* Posts by Dom 3

395 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Thousands of websites run buggy WordPress plugin that allows complete takeover

Dom 3

Re: Built In

Wordpress is *great*. All those bugs and problems I've fixed, the hacked sites I've repaired - serious earner.

Yes, unmaintained plugins are a great source of trouble but the core code is still seriously, uh, sub-optimal.

I was doing a site migration recently and found duplicate usernames. Because there is no unique constraint on the field, and it checks for duplicates programmatically, if you're getting hosed by some sort of bot you *will* hit a race condition and ping! duplicate usernames. I could scarce believe that such a widely-used and developed piece of software could still contain such a beginner's mistake.

I thought maybe this was a legacy issue - no, the default schema *still* does not have a unique constraint on usernames. Unique keys are used in *other* tables so there's no stupid excuse that they are trying to support a MySQL version released in 1963.

This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Dom 3

Zip drives...

I was looking for a driver for one, and typed zip.com into the browser. Oops.

IIRC it was a gay dating site. Nothing there now.

Anyway, I once went into a small company as a freelancer to help a mate who had a part-time IT contract there to do some sort of systems audit. We discovered that there was one individual who'd clock in very early, and then spend the 30 minutes before anyone else turned up looking at VNSFW material. I think we decided it wasn't our problem.

And then there was the director of another small company who asked me to look at his teenage son's laptop...

At least none of them were MPs.

Open source body quits GitHub, urges you to do the same

Dom 3

why Copilot was trained on FOSS code

Hmmm.... would anybody want to infect their code with stuff based on Wordpress and its plugins?

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’

Dom 3

"a rover can almost certainly do just as good a job" - really? I read one estimate that two years worth of robotic geology on Mars could have been done in a single morning by a human with a hammer.

NASA's InSight doomed as Mars dust coats solar panels

Dom 3

Re: Insight?

"The people who worked out you could land a thing the size of a car on Mars using a crane turn out to have thought of other things too"

Not just *could*, but that it was actually the *best* way. There's a good video out there with interviews with the engineers involved, where they explain that they were *constantly* asking themselves whether or not the sky crane was both feasible and the best engineering solution.

Would any of our commentards^W regular posters claim to be able to have come up with, and justified, the sky crane idea?

Extending solar panel life on Mars is, we think, much simpler than getting there in the first place. But maybe it is not.

The idle speculation is entertaining; there's still the infinitesimal possibility that someone here has an insight [1] into the problem that has escaped everyone else.

[1] Pun intended.

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs

Dom 3

Re: Keyboard / Mouse

"Some tasks are best handled with a keyboard. Others are best handled with a mouse."

Or both as in this instance. Select text with mouse, copy and paste with keyboard.

Dom 3


Yes, we (as part of the Acorn ecosystem) had a bunch of Windows machines for work and a bunch of RiscOS machines for testing etc. When Windows 95 arrived it all looked very familiar!

The RiscOS thing I found most irksome was in fact the scaled scrollbars - brilliant to a point but when editing a very large file, targeting the scrollbar demanded pixel accuracy.

One thing not mentioned is the file format consistency. E.g. there was one bitmap format across all programs.

Clustered Pi Picos made to run original Transputer code

Dom 3

"transputers were used to add extra grunt to both Atari and Amiga hardware". Sorree, I don't think that describes the ATW properly. Yes, it had an ST inside it but that was just an I/O unit. FWIW the ATW was designed in Cambridge by Perihelion Hardware.

UK intel chief says MI6 must outsource innovation – and James Bond's in-house 'Q' is nonsense

Dom 3

Why is the Secret Intelligence Service referred to as "Military Intelligence Section 6"?

As for Q:


Northrop Grumman throws hat in the ring to design NASA's next-gen Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Dom 3

"just a few careful drivers to their name" ? One per vehicle, the CDR. Of which, Dave Scott not available? He drove the thing - Schmitt and Duke were passengers / navigators.

Technology doesn’t widen the education divide. People do that

Dom 3

"Who wants to use an e-commerce system made by someone who doesn't want to code?" I don't even want to use the ones coded by people who *do* want to code...

