* Posts by Hurn

97 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Nov 2013


Staff say Dell's return to office mandate is a stealth layoff, especially for women


Did I blink and miss it?

"resuming a hybrid work schedule – working from a corporate office part of the time – or continue working remotely"

As an IBM dinobaby, myself, up until Covid, I worked "on site," 5 days a week (and substantially more than 40 hrs per week, so much so, that my unpaid overtime [USian, no union] far exceeded my vacation time - still does, which is just wrong); I'm jealous:

Does this mean:

1. Prior to Covid, no one at Dell worked 5 days a week "on site" ?

2. Post Covid, no one at Dell works 5 days a week "on site" ?

If YES to both, as the article implies, isn't that a "good thing" ?

It seems the article entirely leaves out the likelihood that a large number of people worked 5 days a week, "on site," before Covid, probably worked a couple to 5 days a week, "on site" during Covid, and are now back to working 5 days a week, "on site," post Covid.

Also, how many worked remotely, before Covid, and are still working remotely, post Covid? The article doesn't seem to mention them, either.

The fairness of a sliding scale of compensation for those who are forced to work "on site" vs those who work "hybrid" vs those who work "remote" is a whole other topic. Unfortunately,it seems to be the one left out of many of these discussions. Probably, because it would take away from the immediate goal of whoever is writing a particular article.

Firefly software snafu sends Lockheed satellite on short-lived space safari


4x Alpha launches? When's the Beta launch?

Apparently, "Alpha" is the name of the 2 stage launch vehicle, made by Firefly. This was the 4th launch.

(Had to look that up, as was not clear, from the context.)

Space nukes: The unbelievably bad idea that's exactly that ... unbelievable


Re: There's no way there aren't already nukes in space

" lead shielding to insure* radiation... "

Lead does not stop neutrons. Need poly or some hydrogenated material for that. Volume, not mass, would be the limiting factor.

Then again, what's the range of neutron detectors, and, do any of them look up?

(Last question is somewhat rhetorical, and the answer is probably classified.)

* Is "insure" vs "ensure" a UK vs US ( two countries divided by a common language) thing?

My grade school grammar nun (much worse than grammar Nazi, trust me) would have her ruler (metal edge out) at the ready for anyone who confused the two infinitives.

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen


Thank you. Upvoted.

Given the similarities, I would think Eliza should be mentioned more often, as in, job #1 of any new, so called, AI Chatbot, would be to prove (?) itself as being "more advanced" than Eliza.

Does no one remember the 1980s?

Between Eliza and the early forms of social media (CompuServe, QLink, GEnie, MCI, BBSes with Fido/Opus/Netmail), there's nothing new under the Sun (Oracle?).

Lightning struck: Apple switches to USB-C for iPhone 15 lineup


Re: "can reach out for help when there's no cell signal coverage over satellite connections"

Err.. "one more thing" time, again, on Apple's way to the bank.

It sounds like a tie-in subscription for/to AAA (aka "Triple A" or American Automobile Association) service may be required to use the emergency satellite communication feature.

No doubt, a "provide your credit card number (or Apple Pay account) and get a free month of AAA" 'deal,' which possibly bills you the full, annual subscription charge on day number 29 of your "month."

Want to cancel your AAA account, because you never use it? No problem, just call this toll free number, wait on hold for an hour, and speak with our customer service specialists in (whichever country has cheapest rates and worst English).

Oh wait, there's more. AAA will spam you with hard and soft copy, forever, to "Come back, we miss you (& your money)."

Astronaut-menacing sunstorm spotted rippling across inner solar system


Stick to a singe unit of measure

Roentgens to REM (Roentgens Equivalent, Man) to Sieverts to Grays to <What's_next?>

Could someone pick a unit of measure, and stick with it, fer Christ's sake?

Legal limits for workers: 5 REM per calendar year, not to exceed 3 REM per calendar quarter - 10 CFR 20

Why do cloud titans keep building datacenters in America's hottest city?


Re: 4 cents?

The effective residential (standard house A/C major load during summer) price, including generation, transportation, and regulating in Tucson AZ (2 hrs from PHX) is about $0.18 per KWH (assuming 1 Phase, center tap to ground, 120VAC per (2x) taps at useful max current (compressor, not evaporative, based A/C)).

While commercial customers may get a break, if they're paying extra for a percentage of "green/renewable" power (because, who isn't these days?), then, they're probably not paying far from $0.18 per KWH, at least on paper.

Would guess $0.04 is a partial price, and probably not the major component.

UK's dream of fusion power by 2040s will need GPUs


Re: No wind tunnels any more?

Could be intentional, as they're vying for the same resources.

