* Posts by taxythingy

46 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Dec 2015

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


Re: Why is there a choice?

It was the heaviest key, so made sense to the bean counters.

Operation Desert Sh!tstorm: Routine test shoots down military's top-secret internets


Re: Recovering after loss of power - paper bootstrap.

I've found the key with audits is to be good enough in the first place. We can then spend more time talking with the auditors and learning from their experience.

Poetic justice: Mum funnels £100 into claw machine to win single Dumbo teddy for her kid


Re: Has no one considered the alternative?


Felt aggrieved that she'd spent so much with no payout the first time, so complained. Then went back and donated more money, just so she'd have something else to complain about. Hence the public knowledge of the sordid affair.

One teeensy little 13-minute power cut, and WD you look at the size of that chip supply cut!


Looks reasonable...

Estimated NAND production revenue lost: half of one third of global quarterly supply (ca. US$10B), so about US$1.6B. (1)

Battery to generator fail-over for several 100MW for all semi-critical processes: $500 million (10 year lifetime) and $50 million annual support, so about $100 million per year. (2)

Expected frequency of power cut forcing fail-over to generators: once per 10 years (3).

Effective break-even point: $1B revenue loss per power cut. Can afford more due to follow-on NAND price increases; can afford less due to contract and reputation losses. Call it even.

Handwaving and crudely based on relevant figures, but within a factor of 2. I bet Toshiba have better actuaries than me.

(1) Trendforce figures, via Anandtech article on this power cut

(2) Based on US EIA 2016 estimate of liquid fuel generator installation cost of $1,600 per KW and doubling for the rapid start and other non-trivial requirements.

(3) Haven't heard of this happening to these fabs before, but with likely exception of Kobe earthquake. Multiple power stations and likely suppliers, multiple interconnects, high-level system hardening, very tightly specified contracts.

The seven deadly sins of the 2010s: No, not pride, sloth, etc. The seven UI 'dark patterns' that trick you into buying stuff


Re: Multi-buy discounts, or not.

One of my local supermarkets switched to fully electronic price tags on all their shelves a few years ago. It means you can't lift or slide the special price tag and check what the normal retail price is. They are also more expensive generally.

My response is (1) don't shop there unless necessary, and (2) assume I'm always being shown a lie.

Bad news from science land: Fast-charging li-ion batteries may be quick to top up, but they're also quick to die


That Leaf anecdote might have something to do with the 30 kWH battery packs degrading about 3-5 times faster than Nissan said they would. As in, get to about 50-60,000 km and they probably have the same capacity as a similar 24 kWH pack, and it gets worse from there.

Man drives 6,000 miles to prove Uncle Sam's cellphone coverage maps are wrong – and, boy, did he manage it


Yes, for a bigger drone. Economically, probably not. 40 mph in a car covers a lot of 400 m sections in the course of an hour. Drones would be good to fill in a few spots to get adequate coverage of a few nearby blocks, but not for general data gathering. And not for tens of thousands of blocks.

This is a classic case of making required evidence nearly unobtainable, in order to prevent questioning of the current truth.

A year after Logitech screwed over Harmony users, it, um, screws over Harmony users: Device API killed off


Re: As a non-developer.... about undocumented / private API's...

Disabling the API's is completely legal and likely reasonable, given the security concerns.

However, it also makes for really bad PR among a small but important part of their customer base.

The lost sales to the niche group over the next 5-10 years is probably dwarfed by the litigation potential.

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges


Re: Hostage situations...

It looks like the problem starts with drawing one's weapon. When your really really southern not-really-neighbours get to this point, they start by drawing their key, going to the boot of the car, unlocking the safe inside it, and then drawing their weapon. If it got that far. Otherwise they just pull back and call in the specialists. Most of the bollocks gets solved well before then.

Confrontations don't typically escalate to drawn weapons, because almost no-one - crims or police - goes into them with the expectation of having a gun drawn immediately.

Stroppy Google runs rings round Brussels with Android remedy


Re: If you build it will they come?

You're not quite there with your analysis. As in miles off.

This isn't about better/worse products and competing with them. This is about Google holding a near-monopoly on a licenceable, practical phone operating system and a monopoly on services AND a range of apps. A manufacturer cannot chose Android, Play store, Google location services, Firefox, Here Maps and Bing as their default configuration on any device they sell, because then NO device they sell may use Google location services or any other component of the Play store. By contract.

