* Posts by AndyS

943 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Jun 2009


How to polish the bottom line? Microsoft makes it really hard to claim expenses, say staffers


Re Cash Float - isn't a company credit card the usual way to approach this?

I work for a large multi-national. I generally have no out-of-pocket expenses while travelling. All is paid for on the card, and the expenses sorted before the card is paid.

In a previous system I then paid the card myself (once the money was in my account). In the current system the company pays the card directly (once I've submitted receipts against each item).

In both systems, I'm never out of pocket.

Xiaomi a comeback story: Mobile firm's stock up 10% after it slides off US blacklist


Good news

Glad to see some of the idiocy of the Trump administration reversed and an order of sanity restored.

My comment on the article announcing this ban:

"if they've any sense (which they've proved they do - when compared to the toddlers who've been running the US), they'll simply wait out until the idiots leave the Whitehouse, and start negotiating with adults instead."

Seems that's exactly what they did. Good on them.

Samsung floats autonomous ships as ready to sail in 2022


Also, not as sexist as it may seem! Yvette Amos, for example, did an exemplary job for Wales recently.

Web prank horror: Man shot dead while pretending to rob someone at knife-point for a YouTube video


Re: Wasn't stupid.

US gun laws are a tad odd, but hard to discuss without getting dragged into the cesspit of their politics (which are also... a bit odd).

Fact is though, in this situation, the fellow with the gun acted entirely reasonably and correctly.

The wider discussion about gun laws is largely irrelevant to this situation.

Trump administration bans eight Chinese apps


“Why Is @BarackObama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority?”

Trump, on executive orders, in 2012.

He's since issued more than any other president, of course.

I'd imaging there will be quite a lot of tidying up to do when the adults enter the room later in the month.


Or, if they've any sense (which they've proved they do - when compared to the toddlers who've been running the US), they'll simply wait out until the idiots leave the Whitehouse, and start negotiating with adults instead.


Probably just aiming for more custom from a Western user base, for whom Paypal is already familiar. I know I've used Aliexpress before, but it's never crossed my mind to use Alipay.

Unis turn to webcam-watching AI to invigilate students taking exams. Of course, it struggles with people of color


Re: Why use the word racist.

Well to be fair, you did elect a racist twit. Who has incited race riots, stripped oversight of police violence, put brown children in cages in the desert, refused to address Covid19 appropriately...

So yeah, it's a bit of a shit-show. Turns out the country is, in fact, still full of racists.


Re: Why use the word racist.

Nobody is fine with it, stop being obtuse. If the software was developed in SA, and didn't recognise white students, it would be exactly the same problem.

The word "racist" carries overtones of decisions and intent. This is simply a faulty bit of software - it is clearly not working well, and clearly not acceptable. You could make an argument that there is a problem within the software development community that repeatedly leads to problems like that - you could even argue that this is a symptom of systemic racism within that community.

But to say the software is "racist" is, well, kind of silly. Although, that said, everyone knows exactly what he meant, so, big deal? The issue isn't his choice of words, but the software causing him problems.


Re: How will Toyota be able to tell

Simple, they'll paint them all white.

Something to consider in case Dell freezes over: HP unfolds 2-in-1 laptop with Intel Tiger Lake brains, bigger screen


Re: Not really

Where would you put a num-pad on a 15" (or even worse, 13") laptop?

Aviation regulator outlines fixes that will get the 737 MAX flying again


Re: $19bn

Have Boeing given up maintaining that they are "making an already safe plane even safer?"

That was a proper tone-deaf new-speak bit of lawyer approved verbiage if ever I've seen one. I haven't yet seen them actually step up and accept any responsibility, presumably because they're still hoping to keep slipping the right envelopes to the right officials and avoid any legal responsibility (remember Trump's comments about needing Einstein to fly planes... whatever that was meant to mean?)


Re: Pilot training

> That still seems the big question to me. If MCAS can be safely made so much less powerful now, how come Boeing felt they had to beef it up so much in the original test flying program? Because they've still go to fix the problem of the plane climbing due to the aerofoil effects of the bigger engines.

I read that the original design, and safety assessments, were based on an "open loop" design, where MCAS would make a single correction, but that it was implemented as "closed loop", so the system would continually poll the AOA sensor and apply further corrections every few seconds. In an "open loop" system with a failed sensor, the annoyance of a single unexpected downward trim is easily correctable. So the failure was probably classed as "minor", and a single sensor input was allowed. In a "closed loop" system, the plane will continually over-rule the pilots until it hits the ground. Clearly in "catastrophic" territory, as demonstrated by Lion and Ethiopian.

