* Posts by AstroNutter

45 posts • joined 16 Jul 2012

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount


Re: There are no golf courses yet.

Hitting eagle would be quite easy is you are near Tranquility base, but only the base platform is left and Neil and Buzz returned the cabin part to orbit in order to come home.

Maersk prepares to lay off the Maidenhead staffers who rescued it from NotPetya super-pwnage


Everyone knows that simon would....

Get the PFY to leave it on a USB stick, that's plugged into a server that auto reboots every week, first thing on a Monday morning, making sure to "carelessly" leave the BIOS set to boot from USB before before trying other devices.

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother


"If you manage one every thirty minutes, you'll be doing well."

If they really were that rare I'd consider that I was doing well. However, I can spot them all the time. Once I allow my eye's to dark adapt, I can normally see them every few minutes. And before star link, I could even see several at once. Admittedly, I've not had the displeasure of starlink wrecking an image of mine yet, but I think that has more to do with bad weather than anything else.

Oh, and for the record, it's common to be taking images of the same part of the sky for several hours at a time. So having the odd satellite coming through is part of the course. Having a huge trail of them coming through over several hours is what is going to cause the problem. One here an there is ok, but from what I've seen of Starlink images so far, it looks like it's anything but that.

Halfords invents radio signals that don't travel at the speed of light


I just bought an AM/FM Radio

I recently spent a week in Kielder forest where I wasn't able to receive and digital signals. No phone, no TV and no DAB. The latter was unfortunate as I wasn't able to listen to the little DAB radio that I had in my caravan. So, I've just purchased an AM/FM radio in the hope that on the next trip I'll be able to listen to that. I don't see why it won't work as I had reception in my car.

Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server


Just install Linux (joking aside)

I know there's jokes about installing Linux and everything will be good. However, this isn't always as simple as the comment would make you think.

What do I mean, one of my machines - a laptop as it happens, runs Windows 10 Pro, The software installed on it is all specialist astronomy software for image capturing and telescope operations.

Of those pieces of software there are some which only run on Windows. Specifically there are three pieces of software which are the core of the system, Sequence Generator Pro - http://mainsequencesoftware.com/Products/SGPro, SharpCap - https://www.sharpcap.co.uk/ and PHD2 - https://openphdguiding.org/. These communicate with the telescope using the ASCOM Platform - https://ascom-standards.org/

Migrating to Linux until not long ago, was a bit of a none starter. It migrate would mean a major project to see if it's possible before I replaced the OS.

I have Linux running on several machines, for what I use it for, I love it. I've also got a MacBook Pro which is great for what I use that for. I use windows by choice and for the reasons that I stated above with the specialist software that simple isn't available for other OS's

In the grand scheme of things, waiting a few days won't be too much of a problem, For the astronomy stuff, the only thing I needed a Pro licence for is Remote Desktop. Other than that, I could have used the Home version.... and there's other software that I could have used if I didn't want to use RDP.

Here's why AI can't make a catchier tune than the worst pop song in the charts right now


I get this completely

Some of you have posted that you don't get why they switched from Midi to raw audio waves.

I happen to think that is exactly the right thing to do. Unless you are going to teach the neural network to actually play the real instruments.

Here's my thinking. There's a number of times when I have seen sheet music for something. If I play that piece of music "exactly" as written it will sound awful. This is effectively what the Midi based AI's are doing, they're following the patterns of things written in sheet music form.

However, the thing that separates a good performance from a bad performance is the difference between what's written on the sheet of music - which is a guide, and the actual performance.

A performance can come alive when the player modifies the tempo, changes the pitch, attack or vibrato on a given note. They may also play the a given note slightly sharp or flat, add dynamic effects.

I mentioned the attack of a note. Henry Purcell's compositions for example require a trumpet to be played full with round notes. The pieces that I'm thinking of are a little pompous, and confident.

Bhramms Lullaby however needs a soft approach. The individual notes should be rounded, giving a much less aggressive attack. The tempo can be adjusted more and there's also room to apply more dynamic range.

