* Posts by Andy The Hat

1544 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010

Privacy watchdog steps up fight against Europol's hoarding of personal data

Andy The Hat Silver badge

6 months isn't long enough to check whether the person is, or may be, involved in current criminal activity?

"Currently subject to investigation" flag on live investigations, otherwise delete, simples. Yes there will be arguments about the legitimacy of some "live" investigations but for the vast majority of citizens the law would be beneficial.

Obviously this only works if the law is there to protect and benefit the citizen, not to protect and benefit the systems of control ...

Good news for UK tech contractors as govt repeals IR35 tax rules

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Wake me up

are you just milking this thread?

Update your Tesla now before the windows put your fingers in a pinch

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: My car's window ...

that reminds me, I need to grease my mechanism before the friction makes my knob break off ... ooh err missus, nay nay and thrice nay! and other such phrases of a similar age.

Tesla Megapack battery ignites at substation after less than 6 months

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Out of curiousity, PWRs used a massive lead-acid battery room for emergency shutdowns (and I know two horror stories about those) but what do modern reactors use in case of power failure and emergency shutdown backup?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Look to Dinorwig

When do you think Dinorwig was built and why?

USA adds two more Chinese carriers to 'probably a national security threat' list

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"... subject to the exploitation, influence and control of the Chinese government, and the national security risks associated with such exploitation, influence, and control.”

We hear this repeatedly but is there an equivalent Chinese list which is not so heavily reported in the West?

By Jove! Jupiter to make closest approach to Earth in 70 years next Monday

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Maybe its just me

Harken! Has my Dob-troll detector gone off?

A $5000 APO and a massive equatorial is great but, for the average Joe who couldn't give a jot about "measurements or put numbers on things", dobs are quick, easy to use and cheap to transport to a dark sky site to enjoy great views.

NASA to live-stream SLS rocket fuel leak repair test

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Quick fix

Feels like a dog chasing its tail ...

They've been working on the system and (presumably) thoroughly testing hydrogen quick disconnect seal designs and subassemblies for years, yet a fix to a major issue which has been on-going for years (initially with Shuttle) will only take a month?

EU puts smart device manufacturers on the hook for cyber security

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Does that include TeleScreens?

Is it the fault of the device or the app? I don't believe any smart tvs are guaranteed to run any particular catch-up or streaming service (except some specifics instances like Netflix). Broadcasters can change their specific "technology" at any time and that may break delivery on a device but it's not the fault of the manufacturer who could not predict that change.

Welcome to the world of "not me guv'" and guaranteed obsolescence.

Microsoft rolls out stealthy updates for 365 Apps

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "a process that Lieberman said takes about four seconds"

I believe that was measured using Microsoft Variable Time.

The proof is the "percentage complete" timeline where seconds become minutes ... And when/if a rollback or restore is required hours become days ... by the book ...

Twitter whistleblower Zatko disses bird site as dysfunctional data dump

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Couldn't agree more. This is the new world of social media where influence - whether truth, irrelevance or misinformation - is all that is important and is open to control by whoever is has a hand or even a finger on the puppet strings ...

Chinese researchers make car glide 35mm above ground in maglev test

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Could we not just....

The whole point is getting rid of the friction contact - monorails with small guide wheels were the traditional method of ensuring things followed a track but supercooled superconductors and oodles of refrigeration power can circumvent that design requirement as the system is self guiding. One reason why room temp superconductors may be a holy grail of transport technology.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Saving energy"?

I thought one of the problems was the huge amount of power required to drive the coils on a maglev? Or am I thinking of a rail-gun? :-)

Blue Monday for Blue Origin as rocket bursts into flame

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I appreciate this is a mission failure but it was a successful demonstration of the automatic abort system. From what I've seem it would have been a hard time for occupants on a "live cargo" mission but better alive and bruised than toasted and blown to bits ...

At least this shows rockets should not be treated as toys for the rich to ride in ...

