* Posts by Chz

264 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Jul 2010


Local governments aren't businesses – so why are they force-fed business software?


Grass is greener

Speaking as someone who occasionally has to support SITS, an IT system based on your particular sector's needs can easily be just as horrible as some eldritch creation produced by SAP. I believe a few Universities have tried to move away from SITS, but they're all running it somewhere in some form.

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription


No touchscreens

FWIW, Mazda still make their cars without any touchscreens whatsoever.

We all scream for ice cream – so why are McDonald's machines always broken?


Taylor make loads of soft serve machines, some of which are even reliable. The McDonalds one has a pasteuriser in it to not waste the day's leftover mix that other, similar machines do not have. I'm not sure that anyone else thinks the maintenance vs. product loss costs are worth it to use such a machine. But McD's part-owns Taylor and are well known for squeezing franchisees as much as possible, so it's not surprising from their persepctive.

I'll also point out that franchisees *are* allowed to buy a machine from another manufacturer. Some Italian company I forget the name of. They're much, much more reliable, but of course the initial cost is much, much more.

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


Re: Maybe this will sound harsh...

I think the ColecoVision is probably the most primitive thing I can imagine enjoying. It very much bridged the gap from 2600 to NES. My parents managed to return the Vectrex when the company discontinued it shortly after Christmas and replaced it with a used Coleco instead. I think I was happier for it overall, even if the Vectrex would have had better nostalgia value.

(In the end I got a C64 and forgot about consoles entirely for a decade)

I know what you did next summer: Microsoft to kill off Xbox 360 Store


Still have one...

We keep the 360 alive in the sitting room for one (well, two) reasons - Rock Band Beatles and Rock Band 3. None of the instruments work on later Xboxen and only RB4 is on the compatibility list for the newer consoles. Beatles really is a beautiful game, crafted with a lot of care to the details. It will be a pity when our 360 finally bites it, though I admit we only dig the instruments out a couple of times a year now.

RIP Kevin Mitnick: Former most-wanted hacker dies at 59


Re: But why tho...

It's worth noting that it's not the 3rd or 5th most common cancer though. It's just incredibly deadly because of how exceedingly rare it is to pick it up before it's too late.

"In 2014, an estimated 46,000 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 40,000 to die of it.[2] Although it accounts for only 2.5% of new cases, pancreatic cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths each year."

Time running out for crew of missing Titanic tourist submarine


Re: Jerry-riggedness?

Not just the loads on the carbon fibre, but someone I know who's dealt with (remote) deep diving vehicles told me that at that pressure even titanium will slowly "rot". They never got more than 2 years or 5 dives out of their drones before needing replacement. Didn't say how long a dive was for the them, so it's hard to extrapolate to the Titan.


Re: Lots of things are possible

It would be impossible to have a journey of any length in a sealed tube that size, with 5 people in it, without scrubbers.

One of the many videos of the vessel going around shows the atmosphere package as being a bunch of rebreathers. So yes, they can scrub CO2. I'd say the big question is whether they run out of O2 or scrubbing capacity first. Dying of lack of O2 is one of the more pleasant fatal scenarios - you just go light headed and pass out and die. Whereas too much CO2 has you panicking and gasping like a fish out of water until you die a horrible death.

Clippy designer was too embarrassed to include him in his portfolio


Re: Bob?

Comic Sans is a perfectly cromulent typeface. Its problem is being used far, far too often when the text writer wants to give a "whimsical" feeling to something. Which is all the time. Fire drill instructions in Comic Sans, hazardous chemicals disposal instructions in Comic Sans, I once saw a funeral notice in Comic Sans.

This is not the fault of the typeface. As usual around these parts, it's user error.

UK warned not to bother racing US, EU on EV subsidies


Re: Hmm

"We want to move to EV's but want to punish travel with 15 minute cities."

The purpose being to reduce our emissions, I don't see how these ideas are incompatible. Ideally, we wouldn't move to EVs. We'd move to no private vehicles at all. But seeing as how that's very unlikely in the short term, EVs are the bridge to reducing emissions in the meantime.


It may very well take 70% more CO2 to produce an electric car (the data on that is very hand-wavey and I don't have a lot of confidence in it), but no-one ever seems to mention that the production of an ICE vehicle only accounts for 10% of its lifetime emissions.

AMD scours parts bin for old CPUs, GPUs to put in Chromebooks


Zen 2 is still a massive improvement over the Celerons that most low-end Chromebooks ship with. As ever, pricing will determine whether these are great or underwhelming.

