* Posts by david 12

2122 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jul 2009

Europe wants easy default browser selection screens. Mozilla is already sounding the alarm on dirty tricks

david 12 Silver badge

The frameworks pretty much all have a policy decision that "unsuported" browsers will be disabled rather than partly-enabled. When you get that "upgrade your browser" message, it's determined by the framework in use, and happens when (for security reasons), the framework in use has been upgraded to the latest version.

david 12 Silver badge

refusing to render validated HTML correctly

Which is hardly surprising, given that one of the main purposes in the design of the validation requirements was to create a workspace that did not match IE.

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

david 12 Silver badge

Re: A 1980s minicomputer at the bottom of a mine ?

Your telephone ran on a current loop, and could be several miles from the nearest exchange. Telegraphs ran hundreds of miles without repeaters. The same kind of technology ran refineries and oil wells, with control circuits instead of telephone handsets. Technology to do remote process control and remote communication has existed since the earliest days of electricity. RS232 is special in that it was specifically designed for short lengths rather than "normal" distances, but the technology to connect short RS232 lengths to each other existed before RS232 itself.

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

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Were there no signs indicating that the Bridge was out?

The way liability flows in these cases, each defendant found partly responsible for the loss is individually responsible for the whole judgement ('jointly and severally')

So if Google is found 0.5% liable, their insurance could still be paying a large lump sum. If it's a privately maintained public road (as happens in some parts of some states), there may not be any other money to pay the other 99.5%, and Google could be up for the lot.

Microsoft Edge still forcing itself on users in Europe

david 12 Silver badge

Reasonable security settings

I've had to deal with infected computers over the years. It's entirely reasonable to use a web interface for some apps, including system components, and it's entirely reasonable to lock down the interface for some of those system components. You click on the MS 'help' button for MS help on MS system apps, you get the MS help in the MS browser. The failing there is the MS help, not the MS browser.....

But MS did head off in the wrong direction: this has never been a feature of Apple products that everybody liked, and, unlike Apple, MS was fighting a history of being an open platform.

And by "heading off in the wrong direction" I really do mean they got into the swamps: I was using a "canary" build of Edge that saved Edge shortcuts on the desktop instead of Hyperlink shortcuts: in spite of the obvious security and usability justifications, that became a reason for not using Edge, which in the end is not the direction even MS wanted.

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

david 12 Silver badge

Re: A first?

MS at the time was clearly operating as a number of separate silos. That may, perhaps, have been related to the stack ranking system: in any case the teams were obviously competing rather than working to a common goal. This showed up in other areas as well: MS office was built for compatibility with SQL Server 7, and the required functionality was destroyed for SQL Server 2000.

UK civil servants – hopefully including those spending billions on tech – to skill up in STEM

david 12 Silver badge

Re: And how long will they be in post?

December 2020 (after the start of COVID), the "Institute For Government" recommended that:

• The prime minister and secretaries of state should prioritise developing strong working relationships with their scientific advisers, including through inductions and planning exercises.

• The government should strengthen science capability across the civil service, including by ensuring departmental chief scientific advisers have sufficient clout and resources.

I think this is part of the response -- they are trying to strengthen science capability across the civil service -- but it doesn't address the power or influence of scientific advisors -- it's still the same law/commerce/classics management class, upskilled so that they can do better at ignoring the boffins.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: How about the ministers go next?

Hoover was never a populist president: calling him a "disaster" is just Democrat partisanship. His inability to control congress was partly due to not being a demagog, but it's shear fantasy to suppose that a Democrat leader, even Roosevelt, would have been able to do better with that (Republican, fiscally conservative) congress.

Although it is common ground that he was not a successful president, it's not easy to see how anybody else could have been more successful in that position. Different, yes, successful, no. He was pre-Keynesian like Roosevelt, but he wasn't populist like Roosevelt, and he was saddled with the start of the Great Depression, which he did not cause. His economic and foreign policies, where he was able to implement them were good.

