* Posts by Adam Oellermann

22 posts • joined 4 Jun 2007

All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

Adam Oellermann

Re: Buy the German U-boats

"One unfortunate secretary at a place I worked was never allowed to forget her diesel-elastic submarine." Incorporating rubber bands for silent running...

Penetration tech: BAE Systems' new ammo for Our Boys and Girls

Adam Oellermann

Re: End User?

Collateral damage? At BAE Systems, we prefer to think of it as offering free iron supplements to the local population.

The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

Adam Oellermann
Black Helicopters

Re: No Codes for You

"This iron has shut down due to an unauthorised attempt to iron Region 1 clothing with a Region 2 iron. Clothing piracy is a crime, which has now been reported. Please wait calmly for enforcement operatives to arrive; please do not attempt to leave the property or to change your underwear."

What's Meg Whitman fussing over: The fate of HP ... or the font on a DISRUPTIVE new logo?

Adam Oellermann

Does this mean...

... that we now have to worry about intellectual property claims on squared corners, as well?

Stop sign because maybe octagons are the safe route for industrial design, now.

Grandmaster FLUSH: Chess champ booted for allegedly cheating with iPod app in the loo

Adam Oellermann

Re: I'm confused (yet again)

A number of leading chess engines have been ported to Android. For example, Stockfish has been ported and is available (for free!) as Droidfish, rated at around 2900 on a quad-core 1.6GHz smartphone processor. That ought to give even top-10 players a good run, and would definitely outperform most ordinary grandmasters. So yes - there are smartphone chess apps that can beat grandmasters, and being able to consult one in the loo would be a serious advantage - especially for a GM strong enough to know when he needs help, but not strong enough to win on his own.

Super-soldier exoskeleton to get 3-day fuel cell powerpack

Adam Oellermann

Reformed Methanol Fuel

I'm pleased that they're using Reformed methanol fuel. If they were using Dispensational methanol fuel, I'd say we were in for tribulation.

BT to throttle P2P for faster broadband

Adam Oellermann
Thumb Up


I have a better answer than throttling. Just filter out all the vowels. For binary content, just drop the low-order two bits - video you can do even better with "lossy" compression (ie leave out all blue pixels). No traffic shaping necessary, no caps, no worries: the customers will beat a path from your door.

Crusty fireball space mango wrecks US doctor's office

Adam Oellermann

Poor patient...

Imagine... sitting there all worried-like and the doctor says, "Does it hurt when I do <this>?"


Gee Doctor - I hope it's not infectious!

Bishop calls for Priests 2.0 to evangelise on the net

Adam Oellermann


My apologies for getting you so worked up. You appear not to have read my comment before replying to it, though: I do not insist at all that you dance ecstatically anywhere. I was merely responding to the outrageous suggestion that it is OK to respond in mere ridicule to a strong argument that you happen to dislike.

To widen the scope of your "evangelise this" question: which of all the religions has murdered the most? I think you'll find the correct answer is "atheist secular humanism". Certainly Hitler and Stalin each managed more murders in a short period of time that the monotheist religions combined have wrought in millennia.

The remainder of your ad hominem arguments about "PanzerPope", "kiddie fiddlers" and "my censer" I will simply allow as illuminations of my previous point. Keep up the good work!

Adam Oellermann
Thumb Up

@Geoff Mackenzie

When those with the "idiotic beliefs" have made an extensive prima facie case for Christianity which is actually accepted by ~33% of the world's population (vs atheists ~2.5%), ridicule suggests you are so unsure of your own position that you are unwilling to enter the discourse. That, or you're secretly afraid that the God people are so much smarter than you that you'll lose the debate regardless of any truth which might be in your position.

Ridicule away, then, it evangelically proves the paucity of your argument.

Windows goes Mobile 6.5

Adam Oellermann

The Full Windows Experience

Will this mean that we can all sue Microsoft for billions when we buy a phone that, it turns out, can't run Aero after all - just Windows(R) Lite(TM) SmartFONE(R)(TM) for Beginners(R), Third World Edition?

Vatican endorses Darwin, slights intelligent design

Adam Oellermann

Augustine Misquote

I believe Augustine actually said "Give me chastity and continence - but not yet". The quotation is from Book 8 of his Confessions, which is a great read. Fortunately he received a healthy dose of both, becoming a monk and one of the greatest thinkers and theologians of all time. Though he was instrumental in steering the Church through the Pelagian controversy, it was probably not until the time of the Reformation that his deep understanding of the vital doctrine of grace was fully appreciated.

