* Posts by dave 76

94 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jan 2010


Hundreds of workers to space out from NASA's JPL amid budget black hole

dave 76

Moon lander contracts

"Common Sense Sceptic has done a series on the moon lander contract that was awarded to SpaceX. There were supposed to be two finalists, but through some suspect dealings, SpaceX was the sole awardee and NASA didn't have the funds to properly fund that due to an insufficient appropriation from Congress. It's worth a view as it makes it plain how NASA gets whipsawed with changes in the political wind."

The amount of money initially allocated was too low for two fully formed bids but there was a widely held expectation that an old space firm would win it and continue to drain future budgets under the normal cost+ contract.

What wasn't anticipated was that SpaceX would come in with a significantly cheaper bid based on Starship so they got the contract.

Then the shenanigans started by Congress to get more money so that a second contract was awarded.

NTT Data to monitor ten million hotel guests and sell data about their sleep

dave 76

I suspect the only "new" bit in this announcement is that it is a new hotel, Ninehours has been doing this for a few years https://ninehours.co.jp/akasaka_sleeplab

Buggy app for insulin-delivery device puts diabetes patients at risk of hypoglycemia

dave 76

Re: Safety and sanity-checking

I don't use the omnipod but I have a max dosage set on my pump as a fat finger warning. I would expect that Omnipod does the same thing.

Pumps are only just starting to release software to allow management from a phone app rather than just reporting - I hope this doesn't give the manufacturers cold feet.

Japan cruises ahead with drive-thru EV charging trial

dave 76

Re: The problem you don't see

A significant proportion of Japanese homes in Tokyo do not even have parking at home, you park your car in a parking lot. I'm starting to see charging stations appear there, but is still few and far between.

Seems there is a lot of difficulty to get a working Wireless charging solution, will be interesting to see if this implementation is able to address any of the issues.

Musk's mighty missile is ready for launch once FAA says OK

dave 76

you keep asking that but they are stupid questions. I'll take one for the team and reply.

- The booster part which caused the damage to the launch pad is not going to the moon.

- The starship that will be landing on the moon will be a variant on the existing (test) starship so no one (outside of SpaceX) knows even the proposed design at the moment.

- It will be several years of testing before we get to that point and the designs will be iteratively tested and improved.

Turning a computer off, then on again, never goes wrong. Right?

dave 76

rebooting is not a 'fix'

I always tell people that rebooting doesn't fix a problem, it just makes it go away for an unspecified period of time.

Australia to phase out checks by 2030

dave 76

Re: Cheques are so dead that there are a lot of uncashed cheques in Oz

Trying to even find a bank in Australia that will let you deposit a cheque is getting harder and harder. Just HSBC and some credit unions now it seems.

The only check I get these days is from US Tax Refund (so "check" is correct in this context) but in some years, the fees to deposit a US dollar check into a Australian bank account would be greater than the refund that I am getting.

Techie sacked after jetting to tropical island on sick leave

dave 76

Techie sacked after jetting to tropical island on sick leave

"I'm not sure we know the whole story here. Is it possible that the boss was "playing favourites" and giving other colleagues preference in getting leave? That might explain why there "weren't enough staff" on two occasions (and possibly why the initial tribunal sided with Xu)."

or simply multiple people asked for the same period off before him and were granted and by the time Xu asked there was insufficient people to cover.

I've had that happen in my team a few times, it is not nice to tell people that they can't take holiday when they want to but we always remind them to ask before booking anything just in case.

Botched migration resulted in a great deal: One for the price of two

dave 76

beware energy company mergers

I sold my flat in the UK, closed off all the utilities and was happy that all was good before moving to another country on the other side of the world.

About 9 months later I started getting emails from an energy supplier that I have never used that I owed them thousands and they would be starting legal proceedings.

I called them and after going through multiple people found out that my original supplier had been sold to this new company and all the accounts transferred over, including it seems accounts that had already been closed. So they had done a meter reading and billed me for usage on an meter that they were not supplying. They were also sending the paper bills to that flat so of course I was not getting them.