Chinese developers protested insanely long work hours. Now the nation's courts agree

Dom 3

Re: Long hours <> productivity

Productivity doesn't just go down downhill, it goes negative (for coding at any rate). You end up writing such crap that you then spend ages fixing it. Or if you have the sense, you throw it away and start again.

You can now live life like Paul Allen on Microsoft cofounder's luxury yacht for '£1m a week'

Dom 3

Really available?

AIUI the first thing you do with a superyacht is list it as available for charter, as there's a huge tax advantage. And then any enquiries are deflected with "sorry, not available that week".

Subcontractors working on CityFibre's £45m Derby rollout threaten to 'rip up tarmac' in dispute over payments

Dom 3

Ah, the myth of "maximising shareholder value" by withholding payment for as long as possible.

Buyer of $28m Blue Origin space ticket has a scheduling conflict – so this teen will go instead

Dom 3

Re: Time to change the rules

Sorry, I have to disagree. They did the *testing* not the *training*.

Dom 3

Re: Time to change the rules

Like I wrote - "physiological screening".

It was Eisenhower that decreed that the Mercury astronauts should be military test pilots.

These days of course it has been mandated that the next American moon landing will include the first woman on the moon. Why can't she be chosen on merit? Why the tokenism?

FWIW - for a Mars shot I reckon an all-female crew makes a lot of sense. Although that of course will never happen.

Dom 3

Re: Time to change the rules

"As I said, Wally's an astronaut. Did the training" - nope. She "underwent the same physiological screening tests as had the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959, for Project Mercury". In a completely unofficial and privately funded programme.

Hungover Brits declare full English breakfast the solution to all their ills

Dom 3


As this German wikipedia page points out:


"a traditional part of the hangover breakfast". Preferably the "Zigeunerroller" variety.

Apple announces lossless HD audio at no extra cost, then Amazon Music does too. The ball is now in Spotify's court

Dom 3

Re: Yay!

30 years ago as part of a Mus. Tech course I had to produce a 1/4 inch 15 ips stereo master using Dolby A. As the content of the tape was irrelevant, we were told it was okay to record on to DAT and then transfer it. Quite a few of us did. And we all found that the analogue copy *sounded* nicer than the digital original, despite by definition being "degraded".

SpaceX flings another bunch of humans into orbit in reused capsule atop reused booster

Dom 3

Re: Two crews

According to Mary Roach's "Packing for Mars" it's actually the Three Dolphin Club.

Her comment on this is "And so, as hard as it is to imagine that no astronaut has had sex in space, it is equally hard to imagine that they have".

Elon Musk's SpaceX bags $3bn NASA contract to, fingers crossed, land first woman on the Moon

Dom 3

On merit?

If I were the woman chosen to land on the moon I would want to be there because I was the best person for the job, not because of lack of Y chromosome.

Women tend to be lighter, too, and tend to consume less food, so for journeys out of LEO they are arguably far more suitable.

NASA's Mars helicopter spins up its blades ahead of hoped-for 12 April hover

Dom 3

"yes, they need to do a system checkout, but they really need to pull their finger out..." Not like there'd be any pressure from the scientists waiting to get going with the rover, eh?

Beer because the pubs are (semi-)opening that day.

US consumer protection bureau goes after tech support scammers' alleged payments processor

Dom 3

"detect when the user is running anything other than Windows OS" - would *you* bother?

Missing GOV.UK web link potentially cost taxpayers £50m as civil servants are forced to shuffle paper forms

Dom 3

In house or out house?

A few years ago I went to a talk given by a developer at .gov.uk. He explained that they were bringing .gov.uk back in house after years of it being outsourced.

He related a story of one particular web form / whatever which had a section telling people to put their passports in the post. This was no longer a requirement, but to get the page changed was, due to the contract with the outsourcer, *more* expensive than paying someone to post passports back to people who had sent them in. (And yes, they did their best to tell people to ignore that section before they embarked on the form).

