the number of annoying interruptions decreases by a large proportion, t'mamagement will realise they can get by with far fewer sysadmins.

Battle of the retro Unix desktops: NsCDE versus CDE

Pete 2 Silver badge

Opening a window on the windows

> If you have a big screen and like a fairly minimal desktop experience that's highly customizable, and you're not fond of taskbars and full-screen app browsers

It would be most enlightening if it was possible to profile all the various desktops to see exactly which features users actually used.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the list would be quite short: open a window, resize it, move it, run an app in it, close it.

Features after that being little more than prospective security holes.

James Webb, Halley's Comet may be set for cosmic dust-up

Pete 2 Silver badge

The mote in JWSTs eye

> that's if a grain of sand doesn't turn Webb into a $10 billion lesson in protecting sensitive equipment.

Presumably back in 1993 when this telescope was being planned the powers that be assumed it would have been launched, done all its science and gone <phut!> before Halley's dust cloud became bothersome. But with all the delays, that kinda didn't happen.

Still, if they start planning a replacement now, it should be ready by 2050.

Cheap cellular data list is out: And US doesn't make top 200

Pete 2 Silver badge

statistics for their own sake?

Ranking according to the average price seems pretty meaningless when the range of deals (for the UK) start at $0.12/GB and go up to $61.52

Unless there are special circumstances (such as pitifully low caps on the cheapest deals, or latency measured in days rather than milliseconds) wouldn't a better comparison be to take the cheapest cost/GB as a measure of ... whatever it is this survey is trying to prove.

Or at least, weight the deals according to how many punters cough for each of the ones surveyed.

(I can see that one of the most sought after pieces of marketing information would be the customer lists of the highest cost deals. Presumably those people can be persuaded to pay completely over the odds for other things, too)

DataDome looks to CAPTCHA the moment with test of humanity that doesn't hurt

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Fingerprinting

> So fingerprinting and tracking.

Yes. All lovely and sweet until you get a new device and want to use that instead.

Let's see them test the situation where your old iPhone gets unexpectedly squished by a steamroller and you buy a new Android device to take its place.

Or you move to a new country, with a new phone number and want to take all your accounts and data with you.

Let's see these situations actually demonstrated in the real world, not just promoted as theoretical possibilities.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022