* Posts by Andy The Hat

1747 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Oct 2010

Senate bill aims to stop Uncle Sam using facial recognition at airports

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: keeping the data

"It's NOT being kept. RTFA."

Thanks for that. I did and I didn't see anything about data storage/retention/privacy policies ...

40 years of Turbo Pascal, the coding dinosaur that revolutionized IDEs

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: University 1987

40 PCs? Looxury ... compiling programs at 3am on a TVI920 connected to a PDP11/750 was so much more fun ...

Rackspace runs short of Cloud Files storage in LON region

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Guy I used to work with...

clattering bell end?

Does that ring with anyone? :-)

AWS rakes in half a billion pounds from UK Home Office

Andy The Hat Silver badge

We need a scale of cloud sizes

The earlier contract was for two years and a "hyperscale cloud service". Which I assume is access to everything it may ever need in a hyperscaling sort of way ...

This one is "£450,281,369 to be precise [and] runs for three years" - so I assume it's whatever is bigger than "hyperscale" ... more than everything ... Marketing Hyperbole scale? Government twaddle-speak scale? Backhander scale?

Be interesting to see what the Government actually gets from this that makes it worth almost 10x the price of a "hyperscale" system.

Zuckerberg accused of OK'ing Insta plastic surgery filters despite fears of harm to kids

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Why single out Meta?

The media is full of "pump this with Botox", "Fill it with collagen", "suck it out", "whiten it with bleach", "you're not orange enough!", "have as bigger bum", "have a smaller bum", "whatever size it it, it's wrong ..." and has been for many, many years. There were court case against magazines (remember those?) back in the day about the unnatural portrayal of women promoting eating disorders.

So why is Meta any different?

Europol shutters ransomware operation with kingpin arrests

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Can anyone explain ...

are these individuals involved with a cybercrime group that was taken down in 2021 or is/was it still a live organisation?

Logitech's Wave Keys tries to bend ergonomics without breaking tradition

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: The absence of backlighting

Do "modern" people seriously look at the letters on the keys whilst typing to the extent that they now need lights to show them which key to hit next? (answer clue: if you did your typing would be phenomenonon..on..ly slow.)

I admit to having a backlit laptop keyboard (not by choice) but it basically tells me where the keyboard is in the dark, muscle memory, autocorrect and the delete key does the rest. Gamers may differ but I can't see them wanting a standard ergonomic keyboard.

FFmpeg 6.1 drops a Heaviside dose of codec magic

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Heaviside brought back memories

You call that tough? I used CP/M and VMS and Unix then MSDOS appeared and dangled the carrot of having 16 bit processors on the desktop and I was tempted to the dark side ... been swimming upstream ever since. :-(

FAA stays grounded in reality as SpaceX preps for takeoff

Andy The Hat Silver badge

They were aiming for 50% thrust on the three booster engines at stage sep ... If it was a gas phase ingestion issue, it could be as simple as increasing stage 1 to 60% and reducing the second stage sep power by a few percent to balance the remaining fuel load.

On the other hand, it seemed to me that the first stage issue actually began at the boost back turn when the first ring was reignited. Hypothetically it could be that (as someone said) things were a bit too sporty or it could be that an engine/fuel line blew out and progressively took engines on one side with it before the FTS cut in (my feeling). Be interesting if it was a major oxygen feed failure and is the same problem that later took out stage 2 ...

Firefox slow to load YouTube? Just another front in Google's war on ad blockers

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Firefox and YouTube shenanigans

Can Google (Youtube?) can be sued for false advertising as they are insisting that we watch obvious scams, dangerous products, illegal or fake "celebrities endorsing product" ads.

As they are insisting that the the viewers watch the ads, numbers/type are not selected by the content creators, are Youtube acting as a broadcaster constrained by the same legal advertising code (UK Code of Broadcast Advertising) as broadcast tv has to follow in the UK? Does Youtube fall under the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK? If not, isn't it time for the law to be updated?

Lenovo sues Asus for patent infringement, seeks US ZenBook ban

Andy The Hat Silver badge

interesting about the laptop hinge ... tosh did such a thing years ago.

Microsoft unleashes Copilot preview on Windows 10 insiders

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Display requirements are 720p

If the os can cope with the display, why can't a tool running within it ... unless co-pilot itself is being embedded as a basic part of the os?

Capita scores £239M contract to manage mega public sector pension scheme

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Complete madness

"to integrate generative AI to give pension holders personalized and “engaging digital channels” to prepare for and manage their retirement."

Why? Just why? All I need is a spreadsheet with some figures on it.

