* Posts by Fonant

343 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Mar 2014


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


Re: Hmmm...

I heard somewhere that this particular plane's planned route was most unusual. So triggered the problem when all well-worn commercial flight routes would not have one.

ICAO are also trying to eliminate waypoints with duplicate names, but since this needs international agreement, it's taking some time...

What does Twitter's new logo really represent?


Re: X... 15 Overlapping Circles...?

A few circles of infinite radius would be a lot easier than lots of little ones.

Twitter name and blue bird logo to be 'blowtorched' off company branding


Just when almost everyone knew what Twitter was...

How many online services get to be as well-known as Twitter? It's a well-known brand name, and Musk is deleting it?

Is this guy supposed to be clever? Has the power completely corrupted him? Sad.

Man who nearly killed physical media returns with $60,000 vinyl turntable


Re: The best vinyl playback performance Linn has ever achieved

I like to think of it as "using the Grid as power storage".

Nobody does DR tests to survive lightning striking twice


Yes, I watch a video where they used a pulse of extremely high energy laser to pre-ionise the air to "steer" a lightning strike. Exciting research, if in very short bursts of activity!

Meta's data-hungry Threads skips over EU but lands in Britain

Big Brother

Re: These people are idiots.

Scraping all of this personal data is absolutely no benefit for the targeting of ads.

But Facebook is also used for influencing elections. Remember Cambridge Analytica? For that purpose, which commands very high fees, the personal and financial information is extremely valuable.

UK smart meter rollout years late and less than two thirds complete


Re: Still resisting the blandishments

We have a pretty standard 4.5kWp PV installation here. Family of four with teenagers, we use around 12kWh per day, averaged over a whole year. We generate 13kWh per day, averaged over a whole year.

Now if we had a 90% efficient storage system that could store 2,000 kWh for six months, we'd be self-sufficient in electricity.

Parts of UK booted offline as Virgin Media suffers massive broadband outage



Very happy to have switched from Virgin to back to Zen last year, ditching the coax "fibre" from Virgin for proper optical fibre from Zen/Openreach. 1,000 Mb/s internet connection now, as fast as the internal network!

A faster service is nice, but Support people who know what they're talking about is so much nicer!

Requiem for Google Reader, dead for a decade but not forgotten


Re: Article written by an idiot

RSS is still a Good Thing.



I came from the RSS feed reader in Vivaldi.

RSS is an very useful general-purpose subscription system, that works for all sorts of internet things.

British industry calls for regulation of autonomous vehicles


The secret to getting started on the first task is to make preparations to start the first task.


Re: Regulations is in the hand of the makers

Actually the regulations are in the hand of governments.

The makers have the question "how safe does our thing have to be?", and that can only be answered by society, or by government as a proxy.

The questions almost always boil down to moral ones. Would we accept autonomous vehicles killing people are roughly the same rate as human-driven cars do? Or half that rate? Or a tenth?

The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt


they can't all be so abysmally stupid as to not realise the problems and inherent futility

Have you seen who is currently in the Tory Cabinet?


Re: The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

No problem hiding encrypted communication: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganography


Except that we already know that:

  • Secure encryption that has a backdoor is mathematically impossible.
  • Encryption techniques can't be "un-invented".
  • Well-encrypted data is indistinguishable from random noise.
Making strong encryption illegal hurts people doing online banking, and makes criminal gangs laugh!


Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

Encryption = Maths + Computing.

Looking forward to the Tories trying to make mathematics, and/or writing software, illegal :)


Re: If they cared about children...

Which is Good, no? We wouldn't want to admit fake refugees to the country, and we wouldn't want to deport genuine ones. Well, not apart from the Tories, who want to make "being in need of help" illegal for refugees and UK citizens alike.


Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

Lib Dems, and Greens?

US officials probe Tesla's incredible detaching steering wheel


With a trim system for long curved roads.

Wannabe space 'superpower' UK tosses £1.6M at eight research projects


And they have to also cope with high-g acceleration, once.

My God, it's full of tabs: Vivaldi's coolest new features shine on phones and cars

Thumb Up

Re: Ad blocker

Ditto for Spotify.

Microsoft begs you not to ditch Edge on Google's own Chrome download page


Re: To me the worrying thing is ...

A web browser has access to a lot of information about their customers. Powerful product promotion possibilities.


