* Posts by xeroks

327 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Jun 2010


The price of freedom turned out to be an afternoon of tech panic


Re: D'oh

" Excel was just a step, not the destination"

Sometimes there's a LOT of stopping on that step. It may be halfway down the stairs, but that's where people like to sit if they think the shonky workaround is good enough for customers.

Verizon to 'sunset' Blue Jeans vidconf platform


that's a shame

We previously used Blue Jeans (with its amusing abbreviation) at work. It was actually pretty good. The audio in particular was (in later iterations) awesome, particularly when wearing stereo headphones. They'd really sorted out cleaning up the sound from all the attendee's mics, and had the tech to place them precisely in audio space. It was really impressive.

Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings


Re: Real Sanitizers

The new Zaphod configuration was one of DNA's contributions, He was never concerned with tweaking stuff until it was right, and hadn't been happy with Zaphod being able to pass as human on Earth unnoticed.

How a dispute over IP addresses led to a challenge to internet governance


Power of the individual.

The thing that intrigues me about this is that it all appears to be the work of one person (plus a couple of contractors) who managed to grab a big bunch of IP addresses, and is doing his best to monetise them.

I doubt he's actually raking in the $14m-$21m revenues the figures suggest, but, presuming he has few if any employees, he's likely to be nicely well off.

Take a 14-mile trip on an autonomous Scottish bus starting next month


interesting route to chose

That bus is going to be riding along some highly congested roads, particularly during peak times. Admittedly, it won't be going fast, so that's in it's favour.

China unveils massive blockchain cluster running homebrew tech


Re: Small question...

a blockchain with a centralised authority doesn't require anywhere near the same computation. Yes, it's more than a plain old commit, but not much.


Re: Small question...

I don't think they trust anyone. This actually doesn't sound unreasonable, especially compared to the UK's constant requests to backdoor encryption.


Re: Small question...

The only advantage I can see for blockchain here is that it makes transactions less modifyable than simple entries in a table.

With table entries, someone with suitable access can edit that record however they wish. With blockchain - as i understand it - you'd have to roll that change right through all subsequent transactions.

Let me X-plane: Boeing R&D unit sheds rudder, ailerons, flaps for DARPA project


Re: Goo goo, gah gah

if you haven't worked out that American english and UK english are different things by now, there's no help for you.

It's a quote from Graham Drozeski, an american with a PhD. he's not stupid, or a child. He simply uses language in a different way from you.

Disruptive innovation's like a party. It's always happening elsewhere


What's "the meteor strike of World War II?"

presumably not the Gloucester Meteor?

Big Tech is building the metaverse of its own dreams. You don't want to go there


Re: Apples "Envisioning"

The Creative music player was rust based, and predated the ipod.

The UI was clunky though, not a patch on the ipod's wheel (which _was_ a great innovation).

The Creative player was bulkier and awkward. It looked like consumer devices of the time, like portable CD players.

The look of the iPod was its other big innovation - it blew most other consumer products away.

US Army drone crashes hours ahead of breaking flight duration record


They may have 1500 hours of data...

... but I suspect the final few minutes will be the ones with the most attention.

It's a pretty impressive feat.

My mind was boggled, though, by those details about the record they were chasing.

Keep your cables tidy. You never know when someone might need some wine


Re: Additional Customs clearance chargers

the whole import & export of hardware can be fraught with entirely legal difficulties, never mind illegal ones. I've heard of servers & laptops being confiscated -legally - by governments. And we're not talking third world governments here: I'm sure the US was one of the worst culprits.

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint


Other VBA limit

I used to maintain an excel app with a VBA form which at one point broke the limit of controls on it. There were thousands on it.

I don't recall whether it was memory or simply the count that caused the issue.

Supercomputer pinpoints exact origin of 'Black Beauty' meteorite from Mars


Re: OK, stupid question time

It's not a stupid question to my mind, but my expection was that there was a reasonable explanation to be had.