Your password hygiene remains atrocious, says NordPass

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: For best results, use a password generator that can give you a long, random string"

Thant sounds great ... but who produces Keepass (to use your example)? Where are the passwords stored? Can the database accessed online? Is the database protected by a single password? Why should I trust a single company with *all* my security when I have no knowledge or control of that company or their security processes? For all I know they may have a massive online database with a master password of "password" to open everyone's systems when the ransomware company that runs it decides there's enough data to make it financially viable ... (I'm not suggesting Keepass are actually involved in ransomware, just that with limited user knowledge, they *could* be and I'd be none the wiser.) Before the suggestion that I'm being paranoid, try looking at nearly every crypto investment or pension fund fraud conducted by the "reputable" companies that run them, without the knowledge of the users of those systems.

In essence, who polices these "trust" companies?

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

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Units

Bulgarian funbags per minute? Blue whales per second? I can't recall whether they are volume or mass but there's a conversion factor there somewhere :-)

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Weren't NASA also working with Boeing on a rocket?

Shhh! You're not allowed to mention competitors' issues whilst the analy inclined are desperately Musky bashing ...

Rhysida ransomware gang: We attacked the British Library

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I still find it amazing that ransomware and crypto gangs appear to be the first criminals in the world that can openly advertise themselves, seemingly with little fear of being caught ... What is happening to this world?

Musk's broadband satellite kingdom Starlink now cash flow positive – or so he claims

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"paying nearly 5 times what a basic DSL line costs each month"

and which dsl line is that, what supplier, what speed and on which continent? Come on, give us a clue ...

Watchdog bites back against blockage of $9M fine on US selfie-scraper Clearview AI

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: WTF!

I don't believe that's true.

I interpreted the tribunal decision as suggesting that a company performing *any contract* for a foreign government/judiciary etc would be exempt. If that is the case then just getting a Michigan Sherriff dept toilet cleaning contract (possibly with a database of toilet facilities to make it computer related activity) will probably allow legal scraping of UK data ...

However I hope that is not the correct interpretation of what are notoriously one-sided UK/USA "agreements".

UK won't rush to regulate AI, says first-ever minister for digital brainboxes

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Short term hands off ...

actually means we allow as much data to be slurped as possible, get our LLMs all sorted out with as much personal data sold to "trusted third parties" as possible and only then regulate the use of personal data in LLMs by which time it's too late for our data and those "trusted third parties" are retired in Bermuda.

SpaceX's Starship on the roster for Texas takeoff

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Because, as we all know, there is nothing to push against when you are on space; unless they take a launch pad up with them and swing it down under the engines before restarting them? "

That would work as it's based on the old sailing ship technology when the crew used to blow into the sails to get out of the dead calms ... err ... apparently ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Aims for the flight ...

Apart from a few "tweaks" it was arguably a mostly "successful" initial test launch - basically it cleared the tower and that was Musk's declared aim.

Given that, I guess primary goal for this flight will be staging, preferably with everything pointing in the correct direction - that will mean that both the staging ring system and the firing of the starship engines works and max-q was survived.

Secondary goal will be the starship achieving the intended trajectory.

Thirdly splashdown of both stages in/on the correct patches of wobbly wet stuff.

If this ends without any part of the FTS firing it will be astounding!

Excitement guaranteed and I already need another pair of pants ... :-)

Tool bag lost in space now tracked by garbage watchers

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"It's unfortunate we lost them, but not a huge impact,"

So I presume there is another bag with the big impact drills in case they want to hang a picture on the wall?

Google dragged to UK watchdog over Chrome's upcoming IP address cloaking

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Child protection

... and as we are going fully digital, perhaps all our phone calls should now be open so they can be "tapped" and "traced" for marketing purposes too?

I'm no fan of Google's methods but this is marketer speak of the lowest quality.

BOFH: Monitor mount moans end in Beancounter beatdown

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I know the feeling ...

It's perfectly legal for cars to harvest your texts, call logs

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: UK legal position

depends how much the manufacturers are paying ...

The "independent" ICO appears to be increasingly claw-free and guided by the lobbying interests of big businesses.

European Space Agency grits teeth, preps contracts for SpaceX Galileo launch

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Stupid idea

but what if there was a local launch facility somewhere, like a unit and some concrete in Cornwall ... ?

That would keep the system away from the pesky USA prying eyes and the British Government funded enough of it anyway.

UK may demand tech world tell it about upcoming security features

Andy The Hat Silver badge

As is detailed (if you read hard enough), if this "consent" for the legislation is requested by the Government it is always granted. Whether or not changes are lobbied for behind the scenes is another issue but it is up to Parliament to debate whatever is presented to them and suggest changes as it goes through the Parliamentary procedure, sometimes including those suggested by lobbyists who may or may not be visible to public scrutiny.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Won't work.

