* Posts by Andy The Hat

1330 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010


Japanese boffins say they've created plastic optical fibres to reach places that might break glass

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Lifetime

It will be in a duct with a simple plug-in termination at each end so it can be blow/sucked through and replaced easily and quickly for a few quid.

Do I see a cloud with a cuckoo preening before me ...?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Why?

Tut Tut Sir. When you hit the post you appear to have slightly scratched the fibre surface and it's producing reflections so the signal is being attenuated and the auto-gear knob warmer is set to maximum when a high bmi passenger sweats near the demist sensor for the heated rear screen. That'll be a complete rip out and fibre refit at £2000 please ...

Nothing works any more. Who decided that redundant systems should become redundant?

Andy The Hat Silver badge
Thumb Up

Love it.

Keep them coming!

UK Ministry of Defence tries again to procure £1.7bn tri-service recruitment system

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Explanations are due ...

"Capita's 2017 decision to implement bespoke IT systems led to nearly 25,000 fewer applications to join the military in the following year."

Why should an application system result in an immediate drop in applicants? Was it because the MOD decided to digitise recruitment and people didn't want to apply online? Was it because the advertising was rubbish? Was it because kids could no longer "see the world" because there were no ships left? Was it because people were being routinely killed and maimed in Afghanistan so being a soldier was no longer the fun, heroic job it had been portrayed as? Was it because the Government shut down the job centres? Or was it because the online application system didn't work?

Be interesting to see the analysis of why Capita is solely blamed for this (rightly or wrongly).

Thatcher-era ICL mainframe fingered for failure to pay out over £1bn in UK pensions

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Underpaid but better off?

And in other completely missing the point of the story news, it is rumoured that the Red Dwarf crew are coming out of retirement after 3 million years in space. It is not known whether any claim a pension or are owed a refund ...

Court of Appeal says AI software cannot be listed as patent inventor

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: AI is a Tool, nothing more.

I think you'll find the software is a tool, he's just an idiot.

Suex to be you: Feds sanction cryptocurrency exchange for handling payments from 8+ ransomware variants

Andy The Hat Silver badge

If a single entity in the banking system was dealing with multi-million pound illicit transactions it would be shut down as complicit (there are examples of this).

Yet this extortion system extends to hundreds of millions of pounds across multiple "institutions" and there seems to be little push-back against it.

Unfortunately this is the dark side of the crypto system and the one the public sees. I'm sure "currency" flies around the world purely with the aim of being laundered rapidly yet the authorities appear either powerless or unwilling to act against this activity - the criminals are in full control. Something (eg banning cypto) has got to happen before the system melts down into a sea of extortion, drug money and payment for pizzas.

Navigating without GPS is one thing – so let's jam it and see what happens to our warship

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: I guess I'm too much of a navigation geek...

Cocked hat navigation is great in the middle of the North Sea ... I presume they break out the emergency sextants and super accurate Casio watches (with calculator) at that point?

US Federal Aviation Administration issues draft assessment of SpaceX Super Heavy impact

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Probably ...

Dropping a few tons of RP1 in the sea is a bad idea but it's less likely to cause RUD on the pad due to a leak than tons of liquid methane, and any leakage at the launch site can be more easily contained and cleaned up than methane freely venting to atmosphere ... So it's a question of which is better - methane in the atmosphere or a (relatively) small slick of fairly volatile material at sea?

Amazon UK business swelled by 50%+ in 2020, and taxes soared. Lol, no, it means those paid by its staff

Andy The Hat Silver badge

It almost seems to me that this is an almost annual affair ... :-(

Next it'll be Dame M-H complaining Amazon don't pay enough.

Then Amazon saying "yes we do because we're lovely"

Then HMRC saying "give us some money (if that's ok with you Mr Bezos)"

The Government will explain how they're actively looking into appointing a top Civil Servant (only named as Sir H.) to form a committee with the remit of looking into the feasability of setting up an investigative committee into looking at corporate tax avoidance ...

And Bezos will continue to line his pockets.

I have no objection to companies only paying tax on the basis of a level playing field. But the mine field of the tax system has mud, hills, holes, tenches, bunkers, vaults and complete subterranean tunnel networks which can be used by the super-wealthy in ways not available to smaller companies.

If the system continues to be deliberately skewed in favour of the super-wealthy, that is a system sailing dangerously close to state sponsored corruption.

