* Posts by M7S

1262 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jul 2007


Boffins suggest astronauts should build a Wall of Death on the Moon


Faster, faster, faster

I expect you’d get greater effects of “gravity” with more speed, so a motorcycle would make sense.

Nicholas Fisk showed us how in his text “Wheelie among the stars”.

And for those of you saying motorcycling might be hazardous, remember everyone there elected to strap them to a giant firework and leave the atmosphere, so it would be relaxing by comparison, or to riding in London where the tyre damage would be roughly similar if, as another commentary noted, you just used a crater.

Alibaba signs to explore one-hour rocket deliveries


Change in benchmark

In the early 90’s we were all transfixed by a Middle Eastern outfit that apparently could deliver by rocket in forty-five minutes.

Caused quite a stir at the time….

Bernie Sanders clocks in with 4-day workweek bill thanks to AI and productivity tech


There will be some animals less equal than others

Here in the UK ambulance crews generally work 12 hour shifts. The same applies to many clinical hospital staff and I dare say others as well.

In some places in the US ambulance crews work that pattern, or 24 hour shifts, sleeping on station ready for nocturnal call outs. There are variations depending on local demand.

Whilst I see calls of this nature on both sides of the pond, no left wing politician (others don’t call for this reduction so don’t apply to this issue) on a visit has ever explained how this reduction in hours for the same pay would work whilst such a service is provided. I’m sure many staff would love to work a 2 1/2 day week but response times and service levels might not be maintained to even the current standards.

Is critical infrastructure prepared for OT ransomware?


Adama was right about networking

Alas the possible fear of being mocked as a crossbow wielding “prepper” hinders rational discussion of, and planning for, events of this nature.

China bans export of rare earth processing kit


If China’s ban on exporting LIDAR means no “autopilot”

Result!! :)

Other types of “full self driving” are also not particularly fit for purpose at this time.

Long-term space missions may make liftoff harder for male astronauts


Re: It could make starting a Martian colony

We might not think it a problem, depending on who is in the ark.

I think we should send the ‘B’ ark first, after all we want to be sure we can get a good haircut, and that the telephones are clean.

Pentagon seeks government gossips to dish dirt on UFOs


Re: Long Live Gerry Anderson

I wish I could purchase one of those that would work if connected to a modern pc, are any readers aware if such a thing is made and where to buy?

Just for printing “normal” letters in the office it would be a hoot, or if connected to some device that generated alerts that really do require prompt attention

BOFH: A security issue, you say? Activate code tangerine


Surely the wrong kind of fruit...


Kyndryl bags short-lived HMRC mainframe contract


Server (as in “non-pc”) joke

Any chance that “Debian does DALAS”?

(Younger readers may need to ask and relatives old enough to remember VCRs)

UK voter data within reach of miscreants who hacked Electoral Commission



Given that it is effectively unlawful not to register to vote in the UK, this basically affects everyone over the age of twenty or thereabouts.

Thank you UK government

If I had been responsible for something similar as a data controller in a commercial enterprise, I’d expect a hefty penalty. Probably here it will be seen as “not in the public interest” to prosecute.

For the government’s definition of public interest.

California man's business is frustrating telemarketing scammers with chatbots


A part time scambaiter writes:

Bloody AI, stealing our jobs!!

Still, very useful for when I really haven’t the time or inclination…..

Support chap put PC into 'drying mode' and users believed it was real



Once installed a screen saver on a colleague’s pc that made the text on the screen appear to melt slowly and fall down the screen.

I pre-empted a little before she stepped away from her desk by asking a few times if anyone else smelled burning “possibly electrical“.

A little while later she she wandered off to get a file (real, paper based), came back and was shocked to see her monitor show what looked like her typed work collapsing in on itself and I told her it must be on fire inside.

She duly ran to the staff kitchen to get a jug of water and only when she was about to throw it over the monitor did I tell her what I’d done, mostly to avoid the risk of injury to her.

She was a bit of a gym bunny but the resulting painful punch to my arm was worth it

China debuts bonkers hybrid electric trolley-truck


“Mutant offspring of a semi…”

What, no inappropriate comment by now?