A midi file simply won't contain all this detail, but by programming an AI with raw audio sounds. There is an opportunity for this parts to be learned.

BOFH: Guys? Guys? We need blockchain... can you install blockchain?


You've all missed something.....

Sure the boss has come up with these MBT "solutions" and there's loads of kits left from shutdown projects. However, a good BOfH will repurpose said kits for other things. Sure, he'll tell the boss that the IoT junk was removed and is now in a storage bin.... but some of that kit will have had potential, will have been repurposed and will now be doing something off the books. a great BOfH will keep such repurposings secret. Bitcoin mining would have been done, he's not going to mention that, it's beer money after all!

BOFH: Give me a lever long enough and a fool, I mean a fulcrum and ....

Black Helicopters

I like the new boss

That makes him dangerous. I do hope that Simon and the PFY are keeping a very close watchful eye out. I sense that he may need to go on a nice long vacation at some point in the future. (on a building site maybe)

Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update


Next next computer....

That really depends on the what I need to get hold of next time round. I use, Windows, Mac and Linux. For me, it's not really an either or choice. I use all three, like using all three and will continue to use all three. Don't make me choose just one, because I simply cannot do so.

Windows - good for gaming, photoshop, programming and tech support type things.

MacOS - good for video/audio capture editing and stuff like that.

Linux - great for server stuff, infrastructure, Media servers, pratting about with (read Raspberry PI)

For me, the OS is simply a tool to use, it does not define anything. So, I'd want to vote for all three for my next computer, as it could be ANY of the three.

Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76






He may have passed on from this world. His legacy however is immortal.

Ocado to stock cannabidiol-infused water


They've put too much CBS in the water.....

It's too strong for Homeopathy. Weaken it by a 100 times. That'll make it work better for Homeopathic uses. hmmm, 250 liters of water to get the same amount as you get now from 25? no, we can do better, make it 2500. After all, less is more right?

Mines the one with the snakeoil in the pocket. Wanna buy some?

Sci-tech wants skilled worker cap on PhD and shortage jobs scrapped


What's the point having a cap...

...if when it starts to take effect, it gets removed?

BOFH: Honourable misconduct


Re: Uh Oh

It arrived in my head to the sound of the drums of the deep and a dark cloud looming menacingly

Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple's password protection in macOS can be thwarted


Who said macs were more secure than Windows?

Since 1995 people have been finding flaws in the Windows operating systems. Over the 20 years, lots of apple fans have said "OSX (macOS) is more secure than windows" my believe is this has been because Windows as the dominant operating system has been the target of pretty much every security researcher and hacker. Which make sense, as why bother trying to attack a minority of users when it's easier to make a single attack that will catch more computers out.

However, in recent years Apple made it's comeback (fueled by the iPhone) this, combined with MS's blunders (windows vista, windows 8) has lead to an upsurge in popularity for Mac based computers. (I get why, as I have a couple of Mac's myself) Over the last few years Mac's have been getting more popular. When that popularity, so the eye's of the security researchers and the hackers have turned to bring these devices into their gaze. Whilst in years past it was true that you didn't need a virus scanner on a mac, this was mainly because no one bothered trying to exploit those machines. This is no longer the case and the mistakes that will have already been made and fixed by MS are likely to be coming to light in macOS.

If Linux ever gets to the same popularity levels where it could be used by just about anyone (which I contest at the moment it can't, there's still things that prevent it from being used by the silver surfers and kids, I'm talking about the people who can barely find the power switch) this is when I'm fairly sure that some software blunders will come to light in that OS as well. The same can be said for just about any OS, large or small.

Linux does have a few advantages, it's use in server environments for one. But just look at the world of IoT, alot of which are Linux based, so I wouldn't say they're fairing much better really.

In summary, these things happen, and I call them growing pains. Just a shame that whilst Apple has extra time over MS, it seems they spent the time on Shiney bits rather than making sure the foundations are properly solid.

'Repeal hate crime laws for free speech' petition passes 14k signatures


The justice system really has money to waste?

anti-hate-crime laws don't need repealing, they just need to be applied with something which seems to be missing... Common sense.

