* Posts by S4qFBxkFFg

650 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Feb 2012


UK signals legal changes to self-driving vehicle liabilities


Re: "Potholes"

The simplest solution would be to beef up the vehicles themselves. I don't know where the sweet spot is though, somewhere between a Land Rover and a Challenger?

NASA reschedules Boeing's first crewed Starliner flight for mid-April 2024


Re: Cutting corners?

"Such basic errors as using flammable tape"

Not sure I'd describe it as such, iirc, the particular tape involved has been used across the industry, without any problems previously being identified. They discovered, while testing the fire extinguishing system, that the glue could ignite if it came into direct contact with an uninsulated (e.g. damaged) electric wire.

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen


"The Register has asked Replika for comment."

What about Sarai?

'Small monthly payment' only thing that stands between X and bot chaos, says Musk


There have been many premature announcements of Twitter's/X's impending doom, especially since Elon took over, but this might actually be the one. I'm not precisely sure how much I value using it, but it's definitely <£1/month.

Scared of flying? Good news! Software glitches keep aircraft on the ground


Re: At least three systems are required

"If one has two systems offering two different results, the simple and embarrassing question is which one should you believe."


Nearly every AMD CPU since 2017 vulnerable to Inception data-leak attacks


"The bad news for sysadmins is that this could mean some downtime to apply the microcode BIOS update."

That optimistically assumes there will be any such updates.

Boffins snap X-ray closeup of single atom – and by closeup we mean nanometres


Yes, but what colour was it?

Amazon: Behold our antennas, which you cannot use just yet


Re: Excuse my skepticism

They also booked nine (the very last?) Atlas launches, which is as mature/reliable as you can get in the world of rocketry, so that should be enough to get them started.

I'm sure that if they're stuck, SpaceX will happily step up, but Bezos would probably exhaust all viable (and several non-viable) options before that.

Twitter rewards remaining loyal staff by decimating them


Re: Funding

"The question will be if Twitter can survive this. It won't be the first or last company to be sunk by the burden of interest payments as a result of a buy-out that massively increases a company's debt."

Presumably, if it goes bust, all the assets will then need to be sold.

In that case, what is stopping a Mr. E M from buying the brand and the data (at a much reduced price)?

Chinese surveillance balloon over US causes fearful gasbagging


Re: Why not shoot it down ?

Large balloons/airships are surprisingly difficult to shoot down. In WW1 it was discovered that exhausting a fighter aircraft's ammunition perforating the things simply doesn't cause enough leakage to deflate them before they complete their missions and return home. It was a different story once the fighters started carrying incendiary ammunition, but remember this was still when hydrogen was used to provide lift.

In summary, it would probably be necessary to use missiles, and that starts to become difficult to justify if the missiles cost multiples of the balloons.

(Unguided rockets might be a better option, but I don't think the fighters that go to those altitudes carry them as standard.)

Laser-wielding boffins bend lightning to their will


Would this work with the "lightning" produced by a tesla coil, i.e. directing it from the coil to a specific point on the ground?

Patients wrongly told they've got cancer in SMS snafu


Elsewhere on their site, they state they have working there: "1 full time salaried doctor and 8 contracted sessional doctors who worked at the practice for more than six months".

I don't know if this is "normal" or not.


Re: More money for the NHS?

I want more money to go to the NHS, but this is not the kind of problem that is caused by a lack of money. I'm speculating, but think this scenario is at least plausible:

GP practice decides to use its autonomy to independently purchase an SMS management service.

The partners/admin have no idea what this should cost, or what features they actually need, or even who in this sector are vaguely competent/credible. Why would they? Practising medicine, or managing an office, don't include effectively tendering for ICT services as one of their core duties.

Then, a janky excrescence that barely compiles is purchased, and/or staff are inadequately trained in its use. Somehow, a .csv of the entire list of patients is double clicked in the file selector for the "Message Patients" menu item, instead of selecting the "Message this Patient" option.

Europe's USB-C deadline: Lightning must be struck from iPhone by December, 2024


Re: Site radios?

Oh dear. It would have been fortunate indeed if the EU had accidentally forced standardisation on portable tool charging.

Starlink terminals reportedly smuggled into Iran amid internet shutdowns


"The effort to smuggle hardware into Iran did not involve the help of the US government nor SpaceX, he said."

SpaceX must be cooperating to some extent, if not, the dishes will be useless. Someone working at Starlink HQ will need to explicitly enable the cells (hexagonal areas of the Earth's surface) corresponding to Iranian territory, or the satellites will simply ignore dishes there.

