* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

1108 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Did this airliner land in the North Sea? No. So what happened? El Reg probes flight tracker site oddity

Jonathan Richards 1

INS drift

I took a trip on an RAF VC10 to and from Brize Norton and Washington DC sometime around 1990. The co-pilot showed us the INS (ring laser gyroscope-based, IIRC) and said that the usual drift they experienced was measured in a few metres rather than miles after the journey Brize-Washington-Central America and back. There was a very precisely located point on the apron at Brize where the INS would be set before each mission, and checked on return.

What an IDORable Giggle: AI-powered 'female only' app gets in Twitter kerfuffle over breach notification

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Twits

> a registered letter to their registered business address.

I suspect that that might have been intended to have <sarcasm> tags, but I'll subscribe at face value. Remember to keep a copy for your records, too.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

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Re: Send them to Scotland for a few years...

Waay off topic but reminds me of an old workshop stores joke:

Storeman at his counter, to frustrated machinist: "It's no good you pointing at it, the computer says it's not in stock".

Oh, look, an IT angle!

Jonathan Richards 1

Whisht, weesht

I'm from the exact other end of GB, but spent several years living in Scotland. At least in the Glasgow area, "haud yer wheesht" with a definite 't' on the end was still widely used in the late 80's. Also "awa and bile yer heid" which never seemed quite as confrontational as it was clearly intended to be.

Crack this mystery: Something rotated the ice shell around Jupiter's Europa millions of years ago, fracturing it

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So many possibilities

Maybe the ice-shell is almost free-floating, but pinned in place by high spots on the rocky interior... Or it was so pinned until relatively recently, when the pin points let go and the ice shell re-oriented itself to a minimum energy position. I can't begin to calculate the forces that would be unleashed - the entire moon would be some sort of precessing spherical gyroscope with viscous coupling between the ice shell and the rocky core, and the released energy would be dumped as heat, melting even more of the shell. Then there's the fact that humans are quite familiar with the mechanical properties of ice... at Earth planetary temperatures. Does anyone have values for the hardness and toughness of ice as cold as the surface of Europa? What do all those impurities do to those values? Can I have another go around at life and be a europologist, please?

Ed Snowden has raked in $1m+ from speeches – and Uncle Sam wants its cut, specifically, absolutely all of it

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Let's make it hypothetical:

Excellent removal of the specific to focus on the philosophical questions. I would add one word to the setup, to read "secretly and illegally" intercepting". Alright, two words. I'm considering that the UK government, for instance, undertakes massive surveillance in secret, but there are no UK laws that make that illegal, AFAIK, and the Stasi certainly didn't operate illegally in the GDR legal context. Perhaps that makes it a qualitatively different scenario?

Want to hear our beloved David Attenborough narrate your life? Thanks to the power of machine learning, you can

Jonathan Richards 1

Nostalgia trip

>When it comes to paying for the groceries, [the app] has a feature to help people find the right bank notes to hand to a cashier.

Ahh, I remember when you could reach into a wallet and pay for goods by handing over an intricately-fabricated slip of polymer material. Back in those days, the checkout operator would not recoil as if offered to have a fondle of Cleopatra's asp.

In my supermarket, even the automated checkouts won't accept banknotes.

Shocking no one, not enough foreigners applied for H-1B visas this year so US govt ran a second lottery

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: You'd have to be mad -- or desperate -- to come here on an H1B

"Yellow Peril", a term which is just as racist as other designations that are now beyond the pale, is much older than the Vietnam War. It appeared in a book title in 1911 and is apparently a translation into English of an original German neologism.

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Peril#cite_note-13

NASA to stop using names like 'Eskimo Nebula' and 're-examine' what it calls cosmic objects

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: What's next?

The International Astronomical Union is reviewing the naming the largest planet of the Solar System after a serial rapist, it is being reported [1]

[1] i.e. reported here, but thoroughly inaccurately [2]

[2] I hope to some inoffensive god that I'm right about the inaccuracy.

The results are in: Science says the Solar System's magnetic heliosphere looks like a deflated croissant

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Magnetic as motion

+1 See my reply posted yesterday

Who was behind that stunning Twitter hack? State spies? Probably this Florida kid, say US prosecutors

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Disappointed.