The moderatrix would be lashing out in fury…

The march of Macs into the enterprise: Demand is on the increase


Reluctant Warning

We purchased Mac Mini Server a decade ago with Server OS X Leopard directly from Apple Business. I made the case to management regarding the server features as opposed to the cost of separate hardware (various decent brands) and licensing of our then (and current) MS applications.

We loved that we could run our own mail server as part of the application (with some other nice features), and a few other useful bits like shared folders, nothing particularly complicated or highly technical as we really didn't need much more.

After some testing and learning in IT, we were ready to deploy for user testing for a period of parallel running.

There was an apple OS update that we applied as advised to keep "secure" against new threats, the next day on switching on, all the "server" functions had gone. Just like that.

Enquiries revealed that despite purchasing the OS as part of the unit, it was no longer supported, we could re-purchase the "app" for a tiny sum but no guarantees from Apple that it would remain supported or not be withdrawn at a later date (and in fact all the useful features such as mail server have since been removed from later versions). They were very coy about it but had a compensation scheme to give you back the value of the app ($20) but only if you were registered in the US. UK (and presumably other) customers were very much "not first class citizens".

Had we gone live, been through the testing period and completed the transition it could have wiped us out as a small company.

Their attitude was that we could now purchase the functionality from 3rd party vendors, putting us back to the sort of costs we had with MS, and a complete inability to do this in-house.

Caveat Emptor

(We'd have purchased about 30 seats of hardware, along with portable devices in varying numbers had this worked, plus another several hundred seats after a later takeover that expanded our footprint considerably, along with other hardware, but I guess that's still not even small beer for them. Users still resent the windows phones forced upon them later....)

European Space Agency will launch giant claw that drags space junk to its doom


Re: They should have gone with the James bond scoop design

@ NiceCuppa Tea

We dont know what we dont know, but in a couple of centuries a policy like this might be found to have an adverse effect in the same way as dumping our waste into the vastness of the oceans hasnt really turned out well.

UK reveals new 'National Cyber Force', announces Space Command and mysterious AI agency


Space agency badges

Given that the US military allegedly copied one from their Nation's TV series involving a Federation centred on Earth, it would be a Travisty [sic] if the MOD didn't do something similar


I wonder if they keep all their files on the Server-LAN

The repurposed motorcycle leathers, thank you

Sorry, I ran out of puns.

Test tube babies: Virgin Hyperloop pops pair of staffers in a pod, shoots them along 500m vacuum tunnel


The reviews when something goes wrong....

Travelling in a vacuum "just sucks".

Research into deflecting potentially world-destroying asteroids is apparently not a 'national priority' for the UK


"They're using our own satellites against us"

Well not this time, all that debris in orbit is surely a secret planetary ablative shield put there by our secret world government.

Or has something else actually placed it there to stop us getting out?

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations


Appreciating and acknowledging some American help as well

The Eagle Squadrons seem to have formed about the time the battle ended, so I am not able to inform you of their involvement however there is this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-British_personnel_in_the_RAF_during_the_Battle_of_Britain#United_States

You Musk be joking: A mind-reading Neuralink chip in a pig's brain? Downloadable memories? Telepathy? Watch and judge for yourself


If the cap fits....

..you'll never question why Auntie cancelled The Tripods after two seasons.

They knew.

An irritating itch down the back of your neck? Searing midsummer heat? Of course, it can only be SysAdmin Day


Colonies of sysadmins have a single queen

Is this signalling the return of the Moderatrix?

(VERY long term reader reference)

UK takes a step closer to domestic launches as Skyrora fires up Skylark-L


Re: All aboard.....

That was my first thought, howevew when putting that into the "tube of you" the first listing is very different


Perhaps the cover shows the boffins have more ambition than we may have credited them with

Singapore releases the robot hounds to enforce social distancing in parks


Prior guard robots with dog names...


Be seeing you.

Lords: New IR35 off-payroll tax rules 'riddled with problems, unfairnesses, unintended consequences'


Re: unintended consequences

“potentially fatal if it means arriving at the end of the sea too soon”

What, and falling off the edge of the world?

It’s one way to get closer to Great A’Tuin

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position


@ Caustic Soda

I think they’re quoting a particular film. However they’ve now taken off and are in orbit, let’s hope there’s nowhere on the surface that they want to be particularly sure about....