Map of active/potential cells here: https://www.starlink.com/map

edit: amusingly, the above map implies that if you live on Rockall, you're sorted, but Knutsford and much of London are out of luck.

Unhappy about excluding nation-state attacks from cyberinsurance? Get ready to pay


Re: Burden of proof

There are cases where the (insurer's) government specifically stated "This is / is not a war." and the insurers were obliged to go along with that. AFAIR, this is why the Malayan Emergency was not called (by Britain) the Malayan War.

Janet Jackson music video declared a cybersecurity exploit


Re: Lay off Janet

Oh, well cast sir! That's a lot of bites.

US must adopt USB-C charging standard like EU, senators urge


Re: USB-C connectors suck

Informative, thank you.

Is there ever an issue with the "wrong" device charging? I.e. someone plugs a phone into a laptop (cable male USB C both ends) and the laptop starts pulling power from the phone.

Malaysia-linked DragonForce hacktivists attack Indian targets


I think my favourite track was "Soldiers of the Wasteland", but I've only listened to the "Inhuman Rampage" and "Sonic Firestorm" albums. Is their newer stuff just as good?

Five Eyes nations fear wave of Russian attacks against critical infrastructure


"These groups include the CoomingProject, Killnet, Mummy Spider, Salty Spider, Scully Spider, Smokey Spider, Wizard Spider and the Xaknet Team."

It warms my heart to imagine a senior manager in a very serious organisation drily reading that text as part of a powerpoint presentation, while any 4channers present engage in the worst struggle of their careers risking internal rupture due to laughter suppression.

Elon Musk won't join Twitter's board after all


Also, I think the board seat deal included a prohibition on him owning more than a certain proportion of shares: he may have decided it's simpler to eventually buy 51%.

Intel suspends all operations in Russia weeks after halting chip shipments


At some point, there are going to be questions asked such as:

"Why, in addition to sanctions, isn't the Intel Management Engine being weaponised to harm the Russian economy?"

From my (possibly incorrect) understanding of its capabilities, it can use the network independently of the main system, so if new firmware is loaded (obfuscated windows update?), it should probably be able to geolocate, and if in Russia, subsequently brick as many pieces of connected hardware as possible, ultimately including itself.

Would Biden consider that to be going too far, or worry about people shunning western CPUs?

Hooking up to Starlink might be pricier than you thought


Redundancy is one reason: consider ViaSat's latest satellites, each of the three is launching on a different rocket (Ariane, Atlas, and Falcon).

Russia is the advanced persistent threat that just triggered. Ready?


"their airforce doesn't seem to be up to the job of continuous, sustained attacks"

The theories I read say they can't rely on the mobile SAM launchers in the field being able to reliably distinguish between hostile/friendly aircraft, and shortages of precision munitions (quite a lot already having been spent on keeping Assad in his current position). If Putin decides he can tolerate the unintended damage associated with unguided weapons, expect that to change.

They're probably also not too happy at how many NATO surveillance aircraft are flying racetracks in Romanian airspace, the data probably going, without much detour, to Ukrainian air defence.

GPU makers promise relief is at hand over chip shortages, prices expected to fall in second half of the year


Re: Not a solution

It is a puzzling situation, but I think one simple thing holds true: unless manufacturing capacity increases significantly, there is no solution, even if you ignore mining, there is too much "normal" demand for supply to match.

I can only assume AMD/Nvidia are contractually prevented from raising their prices to a level that forces out the scalpers (imagine how it looks to shareholders when their company is selling product at a fraction of what buyers will pay); when those contracts expire, things might change, and the profits can go into capacity expansion (and yes, dividends too) rather than to someone with an ebay account and spare room full of cards.

Even if miners were to buy all the new stock, there will be a proportion of their old cards that are too inefficient to be profitable: assuming they can be bothered trying to recover some of the purchase cost, these will end up with the second hand retailers as well.

Russia's orbital insanity is almost beyond redemption – but there's space for improvement


You can look at the simulations and see what's happening: https://www.eusst.eu/newsroom/eu-sst-confirms-fragmentation-cosmos-1408/

For some fragments, what you say is true, but for some it's the equivalent of being boosted higher. Overall, it's much worse than keeping it in one big lump which is slowly deorbiting anyway.


Re: Yeah but yes, but no, but...

