* Posts by Dusty

43 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Oct 2012

Amazon confirms it locked Microsoft engineer out of his Echo gear over false claim


I am fine with home automation and device connectivity, even smart assistants such as echo/Alexa/whatever.

But I want it all under my control with a local server that can operate isolated from the rest of the world.

Cleaner ignored 'do not use tap' sign, destroyed phone systems ... and the entire building


Literacy and industrial accidents.

In all seriousness. I wonder if the cleaner in the SA story was illiterate?

This sort of issue can be a problem even in places like Europe and the USA (As I recall, there was an old episode of Quincy ME that centred around an industrial accident resulting from a worker not being able to read and understand a warning sign)

Illiterate people are not necessarily stupid and often develop very sophisticated coping mechanisms to hide their illiteracy from those around them so it is not always obvious that they cannot read. So in cases like this it is something that might well only come to light after the fact.

If you want to launch Starship from Texas, here's some homework, FAA tells SpaceX


Re: Federal Aviation Authority ?

I was thinking of places perhaps somewhat further afield.

I have always felt that the islands off the coast of Equatorial Guinea would be a good location for a space port. True one would be launching over continental Africa. But the areas east of this location are very sparsely populated.

Alternatively, somewhere like Madagascar or Ceylon perhaps..

Though I do not think that the US government (Or indeed other Governments) would be too happy at such a move.

After all, remember what happened to OTRAG?


Re: Federal Aviation Authority ?

Musks operation looks highly portable.

I am sure that if he found somewhere more amenable, he could move the whole lot within three months.

French court pulls SpaceX's Starlink license


Re: French court freezes out non-French competition

Do not forget that in most cases, if company profits fall then for anybody with a life insurance policy or pension plan the value of their investments will fall too.

So the people always pay in the end....

Want to check out Windows 11 but don't want to buy a new PC? Here's how to bypass the hardware requirements


Abuse of monopoly position.

I have to say, If I was running a small business and MS comes along and tells me that my 2 year old PC's are all obsolete and will no longer be supported in 3 years time.

This would be the thing that pushes me over to Linux.

As a private user, but for the games, (And a handful; of proprietary programs that I use) I would have probably jumped ship already.

Not so bothered about the TPM/secure boot thing so much (Though the future implications are disturbing)

But not being able to use a rather expensive CPU that I only bought 2 years ago is outrageous! (AMD Threadripper)

Its almost like a monopoly electricity company suddenly changing the supply voltage in a way that 90% of appliances, even ones a year or two old, cannot use and then telling its customers to just suck it up!

MS should not have the right to obsolete billions of dollar worth of computer equipment around the world on a whim. The overwhelming majority of which works just fine.

(How many billions? I can not begin to imagine. 10's, 100's. More even perhaps. It isn't just home PC's, its industrial and medical equipment too)

Perhaps the US government should do a standard oil job on MS and break it up!


Microsoft's problem child, Windows 11, is here. Will you run it? Can you run it? Do you even WANT to run it?


Re: Ah, the joy of Microsoft's auto-evaluation

Remember, It wasn't that long ago that clicking on a download link would still advise you that the DL might take <So much time> at 56K...

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem


Re: Where’s the effing handbrake!?

I had the fun experience of trying to manoeuvre a large Kia Sedona some years ago.

It was a manual transmission, but had one of those US style foot operated parking brakes with a tab that you pulled to release it (IE No ability to actually to use it for controlled braking. Simply on or off).

I was trying to reverse parallel park up a hill.

To my Horror, I realised that one needed two left feet to do this.

You are backing up hill slipping the clutch.

Now you need to apply the brake (parking or foot), put the clutch down so you can gently roll forward controlling the car with the brake before raising the clutch to resume the move back up hill to complete the manoeuvre.

Unfortunately one only has one left foot. You cant use it on the brake, the clutch, or the parking brake at the same time!

HTF are you supposed to manoeuvre safely with such a setup?

The foot operated parking brake is OK on an auto, but on a manual transmission, it is insane!

SpaceX small print on Starlink insists no Earth government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities


Posession is nine tenths of the law.

