* Posts by John 62

1038 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Jun 2009


GM, Komatsu partner to build hydrogen-powered monster mining truck

John 62

why not burn hydrogen instead of diesel in almost same power unit?

Hydrogen fuel cells are cool and all, but wouldn't they be better modifying the diesel engine to burn hydrogen?

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash

John 62

The bank issues a mortgage and gives that money to the house vendor because they expect it all back. With interest. On pain of eviction.

And the interest rate the bank charges depends on the how confident investors are that the government will pay back its gilts, i.e. the bank can be said to be creating money out of thin air because they expect the supply of money to increase. It's a long time since lower 6th when I did GCSE accounting, so someone else can probably give a better answer.

China's 7nm chip surprise reveals more than Beijing might like

John 62

Re: Aha!

Smartphones: Intel missed the boat with smartphones (sold off their ARM stuff and couldn't get Atom to compete in a phone), so while their desktop/laptop/server market remained large, it wasn't as large as the smartphone market where there was much more volume _and_ much more pressure to reduce the node size to get perf/watt up. AMD is able to ride the wave of TSMC's investment in producing smartphone chips to eat Intel's lunch.

Couple that to AWS developing its own datacentre CPUs and Apple jumping ship (for desktop/laptop) and Intel is in trouble.

John 62

Power silicon


apparently Newport is very, very good at power silicon for charger cables and power supplies, which doesn't need to be done at a tiny node

Too little, too late: Intel's legacy is eroding

John 62

x86: Intel's success, but also its curse

Intel's best hope is unfortunately China invading Taiwan so that the US invests in local chip manufacturing, though Samsung might still beat them even then.

Intel is the new RIM. RIM had a wildly successful phone that some people preferred to the iPhone for a while, but then the glass slab won and Blackberry couldn't compete. x86 is still an enormous market, but, and I didn't expect to type this a few years ago, AMD has the advantage because it doesn't have its own fabs.

15 years ago, or maybe even just 10, Intel's vertical integration still made sense because it had enough manufacturing volume that made sense to invest in the best fabs, but Intel missed the smartphone market and the smartphone chip fabs had the volume (and perf/watt pressure) to make smaller nodes happen. AMD has been able to surf on the wave of the smartphone chip fabs.

Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket deploys seven satellites with third successful mission

John 62

Presumably they're just using a 747 because it's a relatively cheap way to heft a large payload and they'll be able to fit the launch platform to another aircraft if the 747 gets too old.

Facebook rendered spineless by buggy audit code that missed catastrophic network config error

John 62

Move fast...

...and break things

Live, die, copy-paste, repeat: Everything is recycled now, including ideas

John 62

Guess Virgin Media's charge for keeping their TiVo box...

I left Virgin and they wanted their kit back on threat of charging me extra: £40 for the router and £0 for the TiVo box (latest v6 version, too). Since they sent me a big bag and cardboard boxes and said a man would come to collect it all I thought I wouldn't bother keeping any of the stuff they sent me. I even gave them the HDMI cable back.

The v6 TiVo was fairly fast, much more responsive than the ancient streaming-only Huawei TalkTalk YouView box we had before. I bought an Amazon FireTV Stick 2021 to replace the TiVo box and it is much faster again and I'm guessing much lower power consumption.

Stob treks back across the decades to review the greatest TV sci-fi in the light of recent experience

John 62

Maybe Kirk was wearing a skant

Microsoft's 0.5 release of Project Reunion dev kit has production support – just don't be touching UWP

John 62

Just how much of Microsoft is consumed by developing UIs?

India floats superior ship-management software as a route to regional relevance

John 62

Docker Containers managed by Kubernetes

Kubernetes because ships need helms-people

Also because Kuber == κυβερ == Cyber

UK smacks Huawei with banhammer: Buying firm's 5G gear illegal from year's end, mobile networks ordered to rip out all next-gen kit by 2027

John 62

Are we sure the alternatives are safer?

I believe the biggest reason for this is the US sanctions affecting the Huawei supply chain, so that they can't get chips etc from suppliers connected to the USA, hence more likely to buy from shadier suppliers.

The question is: are Nokia, Ericsson, et al suitably supported to be secure? The CCP can lean on Huawei to do its bidding, but they can equally lean on/penetrate Nokia.

Oblivious 'influencers' work on 3.6-roentgen tans in Chernobyl after realising TV show based on real nuclear TITSUP

John 62

Re: Sacrifices Must Be Made

Thanks for the downvotes (and I'm generally pro-nuclear power) but my comment was signifying that Reg commentards shouldn't be trashing Ars commenters.

