* Posts by Malcolm Weir

1038 publicly visible posts • joined 23 May 2007


Apple cuts hundreds of jobs after ditching the car project and more

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

"However, it is worth remembering that the notices only apply to California and Apple's Santa Clara operations".

Correct if you read that as "these notices only apply"...

The Federal WARN act exists, but because it only applies when more than 500 jobs are lost it's less often implicated. BUT since 600 is greater than 500, an Apple employee in Texas (for example) who's losing his job as part of this round of cuts would be covered by the Federal version of the act (even if the other 599 employees were in California).

So the fact that Federal WARN notices for non-California employees have not been found suggests that the losses are only in California, because the California notices satisfy the Federal requirement.

(It's entirely possible that significant non-California employees are impacted by whatever it is that is causing this, but it is also possible that e.g. non-California groups got re-tasked en masse, so no layoffs are likely).

Developers beware, Microsoft's domain shakeup is coming soon

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

They can't: Montserrat is part of the UK

The other issue is that the GDP may not be enormous, but the capital wealth "domiciled" there is... significant. See also the island of Jersey....

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

They're just mad they can't use MS.COM.

(If they were Musk, they'd use it anyway and let Morgan Stanley deal with chaos.)

Ukraine claims Russian military is using Starlink

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: How about

Who is "they"? The Soviet (sorry, Russian) conscripts who appear ill-equipped and poorly trained? I agree, there's grave doubt operational commands from Comrade Colonel Boss are passed through Starlink, but I have zero doubt that emails and the Chinese WeChat messages and video calls home to mom do...

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Rumor has it that there are countries with air and space-borne assets that listen to things happening on the ground. Those countries might choose not to comment on things they know because they'd rather know the things than have the peeps on the ground know they know the things.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Quite a lot, actually. When the US Government is your major customer and entirely incidentally the regulatory agency covering inauguration and operation of your product, you do want to walk a fine line between doing what they ask and adhering to whatever principles you may have picked up over the past couple of days doomscrolling your ego-stroking toy...

(And rockets are controlled items, so Musk couldn't take his toys from the US to a different jurisdiction even if he wanted to, and he probably doesn't because approximately 100% of operational SpaceX launches use US government assets -- the Eastern and Western ranges, to name but two...)

You're not imagining things – USB memory sticks are getting worse

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Simple solution?

Yup, for the delivery of the product. Sorry to burst the bubble, but resellers have nothing to do with warranties, only to do with delivery of what as promised.

You do, though, *also* have a contract with the manufacturer, which is where the warranty comes in. Product safety recalls happen, mysteriously without resellers getting involved. And resellers go out of business...

Incidentally, if Amazon delivers defective product, they'll pay for you to return it and credit or refund you or replace the item! Whooo-Hooo! Success! Just what people claim they don't do!

(There's a bizarre thread going on here that Amazon is simultaneously party to a contract and allegedly not honoring that contract, which is nuts because Amazon is just as subject to trading standards legislation and they know it, because they DO have L!!)

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Simple solution?

Nope. Resellers are only on the hook for 6 months (at least in the UK), which is entirely reasonable if you're not trying to bash resellers...

USB memory sticks failing after more than 6 months are therefore the problem of the manufacturer. Which was the point.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Well, given this is a UK website

Cloudfare is just a content delivery network. They'll provide delivery for any content, so where they're located is irrelevant.

The website is owned by Situation Publishing (a fact they cunning hide in the "About Us' section). The editor in chief is Chris Williams, who seems to be based in San Francisco...

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Simple solution?

Sorry for the delay...

But your assertion seems a bit suspect: in the UK, for example, the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 imposes obligations on the retailer for a period of 6 months (Part I, Chapter 2, Subsection 14). Every other obligation is on the manufacturer, and it is unquestionable that a solid-state memory device failing sooner than expected (which is what we're talking about) is much more likely to be a warranty issue, not a trading issue.

