* Posts by anothercynic

946 posts • joined 4 Dec 2014


Dude, where's my laser?

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not unbelievable

Sounds all too familiar, I'm afraid to say...

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Well there's the problem

Brilliant. It's only when *they* become inconvenienced do they respond.

As for the original poster, well, the guy who lodged the appeal was a developer advocate. It wasn't his job to lodge the appeal. His job is to make sure relationships between developers and Google remain well and good.

'VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue'... XML co-author Tim Bray quits AWS after Amazon fires COVID-19 whistleblowers

anothercynic Silver badge

Interesting views here...

Good for Tim, first off. If you have a conscience and it no longer jives with what happens at your job and it's bugging you, you have two choices: change your conscience or change your job. He's chosen the latter.

I've heard of (and read about) horror stories at Amazon, and also of exceptionally positive experiences. Whether that's a (in)compatibility with the internal culture (bro culture/dick culture/whatever) is another question. Those working in warehouses take the jobs because they need them, not necessarily because that's what they enjoy (but again, we can't paint everyone with the same broad brush), and there will always be an element of human society that takes pleasure in being cruel to others (see the Stanford Prison Experiment if you want to know more) whilst claiming to only be doing their job, and it wouldn't surprise me if that's what is broadly happening in those environments. As for good experiences, compared to some other jobs out in the world, corporate/engineering jobs can be fun and challenging, and you can to a degree ignore what's happening around you or elsewhere in the business. But even in engineering you'll find complete asshats and nice people, and in some instances, the former can make your life hell despite you enjoying what you do.

You'll find this anywhere. It's just that Amazon is one of those places that are huge, touch many people's lives, and hence end up in the press. Google has similar issues, Microsoft has similar issues, software engineering companies and hardware engineering companies have similar issues.

It is good when someone relatively senior (like a VP, although 'vice' anything and 'president' anything is liberally sprinkled across the world of software in the US) stands up and says "Enough is enough, I'm done with this" and walks out. Will Amazon listen? Your guess is as good as mine... I'd venture to guess his job is being filled as we speak by promoting someone. Things go on as before.

Those arguing that political activism doesn't belong at work are right to a degree. Social activism on the other hand should be there, especially when your employer has a vast influence over a vast number of consumers across the planet. That's what defines social and corporate responsibility.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: You can buy books online from other sites.

In case you hadn't noticed, Amazon is not a bookseller and hasn't been for a *long* time. Amazon is a process company, and the processes happen to include *anything* that can be sold to a consumer, be is electronics, groceries, books...

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not a Who Me?

Agreed. That's an On Call candidate! :-)

Geoboffins reckon extreme rainfall might help some volcanoes pop off

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: The magma's several km deep

Aaaaaand... micdrop. Boom. :-)

20 years deep into a '2-year' mission: How ESA keeps Cluster flying

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: "It's a very strong design,"

I second Pascal's post. This is what science is. :-)

SE's baaaack: Apple flings out iPhone SE 2020, priced at £419

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

To be fair, Apple has a 3.5mm-to-Lightning jack, so you can get around the problem, but with BT and BLE being the tech du jour, I'm ok to use wireless headphones. :-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

Compared to any other Apple iPhones it is a decent price. Remember that iPhone owners tend to not want to switch to Android (or any of the... *ahem* "tainted" *ahem* Chinese brands) after they've wedded themselves to the cult of Apple. I know of several well-known figures online who bemoaned the fact that Apple yanked the first SE off the market in 2018 because they liked having a small cut-price model rather than the all-singing-all-dancing-even-slicing-your-toast kind of phones Apple's espoused. Several have already cheered the re-appearance of the new SE (but are disappointed by the lack of a headphone jack). :-)

If this phone had made its appearance in November last year at the same time as the 11, I would've pounced on it. Instead, I bit the bullet to replace my 6s with an 8 for around £450 (plus some accessories).

anothercynic Silver badge

Only took Apple 2 years...

... To realise that not everyone wants to spaff a month's salary (or half for the better well-off) on a phone. £419 for a 64GB model is decent. A little less than the current iPhone 8 but with nicer hardware (to a point). It's a decent trade-off. I'd buy it if I was in the market for one.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Infectious period

No, the article is correct in that a recent report1 by scientists at the University of Auckland (NZ) that showed that the IgG and IgM antibodies only become detectable days after *symptoms* start showing, but that you may be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus (and continue to infect people) for several days *after* the day of infection and *before* becoming symptomatic. The appropriate graph's accompanying notes do point out that people have different responses to infection and as such may develop symptoms quicker or slower (which is why the incubation period is given as 1-14 days with a median of 5). Given a median of 5 (before onset of symptoms), plus at least 48 hours before that, gives you 7 days, but in some cases (for the extreme right of the curve), 14 days of backtracking makes sense. I'd rather tell too many people they should get tested (or go into isolation) than too few and cause another infection bloom, if you follow my meaning.