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard


(Humour) bypass

When we see 42 towers burned, we'll realise it heralds the arrival of the...

Vegan (De)Constructor Fleet

The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries


Prior art

Being centuries ahead of the patent lawyers with a device so round it has no corners.

Now, about the flip front some other fob watches have....

An Apple a day might not keep the doctor away: iGiant's China stores face closures, deep cleans, staff temperature checks amid virus outbreak


The old saying used to be that Macs couldnt get a virus

Clearly now there is the chance that they might give the user one.

Icon: Just in case you're worried about your protective face mask having the wrong kind of corners.

You looking for an AI project? You love Lego? Look no further than this Reg reader's machine-learning Lego sorter


Proof of Lego's superiority

Try doing that with Playmobil

Are you listening, El Reg re-enactments team?

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


Re: Speed of light

Didn't Captain Scarlet have an issue with radios being 1500m from source?

(The only link I can find to anything related to the episode https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8RsdDEWAy8 , sorry its not the episode itself).

There's probably a radio joke to be made here about Spectrum, but does that apply to DAB?

Space-wrecks: Elon's prototype Moon ferry Starship blows its top during fuel tank test


Later starships will not be as good

As clearly, in this instance, the engines were the one part that took it very well.

The red shirt, thank you

237 UK police force staff punished for misusing IT systems in last 2 years


Buying a house

Some years back police officers used to be required to get permission to live in/buy a house so that purpose, assuming proper channels were used, would not be a breach of regulations unless that requirement no longer exists

From Instagram to insta-banned: Facebook wipes NSO Group workers' personal profiles amid WhatsApp hack rap

Black Helicopters

I’m Spartacus, and so’s my wife

I don’t work for NSO group, and I have no social media accounts, but if there’s a way of getting the latter situation enforced by the likes of FB (just so long as that includes them not silently compiling data about me from elsewhere and using/selling it) then where can I sign up?

Aw, bad day at your air-conditioned, somewhat clean desk? Try shifting a 40-tonne fatberg


What is needed is some sort of organism that eats fat....

....in the same way that worms compost kitchen waste.

Quite by chance I was at a motorway services* the other day and saw quite a few of these. Alas regulatory approval would preclude these particular specimens from use in this case.

*Alternative locations for concentrations of such lifeforms abound.

Mandatory electronic prescriptions was the easy bit in NHS paperless plans


Ambulance crews often prefer paper prescriptions

As when dealing with patients who may not be totally au fait with what they take, or why (other than “the doctor told me to”) there’s half a chance of working out underlying health conditions from the medication lists*, which may help determine what they need right now.

As always with medical care, it’s not the only criteria to use.

*repackaging tablets into dosset boxes is a good idea, particularly for those with memory or organisational issues, but often there’s little or no useful indication of the contents

Your ugly mug may be scanned yet again – but at least you'll be able to board faster at Gatwick


And when the system breaks down

As IT systems occasionally have been known to do, will there be a rapidly implemented and effective alternative procedure “on tap”?

Icon for where those caught up in any failure would probably prefer to wait

Electric vehicles won't help UK meet emissions targets: Time to get out and walk, warn MPs


Re: "Leave your car at home"

I think that "not being a practical and enthusiastic cyclist" for things including getting to and from work (both in his time as MP, Mayor and journalist) while based n London is not a charge that would fairly be held against Boris.

Now he's PM, there are some different considerations such as the security of what he needs to carry around with him, and it would be the same even if JC* became PM

*Those with long memories may recall the Not the Nine O'clock News item where it was noted that "Even the initials are the same"

And you thought the cops were bad... Civil rights group warns of facial recog 'epidemic' across UK private sites


WTF are they scanning for?

"Liverpool's World Museum scanned visitors with facial recognition surveillance"

Surely the value of facial recognition is to identify people you want to be aware of and who you know about. I can see that there is a valid use by public authories for trying to detect wanted/missing/vulnerable persons, (once proper rules have been sorted out), but for a museum?

What database are they comparing visitors to?

Are they worried about either of the Dr's Jones purloining some artefact for the next film in the sequence?

Are the mugshots of John Robie or Sir Charles Lytton loaded onto the system?

