* Posts by ChrisC

1209 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Jul 2009


Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: So answer this.

"I know of somebody who used a satnav to get from his house to the local Tesco - about 2 miles…."

Actively using it to help him navigate there, or just running in the background to provide real-time updates on traffic conditions? Probably 99% of the time my Waze app has spent running has been during drives where I don't need to be told how to get where I'm going, but I would like to know if I might need to divert off my preferred route due to heavy traffic, accidents etc...

ChrisC Silver badge

It still is true of Waze - whilst there are more restrictions on what can be edited (entirely reasonably, given the risks involved in giving anyone free access to modify any part of the data) based on how much experience you've got of making edits, the local editing community always has the ability to make whatever changes are required either through temporarily removing those restrictions so that whoever requested the change can do the work themselves if they so wish, or by getting one of the more senior editors with the necessary editing rights to do it. Everything is still done within the community, and we can all see who did (or didn't do) what, meaning any bad behaviour from anyone in the community, no matter whereabouts on the experience ladder they sit, can be dealt with.

There may be some areas around the world where the senior editors are behaving in ways such as you describe here, which would be something that would need raising either with the respective country level admin team, or if the problem is within that team itself, then with Waze themselves. And this is a key point - the ability to raise these concerns against specific editors, rather than (as with GMaps) simply being given the brush off by a completely anonymous moderation team with no recourse. But in the main, things do still work the way they need to work in order to allow the people who actually know what's going on with their local roads to make whatever changes are needed.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Google fault

So you weren't suggesting GMaps shouldn't be blamed for any accidents that occur when drivers are following its instructions, by positing a scenario where it clearly would be nonsense to blame them? Because that's exactly what it looked like you were doing...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Common sense?

"What I don’t get is how, even after 10 years, an entire decade, that even these people wouldn’t have known? You have got to be kidding me."

Well, the article does say that:

"the family had recently moved to the area from Florida so Paxson was unfamiliar with the neighborhood"


"When Paxson left, it was dark and raining. He had no knowledge of the collapsed bridge he was being led toward"

So is it really that bizarre to you that he genuinely wouldn't have been aware of what he was driving towards?

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Google fault

No, that's no-one's fault except the idiot who ran into you, and that's the sort of accident that can occur on any road at any time, regardless of who or what directed you to use that section of road at that moment in time.

In this case, the only reason the driver was on that road was because GMaps had directed them along it on the false premise that the road actuallly still existed in an even remotely passable state. This might have been excusable if the bridge had collapsed just a few days prior to the journey, but when it'd actually been down for YEARS, and when GMaps had already been asked to correct their map data to no avail, it becomes rather less excusable to presume they are blameless here.

ChrisC Silver badge

It's not clear if the references to "Google Maps" literally do just mean the driver was using the map data to plan their own route a la a printed map, or if the various comments about "being directed" etc. imply, he was actually using it in active navigation mode - i.e. exactly like any other satnav system.

As a side note, Waze doesn't use Google Maps data, it's still entirely based on crowdsourcing which means stuff like this tends to get updated pretty much as soon as it happens (or at least as soon as someone becomes aware that it's happened) without any of the corporate inertia that plagues the Google Maps update process - in this case Waze has had the bridge closure mapped since at least 2016, which is as far back as the edit history goes. So had they been using Waze then it would indeed have been a different matter, because they'd not have been sent down that road in the first place...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: So answer this.

As a general rule, yes to all of the above.

However, in this case it's a little more nuanced than that, because this wasn't simply GMaps telling the driver to head down a road where there would potentially be hazards such as narrow sections, blind bends (though these at least would be visible on screen if you're zoomed far enough into the map view...), oncoming vehicles etc. No, this was GMaps telling the driver to head down a road that wasn't even there in the first place. And not just "not there" in the sense of them having mapped a road that was actually a dirt path across a farm field which might at least still be followable to some extent and would give a driver enough opportunities to realise things might not be quite right and back things up to go find another more suitable route, but "not there" as in physically obliterated, leaving a gaping chasm into which a vehicle would fall unless the driver was quick enough on the brakes.

