* Posts by Richard_L

44 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jan 2012

Canonical accused of violating GPL with ZFS-in-Ubuntu 16.04 plan


Re: If I want ZFS, and I do, I use FreeBSD or Nas4Free...

"What I don't want is Ubuntu introducing more problems and issues with downstream distros like Mint."

Ok, this isn't much use for other Ubuntu derivatives, but for Mint at least, you can cut out the middleman and install the Mint Debian edition

Five key findings from 15 years of the International Space Station


The fragility of the human body...

I like how the section entitled "The fragility of the human body" has a picture of someone running over scissors while tied to a treadmill. I wonder how well that particular experiment ended?

EE recalls all 'Power Bar' USB batteries due to 'fire safety risk'


Re: I think EE are behaving well.

I'll keep mine and take my chances...

There's no way in hell that powerbar was ever 'worth' £20 in the first place - even before they decided to cut so many corners in its design and manufacture that they're now having to undertake a complete product recall. So I won't be too upset about not receiving a £20 voucher.

There's absolutely nothing priced at or under £20 in the crummy EE accessories store that I want to buy and just like the powerbar, everything in the store that's for sale for £20 looks like it should only reasonably cost £10 anyway.

How long does it take an NHS doctor to turn on a computer?


Re: I still can't get my head round this one


It blows my mind that someone's job can involve working on a computer all day long in this day and age but they've never used a web browser. What The Feck?

They've never knowingly used anything called a "Web Browser" nor anything really weird that only totally saddo geeks would use like "Explorer", "Firefox" or "Chrome" for that matter. Sure, they use a browser every day and it will certainly be IE or Firefox, but it's never been a "Web Browser" to them. The program that lets them view the web is completely abstracted or invisible to them, It's always more directly called "The Internet", or "Google", "MSN" or "Yahoo". Or, God forbid, "AOL".

And as for the URL bar? Nope, they really have never ever used it! They just type the whole URL into the Bing search box on the MSN homepage when "The Internet" loads up so they can "Google it". Want to visit a different site... Close the browser and reload it to get the MSN page back, start again... And as for explaining tabbed browsing... good grief, it's like trying to explain the concept of parallel universes...

'Major' outage at Plusnet borks Brits' browsing, irate folk finger DNS


I've been with Plusnet for 9 years and have been pretty pleased with the service I've received throughout. However, I've found that you can wait a long time after opening or updating an online support ticket before anyone does anything about it.

I still send them support tickets with all the relevant details filled in but now I ring them up immediately afterwards and say "Hey I've got a problem! Briefly, it is blah, blah, blah. All the technical details I can provide you with are logged in support ticket 123456" and they always get straight on to it.

Although getting "straight on to it" usually means putting my problem at the back end of a BT Openreach engineer's 72 hour long to-do list. To be fair to Plusnet, there's not much they can personally do when my exchange-only phone line gets shot at, chewed by squirrels, waterlogged or stretched as it catches a falling tree while it snakes its way over miles of fields and woodland to my house.

For this latest problem, I've not noticed any interruption to service, having had OpenDNS and Google set as my primary and secondary DNS servers since way back when I noticed I could no longer access certain torrent sites using the Plusnet DNS servers.

Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so


Re: @ Martijn Otto - You mean btrfs, surely

I just wish Oracle would change the licencing of ZFS out so it can be included with distros by default, instead of being cast out into a legal wilderness as it is now. Then we could take BTRFS off to the woodshed and put it out of its misery and not have to wait years for this bcachefs to be ready.

I've been using BTRFS as my filesystem on SUSE and it's a pain in the arse. SUSE recommend it as the default filesystem for root, yet it has a nasty habit of filling up and silently refusing to write any more data to the disk even though standard utilities like df continue to report plenty of free space.