So the situation where fake goods are delivered in place of genuine would indeed be a reseller problem (as long as the "fakeness" is real; I see a lot of cases where low-duty-cycle products are expected to behave like high-duty-cycle ones, which often results in a "caveat emptor" situation where a product was not fit for the purpose the purchaser intended, but the reseller had no way of knowing that). And indeed it is more than a little dishonest to pretend that Amazon et al don't address these sorts of problems (post-paid return shipping, refunds to original methods of payment as well as store credit, etc). I mean, Amazon does operate outside of the US, so to use your words, Amazon handles situations in precisely the same way as any other reseller where "consumer law in may more civilized locations around the globe works".

Or are you alleging that Amazon (et al.) in the UK, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway etc. do NOT adhere to local consumer law?

So it appears to me that you are unaware of how companies like Amazon operate, how consumer law operates, etc and are just eager to bash Amazon. And indeed there are plenty of things for which Amazon-bashing is appropriate, but those do not seem to have anything to do with the situation under discussion.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Simple solution?

So your plan is to hold the reseller liable for wholesalers or manufacturers malicious or unintended failures or side-effects? That would certainly reduce Amazon's pervasiveness in the market, but with the added consequence of eliminating all resellers entirely!

Raspberry Pi Pico cracks BitLocker in under a minute

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

While it may be unpopular to note this...

Even with this vulnerability, it is worth noting that using BitLocker with this type of TPM offers security benefits:

1: Once removed from the PC, the storage device is unreadable without either the TPM or the recovery key.

2: Purging the TPM renders the storage device unreadable without the recovery key.

So while imperfect (oh, how imperfect) systems with this TPM/BitLocker setup are pretty good at avoiding the formerly ubiquitous "I bought a job lot of e-waste and now I know your bank details" problem.

(For any kind of non-trivial security, you need a 2FA approach of some kind, and I'm of the old school which believes that the 2 in 2FA means two factors _in addition to the thing being unlocked_. So a SmartCard and PIN, for example. Somewhat to my horror, I've been seeing people claiming a dongle + a laptop is a 2FA solution, because you need the dongle and the PC to get the data).

Developer's default setting created turbulence in the flight simulator

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Fuses?

Yup. That's exactly what happens.

You are apparently unaware that the people who spend time in the simulator _also_ spend time in another environment that includes absolutely no big red buttons? Or is it your contention that the other environment is a "multi million dollar / pound / Euro lawsuit waiting to happen".

Still, the difference between the two environments is that the simulator has limits that it cannot exceed. The real environment is limited only by the physical world.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Fuses?

Flight simulators (in service) always have a ground team monitoring (and exercising) the training crew. That's the point. They aren't toys for wannabe pilots to play with!

We put salt in our tea so you don't have to

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Here in Blighty

Don't you think that Hibiscus design is perhaps a touch gauche? Surely the Intaglio is a preferable choice? Of course, I'm of the school of thought that if one is going to buy luxury items, far better that the hoi polloi don't recognize what they're seeing!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: "if you don't like how tea tastes, no one's forcing you to drink it"


Last week I joked to my hosts in India that the whole colonization thing has come full circle! I mean, the UK is run (possibly using that term loosely) by the spouse of an affluent Indian citizen. Granted, her spouse is an ex-pat whose family settled outside the Indian homeland, but that's the case with the Mayor of London, too.

I think it was Tom Sharpe who commented on one of his Little Englander characters that rather than the "<pejorative> begin at Calais", these days they rather end there...

[ To be clear, I don't think the national or cultural origin of Sunak -- or indeed Khan -- has any bearing on their job performance. Everybody deserves to be judged on their abysmal results... ]

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Her opinon on a perfect cup of tea

The most common example of water-from-tap business is where the tap is attached to a coffee maker (usually plumbed-in). The concept is that the water from the tap (usually with a red knob) is the same temperature as the water that hits the coffee grounds in the brew filter.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Apparently, sprouts have been bio-engineered to be less bitter than they were in the last millennium.

(Note in this case the bio-engineering was the boring cross-breeding to produce new cultivars).

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Pointless if potless

Japanese tea culture generally uses lower-temperature water (about 80C, if I recall correctly). For every Brit asserting that the water must be boiling, there's a Japanese tea guru demanding that it isn't!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Pointless if potless

I have contemplated getting a 208V socket added to my (US) kitchen, so I can power a BritKettle (tm). I believe I have 208V to the hob, so it's more a matter of ensuring the socket is installed per building regs and the owner (i.e. me) does the dodgy part to put a US plug on a British kettle (or install a US->UK plug adapter on the wall, so I can just plug the BritKettle in).

