* Posts by Scott 1

122 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jun 2009


Uncle Sam backs right-to-repair battle against Big Ag's John Deere

Scott 1

I work with contractors in the construction / repair industry. Almost every one of them runs with equipment that's 20 to 30 years old or older. One of them was beaming one time about how he was about to get ahold of a "new" piece of equipment that was going to be built around a re-built diesel engine from the 1960s or 1970s. Every time I've asked those contractors why they keep running with old engines and equipment, they say pretty much the same thing: they are able to repair the old stuff themselves the vast majority of the time. They can do this because they usually have at least one or two mechanics on staff to repair and maintain their equipment (but who can also step in as extra labor on jobs when they get very busy). For those times when the contractor can't repair the old equipment themselves, they are able to take it to an independent repair shop where it usually gets fixed relatively quickly at reasonable cost. However, when the newer stuff breaks, it requires them to haul it to a dealer, wait forever, and pay an arm and a leg for the repair. Time is money for them in a big way. It's not unusual for their contracts to have timeframes with bonuses for finishing early and major penalties for finishing late.

Up to 18,000 Amazon workers in firing line as it chops cost

Scott 1

Alexa Schmalexa

We have one of those Alexa devices with a screen on it (it was a gift). It shows us the current time and upcoming weather, and that's about all it's used for.

America tops ITU's Global Cyber Security Index, UK in tie for second with Saudi Arabia

Scott 1

So the U.S. ranked number 1

Yet we have issues with hackers creating chaos far too frequently.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative

Scott 1

Re: Too late

"...or forever be shouting at pigeons in the park."

You say this like it's a bad thing. Also, I propose we "verb-ivy" the word pigeon to mean engaging in that activity.

Examples: "Mark and I were planning to *pigeon* in Central Park this evening. Care to join us?"

"I saw the network administrator *pigeoning* about the idiots in upper management during my walk into work this morning."

Remember Tapplock, the 'unbreakable' smart lock that was allergic to screwdrivers? The FTC just slapped it down for 'deceiving' folks

Scott 1

Great Youtube Channel

Nice that you embedded a video from the Lockpicking Lawyer. It's a great channel.

Vietnam bans posting fake news online

Scott 1

"Fake News" That's what the Chinese doctor who tried to warn us about Covid-19 was arrested for, right?

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

Scott 1

Re: New French study confirms results

I fear that you are correct. However, it is so hard to not hope.

Ever wondered what Microsoft really thought about the iPad? Ex-Windows boss spills beans

Scott 1

"...overseeing the introduction of the controversial Ribbon UI in Office 2007 – a strategic move to distinguish it from rivals like OpenOffice as well as making features more discoverable."

More like *less* discoverable. I sometimes find myself having to use search to find the feature that I need - features that I used to be able to navigate to easily from the old-school menu system.

Don't miss this patch: Bad Intel drivers give hackers a backdoor to the Windows kernel

Scott 1

Re: One way

That sounds great, until a vuln turns up in AMD's drivers. I'm not slinging hate, btw; my home computer is a Ryzen 7. I'm just trying to stay realistic.

You'e yping i wong: macOS Catalina stops Twitter desktop app from accepting B, L, M, R, and T in passwords

Scott 1

Who needs it?

Twitter's nothing but a bunch of rabid howler monkeys hurling metaphorical poo at each other anyway. Maybe Apple is doing us a favor by keeping us out </brainwashed>

Aw, bad day at your air-conditioned, somewhat clean desk? Try shifting a 40-tonne fatberg

Scott 1

Re: What actually happens to the fatberg?

I thought you were going to say something witty, like they get appointed to public office.

Scott 1

Re: Chew it up?

What you're thinking of already exists and is commonly in use. It's known as a lift station. These are used sometimes to pump sewerage from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. They're also used to pump sewerage from a gravity-fed (no pressure) sewer system into a pressurized "forced" sewer main line (as is common here in Florida). These incorporate a wet-well chamber into which the incoming sewerage is fed, and then a pump and grinder system pumps the macerated sewerage into the outgoing line.

I'm guessing this could break up some of the softer materials. However, this would be quite costly to retrofit into an existing large sewer system, and it would increase the amount of equipment that would need to be regularly maintained and monitored by the sanitary sewer service. For a city the size of London, that would be a rather large undertaking.

Additionally, this might change the situation into problems with a multitude of individual "fatbergs" in the lift station wet wells and/or trunk lines leading to the lift stations, rather than one or two "fatbergs" in the main trunk lines of the sewer system. Also, the macerated fats and cooking oils leaving the lift stations might still be capable of congealing into the "fatberg" material, which seems to be the result of a chemical reaction (calcification of lipids from reactions with alkaline liquids).

Those furious gun-toting Aussies were just a glitch. Let's try US drone deliveries, says Wing

Scott 1

Data collection en masse

How much you want to bet those drones will be bristling with cameras, WiFi & Bluetooth radios (maybe SDR?), Lidar, etc. and will be constantly uploading aerial imagery and data to Google's servers?

