* Posts by mtp

91 posts • joined 27 Sep 2009


Co-inventor of the computer mouse, William English, dies


Clear evidence that it was invented hundreds of years earlier :-(

Prior art from the middle ages


Doctor, doctor, got some sad news, there's been a bad case of hacking you: UK govt investigates email fail


Re: If the Tories General Election pledge was to NOT sell of the NHS

I refer you to this documentary from the 80s


If you think you've got problems, pal, spare a thought for these boffins baffled by 'oddball' meteorites


Re: Weird objects showing signs of being both Melty and Non-melty origin?

Rocks fall through the atmosphere far too quickly to melt. They come in at a minimum speed of 11 Km/s and usually much faster but the atmosphere is only a few 10s of Km thick, more if they come in at a glancing angle but even then they don't spend enough time in the atmosphere to get hot and certainly not enough time for the middle to even get warm.

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript


Re: I'm smarter...

Just look for your data in PI - it is in there somewhere then store the index and size for ultimate compression

GitHub to replace master with main across its services


Knock on effects

How many thousands of scripts will this break?



SDI and SDO were always poor terms from a technical point of view and undoubtedly will have caused plenty of V2 PCBs to be made. MISO and MOSI just work better in every way,

Nothing to do with SS (slave select) lines though.

Must check the mastercopy of my datasheets.

Big Brother


This kind of thing has been done before. Thomas Bowdler produced versions of Shakespeare which fitted the morals of the time


Also see


Widely regarded as laughable and pointless a few generations later


In Hamlet, the death of Ophelia was referred to as an accidental drowning, omitting the suggestions that she may have intended suicide.

"God!" as an exclamation is replaced with "Heavens!"

In Henry IV, Part 2, the prostitute Doll Tearsheet is omitted entirely; the slightly more reputable Mistress Quickly is retained.

I can easily see demands for exactly the same happening now.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War


Re: Pilots carrying comprising material

I highly recommend "Most Secret War by R.V. Jones's". A fascinating insight into technical skulduggery during WW2

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal


Should be open source

This is a obvious case where it should be written once and released as open source. It is bizarre (but sadly predictable) that every country is reinventing the wheel and creating loads of apps all of which are trying to do the same thing.

We all know how well government mega IT projects work out.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'


Pink tipped item at 1:00

I get the unobtanium shield and the divining rod but the device on the table at 1:00 looks to come from a entirely different (and more biological) industry.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Re: To be fair

I forgot a important password recently. After a few days of panic I decided to ignore it and wait for my fingers to type it in all by themselves and it actually worked. Luckily I was watching my fingers as they did the magic.

Sometimes just let your lizard brain take care of the problem.

SpaceX beats an engine failure to loft another 60 Starlink satellites


Paint won't stay on

These things are in low Earth orbit so they spend half their time in the dark then back into the sunlight. The dark paint will have huge temperature cycles and will rapidly flake off.

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4


HDMI cables are often a issue

I have EMC tested quite a few HDMI monitors and the emissions from a poor cable can be terrible. Easily 10-20 dB over the limits for a heavy industrial machine. Ferrites and such like don't help much at these frequencies so it has to be a well made cable with full 360 shielding end to end with good coupling to the connectors.

That code that could never run? Well, guess what. Now Windows thinks it's Batman


Jerkoff compatible firmware

I worked on a piston pump that could get jammed at the end of travel. The solution was to briefly go to maximum power and do a short move back into the free area. The comment on the power setting line was "atomic batteries to power" (old batman reference). The really fun bit was that I referred to this as the jerkoff function and this leaked out to support. I had people phoning me and asking if their version of firmware supported jerkoff.


Error message

I once wrote a X,Y stage controller with the error message "Insufficient user IQ" if it was asked to do something blatantly stupid that would damage the hardware.

Also had "Insufficient coffee - user halted" as a timeout message.

This was just for use inside the lab so I could get away with it.

Another long time lurker that eventually paid of was

reading = 0xffff; // With a nice chianti

That caused a laugh about a year later when the person next to me was adding some new features.

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'


Tangible value of currency

Much like GB pounds or any other currency not backed up by a vault full of gold. A currency only has value is if you think other people (including bank managers) will take them as if these bits of paper with £10 written on the front are a real asset.

