* Posts by NXM

215 posts • joined 12 Sep 2012


City isn't keen on 5,000 erratic, traffic-jam-causing GM robo-cars on its streets


safety measure

Have a bloke with a red flag walk in front and limit the deathbot to walking speed. It used to work here in Blighty.

BT CEO orders staff: Back to the office or risk 'disciplinary action'


Re: Agreed


US throws millions at AI to diagnose diseases by the sound of your voice


Brain the size of a planet

Marvin the paranoid android would be able to diagnose himself if he installed this. And maybe cure the terrible pain in all the diodes down his left side.

Demand for software experts pushes tech salaries higher in UK


Re: Another victim of El Reg's new American house style.

Evidence: the World Series which only the US and Canada take part in. And it's rounders, really.

Using the datacenter as a dining room destroyed the platters that matter


Coffee warmer

While I was working in Denmark, one of the other engineers was doing some software on a Nixdorf machine - can't remember what type, but it was a 2' high square cabinet on castors. Inside the service door there was a shelf which he found perfect for keeping his coffee warm.

The same guy had a Citroen with air suspension. He'd plumbed a pressurised air line into the caburettor, which made it go a damn sight faster.

Nadine Dorries promotes 'Brexit rewards' of proposed UK data protection law


Re: "Look at me legislation"

I heard of a camping shop with a sign in the window saying "Now is the winter of our discount tents".

NASA scrubs Artemis mission yet again because SLS just can't handle the pressure


Re: Gimme a spanner...

...when he condemned the illegal fix and disconnected you.

No approbrium going your way, but turning the gas off would've prevented any possible instant house dismantlement. You can't trust loose gas.

Xcel smart thermostat users lose their cool after power company locks them out


Re: Control issues

I have a smart meter from octopus. It doesn't work. The previous supplier's did.

Voyager 1 data corrupted by onboard computer that 'stopped working years ago'


Re: 70's Tec

A lot of the time then boards were designed using black sticky tape at 2x scale, then you reduded it when doing the photography.

AI detects 20,000 hidden taxable swimming pools in France, netting €10m


Re: If it steers boots on the ground to double check

There was a bloke in a town near us who was refused planning permission to put double glazing in (it's a listed building so the council can interfere more).

He appealed, but no luck. So he had the house painted in a ridiculous lavender colour, as you can do that without planning in most places. It was a standoff for years until he sold up. Sadly, now it's reverted to white.

Japan reverses course on post-Fukushima nuclear ban


Re: Wind and solar

That's just ridiculous.

Those massive fans have to be powered from somewhere. The hotter the planet gets, the faster they have to go to cool it off again. It's just as stupid as outdoor air condtioners.


Re: saving energy

Put one of those luminous condoms on and you can literally point the way forward.

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


Re: Bank Accounts

My other half's dad died over 20 years ago (I'll regomise him as Gerald). I took over the phone number for use in the office in case someone from the past phoned up.

I still get calls from people with a sub-continental accent saying 'hello hello, is that Gerald, it is BT calling we have noticed someone using your wifi'. Repeat with many many other scam attempts.

What I don't get is that I've never ever fallen for it, but I still get the calls. They don't learn.

Sometimes I get bored and give them an invented credit card number using my 'old man who can't find his glasses' routine. Or pretend to be from another call centre and tell them they can get a discount on a new boiler

Keep your cables tidy. You never know when someone might need some wine


Most inky blackness is just very very very very very very VERY very dark blue

MIT boffins make AI chips '1 million times faster than the synapses in the human brain'



"massively more energy efficient than current designs"

I can do quite a lot of thinking when powered only by a pint of beer, which computers can't. Then again the conclusion I usually come to is that I need another beer.

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems


Re: "The electronics have sunk out of sight"

You've just quoted my job description for the last 30 years - I still write assembler for cheap pic's and design, manufacture, and sell the devices I make using my own smd line. I make a decent living out of it.

And yet there's hardly anyone else who understands what I do. It's like my job has been made illegal and nobody told me.

In these very pages, another commentard told me my view about how digital sampling and output works, gained from my hard experience, was "bollocks" and in evidence linked a thoroughly fraudulent and ill-informed video on YouTube.

OK friend, try it for yourself and see how simple it is. It isn't like what you see in the internets.

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall


hot botty

I would've considered paying for that on the tractor last year.

