* Posts by Michael Hoffmann

744 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jul 2007


Now IBM sued for age discrim by its own HR veterans

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


So often the worst of the cheerleaders, enablers, excusers for rotten corporate cultures.

One just can't help feel some Schadenfreude.

95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers

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/giphy throw head back and laugh

Uncle Sam names three Amazon execs as Prime suspects in subscription ripoff case

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Re: Dark patterns on-hold

Shout out to Fiji Air here, while we're digressing.

When I recently had to cancel a trip due to surgery, they refunded non-refundable tickets, once I provided a medical cert. They would have been fully in their rights to just let me take it up with the travel insurance, but they didn't.

Miracles do happen!

Starlink speeds ahead in the satellite race but rivals aren't starstruck just yet

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I generally find it enough for gaming. That said, I do MMOs not the COD/LOL style, so YMMV.

'Small monthly payment' only thing that stands between X and bot chaos, says Musk

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Article take-away

So, if Netanyahu had the Mossad take out Musk right after the meeting, 80% of the ant-semitism issues on Xitter would have been resolved right then and there?

If anyone finds an $80M F-35 stealth fighter, please call the Pentagon

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

In other news

The Chinese high sea fishing fleet has been seen to deploy boats into Lake Moultrie and Marion in large numbers. How they arrived at the land-locked bodies of water is not yet clear.

When asked, the commanding officer stated "Chairman Xi is a huge fan of Lake Marion trout, that's all!"

Stoner Cats NFT project declawed for being an unregistered security

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Should be the Official Motto of ElReg:

"What's German for Schadenfreude?"

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Re: Get Rich Quick

If you don't stop right now, I'm going to get steamed!

Airbus takes its long, thin, plane on a ten-day test campaign

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Re: One step above a regional jet

I just did and - colour me impressed. For years I avoided US carriers because their product had been years behind other top carriers (only BA and LH were worse, which didn't bother me on trans-Pacific flights). Has anybody really tall (>190cm/6ft) had a change to try it? That's become a problem (again) when even airlines like Singapore "re-invented" their C-class and cut inches such that I can no longer properly stretch out all the way.

(the foot well in the 321 does look a bit tight, same problem as with Singapore: big feet get squashed and you can't fully stretch out)

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

One step above a regional jet

I wonder what biz class will look like in these things. If they even bother. There's just no room for a decent product. Maybe a handful of seats in herring-bone arrangement?

NASA wants to believe ... that you can help it crack UFO mysteries

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Why is this suddenly making such a come-back? After years of debunked-by-billions-of-mobile-phones-with-cameras (XKCD), suddenly we're dragging this nonsense out again.

Is it the times? The knowledge that "crap, we really messed up and have no idea how to fix the planet" we're back to hoping for the aliens to save our bacon, because prayer to gods sure as hell (ha!) didn't work?

James Webb spies distant exoplanet that could be wet, wild, and Hycean

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Re: Danger, Will Robinson!

Well, there's obviously LOTS of oxygen - but is it all bound in water? I imagine a thunderstorm could be a show to behold!

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


Going what I know (and think) of that company, I wouldn't be surprised if *they* put those ideas into the heads of carmaker execs in the first place.

If you follow the chain of all that seems to be in corporations, from open plan to staff attrition through "back to the office" and everything in between, it seems you find their name pop up somewhere.

Russian infosec boss gets nine years for $100M insider-trading caper using stolen data

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Is it arrogance or ignorance that makes these guys head abroad without checking for extradition treaties, especially to the US?

Norway court upholds miniscule fine against Meta for flouting privacy rules

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Just goes to show

The legal fines embedded in law simply were never designed to cope with transnational corporations whose revenue (and profits) dwarf the GDP of some entire countries. The fines set in law may hurt some "normal" company, even some corporations, but for these megas it's less than their execs spend on drugs at Burning Man.

