* Posts by Thecowking

550 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Jun 2009


Cerber ransomware menace now targeting databases


Re: Virtualize our OS, Captain!

That's basically what Bromium do.

It's a clever thing with micro-VMs that are destroyed at the end of a session.

If you use ‘smart’ Bluetooth locks, you're asking to be burgled


Re: Masterlock: keeping standards as low as possible

Nah, you just say you're saving up for a house.

Apologies to the late, great Pratchett for stealing that one.

Galaxy S7 Active can't swim, claims site. But it can, vendor retorts


Re: Metric converstion


Why should a British website translate an American study's units for its largely technical and scientific audience?

I wonder.


Metric converstion

14.616 kPa if you're wondering, and 5 foot is 1.524 m.

Really should be in the article, because not everyone speaks ancient measurements. Not a correction because it's annoying as hell to read an article and have to do the conversion.

Don’t let the Barmy Brexiteers wreck #digital #europe


Re: fx comapny gb

No, I think this is a poorly trained AI.

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.


Re: Still useful, just not as much as they thought

That's basically the pebble, excepting the touch screen.

I'm on my second pebble and as much as I love my Citizen Ecodrive, I always feel a bit disappointed when I wear it and then I can't check notifications on it,

Google kneecaps payday loan ads


Re: Make America Carnivorous Again

If you called it Rocket, you might like it more.

Rocket sounds much more awesome.

US chap sharpens paradigm-busting scissors


Re: You can even cut COLORED things with it!

All scissors I use are digital.

I mean without fingers it gets really hard to use them.

Mozilla burns Firefox on old Androids


That makes three of us, I also have installed the plug in, the alternative is sadness and regret.

When it comes to Jira, it's especially handy if you make a group for sub tickets of a master ticket. Oh and when a task has multiple issues associated with it, having them in a tab group really helps you see what you need to look out for and what's new bugs.

Baby Ubuntus toddle forth into the big scary world of beta


Re: Give Unity a try!

I do keep trying to like unity, I do.

But I can't, the search is slower than my typing even on my beefy laptop, so I hit meta, type gedit and get... preferences (Caveat, I've not even tried this since 15.10 came out, it might be better now)? The alt-tab behaviour is probably my least favourite thing, I am sure you can probably turn off grouping programs in alt-tab with it, but every time I see it on a fresh install, it just annoys me. I like multiple terminals, I don't like pausing or moving my hands when I am tabbing between them. I also strongly dislike docks of any kind, I don't want programs which are not running masquerading as running on my task bar.

Basically I can see how people might like it, but personally I use mate, because change for change's sake isn't worth anything to me. Call me stuck in my ways (you might well be right), but I need something really worthwhile to make me use my time learning another workflow to do the same thing. I don't see what Unity provides that mate doesn't. It's different, but what is the actual tangible benefit I'd get from moving from what is essentially the same gnome 2 I've been using since the mid noughties?

I'm willing to learn things if there's a benefit (I recently gave in and started using vim as my main editor, which was a lot of relearning how to do things but it _is_ very fast and very powerful and useful being right there in the terminal and I can execute commands and... well yes, the pay off was worth it), so if anyone can tell me what Unity can do that mate can't that will be useful to a technical user, then I'll bite my lip and try again with 16.04.

That said, I know plenty of people that like it, but they have a different workflow to me, so perhaps it's just not the DE for me. As long as I can get a DE that I like though, I'm happy.

Virgin Atlantic co-pilot dazzled by laser


Re: Eh?


Incident happens, crew assess the impact, by the time they decide they need to declare the problem, they are already over Ireland.

The two events are causally linked but not simultaneous.

Gah, pipped to the post, literally in this case.

Send tortuous stand-up ‘nine-thirty’ meetings back to the dark ages


Syndicate is good enough for me, oh worshipful one.



If you're even tangentially responsible for Dungeon Keeper, may I worship you please your eminence?

Bank fail: Ready or not, here's our new software


Re: Nobody wants...

As a software test engineer, can I just say that you all are correct and you need to be heard.

Good testers are like rocking horse shit, I've been through a lot of interviews to find people who can actually test. There're companies who think that they don't need to do integration or regression testing and that if anything goes wrong, they'll just patch it in the next sprint. These companies seem to think that unit testing and TDD can find every bug. They are wrong. They're great tools, but they're an adjunct to proper testing, not a replacement for it. A tester is not just the user's proxy in the development flow, they're the adversary's proxy too. If we don't try and attack the product and use it, you're letting the public have a go.

I also agree about black box testing, I try as much as possible to not look at our source repos, because when I know how it's expected to behave, that biases me to test it in that way. I like to test the processes of a user or attacker, not the expected code paths. That said there is definitely a place for whitebox testing where you do proper static analysis and identify as many code paths as are practical to test.

Testing does not, and cannot, guarantee quality or security, but it's a hell of a lot better than the alternative.