Why the downvoter?

We may be going bankrupt but the Government and the public are spending record amounts on pointless tat doing it.

What happens with the next failed southern European/North African harvests? People dying of starvation in the Horn of Africa while we suffer the great crushed avacado shortage ...

Microsoft likens MFA to 1960s seatbelts, buckles admins in yet keeps eject button

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Here's an ad served to your personal device ...

How much does MS earn from the personal data it sees/tracks when its MFA app is installed on *most* user's personal phones, just because Office 365 says it has to be? Up until the App install point, users are corporate numbers and (relatively) commercially unexploitable. The App is a claw into personal data.

Cynical, and tin-foil hat firmly on perhaps but I don't trust MS as far as I can throw them.

Dirty dancing grabs the attention of China's cyberspace regulators

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Welcome to the future

Isn't this just an example of what's going to happen when the "cyber security" act is fully implemented in the UK and restricts "obscene, offensive and pornographic material"?

UK bets on Intel CPUs and GPUs, Dell boxen, OpenStack for Dawn supercomputer

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Dawn’s project team said their machine, located at the Cambridge Open ZettaScale Lab, will take the UK closer to reaching its goal of having its own exascale system."

And similarly, I spent all my money on a Ford Mondeo which took me one step closer to having a knackered Ferrari in a few years ...

Cybercrooks amp up attacks via macro-enabled XLL files

Andy The Hat Silver badge

And still ... they come

It must be 30 years or more since the first office macro malware. It was considered a stupid idea to let "data" have access to any feature outside the immediate application then and, surprisingly, it still is now.

So why is "data" still allowed vectors to break out of the application?

Is it so a new macro system can be introduced in one version and a disable button introduced in the next as a "latest and greatest new feature"?

As NASA struggles to open OSIRIS-REx's asteroid sample can, probe heads off to next rock

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"ten times closer to our planet than the Moon"

Where did the fairly recent penchant for using "x times smaller than y" come from? Are one tenth, one quarter or one thirty second the size of ... seen as old and imperial whereas "32 times smaller than a gnat's appendage" is a more prose worthy modern version?

Anyway, my clock's minute hand has described an arc four times smaller than an hour so I must go ...

UK policing minister urges doubling down on face-scanning tech

Andy The Hat Silver badge
Big Brother

I'm a bit on the fence.

Rudimentary facial recording in public places by law enforcement agencies is a Police State activity and should be outlawed. Similarly, comparison of routine footage against, for instance, a national identity card database *for any reason* would be right out and in the same way a national DNA database should not be interrogatable in a routine way.

On the other hand, if a crime has been committed, footage (or DNA) was available, the validity of the claim checked and a warrant issued by a Judge then that could be a legitimate use of search powers. The level at which such a warrant could be issued would be up to the lawmakers - dna taken from a dropped crisp packet to substantiate the crime of "dropping litter" may not justify a warrant however blood in a murder may do so. On the other hand is that opening the door to acceptance ...?

Cybersecurity snafu sends British Library back to the Dark Ages

Andy The Hat Silver badge


What does it say about modern life when you can't read the BBC News from this morning but can still read documents created 1000 years ago ...

For my next trick I'll attempt to read a copy of the Doomsday project on laserdisc and then check out a couple of pages of the original Doomsday Book ... Which will be more successful?

Airbus commissions three wind-powered ships to sail the Atlantic

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Lift??

You've missed the point that a square rigger's sail mechanics bear little resemblance to a modern sail which aren't "pushed" by the air pressure, instead they inflate and act like a wing to generate lift (forward thrust in this case).

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Lift??

One of the issues with sails and vertical rotors has been cited as the potential to capsize in strong winds. Given that sideload is directly related to both drag and power being extracted from the wind, one could question the overall efficiency of these Magnus-based systems. I would like to see modern (probably solid) sail versus vertical rotor versus Magnus system direct energy comparisons with similar sideloads ... most I see are "here is our boat with our system fitted which does xyz knots" examples, no like for like comparisons.

There were three things against wind powered "square riggers" - lack of wind, being unable to sail close to the wind and the requirement for lots of sailors to "splice the main brace, oh arr!". The first makes engines a commercial necessity. The second is much better now due to sail design. The third could probably be fully automated with solid sail structures and a "talk like a pirate" app. All I need now is a couple of transport vessels and wads of cash to build a prototype.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Lift??

Interesting research here https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/sailing-into-headwinds-using-transverse-axis-magnus-rotor

King Charles III signs off on UK Online Safety Act, with unenforceable spying clause

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Poor, deprived Americans

Only one math?

Would that be the aftermath?

