* Posts by Spudley

297 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Sep 2015


Indonesia blocks Musk's X.com over its X-rated past


The history of the X.com domain is extremely well documented right back into the 1990s. It has not hosted porn or gambling durring any of that time. Sounds like someone is playing silly games here.

Years of development, millions of lines of code, and Android can't even run a toilet


As a parent of young kids, I'm pretty certain this toilet was a character on a recent episode of Danger Mouse.

Tupperware-dot-com has a live credit card skimmer on its payment page, warns Malwarebytes


Branded lunchbox biz didn't answer for 5 days, alleges infosec firm

I guess they were trying to keep a lid on it.

Alphabet, Apple, Dell, Tesla, Microsoft exploit child labor to mine cobalt for batteries, human-rights warriors claim


Most of Tesla's Cobalt already comes from Canada.


Re: How much cobalt per car?

It doesn't really matter how much cobalt Tesla uses anyway in context, because Tesla doesn't buy their cobalt from Congo. Cobalt for Model S/X is sourced from the Philippines, and for other models it comes from Canada.


Woke tech giants sued...

Seems to me that if anyone is going to be called "woke", it should be the ones doing the suing.

They seem to be deliberately ignoring the fact that the oil industry is a far bigger user of cobalt than the battery industry, and oddly enough, they also get their cobalt from the same sources.

Not only that, but of the companies actually listed, most of them buy their batteries from established battery manufacturers; the only one that actually manufacturers their own batteries is Tesla... and they're on record as saying that they're making efforts to cut their cobalt content to zero.

So basically a stupid lawsuit that is aimed at making publicity from attacking high-profile tech companies rather than targeting the companies that are actually getting their hands dirty.

First Python feature release under new governance model is here, complete with walrus operator (:=)


Re: Irony

I guess that in itself is a good commentary on why the governance process became necessary.


Yes, the original code is ugly, but there will be be better ways to tidy up it up than using this operator.

Fundamentally, the problem with assignment within an expression is that it is a one-line violation of CQS (command / query separation), which frankly is one of the most important rules you can learn for writing reliable, good quality code.


I agree.

There are no circumstances that make this a good practice, regardless of whether you have a distinct operator for it. The only reason for wanting to do it is because of some misguided belief that fewer lines of code makes your code neater. It does not.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name


Good on them. This has been overdue for at least a decade.

I'd be willing to bet that the project would have actually been a better piece of software today without that name as well, because I'm fairly certain there are devs, and testers who have backed away from it due to the name, and even funding, just as there have been users.

If they're worried about what happens when a project changes name, they could look at projects that have been forked, such as Jenkins, MariaDB, LibreOffice and others which have done just fine after what was effectively a name change (yes the original projects carried on, but just about the entire user base and all the developers jumped over to the new one).

Otto man thrown under the bus: 33 crim trade secret theft charges for ex-Uber exec Anthony Levandowski


Also... where are the charges against Uber?


I still don't understand why Google was willing to settle with Uber so cheaply, or indeed at all.

Elon Musk's new idea is to hook your noggin up to an AI – but is he just insane about the brain?


Neurolink differs from most of Musk's other big ideas in on important way. Let me demonstrate what I mean:

When we see electric and self-driving cars in sci-fi movies, it's often depicted as part of a utopian future.

When we see sci-fi movies with space pioneers pushing the boundaries to help expand humanity from Earth, it's also often depicted as a good thing.

But when we see sci-fi where everyone has brain implants with the kinds of features Neurolink is aiming for, it is very often shown as part of a dystopian vision of the future.

Quite what the real future holds for all of these technologies, I honestly don't know. I've got an uneasy feeling about this one which I don't have about anything else Musk is doing.

Also, I note that this is just about the only thing Musk is doing that Jeff Bezos hasn't decided to copy. Given that Bezos comes across as a much more level-headed supervillain than Musk, this may be significant.

Got an 'old' Tesla? Musk promises 'self-driving' upgrade chip ship by end of 2019


The announcement, if that's what it is, came in a tweeted reply from Elon Musk that the upgrade will come: "End of Q4, most likely."

This was promised quite a long time ago. Yes, it was re-iterated by Musk on twitter over the weekend, but the original promise was made ages ago. In fact Musk's tweet that is quoted here was in reply to someone who knew that and was asking when it would happen.

So basically no story here; just repeating stuff that was already known anyway by anyone paying attention.