Hoax bomb threat email to failure-prone train company Southern Rail

I don't care if he was blowing off steam or not. He made a threat and it was right to go to court. I'm surprised that he's been cleared though. Might be interesting to see the case details. (but I'm not going to bother) This reminds me of the idiot that tweeted a "joke" bomb threat to Robin Hood Airport a few years back. The book was thrown that that prat.

YouTuber who trained his girlfriend's dog to make Nazi salutes

Ok, I get the whole anti semetic thing, and that there will be people offended by it. However, I don't see how an idiot stupidly training a dog should have public money wasted on it. If it was evidence in part of a bigger case, then of course that's a different story.

Seagate's lightbulb moment: Make read-write heads operate independently


Could use them as a stripe set.

But then why didn't that do that already in the drive controller? Not like there's going to be any other advantages, other than two drives in the space of one. You still get the problem of one drive fails, both need replacing.

'DJI Mavic' drone seen menacing London City airliner after takeoff

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vortex ring

Sometimes it's worth reading comments. Never thought about the vortex ring before.

If I ever start flying drones (something that I'm casually tempted to do for aerial photography and video) which isn't really likely, I'll bear this one in mind. Great explanation.

Outage at EE wrecks voice calls across the UK


Not just voice calls

My phone completely lost service. It’s been down since 10:30, and still not back after midnight. Not just voice calls, but completely blocked off the network!

Yes there’s been compensation for the lack of service.

BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers


I love the windows phishing calls. Just lead them on, to the part where they start to tell you how to "fix" your computer. Then they'll start giving instructions.

idiot: ok, let's start by pressing the "Windows key"

me: What's a windows key?

idiot: That little key on the bottom left if your keyboard between the Ctrl and Alt keys.

me: Oh, you mean the tile key, I see, ok pressed it.

idiot: now what do you see?

me: my computer

idiot: and on the screen?

me: it's black with some test, and little flasshing line.

idiot: what does the text say?

me: rasberry@pi:~$ (said as rasberry at pi dotty squiggle money

Wonder why they hang up on me at that point? ;)

AWS, you crack us up. Rebrands Westminster 'Webminster'


Station names

Blackwall = Firewall

Edgware = Software

Edgware Road = Software Road Map

Hendon Central = Hendon Central Proccessing Unit

Highgate = Seagate

North Acton = North bridge (ok, a bit obsure and can be applied to any of the North stations)

South Ealing = South bridge (again any south will work)

Roding Valley = Silicon Valley

Tower Gateway = Router Gateway

You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg


Re: I want to sign but...

I'm no expert on legal things, but having read through that section is seems quite clear to me.


40.2 is saying that if the publication is a member of a regulator, is must not award costs except for the caveats.

40.3 is saying that is the publication is not a member is must award costs except for the caveats.

Bottom line, in the case of the register. Which the article says is not a member of a regulator....

They get screwed.

Virtual reality is actually made of smartphones


Re: Look up "Conflation"

The original Philip Model 1500 was the first video recorder, after that came along the VHS and Beta-max wars. Ultimatly, the winnder from that was the DVD. Wait no, BlueRay came after that, and with the whole streaming thing, the whole idea of buying tapes or disks has it's days numbered. Instead people are purchasing storage in the form of Hard, flash or solid state drives. Things are changing, and rapidly too.

Currently there is a whole IOS v Andriod war happening - there's a place for both. iPhone sales slowing, is OK, the thing is that the whole market saturation thing is coming. I'd expect that sales of both IOS and Android will slow at some point, Android has a much wider range of devices, so it'll probably take longer to hit it's plateau. Once thing is for sure, Microsoft's offing has already hit the kerb and isn't likely to get up again.

