* Posts by ciaran

166 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Jul 2007


Liz Truss ousted as UK prime minister, outlived by online lettuce

IT Angle

Re: Obvious solution

My take at a solution is to choose members of parliament by lottery:

- anyone eligible must submit a form saying they agree to drop their current activities for 4 or 5 years

- no need for political parties, no funding for political parties.

- the group chosen decides on a leadership committee

- all members get an office and a budget, and can work on whatever preoccupies them

- including hiring auditors and running tribunals

- members can pool budgets on a year-by-year basis

- the role of government is like a board of directory, they're not there to take decisions

- the civil service takes decisions under guidance of the leadership committee.

Python tops programming love list – but if you want a job, learn SQL


Re: Feeling smug

I've discovered SQLite over the last few years, bloody incredible it is.

I've used it in several projects to record how everything gets processed. I've had a few close scrapes but SQLite has saved me more times than I can count.. or group by :)

BOFH: Would I lie to you, Boss?


Re: Bzzt

What did you say!?

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint


And that the interface doesn't correspond to the documentation...

Enemies Waymo, Uber now friends making self-driving-ish trucks for US highways


Trucks are where the money is

The cost of making a truck autonomous is a much smaller investment than the cost of making a car autonomous.

Since the start of the rush to autonomous driving I've seen the car as a test platform and as a way to raise public awareness and acceptance for self-driving vehicles in general.

However the economic benefit of an autonomous car is low - robotaxis aren't going to change the world. On the other hand an autonomous truck can probably drive more than 20 hours a day, literally doubling the return on investment compared to a truck and driver.

Full Self Driving software will be expensive simply because there's so much money on the table in the trucking world....

Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7


Re: The real Perl problem: lack of new developers

I do most of my tools in Perl, I feel very productive, I can maintain my code easily.

However when I go it'll all go in the bin.

I tried doing a few projects in Bash to be more politically correct, but in truth none of my colleagues are able to write or understand a real program in Bash.

I feel that I should switch to Python, it has a lot of good features, but I never have a new project and the time to invest at the same time.

Back to my current question, how to parse a date in year + day of year format in perl. Surprisingly none of the standard modules want to touch it...

Congress earmarks cash for fusion energy development


I'll never work

There are unfortunately some unwelcome truths about fusion that don't get enough airing.

We can probably get to a point where we can reliably produce a fusion reaction and indeed get surplus energy from it.

However there are some caveats. The energy output is probably in the form of gamma rays or high energy neutrons, not something you can boil a kettle with.

The neutrons produced will turn the reactor radioactive, and are also useable to convert uranium into plutonium.

Also the above fusion reaction is probably using trithium, which is not plentiful and abundant.

Please read this


Someone stole our future!

Driver in Uber's self-driving car death goes on trial, says she feels 'betrayed'


Re: Who cares....

I remember seeing the video of the crash when it first happened.

Yes the driver didn't have her eyes on the road, but on the camera footage I couldn't see the pedestrian until the last second. Blink and you're too late.

My conclusion at the time was that the woman and bicycle were clearly in the wrong, and that that type of accident must happen all the time without anyone being sent to jail.

Uber or any other self-driving test organisation should be obliged to take out a special insurance to pay big money to anyone who manages to get hit by one of their cars. That would make them more risk aware..

Wireless powersats promise clean, permanent, abundant energy. Sound familiar?


Sustainable Aircraft Fuel

Its tough to make airplanes run off electricity, so there are various plans to make liquid fuels from renewable sources. Airbus talks about it here...


Containers make life easier for the software vendors you buy from, and that's why they'll win


Answer in the text

"But VMs are already a well-understood, mature, technology for almost everything other than delivering easily iterated applications." Therefore containers aren't mature, QED.

Honestly I haven't studied containers at all, but I'd understood that the container interface isn't perfectly stable between versions and not identical across different implementations.

Isn't a container pretty much like a servlet? Why don't vendors just sell their products as a WAR file? Probably because there are always outside dependencies?

VM's are reliable, for me that's the winning feature.


Containers have security problems and flexibility issues. VMs will make them viable


Vi or emacs?

This sounds like the eternal vi-emacs argument.

Personally I'm vi - simple, available everywhere. Like VMs.

One thing I particularly don't like about containers is the relative lack of storage or persistence.

However nothing I'm working on needs me to do the cost-benifit analysis. VMs let anyone administer the solution, its a known quantity, good enough for me.

