* Posts by Screwed

172 posts • joined 27 Mar 2013


Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash


Re: Am I the only one

If we get massive quantities of fusion energy available, we will pollute our environments with heat and light.

Easy enough to imagine people maintaining their gardens as tropical paradises all year even in the coldest of climates. Lots of heat and lots of light. Along with roads heated to prevent ice. And cooled in summer to prevent tarmac melting.

Will optics ever replace copper interconnects? We asked this silicon photonics startup



An extreme example of wavelength division multiplexing?

For more, including Wavelength Routing Networks, a quicjk look here might be of interest:


Password recovery from beyond the grave


Re: Not happened to me, but

Apple and Google both have arrangements. But Etsy’s policy is to agree it is a sensitive issue and refuse to discuss further. Which isn’t good for Etsy sellers, family, friends or customers.

Partner does sell on Etsy and, after our next-door neighbour died recently, she decided to find out about all her accounts and arrangements.

She was going to check eBay but hasn’t yet.

Tough news for Apple as EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices


Other devices? Other features?

Why, dear EU, do you stop at fifteen types of device?

There are many other electrical devices which should have been included. (Though maybe applying to new models only, or some such get-out clause?)

Shavers (come on, Philips) and trimmers. Toothbrushes (or at least, the charger bases, come on Oral-B), water flossers, etc. Torches. Lower-power kitchen, garden and workshop tools/chargers. Smart meter remote displays (mine, yes, it really does have a micro-USB connector despite being brand new the other week). Blood pressure, TENS, and other health-related devices.

However, I would like to see a specific improvement such as others have suggested. First, breakaway connections like new MacBook MagSafe. Second, a waterproof version which enables safe use in wet, steamy environments (possibly power only, using Bluetooth for data if needed). It's quite easy to see that it might be possible to come up with a standard which addresses both issues in one. Even just a USB-C waterproof blanker could help protect devices when not being charged.

Let us also see a universal visible marking scheme to help identify chargers, cables and devices and their capabilities/requirements. For example a single green band meaning it conforms to some basic level, double orange that it goes up to 60 watts, triple cyan that it is good for 100 watts. Something that has negligible cost, is easily visible, doesn't rely on colour alone.

If you look at Amazon, many vendors are offering USB-based devices in many of these classes. Though sometimes they use micro-USB, USB-B, or some proprietary aspect. Get everyone over, please. Let me go on holiday with just one charger!


Re: Remember how well it worked last time...back in 2009.

And there is a good safety reason to consider non-integrated cables for many, many devices.

You can often see the integrated cables on tools such as electric drills, the other sort of router, sanders, etc., which have suffered obvious damage. But they don't get replaced because of the difficulty (and cost) of opening up the tool and fitting a new cable.

Indeed, you also see cables either being pulled because they are too short, or in loops everywhere because they are too long.

(I think Festool have removable cables on many of their power tools. But 'tis proprietary.)

IEC connectors are not suited because most of them come adrift too easily.


Re: The BS 546 Brexit connector next

Not always!

And quite a number of devices supply some sort of adaptor from Schuko to BS 1363. A few years ago, got a refrigerator or freezer (can't now remember which). A sort of clamp-on adaptor was fitted which worked fine. Trouble was, being much, much deeper that a BS 1363 plug, it stopped the device from going into the space made for it. So I changed the BS 1363 socket (which was fitted into the under-worktop space) by a real Schuko socket, and removed the adaptor. Worked just fine as it takes much less depth.

Smart homes are hackable homes if not equipped with updated, supported tech


My smart meter (for electricity and gas) is close to useless.

I came down this morning at about 08:00 to find I am going to go over daily budget for both electricity and gas. My gas usage so far today being (in money terms) £0.00 and my budget for both fuels (which I set to see the effect it had) is £1. Now (18:13) gas says £0.04 and still "Predicted over budget".

My electricity usage was about £0.66 at the same time and, after doing some cooking (oven for bread, and a little hob usage), that rose to £0.96 and says "Over budget".