Neither SUSE nor BTRFS appear to monitor for the approach of this condition nor alert the user or administrator to it when it happens. SUSE have a tool that merrily snapshots the **** out of any btrfs filesystem, but will they monitor that same fileystem for chronic constipation? Nope... go and write your own script to periodically rebalance your chunks. Grr.

Samsung says micro-sats could blanket the world with Internet


Re: Surely not....

Yes, that was another excruciatingly slow episode of Horizon, the BBC's flagship science program which strives to turn learning about really great science into a miserable, frustrating experience by taking 20 minutes worth of interesting content and stretching it torturously over a whole hour, with facts teased out as slowly as the gratuitous footage of super-slow-motion explosions that accompany the many awkward silences between the slow, patronisingly spoken sentences from the narrator.

It's available for another 22 days on iPlayer, although if you've read the comments above, you've already digested a the majority of its content:


Opera Software asks fat lady to stay schtum for a bit, but keep humming


The cautious language the company's used suggests it is considering either an acquisition or another partnership of some sort.

Maybe they've realised that they've buggered up everything that was good about v12 and are going to buy Vivaldi in order to sort themselves out ;)

Intel TOCK BLOCK: 10nm Cannonlake delayed to 2017, bonus 14nm Kaby Lake to '16


Tick, tock, tick, tick, tock

So, just like everyone else, Intel's had to add a leap second this year.

Why the BBC is stuffing free Micro:bit computers into schoolkids' satchels


“Give kids some tools and let them solder, bake, code, connect and sew to make dough circuits, wearable electronics, flower pot robots and games consoles,” says Technology will Save Us on its site.

How do you sew a dough circuit? What's that all about?

Post Office launches mobe service for aged greybeards


Re: Pensions?

Not as such - I think the state pension only goes direct to your bank account now, although the Post Office does offer a pretend account specifically to receive pensions and benefits to those who are unable to obtain a proper bank account.

That said, I think old habits die hard. Round here, at least, Thursday's the day when the oldsters descend en-masse upon the local post office with the sole aim of withdrawing cash and get struck down by a contagious amnesia rendering them unable to find their debit cards, locate the slot in the counter-top chip-and-pin machines or remember their PINs.

They then have to spend the next 48 hours at home, slowly recovering from the trauma of using using modern technology to withdraw money. This lengthy recuperation results in their weekly trip to the local supermarket to spend their cash being delayed until Saturday morning...

"Ooh, this is terrible - I don't not never seen Sainsbury's so busy. It were never this crowded last Saturday..."

Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit


Not to defend Tesla in particular but rather to question people's expectations... I think that people have to stop branding the Powerwall battery a failure because it can't power all of a household's high wattage appliances at the same time.

If you're already off-grid, then you're probably already well aware that electricity usage has to be somewhat planned and you can't just wake up in the morning and fire up the toaster, kettle, oven, electric shower, hairdryer, curlers, washing machine and dishwasher simultaneously and to suggest that this battery, which is probably smaller and less robust than a lot of true off-grid'ers battery banks, should be able to do that seems rather unfair.

It's most valuable achievement seems to be raising awareness of the need for energy storage in a green energy dominated grid. Whether it's a good product seems rather less certain from the specs. I thought lithium cells were supposed to avoid the lead acid pitfalls of limited charge cycles and death by excessive discharge etc? Apparently not these...

Perhaps a more natural market for these sorts of mass-market, plug-and-play, all-in-one, certified and standardised solutions will develop as an integral part of a smart grid, controlled by the National Grid who would govern when and what wattage the Powerwalls would release to homeowners:- With the Grid sending out automated messages like "Calling all Powerwalls... calling all Powerwalls... calling all Powerwalls: The Greens haven't touched their lentil and bean soup today and so mighty fleets of wind turbines aren't quite spinning fast enough to generate enough electricity to meet demand. Can you all switch on and each reduce your house's draw from the grid by 500W using the energy you were able to store from your solar panels earlier when the sun was still shining out of the Greens' arses"


Re: It isn't supposed to make sense

@ Jamie Jones

Not just in Wales either, England too!