I was tempted to go with one of the "saint" icons, but I think putting billg or steveb next to a posting about Augustine would probably earn one a swift crisping by lightning-bolt - hence flames.

Police collar kid for Wi-Fi pinching

Adam Oellermann
Thumb Down

Is it really stealing?

To all those who say "if I leave my house unlocked and you steal my telly, it's still stealing" I say that's the wrong analogy. He didn't enter their house, for example, nor did he steal anything. A better analogy would be "if I put my TV into your living room, and you watch it, it's stealing" - which seems a bit silly. Honestly, if you're going to beam your wifi all over my property, it should really be up to you to secure it if you don't want me to use it.

If I were the lad, I'd call the police and tell them that my neighbours were trespassing with their WIFI - see, officer, they've put it all over my house and I haven't given permission - and get them arrested back. Turn-about is fair play, as they say.

Schneier sticks it to surveillance

Adam Oellermann


I think it may be you. Bruce Schneier is an extremely well-known and respected cryptographer - no need to put the sneering quotes around guru there, as he wrote the book (Applied Cryptography) and is well-respected internationally for his research and practical work.

The fact that Phorm isn't in his area (after all, he's a cryptographer, not an advertising guy) doesn't mean he's trying to cover up by talking about an important subject which does happen to be in his area. Alleging that he's a "BT face spewing (content free) PR guff" proclaims lamentable ignorance of Scheier's many valued contributions and the regard in which he is held by his peers. A moment of Googling would have revealed to you some amazing facts about this great man:

* Bruce Schneier once factored a prime number.

* Bruce Schneier's secure handshake is so strong, you won't be able to exchange keys with anyone else for days.

* Bruce Schneier's tears can burn holes through an OpenBSD firewall. Lucky for us, Bruce Schneier never cries.

* Bruce Schneier writes his books and essays by generating random alphanumeric text of an appropriate length and then decrypting it.

* SSL is invulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Unless that man is Bruce Schneier.

And many, many more.

Counterpane is a crypto/computer security consultancy which Schneier set up. BT bought it in 2006 (allegedly for at least US$20 million, which says something about Bruce Schneier's value in the industry) to expand their US-based security consultancy.

As a final point, it's always best to have an idea what you're on about before pouring your vitriol out all over the internets - it rusts the tubes, you see.

Shuttleworth on Ubuntu: It ain't about the money

Adam Oellermann
Thumb Up

@millionaire distorting the market for

> How can any IT professional support this immoral behaviour? Giving away software for free

> simply puts paid IT workers out of work.

... or allows us to work on things that are actually useful, rather than writing the same old, same old year in and year out. It's a bit like liberating us from the drudgery of "subsistence programming" to allow us to work on new ideas. The parallels with the Industrial Revolution are intriguing - surely a lot of craftsmen (potters, handweavers and so forth) got burned, but the net result was that talented hands and brains were freed from the relentless drudgery and start specialising and thinking more deeply about productivity. The Industrial Revolution put paid workers out of work, too: but ultimately produced the largest increase in per capita wealth in history, with an attendant increase in leisure and prosperity across all social levels. Not without turmoil, of course, but would you go back to hoeing your row in grinding poverty, and starving to death every time the frost comes early?

It's somewhat melodramatic to suggest that Open Source can give us another Industrial Revolution, but if there are bits of software that can be commoditised and freed they certainly should be - otherwise all those paid IT workers you are worried about are actually parasites feeding on society by simply repeating the same work as is being done by others, and which only needs to be done once (or perhaps a small number of times, but certainly not once per business/web site/netbook model/smartphone etc).

The "free" thing is key to avoiding this needless repetition. Not free as in "hey, look, I can download Ubuntu for nothing" but free as in "hey, look, I can get all this stuff and improve it or use it as a starting point for my own stuff, and share the results with others".

