* Posts by Spoobistle

126 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Jun 2011

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New IT boss decided to 'audit everything you guys are doing wrong'. Which went wrong

Spoobistle
Headmaster

Re: someone who has more ambition than technical nous

I used to think "nous" was Scouse, but actually it's Classical Greek!

Version 5 of the Endless OS enters testing

Spoobistle

Network limited PCs

> Part of its design is that it should be useful to people who have only intermittent or limited internet access, and that the computer is still useful when offline.

This could be a selling point for PCs that you can't/don't want to network continuously. All the other distributions I'm familiar with assume an internet connection will be available for updates. While most can be *installed* off a downloaded ISO or similar, updating an "air gapped" PC is basically limited to reinstalling the whole lot. (I know there has been some effort to get round this but it does not seem to have got too far.)

> Updates are handled by the Red Hat-developed OStree tool.

I'm not familiar with this, it would be nice to know more.

Native Americans urge Apache Software Foundation to ditch name

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: British... bad guys in movies

I thought that was 'cause US actors were too cardboardy to play a convincing villain!

Raspberry Pi hires former spy gadget-maker who baked devices into surveillance ops

Spoobistle
Go

Re: Didn't answer the obvious ...

Oh! you should have blown on it to cool it down!

Elon Musk to abused Twitter users: Your tormentors are coming back

Spoobistle
Joke

> Just asking, how could someone be 'meaningfully' impacted if twatter,failbook and their ilk would collapse?

You might fall off your chair laughing, and crack your head on something. Or you might become distressed at the sight of all those media regurgitators (looking at you BBC) scratching around for flingable crap.

Orion snaps 'selfie' with the Moon as it prepares for distant retrograde orbit

Spoobistle
Childcatcher

On the 7th day

Six days doesn't seem a very long term test to me, why didn't they give it a whole (or 1.5) orbit? How long are the human Sean and Snoopy going to be in there?

JWST snaps first chemical profile of an exoplanet atmosphere

Spoobistle
Boffin

exacting precision

> As light hits various elements, they reflect different wavelengths,

No, as the light passes *through* the atmosphere, various elements and (mostly) molecules *absorb* different wavelengths.

This creates a transmission spectrum as explained in the NASA article. The observations can only be made when the exoplanet is passing in front of the star. Reflection would require the exoplanet to be behind or lateral to the star, and isolating the planet's effect is impractical in that situation. I suppose fluorescence or phosphorescence might conceivably be usable but I don't know if JWST could do that.

India follows EU's example in requiring USB-C charging for smart devices

Spoobistle
Facepalm

Re: I look forward to the USB-UK version

Damnit, those sneaky engineers have made the USB-C symmetric, so we can't even demand the left-hand version while the rest of the world goes right handed!

NFT vending machine appears in London

Spoobistle

Re: Delft Blue and The Night Watch

Spin-offs of Van der Valk?

Xiaomi reveals bonkers phone with bolted-on Leica lens that will make you look like a dork

Spoobistle
Coat

"Snappy Blower"

...is the obvious name. Fill in your own suitably NSFW explanations!

Nvidia RTX 4090: So hot they're melting power cables

Spoobistle
Flame

Re: Tea kettle cord

If you look closely at your tea kettle cord, you should find various national approval body markings (DIN, BSI, UL...) showing that it won't set your house on fire, at least in normal use. I wonder how long before insurance companies start looking at this and requiring the same sort of certification for high power PC accessories?

Obvious icon!

India's – and Infosys's – favorite son-in-law Rishi Sunak is next UK PM

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: Prime ministers and Linux

Ask them which kernel they like best.

If they reply "Sanders", you've rumbled them!

How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling

Spoobistle
Coat

Milking it

So if the Register is entirely Pasteurised will Consumption go down?

Spoobistle

Re: I remember...

Pig swill (waste food) was banned in 2001 after an outbreak of foot & mouth.

Water pipes hold flood of untapped electricity potential

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: It is not free energy.

It is if you don't tell the pumping station what you're doing!

DeepMind uses matrix math to automate discovery of better matrix math techniques

Spoobistle
Boffin

Re: AlphaFold

Even if AlphaFold were a silver bullet, expecting new drugs this soon would be a bit premature - there's a lot more work than the protein structure. However AlphaFold is becoming a productive tool for structural biologists - a structure prediction having an indication of confidence is helpful in tailoring the wet lab experiments towards avenues likely to succeed. As with many things, ignore the hype and find out what it can realistically do.

UK politico proposes site for prototype nuclear fusion plant

Spoobistle
Boffin

Teeny weeny horses

One horse power is actually 33000 foot-pounds/minute, or 746W (Watts or Joules/second, for those who are particular about the nationality of their units). I guess there must be a Reg unit of power though...

To preserve Earth's treasures, digital silence is golden

Spoobistle
Go

Re: a black sand beach

New Zealand has some black sand beaches west of Auckland e.g. Muriwai. The sand there is also magnetic!

