* Posts by &rew

53 posts • joined 17 Aug 2012


Europe calls for single app to track coronavirus. Meanwhile America pretends it isn’t trying to build one at all



Cheques, surely?

London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison


Julian Assange is being mistreated

Regardless of his guilt or innocence, his treatment during this trial has been awful.

There was a letter from the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute condemning his treatment.

It should not go on. If he should die of a communicable disease while in custody, or he commits suicide because of his ill treatment, justice will not have been served; the UK's standing as a country which cherishes human dignity will decrease further.

I don't know what to do about it, but writing to my representatives in parliament has been the start. I encourage you to do the same.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now: Brexit tea towel says it'll just be the gigabit broadband


Re: Who needs Tea Towels when you can have Jack Boots?

I second this thanks.

Magic Leap's CFO and creative director quit, and it's not a harbinger of doom or anything


A question:

This company has been around for less than nine years, and been fed nigh on $3 billion. What on earth can someone spend that much money on? On what was the Forbes valuation of $5.4 billion based? Could it all have been spent on advertising, and hiring big names to promote it?

If most companies/countries spent $3 billion on actual research facilities and hiring the best minds, they'd surely have something (worthwhile) to show for it by now?

I keep thinking of the fairly low-key adverts for Moltex energy, and what they are trying to produce, and how far they could get with a multi-billion dollar investment.

Just add water: Efficient Energy’s HFC-free chillers arrive in the UK


Re: How does it work?

I think it must run at very low pressure, so that the boiling point of the water is close to or below ambient - then you can use fairly conventional expansion valves and compressors to move the heat around.

But yes, it would have been nice to get a bit more substance in the article.

Humanity gazes into the abyss to get its first glimpse of a black hole


Cognitive dissonance?

I wouldn't have thought that a member of the NSF would be a flat-earther? You'd need the earth to be flat in order to see a newspaper in New York from Paris!

Joking aside, this is an astounding acheivement. Congratulations! Have a pint.

Town admits 'a poor decision was made' after baseball field set on fire to 'dry' it more quickly


The obvious solution

I hear sunshine dries things quite well - did they try that?

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin


Season Four is bad

From dim and distant memory, there was a season when Buffy changed production companies, or there was a writers dispute. I think it happened during the fourth series.

There are other episodes which redeem the series.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait


We need alternatives - good ones

A little background to my comment:

I am not a software professional. I am a grunt that uses software to do my job, but I like to know a bit about the tools I use. So, for good or ill, I read The Register. And for good or ill, I read the comments.

I can agree that MS Windows has never been the most reliable thing. However, in the dim and distant past, when my computer crashed, it completely fell over. Now, it generally just wobbles. At no point in the past 20-odd years of using MS Windows have I ever been sure that it was the fault of Windows or the application that caused the crash.

Analogy Time:

Is it the fault of the driver of the vehicle for not swerving around a pothole it may or may not have seen, or the fault of the council for not patching the hole? Do we make allowances for the fact that the road is REALLY long, takes a long time to survey, and if you drive a big, heavy industrial vehicle, chances are you won't be able to swerve around every single road defect?

Back to the main thrust of my comment:

As an engineer, I use Autodesk Inventor and Vault, Microsoft Office, MathCAD and a few tiny but indispensable programs. None of these are fully supported (some not at all) on ANY other operating system than Windows. I can't imagine that I am alone in using software that is only developed to run on Windows. There simply is no alternative, we have to use it. And we have to upgrade to a fairly recent version because of corporate environment, security updates, support and so on.

Until there is another road that is wide enough, and well-maintained enough to accommodate the behemoths that companies use to get them to where they're going, or the vehicle manufacturers agree to support both left- and right-hand-drive models (perhaps a better analogy here would be to support wheels that are both round and those of constant diameter?) people like me are stuck using Windows at work. And because I use it all the time, it makes sense for me to use what I am familiar with at home as well. Plus, all my games, media players and editing software are supported.