My follow-up stupid question is: how did someone know to pick this particular stone up and investigate where it came from? And give it a name?

Behold: The first images snapped by the James Webb Space Telescope



"a *long* time ago in a galaxy far, far away."

AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem


Re: The real issue

Having a constantly running and internal state is a facet of an animal consciousness, but does it need to be for a machine?

It may only require that its state is changed as new information is received, maybe with the equivalent of a regular reindex.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout


Re: Full names please.......

The correct response to 'Sorry lads, if yer name ain't daaaan, you ain't comin' in' is

"We're here to *Get Daan*" <strikes Saturday Night Fever pose>

Apple seeks patent for 'innovation' resembling the ZX Spectrum, C64 and rPi 400


Re: Size of a real keyboard?

I had a dk tronics keyboard too, mostly because i'd hammered the grey one to death. The "real" keyboard was significantly better.

The peripherals not plugging in was a problem easily solved. Anytime I wanted to use my mate's specdrum, I just took the keyboard part of it off. By design (or fluke) the cable was long enough for the keyboard to be plugged in and usable but not actually in its proper place.

One of the nice things about the dktronics one was the power brick could be fitted inside the unit, which was much neater than having it on the floor.

IT technician jailed for wiping school's and pupils' devices


outlook and teams

If I want to use outlook or teams with my work account on my phone I must give my employer the authority to wipe my entire phone.

I imagine the same would apply to pcs, laptops. It's a data security measure. If the device were ever to be stolen or lost, someone else could access files or messages on it ( I think it's files they're most concerned about). Mostly it's to minimise the chances of sensitive data getting into the wrong hands. It's simpler applying the same rules to everyone in the organisation and not just people who might have sensitive data sent to them.

Not sure the mechanism: like many on here, I'm not going to give anyone that access thanks.

HPE has 'substantially succeeded' in its £3.3bn fraud trial against Autonomy's Mike Lynch – judge


Re: Swap him for

I believe she has already agreed to come back to face a trial.

'Can you identify your assailants?' Yes, they were pixelated! I'd know them anywhere!


7UP as a mixer

I hadn't - until now for some reason - realised how appropriate 7UP might be as an ingredient for an orgy-themed cocktail.

Anyone fancy a "Group Sex on the Beach"?

I own that $4.5bn of digi-dosh so rewrite your blockchain and give it to me, Craig Wright tells Bitcoin SV devs


I only have questions

how much bitcoinSV does he claim ownership of? Is it £16m worth or $4.5b worth? or are these valuations for different things?

And does he claim ownership over any BTC? Or do the coins he claims ownership of predate BTC?

The odd thing is that I'd have expected the inventor of crypto currency to have a working knowledge of the downsides of their design, e.g. keeping your keys and wallet secure is quite important.

Teen bought Google ad for his scam website and made 48 Bitcoins duping UK online shoppers


It would seem fair to, as far as possible, return the proceeds, where possible, to the victim of the crime. But I know that isn't going to happen.


If you're going to make a high-risk investment...

best use someone else's money.

Twitter's machine learning algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians over those on the left


Re: Black Box

weird use of the term "benign".

Promoting policies and attitudes that cause damage to people isn't harmless.


Re: Tweet Bias

Use of simple answers tends to be a tactic used by populist politics, so generally the more extreme stuff.

Maybe - because the majority of twitter is US based - there is little if anything on the extreme left-wing to balance those US far-right-wingers out. Until recently, even our tory party were to the left of anything the US have come out with.

Computer shuts down when foreman leaves the room: Ghost in the machine? Or an all-too-human bit of silliness?


Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

Oh that's interesting. I have a garage with a round-pin socket and a meter that time forgot.

I've wondered (because of the way the mains wiring is shared with neighbouring garages) whether there what the maximum power supply is supposed to be.

Upgrading all the electrics is on a to-do list somewhere. If nothing else I need to know how limited that supply is before buying that electric car.