However, one of the perpetually amusing things with these sorts of tea (or coffee) making rituals is they often get very excited about how the water must be boiling... but who tells the tea leaf whether the water was boiling or just off? Obviously, no-one, so the real message is that the hotter the water, the faster the brew and the less likely the result will taste "stewed", and the "hottest" water (ignoring superheating, etc) means boiling water. This is of some relevance to me, as it's well know that water boils at 93.8C [1]!

Which leads to the conundrum: is it worth getting the 208V socket in order to get water at less than 94C? My suspicion is that it's probably not, and the effort would likely be better spent getting a "boiling tap" added to the sink for the equally important task of making peas...

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Pointless if potless

Yup... power is power: Brit 13A socket @ 240V = 3120W. Yankee 15A socket @ 110V = 1650W. Usually each is implemented as a bit less (e.g. 3000W and 1500W, respectively).

The only advantage to using a microwave per advice from the US Embassy London is that you tend to only heat a cupful; functionally the thing is only delivering the same power (granted the power transfer into the water is more efficient, but the generation of the waves is less efficient than just an electric heating element).

Daughter of George Carlin horrified someone cloned her dad with AI for hour special

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

There's a typo in the second paragraph: it reads "The show, titled "George Carlin: I'm Glad I'm Dead," was uploaded on Tuesday to YouTube by actor and comedian Will Sasso and podcaster Chad Kultgen.",

which should of course be:

"The show, titled "George Carlin: I'm Glad I'm Dead," was uploaded on Tuesday to YouTube by sleezeball and plagiarist Will Sasso and slimebucket Chad Kultgen."

Nearly 200 Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes grounded after door plug flies off mid-flight

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Nearly 200 Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes grounded after door plug flies off mid-flight

You might think so, but the hole in the fuselage is specifically designed for an emergency exit, and those work better if they open outwards.

You can Google a 737 Max (-8) doing an evacuation at Stockholm last month; it's a "Ryanair Buzz" aircraft, which sounds like a low-cost version of Ryanair but may be something different!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: oh it will not propogate

Although it's called a plug, it's really more of a hatch that can be opened (with a bit of messing around with the interior insulation, etc).

The seat count issue has been addressed else-post, but the point of this hole in the fuselage is that if you want more than 189 seats in the aircraft, you need an additional pair of emergency exits, and this is where they go. So Thai Lion Air currently operates three 737 Max-9's, but all theirs are configured for 221 seats, so the exit is installed and they aren't impacted by the emergency directive.

The Max-9 broadly exists as a 757-200 replacement, with similar capabilities but lower operating costs.

Another airline finds loose bolts in Boeing 737-9 during post-blowout fleet inspections

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

In an extraordinary turn of events, Boeing Commercial's president actually _cancelled_ an executive retreat with his VPs so that he could travel to the Renton factory to fly the flag, as it were.

Driverless cars swerve traffic tickets in California even if they break the law

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: How to improve AI training in one easy step

This is the case in the UK with regard to traffic cameras and indeed parking enforcement. Start with the owner...!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: human motorists

Not only the providers, but also the owner who allowed the autonomous car to do whatever it was doing when it broke the law.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: If Corporations Are People

You're correct that corporations are people, but for reasons that pre-date Citizens United (2010); all that case did was assert that _because_ corporations are people, _then_ they have the same free speech rights as human, specifically with regard to election funding (I agree that it was idiotic, as non-US-citizens are also people, but can't fund US election campaigns).

The case that concludes that corporate personhood was a thing was an earlier case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company. At the time, Southern Pacific was controlled by a group of four businessmen: Charles Crocker (of Crocker Bank and Wells Fargo notoriety), Leland Stanford (founded a university), Mark Hopkins (after whom the San Francisco hotel is named), and Collis Huntington (uncle of the guy whose name is on the Huntington Collection in San Marino, CA). Collectively these four were known as the "Big Four"... of the Robber Barons.

