* Posts by Kernel

760 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Nov 2011


US nuke reactor lab hit by 'gay furry hackers' demanding cat-human mutants


Re: Beware the law of unintended consequences

"The same people who believe having an ultra-strong, cat-brained mecha-cat-girl companion would be a "safe" companion are the same sort of people who also believe the "self-driving" feature of Tesla cars is "safe." who've never owned a cat."

Fixed that for you.

CEO Satya Nadella thinks Microsoft hung up on Windows Phone too soon


Re: I beg to differ

"The shame is that Microsoft bought Nokia simply so it could destroy the company."

Nokia has made 711 million Euro profit in the first 3 quarters of 2023 - not as good as lat year, but still far from destroyed.

‘How not to hire a North Korean plant posing as a techie’ guide updated by US and South Korean authorities


Re: Excellent!

"So rather than remote-desktopping into your work computer you have all the company data, software , licenses, keys etc on everyone's laptop to be left in a bar"

Of course not - why would I have all that lot on my laptop?

The access method was remote into my employer's network from work laptop (MFA required), remote into customer's network from my employer's network (at least one layer of MFA required) and then remote into specific product from customer's network - and as we dived deeper into the specific product many of the passwords were not known to the customer, just in case they were tempted to play. (At one of my employers a trained IT professional decided to change the Windows domain name, just to see if he could - that was 2.5 days of sitting on our arses while it was sorted.)

Our customer did not allow vendors, such as myself, access directly from the internet, it had to be via a dedicated VPN from my employer's network.



"Preventing use of remote desktop protocol on all company devices and prohibit using remote desktop applications for work;"

For me that would've meant compensation for constructive dismissal as my employer would be effectively preventing me from doing my job - it couldn't be done without remote access to customer's systems.

Pacific telco backed by Australia, Japan, US bins Huawei


Nokia don't make phones - Nokia branded phones are made by HMD Global, a Finnish company that has its phones built in China.

Nokia is a Finnish company that has its products manufactured in many parts of the world, including China, various European countries and the US.

US Air Force burns more money on electric flying taxis


Re: "almost 1,000 times quieter than a helicopter."

"Yes, I've seen it, I think it was a Mark Rober video.

Astonishing development."

Not really - to quote from the service manual of my 2007 Mazda BT-50 (Ford Ranger) ute:

'Noise (wind noise) which occurs during fan operation has been reduced due to nonuniform positioning of the fan blades.'

The fan definitely looks a bit different.

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress


Re: Don't tell me, show me.

"People are convinced that the gubmint is completely inept, and at the same time they are sure they can keep secrets indefinitely, even through parties in power constantly change."

More importantly, what is the probability of any military organization keeping secret something that would otherwise be likely to open up massive funding opportunities to them?

Samsung’s midrange A54 is lovely, but users won't feel seen


Re: A pain in the ... ear

"And FM Radio... still hanging to my A50 because newer models are missing that feature."

Just bought a Nokia C32 with 3.5mm audio jack and inbuilt FM radio - also up to 512GB microSD and (not or) two SIM slots.

Startup that charged $1.20 a day for coworking space in nightclubs folds


Re: Back in the late '80s to mid '90s ...

"Aside: we forget the modern coffee shop only came into existence in circa 1997."

People were regularly meeting to do business in London coffee shops from the second half of the 17th century - by 1688 there were 80 coffee shops in London, each one being associated with particular business activities. One group that used to gather in Edward LLoyd's coffee shop to exchange shipping intelligence and arrange marine insurance contracts is still in business today.

If you want to go more modern, Robert Harris (NZ) has been in the coffee business, including cafes, since 1952.

California man jailed after manure-to-methane scheme revealed as bull


Re: On a more serious note ......

"Is the CO2 released from the aerobic digestion and the CO2 produced making the energy to power the aeration pumps less or more than the CO2 produced if all that waste was anaerobically digested to produce methane and we then burnt the methane to produce useful energy? And is the byproduct a useful nutrient for use as a replacement for traditional chemical fertilisers? (nitrates being another big issue)"

It's been a while since the initial publicity, but the waste is digested to produce methane which is used as fuel for a couple of largish diesels which have been modified to run on gaseous fuel. The solid waste left at the end of the process is used as fertilizer in public gardens around the city (eg., https://hamiltongardens.co.nz/collections/ in the non-food producing parts), along with composted food waste, which is collected as a separate stream in the city's rubbish collection service.