I have tried Linux twice. Three times if you count running a SmoothWall box. I agree it is fantastic at what it does, and it keeps getting better. However, until I can drive my articulated lorry application on it, it will remain the cul-de-sac of this tortured analogy.

The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt


Inspirational stuff

Brings a tear to the eye.

Have a cold one.

I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit


Re: make up your minds

"No one but remainers thinks that anyone is trying to dictate terms to the EU. What leavers would like is a reasonable agreement that works for both sides, but the EU will never agree to that."

The UK government did - successfully - agree more favourable terms with the EU while remaining within the EU. There were four large EU concessions that were agreed would be put in place AS LONG AS Article 50 was not triggered.

That improved relationship with the EU and "improved sovereignty" or whatever it's called was thrown away the moment that resignation letter was sent. The EU agreed to it, it was all set to go, but that's all been flushed away and any negotiations from outside the EU will never get the UK closer to that bargaining position.


Re: Vogon

I will happily agree that some form of democracy is good.

However, I am of the opinion that leaders of a democracy should be able to make decisions for the best of the country, even if that decision is unpopular. Australia's government brought in new gun controls, against the majority feeling of the populace, but the majority now agree that it was a good thing.

If a company CEO thinks that sweeping changes to how the business is to be run need to be made, do they go around asking all the cleaners, drivers, machinists, typists, secretaries and so forth what their opinions are?


Re: @John Brown ... Vogon

Mr Gumby,

I take it then, that you would be perfectly happy for, say, California or Texas to secede from the UNION, if they disagreed with the policies set in Washington? Even though they have their own elected representatives having their voices heard in government, and have a hand in drafting all the laws that govern all the citizens of the UNION? Can you imagine the chaos of such a move?

Thank you for your consideration.

Boffins build neural networks fashioned out of DNA molecules


This sounds like fiction

It is at times like this that I realise we live in a truly amazing time.

Cheers, science!

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever


Re: more than capable of building satellites

Just a clarification that Trident is the big dumb rocket/launch vehicle only - the actual nuclear warhead - with its guidance and payload - are British.


Unicorn currency units?

Wasn't that Scottish currency?

Joking aside - What the heck? What's happening? Nothing makes sense anymore...

UK rocket-botherers rattle SABRE, snaffle big bucks


Re: Spadeadam

I did a little work out at Spadeadam about ten years ago. A huge test site, and they were doing all sorts of stuff there. We were there testing methods of sealing gas leaks in operational gas lines. Spadeadam is where they blow up gas pipes to make sure the fracture doesn't propagate faster than the depressurisation wave. It is also used to do other explosive tests, and fire suppression. It is/was an amazing place, full of pyrotechnics and the people who love them.

As for surviving structures, there were large concrete test pads and blast walls, but since it is still used for testing, and is in the middle of a military base, there won't be much that most could go and see.

I'm sure there are still the occasional booms and plumes of smoke rising through the drizzle. Icon seemed appropriate.

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


Anyone attempted to use ReactOS?

I have recently heard about ReactOS, and seen someone running it in a VM to test it. I was mildly impressed. Does anyone have any first-hand experience?

Considering my home uses, Linux just keeps looking better and better.

More money than sense? Saudi Arabia invests $400m in Magic Leap


Category shift

When will stories featuring Magic Leap finally be moved from "Emergent Tech" to "Bootnotes"?

Sooner rather than later, I propose.

Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage


Fast fingers

I recall for old PCs that used an actual mains voltage power button, if you pressed the power button in, and then really quickly popped the switch out and in again, there was enough smoothing in the power supply to cover the momentary blip. True, I would not be willing to attempt that on a company server, though...

Morrisons launches bizarre Yorkshire Pudding pizza thing


A full Yorkshire menu

This looks like only one course. It should be expanded.