I sort of went off on one there, sorry.

IoT lacking that je ne sais quoi? Try the IoTSP


Re: PaaS

Amazon's Mechanical Turk, no space in the market anymore. People as a service is not even a new idea though, it's as old as hiring a plasterer or farm labourers.

Suffice it to say, the niche is well and truly filled.

How a power blip briefly broke GitHub's boxes and tripped it offline


Re: boxes?

As far as I know, only brethren, children and oxen take the Germanic pluralisation of -(r)en in English.

Box is not ox.

Plan B hoovers up NZ-based cloud outfit ICONZ


I don't know about MC Hammer, but Hulk Hogan does website hosting, and advertised it with a parody of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking ball" video.

It's exactly as horrific as you imagine, do not youtube it.

Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again


Re: Always a way around IT

No, you're a phone!

'Printer Ready'. Er… you actually want to print? What, right now?


Re: Office Space

I looked this up once, when I saw PC LOAD LEGAL or something similarly.

That random word after LOAD, is a page size you've never heard of and will never use willingly. However something random in the emergent malificence of your network has added to your document, so your printer thinks it needs it.

Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player


Re: Special Tooling Department ..... for SMARTR Operating Systems

I worry that one day amanfrommars will get some kind of huge mecha body and conquer us all.

I mean given two things, 1) it's probably immortal and 2) eventually the tech for huge mecha bodies will exist, kinda makes it a certainty.

amanfrommars is probably the emergent sentience of the internet.

GitHub falls offline, devs worldwide declare today a snow day


Re: How did the distributed bit actually work

My main issue with git in general is remembering to push my commits and that's on my personal repos on my NAS.

So I suspect many people barely noticed and perhaps (like me) just expected their cron jobs to push their branches when they were available.

Merges would have been much more problematic.

Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station


Re: Strange covenant

There's no fencing, because they didn't want people taking the piste.

The planets really will be in alignment for the next month


Re: There is of course the usual caveat

I'm pretty sure it's illegal by royal decree to have anything interesting happening in the sky in the UK and not have thick cloud cover.

Why do you think they're frantically building nuclear cloud factories? (You thought it was for the power?)

Ubuntu's Amazon 'adware' feature to be made opt in


Re: It's a start...

You don't have to run Unity, I use Ubuntu with Mate, so it's nearly the same as Mint, except the applications have all the same names that I was used to in the Gnome2 days. Thus all my custom scripts are happy.

Robots. Machine learnin', 3D-printin' AI robots: They'll take our jobs – Davos


Re: Yeah, yeah, yeah....


Is that what they're saying now?

El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena


Re: Take advantage of modern sensor accuracy

Or just have a photo-diode on the top of the flipper at a point where if it's not in the shade, it won't activate the flipper.

Or a simple pressure switch there.

Not as cutting edge, but much more reliable, cheaper and easier to do.


March is far too early.

I was hoping to get a team together for this, but it looks like it'll have to wait for the next season. The rules are extremely restrictive though, from reading them that means 1)No high powered lasers or masers

2)No jamming combined with either optical control or just autonomous robots

3)No coil guns

4)No hijacking by cloning commands and then rebroadcasting more strongly on the same frequency.

5)No oil slicks you later ignite

Basically they're not allowing anything new, just spinners, flippers and Razer.

All my ideas are for naught.

You've heard of Rollercoaster Tycoon – but we can't wait for Server Tycoon


Goat Simulator's "World of Goatcraft" patch was awesome.

It's actually better than most MMORPGs because it doesn't have other players.

Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander


I feel bad for the bureacrats

May his noodly appendages bring enlightenment to them and his bountiful meatballs always be in their hearts.

Late night server rebuild led to 'nightmares about mutilated corpses'


At the equator you tend to get either wet or dry seasons. Sometimes called monsoon and not monsoon.

The more temperate seasons take a pass in the tropics.

Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox


Re: What if...

Doesn't hold up, because if we're sharing information and necessarily mass (black hole mass increases as things fall into it, ergo its gravity and event horizon increase, ergo we have to have the same gravity on both sides for the mass to work), we've got to posit the same laws of physics on each side to a certain extent.

If time is running backwards on the other side, matter would have to exist _on both sides of the black hole at the same time_. This means that the black hole would have to gain mass when objects disappeared from both sides of the link at once. In other words, you've created a state where information and matter are destroyed and mass and gravity are created at the boundary of a black hole. If the black hole evaporates, then there must be matter and energy created at that time.

Which seems like it has a lot more problems than just keeping everything in one consistent universe. Then again I left uni over a decade ago and I've not done any proper physics since then. So I could well be wrong.

2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you


Re: No excitement here, please.

I use Mate, which is basically the same Gnome 2 that I was uing in Fedora Core when started trying to get World of Warcraft working on Linux, just about a decade ago.

I _really_ like Mate.

BBC risks wrath of android rights activists with Robot Wars reboot


I think naming it after the original presenter would be fine.