It was getting really really hot in the cab and I couldn't work out why. Aircon on full blast. I felt like a chunk of roast pork, hardly suprising in summer when you're in a mobile greenhouse with a bloody big 120hp heater at the front, shut in a cab with a rogue heater. I put a towel on the seat which helped, but it was still far too hot. After a few days I had to look at the manual (only an amateur has to look at the manual) and found a tiny switch on the seat in an obscure position you'd never expect that had got pressed by accident and turned the seat heater on.

Didn't even know it was there.

Watch a RAID rebuild or go to a Christmas party? Tough choice


You need more than one

I had a RAID nas drive whose controller board got blown up by a lightning strike on the phone line that propogated through the network cables (*). I thought, 'oh, no problem, I'll put the discs in another drive.' Would it read them? Of course it bloody wouldn't.

I had other backups. But I air-gapped everything with a wifi extender from the router after that.

(*) Apart from the nas it killed the router, 2 switches, 2 dect base stations, and the network interface interface in a computer. Could've been worse though, and it wasn't even a direct strike on the line.

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe


Reminds me of the road crews with big tubs of white and yellow line paint on the lorry marked Mild and Bitter. Still makes me smile.


Re: It is always a good idea to talk to the end users

You've obviously translated "Urgent" into English from the original "Oooooook!"

Soviet-era tech could change the geothermal industry


Re: How deep?

Is that a /frikkin/ magma chamber?

NASA wants nuclear reactor on the Moon by 2030


Re: Harvest Moon

It'll be a bit like that civet cat coffee, only a bit more pissy. Similar to Starbucks.

Bipolar transistors made from organic materials for the first time


Re: Gatekeeping

A guy named Sam Zeloof has set up a lab to do exactly that, but it's taken ages and needs a wide array of skills and equipment (article on Wired). So unless you can get a scanning electron microscope from Argos and are confident handling hydrogen fluoride, it probably isn't for most people.

NB1: there was a school trip to a fab in Scotland when I was doing my degree. Apparently if it caught fire and the fire suppression didn't contain it, the fire brigade would let it burn down because putting water on it would make the problem much, much worse.

NB2: hydrogen fluoride is very nasty stuff indeed.

AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem


Re: The whole article

I routinely comment on articles on the Grauniad from certain pontificators without reading the entire article, because they always spout rubbish. Sometimes I check and whenever I read a paragraph or two it's the same old tripe.

Obs doesn't apply to El Reg.

Unbelievably clever: Redbean 2 – a single-file web server that runs on six OSes


Re: εxεcµταblε is pronounced more like ‘echesmtable’

I've been putting in occasional stuff about cattle and tractors if that's helpful to anyone.

Top fact: cattle love nettles, but only at this time of year when they're ready.

Japan's asteroid probe reportedly found 20 amino acids


Re: A statistician would argue ....

I've met several stoned-age humans. They didn't have many brain cells left.

Brute force and whiskey: The solution to all life's problems


Re: Why a "retired farmer"?

Because old farmers absolutely don't care about health & safety.

Booting a stuck bale in the baler and nearly losing a leg? Eating too quickly so you can get back out and do more stuff, then having to have a chicken bone surgically removed from your throat? Smoking a ciggy while going along in a car you've just spilled a load of petrol in? Putting the diesel tank in a barn next to a dodgey mains socket?

All things my father-in-law did, and survived. The barn didn't though.

Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips


Fish tank

At an exhibition years ago, a company had a CRT telly, working, submerged in a large fish tank complete with plastic fish and foliage.

When I asked, it turned out to be dry cleaning fluid or something. Unfortunately I failed to ask what would happen if the tv set fire to the whole thing.

Intel haven't really come up with anything new here.

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth



A mate of mine told me that in the lovely new ITN building in London when it was just finished had huge amounts of cables in the risers between floors.

Sadly, the installers hadn't put the required loops in at each floor, so the weight of the cable below would eventually pull the cable apart.

The installers had to strip the whole lot out and do it again - properly.

Also, I've had several occasions where earth wasn't at earth potential. Once in an office with several PC's on a long line of 4-gang adaptors where one in the middle had a missing earth connection, resulting on the cases being at about 50V ac! Ow.

And sometimes switched-mode supplies used to hold their (isolated) outputs a few volts above earth, and if you earthed the negative output the supply shut down. Never got to the bottom of that, probably something to do with eddy currents.