Deepfake 3.0 (beta), the bad news: This AI can turn ONE photo of you into a talking head. Good news: There is none


Came here to say the same thing.

Those crazy Russians.

This isn't Boeing to end well: Plane maker to scrap some physical cert tests, use computer simulations instead


Boeing is also building the Starliner spacecraft in competition with SpaceX's Crew Dragon.

At least one of the major abort tests is being done for real by SpaceX but as a simulation by Boeing. I have no idea how they managed to convince Nasa to go along with that, but whether it's sufficient for it to be a simulated test or not, it certainly speaks of the same attitude at work as described in this article.

Musk loves his Starlink sat constellation – but astroboffins are less than dazzled by them


Re: Debunked?

No, you just chuck out the streak part of a few dozen images, and you still have 9998 good copies of each pixel.


Re: Far Side of the Moon

You're right, it would be costly, but I'd be willing to bet it'll ends up being one of the first permanent structures that gets built on the Moon.

I'd also be willing to bet that SpaceX will be involved with its construction.


Any complaints aimed at SpaceX on this topic need to remember that there are at least six other companies racing to build similar systems. SpaceX is looking like it's going to be a clear winner of the race, but make no mistake: if SpaceX weren't doing this, someone else would be.

Brit Watchkeeper drone fell in the sea because blocked sensor made algorithms flip out


Re: What a good thing ...

Let me clarify, because people seem to think I'm wrong.

It is indeed never too soon to discuss correct design and criticise failures.

But right now is too soon to be making flippant jokes about an aircraft crash that claimed hundreds of lives only a month ago.

There is an obvious comparison to be drawn between the two events, and I'm right with you in making it, but pleae just be a bit more careful about making your point by turning it into a snarky joke, because a month after the Ethiopian crash, that comes across as being in poor taste.


Re: What a good thing ...

> <snipped snarky Boeing comments>

Too soon, mate. Too soon.

There are pictures all over the internet of a big dark spot on Uranu... Oh no, wait, it's Neptune


First rule of government acquisitions: Why buy one when you can get two at twice the price.

Stop us if you're getting deja-vu: Uber used spyware to nobble dial-a-ride rival, this time Down Under, allegedly


"We're going to clean up our act," they said. "We're going to stop all the dodgy shenanigans," they said.

"Stop us if you've heard this before," the headlines still say.

So, uh, yeah Uber. That's right, I don't trust you.

From MySpace to MyFreeDiskSpace: 12 years of music – 50m songs – blackholed amid mystery server move


When I shared this news among my colleagues, the reactions were as follows:

* "MySpace? Who are they?"

* "MySpace? Are they still around?"

* "Ha ha!"

Lowjax city: Researchers crack open notorious Fancy Bear rootkit


Yo dawg, I heard you liked root, so I rooted your rootkit.

Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim


A comparison from an entirely different industry may be helpful here.

When Coca Cola reached peak coke, they didn't keep trying to get us to drink even more of the stuff. Well, they did, but that wasn't what allowed the company to keep growing. They diversified.

Coca Cola as a product isn't going to get any bigger; it's basically saturated the market. But Coca Cola the company has acquired or created dozens of other brands, some of them not even remotely related to soft drinks. Doing that has kept the company growing, and kept the shareholders happy.

The core soft drinks business carries on of course because it's a cash cow, but shareholders want growth as well as dividends, so that's what the company has to give them.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway


News about Tesla is a Rorschach test for the media.

If you read all the different media reports about this incident, its very easy to see that each reporter has seen what they wanted to see in the story.

Some are praising Tesla's Autopilot for saving lives. Others are critising it for allowing the situation to occur.

The reality is that it's not much of a story really, and it isn't really about Tesla. It's a story about a stupid guy who thought he could get away with drink driving, and about some cops who saved lives with smart thinking. An interesting story, to be sure, but not worth the vast number of column inches it's earned because journalists want to push their Tesla agenda.

Using Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations? Using Skype? Not for long!


A "refactoring" in the way Skype authenticates its users has been blamed.

If you change how something works, then what you've done is not refactoring.

Brit startup plans fusion-powered missions to the stars


Re: What's in a name?

One of my friends therefore always said he was a upholsterer when people asked him what he did for a living.

Was he automatically responsible for couch potatoes?

I knew someone who used to be an upholsterer.

Fortunately, he's fully recovered now.


