* Posts by TDog

328 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jun 2013


Brit tech tycoon Mike Lynch cleared of all charges in US Autonomy fraud trial


HP still has a damages claim in the civil courts.

So what happens next? USA states no fraud; UK rules an offence committed. HP claims damages in UK. Will this be the nominal £1 paid into court rather than (from recollection) £4Bn?

Ex-Space Shuttle boss corrects the record on Hubble upgrade mission


Re: Obsoleted?

Torpedo, spotting and Reconnaissance Mk 2; better known as the Swordfish. Simply the ultimate naval strike aircraft of WW2, in terms of kills per airframe.


Re: Obsoleted?

Strangely enough, scrapping the TSR2 may have been the correct decision. It had a very niche role; instant sunshine over Moscow or similar places. From memory, it was not a bomb truck, which was what the Tornado IDS was. As such, although not as aesthetically pleasing or unique as the TSR2, the Tornado was a far better in service aircraft than the TSR2 would have been. Bonus point question; which iconic aircraft was the original TSR2?

IT consultant-cum-developer in court over hiding COVID-19 loan



I chose to liquidate my company instead, due to my advancing (does it ever do anything otherwise?) age, and rely on the parliamentary assurances given by the PM "other sources of support".

After a much longer delay I was refused those sources of support (Universal Credit), because "the law doesn't allow us to give it to you". And that was the full explanation I was given. Perhaps I should have taken the loans and fled to Yorkshire, nobody gets extradited from Yorkshire.

Judge refuses to Ctrl-Z divorce order made by a misclick


Re: Does it work the other way round?

Or even worse (or better perhaps) A+B+C, and D+D. D+D is acceptable to the software in a civil partnership, or should be as there is no reason why Peter Jones should not get hooked up with Peter Jones.

Tired techie 'fixed' a server, blamed Microsoft, and got away with it


Re: "this largely undocumented hellhole of keys and strings and dwords."

That's where I got my Turner - in a box of unsorted prints priced at about £5.00 each. Browsed through them and with trembling hands bought that one. And cringed as the shop assistent tried to fold it to fit into a large envelope. Fortunately I sort of said, "don't worry" and put it in my carrier bag.

Why making pretend people with AGI is a waste of energy



Well according to Rossum, who invented the things in Čapek's original play, they were humanoid, sociopathic "Radius: I don’t want any master. I want to be master over others." and ultimately fatal for the human race. So yes, in 1921 that is the expectation of Robots (slaves in slavic) and so the 1950's simply reflected reality in their descriptions. It is you modernists, with your anarchic tendencies to throw away the past in search of the new reality, that are straining the bounds of historical reality beyond their elastic limit. https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/origin-word-robot-rur/#:~:text=The%20word%20itself%20derives%20from,were%20neither%20metallic%20nor%20mechanical.

Britain enters period of mourning as Greggs unable to process payments


Re: Ok adding my not so consipracy take...

Well Martin,

if you are a girl, of suitable age and temperament you may screw me. It's a kind offer but on reflection my wife would probably not allow it. But thank you for the thought. I'm sure, in time, if you persist enough you will find someone of a suitable gender for your personal preferences who will live a happy and fullfilling life with you. But whilst you are searching, ixnay on the exitbray. It;s a very polarising issue. Good luck.

Tech support done bad sure makes it hard to do tech support good


Reading Docs

I was technical lead on the Ericsson dealer network project, Ericson had been learning pseudo-staff management from Sun Life of Canada. So we had fields for 1st emloyees birthday, second employees birthday and other such bullshit down to about 10 employees. One of the questions I asked was "What happens if there are more than 10 employees?" and was told "Oh shit". And of course these values were all held in a single data row on a SQL-Server 6.5 system... Normalisation was apparently what happened when you changed countries, like becoming English rather than Scottish.

So I had an incredibly short deadline to meet <2 months to have a working system. In a spirit of informed hatred a USA company was competing with us for the contract - we were supposed to share things but the mutual hatred meant that was improbable at best.