I got assurances that it was now sorted and there was nothing I needed to do.

Another 6 months and the emails started again, seems they still had not sorted it out. After more conversations they wanted me to log into my online account to sort this out. I told them there was no way I was going to create an online account for a supplier I didn't use, on a flat I didn't own. That seemed to me to be a way of them trying to sneakily accept that I was receiving the bills and be liable for them.

Eventually after many more weeks and calls I managed to get them to acknowledge (using the final bill from the previous supplier and the email from my lawyer saying that the sale had been completed) that I had never been their customer and that was the end of it but it was a stressful time.

Heata offers free hot water by mounting servers on people's water tanks

dave 76

nice to see the company represented here in the comments

It's nice to see the company represented here in the comments - At least, from what he is saying, I assume it is the same Chris Jordan.

Chris, how many units do you have installed so far and how is it tracking compared to projections?

Cleaner ignored 'do not use tap' sign, destroyed phone systems ... and the entire building

dave 76

Re: Water and IT

We had a Data Centre on the 3rd floor and the sprinklers went off on the 14th floor over the weekend. By the time the water got to the DC, it had accumulated a lot of carpet fibers and plaster from the ceiling tiles and found its way through a crack in the concrete floor and straight over the top of the main computer.

Needless to say, that machine did not survive and within a few weeks there was waterproofing urgently applied to the ceiling of the DC.

When we asked how you crashed the system we wanted an explanation not a demonstration

dave 76

After he proved he could screw up with hardware, they gave him the opportunity to screw up with software too. That's all round training!

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them

dave 76

skip the front page

"Ïnterestingly, I often miss seeing the BOFH, On Call and Who, Me? in the main articles. They only ever seem to appear at the very top row in "!popular" or whatever it's named now. Rather than having stories posted in order of publication, they seem to be interspersed with stories being "pushed" at the audience. I find that distracting and it makes me even less likely to read them,"

Go straight to https://www.theregister.com/Week instead, you will be thankful.

Remote work wipes $453b off office real estate

dave 76

Pension Funds are investors too

As the article points out, a lot of the investors in Commercial Real Estate are pension funds because normally it is a good long term investment.

So this will affect us, just not immediately.

NASA, SpaceX weigh invoking Dragon to take Hubble higher

dave 76

Re: The big

Jared Isaacman and the Polaris Program have already planned to do an EVA from a Dragon next year.

In their previous mission they tested the Dragon going high enough to be able to reach Hubble.

So yes, there is lots of complexity to be worked through but planning is already underway.

US court backs FCC decision to let SpaceX fly Starlink sats at lower altitudes

dave 76

if you are going to complain to the courts....

There are a multitude of things that you can rightly accuse Musk of doing but this one seems like a perfectly reasonable decision. Viasat should have turned up with a stronger argument.

Lapping the computer room in record time until the inevitable happens

dave 76

I was an operator on a site with Wang minicomputers in the 90's. The Wang computers had exchangeable disk packs which needed to be swapped occasionally and we got in the habit of sliding across the floor in our socks and hitting the unload button on the way past.

This wasn't a problem until the time I accidently hit the poweroff button (no Molly guards in those days) instead of the unload button.

Good thing there was two set of doors between us and the users so they had no idea what had happened just that we were working to fix it.

Blood pressure monitor won't arrive for Apple Watch before 2024 – report

dave 76

Re: ...measure blood glucose levels using non-invasive methods...

If I am just doing finger prick tests, I am testing 8-10 times per day.

If I have a CGM on, that is sampling every 5 minutes so 288 times per day.

You can do more trending and tighter control with more data.

CGM/Libre is expensive though and if any smartwatch came out out with a reasonably accurate measurement system, I would be in the queue on Day 1.

'Virtually no difference' between AI and humans in diagnosing prediabetes

dave 76

changing habits

"What percentage of people who are told they have pre-diabetes make diet and lifestyle changes to improve their insulin response and avoid getting full-blown diabetes? Because from what I can tell, it's hardly any."