I recommend reading "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" for some interesting observations on this kind of thing.

The Register translates VMware's VMworld Europe 2018 news into plain English – our free guide for every reader


But can it Encabulate?


Wasted worker wasps wanna know – oi! – who are you looking at?


Re: Wasps

When I was about 10 I trod on a underground wasps nest. I remember the ground sinking a bit then was enveloped by a cloud of wasps. I did the world record sprint probably being followed by a comic strip style --> arrow of wasps. I was pulling handfuls of wasps out of my clothing. Must have had hundreds of stings.

Clearly I am not allergic but it was not a fun day.

Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm kicks crisis meeting into long grass


You win some and loose some

Sounds just like the Noke U-Lock that I backed many years ago. Shipping was supposed to be Sept 2015. They post occasional updates but nothing happens, it seems very unlikely that the lock will ever appear.

You win some and loose some with this kind of project.

At least I got a LOHAN patch and pint glass from my most recent kickstart.

UK drone collision study didn't show airliner window penetration


Weight vs Mass

"weigh more than 250g". Sloppy terminology. For measuring onions in a market with a balance then you can get away with calling mass weight (although physicists cringe) but for a drone that flies up and down and could be anywhere in the world then there is no universal way to convert mass (g) to weight (N).

Is there a standard acceleration to convert mass to weight? If so what happens if you live somewhere at one of the extremes where this varies? Can you buy gold at the equator (low g) and sell it at high latitude (high g) ? Mass is the same but weight will be different. This gives me a idea...!

There are industries where you can get away with this kind of sloppiness but aviation is not one of them.

At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?



12 days to go and you are all making me very hungry.

But I now plan to go out and buy a goose for the first time.

Drunk canoeing no longer driving offence in Canada


Re: sounds like a joke but...


Forgotten your Myspace password? Just a name, username, DoB will get you in – and into anyone else's, too

Big Brother

Re: Wells that me never being able to access my account ever again

Personally I always enter a DOB of 1/1/1900. If you are going to fake it then it is only polite to make it a obvious fake.

I have often wondered if this is related to my spam which is mostly death related - release the value in your home, pre paid funeral plans ETC.

For more details phone me on 0123456789 or come and visit my lovely village of Gypping in the marsh, I am usually to be found at the earthworm sanctuary.

Super-cool sysadmin fixes PCs with gravity, or his fists


Faith healing

I once came across a monitor that I knew had a dodgy connection on the VGA connector. I clasped my hands on either side of the monitor (quite vigorously) and loudly proclaimed "you are healed!".

The screen immediately came to life and I left feeling smug with some very surprised people behind me.

Three certainties in life: Death, taxes and the speed of light – wait no, maybe not that last one



Always wondered why Maxwell did not discover special relativity. In hindsight he was so close, just one more logical step and he would have been there.

He will have to put up with the T shirt instead.


United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up


Re: Hang on a minute...

Probably electrical insulation.

The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code


Re: Portrayal of computer tech guys in films/tv. @Jamie Jones

Don't forget the Red Dwarf "Enhance" scene


LOHAN chews the fat with US TV station over Spaceport's FAA-ilure


50 foot rocket approved

If these people can launch a 50 foot rocket then what are they doing that Lohan cannot?


Muttering quiet blasphemies at the gods of red tape ( as opposed to blue tape which would be just fine ).

FAA introduces unworkable drone registration rules in time for Christmas


Re: Lohan loophole

It still has mass but I stick with the -ve weight


Lohan loophole

Do they actually say weigh? If so then Lohan has a great loophole here because when in initial balloon mode it has -ve weight so is clearly below any threshold that the all powerful FAA deems to set.

Apply online to go to Mars. No, seriously


Re 'average pay' beware casual statistics


There must be a good applying for the role of Tarzan joke here somewhere but it is too late at night to work out the details. "I have nothing against your right leg - the problem is that neither have you".

Beware poorly sourced statistics.


Re: Only Americans?

Discriminating based on ethnicity or sex is illegal but discrimination based on place of birth which is equally random is not only allowable but legally enforced. Strange how these things work out.

Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!


Re: Do people still use Yahoo?