On a more serious note ......

Unfortunately this type of scam has the effect of discouraging investors in genuine examples of this technology. What the story completely failed to mention is that shit to methane is a long established and successful technology - our local sewage plant has, for several decades, been generating enough electricity to run the plant using methane they produce from fermenting shit.

Another redesign on the cards for iPhone as EU rules call for removable batteries


Re: UK specific model?

"I think I'll go for the waterproof one and when the battery needs replacing make the decision to replace the phone or downgrade it by having a new battery put in at the expense of losing the IP rating."

It's not that hard to have both - I have a handheld radio transceiver that has an IP67 rating, an external battery that is designed for rapid replacement in the field, ports for programming/external mic and speaker and a removable antenna - all of these have seals which maintain the watertight rating when fitted correctly. It cost me less than all but the most basic of cellphones, so cost is not a factor either.

Can noise-cancelling buds beat headphones? We spent 20 hours flying to find out


Re: I'm curious

"I either have earmeltingly loud industrial metal on a proper stereo; or silence as my preference. The idea of less noise on a plane is appealing; however I’m acutely aware of how disgusting and problematic jamming something in my ear for 9 hours will be."

The day may well come when your musical volume preferences will lead you to either live with jamming something in your ears all day every day, or living in a world of near silence. If you aren't keen on wearing earbuds for nine hours on occasion, you certainly won't like hearing aids every day for for 13 hours or so.

Australia asks Twitter how it will mod content without staff, gets ghosted


That she has admitted to.


Payments firm accused of aiding 'contact Microsoft about a virus' scammers must cough $650k


Re: They've tried calling me before

"The Windows key on my Linux laptop isn't mapped to anything they expect"

Yes, been in that situation with one of them as well - but only after we'd spent the best part of 15 minutes trying to make it work, at which point I was informed that yes, my laptop did need to be turned on first.

After 30 minutes (this is when it was realised I needed to be running Windows, not Linux for all of this to work as per script) the conversation got quite terse - my friendly Microsoft support person listed all the things he was going to come and do to my wife - I told him that she was fine with that so long as he washed the smell of the goat he'd previously fucked off first - the call ended at this point, I think we got cut off.

BOFH: We send a user to visit Kelvin – Keeper of the Batteries


Left-footed boots

Many years ago, when I worked for a government department that ran the nation's communications network, one of our local store man reputedly had a large supply of pre-loved left foot gumboots available for immediate issue.

Why? Because most cable jointers wore out the right boot when pushing on their shovel while digging up a cable, leaving the left foot in fairly good condition still, far to good to be thrown out with their right footed counterpart.

Fancy trying the granddaddy of Windows NT for free? Now's your chance


Things to never do on a VAX workstation

Never set the colour of all items on the screen (ie., background, text, mouse cursor, etc.) to be the same - these changes are very persistent and as a mere user the only way I could fix it involved the use of another identical workstation, a ruler and some very carefully measured mouse movements.

The support team's response to my problem was amusement, and, if I did manage to recover, could I please let them know how I did it.

Virgin Obit: Launch company files for bankruptcy in US


Meanwhile, in another country far, far away .......


The most bizarre online replacement items in your delivered shopping?


"Cat (carnivore, same as penguin)"

More than just carnivores, cats are "obligate carnivores" for whom most (if not all) vegetable matter is anywhere from mildly to very toxic.

Welcome to Muskville: Where the workers never leave


" If an employee quits their job or is fired, they would have 30 days to vacate the premises."

Ah, so employment conditions have improved considerably - when my great-grandfather was killed in a pit disaster in the north of England in the early 1900's my great-grandmother only got two weeks notice to move out of the company house (although apparently she did get a free bible as well, which Musk doesn't seem to offering).

60% of Germany's 5G network is Huawei, says Chinese embassy


Re: ...and 100% of Germany's Internet is Cisco........................

"...... or alternatively Nokia ( or Alcatel / Philips? do they still do telecoms stuff?? )"

I don't know what Phillips does nowdays, but Alcatel merged with Lucent to become Alcatel-Lucent long ago, who were then bought by Nokia almost as long ago - got the staff goodies from all three to remind me of the changes.

What are now Alcatel cellphones are made by some Chinese company that bought the rights to use the old Alcatel name and branding on their products.

