* Posts by steamnut

247 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Jul 2015


IR35 costs UK Research and Innovation £36M – the same it spent funding tech projects


Who Knew?

Ever since that much-hated lady, now a dame, called Dawn Primololo announced IR35 is has been an example of misplaced legislation. It has never addressed the stated problem of employees quitting on a Friday and rejoining the next Monday as a contract supplier something they called "disguised employment".

And the problems keep coming....

Who benefits from fining a public organisation anyway?

UK and Japan ink agreement for semiconductor and security cooperation


Irony writ large.

Surely it is the strangest of ironies that we do a deal with Japan when one of their largest companies, Softbank, recently decided to list one of "our" companies, ARM, on the US NASDAQ?

After ARM and the Welsh company Newport Wafer Fab which has been bought by the Chinese, there is nothing left to offer.

And £1bn does not even get us a seat at the table of semiconductor manufacture.

Offshore wind power redesign key to adoption, says Irish firm



I think he was kidding...

Universe-mapping Euclid satellite arrives in US ahead of July launch



Yes, I agree.

Either it is a "point" or it isn't and then, will Euclid be behind or in front of JWT?

Oracle's examplar win over SAP for Birmingham City Council is 3 years late


And what of the future?

With comments like "heavily adapted with complex customisations which are failing, and proving hard to fix." you can already see that this will be a support nightmare. You can see why SAP wants it's users on a standard platform.

The other comments like "Therefore, this comes with a single point of failure." and "process automation in SAP had been lost in Oracle" also do not bode well for future cost savings.

This really is a dogs breakfast where the winners have been SAP and Oracle and the losers the local rate payers.

Microsoft tells admins to autoreview your Autopatch alerts or autolose the service


more control?

This initially sounds like a good idea. But, with Microsoft now in control, what could possibly go wrong? Lot's of Register stories will result from this I am sure.

Germany clocks that ripping out Huawei, ZTE network kit won't be cheap or easy


Is there any proof?

This suspect equipment sits on networks that are under our management. And we, very possibly GCHQ, have the means to capture and monitor the traffic. Surely, any traffic with Chinese IP addresses could be detected and the payloads captured?

If we have the means to capture and decode dark web traffic to intercept drugs cartel intel, then we must be able to see if China really does receive our telecoms traffic. And, if they don't, then a vast amount of money is being wasted.

The cause of last December's failed satellite launch? Nozzle material, says ESA


Failing to compete?

Clearly the "very deep investigation" was not deep enough. The failure of three out of the last eight flights of Vega and Vega-C must be both embarrassing and expensive.

You do have to wonder if the ESA project is trying to outcompete Space-X in order to get the paid-for launches for Europe.

With Virgin Galactic (ok one failure to-date) and Blue Origin playing in the same space then they need to get more successful launches under their belts soon else the business will go elsewhere. If they do fail then the whole project is doomed as the money will dry up.

Microsoft's .NET Framework gets one less update reboot


automatic updates?

With Microsoft's record I would hope that "automatic updates" is a feature than can be disabled else The Register's going to full of tails of woe. Get the strap-lines ready...

A few years back I had a lot of XP systems semi-bricked due to unstoppable updates requiring reboots. Never again I said and I have been Linux ever since.

When I load a seemingly small program that requires .NET runtime I never cease to be amazed at the size of the thing. And it seems to get bigger with each release.

Microsoft switches Edge’s PDF reader to pay-to-play Adobe Acrobat


nag nag

With Adobe on-board we will now be treated to lots of "try before you buy" nag screens.

That's going to irritate the shit out of a lot of users.

Experts warn of steep increase in Java costs under changes to Oracle license regime


Longer term death?

Oracle was always miffed with the ex-Sun Java as it doesn't have complete control.

Google saw the writing on the wall some time ago with it leaning towards Katlin.

If Oracle wanted to kill Java then it is going the right way about it.

Intel kills $700M liquid cooling lab amid chip slump



Next, I predict will be retraction the so-called EU chip foundry project. The chip industry has just seen what a bad knee jerk reaction they made.