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company was decided in 1886 (118 U.S. 394, 396).

NAT, ATM, decentralized search – and other outrageous opinions from the 1990s

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Year End Reminiscing

As engineers, we tend to like elegant and efficient solutions. But time after time it turns out that inelegant and/or inefficient approaches Work Just Fine if you throw enough resources at the problem, which is usually easier and often much cheaper. For example, Fibre Channel is extremely elegant as a technology, but for only a trivial amount of money you can get an appreciable fraction of a terabit of Ethernet, which will sledgehammer the problem; deterministic solutions are great, but with enough gigahertz cores you can sweep most of those concerns under the rug; spatial efficiency is cool, but another few gigabytes isn't going to break the bank... etc.

Amazon on the hook for predictably revolting use of concealed clothes hook spy cam

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

What the article doesn't say is that at this stage, for a "motion to dismiss" to succeed, the court must treat every allegation in the complaint as true. So if the complaint alleges that Amazon encouraged the illegal use of the thing, then the court (at this stage) has to assume that's true. The next stage -- discovery -- is where the plaintiff tries to assemble supporting evidence for the allegations.

Tesla sues Swedish government after worker rebellion cripples car biz

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

The problem is in defining "too much". In principle, I agree with you, but would add that the same should be said of many types of shareholders (e.g. "wealth management" funds). Some power is good and reasonable, too much power is usually a bit of a problem.

USB Cart of Death: The wheeled scourge that drove Windows devs to despair

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Interesting story

It's also noteworthy that not every USB host port provider was entirely consistent with their reading of the OHCI standard. The Intel UHCI was better (as you had to buy a license to use it), but it wasn't until about the time of the EHCI (USB 2.0) that everyone kinda figured out how to do xHCI. And of course it was Microsoft's job to fix the problem caused by NEC/VIA/whoever producing something a bit different from Intel's version.

SpaceX celebrates Starship launch as a success – even with the explosion

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Self destruct

Boeing isn't a private company; it's a publicly-traded company (ticket "BA"). They are answerable to their shareholders, the largest of which are investment companies!

SpaceX is a private company. Also answerable to shareholders, but 70%-odd of them are called "Elon". Makes getting board approval to engage in high-risk ventures much easier: if Elon says "do it", it gets done.

And I think that's your point: the smaller the number of shareholders, the easier (defining the US government as being an entity with 300 million-odd shareholders)!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Self destruct

One minor clarification: His Muskiness doesn't have rocket scientists, but he does have Gwynne, and Gwynne Shotwell has rocket scientists!

Admin behind E-Root stolen creds souk extradited to US

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

There's also the "triangulation" method, which was used for the Silk Road admin: piece together likely public access hotspots, and then stake them out!

Human knocks down woman in hit-and-run. Then driverless Cruise car parks on top of her

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Yes, there are more fuel-based fires. But battery fires are massively harder to contain and extinguish. So a useful metric might be firefighter-hours to handle each type...

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: My first thought ...

I wonder if the peculiarity is a consequence of Cruise imposing restrictions on the use of their data, which would be atypical (generally the cops just get a warrant and say "gimme") but I could imagine a scenario where Cruise claims the data contains proprietary info and negotiate restrictions. They certainly have clout with the local authorities which might have prompted kid gloves...

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: "Should the Cruise car have not started moving if there was a person still on the crosswalk?"

Not sure why you think the OneWheel recall is relevant... Most models can be patched, so will be returned to use following the software update.

FEMA to test emergency alert system US-wide today

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

We got one of each.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: My only question is WHY?

Yup, and for example in mountain ranges there are lots of "shadows" that will provide shelter.

Unfortunately, I'm sitting less than 20km from _that_ mountain.

Oh, well.

DISH must pay for bungled orbit change in landmark space debris penalty

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

I wonder if the calculus for the fine was based on an assessment that DISH should have retired the spacecraft a while earlier but opted to use propellant for station-keeping instead of orbit-raising, and so bought themselves X days/weeks/months of operational service life. And while $150K may not be hugely significant, but it may be a significant message that this sort of calculation won't work going forward.