As a bare minimum, it's not unreasonable to expect that if you look at a map, or get directions from someone, and the map/directions are telling you that there's a road in such and such a location that's available for you to use, that there actually is a road there which is safe to use. And when you get to one end of that road and are faced with a complete absence of signage, barriers or other such obvious indications that the road ahead isn't perhaps in the same state as the maps/directions have implied, it's then not unreasonable to set off down that road still in the belief that there is indeed a road ahead you can follow.

So yes, ultimately, you still need to drive to what you can see and react to, but I can see why Google and whoever was responsible for the local signage will be getting squeaky bums now, because given the significant time period that elapsed between the bridge collapsing and this accident, it's entirely unreasonable for either of them to not have acted appropriately on the knowledge that the road was now impassable in all this time and made certain that it was marked accordingly in the map data and in reality.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Pointless to complain.

Yeah, they seem strangely slow to progress street name change requests - 6 months was my personal record for this type of change.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Process failure at Google

"and as far as I heard they do react and fix issues"

If you've ever tried to report issues to them, you'd know that their response to such reports varies all the way through from:

Taking you at your word right there and then, with the change you've suggested being immediately applied to the map


Taking your report, doing nothing with it for months and offering no feedback as to whether or not this is because they've completely forgotten about it, or need more info, or are just waiting on someone to get around to fixing it for you, until, just after the point at which you've given up any hope of them ever fixing it, as if by magic you suddenly get a notification to say they've fixed it


Flatly refuse to accept anything is wrong with their data and everything remains as-is for the rest of the lifespan of the universe...

It honestly wouldn't surprise me if, given the lack of any streetview imagery along that exact section of road showing the collapsed bridge, they simply did what I know they did for one of my reports and just went "nope, can't see that in our latest SV imagery, change request denied...".

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: The three-finger salute

Ugh, this reminds me of a problem I had trying to play the otherwise utterly sublime Amiga conversion of DI's Tornado flight sim - the sheer number of commands meant that several of them required a two-key combo to trigger, and because the sim had been originally developed for the PC, the mapping of commands onto the keyboard had been done with the PC keyboard layout in mind, such that all of these combos were easy to enter one-handed, allowing all of the commands to be used without the need to take your other hand off the stick.

When they did the Amiga conversion however, they overlooked that the Amiga keyboard layout is subtly different to the PC one, which led to one of these combos requiring the pressing of two keys that were almost as far apart from one another as it was possible to get on the keyboard - if you were looking to deliberately choose a two-key combo that would be as difficult as possible to enter one-handed, there wouldn't have been many other candidates beside this one. To make matters worse, the command triggered by this combo was one that you really couldn't avoid using mid-flight, and when you're flying a low-level strike mission, having to take your hand off the stick even for a second in order to enter the command two-handed was sometimes a bit of an embuggerance...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: don't forget

"Then they moved to Audi and now to Tesla. The same idiots who have no idea where their turn signals are or what they are for are behind the wheel."

Given how microscopically tiny the rear indicators are on a Tesla (at least on the 3, which now seems to be the only variant I see with any regularity in this part of the UK), it's debateable whether the driver forgetting/not bothering to use them in the first place would have much effect on those road users in the vicinity...

BT confirms it's switching off 3G in UK from Jan next year

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: So.......2G will be here for while and 3G will disappear almost immediately...

Well, apart from all the ones using the first PAYG SIM the installation tech was able to obtain on the day the kit was installed or taken over from the previous maintenance company...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Rolled My Own....Yup...Please Decrypt!

My hovercraft is full of eels...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Obligation

It wouldn't be the first time an old timer reads about some "new" technique and thinks "uhh, we were doing that years ago"...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: So.......2G will be here for while and 3G will disappear almost immediately...

It's not just smart meters, it's a whole slew of commercial/industrial kit requiring a voice and/or data connection - alarm panels, emergency comms equipment, instrumentation/telemetry for remote monitoring etc. etc - i.e. the sort of stuff that, unlike the almost throw-away nature of consumer-grade stuff these days, is still built to last for a significant period of time without any expectation that it would need to be replaced/upgraded.