Those of us with grey beards will be tut tutting as we have seen it all before. Remember the 4K DRAM crisis to which the UK Government created the funds for Inmos. By the time the chips were ready the world had moved on to 16k chips.

Intel angles for more subsidies to build German mega-fab



With the chip demand turndown then the EU's grand scheme will probably be abandoned so the subsidies will evaporate.

I predict that Intel's US plans will be subject to a serious review now.

University still living in the Nineties seeks help with move to SAP S/4HANA


Lots of stories to come...

Well, you have only got to look at the basic scenario which is a complicated and much modified system being "converted" into a SAP S/4 HANA system which has be plain vanilla.

Like other companies and councils already on this painful SAP route we are expecting to see lots of stories from Leeds with the headlines - delayed, over budget, review etc.

Ireland fines Meta $414m for using personal data without asking


A very Liberal attitude..

You would think that Meta, aka Facebook, would be more careful, bearing in mind their appointment of Former deputy prime minister and Yorkshire Liberal MP Nick Clegg as their president?

He gave many speeches on citizens' rights as an MP and Liberal Party leader.

As a liberal MP Clegg would abhor any abuse of citizen's personal data without their consent? Clearly, if you give someone a big enough pay-check they throw their moral values in the bin.

Salesforce to chop 10% of workforce in $1.4 billion restructuring blueprint


Dog food?

Maybe, if they had used their own "wonderful" software, they could have seen this coming?

If a company is trying to sell me productivity software then it does not impress me if they cannot even manage themselves effectively.

Intel: Please buy these new 13th-Gen CPUs, now with 24 cores


Confusing or what?

Intel announces 32 laptop CPUs and 16 desktop processors. How the blazes do the consumers decide which is best for them?

Or are these really the same processors being binned from the same dies as the yield is poor?

Non-binary DDR5 is finally coming to save your wallet


Smoke and mirrors?

This all sounds like a good idea that they are selling us. Or is this a cunning way to re-use partially failed memory chips?

The non-binary idea is plausible but it could be the memory makers are sweetening their bottom line by using chips that, in a binary world, would have been consigned to the scrap bin.

Those of us old enough to remember EPROMS and static ram chips will know that this is not a new idea.

Management of UK govt's £158b property estate held back by failed IT project


How much?

The piece says that the database is for just 136,000 properties. And it costs a cool £22 billion a year to maintain? The supplier must be rubbing his hands with glee.

And Landmark's work to-date consists of just 140 webpages that can be used to enter information about property assets.

Someone is taking the Pi$$ for sure. If you can get paid so much for a web page then count me in.

NASA retires Mars InSight mission after it enters ‘dead bus’ condition


Did it sing?

I wonder if it sang a version of Daisy Daisy... as per 2001? It would have been quite a farewell.

I think the next version ought to have F1 style moving film protectors on the panels. Even if there was just enough for three passes it's life would have been significantly extended.

Latest US blacklist spells trouble for China’s biggest domestic 3D NAND supplier


Too Far?

I understand the potential security problems with imported Chinese equipment but how far is Biden going to go? This is starting to look more like protectionism than technology concerns.

And we will be the ultimate losers as the US/EU alternative chip farms are still only at the "how big a grant do we get?" stage and that will make some chips scarce and more expensive.

What Biden is creating is technology inflation and he is misguided if he thinks it will support the US industries in the long term. And, in two years he could be gone with Republicans in charge again.

IBM to create 24-core Power chip so customers can exploit Oracle database license


For now...

There is a lot of licence fees at state here. I think that Oracle will not tolerate this for long and will change the licencing rules for sure.

DoJ worries messaging apps could hide evidence of crime, corruption


The horse has bolted

As a recent user of Matodon, now with my own server, I wonder how a completely federated network design is going to respond to the US DoJ?

Will I be expecting an email I wonder?

With hundreds (and climbing) of servers located in many different legal entities I think that the crims already have an alternative. With Tor already in wide use the horse has already bolted.

India’s retail digital currency pilot launches on December 1st



Now what could possibly go wrong here? That's easy, lots of things. I will be live for just one day before the fraudsters find a way to take advantage of the system....

