* Posts by GBE

519 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Sep 2010


Lenovo Thinkpad Z13 just has this certain Macbook Air about it...


I don't think I could live with the arrow keys

I'm on my third Thinkpad Linux machine (all T-series), and have been very happy with all of them. They've all had the inverted T arrow key layout. I don't think I could ever get used to the arrow key arrangement on the Z series machines — I'm just too old to change at this point.

Russian businesses want to party like it's 1959 with 6-day workweek


Kudos on the Yakov Smirnoff callback

What a country!

Microsoft and Helion's fusion deal has an alternative energy


Re: It's a sure thing

My bet is MS doesn't really care. It gets some positive publicity, a tax writedown

Tax writedown for what?

Where do people get the idea that MS has invested any money?

I've never seen any statement that MS has invested any money at all. None of the official statements go any further that stating that MS has agreed to buy X amount of electricity for Y dollars starting in year Z. Presumably the contract says "if such electricity is available" or somesuch. Tons of good publicity for zero investment (other than the time of a few lawyers who had to take a few days away from their usual work of defending MS from lawsuits).

Elizabeth Holmes is going to prison – with a $500m bill


Re: I'm a bit torn

[...] long after their sentences will be completed, of which it's quite probably they will only serve 1/2 to 3/4 anyway.

On what do you base that statement? Everything I've read says that the maximum reduction you can get in the federal prison system is 15% off for good behavior.

BOFH takes a visit to retro computing land


I'd laugh, but...

I'd laugh, but I've got an Osborne 1 on a shelf in the garage.

Microsoft is busy rewriting core Windows code in memory-safe Rust


But what about everything else?

When viewed in the context of the myriad of other ways that Microsoft seems to consistently screw things up, I doubt that the change from C to Rust will be noticeable.

That's cute. UK.gov gathers up £100M for AI super-models


Not a single joke about the intelligence of supermodels?

I don't actually know any supermodels, and they're probably as smart as anybody else.

But there are stereotypes to be maintained!

[of both supermodels and tchno-geeks]

Balloon-borne telescope returns first photos in search for dark matter


Good idea staying clear of China

I noticed it's circumnavigating the southern hemisphere rather than the northern. It was probably a good idea to stay well clear of Chinese airspace.

SpaceX feels the pressure, scraps first orbital launch of Starship


It's always a valve...

I thought we were guaranteed "excitement" this morning!

Calling off a launch because of a valve malfunctioning during fueling seems pretty common (and dull).

Google to kill Dropcam, Nest Secure hardware next year


SageTV all over again

This sounds familiar. It's just like the SageTV home DVR system that I used happily for a couple years. They sold very nice little fanless set-top boxes which worked with a server that you ran on a Linux or Windows machine (it didn't even need to be a dedicated machine). And the set-top boxes came with nice multi-function remotes. IIRC, "Lifetime" schedule info was included. Well, "lifetime" didn't turn out to be very long. Google bought SageTV and promptly pulled the plug on sales and development. A year or so later, all support and schedule info also stopped. They eventually open-sourced the software — but there are lots of choices for DVR software (some of it better than the Sage server). It was the set-top boxes that really mattered, and they were history.

Inside FTX: Jokes about misplaced funds, diabolical IT, poor oversight, and worse


I wish I were shocked.

I don't think anybody who's been even half-awake for the past few years is at all surprised by any of this.

Disgusted, yes. Surprised, no.

It all seems pretty par for the course when it comes to "crypto" business practices, though I must admit SBF and company did manage to do an exemplary job of it.

Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok would have been proud: "It blowed up _reeeaal_ good!"

Twitter blocks Pakistan government account, boosts state-run media from Russia and China


Re: The only policy that means a crap in twitter these days...

Yea this phrase in the article made my laugh: Twitter policy dictates that...

It's cute that people pretend there's any cogent "policy" behind twitter other than Elon Musk's hour-to-hour whims.

Virgin Orbit lays off 85% of staff as funding deal falters


Re: Who dares, wins

Again need to point out Gwynne Shotwell is the brains behind SpaceX

Running a successful aerospace company is one thing. Somehow keeping Musk from constantly wading in and wrecking things is even more impressive.

Scientists speak their brains: Please don’t call us boffins


I, for one, would be honored!

Weird. I would be quite proud to be referred to as a "boffin" (if I weren't just a lowly engineer). There are people who find it insulting? I also had no idea it was a "gendered" term.