If anyone finds an $80M F-35 stealth fighter, please call the Pentagon

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: "Stealthiness"

Not sure if we're remembering the same thing here, but this is the claim I recall being made about re-using existing RF signals in this way:


Airbus takes its long, thin, plane on a ten-day test campaign

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: MAX anyone?

That too, but the fact the Airbus team actually put in the effort up front to properly consider the long-term strategy for the design and make it happen pretty much seamlessly over the years, really shouldn't be glossed over.

Whatever the reason for it though, attempting to imply any sort of Boeing-like foul play here was out of order from the OP, and their downvotes entirely deserved.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: MAX anyone?

Likely none at all, because unlike Boeing who felt pressured into modifying the 737 into something it had never intended to be, Airbus had a much clearer vision from the outset of which variants they'd likely need to produce within the A320 family, making it a lot easier to design each variant to suit its requirements whilst still providing the level of commonality required to enable aircrew to switch from one to the other with little or no retraining required.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: I guess someone had to...

Only ever had the pleasure of the 757 experience on one return flight between the UK and Florida (with a refuelling stop in Maine, IIRC) when I was a kid, so I was small enough not to be fussed about how little room the seats gave to adult-sized passengers, and too excited about being on holiday to care much about anything else anyway :-)

These days I can just about tolerate being stuck on an A321 for however long it takes to get between the UK and Cyprus, though in fairness I think at least part of the reason this length of flight is now my limit for single aisle airliners has as much to do with how much more time the overall journey now takes thanks to having to arrive earlier at the departure airport, then the inevitable delays in takeoff, then the correspondingly longer delays getting through border control when you land thanks to that thing we did a few years back that an increasing number of people seem to now be regretting... I guess if I could just rock up to the airport an hour before takeoff, I might allow the flight itself to extend another couple of hours before wondering WTF I hadn't opted to fly with someone that used a twin aisle on that route, but as those days are long gone, then 4-5 hours in the air is about where I draw the line between single vs twin aisle.

ChrisC Silver badge

You might not be getting any more personal space once you're seated, but the switch from twin to single aisle does mean you're more likely to be trapped in that space at a time you'd prefer to be moving around the cabin. Plus, on a longer haul flight where you might have a few people trying to get in some leg exercise, having twin aisles allows them to loop around the cabin without ever getting in each others way.

And another aspect of twin aisles that shouldn't be understated for long haul flying is how the wider/more open cabin space makes you feel once you've been sat in it for more than a few hours compared with being sat in a narrower/more confined single aisle cabin.

ChrisC Silver badge

Unless the previous poster was just indulging in a spot of aviation-related wordplay, then I suspect when they referred to cabin altitude they genuinely were referring to altitude rather than height (especially given their comment re the 787 scoring well in this regard) - i.e. once the doors are closed, what is the equivalent altitude that the cabin is pressurised to...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: in a 3-3 economy class configuration.

2-10-0 on the other hand...

Meet Honda's latest electric vehicle: A rideable suitcase

ChrisC Silver badge

"makes me wonder how fast or far those things could go"

Those things were Honda UNI-CUB β's - https://global.honda/en/newsroom/news/2013/c131114eng.html says max speed of 6 km/h and max range of 6km...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Until you arrive?

I guess the idea is that, instead of having to carry your stuff on your back/in your hand *whilst getting from A to B*, you'd stash it inside the case. For sure, selling it as a rideable suitcase might be a bit of a stretch if you're actually expecting it to double as a practical suitcase, but I can see how some people would be able to make good use of it.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: there's only one, minor, catch

41.3lbs -> 18.73Kg...

ChrisC Silver badge

"It won't be allowed as hold baggage due to the lithium battery"

Depends - it'd be classed as an "in-equipment" battery, so subject to the usual <=160WHr rule for installed Li-ion packs. Couldn't see anything on the Honda site to confirm its energy capacity though - all they list is the AHr rating, so you'd then have to guess at whether it's 24V or above (and thus over the hold limit), or 18V or below (thus under it).

