* Posts by nil0

83 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Aug 2014


Anyone want an International Space Station? Slightly used


Re: Mir

Orbital mechanics are weird. You can't just throw stuff at the planet and expect it to hit. 45 minutes later, rather than being on its way to fiery destruction, it'll be *above* you.

Draw planet Earth in the middle of a piece of paper, and draw a big circle around it to represent the ISS's orbit.

Imagine you throw something from your space station when you're to the left of the planet. You're following the circle of the orbit, and whatever you throw out is also following this circle. So you're adding a little rightwards motion to the object, towards the planet. That's good, it'll carry on heading that way, yes?

You're a long way from the planet, so the object won't reenter just yet, and continues on its orbit, just slightly further away from you. Now you're a quarter of the way round your orbit, near the top of the piece of paper. The additional motion you gave the object was to the right, and laws of motion being what they are, is still to the right. So now from your point of view is now moving ahead of you, and not towards Earth.

Another quarter of the way around your orbit, you and the object are now to the right of Earth. The object is still moving to the right relative to your orbit, so now it appears to be in front and moving above you, away from the Earth. As you orbit around, this dance continues.

So chuck something out of the ISS, and it'll move away from you, but stay in pretty much the same orbit.

It's hard to hit the Earth. It's even harder to hit the Sun.

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



> China's sample weighed about 1.73kg (3.8lbs) on Earth.

Acknowledges weight differs between the Earth and Moon. Uses unit of mass...?

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


Deep Space Network

Your usual public service announcement: https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

BOFH: What a beautiful classic car. Shame if anything were to happen to it


Re: Ever alert

he will have to get blackmail on everyone

Will have to? Oh, ye of little faith. Has.

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously


Re: No, not there

6809 + Microsoft Color BASIC

Voyager 2 is back online after eight months of radio silence



Just a quick reminder of https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html :-)

Whose side you on, Nominet? Registry floods .co.uk owners with begging emails to renew unwanted .uk domains


Re: I used to pay...

Er, yes. £7.95 for a .co.uk plus £7.95 for the matching .uk hits the "about £16" mark I'm moaning about, wouldn't you say?


I used to pay...

...about £2.50 for each of my .co.uk domains 10 years ago.

Now I seem to pay about £16 - (a) because I have to pay for the .co.uk (it's the one people have bookmarked, so can't get rid of it), and the .uk (don't want someone else sitting on it), and (b) because every registrar I move to gets acquired by one of the big rip-off registrars I was avoiding and the prices ramp up every single sodding time.


Windows 10 Insiders: Begone, foul Store version of Notepad!


I've only just noticed...

...I don't have edlin any more.

Internet Society CEO: Most people don't care about the .org sell-off – and nothing short of a court order will stop it



...profit/non-profit thing aside, how come increasing the price by "only" 10% (that's four or five times the current rate of inflation) every single year counts as a generous, benevolent move anyway?

As pressure builds over .org sell-off, internet governance bodies fall back into familiar pattern: Silence


Expectation setting

Note that in all of this, a nice little play is that they've set it up so they can be the good guys if they only raise the prices by 10% (let's call that quadruple or quintuple the inflation rate) every single year.

Yahoo! customers! wake! up! to! borked! email! (Yes! people! still! actually! use! it!)


Re: “Those Were the Good Old Days”

Except this isn't just about free Yahoo mail accounts, this also affects BT and Sky customers who get mailboxes as part of their paid service, which just happen to be outsourced to Yahoo.


It's bigger than you'd expect

Easy to write off Yahoo! as a dinosaur from the past, with nobody, surely, still using their email service.

But they do the under-the-bonnet stuff for various ISPs, including (a large chunk of) btinternet.com and sky.com, probably others.

So an awful lot of people affected who didn't even know they were using Yahoo in the first place.

BT adopts Ubuntu OpenStack as core brains for its 5G, fibre-to-the-premises rollout


Re: Oh, so *that's* why

No, this is actual fibre. After a mostly-used drum of the stuff had been sitting abandoned in the hedge for a month, I snipped a few inches off the end to see what was in it.

The outer sheath is about 8mm × 4mm, and inside is a central sleeved bundle of fibres, flanked by two incredibly tough and stiff 2mm solid plastic cores.

The centre core holds 12 individual strands of fibre, each about 0.25mm in diameter, each a different colour.


Oh, so *that's* why

Two years ago, Openreach rolled up and nailed coils of fibre to lots of poles up and down the lanes in several villages around here. And then left them (along with discarded empty and part-used cable drums in the hedges, the litter louts).

Fast forward to today, and the coils are still dangling from the poles, having been blown about, the adhesive tape coming loose so they're now just untidy messes hanging down, risking being accidentally included in the hedge cutting.

Always wondered what that waste of effort was all about. Obviously it was waiting on an OpenStack installation.


Tesla’s Autopilot losing track of devs crashing out of 'leccy car maker


Re: 110 Software Engineers on the wall...