AI to detect heart attacks tested in the land of the deep-fried Mars bar


Re: Too much to know

There are at least half a dozen things that can manifest as chest pain with light-headedness and even heart palpitations. In my case, it was a raging h.pylori infection. Having finished off my stomach with inflammation, it moved on to the nervous system where it can even cause dementia if left alone for too long. It's really quite a relief to go in and get hooked up and told "Well, there's clearly something wrong with you but your heart is fine" Though it did take another month and a battery of tests to figure out exactly what the cause was. It normally just causes stomach upset and ulcers, I was just lucky to have it progress onto the CNS.

Intel to rebrand client chips once Meteor Lake splashes down


Re: Need to get away from these names

Unless it's first generation i3/5/7. Identified by a 3 digit moniker instead of 4 (and now 5). My i5-750 lasted quite a long time.

CEO sorry after telling staff to 'leave pity city' over bonuses


We call it a fauxpology. Rolls off the tongue a bit better.

UK watchdog still not ruled on Openreach wholesale fiber discounts


Re: Fiber? Where did that come from?

I've just found it's easier to use "fiber" as short for fibre-optics and "fibre" for every other use of the word. While it's nice that technical fields have adopted English as their lingua franca, we have to admit that it's American English that they use. I put up with a lot of Americanisms in technical stuff that I would certainly blow a fuse over in a different field.

Surprise! China's top Android phones collect way more info


Re: As an owner of a Xiaomi

Exactly this. The EU ROMs need to follow a certain minimum in terms of data protection. They're still slurping data, but not more than any other Android phone. It's the Chinese (and probably other Asia) market ROMs you don't want to be on. ISTR there was an article a while back about someone in Latvia coming to much the same conclusions about Chinese vs. EU ROMs.

BT keeps the faith in 'like fury' fiber broadband buildout as revenues dip


Re: Moving to FTTH

There seems to be two things going on that push back FTTH for a lot of people.

One, based on the very informative map posted above, OpenReach are skipping areas that have heavy Vermin infiltration. This feeds directly into the second reason, which is that they have a mandate from the government to push out full fibre to as much of the country as possible. Which means that they don't really get credit for competing with Vermin when they're already offering a fibre-equivalent service there. And it also means that highly profitable areas in the SouthEast need to be pushed back to get other areas of the country up and running first. The end result being that Community Fibre got to my area first and I'm not seeing a reason why I wouldn't stick with them even when OR get around to this densely populated bit of Outer London. And I say that as someone who was very happy with my BT FTTC offering for a decade straight.

Chromebook SH1MMER exploit promises admin jailbreak


I'm not familiar with all the ways of locking down a Chromebook (I bought one for the lad on the basis that I didn't have to waste much time managing it), but in our case it was perfectly allowable for him to have a school login with all the limitations thereof and a personal login free of the shackles. Or at least limited to the shackles I had put on it. The logins were completely different environments on the Chromebook. The school eventually bought CBs for each child, but we kept on using our own since it was (naturally) better than the school's spec. So I don't know if their own machines were somehow tied down even further.

Three seconds of audio could end up costing Fox $500,000


Re: Harmony by disharmony

Emergency services don't use the white noise, but quite a number of the newer lorries out there use it in their reversing alarm. Usually with a voice that has a really dissonant sing-song timbre to it "THIS vehicle is REVERSING".

It's been 230 years since British pirates robbed the US of the metric system


Re: Hooray for Avoirdupois and pounds, shillings and pence

I think you'll find it was a pound of sterling silver. Even with 240 pennies to the pound, a penny's worth of gold would be far too valuable.

This is the end, Windows 7 and 8 friends: Microsoft drops support this week


Re: Windows 10 is not a problem

I think the other thing not mentioned about Windows 10 is that the 2025 support deadline is clearly total garbage. MS have extended XP and then 7 several times, and by 2025 there will still be perfectly good hardware that won't run 11. 2030 is a more likely date. It probably won't be my primary system by then, but an i5-6600k @ 4.5GHz will still have perfectly decent *oomph* to perform most tasks. It will probably just take over from the Ivy Bridge that's the current secondary desktop.

AMD follows Intel's lead with alphanumeric soup of new Ryzens


It takes some working to be less clear than Intel's consumer CPU nomenclature. At least there's a rough correlation of "bigger is better" that's not always true of the Ryzen scheme, even if there's some recycling of Alder Lake parts in Gen.13.