It was decided that the best testers of each system would be their competitors and whilst I was doing some tidying up I got a phone call from the States - telling me I had fucked up bigtime, and they were going to win as our system didn't work at all. They sent me some screen shots to prove it, and they were right. It didn't bloody well work on IE2, which is what they were testing our system on.

Now if they had only read the spec carefully they might have noticed that IE3 was required.

I read the briefing notes for testing and in them it was made clear that the debug results were not to be shared other than with Ericsson. So i didn't. I did ring one of their chaps whom I knew quite well and enquired whether or not the system was required to work on IE2 and was told "certainly not - we want the latest and greatest features of IE3". So I closed the call having sort of mentioned that it would be a good idea for them to look for the identifying features of the Browser used for testing...

Yep - read both manuals and specs and ensure you're doing what is requested.

War of the workstations: How the lowest bidders shaped today's tech landscape


Re: A successful pathogen

An optimaxed pathogen would

* be mild and not affect the host greatly

* be integrated into the host in every place

* make the host totally dependent on it

* give evolutionary advantages that outweigh the disadvantages to the host

* be easily spread and reproducible

* NOT BE YELLOW (shout out to explosions and ire)

(Ignoring the yellow bit, sort of looks like mitochondria and possibly may other inclusion organelles). Or even more interestingly cowpox, which supplanted smallpox cos it found an evolutionary niche that precluded smallpox from entering the host.

Another optimaxed pathogen that was hostile to the host would

* not kill the host untill the R factor was significantly greater than 2


Philips recalls 340 MRI machines because they may explode in an emergency


Re: Speculation

It's helium. It will just about go straight through a rubber anyway. That's why those condom wearing pornstars always had squeaky voices.

Superuser mostly helped IT, until a BSOD saw him invent a farcical fix


Re: Our data keeps going missing - we want a hostage

Done that for 30 years +, along with, and this is particularly useful.


Instead script creates and make edits in them. If you hit the run button by mistake the create will fail whinging about object already exists, and once you are ready simply change the create to an edit. Saved my ass often enough to be worth the small amount of extra effort, particularly if some bugger interupts you in mid flow.

And speaking of mid flow, never stand next to a co-worker in the urinals. That way neither of you will be disappointed.

Europe inches closer to insisting gig workers are treated as employees


Re: Not difficult

Or a different boiler.


I am on your side. No matter what the legislature states in it's words, entry conditions favour the big players. They can afford the costs of doing it. Imagine applying for a small project as an individual. Total size, maybe £15M. Now imagine the costs of bidding; this is just a guess but I suspect you must include:

Equal opportunity compliance proof.

Gender reassignment policy proof.

All of the green requirements including

* Disposal of waste products policy

* Costed global warming impact statements

* Policies w.r.t. employees who are whistleblowers about breach of any policy

* 3 years audited tax returns as a small enterprise

Proofs of (if you are a small team of 3-4 people making a "we can do this bid, and we should do it cos it is important):

* 3 similar projects performed with full washups on how it was done and the top 3 catastrophes in each project:

* these as usually something like "We got Earl Grey tea, rather than English breakfast"

* Mr. Jones didn't particularly work well with us but we learned to get along


a) He died of old age.

b) We came to a mutual understanding (no comment at all about how this happened)

c) After a while he was moved and his replacement was really motivated to finalise the solution (no comment at all about how this happened).

d) The project was not as successful as we had originally projected but with the institutionalised and localised hostility it can be seen that our success was particularly noticable

And so on and so on.

And now you are a big firm like Crapita wanting to ensure you keep the small jobs because:

* They are relatively easy

* They are relatively likely not to fail

* There are a lot more of them

* And once we are in their, we are in.

* And we have a shed load, a garage load, and a green house load of ex civil servants, who spent years designing these barriers to entry, and for a small cost to us, can negate the barriers with a magic wand of knowing what is wanted. (Don't waste time answering the questions, just include all this shit from here, here, oh, and most importantly here. Don't worry about what it says; as long as it ticks the right boxes, no-one will check anyway.)

* And, of course, finally, here, cut and paste it from our previous 321 applications last month.