In this case, this is very much the issue.

If Musk manages to establish a settlement on Mars (Or anywhere else for that matter), then Mars is his own personal kingdom unless anybody else is in a position to displace him.

The problem of course is that he will require an Earth base for his operations for the foreseeable future.

But it has always struck me that Boca Chica looks like a campsite rather than a factory.

Perhaps the plan is that if the US refuses to play ball, he will simply pack up and move to somewhere more friendly.

Whistleblowers: Inflexible prison software says inmates due for release should be kept locked up behind bars


It's not a Bug, It's a feature.

Given typical recidivism rates,

Perhaps a glitch that keeps convicted criminals inside just that little bit longer isn't such a bad thing after all.

Its an ill wind and all that!


Toxic: Intel ordered to pay chip fab worker almost $1m after he was gassed at its facility in 2016


Re: "H2S is more toxic than HCN (Hydrogen Cyanide)"

The problem is,

With H2S, the first thing that happens when the gas reaches toxic levels is that you lose your sense of smell and cant smell it any more. (It paralyses the nasal nerves)

My understanding is that in traditional working environments where H2S was considered a constant danger (Petrochemical plants and oil refineries) the rule always was that if anybody stopped smelling the rotten eggs, they hit the gas alarm button.

I'll give you my Windows 7 installation when you pry it from my cold, dead hands (and other tales)


Re: Should MS have a legal obligation to support old software/hardware?


I would have thought that the combination of the windows activation database and windows update database would know between them "Exactly" how many copies of Win7 are still in regular use??


Re Fresh Win7 install from DL ISO

Just did a Win7 install using a downloaded ISO from MS.

I had naively assumed that the latest ISO would include all the latest updates as a single package.

Now, I may have been doing it wrong, But initially I was unable to install since the Win7 install did not recognise USB3.0 mouse/keyboard and, for some reason, it would not recognise the USB 2.0 on my late model MB either.

I worked through it OK in the end (And was quite pleased with myself since I am NOT a "Tech Guy" really. I had to DL the appropriate update from MS Updates and patch it onto the Install ISO using various command line tools!)

So yes, while it is still do-able, installing Win7 on a modern MB can be a bit of a faff (I only did it because I had some old software that I wished to continue to use that will not run under Win 10)


Should MS have a legal obligation to support old software/hardware?

Not sure off hand how many of the planets PC's still run Win7, but I imagine that the proportion is still quite high. Over a third, perhaps even nearly half, would not surprise me at all.

Now, like my comment regarding patents, copyright and planned obsolescence.

Corporations enjoy certain legal protections, and in return they are expected to have certain legal obligations.

OS software isn't just any old consumer product like shoes, it is part of the industrial and commercial, and indeed societal infrastructure. For Good or Ill, for all practical purposes, and for the overwhelming majority of consumers. Private individuals and SME's (Who make up 99% of all businesses) alike. MS is essentially the sole provider of PC OS and software (Most software, if not written by MS is written to operate under MS Windows)

MS should not be under a legal obligation to support old software indefinitely. But they should be (As part of their legal deal of protections and obligations) be required to support it for as long as it continues to be used by a significant proportion of users (Actual percentages are a matter of debate)

It wouldn't be so bad had MS maintained their original policy of backward compatibility regarding new OSs and old hardware/software, but currently there must be, literally, billions of dollars worth (Or even tens of Billions!) of PC's and PC based specialised equipment (EG Industrial/Medical) which while currently working just fine under older OS's, is simply not capable of operation under Win10.

It really is not reasonable to expect people to have to replace all this perfectly satisfactory hardware, at enormous expense, simply because of a whim of a private corporation that happens to have an effective monopoly on its products.

(Maybe, one day, the US Government might do a "Standard Oil" on MS's Ass!)

Intel end-of-lifing BIOS and driver downloads for dusty hardware


All should be open source once support ends as a matter of routine/law

My feeling about this sort of thing extends far beyond computer software/hardware. It extends over the entire industrial/Intellectual property base.