"We need the money, because who builds wind tunnels, anymore?"


"We need the money, because who believes in fusion power anytime soon?"

NIST boffins shrink atomic beam clock to the size of a postage stamp


Zeema shift?

Clear, carbonated, citrus flavored, malt liquor based beverage?

Zeeman shift?

Spectral lines shifted (e.g. widened) when light source is in a strong magnetic field?

Intel details coral-shaped immersion cooler that bubbles like Mentos in Coke


Why 2KW?

"cope with two kilowatt chips"

Does this mean Intel is planning on introducing 2KW chips, but realized they'll first need a cooler / cooling environment, and manged to get the US DoE to fork out $ for the research?

Maybe someone else already has a 1 KW thermal solution, so now, they're going for 2?

Guess it's not a matter of "if," but "when"

Hmm.. change out the working fluid for something that boils at a much lower temp, and maybe this thing can work for quantum computers, too?

Amazon isn’t sold on AMD’s tiny Zen 4c cores in manycore Bergamo processors


Truth, Disinformation, or Ambiguous?

"We don't chase the core count as much with AWS," David Brown, VP of AWS Elastic Compute Cloud, told The Register.

This statement requires analysis:

"as much" = as compared (with/to) whom?

AWS production vs AWS development?

"Elastic Compute Cloud" - is there a non-elastic (Static?) Compute Cloud which does chase the core count?

Either more context is needed, or follow up questions are required.

The additional statements provided, concerning memory bandwidth (per core), and cost of DDR5, while factually true, may be intentionally obscurantist, as Amazon does not want to help the competition.

Is it a drone? Is it a balloon? Whatever it is the US warns locals not to let them fly in Iran


Airborne Diesels? New breed of Zeppelin?

"Additionally, aircraft spark-ignition and compression-ignition internal combustion piston engines"

We all know "spark-ignition" means an ICE which uses spark plugs, but "compression-ignition" used to mean Diesel.

As far as I know, the last "successful" class of aircraft to use Diesel engines were Zeppelins, where the long range and safety considerations outweighed the power to weight ratio.

Does this mean Iran is making (gasp! [emotional baggage from multiple wars]) Zeppelin Drones?

If not, should someone (else?) _start_ making them?

[Next up: "Drone Fighters for taking down Drone Zeppelins"]

Caltech claims to have beamed energy to Earth from satellite


Which is "better"?

A big, orbital, photovoltaic array powered microwave transmitter with advanced beam forming ability?

Or, a big, orbital mirror?

Panel members: Concerns & Questions:

Military: What kinda body count? / What's our defense?

Engineer: Possibility/efficiency/manufacture/deployment/maintenance cycle?

Bean Counter: Monetary cost per kill, or kilowatt, delivered ( Who's paying for this? Timeshare?)

Farmer: What's it do for my crop yield?

Astronomer: [as "Mr. Bill" - apologies for the dated reference] Nooooo!!!



"No energy transmission infrastructure will be needed on the ground to receive this power."

Of course not, the transmission infrastructure is in space.

The energy reception infrastructure, on the the other hand...

Encoded 'alien message' will reach Earth today, but relax: It's just a drill


Just Checking

"fostering an open-ended search for meaning across all cultures and disciplines"

Do people actually talk like this, now, or is it press-release-speak?

The Hubble Space Telescope is sinking! Two startups want to save it for free



" to remove local debris at risk of colliding with the Hubble Space Telescope, and reboost it into a safe orbit."

What's the point of clearing where it currently is, if you're about to move it?

1. Clear the path to the "safe orbit" (which, by definition, should already be clear, or else it wouldn't be safe).

2. Boost Hubble to the safe orbit.

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final


Re: Err

It may well be American, but unlike most business speak, I don't (generally) have a problem with this one:

... through <date> = ... [up to and] through [which means including, unto the very end of (] <date>

saves time, well defines the inclusive/exclusive boundary condition,

what's not to like?

Unless, of course, "through" means "until close of business day," in which case, I agree - American shite.


Re: It's the hardware, innit ....

Is TPM 2.0 _really_ not in the platform?

Microsoft's true marketing problem:

How to raise the uptake metrics for Windows 11, by encouraging the technically challenged (withOUT pissing off the OEMs, who [have always and will continue to] see Win 11 as an opportunity to sell more shiny) to either:

1. Update their BIOS <cough> UEFI </cough> to the new version (provided [under MS duress?] by MoBo/system providers) which defaults to TPM 2.0 mode active?