HMD offers Nokia phone with novel concept: Designed to be repaired by its owner




The Wikipedia has this about HMD:"

Yes - I was working for Nokia at the time and I was (still am) sufficiently impressed by the lack of baked in crap on the HMD/Nokia phones that all 3 of our phones at home are of this brand.


"but maybe that will change with the new owners."

New owners? - all Nokia branded phones since Microsoft stopped making Nokia branded phones have been made by HMD - it says so on the back of my old Nokia 8, one of the earliest re-launched Nokia phones.

Fujitsu to reveal terabit optical transport system at MWC


Re: If that's really true

I've worked with several systems that employed Raman pumps to improve the receive signal to noise ratio - amplifiers are still required every 60~70km, with maybe a 120km section where the Raman pumps are used. Unfortunately, Raman pumps introduce more noise, so they're not a magic solution in all cases and, with the systems I worked on (from a leading vendor based in a very cold country), we would normally only have one Raman span in a system.

It's only the last 20km or so of the fibre span that acts as an amplifier and even then it needs to be good quality fibre - old fibre with multiple repairs (which cause reflective points at the splices) doesn't work so well with Raman systems.


Re: If that's really true

Edit: Bugger!!! - Jock beat me to it while I was trying to write a comprehensive answer :)

Regeneration an amplification are different - amplification is an analogue process, and, just like audio amps, optical amps introduce noise, distortion, etc each time the signal is amplified. Amplification occurs in the aggregated optical domain and the amplifiers, being an analogue device, are signal rate and content agnostic. I've worked with systems where there were different signal rates being carried by different wavelengths. An amplifier has no access to the signal content and can't even read the optical transport section overhead data - at this level the data stream for managing the amplifiers is carried on a separate wavelength that is dropped and inserted at each amplifier site.

Regeneration is a process in which the analogue optical signal is demodulated, optical transport section overheads removed, the individual wavelength payloads extracted, regenerator section overheads removed, re-shaped, re-timed, repackaged (new regenerator section overheads wrapped around payload) and then goes through the process to be sent on as an aggregate analogue optical signal again. Regeneration happens in the electrical domain and as a result regenerators must be designed for the specific signal rate and protocol they are regenerating.

Regenerator spacing is determined by how far can you go and how many times can the signal be amplified and still extract useful information at the end of it - this is largely determined by the modulation method chosen and the ability of your chosen forward error correction mechanism to recover errors.

Amplifiers are generally spaced at around 60~80km, depending on the system design, especially in terrestrial systems where if possible you want to put them in sites you already own. Submarine cable power feed voltages are determined by the number of amplifiers equipped - each one needs 50V at around 2.5 amps. I have seen systems that feed around +25kV for one end and -25kV from the other, for a total voltage drop of around 50kV end to end.

I've been out of the industry for about 3 years now, so some of this may be slightly dated.

Scammers steal $4 million in crypto during face-to-face meeting


Re: Who loves cryptocurrency?

"Is anyone still writing (sic)checks? "

Cheques or checks - either way of spelling it, no such animal has existed in the New Zealand banking system for the best part of two years.

BT keeps the faith in 'like fury' fiber broadband buildout as revenues dip


"if the industry/government were thinking properly they'd have one company per location and make them share the fibre."

That's the way it's done in NZ - there are two companies that provide fibre (and the NTU) for the entire country, and only one of them serves a given area.

The fibre providers are required to supply connectivity to any retail ISP (on the same terms), so I can get my service from a range of suppliers according to my personal preference - neither of the fibre suppliers are allowed to offer retail internet services.

Our power is on a similar concept - distribution lines infrastructure provided by companies serving a particular area and not retailing electricity, customer's choice of who they buy their power from via those lines.

Wyoming's would-be ban on sale of electric vehicles veers off road


Re: Pollutor pays

"How exactly do you wear out a solar panel?"

The performance of (current) solar panels deteriorates over time, gradually reducing their output for a given level of light input.

That said, the ones on my roof are warranted to perform at over 83% of their nominal capacity after 25 years, so as long as you slightly over-provision at install time this is not likely to be a significant issue for most people. At that point in their life, it would also be possible to replace the original panels and de-rate them to a lower output for a new life in a less demanding situation eg., an ex-400W panel de-rated to 300W would still be fine for many purposes, at a suitably reduced price.

Flaming USB battery halts flight from Taiwan to Singapore


Re: Fireproof safe?