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

Spoobistle

Re: Space

Space might be the relevant issue - a typical desktop style MB could be a bit big for e.g. biotech instruments. $1200 looks like a bargain for spares in that class.

NASA wants a hundredfold upgrade for space computers

Spoobistle
Alien

Anthropic principle?

Surely if it were possible to make "brains in spaaaace" robust enough to survive any length of time, then we'd be over-run by hordes of alien robots by now?

Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols closes hailing frequencies

Spoobistle
Thumb Up

Re: Not just Star Trek

Snow Dogs!

She played Cuba Gooding's mother in this Disney Alaskan romp, also featuring James Coburn and lots of endearing huskies. Christmas viewing for all ages.

Definitely one of those "That's not... oh yes it is!" moments.

DARPA seeks portable muon-making machine to see through almost anything

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: Does this mean....

That's not muons, that's Raytheons - they're building a new laser weapon lab in Scotland. By the time the lasers are up to power, climate warming will have brought the Great Whites up to the Firth of Forth, ready for fitting!

Spoobistle
Flame

Re: negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit

It's to make sure the muons don't set their books on fire...

Disentangling the Debian derivatives: Which should you use?

Spoobistle

no way to "try before you buy"

So have I misunderstood what "Debian live" is?

Behold: The first images snapped by the James Webb Space Telescope

Spoobistle
Alien

Re: Planetary pedantry

Trappist... Beer... I saw what you did there!

So can this Wonderscope spot Breweries in Spaaaace?

Shouldn't be too hard to find red shifted IR spectra of C2H5OH!

(Icon of absinthe pickled alien.)

IBM wins National Savings & Investment bank tech and ops deal

Spoobistle
Black Helicopters

Re: what about ERNIE?

Can you emulate a pure random number generator without turning it into a pseudo-random number generator? That would make it easier to ensure the big wins go to the more deserving chums. Black helicopter icon clearly needed!

Misguided call for a 7-Zip boycott brings attention to FOSS archiving tools

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: "horse back riding"

I think that's because the Mericans often forget to do up their girths, so they are liable to slide round to the belly side....

RISC OS: 35-year-old original Arm operating system is alive and well

Spoobistle

Re: Check / Remove the CMOS battery

You might have to do this with wire cutters on some models (RiscPC?) then bodge up a holder for a replaceable cell.

Bill Gates says NFTs '100% based on greater fool theory' amid crypto cataclysm

Spoobistle
Holmes

A pipe-smoker comments...

"From now on, the Bitcoin in the real world is worth 30% or so less in terms of other currencies. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the Bitcoin here in Cyberspace, in your Wallet or USB stick or Cloud storage, has been devalued."

- with apologies to Harold Wilson, who would doubtless have sported a flat cap.

Lithium production needs investment to keep pace with battery demand

Spoobistle
Flame

Re: Sod electric cars

There is sodium battery technology but it's hardly domestic yet. Lithium is safety marginal enough (fires etc) and sodium is much more reactive. It can be managed, it was used as a coolant in some nuclear reactors but I wouldn't fancy 100 kg or so in my basement. I don't know if anyone is working on magnesium, that's much more available than lithium but I guess the chemistry's not so good.

Chlorine can be used for all sorts of industrial processes, notably bleaching, but seems to be considered green only in colour these days!

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs

Spoobistle
Flame

Re: Not that unreasonable

It was even worse than that - there was a time when I had to use Windows, Mac, RiscOS and Unix (Irix I think) sometimes all in the same day. "Middle button for menu or right button...? dohh wrong again". Like different makes of car having different steering wheel/pedals/stick arrangement! I wonder if there is scope for some sort of abstraction whereby WMs could have different "skins" for users with different tastes?

Arm CPU ran on electricity generated by algae for over six months

Spoobistle
Joke

Won't last!

All very tidy with those Green algae - they're young, enthusiastic and keen to save the planet, but you just wait, it won't be long before the Red algae take over and you're having to give them power to stop them making toxic blooms and other mischief...

Microsoft exposes glue-free guts of the Surface Laptop Studio

Spoobistle
Coffee/keyboard

Crumbs

Well, actually, Gluten is Latin for glue...

Looking forward to the edible computer - (n)oodles of RAM(en), multi-Platter storage, nice big Dishplay - surely someone must be working on the ultimate recyclable tech?

Tomorrow Water thinks we should colocate datacenters and sewage plants

Spoobistle

Legionella

You're missing a comment made above, that warm water in pipes breeds legionella, so you'd have a whole lot of extra safety work to do.

Not that district heating type systems are a bad idea, they seem to be quite frequent outside the UK. Perhaps the problem here is that you want such a system to work for 30 to 50 years, and many UK industrial concerns just aren't going to last that long!

RISC-V takes steps to minimize fragmentation

Spoobistle
Joke

FP8

Eight bit floating point - wow. Can "analog" computers be far behind?

Man arrested, accused of trying to track woman using Apple Watch attached to car

Spoobistle

Re: Nitpick...

