* Posts by Kernel

726 posts • joined 13 Nov 2011


Charter told to pay $7.3b in damages after cable installer murders grandmother


Re: $7.3 billion

"She was 83! How many more years was she expected to live?"

Well, my 92 year old mother has just had a heart valve replaced in a country with a taxpayer funded health system, so I'm guessing that being 83 is not considered to be an automatic death sentence - dick wit!

Crypto lender Celsius in Chapter 11 deep freeze


Re: Celsius has, right now, a $1.19 billion deficit on its balance sheet

"Celcius has "an approximately $509 million uncollateralized claim against this party"

They loaned $500 million to a "party" WITHOUT collateral!"

No, Celsius didn't loan $500 million to a "party" without collateral. What they did was BORROW $500 million from the "party", providing appropriate collateral for the amount borrowed. Presumably the collateral was in some form which the lending party was then able to redeploy for purposes of their own.

Subsequently, when Celsius repaid the $500 million the "party" was unable to return the collateral to Celsius, leaving Celsius with the uncollateralized claim, hence the Celsius CEO's statement

"when Celsius attempted to repay one of its loans, it was informed for the first time that the lender was unable to return the company’s collateral on a timely basis, resulting in Celsius having an approximately $509 million uncollateralized claim against this party."

This part of Celsius' woes, at least, is due to dodgy behaviour by the lender rather than their own incompetence.

IBM's autonomous Mayflower ship breaks down in second transatlantic attempt


Re: Maybe...

"...they should try smaller scale tests before heading out to the Atlantic again. Possibly a trip across the Serpentine. Then incremental stages from there."

Here's someone who could probably give them a few pointers - and get them past the first few increments in one step.



China again signals desire to shape IPv6 standards


Re: IPv8 anyone?

"but with additional delay of repeater every 100 km on fibre,"

That's a truly ancient system - all the long-haul, high capacity, fibre systems I've worked on (and there's been more than a few) have used DWDM and analogue amplifiers every 100km or so, which renders the in ground (or sea) infrastructure modulation and channel capacity agnostic, ie., you can mix 10gb/s and 100gb/s channels on the same fibre and upgrade channels to higher speeds just by changing out the transponders at each end of the link.

Repeaters on long-haul fibre are a 1990's (or earlier) technology.

Polly wants a snapper? Parrot swipes GoPro for sweet views of New Zealand's Fiordland


Re: Cheeky

Well, it missed out on re-election to the job in 2021 - the winner was the Long-Tailed bat, one of NZ's only two native mammals.

Yes, we know bats aren't birds, but we like to do things differently, ok?

Amazon stretches working life of its servers an extra year, for AWS and its own ops


Re: What happens to old Amazon hardware?

"If it is retired after aging, is there a resale stream?"

I suspect this depends on how you count your beans. My understanding is that, as a general principle, if you've fully depreciated a piece of kit to zero value on the books and then sell it for more than scrap value, the taxman may well want to take a look into your accounting practices - or at the very least want some of the money you made from the sale.

Of course, YMMV if you've got the right sort of friends.

Jeff Bezos adds some more overheads to his $485m yacht by taking down historic bridge


Re: Can't they remove the masts, simply?

"Of course they could replace the bridge with something equally iconic but designed to open. If all else fails a sightseeing visit to the Tower of London might help."

Tower Bridge has 44m clearance a between high tide and the two walkways - not much more than the bridge in Rotterdam.

SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope


Re: 1800 ish starlinks, but what about the rest?

Having a seen Starlink group pass overhead fairly recently, I can best describe it as being like seeing a commuter train passing across the sky with all the internal lighting turned up to max - too high, long and fast to be a plane and it changes from horizontal movement when overhead to vertical as it approaches the horizon.

Worth seeing on a clear night.

Singapore gives banks two-week deadline to fix SMS security


Re: I ENVY that.

"They also require people to fill out "Security Questions" most of which are either re-usued by every other site and service in the world, are easily guessable or public information, or are vague and could change over time. "

You do realize that the answers you provide when setting up security question responses don't have to be correct, or even remotely related to the question, don't you?