RIP Fred 'Mythical Man-Month' Brooks: IBM guru of software project management



As an ex-IBM employee that worked on the hardware, and later the software, of IBM 360's and 370's a big hats off to a legend. As well as the concept of the byte let's not forget EBCDIC.

I still have my copy of his book too.

UK bans Chinese CCTV cameras on 'sensitive' government sites


At what cost?

I am sure that you will hard to find a video camera that does not contain Chinese logic in it.

Even if you make a camera from scratch using, say, a Raspberry Pi, the processor and network chips are of Chinese origin.

We sleep walked into this situation and it will be costly to get out of it.

Intel reveals pay-to-play Xeon features with software-defined silicon


It will end in tears...

This reminds me of the early days of software licencing. Problems with validation, lost keys, paid-for but did not work, second hand sales, licence transfers etc etc. all left users very frustrated and angry.

I use, and supply, a used servers and I wonder how this is going to play out? Will a processor with licenced features enabled still have those features? If licences have lapsed will the CPU just lock-up? What about software the requires a licenced feature to be enabled but isn't - what then?

If we think the Wintel conspiracy is over then wait for Microsoft to use the "can't live without" features in their software which will force users to pay Intel a bit more than they budgeted for.

It's a minefield and, hopefully, AMD will use the debacle to get more sales.

Software company wins $154k for US Navy's licensing breach


Is there more to come?

The judge said that, apart from the award of $154,400, there was as "delayed compensation" to be determined at a later date.

Surely that implies that there is more compensation to come?

If not then what does "delayed compensation" actually mean?

Australia blames Russia for harboring health insurance hackers



It is the Aussies fault that they were complacent about their own security systems. If my house is burgled then, if I have poor locks or no CCTV, it is my fault that I made it easy to break in.

The problem is Aussies still think that they live in isolation like it was before the Internet. They have to realise that the Internet does not respect geographical boundaries.

If course they could adopt the model used by Russia and China where everything is filtered....

Look! Up in the sky! Proof of concept for satellites beaming energy to Earth!



What if Putin (or the Chinese) managed to launch a spacecraft that could change the beams target location? Kinda scary.

Cygnus cargo ship makes it to ISS with blanketed solar panel



How does the inclusion of mudflow samples into a zero gravity environment help to understand their post-wildfire flow characteristics?

Catching a falling rocket with a helicopter more complex than it sounds, says Rocket Lab


On what scale?

Quote: "Rocket Lab does not consider the mission a failure". Surely, if they were trying to catch the booster and didn't, then it most surely is a failure.

InSight Mars lander has only 'few weeks' of power left


Borrow some f1 tech?

The on-car cameras used by F1 cars have a film which is routinely moved to create a clear lens. Would that work?

Public cloud prices to surge in US and Europe next year



Under the guise of inflation and energy price increases this is the bait and switch in action. Too late and too expensive to revert to on-prem so you have to suck it up.

On-prem energy costs can be mitigated by installing solar panels on the roof, or even the car park, which is half empty with a lot of folks working from home.

Windows 10 business refresh will revive PC shipments


Not ethical

Making companies purchase new hardware just to run the latest software is no longer ethical. Withdrawing support to further pressure companies to do this is also out of order. It creates unnecessary landfill just to line the coffers of $soft and Intel.

Apart from one machine, we have migrated away from Windows to Linux. Except for two apps we have managed to live without it and they now run in VirtualBox under Linux. However, even those apps are now saying that they will run on Win 10 & 11 only.

When will this end?

Intel turns to private equity to help pay for new factories


A risk too far?

With the recession causing a slow down in chip purchases could this be a risky venture now? Spending all that money and taking on a debt for a plant that will not be profitable for many years seems like betting the farm to maintain industry dominance. If it backfires then it could put them back many years. Maybe then they will ditch that horrible and over extended X86 architecture.

Intel finally takes the hint on software optimization


a cunning plan?

I wonder if this is just a ruse to get software developers to use "Intel only" features and instructions so that it creates an advantage over AMD? Yes, the software vendors can write instructions that get around the special instructions on non Intel processors but the ploy may well tempt some cloud vendors to take a closer look...