If I want to investigate further than the very dumb unit provides, I have to connect to the supplier's systems. Afraid I can't see why the smart meter remote can't feed my computer as well as the supplier's systems.

John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine


I always thought the ability to brick things remotely needed to be applied to arms sales.

I bet Russia wishes it could have bricked all the Russian/Soviet military equipment in Ukraine. And Ukraine might wish it could brick all Antonov aircraft used by Russia.

Obviously, given time, the recipient might find a way round the remote bricking, if they knew it existed. So it would be best if it could be implemented in a stealthy way.

Quite a difficult job to do well. And potentially embarrassing and inflammatory if found out.

Twitter faces existential threat from world's richest techbro


140 characters? I think not!

It is 280 now, I believe.


Re: Do what?

All a meter company has to do is have in their T&Cs that non-functioning of a meter does not allow anyone to park there without charge.

Then, if you find a broken meter, they are stopping you from using that meter for as long as it is not repaired. Which could be their decision for any reason - arbitrary or real.

Just two die for: Apple reveals M1 Ultra chip in Mac Studio


Re: The Apple price

The number of times I have seen DIMMs ripped out and replaced because the original memory occupied all the slots! Drawers full of small DIMMs.

The number of times I have seen processor upgrades precluded by changes to socket design.

The number of broken pins I've seen on chips - including expensive processors.

The two things I really want to be able to access are storage. Even then, I suspect it would be largely if the device requires repair. Far easier to take an SSD out than backup and restore. And ensures no-one can possibly access the data.

And battery in devices which have them.


Re: Oh the keyboard ….

I got a Logitech cover for my iPad Pro - which includes a keyboard. Inexpensive on eBay. And very convenient. Just a bit plastic rather than a nice finish such as leather.

Got a previous model of the iPad as an Apple refurb (could be 2018, from memory), with 256 storage, and cellular, and the Logitech case, and a knock-off stylus/pencil, for only a few pounds more than the entry level iPad Air.


Re: No Mention. . .

The Mac Studio is so small and light, there is no longer an opening to sell the Mac Pro wheels at £699.

Risk-based algorithm could improve cancer screenings


Swings and Roundabouts

In another area of medicine, it is becoming recognised that some people require a different medicine regime. The science has indicated that this can be due to a specific genetic factor (a particular SNP on a gene).

The positive is that people with this SNP are seeing better chances of getting the different medicine. Some consultants accept that it is justified despite its higher cost.

Most of the patients have had a private gene test - it has not advanced to the point of being widely available on the NHS.

The negative is that those who do not have that SNP are less likely to get it. Despite genetic research, being a fairly young field, is still discovering new SNPs which have the same indication for the other treatment.

The statistics are clear across the population. But population statistics do not apply to the individual. That patient either does, or does not, need the other treatment. The SNP should be seen more as an automatic route, and an explanation. But others should not be excluded from being assessed on a clinical basis, maybe given a trial of the other medicine to see if it helps.

Research casts doubt on energy efficiency of 5G


Can't help wondering how much energy an ad blocker might achieve?

I block a lot of advertising, and try to avoid auto-run videos, etc. But it is quite possible that the blocking makes the web usable - I might give up browsing if every ad did get through.

A bandwidth-levy applied to online advertising might help? Though how you collect is a bit of a problem given the lack of borders.

Users complain of missing data in UK wills search service


Re: Special characters

How I hark back to the days when I could set . (a single fullstop) as my password. (This was when there were literally no external connections. Nonetheless, a dumbcluckstupid thing to do.)

It was so long ago that many didn't realise you could use any "special" characters in passwords - so unlikely to be guessed. Most were pure alphanumeric.


Why not index all names?

Have been looking for a will of someone who died in October 2020. This is a member of partner's family, and she is simply interested - not expecting to have been left anything, but would like to be sure. Despite being the current live service, it is emblazoned "beta This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it."

His name wasn't there before the "upgrade", and after the service did eventually come back, with the unintuitive interface you mentioned, he still isn't there.

