* Posts by Fursty Ferret

130 posts • joined 23 Feb 2016


Japan solves 5G airliner conundrum: Keep mobe masts 200m from airport approach paths. That's it

Fursty Ferret

Re: Too wide bandwidth in the aircraft system

They are selective - the frequency band is quite wide because two radio altimeters can't transmit on the same frequency, and there are a lot of radio altimeters around.

The in-depth report suggests that it's not necessary that radio altimeters are particularly vulnerable and more down to the fact that some of the 5G transmitters are broadcasting at reasonable powers directly in the protected band.

Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

Fursty Ferret

At the moment you can buy an extra called "Enhanced Autopilot" in the UK, and used to be able to do this in the USA. This gives you automatic lane changes on motorways (although in the UK you have to confirm suggestions by the car) but crucially it'll leave the motorway automatically to follow the route.

I imagine this is what happened here - the driver is, being American, heads down and playing on his phone and the car autonomously signals and leaves the motorway (freeway?) but doesn't stop at the red light at the end of the slip road.

Almost every road accident and death in the USA is attributable to either alcohol or phone use. Driver assist systems just make these crashes more of a surprise because the startle factor of the car handing control back when it reaches its limits is substantial if the driver has spent the last ten minutes concentrating on WhatsApp.

It takes more clicks to reject their cookies than accept them, so France fines Facebook and Google over €200m

Fursty Ferret

Wonder if they'll go after that awful company (TrustArc) that makes you wait for two minutes while they "update their records" if you click reject?

Tesla disables in-car gaming feature that allowed play while MuskMobiles were in motion

Fursty Ferret

As someone who spends half the year in the USA, the biggest problem is phone use at the wheel. It's utterly routine and driving down the freeway you'll see somewhere between 20-40% of drivers holding a phone to send messages or browse the web. It's not a criminal offence there and is punishable only by a small (~$20 fine) because it's a "misdemeanour".

I'd argue that the tiny minority playing Sonic at the wheel of their Muskmobile is a drop in the ocean in terms of relative risk.

Low on passengers, low on memory: A bad day on the London Underground

Fursty Ferret

What I want to know is who approved the new text-to-speech system used on the Tube that made Stephen Hawking sound natural.

Flash? Nu-uh. Windows 11 users complain of slow NVMe SSD performance

Fursty Ferret

Interesting. I ditched Windows 11 and went back to Windows 10 after discovering that big file copy operations (particularly involving lots of smaller files) would slow to a crawl and eventually cause Explorer to hang completely. Teracopy fixed the problem on a short-term basis, proving that it wasn't hardware related, but to be honest I'm quite happy on Windows 10 and see no reason to go back to the half-baked mess that is Windows 11.

Munich mk2? Germany's Schleswig-Holstein plans to switch 25,000 PCs to LibreOffice

Fursty Ferret

Disregarding the excellent points about not feeding Microsoft / bribery / closed source / locked in systems etc etc...

Isn't the fundamental problem of LibreOffice still that any document produced using it looks *exactly* like it was produced in LibreOffice twenty years ago?

Server errors plague app used by Tesla drivers to unlock their MuskMobiles

Fursty Ferret

Tesla owner here - hopefully this post will be surrounded by a warning cloud of smug so that you can skip past if necessary.

This is a clickbait story and a non-event. People weren't locked out of their cars. Teslas use Bluetooth to unlock, and as a backup you can touch the phone or a key-card to the NFC reader on the door pillar. You get two of these keys with the car, and spares are ten quid each.

Do you honestly think that if a lack of network connection resulted in a stranded car, it wouldn't already have been mentioned at some point?

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist

Fursty Ferret

Suspect that it's less likely to be a phone jammer and more likely to be a dodgy microwave oven or something at the distribution park. This would account for the short term interruption that couldn't be detected by the AAIB or OFCOM (if they investigated).

Off the shelf autopilot boards are cheap and reliable (dual IMU, dual GPS etc etc for less than a hundred quid), and could easily take over to return the aircraft towards the site of launch while in a glide descent. Ardupilot can even autoland back at the launch site in the event of signal loss.