IANAL, and thank the gods, not a politician, so I have no idea why the law doesn't prescribe percentages instead of absolute amounts. (But I am a cynic, so quite possibly because, just like in the robber baron days, these corporations OWN the courts and political systems. And these lawsuits are just electioneering and grandstanding to show the plebs Something Is Being Done).

Scared of flying? Good news! Software glitches keep aircraft on the ground

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Bah, humbug!

Back in my days we didn't have all this software around airplanes!

You tuned your NDB to the nearest country-and-hillbilly AM station and off you went into the wild blue yonder! IFR meant "I Follow Roads"!

Your approach guidance systems was the volume of the passengers screaming in the back! Dispatch was when the stewardess(!) served you donuts and coffee.

Icon, as it's the closest I could find to a geezer ->

Coffee Meets Bagel outage caused by cybercriminals deleting data and files

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

"We quickly re-established a secure environment"

You have tried before the incident without the "re-"?

Right to repair advocates have a new opponent: Scientologists

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Re: This is srs bsnss and no time for levity or larking about.

You are opening yourself to someone posting a sentence starting with "this man has no".

Not that *I* would ever do that!

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Was our little cabal the only one who used UUCP to exchange feeds? Every night at 11pm, I'd hear the clickety-click of my modem dialing and polling my peer upstream (rotary phones in Germany back then, still).

That led to my first O'Reilly purchase, as Managing UUCP and Usenet was invaluable. Before they became this mega-conglomerate.

Where the hell did time go?!

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Re: sudo apt install slrn

Pchaw! I remember exchanging direct messages/mail with JMS himself - on Compuserve!

Man, I wish I'd kept those.

Let's give these quadruped robot dogs next-gen XM7 rifles, says US Army

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Somehow reminds me of those jet-power supersonic robot dogs in Snowcrash.

Japan complains Fukushima water release created terrifying Chinese Spam monster

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No, that's Tiffany's, famous for breakfast and jewelry.

Silicon Valley billionaires secretly buy up land for new California city

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What will they call it?

Will they call it "Elysium"? Or is that still reserved for Space Karen's future billionaires-only space utopia?

As for thousands of jobs: will they live *in* the city, in appropriate slave and serf quarters, of course, probably underground, so as not to spoil the view with favellas? Or drudge in and out like the the throngs in Metropolis? The AFB won't be a problem - I'm waiting for the day when they finally have their own private armies. Russia sort of shows how it's done.

Zoom CEO reportedly tells staff: Workers can't build trust or collaborate... on Zoom

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

I'll give you cooperation and innovation...

I have a voice that naturally carries. A lot. That's just how it is (*). A reverberating baritone. It's either that or down to a whisper that is a) incomprehensible and b) makes my throat hurt.

When I'm in the office, and someone comes to me for some of that synergy and cooperation and innovative chattedy-chat, it will take a minute before the dirty looks start - on the other side of the building, courtesy of the abomination of open plan offices! Go to a meeting room? With those paper walls, it either does nothing, or you'll feel you're next to an obnoxious nightclub, where you hear nothing but a deep base droning.

That's when I'm calm. If I get excited about something (or annoyed, but that almost never happens in all things IT, amirite?), my voice increases in volume and carries across several floors.

Be glad I'm almost never in the office anymore!

(*) back when I was in the military, I was sometimes roped in for leading drill and parade duty. My bellows would bring a tear of joy to Sergeant Fred Colon.

CEO Zooms through the bad news on Q2 earnings call

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Zoom? Teams?

Meanwhile, devs and engineers at <workplace> all use Slack. (

PS: Teams is still mandatory for video calls when manglement is involved

PPS: It still happens occasionally that dev from <off-shored country) asks "what is Slack?" The poor sods.

Judge snuffs man's quest to have AI-created art protected by copyright

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Case law

With regard to the "must be human created", I was curious and looked up the situation of animal-created art and, of course, the (in)famous Macaque selfie.