I'm safer still!

Vivaldi on Fedora, FTW!

Sure, Microsoft, let's put ChatGPT in control of robots


Surely you simply ask ChatGPT "design a new robot that can defeat these ones"?

Unplug that Anker battery pack now: House blaze sparks recall


Re: Are we the problem

Looking at the same point from the other direction: there are billions of lithium batteries charged in all sorts of places, and yet the very rare occasion one catches fire (in this case, not being charged) the story is newsworthy.

Lithium batteries, as used in mobile phones and the like, couldn't really be much safer.

Thunderbird email client is Go for new plumage in July

Thumb Up

Good to see competition in email clients back!

I'm currently enjoying the "M3" email client in Vivaldi. A worthy successor to the excellent M2 client in Opera. Still needs work, but Vivaldi are working on it. Competition from Thunderbird can only be a Good Thing.

UK prepares to go it alone on post-Brexit science plan


Re: Not quite

The EU, and Northern Ireland, are pretty happy with the Northern Ireland Protocol. It's a good deal for both of them.

The UK Brexiteers, who came up with the protocol, are the ones who are now complaining.

(They're not "completely unrelated issues", they're both solidly linked to the UK leaving the EU and the Withdrawal Agreement.)


Re: “My Lifetime as a Lettuce”. The memoirs of Liz Truss

I think you'll find that the EU have implemented their side of the deal. The sticking point is Johnson's "over ready deal" and the Northern Ireland Protocol. Which the UK are now complaining about, even though it was entirely Johnson's idea.

Bank of England won't call it Britcoin but says digital pound 'likely to be needed in future'


Re: But why is this necessary?

To a certain point: as soon as bartering is better than using money, the CBDCs start to lose control again. Worse, they lose visibility of transactions, making taxation very difficult.

I can't think of a way to stop people swapping goods as an alternative to using money. Or to stop unofficial alternative currencies or systems (e.g. swapping a certain number of hours' work for goods) taking over from using money.

Big Brother

AIUI, that's why the Big Stores have "loyalty card" schemes like Nectar. Then they do get to see exactly what you've bought. They'll please you by sending targeted discount vouchers, but mostly it's for their benefit. Nectar particularly interesting as it is a system shared by several Big Stores.

Trust, not tech, is holding back a safer internet


Re: Trust the government / security services / police?

One person's "terrorist" is another person's "freedom fighter".

Sometimes the same person changes their mind: Mandela switched from being a terrorist to being a freedom fighter in the UK, for example.

Aviation overhaul bill passes US House... for the third time


Re: Phew - scapegoats found !!

I spotted that. Those people are worth keeping on, as they now know which files can't be deleted!

For password protection, dump LastPass for open source Bitwarden


The most popular authenticator apps, such as Google and Microsoft's, are tied at the hip to major companies.

I use Authy, which does the job nicely, cross-platform. https://authy.com (website under maintenance at time of posting).

Move over, Kraftwerk: These musical instruments really are the robots


Re: Nice but...

I think the project is more about finding engineering solutions to model human actions. Such as playing a guitar or drums. The process of creating solutions is the "creativity" part of the project. The robotic music is merely a side-effect.

Five British companies fined for making half a million nuisance calls


Far too easy to set up a Limited Company in the UK, scam people, and then shut it down again.

Being a "Ltd" is no longer a sign of trustworthiness, sadly. Companies House needs to completely re-think how it controls limited companies and the people creating them.

This is the best pay offer you'll get without more strikes, union tells BT workers


Actually that's more capitalist than communist - the same percentage rise means the top brass get LOADS more money, while those on minimum wage get the smallest increase.


That's a Good Thing, as it's always the lower-paid staff that do the most actually-necessary work. They're the ones that companies need to keep on!

Rackspace customers rage as email outage continues and migrations create migraines


Agree. Sounds like management who are waaaaay too far out of touch with technical issues.


Re: "Fanatical Support" Died 2-3 Years Ago

Even back a decade ago the "fanatical support" took a long time to arrive. Remember well a server being supplied that had the wrong OS installed on it. Took a day to get that fixed. Then database troubles that UK support couldn't sort, so we had to wait for the US support team to wake up.

All felt like a company that was too big for it's own organisational abilities.

You really find out what a service supplier is like when something goes wrong.

Programming error created billion-dollar mistake that made the coder ... a hero?