I know of two people who did, they both dramatically changed their diet and added exercise and are no longer considered at risk. Those are exceptions though.

I often tell people that in some senses it is easier managing being Type 1 than Type 2 (I am Type 1). If a Type 1 doesn't manage their levels, they get immediate feedback - Hypos or excessive blood sugars. If we don't do anything about it, we are hospitalised within a week.

A type 2 however doesn't get to see the consequences of their lifestyle for years and by then it is too late. And we all know how difficult it is to change lifestyle habits without feedback or reinforcement.

I would not wish anyone to get Type 1 - but if you have it, it is never far from your mind so you have to deal with it.

Singapore monetary authority threatens action on bank over widespread phishing scam

dave 76

Re: Follow the money.

"Yes the person could do a zillion digital transfers to try & mask the money, but every single digital-transfer will leave a digital trail to follow. Manual withdrawls should result in the video evidence local law enforcement can use to find the local perp."

That's assuming that it hasn't bounced through a bank account in a country that won't give up details, or a digital only bank account where KYC wasn't done properly, or the money used to buy bitcoin....

Money Laundering is an issue that has been been going on for years for huge sums of money and is not yet a solved problem. If it appears simple to you, that's because you don't understand financial fraud in the real world.

NASA delays crewed Moon landing until 2025, citing technical infeasibility

dave 76

Re: So NASA will *never* make it to the Moon

"We've landed a Starship once from 10km, it needs to land 100s if not 1000s of times from orbital velocities before you put people anywhere near riding on top of it"

How many times did Apollo, Soyuz, Shuttle, or Dragon land before putting people on them?

yes, a number of trips will be required but 100s of times is over egging it a bit.

Client-side content scanning is an unworkable, insecure disaster for democracy

dave 76

I'm normally fairly happy to upgrade to Apple's new releases when they come out but I've decided to not upgrade to iOS15 - which also means that I won't be replacing my iDevices like I had planned.

Yes I know that this scanning has been put on hold, but I bet that it is still in the software and just requires a simple switch to turn on. I'm not happy to give them the opportunity.

I am just one person with a couple of devices, but if sufficient people jump off the upgrade train at this point, it may force Apple to consider how it assures people that this functionality will not be slipped in the back door.

The planet survived six hours without Facebook. Let's make it longer next time

dave 76

Re: Without Facebook...

"While this is undoubtedly true for some, for many of us social media allows us to stay in touch with family and friends no matter where they live. I have family that lives all over the U.S. and even one family member in South America. It would be extremely difficult to stay in touch with all of them on a regular basis without social media."

My immediate family live in enough countries that the sun virtually never sets on us. We seem to do fine with SMS, email, video conference calling.

It all depends on how much you want to change - I agree the least resistance option for many is facebook, but it really doesn't take much to not use it.

I would drive 100 miles and I would drive 100 more just to be the man that drove 200 miles to... hit the enter key

dave 76

London to Milan via Frankfurt

I was scheduled to fly from London to Milan to help setup a new office when we had some issues with a Sun Server in our Frankfurt office not responding.

After spending several hours on the phone to the desktop support person in the office including getting them to power cycle the server and not getting anywhere, we decided that I would fly to Frankfurt, deal with that issue and then head onto Milan.

Got to Frankfurt and into the office to find that the keyboard for the Sun was unplugged - if anyone remembers those early Sun boxes, they did not like to come up without a keyboard.

Plugged the keyboard in, rebooted the server and back to the airport - total time in the office about 15 mins.

Fired credit union employee admits: I wiped 21GB of files from company's shared drive in retaliation

dave 76

Re: Rather moronic

"but I know that in the UK and EU it can be literally months, especially if the employer initiates the separation. Is the expectation that the employee doesn't actually show up for work during the notice period and the pay for that length of time is severance? Because certainly I have never had a job I could do, at all, without access to my employer's computer systems."

Yes it happens in the UK, people can be put on gardening leave and basically get paid to sit at home until the end of their notice period. They are not able to start another job in the meantime because they are still employed.

Often the company and employee will negotiate to reduce this amount of time for a cash payout.