I was in a class which had a geography teacher as their form teacher for a few years. Every time it rained and was too wet for us to be turfed out onto the playground for our break, we were sent up to the geography classroom to watch a video. Unfortunately the geography teacher only had two videos. One on Dinorwig, the other on the Milk Marketing Board.

Snowden scandal latest: NSA, GCHQ lingo-spies replaced by unstoppable RHINEHART robots

Big Brother

Innuendo... Al-Qaeda, what!?

Personally, I can't see GCHQ having to worry much about interpreting sexual innuendo when eavesdropping on conversations between the ultra-religious, bomb-happy bores of Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.

But on the other hand, if "I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue" is deemed a threat to national security, then yes, we may be in a spot of bother if we just leave the GCHQ mainframe to get on with monitoring it.

Tesla Powerwall: Not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries


Re: Recycled batteries from cars?

@ Gordon 10,

You're right about creating a bigger market but don't discount recycling car batteries for this kind of use completely - Nissan are investigating this sort of energy storage as a second life for used Leaf batteries.

Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities


Re: Much needed publicity for energy storage at last!

No, I'm not talking about just amassing idle 'tweets' and 'likes' for energy storage solutions. I'm hoping that the extensive news coverage generated by this relatively unremarkable battery's association with Elon Musk - that nice man from the Iron Man films with the fancy suit and the sports cars and space rockets - will go some way to making people realise that the mad dash to renewables-only national power generation is not as simple as a lot of people think it is.

You can't just turn off all gas, coal and nuclear power stations and expect solar panels and wind turbines to do the same job.

It's popular policy for all politicians wanting to capture the green vote to commit to quite alarming cuts in carbon emissions that will require a huge reduction in power generation from fossil fuels. Add to that a growing demand to reduce air pollution by removing the Evil Diesel vehicles from the roads - preferably by replacing them with electric vehicles - and you end up in a situation where demand for electricity is likely to rise sharply at the same time as our generating capacity becomes subject to large weather-based fluctuations.

At the moment, electricity demand governs supply. But if you turn decommission nearly all gas, coal and nuclear power stations then people need to understand that with nothing left but wind turbines and solar panels then the situation will reverse and electricity supply will govern demand. (And the billions wasted on over-hyped smart meters won't do a damn thing to help either.)

Storage of surplus solar and wind energy needs to be incorporated, on a massive scale, into any future where the majority of energy generation depends on solar and wind. As supply will not usually be able to match demand, we must find ways of storing energy that is surplus to the level of demand at its time of generation and releasing it when there is a deficit.

Whether it's through battery installations or flywheels on a domestic level, compressed air plants on industrial estates to serve small towns, pumping water up to old slate quarries on Welsh mountainsides on a regional level or something else entirely, we need to invest in some combination of them.

How many people, unquestioningly supporting the politicians carbon reduction targets on the basis that anything green must be good assume that we'll all be OK if we just build some more wind turbines and install some more solar panels, appreciate this?

How many of those people realise that in a house with a bog-standard domestic solar installation today, solar panels don't generate any power if there's a power cut? How many people realise that you need batteries and additional control equipment to maintain power to a property with solar panels fitted if the grid goes down on a sunny day, let alone to provide a reservoir of energy that can be tapped into throughout the night? How many of those people realise that renewable energy supply is poorly matched to demand?

Hopefully there are a few more after today's news.

Even Eddie Mair, when introducing the news item on PM this evening sounded like he was suggesting that for the first time ever, a new type of battery that could store the sun's energy had been invented!


Much needed publicity for energy storage at last!

It's great to see Elon Musk giving renewable energy storage a publicity boost - it's the one thing that is essential yet never seems to be considered by any of the politicians who are egging each other on to drive us all faster and faster towards a zero-carbon, green-energy-only car crash.