These days you can teach old tech a bunch of new tricks

ChrisC Silver badge

"to run most games you needed a 3D accelerator. If you run Windows 9x in a VM, you don't get that"

Not sure if this particular VM still works given how many versions of VirtualBox have come and gone since I first set it up, but it certainly *used* to be the case that you could do this with a bit of help from third-party addons, because the VM I'm thinking of was a Win95 one I set up specifically so I could play FIFA98 again...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: PCs? That's nothing

"It's not real if it's not plugged into a MicroVitec CUB."

And not unless you also give yourself a static discharge zap reaching for the monitor controls, thanks to that lovely armour-plated metal case... Happy days!

Absolutely 100% on the need to try replicating the flaws of CRTs when doing any sort of retro computing - even using stuff like Amiga Workbench, where you might think displaying it on a crystal clear LCD would be benefical, just feels a bit off due to how completely solid it looks, without even the faintest hint of a scanline or phosphor triad outline to help break up the endless swathes of unchanging colour. And when you get into gaming where the truly talented artists would have made full use of the CRT artefacts when designing the sprites, seeing them rendered as a collection of perfectly square pixels, each completely uniform in colour across its entire surface area, and each completely uniform compared to other pixels of the same colour, makes you wonder how you ever thought this stuff looked good.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: 21 inch, high res

Yup, the effects of these inherent flaws of CRT based displays on how retro software looked on such displays are something that really shouldn't be overlooked, because if you do then you may be left wondering why you ever thought the retro systems looked good. Even just the addition of scanline gaps can make a huge difference to how older graphics appear on newer displays, let alone attempting to accurately simulate all the other things CRTs used to do to the pixel data you sent them.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: A first?

Umm, I did... If only because it was the only one of the 9x variants that didn't cause me endless headaches related to the various newfangled bits of USB-connected hardware I'd accumulated by that point in time. I tried every trick I knew/could find online to get 98SE running smoothly on that PC, but it wasn't until I took the gamble on ME that the damn thing actually started working as it ought to have done all along.

IBM Software tells workers: Get back to the office three days a week

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Impact on staff

Which might be a reasonable justification for everyone to be in the office on the same day if they're going to spend enough time that day having these *essential* face to face talks that simply can't be facilitated as successfully any other way.

Otherwise, all you're doing is essentially telling your workforce that you're happy to waste their time and money trekking dutifully into the office x days a week just on the off chance that enough of these essential face to face talks will occur to justify not only their financial/personal time expenditure, but also their reduced levels of desire, and the reduced levels of productivity that come with it, to put in the extra few minutes at the start/end of the working day to get stuff finished off there and then instead of just leaving it till tomorrow, because instead of then being able to close their laptop, get up from their chair and almost immediately transition into "being at home", they've still got to face the commute home first.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Where are the facts & figures to support a return to the office ?

Or, if not full-time WFH by default (such that viruses wouldn't be given a chance to spread in the first place), then it's certainly an argument for having the ability to transition seamlessly and instantly to a temporary full-time WFH scenario, so as to minimise the loss of productivity caused by this sort of thing - i.e. if you need to stay home to avoid infecting the rest of the office, chances are you'll only be feeling like crap for a day or two within that isolation period, and would be able to work from home quite effectively if you've got the necessary setup in place to allow it to happen.

The thing is, unless your employer is already actively pursuing at least a hybrid approach to WFH, then chances are you won't be able to make that seamless/instant transition to WFH because things won't already be set up to facilitate it, so any sort of unexpected need to not be in the office is likely to lead to a loss of productivity. OTOH, if the team members are geared up to switch from office to home without a second thought, because it's become an integral part of how they now work anyway, then these unexpected times away from the office become far less disruptive - indeed, they may even be entirely undetectable unless you're actually in the office wondering where so and so is.

So even the most ardent opponent of WFH as a general rule MUST be able to appreciate that giving their workforce at least the ability to switch to a WFH setup on an as-needed basis is A Good Thing for the business overall. And once you've put in the effort to facilitate that, then it's a far easier step to take to then think "hmm, maybe it might be OK for them to WFH on a more regular basis". But until this inherent dislike/mistrust/whatever the hell it is of WFH can be tamed, its benefits will never be realised and those employers stuck in that archaic mindset will become increasingly irrelevant as more of their competitors embrace the new way of working and reap the benefits.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Why do people assume it is only upper management that supports back to office?