My approach is to provide unrelated nonsense answers to security questions eg., Security question: "What is your mother's maiden name?" Expected response: "I'll have a whale burger with extra fries please."

The only downside to this is that you need to keep track of your answers in a good password saver, but if you're doing passwords properly then you're probably already using one of them.

Planning for power cuts? That's strictly for the birds


A tip for backup power system designers

Once upon a decade or so, I was part of a team that managed two hosted telco comms centres in London from, literally, the far side of the planet.

These had been very carefully designed, with a UPS to cover the period between the mains failing and the facility's generators coming on line.

The problem - the Mains Fail alarm was connected to the UPS output not the UPS input, so on the day the mains supply failed to the hosted site but not the hosting facility (ie., the generators saw no issue, so did not start) we didn't know anything was wrong until the UPS batteries went flat. Nothing, other than the UPS, was connected to raw mains and the UPS didn't have it's Input Fail alarm connected.

This happened twice and we could never persuade the hosted site owners to have the alarm scheme revised - it would not surprise me if the situation was the same today, many years later.

Dutch nuclear authority bans anti-5G pendants that could hurt their owners via – you guessed it – radiation


Re: Source of radiation

Some of them apparently use Thorium -


BOFH: What if International Bad Actors designed the vaccine to make us watch more Steven Seagal movies?


Re: brilliant

"- in my experience, actually engaging them on any coronavirus-related subject is pretty much a losing proposition, no matter what you do."

Not always a losing proposition - last week one of them bought me beer while he droned on and I chatted with his very nice girlfriend, which, given that I'm at least 30 years older than her, bald and overweight didn't do my ego any harm whatsoever.

I was happy to regard that part of the evening as a win-win for me.

From the studio that brought you 'Mortal Wombat' comes 'Pernicious Possum'


Plod should know better.

"The possum was released into the wild without harm befalling critter or officer, "

The last time I looked there were only two legal options should you happen to catch a live possum in NZ - either kill it yourself or get someone else to kill it for you.

Oh, and the description of an adult possum above left out the bloody great yellow fangs, which they will happily sink into your shin while you are trying to hit them on the head with a hammer (an officially recommended option for complying with the live possum rules) - the only redeeming thing about them is that in NZ, at least, they don't carry rabies, meaning I avoided a long series of painful injections that have to be given "just in case", as by the time you show symptoms it is too late.

Boffins use nuclear radiation to send data wirelessly

Black Helicopters

Prior art?

A bit of a coincidence - last night I was reading a novel (The Algebraist) by the late Iain M Banks which contained a mention of a fast neutrino communications burst being detected. There was also the implication that the comms was of limited range, as well.

Xiaomi has developed a mini heat pipe so your smartphone doesn't get too hot to handle


"Wasn't this a feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 several years ago?"

I also have a feeling that it might have been in the Nokia 8 and 8.1 of 4 or so years ago as well, so probably nothing to see here.

Red Hat forced to hire cheaper, less senior engineers amid budget freeze


Re: Microsoft and Nokia redux

"We knew when Microsoft bought Nokia, Nokia was doomed."

Having worked for Nokia up until two years ago (when I retired) and knowing a number of people who still work for Nokia, I can assure you that Microsoft never bought Nokia.

Nokia's mobile phone division (which Microsoft did kill) was only a part of Nokia.

Cisco requires COVID-19 shots for all US staff – even remote workers


Re: The medical powerhouse that is CISCO...

"Except Trump got it done in less than 9 months by greasing the skids and getting the bureaucracy to COOPERATE."

Yeah, in some ways I regret that he didn't get in for a second term - he gave the rest of us an entire country to laugh at in these times of trouble.


Re: Get rid of the religious exemption.

"And since natural immunity is WAY better than "the jab" I see no need, for me."

At least you now seem to be admitting that CV-19 exists, so we've made progress since last year.