India’s Supreme Court demands government detail internet shutdown rules

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Just how having the likes of Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, and Raghu Raghuram run Microsoft, Alphabet and VMWare makes internet shutdowns unsustainable was not explained. All three are still in their jobs, at the time of writing, so Choudhary’s point is a little obscure."

Perhaps the questionable point is that having Indian nationals in some control of multi-national-IT-corp spouting internet freedom and undoubtedly being involved in internet service delivery negotiations at high, state Government levels may conflict with their own state policy of internet control and restriction?

Scientists pull hydrogen from thin air in promising clean energy move

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Just wondering

If all the workmen had to take a gallon of water with them each day, by the time the project was finished it's likely there'd be enough water collected to exceed the designed collection of the plant so they wouldn't need the H2 extraction facility ... So just build a big solar harm, a big water tank and a road to be used by the "workers" - the plant is cheaper, the workers are cheaper, the unit achieves it's "collection targets" and everyone's a winner.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Storage ? Transport ?

The pressurised tank itself is not the problem, you can park a truck on it. The outlet of the tank, primary valve head and regulator is the weak point for a catastrophic accident. However the real issue is a slow leak in the fuel line with H2.

Asus packs 12-core Intel i7 into a Raspberry Pi-sized board

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Because we can?

I thought it looked great but it needs an 80W psu, chunky cpu heatsink and general board cooling at which point it's the size of a mITX which is not so much of a story ...

Tesla faces Autopilot lawsuit alleging phantom braking

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Last week

I had a small Muntjac deer decide to wander from the hedge to play at being a chicken and stop in the middle of the road. I braked hard (after all deer+car=mess). No anti-lock and the back end started to come around - so deer or me rolling down the road and potentially wiping out myself and any oncoming traffic? I accelerated to pull the vehicle straight, hit the deer full on, bent my steering rods and the vehicle following got a crumpled front end from the rolling carcass. No-one apart from the deer was hurt, there was vehicle damage but that's just money.

What would "autopilot" be expected to do in that situation? What if it wasn't a deer but a child? What if a child was in the car?

Spurious hard braking is dangerous (though in the UK it is the lawful responsibility of following drivers to keep a safe distance, I don't know about the US) but that is not all the plaintiff says - he also uses the phrase "slowing the vehicle" which may be a pain for a 30-year-old driver but is no different to Uncle Albert who brakes before every sharp bend "just in case" ... so do we ban Uncle Albert too? Decisions on when to brake are not simple and clear cut "brake" "don't brake".

PanWriter: Cross-platform writing tool runs on anything and outputs to anything

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"This editor is the best ..."

DUCK ... 50 year old arguments incoming!

Novant Health admits leak of 1.3m patients' info to Facebook

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Not sure whether I'd blame Meta in this case. It's the health care provider that was responsible for the data and it had an obvious problem in that it was (a) on Facebook (b) collecting data on Facebook and (c) using Facebook to do anything.

Yes, Facebook is deemed to be at the centre of the problem but that's like blaming your bank when a naughty Nigerian prince runs off with the money you willingly sent him in an attempt to make more ...

UK blocks sale of chip design software company to China

Andy The Hat Silver badge

... or our digital broadcast tv transmission technology, sold to the lovely Mr Murdoch for peanuts then licenced back ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: UK's Zombie Government

No, this is the government drowning in a tech pond, grabbing at any floating debris they can and assuming it's all life rings but not actually having any idea whether the life-ring will continue to float, what the life-line is connected to, who is pulling it or which bank they'll end up on.

How important are tech and other contractors to UK? PM candidate promises tax review if elected

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"...with a huge amount of administrative overhead "

I think you just explained why the administration like it ...

Epson says ink pad saturation behind 'end of service life' warning on inkjet printers

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Why isn't it user replaceable?

Dear Mr printer designer, I suggest a procedure called "Change the sponge": remove one screw, drop a plastic tray containing saturated sponge, place tray in self-seal plastic bag and bin it. Place new tray containing new sponge in the obvious location, replace screw.