An alternative take on that could just as easily be:

"yes, we discussed it in the break room" "well how was I to know since I was actually working at my desk rather than skiving in the break room at the time"...

Presuming that everyone being back in the office means there's no need to have a more formalised means of keeping everyone up to date with relevant information is a really bad way of thinking - unless you know FOR CERTAIN that everyone who needs to know something DOES know it as the result of an informal chat, then you still need some way to make sure the knowledge gets out to all concerned.

So if, and you DO, you need a more formal method of knowledge sharing even when everyone is working in the office, then it's trivially easy to make sure that method is also suitable for someone to use if they're not in the office for any reason - remember that even before the days of formally agreed WFH, people were still having to work away from the office, e.g. customer visits, off-site testing, staying home to look after a sick child etc. etc. so there's always been a need to capture important information and make it available for anyone who wasn't able for whatever reason to get it at the time - to just exclude them from things they ought to know about might even lead to some HR issues down the line...


"But all the people who used to ask these questions are now really annoyed that they can't do that anymore."

What's stopping them putting their question into written form and sending it as an email, Teams message etc? Or, if they really do feel the need to ask it verbally, then video call? It's a different way to ask the question yes, and it may well be that in having to stop for a second and think about the question before asking it virtually rather than simply by wandering over to their desk, it helps focus their mind as to whether or not they really need to be asking it, but if the question DOES need asking, then the fact that their colleague isn't in the same room as them really shouldn't be an impediment. I mean, how would they cope working as part of a team where, even if everyone was in the office, they still wouldn't be in the same place due to those offices being spread out around the globe?

So no, WFH isn't the problem here.

ChrisC Silver badge

And then there are those who've had the decision made for them, but still sufficiently enjoy what they're doing/how much they're getting paid to do it that they'll put up with having to make a pointless journey to the office 3 days a week rather than treat it as a deal breaker and look for work elsewhere.

ChrisC Silver badge

There'll be some incremental cost to keeping a WFHers home habitable during the hours of the day when it might otherwise be completely unoccupied (which depending on how many people live at home, and what times they come and go, may only be a relatively small fraction of the WFHers working hours), but that'll be offset by the reduction in costs of keeping the business premises habitable instead, not by the reduction in travelling costs.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: "tripling development output"

I was wondering if someone else would pick up on that delightfully motivational yet almost throw-away in nature part of the comment... "yeah, not only are we demanding you waste more of your personal time and takehome pay 3 days a week on an unnecessary commute, but by the way we're also going to be expecting your productivity to take a giant leap towards the stars. See you next week bright and early at your desk!"

Arm's lawyers want to check assembly expert's book for trademark missteps

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Sad

Make it 20 years, then I'll be comfortably retired and no longer caring as to which type of core sits at the heart of any of the microcontrollers on the market at that point. Until then, I'd very much like for those cores to continue being based around the technology developed by the company easily confused for an upper body appendage, because whatever we might thing about the company at a corporate level, their engineering is still pretty damned good, and I do rather enjoy working with the fruits of their labours...

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Doubling the amps?

Yeah, I'm also rather pleased that the days of pizza-box sized ICE units are now just a rapidly fading memory of my early years in the industry.

Bad enough these days when you burn out a JTAG probe and have to pause what you're doing for a few minutes to go dig another one out of the big pile of spares in your cupboard of useful bits (and then remember to order another one to keep your spares pile topped up), back then it was "make apologetic phone call to the distributor and see if we can sweet-talk them into shipping us a FOC replacement ASAP, pretty please, BTW did I mention last time we spoke about the new project where we're planning to use another 50K parts a year..."

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Plus ca change....

Some of the stuff I've worked with in the past looked like a display model for a connector manufacturer - all the sockets were off the shelf parts, but all sufficiently different from one another such that, unless you used the largest sledgehammer in your toolbox, you weren't going to be plugging a cable into a socket it wasn't intended to be connected to...

As a useful side effect, it also helped guide you to which socket was which provided you had a basic grasp of what size/spacing pins you'd need for mains vs 5VDC vs telecoms etc., so you weren't having to scan through the full list of sockets to find the one you were after.