John 62

Re: Sacrifices Must Be Made

I think you mean 'a la Register front page articles by Lewis Page post-Fukushima Daiichi'

NPM today stands for Now Paging Microsoft: GitHub just launched its own software registry

John 62

Couple of things not mentioned

Always useful to have another mirror, but a couple of points I haven't seen mentioned

i) Microsoft now has a competitor to JFrog's artifactory with the added value of GitHub's repository vulnerability scanning. I was at an intro to Enterprise GitHub led by GitHub staff and they said they had something like petabytes of vulnerability data they were using for scanning for users on public GitHub, but they couldn't offer that for on-premises enterprise GitHub because there was too much vulnerability data to host on anyone's private network. I think this way they can offer a more secure version of Artifactory that doesn't need to be coupled with something like Blackduck or Veracode.

ii) With its own package manager, GitHub can keep all the traffic for its build/execution offering inside their own network for speed and cost (Another part of competing with AWS/Azure/Glitch - yes, I know Azure and GH are both MS, but they can have different offerings to suit different customers).

Astronomer slams sexists trying to tear down black hole researcher's rep

John 62

Re: Fellow?

Scott Adams has always been for the dark side (I read The Dilbert Principle back in the day and used to subscribe to his mailing list, e.g. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdb/msg00573.html), but reading the odd Dilbert strip won't kill you and might even make you laugh.

Israeli Moon probe crashes at the last minute but SpaceX scores with Falcon Heavy launch

John 62

Re: Not only in the woods

The hebrew is בְּרֵאשִׁית

'beresheet' is the polite anglicised version: the yud (י) can also be transliterated as i

Huawei MateBook Pro X: PC makers look out, the phone guys are here

John 62

key travel

I have become accustomed to the 2018 MBP's shallow keys and much prefer it to my 2011 MBP's keyboard.

John 62

just tap!

single finger tap for primary mouse button action (aka left-click), two finger tap for secondary mouse button action (aka right-click). Apple allows three finger tap as well, but I've never used it. If you're stuck I'm assuming Windows provides for keyboard-click combos, like holding down CTRL or ALT and clicking to simulate a middle-mouse-button click.

See another of my comments for the wonderful-ness of tap-n-drag with drag lock.

When I discovered tap-to-click on my ancient Compaq Pentium 100 laptop I wondered why a trackpad was ever designed with buttons.

John 62


"The massive trackpad was also welcome. Huawei said it was so you could drag an item across the full display, something professional and business users need."

TL;DR: tap and drag with drag lock and acceleration for the win.

The trackpad on the 2018 MBP is too big. Sometimes I wonder why the trackpad isn't responding and it's because the base of my left thumb is resting on the edge of the trackpad. Anyway. Long, long ago, back when I bought a 2nd hand Compaq Pentium 100 laptop, I discovered tap-and-drag and now I can't use a trackpad without it: on the Mac the setting has become hidden in the Accessibility Preferences > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad options > Enable dragging with drag lock. With drag lock set you can tap, lift your finger, put it back down, then start dragging things, then this is the genius bit: lift your finger and get relative movement instead of absolute! i.e. you can drag something all the way across the screen, in fact you can drag something as far as the screen compositor will allow, with a few taps and only moving your finger an inch each time. When you're finished dragging, you can single tap to leave drag mode. It's similar to using a mouse and lifting the mouse while your finger is holding down the mouse button.

Further, I also think trackpads on Windows systems have the same option for acceleration, so fast movements of your finger move the cursor further than slower movements meaning you shouldn't be relying on absolute positioning anyway.

Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?

John 62


Sorry, just had to when I saw that and it brought to mind Bing Is Not Google.

John 62

Amazon loves small businesses! *

* I don't know about sales volume or whatever, but most stock listings on Amazon are from third parties who use Amazon's website for sales (same as eBay, and Facebook is trying to get into this as well, even Tesco and M&S online act as a shop-front for 3rd parties). So Amazon certainly wants small business to thrive so long as they carry the stock, take the brunt of any customer complaints, but most importantly, as long as they don't compete with its core business.

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges

John 62

Re: Throw the book at him

Suicide bomb threat in London: apprehend suspect and shoot him at point blank range.

Suicide bomb threat in Jerusalem: apprehend suspect, take off bomb-vest and defuse it, prosecute suspect.

Not that I'm putting Israeli security practices in general on a pedestal (and there's an incentive in not making people into martyrs), but the difference is striking.

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

John 62

Northern Ireland

You have needed photo id in NI for years. If you don't have a driving licence, passport or any other photo id, you can get one supplied by the Electoral Commission for Northern Ireland

Facebook Messenger: All your numbers are belong to us

John 62

Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

With Android 6 you can chop and change permissions granted, so the permissions issue is moot on that platform. The thing is, any messaging app needs most of the permissions: use the microphone, use the camera, access device storage, access the internet, etc.

