* Posts by Tom 7

7100 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

FTC approves $61.7m settlement with Amazon for pocketing driver tips

Tom 7 Silver badge

Not just wage theft - tax theft too.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57383869

Perseverance Mars rover sets off on its first mission, to boldly drill and return samples as no rover has drilled before

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Re: So they're already spying on each other on another planet!

Columbian Martian Sharks?

The Eigiau Dam Disaster: Deluges and deceit at the dawn of hydroelectric power

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The broken promises are familiar. Its far too easy in this country to avoid your responsibilities - want to dig an open cast mine, sure just make sure you re-wild it afterwards. 30 years later the re-wilding responsibility is owned by a shell company and no-one can remember who allowed this shit to happen.

Tom 7 Silver badge

Water is devastating stuff. I lived near a village called Wray which suffered a devastating flood in 1967 purely from an angry rainstorm. Where I lived we had a river ran through the bottom of our garden that shared the hilltops that fed the Wray flood and swelled from a 1' deep 10' wide stream to a raging 60' wide and 20' deep torrent of full grown trees and massive rocks in a matter of a couple of hours and re-wrote the river landscape for miles. No-one died here though, many sheep met their doom and a cat and kittens survived in car engine bay that was swept 5 miles down stream. If you've never seen anything like this its almost impossible to envisage the power and destruction water can wreak. All I can say is those people at the cinema that night were lucky a couple of rocks didnt jam in the wrong place and re-direct the flow to their detriment. Just down stream from our house the 60' wide river valley was moved a hundred yards to the left due to the bank collapsing (we think - it wasn't there in the morning) and at other points thousands of tons of rock had simply been brushed away.

Seven-year-old make-me-root bug in Linux service polkit patched

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That good old Unix philosophy.

Do one thing and do it well but use lots of different paths to get there....

Linus Torvalds tells kernel list poster to 'SHUT THE HELL UP' for saying COVID-19 vaccines create 'new humanoid race'

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: In a stockyard...

I find it interesting that it was the people short-sightedly trying to save money that caused the virus to become endemic and will have cost most of them far more in the long run. Its actually still possible to eradicate the disease - indeed it would be the cheapest option in the long run - but it would take worldwide co-operation. NZ, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand showed they could reduce the infection rate by a factor of over 1000 in a couple of months by a proper lockdown with financial support for everyone. That would bring levels down to less than 1000 a day worldwide which should be controllable tending to 0 in the 21st C. As it is we'll need to control new variant breakouts every few months as the thing mutates and or crossbreeds until we get a vaccine that can protect against anything resembling a coronavirus.

Baby Space Shuttle biz chases dreams at Spaceport Cornwall

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Is a memoram of understanding

just big words for hype?

Tom 7 Silver badge

You've not tried leaving Cornwall on changeover Friday then? Only too 3 hours to get 20 miles a couple of weeks ago.

Google says its artificial intelligence is faster and better than humans at laying out chips for artificial intelligence

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Re: Traditional algorithms

I'd say it depends on the problem. Humans are pretty damn good at high knowledge low component optimisation. I can easily see AI being able to optimise vast networks that humans simply wont have the time to understand well enough to actually improve. Some of the best layout engineers in the world may be as an MBA - simply fucking with stuff to make themselves relevant. But this stuff is hard - 30 odd years ago I was reading a couple of PhDs a month to try and suck ideas from all aspects of circuit and chip design somewhere that knew I'd probably get results as a result. I have a feeling it would take 20 years in the industry now to get to anywhere near the sort of global view of the whole engineering surface you need to be able to see doing something here would ripple through to a little space there without having to squeeze that lot there making this track there a lot longer so needing a larger driver which means the power in this area is a little higher than wanted so the leakage will probably mean the ram there will chuck up one more error in 10**15 which will mean the software error corrector will be too slow ...

I do wonder about AI complainers some time - people saying it doesnt explain how it got to where it did. TBH people do things they cant explain to others because others dont live the way you do,

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Traditional algorithms

I used to investigate and try and use every algorithm and trick in the book I could code 30 or more years ago - biggest device I made was 10,000 transistors of ECL which was nice and regular. But the computational times then for some stuff was heat death level. I could get code to get within a few percent of experienced human layout for small groups but a guy I know worked on paper and if you really needed something as small as possible he was your man and he'd bring out something 10% smaller than I could do on a good day and 20% smaller than some seriously computational try every last thing and annealing several annealing algorithms. As chips get more complicated people adopt sub optimal area wise solutions because the time taken for humans and computers to do much better grows exponentially.

I'd bet certain things were sidelined simply because they couldn't provide the results fast or cheaply enough. I was designing stuff on things with megs of ram and MIPS of core - machines run by other people. I dare say some of the code could be run on GPUs with 10s of GIgs of ram in times where they are useful now. We've just got to a price and performance point where old tricks become useful again against the ever increasing volume of data and rules to crunch. As all the different layers of technology progress different things are going to pop in and out of usefulness. Humans may well pop out of it with AI and chip layout.