Introducing 'freedom gas' – a bit like the 2003 deep-fried potato variety, only even worse for you

Scott 1

Re: Sleep is a Good Thing(TM)

We could make a mint on selling future cruise tickets to the Venusian paradise.

There's NordVPN odd about this, right? Infosec types concerned over strange app traffic

Scott 1

If I wanted to conduct mass spying...

...one step (of many) would be to create a commercial VPN service.

As long as there's fibre somewhere along the line, High Court judge reckons it's fine to flog it as 'fibre' broadband

Scott 1

My cable internet service is fiber to the local box (which I believe is in my front yard, but is less than 1/2 mile down the street at the farthest) and coaxial cable from there to my house. No matter how fast and reliable it is, I don't think my cable internet service provider has the balls to try to claim that it's fiber internet. At times, I've heard it referred to as a HFC (hybrid fiber and coax) network, which I think is fair.

Note that there is actual fiber to the house internet available in my neighborhood, but ironically it has higher latency, not much better download speeds (but 10x better upload), monthly caps, and a much higher monthly service cost than the cable service.

The Handmaid's Tale or Man-made Fail? Exposed DB of 'BreedReady' women probably not as bad as it sounds

Scott 1


Someone is applying nuance and common sense in 2019? This cannot stand! Mobilize the army of crazies!

Q. What's a good thing to put outside a building of spies? A: A banner saying 'here we are!'

Scott 1
Big Brother

Yes, but that's us Americans. You can trust us, right? Right?!

It’s baaack – Microsoft starts pushing out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Scott 1

Re: "our next generation machine learning model"

Just our future AI machine overlords taking the next steps toward world domination.

Amazon Mime: We train (badly) an AI love bot using divorce bombshell Bezos' alleged sexts to his new girlfriend

Scott 1

"We think this counts as reporting, right?"

By asking this question, you have demonstrated much more journalistic integrity than almost every other news source out there.

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

Scott 1

Engineer is from the same root word as "ingenuity," not "engine." Therefore, a driver should rightly be called an "engine operations technician."

Scott 1

I'm a licensed civil engineer in Florida. I'm not a fan of the overuse of the word "engineer" for jobs that obviously have nothing to do with actual engineering. However, Oregon was taking that too far, in my opinion. I can agree with restricting people from calling themselves a "licensed," "professional," or "registered" engineer, as that implies being certified and is fraudulent (as is the case in Arizona and Florida).

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

Scott 1

I still think one of our biggest problems here in the U.S. are the government-created local utility monopolies. For example, in my neighborhood we have only one coaxial cable provider and only one landline phone service provider (who is also the only fiber optic provider) because it is *literally illegal* for anyone else to attempt to offer those services. Ending that stupidity would go a long way toward solving these problems, because then we'd be able to get real competition for broadband services.

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

Scott 1

Water is wet, etc.

Verizon, my service provider, is up-front with their throttling. They openly say that they throttle all known video streams to an equivalent of about 420p (I usually get about 360p on YouTube). I can't easily tell the difference between that and a 1080p stream on a cell phone screen, anyway.

Fire chief says Verizon throttled department's data in the middle of massive Cali wildfires

Scott 1

I'm guessing the fire department was using an account with a fixed amount of data per month (i.e. 8 GB), and they exceeded that limit. That caused Verizon to switch their account to "safety mode," which is effectively unlimited data at extremely reduced speed.

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button

Scott 1

Emergency Stop

When I worked for a major hotel chain's data center, we once had a security guard push the emergency off button for no reason in particular. He said he just wanted to see what would happen (and it was strongly suspected that he was stoned at the time). The end result was similar, likely costing millions in lost revenues. On the plus side, we found out the hard way that the individual UPS units for our servers were absolute crap.

The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

Scott 1

Lovely, seeing as I own one.

Yes, I own one. Let the roasting begin. I probably deserve it.

Qualcomm still serious about Windows 10 on Arm: Engineers work on '12W' Snapdragon 1000

Scott 1

Fire the Marketing Department?

Surely they can come up with a better name than "Snapdragon 1000" for their laptop SoC. I think they would be best served by keeping the "Snapdragon" moniker for SoCs aimed at the mobile market and creating a new brand name for SoCs aimed at laptop and desktop computers.

Scott 1

Re: ASUS Primus?

Surely there's a market for a device that's hot enough to cook your breakfast while you do your morning "surfing."

SpaceX flings SES-12 satellite into orbit, but would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

Scott 1

Re: It's 2018...

If it ain't broke...

Scott 1

Life in Florida

Scared the s*** out of me when the windows were rattling just after midnight last night. I didn't expect to get that, considering I live more than 45 miles (~70 kilometers) away from the launch pad.

Password re-use is dangerous, right? So what about stopping it with password-sharing?

Scott 1

"...and that would achieve the most important aim of the proposal, which is to force punters to use password managers that get in their faces and firmly insist on complex and fresh passwords for every online service."

Yeah, brilliant, until the password manager is hacked, resulting in *all* of your accounts being breached.

Don't panic... but our fragile world is drifting away from the Sun

Scott 1

Re: Where's my towel?