Perhaps they consider arduous work of this nature to be a very difficult procedure that the average user would probably need specialist Epson training to perform?

China allows robo taxis – without backup drivers – in parts of two major cities

Andy The Hat Silver badge

as an aside

... why do self driving cars almost always have the same design as a driven car? There is no reason to have the "front cabin" structure it only needs to be more passenger seats with a wedge shaped front end, no windscreen etc.

As a second aside, does a self driving car in the UK need a door/wing mirror by law?

Charges filed over $300m 'textbook pyramid and Ponzi scheme' crypto startup

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: There's a sucker born . . .

They don't make scams like they used to ... :-)

WhatsApp boss says no to AI filters policing encrypted chat

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Let's start

At least a GCHQ director thinks scanning his feeds is ok, and someone at an organisation owned by GCHQ agrees with him ... Perhaps the Government who "owns" GCHQ will think the same ... oh, they do?

Have they just suggested all politicians have mandatory scanning of communications under the control of the current Government? Dangerous or what?

UK chemicals multinational to build hydrogen 'gigafactory'

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: This is probably because I'm extremely dumb

Only marginally different to LPG and I was happy to drive one of them for years.

It may be interesting to read between the lines and say that electric will be fine for cars but, when the NG can't cope with all the charging requirement, commercial vehicles can still run on hydrogen from whatever source ...

You can liquid cool this Linux laptop to let the GPU soar

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Not efficient

"Laying the water pipe against the heat pipe" and hoping for miracles is a bit rubbish. A water loop through the heatsink or even encapsulating part of the heatpipe in a water jacket would work so much better. I'm not sure that my entire (old) water cooler weighs as much as this thing and that's a little pond pump and a Seat Ibiza heater matrix!

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Many laptops already use liquid cooling

Not steam (that would be water). Ammonia is quite good for phase change applications.

Russia fines Google $374 million for letting the truth about Ukraine be told

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Gosh, really ?

Interesting set of comments - references and/or full citations please?

UK government extends review of BT stake owned by French tycoon Patrick Drahi

Andy The Hat Silver badge

What's the issue?

French tycoon owns BT ... and Openreach ... and most of the basic infrastructure ... and charges third parties what he likes for access to that infrastructure. Extracting wads of wonga until a company is bled dry then moving on is the way of "allowing the market to proliferate" in our form of capitalist society.

And no, "What's the issue?" was not a serious statement ...

South Korea's Kakao removes external payment method amid Google Play standoff

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Can someone explain ...?

On the one hand, with the threat of withdrawl from the app store they (including the enforcers) got around the table and the external payment links were dropped ... but later it says that forcing app-store routed payment methods is illegal.

Are these not contradictory statements? Am I missing something?

If you can find and fix this subtle Chromium bug that breaks some extensions, there's $8k waiting for you

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Not just extensions?

I noticed the behaviour described (buttons work then stop) yesterday on an installation with no extensions. Using Anglo-Saxon incantations then reloading the page restored functionality with no further failure. Was it just me or is this a deeper issue than extensions?

Large Hadron Collider experiment reveals three exotic particles

Andy The Hat Silver badge

inverse femtobarn

Glad to see the use of "inverse femtobarn" in a CERN public document when CERN's own guidelines say "Don't use 'inverse femtobarn' in public documents <due to its inherent complexity> " ... doh!

Near-undetectable malware linked to Russia's Cozy Bear

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Come back Windows ...

The change of Windows direction from application-centric to data-centric was always going to be, was, and still is a pain in the crackers for *basic* security, especially if the user can't even see what's going to happen without further investigation. At least give users the ability to peek under their blindfold ... even if their wrists are still bound, they're being hypnotised by a telepathic rotating-circley thing and Margret on Facebook (nail operative, global pandemic expert and IT security professional) says "click it ... click it ...it'll be ok".

A simple information/dialog box that says "file xyz.yyy is trying to open in / execute / mount - ok?" would provide a one click buffer - a whole click more but wouldn't it be worth the effort.