'Ring of fire' headed to northern UK – a partial solar eclipse, not the sensation you get after a potent vindaloo

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: blurry shadow

With the sun and the moon in the same place in the sky the combined gravitational pull sucks water out of the earth into the sky where it invariably turns into cloud.

Every sodding time.

Fastly 'fesses up to breaking the internet with an 'an undiscovered software bug' triggered by a customer

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Re: Credit where it's due

Something this close to the atom wide sharp bit of the pointy end should tell you pretty much exactly WHAT went wrong a small fraction of a second after it did. All power to the engineers being able to read the log files through the Niagra falls of sweat this would induce in most people. Once you've done that the WHY should be pretty clear thought the HTF do we fix it might take a couple of minutes going over the pre-written disaster recovery plan, which should include a big 'make sure this cant get in again' post mortem procedure which should explicitly exclude bean counters.

Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing

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Re: UTC

Do you want its fixed quickly or what?

FYI: Today's computer chips are so advanced, they are more 'mercurial' than precise – and here's the proof

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Re: Error detection

Could cause more problems than it solves. If all three cores are close to each other on the die and the error is one of the 'field type' (where lots of certain activity in a certain area of the chip causes the problem) then all three cores could fall for the same problem and provide identical incorrect results thus giving the illusion all is ok,

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Two monitors...

A small typo in the header of a chip mask set data I generated once meant the 5mm wide chip would have been 500m across.Fortunately only laughter was produced. I have been very keen on writing sanity checks for ever last thing I can think of - especially where I've fucked up before!

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Two monitors...

I had the good fortune to get my first job out of Uni working as a chip designer at BT Research Centre as it was then. I used to work on high end CAD systems, one of which cost 50 times my annual salary!!!! Large colour screen at eye level (how I miss that) keyboard and digitiser tablet with a 4 button crosshair puck. Something I fell in love with was the ability to use scribbled as commands - Z to zoom in on an area , writing it backwards to zoom out etc. You could also make your own command strokes so long as you moved over the imaginary grid in a unique way while holding down a button so each 'shape' could have 4 different results. In my line of work at the time i was an incredibly powerful tool and I've reproduced it in Javascript to some resounding 'mehs'. Even when I'm far more productive than anyone else because of the gestures no-one seems to want to use them!

BOFH: I'm so pleased to be on the call, Boss. No, of course this isn't a recording

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Re: 90 days

What's wrong with verberising shit?

Will the real IRC please stand up? Freenode’s forest fire leaves ashes – and fresh growth

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Poetry Competition

An empty castle

For an utter ...

Royal Yacht Britannia's successor to cost about 1 North of England NHS IT consultancy framework

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Re: Great British Engineering

The wallpaper definitely wont stay up in the damp marine environment.

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Re: Great British Engineering

You mean the security justification - like top secret comms on a barge which other countries used to build their fleets at home?

UK's BT starts trials of new hollow-core optical fibre networks

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Re: Scattering

When I was there >40 years ago I was told the solid core diffuses into the guide making a lens that tends to encourage a more tight 'beam which results in less spreading of the pulse. The hollow core allows for longer paths and so spreads the pulses. Like I say this was over 40 years ago and we were working at 9.6Ghz so the physics may be a lot different using modern glass pulling and better lasers.

Four women suing Google for pay discrimination just had their lawsuit upgraded to a $600m class action

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I dunno, there are sometimes posts whizzing round Farcebook claiming she actually invented WiFi.

Ubuntu, Wikimedia jump ship to the Libera Chat IRC network after Freenode channel confiscations

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Re: Credit where it's due

I think IRC has significantly lower bandwidth than something like the Video Calling offered by Signal, and is far less affected by any latency. A 2Mb connection will do one video call but 2000 people typing fast simultaneously.

America to get world's 'most powerful' AI supercomputer to create the most detailed 3D map of the universe yet

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Re: Perlmutter

I must get my eyes tested. I read this last night and convinced myself it was per I and not per L.

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Perimutter?

Grumbling edge computing?

The Epic vs Apple trial is wrapping up, but the battle has just begun

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Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

As a company director you would forfeit $700 million? You wouldnt be director for long.

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

It's a bit like your landlord expecting you to pay him a cut of your payrise or your new job. Dont like it move out seems more mafia than business.

The Audacity: Audio tool finds new and exciting ways to annoy contributors with a Contributor License Agreement

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Re: For real?

Presumably on the iPad/iPhone someone somewhere would be getting lots of money for it.

Tom 7 Silver badge

Check out Freenode for the expected success of this land grab.

After staff revolt, Freenode management takes over hundreds of IRC channels for 'policy violations'

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Re: The Django Project has moved too

<Sgt Major Voice>Present chips to groin.

Micturate.</Sgt Major Voice>

My local lug is probably going to jump ship - I'm hoping we're going to look into setting up a redundant array of servers on our home DMZs and DDNS and then publish the shit out of our findings.

And then extend it to Jitsi etc....

US Patent Office to take only DOCX in future – or PDFs if you pay extra

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: You want interoperability?

Is there any patent the US PTO has had a working example for in the last 40 years?