OP's formula was wrong - it should be a = r.w^2 i.e. proportional to radius and to square of angular velocity. Back of my envelope says about 8000 m.s^-2 or 800g.

If memory serves those button temperature loggers can stand about 600g easily enough, so an electronic watch might be ok. Might depend on orientation of quartz resonators.

GParted 1.4: New version of live partition-manipulation tool

Spoobistle

Low RAM tips?

Any hints on using gparted live on (P4) PCs with 1GB of RAM? Tried this from USB and it slowly grinds to a halt.

Intel updates ATX PSU specs, eyes PCIe 5.0 horizon

Spoobistle
Mushroom

Hot new features

I guess now optical drives are history, we can replace the cup-holder with a heated drawer for ready meals. Curry'n'Crysis anyone?

Ukraine invasion may hit chip supply chain – analysts

Spoobistle

Re: This stinks a bit..

There may be a connection with the fact that Ukraine is also a producer of titanium. This requires inert gases for processing, for which argon is employed, but neon would be a valuable byproduct from the air distillation plants. This all uses lots of electricity, and we know where that came from in Ukraine...

Free AI protein software packages nearly predicted structure of the Omicron coronavirus variant correctly

Spoobistle

Re: Nice to see AI working

Quite so, but AI has had some notorious slip ups where small changes in the input data results in large changes in the predictions. It would have been a huge surprise if the omicron spike protein structure had been significantly different from the previous variants, and a bad AI prediction would have been a definite egg-on-face moment for the technique.

AI has great potential for use as a pre-screen if its predictions correlate reliably with experimental data, so that experimental resources, always too scarce, can be concentrated on good candidates but the hard work is ahead on establishing quality and reliability measures for the predictions.

Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times

Spoobistle

became more interactive and users could opt to view it

It was always interactive - just that your TV had to have a text decoder to display it, and that didn't come as standard till the late seventies or so. I think the rolling pages were mainly intended as a more entertaining replacement for the test card in the wee small hours.

Spoobistle

red button

Hear hear!

I don't know how the red button pages are created but judging by the number of duplicate stories on the regional pages, and the frequent truncations where you get just the first teaser paragraph of some overambitious BBC blogger's output, I can only assume it is a script of no great complexity. IIRC the claim was they would save £39M by dumping the service, but I can't see where that much is going!

It's a pity, as I think the red button data pages could be really helpful to people with no internet access. The BBC missed a trick not having some COVID information pages for example, instead of share prices.

Newly discovered millipede earns its name by being the first to walk on one thousand legs

Spoobistle
Joke

Re: 1,306 legs

So how could they tell the one in the picture was male?

Oh, of course, 1307 legs...

Think that spreadsheet in your company's accounts dept is old? 70 years ago, LEO ran the first business app

Spoobistle

Re: Memory lane

Also fascinating to read about the way hardware and software were optimised to squeeze the most out of the available technology. Rather different to the current attitude of "throw more GHz and more GB at it".

Spoobistle

Re: very little hardware remains

I don't know about LEO 1, but I recall having some LEO 3 circuit boards as part of a surplus "bargain parcel" bought from one of the advertisers in the back of Practical Electronics (possibly Greenweld) in the 1970s. Lots of GET102 transistors, germanium diodes etc for the industrious schoolboy to ruin with a hot soldering iron!

LoRa to the Moon and back: Messages bounced off lunar surface using off-the-shelf hardware

Spoobistle
Holmes

EME (Moonbounce)

Radio hams have been doing this for years, without needing 25m dishes, and using equipment that fits into the average back garden. The RSGB has a page for anyone interested.

New study demonstrates iodine as satellite propellant... in space

Spoobistle
Joke

little was known about its fundamental properties

I do hope we're not going to discover that dusting iodine over the upper atmosphere might be a bad move. Still, it might help sterilize any "plagues from spaaace" a la Hoyle & Wickramasinghe!

It's fake ooze, don't fall for fake ooze: Alien fossils found on Mars might just be simple chemistry, uni pair warn

Spoobistle

Re: Glad to see this research

Hear hear! Occam's razor is all too often left in the drawer when there's a chance to get your name in lights. (Cf the recent "discovery" of phosphine on Venus.)

As the authors imply, some form of abiotic self-organisation is a necessary precursor to life, but as we don't know what the path was on Earth let alone how many such paths might exist in general, there's going to be a lot of debate yet. For example it might be that life never quite got there on Mars, but left behind the dead ends of the process for us to find...

Incidentally, ideas about mineral structures being analogous or precursory to life aren't new. I used to have a little book by someone called LeDuc (can't find it now) from about 1916, who mixed various salt solutions in controlled ways to generate precipitates he considered to resemble fungi and other cells.

Swiss lab's rooftop demo shows sunlight and air can make fuel

Spoobistle
Flame

Re: lightness of hydrogen

It's been tried but didn't end well - see the Hindenburg.

Obvious icon.

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