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

ChrisC Silver badge

You do realise the page you've linked to specitically notes that:

"It’s illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving or riding a motorcycle."

Emphasis on the "hold" part of that sentence.

It then goes onto say that:

"Hands-free access means using, for example:

* a Bluetooth headset

* voice command

* a dashboard holder or mat

* a windscreen mount

* a built-in sat nav"

If merely placing a phone in a holder wasn't sufficient to be deemed hands-free, and you were still expected to use voice commands, then the only examples that would need listing here are the first two, as the others would just act to mislead and confuse.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin

ChrisC Silver badge

There's no "just" about it, it's almost like the designers of the USB-A plug deliberately sized it to fit perfectly into that part of the RJ-45 socket opening...

ChrisC Silver badge

"but at least insertion in the wrong socket will now require so much force"

Not until USB-C takes over entirely from USB-A. My current laptop has its thunderbolt socket placed right next to a USB-A socket, and I can tell you from frequent first-hand experience that it is TRIVIALLY easy to insert a thunderbolt/USB-C plug into a USB-A socket without needing to apply any greater level of force than you're expecting to be applying to put it in the thunderbolt socket next door to it...

Fortunately the thunderbolt plug on my docking station has an embedded LED that lets me know when power is flowing, which gives me an instant visual feedback that I've managed yet again to plug it in the wrong hole the first time. Doesn't help that a USB-C/thunderbolt socket is so small that it's a) hard to see unless you're working in good lighting and are looking pretty much directly at the socket aperture (as opposed to at the oblique angles typical when viewing sockets along either side of a laptop), and b) is also rather more difficult to find just by feeling your way along the side of the laptop for openings.

ChrisC Silver badge

Assuming the PBX isn't doing something funky with ports to switch them between phone and network depending on what it detects being connected, and given your comment about legacy stuff which suggests this might be an older setup you've taken over, then it may be as simple as the PBX tapping off the pair connected to pins 4-5 on the sockets, and using that as a "free" way to also run basic analogue phone lines out around the building at the expense of rendering those network cables incapable of handling gigabit ethernet (which, for a sufficiently old setup wouldn't have been an issue). Or even if there is a seperate phone line running out from the PBX to each socket, you could still then wire the socket to give pins 4-5 to the phone line and the other pins to the network cable, which would have the same end result.

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Plausible...

And doubly especially so if you were around when kilobytes was the way in which system memory was measured, and megabytes were just a theoretically obvious next step in the naming scheme, but not something you really expected to be seeing any time soon sat on your desktop...

As far as 32MB seeming like a lot goes, I always remember the feeling of complete and utter awe I had whilst doing some postgrad work at uni (where all the lab PCs were specced with 8MB, and at the time my home PC was really rocking it with 16MB) when one day I happened to be talking to one of the other postgrads as his PC started up, idly watching the POST messages appearing, and feeling my jaw drop as I realised the memory total being displayed wasn't just the usual "8192KB OK" (or thereabouts) I was used to seeing on the other machines, that my eyes weren't deceiving me, and it really was saying "81920KB OK" instead...

These days I still find myself feeling both slightly awed and bemused in equal measure at the thoughts that my moderately well-specced laptop a) has more dedicated memory for its discrete GPU than most PCs would have had in total up until fairly recently, and b) has enough CPU cache to make even a typical Win98-era PC jealous. And yet with all this power at our fingertips, we STILL have to sit and wait for crappily written software like File Explorer to do stuff that really ought to be achievable in the blink of an eye. Sigh.

Musk's mighty missile is ready for launch once FAA says OK

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: unsettling

All of the above makes sense from someone who NEEDS their launch vehicle to be operated by and launched from the USA.

In more general terms, depending on which countries/agencies you're willing/able to do business with, and what your payload/orbit requirements are, then you may find there are already options available to you outside of the US, or which may become available once these other operators reach the next steps in their own development programmes.

ArcaOS 5.1 gives vintage OS/2 a UEFI facelift for the 21st century

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Use case?