> Hacking in 2020

To be fair, it's been the simplest way to defeat security since forever. Break open the clay tablet, borrow and copy the key, gift the city with a really cool horse, bribe the portcullis guard, blackmail the bank manager, email spoof the security admin, rubber-hose decrypt the bitcoin wallet.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: No, I actually read the news...

> if you can filter out all of the cruft

Ahh, and how good is your cruft filter, grasshopper?

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: "A recent Twitter hack probably didn’t scare you. Here’s why it should."

>I baled out of his rant

I stayed with the 'plane after you took the only parachute, you demon. In fact, Mr Bogost, the journalist, only self-describes as a twitter obsessive to establish his standing. His point, in a nutshell, is that the original (as in ARPANet) USP for an internetwork which will survive bits of it being melted (packet switching, OSPF and all that), is compromised or made irrelevant when the things being linked together are massive monopolies with fragile security. This was not quite so in the early days of weB LOGging, when people used their own web sites to log their (possibly vacuous) news, thoughts and opinions.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

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Re: Do not provoke the Keeper of the Logfiles...

Yep, had exactly this happen with a specialist accounting system which had a fairly expensive per-seat license, and a pain-in-the-arse installation and update mechanism. Of course, PHBs couldn't bear actual workers to have system access that they themselves didn't have, and would tell me that they used it all the time... until I quoted back their most recent login time with last year's date on it. Luckily, I had support from my own bosses for taking it away despite protests.

Jonathan Richards 1

> that will be the end of the world


Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

Pfft. I got a Cycling Proficiency Certificate in the 1960s. They didn't give out firsts like confetti in those days, I'll have you know.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

> How about "Sent from my quantum computer

Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...


email sigs: just say no.


Dutch Gateway store was kept udder wraps for centuries until refit dug up computing history

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Robust case

Ditto, although I think my Gateway 486DX66 (with a CD-ROM drive, gasp) would have been purchased in early 1994. As you say, form factors dictate much obsolescence so that the only thing that remains, 26 years later, is the keyboard on which I am typing this, an Anykey labelled "Gateway 2000".

My life as a criminal cookie clearer: Register vulture writes Chrome extension, realizes it probably breaks US law

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: quoth El Reg: remember the First Amendment?

Cheers! I am a big fan of Ken, and I read his post carefully, and while I am prepared to believe that I might be wrong about the First Amendment, I am not wrong in either of the ways he mentions. My point was only that a lawyer (I guess) said that the First Amendment gave people rights, and... it just doesn't. It gives them protection from laws which would take away those rights, one of which is free, and as Carlie points out, anonymously free, speech.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: quoth El Reg: remember the First Amendment?

in re McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission

Thanks for that, I think it is an example of the law being extended and interpreted for changing conditions, as I said. It still doesn't get us as far as Ms Gillens' statement, though.

In a 7–2 decision authored by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court found that the First Amendment protects the decision of an author to remain anonymous.

So clearly by this precedent an author can be anonymous, but it says nothing about readers.

Jonathan Richards 1

quoth El Reg: remember the First Amendment?

"People have a First Amendment right to browse the Internet anonymously, ..." [Naomi Gilens, EFF Legal Fellow]

The full text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution reads

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So in fact the First Amendment confers no rights whatsoever. It explicitly and solely limits the ability of Congress to legislate limitations to certain specified rights and freedoms which the framers clearly think are conferred by the Constitution itself. Now, I understand that law is interpreted for situations that the framers did not envisage, and that Thos Jefferson et al had not clearly foreseen the Internet, but, since IANAL (unlike Ms Gilens), I struggle to see how one reasons from Amdt I to the opening quote.

Edit: source for Amdt I Cornell Law School LII

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: what happens to the drunk

>wired up to a car battery inside

Yes, I guess that would work, if the earth path was not too resistive, yer piss-artist would get ten or eleven volts through the nether regions - not too pleasant. However, a cattle fence is a different kettle of worms - although typically battery powered, the voltage put on the wire is stepped up to around 8,000 volts, but the current is pulsed, and limited to around 100 mA. It gives you a nasty jolt, and then another a couple of seconds later if you're dim enough to have kept contact. The learning curve is not steep.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Can't abide the stuff.

> Not where I go walking they don't. Sometimes they don't have many of those little warning signs either.