I think the sub-head of "Almost half software engineering department walks" is part of the problem, which fits nicely with the 5 out of 11 thing.

Those darn users don't know what they're doing (not like us, of course)


Re: The unfamiliar can always catch people out

My car puts up a little message saying "Depress clutch to start engine".

Countless journeys start with something along the lines of "clutch, we're all meaningless specks of dust in a vast and uncaring universe".

Oh, how my family laugh.

Not very bright: Apple geniuses spend two weeks, $10,000 of repairs on a MacBook Pro fault caused by one dumb bug


Here's another Apple didn't-think-of-that moment

I have an old iPhone I use for contributing streetview-type photos using the Mapillary app. That's all I use it for, nothing else installed, no SIM card, nada.

It sits in the car window taking photos until the memory fills up, then they all get uploaded and wiped from the phone.

Did this the other week; filled the phone up with photos, but didn't immediately upload them. By the time I came to do that, iOS had offloaded the app. If you're not familiar with the system, when you're low on space iOS can delete applications (but keep the data) to free up some room. When you next launch the app it automatically reinstalls the app.

Problem was this was the only app on the phone, the phone's storage was completely full, and the photos are part of the app's data (not normal photos in the camera roll), and the only way to access/prune out photos is via the app.

The app is offloaded, but won't reinstall because there's not enough room - space required to download, unpack and install is greater that the space freed up by deleting the app.

So I can't reinstall the app, I can't delete anything else to make room (because there isn't anything else to delete), and I can't prune out the photos taking up the space because that needs the app installed to do that. It thoroughly painted itself into a corner.


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



I thought this had been mostly debunked over the last week?

Apparently modern astronomy tends to use stacked multiple short exposures, rather than one long exposure. Take one image, a satellite streak ruins it. Take 1000 images, a satellite streak ruins one, so you chuck that and stack the other 999.

A real head-scratcher: Tech support called in because emails 'aren't showing timestamps'


Re: Bulk mail

I've never had the battery go flat on a piece of paper.

Eggheads confirm it's not a bug – the universe really is expanding 9% faster than expected


> Where is the energy going in your model?

No idea. Radiating out of the universe? Seems no less bizarre than the universe having to expand. Reformulate thermodynamics into the other frame of reference, and tell us if anything interesting pops out.

> (plus, when vibrations decay the frequency goes down a little and hence the wavelength goes up.)

Didn't know that. Makes it look like redshift, does it?


...and if you want flippant, the Big Bang was the universe falling on the floor, setting up all those vibrations; the perceived expansion is the decay of those vibrations; the variation in the damping factor over time is the universe being handled, picked up and put back on the shelf.

It's as good a creation story as any I've heard. In the beginning was the word, and the word was probably "oops" (with apologies).


I've argued this for years. To an observer inside the system, I'm not sure how you could tell if the universe is expanding, or the contents of it are shrinking. Just depends which frame of reference you choose.

And if it is just a case of choosing a frame of reference, it makes more sense to me to choose the contents-shrinking one.

If the stuff in the universe can be thought of as vibrations (you can tell I have a deep understanding of string theory here), then isn't it more likely that those vibrations gradually decay, rather than them staying constant but the universe expanding for no readily explained reason?

The expansion version also feels hubristic in a sun-goes-round-the-earth sort of way - we're the invariant bit and the whole universe has to expand to keep us that way?

So choose which frame of reference you find easier to imagine: universe expanding with an inexplicable expansionary pressure, or contents decaying with a damping factor.

Free online tax filing? Yeah, that'll soon be illegal thanks to rare US Congressional unity


Oh, it's a new tax year here in the UK

Time to fill in my tax return. Oh, hang on, no, don't need to.

The taxman already knows all the relevant numbers from my employer, and the tax has already been worked out and gets deducted automatically from my monthly pay without me having to do anything.

Last year was a bit more complicated - had to do a full tax return. Filled it in and submitted it online on HMRC's website; took about 20 minutes and cost £0.

This is another one of those situations where the rest of the world stares open-mouthed in disbelief at how America does things (q.v. guns, healthcare, party politics, and the use of the word "burglarize").

Things that make you go .hm... Has a piece of the internet just sunk into the ocean? It appears so


Re: .UK or .GB??

And further, and the root of much confusion:

GB = Great Britain

UK = United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

GB = country code for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

Oh cool, the Bluetooth 5.1 specification is out. Nice. *control-F* master-slave... 2,000 results


Re: BT?

My wife was struggling to understand the differences between mobile data, wifi and bluetooth on her phone, and why she might want to turn them on or off depending where she is and what she's trying to do.

A process of explanation immensely complicated by the fact that she's with British Telecom, so the toggle for mobile data is labelled 'BT' and the toggle for bluetooth is also labelled 'BT'.


Post-Brexit plan for .EU tweaked: No dot-EU web domains for Europeans in UK, no appeals, etc


Re: In case anyone wonders where the EU got its reputation for thoughtless bureaucracy....