If anyone can explain why Jupiter's Great Red Spot is spinning faster and shrinking, please speak up


Re: Green energy

"Besides that Transient Shadow last mentioned, there hath been observed, by Mr. Hook first ... and since by M. Cassini, a permanent Spot in the Disque of Jupiter."

I bet Neal Stephenson wishes he knew about this factoid while he was writing his Baroque Cycle books. It could have taken things in a very different direction.

One-size-fits-all chargers? What a great idea! Of course Apple would hate it


Re: Apple don't like it?

Although a usb-c lasts you several years, I wouldn't be surprised if your wife goes through them at the same rate as her lightning ones.

BTW I'm very much in favour of rationalising these sockets for most devices. I'm more concerned about situations where this might be wrongly applied. I'm thinking specifically about gutar pedals, which all used the same 9V round pin as they used 40 years ago or more. If the EU forced manufacturers to switch to USB-C for these, that would cause more waste rather than less.

Ofcom swears at the general public for five days during obscenity survey


Re: It's "NOB" !

Ah bless. A Beano reader.

While homophones, they're different words, with different meanings. A nob is not necessarily a knob, and a knob is not necessarily a nob. Though to be fair, the Venn diagram has an impressive intersection.

A practical demonstration of the difference between 'resilient' and 'redundant'


Re: The old demonstration of if only

I'm clearly not as au fait with stats and probability as I thought. Why only 63%?

While I understand that after 1000 rolls of that awkardly sized 1000-sided dice, there's not 100% chance of an accident, I don't understand why it's as little as 63%.

Happy birthday, Linux: From a bedroom project to billions of devices in 30 years


Re: I've got a suggestion...

That's fair.

An alternative, taking "Uncle Jack" as a proper noun, would have resulted in the "my" being spurious. So the sentence would have ended up as "I helped Uncle Jack off a horse."

(I started this post disagreeing with you, but have seen the error of my ways)

Three things that have vanished: $3.6bn in Bitcoin, a crypto investment biz, and the two brothers who ran it


Re: Company compliance officer

To be fair, a tech company run by a 17 and 21 year old with billions of other people's money is exactly the target organised crime would go for.

And with those rewards, they might not be too squeamish about how they did it. Computer hacking isn't the only way of doing this stuff: good old-fashioned finger hacking would do the trick too.

Yep, the 'Who owns Linux?' case is back from the dead


Suitable investment for a large company

Anyone any idea how much SCO - in its bankrupt state - have cost to buy?

If I ran a big, big linux using company, the idea of buying SCO might be reasonable, if only to minimise the legal costs associated with this kind of action. If I had less morals, I might use the purchase and start suing the opposition.

Hell, I daresay that I could pay linux licencing fees to my own company as part of a "tax management" scheme, and decrease my tax liabilities.

Scientists stumped by strange X-rays from Uranus


Uranians with sellotape.

Python Package Index nukes 3,653 malicious libraries uploaded soon after security shortcoming highlighted


Someone somewhere

Even with the libraries removed, someone somewhere now has a list of organisations who are vulnerable to this attack, along with the name of at least some of their private libraries.

Let's hope the someone is wearing a white hat, and will let the organisations know.

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands


It doesn't have to be this way.

Since the item was being replaced for free - I don't understand is why Seagate's UK subsidiary couldn't pay the VAT and reclaim it.

I recently bought a music thing for a German retailer, who have a UK store. I paid UK VAT at the time of purchase

The item was shipped directly from Germany. Delivery was about a week later than estimated due to "brexit related issues", which is better than I expected. I didn't, however, have to pay VAT again, and I didn't have to pay an admin fee to the courier.

Clearly the vendor has got all this sorted out. Apparently they previously had some issues with the forms they had to fill out, but they were resolved by the start of February.

If this German company can fight it's way through the quagmire of Brexit, so can anyone.