Ban coal - coal is dirty! Ban gas - fracking is immoral! Ban nuclear - think of the children! Oh and ban onshore wind while you're at it too, it might be green think of the house prices!

Great. Now where's the capacity to supply a 24hr base load gone? Where's the surge capacity in the grid?

Making an offering of Waitrose essentials cous-cous to Gaia in the hope of making the sun to come out on a wet December night so we can all put the kettle on and have a cup of tea when Eastenders finishes just isn't going to cut it.

If we're to make a renewables-only solution work with the drastic cuts to carbon emissions that politicians are promising by 2020 or 2030 then energy storage on a massive scale and in a number of different forms needs to be very seriously, very quickly and very thoroughly considered.

'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves


Product localisation?

Surprised that no one's mentioned it yet but there's also the issue of product localisation.

OK, so even though product manuals and safety information sheets are famous for being in written in at least 15 different languages, you've got also consider the following issues:

With electricals, you're going to end up opening the box to find the wrong plug on the end of a mains cable, or worse, a whole charger with the wrong plug moulded onto it. So you've then got the expense of a new cable, adapter or charger to add to the total cost of the appliance.

And then, when you finally plug it in you can stand back and admire your shiny new machine with its fascia and buttons all inscribed with a language you don't speak.

And should it break under warranty, you've to ungodly shipping costs if you have to send it back to the retailer...

Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Black Helicopters

This is just for starters...

How long before the government realises that the addition of a 3G modem aboard the car would allow the car's camera and computers to read the speed limit sign, and if the car's over the limit, to then automatically report the driver for speeding over the 3G connection so that a fine and points can automatically be issued, before slowing the car down to under the limit...

No more costs of maintaining speed cameras or dedicating traffic cops to patrol for speeding drivers, the car manufacturer foots the bill for the extra electronics, and then it's just kerchinggg!....

UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO


Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

If it's the same lot who keep pestering me on my mobile with an "unknown" incoming number, then yes, calling the entire population in less than a fortnight... then starting the process all over again asking the same question, does sound very plausible.

It's usually about PPI, occasionallly aobut debt relief, and one was for solar panels, but the format's always the same. I've not claimed my free blah blah blah, so press 5 to speak to an adviser or press 9 if you don't want free money.

Much as I want to shout at them, the connection always ends whether I press 5 or 9.

Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are


Re: Elf and safety

Not a Christmas present, but my mum remembers being able to buy mercury from the local chemist's shop as a child.

And then taking it home and making elaborate marble runs for great globs of it in the vegetable beds in the back garden...

Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?


Release the film, just not in cinemas...

I reckon that a proportionate response (or do I mean an amusing revenge? - I get so confused...) would be to dub The Interview into Korean and then have the USAF broadcast it across North Korea using their fleet of C-130 Commando Solo aircraft. That'll learn 'em!

MOULDY DICK: France aims to snatch EXPLODING WHALE crown from U.S.


Re: I really hope they use dynamite..

How about using a few chains of those elongated shaped charges that building demolitions teams use to cut through the wide steel i-beams that hold high rise buildings up. I'm sure that a few lines of those laid over the top of the whale would cleave the mighty beast into family sized portions more precisely than traditional method of a giant pile of dynamite dug underneath it.

Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit


> Lets hope none of these made their way into critical embedded systems eh.

Fake FTDI chips in critical embedded systems is the least of your problems, it's going to be a worry for many more common components that go into a critical systems. Fake power transistors, fake voltage regulators, fake op-amps, fake capacitors... you name it... it's a potential danger for all of them.

The difference here is that the component being faked here is complex enough for FTDI to have an option other than sending expensive lawyers round China on a stand-up comedy tour about fraud and protecting IP.

Whether it's a western company deliberately buying surprisingly cheap reels of components from cheaparsechinesechips.com rather than the official distributor in order to shave 10% off the BOM, or their Chinese PCB manufacturer doing the same behind the designer's back in order to increase their profit margin on a production run, I hope the effect of this is to shake up lax supply chain management in companies who have either deliberately or inadvertently let fake components find their way into their products.