I am a professional developer. I do most of my work on the Microsoft platform, but also spend quite a bit of time each week working on Linux-based systems. When it comes to Linux, I'm a self-confessed Ubuntard, but I try not to be bigoted about it. I have released some rather unimportant little bits of software under the GPL; much, much less than I have received by "apt-get install": but as developers become able to contribute their stuff back to the free software pool, EVERY developer gets much more out than they put in. And we can let non-developers benefit too! Mark Shuttleworth is in a position to make (by sponsoring) a much bigger contribution than most of us - to which I say, more power to him. Imagine the result if every software multi-multi-millionaire had the same level of vision.

I've been developing software for money for 16 years, and in that time my skill set has been totally obsoleted at least four times. Others who've been in the game for longer will have even more extreme examples of this. If you're in IT and you expect to get paid for churning out the same old stuff year after year, you should probably expect to get your (free) lunch eaten by Open Source pretty soon. If you're always willing to adopt new advances and keep pushing back the new frontiers, somehow there will always be room for you on the payroll.

Remembering the Commodore SX-64

Adam Oellermann


Hard to imagine a port of Linux to the C64's 8 bit 6502 processor, but there is LUnix...


Awesome... the world needs more programmers with too much time on their hands!

Parliament ponders the weight of e-petitions

Adam Oellermann

Being Taken Seriously

Politicians insist on being taken seriously by the public - it seems only reasonable to take the public voice seriously in return.

For those who don't take politicians too seriously anyway, there's Politicianwar (http://www.politicianwar.org) - just like kittenwar, only with British MPs. Less cute, perhaps, but just as silly.

Intel walks out of OLPC project

Adam Oellermann


I'm pretty sure that the third world knows how to make pants without us telling them. Your contention that knowing how to make pants would make them successful like Western nations is certainly thought-provoking, but as they are already making the pants and are apparently not as successful, a mite questionable. Frankly I'm not convinced that making their own pants (instead of ours) would have a big impact on the bottom line (ba-doom-ching!). The fact is that people in the Third World have been wearing pants for thousands of years.

You say the West is wealthy because "we possess the ability to build things people in the third world can't". That is exactly my point. We didn't have that ability in the middle ages, now we do. What changed? The Industrial Revolution, which has led to ever-increasing specialisation and productivity. What paid for this massive change in the West? Have you noticed that while the Industrial Revolution was going on, the Western powers almost without exception were slaughtering third-world types in order to take possession of their mineral wealth? Some examples:

* Organised and systematic genocide campaigns against the Aztec and Incas to get their gold

* Dispossession of Native Americans to get their land and the associated meat and furs

* Conquest and suppression of India to gain various mineral wealth, as well as opium used to subvert China

* Subversion and subjugation of China to provide silver and tea (a fantastic new source of wealth); read about the Opium-Silver-Tea triangle.

* Countless wars of conquest, dispossession and colonisation across Africa - from tip to toe - which were entirely about dispossessing the original inhabitants to take control of their mineral wealth (pretty much every African country has this sad aspect to its history).

So, just 200-300 years ago, the west essentially stomped the third-world as flat, as the state of the art would allow, eliminated any existing systems of government through methods which would definitely be illegal under current international law, systematically stripped those countries of their assets which were sent back to the colonial powers, ruthlessly repressed and slaughtered millions to maintain this advantageous state of affairs, and when the locals started getting antsy about the situation simply walked off with all the swag, leaving behing the over-mined, over-hunted, over-grazed and undereducated waste we have today - and you have the abominable temerity to suggest that the reason they lag behind us is because they can't make pants?

Now, there is plenty wrong with the third world, but you haven't addressed my point at all: at least a good portion of the trouble is traceable to the ruthless treatment meted out by the colonial powers in the imperial age. Do you deny this? It's all quite well-documented. If your IQ is as immense as you claim, consider reading a few history books.

To address your contemptible point about IQ, I would love to see some well-verified information demonstrating that, on properly culture-neutral tests, administered to people who have been properly fed and educated, the average IQ of westerners is higher than those of Africans, South Americans or Asians (for example) by significantly more than the error bars of the test. These conditions need to be met for the 'ceteris' to be 'paribus' - otherwise you are simply proving the point that the underlying infrastructural issues which I have described are the cause. If you cannot provide a link to a proper peer-reviewed study meeting these requirements, then you are a racist and none of your views on these matters can be taken seriously.