I bought my own copy of Warp 3, probably not all that long after it was released given the dates involved here, for my home PC setup I was using to do postgrad work, because I was so incenced by how utterly useless Win3.1 multitasking was [1], especially when trying to run certain bits of software [2] which seemed to treat the concept of co-operative multitasking as something only other bits of software needed to bother themselves with, and how much of my time was being wasted as a result, that I was quite happy to spend my own money on something that would resolve it. Even in the cheaper redbox variant, I still recall it being a fair sum of money to be spending back then, but the reviews all said it could do what I was hoping it could, and I simply couldn't put up with Win3.1 any longer, so I picked up a copy the next time I was in town (oh, the good old days when you had actual physical stores selling physical boxed copies of software) and hoped for the best...

...and the first time I managed to get it up and running and able to fire up a Matlab session in one window, then seeing how responsive the system remained, made me realise I'd made the right decision.

[1] I first came into the PC world in '91 having spent the previous 4 years being seduced by the way multitasking worked on the Amiga, and simply couldn't fathom how hardware that had so much more raw power even then, let alone 4 years later when this anecdote was set, could possibly be this bad at running more than one thing [3] at the same time...

[2] Most notably Matlab, which once let loose on a calculation (given the work I was doing at the time, these could take an hour or two to complete) rendered the entire PC unuseable until it finished.

[3] I also used to harbour similar thoughts towards the Mac SEs I'd been using at school around 89-91, so looking back on it all now makes me realise just how far ahead of the game [4] the Amiga was then, and also how readily those of us fortunate enough to have used one simply took for granted its capabilities without necessarily realising that this really wasn't how home computers generally behaved.

[4] With the notable exception of the Archimedes. Even as an Amiga owner, that impressed the hell out of me, and still does.

Sure, give the new kid and his MCSE power over the AS/400. What could possibly go wrong?

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: A bit unusual

Especially since, if the story tells it exactly as it was, the boss themselves didn't appear to give two hoots about warning the remote team that the system was about to go down the first time around, so it's likely that if the boss had been onsite for this return visit by the tech, the remote team would have ended up just as badly off anyway...

Arm wrestles assembly language guru's domains away citing trademark issues

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: It's a bloody word in our bloody language!

Whilst I'd certainly go along with the "one domain per company" idea, if only because it'd make life so much easier when deciding which URLs definitely ARE official, in scenarios like this where we're discussing IP from company A which then gets licenced to companies B through ZZ9pluralZAlpha. we'd also need to bear in mind that any information about that IP held on or obtained from the domains associated with those licencees would also need to be considered official.

So in such scenarios, where we KNOW the trademarks etc. DO get legitimately used by third parties and therefore appear on their websites/in their product literature/on their devices/etc, there IS still the potential for passing off offences to occur if another company were to come along offering unlicenced copies of the IP and using the trademarks etc to give the impression they were actually a legit licencee.

I think for me this whole issue of use of company/product/etc names should simply boil down to the context and intent - if you're using the name in a way that could cause harm (in any form - physical, financial, reputational etc.) to the holder of the name or any end user, then it's a no-no, otherwise fill your boots.

Granted, that opens up a new can'o'worms regarding how you decide (and who decides it) what constitutes harm, but at least we'd be moving the bar slightly higher than it is now where the name holder can stop anyone else using the name almost without any need to provide a good reason beyond "it's my name", and requiring them to at least come up with a more sensible justification for why that particular use of the name shouldn't be allowed.

TBH, I wonder if the fundamental problem isn't with the rights holders but with the legal system itself - I don't have an issue with rights holders wanting to protect those rights when failing to do so would genuinely be an issue, but we hear too often about cases where the only reason action has been taken by the holders is because they have to be seen to be protecting their rights at all times, otherwise it can act against them at times when they genuinely do need to take action. So if that could be addressed (perhaps by a change in the law to permit non-damaging use as above), it'd make life easier for all concerned - except perhaps the lawyers who'd be left with less work to do and less money to make out of doing it...

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: Are books different?

Or maybe "The Processor formerly known as the Acorn RISC Machine"...

UK air traffic woes caused by 'invalid flight plan data'

ChrisC Silver badge

Re: S/360

This could become the new weekly go-to read on El Reg...