T-Mobile US lobs sueball at Huawei: Claims Chinese giant stole robot tech


Having misread the headline as "Chinese stole giant robot tech", I was rather disappointed by the puny little machine described in the article...

Americans to be guinea pigs in vast chip-and-PIN security experiment


Re: BOA/VISA Don't even think of it!

Just go in disguise when you do this because most ATMs have CCTV covering them as they're great sites for mugging, bag snatching, shoulder surfing, fraud etc...

Bitcoin blockchain allegedly infected by ancient 'Stoned' virus


There are other blockchain oddities...

It's not the only oddity in the blockchain. There's supposedly loads of other cruft in there


(excuse the weird URL - the link really is about bitcoin!)

Silk Road dealer 'SuperTrips' faces 40 years for DVD drug imports


Re: bullshit article

"do some fucking investigating rather than echoing the feds"

You're both a bit wrong here...

The Reg article says he supplied 500g/week of MDMA to "Individual J" in America. From the court docs that are linked to in the article, this appears correct.

Regarding the 104 kg figure, from reading the court docs you can see that this is a headline figure for SuperTrips' total WORLDWIDE MDMA sales through SilkRoad from March 2012 to August 2013. Not just the amount of his total supply to "Individual J".

So The Reg was right to say he sold 104 kg of MDMA, but was wrong to suggest it all went to Individual J.

Drone expert: Amazon's hypetastic delivery scheme a pie in the sky


I think that the big news here is the epic increase in local warehousing that Amazon would need to fulfil the supposed 30 minute Prime Air delivery promise. No more scattered regional mega-warehouses as quads can't currently fly for longer than about 30 minutes, and their speed isn't great either. I think that it might be appropriate to think of quads employed like this as the milk floats of the 21st century. Every town or city borough wanting the service will need a depot for them to hold the stock they distribute, service and recharge them, And if you live in the countryside, well, tough...

And if this is a genuine Amazon project and not just a bit of Cyber Monday advertising inveigled into the 6 o'clock news then I can't see quads in their current form really being viable for this. I read an article recently that suggested that a different quad configuration - one main heli-style rotor providing most of the lift, with 3 smaller rotors for control - could provide maybe a 25% increase in range or endurance. However I think that ultimately it will be developing tilt-rotor designs that will enable a business proposition like this to stand a chance of succeeding - the greater range and speed offered by fixed wing flight coupled with the manouverability of a heli for urban take-off and landing.

Most of Dread Pirate Roberts' treasure still buried, say researchers


Re: The guy is loaded, load-ed!!

"But why translate it into USD? Just name the number of bitcoins."

Bitcoins... Dollars... all meaningless to me. To make any sense at all, you need to convert this damn nonsense into London buses!

Adobe users' purloined passwords were pathetic


Bet the hackers who lifted that database are pissed off. Weeks of risky, illegal activity and they find that all the passwords are just 123456... again... This hacking lark is just no fun anymore :(

Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last


Re: Here we go again...

You might be too young to remember them but did you ever hear of a company called Apple? They tried launching an expensive new mobile telephone called an iPhone 5S. What a disaster! In fact, it was one of the biggest mistakes in American corporate history. Apple stubbornly priced it far too high and at between $649 and $849 they just could not shift any of them. Millions of phones sat unsold in warehouses across the globe and the word "Apple" became synonymous with failure. It was a fatal blow for the company. Their share price crashed by 99% when the first sales figures were released for the model and the company was declared bankrupt soon after. Shareholders lost everything and all employees were laid off. The disastrous launch of the iPhone 5S is still taught as a case study in business schools to this day.

Met Police vid: HIDE your mobes. Pavement BIKER cutpurses on the loose


Link to the video

For those who can't view the video embedded in the article, I think that this is it on YouTube.