Aye, and not where the cows are illiterate, either. The point of an electric fence is to keep the cattle (works for horses, too) away from the "physical fence", which may be damaged by a casual half-ton bovine nudge, or in fact absent, e.g. if you're trying to keep a herd in one half of a grazing area. Protecting the electric fence from contact is totally pointless, unless you're actually trying to exclude humans. That's pointless, too, because everyone who has grown up in the country knows how to disable an electric fence for long enough to pass over or under it.

The world's nonsense keeping you awake in middle of the night? Good news. Go outside and see this two-tail comet

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: So many comet flops

Oh, you shouldn't try to hard while comet-watching. Spoils the stability of your viewing platform, and distracts from all things astronomical.

If the Solar System's 'Planet Nine' is actually a small black hole, here's how we could detect it... wait, what?

Jonathan Richards 1

re The point

Yes, and as I read TFA right now it says "...estimated to mass something in the order of five to ten earth-sized-planets."

That's not solar masses. The range covers about one-third to one-half of the mass of Neptune.

Source: Planetary Factsheet

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: I wonder why?

> folks[0].

WARNING: footnote index reuse [0]

> [1] Which

ERROR: footnote index not defined [1]


It’s happened again: AT&T sued for allegedly transferring victim's number to thieves in $1.9m cryptocoin heist

Jonathan Richards 1

24E6 eggs in a flimsy basket

I don't know if AT&T promised and didn't deliver, but I will observe that if my entire life savings were even a fraction of $24m then I wouldn't be entrusting it to a repository the ownership of which depended on control of a single mobile telephone account. Sod 2FA, I would want an order of magnitude better than that. Why is it all in any one place in any event?

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Hmmm

Blackberry jam. Esz, proper job. Erright er ee, boy?

Coming live from Next@Acer in Taipei: Hardware refreshes, new ruggedised line – and, er, an energy drink

Jonathan Richards 1

Regex mismatch

TFA rendered thusly: "... flurry of hardware releases came thick and fast today at the [email protected] event in Taipei"

Time to tweak that regex, I believe.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

Jonathan Richards 1

Recognizing official photos

This was exactly what I was speculating about in my earlier post, not knowing about the AI project you mention - do you have a link?

I'm sure that the US AI trainers must have done things like eliminate the height marker along the wall behind the face image. Didn't they...?

Jonathan Richards 1

Training data?

It might very well be that the AI got good at distinguishing mugshots taken for police purposes from whatever the authors used for their "non-criminal" set. And there's a thing: how do you know that random face images do *not* represent a criminal? Maybe the AI can distinguish photos of criminals that get caught...

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

Jonathan Richards 1
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Roman Mile

...is indeed a thousand paces (2000 steps) - it's right there in the name. On a long walk in Wiltshire several years ago along the still-straight footpath which follows the Fosse Way, I used GPS to measure the distance covered by 1000 paces at marching speed, and it was *very* close to 1.609 km/1 statute mile.

Ex-director cops community service after 5,000-file deletion spree on company Dropbox

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Scummy company practices cause data loss

> Where did you get that from?

THE PROPERTY PRESS (HOLDINGS) LIMITED Company number 10058355. Mrs Bulley ceased to be a 'person with significant control' on 13 Mar 2018, and the company was wound up by extraordinary resolution (i.e. voluntarily) on 9 Aug 2018.

Letterbox Productions was incorporated on 30 Apr 2018, i.e. a little more than 3 months before Property Press was wound up.

US Air Force wants to pit AI-powered drone against its dogfighting hotshots in battle of the skies next year

Jonathan Richards 1

Win condition?

Is the win condition the destruction of the opposing aircraft (which would be required to chalk up a win in the war combat situation). If so, when the Natural Intelligence pilot makes it back to the ground, can s|he call it a win? I don't know that I'd volunteer to be that pilot. Youtube video "Take a shufti... don't come back..."

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

Jonathan Richards 1


> you won't be party to any mammoth DDoS attacks

I knew the Siberian permafrost was melting, but I didn't know that Fancy Bear had recruited the mammoths. Keep dem mammoths frozens!!1!

Tycoon malware rages through US schools, LG's boot problem, and QNAP admins had better get busy

Jonathan Richards 1


The 2020 United States of America Presidential election is in five months


Trump's Make Space Great Again video pulled after former 'naut says: Nope

Jonathan Richards 1
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A hat tip...

... to the person who writes the URLs for El Reg's postings.

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Twitter - paradise for attention whores

Wot, stallions? Or is that an instance of the spell check goblin fouling up again?