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them


No, I still don't understand that.

Don't hate on cryptomining, hate the power stations, say Bitcoin super-fans


Re: Bitcoin miners have no emissions whatsoever

I have actually seen that in offices when a thermostat war broke out

MIT's thin plastic speakers fall flat. And that's by design


Rock this house

Good job it doesn't have much bass, otherwise you'd be able to demolish the house if you turned it up to 11.


Re: Bass response...

They also used to make electrostatic headphones. But I didn't want several hundred volts that near my head.

Could a leaky capacitor be at fault on ESA's Sentinel-1B?



One favourite trick somewhere I worked was to give the trainee some piece of hardware to fix after sellotaping a low voltage electrolytic to the back with a long wire to the prankster's desk.

Turn the mains on to it, and watch the trainee run for a new pair of undercrackers.

In IT, no good deed ever goes unpunished


Re: I've met this is in all sorts of projects. Mostly not IT related.

I met a company in the 90's who refused to give any information about what they were developing even to their own shareholders. Made me wonder how they actually had any shareholders in the first place.

In the end the vc's went tits up and all their funded companies went with them, mine included. Not a good time.

Logitech Lift: Vertical mouse for those with small hands


Re: Your sinister bias is showing


An early crack at network management with an unfortunate logfile


Re: Safely raising eyebrows

I'm reminded of this Irn Bru advert:


Atlassian comes clean on what data-deleting script behind outage actually did


I do hardware, my business partner does software.

He's not allowed any sharp objects in case he hurts himself.

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code


Re: Not asking for a handover

I worked alongside a contractor. Nice bloke, knew his stuff, but the company decided they could do without him. They told him he'd be going, and a month later they said 'right, that's it mate, thanks but it's time to go'.

He looked at them blankly and told them they'd not informed him in writing, as per his contract. So they had to pay him for another month ... at £60/hour. In 1989.

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it


Like a death at a birthday party

You ruin all the fun

Like a sucked and spat out smartie

You're no use to anyone

People mention murder the moment you arrive

I'd consider killing you if I thought you were alive

What kind of creature bore you

Was it some king of bat?

They can't find a good word for you

But I can ...


John Cooper Clarke


Spend a bit of time with my other half. She can easily pepper sentences with enough f***s, s***s and w*****s to make a sailor blush.

Chinese Go Association suspends player 'for using AI'


How did they know? Did he squeal?

First rule of Not Being Seen: do not stand up.

Half of bosses out of touch with reality, study shows


Re: Bollocks statistics

I think a lot of people aren't fully used to wfh.

I've been self employed for (ahem) a long time, and you have to be disciplined about not answering the phone outside reasonable hours or working too long hours unless you absolutely have to. And if you do work too much, be ready for a crash later.

You don't get another life, folks. Live it while you can

Internet backbone Cogent cuts Russia connectivity


Re: Difficult choice to make

I visited Yugoslavia in 1985. It had 100% employment!

The fact that, for example on a deserted country train station in mid afternoon, there was a bored lad with a sweets stall, a very bored lad with an ice cream stall, and an extrememly bored lad with crisps or something, all with no customers, may have had something to do with it.

Saving a loved one from a document disaster


Re: Rather computers than cars

My beef is cars with PWM brake/back lights. As you look in different directions they give you the impression of hundreds of back lights everywhere, making it really difficult to work out where the car in front actually is.

Airtag clones can sidestep Apple anti-stalker tech


Re: "we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products."

God found the world in a dumpster. See oglaf a few weeks ago:


(be aware this one is marginally sfw, most of the others are definitely not!)

UK.gov threatens to make adults give credit card details for access to Facebook or TikTok


Faecesbook etc

I won't need a credit card or passport. I'm not on social media ... unless Drowning Street defines being on The Reg's commenteriat as a social media thing.

Why not just turn the entire internets off and be done with it. They have no idea how it works anyway, seeing as how almost none of them have any technical understanding at all, and mistrust anyone who does as an 'expert'.

And we've all had enough of those, haven't we?

Jeff Bezos adds some more overheads to his $485m yacht by taking down historic bridge


Re: Jumps?

They're only beautiful virgins in the moonlight? What happens during the day?

No, I've not read the screen. Your software must be rubbish


With Win98 it's better to store it on the built-in wax tablet writer



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