But at the same time, it's still far, far clearer than Intel's server CPU names. I challenge anyone who doesn't have to work with it daily to figure out what in god's name a particular Xeon is.

Forget the climate: Steep prices the biggest reason EV sales aren't higher


Futurists' dreams of a hydrogen energy ecosystem were always founded on the basis of cheap, plentiful power from fusion. So long as we have to burn hydrocarbons to produce the electricity needed to create the hydrogen, it makes absolutely zero sense. It's a tremendously inefficient way to deliver power to a motor, and will never be a desirable outcome until we have a large excess of green energy.

Nvidia revives canceled RTX 4080 as 'new' 12GB RTX 4070 TI


Re: 12GB

I've seen tests run when this was something that worried people about the 8GB RTX 3070. In testing, they could only find less than a half dozen things that needed more than 8GB, and that was only when running at 4k resolutions. Likely more due to poor programming than actual need. 12GB should be good for several more years. I plan on keeping my QHD monitor for at least a few more years and am only looking at picking up a used 8GB card. Absolutely nothing (bar computational stuff, but that can use every MB you throw at it) needs more than 8GB at QHD.

Pine64 takes another shot at an open tablet after chip shortages killed first PineTab


Re: RK3399

It's a pity, as it may have been marginally useful with a pair of A72s onboard. As it is, this is out-specced by a Fire 10 that you can regularly pick up for under £100 (or the Pi4 if you prefer to tinker and don't need the tablet part). Never mind who in their right minds would pair 8GB of RAM with a quad A55. I understand that it's the *ethos* of the machine that's the main selling point, but producing actually useful hardware would go a long way.

Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000


Re: You get what you order

I'd generally agree with not buying any insurance you're not required to, except in the case of travel insurance. It's one of those edge cases where you're extraordinarily unlikely to need it, but if you do you'll be really, *really* glad you went for it and it's rarely even that expensive. Says someone who rang up medical expenses in the United States.

Nvidia RTX 4090: So hot they're melting power cables


Nvidia are trying to be standards compliant with Intel's ATX 3.0. The card itself is only rated at 450W, so if it's burning out power cables there's either a problem with the cards themselves, or Intel's got it horribly wrong somehow.

The new GPU world order is beginning to take shape


Half the performance of a 3060 in DX9 is not a step up from a 1080!

Intel's 13th-gen CPUs are hot, hungry, loaded with cores


Re: Seems an odd choice for 2022

We won't know until Intel lets these out for testing, but on the AMD side plenty of reviews also showed the results of putting the CPUs into 65W mode. The spoiler there is that the 6 and 8 core CPUs gave up almost nothing in performance, but ran considerably cooler. The 12 and 16 core CPUs did leave some performance on the table for it, but it really wasn't a *lot* in the grand scheme of things. And they expect 65W mode to be available on most BIOSes for home users to play with. And potentially Dell et.al. might use it.

BOFH: You want presentation layer, but we're physical layer


Re: Mac Problems are easily dealt with

It's the Apple Store bit that I don't like about them. For about £35/year I can upgrade the support I get from Dell to next day on-site. Well worth it, and not something that you can get without Enterprise Support from Apple. (The last time that I checked, at least)

US accident investigators want alcohol breathalyzers in all new vehicles


Re: Not again...

The self-buckling belts were a sop to the car manufacturers. They didn't want the expense of fitting an airbag to every model of car, so the NHTSA gave them the option of self-buckling seatbelts *or* airbags, on the basis that a large %age of Americans didn't even bother with safety belts and this would increase their safety just as much.

So GM, Ford and Chrysler duly fitted their cheaper models of car with these things. And people HATED them. Passionately. And that's why every model of car in the States has airbags now.

Backblaze thinks SSDs are more reliable than hard drives


Re: SSD Failure

It's my personal suspicion - based entirely on anecdotal data, I should add - that SSD failures are lower than HDD for the main part of their lifetimes, but the far edge of the bathtub curve looks different. Long-running HDDs do indeed keep going. I have one that's 15 years old. No essential data, I use it as temp space. I have a suspicion that the 15 year survival rate for SSDs will be lower than for spinning rust. Pure gut instinct on that though, as Enterprise flash is at most 10 years old and I don't think they ever sold enough of the consumer drives before then to make a decent data point.

Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II – Britain's first high-tech monarch


Caveat: You can only swap it for an "automatic" license (because I don't believe it's recorded in any of the provinces which way you did the test - a pass is a pass). I had to do the full test instead of swapping my .ca license in.