IOS Sales may be dropping, however it still doesn't diminish the genius of the original iPhone. At the time, there was no Andriod. The competition was Nokia with symbian. Their offerings were not joined up. The devices designs did not really want to be used. Blackberrys were apparently great for texting, just that was just about it. The original iPhone's design was well thought out, well implemented and the testimony is not the "fanbois" of the world. It's that pretty much every smartphone on the market shares the common design points - screen covering as much of the front as possible, device small enough to be held in the hand comfortably. Minimal ports - most devices that I see these days seem to have a USB or lightning port, 3.5mm headphone jack and that's about it. Some devices might have a MicroSD card slot - but not so many these days. Removable batteries seems to have gone out of fashion. They all have motion sensors. It's a pretty common denominator.

One thing that is for certain is that one day, the iPhone as a device will die and be replaced by something else. The desktop PC is already suffering, and is starting to look more like a tool for professionals rather than something for every home. You want to browse the internet - use your TV, tablet, or phone. You don't need a laptop or desktop for that. The laptop desktop of the world are now being used for more specialist things - video/photo/sound editing, programming. The rest of their functions can be done on the go.

The world is changing. The iPhone was a device that sparked off this whole thing. Steve Job's like him or loath him will go down in history for sparking this technology revolution that is happening today. But like all great inventions, when you look at the original, it will seem very crude compared to today's offerings. Just look at the first wheel, bet you wouldn't be able to put that on a Formula 1 car ;-)

A USB stick as a file server? We've done it!


PI 3 + Harddrive = more

I've already solved this problem using a 3TB Hard drive and a Raspberry PI 3.

The PI 3 connects to the network via wifi. The 3TB Drive is currently used to store my movie library (about 1TB of films, about 250 ish). I'd use a device like that if it was cheap and powerful enough.

I can run the PI and hard drive off a 12v batttery. Granted it's not as tiny as that setup, but at 3TB V 200GB I'd take it.

Bee queens are Notch-blocking their minions, say boffins


Re: EU Social?

I dunno. Being ruled over by a band might be more successfully that the various governments over the last 30 years or so.

Happy Sysadmin Day!


Yes, reeducation is required. This should be commenced immediately using a cattle prod. Make sure that you have more than one, so that you can be charging one up whilst using the other. If that's not an option, connecting said cattle prod to the mains shall suffice. Oh hell, just use a couple of bare wires connected to the mains.

Sysadmins should be battle hardened and so if you loose some whilst educating them it's no problem. Call it natural selection, only the best will do.

Tablet computer zoom error saw plane fly 13 hours with 46cm hole


Easy software fix

Well two choices really....

1. Make the software clever enough to know if the plane is taking off or landing. If it's taking off, have the software colour the runway run in the block that's past the threshold. And green in the places where it's safe to start take from.

2. If the software can't tell if it's takeoff or landing mode. Colour the runway like this...

Blue for landing, red for not safe for either takeoff of landing, and Green for ok for take off.

The idea being that you get three blocks, on the runway.

Personally I prefer option 1. It's easy "is the tablet's altitude higher than the runway by more than 50 meters?" Must be landing, There are other ways to detect if it's taking off or landing. So I don't see it as an impossible software challenge.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg


PFY: How many volts in those guns?

Last flying Avro Vulcan, XH558, prepares for her swan song

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Will never forget this aircraft

I was lucky. I mean extremely lucky. When I was a kid (1990 ish) I wanted to do to the HMS Deadlus air day, where the vulcan amongst other aircraft where being shown off. But it not happen that year. So instead, as the morning's air display was underway, I noticed that a few of the aircraft were using my schools sports field as a waypoint for turning the 180, to go do another run past the airshow. So I headed over.

The one stand out memory, was when the Vulcan came along the other side of the field, it pitched up as it slowed to make the turn, then banked and that huge delta wing was almost side on to me, as the aircraft performs a turn around the edge of the field. To this day, I'm sure that the pilot saw me staring up, following the plane as it made the turn, as I'm sure the turn got a little tighter, and the Vulcan appeared to slow right down as it dropped, about 100ft from the ground, pitched up. I will never forget the Howl, and roar of the engines as the Vulan flew right over my head, and the warm blast of the jets blew against my skin as the engines powered up and roar'd away back towards the air display.

What an aircraft and a memory that I will never forget from that majestic piece of engineering.