1 COVID-19-Testing-Landscape-Final.pdf (26-29 March)

anothercynic Silver badge

The concept is great but...

... It depends on other things to be done too.

Take South Korea. South Korea has done (and continues to do) massive amounts of testing. Only if you test the population will you be able to define whether someone's been infectious and needs to release their handset data. Given that our glorious government has a) not tested enough, b) claims to but is failing to test in massive quantities, and c) cannot be trusted to do massive testing, the concept will fail at this point.

Also, testing is not foolproof. Biozek's test claims 85-100% sensitivity and 96-98% specificity for the IgM and IgG antibodies. Other tests have 90% sensitivity and specificity. So, this means that either way, if you test positive, there is a 10-15% chance that you're actually *not* positive (which in the grand scheme of things is generally ok), and more importantly/worryingly, vice versa, a negative test still gives you a 10-15% chance of actually carrying infection while you believe you're not infected.

A multi-protocol approach is the methology that has to be implemented for this all to work appropriately.

A chief technology officer in a time of COVID-19: Keep calm and make the most of the whole business suddenly realising how important IT is

anothercynic Silver badge

What AC says...

... I work for a tech company (nominally). Our services are still needed, but everything we do can be done online. Our senior leadership team are smart enough to look further than just their noses; they watched the trends in continental Europe and the Far East and surmised that it would only be a question of time that the UK would have to follow.

They started making arrangements weeks in advance for all non-essential teams to work from home where possible, arranged for equipment to be made available (and signed out) to those who didn't have such equipment at home, and also arranged for additional VPN capacity. Everyone was told to check that their VPN access worked.

And then... when the lockdown announcement came, it wasn't too big a surprise for all of us. We simply stayed home, logged into work from there and did our jobs. And things continue to tick over. Those in the organisation who have to perform emergency maintenance are given the right tools to avoid exposure to infection where possible. We haven't gotten to the point where we're testing that theory yet.

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Remote software updates

Thank you very much for such a detailed insight into what you folks do. It is fascinating and enlightening. :-)

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: A point of order seems to need clarifying.

Actually... It is a collective failure by the FAA and Boeing (and EASA subsequently). The FAA said "ok, we'll believe Boeing when they say 'we don't need to mention MCAS'" and EASA followed their lead. The Brazilian authorities on the other hand didn't and insisted that MCAS be mentioned.

Ethiopian is a more problematic case than LionAir because it happened shortly after takeoff at a much higher altitude above sea level (2355m). A minute after takeoff MCAS kicked in, which is a damn sight less than the 13 minutes that the LionAir crew had before theirs kicked in. I wouldn't want to have to resolve a software issue at that point (and Chesley Sullenberger also pointed this out when he attempted this in a simulator). Ethiopian policy to make a pilot with 200 flight hours an FO is something else, but arguably that airline is one of the safest in African airspace (along with Kenyan, SAA and Egyptair).

Boeing screwed the pooch, the aviation industry is broadly in agreement with that view. That this new issue comes to light is not really all that much of a surprise given that Airbus has made the same mistake (see https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/07/25/a350_power_cycle_software_bug_149_hours/), but then again this is the *second* of such issues with Boeing (see https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/01/787_software_bug_can_shut_down_planes_generators/ for the first). Boeing needs a lot of internal work to resolve the problem of ruling by accountant, whereas it *was* an engineering company first.

Just saying...

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: A point of order seems to need clarifying.

Sorry to point this out but Jake is right. Throwing an 'anonymous' strop doesn't particularly help your cause. And just in case you are wondering about my aviation expertise... you're welcome to look at past posts :-)

You're *very* welcome.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

anothercynic Silver badge


Loved it!

Vodafone: Yes, we slurp data on customers' network setups, but we do it for their own good

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not surprised, probably all ISPs do this, even in the US if you use their router

This is what I do too... Makes the most sense. Things in your network just continue to work, the connection to t'Internet changes but nowt else...

Tech outfits sue Uncle Sam over 'unlawful' H-1B admission charges totaling $350m over six years

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Fees vs Costs

That was probably not an H1-B, but likely a B-1. H1-B is a limited work visa that binds you to the employer who applied for it on your behalf. The L1 visa is an unrestricted work visa (that allows you to change employers at will), the B-1 is a 'you're just here temporarily to do business' visa.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Avoiding Fees?

From what I remember from my time with H1-B stuff, you were required to apply for H1-B from outside the US, so if there is now a requirement to pay $4K, and they try to change status inside the country, I'd say that CBP is applying the rule correctly. JMO.

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Good, good.