I survived a head-on crash with driverless cars – and dummies

John 62

"Sorry to annoy you , but I slow down early for red lights to force the car behind me to close the gap. It forces him to start braking (ie wakes him up if he's daydreaming) and then, when the gap is closed, act as a shield for the back of my car. Its known as defensive driving."

WHAT? Opening up the gap in front of you is defensive driving. Closing the gap behind you is silly. If someone is tailgating me, I might slow down a little to increase the space in front of me so that if something happens in front of me, I have more time to react and not have to brake hard so there's less chance the tailgater will rearend me.

Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

John 62

Re: Titlebars, menus, scrollbars, icons!

"WIMP was invented by Xerox PARC and stolen by Apple, Microsoft, IBM and AT&T. IBM made the strategic error of partnering with their competitor on the OS2 project. Microsoft stole all the best parts for Windows, crippled OS2 with late and buggy code and in the cradle of Microsoft evangelism, destroyed its market with fear, uncertainty and doubt."

Oh the old stolen by Apple trope. Apple paid Xerox and then made it's own modifications. Xerox had little interest in becoming a computer company.

A bubble? No way, we're in a bust, says rich VC living in alternate reality

John 62

same in the UK

In the UK, everyone working for a medium-sized or larger company is auto-enrolled in a (money-purchase aka defined contributions) pension scheme by law. Where will that money be invested? Government bonds, land and the stock market. It's a win-win! What can go wrong?

Well, as long as there are no great shocks it's not a bad way to do retirement planning and keep the cash moving around the economy, but from an ownership point of view, it could tip us further into un-checked Boards of Directors territory. Everyone owns the companies/land/government debt, but because it's all done through pension funds, which of them will realistically exercise any authority at shareholder meetings? I know this has been going on since fund managers have existed, but the scale keeps ramping up and capital is being focused into funds managed by people who don't own them and don't want to pay enough in fees to get someone to act in their interests at shareholder meetings.

Boffins solve bacon crisis with newly-patented plant

John 62

Re: What a convenient coincidence

> Seaweed has the elusive "umami".

Indeed, wasn't MSG first made from seaweed?

Whitman's split: The end of Fiorina's HP grand expansion era

John 62

Boards vs CEOs

The Board of Directors must have been complicit. CEOs have a lot of autonomy (pun not intended), but they don't make multi-billion acquisitions without board approval,

Activision to buy Candy Crush developer King

John 62

Stock or Cash? What now for Derby County?

i) Was the purchase in Activision stock or cash? That makes a difference.

ii) What now for Derby County? Mel Morris, the chairman of the mighty, all-conquering Rams, is an important King backer. Everyone thought UEFA's financial fair play rules were about Manchester City and Chelsea buying success, but I think it was really because everyone else was afraid of Derby County being bank-rolled by Candy Crush profits.

Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

John 62


In German, light bulbs are Glühbirne, i.e. annealing pears, or just pears.

We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

John 62

Financial sector > Agriculture

Well, duh, everyone wants financial products for everything, including agriculture.

Say 2% of the population works in agriculture. Well, there are a lot more car owners than farmers and car insurance is mandated by law. And that's just car insurance.

People getting phones on contract depend on the financial instruments the phone companies use behind the scenes. Farmers selling their wares on the futures market (which as Tim pointed out previously is not inherently evil) depend on the financial industry. Farmers getting loans for capital or livestock and seed depend on the financial industry.

So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?

John 62

Re: Darkness is bestowed posthumously

A downvote! I know it's Wikipedia, but it's an informative read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)#Modern_academic_use

John 62

Re: Trade Unions...

So basically you mean the invention of the club as a way of organising ourselves.

John 62

Darkness is bestowed posthumously

Dark ages, smark ages. The Western Roman empire's fall just left much of Europe to be fought over by smaller states. Much of the so-called dark ages weren't all that dark.

Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

John 62

Re: But think of the indignation

In the UK, small coins are only legal tender* in small amounts. £1 coins are legal tender in any amount, though!


* Legal tender in the UK actually only has a narrow meaning and in the vast majority of cases it is up to the parties in a transaction to negotiate how payment will be made. But it does apply to most monetary fine situations, so I suspect Legal Tender law was established to prevent people making a nuisance of themselves by paying fines in silly denominations.

Accidental homicide: how VoLTE kills old style call accounting

John 62

Re: POTS still works quite nicely here.

The story is told that Alexander Graham Bell actually wanted to use the telephone to broadcast opera and one to one communication was an afterthought.