Starter options:

Yorkshire pudding filled with slices of salmon and avocado, drizzled with gespatcho and radish trimmings.

Yorkshire pudding filled with haggis and rice in a white wine sauce.

Yorkshire pudding inverted over steamed vegetables and lardons.


Yorkshire Pizza (as pictured), side Yorkshire pudding filled with mini Yorkshire puddings (and gravy)

Yorkshire pudding filled with sushi selection, side Yorkshire pudding filled with alligator chunks seasoned in vodka.


Yorkshire pudding, frozen, filled with apple and mango sorbet. With gravy.

Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?


Rational argument

Rational argument is all well and good - if the right people hear it and are receptive to it.

I am reminded of a piece I read not that long ago about gun control in America. Sure, there are huge amounts of rational arguments for gun control, but a small and loud minority who are against it are mobilised to block every attempt.

Passion helps get your message across, and if large enough numbers of people become passionate enough about a topic, the chances are greater they will get their view heard - rational or not.

So I don't really know what I am saying here, other than perhaps elected lawmakers need to put their adult diapers on and make a rational decision, rather than listen to raving lunatics and smarmy lobbyists. But what chance change?

Tape lives! The tape archive bit bucket is becoming bottomless


Help a curious mind out?

Do any fellow commentards know of any study that attempts to guess at the total amount of storage capacity the world has, broken down by media? I mean, there must be billions of SD cards, tens of billions of hard disks; CD's and DVDs could be looking at trillions - but do sheer numbers outweigh tape in terms of raw bit storage capacity?

I know there are different use cases and data lifetime plays a factor (how much of the data capacity on CDs is no longer readable?), but I imagine this is a question someone with better resources to hand may have asked.

Someone must have historical data for "units manufactured", and recent data will dwarf any inaccuracies from incomplete data from anything more than a few years ago.

Perhaps a suggestion for xkcd to look into...

Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'


Have you visited the petition?

If not, let me copy the only comment posted so far. It's hilarious!



Michael Pence, Washington, DC


I suspect perhaps an El Reg reader as the scurrilous personage who is sullying the good name of Mike Pence, Vice President of the Good 'Ol US of A.

But my goodness some poeple are angry about the dumbest things.

Opportunity rover gets bored of spot it's explored since 2014

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Inspirational stuff

It's successes like this that make me think things like, "of course I can pluck up the courage to speak to a stranger in the pub".

All joking aside, it is stuff like this that gives me hope for humanity.

Machine vs. machine battle has begun to de-fraud the internet of lies


Dealing with liars

"None of that should surprise us. People are wonderful and horrible. The network we’ve built for ourselves serves both the honest and the liar. But we have no infrastructure to manage a planet of thieves."

Reminds me of the Charles Bowen Peom:

“The rain it raineth on the just

And also on the unjust fella;

But chiefly on the just, because

The unjust hath the just’s umbrella.”

On a level playing field, the liars often (if not always) have the advantage. It is probably good to un-level the playing field, but who will be doing the un-leveling? Who would we trust?

Up close with the 'New Psion' Gemini: Specs, pics, and genesis of this QWERTY pocketbook


Caution outweighing excitement

I still have a Psion 3a, which sort-of works - the screen connector has become highly dodgy - that was manufactured in the early '90s. Amazing piece of design and technology. For the replaceable rechargeable battery alone it is tempting.

I want one of these. I really really do.

But not one of the first ones out the door.

If there was a way to back it, so that it has a better chance of succeeding, but not be obliged to accept the version 1.0, I would.

Suffering ceepie-geepies! Do we need a new processor architecture?


Stealing a march on Quantum?

Large array probabilistic problems are what quantum computers are supposed to do in a few steps, run many times to determine outcome probabilities. Looks like this solution is trying to speed up the brute force classical method by tailoring the chip architecture.

2016: Snapchat loses $515m... 2017: Snapchat rips veil off $3bn IPO


It isn't a loss...

