* Posts by Michael Maxwell

55 posts • joined 15 May 2007


Zero-click, zero-day flaws in iOS Mail 'exploited to hijack' VIP smartphones. Apple rushes out beta patch

Michael Maxwell

I got an update on 22 Apr to my iPhone to 13.4.1, but that is not the version said to have the fix--waiting for 13.4.5 for that (it's only out in beta now, and I don't get beta). I just checked now, and my phone tells me there's no update. So you might want to check whether yours was just the 13.4.1 (which doesn't help), or whether you got 13.4.5 sooner than I did.

BTW, there apparently are no 13.4.2-13.4.4.

Web pages a little too style over substance? Behold the Windows 98 CSS file

Michael Maxwell


And I'm looking at this page, where every "Reply" button is just a white-on-black rectangle, and I'm wondering what other buttons there are. I see "Preview" and "Submit" white-on-black rectangles, so I guess those are also buttons. Then there are hyperlinks to "edit your details" and "log in here"; at least those are clear. But there are other things that are probably clickable, like "Report abuse"--but that's just greyish text on a white background, so how do I know it's a button? Then there's "Add an icon", black text on light grey, which sounds like it ought to be a button; but below that is "Title", also black text on light grey, and that doesn't seem to be a button. Indeed, I just moused over them, and it's true--but completely non-obvious from the coloring. And more things that might, or might not, be hyperlinks or buttons down at the bottom of the page. I'm confused.

The Register, bring back real buttons!

Michael Maxwell

Re: Great.

"graduated title bars" are simply "look what I can do!" There's no other reason.

Michael Maxwell

Re: The Modern UI/UX

Learning FORTRAN IV and PL/1 with card decks and printouts.

Microsoft qualifications will pad the CV for another year, Teams for ventilator boffins, and Windows 10 threatened with very retro news app

Michael Maxwell

And given that my task bar is vertical (along the left-hand side of the screen), I wonder how putting the news bar above it will work. Maybe it will be off-screen :-).

Watch: Rare Second World War footage of Bletchley Park-linked MI6 intelligence heroes emerges, shared online

Michael Maxwell

Re: Soviet Army in Manchuria

I believe what he's saying is that you don't seem to be able to put an English sentence together. That is, while you jumble English words up, they don't make any sense together. (Or as someone put it above, the translator from Martian to English doesn't appear to be working very well.)

Windows Terminal 1910 preview is quite literally a more rounded affair

Michael Maxwell

Re: I wonder if I will be able to set

In fact at least the previous version already had that ability.

Dammit Insight! You just had two big jobs to do on Mars and you're failing at one of those

Michael Maxwell

Isn't that "Vewy angwy, vewy angwy indeed"?

Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience

Michael Maxwell

Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

I once lived at the address 320 Sugar Hill Drive. Or was it 320 Sugarhill Drive? I never knew, because the street sign at one end said the one, and the street sign at the other end said the other.

But the bills still came to our mailbox.

Hey, it's Google's birthday! Remember when they were the good guys?

Michael Maxwell

Re: Seduced, betrayed, and Sold to the Highest Bidder

Also Google News, which was once quite good. Went bonkers some years ago, and stayed that way despite thousands upon thousands of negative posts about it (and nary a good post).

You bring up GMail: Terrible UI (so is Outlook's webmail, but in different ways). Whose stupid idea was it to make the '#' key the delete key? Did that person even know where the # key is? Of course you can mouse the garbage can icon, but I not infrequently click the garbage can on the wrong line, deleting the wrong mail. I have to use GMail (my university was seduced by the dark side a year ago), but I pull it up on my home computer using Thunderbird. A much happier "experience".

In sum (and agreeing with you), I find that Google doesn't care about its users; it cares about its advertisers. Which I suppose is to be expected.

Hold up, ace. Before you strap into Firefox's latest Test Pilot, ask yourself...

Michael Maxwell

Neutrinos would laugh at you, too. Except they can't see you.

Are you who you say you are, sir? You are? That's all fine then

Michael Maxwell

Re: Gaming the IVR

Thanks for all the fish!

Poor old Jupiter has had a rough childhood after getting a massive hit from a mega-Earth

Michael Maxwell

I think the best analogy is the night that Sven's wife called him on the cell on his commute home. Lena said, "Now Sven, you be careful out dere. The news says dere's somevun driving de wrong vay on de freevay." Sven replies, "Ya, sure, if dere's one, dere's a tousant."