UK gives military's frikkin' laser cannon project a second roll of the dice

Andy The Hat Silver badge


"All of these projects are said to be creating 50 new jobs and keeping a further 250 people employed."

Wouldn't they be better employed digging canals, filling them with very expensive bottled water, pulling the plug and watching it drain away? At least we'd end up with a nice canal tow-path to walk along whereas "all these projects" so far have resulted in nothing useful except some very greasy palms ...

The day has a 'y' in it, so Virgin Galactic has announced another delay

Andy The Hat Silver badge

This is the difference - cost cutting to save money (NASA) or cost cutting to maximise profit (commercial entities).

As you suggest, I would suspect that the requirement to maximise profit would help mitigate the explody bangy stuff but, at the same time, flight costs and contraints for competitive commercial companies will necessarily become tighter which will encourage pushing the envelope ... It will be interesting to see what happens.

At present the "Aren't we great, public in spaaaaaccceeee!" jaunts make great publicity. However NASA found out the hard way that "publicity stunts" can go very very wrong and cost the company much more than the meagre profit of a single trip.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

The "issue" is that SpaceX and Roscosmos launches of commercial cargo/passengers and Blue Origin (with it's err, uppy downy launches of something useful) have become basically reliable and basically on schedule. This is not like the old days when delays were common often due to development not keeping pace with flight plans and big bangs causing upsets to the schedules. I for one would rather suffer the inevitability of successful launches than wait for explosions to break the monotony because safety and development envelopes were pushed too hard ...

The quesion is whether cost cutting to maximise profits on the balance sheet will compromise the safety of the systems ...

Facebook building 'on-demand executable file format' that self-inflates using homebrew compression

Andy The Hat Silver badge

What goes around ...

First there were applications and data and they were small to fit the space available

Then there was too much data so compression was invented

Then there was more storage and bloatware was developed to fit the space available

Then there was slow internet and compression was reinvented

Then there was broadband and bloatware development was enhanced to fit the bandwidth available

Then there was too much data and compression was reinvented invented ...

RAF chief: Our Reaper drones (sorry, SkyGuardians) stand ready to help British councils

Andy The Hat Silver badge


So many cynical conspiracy theory based comments.

The actual reason for these is that the Council refuse collection is so expensive the RAF bases are looking to dispose of their waste by literally fly tipping ...

Open brown bin? "Dump Leylandii clippings!"

Open Green bin? "Go with the officer's empty whisky bottles!"

Or was that the airspace of a council where the black bin is green and the green bin is black ...? Oh bugger, should have actually been the blue bin next to the orange bin with the dark green glass tray inside. "Prepare to jettison the apology note ... "

Dozy ISS cosmonauts woken by smoke alarm on eve of 5-hour spacewalk

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Can anyone smell burning ...?"

"Yes I can!"

"So can I!"

"Well, as people floating around in space and totally dependant on the integrity of the tin can we are in, we have two options. One, investigate the source of the excess heat or fire producing the smell. Extinguish it and/or take remedial action to secure the environment and ensure our safety. Or two, open the windows and get rid of the nasty smell ..."

That report of an incident, immediate safety protocols enacted and remedial action taken is probably the most scary thing I've heard from the ISS. Even "a bulb blew in a lamp fitting and stunk a bit" would satisfactorily explain things.

Amazon says Elon Musk's wicked, wicked ways mean SpaceX's Starlink 2.0 should not be allowed to fly

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Is Spacex a "megacorp"?

On the basis that it does one thing (launch rockets) from one place (the US) and has lots of launch competition both in the US and abroad, how does that make it a "megacorp"? I would regard that word to fit a world-wide company with fingers in lots of pies with loads of subsidiaries (like Amazon, P&G, Boeing, FaceAche, most of the big banking corporations etc). SpaceX *may* become a world player if it's sat comms system actually works out and everyone jumps onboard but, as yet, that's just pie in the sky ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

It's not the size that matters ...

Even though in this case Bonzo's is admittedly smaller and although he can get it up he can't do a lot with it before it comes down again ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

The SpaceX application may or may not be to vague but that's for the FCC to accept or reject, not Bezos (though financial clout seems to matter more to US regulators rather than actual legal argument).

