* Posts by Sean Houlihane

44 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Nov 2011

Nearly every AMD CPU since 2017 vulnerable to Inception data-leak attacks

Sean Houlihane

Re: What about the FX-8370 8-core?

Best thing about this core is I don't get nagged to upgrade to Win11. As well as none of these fancy new exploits.

Voice assistants failed because they serve their makers more than they help users

Sean Houlihane

Re: Don't know.

I have a connected oven. The advantage is that the clock is always right (unless there was a powercut, then I need to re-enable network time in the phone app), and the timer is relayed to my phone. It's effectively impossible to configure by voice (pre heat being the obvious use case, as I head to the freezer). Automation could be the best use case, but even this is mostly broken.

Boris Johnson's promise of full fibre in the UK by 2025 is pie in the sky

Sean Houlihane

Free unicorns all round.

The idiots will never realise they have been played.

Brexit to better bumpkin broadband, 4G coverage for farmers – Gove

Sean Houlihane

More unicorns

Anyone who still believes all these lies deserves whats coming in the next few years.

Equifax's malvertising scare, Chromebook TPM RSA key panic, Cuban embassy sonic weapon heard at last – and more

Sean Houlihane

Re: This sound may break your brain

Cure (ISBN: 9780385348157) has a reference to a study where a nocebo was correlated with small doses of a toxic drug and was then sufficient to cause death when applied on its own (in animals). This is interesting since it implies the pathway doesn't depend on reasoning (as supported by placebos being effective even when the subject knows its a placebo)

Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

Sean Houlihane

Ads are for certain people only.

The native view of web pages shocks me every time im exposed. The only ads I _ever_ click are the obnoxious ones who I want to cost money (ppi, free solar, etc). I understand some people like ads. They're free to look at them, but I chose not to.

GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins

Sean Houlihane

Re: When electricity was first introduced....

no, dangerous crackpot.

Science contest to get girls interested in STEM awards first prize to ... a boy

Sean Houlihane

Re: Be careful what you wish for

You need to look at other cultures where engineering and computer science are as well respected as medicine. Or look at medicine in UK/US culture. Agree a 50/50 split isn't right, and a contributing factor is the challenges for men in teaching, but here there is still a huge cultural barrier for women with potential skills in there areas.

New study into lack of women in Tech: It's not the men's fault

Sean Houlihane

Subject specialism is a factor too

Having had the discussion, in a STEM club, about how a physics degree was relevant to an engineering job, I think there is a view being taught by both parents and teachers that GCSE/A-level choices are absolute pre-requisites for specific careers. This may work against the more generalist (and more demanding subjects) like maths, and also present a barrier to someone without an early CS qualification who might consider moving towards that field. Maybe girls select their career choices differently at the point where they start to choose subjects, or are reluctant to move away from their first subject choice at a later date.

Its worth noting that the gender bias only exists in certain cultures, and isn't particularly an issue of technical complexity in a career.

Mathematician: sunspot could mean mini ice age from 2030

Sean Houlihane

Re: This good be good news or bad news.....

There is no shortage of stuff to burn, at least for the next 30-50 years. No need for compromise in order to conserve the stockpiles. What we do need to do is stop wasting money on pretending that the current technologies are worth a wide roll-out. More research, more fission (in the medium term), prepare for adaption.

Frustration with Elite:Dangerous boils over into 'Refund Quest'

Sean Houlihane

Feeble article

Why focus on only one small aspect of the product? Are the other features present and correct? Does the game actually function? The kind of details that the majority of gamers will be interested in?

Yes, offline only is a valid issue for maybe a few hundred people (for various different reasons). Is it an important issue in the context of the whole release? How about a little research, and not just some quotes from a fairly busy forum...

Ice, ice maybe: Evidence of 'Grand Canyon' glacier FOUND ON MARS

Sean Houlihane


'This item requires a subscription to Geology.'

Anyone care to share how they found it, or is this just another bit of secret 'academic only' research? Wikipedia suggests this was known back in 2004...

What's it like using the LG G smartwatch and Android Wear? Let us tell YOU

Sean Houlihane

Want standalone, or at least wifi

This really does look like a step backwards compared with the (almost working) truesmart - being able to read and reply to massages from anywhere in the house or garden without carrying my phone all the time is a genuine benefit. Of course there is a simplicity and battery life tradeoff - tethered and notification only is much easier for the media to understand...

Brit Bitcoin dev: I lost 'over £200k' when MtGox popped its socks

Sean Houlihane


That will be one developer who hadn't thought to read up on zero trust then. Was this trading money, or was he confusing the exchange with a bank? Even my semi-legitimate share broker is fairly obviously not a bank and the nominee holdings I have with them are a fairly obvious risk exposure.

He who holds the private key holds the ability to destroy (or have stolen) the coin. A developer would, one might reasonably assume, know this. Ergo, you are not taking to a developer.

Pine trees' scent 'could prevent climate change really being a problem'

Sean Houlihane

Best thing about this - more forests is good. Shame the watermelons won't take notice of that.