Worse, it currently shows no-one with that surname was granted probate in 2021 - though there were several (from memory, around 7) before the upgrade.

From my point of view, it seems crazy that I can't see his name at all. We know some wills are contested. And others are late for many reasons. But the system won't even list the name if there is an outstanding caveat or for some other reason has not been granted probate.

There seems to be no obvious reason that the name isn't added to the database as soon as the probate registry first find out about the will. Indeed, why doesn't the probate registry pick up deaths from the registrars and automatically add them?

Machine learning the hard way: IBM Watson's fatal misdiagnosis


Re: Watson

The picture appears rather more nuanced than you suggest. He was rather more likely to take cocaine than morphine, I believe.


Chill out to the sounds of an expert typing on a variety of mechanical keyboards


Where is the analyser to convert the sounds into the actual keys being typed? So you can read as he types. Or get Siri/Alexa/whatever to read it out.

Think that spreadsheet in your company's accounts dept is old? 70 years ago, LEO ran the first business app


Re: "LEO was also kept busy ... calculating missile trajectories for the Ministry of Defence"

I heard it as a Morningside joke. The accent seems to work better...

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email


Can we use non-UK Visa cards?

There is an emphasis on UK Visa cards. Tried looking, but their help and information pages keep failing to offer the answer.

There's something to be said for delayed gratification when Windows 11 is this full of bugs


I run two Windows machines - both currently on 10.

Thankfully, one cannot run 11 (the other could) and I really get tired using two different versions at the same time. Hence, Microsoft have made it quite clear I need to remain on 10. Indefinitely.

Then permanently wander off to MacOS and/or a flavour of Linux. (Already have an M1 Mac mini and a Linux box. So neither is unfamiliar.)

Ironically, I do have 11 running - in Parallels under MacOS. But will probably scrap that when my trial comes to an end. The only way I would keep it is if Microsoft offer an ARM licence for 11.

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist


If a pilot bails out, or dies, does his plane suddenly become a drone?

(I know my father bailed out of a Wellington in about 1943.)

The signal need only be stronger from the perspective of a device. Could be very localised and directional, hence not easy to detect from a significant distance away on the ground. Also, if fitted to or used in a vehicle, that vehicle might have moved by the time anyone investigates.

Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review


I have a slight hearing issue - a bit of a notch towards the higher end. Combining that with DAB results in horrible sound quality. Bearable in a car but not exactly pleasant.

Of my current options, the way of listening that gives the best quality for any radio station is streaming using an Apple iPad Pro. Or ear pods and a phone/iPad.

EasyJet flight loadsheet snafu caused by software 'code errors' says UK safety agency


They only own some of the aircraft they operate - about half the A321-Neos, it appears. Leasing the rest.


Does it make any difference? Not really.

Microsoft vows to make its Surface laptops, Xbox kit easier to fix by 2022


How about the rest of the Surface range? Like the Pro 7.

Continual rotate issues, continual USB device failure issues, continual keyboard disconnects (possibly related to rotate issues).

Plus continually getting very warm, hot, when not actively doing anything.

Would never have another one.

IKEA: Cameras were hidden in the ceiling above warehouse toilets for 'health and safety'


Re: Where were they pointing?

A lot of cameras have remote control of direction. Whether that is a physical movement of the camera or selecting the area of interest from a wide angle device.

Where they were pointed might not be as significant as where they could have been pointed.

Years of development, millions of lines of code, and Android can't even run a toilet


Re: Do androids really dream of electric toilets?

Can't remember how much details DADOES/BR goes into, but until we reach the level of replicants indistinguishable from humans, I don't think Androids need to know anything about urination.

Everyone cites that 'bugs are 100x more expensive to fix in production' research, but the study might not even exist


Where is the research which supports the headline claim "Everyone cites..."?

England's controversial extraction of personal medical histories from GP systems is delayed for a second time


A shame that much of Wales does not yet allow easy, online patient access to their own records.

At least in that sense, Wales is behind England.

'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now


Re: Why opt out ?