It's possible to argue that Presidents should be career politicians, rather than self-made millionaires or technocrats, without calling Hoover a 'disaster'.

Apple's iPhone 12 woes spread as Belgium, Germany, Netherlands weigh in

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Follow the money

The association is made up of commercial companies that test for money. They don't go around randomly testing devices: you have to pay real money to get testing done. The governments generally have no ability to test and no process for doing so: the regulations provide that you have to initiate and pay for your own testing. Once the allegations have been made, the enforcement arms of government have budget for testing, but it's not something that happens automatically.

david 12 Silver badge

Follow the money

Who triggered this investigation? That's a human interest and commercial warfare story that would be fun to read.

You get your stuff tested by a certified tester, you submit/hold/certify the test results, you sell the product. Governments don't go around randomly testing devices for compliance: they don't even have that capability.

Somebody must have made the allegation that the device was not in compliance: somebody must have been investigating compliance or doing design comparisons.

Standards are primarily created by commercial interests, so it's never surprising to see attempts at evasion and enforcement: enforcement is triggered by commercial interests or by commercially funded "astroturf" grass-roots campaigns.

Apple has "woes", but somewhere, somebody is celebrating.

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

david 12 Silver badge

Door height in the A320 is around 6' 1'' -- 1854 mm. Some of us have to duck to get in. On the 777 its 6' 2" -- 1880. I still have to duck, but that extra inch is welcome.

Wide-body jets have a wider, flatter tube. That means there is less difference between the aisle height and the clearance height at the window.

My memory is that on the 777 I didn't have to crouch as much to get into the seat, as I do on the A320.

david 12 Silver badge

Cabin height is better on the 777 than on the 320. I don't have the numbers for floor-to-bin for the A320, but from memory, I didn't have to crouch as much to get into and out of the 777.

US Department of Justice claims Google bought its way to web search dominance

david 12 Silver badge

The most irritating thing about using Edge is the way Google (gmail and search) keeps trying to ram Chrome down my throat.

I use Bing search in Edge unless I actually need to find something. Then I switch to Google (which pops up dialog suggesting I switch to Chrome).

Bing is OK if I see something in the top 5 results. I does tend to return pages and pages of hits from the same source, which is never what I want to see.

Microsoft to kill off third-party printer drivers in Windows

david 12 Silver badge

Re: This is The Register

The Mac started out by trying to represent, on the screen, what you would get on your printer. In contrast, MS started out just trying to optimize the screen display.

In my opinion, they both succeeded.

Get ready to say hello to new Windows and goodbye to an old friend

david 12 Silver badge

Re: I still cling to Windows 11 21H2

The linux community represented here never realized that NTFS had shadowcopy / snapshots in the first place. It's not a feature of NFS, so it's simply not on the radar of people whose knowledge of Windows is "what I read somewhere".

Power grids tremble as electric vehicle growth set to accelerate 19% next year

david 12 Silver badge

Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs

A battery has to have that temperature maintained constantly by external means, which requires expending energy for the entire time it's in storage.

Yes, with an IC engine, unless you keep your lead-acid battery fully charged, it will freeze at -20C. There are drivers who have to deal with temperatures below -20C. At those temperatures, you do need to act differently (including leaving your block heater on all night). That isn't a problem that is unique to EV vehicles.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs

Yes, resistance increases with low temperatures. So the batteries warm up in use.

FWIW, they try to keep the battery below 55C. Over the working temperature range, cold ambient temperatures help keep the battery cool.

There is a significant decrease in range if you are running the Air Conditioning and Seat Heater to keep warm. That isn't a 'battery' problem, and it can only be solved the old-fashioned way: long underwear with coat and gloves.

There are a lot of people observing that they get short range in cold weather. They aren't quoting 'battery temperature' in their claims. For good reason: whatever the cause, it's mostly not down to "battery temperature".

david 12 Silver badge

Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs

Batteries don't like the cold

Thats less important for a modern EV, down to 0F / -20C

When we say "Batteries don't like the cold", what we mean is that "loads which depend on battery regulation don't like the cold". That is a traditional battery system and load: your incandescent lights (including torch / flashlight / headlights / brake lights), but also your camera and tape-recorder and starter motor, depend on the battery voltage as well as on the battery charge.