MtGox takes heat as reasons for Bitcoin FAIL surface

Sean Houlihane

Re: Not MtGox's fault

I think you chose not to understand what the developers said. It sounds like it is 100% MtGox's fault that MtGox paid some withdrawals twice, or have chosen to use this as a justification for closing outgoing transactions, or have attempted to manipulate the price. Developers admit it is not nice, and say everyone else has a working solution to the issue.

A BBC-by-subscription 'would be richer', MPs told

Sean Houlihane

The BBC gets none of my money. Regardless of the cost of the alternatives (currently nil, unless you count CD, game and ebook purchases)

Boffins: Antarctic glacier in irreversible decline, will raise sea levels by 1cm

Sean Houlihane

Re: Ice Ice Baby

That was 100% a tourist boat, which only succeeded in seriously disrupting the resupply of the genuine research work.

Fukushima fearmongers: It's your fault Japan dumped CO2 targets

Sean Houlihane

Re: Anti-nukers... vs. Pro-Nukers

The risk from low level contamination is (at an individual level at least) pretty small, and thats even if you take the worst-case assumptions rather than the optimistic view that some radiation might even be beneficial. Far, far higher chance that you'll die in a road accident - so if you want to improve your chances, eat more fish and hope its good for the brain, and gives you better reaction times. Worrying about getting cancer in 39.5 years rather than 40 (my interpertation of the practical radiation risk) kind of misses the point.

Microsoft buys all electricity from Texas wind farm

Sean Houlihane

Backup capacity

And who pays for the backup capacity in the grid? Maybe they do have standby diesel, but I'm guessing they keep very quiet about annual averaged emissions if they do.

BAN THIS SICK FILCH: Which? demands end to £1.50-per-min 'help' lines

Sean Houlihane

Call conection parasites

The practice I think referred to here is buying a google search result for <abc> helpline, then promoting a number as if it were the standard 0845 number, but charging £1.5/min.

Presumably, the cost of paying for clicks is covered by the fools tricked into making the wrong choice of which number to dial.

NASA: Trip to Mars would exceed 'fatal cancer' radiation risk

Sean Houlihane

Assuming LNT

These 'calculations' presumably rely on some fairly poorly tested models of what 6 months of exposure to a moderate level of radioactivity does to the human body. It's not clear to me that we have any reliable data in this area (airline pilots maybe being a good population to sample). With a 25% background level and many other environmental factors, +3% is bordering on difficult to measure without a large number of test subjects. I understand the experiment has only been done ONCE even on mice - about 50 years ago...

Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Sean Houlihane

Agent watch

On kickstarter since yesterday, now at $202k with 1170 backers.

SanDisk cops to malfunctioning Micro SDs in Galaxy S3s

Sean Houlihane

Not new

I bought a 64 GB card about 6 months ago. After 3 weeks, it died - completely un-usable even with low-level formatting using a linux box and a brand new uSD card reader. Returned within the 30 day period from Amazon.

Glad they finally got round to admitting it was a problem - I might risk buying another one now.

Drunk driving: No more dangerous than talking on handsfree mobe

Sean Houlihane

Driver training

Training more drivers to be better at managing problems is likely to give far better returns than pretending the problems can be avoided. In the case of a phone call, the call should get the peripheral attention, not the driving activity - but this has to be instinctive for the driver.

It's not an easy sell, but learning accident avoidance skills does help. Sadly, most people in a not-fault accident don't realise that often they could have mitigated the scenario to some extent regardless of the actual fault.

Technology might be able to contribute too, but there does seem to be a trend to wards expecting drivers to be idiots and designing the car to cope...

The supercomputers LIED: UK rainfall is rising, but won't drown our phones

Sean Houlihane


Good. Someone concerned about short term accuracy of the data, and without much of an agenda to get any specific answer (other than one that matches the future). A case where the people making the projections will be around to see the results of their work too.

Models are necessary, but they're usually not quite right.

Worst broadband notspots in the UK named and shamed

Sean Houlihane

ADSL2+ helps

I got over 50% increase (from 1.4->2.2) by switching from BT to TalkTalk on a 5km line. Well worth having since this tips me over the threshold of streaming being possible.

Inside the new climate row as Mystic Met Office goes cool on warming

Sean Houlihane


Finally, the Met Office is caught out making statements about trends which it is unable to substantiate with statistical analysis. Sadly, it isn't as simple as saying that they are wrong, and there is no trend. All we can say is that they seem not to realise how easy it is to pick out a trend by eye which is in reality just random variation.

The Met Office has a duty to present their analysis of the data in a robust way. The dialogue linked in the article implies that their senior staff have no comprehension of what would be needed to achieve this.