Don't even have to move abroad for there to be issues and questions.

If you left England for Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and your new GP surgery did get your medical records, you might think yourself in the clear.

But both I and my partner have definitive proof the old GP surgery in England retained data. We got things like SMS reminders!

If you visit NHS Digital's website, it actually takes quite some effort to identify whether it is UK-wide or just England. Yes, you can see the word "England" but not in a context which makes it clear whether this data transfer issue is confined or not. After all, the NHS Covid-19 app actually covers England and Wales so there is at least some lack of clarity.

US Patent Office to take only DOCX in future – or PDFs if you pay extra


It was always such fun opening Word documents on a computer which was primarily used for other tasks such as printing labels. With a small format label printer set as default.

Add allowing Windows to change your default printer automatically.

This is why I have sometimes set the default printer to whatever print to PDF option has been available. You can get Word to be pretty consistent at the cost of always having to select a specific printer if you actually want paper output.

And agree about captioning. Whoever would have thought a caption belongs with something else?

SpaceX flings another bunch of humans into orbit in reused capsule atop reused booster


All this, and yet they can't detect if there is a driver actually in the driving seat of a Tesla. Preferably awake and aware.

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain



Interesting that the greyscaling can be switched on or off – albeit by the bizarre approach of ad blocking.

I’m trying to imagine the development meetings which decided that a greyscaling option was desirable, even necessary and financially justified. What was the rationale? Did they actually anticipate using it in this way? And that the chosen technique could be switched by end users blocking/unblocking ads.

Also interesting to speculate on how it was tested, perhaps whether it was tested. Certainly doesn’t appear to have been tested by a truly representative selection of real world end-users.

Finally, how many other websites have planned things like this? When the queen does eventually die, can we expect even more websites to adopt this sort of approach? Maybe black on black.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson reluctant to reveal his involvement in the OneWeb deal


Re: When is he going to build a bridge

Perhaps worth looking at it the other way round?

The silicon supply chain crunch is worrying. Now comes a critical concern: A coffee shortage


Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

There won't be any left by then!

Funny how in "normal" circumstances, the range of coffees on the shelves includes everything from undrinkable to really good. When there is a shortage, anything reaching "acceptable" on the scale disappears almost immediately.

Rather suggests that the hoarders have some taste.

US state AGs: How can Facebook, Google, Twitter say they tackle misinformation when *gestures wildly at COVID-19 BS everywhere*


It's all very well going on about misinformation. There are many reasons people post misinformation. Some of them could be, in themselves, innocent even if the effects are anything but.

What about disinformation? And the motivations behind spreading disinformation.

City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub


Re: Just go to your local library

If we are allowed to access the papers by going to a library, especially if we are able to make copies while there, what does Sci-Hub do?

All it does is make it possible for many who for numerous reasons cannot get the papers at their local library. And make it more convenient for those who could.

Imagine someone offering a service of going to a library on you behalf. And, by having a headcam (or whatever), enabling you to see what they are looking at. Difficult to argue that would be criminal. Especially if the person paying for the service is disabled and could not themselves go to the library.


Re: Just go to your local library

What nonsense to suggest in a time when libraries are largely closed!

The nearest decent size library to me is probably an hour and a half drive - and I'd have to make sure I have access as it is in another county.

I might as well go to my nearest copyright library - which is only a little further away - but again, access is an issue.

And with the nature of these papers, you can't just read them in half an hour and leave. You need to make copies so that you can go back and forth, and check out references, tables of data, figures.


Is it likely?

When I have had opportunity to access both versions (i.e. official and from "somewhere else"), there has never been the slightest hint of an intentional change. Only, sometimes, things like graphics being downgraded, or bits missed due to poor scanning, etc.

Of course, it is possible. But so too could the publishers. And we might find it pretty hard to track down.


Re: children! terrrorists! illegal! dangerous! risk! threat! Russians! nukes! trolls! roubles!

For reasons related to health, I frequently wish to read items which are behind paywalls.

The idea that individual health is being held to ransom - and at completely unaffordable prices - is despicable.