At cold temperatures, lead-acid battery voltage drops more rapidly with discharge, so your regulation-dependent load drops out sooner, while the battery is still full of charge.

But for an EV designed to run Li batteries right down to low voltage, system voltage regulation is not important: they are designed to run at every battery voltage from high to almost nothing, and temperature dependence of the input voltage is not very important.

0F is also cold for a lot of IC engines: that's why we have block heaters. EV that are designed for cold climates have something similar.

Space junk targeted for cleanup mission was hit by different space junk, making more space junk

david 12 Silver badge

Bio-degradable satelittes

Need to stop making objects out of long-life material. Make the satellites out of paper and bamboo

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

david 12 Silver badge

It's written in Assembler, so that's never going to happen. Next best thing would be to just fix the memory manager -- PAE enables it to allocate 4GB memory blocks from 64 bit memory. As MS learned, it would probably have to report less available memory to avoid problems with drivers.

Want tunes with that? India-made POS terminal includes a speaker

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

Yes, everywhere you go there are people who would like to help you if you just give them your banking PIN.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

It would also work for those who can't see the terminal

And for that reason, not an entirely unknown feature in any other (but generally more expensive) POS terminal found anywhere in the world.

For a start, the device provided by my bank: The Commbank SmartTerminal: https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank-assets/business/merchants/2021-10/transcript-methods-to-activate-accessibility-mode.pdf. Also a headphone jack, so that when you type out your PIN, the whole world doesn't hear.

And then there are PC's and iPads --both widely used as POS terminals with POS software providing "accessibility" services for the blind/print handicapped.

The unusual feature about this one, that I haven't seen before, is the provision for background music. iPads and PC's will do that, but who uses that capability? To me, it suggests street traders (portability and music as a form of increased visibility), and "increased visibility" immediately leads to the observation that with the music turned on, the device will be harder to lose, harder to steal, and easier to find.

People who don't use POS terminals are sometimes surprised at the features they provide.

I think this device from India is pretty cool because it's so damn cheap. At that price, the basic functionality is impressive. Including a speaker adds to the size of the device without adding much to the cost, but in manufacturing, every cent counts.

Farewell WordPad, we hardly knew ye

david 12 Silver badge

rich text component in the programming api

Yes, just a wrapper around the rich text component.

Which begs the question: are they retiring the rich text component? It's not .NET, it's not web/cloud, it's not in most supported applications and tools now. It's an attack surface written a long time ago by people who have retired or moved out of coding, so it doesn't have any internal champions.

david 12 Silver badge

I've gradually moved off Wordpad to Notepad++. My use case is more WordStar than MS Word 3.0 (which is RTF), most of my actual .DOC requirements are met by Word '97. and I mostly manage to avoid zipped XML files. I was mostly using Wordpad for text documents that didn't work in Notepad.

Microsoft calls time on ancient TLS in Windows, breaking own stuff in the process

david 12 Silver badge

Who the hell relies on early TLS still?

Per the article, people using SQL Server 2016.

This won't affect me. Our SQL Server 2000 on Win 2000 won't be updated by this change. Running on a private network, with 3 automation clients.

Personally, I just wish that web sites using TLS would just switch to HTTP. That would solve all my TLS problems.

What happens when What3Words gets lost in translation?

david 12 Silver badge

and just one or two extra characters would greatly enhance its resiliency in the cases of tranmission or transcription errors.

Which is exactly what W3W does.

I don't have a dog in this race. I'm not a user or provider of emergency services. As Shannon pointed out, natural language has enormous redundancy, and as forensic analysts have pointed out, natural language is constantly self correcting (it's easy to just cherry-pick communications to get any meaning you want). W3W may be a good system or a bad system, but a feature is the enhanced resiliency in the case of transmission or transcription errors, due added redundancy and error checking.