I don't know the answer, but I do note that regulatory barriers tend to increase, not decrease. And this ensures that new entries can be crowded out.

NASA engineers scratch heads as Voyager 1 starts spouting cosmic gibberish


Re: Excelent design - aliens must be proud

Well as all the prior literature tends to sugest "Anal Probing", for probes, (or maybe that is just too much of sexstories.com) could I please request that we melt the gold disc showing them where to find us. And if we can't do that, could we please melt the bit that shows the invitingly present USB(456231 C (Version 278/56/021), insertion point.

World's largest nuclear fusion reactor comes online in Japan


Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

Just to add a little more information. And this came as part of my OU degree in STEM. The electricity which is used in heat pumps costs about 4* the price of the gas that it replaces in a gas boiler. Thus even with an annual efficiency of 3 (a good value) this indicates that the user will pay about 4/3 the price that would have been paid had gas been used. The green advantage is often touted but as electricity production --> green then there is little to no net green effect. Of course, were the system to be running on dirty electricity the green effect would exist.

How TCP's congestion control saved the internet



For me when I was doing this in the 1980's it was very simple. It only had four protocol layers and that was easier to remember. Oh, yes, and it made sense.

Robot mistakes man for box of peppers, kills him


Been there, seen that. Mates die. Shit happens.

Shock horror – and there goes the network neighborhood


Re: That cat again...

I always had a problem with that. Why not place the cat in a humane evironment (if you must) or just ensure that life support is available for a week. Run the test with your 50% chance with your radioactive source of choice. Wait a week. open the box; if it is smelly and horrible then the cat died without the event being observed (unless microbes, viruses and whatever count as observers). If there is a strong smell of cat shit and pee, and the cat tries to claw your eyes out then the cat is still alive.

This in itself is not a proof nor a valid test. But the cat has a 50% chance of dying. Should either event occur then repeat the same until you get six sigma results; this is the gold test.


you could simply note the amount of decay in dead cats. If it were bugger all then they have obviously only just died supporting the basic hypothesis of observer effect. And if they smelt like buggery then they died a week ago - so stuff anthropic principles (unless cat's are observers, so repeat the same test with bacteria and penicillin cultures doing the turtles all the way down thing) or accept actually it is a non proven load of bollocks. And then wait for the theoretical physicists to produce several hundreds of papers criticising the methodology, the ethics of the methodoloy, the new string theories that explain this, cosmic (insert your own word here), But the true winners will be the experimental physicist who will explain that you didn't specify the colour, spin and charm of the cat.


Re: The last time I heard a loud noise and things were restarting...

Well when I had my Atari 800 (proper one with aluminium chassis) I got a printer bur the atari couldn't feed it - had to buy an RS232 interface as well. That 9 pin japanese printer cost about £400 (1982) whilst the box and the extra 16K (yep Kb) of memory cost just over £1600, as I recollect. I gave it to my business partner eventually, after about 5 years, along with the seperate interface module which was a litle beige box about 12 x 6 x 2 cm which had 4 RS232 ports and a centronics port (for the printer). It did their family printing with true descenders (9 pin) with the tails of letters beneath the printing line, and went through 2 three year degree courses. It was only retired to the bin when drivers became an issue.

Gosh, I wish I had it now. I've no idea what ribbons would cost but I came across some printouts and there more than good enough. Faded, but legible, it used fanfold paper, and you could even rip the holes off the side with the little perforations. (Shoutout to Tetly tea bags).

RIP, the best £400 I ever spent. These days it wouldn't even but a couple of weeks drinking. Espescially not at the rate I did then. Sadly beer fugit even more rapidly than tempus fugit.

Where do people feel most at risk of being pwned? The pub



Although I run no software protection on my kindle as far as I am aware it has never been hacked on a pub wifi.

What did the VisiCalc fairy bring you for Spreadsheet Day?


Loutus' internal reference for it was "fluffy bunny". And you are right, it was miraculous, and originaly released for the NEXT computer. Ah yes, I remember it well...