I can't remember what altitude the Kuiper (Amazon) ones use, but Starlink (SpaceX) uses an altitude which is deep enough in the upper atmosphere that even a dud satellite will naturally deorbit within months/years. I suppose it could be a problem if a satellite had its engine "stuck" while thrusting prograde but that's probably considered considered sufficiently unlikely the authorities are OK with it. Oneweb satellites are another matter, I think one of them has failed already, at 1200km up, so it will be interesting to see how they get it down.

Waterfox: A Firefox fork that could teach Mozilla a lesson


Re: Palemoon, check. Seamonkey, check.

At the risk of starting arguments, emacs is a perfectly good HTML editor.

US nuclear submarine bumps into unidentified underwater object in South China Sea


Re: Hitting a container?

I talked to a submariner who said if it's diesel-electric, it's not really a problem to actually "land" on the seabed (assuming a "soft" bottom: i.e. sand not rock) but nuclear ones have coolant intakes and you want to try to avoid stuff getting sucked in (like silt or sand disturbed by the sub itself).

Or maybe that's just the information for the public, and they do it all the time, who knows?

Lithuania tells its citizens to throw Xiaomi mobile devices in the bin


Re: Free Tibet!

I hope you aren't doing this for free.


Re: easy solution: Replace that crap by a clean custom-ROM

The article indicates the problem is with Xiaomi's firmware, which would not necessarily be affected by the installation of a custom ROM. It's difficult to be sure, as the distinction between the OS and firmware is extremely blurry on modern phones.

Having said that, I have a Chinese phone running LineageOS, and it works very well for the most part (although when it finally dies, I'll probably get a PinePhone).

This is AUKUS for China – US, UK, Australia reveal defence tech-sharing pact


"Australia previously planned to build diesel-electric subs in conjunction with a French manufacturer – a contract that is about to be terminated without putting a boat in the water. Nuclear-powered boats can run submerged for longer and more quietly, and do not have to vent exhaust gases."

AFAIK, a diesel-electric submarine when it's running on battery power, is significantly quieter than a nuclear-powered one (because there are certain non-silent processes, such as cooling the reactor, that have to run constantly): am I out of date here?

Good news: Jeff Bezos went to space. Bad news: He's back


"Had they paid workers correctly and paid fair share of tax, they wouldn't have money to spend on such vanity projects..."

That's quite possibly correct.

"...and at the same time governments would have funds to continue meaningful space exploration."

I would be very sceptical that the state of the USA space program would be much improved by Bezos being taxed at 100% of his wealth; the small percentage of that that made it to NASA would probably be allocated by Congress to their local interests (e.g. Boeing and the SLS).

Not a baaa-d idea: Embracing the eunuch lifestyle slows ageing – for sheep anyway


Re: How about...?

"mail hormones"

I remember, in those terrible times before adblockers, seeing adverts for those all over the www.

UK urged to choo-choo-choose hydrogen-powered trains in pursuit of carbon-neutral economic growth


Re: No all electric

"Or if third rail is unacceptable (why?)"

There are probably other reasons, but if the local "kids just being kids" decide to discard a shopping trolley onto the track, the consequences stand to be more expensive; in both cases, the line has to be closed and a man in an orange waistcoat sent to remove the item, but if the offending trolley has become part of a high voltage electricity circuit shorted to ground (I assume 1st and 2nd rails are kept at 0V?), some other stuff probably has to happen beforehand.

John McAfee dead: Antivirus tycoon killed himself in prison after court OK'd extradition, says lawyer


Re: It's A Very Complicated Story...

"Christ, he was 75 and faced 30 years in a US jail."

I could imagine him carrying out his own defence and requesting a reduction to life.

Seriously though, it all feels depressingly unnecessary. These problems could maybe be avoided if taxation was simplified and applied at a far earlier part of the transaction chain. (Yes, I'm aware of some of the reasons why that wouldn't survive the legislative process required; we can still wish.) There'd be less need for harsh enforcement if collection was easier.

SpaceX spat with Viasat: Rival accused of abusing legislation to halt Elon's Starlink expansion


I found this amusing: https://spacenews.com/viasat-books-falcon-heavy-for-viasat-3-launch/ (still planned for this year, as far as I can tell).

Even when the companies are at each others' throats, it apparently makes commercial sense for SpaceX to launch a competitor's satellite.

(It looks like they wanted different providers for each launch: the other two are Ariane and Atlas.)