AFS plan their own, car-sized version called the Small Toroidal Atomic Reactor (STAR).

Sending something car-sized into space, you say? Why yes, I do know of an eccentric billionaire who possesses rocket technology capable of such a feat. How very convenient.

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU


Re: There is no place for discrimination on Facebook

For all Facebook's faults, however, this isn't a new phenomenon. Employers have always targeted advertisements - knowingly or unknowingly - by the choice of publication in which those advertisements were placed.

You're right, there is a comparison to be made with placing a job advert in a magazine with a known strong demographic. You may advertise for a builder in a DIY magazine, knowing full well that most of the people reading it are going to be men.

The difference is that a woman who is looking for a job as a builder does have the option to buy the magazine. She may be in a minority, but she can still access the job advert if that's what she wants. On Facebook, the adverts were explicitly only sent to men, and the woman looking for that job would never have had the opportunity to see it.

That's why this is being claimed as sexist where other forms of demographic targetting are not.


Re: Companies probably aren't doing this to discriminate

They are doing it to maximize their advertising dollar. If you are advertising for an oil field worker, you are getting far less of your money's worth by advertising to women, or to men over say 50 years old...

What you just wrote is basically a pure capitalist justification for racism / sexism / ageism / whatever-ism.

It doesn't stop it being sexist just because you're doing it for financial reasons.

Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design


I just want to point out here that I very rarely go to the homepage of The Register, because I have the RSS feed configured in my firefox bookmarks toolbar, and I keep track of the news here and on a whole bunch of other sites by checking what's new in the feeds rather than by visiting any of the sites directly.

Maybe I'm in the minority in doing it that way these days, but it works for me and makes it really easy to keep track of new content across a few dozen sources of news and other info relevant to me.


Since we're on the subject of making tweaks to the site design on El Rg, there is one change I beg you to make:

Many pages have a "You may also like" section, listing articles that are related in some way to the one I'm reading.

That's great, but please *please* **please** can you include the date that the linked article was published, because sometimes it pulls out articles that are really old or out of date, but doesn't give me any context that that's the case.

Thank you.

NASA's Kepler probe rouses from its slumber, up and running again


But even if Kepler fails it does have a successor. NASA launched its TESS spacecraft in April. Science operations were kickstarted in July and it also uses the transit method to scope out other worlds.

Does anyone know when we're going to start seeing results from TESS? Looking forward to seeing what it can do.

Astroboffins spot planets swimming in the mists of forming stars


If it hasn't cleared it's orbit yet, then it isn't a planet yet.

British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update


Re: More inclusive?

More inclusive eh? What about those who are allergic to tomatoes?

But seriously, this whole emoji thing is getting stupid. The more of them there are, the less value they have.

NASA makes the James Webb Telescope a looker with a heart of gold


Re: Heart of Gold

I really should read headlines more carefully. I had hoped that NASA were about to trial an infinite improbability drive as used on the Heart of Gold.

I'm beginning to wonder re the Trump presidency, Brexit, and various other recent world events, whether they have been caused by someone, somewhere firing up an unshielded infinite improbability drive.

Three-hour outage renders Nest-equipped smart homes very dumb


Can anyone point me in the direction of a product line similar to Nest that:

* does not require internet connectivity

* does not fail if the vendor's online systems fail

* cannot be bricked by the vendor if they decide to stop supporting it

* is secure

Because basically all of the gadgets I'm seeing on the market fail most, if not all of those criteria.

I can just about swallow it if I'm buying a device that won't cause any knock-on problems if it fails. But there's no way I can justifying spending money on a critical part of my home infrastructure if it fails any of those criteria.

Uber says it's changed and is now ever-so ShinyHappy™


The problem for Uber is that 99% of their competitive edge comes from their willingness to bend / ignore / flout regulations. If they start playing straight, they completely lose their edge and will find it much harder to compete against established players.

The one area that will still help them succeed is their ease of use; ie the app makes it easy to access their service. But this would not be a difficult thing for others to replicate.

Aegon conquered by UK bank holiday IT upgrade: Some users can't log on


(It seems @TSB like to only do customer service by Twitter for some reason.)

TSB ==> Twitter Support Bank ?

T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta


Re: Do they still own the claimed trademark?

I thought they merged it with their French neighbour's favourite colour to form EE, then sold it to BT.