No potential competing company can reasonably make many services or apps and distribute them as default installs on new phones, since the phone manufacturers then cannot use any of the Play store services and bits on any phone they make.

Because of Google's monopoly position and the barrier to entry*, the contract is anti-competitive and illegal under EU rules (and probably NZ, AU, CA and a great many other jurisdictions).

* The barriers to entry require replacing the Play store, all associated services (huge task), funding the back-end delivery of all services and seeding the new store with critical apps (i.e. pay for app ports and ongoing updates). There's probably stuff missing from that short list. And doing this while maintaining a revenue stream WITHOUT phones until it is up and running properly.

Good news: Sub-surface life on Mars possible, moons from big impacts. There is no bad news


Re: after a powerful collision event

But with events, anyone interested can get on with what they are doing, as they know they will get notified when the collision happens.

Everyone else spends far too much of their time running around with hands in the air asking "Did something just happen?!", instead of getting on with things.

Dead retailer's 'customer data' turns up on seized kit, unencrypted and very much for sale


> Had this been in Europe it would be a massive breach of GDPR and all the sellers from landlord onwards would be in breach. The original company could claim 'force majeure' as an excuse because the equipment was seized, presumably at zero notice.

Of course, it is also **absolutely forseeable** that the company's servers might not be completely secure, given the regular data breaches, so slightly more security surrounding those databases might be considered a good thing.

No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy


Re: Same as mine

Wow, that's amazing! I've got the same combination on my luggage.


Yup. My main work account's iterator is up to 30-mumble, and our lab group password rolls based on seasons. Anything else is generally considered "too hard" and will end up with post-its by every PC.

At home almost everything is on a password manager, but that doesn't cut it for unlocking a PC 20-30 times a day.

Experts build AI joke machine that's about as funny as an Adam Sandler movie (that bad)


Re: A career in television?

Stop horsing around.

OpenWRT and LEDE agree on Linux-for-routers peace plan


Sounds legit

This should work out ok. If my reading is up to scratch, the current LEDE branch will become the base, with some improvements brought over from OpenWRT.

Assumes of course that the reason(s) the LEDE devs left have been sorted out.

Qualcomm to demand US iPhone import ban


Re: The Gods are at war again...

Remember kids, you must include the currency ID, particularly when talking about Dollars and Pesos, as they otherwise will be assumed to belong to Zimbabwe and Britain.


Re: The Gods are at war again...

They probably need to go to The Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too.

You can easily spend $1,200 NZD on a base model iPhone 7 (~$800 USD), OR you can spend $120 a month on your contract for 2 years. Reference: www.vodafone.co.nz

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0


Systemd v17.0

Now with email!

No, Microsoft is not 'killing Windows 10 Mobile'


HMD to the rescue?

I'm holding out hope that HMD/Nokia can provide me a tolerable upgrade path. A small part of me is trying to work out how many layers of irony that would make.

Feel guilty for scoffing Easter chocolate? Good news: Scientists have made NEGATIVE mass


Up next: Study replication refutes results

And at least as likely is someone else finding rubidium atoms being kicked out the other end, generating an opposing force. But that will fall in the 'Hmm, that's interesting' department, rather than 'Lose weight with this one, weird, 0.1K frozen (let it go!), laser-blasting, physics-defying-gravity trick.

Ever visited a land now under Islamic State rule? And you want to see America? Hand over that Facebook, Twitter, pal


Might it be that what they really want is not your current account, though that would be nice, but instead to see if you have given what they determine to be your current account or a false one? With the latter being a rather large red flag.

Also that it gives them one more "you lied" reason to deport someone they don't like?

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?


Re: Zombie hard disk

Re: general rule that UI element can't be clicked when it just appeared.

Eh, what? Do you realise that is going to piss nearly everyone off nearly every day to fix an infrequent problem of the few?

How about a blanket OS rule that shit apps can't grab focus unless the last user command was to launch that app? How about shit devs go die in large holes rather than allowing elements to move after display, unless user directed?

NB: last coffee was three hours ago and ive got kids inside on a rainy day. It is possible my tolerance is lower than normal.

The exploding Note 7 is no surprise – leaked Samsung doc highlights toxic internal culture


Re: #nothingtodowithnote7

edit: Beaten to the punch. Never mind.

Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?


Nope. Not the same principle.