Tesla slams into reverse, pulls latest beta of Full Self-Driving software from participating car owners

Fursty Ferret

Re: Beta software?

To be fair, when I see a Tesla on the motorway I do assume that the driver is browsing the web* while on Autopilot, and that the car might do something stupid at the worst time.

Source: I'm a Tesla owner.

* you can actually do this while driving if you were so inclined.

Firewalls? Pfft – it's no match for my mighty spares-bin PC

Fursty Ferret

I think the big mistake here is offering his former colleagues help on the phone call, other than just a bit of fake sympathy. All this has served to do is reinforce to the company that employed him that you can extract useful work from people and then kick them out, knowing that they'll still help out for nothing if it all goes tits up.

Got enterprise workstations and hope to run Windows 11? Survey says: You lose. Over half the gear's not fit for it

Fursty Ferret

I work for a FTSE 100 company and most of our computers are still running Windows 7. Having attempted to use Windows 11 on a decent machine as a daily driver so I know what other people are going to get themselves in for, I can confidently say that it's going to be Vista all over again.

Honestly, it's ******* awful. Everything lags, even with dedicated GPUs. New right-click menus literally populate line-by-line as they open, and then resize. Even changing from the light theme to dark theme requires a restart to make everything change. File Explorer can't handle multiple copy operations, and crashes. Teracopy rescued the day but shouldn't have to. Games lose focus even though there's nothing running in the background. High-DPI displays get insanely blurry legacy apps.

If they said this was an early beta and due for release in June next year, I'd nod thoughtfully and encourage them to keep working hard. To release it now will just cement people into staying on Windows 10.

We're all at sea: Navigation Royal Navy style – with plenty of IT but no GPS

Fursty Ferret

Re: Reg units need not apply

Makes the maffs easier. 1 degree at 1 nautical mile is 100 feet.

Fursty Ferret

Re: Glider units

Meh. Use QNH for everything. You might find it easier to fly a circuit using QFE but this forces you to add the field elevation to every other value on your charts, which is particularly relevant when it comes to obstacles such as masts, and MSAs.

If you use QNH, you only have to figure out one number, which is your circuit altitude and when you're stressed and fly into a cloud or something, you can look at your altimeter and know instantly whether you're at risk of twatting the TV mast near the airport.

Music festivals are back in the UK. So is the background bork

Fursty Ferret

We contacted Squid's management to find out what the band made of Windows' impromptu appearance but have yet to receive a response.

Possibly because in the grand context of things no one cares.

Software piracy pushes companies to be more competitive, study claims

Fursty Ferret

Do people still pirate stuff? I would have thought a it's a perfectly reasonable assumption that anything you download from a dodgy source is going to have something unpleasant in it that will saunter casually past your anti-virus. The amount of stuff that needs UAC elevation to install on Windows simply means that you're giving it free reign over the whole computer.

Branson (in a) pickle: FAA grounds Virgin Galactic flights after billionaire's space trip veered off course

Fursty Ferret

Re: Leaving the virtual tube

That's not the point, really, is it?

What we have is the two-fold problem of being able to reproduce the planned flight path neither accurately nor consistently, coupled with the failure to can the flight when it became obvious that it was straying outside agreed boundaries.

That's exceptionally poor decision making (no doubt influenced by the cameras and boss on board).

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

Fursty Ferret

Re: Simple!

It's an interesting idea but all that will happen is that London will end up drowning in charging points while the rest of the UK is quietly left to rot.

Wait, *will* happen? Already happened.

Fursty Ferret

Re: A Modest Proposal

Yeah, but Tesla charge points are funded by Tesla drivers via inflated purchase prices.

Fursty Ferret

It's weird because around my neck of the woods (admittedly very few EVs thanks to the non-existent charging infrastructure) the people with egos to massage seem to do so by ragging a 1.2l Renault Clio with a missing exhaust up and down the main road.