> "Fortunately, I am an American"

That's not a phrase you hear much at the moment...

Struggling with GDPR compliance? Don't waste money on legal advice: Buy a shredder


I got spammed...

...by a company trying to convince me they were the experts when it came to GDBR.

Yes, GDBR.

Get in the bin: Let's Encrypt gives admins until February 13 to switch off TLS-SNI-01


Re: Proof of ownership

It should say DNS-01 or HTTP-01; the latter is working for me without any DNS mucking about.

New Horizons snaps finish buffering: Ultima Thule actually two dust bunnies that got snuggly 4.5 billion years ago


London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones


Re: Do you actually need a drone to cause this sort of chaos?

And I'm also now fighting the urge to re-watch Die Hard 2.

Black Helicopters

Do you actually need a drone to cause this sort of chaos?

So far I've seen one photo of the drone - just a white dot in the sky, could be anything. You would have thought photos and mobile footage would be all over the interwebs by now.

So the thought occurs - all of this is in response to "reports of drones". Where did those reports come from? Far easier to muck around with a radio using airport frequencies than actually fly a drone, perhaps?

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert


Cut the red wire

but not before you've cut the blue wire.

BT, beware: Cityfibre reveals plan to shovel £2.5bn under Britain's rural streets


My experience of Openreach's FTTP rollout

November 2017, an Openreach van and cherry picker turned up, bloke went up to the top of half-a-dozen poles along the lane and nailed in little boxes each with a coil of fibre dangling loose underneath it.


...that's the end of the story.

100,000 home routers recruited to spread Brazilian hacking scam


I found a 3C509 in the loft the other week, along with a bag of BNC T-pieces and terminators...

Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub


With all this talk of keyboard layouts...

...may I wave a flag for Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator?

It's been around since the days of XP, but I've only just stumbled across it. Define your own keyboard layout on Windows - so I've now got lots of AltGr-combinations for things like ° µ Ω ✓ ⌘ ½ → and dead-key combinations for óôòöõ.

Wonderfully geeky fun.

‘Very fine people’ rename New York as ‘Jewtropolis’ on Snapchat, Zillow


"Working to track down the culprit"

Well, here's the idiot who vandalised the OpenStreetMap data:


...and is currently banned until 2038.

The edits were made 20 days ago, and were reverted within a few hours. But presumably Mapbox grabbed the changes in the brief window they were live (or accepted the edits but not the reverts).

I actually wonder if Mapbox's filtering of changes actually worked against them on this one, as the OpenStreetMap community undid the vandalism pretty quickly.

DeepMind AI bots tell Google to literally chill out: Software takes control of server cooling



...we need AI to implement a thermostat nowadays?

(shuffles off, muttering about the youth of today, and how discrete electronics should be enough for anyone, all started going downhill with those fancy-pants op-amps, don't get me started about when microcontrollers came along, and now everything needs plugging into the internet to work, not that anything turns on instantly any more, oh, no, in my day... cont. p.94)

HPE supercomputer is still crunching numbers in space after 340 days



They really, really, really ought to be hammering it by running SETI@Home.

Intel Xeon workhorses boot evil maids out of the hotel: USB-based spying thwarted by fix


Re: Should be disabled in firmsware

> Bosch do a USB-charged wireless hot melt glue gun for this sort of thing.

As long as you remember to charge *before* use. :-)

Western Digital formats hard disk drive factory as demand spins down



(for the old-timers)

At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements


Re: Took me a minute...

ot ad.

IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on



Has huge parallels with GDPR.

We've all known it's been coming for two years, but when did you get your please-please-can-we-keep-spamming-you emails? In a steady trickle over those last two years, or all in a mad rush in the last week or so?

All working now? Crisis in the future? Nah, it's all working now, we'll deal with it later.

Spine-leaf makes grief, says Arista as it reveals new campus kit



Are they reticulated?

'Housemate from hell' catches 24 new charges after alleged nightmare cyberstalking spree


It's Ryan Lin in the original article, and Ryan S. Lin in the PDF. I hope there's not a Matthew Lin in Newton, Massachusetts...

Tesla crash investigation causes dip in 'leccycar firm's share price


So death by lack of white paint. That's nasty - especially as there are comments saying that section of protective barrier was missing because of repeated accidents at that junction.

Needs something like this (UK): https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5481817,-2.5646672,3a,75y,264.91h,88.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sTKudFnVgYMSZ8EUuhfQuMQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Is the sudden barrier in a bit of plain tarmac a common US thing?

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)


...attempt no landing there.


Re: Hank Scorpio / Tony Stark

or Cave Johnson

Fancy coughing up for a £2,000 'nanodegree' in flying car design?



Presumably a nanodegree is 0.000000001 of a full degree?

Going to cost a bit to finish, then...

Watt? You thought the wireless charging war was over? It ain't even begun


I really hope...

...I don't need a pacemaker in the future.