"That would have to be a very big, very heavy safe given the current trend of having non-removable batteries in laptops.."

Especially since it's also going to have to contain the new eco-friendly zero emissions electrically powered plane as well.

US Department of Energy 'flooring the accelerator' with $2.5bn battery loan on battery plants


Re: This insane policy failed ten years ago...

"Solar cells get weaker over time as do batteries."

While it's true solar cells do get weaker over time, to put this into perspective the warranty on my recently installed 7kW array states that it will still be capable of around 6kW output in 25 years time - most modern diesel engines (especially automotive types) are unlikely to age as well in normal day-to-day usage and will have required significant maintenance expenditure to even survive that long.

Why did Microsoft just buy fiber optic cable company Lumenisity?


Re: TOTAL internal reflection

""... but eight times more lossy ..."

Where did that information come from? "

"The company quotes attenuation rate — signal loss — of 2.5dB per kilometer for 1310nm wavelengths. By comparison Corning's SMF-28, which is commonly used in long-haul networks, manages 0.32dB/km."

You're right! - it only 7.8125 times the attenuation of SMF-28, although I've never seen a long-haul DWDM system that uses 1310nm. That wavelength generally seems to be favoured for short-haul coarse WDM applications.

Submarine cable damage brings internet pain to Asia, Africa


" an exercise in frustrating logistics and contracts."

Oh yes! I've spent many an hour on the phone waiting for someone at the other end to get an engineer organized to make the necessary network changes to fulfill pre-arranged restoration plans.

Usually, success in this endeavour is immediately followed by complaints from those who completely failed to understand what the phrase "you're getting this international capacity cheap because it will be pre-empted to restore other, more important, customers in the event of $cable failing" means in real life.

Rolls-Royce, EasyJet fire up first hydrogen-fueled jet engine


Re: Batteries != energy

"You could say a 7GWh per h but that's a bit silly"

No sillier than metres per second per second.

Twitter engineer calls out Elon Musk for technical BS in unusual career move


Re: Long weight

"We once had a new apprentice who had been forewarned about long weights etc. "

I used to work in a job where there were long and short weights, depending on what model of manual telephone switchboard you were changing a faulty cord on.

IIRC it was short weights for the more modern British Post Office 300-type PABX boards (some very nice oak to be salvaged when they were scrapped) and long weights for the much older Western Electric style main exchange switchboards - I have a lovely mahogany coffee table made from an end panel of one of those.

UK government set to extract hospital data to Palantir system without patient consent


Re: And after

"If you can't con the workers to pay more (ie the NI rise to 'pay for' care services, ie services for the not-working old) and you can't get the markets to lend more money all you have left is stuff public workers pay, they'll have to earn less, and we'll force more and more from the NHS for the same money. No one will pay more tax."

Am I missing something, or did I remember it wrong?

I seem to recall that one of the things promised as a result of Brexit was that there would be millions of pounds more per week available to fund the NHS, so money should not be the problem. Mind you, I don't live in the UK and may only be misinterpreting something I only saw part of while not really paying that much attention.

SolarWinds reaches $26m settlement with shareholders, expects SEC action



Yes, but the money comes from the company's assets, which are the shareholder's assets."

Only if you still own the shares - otherwise you got back at least part of your investment cost when you sold the shares and the settlement will help pay for any losses you may have suffered over the breach.

Tesla Megapack battery ignites at substation after less than 6 months


Re: Wait until we get te cheap Chinese knocks-off

"We will start seeing batteries without these issues later this decade"

Or even two years ago - https://arena.gov.au/blog/south-australia-goes-with-the-flow-battery/

Flow batteries are also now being scaled for domestic solar systems, which is why my upcoming PV install will not be getting batteries for a few years until the price of said batteries drops a bit and the technology has had a bit more time to mature.

'Last man standing in the floppy disk business' reckons his company has 4 years left


Re: Speaking Of Ancient Storage Methods .....

"Deleting records and shuffling staff so no one knows what’s there is a good way of excusing old behaviours that don’t look so good in todays world."

I wish you all the best with that story in court - some records have very long legally required retention periods, up to and including pretty much forever.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up


Re: And don't work too fast either!

"Turns out there was an unspoken quota among the workers, don't produce over x amount of widgets a week even though you were paid by the number of widgets you produced."

I bet those widgets are all manufactured overseas now - I can't understand why.

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 -