Oracle at Europe's largest council didn't foresee bankruptcy

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Overall, I've seen reports that two factors are in play as reasons why the council was insolvent:

An equal pay legal bill, amounting to £760m or so of unexpected expense, and...

Oracle's f'up, amounting to £80m over budget.

Obviously, the core of the problem is the former. But Oracle isn't helping much!

If anyone finds an $80M F-35 stealth fighter, please call the Pentagon

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Check..

Indeed. Which is why the public appeal for information is not as daft as all that: if you were out fish-bothering, and noticed oil on the water, perhaps that is useful evidence, or perhaps it's Bubba with his 200HP bass boat...

Airbus takes its long, thin, plane on a ten-day test campaign

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: One step above a regional jet

It's actually pretty good: AA used non-XLR A321s; check out images for the A321T cabin. The First seats were awesome, and the biz were quite OK but newer, more angled designs would be even better!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Ten hours max

You do know that crew rest areas are a cabin configuration choice, right?

American Airlines use (or used) A321s for premium transcon routes (mainly LAX-JFK, but also SFO-JFK and I think LAX-MIA). These were configured with international first class seating (lie flat seats, arranged 1+1), then international business class (2+2) and finally regular coach (3+3).

Allocating one of those 1+1 seats for flight deck crew rest would be utterly routine.

(And 4700nm and Mach 0.8 would take ~10h15. So we're not dealing with a huge challenge -- worst case you'd only need the relief pilot for a couple of hours!)

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

First, although no-one would use an A321XLR on LHR-LAX, they couldn't as that sector is over 4,700nm (it's 4,741nm).

Second, there's much whining about the thing only having a single aisle. But a regular 777 has seats in 3-4-3 anyway, so it's not like your getting any less space: the 777 has 4 middle seats per row, the A321 has 2.

Key point for me would be journey time. If I can fly DEN-EDI non-stop I'll take it over faffing around in London, Amsterdam or New York.

(when aircraft type is a factor in my decision process, it's the cabin altitude that determines, not often the seat layout, although JAL's 787s win big on both...)

Start rummaging: Atari's new 2600+ console supports vintage cartridges

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: No shipping

Dig deeper.

You can buy the thing from Amazon.co.uk if you're in the UK. Similar options for Germans, French, Italians.

Non-Amazon options for Benelux, New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and Australia.

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Great job!

True. A large part of the problem circles around to the fact that governments (of pretty much any stripe) have spent years cutting revenue (i.e. taxes) and raising them to something sane is unpopular with The Man On The Street.

Of course for The Man On The Street raising the 45% rate (or even part of the 40% rate) isn't going to make much difference, but it will bring in a little more cash, which will make rebuilding schools/hospitals/the NHS/NATS/etc easier (if not easy). Still, I'm sure the 25% corporation tax rate couldn't possibly be adjusted without the country collapsing in dire despair!

Bizarrely, the corporation tax rate seems to have been over 40% in the 1980s (proprietor: M. Thatcher), which is obviously a misprint in the history books or something!

Uncle Sam accuses SpaceX of not considering asylees and refugees for employment

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: As someone

I wonder if you're misremembering something: the "unfilled job position" thing sounds more like an H-1B visa.

There are a whole bunch of ways to get a green card, including family, and (relevant here) refugee/asylum status. But one of the mechanisms is the "employment" one, but that doesn't require the same level of scrutiny as the H-1B; if you can show you're exceptional in some way, or a multinational manager or do a job that requires an advanced degree, you get higher preference than people without, but only when you get down to the "unskilled worker" level (generally) do you need a labor certification, but those are not quite the same as the H-1B certifications in various mysterious immigration ways!

Google 'wiretapped' tax websites with visitor traffic trackers, lawsuit claims

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: The Register uses Google Analytics among other tools to keep track of readership size

To be fair, this article is critical of GA in the context of financial transactions (say, tax preparation) which is not really the business El Reg is in!

At the end of the day, I'm pretty sure this website is running on one of Intel or AMD CPUs.... does that mean they can't be critical of Intel and AMD?

Fundamentally, as I see it, the dishonesty lies in not disclosing what you're doing, not the doing itself.