Turns out that yes, this holds absolutely true: only a legal person can hold copyright, which an animal is not, and the copyright may also not be claimed by the human owner/trainer/wild-life photographer by proxy.


There's precedence, especially as I would argue your average elephant, cat, monkey/ape has more sentience/sapience than over-hyped "rapid look-up engines cum neural network" called "AI". Naturally, therefore this hold true for a computer.

At least right now. Our future machine overlords may revisit this and add an inflammatory reply some time long after I'm gone and give a flying f*ck.

Amazon's latest directive: Report to the office 'cos we're watching you

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


Just reading this article gives me something akin to PTSD, remembering my time there.

3 months of doing nothing much but learning and drinking the kool-aid, 6 months of an amazing project - followed by 9 months of hell. Trying to get to 2 years, somehow, for the stock options, but had to bail or face months of therapy (which is what happened to a coworker, who stuck it out and had to spend months getting mental health treatment). The lowest rated manager was put in charge of the team, after the 2 *highest* rated ones were driven out and the regional manager bailed in disgust after a mere 4 or 5 months. I went from getting cheered and accoladed to being put on a PIP in 4(!) weeks, just as a result of that "civil war".

With the good people leaving - or getting laid off - what's left must increasingly be a sediment layer of sociopathy, looking more like late Western Rome or Byzantium, in its internecine warfare and backstabbing, while waving their previous, weaponised "leadership principles" around like a Labarum. (yes, I've been reading A.Goldsworthy's Fall of Rome, why do you ask? ;) )

Was thinking of posting this anonymously, but no, I'm leaving my name on this. You can get fucked, Amazon/AWS!

Infosys launches 'sonic identity' – an aural logo to 'reinforce brand purpose'

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Like most modern music...

Non-offensive, generic, easy-listening pap.

The audio equivalent of books found at most airport and train station outlets.

Most distant observed star is blue – and it isn't alone

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Éalá Éarendel Engla Beorhtast

Hail Earendel, brightest of angels.

Dang, that guy has sailed far with that silmaril on his brow.

Or is Middle-Earth actually to be found way, way out there?!

Pope goes fire and brimstone on the dangers of AI

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This attitude will last...

... until about 5 minutes after the first "AI" expresses an interest to convert to Catholicism.

Hide and seek in outer space highlights a battle here on Earth

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Mandatory watching

"It's Quieter in the Twilight" - 2022 documentary about the aging Voyager team still keeping things going in a dinky office and on a shoestring budget.

We'd pay good money to see... oh dear, Elon Musk 'needs an MRI scan'

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Weird coincidence

Having literally just (4 weeks ago) having experienced the unbelievably excruciating pain of a protruded disk pressing on spinal nerves, having to live off opiates and finally having surgery, but possibly having to live with nerve damage in my right arm for the rest of my life........ I almost feel sympathy with Elon. At least I most certainly empathise.

Lawrence Livermore lab repeats fusion breakthrough – yep, still kinda works

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If they continue at that rate it will be merely 500 years until they have a Gigawatt reactor.

Disclaimer: pastprogressisnoindicationoffutureprogressassumeslinearcontinuationofcurrentprogressandmaychangeinaccordancewithfuturedatapointsindicatingprogressisnonlinear

RIP Bram Moolenaar: Coding world mourns Vim creator

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A saint!

A true saint in the Church of the One True Editor.

May he always know which mode he's in, forever and ever, amen!


Two US Navy sailors charged with giving Chinese spies secret military info

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Does the US pay that badly?

You're risking decades in the clink for $15K?! I thought the US military paid somewhat decently and you got pretty good healthcare?

Any Chinese "spymasters" reading this: add 3 0's before approaching me. I want my wife and pets taken care of, if I spend the rest of my life in a 4x3m cell.

(do I have to add "no this was not an incitement to approach me about espionage" in this day and age? Probably, yes. I don't even work with or for the military)

Farewell, Aeolus: Doomed ESA weather sat reenters atmosphere over Antarctica

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

The rebels are there!

