* Posts by GrumpyKiwi

485 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Jul 2013


US Army doubles down on laser tag with $95M for prototyping


Re: Price?

If you have a $10 million system that is knocking down multiple $20 drones and in doing so defends a system worth 30 million, is that a worthwhile exchange? I'd suggest that the answer is yes. There is always more to a cost analysis than just what flies out the barrel.

Bill advances to exonerate hundreds in Post Office Horizon scandal


Thank you for that. I've been wanting to see a summation of the whole story and there you go providing it. Have a virtual beer from me.

House passes bill banning Uncle Sam from snooping on citizens via data brokers


Last time I checked, sellers of useless tat didn't claim the right to use a drone fired Hellfire to kill you if they mistakenly ID'd you as a terrorist (or military aged male within 500 meters of someone we've ID'd as a terrorist). I've never heard of Baidu sending a poorly trained SWAT team into someone's house to shoot their dog and look for drugs. Never had Amazon charge me with crimes for using eBay to buy something.

Maybe that whole "legally able to kill you" is the kind of thing whereby a Government should have to work A LOT harder to gather information and use it than "sellers of tat". Dunno? Just me??

Telco CEO quits after admitting she needs to carry rivals' SIM cards to stay in touch


Re: Singtel rules push

Singtel are (according the Singaporian folks I talk with) notoriously crap at such things as testing, backup plans, DR and so forth. I could totally believe that they tested things on their much smaller network and said "do it, no need for testing".

BOFH: Monitor mount moans end in Beancounter beatdown


Re: Cost centre round robin

$500 toilet seats come because when HMS Sheffield takes a missile hit you don't want the burning toilet seat to create toxic fumes that kill more crew, nor to shatter into splinters that slice and dice body parts.

(Also because government accounting rules demand approx. 100 m^3 of documentation to go with said toilet seat purchase that cannot be stored digitally and must be stored in a location guarded by people who've passed the Secret level security clearance).

It is 20 years since the last commercial flight of Concorde


Re: Where does the time go?

Worked just outside Heathrow (on the Bath Road) in a heavily soundproofed building in the late 1990s. Never noticed a 747 taking off or landing, but we always knew when Concorde took off and many many times I'd race to a window to see her leave the runway. Great stuff.

Megaupload programmers cop a plea in New Zealand to avoid extradition


Re: New Zealand lost its way

The NZ Police got all excited about getting to use their helicopter to raid a "James Bond" level villain. So much so that they forgot to do the very basic paperwork (and for most cops here paperwork is very hard indeed, and it's easier just to go harass brown skinned youth).

It could be argued that if Kim was in fact a James Bond supervillain then they went in massively undermanned and underprepared and unready for an army of ninjas. Or that if he was in fact just an overweight nerd with an ego then all it would have taken was 3 cops showing up at the front gate with a warrant.

Either way, the Police and Crown Prosecution service were both massively inept and as a result we've had the 11 year clown show.

Pager hack faxed things up properly, again, and again, and again


Wang got me my job

Place I am currently working for replaced their Wang VS (6000?) about 10 years back as the operator was about to retire and there was no-one left in NZ who claimed any knowledge of how to administer one*. So instead we got a green fields Windows/VMWare rollout and for me a job offer to look after all the new kit at the end of the install (which I grabbed with both hands as a 10 minute commute to work is really hard to say no to).

The Wang itself got flogged off on TradeMe a couple of years later with the sales title of "Buy some Wang" for a couple of hundred NZ pesos.

* There were still a couple of crusty old blokes at various locations but they were either also close to retirement or had cushy jobs and no intention of moving.

Lenovo Thinkpad X13s: The stealth Arm-powered laptop


Bought a bunch of the Gen1 X13's in 2021 and early 2022 as it was pretty much all that Lenovo had available to sell down in NZ at any kind of reasonable timetable. They took over from the X390's that had been the default platform before then and they .... really failed to impress. Part of that is my fault, Windows 11 and 8GB of RAM (7.85 available) doesn't play nice. But the performance was in every way inferior to the X390's despite supposedly being of similar spec.

Lenovo's inability to provide anything more than guesswork on when orders might be delivered ("oh sometime in the next 4 to 6 months" was typical) meant that we dropped them as a brand and are now running a fleet of Surfaces (which have their own issues, especially the 8GB versions) but at least there is consistent supply.

Nothing in this review makes me think of switching back.

German 5G network ban said to loom for Huawei and ZTE


Re: Well

Apart that is from the predictions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, being foretold 4 months in advance. And the various other public comments on the failures of the Russian forces in said invasion. All of which were extremely accurate. To the point where they either have a mole deep in the Kremlin or their surveillance systems are light years ahead of Russian counter intelligence efforts.


