* Posts by davcefai

195 posts • joined 21 May 2007


Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


Beer Definition

Apart from the Yuck factor these drinks may not legally be called "Beer", at least in civilised countries.

Happy 60th, Sinclair Radionics: We'll remember you for your revolutionary calculators and crap watches



At school in 1964 I helped the science teacher to build a stereo system around a BBC studio Tape Deck and a Sinclair set of apmlifier, preamp and speakers.

The sound from the Sinclair kit was, for those days, astounding. The Rector suspected that we had spent well over our budget!

When I got to Edinburgh in 1973 the first thing I bought was a Sinclair Cambridge calculator. They were so new that at examination time the Heriot Watt University Senate ruled that while Slide Rules were OK we could not use calculators in our exams as they would give their owners an unfair advantage. Only 2 out of 14 in the course owned a calculator.

Systemd 249 release candidate includes better support for immutable OSes and provisioning images


Re: Thinks I like about systemd

Just change the patch cable.

And dump Systemd while you're at it.

I never had to tinker with my systems as mush as I had to in the 3 months before I first reverted to init and then moved to Devuan.

Systemd makes MS Windows look good!

Pakistan's Punjab province tells citizens to get jabbed or have their SIM card blocked


I would consider that refusal to be vaccinated constitutes "reckless endangerment" to others and there are already mechanisms for coping with this.

There is compulsory vaccination for children.

So come down on these refusniks with the full force of the law and make the world safer for sensible people.

Chinese rocket plunges into Indian Ocean, still lands sharp rebuke from NASA


Re: I love watching heavenly bodies...

Rendevous with Rama.

Someone tried to poison a Florida city by hijacking its water treatment plant via TeamViewer, says sheriff


Strangely, the hack is described in terms of ppm of Caustic Soda. Dosing is usually via a dosing pump (variable speed and stroke) and would be set by adjusting a pH target. It is not possible to dose Caustic Soda directly - it consists of very hygroscopic pearls or flakes.

It is probably possible to set up such a system to work with ppm, by calculating ppm from the water flow rare and the dosig rate but who on earth would bother? !!

In any sanely engineered system you would set the target pH ( usually 7.4 to 7.8) and let the pump and pH meter sort things out. That's maybe 10 lines of code. Then you add another 100 or so to cope with all the error conditions you can think up but essentially if pH drops below 7 or rises above 8 the plant should stop and raise an alarm. The operator should not be able to set insane dosing values.

I've done, or had done for me, several such mini plants dosing caustic, acid or sodium hypochlorite.

Forget the plant security, Windows or Team Viewer. The adjustment should simply not have been possible.

Curse of Arecibo strikes again: Now another cable breaks, smashes into America's largest radio telescope


What caused it?

Did somebody say "Lowest Bidder"? :-)

Alternatively it may be the effect of 5G radiation.

Please, tell us more about how just 60 hydrogen-powered 5G drones could make 400,000 UK base stations redundant



Does this mean that the coronavirus particles will have more waves to ride down on?

Linux 5.10 to make Year 2038 problem the Year 2486 problem


Today XFS, tomorrow the world.

Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...


Yes, but UPSs have always had their own rules.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds



As usual Linus makes a lot of sense. However the lack of colour in the reply makes it a little disappointing :-)

Not going Huawei just yet: UK ministers reportedly rethinking pledge to kick Chinese firm out of telco networks by 2023


Re: shambles.gov.uk/2020-05-27#huawei

This reminds me of the Falklands war. The UK did not have a suitable rocket so it bought Exocets from France. (I think there may have been British investment there too). The Argentinians also bought Exocets. Some people made/saved lots of money by "outsourcing" vital industries. Others were killed by the consequences.

At least at the moment we can choose Chinese or American kit. The Americans can probably not compete on the current playing field want want to be sole suppliers to the world.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution


Re: Trust Office

I used to _love_ sending emails "Please resend in a more acceptable format" to a company that adopted every new iteration of MS Office the day it was released.

Our company was, OTOH, very slow at adopting the new versions.

From attacked engineers to a crypto-loving preacher with a questionable CV: Yep, it's still very much 5G silly season


It can get worse!

Malta has a growing anti-5G movement. Big to-do with photos of new masts. The sad thing is:

1. There are no 5G masts yet in Malta.

2. None of the providers have even applied for a licence yet.

Never underestimate the power of stupidity. Remember that "MRI" was initially called "NMR" - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance- but people were frightened of the "Nuclear" bit.

Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'


Re: Too late!

HP95 palmtop.

RIP Freeman Dyson: The super-boffin who applied his mathematical brain to nuclear magic, quantum physics, space travel, and more



Please don't forget the concept of the Dyson Sphere and the Ringworld which has given so many of us so many hours of fun and fascination.

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd


Re: Finally!

Did you still need an incentive? When systemd was released on us, I felt that I was back in the Windows days! And it looks like it can only get worse. Why can't Poettering go away and write his own OS, leaving us to the stability we worked so hard to achieve?

Linux 5.3 kernel bundles new, cuddlier, swear-free Torvalds with AMD Radeon Navi graphics support



I remember when he was foisting pulseaudio on us. His standard reply to bug reports was that it would get better soon. Frankly I cannot understand how Poettering has been allowed to screw up Linux with systemd. It goes against the basic philosophy of ONE tool doing ONE thing very well.

Which is why I dropped Debian for Devuan.

That lithium-ion battery in your phone or car? It has just won three chemists the Nobel Prize


Re: Exploiting science

That's a bit of a leap. Do we know that he would rather have retired? I know of hale and hearty people who retired and then rapidly went downwards.

The mod firing squad: Stack Exchange embroiled in 'he said, she said, they said' row


Re: Is this just an English thing ?

Is it a British English thing or is it a US "English" thing?

Another rewrite for 737 Max software as cosmic bit-flipping tests glitch out systems – report


Reckless Endangerment

Isn't this cockup a candidate for a prosecution for reckless endangerment?

And we're back live with the state of the smartphone market in 2019. Any hope? Yeah, nah


What bothers me is the tacit assumption that WE MUST HAVE GROWTH. Surely any industry must realise that there is a limit to growth.

Profits cannot keep soaring. Isn't it time to plan for a "flat line" economy?

He's coming home, he's coming... Hutchins' coming home: British Wannacry killer held in US on malware dev rap set free by judge


Re: Excellent news, my best wishes for his future BUT...

It may well depend on the judge/jury you get but personally I would be biased against somebody who has contributed so much to overpopulation.

Rise of the Machines hair-raiser: The day IBM's Dot Matrix turned



Lusers are lusers everywhere. A few years ago we were building a new production facility. When it came to cladding the front we had to close off the road leading to the Marketing Dept. So we assigned new parking spaces, dotted the area with "Keep Out" posters and we posted maps and instructions on how to walk to Marketing via a different route

Next day 4 girls from Marketing - cookie cut types with long straight hair and sub-par IQs - came to complain that they had torn their tights climbing over the barriers in the road.

Ex-Microsoft dev used test account to swipe $10m in tech giant's own store credits, live life of luxury, Feds allege



"Microsoft's online store uses a form of device fingerprinting called a Fuzzy Device ID. Investigators, it's claimed, linked a specific device identifier to accounts associated with Kvashuk."

So they spy on you even from the store. Isn't this a breach of privacy?

Boffins find asteroid with the shortest solar year of any space rock in our Solar System


Ah, the old days/

“You don't find kilometre-size asteroids very often these days,"

They don't make them like they used to.

'Bulls%^t! Complete bull$h*t!' Reset the clock on the last time woke Linus Torvalds exploded at a Linux kernel dev

Thumb Up

Linus is the man who keeps the project going. A brilliant coder but also a brilliant cat-herder. What other OS progressed as fast and as well as Linux?

So he gets pissed off at some people. So what? His system(s) work and the OS keeps going strong.

Linus doesn't need to write code. He does need to manage it. And he does, in a way most managers can envy.

Mr Torvalds, in case you get to read this, consider your hand shaken.

WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet


Assange's REAL 'crime' is embarrassing politicians. Personally I love watching politicians squirm.

I believe a few years ago he was a hero. Irrespective of any personal habits or characteristics he has done the world a favour.

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again


As a potential customer - the software package they were selling on it was pretty good - the last 2 words were probably thought but never uttered.

Funny how suppliers don't like to risk offending customers!


The Lisa had a wonderful bug. It was said that you could drop the computer icon into the wastebasket, requiring a hard reset.

I tried this during an exhibition but found my wrist firmly clamped by the demonstrator who said something like "Oh no you don't......sir."

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms


Upset a different bunch of people.

How about "Dom" and "Sub"?

make all relocate... Linux kernel dev summit shifts to Scotland – to fit Torvald's holiday plans


He's done a fantastic job, so why not?