You might want to re-read your original post because it makes you sound like a bit of a prick.

Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!

Fursty Ferret

Re: "The power lead approached the PC..."

Lenovo laptop power supplies are particularly robust with mine having survived visits to both 415V and 120V/400Hz in the past.

The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

Fursty Ferret

Re: Perhaps a hybrid would be a better solution?

>> The national grid is already at breaking point as just one of three main energy distribution networks

Not according to the National Grid.


United, Mesa airlines order 200 electric 19-seater planes for short-hop flights

Fursty Ferret

Re: I wonder

Electric motors for taxiing have been looked at for a long time but the fuel cost of dragging a motor around just aren't worth the savings for a taxi-out or in, especially since this can be done with one engine shut down most of the time anyway. Big airports implements a traffic control system anyway so you won't be allowed to start engines until your taxi time is predicted to be short.

The launch system would only get you 15% of the energy you need to accelerate to cruising speeds, and that doesn't include the energy to get to cruise altitude, nor wastage for air conditioning or pressurisation.

A bigger aircraft like the Boeing 787 can draw up to 400kW for A/C alone, and can have a peak load towards 1.3MW. I can't see how even a light aircraft could have a flight time of more than about 10-15 minutes and a commuter-style jet? No chance.

Hydrogen storage? Possibly. Super-capacitors using some undiscovered technology. Maybe. Lithium ion batteries? Nah. For some things we're going to have to keep burning dinosaurs - but doing it carefully and efficiently. This means an end to flying to Spain for a fiver, not going there in a Tesla Jet.

BOFH: Here in my car I feel safest of all. I can listen to you ... It keeps me stable for days

Fursty Ferret

>> They told us that our public wireless is less secure than James Dean's seatbelt

Saving that for personal use.

What you need to know about Microsoft Windows 11: It will run Android apps

Fursty Ferret

Remember: if it's free, you're the product being sold.

* which is not to say that I won't use it in the same way that I use Gmail. Also shiny. And round corners.

** my personal preference is that until all the old Windows 2000 control panel dialogs are gone, you're not allowed to call it Windows 11.

*** actually, I wonder if Windows 2000 still works in 2021?

The Eigiau Dam Disaster: Deluges and deceit at the dawn of hydroelectric power

Fursty Ferret

The Register could just write articles like this every day and I'd be happy.

Waiting for the book.

Tesla owners win legal fight after software update crippled older Model S batteries

Fursty Ferret

Re: Carbon neutral

>>My old ICE vehicle sure spews out the carbon when it idles in neutral.

Why the fuck are you letting your car idle in neutral?

Accidentally wiped an app's directory? Hey, just play the 'unscheduled maintenance' card. Now you're a hero

Fursty Ferret

Re: Word Perfect is still the best


If it's not in LaTeX then it doesn't count.

Lock up your Peloton smart treadmills, watchdog warns families following one death, numerous injuries

Fursty Ferret

Re: I think it's more a design issue

Missing guards and raised rollers are possibly forgivable in, for example, a gym, but this is worse since it's specifically designed and advertised to go in the home.

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children

Fursty Ferret

Re: Not necessarily.

The units in use simultaneously on a modern aircraft:

- feet

- metres

- knots

- kg

- metric tonnes

- mach

- litres

- quarts

- hectopascals

- inches of mercury

- pounds per square inch

- nautical miles

- degrees celsius

- degrees magnetic

- degrees true

- degrees grid

- TPR (turbofan power ratio)

- kilowatts

- megahertz

- kilohertz

Fursty Ferret

Re: Not necessarily.

Some of them do, but it tends to be for verifying the centre of gravity instead of the gross weight. I think you'd struggle to measure the weight with sufficient accuracy to prevent an issue like this. An Airbus may have spotted the problem but only when airborne.

Take-off performance monitoring is something that major manufacturers have been struggling with because although it seems superficially easy, it turns out to be really complicated to assess other than in the gross sense, which wouldn't have been sensed in this situation.