Re: key parts of critical infrastructure might become dependent on foreign technology

China managed to kill/murder somewhere between 30 and 60 million of its own population during the two great self-inflicted famines from the "Great Leap Forward" and the "Cultural Revolution". That sounds an awful lot like genocide. Period.

US Air Force reveals B-21 Raider stealth bomber that'll fly the unfriendly skies


Re: So they finally understood the Horten Ho 229


Magical Luftwaffe 46 imaginary aircraft.


Re: John and Joan Wayne... Peace through Nuclear WAR.

1: It's the B2 Stealth Bomber. The B1 was a completely different aircraft;

2: They made 20 of the B2, not 45.


Re: Does it still show up on VHF weather radar...

That is pretty much 100% incorrect.

The Serbian's figured out that the USAF was flying exactly the same path at exactly the same time each night. They then fired a barrage at that spot and got lucky.

As for the 1950's and 60's Soviet radars, what do you think Iraq was running in 1991? And again in 2003? Why do you supposed that both the Russians and the Chinese put so much effort post 1991 into stealth aircraft detection? After all if their 1950's and 60's radars could detect stealth they had nothing to worry about right?


Re: Unit Cost

The unit cost has dropped a lot as the numbers built grow. It's now cheaper than the Swedish Grippen which is why the Swedes haven't been able to sell any since 2014.

We could have a unit called the "El Reg Ignoridefence" which is based on how badly the Register does at reporting anything defence related since Lewis Page was given the flick. Every Reg article on the F-35 is equivalent to 1 Ignoridefence. For example articles on the RN's Carriers seem to range in the 0.5 to 2.5 units. The demise of Lester means anything space related gets 2+ automatically.


Re: Eye-watering

The $250 wrench (as an example) doesn't produce sparks when dropped - something rather important when you are working around highly sensitive materials. The $400 ash tray people like to mention didn't disintegrate into a shower of glass flechettes when broken. The $500 toilet seat didn't emit clouds of toxic and vision blocking smoke if it catches fire.

There is a reason why these things cost more - and if like me you have any relatives who are serving and happen to be in harms way, then you can be grateful that it's the enemy they have to worry about, not the tools they have to use.


Re: Eye-watering

Sigh, it's not there to drop dumb iron bombs, it's there to act as a carrier for PGM's that need to be bought close enough to targets that they can reach them. The PGM's themselves are also stealthy.

The B-52 is being retained for the "dropping iron bombs on third world targets" role.

Former Microsoft UX boss doesn't like the Windows 11 Start menu either


Swap to left align

It's pretty easy to swap the alignment of the taskbar from centre to left. Would be nice if we could get it as part of a group policy though.

Lloyd's to exclude certain nation-state attacks from cyber insurance policies


Re: "those that happen during wars, beginning in seven months' time"

Russian Army Accounting Rules:

50% for the Defence Minister

25% split among the Generals

10% split among lower ranked officers

5% split for the rear echelon logistics staff

10% for actual equipment purchases, maintenance, soldiers wages etc.

Result: "Super" power.

The sins of OneDrive as Microsoft's cloud storage service turns 15


Image linking

One other annoying thing that could be included in the history of OneDrive. For a while you could Embed images and it would generate a link you could use to post your images in BB format etc.

Then in their infinite wisdom Microsoft decided that any such links would expire in 48 hours. Images that worked perfectly in forums and so forth borked in a day, vast annoyances etc.


It took them more than 8 months to return this functionality.

BOFH: Where do you think you are going with that toner cartridge?


Re: Too Often...

NZ's economy at the time was HEAVILY managed. There were quotas for how much could be imported for any one category of the economy. These were written into regulation and law, hence the OP's comment on getting the government to change the regulation to allow the extra amount of wire in.

All part of an attempt to control how much foreign currency left the country. At one stage you had to get permission from Treasury if you wanted to subscribe to a foreign magazine or newspaper that wasn't already available incountry - e.g. The Economist or NY Times - because you'd be sending $$dollars out of NZ.

Needless to say, for the properly connected there were always many ways and means around such stupidity (e.g. spare parts were imported as "samples"), but the basics persisted throughout the 1970's and up until the 1984 election tossed such things out.

Games Workshop has chucked another £500k at entrenched ERP project with no end to epic battle in sight


Re: "more agile methodology"

The Salesman is a specialised subclass of the Thief class.

BOFH: Time to put the Pretty Dumb F in PDF reader


Re: Once upon a time

I think I worked for the same branch, although mine was responsible for all the housing at various establishments around the country. I certainly encountered many of the same types of people.