The Apple Watch: Throbbing strap-on with a knurled knob


Re: Obvious reasons

I've been an owner of several apple products, iPhone 3GS, 4S and 5S skipped the rest. Bought my first iPad a couple of weeks bad (iPad Air 2) and have a Macbook Pro from 2009. So yes, I'm very much in the apple camp, but I do have other things (my desktop is a self build windows box for a start)

On my phone front, I didn't want the iPhone until after it had enough features - hence waiting for the 3GS, prior to that I was using a Nokia S something or other. That phone gave me everththing that I needed, and could do a whole lot more than anything I'd had before. Skipped the 4 as it wasn't a big enough upgrade, went to the 4S as I wanted more storage, my 3GS was given to my brother, so didn't go in the bin. Again I skipped the 5 (and 5C) as it wasn't a big enough upgrade for me to be bothered with. Wasn't planning on upgrading from my 4S to the 5S, but did this as I changed to a better data plan at the same time. If it wasn't for the data plan change, I'd probably have kept with the same handset, and been happy with it. I'm not bothering with the 6's at all, will look at the features they bring in on the next model, but I'm not expecting there to be a killer reason to upgrade from my 5S, so will probably end up staying as I am for another year.

My Macbook Pro is getting old, but it's not ready to be replaced, far from it, there's probably a good few years life left in that machine, also as my main machine is a windows desktop, there isn't a compelling reason to upgrade. The laptop does everything that I want my laptop to do, upgrading will mean a smaller screen (I've got a 17" screen at the moment) so, that's a compromise before we even begin.

I finally bought an iPad a couple of weeks ago and can see why people love tablets - the extra screen space makes things so much more convenient, and less squished. Again, I'm not expecting huge upgrades, and frankley I don't think I'll be missing any features. It'll be interesting to see how long until I decide to upgrade this things. At the moment, I'm not even thinking about it, in a couple of years, will there be enough of an upgrade for it to be worth it?

In all the upgrades that I've done, there have been huge improvements in the performance of the devices. Adding extra sensors, screen size is about all that's happened - but that covers the real differences. The software has changed a huge amount, I can see why apple stop supporting older devices - sometimes it looks like it's just plain they want to make us spend money, and I won't argue against it, sometime's it's also that the hardware simply will fall of the cliff if it tries to do it.

Yes, I freely admit that I like my apple products. I've looked at the android versions, and at the time of my iPhone 3GS, my opinion was that the apple product was better, since then, I have kept an eye on the Android stuff, it's good, but I haven't seen a compelling reason to migrate away from the Apple stuff. Those that know me, know that I was looking at the Nexus before I decided on the iPad. That was one of the reasons that I didn't have a tablet for a long time - couldn't decide between iOS or android - and that was whilst owning an iPhone and a MacBook pro. I know that I made the right choice for me, but it wasn't a blind decision.

In short, I'm sure sure that I'll be upgrading any of my iDevices over the next 12 months. Don't think there will be enough of a reason to do so.

5 Times An 'Unhappy Person' Dared To Use The Word 'Boring' At CES 2015


What, you mean that you don't stand right in front of said woman on treadmill, consuming jam doughnut with fizzy drink or something equally delightful?

Hawking and friends: Artificial Intelligence 'must do what we want it to do'



"two drunken computer operators"

Was one of them named Simon?

El Reg's mighty rocket spaceplane Vulture 2 arrives in US of A


"Accordingly, we raise the traditional pint or two to all those concerned." HOLD UP!

Decided to hold off on the raising of glasses until LOHAN has climaxed.

At that point, there will be many repeated raisings of glass. To all those who created the mission and to those like the spanish department of obstruction who provided much entertainment along the way.

LOHAN's Plucky Playmonaut touches down at Spaceport America


Engraved alcoholic beverage container at the ready

I'm not sure which of the following to do...

1. Down the virgin pint after mission success

2. Down the virgin pint after LOHAN successfully penetrates the USA

3, Down the virgin pint tonight because it's there

such a dilema.