IMHO since the problem was known about at the airline a second check should have taken place at the gate when boarding cards were scanned (assuming a human is still involved).

‘Can COVID-19 vaccines connect me to the internet?’

Fursty Ferret

Is there an API?

I'm a runner and slightly disappointed that my Covid-19 vaccine doesn't appear to include automatic uploading of my activities to Strava.

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem

Fursty Ferret

Re: Where’s the effing handbrake!?

Did any of you consider the irony of making sanctimonious comments about users being unable to use brightness* controls, and then in the same post rant about how difficult it is to find the switch for headlights in a hire car?

* It is terrible design to have a control that makes the computer completely unusable without any other indication and it's a bit unfair to blame a user for this, especially if they didn't do it.

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams

Fursty Ferret

Not quite a straightforward bribe

Most North African countries forbid you from taking their currencies out of the country (I can guess why - the weight of some of the coins means they could hold their central bank in scrap value alone) and it's routine for your wallet to be inspected at airport security to ensure you're not trying to smuggle an Algerian doubloon or Tunisian ruble.

I suppose in theory confiscated currency should go back to the government but in my experience it goes into the security guard's pocket. Bribery is a weird thing. I needed to bribe a policeman at a stop in Algeria and he was initially highly offended that I'd even think of bribing him, but that didn't actually stop him taking the money and letting us through.

Don't be a fool, cover your tool: How IBM's mighty XT keyboard was felled by toxic atmosphere of the '80s

Fursty Ferret

Since suggesting that the person concerned might cut down on the cigarettes wasn't a viable option

Which is weird, because in general approaching a manager and pointing out that their employee's [insert disgusting habit here] is costing the company a fortune in new hardware tends to result in a quick solution - rarely involving condoms, keyboard or otherwise.

'No' does not mean 'yes'... unless you are a scriptwriter for software user interfaces

Fursty Ferret

I'm actually a big fan of removing offensive and anachronistic terminology. Seems an obvious and thoughtful thing to do.

But it needs to be done properly. We have a system that runs three instances on three independent machines - originally "master", "slave", and "backup". The slave machine ran in lockstep with the master, and the spare was there ready to take over if both fell over (but had a 30 second startup time).

Unfortunately the manufacturer decided to replace "slave" with "spare", which caused endless confusion.

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy a beer: Beware the downloaded patch applied in haste

Fursty Ferret

If you reply to a group email at my company and you have the authority to send group emails in the first place, your reply is copied to everyone on the list. The moral of the story here is that if you're a bit of an arse and some people don't know it already, they will soon. The second moral is that when using a company email account you never write anything that you wouldn't say in person or be willing to have CC'd to your boss.

Name True, iCloud access false: Exceptional problem locks online storage account, stumps Apple customer service

Fursty Ferret

Importance of capital letters

Can't help but think that my old primary school teacher (who hated both children and spelling mistakes, but children more) may have had a point when she said that the laziness of phone and web text communication would come back to bite us one day.

c ya l8tr dudes

Sopra Steria wins Highways England National Traffic Information Service deal after £8m falls off contract value

Fursty Ferret

Is this the system that says stuff like "J16 - 23 minutes"? I've never felt it necessary to learn every single junction number, which makes the whole thing utterly pointless.

Satya Nadella spoke with Australian PM about opportunities created by pay-for-news-plan. Zuck called the Treasurer for a chat, too

Fursty Ferret

Which is more evil, Google or Facebook?

Samsung Galaxy S21: Lots of little downgrades, but this phone is more than the sum of its parts

Fursty Ferret

Fortunately, wireless charging is present here, which makes up for the BYOB (bring your own brick) approach.

No it doesn't.

NASA building network cables that can survive supersonic flight - could this finally deliver unbreakable RJ45 latching tabs?

Fursty Ferret

Re: No need to reinvent the wheel

>> liquid N2 : He : He3 : Printer Ink

Fixed it for you.