Indian government warns locals not to use Starlink's internet services


Re: it does not have a valid license

Germany has been contaminated by the "move like a snail on valium and still break things", hence Berlin Airport.

BOFH: So you want to have your computer switched out for something faster? It's time to learn from the master


3 year cycle

I run most of my laptop fleet on a 3 year cycle because they are with retail or sales people. Which means I get back a laptop with a cracked screen, keyboard missing 2-5 keys and at least one USB port non operational. Stains/spillage/crumbs are all just bonuses.

China warns game devs not to mess with history


They banned HoI III as it showed China as divided up during the warlord period. So IV is probably on the shitlist too.

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?


Re: Dark Monitor

Back in the mid 90's when contracting for a part of Brutish Rail I got sent to Bletchley (no not the park) to the depot where a terminal had "stopped working".

Got there, wiped the inch thick layer of dust off the screen that was preventing it from being viewable and job done. Even got a nice cup of tea out of it, so I considered that a pretty decent result.

First Coinbase, now Basecamp: Should workplaces ban political talk on internal corporate platforms?


The only thing more tedious than that person who wants to turn every topic of conversation to politics is the one that wants to turn it to their favourite conspiracy theory. If I worked somewhere with "that person" I'd welcome this rule with open arms.

Spy agency GCHQ told me Gmail's more secure than Microsoft 365, insists British MP as facepalming security bods tell him to zip it


Re: An ex GCHQ bod once told me never to use GMail

All the ex-GCHQ people I worked with were dodgy-as scumbags who thought nothing of cheating on their spouses and taxes and several of whom were heavily involved in a corporate fraud liquidation/phoenix rebirth scheme that cost several of my friends and ex co-workers a lot of money.

GCHQ could tell me that the sky is blue and I wouldn't trust a word they said.

Think tank report names and shames 'stakeholder capitalist' Salesforce for paying no corporate income tax in the US


R&D Credits

You'll note that almost all of the companies in this list are tech companies that invest heavily in R&D.

R&D Tax Credits are a bipartisan favourite in the US. The last major revision of them was done under the Obama administration which (rightly IMO) valued the long term effects of greater R&D spending. One of the reasons Amazon pays relatively little federal tax is because it spends so much on R&D.

A floppy filled with software worth thousands of francs: Techie can't take it, customs won't keep it. What to do?


The US armed forces are strictly amateurs compared to those of Australia and NZ.

There has never once been a campaign where they didn't head home with more equipment than they arrived with.

Staff and students at Victoria University of Wellington learn the most important lesson of all: Keep your files backed up


Competency was optional

It's Victoria uni. The uni that wasted millions of dollars on trying to get their name changed to Wellington University only to get slapped down and told to stick to doing what they do best - being the fourth best uni in NZ.

It's no surprise that their IT matches.

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams


Re: Site Installation

Have a +1 for the Girl Genius reference. One of the better web comics out there for sure.


Re: Not quite a straightforward bribe

For a long time because I was a tight bastard, my range bag was also my cabin bag for travel.

I'd regularly get stopped and swabbed while travelling with it (usually between NZ and Aus), often within 24 hours of it being used to store magazines, ammo and so forth.

Never once asked any questions or any other consequences. Makes me wonder just how much of the process is psychosomatic.

That said I also have anecdotal evidence of an Australian Army engineering team coming back from Iraq having spent their time there doing BDA and other demolition work being stopped by a particularly unimaginative Australian Border Patrol officer who could not understand why a group of soldiers (in uniform no less) kept dinging the machine, even after they showed him their various paperwork on their role.

Starlink's latent China crisis could spark a whole new world of warcraft


Re: Its very easy to detect ground based broadcasts

Yes that would explain why in 1997 I got them thumping on my front door telling me I had a TV and no license. At the time I had no TV and told them to go f*** right off.

Clearly it was very "easy" to detect. So easy one might suspect that they were in fact just making it up on the fly.

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?


Got lucky

I got lucky, I take exactly zero credit for how easy it was in the end.

It turned out that all the stuff I had been doing over the past 2 years - laptops for all, managed external supplier VPN, Teams rollout, RDP apps for the ERP, remote device management - were exactly the things needed to let the whole company work from home.

I also look after IT for a charity dealing with mental health. They were in the unfortunate situation of needing a lot of laptops all of a sudden at a time of low availability. They had to go to a local consumer electronics shop (sounds like Noel Lemons for other kiwis) and got a hodge-podge of massively overpriced and underspecc'd random brands and models. Luckily they too were already set up for VPN access and remote desktop so at least that aspect of it worked OK.