As I see it. Patents/Copyright give the inventor/licence holder the opportunity to exploit the concept (Whatever it is) for as long as they wish to do so (Or for a limited period as in Patents).

However, should a license holder/patent owner chose to discontinue the product or use of concept, then the information, ALL the information pertianing to it, should be handed over to a government operated archive whereupon it all becomes open source for anybody to use freely.

Patent/Copyright holders should NOT be permitted to obsolete technologies simply by virtue of refusing to support them any more.


Re: Legacy computing

It isn't just industrial stuff. A lot of perfectly satisfactory medical stuff uses very old computer hardware too.

Perhaps not 20 years old, but the visual field scanner I was tested on recently was a 2007 machine running on XP with an FDD on the front panel.

Gas-guzzling Americans continue to shun electric vehicles as sales fail to bother US car market


Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

Outside of cities, houses are dead cheap in the USA, there is plenty of land and therefore it doesn't cost much.

There is no point in building houses out of "Proper Building Materials" in Tornado alley. And in the US Lumber/timber products are far cheaper to make and transport than bricks.

Its like the Gun thing. The USA is not Europe. Outside of cities subsistence hunting is actually a big thing and there are plenty of wild animals that will quite happily kill you and eat you (Not necessarily in that order) so going out to the woods does mean that having a Rifle/Shotgun and, for good measure, a large calibre handgun on your person is actually a very good idea (Anything much less than a 44 and all you will get is a very pissed off Bear)

Outside of the urban areas (And even then only the urban areas that are warm all year round) full EV's don't really have a chance, at least not with the current or even near future possible battery technology.


Re: SUVs and pickups are just a lifestyle fad.

The other thing that Europeans do not get isn't just the distances it is the overall environment. US Winters can be brutal even quite far south, A Nissan leaf is not going to be of much use to you when it is -20 outside, there is five foot of snow and 100 miles to the next major town. There is a reason why Americans like their SUV's

Remember the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman crossing the street? The AI had no clue about jaywalkers


OK Down thumbers,

How "exactly" do you think an AI (Or even a Human driver) should be programmed/taught to deal with the fact that sometimes Pedestrians will just randomly step out "Right" in front of you or that sometimes Cyclists approaching from a minor road will just continue out without giving way?

The only "Safe" approach is to come to a screeching halt every single time the AI detects any Pedestrians or Cyclists in the vicinity.

Obviously, this is no more practical for an AI than it is for a Human driver.

So accidents like this will continue to be a feature on the highway until such time as the vehicular and Cyclist/Pedestrian aspects of travel are physically separated and the one cannot intrude on the other..


Re: What about the driver?

"A car either drives itself safely or it doesn't, a human in a driving seat is just a scape goat."

Indeed, the "Driver is there to take control in an emergency" thing is a dangerous myth.

The "Window" for a motor accident avoidance is typically only a matter of seconds.

I doubt is a Human operator would have a chance to take control in the event of something unexpected happening even if they were holding the wheel, feet on pedals and devoting full attention to the road ahead.

You know, Actually driving.

Self driving cars are pointless unless they can be given full responsibility for the task allowing the "Passanger" to get on with something else (Up to and including sleeping it off in the back seat after a heavy session)

This is not to say that some technologies might not actually be helpful to a human driver such as adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking and so on. But even these will eventually reduce the drivers involvement and reduce his ability to react to unexpected events


In other words, the AI behaved very much like a Human driver.

Cyclists and pedestrians are often regarded as static objects to be avoided rather than dynamic objects that have a very significant risk of moving into your path (Or you moving into theirs re cyclists at intersections)

Like a human driver, The AI didn't expect her to just step right out in front of it and by the time it realised (Again, just like a Human driver) that she was actually in the vehicles direct path, it was too late to stop.

The Feds are building an America-wide face surveillance system – and we're going to court to prove it, says ACLU


Re: "including Amazon. Again, the details of those contracts are unknown"

Machine AI, for all its failings, is probably better than the Mk1 Eyeball version. I don't really know why ID parade evidence is considered so valuable. It has been known for ages that it is pretty damn unreliable.