We all scream for ice cream – so why are McDonald's machines always broken?

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Wait, their milkshake maker works like an HP printer ?

and they were counter-sued into oblivion

I'm not seeing any recent information: the Kytch website is still up, they had a restraining order on McD and Taylor, the court case is "pending", whatever that means.

Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Care?

Our 'old' science museum used to have endless rooms of display cases showing 'rocks'. Filled in the 1800's, when geology was both "rocket science" and "brain surgery": the cutting edge of scientific endeavor that all pseudo-sciences like "chemistry" wished to be. Geology explained where we came from and where we are going (it's the father of Darwin's theory of the "origin of species'), and, once we'd classified and studied the "rocks" enough, would one day explain "mal-airia" and "miasma" (the causes of sickness), replacing naive theories about "God" and "evil spirits" still held by "Roman Catholics" and ignorant "natives"

Mostly gone now: just a large glass wall display in the new building.

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

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Resiliency – we've heard of it

The point is, that a flight plan is a program. It's not "developer written source code", it's generated source code, or "pilot written source code". That program is eventually executed by a pilot in an airplane, but it goes through a transform in the route scheduling system.

Formal definition of programs is a thing, but it's not the same as schema validation.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Resiliency – we've heard of it

XML validation only validates the schema. The next step is execution of the content. That data-program may crash because you have coded a stack overflow, not because of syntax error. It may even be the case that the transform crashed because of an edge case in its physical model, rather than in the input program.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: When a "." causes a FULL STOP

Fatal air systems failure?

Japan complains Fukushima water release created terrifying Chinese Spam monster

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Be fair:

Yes, they continued to make mistakes well after the wave had passed, apparently based on a mixture of desperation and wishful thinking. I have to say, it strongly reminds me of the last time our server went down...

FreeBSD can now boot in 25 milliseconds

david 12 Silver badge

Re: VM vs Process

In the opposite direction, the system call shim for unix on windows was SFU. MS dropped support some time ago.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Strangely enough ...

FWIW, I think the actual use case for AWS lamda is "when there are lots of service requests, quickly spin up new servers and share the load". AWS charges per lamda call, so yes, they are counting the calls and can manage the load. AWS doesn't have to spin down lamda servers at the end of each request: it just has to follow the curve up and then down.

micro jobs are typically run by clients, not servers, so 'connection' is just normal overhead. Conversely, if your process takes 2 seconds, connection and 25 ms spin-up is not critical, and you save money on the flexible load demand.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Pretty impressive

I've not needed to deal with stuff like for 30 years

10 years ago, I finally just took the sort out. System ran fast enough that it didn't matter what the order of operations was.

China to stop certifying fax machines, ISDN and frame relay kit

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Green dot

It's pretty much irrelevant now. Like the Chinese certification, the two points really requiring approval were interference (maximum signal level) and electrical isolation. Once you have all your devices connected to ADSL or FTTP or whatever, signal level and electrical isolation are given.

david 12 Silver badge


An analogue PABX would not have a 2mb/s trunk line. It would use 2 or 4 wire E+M

But a 2 or 4 wire E1 circuit is 2Mb/s. Or what would you call it?

Silicon Valley billionaires secretly buy up land for new California city

david 12 Silver badge

Re: They keep trying to build in deserts

Not like most American cities -- built on prime agricultural land, with dependable water supplies for farming.

Personally, I think that putting the people where things can't be grown is a sensible option.

Aerial cable tangles are still being strung up, but carriers are slowly burying the problem

david 12 Silver badge

Our city substations are far underground, in a saturated cracked-rock rubble or in the river gravel.

If your underground substations flooded, it's because they were built on the cheap.

david 12 Silver badge

Cost Effective

Those thickets of overhead comms cable will never go underground.

They've skipped ahead to roll out "mobile data" in India. 600 million smartphones. Skipped the capital-intensive process of putting in a phone line to every home, using the technology-intensive process of gsm data.