Terror in the Chernobyl dead zone: Life - of a wild kind - burgeons

John 62

Re: Hmmm

As Mark Steyn says, the future belongs to those who show up for it.

Could the human race be more efficient? Quite likely, but when you see the Burj Khalifa glistening from the more run down parts of Karama you realise that the Burj couldn't be there without all the people in Karama. It's a bit like the Games Workshop game Necromunda set in the hive worlds of the Imperium. In Necromunda, the hive worlds have huge towers where people live their lives without seeing the mythical 'ground'. The rich live at the top of the tower and the poor are the metaphorical foundations on the bottom: fodder for the Imperial Army and all the other ancillary activities of the empire. The Imperium doesn't need all those people, but without the hives it wouldn't have enough.

SPACED OUT: NASA's manned Orion podule pushed back to 2023

John 62

Re: Downvote bait.

The problem with getting humans off earth is keeping in contact. The vast cost to get a minimally viable colony somewhere means that the colony will be culturally and genetically isolated. Not a problem if humanity on earth is obliterated, but if humanity on earth is not obliterated, well they'll be reduced to sending the equivalent of postcards or more likely, no communication at all. And that makes me think of the back-story of Warhammer 40000, with the Emperor's crusade to unite the fractured remnants of humanity scattered across the galaxy (and exterminate the colonies that resist or that are too genetically deviant from Terran stock).

On the other hand, bring back Outcasts! It had its problems, but I really miss it.

China launches 'pollution-free' rocket

John 62

Re: Mini-satellites

Forget micro-meteorites the size of a pea blasting an hole in a satellite's side, what about a micro-satellite about the size of a backpack colliding with your mil-comm-sat?!

You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

John 62

"The problem with being poor, is that your buying power is poor. It means you are in no position to argue favourable rates or get the best value.

Paying retail prices for individual tins of baked beans when a case of 24 would work out far cheaper per tin is just one of a billion examples of why poverty stinks."

And you have to buy from the cornershop you can walk to because you can't afford the bus to get to Aldi. And you can't buy in bulk even if you wanted to because you have no space in your appartment.

It's a nasty circle.

John 62


I thought the etymology of left vs right was to do with the French revolutionary parliament. One party wanted more state control and sat towards the left of the room, while another party wanted more individual freedom and sat towards the right.

Progressivism is extremely poorly defined, but in my view the self-identifiers are merely hiding their Marxist dialecticalism.

The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

John 62

Re: Nimbyism

UK similar population of Germany? Well it's in the same ball-park. UK: 60ish million. Germany: 80ish million. Though there are predictions that the populations will equalise in the next 10 years or so. Germany is worried about its low birth rate (slightly higher than Greece, but still below replacement - which is why people don't want to bail out Greece: even without tax evasion there won't be anyone to pay back in the future). Though the UK's birth rate is only booming in comparison: it's barely above replacement. If you're worried about space, apart from Germany's lack of understanding of tea and the need for milk in it, I can think of worse places to move to than the beautiful Extertal.

The UK's population is very unevenly spread. On a macro level, Scotland has areas that have the lowest population density in western Europe. On a micro level, Northern Ireland has most of its population in the greater Belfast area. There's plenty of space.

Unholy Hong Kong hackers hit evangelicals with IE 0day

John 62

Plain criminals vs State actors

Criminals are likely going for money, since the church members will be funding the church through some means so they're likely seen as affluent targets.

State actors may be looking for links to non-state-approved underground churches on the mainland. It's not the cultural revolution any more, but the communist party still doesn't like most of the churches.

All aboard the Skylake: How Intel stopped worrying and learned to love overclocking

John 62


I'm of the opinion that the work Intel is doing to promote power saving simply has the side-effect of allowing more overclocking. That and the fact that fewer customers than before will spend more money on a chip purely for a clock speed increase, which means there's less financial incentive for Intel to control the clock post-sale.

The Q7: Audi’s big SUV goes from tosspot to tip-top

John 62

Re: "...electrically operated tow hook..."

At least the hitches are hidden from nearby number plates, walls, car doors, etc.

PLUTO FLYBY: Here's your IT angle, all you stargazing pedants

John 62

Everything went almost too fast for me, but this was one of the best articles I've read on the Register for a while

Let me PLUG that up there, love. It’s perfectly standaAAARGH!

John 62

Re: The Rise of IT Consultants...

I'm in my 30s and I've never heard of bulls going for meat. Beef cattle are either bullocks (castrated bulls) or heifers (females not in calf).

'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

John 62

Re: graeme@the-leggetts.org.uk

Last I heard about paracetamol and pain relief (last year, radio 4) is that paracetamol on its own is crap at pain relief, but it can increase the effectiveness of other analgesics.