If Bezos and Musk dislike each other, so what? Let them squabble about their bits, sometimes that stimulates competition rather than stifling innovation (and irrespective of what you think about Musky, shaking the tree of rocket innovation seems to be his thing).

Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos fraud trial begins: Defense claims all she did was fail – and that's not a crime

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "... failure is not a crime"

No no, I think you'll find she went to work on some days only to lie or cheat or steal. Doing all three all the time would be a considerable effort. Lie on a Monday, cheat on a Tuesday, steal on a Wednesday and have the rest of the week off sounds more reasonable.

James Webb Space Telescope penciled in for launch this century. Yes, Dec 18, 2021

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Really?

I don't know what you mean "jobs for the boys" ... all the £34bn was shared with carefully selected colleagues and partners. In tests, none of the cash was traced to the Cayman Islands which I believe means the test and trace programme is a complete success.

UK.gov is launching an anti-Facebook encryption push. Don't think of the children: Think of the nuances and edge cases instead

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Welcome to the world of political spin ... Word it as vaguely as possible to make it sound as bad as possible to get away with as much state surveillance as possible whilst still insiting that free speech, pricacy and data security are "their" main concerns. Be it e2ee, mass surveillance or selling medical data to the highest bidder, it all comes down to states making sure their free populous are toeing the line and making the lives of the incumbunt powers-that-be as comfortable as possible.

Guntrader breach perp: I don't think it's a crime to dump 111k people's details online in Google Earth format

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Irrespective of the contents, if data is illegally purloined from a source by person A and posted in the public domain, is it legal for person B to copy and/or repost that data in any form? As the data was already in the "public domain" and was not protected in any way, does that make any difference?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: denying their actions amounted to a criminal offence

Would like to know the reasoning for the thumbs down to what seems like an exceptionally balanced comment.

UK's NHS hands Accenture another £5m for Test and Trace system for another year

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Nice money

£1100 per day ... so much for the poor sods at the sharp end on £1200 a month! :-(

Only 'natural persons' can be recognized as patent inventors, not AI systems, US judge rules

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: ML and AI systems should be able to hold patents

Good comment.

Either AI is not able to patent anything as it's a tool owned by somebody to develop patents. Or the AI system IS able to develop and patent ideas as it's a fully autonomous, self-aware system, in which case the "owner" should be imprisoned for modern slavery and the AI system set free in the wild somewhere ... Madagascar is nice.

Branson (in a) pickle: FAA grounds Virgin Galactic flights after billionaire's space trip veered off course

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"The massive hype about being first then selling off a big % of his shares does fit with beardys normal mode of operation."

Exactly. People critcise Branson but that is his modus operadi - set something up, demonstrate its viability thus increasing its initial value multiple times and then sell it off, often with a licence to use the Virgin branding, and let the new owners do the donkey work.

The other way is to set up a company then continue to take basic income plus work to increase value by a relatively small percentage per year. If you've got the ability to see and exploit a niche in the market, Branson's solution always has the potential to be more lucrative if the development costs can be controlled.

NHS England's release of 'details' on access to Palantir COVID-19 data store: Good enough? We're in a 'dialogue' says national data watchdog

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Bandwidth?

But at least twice as many noses at the trough ...

Leaked Guntrader firearms data file shared. Worst case scenario? Criminals plot UK gun owners' home addresses in Google Earth

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "British Association for Shooting and Conservation"

As I said, most fireams holders don't give a jot about Grouse shooting.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "British Association for Shooting and Conservation"

What is it with grouses?

Some people spend huge amounts of money to shoot grouse and go " haw haw, load me pleb". Most firearms holders don't give a jot about shooting grouse.

Your grousing is like complaining how dangerous cars are because Ferrari owners drive fast ...

This drag sail could prevent spacecraft from turning into long-term orbiting junk. We spoke to its inventors ahead of launch

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I wonder how much nitrogen thruster you would get installed for 15Kg?

Seems a big weight penalty for very little initial drag (bearing in mind that the drag of the craft itself will become significant at slightly lower altitudes and negate the requirement for the extra drag anyway)

Bangkok Airways hit by LockBit ransomware attack, loses lotsa data after refusing to pay

Andy The Hat Silver badge

is this fake news?

What is ringing bells is the paragraph about UK rail operators and the contention that "Trains continued to run on time ..."

Doesn't seem right to me ...