Classifying it as one in the safety assessment, but then erroneously implementing it as the other, is what should land people in jail for several hundred counts of manslaughter (never going to happen though - there was good profit to be made, after all). It's also a text-book example of why self-certification is a corrupt disaster. The true American way.

On the positive side for Boeing, fixing it is as "simple" as implementing it the way it was originally designed. Plus a few other tweaks to improve it, since even the way it was originally designed was a bit crappy, and everyone is now looking (only using one sensor, when two were available).

Now that's a train delay Upminster with which London travellers shall not put


And, uh, yes. That's Mornington Crescent.

Lenovo certifies all desktop and mobile workstations for Linux – and will even upstream driver updates


Re: Vendor support is one thing...

Didn't downvote your original comment, but how about this:

> I, for one, stopped clicking years ago.

Right. So after reading the article and writing a 4,000 word essay explaining everything wrong with the world, you end by saying you don't even bother clicking through to articles like this any more.

Nobody likes a whiner.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds


Re: The real reason for fairly small line lengths

> Let's say I'm reading/writing code with the occasional line which is 200 characters long. And I'm not using a pretty-printing editor which will dynamically reformat code for me.

Isn't that the exact crux of Linus's argument? That you should get a better editor, which can handle this?


Re: Code... WHO CARES!

Did AManFromMars somehow manage to mate with Bombastic Bob?

Dixons Carphone top brass take 20% pay cut as swathes of Brit workforce furloughed


Re: Tesco is paying shareholders £900m in dividends while enjoying £585m from the government

Ooh, can we do Jake too?

When I was running Tescos from the USS Nimitz during 911, I forewent my entire paycheck to keep the kids in school. Of course it wasn't easy, as we were limited to using IBM 5100s, but I wrote the assembly code myself to lash things together, while under fire from the Japanese.

Cops charge prankster who 'corona-coughed' on aged officer and had it filmed


Re: The professionalisation of Management

I see you've worked in the same company as me.

And I'm in Engineering, not IT.

Long-term Linux Mint: 19.3 release unchains the Gimp, adds HiDPI, is kind to your older, less-beefy kit


Re: Mint is great

> Why are you booting your machines so often that boot times are important ?

Because it only takes about 12 seconds, so why would I not?

Wake me up before you Gogo ... so I can jump out: Kenyan MP takes on aeroplane flatulence


Re: Internal pressure

10/10, would read again.

Dry patch? Have you considered peppering your flirts with emojis?


Re: Why can't we use emojis when...

Please no.

And we're back live with the state of the smartphone market in 2019. Any hope? Yeah, nah


Re: 5G

One more G than 4G. Two more Gs than 3G!!

What's not to love?

It's Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Tech industry speaks its brains on Brexit-monger's victory


Any actual content to discuss?

So, comments from one illiterate biz-speak pressure group, one accountant, and an estate agent. What an informative article!

Still, I suppose this bag of opinions is no worse than the Vox Populi referendum that got us into this mess in the first place.

Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink


Re: Small heatsinks are less then ideal

Sorry, I don't understand your comment at all.

It runs hot, so a heat-sink case won't help it?

That's the entire point of a heat sink.

Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned


Re: Will this one do?

Looks like it's in better condition than the one sat in a hanger a few miles from me:



> We need to verify this, of course

Quick, you grab the Gannet and I'll get some flash cubes off ebay.

Good luck deleting someone's private info from a trained neural network – it's likely to bork the whole thing


Re: Why use personal data to train AI?

What about trying to link employment and home address to car insurance premiums? Or lifestyle choices to predicted medical issues?

There are plenty of legitimate uses too. Or was it wrong for the early HIV campaigns to target the gay community? Because that's the sort of information that a model like this could produce, with massively increased accuracy.


Re: An interesting problem.

Here are some names you should have used:

Arheddis Varkenjaab and Aywellbe Fayed

Arhevbin Fayed and Bybeiev Rhibodie

Aynayda Pizaqvick and Malexa Kriest

Awul Dasfilshabeda and Nowaynayda Zheet

Makollig Jezvahted and Levdaroum DeBahzted

Steelaygot Maowenbach and Tuka Piziniztee


Re: By the time it's ingrained and encoded into a deep learning net...