Re: Youtube broken

Can't view it either. I get the YouTube error:

"We're sorry...

... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now."

If I go to direct to YouTube in another tab, videos play just fine. I wonder if it is something to do with the stupid video player skin that The Reg have? I often have problems playing the vids in their articles.

Wikileaks FAILS to start Twitter bitchfight with Guardian hack


"maybe they could enlist miley and get some tips on how to grab headlines."

Oh... Dear... God... Nooooo! Isn't Assange insufferable enough when he's hidden away inside the Ecuadorean embassy? The last thing I want is for him to emerge and start singing and prancing around, half-naked, in a sexually provocative manner.

Apple seeks engineer who knows way around China Mobile network


"...an engineer with in-depth knowledge of China Mobile's network..."

Sounds like an ideal job for one of the NSA bods who got laid off in the wake of the Snowdon kerfuffle.

Robot WildCat slips its leash and bounds around parking lot


I don't normally watch cat videos on Youtube, but that was a pretty good one!

British ankle-biters handed first mobe at the age of SEVEN - Ofcom


Smartphones by the age of 12? ...when I was that age (and if you were really lucky), your parents bought you a Nintendo Game & Watch to play with. And with that came a queue of 20 other kids following you around the playground every day begging for a mere minute of donkey kong action!

Play the Snowden flights boardgame: Avoid going directly to Jail


You know how aircraft can be diverted when a "drunken" passenger engages in some rowdy, aggressive or threatening behaviour that is considered by the pilot to be "endangering the safety of the aircraft". Well, lets say such a "drunken" passenger happened to be present on Snowdon's eventual flight from Moscow, and that he chose to kick off just as it approached UK airspace thus forcing it to divert to a UK* airport.

Would we remove him from that flight when we realised that, entirely by chance, he was on the very aircraft that had so misfortunately been forced to divert?

*(or an airport of some other European nation friendly with the US)

'Ultimate nerd chick’ prompts C64 clone cancellation


Re: Everyone's out, bitch!

It was on Indiegogo, not Kickstarter as...

...it wouldn't have been accepted on Kickstarter as they have more stringent rules detailing what can go on their site. In particluar, hardware Kickstarter projects must already have a prototype they can demonstrate to potential backers. Quoting from their project guidelines:

"Projects must be clear about their state of development, and cannot be presented as preorders of finished products. Projects must show details (photos, videos, sketches) of their progress so far, along with a prototype demonstrating the product's current functionality. Projects must explain how the final design is likely to differ from the prototype, and include a production plan (i.e., how you're going to make it) and an estimated timeline."

Thousands rally behind teen girl cuffed, expelled in harmless 'explosion'


Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

" From what I understand, coke is a weapon of mass destruction all on its own."

For most Americans, I think it is more of a weapon of mass creation

Flexible flywheel offers cheap energy storage


Re: 15KWh?

The expected usage of this flywheel isn't to spin it up and then put it away in the cupboard with your torches and paraffin lamp for months on end, only getting it out if you suffer a power cut. It's designed to provide overnight power for domestic solar & wind installations - to absorb excess power generated by the the system on a daily basis and then provide it as required throughout the night. Lead-acid batteries could provide that energy storage but they degrade with repeated discharge cycles, especially if the discharge is deep. A flywheel won't suffer that same discharge cycle degradation and it's 2% leakage per day isn't critical unless you live somewhere where you don't receive any sun or wind for weeks at a time.

Wealthy London NIMBYs grit teeth, welcome 'ugly' fibre cabinets


"Maybe give them a thick coat of red paint and a little crown logo?"

... and then stand back and watch as fools try and find the slot so they can post their letters in them?

That Brit-built £22 computer: Yours for just £1,900 or more


Paypal will be loving those auction prices! Cue the "Your Paypal account has been limited due to recent suspicious activity" email to Eben...