Re: Anonymous because "They" are watching...

In Canada, at least, a constitutional change like that would require 100% of a full quorum of the provinces to pass. And it would be irresistible for someone, somewhere to try and tack on some other change that won't be liked to it. Making it nearly impossible to become a republic, short of public opinion swaying into the 80%+ range for it. I can't speak for the other Commonwealth countries, but Canada remains a monarchy mostly out of expediency.

California to phase out internal combustion vehicles by 2035


Re: Not going to happen

"The greenies moan about digging big holes to dig up stuff so now the solution is to dig up more stuff. OK... We must save the planet by destroying it even faster!"

Well you've hit on the problem there. The real solution is not to consume so much, to not buy new cars, to rely more on shared resources. I do honestly wish the best of luck to anyone pursuing that solution - in the end, it's the only way we're going to save ourselves.

In the short term, digging up something different does result in a big cut in all kinds of emissions so it does represent a good short-term investment of effort.

I'm afraid I can't back you on the "why even try?" approach. I'm more of an optimist than that, and I don't believe there's such a thing as NEVER (within the boundaries of physics). Something does have to be done. We killed CFCs. We killed smallpox. We are capable of doing this, so long as the will and the funds are there. California is the 5th largest economy in the world, and the still beating heart of the tech industry - I think it will be a tremendous shame if they fail for not having the guts to see it through.


Re: Not going to happen

13 years is a long time.

California's power problems are not difficult to fix - the current set of brownouts have been due to reducing capacity on poorly installed lines to reduce the risk of wildfires. If they're willing to spend some cash, it can quickly be sorted. Renewables are still increasing at double digit percentages *per year*, and time-varied electric charges will guarantee most of the growth in consumption is off-peak.

To say there aren't enough minerals for the batteries is ludicrous - the Earth is full of them. Much like we currently have with oil, the limit is not how much exists in the Earth's crust, but in how much people are willing to pay to extract it. If batteries continue at their current rate of development, in 10 years they'll have double the capacity and charge twice as fast for the same mineral usage. And that's discounting any new, disruptive tech like aluminium cells (useless for small items, but a potential game-changer at the industrial level).

Basically, it's an entirely achievable goal, if - IF - they're willing to spend on it. Simply setting a law for carmakers that all cars have to be electric by 2035 won't do it. And that's where I remain skeptical. But I think you're being too pessimistic to dismiss it as not realistic.

UK's largest water company investigates datacenters' use as drought hits


Re: Condensing tumble driers (a) exist and (b) work fine.

The heat pumps are particularly bad for that. They sip power, but take ages. And they take an age to get up to the required warmth, so there's no such thing as tossing one item in for 30 minutes to dry it out - it will barely be lukewarm by then.

Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape


Re: The article overlooked cost

I am pro-nuclear, but I do have to point out that the French tried the cookie-cutter method and costs *still* spiraled out of control by the time they finished building the things.

Nuclear has to address the cost issue to be viable. No-one is going to pick it up en-masse until then.

I think most governments are missing a beat by not calling on the experience of the largest operator of nuclear reactors - most of a standard, cookie-cutter design - in the world, with no serious accidents to their name. The US Navy.

Honor moving team out of India for 'obvious reasons,' says CEO


It's a pity what's happened to them. When they were a Huawei sub-brand they produced some of the best value for money phones in the market. (I've owned an Honor 8 and still use a View 20) The new Honor mostly makes things that aren't any better than the Xiaomi Redmi line, but at a significant price hike. Perhaps pulling out of the India market is a sign that they want to go more up-market now? The Indian market isn't terribly tolerant of higher-priced, premium devices. Of course, it could also mean business as usual, but since they were charging more than the competition they face-planted in India.

UK chemicals multinational to build hydrogen 'gigafactory'


Under which laws of thermodynamics are BEVs less efficient than H2 fuel cells?

You can have:

Sunlight --> solar cells --> electricity --> electrolysis --> wet, impure hydrogen --> purification --> dewatering --> compression --> storage --> transportation --> fuel cell --> electricity --> travel


Sunlight --> solar cells --> electricity --> power grid --> batteries --> electricity --> travel

All those conversion losses look even worse if your power source isn't green.

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall


Re: I don't really see the problem

If it were a Kia Picanto, you'd have a point. But the sticker price of a BMW is, at best, only very loosely tied to the actual cost of manufacturing.


