* Posts by jzl

384 posts • joined 6 Jul 2015


Is this an ASP.NET Core I see before me? Where to next for Microsoft's confusing web framework...


Coding vs devops

Increasingly, being a programmer is more about devops than writing code.

What I mean is that the insane proliferation of platforms, libraries, widgets, protocols, languages and architecture options means that you spend far more time fiddling around with versions of things, packaging, buzzwords and keeping stuff current than you used to.

I don't like it one bit. Writing code is an entirely separate intellectual skill from collecting libraries and buzzwords.

UK government puts IR35 tax reforms on hold for a year in wake of coronavirus crisis


I actually own one

Because you become your own employer, essentially. Umbrella companies provide sick pay and holiday pay using accounting tricks from your own daily rate.

Sick pay is no more than statutory, and it comes from money held back from your daily rate. IT staff in real full time employed positions would expect sick leave at full salary (normal for a professional role). Paid holiday, again, simply comes from withholding a portion of your daily rate and labelling it "paid holiday".

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey


Re: Anonymous Contractor

If you think you're underpaid, get a better job. This isn't North Korea.

"Wage slave" is meant to be an ironic phrase - you are actually a free person.


It's not a bit more, it's a lot more

And it's a sudden increase, rather than a gradual one. I - like many - have a mortgage, car payments and childcare to pay for, all predicated on the amount I currently earn.

A bit more tax would be fine, I could absorb it, and even a lot more would be manageable if it was gradually staged to give me a chance to reduce my expenditure. But suddenly being hit with a 20% increase in one go is too much. Much too much.

Electric cars can't cut UK carbon emissions while only the wealthy can afford to own one


Re: I actually own one

A Model 3 long range will do 400 miles with one approx 20 minute charging stop at around the 280 mile mark.

That's 5 hours of driving, a 20 minute stop, then another 2 hours driving. If that's not acceptable, then I can only assume you drive with a catheter.

And all the days when you're *not* doing long journeys, your car is permanently full. No taking time out from whatever you were doing once a week to drive to the petrol station.


Yes, fossil fuel is indeed consumed. But less.

The perfect is the enemy of the good.


Re: Diesel

Emissions aren't a single thing. Diesel produces less carbon dioxide - the main climate change gas - but more pollution nasties.

Diesel exhaust is nasty stuff in the short term, particularly if you're breathing it. Carbon dioxide is nasty stuff in the long term.

Basically, burning oil products is a bad idea full stop.


Except that volcanoes don't actually produce as much carbon as mankind. Not even close.


We burn relatively little fossil fuel in the UK for the grid. About 50% generally - most of it natural gas, almost no coal.


I actually own one

I drive a Tesla Model S. It was expensive as hell when I bought it three years ago, but wow. Just wow. It's an absolute blast to drive.

My previous favourite car was my Mazda RX-8, but the Model S took the crown from that easily. Not quite as much fun on a B road, but waaay more fun the rest of the time and having a full car every morning is a suprisingly good bonus.

The Model 3 is better than my car (in my opinion) and cheaper too. It'll be my next car. Battery prices are dropping fast at the moment.

NASA is Boeing to get to the bottom of that Starliner snafu... plus SpaceX preps to blow up a Falcon 9



I think I used to work with the guy who did the Starliner programming.

It's mostly a collection of spreadsheets and VBA macros. The bug in question was on line 586 of Module35.Timer37_OnTick().

ReactOS 'a ripoff of the Windows Research Kernel', claims Microsoft kernel engineer


Microsoft is missing a trick

With Windows becoming slowly less relevant, now is the perfect time to open source it. Fundamentally, it's a good OS. Sure, it's got issues - but then what doesn't?

They could then follow the Red Hat model of paid support, all the while keeping Windows relevant.

Tesla's autonomous lane changing software is worse at driving than humans, and more


I actually own one

Unlike most of you armchair warriors, I actually own and drive a Model S (with Autopilot 2) on the roads in the UK. I've had it for several years and have driven 30,000 miles.

Autopilot is actually excellent. Like, in the real world used by me, rather than in some theoretical internet argument. It is *not* a better driver than I am, and that's not really the point. It's a great augmentation. It holds the lane, it never blinks, never gets tired, never gets distracted. I am still driving, still holding the wheel, and still making all the executive decisions. The combined team of Autopilot +human driver is undoubtedly better than human alone.

And as I said, I'm basing this on my own physical experience with it in real life over thousands of motorway miles.

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses


Re: Whisper it…

Additionally, Autopilot works well. I should know, having covered thousands of tedious

traffic-laden motorway miles with it.

All of you saying it doesn’t or can’t work, have you actually tried it? No? Thought so.

Armchair keyboard warriors.


Re: Whisper it…

My wife and I actually own a Tesla Model S in real life. It's been our only car for two years now. That makes me relatively well qualified to comment on it.

Much of what you say is true, but I dispute - deeply - the assertion that it's not a very good car.