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Any chance

> you want him sacked because it may have infringed some guidance

No. One wants him to be relieved of giving advice to [1] the Prime Minister, because of a demonstrable failure of judgement. He didn't say he "[went] for a drive with his family", because of what the PR people call 'optics'. Maybe that's why he ascribed the outing to being an eye test. <sfx>rimshot</sfx>. So, that's either a lie, or a demonstrable failure of judgement: "Jeez, I don't think I can see well enough to drive. Let's load up the wife and bairn, and take a trip to Barnard Castle to find out".

[1] Or operating the PM with his hand up Mr Johnson's back, depending on who you believe.

Have I Been Pwned breach report email pwned entire firm's helldesk ticket system

Jonathan Richards 1

Also an age-old observation:

HTML has NO PLACE in email. Icon refers ->

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

Jonathan Richards 1

OT - Did I miss something? 301 moved permanently??

The URL https://www.theregister.co.uk/Week has asked to redirect to https://www.theregister.com/Week [emphases added]

When did that happen? The .com incarnation still needs permissions to go back to regmedia.co.uk, though. Wossallthatthen?

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: This does work

You're just rehashing the principle of the Infinite Improbability Drive. Remember what happened to the chap who generated the first one? Lynched by a mob of physicists who couldn't stand a smart-arse :)

Jonathan Richards 1

Ritzy HQ, though

BioShield Distribution Ltd was incorporated in January 2020 [1]. Both directors list their correspondence address as 7 Albion Parade, London, England, N16 9LD, which was a rather unprepossessing newsagents emporium in Stoke Newington, that's been shuttered every time the Google Street View car has been past in the last dozen years.

[1] https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/12411850/officers

Jonathan Richards 1

Allium spp

> Tears ran down my face ... they just started to flow

Onions, luv. Someone was peeling onions.

Actually, I can see where someone might pay shedloads for an obsolete bit of electronics loaded with pathological lies, and tears would begin to run down their face. Entirely predictable.

AR flop Magic Leap's 'pivot' spins CEO right off his throne

Jonathan Richards 1

The anagram has it:

Rony Abovitz: A biz on toy VR

Tech's Volkswagen moment? Trend Micro accused of cheating Microsoft driver QA by detecting test suite

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Petty or Pedant?

Or rather, "it is that upon which we thrive". You are welcome.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War

Jonathan Richards 1

Starting a war

> It would also be particularly stupid of the Argentinian military to assume that a major NATO military, that you were about to start a war with, wouldn't be spying on you

Ah, but the Argentinian state (led by a military junta) didn't think it was starting a war, because it was interpreting actions of the UK Foreign Office with respect to the Falkland Islands in a particular way, and thus thought there would be diplomatic protests, disputed declarations in the UN, yadda yadda, but that they'd end up with de facto sovereignty over Las Malvinas in addition to the de jure sovereignty that they claimed, and still claim to this day. Even the dimmest General (and you don't get promoted to General by being dim) would know that Argentina couldn't win a war with the UK.

And indeed, Argentina didn't lose one. As I've said before, it wasn't a war in 1982, it was (as ex-RAF Egghead & Boffin, above) correctly describes it, a "conflict", a military Operation codenamed Corporate by the UK MOD. 75 years after VE Day isn't a good time to forget the difference between limited military conflict and total war.

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

Jonathan Richards 1

Coronavirus kills cities

Well, novel infectious diseases in general might. I shall probably be going near London in the future, for family reasons, but what is becoming increasingly unclear to me is why London goes anywhere near London. Too many people paying way too much to live, travel, and work unhealthily too close to each other! Run away!!

Obvs, this isn't going to happen in a year, or a parliamentary term, but I wouldn't be surprised if big cities cease to grow, or even start to decline in population, over the next generation or two. The grand-sweep-of-human-history reason for cities is almost itself history.

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

Jonathan Richards 1

The clue is the name, Google

From TFA sub-head: "Google says it cannot identify a user from the ID"

It's an ID, isn't it? It IDENTIFIES (reduces count of possible identities to 1) a user. Just because Google can't match it to the user's legal name, SSN|NI number, post|zip code (it says...) does not mean that the user is any less identified with the advertising ID. If what they mean is they cannot de-anonymize the advertising ID, then (a) that's different and (b) I'm not sure I believe it.

Post-rant musing: I wonder what happens if I change my legal name to the same string as my Google Ad ID...?



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