Craig Charles was the replacement.


Re: Vulturebot ?

I asked the same thing in an email to El Reg on this very subject.

As of now, Lester is yet to email me my plane ticket and invitation to come to Spain with my welder and mask. It can only be a matter of time though,

It's replicant Roy Batty's birthday – but hey, where's my killer robot?


Re: The real future

Spider Jerusalem is the real hero here.

Or villain.

Probably the latter.

Still, better than a politician.

New Year, new Git: Version control system updated this week


Re: Momentary panic when I read the headline...

"Now 40% more pompous, with an improved feature set including 3 new smug modes and a telecondescension mode, letting you look down on people from anywhere in the world.

Tomorrow's pomposity today, but only I'm smart enough to understand that."

Fans demand 'Lemmium' periodic table tribute


A brief song in Lemmy's memory

Lemmy the element packed his junk and said goodbye to the circus...

The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016


Re: Serious suggestion

We used to have that, in the before time.

Someone (my ur-mind says Orlowski, but my conscious brain isn't sure) stated emphatically that it wouldn't be coming back a year or two ago.


Re: *cough* HTTPS *cough*...

The! Yahoo! Exclamation! Mark! Went! Last! Year!

There was even a comment about it from Drew I think (which I can't be bothered to google).

It's feeling a lot like I'd prefer to bung the Reg a fiver a month for something like a subscriber area to give me access to the weekend edition and the other good stuff we've lost.

I suppose after PARIS and LOHAN we'll be following "NEUTER" and "INOFFENSIVE" now.

Rhubarb, rhubarb, hate change, cancelling sub, etc.

Periodic table enjoys elemental engorgement


Elerium is clearly the only name that makes sense.

How else can we battle sectoids without Elerium tech?

USA doubles visa fees for migrant IT workers


Re: Definitely wage slaves

Having been to Detroit, you were wise to not go. Robocop is a documentary.

After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens


Re: INTRA-galactic

I really hope they don't abandon all the extended universe, it's been such a fantastic universe for good writers to write in and Kevin J Anderson to do whatever it is that means he gets paid in.

Oh and Vector Prime. They can lose that, I wouldn't mind.



Not intergalactic. Travel outside the Galaxy in Star Wars is not regular or even easy. There're few species from outside the Galaxy, the Yuu-zhan vong being the most notable. But hyperspace gets weird at the edges of the Galaxy (possibly a MOND universe?)

In fact I can't think of a single storm trooper who's been outside the Galaxy, there was a Jedi mission to the outer reaches, past Chiss space, but nothing in the Empire*.

Speaking of the Chiss, if we're getting a Yoda film as well as the main sequence films, we better be getting the Thrawn trilogy. Thrawn is one of the best characters in the extended universe.

*Human Empire, not Sith.

Grim-faced cosmonaut in ISS manual docking nail-biter


Re: Commuting

It's nicer outside than in Luton though.

View's better too, most of the time you can't see Luton.

How to build a real lightsabre


Re: Not so clever

In the extended universe they have access to the Galactic Holonet, which is essentially a 3D version of the internet. The plans were shifted in a physical medium because the Holonet isn't secure. There are "Slicers" who are skilled computer operators who can extract information and decrypt it from the Holonet.

Basically, they didn't want to let the Imperial version of GCHQ get their hands on the evidence of it in their hands. A sensible precaution if recent history is anything to go by.


How I'd make a a lightsabre

First make the magnetic bottle, then create a plasma to fill it. Next use a laser to continually energise the plasma.

Use a simple electron gun to ionise gas and accelerate it into the bottle continuously to cope with losing plasma to collisions.

Steps to achieve this:

Room temperature super conductors for a magnet that doesn't require real cooling.

A good capacitor and a fuel cell. (You don't lose much energy from the bottle when you use superconductors and some LED lasers would probably only sip power)

The Force.

Kids' TV show Rainbow in homosexual agenda shocker


Re: Sentenced to zippy.

Tinky Winky, not Po.

Tinky Winky is male and carries a handbag, Po is female and doesn't carry anything.

Dipsy had the Jamiroquai hat.

Why yes, Teletubbies was on when lectures finished at Uni, why do you ask?

Telecoms provider Oricom working with NHS fraud officers in ongoing probe


That sort of makes sense. Assuming that you ignore the everyday usage of plurality for organisations in English which is everywhere.

I mean it's probably not in grammar guides yet, but it is definitely a common and normal usage. I am willing to accept that the editor is sticking to a guide which states that organisations are singular.

Mystery solved!


I see the ensure issue now, it should be assure.

Now to crack the their.


Trying to work out what's wrong with the statement to warrant [sic]?

I know ensure is not how an American would spell it, but it's correct for this side of the pond, and I can't see how else you'd have them spell their in this context?

I know there's a corrections email, but this is just weird. Am I senile and reading it wrong?