Sounds like the Imperial probe crashing on Hoth!

Next thing, some poor dude checking the wreckage gets assaulted by a Wampa.

Arc: A radical fresh take on the web browser

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Was hoping to read about how good it is with "mandatory" addons/plugins: script blockers, ad blockers, track blockers, tab segregation and containerisation.

Then I saw that it was Chrome based, so only would allow castrated addons, so Google can continue to get their pound of ad flesh.


'Weird numerological coincidence' found during work on Linux kernel 6.5

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
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The what?

El Reg has a numerological analysis bureau?

Has the readership been informed of this secret department before?

Amazon sets up shop at Kennedy Space Center to prep Kuiper broadband satellites

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Will fail...

On the corresponding Ars Technical article, someone apparently in the business explained why this will utterly fail. As one commenter here already noted: cart before horse.

ULA will never provide the necessary launch cadence, their own BE4 are... err, "vaporising ware", might be the appropriate term. JB will die before he buys capacity on SpaceX (if EM even will sell it for any price).

The numbers simply don't add up. They lack any means to get those thousands of sats up in any reasonable timeframe.

Competition would be good, but right now RocketLabs has a better chance.

RIP Kevin Mitnick: Former most-wanted hacker dies at 59

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

A name spoken in awe...

... oh so many years ago, at our regular hack meets, different time, different continent.

We wondered how we could be like him.

Without the jail time. ;)

Vale et ei bibendum!

Opportunity NUCs for Asus to continue Intel's mini PC line

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Re: Nuc-Nuc

I have some first gen NUC still trucking along. Some still have hard-disks (gasp!). They just run and run.

Google toys with internet air-gap for some staff PCs

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

If they cut off Stackoverflow for their devs, Google is doomed.

JumpCloud says 'nation state' gang hit some customers

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

At least JC is dealing with this in a pretty open and exemplary manner, as frustrating (yet another one?) as it is. Though I'm still waiting for the first notification: so far, it's only been through the tech media.

I've used them for years, not the least because I love their "free for up to 10 users" policy. Unlike others (looking at you, Okta)

Artificial General Intelligence remains a distant dream despite LLM boom

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Intelligence as fundamental property of matter?

Wow, with an imbecilic statement like that, we’ve reached peak hype waaaay too soon.

It’s reality check and downhill after something like that. How will they milk more money? Weren’t they going to drag it out a bit more?

H-1B fraud consultancies grow, with application abuse openly discussed online

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Re: abuse harms those who play by the rules

The chief abusers ARE US CEOs!

They're the ones who want cheap, quasi-indentured labour.

Microsoft puts profanity filter on %@!#ing Teams transcripts

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

This is going to make transcripts for Teams meetings in the chicken and poultry industry awkward, especially breeders.

FTC pulls emergency brake on Microsoft's marriage to Activision Blizzard

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Re: Pity

Sadly, aren't "shitty rushed console ports" par for the course now? :(

Sony, SquareEnix, the list goes on.

Heck, at least Microsoft has Asobo and Flight Simulator 2020! Small blessings.

At any rate, my point was squarely at the culture issues at ActiBlizz.

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I am quite possibly in a total minority here, but I was barracking for the take-over.

The shit-show that Activision-Blizzard have become under Kottick could have only gotten better.

Oh well, it's been years since I last touched a Blizzard game. I'm even holding back on D4.

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


Hang on, if you actually read the endless daily drivel on your average LinkedIn stream, a lot of that bullshit bingo is posted (or shared/reposted) underneath faces of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed yoof.

So many of them either spout the same incomprehensible nonsense - or are happy to regurgitate it for the sake of their own climb up the ladder. Manglement material, the lot of them.

WFH mandates bad for staff morale and stunt innovation

Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

Re: “Bad for staff morale and stunt innovation”

And devious?