Florida man accused of breaking Mastodon's open-source license with botched social network launch


Re: Excellent Article Format Reg! :D

"Wasn't there a airline and an university involved too?"

Don't forget the bicycle race to rival the Tour de France - the "Tour de $(floridaman)".


Research finds consumer-grade IoT devices showing up... on corporate networks


The elephant in the room

"Remote workers need to be aware that IoT devices could be compromised and used to move laterally to access their work devices if they're both using the same home router, which in turn could allow attackers to move onto corporate systems,"

If you want me to work from home and you want my home IoT devices to be separated from your corporate network, then you will be paying for either a separate internet connection and router or a suitable firewall device to isolate home and work networks.

I will not be turning off my devices on my network for your benefit - and before anyone makes the comment that my employer could just replace me with someone more co-operative, I'll point out that I live in a country with decent employment laws and any such action would turn into quite an expensive exercise.

Scoot on over for a wheely tricky mystery with an electrifying solution


Re: School science.....

"Silk and Amber for making static were know BC."

Some years ago my wife owned a couple of very staticy nylon nighties - the light show when she removed them in the dark was part of the fun - it was more a series of diffused blue glows than individual sparks.

LAN traffic can be wirelessly sniffed from cables with $30 setup, says researcher


"Hmm, fibres also leak around a bend. So there are ways to non-destructively sniff a fibre."

True - standard tools in the fibre trade are splicing machines that inject and extract light either side of a newly made splice to test its quality, 'fibre phones' that bend the fibre to inject/extract an optically carried analogue phone signal so that jointers can communicate between jointing chambers and fibre tracers which inject a visible laser so that a specific fibre can be identified further downstream. These all work by bending the fibre and are effective with single-mode fibres as well as multi-mode.

That said, modern DWDM systems can also monitor each lambda and alarm for sudden small (< 1dB) level changes that might be caused by the fibre being tapped by bending it.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log


Re: "h" in 'erbs

"And two "a"s in car-a-mel !"

I can live with carmel, aluminum and 'erbs - the one that always annoys me is "sodder" - the word is solder and the 'l' is pronounced.

Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


Re: Beer Definition

"Chocolate stouts are delicious"

Indeed - Young's Double Chocolate Stout (IIRC the brewer's name) is one of my favourites

Imagine your data center backup generator kicks in during power outage ... and catches fire. Well, it happened


Re: This would never have happened at a certain broadcaster I used to work for.

"Indeed there have been some remarkable two-stroke diesel engines developed, such as this beast:


Or even one of these:


- very reliable engines for which IIRC I've seen a figure of 85% efficiency quoted.


Re: This would never have happened at a certain broadcaster I used to work for.

"While two stroke diesels exist, I have never seen one powering a backup generator for a modern data center ... "

I have, in a major national telco switching point, cell network control site and data centre containing network management systems, the servers that hold the national directory service data and one copy of the telco's billing data - and all three engines are still there and tested on load every month.

In over 25 years the only time I've known of one of these engines to fail was due to a failure of the electric fan motor on the remotely mounted radiator.

There's nothing quite like being close when all three V12s fire up together, after which one settles down to take the load, one runs at the working speed but off load and the third will eventually shut down after 10 minutes or so. For those who are wondering, somewhere on the high side of 22,000 litres every 24 hours.

UK Supreme Court declares Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed: Ride biz's legal battle ends in a crash


Re: Well....

"outside of London, taxi firms have been able to create viable businesses and compete with each other while complying with appropriate legislation. It's only the likes of Uber who don't want to compete on a level playing field."

Here in New Zealand an Uber driver has to have the same license as a taxi driver - but what is interesting is that a) an Uber ride is usually about 2/3 the price of the equivilent taxi ride, b) the Uber ride is normally ready to pick me up within 5 minutes, as opposed to waiting up to 40 minutes for the taxi company to answer their phone and then anther 45 minutes for the taxi to arrive, and c) it is not unusual for my Uber ride to be a car and driver from the same taxi company I tried to call in 'b'.