PIRG petitions Microsoft to extend the life of Windows 10

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Updates are not that difficult

Given the similarity in base code between Win 11 and Win 10, basic updates of Win 10 should not cost MS much.

What I haven't got the answer to is how security updates differ between the two systems and how it would impact update costs. Potentially it would - or should - be a completely dissimilar code base due to the "much higher security" environment of win 11 ... unless that's a complete red herring that's only an issue in specific circumstances.

Either way, MS have a difficult case to argue but they have done so quite happily up to now ...

Brits sign Axiom Space deal for human spaceflight in name of science

Andy The Hat Silver badge


Helen Sharman did only a few days in space but I'm not sure I would even consider such condescending words about Tim Peake when he spent 185 days in space including spacewalks, which by my calculation is almost exactly 185 days (give or take some jumping up and down and roller-coaster rides) more weightlessness than the vast majority of humans could ever hope to experience ...

Unless of course the inference is that all ISS missions are just "having a jolly"?

Millions of smart meters will brick it when 2G and 3G turns off

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Despite all the evidence to the contrary

It has - did nobody notice how the consumer saved money due to the reduction in electricity costs per kWh? Probably not because at the same time the price increases were happening the companies were allowed to effectively double their standing charge price which does not decrease with consumption and is not impacted by microgeneration ...

This "competitive market" is an utter sham.

NASA just patched Voyager 2's software but spared Voyager 1 the risky rewrite

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Damn good job they don't run Win10 ... sorry, no updates as your hardware isn't new enough ...

UK tribunal agrees with Clearview AI – Brit data regulator has no jurisdiction

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: The tribunal has just kneecaped UK-GDPR

I don't believe you final comment is correct. As I read the opinion of the Judges, if the data is being used by non-UK governments and/or for the purposes of law enforcement it does not fall under the remit of GDPR. Only if it's trawled by a commercial company is it subject to GDPR.

Once the data has been used for "law enforcement" or "governmental" purposes it is not clear whether it's free rein time and the data can be passed to all and sundry as the database presumably belongs to the governmental organisation that legally trawled it.

The FBI, CIA, NSA and Russian, Israeli and Chinese equivalents are all smiling at the wiggly contents of an open can ...

Half a billion pound NHS data platform award still stuck in the pipes

Andy The Hat Silver badge

So NHS England, can you publish all the open comments you received against Palantir to balance your comment ... ? No? If so, you are no longer even useful as a political scapegoat, you have outlived your usefulness and the Treasury can conduct the task directly and more cheaply.

First Brexit, now X-it: Musk 'considering' pulling platform from EU over probe

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "real Marie Antoinette vibes"

Sorry but that's one thing he said that I agree with. There seems to be a belief, chiefly among those that have and command those that haven't, that everyone can work from home. But unless you sit beside a computer all day how does that work?

Perhaps I'm wrong and you will be happy when your surgery is performed by magic incantation over a phone, your kid's education delivered via X, your avacados spontaneously growing then being harvested and crushed by Waitrose magic fairies, your sewers unblocking themselves on command, even your Amazon chinese tat being delivered to your ninth floor flat in five minutes by ballistic missile ...

Working from home certainly does work for some who deal in information and money but working at work is for the vast majority to earn money to survive and provide for the minority.

Bezos' engineers dream of Blue Ring space platform in orbit by 2025

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Meh...

If Musk said he was going to launch thing thing in 2025 I could believe something could be mocked up and built in 2024, at least a working prototype in 2025 and a potential launch in 2026. After all he has the flight hardware and orbital experience to deliver it ...

I think Bezos is just dangling a "we may possibly hopefully be able to do it cheaper if you give us massive funding" carrot to keep his company going until the next no-hope-of-delivery-but-well-funded idea comes along ...

Falcon Heavy sends NASA probe to metal-rich asteroid Psyche

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: My prediction ....

"Moving the entire asteroid into Earth orbit is a massive waste of energy."

That depends on whether a massive proportion of the asteroid is refinable material or not ... a "dirty snowball" is worth little, a pure nickel iron is more valuable.

Whatever happens, unless it's stupidly valuable and rare materials (like He3), I can't currently see any economic argument for mining/refining material on a space based body for return to Earth.

TaxWatch finds astute scheme minimizes Big Tech's UK tax bill by over $2B

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Amazon misleading!

I don't care why people use Amazon but I find their statements "misleading" too.

They are that rarest of companies - one who's boss and senior executives are so good, valuable and making the company so much money that they can be paid millions per year, yet the company still makes a loss ... apparently.

Doesn't that ability to (legally) make a "we made a loss" statement with a straight face demonstrate exactly where the problem lies?