> is it still identifiable private info?

This was my question. To take an example, Bob is gay, and has HIV. That's pretty sensitive information.

However, the relevant trained healthcare model will simply weigh the sexuality as a factor against HIV infection. In simplistic terms, the inclusion of Bob's data may push the model's link between those two facts from 20.1 to 20.2. Bob's statistics affect the model's behaviour slightly, but there is no way you could ask the model if Bob is gay - it simply doesn't know or care.

Obviously if the training dataset is retained, that's a completely different story - but I can't see how personally identifiable information could be gleaned about a single subject from a true "black box" model.

Boeing... Boeing... Gone: Canada, America finally ground 737 Max jets as they await anti-death-crash software patches


Re: Negligent certification

This style of response upsets me.

Basically what you are saying is that, in the event of this system failing and trying to nose-dive the aircraft into the ground and kill everyone on board, if nothing else is going on and the cockpit is quiet, there is a procedure to handle the situation.

Now assume you are climbing towards mountains, and your airspeed indicators are bollocksed. You think you are going too fast, so you withdraw the flaps. Your angle of attack rapidly increases, then the stick-shaker activates, there are voices shouting "DON'T SINK! DON'T SINK!", "TERRAIN! TERRAIN! TERRAIN!", "STALL! STALL! STALL!" or similar. The noise of the stall warning horn is blaring out, the yolk is shaking aggressively. Meanwhile the nose of the plane keeps being forced down. Your airspeed is increasing, but you don't know how fast you're going. You disable auto-trim, and there's a temporary lapse where you get the nose back up, bu all the stall warnings continue, so your reflex is not to pull up hard. The nose drops again. You are pulling back on the stick with around 50kg of force, which should also disable all auto-trim and autopilot (as it did on previous 737s) but by that point you are only 1000ft above ground level, your instruments are still reading nonsense, you have no fucking clue why the plane is nosediving and you can't pull the stick back any harder. There is a quiet clickity click noise from the trim wheel, which you already disabled but for some god-forsaken reason it's going again. You're in a nose-dive, 40 degrees down, 500ft above the rapidly approaching mountains.

That all happens in about 2 minutes, in the case of Ethiopia.

Yes, it might be possible to (temporarily) disable the system. No doubt an exceptional crew might handle the situation better. But you know what? Blaming the pilots here is not how you prevent this shitstorm happening again.

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports


Re: Drones with a mass of 249g, thousands of 'em

Or, you know, there is a chance the "bad guys" might just break the law.

It's not exactly hard to build an autonomous, GPS guided drone for a couple of hundred quid, using open source software and components.

Linux reaches the big five (point) oh


Re: If only...

... And if only my Ford Focus was a Ferrari F1, it would go a lot faster.

Maybe we should all jump ship and start installing GNU/HURD systems?


> Why the hell is support for individual hardware a kernel thing?

Because that's how a macrokernel system works - drivers are sucked into the kernel.

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong


Wind tunnel turbulence

I knew a guy who had a student doing some all-night runs in a laminar flow wind-tunnel.

The tests would start in the evening and run smoothly for a few hours, after which (at around 10pm) the flow would unexpectedly transition to turbulent, ruining the rest of the night's results.

The supervisor eventually sat with the student to see what was going on. The tests were set up, the tunnel started, all good. A few hours past, dinner was eaten, and boredom set in. That's when the student turned on the (loud, heavy-rock) stereo system...

China's loose Chang'e: Probe lands on far side of the Moon in science first, says state media


Re: CNSA has a nice logo

As I posted above, it's interesting how similar the logos of some of the worlds main space agencies are. Don't get too excited.


Re: Lunar "nature" pics.

Ignoring your dribble about how anyone could do this thing that nobody has done before, here is a good response to your accusation of unoriginality in the CNSA logo. TLDR: the US, Russia, China and Star Trek all have strikingly similar logos.

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?


Re: Alice

And while we're on the topic, who dropped the S in the Radio Science EXperiment's name?

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones


Re: Pictures?

Airports are huge, drones are (relatively) tiny, night time is dark, rain is wet, and CCTV is low resolution. If/when any photos or videos are released, prepare to be severely disappointed.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…


Re: Is this libel?

I guess that, Truth being the absolute defense against libel accusations, dragging something like this to court would do way more damage to Facebook than just ignoring it.

Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving


Re: How many billions of dollars are being spent chasing this?

> At what age?

