* Posts by Nik 2

117 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Sep 2015


Microsoft's bug bounty turns 10. Are these kinds of rewards making code more secure?

Nik 2

"Attacks are on the rise. That's not going to change. How are you using your bug bounty program to shape your live incident response and make it more efficient?"

Announce that you will give any unspent funds in the bug bounty pot to the dev team, a set period after product launch.

Pentagon seeks government gossips to dish dirt on UFOs

Nik 2

RAF since April Fool's day in 1918

Royal Flying Corps and Royal Navy Air Service prior to that.

Do SSD failures follow the bathtub curve? Ask Backblaze

Nik 2

An Uncomfortable Bath

That looks like a long way from the classic bathtub curve found in mechanical devices - there's no flat bit on the bottom, and the down and up curves are at similar gradients.

A proper bathtub shows a very steep drop followed by a prolonged period of low failure rates and a gradual increase after that, but this looks like one of those fancy tubs that are only found in showrooms and expensive boutique hotels.

Scientists spot startlingly close black holes in Hyades star cluster

Nik 2

Re: The Asylum has shown the way

Take off and nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 requires a tedious balancing act

Nik 2

Rubbish review

I like my Surface Pro, but I understand why others wouldn't. A decision to buy the latest one would be based on the spec uplift from the previous version and the price point(s)

It would be useful to have a review from someone who had used one before - it's hardly a new form-factor

NASA's electric plane tech is coming in for a late, bumpy landing

Nik 2

Re: Any scientists left at NASA?

<quote>We might get slightly better batteries in the future, but battery technology is not subject to Moore's law - we can't expect revolutionary new chemistry to turn up out of nowhere.</quote>

I broadly agree with you, but one should never underestimate the ingenuity of very smart people with a sufficient financial motivation. There are often ways round unsolvable problems, and lots of modern tech was seen as improbable or impossible [or pointless - ed] until it became commonplace.

Energy density has risen from 55Wh/litre to 1600 in 12 years, and 80Wh/kg to 700 since 1990*. Still a lot of dead weight to carry around, but never say never.


NASA tests bot built to slither across, and beneath, alien worlds' ice

Nik 2

Re: Slither of the machines?

Robot underlords?

LattePanda's Sigma crams a 12-core Intel Raptor Lake CPU into an itty-bitty SBC

Nik 2

LOL to the cry-switch concept, but I think that you can do facial recognition on a Pi4.

Spain gets EU cash to test next gen network, and US 'scrum for 6G' already under way

Nik 2

Use case <-> specification link?

Can anyone explain how the futuristic use case scenarios affect the design of the specification?

I can see that video and voice calling means that the various data packets need to arrive consistently in a way that isn't needed for, say, email or web browsing, but once we have a spec that delivers that is there anything to improve beyond reliability bandwidth and latency?


Warning: Microsoft Teams Free (classic) will be gone in 2 months

Nik 2

Re: With apologies to the late Douglas Adams

Two months later, it's happening again


Nik 2

With apologies to the late Douglas Adams

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly how the Teams UI works and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

BOFH: I care a lot ... about onion bhajis

Nik 2

Re: Small Rural AM station?

Thank you, Big_Boomer. I'll consider myself better informed. HAGW

Nik 2

Small Rural AM station?

Has the BOFH gone stateside too now? He and the PFY will have to find a bar to frequent before, during and after their lunch breaks if they're moved away from their beloved pubs.

Elon Musk yearns for AI devs to build 'anti-woke' rival ChatGPT bot

Nik 2

Re: World's first AI government adviser in Romania

Does seem one of the more egregious uses of 'AI' as a label for something.

And, if they're looking to use a system to analyse users concerns to suggest polcy decisions then it's going to have to be really good at avoiding sampling bias.

WINE Windows translation layer has matured like a fine... you get the picture

Nik 2

Re: Ribbon interface holdouts

Me? Voice away, but I am genuinely surprised that this depth of feeling remains.

Nik 2

Ribbon interface holdouts

16 years down the line, is there anyone who uses MS office on a regular basis who hasn't learned to use the ribbon interface?

James Webb Space Telescope suffers another hitch: Instrument down

Nik 2

Re: R2 Unit

That would be the R3 unit, obviously.

The concept is derived entirely from Dr Zeuss' 'The Cat in the Hat Comes Back', where Little Cats A through Z emerged from the hat of their predecessor.

JWST ls limited to the R9 unit due to the problems encountered in constructing robots smaller than a single atom, but DARPA is rumoured to be developing self-repairing quarks at the size of an R14.