The common factor in all your failed job applications: Your CV


Re: What really gets my goat...

I got a recruiter on Linkedin asking for my CV. I thought LinkedIn WAS my CV!

Surely all recruiters have LinkedIn scrapers to autofill any and all application forms?

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur: Expect an ad, get a bork


Re: Expensive!

You're right, thanks for the explanation.




Who takes a 6-month home loan anyway?

In Switzerland the loan rates are below 1% ...


Watt's next for batteries? It'll be more of the same, not longer life, because physics and chemistry are hard


Re: So ...

So Ethanol or biodiesel? Zero carbon impact, ethanol burns very cleanly.

In France many supermarket petrol pumps offer E85, 80% ethanol, for about half the price of normal S95.

And yet I think there are currently no carmakers selling cars that can run on E85 without modifications.


Cisco challenges the tyranny of Outlook with short, self-terminating Webex meetings


Better keybord mapping for remote control?

My company uses webex, and its a real pain trying to type something into a client's putty window if they don't have the same keyboard layout as mine.

Thank $deity for the keypad.

Supreme Court mulls whether a cop looking up a license plate for cash is equivalent to watching Instagram at work


Re: Why case law?

Certainly there are many things outside of software that would benefit from change control. Lets put all the laws in Git....

Let's... drawer a veil over why this laser printer would decide to stop working randomly


Re: Ah, supporting printers takes me back...

5 minutes ago I got a request about an application not working. Admittedly its a first install for a new client, but all the same...

The error message says ...

No X11 DISPLAY variable was set, but this program performed an operation which requires it.

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: CSV?

In France the default separator is the semicolon, but they still call it CSV.


Sqlite3 for the win

I do lots of crazy projects in perl that often involve parsing data coming from mainframes. I've taken to dumping everything into SQLite3 and then working it out from there.

Its incredibly fast, and SQLite is everywhere.

Frankly between Excel and SQLite, I know which binary format will be more future-proof.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns


Re: Why

Airbus planes except the A350 and A380 do have a wheel for manual pitch trim. Check out this article..


The Airbus software will give up and hand control to the pilot when it can't figure out what's happening. I'm honestly not sure if that's reassuring or scary.

Oracle hosting TikTok US data. '25,000' moderators hired. Code reviews. Trump getting his cut... It's the season finale

IT Angle

Re: My head hurts

That's exactly why its more like a relaity show than anything else.

Bravo to el reg for having spotted the link.

Not sure about the IT angle in the end, this is pure fiction... right?

So long, Top Gun... AI software waxes US F-16 pilot's tail 5-0 during virtual dogfight drills


Re: Bit of a "Dreadnaught" moment..

In the next big war, all the aircraft carriers, AWACS and aerial refuelling tankers will be out of action at the end of the first day. GPS will be inoperative, and battlefield wireless communications will be jammed.

Compare that to all the shiny stuff the militaries want...

Aw, Snap! But you should see the other guy – they're in dire need of a good file system consistency check


zero time

Of course, from the point of view of the photons, it takes exactly 0 time to make the trip.

Photons never age ;)

Dido 'Queen of Carnage' Harding to lead UK's Institute for Health Protection because Test and Trace went so well


Re: Hmmmm.

The dead don't vote. I suspect that fact has occurred to Trump - no point counting the number of dead if they won't vote for him.

Nah, maybe that's too subtle for him.

You're testing them wrong: Whiteboard coding interviews are 'anti-women psychological stress examinations'


Re: "the test is designed to make almost anyone fail"

I did an interview test like this, many years ago. I found 2 mistakes, not sure which one I was supposed to find, presumably the second was an embarrassment. They never got back to me.

Hungry? Please enjoy this delicious NaN, courtesy of British Gas and Sainsbury's


Salesforce upload attachment progress bar has a lot of decimal digits

Just this morming I uploaded a document to salesforce to attach it to a case, and I marveled at the % completion information Somethng like "69.123456789%", if not more digits.

A few years ago I took a photo of a price in the supermarket saying the price per kilo was 123.666666666667 euros.

Total bork!

A memo from the distant future... June 2022: The boss decides working from home isn't the new normal after all


Yes the juniors are being dumped-on again

I entirely agree with the proposition that the seniors in a company can find space in their homes to work from home comfortably.