Scotch eggs ascend to the 'substantial meal' pantheon as means to pop to pub for a pint during pernicious pandemic

Dom 3

Oh fercrissakes. If "they" try to spell out precisely what is and is not a substantial meal, there will inevitably be edge cases and some smart-arse who thinks they've found a loophole which they can exploit. Much better to leave it as is:

1. Customer must order a substantial meal

2. Don't take the piss.

Dunno what this means: `This is how it "worked" before the second lockdown`. It was quite different a couple of months ago.

Boeing 737 Max will return to flight after software updates, says EU's aviation regulator

Dom 3

I'm still not buying it. You can board a 707 from airport steps - I have done it myself. Nor do you need to be that close to the ground to have airstairs - the A320 series can have them (see vids on youtube of A319 deploying them). But a really really good reason to have short landing gear is to save weight.

Dom 3

Why do I keep seeing this - "The reason for 737 lowered stance was to make it practical at more airports that were less well equipped"?

Fact is, the 737 was plenty high enough for skinny 1960s engines and there was no good reason to make it any higher than needed. Landing gear is *heavy*.

And although some very far-sighted engineers back then *might* have predicted big fat ultra high bypass engines, nobody would have thought that fifty years later they'd be sticking them on the same airframe.

EU says Boeing 737 Max won't fly over the Continent just yet: The US can make its own choices over pilot training

Dom 3

"Which was itself a kludge to get it low enough to the ground to allow it to carry its own airstairs " - here's a video of the airstairs on an A319.

The 737 is that height because that was perfectly sufficient in the 1960s.

Soyuz later! SpaceX gets NASA green light to lob astronauts to the International Space Station full time

Dom 3

Re: Hyperbole

So - back to flogging the third seat to billionaires.

Now-patched Ubuntu desktop vulnerability allows privilege escalation

Dom 3

Re: GUI on a server?


Corsair's K70 MK.2 does nothing a cheaper keyboard can't, but the steep price gets you top-notch components

Dom 3

Re: I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

Yebbut being able to tell the scammer that there is no key next to the Ctrl key would make it all worth it.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns

Dom 3

Longer landing gear

They already *have* the longer landing gear:


So simply put max-10 gear on the shorter variants, and put the engines back where they ought to be.

Safety driver at the wheel of self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian is charged with negligent homicide

Dom 3

Re: However

I wonder how driving instructors do it?

DPL: Debian project has plenty of money but not enough developers

Dom 3

So they've got money and need developers.

Yup, that's a hellishly difficult thing to resolve.

Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel

Dom 3

Re: My life is now complete...

It certainly was the Atari ST that had built-in MIDI and dominated the music industry (at least in Europe).

Southern Water customers could view others' personal data by tweaking URL parameters

Dom 3


''While the word "forgery" makes requesting a resource hosted on a public server sound like breaking into Fort Knox, doing so is not illegal in the UK or most other Western democracies.''

I thought that the Cuthbert case:


had shown that manipulating URLs *can* constitute unauthorised access and therefore *is* illegal despite the best of intentions.

Or has the Act been updated to better reflect reality?

Space station update: Mystery tiny but growing air leak sparks search for hole

Dom 3

Forced airflow

As explained here:


Norfolk's second-greatest cultural export set for return with 3-metre monument in honour of the Turkey Twizzler

Dom 3

"thought he had the right to tell people, many of whom didnt have a great deal of money how to feed their kids." ICBVW but as I remember it, it was the schools not the parents he was aiming at.

And it's off! NASA launches nuke-powered, laser-shooting, tank Perseverance to Mars to search for signs of life

Dom 3


A very hand-wavey argument:

If you want to be 95% sure that all of your rover's modules are still working after 90 days, you need to ensure that each one has a 99% chance of still working after 90 days. And if that's the case then there's a 66% chance that a component will be working after ten years.

Which is more or less what we saw - some bits stopped working.

Apple was the only Fortune 50 company to foresee COVID-19 pandemic risk and properly insure against it – Forrester

Dom 3

Re: Things we can prevent and things we can't

Megatsunami debunked here:


An article here explaining that the lack of recent pandemics does *not* increase the likelihood of a new one:


Yes, governments and large employers should have (had) contingency plans in place.