Have you actually driven one? For more than just a spin round the block? They are incredibly satisfying to drive in a quite difficult to define, but utterly real way. There's something about the immediacy of the power - the total and utter lack of any sort of lag - that makes every other vehicle feel a bit wrong. It's not the steering - a Model S has steering which is firmly in the middle of the pack in terms of feel and weighting. It's the powertrain. It really is qualitatively different and in a very pervasive way.

Powerful electric cars are like that, it seems. The Jaguar I-Pace (I've driven one) is similarly satisfying. But there really isn't much competition - it's basically the I-Pace or bust at the moment if you want to actually buy something.

They don't have the best quality interior for the price, but they're improving significantly. The Model S in particular has improved substantially in the last two months or so since they did a mild interior refresh and replaced all the cheap looking chrome and plastic with graphite and much higher quality materials. A late 2018 Model S is rather different beast to even a late 2017 Model S, or heaven forbid one of the early cars.

My Tesla is - by far - the best car I have ever owned. Not just because it's a gadget, but because it's such an impressively rewarding vehicle to drive. It's comfortable, spacious, fast as hell and almost telepathic at the throttle.

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally


Re: Eight times brighter than the Moon?

Also worth pointing out that this isn't a uniform reflector like the moon. It'll be a shaped mirror focussing on a relatively small area.


Re: Eight times brighter than the Moon?

Not that I disagree with you in principle about the scale of this thing, it's worth pointing out that the moon is not very reflective. It has an albedo of around 10-15%. A mirror would be closer to 100%.

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB


Radio 4

The only radio I listen to is Radio 4 and Kirsty Young would still sound amazing even at 8kbps.

Reg writer Richard went to the cupboard, seeking a Windows Phone...


Re: "Nor did my car, or my heating system,"

Your paranoia is causing you to miss out on some very useful stuff.

Ever tried banking by app? It's much more convenient than walking into a branch. Most of the big banks have an app, but sadly not for Windows.



It was the apps.

I liked the look of Windows phones, I really did. But my bank didn't have an app. Nor did my car, or my heating system, or my accountancy software, or my work's VPN token provider, or any number of other suppliers of useful services.

Much as I'd have liked to play around with a Windows phone, I've come to find those apps far too useful to lose.

Intel’s first 10nm CPU is a twin-core i3 destined for a mid-range Lenovo


Tiny, really tiny

10nm is 50 silicon atoms end-to-end.

That's absolutely ludicrously tiny and, when you think about it, a monumental achievement for a bunch of jumped-up monkeys in clothes.

Tesla forums awash with spam as mods take an unscheduled holiday


Tesla forums?

Does anyone still use the in-house Tesla forum?

All the action is on teslamotorsclub.com and the various Facebook forums (all of which are incredibly active).

Man who gave interviews about his crimes asks court to delete Google results

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander


Apple's next

This makes an ARM based Macbook an absolute certainty.

Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate


Radio 4

I would pay the TV license just for Radio 4 alone. The fact that we get a world class broadcaster and news organisation attached is a bonus.

When you consider how much Sky charge for 572 channels of utter garbage, the BBC is a wondrous thing.

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma


Big Log

by Robert Plant

Hard-pressed Juicero boss defends $400 IoT juicer after squeezing $120m from investors


There's one born every minute

Enough said.

SpaceX yoinks $96m GPS launch deal from under ULA's nose



If someone from ULA calls your idea "dumb", you know you're onto something good.

UK Home Office warns tech staff not to tweet negative Donald Trump posts


I don't work for the Home Office

Donald Trump is a total and utter goat fucker.

What went up, Musk come down again: SpaceX to blast sat into orbit with used rocket


Re: Don't call it "re-used"

Don't call it reused. Call it launch proven.

What does a complex AI model look like? Here's some Friday eye candy from UK biz Graphcore


Re: It looks like bacteria blooms

You can think of it as loosely analogous to a diagram of neurons and the connections between them in a brain.


Re: Can someone explain

Graph means a set of items of data (nodes) connected by pointers (edges). In this case, the nodes are probably functions which transform tensors (multi-dimensional arrays of numbers).

Graph (abstract data type)

Speeding jet of Siberian liquid hot Magma getting speedier, satellites find



Just for some perspective, 45km / year is 1.5mm / second.

If your smart home gear hasn't updated recently, throw it in the trash


Not in the trash

Use your local recycling centre.

We're getting more and more throw-away by the day and all this internet of things nonsense isn't helping.

Tesla's big news today:
sudo killall -9 Autopilot


Re: How do you audit and qualify a neural net?

"A few years from now, it'll become obvious that the neural net weightings somehow missed (for example) children in striped pink and green rain coats (the latest fashion trend, circa 2021)."

All of that is true, and all of it misses the point.

The point is that human drivers are not perfect. Autonomous driving doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be as good or better than the humans.


Re: There are shades of Sony in this

Read my post below. Tesla is not switching off Autopilot for existing customers.


Good grief

What a load of cobblers, both in the article and in the comments.