Raspberry Pi 5: Hot takes and cooler mistakes


Re: Thermodynamics

Worked in an office in the early 90's in mid winter. CFO was an idiot who wanted to save money by cutting heating bills. I didn't, but some one genius wrote a script that ran infinite calculations on the PC's. As the CFO was not replacing staff whilst retaining the workload we were not his friends. So all the spare PC's were running at 100% cpu. It was between 1KW and 1/2 KW per PC. Not fan heaters deliberately but they all had "cooling" (heat redistribution fans). It was quite cosy. Still left.

British boffins say aircraft could fly on trash, cutting pollution debt by 80%


Re: Betteridge's Law of Headlines

"because it's adding carbon into the cycle that wasn't there before"

Well it may not have been there recently but the last time I looked at fossil fuel creation it was from sequestered atmospheric carbon in a atmosphere generally similar to ours, albeit richer in carbon.

Scandium-based nuclear clocks promise punctuality for next 300 billion years


Re: Accuracy v. going rate?

Well, if you are trying to undo your flies time elapsed approaches infinity.

AWS stirs the MadPot – busting bot baddies and eastern espionage


False Positives

"These sensors spot more than 100 million potential threats every day, and some 500,000 of these turn out to be malicious activity." Or 99.5% false positive rate. Now if only we knew the false negative rate...

US amends hypersonic weapons strategy: If you can't zoom with 'em, boom 'em



Well one of the reasons you won't find many of the systems in museums is that the missile bodies were made of Magthor (A generic name for magnesium thorium alloys). This had the minor issue that thorium is radioactive - not such a worry when built but unacceptable now. The general idea was to lob low yield (about Hiroshima effect sized) warheads into approaching packs of Soviet bombers. These would in general have been subsonic, Tu-4 Bulls (B29 copy), jet powered Badgers and Bears. At maximum speeds none of these would excede about 650mph and were definitely subsonic. It was a lot better than nothing and preferably used during a time of offshore winds...

Nikes were intended as inaccurate weapons and would not affect hypersonic missiles, particularly as the missile wouldn't be ready to launch untill well after the hypersonic chappie was well past it.

Polishing off a printer with a flourish revealed not to be best practice


Re: Stories from Grandad

Ah, but each one of the women is a singleton, hence the classification as 'odd'

A room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor? Take a closer look


Re: Even if its not a superconductor

"hang them as wires", How do lightning strikes work on superconductors? Is there any heat without resistance and do we get a wave propagating through the whole of the superconducting network, rebounding at inappropriately terminated end points and causing fantastic EMR effects. This could make EMP weapons childs play. I ask purely as a Gedankenexperiment,

Tesla steering problems attract regulator eyes for second time this year


But what if that was a target. Maybe this was a green promotion mod that went wrong. So considering the Trolly Problem, if the switch gave you a choice between hitting a tree and coming to rest safely in a field (addmittedly whilst running over some none considerred targets) this would be fine. Perhaps someone introduced an inadverdant ! (not) into the final decision tree. Trivial to fix and the sort of mistake that any progammer (well not me) could make whilst recovering from a hangover.

After fears that Europe's space scope was toast, its first images look mighty fine


We've known about neutrinos since !930

Well Pauli first postulated them then. We still don't have a consistent capacity to describe them. (see Sabine Hossenfelder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p118YbxFtGg)). When you find things that are seriously interesting but don't seem to want to know the rest of the universe, me, I personally think of Terry Pratchets (https://discworld.fandom.com/wiki/History_Monks#The_role_of_The_Order). The real and obvious question (carrying on with the neutrinos) is we are pretty terrible at watching them; how good are they at watching us?

So, if we are being honest, hoping to find out life changing models of things that we can observe because they happened about 3 bn years ago (or is this " dating back to ten billion years" meant to mean 10 billion years ago) when we can't even explain what is happening in our own neck of the woods seems a bit like building on the sand on a sandbank in the Goodwin Sands (running out of sands there) and expecting it to survive because we built it on a set of sands (got another one in) and that will be a sandtastic discovery. (not going to ack the last one, it was terrible. If (and I hope some of you can) you can post better please do).