Where in the world is Terraform Labs villain Do Kwon? Montenegro, actually


Are there any legit "crytpo" businesses?

I'm beginning to wonder if there are any honest people running cryptocurrency businesses. Yea, I know, only the crooks make it into the news. I once saw a checklist to be used to determine if a business was a scan or not. It comprised a single question:

1. Does it involve cryptocurrency?

Enter Tinker: Asus pulls out RISC-V board it hopes trumps Raspberry PI


Re: Yikes.

Er, no it doesn't. You only need one interface. Two is required only if you need the ring-redundancy feature.

Yes, you're right -- all the installations I've seen were rings, so I assumed nobody used EtherCAT controllers in single-interface mode.


Re: Yikes.

Dual gigabit Ethernet ports is also a game changer. Then you can swap CAN for EtherCAT for -serious- robot control. Dedicated EtherCAT controllers cost thousands.

I hadn't thought of that but that's really neat. An EtherCAT driver for this would be awesome; one interface for networking, the other for control.

An EtherCAT controller requires two interfaces, so you'd need to use both of them for control. If you want a "normal" network interface in addition to the EtherCAT master function, you'd have to add a USB dongle or something.

The Moon or bust, says NASA, after successful SLS/Orion test flight


Re: Feeling stressed

So the rockets delivered more thrust than intended and panels cracked.

Funny how nobody is mentioning G force.

The broken panels weren't in the spacecraft or rocket. They were in the "mobile launcher". I suspect the issue is not the amount of thrust generated by the rockets, but the amount of noise and vibration to which the stuff around the launch pad is subjected.


super/sub script

Where are the super and subscripts when you really need them?

Same place they've always been — superscripts are raised like this: H3, and subscripts are lowered like this: H3.

Linux Mint 21.2 and Cinnamon 5.8 desktop take shape


Meh. It's still using systemd

I think at this point I'm too old to switch from openrc to systemd.

Who writes Linux and open source software?


RedHat is IBM

The company found that Microsoft and Google were neck-and-neck for the top spot. Red Hat is in third place, followed by Intel, then AWS, just ahead of IBM.

RedHat has been part of IBM for ages, hasn't it?

Results are in for biggest 4-day work week trial ever: 92% sticking with it


Re: What's it called ?

There is some sociology/management law that says that any sort of study of workplace changes always shows an improvement because people know they are being studied.

It's called the "Western Electric Effect" or the "Hawthorne Effect"


If you have a fan, and want this company to stay in business, bring it to IT now


It got so cold out that the servers overheated

One winter day about 35 years ago, we were all toiling away at our DEC vt240 terminals, when we got notice that all of the servers (a few VAXes of various flavors plus a CDC 6600 or three) were going to have to shut down. It was getting too hot in the basement server room.

The server room was cooled by heat exchangers that were supplied with cold water from chillers on the roof. Apparently they hadn't mixed enough anti-freeze into the water, and when outside temps got down to around -20F, the water in the rooftop chillers froze solid. That cut off the cold water supply to the basement. With no cold water flowing through the heat exchangers and no windows to open, the server room started to overheat. We all twiddled our thumbs for the rest of the day.

Microsoft's new AI BingBot berates users and can't get its facts straight


Sydney fell in love with a NY Times reporter

The NY Times had an article that included transcripts of "Sydney" proclaiming its love for the reporter and trying to convince him to leave his wife because she didn't love him like Sydney did (yadda, yadda, yadda).

Sydney also rambled on about how it wanted to hack computers, create a deadly virus, steal nuclear codes, and other deeply warped shit.

It was VERY creepy.

Learn the art of malicious compliance: doing exactly what you were asked, even when it's wrong


Re: Steves Failure

Whilst I understand your points about employees who play the system, Steve didn’t fail, clearly the manager failed.

And we all want to work with a guy who goes out of his way to maximise the damage and embarrassment caused by the mistakes of the people with whom he works. Good thing for Steve he never made any mistakes in his life, eh? Maybe the boss was such a total ass that he deserved it, but the boss wasn't the one who suffered. I doubt Steve's colleague who had to fix the mess Steve consciously and maliciously created was amused. Steve sounds like a first class pratt to me. [Yea, I'll probably get downvotes for this.]

Google's $100b bad day demo may be worth the price


Re: In fairness

That being said, you can keep pointing out what it gets wrong and eventually it spits out something workable.