<glass_half_ridiculous> Maybe it'll counteract some of this global warming we've been experiencing. </glass_half_ridiculous>

Google learns to smile, because AI's bad at it

Scott 1

Model Bias

"Biased models have become a contentious issue in AI over the course of the year, with study after study documenting both the extent of algorithmic bias, and the real-life impacts such as women seeing ads for low-paying jobs and African-Americans being sent more ads about being arrested."

I just received a targeted ad for a gallon of coyote urine (and no, that's not a euphemism for mass produced American beer). I wonder if this was the result of model bias or just my weird browsing habits (maybe a bit of both?).

Sayonara North America: Insurance guy got your back when Office 365 doesn't?

Scott 1

Sure, but...

It's easy to point and laugh at the spectacle that results from outages of major "cloud" services (let's not kid ourselves, it's a lot of fun, too!). However, I wonder how their reliability compares to "in-house" I.T. / phone services.

I escaped the I.T. sector several years ago (which was fortunate for my sanity and the safety of everyone around me). I remember "back in the day" that our in-house I.T. and phone systems experienced complete outages from time to time, at a frequency of about 2 to 4 times per year, on average (per my best estimate).

[For the naysayers: no, I was not responsible for setting up or administering these systems.]

SpaceX lands another rocket

Scott 1

Never boring

Considering how I get treated to a house shaking sonic boom every time one of those rockets comes in for a landing (after 1:00 AM this most recent time), I doubt I will ever find these landings "boring."

California cops pull over Google car for driving too SLOWLY

Scott 1

Road Hazard

Don't these people realize that driving too slowly is quite dangerous?

FCC swamped by 2,000+ net neutrality complaints against ISPs

Scott 1

Re: US Libs Love Regs

"Dubya" is a liberal. This is why Mr. Obama didn't really change a whole lot when he took office. If anything, he doubled down on "Dubya's" worst policies.

Scott 1

Re: Don't hold your breath

There's a simple solution to this problem: Use Gmail / Hotmail / Yahoo Mail / etc. (literally, there are hundreds of alternatives). Additionally, you have the benefit of not having your e-mail address change when you switch to a different ISP.

Pluto's moon SPLIT OPEN by ancient FROZEN OCEAN

Scott 1

Sometimes it seems like our explorations lead to more questions than answers. Hopefully Pluto's moon will be explored more thoroughly during my lifetime. I am absolutely fascinated by this.

Texas senator Ted Cruz serves up sizzling 'machine gun bacon'

Scott 1

Re: The republican clown car.

I'm not giving the prospect of her getting charged a high probability. That would require the Attorney General being willing to file charges, and it's currently a Democrat-led organization. I seriously doubt they are going to do that to their "heir apparent."

SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

Scott 1

Re: Why land at sea?

As a current resident of central Florida, I can tell you that the great majority of the people here are actually quite decent. We do have our share of oddballs, however, and the warm, moist climate seems to attract them for some reason. Despite their fame (thanks to the websites about the exploits of "Florida man/woman"), these are the minority, and it's truly a case of "a few bad apples spoil the bunch."

Globe-spanning SEA-ME-WE 3 sea cable feared cut, broken or ...

Scott 1

Life's no fun...

...without suitably bizarre conspiracy theories.

Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

Scott 1

Re: But is a fluid definition a bad thing?

The article was limited in scope to the UK. The comment about eliminating absolute poverty was referring to eliminating it everywhere else where it exists.

DOUBLE BONK: Fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets

Scott 1


It's a new feature on a proprietary device. I'm not surprised there are a few teething problems.

Of course, this observation is boring and not sensational. I would not make a good journalist.

MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

Scott 1

Giant golfer? Not likely.

A giant golfer's divot would probably result in a shallower depression with a soil/debris spread generally in only one direction.

Now, they may have been creating a hole for a game of giant *golf*, but that wouldn't necessarily involve giant golfers.

NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

Scott 1

Surely this means that all whistle blower interviews will now be held in a remote location, miles from any nearby AC electrical sources, using only equipment run on DC provided by a battery?

You know what today's movies need? More drones

Scott 1

I hope they're successful

There are a lot of potential uses in Civil Engineering circles. Structural inspections, aerial mapping and photography, watershed studies, geologic hazard investigations, environmental investigations, etc. etc. If these film guys make some headway, maybe that'll open some doors for us, too.

Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Scott 1

Re: Not so smart; desperate housewife is desperate.

"I don't seem to recall Jobs presenting snake-oil-merchant slides to diss the competition;"

Really? Almost every one of this major keynote speeches had at least one slide to that effect. He has snubbed the names of the Android versions, high percentages of Android devices on old OS versions (like Cook just did), the smaller number of apps available for Android vs iThings, build quality of Android devices, etc. etc.

USA! USA! ... Aw, screw it. Motorola to close Texas smartphone plant

Scott 1

One trick pony

The problem here seems to be the fact that this facility existed solely for the purpose of producing a mildly interesting, under-powered phone (relative to the competition) with a few quirky features and customization options that didn't really catch on.