Virgin Orbit doesn't

Nik 2

Re: A30\A303

Not /quite/ as God intended. The full spiel should really refer to every turning by the name of an adjacent pub.

Massive energy storage system goes online in UK

Nik 2

Capacity for EVs

"Electric cars by 2030 will massively increase generating capacity needed"

Total car and van miles in the UK is around 275 billion pa, which needs ~70TWh of energy.

That's about 20 of current total production, but given the cyclical nature of energy consumption, the increase to peak capacity will be much smaller, as long as the peak time for charging EVs doesn't coincide with the existing peaks.

Looked at the from the other end, an average car covers 20 miles a day [Per gov.uk figures], equating to ~5kWh. Recharging in the low demand period from 11pm to 6am gives an average load of ~850 watts per vehicle; 1.7kW for a 2-car household. I don't buy the argument that EVs mean that we have to increase local or national grid capacities because 850 watts is the sort of power the lights my kids leave on used to use before the move to LED.

Nik 2

Re: Tiny

True, but you can't* swim in a field of batteries.

*If you find for any reason that you can, you /really/ shouldn't.

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech

Nik 2


Extending that to a general skill for remembering where arbitrary objects have been put would be genuinely useful.

Linking it to a video device to note which member of the family took said item out and put it back somewhere else would be priceless.

US Supreme Court asked if cops can plant spy cams around homes

Nik 2

I have seen manufacturing drawings with a dimension given as 300mm +- 0.001 inch

Which still works, even if it is fundamentally silly.

Serious surfer? How to browse like a pro on Firefox

Nik 2

Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

It's the bane of much modern software; operating systems, browsers, MS Office...

I know users who keep updates switched off because they're convinced that things they can't find have been silently removed in an update for the sake of 'user convenience' And they're not always wrong.

NASA's Space Launch System rocket is on track for August 29 liftoff

Nik 2

Re: FFS!!!

Use of US units generally indicates a straight copy/paste from the press release, especially where the imperial measurement would usually be expressed in tonnes.

SpaceX crewed flight to ISS delayed by damaged rocket

Nik 2

5 - for now...

It's also not necessarily a final position, either. The data so far accumulated gives sufficient confidence to go to 5, further data may (or may not) give confidence to go beyond that.

The "As a result, NASA has determined they are comfortable with up to a five-time reuse for both the Falcon 9 and the Crew Dragon capsule," is very very different to the sub-headline of "NASA urged to reuse Musk hardware no more than five times"

Poor editing, el reg.

Leading Arch Linux derivative Manjaro puts out version 21.3

Nik 2


There seem to be other issues, but I would suggest that anyone who doesn't know whether they want en_GB or en_US probably shouldn't be installing any operating system, let alone Linux.

Japan lets its banks and other entities issue stablecoins

Nik 2

non-fiat digital currency?

This stablecoin is an officially recognised form of currency without a relationship to any physical asset. Its face value is guaranteed because the government of Japan says it is.

How is this not a fiat currency?

If it is a fiat currency, what advantage does it offer over the existing currency, other than that it can be traded without the use of a clearing bank?

Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips

Nik 2

<quote>I don't see where is Intel innovation here?</quote>

<quote>This is important because liquid and immersion cooling requires completely different form factors than what's used in air cooled datacenters today. This unfamiliarity remains one of the technology's biggest inhibitors.</quote>

Is it that they have developed a totally different form factor specially for liquid cooled systems?

Rocket Lab successfully catches falling rocket booster with a helicopter

Nik 2

Re: Catch and release, then.

The one that got away?

Russia's Mir space station returned to Earth 21 years ago

Nik 2

Supervise deorbit from on board?!

No thanks! Although if your re-entry vehicle is controlled from earth you mght not have a lot of choice in the matter...

Raspberry Pi's trading arm snags £33m investment as flotation rumours sink

Nik 2

Re: With the 'Sale' of shares.......

The note about 'sharing the vision' suggests that Raspi has considered who it is selling to, and will therefore have had a condition attached.

One careful driver: Make room in the garage... Bloodhound jet-powered car is up for sale

Nik 2

They must be terribly expensive in tax

"They must be terribly expensive in tax"

£37,000,000,000 is the current estimate, and every penny paid for by taxes...

Nik 2


I think a Kickstarter would do well - I'd certainly go for the Level 2 contribution of having my picture on a USB stick in the vehicle as it set the record.

I wonder if Jim Ratcliffe & Ineos have been contacted.

Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift? How about a week of retro gaming BBC Microlympics?