... it's an Alternative Profit.

Half-ton handbuilt CPU heads to Centre for Computing History


Reminds me of...

Does anyone recall the Minecraft world someone built that recreated a processor using redstone? I was gobsmacked by that - being able to virtually move around a virtual computer, and watch the individual signals working their way through. This is at least twice as impressive.

To think he managed this without a Kickstarter or anything! In all seriousness, I couldn't find a PayPal donation link or anything. Would gladly hand this man a fiver for his efforts.

Obama awards honours to Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton for computing contributions


Hear Hear!

Well deserved honours.

It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course


Asexual awareness raising

"intercourse is no longer necessary for procreation, and yet sex persists because of humanity’s mental processes, our focus on sex is a fundamental part of the human condition, and it’s unlikely that any AI could reproduce human processes unless it too was capable of sexual interest."

This statement seems to inextricably link sex with being human, which is both cringeworthy and wrong. Someone should point these researchers in the direction of AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

Sex is not "a fundamental part of the human condition". It can be a part, and most often is, but fundamental? I think not.

I think it is entirely possible to have non-sexy AI, and quite possibly preferable. Sex - or the desire for it - can often have adverse consequences.

As to sexy robotic sex aids, as long as they are self-aware and can give consent, I have no issues with what they look like - I won't be using any of them. Unless there is a dragon one. Or maybe an alien tentacle one. Or maybe...

The calm before the storm: AMD's Zen bears down on Intel CPUs


AMD upgrades

I have stuck with AMD since my early days of self-build PC, and I liked that AMD changed their socket design less often than Intel. My current 4-year old processor is running on a 6/7-year old motherboard, and handles itself rather well - only sticking point is the memory bus speed.

The other great thing is that they are cheap as ... well, you know.

UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption


All wonderful observations

I am pleasantly surprised a the lack of downvotes in this set of comments so far - and I agree. All excellent points. Not many commentards today!

It's all very well hacking ISIS, Barry, but what about your ISA?


Help a foriegn-raised youngster out

Can anyone tell me who is featured in the headline picture and what movie/tv series they are from? I feel like it is a pop culture reference I should know.

Thanks in advance.

Go No! Google cyber-brain bests top-ranked human in ancient game



I followed the link, and AlphaGo has won the second in the 5-game tournament. I am sure the lessons learned by the program designers will be applicable across many things. Impressive stuff!

Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy


Ascribing motives to people

I am wondering if perhaps we are ascribing motives to people that do not match their (still fictional) aims? What if the Sith just want to speed up the process of getting to the heat death of the Universe, in a similar way that some religious sects are eagerly awaiting the end of life on Earth?

If the End Goal is indeed to rule over everybody, perhaps the easiest way to get there is for there to be fewer bodies, too.

Launch embiggens Galileo satnav fleet



I don't know about anyone else, but personally, I think human beings are capable of some pretty amazing things when we work together. We can throw a massive and massively accurate clock into orbit around our planet using a controlled explosion not just once, but a dozen times.

Yet some folk complain that a £5 device that fits in their pocket (I'm talking about the chip and antenna, not a whole location/navigation/routing device) might tell them they are one step away from where they actually are.

Anyway, cheers, science.

Now VW air-pollution cheatware 'found in Audis and Porsches'


Numbers and figures, please

Dear Journalists,

Please give us some facts and figures, rather than the nebulous and unhelpful "seven times higher than allowed". I have heard mumblings about the EPA having set ridiculously low targets for NOx emissions on diesel motors, but I do not know what levels are deemed harmful to environment and humans, nor what amounts are actually produced. Do the same emissions targets apply to massive diesel power stations, where eking out every last bit of efficiency saves tonnes of fuel used and CO2 emitted? Has the EPA, knowing that it's pretty much an either/or situation regarding fuel economy and NOx emissions done some sort of analysis on the impact of extra fuel consumption versus NOx output?