However I confess to feeling uneasy about when he retires. OTOH I'm much older than he is so I'll be past caring. I just hope that Poettering doesn't complete the job of destroying Linux.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update


Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

The UI used to be "one of a kind" where you could spend more time looking for a function than using it. The default UI is now much more conventional. Frankly I was not aware that there is another one and will spend some time trying to find it.

After PSP went past v9 GIMP became my default photo app, especially as I could then use it on both Windows (at work) and Linux (at home).

Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers


I suspect that this only holds true at the very low temperatures quoted in the article as the hydrogen atoms should be able to rotate freely as soon as some energy is available.

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)


Re: Great Headline, Register

The short story was first. The book you describe is "The Lost Worlds of 2001". As far as I remember the screenplay and book were written together. Certainly the film is very faithful to the book.

And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows – it's going to cost what now?! €100m!


There is also a non-technical reason for this retrogressive step. One that I have experienced myself.

Some people consider themselves too important to use "free" (=, in their minds, "cheap") software.

Because of this what was going to be a well managed transition from MS Office to OpenOffice, with Sun's assistance, ended up in disaster. Incidentally, unless things have changed a lot since I retired, it is NOT feasible to run MS Office and Open or Libre Office together for any long time.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy


I've just looked at a link to the Sun. Sad to think how many trees died to supply this drivel.


Seals leak. Fact of life. Usually tightening (compressing the packing further) helps. Otherwise replace the packing. Big deal. The really bad case would be a roughness in the shaft - it would need re-machining. *That* would justify the fuss being made. I've had expert craftsmen have problems in getting packing exactly right and this was on shafts maybe 3" dia max.

Packing starts to leak *after* some use. That's probably one of the reasons the navy do sea trials. :-)

I can't call this a storm in a teacup because the ship is too big to fit in a teacup.

Lauri Love appeal: 'If he's dead, no victim's going to get anything'



One day, one hopes, the UK will stop being bullied by the US. (I am not a national of either country).

As I understand it the law about extraditions works in favour of the US. The Brits cannot get _their_ naughty boys back from the US.

Love is English, sat at his computer in England and was arrested in England. So if guilty he is guilty of an offence in England, not the land of the cholesterol-laden fast foods. Do we even know that the computers he hacked are physically located in the US?

Linus Torvalds 'sorry' for swearing, blames popularity of Linux itself


All is well, really.

Linus pioneered not only a new OS but also new ways of developing and distributing it.

"release early and often" was the mantra in the good old days. Users found the bugs and they were fixed - very quickly. If someone cannot cope with this they should wait to upgrade until other hardier souls, or people not running mission critical systems, found the bugs.

Linux has been a dynamic and vigorous ecosystem. Linus found exactly the right formula to manage it. If the genes that made this possible are linked to others like sweariness then "ce la vie". Deal with it. Don't try to put ridiculous code into the system, and just grin and say sorry if you inadvertently do so.

Which makes one wonder how in hell we got stuck with pulseaudio and systemd! :-)

Dick move: Navy flyboy flings firmament phallus for flabbergasted folk



It's amazing really that such a familiar object should cause such a furore. To quote from an alleged medical lecture, the object in question is found on approximately half the population and spends a great deal of its time inside the other half!

OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering


Re: Feat of engineering

And then you can lose it.

ARM chip OG Steve Furber: Turing missed the mark on human intelligence


Number of cores

Not all of the brain is concerned with reasoning. A goodly portion is "engine management" of the body. Without entering the other arguments in this thread I would venture that, based on the author's calculations, they will end up with a "brain" bigger than a human's.

Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code


Starting Out

Many of these posts could be slightly modified and used in explaining why

print "hello world"

is a useless exercise.

Don't we have to start somewhere?

F-35 firmware patches to be rolled out 'like iPhone updates'


Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

Man, are you an optimimist!

Foxit PDF Reader is well and truly foxed up, but vendor won't patch



Can't beat Okular under KDE on Debian.

Clear August 21 in your diary: It's a total solar eclipse for the smart



This phenomenon will be due to a newly hatched turtle flying over the Disc and temporarily occluding the sun.

Didn't anybody pay attention in class? :-)

iRobot just banked a fat profit. And it knows how to make more: Sharing maps of your homes


I suppose that the next step could well be that if you drop your keys it will photograph them and send the photo off for making copies..

Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise



A well placed tantrum can be more effective than a cold sarcastic statement. Linus seems to know this and uses it effectively.


I look forward to his post when systemd *really* gets his goat.



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