For the commentards: Tesla is not disabling Autopilot. Cars that have it will keep it. Cars that are being built now will get it via a software update in a few months.

For Richard Chirgwin: The point here is that Autopilot is a fleet learning AI. The old autopilot code was activated months after cars that first had the hardware hit the roads. The reason was that the neural nets need huge amounts of data to train.

The same is true of the new hardware. Clearly the difference in hardware means that the old training can't be used, so they're going to have to collect data for a while.

And finally, as has been pointed out many times, human drivers are terrible. Anything that can improve that (and Autopilot has an excellent record) will save lives.

Full disclosure: I have a Model S on order but not yet in production and am pleased that I will be among the first to receive the new hardware.

Super Cali: Be realistic, 'autopilot' is bogus – even though the sound of it is something quite precocious


Re: Can it switch sides?

It doesn't know and doesn't care. It just follows the lane that it's in when you activate it.



Small planes often have an autopilot that does nothing more than hold course and altitude.

Autopilot does not mean what some people appear to think it means.

Good God, we've found a Google thing we like – the Pixel iPhone killer


People will pay for that?

Google is the world's biggest advertising agency.

They're persuading people to pay them to walk around with a Google-provided GPS locator beacon.

That is genius. Kudos.


Re: How long until Google decides ...

Tempted by this (or its successor in a few years), now that Apple have started removing headphone jacks.

Windows Phone is a non-starter. My bank doesn't provide an app for it. My heating system doesn't have an app for it. My car doesn't have an app for it.


Re: How long until Google decides ...

Buy one from me for 30% more than list price and I'll give you 20% back to spend in the app store.

Money is fungible. Does it matter if they give you credits or if you pay for apps yourself? No such thing as a free lunch.

'Faceless' Liberty Global has 'sucked the very soul' out of Virgin Media



The only thing I wish is that they'd stop sending me physical junk mail.

Every. Single. Week.

Behold the fruit of your techie utopia: A $43 San Francisco fog-infused martini


Never been

Even less keen to go now.

‘Penultimate’ BlackBerry seen on 'do not publish' page as fire sale begins



They still going then?

Zombie Moore's Law shows hardware is eating software


Re: Nothing wrong with the chips.

In other words it's Shiny that's the problem.

I'm involved in a large scale financial enterprise system (in-house for a large investment bank). It consists of a user-configurable highly responsive UI that allows rapid drilldown of massive datasets, configurable side-by-side charting and customisable dashboards.

It's fast, but it needs modern hardware.

None of it is there for "shiny". I'm not paid for shiny. It's there to provide subtle, powerful analysis of complex data. The data visualisation available through modern UI capabilities is not something I could code by hand from scratch, and it's not something I could shove through a 486-DX.

And it's certainly not something a team of our size (four developers) could write without access to some powerful but high level libraries.


Re: Nothing wrong with the chips.

Tools like node.js? Tools like unity? Tools like NHibernate? Tools like ActiveX? Tools like JQuery? Tools like Entity Framework?

And they may not need an IDE with cutesy graphics, but software development isn't a contest in theoretical purity, it's a race for productivity.

A modern "cutesy" IDE contains many features which make development very much faster and more productive.

I speak from direct, long standing and - if I may say so - very successful professional experience.


Re: Nothing wrong with the chips.

It's shitty lazy code that's the problem.

No, it's not that simple. Code is a product. It is paid for with money.

Modern code is produced - feature for feature - for a fraction of the price of code 30 years ago. The reason for this is that development tools have become unbelievably productive. There's a trade-off in terms of performance on the underlying hardware, sure, but the way to improve raw metal performance of the code would be to forgo some of the tools that make developers so productive.

Besides, although it's widely said it's not completely true. Modern high FPS animated UIs are intrinsically compute intensive, as are many cloud based data workloads. Web browsers, too, are surprisingly compute heavy - layout and render of modern HTML is non-trivial, and that's even without taking Javascript into consideration.

Not to mention that there's a continual drive to improve tooling, particularly at the language level. Look at Javascript: modern browsers execute it orders of magnitude more efficiently than the very first Javascript enabled browsers.

FBI overpaid $999,900 to crack San Bernardino iPhone 5c password


Re: This is - at best - a temporary solution.

The obvious solution is to salt the passcode and store the salt in the processor's secure module.


Re: Built in Obsolescence

What are the chances Apple already knew of this built in in fault and have not fixed it so that the phones have a maximum life span before you need to buy a new one?

The chances are close to zero. Phones have a maximum lifespan already, and most consumers won't ever hear about this story or care about it. There is no clear motive for Apple to do this. On the other hand, if what you're saying was true and the story got out it would be major headlines.

Apple aren't out to put themselves in a position where their reputation could be shredded by a leak. Just look at what happened to Volkswagen.

Furthermore, search for articles on the web about the internal culture at Apple, particularly from ex-employees. It's a strange place - secretive, authoritarian. But it's extremely focussed on pleasing the customer.



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