I don't really see the problem

So long as they *are* offering a one-time fee for those inclined, how is it worse than having to order things specced from the factory? It allows the manufacturer to drastically reduce the number of models they have to produce, and it allows the consumer some modicum of choice. They're not taking previously free features and paywalling them - these are things that always had to be paid for in some way. In addition, it's become a rare thing over the years for people to custom order a new car - most now buy something off the lot that meets their requirements. In this way, the dealers don't need to keep so many different equipment variants in stock and so it's more likely you can find the car equipped the way you want on the lot. So it sounds like a good thing, even if it admittedly could be abused.

For new cars, anyhow. While I think it sounds like a win for those who buy new cars, it sounds like a minefield for user car buyers.

Tim Hortons collected location data constantly, without consent, report finds


Re: Also..

It's an interesting distinction that I make here.

Tim Horton's Coffee(tm), as coffee, is utterly detestable.

Tim Horton's Coffee(tm), as a warm, caffeinated beverage isn't half bad and I've been known to enjoy it on occasion. It tastes nothing whatsoever like coffee and shouldn't be considered as such. But as a hot drink to go with a bit of pep juice in it, there are worse things.

Fried dough is fried dough. I don't find them better or worse than any other company that specialises in such things, and far better than what the supermarkets turn out. It's basically a question of whether fried, sweet dough is appealing to you or not.

I haven't tried it in the UK because they're studiously avoiding London. And I suspect I know why - their MSP in their home country is that it's acceptable food for cheap. Since London and cheap are an impossible pairing, they've kept out because no-one is going to pay silly amounts for their food and drink. They also started out up in Scotland, presumably because if they couldn't sell fried dough to the Scots then their entire business plan would be null and void.

BMW looks to quantum computers to speed R&D


Re: They should bring back exciting cars

No, but they were the ultimate driving sedan that you could carry your family around in once upon a time. Not a patch on a real sports car, but decidedly more exciting than anything else with 4 doors.

Five Eyes turn spotlight on MSPs: Potential weak links in IT supply-chain security


Did anyone else read the headline and wonder what made Members of the Scottish Parliament so prone to leaking data vs. their Westminster kin?

Samsung updates its most popular smartphone range


Re: Dear Samsung.

I'd contend that they *are* replaceable, just not removable. I understand that doesn't make much logical sense, but I'm assigning "removable" to something that can easily be removed at any time (which no phone aligns to these days) and "replaceable" to something that can, with a little effort and a facility for dealing with fiddly things, be done in the home in half an hour.

The hardest part is waiting about while you heat the phone up with a hair dryer, try to prise the back up, realise it needs more heat and repeat. The actual battery replacement is not difficult if you have agile fingers. And if not, really, the cost is minimal (vs. buying a new phone) to have someone do it for you.

I've done my own twice, and I'm really not a DIY sort of person and I have fat fingers. What worries me more - and is likely the reason I've done it twice - is the flood of cheap crap masquerading as OEM parts.

Cloudflare, Akamai: Why we're not pulling out of Russia


Plenty of sites rely completely on CloudFlare/Akamai though. Witness how the internet explodes when one of them goes down.

Perhaps a poor example, as no-one in Russia needs better access to gambling, but I used to work for an online gaming company where the back end was connected by a 10Mb line. Every update had an hour's work of refreshing everything into CloudFlare first because if punters started to hit the back end directly it would choke and die in short order.

Users sound off as new Google Workspace for Education storage limits near


Re: Eligibility

Speaking from a UK institute of higher learning...

We give the students 1GB off an internal NAS and staff 10GB, but encourage them to use OneDrive instead. Once enough of them are on that, the plan is to get rid of the on-site NAS and associated antivirus and ancillary kit around it. The disk itself isn't all that expensive, it's running it. The NAS is also used for everything that should have moved to SharePoint years ago and hasn't, so I suspect it's going to hang around for some time.

Individual departments generally handle their own storage for research and whatnot. There's zero central planning around it. Some of them may be using Google for all I know; I don't really care. I do know the CS school has its own proper NAS, as does the AV department because they host it in our DC like they should. Anything else is out there on its own in a closet or something.

Chromebook sales in recession: Market saturation blamed as shipments collapse more than 63% in Q4


I have to disagree. The 2GB/16GB (RAM/storage) models are long gone, and from personal experience with them an Atom processor and 4GB of RAM is perfectly adequate for all primary and most secondary school needs. Does the occasional thing run slowly? Of course. But that's an application problem - the same thing would run slowly on a better specced, twice the price Windows machine as well.