Marriott's were spanked for mis-using the spectrum by deliberately making it unusable. Right up FCC's alley and very cane-worthy.

Here they were asking people not to use other WiFi. Private property and entry by agreement with T&Cs only. It is likely within their rights to do this.

I still think they are greedy unprintables, though.

SpaceX: Breach in liquid oxygen tank caused Falcon 9 fireball ... probably


Re: A few notes

I'm guessing the glass wall isn't as stupid as you think.

First, the helium will boil off quickly if dumped on the ground, but that's nowhere near as rapid an expansion as an explosion. Most over-pressure will have a decent chance to vent through the air ducting system.

Second, the helium that evaporates is coming off at -260ish degrees celsius, so it isn't going to get to anywhere close to ATP volume initially. With the venting, that should prevent a pressure blow-out of the glass. (Atmospheric Temperature & Pressure, if you asked. Ideal gas law and some heat capacity calculations should suffice for modelling scenarios)

Thirdly, the glass wall will likely contain much of that helium in the NMR room for sufficient time, protecting the atmosphere of the adjoining space so that people can evacuate. The system only has to prevent a dilution of >10% for time required to evacuate that space.

NB: That doesn't mean RUD of your cooling system is a 'good thing'. It's not.

United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up

Thumb Up

But sir, it gets 5 star Amazon reviews

So it has to be good, right?

Besides, we'll get a genuine certificate of authenticity if we buy now.


Re: "Not compatible with fuel"

I guarantee to you that compatibility is at an all time high:

Many project-related things are staying aloft;

Much active servicing is going on; and

Many completely unscripted exercises are being undertaken.

Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners


Filter for sponsored stories?

That's what I would like.

Too bad if some news publications have half of their content stripped from the main page.


Re: Not really much of a market

"Advertising only works when the advertiser can prove to the client that the client is no making more money than they spent..."

Not quite. Advertising can be shown to work when it meets certain metrics. However, much advertising is done to increase brand exposure, and while that can be measured, it often is over time-scales that make attributing revenue increases to advertising expenditure next to impossible. But it still works, at least sometimes.

Getting your ad through the ABP filter makes that kind of exposure more valuable.

Excel abuse hits new heights as dev uses VBA to code spreadsheet messaging app


Mixing compressed gases with Excel

I have an Excel sheet at work controlling serial-connected equipment for mixing compressed gases. I chose Excel VBA for bodging it, as I could put the solution together quickly and didn't have to deal with IT to get a dev environment installed. It does the job I need.

However... it is stupidly difficult to modify thanks to my shonky programming skills, as I found out when I wanted to blend different gases. I've tried twice to re-write it using C# to be more useful (as a learning exercise), but couldn't be bothered finishing it. Could be there is a different learning in that.

'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder


Re: Going nowhere

"If Spacecom is whining about it in a press conference, I'm guessing they don't have a legal leg to stand on."

Agree, but publicly whinging about the service might bring about a free flight none-the-less, because it looks good to keep clients happy. Even if they guess a 10% chance of that happening, when the flight is $50M, that's a $5M statement right there.

Of course, this is Elon Musk sitting opposite, who has more successful or trending-successful start-ups than 99.99% of the rest of us. Re-negotiated flight cost for repeat business - can see that. Free flight - not bloody likely.

Physicists believe they may have found fifth force of nature


Proton radius puzzle tie in?

I wonder what the chances are that this links to the proton radius puzzle?

Here they are talking about a force-carrying boson that interacts primarily with electrons. It doesn't sound too far fetched that it would interact with muons in an unexpected way, and the paper highlights a possibility. That might shine some light on the proton radius measurements, which are unexpectedly inconsistent when measured with muons c.f. electrons.

Too bad my particle physics and math aren't of the required standard.

Funny story, this. UK.gov's 'open banking app revolution'. Security experts not a fan of it


Now why would I want that?

They've got the right concept, but completely backwards focus. This open app rubbish is to make it easy to switch apps, but doesn't help bank mobility much, which is the problem needing a solution. Make it easy for people to switch banks (opening and closing accounts) and improve the back-end service capabilities (e.g. 24hr inter-bank transactions), toughen up on anticompetitive behaviour, and the banks will start competing or lose business.

I'm just happy that the banks round here are competitive. You know: where they improve service, tech and options, waive fees, cut mortgage rates. In other words, the exact opposite of the British system.