We all should know that the Standard model of particle physics has some pretty big problems, even ignoring the neutrino (alleged) problem. It doesnt fit with gravity nor, the standard model of astrophysics. Maybe it's just me, but we seem to be searching for more and more defects that are a long way away whilst ignoring the mote in the models eye.

Brits negotiating draft deal to rejoin EU's $100B blockbuster science programme


Re: seeing the way they have punished the UK for wanting to leave

I'n not quite sure what you are stating.

Once we had left the EU the lack of borders between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK was an internal issue for the UK, The concerns over the "soft border" with Eire and by extension with the EU could have been met by the UK simply stating that as far as the UK was concerned the border between Eire and the UK would be considered as open. It already was for citizens of Eire who have the rights to live in the UK and vote in the UK since the 1920's. This may have caused issues for the protectivist policies of the EU but that was not an issue for the UK. It would have met it's obligations under the Easter / Good Friday agreements.

Should Eire and by implication, the EU have chosen not to honor their agreement that would have been a peculiarly EU issue, not the UK's.

Fujitsu admits it fluffed the fix for Japan’s flaky ID card scheme


Optimal Response

Surely Fujitsu should lie to the goverment and advise criminal prosecutions against the alleged perps. After all, they have (ahem) form.

Way out in deep space, astronomers spot precursor of carbon based life


Re: Scientists

Well according to Harry Harisson it was cheese, (Star Snashers of the Galactic Rangers) but I'm not going to argue over minor details

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: Unique keys

My sons first names excede 30 chars in length. I filled out his passport application and entered them all, there being suffificient squares of the form. I then got a phone call asking me what to do as there was insufficient space in the DB. I asked who was calling me and it was the passport agency. I advised him to as his boss as it was his problem; he said the boss had asked him to ask me! I muttered a comment that sounded like anchor and to my surprise he said, "yes, a total one". We agreed to ignore the last name.

Scientists think they may have cracked life support for Martian occupation


Re: May??

Microgravitation related illness.

Ah, unless you are talking about in transit (and we have had folks in microgravitation for quite long time periods) then the last time I looked mars had a perfectly reasonable gravitation field.

Software rollout failure led to Devon & Cornwall cops recording zero crime for 3 months


Income Tax

I wonder if HMRC would accept this as a valid defence for a failure to keep tax records for 6 months?

Errors logged as 'nut loose on the keyboard' were – ahem – not a hardware problem



In our early development (late 80's) we had an unintentional tester - one Higgins. He could and did break anything. So somewhat cruelly and arbitrarilly we made our standard unit of testing the 'Higgins' So if could use it for 10 hours without breaking it, it had passed to a standard of 10 Higgins.

Vessels claiming to be Chinese warships are messing with passenger planes


Re: Joining the dots

care to specify which treaties the AUKUS is in breach of? There are no nuclear weapons on the subs; the reactors are nukes but:

* They are sealed for the lifetime of the vessels

* They are similar to 'peaceful' nuclear power stations

* They cannot be made into explosive devices

* According to the UN China exported about 540$Billion of nuclear technology including reactors in 2021, this too would have broken you alleged treaty violations.

* There is no proliferation

* Get a life. Or at least one with some facts in it.

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …



Some Halons are general anesthetics, inducing sleep, e.g. halothane. in the case of fire or anoxia that would be the big sleep.

Eager young tearaway almost ruined Christmas with printer paper


Re: Procedure update

And when I worked for a certain logistics support firm in the late 90's they were still passing round a script to make things easier; which granted top level rights to whoever ran it in SQL server. There was also no security either physical nor IT on the cheque printer and the only concern they seemed to have was whether or not I could legally write an API which would require only 1 licence to access the DB, rather than one per user.