Taiwanese infosec researchers challenge Microsoft's China espionage finding

david 12 Silver badge

"Challenge Microsoft"

Cheap journalism. Find one small area of disagreement, or (as in this case) further information, and call it a "challenge".

IBM says GenAI can convert that old COBOL code to Java for you

david 12 Silver badge

I don't why they always say that it's "COBOL" programmers who are expensive. This is a "CICS, IMS, DB2" tool. It's the "CICS, IMS, DB2" programmers who are expensive.

IBM shows off its sense of humor in not-so-funny letter leak

david 12 Silver badge

At list some humor fans

Editors here had The Register liked it well enough to publish it. Can't say that I agree with their decision.

Microsoft teases Python scripting in Excel

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

But, I honestly don't get the point

Well, I can answer that. Because, for some problems, the spread sheet is the preferred/appropriate user interface.

I did my "Mathlab" problems in Fortran. My Dad did his 'accounting' in BASIC. But that was because Mathlab and Lotus 123 weren't options at the time. I totally understand programmers wanting to program in /whatever language/, but programming a spreadsheet user interface in python just because you don't want a LO dependency is a sub-optimal solution

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Something libreoffice can.

What LIbreOffice can't do is VBA. If OO had ever got an effective VBA implementation, there wouldn't have been any interest in python macros.

FWIW, two problems LO has with VBA, that python solves: LO can only do "declare" on Windows and Mac, and, even on those platforms, it doesn't do stack protection (required both for stability and to prevent clusters of CVA's). That means you can't do external calculations and interfaces on linux -- one of the required use cases both for VBA and python.

One thing missing from LO, that Excel will probably have: proper integration into the Excel environment. The LO implementation of python is effective on supported platforms (how much effort it takes to get it to work on linux depends on which distribution you have), but the integration into the LO programming environment is half-assed. I find myself saving the spreadsheet, unzipping it, opening and editing the python files in vi or notepad++, then saving, zipping, and re-opening in LO.

South Korea's biggest mobile telco says 5G has failed to deliver on its promise

david 12 Silver badge

5g battery life

The biggest selling point of 5g -- which hasn't even been mentioned here -- was that it was going to permit high-density phone networks. Lots and Lots of phones in a small area. That's a lot of network development, and it mostly hasn't happened yet. Around here, after testing, some of the femto-cell and pico-cell stations were just switched off. There is no femto-cell or pico-cell network around here. This has had two effects:

1) To maintain phone connections, your phone probably runs a 4g phone network and a 5g data network. At the same time. If you 'connect on 5g', you aren't 'disconnecting 4g'. 4g means your phone runs one network: 5g means you power up two radio networks

2) To maintain data connections, your phone is probably at the edge of the small 5g cell. Your 5g is probably running at maximum transmit power most of the time

5g is designed as a low-power network. It can run at lower power than 4g. But that promise depends on being close to a 5g transmitter, and with a 5g data provider that is providing a 5g phone system instead of 4g phone system.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Customers on 5G therefore use 50 percent more data

Well your both right then. 5G gave the networks lower costs, which give the users lower tariffs, which lead to greater usage.

Out of nowhere, India requires PC and server makers to get an import license

david 12 Silver badge

Re: Bulk of India can’t afford smartphones ?

NPCI rolled out 123pay last year for people without smartphones. Still 400 million feature phone users in India.

What DARPA wants, DARPA gets: A non-hacky way to fix bugs in legacy binaries

david 12 Silver badge

Re: The very first test of your "decompiled" code

For the system described, they don't have to or want to recompile to the original binary. They can compile the changed code, and re-link it to the rest of the original binary.

david 12 Silver badge

Re: How did they allow themselves to get into this position anyway?

We would of charged an arm and a leg for source code, but escrow was cheap or nothing to us. If the client wanted to pay for escrow, they could do that.

But (1) If clients could do anything with source code, they wouldn't have contracted us in the first place, and (2), escrow is an ongoing cost nobody wants to pay.

Slightly more common was a requirement for business-continuity insurance. That probably wouldn't have helped them, but for some companies it was just a standard contract term.