Artemis I core stage finally pointing in the right direction at Kennedy Space Center


Re: Vertical

Once the solid fuel boosters are stacked, they need to be used within a certain time (several months, AFAIR), so there is a limit to how long it can stand there doing nothing.

I'm sure the contractors involved are hoping for the limit to be busted, so they can present a menu listing all the expensive options for remediation.

"Would sir care for the erection of a full-height non-destructive testing scanning rig, or perhaps for peace of mind, we can do the full lowering, disassembly to booster segments, manual inspection, and restacking?"

Antivirus that mines Ethereum sounds a bit wrong, right? Norton has started selling it


I remember back when I was renting, "bills included" was not uncommonly seen in listings, and for about two years, I lived in a place like that (there was no gas or electricity meter in my home, the pipes and wires were physically connected to my landlord's house next door). I probably paid more rent than my neighbours in equivalent homes, but it worked well enough for me.

The point is, for various legitimate or not reasons, there are plenty of people who are not responsible for the electricity supply they use, and therefore have a theoretical incentive to mine until their cards produce the magic smoke, even if it does cost £2 of electricity to mine £1 of ₿ (or, more likely, ETH).

Broadband plumber Openreach yanks legacy copper phone lines in Suffolk town of Mildenhall en route to getting the UK on VoIP


Sucks to be you, any aliens living anywhere near Proxima Centauri's record-smashing solar flare


Re: Proxima Centauri is a glimpse of our own future

"So, during the next billion years mankind (or whatever comes after us) needs to figure out how to move the Earth to a higher orbit"

There was a Stephen Baxter novel that addressed this: the idea was to redirect asteroids and comets onto a trajectory towards Earth in such a way as to give it a gravity assist to raise its orbit.

UK.gov wants mobile makers to declare death dates for their new devices from launch


Re: Force open source instead

Then, there needs to be a way of transferring the legal liability up the supply chain and impose the same obligations on the chip maker.

Ah, you know what? Keep your crappy space station, we're gonna try to make our own, Russia tells world


"Angara has flown. Once. In 2014."

It's flown more than that: twice in 2014 (if you count the single core suborbital flight earlier in the year) and once in December last year.

Payloads appear comparable to Proton, even launching from Plesetsk.

You're right to question its viability, I have no idea how they're going to price it, but it will get some government work; there are probably military payloads that can't fit on Soyuz that will launch whether paid for or not.

Debian devs decide best response to Richard Stallman controversy is … nothing


Re: Not very accurate

"That attention resulted in a number of women coming forward to make accusations against Stallman of inappropriate behaviour over most of his career."

This is the important bit.

These accusations (the details of which I don't know) should be addressed by the relevant organisation: police, prosecutors, or Stallman's employer(s) at the time the alleged behaviour happened. Anything else risks turning into a witch hunt, or the appearance of one.

If the above organisations don't consider there is a basis for an investigation, or one is carried out and doesn't find anything significant, or the process exonerates Stallman, that should be an end to the matter.

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain


Re: Shame...

"He also missed out on getting a telegram from his wife."

I'd be interested in what the telegram plans are if she is still going strong on 21/04/2026.

Openreach out and hike prices on legacy fixed-line products: Broadband plumber pulls trigger after Ofcom gives the nod


Re: We've switched to LTE

"There is literally no other connectivity available from any provider on any infrastructure - and no roadmap or plans for that to change."

Starlink? Pricey, but it should be fine for your latitude.

Fire takes out Japanese chip plant, owner Renesas warns of more silicon shortages


Re: Their chips are down

Hmm, the spring might be a bit worrying to deal with, maybe compressed air would work.

edit: Or just a smaller engine to start the main one, e.g. lawnmower/chainsaw size.


Re: Their chips are down

Going further, I often wonder if it's still possible to build a (road legal) car that contains no electrics, let alone electronics. I cannot think of anything in particular that would be impossible: compression ignition systems exist, pumps can be geared to the shaft, lights of various colours can be generated with combustion, etc. etc.

Something to investigate if I ever acquire undeserved billions, I think the "Ampa" would be a good name for it.

(A/m/Pa = Amps per metre per Pascal = inverse Tesla)

What could possibly go wrong? Sublet your home broadband to strangers who totally won't commit crimes


Sounds like Hola, but with the difference being cash rewards rather than use of the VPN: https://www.theregister.com/2015/06/10/hola_gets_holes_poked_in_client_lulzsec/

It was a bad idea in 2015, and it's a bad idea now.