They were actually very good at repeating the practices of the 1950's in logistic support, very good at bringing their accountancy into the 1970's, superb at loosing their copy of the contract which stated that whether the access was through an interface or direct they still required a licence per user, immensely concerned at saving a few tens of hundreds of pounds by taking acts that could well have been described as fraud (I did say I dealt with their management, not their accountants) and couldn't give a shit that I could create a firm, add it to their billing list and pull shed loads of money out, removing the sums from their reported in payments and from their out payments, so that the books still ballanced and it would take me about four hours plus the fifteen seconds it required me to get to the cheque printer, to which I had access as I was supposed to be responsible for physical issues there too.

Oh, and just before someone says that it would have shown in the outgoings, that was done through the same server account too. So if you did a paper reconcilliation you would find it matched the SQL server, it would have only been if you did a line by line check you might have found the "missing links".

And they were trying to save a few hundred (<5K) pounds a year.

Could 2023 be the year SpaceX's Starship finally reaches orbit?


Gies a job

'Nuff said.

Private company set up to oversee UK's prototype fusion reactor


Re: UK IFS and buts and maybes ….

Oh come on, the Titanic was private industry, It was the government that commissioned the iceberg. It was habbakuk 40 years previously (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk)

Field trip! European Space Agency sends astronauts abroad to learn about rocks


Split second?

Do rocks etc not presently on earth run that much faster tnan geolocated ones? Perhaps we should be equiping our future, astro, taiko, cosmo, naughts with shotguns and external speakers pre-programmed to shout (in whatever passes for the luminiferous ether) "PULL!", as well. No icon as neither Einstein nor Michaelson Morley.

Mind you, in very high G wells one could well imagine a scenario where locally they moved like fuck whilst still dawdling to the long way away located external observer.

School laptop auction devolves into extortion allegation


Re: Investigating RDA ?

What, like Dr. Who?

NASA, DARPA to go nuclear in hopes of putting boots on Mars

IT Angle

Re: Where is the handbrake?

An odd number, that way someone is guaranteed to win (game designer at Hambledon CC, c. 17:50 [That is, "hurry up, the bar is just about to open" time.] Icon cos it its almost 3 stumps and a pair of bails.

Tesla driver blames full-self-driving software for eight-car Thanksgiving Day pile up


UK law

You have to remain sufficiently behind the vehicle in front to stop safely. As a frequent motorway user I can assure everyone that this is followed religiously*

*Def: religiously; not seen as terribly important since the glorious revolution but makes bods feel self justified so long as it doesn't have to change their behaviour

Don't lock the datacenter door, said the boss. The builders need access and what could possibly go wrong?


Re: Not optimist, downright stupid

In the very early days,phones were like a brick (you may find some of them visible in the walls of your house) and were more annoying since the users frequently used them to indicate "I've got a mobile phone". This was before apple iphones or generic phones and were severely irritating to those of us at the Trent Bridge test match.

I have to admit I did not do this, but some chappie in front of me, after a few minutes requesting silence, grabbed the phone and threw it onto the outfield.

'T rude bugger who was distressing all of us went off to find a local bobby. I can't remember who was fielding but the phone disappeared, but what I can remember very clearly was the young, highly competant copper coming into the stand and asking, loud and clearly, when the over was over, "did anyone see a man throwing something onto the field of play?" As the west indian supporters were in the adjacent stand, with whom we were exchanging our beers and their uncommon smoking substances we could reply "NO", quite honestly, we were too high and pissed and to busy laughing to notice the alledged perp.

"T' copper, walked off with a big grin on his face, explaining without evidence he could do fuck all.

Great 22 year old. And I know cos I bought him a beer in the Trent Bridge Tavern a bit later.

OneCoin co-founder pleads guilty to $4 billion fraud


In fiat currency

I saw what you did there.

Five British companies fined for making half a million nuisance calls


Re: I used to string them along

I had one today - trying to help me with my 'slow' internet. For some reason communications broke down. I'll use asterisks to prevent shy embarassed criminals from being upset

HIM: Is there any particular time when your internet is slow?

ME: Well yes actually.


ME: When I'm trying to upload pictures of me shagging your mother up the *rse.

ME: Strange she really reminds me of you.

HIM: What?

ME: Yes, she even looks like a c*nt. Piss off criminal.