While you're at it, can we have some comparisons with some other vehicles which aren't currently the subject of an investigation, to see how well other engine manufacturers are doing, and whether there seems to be anything fishy going on elsewhere?


Reader concerned about reporting facts, rather than opinion and vox-pops.

Has Voyager 1 escaped the Sun yet? Yes, but also no, say boffins


Many thanks

Dear Mr. Zottarelli,

Thank you for your 55 years of work in helping to find out just how small we are, and how big and wonderful the universe is.

And having a cool name.

Have a wonderful retirement (though I sense consulting fees in your future...)


Science/Space buffs everywhere.

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


1) In the old days, the all seeing eye of Big Brother was a bit more obvious.

2) In the old days, laser eye surgery was a more laid-back affair.

3) It's a bit chilly. Should I roll my sleeves back down, or fire up the magnetron?

4) Take a guess, is it a shrink ray or just a forced perspective picture?

5) Bruce Wayne admires the new Bat-Symbol projector before sending to to Commissioner Gordon.

El Reg lecture shows the merely human how to live forever


...as nature intended?

I think you are crediting nature with a lot more planning ability than they actually possess.

Wileyfox smartphones: SD card, no bloatware, Cyanogen, big battery – yes to all!


"Unrivalled customisation"

Colours available: Black.

There is a disturbing level of marketing-speak, but I agree that there are sensible design decisions going on in there somewhere.

UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really


Fix society

How about we teach children better - about human beings' bodies as well as consideration for others and that sort of thing. As has been exhibited time and again, prohibition solves nothing. I also find it somewhat amusing that, if the voting age were to be dropped to 16, that people could vote for politicians who could then lower the age at which it is deemed "acceptable" to look at tits. An odd juxtaposition, that - Hello, I am 16 and can affect international policy by voting for my public representative, but am not supposed to be able to view things that appear in biology textbooks.

Mars rover Opportunity shuns dodgy flash chips, relies on RAM

Thumb Up

That is...

...absolutely amazing. I feel almost like those two rovers are the Voyager's of our time, except the two Voyager's are still the Voyager's of our time. Everyone who worked on designing and building those rovers gets a standing ovation from me. Thank you.

EU VAT law could kill thousands of online businesses


Thought provoking


As a simple Engineer, all this law stuff is news to me, and very interesting! I had not thought of the exchange of goods and services in such detail. Could you point me in the direction of a source for this material, or is the above a distillation of many? I am suddenly curious about the details...

It has given me a greater appreciation of delivery notes, and possible queries about having parcels left with a neighbour, or a supposedly 'safe location'. Are the seller's part of the contract completed at that point? The more I ponder, the more questions I have.

Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?


Re: Scotlands Last Chance

You present a beautiful picture of a future, but offer little in the way of a roadmap to get there.

We should have Thorium fission plants, and be developing fusion instead of burning coal and gas.

We should be exploring space and mining the asteroid belt.

We should be governing by ability and vision rather than personality and greed.

Getting to these lofty goals should not include chopping the world's population into smaller and more idealistic chunks, because if you do, you'll end up just one idealistic chunk in charge of nothing, amongst thousands who care little for your vision - exactly where you are now.

When writing code, no matter how good the procedure you call is, the whole program is still crap if the main body is corrupt. Fix the recursive lobby/tax/elect/media loop in the core, you can worry about everything else later.

Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap


I think everyone should have these:

If you were a true audiophile (and who isn't these days), you might consider upgrading the cabling for your "streaming device" using cables from Chord (www.chord.co.uk). A single 1 m ethernet cable will set you back a measly £1600.

Yup. £1600. 1 m.

Snake oil anyone?

Qatar whips covers off giant footballing vagina

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If you build it...

...they will - you know. Come.

Brit boffins GANG-RESEARCH tiny LEDs for 1Gbps network

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Reg Article Title...

...And Sub-Heading Of The Year? I vote YES.



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