The long delays in the taxi service pre-date the existence of Uber in my home city, so they are not due to the taxi company's drivers working Uber rather than taxi.

Web prank horror: Man shot dead while pretending to rob someone at knife-point for a YouTube video


Re: Pretty much had to happen some day

"Couldn't he have drawn his gun and say something like "I suggest you GTFO" ? You know, give the guy a chance to reconsider ? "

I'm not from the US, but I'm pretty sure that I've read that in most states where you are allowed to carry a gun in public this would be considered illegal, on the basis that you obviously weren't sufficiently threatened to justify drawing the weapon.

It's not a difficult concept.

Nespresso smart cards hacked to provide infinite coffee after someone wasn't too perky about security


Re: Nespresso...

"we make coffee the same way as the rest of Europe - ground coffee + steam,"

If you're using steam then you're doing it wrong - coffee is made with water that is below boiling temperature, about 97 degrees. Steam is only involved if you're steaming milk to add to the coffee after it's been brewed.

Europe considers making it law that your boss can’t bug you outside of office hours


Re: Been there, done that.

"What happens when you win lottery/retire/lose argument with a bus?"

While I fully appreciate the point you're trying to make, I do struggle to see why the OP would give a shit, especially in the event of the bus option.

Drone smashes through helicopter's windscreen and injures passenger


Re: Relatively wrong headline?

"If the drone was flying within the legally permitted altitude and area then it could be the helicopter pilot at fault."

Not too sure if this is what has attracted the down votes, but that was also my initial thought - until there has been a proper investigation we don't know which pilot was at fault for failing to keep a look out and avoiding the collision.

Just because you're flying an A380 it doesn't automatically give you the right to land on top of the Cessna 150 in front of you that has already been cleared for landing.

Flash in the pan: Raspberry Pi OS is the latest platform to carve out vulnerable tech


Re: Attaching a tractor-fed Epson LX-80 dot matrix impact printer was the height of luxury

I've got a few Pi's lying around and a Creed teleprinter in the shed - it might almost be worth the hassle of building a +- 80volt power supply just for the laughs of getting it working.

Theranos destroyed crucial subpoenaed SQL blood test database, can't unlock backups, prosecutors say


"Have you not met the UK fiction factory ^B^B^B^B^B^B Police?"

Or even a High Court bailiff - can't absolutely prove that TV is yours? - then we'll assume it belongs to our debtor that lived here 6 months ago.

Open-source contributors say they'll pull out of Qt as LTS release goes commercial-only


Re: I think we now know

This would be the same Nokia that reported Net Sales of 5.3 billion Euro in third quarter of 2020, with a operating margin of 9.2% and cash and investment assets of 7.6 billion Euro?

I wish my finances were run into the ground to the same extent.

The only part of Nokia that was run into the ground was the cellphone division which they sold to Microsoft.

I built a shed once. How hard can a data centre be?


"Ever stood by and watched a customer try to cram a square peg into a round hole?"

Not exactly IT related, but in the course of my career I've worked on a PABX (BPO 100 Type) where the front of the cabinet was in a different room (and could only be accessed by a short walk down a corridor) than the rear of the cabinet (great for fault finding), a BPO 300Type PABX which was not only accessed via a long trek through the service tunnels under a hospital (watch your head on the concrete beam just as you are straightening up after ducking under the steam pipe) that had about 200mm cut off the top of the racks because the room wasn't high enough for the equipment and a rural carrier system that had to have around 600mm cut out of the bottom of all the racks because the engineers specified buildings that were designed for a GEC system, rather than the somewhat taller Fujitsu kit we were supplied with. I also remember having to cart two NEC x-bar switching racks to a rural exchange building to store them there for a future expansion of that exchange - once we got them there it was realised the the two racks from a recovered NC400 type were slightly taller than the building designed to contain a NC460 type.

Sales people and engineers - you've got laugh otherwise the depression starts to set in.