When Apollo met Soyuz: 45 years ago, Americans and Russians played together nicely... IN SPAAAAACE

Dom 3

Re: LOL, and what if it's all a hoax?

"The shot of Aldrin exiting the hatch to join Armstrong" - which one? They are all here:


CEO of motherboard maker MSI dies after plunging from headquarters' seventh-floor

Dom 3

Re: :-(

"agencies are just automatically assigning deaths with unreported causes as Covid-19" - which? where? evidence? Here's the current guidelines for England and Wales:



"doctors are expected to state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief"

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Dom 3

Re: Where will this end....

Never noticed a street missing a number 13. OTOH never seen a row 13 on an aeroplane.

Couple wrongly arrested over Gatwick Airport drone debacle score £200k payout from cops

Dom 3

Re: Pictures or it didn't happen


Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

Dom 3

Re: Third world airlines like Ryanair

"risk of dying"??? Ryanair has an excellent safety record.

Anyway - Ryanair has changed. I think Mr O'Leary realised that some of his policies were so extreme as to alienate passengers to the point that they would refuse to fly on his planes. And I still meet^W used to meet people who hold this position. I fly with them four to eight times a year, because they are the only option using my nearest airport and going where the rellies are. I've had reason to phone them a couple of times to get a name changed (cos I didn't make the booking) to match the passport - done without quibble and without charge, despite their Ts & Cs. And they no longer really enforce the cabin bag size rules. I have yet to see someone get pulled over, even when their backpack is clearly *way* outside the 55x40x20 limit. As long as it is "cabin-size", it's fine.

Crooks set up stall on UK govt's IT marketplace to peddle email fraud services targeting 'gullible' punters

Dom 3

"scammers and/or jokers"?

Oh come on. It's clearly someone 'avin a larf.

Watch now the three UFO videos uncovered by Blink-182 star – and today officially released by the Pentagon

Dom 3

It doesn't disprove the existence of Aurora. But it *does* mean that weird contrails cannot be used as evidence of its existence.

Dom 3

Re: Cautiously raises hand...

"seeing strange things while flying may be a pretty common occurrence."

Yup. Illusions are all around. We have not evolved in the air but on the ground.

Your perceptions are but a construct.

Dom 3

Thanks for the links. Shame that Nick Cook raises the "doughnuts on a rope" contrail. I've got my *own* photos of one of those. After taking the photos I checked on flightradar24 and found that the contrail corresponded *precisely* with the flightpath of a 747 that had just gone over. Another couple of minutes prodding the web produced this:


At which point I was done with *that*.

Regarding the weather satellite photo (which doesn't actually explain how they calculated the speed) an aircraft travelling at those speeds would also have to be up at about 200,000 feet or something, unless built of unobtainium. But contrails form between 25K and 40K (source: Wikipedia). Seems unlikely (but not impossible) that they would form at 200K.

The thing that really stands out about that "contrail" is that it is absolutely straight (bearing in mind curvature of earth - but it mirrors the state boundaries that are based on latitudes). In other words, a ballistic trajectory. So a meteor would seem a more plausible explanation. Would an aircraft - even unmanned - travel for *thousands* of miles without a course correction?

The other stuff is essentially speculative. It would be extraordinary for this aircraft to be in operation for three *decades* without any concrete evidence coming to light. It would take hundreds, nay thousands of personnel to build and operate it. Yet nobody credible has come forward.

Having said that, I had an airline pilot describe seeing a weird triangular aircraft to me. As he said, he was used to looking up at aircraft and identifying them. I can't ask him about it any more as he "shuffled off" about five years ago.

And then there's the compelling argument that the US military wouldn't have given up the SR-71 unless they had a replacement.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

Dom 3

What are the chances? Just as I start my reply to say that this Model M is from *May* 1989 - it crashes.

Anyway, as I often point out: a professional builder doesn't use a five quid hammer from B&Q.



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