We do, however have plenty of examples of their PR being interpreted to swallow the inaccurate interpretation so it seems reasonable to push them to issue a clear and unambiguous retraction of the idea that we have a rainfall trend that suggests ANYTHING. (other than a long term 1% per century increase, which could well correlate with the LIA, but is close to irrelevant in terms of panic-now)

Delay climate mitigation, escalate the costs: study

Sean Houlihane

Made up target

So they fabricate a target which they say we have to meet, then construct a model which says we're doomed anyway. By a large majority, the model runs are over estimating their temperature projections, yet we are still relying on these outdated and inaccurate models to guide policy.

It seems the best they can come up with now is a scenario where if we have lost, we've lost worse than before. Why not assume that maybe the worst-case isn't the right thing to plan for for a change?

Facebook to debut auto-play video ads in 2013

Sean Houlihane

Bagsy a proxy that eats my daily quota of adds.

Wind, solar could provide 99.9% of ALL POWER by 2030

Sean Houlihane


It must be bad if they have to create research like this to make it seem viable. Luckily Shale gas will tide us over for long enough for real data to kill off this nonsense.

2012: A generation-spanning year for gaming

Sean Houlihane

EliteDangerous on Kickstarter is well on the way to meeting it's funding goal (£723,389, 57.9%).

Funding closes on 4th January (22 days to go), and at the current trend is looking like it will take an average pledge from most of the backers of £50 to meet the goal. This is by no means guaranteed, but there are some good videos from Frontir Developments now, and surely the message will spread over Christmas...

UK climate expert warns of 3-5 degree warmer world by 2100

Sean Houlihane

Tipping point

What is the point at which he will admit his guesses are wrong? 10 years? 20 years? At least he should still be around to see the damage he has done when the predicted massive warming continually fails to arrive.

First FIRE TORNADO documented in Australia

Sean Houlihane


Increased fires are a direct result of changes in woodland management, I thought everyone understood this even if the rule-makers choose to ignore it.

Last month ties for WARMEST September on RECORD

Sean Houlihane

Accurate measurements

So we have a 0.67 K variation from the mean, very significant day-to-day fluctuations, a warming trend of something less than 2K/100yr, bucket/engine room variations at sea, UHI impacts on land due to massive population and land use changes - is this a big scary trend we see with a monthly maximum? No, not really.

What we can deduce from this rather muted trend is that the magic 'climate sensitivity' is much more likely to be at the low end of the guestimates, even if the models are assumed to be complete. The big claims of more extreme weather events have already fallen flat. We are rapidly reaching the point where 3 K by 2100 seems unlikely, let alone 5 K.

Things change. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

British car parks start reading number plates

Sean Houlihane

Not a fine

Its a request for free money, not a fine - unless its a council run car-park.

I need to multitask, but Windows 8's Metro won't let me

Sean Houlihane

Simple example

Web browser and photo browser open for reference, blogging tool open for writing content, or spreadsheet for capturing data. Already tried this on android, it's a right pain and I resorted to using my phone camera as a scratchpad.

Vauxhall Ampera hybrid e-car

Sean Houlihane

45 mpg?

How do they manage to get 45 mpg from an engine tuned to run as a generator? My CRZ (with a feeble battery assist) manages 48-52 at 70 mph once it's warmed up (for a long run) and I'm underwhelmed by that for efficiency.

Seems like the numbers determined by the grid-charge procedure make the designers lazy. We need a 'litres/500km' or 'miles for 6 gallons and a full charge' metric. Something for the weekends where plug-in isn't convenient, a scenario which I guess is slightly more common that people guess.

I'm tempted by the idea of a small plug-in as an additional vehicle, but struggling to find a cost saving - seems the price book is written for people with eco-guilt issues.

UK cookie law compliance takes effect today

Sean Houlihane

Pop up blocker

Anyone got an opt-out popup blocker? Why should i need to click some random link?

Massive DDoS attack blasts 123-reg offline

Sean Houlihane


Xilo works for me, I got a reseller account for barely more than the account I moved to 123-reg from. Something odd about wordpress and 123-reg hosting - almost like the site was swapped out and needed to be woken up before it would work.

Arctic Ocean may be releasing its methane

Sean Houlihane

Missing heat

Lets have some instrumental evidence for the oceans warming before getting too excited, shall we? Sea level rise is kind of missing too (but maybe more tricky to measure accurately).

Anyway, if the methane circulation is greater than we expected, maybe that means there is a methane sink which isn't properly accounted for too.

HUD's up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI

Sean Houlihane


Just what I need on a desktop - a phone interface....

Lovefilm dumps Flash, BLINDS Linux fans with Silverlight

Sean Houlihane


So the film industry wants again to try and make paying customers jump through hoops to purchase content? All they do by giving us problems is encourage us to look for workarounds, which then increases the chance of said workarounds being used by non-paying customers.

Punters hate copyright, says Steelie Neelie

Sean Houlihane

I'm happy to pay

So long as my paying for a movie isn't directly linked to some patronising adverts trying to tell me I should have paid. I'm not sure it makes commercial sense to provide me with an incentive to learn how to rip stuff to side-step the idiot trap (and teach everyone else the same too).