SCO v. IBM settlement deal is done, but zombie case shuffles on elsewhere

dave 76

Re: Red dress?

it's a pity there isn't a way to reward PJ for all her hard work on Groklaw, it was really informative and easy to follow.

If you are out there PJ, many, many people appreciate what you did with this case.

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, professor warns

dave 76

Re: I'm sure this builds on Apple's robust and secure Face ID tech ...

You can check a bit.ly url by appending a + to it. This causes bit.ly to show you the original URL and the date it was created.


It's not worth the effort, I just ignore all bit.ly links and never follow them. If it is important, send me the full link so that I can at least visually verify that it is going to the right site.

Report: Aussie biz Azimuth cracked San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, ending Apple-FBI privacy standoff

dave 76

Re: iOS updates

"I always ask when I can: is there a basis for the general public to know that an iOS version is eligible for updates, besides (1) it is the latest version and there isn't a new iPhone due in the near future, or (2) it got an update not very long ago?

I haven't seen it published,"

I can only assume you haven't looked very hard because even the briefest of searches ("supported iOS versions") gives you pages from wikipedia and from Apple themselves as to which versions are currently supported on which phones.

iOS 12, 13, 14 are currently supported.

Australian ponders requiring multiple IDs to sign up for social media, plus more crypto-busting backdoors

dave 76

Laming quite helpfully demonstrated that even having your account in your real name doesn't stop you harassing people - but does shows that eventually there can be consequences.

Clothes retailer Fatface: Someone's broken in and accessed your personal data, including partial card payment details... Don't tell anyone

dave 76

Re: Please do keep this email and the information included within it strictly private...

"Now when a message leaks, you can instantly identify the leaker."

And then what? You sent me an unsolicited email asking me to keep it confidential which I shared. What are you going to do now?

I never agreed to you catagorising the issue as confidential. The worst you can do is refuse to accept my future business, which I am unlikely to give to you anyway after this fiasco.

Starlink's latent China crisis could spark a whole new world of warcraft

dave 76

Re: Its very easy to detect ground based broadcasts

"The current scare tactic is for crapita to send scary looking letters out to everyone who hasn't bought a tv licence, threatening to open an investigation, or maybe send someone round. The letters can be safely ignored (I haven't received any since i burned the last batch). Someone once did come round whilst I was in. I let them in to show them the back of my telly, where I had removed the tuner head so it was unable to receive broadcasts"

Your first instinct is correct, why let them in? you are not required to prove you don't have a TV, just send them on their way.

If they want to waste money continually sending you threatening letters then that's their own problem.

Pure frustration: What happens when someone uses your email address to sign up for PayPal, car hire, doctors, security systems and more

dave 76

Re: Doesn't just happen with email

I left the UK and closed my account with my energy provider. That provider subsequently got sold to another energy provider who setup an account for me and 12 months later started sending me emails saying that my account was overdue to the tune of £280

I'm still working through trying to convince them that I do not live in the UK and just because they automatically created an account for me, I am not going to logon to it.

I don't know how the account has been accumulating so much, maybe the person who now lives in my old place hasn't setup new utility accounts - or the energy provider is just incompetent.

Azure in Spaaaaaaaaace: Microsoft signs up with SpaceX's satellite net constellation Starlink

dave 76

Re: Wait... what?

you may have missed the point.

This is about being able to drop a Modular Data Center (a DC in a container) anywhere which provides local computing power. It then utilises Starlink to be able to communicate to the rest of the world.

Starlink provides much easier connectivity than running a landline though what might be difficult territory and more bandwidth than a satellite phone connection.

yes, it's a press release but it does promise improvements for some customers (maybe military, remote mining etc)

Academics: We hate to ask, but could governments kindly refrain from building giant data-slurping, contact-tracing coronavirus monsters?

dave 76

Re: haven't heard a good reason why this isn't simply GPS based

GPS can be wildly innacurate - up to 100 meters error

And yet a GPS track of my morning run is almost 100% accurate, so its evidently possible to work out from the data where someone has walked or ran in most instances.