Windows 10 still free, even the Anniversary Update, if you're crass


Fair's fair

It's probably more ethical than some of the shit MS threw out there trying to get people to upgrade.

You can buy Windows 10 Enterprise E3 access for the price of a coffee


Re: you pay 7 bucks for a coffee?


Set group policy to disable them but allow override.

I have two macros that are used several times a day. They both turn 2-3 minute click-fest, multi-workbook jobs into alt-f8, tab, enter.

Estimate 10 minutes a day, 150 days per year with more consistency and fewer errors. 25 hours a year over three years and counting. That's worth a lot to me and my group.

If you want to make sweeping generalisations, go join a retentive H&S team.

Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards


That's because NZ set up EFT-POS systems back in the 80's left, right and centre. A fairly unified banking system helped, as did having only two processing groups for the banks.

The only time I've used cash in the last two months, other than as a tooth fairy, was at a big field day for our local rescue chopper. The sausage sizzle and donations in a bucket still work better with cash. Normally, my wallet has no cash.

Tokyo rebrands 2020 Olympics


Re: Old Logo

Durr. Stop reading it as an 'L'.

The bottom curve is to get the ball rolling in the right direction, thereby starting the latest Honda commercial.

Saturn spacecraft immune to mysterious Planet 9's charms


Re: Meanwhile, on Planet 9...

"Hurry and kill Flash! We only have 14 minutes to save the Earth"


Websites take control of USB devices: Googlers propose WebUSB API


So, hardware with hard-coded web addresses that connects itself to the now-mandatory internet in order to install proprietary drivers and applications, without any significant user interaction or vetting.

What could possibly go wrong there?

I'll start: you bought hardware V1.0.

Get lost, Windows 10 and Phone fans: No maps HERE on Microsoft's OS


If they wanted to kill it, they would just do it instead of pouring millions after millions into it. The problem they have got is they stopped pouring millions into it for too long, left things to rot, and are now trying to to a massive re-architecture and integration of >50% of their product portfolio.

It will probably work out in 2-3 years. In their typical half-arsed, full of the compromises no-one wants, way. That should see them to about 3% market share. Winners.



Why is it that when I find something I really like (WP8.1), it gets dumped on, shafted, fed to the dogs and then given a kick in the dandenongs for good measure?


Rant rant rant rant rant complaint, gripe, justification, curse, tale of woe. Rant.


SpaceX Falcon 9 grounded by 'sledgehammer' winds


Re: Why super-cooled fuel?

LOX density at -183°C is about 1.15, at -207°C it is about 1.25, so they are getting a little more than 8% more oxidiser into their tank for essentially no weight increase other than the propellant. Add to that no increase in drag from larger components and no manufacturing changes.

The cooler temperatures probably don't require any rocket redesign, other some kind of liquid relief valve to allow for the LOX to expand as it warms up on the platform (fueling lines, most likely). Cold LOX can't take advantage of evaporative cooling to stay at that temperature, so it has a short fuelling-to-launch window.

It all adds up to quite a few extra Joules of energy delivered to the payload (faster/higher/heavier) with no significant cost increase. Unless you scrub lots of launches, that is.

Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again


"Who do you think is going to pay for the extra testing?"

The people buying the cheap crap. Once they've bought 4 different versions, none of which can do proper serial communcation, they'll either give up or, if they are lucky, ask. Then they'll get pointed in the direction of a reputable supplier of FTDI chip converters and automagically their equipment will start talking again.

Well, that's what happened to the research organisation across the road from us. They finally asked if they could borrow one of mine, since our equipment didn't seem to have a problem. Job done shortly after. Cost them 4 weeks and more than the price of a proper one.

Seagate wears dunce's cap in hi-cap disk ship slip


Re: These drives float right into their racks, like magic

Using nitrogen eliminates water vapour because it's coming from compressed gas cylinders. The nitrogen is generated by liquifying air at silly cold temperatures and then progressively boiling off the different components. The water is completely removed as part of this process.

Normal petrol/gas/servo station air is compressed on site and doesn't have the water scrubbed out. Get enough of this water in your tyres and there will be condensation at cooler temperatures and therefore big pressure changes when things heat back up.

How much of a difference does it really make? Uh, dunno. Can't say if it is worth paying someone to pump up your tyres with 'special air' for you or not.