(Finger print evidence is a lot less reliable than it is made out to be too. It is fine for excluding suspects, but only of limited use, and with a lot of subjective interpretation involved, when it comes to identifying them)

Watch tiny swimming magnetic robots suck up uranium in a droplet of radioactive wastewater


Re: Bite..

Its the old, what I believe to have been called, Hippocratic principle "That which is used grows, that which is not used wastes away" (Or words to that effect) The immune system and cellular repair mechanisms seem to work better if they are given something to chew on. Being too sterile is implicated in all sorts of health problems. Being under exposed may well be an issue too.

I recall reading of a proposed "Ultra Low radiation exposure" experiment where test animals are excluded from as much radiation as possible (Including being fed specially processed food from which the K40 has been removed) to see how their health compares with normal control subjects, but I don't know if there has been progress on this. The results would be interesting.


Re: Bite..

"Radioactivity is pretty much bad anywhere in or on or around the body."

Unless "Radiation Hormesis" is actually a thing after all.

USAF spaceplane back on Earth after mystery 2-year jaunt in orbit. Jeepers creepers, what has it been doing up here?


Re: What is the sky?

Funnily enough, This is not a new idea. Only the other day I read a very old Sci-Fi short story that basically included this idea and expanded on to suggest that it is the presence of the Moon, gradually peeling away the Earths atmosphere over eons of time by flying through it, that is what gave us the atmosphere that we have today rather than the much thicker one of Venus.

Samsung on fridge cert error: Someone tried to view 'unsavoury content' in middle of John Lewis


Wi-Fi for all!

"they also insist on wifi for consoles that reside 2 foot away from the router and would be better served by a cable."

Oh, don't go there! :((

One of my big whinges is the way that the "Standard" hubs provided by internet providers only provide very limited physical connectivity.

Added to that, they are all rather small and lightweight "Table top" devices which means that if you do plug cables into it, they tend to slide off onto the floor unless the weight of the cables is supported elsewhere (Cable tied to table leg etc).

What I want is a Wi-Fi router with a good half dozen (or more) ether net connections that can be mounted on the wall (Say) so that it is secure.

I know that there are alternative options, but despite using this site I am not an IT professional and, In my case I use BTinternet and the BT TV service and from what I have read on the subject. Using non-BT routers is a bit of a faff if you want all the services to work correctly. Also, unless one wants to go full fat cabinet mounted units. ALL the available after market routers/ethernet hubs available seem only to be the table top type.

Grrrr. :((

Good news – America's nuke arsenal to swap eight-inch floppy disks for solid-state drives


Re: keep 'em!

Do those old chips not have modern equivalents? I recall a multitude of audio etc circuits from the 70's based round the LM741 chip. These are currently available from RS @ around 5 for £3, Unless they were bizarre bespoke ones, I would have thought many/most even, popular basic chips from the 70's would still be available.


Re: 8-inch upgraded (downgraded?) to....

I remember suggesting in the 80's that to prevent the spread of Viruses, one should always keep ones stiffy in a plastic cover! Went down well with my fellow geeky computer friends at the time!



Well, yes and no.

Neutron Bombs were primarily developed as a defensive weapon. Essentially a nuclear weapon that could be safe (er, a very bir er!) to use over western Germany to stop a conventional assault by the soviet union in a manner that firstly, could be argued as not constituting an offensive "First use" (Since we were bombing our own territory, not the Soviet Unions) and secondly, did not reduce the territory we were defending to an apocalyptic waste land. Neutron Bombs are actually quite small in nuclear terms at their optimum yield point. Anything much over 7 Kt or so and the advantage of the enhanced radiation bit is lost to general heat flash and blast.

I have always felt that this is NK's game, which is why all their test yields to date, even the claimed thermonuclear ones, are right in the ball part for a neutron Bomb. NK does not have any territorial interests beyond SK, their only other military position is that of defence. Neutron Bombs tick the box for both objectives. From an offensive position NK is not going to nuke LA or Tokyo.

They might however launch half a ton of builders sand into LEO/Whatever. That would be my main concern regarding their "Offensive" long range/orbital rocket capability.