Re: Worst code I ever saw...

Agree. Comments in code shouldn't cover the "how" as much as the "why". The code should, usually, show "how", but the "why" is often much more complicated.

Good variable naming helps a Great Deal, too. I find myself refactoring variable and method names all the time.

Norway has a month left until sun sets on its copper phone lines


Here's the official rules for national power rationing if the Grid is overloaded:


Check your electricity bill to find out which Load Block letter area you're in, and so when your power would be turned off.


Re: The big problem

A small advantage of fibre/VOIP equipment, at least for home use, is that it takes 12V DC power rather than 240V AC.

So small "battery backup" units can be used, much cheaper than UPS devices that need complex inverter electronics.

We have two Eaton 3S Mini UPS 36W backups, one each for our fibre terminator and router. The fibre terminator lasts many hours on it, and the router several hours. Enough to cover any planned 3-hour power outages if the UK grid starts to struggle. Keeps "landline" and internet access going, if not the desktop computer.

UK cuts China from Sizewell nuclear project, takes joint stake


Other renewable energy source options are hydro (pretty reliable, limited locations), solar PV (locally intermittent), or tidal (reliable, predictable, but not constant).


Re: Cold reserve NPPs?

I remember a trip to Fawley oil-fired power station, in the afternoon when they were "switching it on" to meet the evening power demand peak. An hour or so from stopped to full power, if I remember. Lots of water and metal needing to be gently heated up, and heavy masses set spinning.

Nuclear is indeed "base load" - run constantly at full power. Far too expensive and time-consuming to switch on and off.

Hydro is pretty fast to react, in the order of minutes to ramp up to full power. Pumped storage an old proven technology for energy storage and peak demand handling, but needs mountains.

Large-scale battery banks are excellent for load balancing. Instant reaction times, and can be located almost anywhere. Add in vehicle-to-grid to make use of big static electric vehicle batteries, and grid management becomes a lot easier.


Re: Also

But batteries can be used more than once.

Rolls-Royce, EasyJet fire up first hydrogen-fueled jet engine


Revert back to airships?

Hydrogen's nice and light, but needs three times the volume as aviation fuel if stored as liquid (very cold). Six times the volume if stored as 700bar pressurised gas.

So planes will significantly need bigger fuel tanks, but will save energy by not having to carry as much fuel weight around.

Batteries, with current technology, aren't as energy-dense as liquid hydrogen. But easier to handle.

Volumetric energy capacity:

- Petrol/aviation fuel: around 34 MJ per litre

- Compressed hydrogen (700 bar): 5.6 MJ per litre (fuel tanks six times larger)

- Liquid hydrogen: 10.1 MJ per litre (fuel tanks three times larger)

Locked out of Horizon Europe, UK commits half a billion to post-Brexit research


Re: The brexit gift

No, the EU haven't robbed us of anything. It's the Tory Brexit that has removed those benefits from us.


Re: The brexit gift

Brexit (implemented by the Tories) robbed us of:

  • Freedom of movement for us to live, study, and work within other EU countries
  • Easy trade with EU countries
  • Cooperation with EU countries for big scientific projects
  • EU funding for deprived areas, and for large social infrastructure projects
  • Common product standards: we now have to have UKCA as well as CE marking
  • Ability to influence important EU regulations and directives
  • EU protections for our rivers and seas: now water companies are free to dump raw sewage as much as they like, to save money
  • ...etc, etc.

Aviation regulators push for more automation so flights can be run by a single pilot


Re: Bank of mum and dad

As I understand it you can get an airline to pay for all your training. The problem then is that you're ~£100,000 in debt to them, AND they're your employer. Better to keep the debt separate from the employment, so you can switch jobs if needed.

My son is looking seriously at commercial pilot training. 18 months of intensive training costs £100,000. But that gets you to the point of being able to earn £50,000 a year starting salary as a First Officer ("co-pilot") (at least in Europe) and much higher salaries as you progress.

If you're keen enough to be a commercial pilot, you persuade someone to give you a Big Loan, which you they pay back as you earn. You have to be pretty sure it's the job you want to do!

Mentour Pilot pointed out that the training-to-earning ratio was much better for a commercial pilot than for a surgeon...

Evernote's fall from grace is complete, with sale to Italian app maker

Thumb Up


As title. Works well for me.