I propose that we name whatever hit proto-Jupiter and proto-Earth, Sven.

Michael Maxwell

Re: Alternative explanation

The other responses have been about fusion, which of course Jupiter is too small for. But the OP was about fission. Fission still occurs in the Earth, and is the source of the heat flow from the interior; this heat flow powers plate tectonics, in the sense that it causes melting.

The supply of fissionable isotopes was much higher in the early solar system, since most of those isotopes with relatively short half lives have by now fissioned away (with the exception of some that are themselves products of fission of longer-lived isotopes, like radon). So presumably the heat production due to fission (not fusion) was much higher in the planets of the early solar system.

Give that, plus the fact that massive planets might be more effective at separating out heavy elements--rather like a centrifuge (with heavier elements being more likely to be fissionable), your idea does seem plausible to me. But I'm no geophysicist...

Bit of a time-saver: LibreOffice emits 6.3 with new features, loading and UI boosts

Michael Maxwell

too much work to keep menus?

IIRC, when Microsoft was asked why the ribbon was obligatory--why they couldn't make it possible to use either the ribbon or the old menu--the reply was that it was too much work to maintain both. That always seemed bogus to me.

Now for LibreOffice we read: "there are now a bewildering number of options for menus and toolbars. You can select Standard Toolbar, Single Toolbar, Sidebar, Tabbed, Tabbed Compact, Groupedbar Compact, and Contextual Single. You can also combine various options, such as choosing Tabbed UI, which is reminiscent of the Microsoft Office ribbon toolbar, and then adding the traditional dropdown menubar on top." So what Microsoft couldn't do because it was too much work, the LibreOffice developers are doing, and then some.

(I do suspect the Microsoft reason was really an excuse.)

NASA trumpets Orion completion as India heads to the Moon

Michael Maxwell

Re: 50 years since landing on the moon...

"Or park the heat shield and re-entry lumber in LEO, go to the moon, and pick it up and drop back to earth that way?" That is what Apollo did; the lunar lander was not capable of re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, only the command module (which had the heat shield).

Michael Maxwell

Re: 50 years since landing on the moon...

The lander that Apollo 13 carted along did come in rather handy... although I suppose that's not a good reason to cart one along on every trip.

IIUC, it's not easy to transfer fuel (and oxidizer) in orbit. That said, it can be done. But don't forget that half of the Apollo lander stayed on the surface of the moon. If you wanted to re-use the entire lander, not just the part that flew back up to orbit, you'd need more fuel.

Apollo 11 @ 50: The long shadow of the flag

Michael Maxwell

Re: The moon orbits the Sun

Not sure, but tidal forces decline as the cube of distance (not the square).

Michael Maxwell

Re: The most expensive conspiracy theory in history

Also, the flagpole appears to be about an inch (a couple centimeters) in diameter, while that other shadow is easily six inches (15 cm or so) wide. And the light is coming from the wrong direction for that width to be a shadow effect. (Also, I can't imagine why everything else would have shadows pointing one way, and the flag another way, even with studio lighting.)

Michael Maxwell

Re: The most expensive dick swinging contest in history

"Are people really still this thick?" Someone is.

Michael Maxwell

Re: The most expensive dick swinging contest in history

There must be someone here as old as me. I remember Lloyd Mallan's claims. I wanted to believe them at the time, but I was a bit skeptical. One of his claims was that the pictures Luna 2 took of the back side of the Moon couldn't be right. (IIRC, because they didn't show any significant maria.) A few years later, when US spacecraft orbited the Moon, it of course turned out that the Soviet pictures were quite accurate (if a bit blurry).

Michael Maxwell

Re: The moon orbits the Sun

My intuition was that you were wrong. But in fact...you were right, and I was wrong. There's a calculation here: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/98953.html (and similar calculations elsewhere).

Loose tongues and oily seamen: Lost in machine translation yet again

Michael Maxwell

"ordering another 10,000 toilet rolls" You laugh, but in The Ship with the Flat Tire (https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/18001514-the-ship-with-the-flat-tire), the Supply Officer (a fresh Ensign) orders a certain quantity of TP, because his Chief thinks the unit of issue is the roll. Turns out the unit is the case--something like 100 rolls per case. When it arrives, they have trouble finding places on board to stow it. But as you might guess, it saves the ship later on.