Pack your pyjamas, Zuck: US bill threatens execs with prison for data failures


Re: Preempt

Re Murder. I may be wrong. But my understanding is that in the US, a suspect of a Murder committed in, say NY, who has fled to, say, Florida does actually have to be formally extradited to face trial. He cant just be picked up by the Police and taken back to NY just because they want him.

Oh dear... AI models used to flag hate speech online are, er, racist against black people


Liguistic appartheid

"Racist" comments aside. I have always felt that, in English anyway (Does the same phenomena exist in other languages??) Much of the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable speech dates back to the Norman conquest. "Profane" language is the language of the natives, "Polite" language is the language (Effing Fulfords aside) of the ruling classes. We do not just have to look at the classic four letter words to find this distinction. Consider agriculture. The Beasts have the short names of the native working classes, Hen, Cow, Bull, Sheep and so on. The flesh by contrast has the "Foreign" names used by those ruling classes wealthy enough to actually be able to eat it. Beef, Poultry, Mutton and so on. Perhaps, post Brexit, we may have the opportunity to throw off our linguistic shackles and rediscover our verbal heritage and become potty-mouth capital of the world!

Uncle Sam punishes China for abusing Uyghur Muslims – by blacklisting top AI surveillance companies


Re: @Mark 85 - More inconsistant behavior by the Government.

Indeed, the link between Opium, Tea, Hong Kong and indeed what is today HSBC makes interesting reading. I have always felt that there is something Karmic about how many of the designer drugs and cheap fentanyl etc that is flooding western countries and causing so much misery are largely coming from China. :/


The Chinese authorities have very good historical reasons for having a downer on what they perceive to be "fringe" Religions/Cults (See also attitude towards Fulan Gong).

Do a quick web search on the "Taiping Rebellion" It was actually one of the bloodiest conflicts in all of human history, It wasn't that long ago, and "Most" people will never have heard of it.

Spacecraft that told us 'you're screwed' finally gives up the ghost after doubling its shelf life


Re: 5cm could be an over-estimate

The thing about coral atolls (Tuvalu etc) that everybody seems to miss is that they are not made of rock. They are living structures. The "Land" is composed of washed up dead coral. The land surface on an atoll is only ever going to be no more than a couple of metres above sea level. As sea levels rise, the reefs will rise with them and so will the land level. As sea levels fall, the reefs will sink with it and exposed "Land" will be rapidly eroded away. How well coral growth can keep up with rapid changes in sea level and changing sea temperatures I do not know. 10,000 years ago, many of todays atolls may well have still had their central sea mounts above sea level But I cant help feeling that these living islands are a lot more than 10,000 years old so that suggests that coral can actually adapt to really very rapid and indeed drastic changes. Changes that make the wildest doomongering of the warmist lobby seem utterly trivial IE Metres/Year, even 10's of metres/year on occasion (Say when a large glacial dam breaks releasing its pent up water) as opposed to the, perhaps, couple of inches/year we may now be experiencing, or not...!


Re: 5cm could be an over-estimate

While we are on the subject of pacific atolls. We are currently being told that a couple of inches sea level rise and a couple of degrees warmer water over the next century will destroy them. What happened 10,000 years ago (Or so) when, in a comparatively short timescale, sea levels rose by hundreds of meters and the water got a lot hotter?


Re: Where do you think the Kármán line lies?

As I said years ago when all this Bransons thing was just kicking off. As a technology, it is clever enough. But it is simply repeating the work of the X-15 project of the 1960's. It isn't the 100,000 Meters that is where it really counts. It is the 11Km/S. The difference between Bransons roller-coaster and true space flight is the difference between holding your breath and having a quick look around underwater and diving with scuba gear.