2. Hit the magick key on their keyboard, during power up from cold start (rather than plain "turn on"); you know: Del, F1, F12, or the Blue Thinkpad key - that key their tech guru told them never to hit while turning on their computer?, enter the forbidden BIOS/UEFI screens, turn TPM 2.0 mode on (after navigating to the setting location - good luck!), F10 to save and reboot?

There are a number of platforms, in existence, whose CPUs are capable of TPM 2.0 (emulation or otherwise), where the feature is disabled by default in the original BIOS, possibly for security reasons, but generally due to (at the time) standard, conservative engineering practices (i.e. Might it Break? _We're not sure._ Do customers need the feature? _Not yet._ Fine, we'll ship with it disabled, and worry about MS, later.)

America longs to expand low-Earth orbit economy 'for the benefits of humanity'


Bad acronym

NSTC is too close to NTSC - I saw the typo in the 3rd to last paragraph.

Ring system discovered around dwarf planet Quaoar leaves astronomers puzzled


Re: Ice volcanos beyond Pluto ?

Perhaps the "ice" in question is not frozen water, but something (else) which "melts" at a much lower temp?

Cyber-snoops broke into US military contractor, stole data, hid for months


It makes more sense, with more commas:

Spies, for months, hid inside...

California to phase out gas furnaces, water heaters by 2030


Scrubbers for fireplaces?

Does this mean new construction homes, with fireplaces, will need scrubbers in their chimneys?

Or, maybe no fireplaces at all?

How about barbecues / smokers / outdoor firepits / tiki torches?

Churches might need a religious exemption to continue using candles and incense.

China discovers unknown mineral on the moon, names it Changesite-(Y)


"They found a single crystal particle among the 140,000 lunar sample particles with a diameter of about 10 microns."

Might this mean that the largest, of many particles, reached 10 microns. How many, smaller, particles were there? 0 or > 1 ? Disambiguation requested.

This might also account for the -Y, if more particles did have Y.

California to try tackling drought with canal-top solar panels



"Because the microclimate adjacent to irrigation canals is somewhat cooler than the surrounding air, TID said the project will also keep solar panels cool, fighting heat-based efficiency losses. "

Not to rain on their parade, but the reason for the cooler microclimate is due to the evaporative cooling effect of the water.

Assuming the cover results in a greatly reduced amount of evaporation, the microclimates will be greatly reduced in size and delta temp.

On the other hand, having slowly moving water somewhat close to the back sides of the PV arrays does create an opportunity: a network of tubing on the backsides, and the occasional PV powered pump, can circulate water from the cooler canal water, chill down the PVs, and deposit the warmer water back into the canal.

Tests would need to be done to see whether the cooling is worth the extra $ - maybe just have the little pumps run in the summer?

Japan reverses course on post-Fukushima nuclear ban


Re: Wind and solar

Some cats may be better at taking down bats than others. Many years ago, I saw a cat regularly get them:

Situation was a suburban area: 2 houses with a driveway between them. A streetlight was near the end of the driveway (where it met the street). Each house has a front porch, with railing.

Bats would fly between the houses, above the driveway, and then up, into the light of the (mercury vapor, so you know it was a while ago) streetlight, which would attract a halo of flying insects (aka bat fuel).

Cat would sit on the porch railing, watching between the houses for the next bat sortie. When the bat was in range, the cat would leap from the railing, catch the bat, land, and head under the porch for a leisurely meal.

Nichelle Nichols' ashes set for trek to the stars


New record

" James Doohan, who portrayed Enterprise chief engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott – sometime later this year. "

Yet, it seems (at least some of) his ashes were already put into space, back in 2008?


What's the record number of times for a person's ashes to be blasted into space?

US Army drone crashes hours ahead of breaking flight duration record


Radar and signal jammers


I doubt the solar panels / onboard batteries can sate the power hungry needs of active jamming for long.

Scientists use supercritical carbon dioxide to power the grid


Combo for the win

A casual look at the diagram suggests the existence of two external thermal components:

A heat source


A heat sink

Since a single stage heat pump wouldn't close the loop, perhaps some efficiency might be gained by using waste heat to make cold, ala this recent El Reg article: https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/29/bill_gates_aircon_venture_funding/

Assuming the cooling part of the equation is easy to solve, there remains the question:

What supplies the heat?

Why you should start paying attention to CXL now


Does CXL run over anything other than PCIe?

Given the short range of PCIe cables ("borrowed" [stolen] from IEEE/SAS specs), how are the PCIe to photonics / fibre channel interfaces coming along, these days?

If one wants a "real' mesh/network, on a budget, one needs to support cables longer than 2 meters (metres).

Trouble is, with current tech, one hits latency/delays going from PCIe to photons and back.

CXL over PCIe over Ethernet (using encapsulation over RDMA/ RoCE 3?) would suffer (even more) from latency.