55% of Scots voted to stay in because it meant Scotland stayed in the EU. After the referendum, everything changed because the Scots understand the benefits of the EU. The Northern Irish also understand the benefits of the EU (not least because it guarantees peace in N.I. thanks to the GFA). The Ingerlish don't, despite having been the recipients of much of what the EU has to offer, *especially* the agricultural sector with seasonal workers who are now, surprise surprise, hard to come by to actually harvest what's been grown! The Welsh... well... they also voted to leave for some reason.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Good, good.

Except why should they uproot their entire family (who have friends, other family, connections, history, work, careers, networks here) just to make a segment of society happy? That said, if I was given the option, yeah I would move, mostly because I don't have the strong network here (despite being a Brit) that others (non-Brit EU citizens) have.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Good, good.

No EU citizen can be ordered to leave before Friday, no matter what their status.

Actually, technically it is possible. And it's that that had many asking "if this is all about keeping people out, why don't you apply the Schengen rules as described instead of going the whole hog".

Tony Blair opted *not* to implement the rules (which other countries also apply when applying for state benefits etc) when he came to office in the nineties. They were successfully used to restrict the panicked "OMG we're going to be overrun by the Romanian and Bulgarian hordes!" never-happened mass migration of said Romanians and Bulgarians post-EU-accession, and they could've been applied to everyone else in the EU. Except... well... we're now leaving, so...

LastPass stores passwords so securely, not even its users can access them

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: "Maybe the current outage is a sign"

1Password is arguably in the same boat. I've opted to *not* store my stuff with them, but rather on my local devices.

How a Kaggle Grandmaster cheated in $25,000 AI contest with hidden code – and was fired from dream SV job

anothercynic Silver badge

And then...

... All it takes is one person to be curious to find the cheat.

Reminds me of something I read a decade ago where someone in motorsport won a big truck in a competition for novices. Except he wasn't a novice in his country, just a novice in the country where the competition was held. It all came to light after a member of the media saw the photo and said "that's not so-and-so". The whole thing blew up massively and the truck had to be returned. It is just amazing what people do to win.

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Isn't THIS why we've got to teach 2nd-graders how to "code", rather than how to think?

"If we were to go to triplex, it would require a new type certificate. We don't want one. It costs money and time. We don't want to spend either."

Big Falcon explosion as SpaceX successfully demos Crew Dragon abort systems

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Causality

Frankly, every scenario should be tested at least once anyway, just to make sure things are working as expected.

This is also a system for GPs, right? UK doctors seek clarity over Health dept's £40m single sign-on funding

anothercynic Silver badge

You're always welcome to the US style system, you know. "You got credit card? No? Go away then!"

I'll take the NHS and the GP services and dentists over the "pay for everything" model any day, probably because I've experienced both.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Google Practice?

Makes no difference. Microsoft uses the same sign-in technology as Google does. They sit on the same board of the same foundation that drives its development. Facebook and Twitter are also on there.

Its name is OpenID Foundation.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Potentially a good idea, but...

This is a perfect summary and it matches what's experienced in science and research as well. Many applications were never designed to use web-based single-signon, which is what other posters have alluded to with their references to Jisc (not JISC, apparently... they're no longer a committee but a charity), Shibboleth, OpenAthens and UKAMF.

Remember, much of this stuff was done when XP was cutting edge(ish) and SSO didn't exist as a buzzword. And anyone who has worked with system/software procurements and external contractors (hi Deloitte, Crapita, IBM & friends) knows that unless you are knowledgeable enough and explicitly specify that the system *must* be forward-compatible with single-signon solutions of the future, you would *never* ever get that built in. Trying to retro-fit that... GOOD LUCK!

40 million is nice, but it won't make close to a dent in anything custom and not based in the browser.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: WTF are they doing ?

Where can you eduroam? Here, and here, and here, here and here.

Boeing aircraft sales slump to historic lows after 737 Max annus horribilis

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Airframe

Crichton's books were always very well-researched. Airframe was not pretty (from that perspective). It's exceptionally insightful.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: "This is what happens when you scrimp on software dev, testing and docs"

Actually, that's exactly what happens. Any airshow PR announcement will usually say something like "So-and-so airline and Boeing announced an order of 20 airframes of X with options for a further 15 of Y", not "So-and-so airline and Boeing announced 20 orders of X airframe...".

And when the tally comes at the end of the airshow, it's "Boeing led the order book with 25 orders totalling 225 airframes with options for an additional 100...".

Whirlybird-driving infosec boss fined after ranty Blackpool Airport air traffic control antics

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Contrary view


HPE to Mike Lynch: You told either El Reg or High Court the right version of why former Autonomy execs won't testify

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: deliberately duped HP managers into buying Autonomy under false pretences

HP does not equal HPE.

