* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

4726 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

UK government marks 'at least' £115m for new Brexit systems against backdrop of chequered IT project history in customs and border control

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Brexit is coming

Which category does the evidence suggest 'Brexit' belongs to?

Brexit is in category #2, the EU is in #4 (also numbered 2 for some odd reason? )

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Hackers, Schmackers

It's the irrational numbers that are a problem here.

We've paused Sigfox roof aerial payments, says WND-UK, but we'll make you whole after COVID

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: I don't get it £840k a year for something you could do over LTE

It only works where good faith is involved, and that's never the case at a border.

Most border crossings work on an assumption of good faith, in the "trust, but verify" sense. You have to assume that most paperwork is OK and objects contain what they say, but you spot-check enough of them to make life difficult for smugglers. Can't really do anything else, checking every vehicle/passenger/suitcase/parcel would be logistically impossible. You can't get 100% coverage, but it's a trade-off like most things.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Yagi?

it's vertically polarized too.

That's usually better in cities with lots of buildings and narrow street corridors. Also easier to make it omnidirectional.

Lovely new dongles and lusciously lengthy cables are Intel's new offerings

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: TB4 is kindof Fake.

Ignore it and wait for TB5.

Isn't it still in orbit?

Heir-to-Concorde demo model to debut in October

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Depends on the "boom"

A lot will depend on how much they manage to muffle that sonic boom. If they can get it down to a distant rumble, rather than Concorde's distinctive, and allegedly greenhouse-smashing, "Boom-Boom", then I could see other possibilities, W. Europe to Middle-East for example. Range will be an issue, of course.

Cereal Killer Cafe enters hipster heaven, heads online: Coronavirus blamed for shutters being pulled down

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

The £6.5m is what they officially filed, I doubt if their accountants work on beermats. A million bowls of cereal over 5.5 years is more than 300 a day, and you're not including the sales from the online store mentioned in the article.

University ordered to stop running women-only job ads

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: "Would she want to work here?"

I don’t have such luxury.

You're just annoyed because you didn't do it first...

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Exactly. When the university says "Our overall aim is unaltered: we want to reach thirty percent female faculty within five years.", how many of the women hired are now going to wonder if they were hired for their ability, of just because of their sex?

Think of a number: A tale of iffy discount codes, supermarket loyalty cards and Hotels.com

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: selling the discount codes for between £200 and £750

Zero cost to create, so 100% profit. It's not so bad.

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: I'll just leave this here

Yes, how dare Oxford have that statue of the evil Rhodes, who made his money out of colonialism. Tear it down.

Wait, give back his money and ask the the Rhodes scholars to leave? Now, let's not be hasty here.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: No problem with most of it, but...

any but the most fanatical

Sadly they are the ones that make the most noise, and any attempt at a reasoned rebuttal is shouted down with such violence that the sensible majority just give up, leaving the fanatics to crow that they "won".

E-scooter fanboy so hyped for Teesside to host UK's first trial

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

users will have to park the scooters at specified docking stations.

How will that be enforced?

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Quickest Fix...

At least it was just a file. I've heard of one user call where the problem was a large & more intimate part of upper anatomy resting on the space bar...

Details of Beijing's new Hong Kong security law signal end to more than two decades of autonomy

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

I would hope that the UK will now do what it should've done in 1999 and offer a migration route for the Hong Kong people who want to leave.

It just has: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53246899

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

@phil, for one talking about people moaning, you do moan a lot.

I do, it's true. I get irritated at people who believe all the crap in a puff piece without bothering to check the detailed claims, just because they're still annoyed about 3-year-old decision that they didn't like. When did the UK become such a nation of whining doommongers, happier to run down everything it does instead of putting some effort into making it succeed? You're beginning to make the French and Italians look like optimists!

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: £92m

Wow - where do I sign up for a gig for £92m for 18 months work?

Try Crapita.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

The article does say, they're LEO comms satellites, not MEO navigational satellites.

Indeed, and the other articles in the satellite press point out that the government's 20% stake is primarily to help with general communications, and rural broadband, which isn't an unreasonable investment.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

to make room for a tedious anti-government rant.

Not anti-government, just anti-Brexit. The remoaners (and this article is a perfect example of why that is the appropriate term) just can't resist the chance to take half a story, twist the juicy bits, and spit out yet more BS about why they were right and everyone else was wrong.

Some of the other articles on the subject are a bit more accurate,such as:

"In a letter to Downing Street, OneWeb is understood to have offered to move its entire operations from Florida to Britain. Ministers were told that transforming the business into a UK-centric operation could address ongoing security concerns about Britain’s telecoms network and deliver on the Government’s pledge to bring faster broadband to rural areas by 2025.", with repurposing yet-to-be launched satellites for GNSS use just a "maybe" speculation. OK, so it's playing the "national security" card to get cash, but wouldn't you try it on if the alternative were bankruptcy? The UK is considering chipping in as part of a bid, to rescue a UK business and get some general satellite functionality.

As others have said, what about some real journalism, investigating the facts of this, and the "£92m report'? The "buy OneWeb and use it for SatNav" seems to have been a joke dreamed up in a pub that various gullible anti-Brexit reporters have swallowed, hook line & sinker.