Bill Gates venture backs effort to bring aircon startup to market


This sounds similar to a Lithium-Bromide cooling system, where heat is used to make cool.

On my old sub, the source of heat was steam. It sounds like this system uses a heat pump as the heat source.

Principal is based on a closed loop, where water is absorbed by the nasty working fluid, in a partial vacuum, which generates cold, suitable for cooling a chill water loop.

The "wet" fluid is then heated up, which drives the moisture out, "drying" the fluid, which is then ready to re-absorb the water and chill down, again.

Presumably, all of these nasty bits are outside of the structure being cooled, with a chill water loop running into it. Inside the structure, all that's needed is the chill water loop, and strategicaly placed heat exchangers (think CRACs) and probably forced airflow blowing past.

Experts warn transition to private space stations won't happen anytime soon


Re: Medical experiments

Actually, in 2001, the hub rotated with the station.

This is why the PanAm Clipper had to carefully line up with the station, and start rotating at the same speed as the hub.

Once rotational speed was matched, only then did the Clipper move forward, into the docking space at the center of the hub.

The motion went well with the music.

These centrifugal moon towers could be key to life off-planet


Dealing with two "down" directions might be tough

If I'm reading this correctly, the centrifuge spins at 90 degrees from vertical, (meaning axis is vertical), so that primary "down" is lateral (towards the outer wall of the wheel).

However, even given a spin going at 1 G sideways, there's still the "real" down to worry about - 1/6 or 1/3 G, 90 degrees from the primary down.

Seems uncomfortable, or even dangerous.

Meta: We need 5x more GPUs to combat TikTok, stat


Re: They just don't get it.

At 21, the crystal would turn black.

(According to the book version, not the movie version.)

Fujitsu confirms end date for mainframe and Unix systems


Re: Support for five more years ?

Excuse me, but the POWER family of chips does not power Z.

The requirements for POWER 3 through Power 10 are much different from the Z Mainframe CPUs, although it is true both CPUs have benefited from process improvements.

One example:

A P10 chip, running at, let's say 300 Watts, is able to be cooled using forced air (fans) with big heatsink.

Z systems use liquid cooling (with radiator and anti-freeze/water mixture), because their CPU modules run at much higher power levels, and are more densely packed.

Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac


Re: magnetocaloric effect ?

Why stop at 2 sockets?

Go Gatling Gun style - use 6 sockets, arranged in a hex ring, so that each socket gets 5x the time to cool down, before being used again.

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of 'Advanced Night Repair' skin cream helping NASA to commercialise space


Atmospheric Contaminant?

It would seem that the ISS, like (nuclear powered submarines) should be worried about atmospheric contaminants.

The CO2 scrubber (and CO-H2 burner, on a sub) can only remove so many compounds (especially volatile organics), many of the rest are "scrubbed" from the air by human lungs (which are almost as good as activated charcoal, assuming the humans are later able to breath "clean" air and hack up the crud).

One hopes the skin cream has a minimum of scent / volatile organics, and that no one has a bad reaction (asthma? allergy?)

Who's the next customer to foul the ISS air?

A tobacco company, with zero g vape pens (quite the engineering challenge)?

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!


Re: Dwarfs or dwarves?

Checked that other site - they didn't provide the "real" reason:

In the middle ages, possibly up until the mid-late 19th Century, depending on font, the letter "s" was shaped more like an f.

This meant dwarfs looked more like dwarff (and all the other words that ended with f, when pluralized, kinda looked like they ended with ff).

Because of this ambiguity, changing what looked like ff to vef (dwarvef) made things much less ambiguous. However, once the common fonts made s look like the modern s, the "fix" was no longer needed. Unfortunately, the language rules are harder to change, these days, so no one bothered.

Second MoD Airbus Zephyr spy drone crashes on Aussie test flight


Re: brushless

Old style synchronous motors used brushes to supply the rotor windings with current - the rotor's magnetic field would sync up with the stator windings' rotating magnetic field (typically 3 phase induction motor style windings). If the rotor's magnetic field became too low, or the load on the shaft too high, synchronous motors can "slip a pole" which results in a current spike, which can trip the motor offline.

Brushless / permanent magnets are ably to supply a constant rotor magnetic field without slip rings (which is good, as slip rings require brushes and maintenance). Hopefully, the magnets are strong enough to not slip a pole.

Most likely, speed is controlled by changing the frequency of the incoming 3 phase AC - something like 20 Hz to 200 Hz - which would be handled by the static inverter. Chances are, each motor would have it's own static inverter aka speed controller.

Inflatables, solids, strap-ons and riders – oh my, it's the week in space


Trump says NASA should be focused on Defense.