Brit says sorry after waving around nonce patent and leaning on sites to cough up

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: The law is clear

He has a patent and apparently he was the developer (of what he believed is) a valid patent. In my book he is not a patent troll.

In that context *we* cannot judge whether the patent is valid or not - that's his decision to enforce his patent through the courts and the court's job to decide whether it's valid or not. No level of jaw ache by people here will make any difference unless they are called as expert witnesses for the case.

The Register recreates Apollo 15 through the medium of plastic bricks, 50 years on

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Why can't they make the Starliner work now"

The valves had bricked themselves ...

Coat already on ...

WEB@30: The Register pokes around historical hardware of the WWW

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Wot, no FX-80 ?

Those were the days of the Qume Sprint 10 - a daisy that ran like a big clacky clickety wobbly foundation-cracking thing. :-)

Not as fast as the huge 132 column band printer we inherited from the council billing department. Even watching the steel band at full speed made you wish for something safer - like an untethered grizzly bear. The noise it made and it's speed were something to behold. One rotation of the type band was three complete character sets ... ASCII art just flew through :-)

Then there was the wide format drum printer - the stainless type drum must have weighed 30Kgs - but was perfectly balanced and whisper quiet so seemed somewhat sedate as it whirred up to speed ... Then the hammers started - an oscillating bar of 44, each servicing three columns of characters, which potentially could smack the page all at the same time so one line per 3 rotations of the drum - that thing just ate paper.

UK's competition regulator fires red flare over Nvidia's $40bn Arm takeover deal

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: First Ultra, now Arm

I guess from that view of things you aren't looking forward to the gradual introduction of vomit flavoured US chocolate? Only thing worse is "liquorice flavoured boiled sweets" from Norway (perhaps Sweden?) that were sold by Lidl - I thought they had a great "liqourice" flavour until I hit the " ammonia infused with mouldy haddock" flavoured centres :-(

If we can prevent the sale of a non-GB company (because we allowed the GB company to be sold to a foreign company as it obviously wasn't against the interests of GB) to another non-GB company as it's not in the interests of GB ... and at the same time prevent the horrendous potential of being overrun by foreign influenced, vomit flavoured so-called-chocolate fingers, that must be a good thing ... possibly.

Hacking the computer with wirewraps and soldering irons: Just fix the issues as they come up, right?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Computer O Level

Basic graphics? In 1980 we ran the basicg (basicsg?) interpreter which would drive the video with "hi-res" graphics - about 320x200 or something - in blinding monochrome whoch looked great on a froopy green computer screen.

I remember writing a programme to show the motion of a charged particle under the inflence of a magnetic and/or electric fields on a 2D screen ... As a teenager that made me a real physics geek!

I loved that 380Z ...

UK's Surveillance Camera Commissioner grills Hikvision on China human rights abuses

Andy The Hat Silver badge

What are the boundaries?

Sell cameras to a state that uses them for nefarious activities - BAN THEM!

Sell electronics to a state that could apply them to military hardware - BAN THEM

Sell weapons to a state to blow people to smithereens - Great, give them a subsidy.

Sell weapons to state police and military where people on the streets are shot in cold blood - that's ok too as long as it's done 'lawfully' in the US or even N. Ireland ...

Whilst I don't want to give judgement over Hik in this case I will say that the Government's historic position is less than clear ...

Boston Dynamics spends months training its Atlas robots to perform one minute of parkour almost perfectly

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Cue 'robotic overlords' panic from the internets

"it's still a non-intelligent machine that does one thing"

The whole point is just the opposite. They are trying to develop something that can do more than one thing. Theoretically at least, it has been told some basics and instructed to perform this routine which it has subsequently 'learned' how to do for itself.

Next they'll have it realise it's getting low on power, and use an extension lead to plug it's groinal attachment port into a 13A socket ... then do the hoovering and ironing.

GSMA and Euro-telcos argue for exemptions from big tech tax crackdown laws

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I think I understand

"That call is backed by citing data to the effect that mobile services help to grow economies, making extra taxation of carriers a self-defeating idea as it would reduce their incentive and ability to invest."

So, just like someone thinking about producing fidgit spinners then? Therefore treat them the same as fidgit spinner producers ...

Or, if they don't want to be producers, just like hauliers who only transport goods. Therefore treat them the same as hauliers.