The wastepaper basket is on the other side of the office – that must be why they put all these slots in the computer


Probably the FIB who are apparently notorious in the US LE community for their computer illiteracy. I have a recollection that it took them two or three tries to get a working email system for example.

It's better to burn out than fade Huawei: UK rolls out schedule for rip-and-replace rules


Occam, his razor and all that

You can judge just how important Huawei is to China's intelligence networks by how loudly they've shrieked over their equipment being banned.

When Trump banned it in the US it was as if he'd wiped his ass on the Chinese Flag, said Xi looked like Winnie the Pooh on crack and that the Chinese Communist Party had spent all of WW2 hiding from the Japanese except when selling them opium*.

When Trump threatened to ban Tik-Tok you got a little pro-forma theatre and nothing else.

Quite clearly Huawei is strategic to them.

* this is exactly what they did, they just don't like acknowledging it.

Supreme Court mulls whether a cop looking up a license plate for cash is equivalent to watching Instagram at work


Re: Supreme Court

The weapons of mass destruction of the day were canons. Many many of which were privately owned by ship owners and the like. And a great many of these privately owned canons had been donated to the cause of the revolution.

For every disastrous rebrand, there is an IT person trying to steer away from the precipice


I wonder where that all came from

Ex-GF (from a very long time ago) youngest brother worked there too until it was closed down. When I visited him his house was full of all the latest and greatest in IT tech of the time with WANG logos slapped on everything. He said that when the place closed down everyone grabbed an empty shopping trolley and walked out with a full one.

Philippines to install 23,000 free public Wi-Fi hotspots


Dunno about you, but when I tried just throwing a WAP into the middle of a road, it didn't provide me with any wireless. I ended up having to attach it to a pole, provide it with electricity and an ethernet connection to the internet. Which might have some costs associated with it like labour/permits/materials. Just saying.

Uncle Sam's nuke-stockpile-simulating souped-super El Capitan set to hit TWO exa-FLOPS, take crown as world's fastest machine in 2023


Re: Uggghh

***The argument is that drugs are expensive to create, so they need to be priced high to recoup the cost. Well, some free time on the world's biggest supercomputer (x600) should knock off a bunch of development costs.***

The biggest chunk of costs are getting FDA approval - something that can take up to 10 years. No amount of super/ultra/mega-computing time will cut that type of paperwork.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago


Re: Cockroach syndrome

Hammer or .308 (7.62 NATO) data erase?

Crypto AG backdooring rumours were true, say German and Swiss news orgs after explosive docs leaked


Re: Ireland?

Yes those 10 armoured cars and five aircraft would make a real difference.


Re: Ireland?

Also Ireland is not, and never has been a NATO member.

Parks and recreation escalate efforts to take back control of field terrorised by thug geese


Re: Federally protected

They're not protected in NZ, they're a major pest - you can hunt them any time of the year using any method. They're also smart enough that they're bloody hard to do pest control on. They're big enough that shotgun rounds designed for ducks are shrugged off, and cunning enough to not let people get close enough to use larger rounds. The best bag I ever got required sitting with a supressed rifle on a hill more than 200 meters away from the pond - I got just two. The remaining 30 or so took flight.

Any Canadian goose dinners we get are well earned and have required teamwork, a good dog and more than a little luck.

US's secret spy payload offloaded: Rocket Lab demos missile muscle with second Electron guided home


Re: I Saw ......

And Elton John will be playing not too far away from Rocket Lab's launch site this weekend. Much to the disgust of my mate who is attending with his wife rather than coming out for a possum cull with the rest of the lads.

German scientists, Black Knights and the birthplace of British rocketry


Re: Another interesting article

The Canadian fighter was the Avro (Canada) Arrow. Which was a potentially very good interceptor for shooting down Russian bombers that had the misfortune to enter testing at the moment that the USSR demonstrated Sputnik - showing that bombers were no longer the primary threat to be concerned with.

We need to make it even easier for UK terror cops to rummage about in folks' phones, says govt lawyer


Vital stuff

It's critically important that your local council can demand that you unlock your phone so that they can prove it was you who was walking your dog nearby when the highly trained nose of the nearby parking warden smelled s*** (don't ask about how they're trained, it involves senior council management, a tonsilectomy, a rabbit shaped jelly mould and a corgi called Dai).

Apple calls BS on FBI, AG: We're totally not dragging our feet in murder probe iPhone decryption. PS: No backdoors


FIB strikes again

The FIB has a long history of lying about this. They claimed at once stage they had over 8,000 locked phones that were preventing crimes from being solves. The actual number turned out to be about 10% of that - none of it terrorist related, almost entirely down to the "highly sucessful" war on drugs.

It's pretty safe to run on the assumption that when the head of the FIB says something, it's a lie.