Nominet vows to freeze wages and prices, boost donations, and be more open. For many members, it’s too little, too late


Re: They only had one thing to do...

if any of those ventures had gone right, do you really believe the domain registration side would have benefitted? Or that the charitable donations would increase?

The only beneficiaries would have been the people on the board of that wing - ie the same old faces. You can bet the the subsidiary would end up claving off via a management buy out - to the same board members, no doubt.

UK Test and Trace chief Dido Harding tries to convince MPs that £14m for canned mobile app was money well spent


was this really the UK track and trace?

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own apps based on the Republic of Ireland's one.

Sony launches ‘Airpeak’ drone division


Intersting to see which way Sony fall on this tech. They tend, as an organisation, towards being overly proprietary. Their solid state music players were lovely pieces of tech, but didn't play MP3s or something weird, only playing their own formatted files. Same for their readers.

I mean I understand why, given their history with video formats, but it has hampered them over the years as they've tried to move into other areas.

Apple cracks down on iOS terminal apps because they can download code


it's a conflict for Apple.

They, on the one hand would like iPads to be seen as "professional" and for working. But at the same time, the things that make iPads somewhat simpler to manage are the very things that get in the way of getting any work done.

I've tried coding on ipad a couple of time: previously using Textastic to code javascript. More recently using pythonista. Coding in both of these these was fine. I could even write and run tests in pythonista.

The main issue I had was source control. I understand git had to be removed from pythonista because it broke Apples rules ( it allowed people to download code)

There's a separate git application available now, but you have to import and export each file you change. It's very awkward, and not really usable on a multifile project.

FYI: NASA appears to have scooped dirt from an asteroid 200 million miles away and plans to bring it back home


Re: Interesting decision

They'll have decided in advance what to do given whatever range of masses they retrieve. I'm guessing, given the consistent "60g" message we've been getting, that's the breakpoint: less than that then they're going back. The risks associated with the landing are considerable: it's better to have 62g of dust than none at all.

Atlassian pulls the plug on server licences, drags customers to the cloud


Github Enterprise it is then.

I heard last week we were probably moving off confluence, I guess this is why.

If so, we'll be migrating off bitbucket too. And Jira. What a pain in the arse.

Shame, I quite liked them.

Years after we detected two neutron stars crashing into each other, we're still picking up X-rays. We don't know why


Re: "the emissions are 100 billion times brighter than those from the Sun"

DNA reference <nods>

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets


Re: What should I use instead




upvoted because for decades my goto DIY tools were a medium sized swiss army knife and a pair of mole grips.

I have other tools now, but they dynamic duo get regular outings.

As for excel. Microsoft did try to upgrade it, calling the results Access. We all know how that went.

The perils of building a career on YouTube: Guitar teacher's channel nearly deleted after music publisher complains


playing with the big boys.

copyright is a bugger.

In this case the complaint is probably correct.

I recall back in the day a free musicican's magazine called Making Music, which had a guitar lesson feature as part of an in depth look at the recording of a recent hit - Kylie's version of The Locomotion. They featured tab and the lyrics to the song. There would be a similar article next month, they promised.

Next month, there was an EXTREMELY humble note to say sorry to the publisher and they would never do it again and thankyouverymuchfornotputtingusoutofbusiness sir.

Funnily I don't recall subsequent editions ever doing anything similar.

Let's go space truckin': 1970s probe Voyager 1 is now 14 billion miles from home


Re: Not even coronavirus can stop Voyager!

I did not know of the existence of this book.

That's one Christmas present sorted out.


Oh no! There are more of them. Lots more.

This may require several Christmases...

Cops called to Singapore golf club after 'wrongdoers' use scripts to book popular timeslots


Re: Is it hacking?

IIRC when the police turned up at his door, he initially denied accessing the charity's website, which he later backed away from. I don't know if that was a case of him lying, him answering a technically incorrect question correctly, or him simply forgetting he'd done it.

I understood this denial was the main reason he was prosecuted.