When I was a junior I lived in a small apartment in Paris that was badly insulated, and I had a good lunch subsidised by the company.

So today if I was going to buy or rent I'd need an extra space for a real desk. 1 room appartments the world over will become unsellable.

There will be many unforseen impacts.

Personally I'm gaining weight, not loosing it. I used to cycle to work and eat tiny lunches...

The girl with the dragnet tattoo: How a TV news clip, Insta snaps, a glimpse of a tat and a T-shirt sold on Etsy led FBI to alleged cop car arsonist

Black Helicopters

Re: @AustinTX - Parallel Construction

Some years ago, an internal FBI memo was released saying that if evidence came from illegal telephone monitoring it would be a good idea to downplay that aspect of the investigation by documenting alternative sources for the information. Anonymous tip-offs increased mightily.

However I can't find an article about it. It was before Snowden.

Regularly there are articles, including on The Register, about miraculous new investigation tools that on the face of it couldn't possibly work, I always assume they're being pushed as an alternative source of information to hide the use of classified (and therefore illegal) information.

Talk about a control plane... US Air Force says upcoming B-21 stealth bomber will use Kubernetes


Works the other way too

Russia invested heavily in SAM systems. You could argue that the US has wasted a ton of mony building airplanes able to operate in spaced defended by S-400 missile systems.

If you're only protecting the airspace over your home country you don't need stealth,

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands


Re: They are to big to fail

Airbus has a "Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility" in Mobile Alabama, where they produce A320 family planes since 2016.

I believe that Northrop Grumman has a big hand in the Boeing fighter programs, so they could probably take over Boeing Defense. But I agree, the US fighters are in a dire situation between obselescence and disfunction, both causeing increased costs and lower availability. They should probably look to replace their older F-16s with the Gripen.


Re: "more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality"

Airlines pay a deposit when they order, but they have a loan arrangment to cover the total cost of the plane when they receive it. So taking possession of the airplane is cash-flow positive - they get their deposit back, basically. Which for certain airlines is a very important consideration...

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


Re: Out of Support

Supprt means "we'll take the call".

Maintained means "we can provide a correction"

I support lots of products where the developpers no longer want to compile the source.

My clients understand what box they're in, but they're still paying the yearly tithe to be able to call me.

Uncle Sam tells F-35B allies they'll have to fly the things a lot more if they want to help out around South China Sea


Re: !!!

Yea, I do agree, that's my upvote. Lets say "unfortunate" design choices and split the difference. I do think the Rafale is more polished, benefiting from the deep experience and single-mindedness of Dassault (at least at the time).


Re: Superiority

The US pours all its money into offensive weapons like aircraft and carriers, meanwhile Russia pours lots of money into missiles. Turkey bought the S-400 because its way more effective and way cheaper than anything the US has.

Missiles are defensive. Aircraft can be defensive or offensive. Therefore the US is scarier than Russia, amirite ?


Re: As a tax payer...

Thanks for the upvote!

I am consistently amazed at what fighter aircraft manufacturers will say! I have never seen one admit to a restriction or a liability. Sometimes they do leave in a kicker to stay honest, like "... when we get the budget".

Anyway, the Typhoon engine air intakes look "difficult" to make stealthy. They're rectangular. And I don't remember anyone saying that they have an "S-bend" to hide the turbine blades from direct radar illumination. On the other hand, in the Rafale backstory there is a phase when Saudi Arabia asked for "low radar cross section". That happened just as they were going from prototype to final design. The story goes that the final aircraft looks just like the prototype, but that "nothing is the same". Dassault markets the Rafale as a "Discrete Omnirole supersonic fighter". Discrete as opposed to being "Oh my Holy God" obvious.

Typhoon gets the message out about using RAM (radar absorbing materials) but doesn't really directly say anything about their cross section. Rhere's no official published radar cross section info from any the respective manufacturers.

The F-35 says its "really good" form in front - not so much from the back and sides. The Rafale has a huge flat tail that's probably easy to pick up from the side. Your milage may vary...


Re: F16 vs F-35

Both Boeing and Dassault say their planes are compatible with ski-jump aircraft carriers. In other words both want to sell to India and will do what it takes to make that happen.


Re: !!!

Dassaut were producing "delta wing" fighter jets since a long time. The company building Typhoon was created from scratch. Typhoon and Rafale have a similar "delta canard" design. Which final design is probably the best?