Watchdog signals Boeing 737 Max jets can return to US skies following software upgrade, pilot training

Fursty Ferret

Re: Dating back to the 1096s

I disagree. Something that relies on a combination of physical strength and bits of string to control the moving surfaces of a passenger aircraft should be relegated to the past where it belongs.

Having a computer in the middle allows for enormous redundancy and improved safety, along with better passenger comfort.

Apple now Arm'd to the teeth: MacBook Air and Pro, Mac mini to be powered by custom M1 chips rather than Intel

Fursty Ferret

Re: memory

I still don't understand how the iPad is able to transcode 4K video at about four times the speed of a Core i7 and nVidia GPU combo.

UK mapping agency the Ordnance Survey is heading into gaming territory with £6m tender for dev team

Fursty Ferret

I can't see why OS would expect to be able to flog their map data when (almost) equally good mapping / contour data is available for free from Openstreemap.

Ordnance Survey seem somewhat behind the curve here - historically they've been obsessed with protecting their data from third parties (ahem "taxpayers") to the extent that they completely missed the boat.

A decades-old lesson on not inserting Excel where it doesn't belong

Fursty Ferret

I cursed when trying to read a daily summary only to discover that it was in xlsx format. Google Docs managed to open it and I mentally admonished the government for using Excel to present data, but assumed that it was an export from a deeper and more complicated dataset.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised to learn that the entire thing was handled in an Excel spreadsheet.

Meet the new aviation insecurity, same as the old aviation insecurity: Next-gen ACAS X just as vulnerable to spoofing as its predecessor

Fursty Ferret

Re: real weaknesses of ACAS

Things changed markedly after that crash. TCAS is *always* followed. In a two pilot operation, the flying pilot will follow the TCAS instruction and the monitoring pilot will make a single radio transmission - "TCAS RA" - to inform ATC that they're no longer following their instructions.

The system also supports reversions so if one of the aircraft doesn't follow their TCAS resolution advisory it will change the plan. Most TCAS RAs are a consequence of high rates of climb or descent in the terminal area (aircraft separation is only 1,000ft).

I imagine the reason Heathrow is described as the ideal target is because of the four holding points surrounding the airport. You'd only have to trigger a climb from the lowest aircraft and the whole stack will climb in a sequence of TCAS RAs.

If the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition doesn't make you a fan, we don't know what will

Fursty Ferret

Re: Within 30 seconds of using it the phone was showing me ads

I've never had a pop-up ad on a Google phone.

Fursty Ferret

Technically impressive, but it's been Samsunged

I've had an extended play with one at the Samsung store here in Houston.


- Incredible screen. 120Hz refresh rate is the way forward, I think. Very bright on full brightness but fairly aggressive adaptive brightness when I turned on auto-brightness.

- Despite plastic back it feels well built.

- Guaranteed software updates and Google SafetyNet compatibility unlike some Chinese phones

- Good value for money on the Snapdragon 865.

- Stuff like Dex etc is handy if you might use it


- Despite recent advances, Samsung's Touchwiz / OneUI still stinks. Everything is too big, or too small, and there are duplicate apps for everything littering the phone. Want to uninstall them? Sorry, no.

- This same UI stalled and stuttered from time to time despite the CPU. Opening the Gallery surprised me as thumbnails populated one by one.

- Within 30 seconds of using it the phone was showing me ads and trying to get me to buy stuff in a theme store << this was the deciding factor.

I think it'll be the Pixel 5 for me.

It's Google's hardware launch day, and what do we get? A few Pixel phones, Nest kit, and another Chromecast

Fursty Ferret

Re: Hold For Me?

I'm sure it'll work well in the USA. Unfortunately Google have a pretty appalling track record of releasing Pixel features globally* so I doubt anyone in the UK will ever get to try it.

Which is not to say that I'm not tempted as I'm in the last month of a 24 month phone contract. Google Pixel or Samsung S20 FE? Or first iPhone?

* Delayed OS updates outside the USA, Google Duplex, spam call prevention, spam SMS prevention, advanced caller ID, visual voicemail, Live Caption, etc etc.



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