This seems to have happened to loads of people (maybe all of yahoo). Loads of spams flying around using yahoo address books. There is always at least one in my spam folder. The address book database has clearly been leaked to spammers.

US nuke boffinry to be powered by Facebook-inspired Linux servers


Let there be light

Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back



But is it safe? Got to be careful about running tools from random sites.


Win10 is almost a virus

Same experience here. Win10 is becoming something of a virus and I am having to continually fight to prevent it overwriting my OS (Win 7). Nothing should be allowed to replace the OS on my PC without my explicit consent, Win 10 is right on the edge of this.

Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more


Scientists say that X

I am so allergic to the phrase "Scientists say that X". It crops up so many times in the popular literature (newspapers+tv) frequently with some fringe theory not backed up by statistics. Not reporting science would be much better than reporting anything that is pushed hard but with minimal significance.

SIX MILLION fingerprints of US govt workers nicked in cyber-heist

Thumb Up

Flaw with biometrics

This is the big flaw with biometrics, you cannot revoke it when it gets compromised. If megacorp X has a password hack then at least the customers can change passwords and have some chance of getting through this unscathed. If Omni Consumer Products Y has a fingerprint database and it leaks (as it inevitably will) then the mitigation involves mutilation.

(Icon picked for relevance not agreement)

Mysterious cosmic dustball fires up Milky Way's black hole



What is CMDR Metta upto?

Well this is a geeky website!

Big Brother in SPAACE: Mars One picks first 100 morons to suffocate, er, settle on Red Planet


Work up to it

They should try the easier options of the sahara and antarctica before going for the big one of Mars. If they cant cope with Antarctica then there is clearly no point in going for Mars which is many times more hostile.

Strap on fitness finesse: Withings Activité Pop



Is it just me but I find a watch 36mm wide by what looks to be about 8mm thick bulky and low tech. If I am going to be buying a high tech watch I don't want a vast hunk of plastic and metal. The thinner the better and no wider than is required to suit the purpose.

Is this fashion over function? Maybe the next iphone should have a 5mm deeper body and weigh 200g more. Then again if my phone (actually a nexus 5) was 5mm thicker and had a 3 day battery I would be entirely happy about it.

French Google fund to pay for 1 million print run of Charlie Hebdo next week


General quotes on the topic

I can't put it better than these people



Re: Religion, nationalism, not liking Mondays? The excuse is irrelevant.

And the bible mildly says "And he that blasphemeth the name of the lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him. Leviticus 24:16"

All religions are equal. All can be (mis)quoted to good or bad.

"[T]hey took the king's sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to xxxx. And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. "

"I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger."

Which religion?


Re: Re:most media sidestep the nasty incidents commited by Christian terrorists.

These things work in cycles. As generations pass the dominant religion changes and different religions feel oppressed. There is no overall moral high and low ground - just currently dominant factions.

All religions are equal in all ways, as generations pass they fragment and drift in different directions but ultimately they are all as (in)valid as each other.

There are thousands of religions believed by people at the moment, millions of forgotten religions and a infinite number of religions that have yet to be conceived. Isn't it a incredible coincidence that of all the millions of possible religions children tend to go for the one believed by their parents.


Re: I don't for a second believe the 'Charlie' murderers were acting as Muslims.

Simply put all religions are equal. I could elaborate and give examples but why bother - the point is simple and easy to understand. Just take any hate article and swap islam/jew or any other combination of religions . If you find that the result offends you less or more then consider why.

Most convincing PHISHING pages hoodwink nearly half of you – Google


Re: Do they check if the data is legitimate?

Gilbert Murray

The Laboratory

Gypping in the Marsh


The original site is down and has been ambushed but the internet never forgets.


El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.


Whats the problem?

Looks fine to me. Every time a site has a cosmetic tweak it takes a bit of getting used to (slashdot) but generally the changes turn out to be broadly neutral. It keeps the expensive look and feel consultants in work. In this case I quite like the new look although it must be said that there was nothing wrong with the old one.

Orion 'Mars' ship: Cosmic ray guard? Go. Parachutes? Go. Spacerock shield? Go!


Re: 2 stroke, 4 star, Diesel?

Launching from the Earth is much harder work than from the Moon so on the return trip huge and delicate cryogenic engines were not required.




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