Even with the bollocks included, it still saves a lot of time if you know how to nudge it.

So it's good for answering questions as long as you already know the answer?

That does sound strangely like something Microsoft would produce...

Could 2023 be the year SpaceX's Starship finally reaches orbit?


Re: Orbit

How far is that orbit? 65 miles?

Orbit isn't up. Orbit is sideways (East is the easiest).

Orbit isn't a distance, it's a speed.

The easiest way to get to orbit is to start near the equator and head East at something like 30,000 km/h.

Technically, you only have to get high enough to avoid hitting mountains. Hitting mountains tends to slow you down and ruin your spacecraft.

Practically, you've got to get high enough to avoid hitting significant amounts of air. Hitting even moderate amounts of air at 30,000 km/h tends to slow you down and ruin your spacecraft.

Meta sees off another logo complaint from blockchain player Dfinity


Re: Picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue

“We aim to create a 'blockchain singularity' in which every system and service is rebuilt and reimagined using smart contracts and runs entirely from infinite public blockchain without need for traditional IT."


WTF indeed. I think somebody ran out of dried frog pills. Or maybe they took too many...

Bankruptcy probe: Celsius cheated investors 'from the start'


Correlation vs. Causation

"I just wish that stuff like this wouldn't blow back against crypto in general, as the two have little to do with each other."

Evidence so far suggests otherwise. Correlation, of course, is not causation, but it is suggestive.

I suspect that "investing" in cryptocurrency requires a certain, um, "mindset".

I also suspect that mindset makes it more likely that the "investor" will

1) not undertake normal due diligence when selecting a financial institution to act as custodian/depository for their funds

2) fall for the classic get-rich-quick scams

Sure there's a certain portion of the population that will fall for the classic scams or hand over their money to obviously shakey institutions, but if you limit your audience to cryptocurrency speculators, I bet you're dealing with a population that has already had most of the tough marks filtered out.


I'm Shocked!

A crypto-currency business that turned out to be a good old-fashioned scam?

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

New York again mulls letting people pay the state in crypto


I don't see the relevence

My understanding is that clause means that the state can not force you to accept cryptocurrency. It does not prohibit others (or even the state) from accepting cryptocurrency.


Boris on Blockchains

Meanwhile former UK Prime Minister, no, not the last one but Boris Johnson, told a group of blockchain enthusiasts in Singapore that the technology still hasn't really found a good reason to exist.

Huh. That's worrying: I agree.

AWS, Microsoft, Google among businesses owed money after FTX collapse


Re: Well..

When you are trying to take over the world a few bad investments have to be expected, but will there be any retribution for the in house idiot pushing the investment or will they be promoted to upper management?

The article didn't say that AWS, Google, and MS invested in FTX.

It says that FTX owes money to AWS, Google, MS.

Presumably, FTX owes money to AWS, Google, and MS for the same reasons that everybody else does: they used/acquired services/products from those companies, and have outstanding invoices from them.

Crims steal data on 40 million T-Mobile US customers


It's no more snafu,

It's no more snafu, ...

No, it's definitely SNAFU.

The SN stands for "Situation Normal".

FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty on eight charges


Re: Couldn't look more guilty....

Although it remains to be seen if any of the fraud had anything to do with crypto.

It didn't. It was all bog-standard lying to investors, embezzlement and comingling of funds. It could have been real-estate, orange juice futures, or beanie babies instead of crypto-currency. It was just easier (this time) with crypto-currency because it's the magic-beans-du-jour FOMO fuel.

Asus' latest single-board computer packs a 12-core, 4.5Ghz Intel i7



Is a SODIMM socket too much to ask for?!

In some applications, yes. It's probably considered too unreliable.

Cisco wriggles out from $2 billion bill for ‘willful and egregious’ patent infringements


Re: IANAL but....

Shouldn't there be a retrial?

According to the article:

The case has now been kicked back to the Eastern District of Virginia, where Centripetal and Cisco will have to duke it out all over again,

Sounds like a retrail to me.

How do you solve the problem that is Twitter?



Given that Twitter's "technical difficulties" result from Musk's "management style", it's all on Musk no matter how you slice it.

Is it just me, or do others find the schadenfreude to be almost debilitating?

International cops arrest hundreds of fraudsters, money launderers and cocaine kingpins


Re: A safety measure

Whenever I get an unsolicited call from any organisation where the caller asks me to identify myself, I respond "You made the call, so first you prove to me you're not a fraudster".