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I wonder why?

Linux creator Linus Torvalds spoke about the challenge of finding future maintainers for the open-source operating system,

Seriously? People aren't queuing up to be told:

"SHUT THE **** UP!

"It's a bug alright -- in the kernel. How long have you been a maintainer? And you *still* haven't learnt the first rule of kernel maintenance?

And I don't _ever_ want to hear that kind of obvious garbage and idiocy from a kernel maintainer again. Seriously.

Fix your ******* 'compliance tool,' because it is obviously broken. And fix your approach to kernel programming."

I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you.

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

You can take the driver out of the BMW, you can't take the BMW out of the driver...

Audi drivers are now worse than BMW drivers

That's because all those who used to drive BMWs got fed up with the snarky remarks, and changed to Audi (pissing of those of us who chose Audi because it wasn't BMW).

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Hmmm

then separate the thick clotted cream on the top from the thin liquid (whey?) left behind.

It's buttermilk, just use it to make the scones.

Only problem is that's 3 days until you can have your scones, buying a tub of Rodda's is far easier :)

But for those of us who live in uncultured parts of the world where clotted cream isn't available in the shops, making your own is the only option. Doesn't take 3 days, though. The initial cook works very well if done in the oven overnight.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Northern option

Surely the Northern option is discard the scone and replace it with a meat pie?

And then deep-fry it?

When one open-source package riddled with vulns pulls in dozens of others, what's a dev to do?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Inspection+test at "goods inward"? How quaint.

Do I take it you're unfamiliar with the miracle of ISO9000 and related Quality Management Systems?

Sadly not, I remember having to implement that back when it was still just BS5750. At the time it was so easy to confuse the auditors that "not worth the paper it was written on" was the kindest thing one could say.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I don't think the law is on your side.

I wouldn't be so sure. I work for a large international company, and the legal hoops I have to go through just to upgrade the version of some 3P code we choose to use are impressive. That even includes cases where we don't ship the code but just tell the end-user "you have to download xxx". The company lawyers obviously think there's a risk.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

if a developer is pulling in unchecked and untested third-party packages, and including them in a 'product' that is shipped to their customers, then that developer should face the full force of any legal penalties incurred by their customers due to the developer's incompetence.

If an aircraft manufacturer bought components from a supplier, and just installed them without consistently checking they they met the safety specs, would they get away with saying "not my fault, blame my supplier"?

It isn't 'agile', it's 'lazy'.

Fasten your seat belts: Brave Reg hack spends a week eating airline food grounded by coronavirus crash

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Lufthansa meals

Be happy GateGourmet is not the one providing Lufthansa with their "dishes" ! Those ... things are properly terrible.

My "worst ever" was a pizza that United served mid-atlantic. I valued my teeth too much to attempt to chew it, and looking at the collected trays I was far from being the only one.

Maze ransomware gang threatens to publish sensitive stolen data after US aerospace biz sensibly refuses to pay

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: An sensible response, indeed

That's exactly the way to put these crooks out of business.

Personally I'd prefer to see a SEAL or SAS team do it. Sends a much better message.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Way back when...

it was an amazing sight and sound.

Strowger exchanges are like steam trains. You know they're old, obsolete, technology but there is something quite primeval in the sight and sound of that engineering on display, operating perfectly. It all went downhill from crossbar...

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Also works the other way round

because they are too fucking stupid to use a phone

I have done something similar, but only once.

I wanted to redial the last number I called, which was a sequence something like '**3'. Instead I misdialled '*3', which was a programmed short code to a local supplier. I apologised, and hung up.

Then I had a brain fart & did what I had originally intended, '**3' to redial last number. Which of course was now the supplier...

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: I called the cops

Back in the day, most UK exchanges reserved '8' and '9' for local dialling codes, to dial nearby exchanges by prefixing a phone number with '91' or '87' etc. You could daisy-chain them to a degree, so '991' might take you to nearby town (9) and then on to a close-by village (91). Although the full emergency number was '999' a few very small exchanges had limited connectivity so that '99' was enough to reach the emergency services. It didn't take much misconfiguration of autodiallers to trigger a visit from the local plod asking why you kept calling them and making strange beeping noises...

CERN puts two new atom-smashers on its shopping list. One to make Higgs Bosons, then a next-gen model six times more energetic than the LHC

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

we all turn into a quark-gluon mush spreading outwards towards the rest of the universe at the speed of light!

Wheeeee! Count me in.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Ridiculous

It's 50-50, why do you think it would be anything else?

If it were 50:50 there would have been nothing left after the big bang. There had to have been some imbalance so that our matter-based universe could form. The questions they want to answer are "how much" and "why".

What does London's number 65 bus have to hide? OS caught on camera setting fire to '22,000 illegal file(s)!!'

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Meaning the screen could be showing a wiping of footprints or a hack aimed at disrupting London's well-oiled transport system.

Or the bus driver was keeping his porn stash there, to while away those long hours stuck in traffic?