Microsoft: OK, we admit it, spring is over. Here's your Windows 10 19H2

Michael Maxwell

Re: Woo hoo, the latest version of Windows 10...

What, you mean Win 3.1 wasn't a lot better than 3.0?

Actually, XP was a lot better than 95.

Summer's here, where's Windows 10 19H2? For Microsoft, spring ends whenever the heck it says so stop asking

Michael Maxwell

Endless Summer

Ms wasn't the first to make the seasons stand still, you know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZsuQXKkPdw

Eggheads confirm: Rampant Android bloatware a privacy and security hellscape

Michael Maxwell

Re: I agree

Even when they did have a reasonable market share, there was little or no bloatware on a Windows phone. (I have owned several, and still prefer my Win10 phone to anything else I've seen.)

We regret to inform you the massive asteroid NASA's all excited about probably won't hit Earth

Michael Maxwell

Re: The stupids have started already

So what's wrong with punch cards? If you make a mistake, you can stick it in a different slot of the card reader, and have the reader copy the old card onto a new card, up to the column where you made a mistake. At least I could on the machine I learned programming on, back in 1969. Copy-punch, we called it.

Ok Google, please ignore this free tax filing code so we can keep on screwing America

Michael Maxwell

Re: Amazing (in a bad way)

Well, I did see a simplified US tax form once. Line 1: How much did you make last year? Line 2: Send it all in.

Michael Maxwell

Re: Still using Google?

No matter what you may think of google, this is not about them. They--and probably all other search engines--will dutifully obey the robots.txt file that the tax preparation companies put there. In other words, you're very unlikely to find the free file programs in *any* search engine.

Three planets and two stars adds up to one research team made very happy by Kepler's unique discovery

Michael Maxwell

Re: Naming conventions?

"they don't pass in front of their star when we're looking": that could of course be, although the missions are planned so that they look at the same stars frequently. The real problem is that the plane of the planet's orbit has to make the planet pass in front of the star from our perspective. Putting it differently, we need to be in their ecliptic. The problem is that most planets don't orbit in such a plane, so we'll never see them pass in front of their parent star, even if we watch continually.

By the same token, an alien living on one of those planets would only see the Earth pass in front of the Sun if they happened to be on our ecliptic.

Keen for much-hyped quantum computing to finally land? Don't expect it for a decade

Michael Maxwell

Re: Cough

I guess that depends on what you mean by fusion power. My understanding is that fusion takes place only in the core of the Sun, and that it takes photons thousands of years to get from there to the surface. It's of course not the same photon ending that journey and emerging into space that started it (assuming photons have an identity in the first place).

Make America buy phones again! Smartphone doom 'n' gloom crosses Atlantic to cast shadow stateside

Michael Maxwell

free, as in beer

It comes in pints?

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

Michael Maxwell


As it happens, I just packed two VCRs in a box today, to be given away to a used-things place that actually accepts them. BUT: they haven't picked it up yet. So if you send me 300 BC in the next 48 hours, I'll pull the VCR out of the box and ship it to you. (Free shipping, such a bargain!) Then you can watch your tape!

Brit startup plans fusion-powered missions to the stars

Michael Maxwell


"the Large Hadron Collider did not send the world screaming into an artificial black hole 10 years ago." Not in my timeline (and presumably not in yours, if you're reading this). But in a zillion other timelines, we're all gone.

Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

Michael Maxwell

"claim that silver particles embedded in samples of gold can become superconductive at 236 Kelvin or -37.15 degrees Celsius" If that's room temperature, somebody really has their AC cranked up. (It would of course be considerably warmer than previous "high temperature" superconductors, but temperatures like that are found in the Arctic... in winter. Or maybe Minnesota.)

Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

Michael Maxwell

Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

Speaking of movies, "Three Little Beers" shows that security was no better in the past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv_Zy9qz4j8

US mulls drafting gray-haired hackers during times of crisis

Michael Maxwell

Old Man's War

Yeah, I was thinking more or less the same thing. You should read Old Man's War, by John Scalzi.

Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

Michael Maxwell

vim keystrokes indeed

@Scott Gilbertson, you mentioned an add-on that provided "vim-like keystrokes" to Firefox. Years ago (I think it was Windows 3.1) I modified some code I found on-line to add vim-like cursor control to all apps in Windows. It hooks the keyboard, so Ctrl-H is left arrow, Ctrl-J is down arrow, Ctrl-D is 7 lines down, etc.; and Ctrl-Q puts you into "shift" mode, so the same keys now select. I've always wondered why Windows didn't just provide such a mechanism built-in. It still works with Windows10, except for some reason in Edge (which I didn't want to use anyway, so no great loss).

Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man

Michael Maxwell

Re: Electric cars ...

But...but...but Arnold ripped up the Johnny and drove it like a stick!

Michael Maxwell

Re: Musk, the new Jobs?

No, it doesn't leaf, but its owner can make like a tree and leave.

Chinese whispers: China shows off magnetic propulsion engine for ultra-silent subs, ships

Michael Maxwell

Re: I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again...

Then I suppose a 'protocol' must be a first 'col', whatever that is. And there can be only one protozoan, all the other amoebas, paramecia, stentors etc. must be that protozoan's descendants. And only one thing can be prototypical, all the others are imposters.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. You're arguing from the etymology: in Greek, protos (προτος) means 'first', but that doesn't mean it always (or even ever) means that in English.

Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

Michael Maxwell

Re: Just supposing everyone goes through with it...

Fly: https://www.baen.com/Chapters/0743498747/0743498747___2.htm

Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Michael Maxwell

Re: Ch-Ch-Changes

"We old farts are DINOSAURS, sticks in the mud, living in the past, refusing to change, refusing to adapt, refusing to believe that what THEY want to do is so superior to the way things have been done for DECADES."

Stop it, I resemble that remark!

And for the record, I also resemble point (a) in your description of millenials: arrogant.

Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient

Michael Maxwell

Re: Here are some free ideas

One reason we got rid of steam trains is that it's hard to build an efficient condenser that uses air as the coolant; the heat transfer is too slow. Water, on the other hand, is quite good at heat transfer, so steam plants that use condensers cooled by water (as in lakes or oceans) are much more efficient. And as I'm sure you know, the efficiency of any heat engine is determined by the difference in temperature between the hot working fluid (steam, ICO a steam plant) and the cold working fluid (condensate).

Fossil-fueled steam-driven ships lasted a lot longer than steam trains, in part because the ocean makes a great coolant for the condenser. I was Main Propulsion Assistant on one of the last ones in the US Navy, decommissioned in 1993. Steam plants were replaced on non-nuclear naval vessels because the darned steam plants were getting too complicated and too dangerous: 1200psi steam at 975 degrees (F) of superheat, and we had around 5000 valves in our plant (four boilers, two main engines). I'm told that the gas turbines that replaced them are much simpler. (Possibly more efficient, I don't know.)

PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

Michael Maxwell

a woman computer expert

Obviously; the cistern are better at this sort of thing than the bretheren.

Stop! Before you accept that Windows 10 Mobile upgrade, read this

Michael Maxwell

Re: I've disabled

You perhaps have a counterexample to his claim?

Microsoft names September 22nd as the date for Office party

Michael Maxwell

Re: Ribbon

Um, no. It's got words, sure, but the hieroglyphics are in the way. The ribbon wouldn't be half so bad if I could turn off the icons. At least now it allows some modification (although not as much as the old menus allowed); when the ribbon first came out, it was definitely of the ilk "You can have any color you want, so long as it's black." Lots of worthless items (Mailings, for instance), and missing some of the things I need (Language). (For the record, I admit that most people probably don't use the Language item, but I also think hardly anyone uses Mailings. It's just something to get in the way.)

Another negative of recent versions of Office is the color choices. And here it really is a Henry Ford choice: any color you want, so long as it's gray. (Pale gray, paler gray, and palest gray.) And no way to tell by looking whether an Office app has keyboard focus.

SharePoint's next release delayed until deep into 2016

Michael Maxwell


That paragraph quoted from Microsoft is a Register joke, right? Microsoft didn't say that, surely. Because I thought they spoke English.

ALIENS ARE COMING: Chief NASA boffin in shock warning

Michael Maxwell

Re: Actually....

What, you think we want to look as ugly as you humans?


Michael Maxwell

Re: clumping

I'm afraid Nipher's "discovery" belongs in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.



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