Nik 2


TNMOC's website explains it thus:

"The online games Heptathlon will take place during February half term with 5 games over 5 days."

I think they should have used 6502 chips rather than original Pentiums to count the events...

Samsung floats autonomous ships as ready to sail in 2022

Nik 2

Re: Boarders!

Drones with chainsaws!


Much safer than sharks with frikkin laser beams, and the on-board footage can be live-streamed.

Lay down your souls to the gods of rock 'n' roll: Conspiracy theorists' 5G 'vaccine' chip schematic is actually for a guitar pedal

Nik 2

Bill & Ted

The XKCD examples quoted above are close, but I think that this was first forseen by the most excellent William "Bill" S. Preston Esq.

and Ted "Theodore" Logan:


Gates gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you

Put it in the veins of everyone

Do you know what you want? You don't know for sure

You don't feel right, you can't find a cure...


With apologies to Russ Ballard

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah

Nik 2

Re: "...the Department won't reveal its location "

Just over 3 miles from a paved road to the location given below, and only 500 yards along a gully from a road that an average 4x4 might be able to use.

Behold, the Ultimately Large Telescope: A revived proposal for a 100-metre liquid-mirror star scanner on the Moon

Nik 2

To scale, or not to scale?

If the astronaut in the picture is to scale against a telescope described in the text as being 100m in diameter, then he's a lot bigger than most people.

Apple to hand out limited-edition iPhones among 1337 h4x0rs because it wants more bug-hunters

Nik 2

Are you sure? Have you read the EULA?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a flying solar panel: BAE Systems' satellite alternative makes maiden flight in Oz

Nik 2

National Monopolies

I suspect that BAES sees itself competing against the alternative of 'being a larg-ish part of an international consortium'

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Nik 2

Come on, Pedents...

Nearly eightly posts and no-one has pointed out that the second paragrpahs expands the acronym incorrectly:

<quote>The name is an acronym for “General Image Manipulation Program”<quote>

GNU Image Manipulation Program, as given correctly further down the article.

Let's check in with our friends in England and, oh good, bloke fined after hiding face from police mug-recog cam

Nik 2

Re: What the heck

On the video he says "So I told him to F*** off"

That's never going to end well, especially if you've just annoyed said PC, even if doing so was entirely legitimate.

He also says that he had been told before he walked down the street that the camera was there, so if he'd been trying to hide he could have gone round a different way...

Icon: Stop, in the name of the (controversial and ethically somewhat dubious) law

Naming your company 101: Probably best not to have the word 'Oracle' anywhere near branding

Nik 2


But of you don't file a defence, you're not opposing the application.

Previous commentards may be right [no, really - ed] that the name is legit, but if you don't turn up to court to say so then you're going to lose.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon shows up at pad 39A, nearly 8 years after the last Shuttle left

Nik 2

Header tank for Mr Musk's ego?

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

Nik 2

Re: What about co-op sign-ins

<quote>Will this involve all my co-op sign-ins. Web sites that allow you to register/sign-in using your Google account.</quote>

No. Google accounts != Google+ accounts.

New Horizons eyeballs Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, its next flyby goal

Nik 2

'Since' - or 'ever'?

The subtitle says "The snaps are the most distant images taken from the Sun since "Pale Blue Dot" and the text says " It's also the most distant image ever taken from the Sun, breaking the record set by Voyager 1 for its famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth "

I think it's the latter, but it can't be both.

Former Google X bloke's startup unveils 'self flying' electric air taxi

Nik 2

Not all issues are created equal

“Because our fans & propellers are electric, they can operate independently. An issue with one has no effect on the others,”

Unless the issue is a flat battery :-/

Worldwide smartphone shipments DOWN for first time ever

Nik 2

OS vs OEM market Share

According to this article, Apple has 17.9% of the handset market, but iOS has only 14.4% of the OS market. Does that mean that 1 in 6 Apple phones ships with Android installed, or that 20% of the smartphones sold without shipped with no operating system at all?

See that over Heathrow? It's not an airliner – it's a Predator drone

Nik 2

Predator/Watchkeeper are hardly State of the Art

It's not quite fair to say that Predator is the state of the art in this field - BAE Systems have had some ptreety smart stuff doing self-flying for a few years now, (https://www.baesystems.com/en-uk/article/surrogate-uav-prepares-for-maiden-flight-in-uk-airspace) and there's a small company called Blue Bear that I know have done flying in formation using only on-board visual sensors on a drone. I can't imagine that this doesn't involve some fairly smart collision avoidance capabilities.

I'm sadly unsurprised that the regulation is harder to sort out than the technology...