Re: Sea level rising

In all seriousness, since I would love a simple explanation. how do you measure sea level anyway, What is it measured relative too? The Sea is moving around all over the place, all the time, as indeed is the land. The rates of change in sea level claimed are on a similar scale as tectonic plate movements and only a fraction of that in geologically active areas where a single earthquake can move the land many metres within a few minutes. How does the satellite measure where the surface of the sea is? mm Radar? Lasers? How do we know where the satellite is to within the mm needed to make these measurements? Radar? Lasers? based on land that is also moving? Much the same applies to GPS of course which also makes claims of incredible precision as to location when fully utilised. I could google it of course, but it is much more fun to have a proper and concise explanation from somebody who actually knows.

Say 'cheese'! Cassini probe ZOOMS IN on Saturn's craggy Dione moon


Re: Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

As I recall, the original plan for the original Orion Nuclear rocket (Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970) was to have a crew of around 30. Mainly because, in the absence of the computers that we today take for granted, it would have taken that many people to do the in flight calculations by hand!

David Attenborough warns that humans have stopped evolving


This isn't about who is breeding, It is about who isn't!

There are 5 Women who I keep in touch with from my youth. These are intelligent well educated women. Between them they have produced 3 children!


And I don't imagine for one minute that this is unusual.

Allowing for "Wastage" even in this day and age I suspect that the adequate "replacement" number should be nearer a dozen!

Now, It is my suspicion (based solely on anecdotal evidence) that "Smarts" is an x chromosome characteristic. That is to say, one inherits it down the female line (From an technical POV, this would actually make sense)

The pressure over the last couple of generations to encourage women, and in particularly smart women, to eschew parenthood in favour of career (And if they DO have families to only have small ones) means that millions of "Smart" gene lines will have effectively been truncated! (Rendered extinct!) once truncated these are lost forever! they wont just magically reappear a couple of generations down the line when we might need them!

We are not looking here at some sort of gradual decline in "Smarts" over many generations. This represents a catastrophic self imposed genocide of the intellect! I suspect that "Advanced" societies two three generations down the line (Well within the life expectancies of those reading this) will quite possibly be no longer capable of supporting themselves (We are already struggling to maintain the infrastructure that we already have). The burgeoning (and increasingly unsupportable) welfare states that are now almost a constant in all developed countries represent only the beginning of this collapse as those needing external support to survive increasingly outnumber those who have the ability to do the supporting (And Aging populations are an additional pressure)

Detroit's collapse occurred because those doing the supporting moved away. An entire society no longer able to support itself will be a pretty grim thing!

Comet confesses: The receivers are among us even now


Yeh, internet shopping is great! Order and pay for stuff sight unseen. Have it delivererd when you are out! # (with the option of collecting from the conveniantly located depot 30 miles away that is only open during working hours) and when the item turns out to be unsatifactory suffer the nightmare of trying to get a refund/exchange/whatever!

(# I do internet shopping of course, but I stick to companies that use Royal Mail as far as possible, that way if I have to collect stuff I can do it from the local PO not some depot in portsmouth or whatever)

New science: seas will rise due to CO2 ... but not for centuries


Re: Fusion

Sucessful Fusion would produce the most "Dangerous" by product of all!

Almost unlimited amounts of energy available to any nation with access to a coastline!

The "greens" dont want that because, ultimatly, they want us all to go back to the Farm (IE ANY technology that promises abundant and inexpensive energy will be vigourously opposed on one ground or another! Indeed I have always felt this is the "Real" reason why they oppose fission so strongly. They are affraid that it might actually work and they really dont want that!)

The current "geo-political Order" (for want of a better description) doesnt want it either. There is a great deal of money to be made by various interested parties by maintaining the status quo not to mention political power.

If a fraction of the money spent on the last 25 years of GulfWars had been spent on a "Manhattan Project" to develop practical commercial fusion We would by now have either cracked it or proved beyond any doubt that it is impossible!

Fusion is on the back burner because that where the interested parties want it to be!


As a matter of interest, How DO you measure (or even define) sea level?

Everything is moving (land, sea etc) and the numbers claimed/quoted are in the mm/cm range! In all seriousness, How is it done?? (and indeed, what is the frame of refrence?)

Genuinely curious....

Thumb Up

Thats My sort of solution!

Like it! Processing that amount of sea water could also (in principle) provide all the urainium that you would require to power the scheme!