Are they worried that frequent visitors will be exposed to a cumulative dose of magic emanating from the exhibits and suddenly find themselves acting like John Hannah surrounded by non-Nestene Autons, so they're building up a database to decline entry after N visits?

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's personal MiG-29 fighter jet goes under the hammer


If he'd waited for a couple of updates to his Mig 29, he'd have had a better browser

Craig Thomas wrote about a (fictiona} MIG-31 called......Firefox

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul


Tech angle

Connect underslung wieght to centre of trampoline so that it is stretched to the maximum possible with release mechanism that can be either automatic (as in mousetrap type thingy) or manual (remotely) for more fiendish fun after fox has been lulled into false sense of security. Consider angling entire assembly towards a "receptive" neighbour's garden.

Bait trampoline with leftovers from summer BBQ or similar

Observe test results of launcher, repeating as necessary/possible and apply for funding for UK Space Program


With heroes like BT and Openreach, who needs villains? ISP lobbyists' awards continue to vex


"to drive infrastructure development at scale"

I used to do infrastructure development "at scale", but in my case the 1:72 was OO and appropriate to the little trains and platforms on the 6x4 layout I was running. Openreach's scale probably doesn't really merit the same excuse.

As above, so below: El Reg haunts Scaleway's data centre catacombs 26 metres under Paris

Black Helicopters

This increasing use of repurposed fallout shelters as server farms is a problem

The kit is quite heavy. Come the zombie apocalypse, it will be easy for marauding gangs of feral survivors/evil mutants to locate and beseige those shelterig therein due to the large pile of rack equipment to be found near otherwise innocuous "electricity substation" or "Metro station fire escape" doors.

Monster magnet in my pocket: Boffins' gizmo packs 45.5-tesla punch and weighs just 390g


When can I get a Gauss Pistol?

To keep the sky pirates from hijacking my flying car....

Please be aliens, please be aliens, please be aliens... Boffins discover mystery mass beneath Moon's biggest crater

Black Helicopters

Lets all calm down a bit and be sensible about this large "metal mass"

That the one bomber left stranded on the surface for the Sunday Sport to spot simply wasn't buried properly with all the rest of the post WW2 surplus.

Now you know.

I say, Eaton boys are flogging spare capacity on data centre UPS systems to keep lights on in Ireland



Allowing the power company to draw from your UPS seems to be like renting out the water from your fire extinguishers to alleviate shortages during a drought. All very lovely (I can just imagine the beancounters wanting to sign up to "maximise the return on the hardware investment") until a rare confluence of events tips you into the mire and you find your piles* are empty.

There's a reason UPS are installed, and I don't think it is because of the infalibility of the power supply networks.

*To clarify for the younger reader, an old term for a battery, not the result of management action once it all goes wrong.

EE switches on 5G: Oi, where are your Mates? Yes, we mean the Huawei phones



Is this playing a simple card game with a mythical beast, prominent in Chinese lore and sometimes used to signify that country, or poking it until it loses its temper?

Revealed: Facebook, Google's soft-money 'blackmail' to stall Euro fake news crackdown


Re: The only surprise is...

"ANY American owned corporation".

Rather a broad brush statement. I've dealt with a few small US entitiies and found them to be courteous and AFAIK honest. Perhaps size, with the attendant large sums of money at stake, is the real problem here.

Microsoft sends partners hundreds of unwanted OPI: Other People's Invoices


“You may have incorrectly received...”

No. You have incorrectly despatched.

Nest tosses £1.5bn pension admin service agreement out there for outsourcers to fight over


So, someone like Capita* will end up managing our pension funds

Oh well, better retrain for something I can do until I'm 97 then...

*Other "usual suspects" are no doubt also in the running

IT sales star wins $660k lawsuit against Oracle in Qatar – but can't collect because the Oracle he sued suddenly vanished


Re: That's MY business plan

Perhaps you might monetise the original (and much missed) Bonsai Kitten website that I read about on El Reg many many years ago. The outrage factor from those not really getting it then might be equally replicated now, perhaps even enhanced with the "help" of social media

For younger readers, have a gander around https://web.archive.org/web/20020207132327/http://www.bonsaikitten.com/bkintro.html