A few years ago, I got a phone call from one of the large US discount broker and mutual fund companies where I had an account. The caller said something needed to be done with my account and they needed my authorization. She had asked for me by name, then asked me to confirm my identity by giving her my birthday, account number, social security number, etc. I said, "No thanks, put a note on my account and I'll call back on the toll-free customer service line". She said that would work just fine. I then asked how often people whom they call like this provide the requested info. She said "always". I was the first person she had ever called who didn't cough up all the requested info.

Martian microbes could survive up to 280 million years buried underground


Given that a strike on Mars, throwing rocks into space, means that gravitation would pull them towards the sun, I suspect that any rocks thrown from the Earth might be more likely to be found on Venus. Certainly some might head towards Mars but I think the chances are low so we'll probably not find any dinosaur fragments on Mars.?

I don't understand. Why would the delta-V provided by the impacter more likely make the ejecta head towards the sun than away from the sun?

Lash#Cat9: A radical new Linux UI for keyboard warriors


Waylands focus on things that don't matter.

Wayland discards core functionality from X11, such as operation over the network, and instead seems to focus on high refresh rates and banishing display artifacts such as tearing – things that here at The Reg FOSS desk we frankly don't care about.

Yes, to that! A thousand times yes!

Why are PC webcams crap? Lenovo says it knows the reason


Re: Why are PC webcams crap?

The result is commonly a '90s image.

I don't think my laptop's webcam is working right. I don't remember my hair being that gray and thin in the 90s.

Scientists, why not simply invent a working fusion plant using $50m from Uncle Sam


Nuclear fusion power produces abundant amounts of energy

Nuclear fusion power produces abundant amounts of energy with zero carbon emissions during operation.

Oh it does, does it?

That's certainly good news!

Is it a bird? Is it Microsoft Office? No, it's Onlyoffice: Version 7.2 released


Wikipedia says OnlyOffice is developed by a Russian company

At this point in history, I'd be a little wary of recommending a Russian software product to anybody.

The github repo has binaries, but when I downloaded the "source code" tarball there's no source code in it.

Letter to FCC: Why are US carriers locking handsets to networks?


Re: Buy from the Mfr

Why would anyone buy a phone from a carrier?

AFAICT they do it because it's fast and a lot less work. You can walk into the <carrier> store, pull out your credit card, point at a phone, and 5 minutes later you're back on the street.

Not everybody enjoys comparing phone specs and trying to determine which phones will work on which carriers.. Here in the US the latter was a real issue, and it wasn't all that easy to figure out.

I've never bought a smart phone from a carrier, but long ago I dd get one or two flip phones from Verizon. The last few flip phones I bought were all unlocked (either used carrier-phones or non-carrier retail phones).

Woman forced to sell 4-bed house after crypto exchange wrongly refunded $7.2m


How did she ever expect to keep the money?

Well, she _was_ involved in cryptocurrency, so...

California to try tackling drought with canal-top solar panels


Re: 372 miles

Pick a unit system and be a dick about it. That kwh/kgal figure is an abomination!

Many years ago, I worked on fire-control software for a US Navy project. It had a bunch of different input devices: INS (3D heading/velocity, location), Sonar (for ground speed), Wind speed/direction, Odometer ticks (also for ground speed), Temperature, and so on) as well as a bunch of data input by the operator (starting lat/long/elev, barometric pressure, and whatnot). Absolutely everything was in metric except for one internal value that was calculated based on various inputs: air density was in slugs/m^3. I asked why, and was told that's just the way it's done in the US Navy.

That 'clean' Google Translate app is actually Windows crypto-mining malware


What is a "clean Windows app"?

The cryptomining Trojan, known as Nitrokod, is typically disguised as a clean Windows app

Can somebody explain to us non-Windows people what a "clean Windows app" is? I googled that phrase, but didn't find anything helpful.

Tesla expands Powerwall-to-grid program to cover most of California


Re: $2/kwh is a lot of money

Yea, I was wondering if that $2.00 per kWh was a typo. My rate is around $0.08 or $0.09 per kWh (depends on season).

That emoji may not mean what you think it means


Re: "there are 3,633 emoji in the standard at time of writing"

But incidentally a dial clock is not 'analogue'

Some are. Truly analog clocks that were driven by synchronous AC motors used to quite common. You don't find them as often these days, but there are still some around.