Watt's next for batteries? It'll be more of the same, not longer life, because physics and chemistry are hard


Re: EV charging time

"My personal cut-off is below 300 Km / day, and I know not of a single person, where this would be beyond 600 Km / day."

Unfortunately your use case is not everyone's - a 600km/day limitation would mean that visiting family would become a two day trip each way, requiring two lots of overnight accommodation to be paid for, as opposed to the current one day trip each way.

Hell, my son even spent a couple of weeks doing a job on a farm in Aussie where a 600km/day limitation wouldn't even get you to the nearest pub and back - no alcohol was permitted on the property, so staying in for a beer wasn't an option.

iPhone factory workers riot over unpaid wages in India


Re: Barf

"Our graph is pretty much flat zero. We have very few people who earn less than $300/year."

Try doing some research on homelessness in the US - there's plenty of people there living in their cars and many of them are in full time employment.

What does my neighbour's Tesla have in common with a stairlift?


Re: Charging

"But 2030 is in the future, and alternative power is lucrative enough to drive development, so who know what the problems with batteries or whatever fuel cells appear will be in the future? "

Zinc-air fuel cells utilising a liquid fuel solution which can be pumped out and refilled at a service station when the zinc has been depleted:

i) Already developed as a demonstration model by the University of Singapore

ii) Zinc is a common and relatively non-toxic material

iii) The depleted fuel solution can be regenerated and re-used

iv) The energy density of zinc-air technology is higher than any of the lithium technologies as one of the electrodes is freely available from the atmosphere and doesn't have to be built into the cell

v) An old and proven portable energy source, in use in a non-rechargable form in millions of hearing aids.

vi) The rechargeable version is easily scaled up to house/community/national grid level storage of wind or solar generated electricity for later use, as the fuel solution can be regenerated, either externally or in place, by the application of electricity, just like recharging any other sort of battery.

Where's the mysterious metal monolith today then? Oh look, it's atop a California mountain


Re: Not aluminium?

"The one mystery not solved is "who took the first one?"."

One of the pleasures of living in a UTC+12 time zone - you often get to hear the news first.

From a New Zealand news site -

"Utah residents Andy Lewis and Sylvan Christensen posted a 23-second video showing the monolith, once embedded into the rock, being dismantled, loaded onto a wheelbarrow and carried away at night."


Italian competition watchdog slaps Apple with €10m fine over allegedly misleading iPhone waterproofing claims


Re: Own Goal

"Ahh that chestnut AGAIN that coffee was if I remember correctly was just below boiling point "

Which is the correct temperature for coffee - coffee enthusiasts (and I include myself in that category) go to a lot of trouble to ensure that the coffee emerging from the porta-filters on our expensive machines is in the region of 97 degrees Celsius (with small variations to get the best out of a specific bean/roast).

Police warn of bad Apples that fell off the back of a truck after highway robbery


"I don't use Macs so I can't say for sure but I would assume they have something similar - not necessarily "activation" since they don't use the cell network but there's probably some "check if I'm legit" process when you are setting up a Mac up from scratch."

I'm not sure that's actually the case for Macs - the instance of MAC OS (Catalina, IIRC) that I run under KVM on my Linux/Win10 laptop doesn't seem to have any issues and it certainly logs on to Apple's servers and picks up updates from there. It could be, of course, that the install process inserted a MAC address in KVM that was already recognised by Apple as a legit one of theirs.

Not sunshine, moonlight or good times – blame it on the buggy


"The virtual pub quizmaster isn't looking so credulous, though. He has just reminded me who classical Rome's first emperor was. He does not look in the mood to entertain the idea that I really had typed in A-U-G-U-S-T-U-S but my computer, on a whim, retyped it as J-U-L-I-U-S."

It could be argued your computer was right - "The Roman emperors were the rulers of the Roman Empire dating from the granting of the title of Augustus to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus by the Roman Senate in 27 BC, "

Julius Caesar, on the other hand, was an elected dictator, not an emperor.

Mr President? Donald?! Any chance you can actually decide if Oracle can buy us or do we have to leave?