About 2.

My 2 year old saw a dear for the first time ever, while we were all looking the other way, and immediately said "goat!"

Which, considering she'd only ever seen goats once, about 3 months before, was a pretty good extrapolation, and one that no computer model I'm aware of could currently match.

So I guess "baby" is an exaggeration, but "infant" or "toddler" would be more accurate.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing



It seems to me that there are two main reasons to brew your own:

1. It is vastly cheaper - a pint of homebrew costs about 20p, and the equipment only costs about £50.

2. You can make the recipe up yourself, tweak things, add stuff in or take it out.

For most homebrewers, it's a combination of the two.

Both of which an expensive, all-in-one, web-connected, "smart," auto sanitising, pod-relying machine will negate.

So what is the point of it, and who is the target audience?

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits


Re: Pffft

*at least* two phones.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms


Re: Quid pro quo, Clarice...

> ... the hidden deep-state

OK, I was following you up to that point, but then... What is this, an Alt-Right US rag? Let me guess, Hillary runs this deep-state from a pizza parlour?

Conspiracy theories don't do anyone any good. Adopting the same language as the nuts across the pond will do you no favours, any more than shouting "AM I BEING DETAINED" will get the police to take your civil liberties seriously.

Laptop search unravels scheme to fake death for insurance cash


The article says she is though? 37 months.

Their son received probation, presumably as he wasn't involved in the initial crime, just the proceeds of it.

Michael Howard: Embrace of open source is destroying 'artificial definitions' of legacy vendors


Did he catch a bad case of biz-speak?

"Create more velocity in our revenue attainment" = "make more money"

"Jump off a cliff onto new ground" - a fine mixed metaphor indeed. My boss is keen on these, things like "we need to stop climbing the ladder to take a step back and see how far we've come."

"Boosting the quality of service by professionalising people and technology" - what does that even mean?

Dell Corp UK makes 1.46% net profit margin on £1.556bn in sales – 'satisfactory' apparently


Re: Very odd company

I ordered an XPS13 with Ubuntu on it. It was the oddest experience.

The computer took so long to ship that my card, linked to the paypal account I payed with, had expired. Instead of holding the shipment when the payment failed, they shipped anyway, and some Indian team were then in charge of trying to get me to pay.

I asked them several times to send me a simple, correct invoice that I could pay via paypal. Eventually, a couple of weeks after the laptop arrived, I got an invoice, without VAT.

By that point, VAT was their problem, and I couldn't be bothered helping them any more, so I paid it.

Some months later, I got another email, from a UK team, asking me to pay the full amount (which was apparently still outstanding on my account). I ignored that, and have never heard back from them.

I've no idea how much they think I owe them, or what will happen if I ever try to order another machine from them...

I've got the key, I've got the secret. I've got the key to another person's DJI drone account: Vids, info left open to theft


Re: So Open Source is the answer?

> Can a third party prove that there's no backdoors in the executable even if the code they give is clean of backdoors?

Assuming the software is fully open-source, it should be possible to recompile from code, and install the locally compiled binary. Assuming your compiler isn't also a DJI product, this should give you near 100% certainty.

This is how hoby-level drones currently work - Betaflight is one of the primary bits of software used for racing drones, and it is fully open source. It's trivial to compile it from source (and many people do, to make it run on unusual hardware or to disable / enable different bits of it). Although DJI's offering is more complex, it could work the same way.

EU aren't kidding: Sky watchdog breathes life into mad air taxi ideas


Re: Autorotate to where?

>It should be easy enough to specify a deployable paraglider or similar controlled-descent device, with independent control system and say 10 mins power supply, for use when the main flight power fails.

A full-craft paraglider, with separate power supply to keep it flying for 10 minutes?

Yeah, I suppose it would be easy to specify that. I can specify all sorts of things - like a spaceship with capacity to take 100 people to mars, and return them, with a transit time of of less than 6 months. Oh, and if something goes wrong, it will automatically return safely to Earth.

Doesn't mean there is any link to physical reality, sadly.

Bloke gets six months for fixing up Russia's US election trolls with bank accounts, fake identities


Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

@Len, I agree 100%.

Despite the shit-storm that is the US political landscape, at least there are other branches trying to sort out the mess. It almost seems like, in the long run, they may make it harder to repeat the current mess.

The UK, meanwhile, is clearly being just as badly attacked, but I'm yet to see anything suggesting we've really attempted to take it seriously.