Doesn't work well in dense urban environments with lots of tall buildings

And yet it works perfectly in London which is the densest built city with the highest buildings in the country.

GPS doesn't tell you *where* in the building you are though. I don't need an alert that I have been in close contact with someone on level 20 when I live on level 5.

Bluetooth LE gives you close accuracy, it's not perfect but it is a lot better than GPS.

No backdoors needed: Apple ditched plans to fully encrypt iCloud backups after heavy pressure from FBI – claim

dave 76

seems like a reasonable compromise

if you want secure backups that cannot be accessed, backup to iTunes locally.

If you want the convenience of cloud backups, you take the risk that it can be accessed by law enforcement.

At least the options are clear and it is easy to make a choice as to which one you want to use.

Squirrel away a little IT budget for likely Brexit uncertainty, CIOs warned

dave 76

Re: I blame Borris

"If you are referring to Jacob Rees Mogg, he is the Right Honourable Member for the eighteenth century - so he'll have nothing to do with this modernist 19th century rubbish."

I was very depressed the day that I found out the Jacob Rees Mogg was actually *younger* than me :-(

Wham, bam, thank you scram button: Now we have to go all MacGyver on the server room

dave 76

Re: Not his fault really

"I am amazed when I hear all these stories about unprotected master shut down buttons. I think I've only ever seen one such button without a cover, in dozen of datacenters I've been in."

In one building where I worked (back in the 80's), the computer room isolate was just *outside* the Ops room and was triggered at least twice by people thinking it was the button to get our attention. It certainly did that!

The silence of the racks is deafening, production gear has gone dark – so which wire do we cut?

dave 76

Re: Spanner in the works


and when he went to throw the main breaker somehow he managed to short the main power leads with the spanner. There was a huge bang and the flash lit up the room brighter than the brightest welding arc I have seen; then the room fell into a deathly silence. The sparky was thrown across the room

The hospital reported that he had received flash burns to his retinas. He did recover his sight eventually. The spanner was found later that day and was missing a full half inch of metal from one of the lugs.


I had an almost identical situation working for a Visa Data Processing Centre in NZ - those antipodean sparkies! We had a couple of massive generators outside for weeks while the power distribution room was being completely gutted and rebuilt but at least no one died

Thanks for all those data-flow warnings, UK.gov. Now let's talk about your own Brexit prep. Yep, just as we thought

dave 76

Re: Brexit updates ...

> So your saying the remainer PM with the remainer civil service is making a mess of negotiating after not listening to the leavers who were doing a fair job? Shocked I tell you!

If that is truely believed that May is a remainer by Brexit MP's then why was vote to kick her out so badly organised?

Worried about Brexit food shortages? North Korean haute couture has just the thing

dave 76

"Meh, fine with me. Just mandate that any food gets a big sticker stuck on it with the food standards applied to it, and who certifies those standards are being met."

You can bet that won't happen. They will lobby hard to avoid anything that could enable people to identify the product negatively.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?

dave 76

Re: Try

so whatever Google says is reality?

Other search engines (eg duckduckgo) are available.

Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

dave 76

Re: Perhaps I need a forwarding email address for every shop

"yourname+anythingyoulike@yourdomain.com will be delivered to yourname@yourdomain; but you can still see the originally used recipient name, so when you get spam/phishing to, for instance, yourname+CW@yourdomain you know who leaked it."

Except that is so well known that I would expect any malicious spam merchants to sanitise the email address by removing the +anythingyoulike so that your sorting/spam rules don't work.

Go park yourself: Brit firm flashes self-parking car tech

dave 76

Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

"A couple of years back I considered joining a car club. Which is ,in effect, CaaS. But the penalties for any kind of spill etc. put me straight off the idea. I don't usually spill stuff, but I might. And the idea of having to be so specially carefully precious was too stressful, it put me right off."

Honestly, how much of a problem is that really? Modern car mats are pretty easy to clean off and if I was transporting anything potentially seriously messy (paint maybe), then I put it on a spillsheet or in a cardboard box.