Isn't that what the Space Force (which he created) is for?

Clever girl: SpaceX's Mars-bound Raptor engine looks like it works just fine


Re: Green

Another thought would be this: rather than "saturation," many (video) cameras can "see" Infra Red, but report the color as green. Since the flame is hot, there's a lot of IR being released.

Example: point a hand held, IR LED remote control at a video camera lens and push the remote button. While the Mk I Mod 0 eyeball won't see anything, the camera will see the LED(s) light up green.

Presumably, even with an IR filter covering the lens, which would be a sensible precaution given the heat, some hot things may still show green.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?


Re: Imagine a smart bomb that refuses to explode

"Ah, bomb?"

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly


Re: It's not a compass.

The original concept was (is) called SINS: Ship's Inertial Navigation System

accelerometers sense movement along all 3 axes and track displacement

It is not Dead Reckoning, but a technological replacement. From over 50 years ago.

The main difference between SINS's gyroscopes and quantum "compass" is sensitivity (and need for extreme cooling).

Foreshadow and Intel SGX software attestation: 'The whole trust model collapses'


SGX = ?

Software Guard Extensions (SGX)

Zombie … in SPAAACE: Amateur gets chatty with 'dead' satellite


Re: That's pretty nifty!

Shurely, that's mettle. (Unless a pun was intended.)

Hubble catches a glimpse WASP-12b, an almost pitch-black exoplanet


SOL is a dwarf?

" star WASP-12a – a dwarf star with a similar mass and size as our Sun "

If a dwarf start has similar mass and size as our sun, shurely this means our sun must be a dwarf?

Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient


Optometrist Algorithm

Is this better, or worse?

<makes adjustment>

Better, or worse?

Which is clearer, 1?

<flips lens>

Or 2?

< flips back >


<flips again>

Or 2?

SpaceX halts Intelsat 35e launch twice in a row


Sucessful Launch on July 5th

Perhaps an update to the article would be appropriate?

Back to ASICs: Mellanox pumps up Ethernet speed to 400Gbps


SFPs + Fiber = cost more than switch?

Proposed specs - official IEEE release expected in December

400 Gbit/s Ethernet

at least 100 m over multi-mode fiber (400GBASE-SR16) using sixteen parallel strands of fiber each at 25 Gbit/s[19][20]

at least 500 m over single-mode fiber (400GBASE-DR4) using four parallel strands of fiber each at 100 Gbit/s[21][22]

at least 2 km over single-mode fiber (400GBASE-FR8) using eight parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[21][23][24]

at least 10 km over single-mode fiber (400GBASE-LR8) using eight parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[21][24][25]

200 Gbit/s Ethernet

at least 500m over single-mode fiber (200GBASE-DR4) using four parallel strands of fiber each at 50 Gbit/s[26][27]

at least 2 km over single-mode fiber (200GBASE-FR4) using four parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[1][27]

at least 10 km over single-mode fiber (200GBASE-LR4) using four parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[1][27]

The revolution will not be televised: How Lucas modernised audio in film


2 Items

1. The key to THX certification was the use of an HP sound analyzer similar to that used (in the 1980s) on US Submarines by "Sound Silencing" teams. The analyzer could be programmed for waveform analysis and "noise" detection on a per frequency/bandwidth basis,

Reference tones / pink noise would be played by the film projectors

Signals would be amplified, processed, and distributed to the speakers

Sounds would be emitted from the speakers

Multiple microphones / accelerometers would convert the sounds back to electrical signals, which were fed to the sound analyzer, which would check for frequency response, harmonic distortion. phase distortion (typically seen / expected at frequency crossover points), and amplitude.

Results were then used to fine tune the equalizers / filters / amplifiers in a feedback loop - tests and adjustments would continue, until the theater was declared to be "in spec"

Best of all, the process would be repeated at regular intervals (quarterly / semi-annually / annually), so certification resulted in a regular paycheck going to Lucasfilm / THX.

2. Any article about theater sound systems should mention the movie "Alien". At least, in my neck of the woods, it was the first "true Dolby Stereo" movie where the stereo effect & noise reduction were truly noticeable.

NATO secures adoption of submerged drone data comms standard


UHF Transmission

Submarines can transmit UHF without fully surfacing, as well. Like the periscope, the radio antenna (AN/BRA-34 back in my day) is mounted to the end of a hydraulic piston.

Sub comes up to "periscope depth" and raises the antenna above the surface of the water.

Unfortunately, as suggested, such communications were easily tracked via RDF, so the sub didn't say much.

Short range comms were handled by the underwater telephone (analog, acoustic).