"He probably thought MS owned Nokia so it was red-blooded all-America tech."

I've got news for him - based on the factory identifier part of the serial numbers on a lot of the Nokia telco network kit I worked on as recently as 12 months ago, much of it's made in Nokia's manufacturing facility in China.

Palo Alto Networks threatens to sue security startup for comparison review, says it breaks software EULA

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There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable


Re: the difference between an engineer and sn installer.

".... it would be very unlikely a disturbance would have taken out just a single strand."

You'd be surprised how often this happens - it's not at all unusual to have damage to just a few of the fibres in a cable that has been grazed by a spade or digger bucket, especially in older cables which have a steel strength member in the centre rather than kevlar. I've even seen a situation where only the fibres in one of the six slots of the core were impacted by the damage to the cable - 4 fibres out of a total of 24 in that particular cable.

Singapore to give all incoming travelers wearable tracking device


Re: Thoughts from Singapore...

"A guard on a quarantine facility will ensure you don't get visitors you shouldn't be getting, and can check you wear your mask during exercises outdoor.

Sucks sure, but once you're past it, and clear, like Thailand, its great to have confidence the virus is gone."

Likewise in New Zealand - it's great being able to go to the pub again without worrying about how close someone else is sitting to you (because the few cases we do have are all in quarantine facilities). Well worth the cost and effort of ensuring incoming travellers stay in quarantine for 14 days.

The ones that get a lot of people's backs up here are those that either break quarantine - expect little sympathy from public/police/judiciary - or, my personal favourites, those who have suddenly decided they want to come back to NZ after working overseas for many years and then start complaining how "it's so expensive living in NZ". I have a solution for those ones - feel free to fuck off back to where you came from, we've done without you for many years, I'm sure we'll continue to get on fine without you.

Like several other countries, we sacrificed a lot of personal freedoms to get on top of this virus and, despite various ads about the need to continue being kind to people, now that life is pretty much back to normal very few of us will tolerate anything that puts our current CV-19 status at risk.

Co-inventor of the computer mouse, William English, dies


"So why houses, and not hice, for more than one house"

I can think of a couple of reasons;

i) It's a lot easier to build a world-spanning empire if you insist on using a language that has few, if any, universally applicable rules and instead has many idiosynctric variations that have to be memorized;

ii) Revenge for irregular verbs - as someone who had to learn German at school the least English can do is give a bit of grief back to Germans who are trying to learn English.

In reality, it's because English is more of a 'Creole' language, being built of words and structures uplifted from other languages as was seen to be most convenient at the time, rather than a single source language eg., French.

As an example, until recently I had always assumed that 'dinghy' was a strange, ancient, possibly Saxon or Old English word for a small boat - while poking around in a copy of "Hobson - Jobson" I learnt that it is actually a Bengali word for a small boat. I believe that umbrella and pyjamas are also common "English" words that have only been so since the days of the Raj.

Microsoft runs a data centre on hydrogen for 48 whole hours, reckons it could kick hydrocarbon habit by 2030


Re: Big batteries

"Great big flow batteries............ that's what you need.


No fire risk

Good lifetime

Completely recyclable

Can be made from readily available materials"

Yep - build them with similar technology as the ones that live behind my ears.

Large scale zinc-air fuel cells have all those characteristics, as well as being mechanically rechargeable - they also have a very high energy density as they don't need to contain the cathode material within the cell. Ideal for cars/trucks as the mechanical recharging could take place a some facility built for the purpose and equipped with appropriate pumps and hoses - maybe we could call them 'service stations'?

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide


So many personal pronouns in one short comment - lucky you're not an Auditor then, as we known what happens to them if they make that mistake.*

* If you don't, then you need to spend some time perusing the works of Sir Pterry.

Trump gloats, telcos weep, and China is furious: How things stand following UK's decision to rip out Huawei


Re: Focusing on market solutions....

Don't worry - that'll be coming soon after your NHS system has been aligned to the US healthcare model.



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