India’s latest rocket flies but payloads don't prosper


Whose money?

Whether this failed or not there is a question over the funding used by a nation that still receives over £55m a year in foreign aid from the UK.

Congress continues playing hot potato with $52b CHIPS Act subsidies



I wonder if they are rushing to beat the possible loss of the Democratic majority in the forthcoming mid-term elections.

Google, Oracle cloud servers wilt in UK heatwave, take down websites



Just as the NHS is absolutely overloaded, the dutiful Oracle takes their cloud away....

NASA's CAPSTONE silence down to a software flaw


Testing times..

It beggars belief that seemingly basic errors still happen today.

Surely the writers of the test harnesses should cover all possible states and use cases without exception? And then another team, that only has sight of the requirements specification, writes another testing suite.

The cost of a lost mission makes a few software engineers' salaries chicken feed.

Intel withholds Ohio fab ceremony over US chip subsidies inaction


Too late?

With Biden doing badly in the polls the shape of the House of Representatives post-midterm might make a lot of things different. They need to rush else this could all be toast by Christmas.

EV battery can reach full charge in 'less than 10 minutes'


Re: Full charge in 10 minutes?

Replaceable batteries is not an easy task.

Apart from extracting the custom shaped battery pack from the vehicle in an easy and timely manner, just imagine the H&S issues with 400 volt (or more) high amperage connectors on flying leads in the hands of minimum wage numpties? Stand well back!

Farewell to two pivotal figures: The founder of Inmos, and the co-creator of MIME


My first computer

I met the Elliott 803 at college and it was pivotal in me choosing a career in computers. I never knew the connection to Barron. He was a genius for sure and the whole Transputer project had so many things that were revolutionary about it that, only now, have we finally "got it". Sadly missed.

India reveals plan to become major RISC-V design and production player by 2023


Curry in the sky..

It is a bold statement - "delivering world-class silicon by the end of next year." - but, it really is just loud words and is not achievable.

Similarly, the grand EU "save the IC world" plan will just suck in lots of Euros and, by the time it is producing anything saleable, the IC world (and TSMC) will have caught up to the point where there will be oversupply again.

And, I wonder, are India still receiving UK Foreign Aid? If they are then this RSC-V plan, along with their Space Program should be enough to convince the UK Government to turn the aid off. There are far more deserving countries out there.

NASA will award contract for second lunar lander to a biz that's not SpaceX


Boeing Boeing Gone!

With it's recent record on both aeronautical and aerospace designs let's hope that Boeing are not a successful bidder. We do not want to hear "Houston we have a problem".

Ukraine president namechecks software giants to end support in Russia


They need the gas!

I am not surprised that German application giant SAP is still offering support as, thanks to Merkel, 55% of their energy comes in the form of Russian gas.

UK govt signs IT contracts 'without understanding' the needs


Do they ever learn?

I was just two days into an MOD contract and opened the "XXXXXX Specification Document". There were lots of pages marked "this page intentionally left blank" and paragraph sections with TBA in them.

It was reminiscent of the Blackadder scene where they are planning to go around the world. Melchett says: "“Blackadder, here’s a map of the known world (hands over blank parchment)… fill it in as you go along”"

On my project I was given a fairly complete section to code and told not to worry about the rest for now. At every point where an API call was required I made something up and updated the specification document. It was coding by the serendipity method.

UK internet pioneer Cliff Stanford has died


Sad news

Demo was my first ISP. Initially on dial-up (US Robotics squawk squawk), then eventually ADSL. I stayed with them until Vodafone bought them. Vodafone were not going to support FTTC so I migrated to Zen where I have been ever since.

The good thing with Demon was the technical support which was located in UK and manned by technical people that knew what they were doing.

So sad to lose a genuine pioneer from those days.

Data stolen from Nvidia, blueprints leak threatened


True or False?

So, is the "Nvidia RTX LHR v2 Unlocker" really a malware bomb or has Nvidia's cryptocurrency hamper system been defeated and this is just a scare story?

I'm sure a quick spin of a VM or bare-metal PC would soon reveal the truth. In fact, I'm sure someone has already done it.