Frequently you can find things like a single short letter published as a response to a paper from over a century ago that would cost tens of dollars to access. And at that point, we would often have absolutely no idea whether it would actually be of interest, or not.

Vast numbers of papers are downloaded and passed around as PDFs in order to make them accessible. Sometimes by their authors.

From time to time, papers are accessible prior to publication - often in draft with line numbers, etc. But as soon as they are published, they are chargeable. Hence I have many uncorrected proof versions of papers. Which will tend to propagate mistakes - from typos up - which were addressed in the final versions.

Sometimes, I have even seen official guideline papers behind paywalls.

Obviously there is a cost to providing the access, but PubMed Central (and EuropePMC) are sitting there providing fantastic access when the publisher allows.

On top of all this, if papers are not accessible, they will not be adequately archived. All too many journals have disappeared taking their entire back catalogue offline. Although copies might still exist, finding them can be close to impossible.

How do we combat mass global misinformation? How about making the internet a little harder to use


Can we have a search engine function for the first ever occurrence of whatever term we are looking for?

With suitable logic that ensures it finds the first time it was used, not the oldest page. When a paper document is digitised, the date needs to reflect when it was written, not first put on the internet.

UK Test and Trace chief Dido Harding tries to convince MPs that £14m for canned mobile app was money well spent


The Wiki entry for Dido says:

"In February 2017, Harding announced that she would stand down as CEO of TalkTalk in order to focus more on her public service activities."

If what we have seen is her public service, please return forthwith to commerce. Preferably retire. Lots of people who have genuinely put their experience to use in public service have done so for nothing or a notional salary.


Re: Catch 22

Even more pronounced if you look at distances between Cornwall/Devon and Wales.Seems to think Barnstaple is nice and close... Actually takes about the same time as London or Manchester.

Lovely though Barnstaple might be, it is hardly a sensible option if Bristol or Birmingham has what is needed.


Re: [Apple & Google] have been on the record as saying that the UK app … is a world first

Last time I even saw a QR code, the establishment didn't notice or care whether you scanned it. They wanted name and phone number - and that was all they cared about.

Soon, no more blood tests or probing for prostate cancer? AI claims 99% success rate using more relaxing methods


Re: "limited experiment should be taken with a pinch of salt"

You appear to be making assumptions there.

That I have a prostate.

That I do not already have prostate cancer.

(And that I am lying face-down on the floor?)

Further, in my quick look, I could see association between salted meats and prostate cancer but neither a proved causal link nor confirmation that it is sodium chloride and not other salts (or just the sodium, or the chloride) that is being pointed out.

Nothing new since the microwave: Let's get those home tech inventors cooking


Re: Oh dear!

(what the fuck is wrong with using the key, anyway?)

I'd have to find the keyhole first - I genuinely can't remember where they are. Don't think I have ever used one on either of the two cars I regularly drive. I just walk up and press a button on the door handle. And another on the dash/console. The remotes are deep down in a bag I always carry.

Judge denies Parler an injunction to force AWS to host the antisocial network for internet outcasts


Re: Censorship by Private Companies

I had not known anything of the Scottish connection to Parler's return:

DDoS-Guard was registered in 2017 under a limited partnership, a financial structure in Scotland that allows nonresidents to create companies with little scrutiny. Aleksei Likhachev and Evgeniy Marchenko, two Russian businessmen who registered it, remain owners of the company. The partnership under which DDoS-Guard is registered is called Cognitive Cloud and is listed at an address in Edinburgh’s Forth Street.



Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'


Despite already being uncompetitive, they increased the storage allowance at the bottom rung in a mad attempt to increase apparent value. When many were using way less than their existing allowance. And applied a considerable increase in price charged.

So they lost me. Yet I still use their "free" option for convenience. (Lots of people had links to some files on Dropbox. Easier to allow that to continue than to try to force them all to change.)

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'


USA uses pounds.

Just not as currency. You ever looked at any of their diet and weight loss sites?

Also for stray dogs.



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