If you are going to engage us all in this international IQ willy-waving business, you should probably also have a go at demonstrating some kind of relationship between mean national IQ and GDP. Good luck with that one. I know a bit about IQ (One of the reasons why my MENSA subscription isn't paid up is because I have concluded that IQ is almost irrelevant when compared with environmental factors, nutrition etc), and the correlation between IQ and achievement - even in individuals - is much more elusive than your statements would indicate. IQ, at best, measures how good you are at taking IQ tests - it has no bearing on your pant-making talent, which you insist is the index of cultural achievement.

Finally, I do not suffer from "demented guilt". I did not cause these problems, but I accept that I can do something about them - in that sense, I suppose I do take some responsibility - and, fortunately, so do many others in the West. I support Fairtrade; I donate computers to charities, and I heartily back the efforts of the OLPC. As more and more people do this sort of thing (and some get into really radical things like volunteering for projects in the third world), perhaps the historical inequities can be reversed, over time. It isn't our fault, but we are the most well-placed to fix it - and, in the process, fix immediate Western problems such as global terrorism. If we can make the third world as wealthy as we are - or at least give them something to lose - I think the supply of suicide bombers and willing cannon fodder will dry up.

Or, of course, you could instead simply rant on about the mean IQs and pants-making facility of various ethnic groups. It's up to you, but I think I know which approach is likely to be more productive.

Adam Oellermann
Thumb Down

re: No more welfare

If they are our equals, why can't they build their own laptops?

-- When was the last time a laptop was 100% made in the UK? Or in the US, for that matter? Here's a point: our hi-tech society is unsustainable without cheap labour from the Far East. In many cases, the developing nations ARE building our laptops.

If they are our equals, why can't they build their own plows?

-- Perhaps because they get such appalling take-it-or-starve-to-death deals from the Western buyers of their crops? Check out Fairtrade and similar for more information.

If they are our equals, why can't they grow their own crops?

-- Do you personally grow your own crops? No, of course not, your food is provided by massively capital-intensive industrialised farming. Where did the capital come from? Well, the West is wealthy, right? Why is the West wealthy? Because the West systematically pillaged the third world during the days of imperialism, essentially stealing at gunpoint trillions of dollars in today's money. This money bootstrapped the current high-tech, high-specialisation economy we in the West now enjoy. The third worlders can't do that, unfortunately, as that sort of behaviour is illegal now - under international law made by the western powers to protect their ill-gotten wealth.

If they are our equals, why can't they make their own pants?

-- Heh, you might want to check where your pants are made. Long odds they come from a third-world/developing nation sweatshop. If you are their equal, why can't you make your own pants?

If they are our equals, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO PROVE IT?

Who is this "they" that you keep going on about? If you are anyone's equal, why don't you come up with a reasoned argument instead of a sordid little collection of racist epithets?

Nuke-frying raygun 747 all ready bar the raygun

Adam Oellermann

Avoiding the ABL

I've come up with a great way of sneaking your nukes past the ABL. Forget about ICBMs - as pointed out, those hot exhaust plumes are easy to spot (although probably a satellite would spot the launch first and alert the ABL). ICBM delivery systems are, in any case, difficult to procure, expensive to develop and hard to maintain.

Instead, why not buy a small fleet of executive jets or turboprops, develop a simple remote control for it, rip out the seats to make space for the bomb, and fly it - subsonically, on regular commercial routes, getting proper clearance from ATC as you go - to your target.

Of course, if you're a fundamentalist organisation with access to nuclear warheads, you don't even need to do the remote control bit.

Kung fu monks battle gobby net ninja

Adam Oellermann

Already been done

... and available for your viewing pleasure:


Yes, it's Ninja vs Shaolin Guard! (also know as Guards of Shaolin in the US)

Unfortunately this doesn't presently form part of my collection, so I can't say who won.

Space elevator business plan crashes to Earth

Adam Oellermann

re: I never understood...

The way I've always understood it, the tether has to be 2x the height of geosynchronous orbit (or a bit longer with a great big counterweight on the end, beyond geosynchronous orbit), so that its centre of gravity is geostationary, or perhaps slightly above geostationary to keep the tether nice and taut. That way the spaceward side is just connected to the tether, rather than supporting it. Also, if you want to send something Outward Bound, you can traverse the tether to the end (ie way above geosynchronous orbit), let go at just the right moment, and use your angular momentum to significantly reduce the delta-vee which your spacecraft has to effect to get there.

However, I am not an aerospace engineer - would love to hear from those who really know!


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021