Talking a Blue Streak: The ambitious, quiet waste of the Spadeadam Rocket Establishment

anothercynic Silver badge

Dear Alun...

... Do yourself a favour and read "Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin" by Francis Spufford, if you haven't yet. It discusses Blue Streak in detail in one of the 6 stories covered. Another is Concorde, yet another is the Human Genome Project and yet another is Vodafone and their development of the 'cell' methodology. You won't regret reading the book.

Questions hang over Gatwick Airport after low level drone near-miss report

anothercynic Silver badge


... This didn't happen on/too near airport property (from the graphic it looks like a field that is outside the airport boundary), the Gatwick anti-drone system wouldn't be deployed (or wouldn't be *able* to be deployed) anyway. However, a DJI Inspire is a big drone. It's not a toy. But unless someone can show me the DJI no-fly map for Gatwick, I'd say someone deployed a drone and was smart enough to leave tout de suite and not make a fuss. If the CAA did something stupid then it would not surprise me if they shut up to cover their own arses.

'Big Bang': Great for creating the universe, but not as an approach to IT migration, TSB told

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Congratulations TSB Another waste of Money

Lawyers tend to be *very* good with forensics. That's what they've done. They've sifted through tons of emails, paper trails, process documents etc to build a picture as best possible with the given stuff. So, yes... They know.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Big bang

Correct, although TSB and Lloyds continued to use the same systems (well, TSB a copy of the Lloyds systems) to ease the spinoff process. TSB/Sabadell had a choice: Either continue to pay some other bank (Lloyds) for access to the system (which didn't get the improvements that Lloyds' own systems were getting), or build their own. I don't blame Sabadell for choosing the latter... Why contribute to someone else's profits when you know you should have that knowledge in-house.

It's unfortunate that this migration was a massive clusterf***, but ultimately I think TSB and Sabadell will be better off for it.

'Literally a paperweight': Bose users fume at firmware update that 'doesn't fix issues'

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: How many decent products and companies....

Sorry to hear about your QC25s! It seems it's the later/newer products that have more and more flaws as if not enough product testing is being done.

The old QCs I had were replaced twice under warranty, once for a cable problem, once for earphone cushion delamination. Their SoundSport earphones are very very good for the purpose in mind, so I'm happy they've lasted as long as they have.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: How many decent products and companies....

To be fair to BOSE, their customer service in the UK is exemplary. Broken headset? Warranty replacement sends you a new (not a fixed) set. But then again, Sennheiser does the same. As for hardware, that's a different animal... Can't comment there. I find those gadgets too expensive anyway.

Bloodhound gang hits 1,010kph, retreats to lab to work on smashing the land speed record

anothercynic Silver badge

Indeedie... I have to agree here. There's no rocket in there (yet). This is just air breathing jet. Now if Reaction Engines were to get involved, it could get even more interesting, but then again, they've been busy with their own tests of the SABRE engine concept pre-cooler and building stuff for F1 companies. :-)

Physicists are rather giddy after creating a rare type of laser using laughing gas

anothercynic Silver badge

I hear Oxfordshire and the Wirral have at least one dealer each... ;-)

Controversies aren't Boeing away for aircraft maker amid claims of faulty oxygen systems and wobbling wings

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: That awkward moment when fiction becomes fact

Great book that. Michael Crichton had a knack for looking at issues from a different angle and turning them into a good thriller. Think Andromeda Strain, Prey, A State of Fear, et al.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Unsafe at any altitude

Do not know *anymore*. They used to. Not anymore. :-/

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Mapped drives and disconnected laptops....

Well yes. Obviously. :-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Mapped drives and disconnected laptops....

This is where I use Dropbox and park all my stuff in it, with a OneDrive folder parked in that, so that at least I know *I* will have a backup even if OneDrive goes and has a moment. Dropbox, to its credit, has not had any yet.

Bloodhound rocket car target of 550mph put on ice after engine overheat

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Dear AC

It's ultimately not about the speed. It's about all the fascinating technology enhancements too that this project needs. Precision-milled wheels, CFD-driven modelling and the refinement of those models, the list goes on and on... And the project fascinates kids, which drives them to engage in STEM subjects, which in turn in a decade or two drives STEM career uptake.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Dear AC

Well... It's a nice round figure for a start, but it ultimately gets people interested and engaged!

Ex-Twitter staff charged with spying for Saudi royals: Duo accused of leaking account records, including those of critics

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: What's Sauce for the Goose...

$20,000 is cheap. Patek Philippe, Chopard and higher-end Breguet watches retail for at least 6 figures. And watches like that tend to be discrete, they are absolutely beautiful works of engineering, and they are a joy to wear. Not a criticism of your post, just a clarification. I agree with you on the rest of the post.



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