Have you noticed any design faults on the Typhoon?

First the canards are so far forward that the pilot's view of the ground is blocked. OK for air-to-air, which was the Typhoon's original target.

Then the wheels fold up laterally into the wings, making it more difficult to put extra tanks and heavy weapons close to the centerline - on the Typhoon they're all mounted wayyy forward. The wheels on the Rafale fold up longitudinally.

The great one is how the Typhoon sales people have always criticized the Rafale for being designed to do everything from the beginning, whereas the Typhoon was specialized for air-to-air. But now they've stopped saying that because they're trying to compete as a multirole fighter


Re: Sea Typhoon

You're right, and there's even an abomination of a project called the "Sea Typhoon". They actually drew a diagram with an arrestor hook. And thrust vectoring engines, always good to add something they can drop later on... If anyone can bear it, I found it here..



Re: It's welded solid.

I seem to recall The Register doing an article on that. The UK govt was "just asking for a friend" if they could share desk space with other fighters, like F18 or Rafale... The question coincided with a love-in between the UK and French militaries. BAE panicked, thinking the F35 contract was at risk, and used the UDP party line - Ulster says "NO" !


Re: As a tax payer...

Or they're embarrassed about how much they cost to produce and maintain. They have great aerodynamics and best-of-class stealth, but terrible avionics.

The Eurofighter is easily a better airplane than the F22, but it like a lighthouse on radar unfortunately.

Either way, neither a F22 nor a Eurofighter will ever take off from an aircraft carrier, way too big.


Re: F16 vs F-35

The F-35 prices are still a bit fictive, I won't put my money on the F-35A actually being useably produced for less than $100M. The F-16 "total cost of ownership" prices can be reliably forecast (although not by me).

However for a carrier aircraft, India is looking at either the F-18 or the Rafale, so best choose one of them.

He’s a pain in the ASCII to everybody. Now please acquit my sysadmin client over these CIA Vault 7 leaking charges


Re: Kiddy Porn - that old chestnut...

But they haven't talked about the book on Hitler they found in his apartment. And the woman's underwear. I thought this was automatic?

Help! I'm trapped on Schrodinger's runaway train! Or am I..?


Re: Enquiries

In france my son's school has a subscription to a dedicated school information service. So I get emails from them in the app, with a notification going to my email address. I can see my son's timetable and all his marks, with the class min/max/average.

As far as I know all the secondary schools have a similar system. I think there are 3 or 4 companies offering equivalent services.

I'm impressed.

US hands UK 'dossier' on Huawei: Really! Still using their kit? That's just... one... step... beyond


So they might stop sharing secret info

But they're bringing a file containing secret information that the british don't have?

Like they're not sharing information on how dangerous Huawei is by default?

With friends like those...

Eggheads have crunched the numbers and the results are in: It's not just your dignity you lose with e-scooters, life and limb are in peril, too


Safest form of transport is....

Elevators (lifts), apparently. I'd certainly believe it.

Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US peeps? Well, guess what…


Only a small percentage

Only a small percentage of cases go to court. Most accused accept a deal. You can't re-ligitate a deal.

Queen Elizabeth has a soggy bottom: No, the £3.1bn aircraft carrier, what the hell did you think we meant?


Re: Money and people sadly lacking

Yes, in a shooting war, the AWACS, the Tankers, and the Aircraft Carriers will all be smoke after the first 36 hours. Still, an aircraft carrier without airborne early warning is a sitting duck. Aircraft carriers can easily be spotted by satellites with enough precision to launch missiles against them.

Why telcos 'handed over' people's GPS coords to a bounty hunter: He just had to ask nicely


In Europe?

Why do the US telcos even have GPS data from user? That they can locate the nearest cell tower I understand, and I understand that Google has my location. But I don't know what telephone protocol would hand my exact location to the telecom operator. Does this also happen in Europe?

Twist my Arm why don't you: Brit CPU behemoth latest biz to cease work with Huawei – report


Definitely a surprise

Kick in the balls is right! Well that's going to accelerate CPU development in China, the Chinese government isn't going to take this lying down!

I suspect this is a watershed moment, where the whole Chinese population will decide that the Americans are ruthless and untrustworthy.

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour because the US was denying it access to oil (as one theory goes). This decision really feels similar. Eventually the US will find itself isolated, they're pissing off so many countries. But before that many dangerous things can happen....