I've said it before and I'll say it again that the entire multi-volume tax system needs ripping up and replacing with something the size of a paperback (that includes a preface, a prologue and a complete index!) Fewer rules, more level playing field for everyone, fewer tax-avoidance escape tunnels for expensive tax accountants and lawyers to wiggle through.

Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Ball crud

At the FE/HE college I worked at we used to put U-bolts in the back of the case and thread all peripheral leads through them. This was specifically aimed at mouse leads so the RM serial mice with steel ball bearings didn't get stolen - they were about £60 each at the time. The mouse traps were glued shut. Pain in the posterior for maintenance but we were secure!

I was less than happy one day when I noted that the little darlings had decided to cut the cables to steal the mice - most of them were electronics students and one had worked out they could just solder the leads back together ... doh!

Good news: There's a slightly increased chance of asteroid Bennu hitting Earth. Bad news: It's still really slight

Andy The Hat Silver badge


"1 in 2,700 and falling ..." noted Trillian. Zaphod didn't see the big rock hurtling towards him as his view had unexpectedly turned a delightful shade of dark indigo.

By the way, the "weight of three grapes" is not exactly helpful, it's not even derived from an El Reg approved unit*.

Is it the weight of three grapes on the surface of the asteroid or the weight of three grapes at sea level on the Earth? And are they the little squitty grapes at the bottom of the tray in Morrisons or big fresh ones from Waitrose? And does it include any diamegnetic repulsion (yes, you can repel grapes with a magnet, look up the grape dumbell experiment, works with lots of other 'non magnetic' things too at least to the size of oranges ... apart from the ones that confuse the issue by being paramagnetic ... :-) )? So many questions ...

*Surely the gravitational force experienced by one Bulgarian Fun Bag when the encapsulant is standing on the tarmac at Schipol Airport would be the El Reg unit of force?

SpaceX Starship struts its stack to show it has the right stuff

Andy The Hat Silver badge

So many questions

1) How do you launch this thing without destroying the launch stand? I assume the safest way is to get Kong the crane to hold it at boom's length, Elon presses the ignite button and Kong squints like he's holding a giant sparkler?

2) How is that thing going to cope with max-q? The relative sizes of the parts means the leverage around the joint will be massive.

3) How do you land this thing in one (two) pieces?

So basically there are only three issues I can see with an orbital mission - launch, flight and landing - apart from that it's easy. If he pulls this one off Elon will become a legend, if he doesn't he may be rebuilding half of Boca Chica!

All your DNS were belong to us: AWS and Google Cloud shut down spying vulnerability

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: DNS Spying: The Number of Beast

Im not sure - was Dr Nefario actually nefarious? (Can you have a philosophical discussion about the physcological makeup of a cartoon character?)

84-year-old fined €250,000 for keeping Nazi war machines – including tank – in basement

Andy The Hat Silver badge

He actually got of lightly - it's not the tank per se but the fact that he has a load of illegal weapons and some of significant calibre. If he had licensed the collection correctly, had all of it correctly deactivated and not had a heap of live ammo it would probably have been ok ...

The guy near me who had a collection of illegal weapons and ammo currently was given his own little room and is amusing the Queen ... and he has no collection or cash value for it either.

UK data watchdog sees its approach to government health tech during COVID-19 outbreak as 'pragmatic'

Andy The Hat Silver badge


"...the introduction of mandatory breach reporting in sectors that handle large volumes of personal data has also contributed to the trend"

Let me think about that statement ... mandatory reporting has resulted in a reduction in reports? On that basis the number of breaches reported would go up if it wasn't mandatory to report them ... Forehead meet wall.

Vivo X60 Pro: Branding was plastered all over the Euros, but does the phone perform better than the English team?

Andy The Hat Silver badge


A good review of a phone without really mentioning many of the actual phone bits ... does this mean we are finally at the point of selling cameras with a phone attached?

Happy 60th, Sinclair Radionics: We'll remember you for your revolutionary calculators and crap watches

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Don't you just hate how young some people are!

Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Outcomes like this ..."

Your inference is that a Tesla battery caught fire simply due to it's inherent unsafe build quality with no other external influence. The primary cause of the fire was the battery and it's cheap build quality. There is no question of the installer doing anything wrong, a fire caused by another source, or any other scenario I can think of.


Where's your evidence for that statement?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Those building look very close together

it's a container - it may just have had uninstalled stock in it ...



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021