By emptying offices, coronavirus has hastened the paperless office

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: One might wonder

I also wonder about toner. Isn't laser printer toner just plastic dust melted on to the paper? How much of the environmental microplastics that are currently causing all the news headlines come from recycling those 3.2 trillion sheets of paper, and flushing away poorly-filtered used water?

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: £sd

chortle at (some) people being confused by the "new money",

I just remember being incensed that a 5d bag of crisps was now 2½p, a 20% increase without any more crisps in the bag (I was about 10 years old...).

makes it all the more strange that the conversion to metric stalled and has dragged out for sooo loonnngggg

I think that's more down to familiarity. People who grew up with buying "half a stone" of potatoes had a mental image of that quantity which 3kg didn't give them. With decimalisation a Pound was still a Pound.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Me too

what the hell is with prices on old books written something like 1'4/-?

If you think that's bad, my grandfather was an insurance agent, he had wonderful ready-reckoner tables to calculate things like 3.5% of £2. 3s. 6½d

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Me too


(0) Because it is funny

And also the basic measure of a shoe size. The difference between size 9 and size 10 is 1 barleycorn, of which there are 3 to the inch.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I did measure my paces and discovered they were indeed approx. 0.8 m long,

I think you may have measured your strides. A pace (from right foot at rest to right foot at rest again) is two strides, and closer to 5 feet (1.5m). A Roman mile was 1000 paces, not far off a modern statute mile of 5280 feet.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Spelling

But what if they're my scruples, and set 4755?

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Fix the problem, and the name won't matter.

How do we fix institutional racism?

That's a somewhat dangerous term, since it tends to lead to knee-jerk reactions, the "All Police are xxxx" sort of thing, which of course is itself a form of ingrained prejudice.

Institutions are generally made up of people, and any racism comes from some (rarely all) of those people, and often those in charge, so let's address the real problem.

I'm presuming you've got some better ideas, let's hear them!!

One way is by not hiding the symbols or history, but keeping them in the open for discussion, where our children can ask about them. Hopefully we can then educate them not to make the same mistakes in their institutions.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Master copy

Pick a more welcoming, inclusive word... or stick with the word that reminds some people of past and present acts of inhumanity. Such a tough choice.

That's the definition of political correctness, assuming that the concept comes from the word, when in reality the opposite is true. The idea that one human being should own and control another is abhorrent to most of us, yet the idea of a mechanism faithfully tracking the operation of another is just engineering. Both use the terms "master" and "slave". Changing the term for the second concept will not change the first, it will only change the language, which will then evolve.

Let's start completely afresh, and replace the computing terms "master" and 'slave" with meaningless invented words, say "fribble" and "frooble", words with no historical baggage. I am absolutely certain that in 10 years time we'd be reading about gangs run by evil fribbles, and their trafficked sex-froobles.

Fix the problem, and the name won't matter. Changing the name alone is pointless.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: I like colors

I would have argued for 'green-listed' and 'red-listed' myself. I suppose someone could object to that.

Possibly in Japan, where red and white do not have the same meanings as they do in westen cultures.

ZFS co-creator boots 'slave' out of OpenZFS codebase, says 'casual use' of term is 'unnecessary reference to a painful experience'

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: My first thought:

Most of us that are employees have limited choice, other than to quit if we don't like the instructions. The key thing that makes slaves diifferent is that they are owned, and don't even have the choice to quit.

EU aviation wonks give all-electric training aeroplane the green light – but noob pilots only have 50 mins before they have to land it

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Can't Wait

There was one exception to the "non-commercial" part when a pilot managed to land a Boeing 707 at the airport by mistake. Given the runway was only about half the normal length a 707 needs, getting it out of the airport has become the stuff of local legend.

Dan Air (locally known as "Dan Dare") once landed an incoming Belfast flight at a nearby disused WW2 airfield. It caused much consternation for the control tower when the pilot announced they had landed, and the tower replied "we can't see you". According to local rumour the pilot wanted to turn round & 'hop' to the main airfield, and was told in no uncertain terms that he wasn't taking off with passengers from an airstrip with no safety equipment. The airport sent a bus instead.

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


We returned him [Hague] and less than in six months we successfully delivered him to the destination point,

That's better than DHL, when they can't deliver you have to go and fetch the stuff yourself.

Ex-Dell distributor in Lebanon ignored ban on suing US tech giant. Now four directors have been sentenced to prison in the UK

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: No No No

How dare you inject facts into an internet forum!!

I'm sorry, I was bored. I'll try not to let it happen again. Cheers

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

If you read the earlier judgements, you'll see that the initial distribution agreement was with "Dell Emerging Markets (EMEA) Ltd", who are based in Bracknell in the UK, and the agreement "contained an exclusive jurisdiction clause in favour of the English courts".

BoJo looks to jumpstart UK economy with £6k taxpayer-funded incentive for Brits to buy electric cars – report

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: That's sure to jump start Tesla sales...

Are there any UK manufacturers of electric cars?

BMW make the electric Mini in Oxford.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Master changed, really?

My experience of trunks is that they are usually unstructured, so more of a heap. Or perhaps a stack?

There is, of course, an XKCD


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