Freenode IRC staff resign en masse, unhappy about new management

Tom 7 Silver badge

Oh happy joy joy

It seems Freenode ran a bot that closes down chatrooms that mention alternative chatroom providers. So if you're chatroom were wondering if they should move or not they've effectively been forced to. I'm guessing Lee hasnt got a fucking clue what he's doing.

Astroboffins think strangely porous boulders found on asteroid Ryugu may be the stuff of proto-planets

Tom 7 Silver badge

I think one of the problems with trying to work out how our solar system formed is the tendency to go for simple and assume it was a fairly even disk of dust. Given our solar system almost certainly formed from two or more supernova shock-waves crashing into each other I think a nice homogeneous disk where the sun formed before the planets is probably one of the lowest probability scenarios there is,

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Pumice

But pumice is also fused together. Its whole structure is radically different in all but porosity. I know I've had some of it broken up on my chest with a sledgehammer. Wouldn't try that with fluffy sand for all the beer in the US!

Contract killer: Certified PDFs can be secretly tampered with during the signing process, boffins find

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Pointless Document Format.

Trying to monetize things that are a lot easier done with open standards - and a shit load safer too!

Patch me if you can: Microsoft, Samsung, and Google win appeal over patent on remote updating

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How childish. Snigger!

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: My favourite workaround

I worked on a 9.6Kb modem that used QAM. QAM using 90 phase offsets starting at 0 degrees was patented. So we started at 45 degrees, Sorted!

Arm freezes hiring until Nvidia takeover, cancels everyone's 'wellbeing' allowance

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Re: This is a good idea

Tequila!

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Re: Morale boost

An MBA opens doors and yet disables the holder from being able to do so!

Tom 7 Silver badge

So you can pretend to take over a company that is really a competitor

and manage to hold it back a good year without even buying it up - assuming the UK government does actually agree which probably depends on some offshore donations rather than <FLAG WAVING>national interest</FLAG WAVING>.

Man found dead inside model dinosaur after climbing in to retrieve phone

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Man killed by dinosaur?

Just what the young earthers need to keep them going for another 6000 years!

Virgin Galactic declares May day for next test space flight

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Re: Virgin mother's..

Well naming it after his dad would have put off a few punters: Oh God!

It took 'over 80 different developers' to review and fix 'mess' made by students who sneaked bad code into Linux

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Re: Those saying that this is a reason to distrust Linux...

You may be onto something there. I know of several people who were paid by MS to not work for other companies. They dont really work for MS on anything useful - they are given a sandpit and lots of resources and a good living to keep them amuses but MS has no real use for them. I guess many other large companies do the same. I wonder if they keep them in their sandpits or let them do 'something useful' when they realise they are merely being kept unproductive on purpose.

Tom 7 Silver badge

In almost all forms of development co-operative development structures - ones that assume no malice - are orders of magnitude faster than those that assume malice. In many ways kernel development has been lucky that no-one has tried this before. The effort involved in back filling the development process with mechanisms to ensure this doesnt happen again would be considerable.

Interestingly the people who are going to suffer most are the new chip/ concept developers.

SystemD will find it much much harder to get new 'features' added. Bug fixes like the dreaded buffer overflow will probably be easy to check and approve by normal methods.

Graph databases to map AI in massive exercise in meta-understanding

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: This isn't new. None of this is new.

There are a group building networks based on real networks from wildlife. They've done flight control and visual from the Honey Bee and produced networks that are far far better than trained versions and 50 times faster. I am looking forward to the bit where they find the bit that does the graph optimisation things we need to know to manage all this old shit. I bet someone will try and patent it but I dare say they wont be able to cover all species with rounded corners.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Users

There are (were?) a special breed of plugs/connectors that look and feel as if they are connected when they are not. Often the only way of telling they are connected is by the device working. I've found that some dead disk drives can often be brought back to life by putting a couple of loops of string around the connector and drive and tightening it gently by twisting a pencil round and round and sometimes the connector moves visibly and other times the drive just starts up with little if any noticeable movement. As for RF stuff I've found merely straightening the way of piece of coax approaches the connector can make it work, even though it worked the other way for years before failing. That could be because the core is fractured but I've never spent the time checking.

Parliament demands to know the score with Fujitsu as Post Office Horizon scandal gets inquiry with legal teeth

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: STOP. GIVING. FUJITSU. GOVERNMENT. CONTRACTS.

But in buying ICL there may very well be information that means they have to be treated as British. Fujitsu and ICL were playing together in the early 80s so there may be 40 years of communications between governments and bosses to accidentally be released into the public domain should the PR dept need some squirrels and dead cats.

Activist millionaires protest outside Jeff Bezos' homes to support tax rises for the rich

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Tax avoidance costs

""Trickle down economic theory is a fallacy" I have yet to see that demonstrated."

And no-one has yet seen the opposite demonstrated.

James Webb Space Telescope runs one last dress rehearsal for its massive golden mirrors before heading to launchpad

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However working in the infra-red will mean it can see much further through dust that stops visible light. It is hoped it will be capable of being able to see the light from some of the first stars in the universe amongst other things.

Tom 7 Silver badge

Re: Oh the irony

I would have thought you could just get an off the shelf adapter to connect a 5 cone to a 6 rocket.

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