Google updates Chrome to squash actively exploited WebRTC Zero Day

Andy The Hat Silver badge

That's an interesting opinion


"Thankfully, Chrome updates itself with little user intervention required, ..."

And another report will read

"Chrome decided to update itself and broke xyz! Why do we have no control over Chrome updates?"

Horses and courses I suppose.

CAPSTONE mission is Moon-bound, after less rocketry than expected

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Touching Cloth?

I don't believe that's useful unless you plan a mission to Uranus

UK signs deal to share police biometric database with US border guards

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Vassal State

"Where is Jacob Rees-Mogg when you want him?"

Under what conditions would anyone in the right mind write such an abhorrent sentence?

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore

Andy The Hat Silver badge

That syncing feeling ...

Which way is it syncing, how is it set up where and when to sync? Sync is either great or a vision of impending doom - it never goes "a bit" wrong.

Microsoft postpones shift to New Commerce Experience subscriptions

Andy The Hat Silver badge

More to the point, you pay for and "own" a physical licence and *are* allowed to sell it on second hand.

The user subscription model is a hands down win for the provider on all fronts. At least the user gets the benefit of automatic licence control, updates, price increases etc ...

Look at it another way - if it wasn't a cash cow Microsoft and Adobe wouldn't be doing it. :-(

Samsung beats TSMC to be first to produce 3nm chips

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Surreal ...

When I started "they" were raving on about the potential of ramping production of incredible, "sub micron" chips ... Hell I feel old.

The Raspberry Pi Pico goes wireless with the $6 W

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: While the Pi 4 Model B remains resolutely sold out at time of writing...

blimey ... what were they charging - normal or "market" prices?

Chinese boffins suggest launching nuclear Neptune orbiter in 2030

Andy The Hat Silver badge

True but the question in that case is whether it's sensible in the first place to launch a nuclear reactor into Earth orbit, knowing it will potentially deorbit without burning up? A mission which specifically aims to send any contamination away from the Earth (eg to an outer planet) is orders of magnitude safer that a low Earth orbit one and the launch trajectory (maximum likelihood of failure) is set to minimal risk (over the Pacific or whatever).

Andy The Hat Silver badge

The fission reactor bit is the problem for the West. CND and similar groups campaigned at great length to stop launches of radioactive material because of the risk of "the nuclear fallout of having an atom bomb exploding in the atmosphere" or "massive radioactive fallout caused if the rocket exploded". Despite both these scenarios being shown to be of minimal risk (the first being somewhat unlikely as, well, it isn't an atom bomb) space launches involving radioactive materials, in particular RTG or reactors, are still subject to massive "nuclear power, no thanks" campaigns.

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Just need a couple of Skutters for maintenance and a toaster for company ...

Arm says its Cortex-X3 CPU smokes this Intel laptop silicon

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"The British outfit ..."

You been listening to BoJo again?

Soviet-era tech could change the geothermal industry

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Is 500°C (932°F) hot enough?

Was David Icke a lesbian too? :-)

US weather forecasters triple supercomputing oomph with latest machines

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Hyper-local forecasting?

Isn't that comment in the report equivalent to "hugely small" or a "massive quantum leap"?

The best I can do from the dictionary definitions is "beyond local" which is ... err ... what's more local than local?

At present I believe the Met Office work to about 10km forecast cells (did that drop to 1Km when they upgraded?) ... yet it still can't accurately forecast whether it's going to rain (heavily) in the whole of East Anglia (roughly 10Km square) ...

Perhaps general accuracy is more important than the localisation of forecast as, like another commenter has said, the forecast itself does not seem much more accurate than it was 20 years ago. "50% chance of rain tomorrow" still means "in similar conditions to those predicted for tomorrow, historically there was a 50% chance of rain." The model predicting temperature, pressure, wind speed etc is slightly more accurate but they still rely on old statistical data to forecast whether it will rain ...


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