Engraved alcoholic beverage container at the ready

but, I'm not sure whether to

1. Down the virgin pint after mission succes

2. Down the virgin pint after successfully having LOHAN penetrate the USA

3. Down the virgin pint tonight, because it's there

such a dilema!

Beers all round as Vulture 2 lands in Blighty


Drunken playmonaught?

So the tankards do exist. Wonder how long until they try to deliver? I was going to raise a glass for this, but I have no glass to raise!

Cut-off North Sea island: Oh crap, ferry's been and gone. Need milk. SUMMON THE DRONE


Re: 12 kilometers of water

Wonder what the rip tides are like?

Tearful LOHAN Playmonaut bids adiós to Spain


"We invite LOHAN fans to raise the traditional pint or two"

Yep, will do, just waiting for the engraved beverage container to arrive so that suitable raising of pint can occur.

It's official: LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm is PANTS


LOHAN's PANTS worth 3K Already?

Was it just me but did the kickstarter funding jump by 3K on this announcement?

I will make a point to raise my engraved glass to LOHAN's PANTS when it arrives.

LOHAN Kickstarter bid IS GO: Back our Vulture 2 spaceplane launch


Bottoms up!

Just pledged, for an exclusive glass. It is a required item needed to raise a pint at all the hard work.

(register needs a photo of a pint in a Lohan glass to replace the beer icon)

Six of the best gaming keyboard and mouse combos


Re: No love for Mac gamers

I have a Logitech G19 (not the S version) and it does support the Mac. I also have a Logitech wireless mouse (can't remember the model number) which has 7 buttons which I use with my Macbook Pro all the time.

Looking at the review, I feel that it was very lacking, I don't remember it mentioning the programmable keys, or the powered 2 port USB hub built into the back of the keyboard.

E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive


Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

"surprised you can't get an e-cig shaped like a pipe"

Sure you can, I saw one a few months back.


Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge


XP isn't dead as much as MS would like to say

I honestly don't care if MS stops supporting XP. I currently have two machines that use Windows XP. One is a laptop that I use for Astronomy, my answer for that machine is to shutdown the networking stuff, and use a USB stick to copy files on and off if required (which isn't often) It doesn't need to attach to a network for anything other than patchs, so it really doesn't need networking features.

The other machine is currently being used as a Server for my home. Lots of movies on file shares, CCTV running and a personal SVN repository. The CCTV software isn't compatible with a newer windows release, so would have to go out and replace that part of the system before I can upgrade from XP. This machine is sat behind a firewall, and there are pinholes for very specific purposes. I might end up doing that if/when I decide to upgrade the hardware. Or just drop the CCTV functions and install linux. That has all the other features, that I'd need so not really a big deal.

From my perspective the thing about MS not producing patches anymore isn't really a problem, I'd need to do something silly to expose that xp machine to attack. If I completely stop using it for web browsing, that will limit the potential for attack even more.

I wouldn't mind betting that there are a huge number of Windows XP installs that are in similar situations, and just before MS are stopping the support for them doesn't mean that anything is going to suddenly stop working on them. Just means that as time goes on the likely hood of being able to update them for 3rd party software will go down also.

BRUCE WILLIS (ad) DIES HARD (in Sky broadband telly fib ban)


Typical adverts.

so what you are saying is that the ASA caught BSkyB (Hudson) Hawking it's wares.

HTML 5 gets forked up


If I'm reading this correctly.

Does this meal that the WHATWG will be creating a kind of bleeding edge specification which will make it into the browsers? Once it's implemented and matured a little, W3C will then be adding it to their own version of the standard?

If that's true, surely that's a good way to work as it means that web developers can choose to use the WHATWG features on the understanding that they are not mature features. However, if you code up your HTML to the W3C standard, you will know that your code is written on a mature base and should work pretty much everywhere.

That just leaves one question.... with the two standards work like that, or are the likely to go in completely different directions? If that's the case, it probably would mean the death of the W3C, eventually.

Raspberry Pi sales limits lifted

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Re: YAY!

I've been using RaspBMC on the PI for a few weeks. Works great with H.264 video over a wired network connection. Still lots of bugs in it, but it's still in development.


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