That was just the UK instance of T-Mobile. The brand continues to exist in many other countries, and is still owned by DT. Likewise with Orange.

Indeed, one of the main reasons they changed the name to EE when Orange and T-Mobile merged rather than maintaining one or both existing brands was so that they could sell the combined entity off without having to sell the trademarks.

Astroboffins spot the first perfect exoplanet free of clouds


Re: Hmm. Gas giant sized but with no clouds.....

Hmm. Gas giant sized but with no clouds.....

Highly curious.

And therefor with the potential for maximal learning.

Lots of learning, yes. But this object is clearly different (heh, pun intended) from others we know, so while it might give us a lot of data, that information may not be relevant to other gas giants.

SpaceX Bangabandhu-1 launch held up while Dragon splashes down on time


I think I need to cut down on my Pratchett diet as I immediately read that as Bhangbhangduc.

Given the similarity, I would say that there's a very real possibility that someone in the naming committee for this satellite is a Pratchett fan.

The steaks have never been higher: Swiss Lidl is selling local cannabis


All of which raises the question – why bother?

Because people are willing to buy it, and pay enough for it to generate a decent profit.

Surely, that's all the justification needed to sell anything. There are plenty of totally pointless products out there happily making a tidy amount of money.

If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little


That problem with stable distros providing a fixed version of everything is the biggest bugbear I have with using Linux as a platform over Windows.

I like that most of the software on my box is stable well maintained, but there are some applications for which I absolutely need the features in a newer version. Most of the time it's possible to install the newer version if you need it, but it almost always involves a lot more effort, and relying on third party repos that you may or may not want to trust.

This Modules feature sounds like it fixes that problem for me. I will be very very happy when this feature rolls out to Centos (and Debian too...? we can hope, can't we?).

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain


Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Well yes of course it was.

Even the newest one was built in the 1970s. They retired in 2003. Most commercial aircraft would be considered old and would be getting expensive to maintain by the time they get to that kind of age.

The low production volume multiplies that, as do the unique capabilities and features of the aircraft.

Concorde was always going to need to be retired within that kind of time frame. The accident may have moved the retirement forward by a bit, but even without the accident, it couldn't have carried on indefinitely. For comparison, the Boeing 707 ended production the same year as Concorde. How many of those were still flying in 2003?

Europe fires back at ICANN's delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year


No they don't. They've been plain ignoring the requirement for GDPR compliance, wishing it away by pretending it wouldn't apply to them

Yes you're right, they have. But so have many *many* others. And many others just don't even realise it applies to them. And many more think they're okay but aren't.

It's going to be a mess, and there really does need to be some kind of grace period where companies can get caught and told to sort things out, but not necessarily get stung for the fine, because those fines could cause some serious damage if they're doled out to every offender from day one.


Lots of ranting here about ICANN and Europe, but relatively little about the GDPR itself. Interesting.

It is true that ICANN are looking pretty bad here; they've basically set themselves up as a big target for mockery (and potentially worse once GDPR kicks in) because they've had plenty of time to resolve the problem but have ignored it until it's too late to fix it in time.

The thing is, they're not alone. They're the ones getting the press (at least here on El Reg), but there are thousands of organisations big and small that are going to fail at GDPR. Even many of the ones who are sitting smugly thinking they've got it sorted are going to fail.

If the lack of preparation that I've seen is representative, then the world is going to be in for a massive wake-up call when the first fines start getting levied. With the level of fines available and the number of organisations out there that are completely ignorant of GDPR, I reckon the EU could probably cover it's entire annual budget just through fines if it wanted to.

That's obviously not going to happen (not least because it would have a massive economic impact), but what I would say is that there is a clear need for a moratorium on fines, at least to begin with. ICANN might be making themselves look foolish, but looking at the broader picture, they do actually have a point.

SpaceX finally Falcon flings NASA's TESS into orbit


Re: What about Mr Steven

They didn't attempt it on this launch. Don't know why.

The main reason is that Mr Steven is based in California, and can only realistically be deployed for Vandenberg launches.

Apparently though, they did still do the whole parachute thing to recover the fairing, albeit with a wet landing. I don't believe that they can reuse a fairing once it's got wet, so presumably they did this in order to get more data about how the parachutes perform, in order to help with the catching next time.

As far as I know, they haven't released any information about how it all went so far this time. But there's a reasonable chance that someone will photograph the boat coming home over the next few days with the fairings on board.