I've been a member of car clubs for over 10 years and have never made a serious mess or seen a car in that state. It's not something I stress about.

"The main car has a boot full of supermarket bags and anything I might need for the day, including lunch, stationary and notes, even an umbrella at times, and a glove box with routine essentials ( including headache tablets spare leads etc.). In my youth I used to carry a shaver in the car. My daughter has pretty much an entire set of therapy resources stored in hers. A car isn't just a way to get oneself from A to B, like a personal taxi service. It's an extension of our lives. At the very least it has to contain what you need for the day, if you are away from home for your 8 hours or so."

If you use your car as a mobile cupboard I can see why CaaS is not for you, but there are enough people who don't need to carry their entire life with them at all times that CaaS works.

Like anything, this is horses for courses. Not everyone will adopt CaaS but for a significant proportion of people, it is a perfectly viable option.

All your base are belong to us: Strava exercise app maps military sites, reveals where spies jog

dave 76

Re: Fail!

"In defence, as someone who uses said app and has bought a watch specifically for the task of GPS tracking running & cycling (and swimming, but, it transpires GPS doesn't penetrate water that well, a mere seconds thought beforehand would've made the counter assumption obvious I guess)."

Put the watch under your swim cap and it should work while swimming.

These diabetes pumps obey unencrypted radio commands – which is, frankly, f*%king stupid

dave 76

Re: Has anyone here actually dealt with the FDA?

in the newer Medtronic pumps they have disabled some of the remote features for security but although I have one, I am planning to move back to the less secure model which does allow remote control of dosing levels.

Why? Because there are open source projects like openAPS to enable smarter control of the pump and to create an almost closed loop insulin delivery system. I consider that to be much more important to me than if someone wants to play silly buggers with my pump.

Tim Cook's answer to crashing iPhone sales: More iPhones

dave 76


maybe Apple has looked at the sales numbers and decided that sufficient people are using Bluetooth headphones now that dumping the 3.5 jack is possible.

It seems from most of the commentators that the expectation is that people must have wired connections, I use both wired and bluetooth earphones and in most mobile environments the bluetooth is clear enough that I don't miss the wired and the battery life is longer than a day.

Bah humbug. It's Andrew's Phones of the Year

dave 76

Re: Since Xiaomi have lost their way, Huawei is "it"

"SWMBO is Chinese, so it is very difficult to sort out her phone problems when the phone is displaying Chinese text, ESPECIALLY if I am not familiar with the Apple OS."

My son runs his iPhone in Japanese and if he needs help with it, he switches the language to English and hands it to me. It's one setting to switch the iPhone fully from one language to another.

That happens to be the reason my wife brought an iPhone instead of an android. We looked at a number of phones but the switching languages and keyboards was a bit of a pain on android. We even went to the Samsung flagship store to ask if there was an easier way that we were missing. That was a couple of years ago now so probably much better not, but at the time it was a deal killer.

BlackBerry to bug out of Pakistan by end of year

dave 76

BB Messenger vs BES

I believe that the difference is between BB Messenger and Blackberry Enterprise Service.

With BB Messenger, the keys are held by BB so they can decrypt messages.

With BES, the keys are held on the Enterprise server which is in the customer's possession so BB can't decrypt.

Two different services.

Apple 5S still best-selling smartphone 8 months after launch

dave 76

Re: As Winston (reputedly) once said...

"(for example the upper case keys representing lower case is plain retarded)."

You may consider it retarded but anyone who has a PC or a featurephone or a typewriter is well use to keys being only represented in uppercase.

Yes it would be nice for it to change but I think it will take a while yet.

Apple ebook price-fix settlement: Readers get $400m, lawyers $50m

dave 76

and the result is...

Amazon can now agressively shaft the publishers and their authors.

These days I am only buying ebooks through publishers websites (TOR etc) or through collections such as Humble Bundle - I'm not supporting Amazon, Apple or Google on this. I'm buying more physical books (from an actual bookshop) than I am ebooks.

Handing a monopoly to any one reseller is a bad idea so I am doing my part to support the smaller parties.