* Posts by Fursty Ferret

184 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Feb 2016


Apple slams Android as a 'massive tracking device' in internal slides revealed in Google antitrust battle

Fursty Ferret

I use an iPhone while occasionally gazing jealously at the old featherweight Pixel 5 that sits on the shelf. However, the fact that iOS lets you block intrusive ads in Safari is enough to keep me there. The difference is stark if you open a page in Chrome via the Google Discover feed - mobile browsing is pretty much unusable anywhere without ad-blocking these days.

Textbook publishers sue shadow library LibGen for copyright infringement

Fursty Ferret

Re: Welcome to the new corporate Register

Except (especially in the US) the professor teaching a university module sets the textbook. Which is conveniently their own work and contains homework assignments that change every year.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using Libgen for this situation, especially when you consider that the university library often doesn’t have a copy and the price of the textbook is upwards of $200 in some areas.

UK flights disrupted by 'technical issue' with air traffic computer system

Fursty Ferret

Re: Update

Li'l Bobby Tables all grown up and running an airline...

Moscow makes a mess on the Moon as Luna 25 probe misses orbit, lands with a thud

Fursty Ferret

Oh no! Anyway...

Lesson 1: Keep your mind on the ... why aren't the servers making any noise?

Fursty Ferret

Interestingly, circuit breakers were redesigned some years ago to prevent exactly this scenario and in the event of overcurrent cannot be held closed.

The price of freedom turned out to be an afternoon of tech panic

Fursty Ferret

Thankfully when it was all done the owner was very forgiving, though it had cost an afternoon's online sales. And he did dock Jeff's pay for the cost of relisting everything.


Are all these stories made up now, or just part of them? You can't dock the pay of an employee for an innocent mistake.

Tesla steering problems attract regulator eyes for second time this year

Fursty Ferret

Re: I have had power steering fail in an ICE car

>> Eventually I switched off the ignition (no steering lock in those far off days) and started to slow down on compression.

How on earth was this not your first idea?

Fursty Ferret

Re: I've rebooted my 2021 Audi's electronic systems

Tesla steering is perfectly normal rack-and-pinion power assisted steering, nothing more. They're looking at going steer-by-wire in the future though.

Arc: A radical fresh take on the web browser

Fursty Ferret

Chromium-based browsers are set to have a short life if Google gets their way in the near future. I'd also question the benefit of using it to demo an old website which isn't standards compliant.

Tesla plots entry to Britain's stagnant energy market

Fursty Ferret

Your house is far more likely to burn down from an unbranded phone charger than a home battery.

a. It’s LiFe, which is incredibly stable.

b. It’s in a metal box, protecting it from damage.

c. It’s monitored thoroughly by a BMS.

d. You don’t think they thought of this?

But you go right ahead and store 80 litres of petrol in your garage inside something that’s designed to set fire to it.

Tesla ordered to cough up data for Autopilot probe or face heavy fines

Fursty Ferret

This is actually a pretty clever request. Given the nature of Autopilot all this information should be available, tracked, collated and searchable.

So although it sounds like 830,000 is an insurmountable request in reality if their record keeping and SMS is up to the job it should be relatively straightforward.

If on the other hand they ask for six months so a team of interns can go through the hard copy with a highlighter pen, it suggests there are more fundamental problems with the safety case.

Starlink's rocket speeds hit a 50 megabit wall for large downloads

Fursty Ferret

Sounds like the epitome of fair use

You get ~23GB in a single burst before it slows down (and it's a bit rich to call 50Mb slow when most of the country is on less). How often are people downloading more than this on a regular basis?

I draw m'lud to EE, which caps you to 0.5Mb when they decide that you're being a bit unreasonable.

You'll [BZZ] like Intel’s [BZZ] NUC 13 Pro once the fan [BZZ] stops blowing

Fursty Ferret


when I was doing nothing more than adding a couple of tabs to my browser. It seems odd that would strain a machine

Dude, welcome to Chrome.

US watchdog grounds SpaceX Starship after that explosion

Fursty Ferret

If you look at close up photos of the launch, you can see the bells of the failed engines are missing entirely, suggesting that they were knocked off by debris from the pad. Whether this happened because they didn't ignite is a moot point.

I'm not convinced that a big steel plate is the solution unless there's active water jets firing over the surface. Water-cooled is totally different to the traditional water suppression system, which is designed to prevent damage to equipment from the sound energy generated by the engines. If that's not addresses then the plate will just reflect the energy straight back into the engine bay.

This is not something that would be missed, so we're not seeing the whole picture.

Tesla wins key court battle over Autopilot crash blame

Fursty Ferret

Re: I have to wonder

Bit risky to have just one confirmation. What happens if it's a bumpy road and your finger taps confirm by mistake? Better add a second just to be safe.

Chinese company claims it's built batteries so dense they can power electric airplanes

Fursty Ferret

This whole thing is ridiculous, from the concept to the claims. There is no point in fitting batteries to commercial aircraft unless there's a 1000x increase in energy density. There are no problems lifting significant weight off a runway (eg even a 787 can stagger into the air at more than 250 tonnes), but you can't *land* at that weight. Don't forget that you'll need ~1MW continuously for air conditioning / pressurisation, hydraulic motor pumps, in-flight entertainment, flight computers, pilots' heated seats, ovens etc etc.

Far, FAR better accept that aviation will need to use hydrocarbon fuels and instead to concentrate on minimising the environmental impact from aviation by carbon capture and carbon-neutral fuel production.

Vessels claiming to be Chinese warships are messing with passenger planes

Fursty Ferret

Re: Air safety is an International issue

It doesn't work like that in a modern flight deck. GPS jamming is commonplace, as this map (https://gpsjam.org) shows. Anyone flying east will lose GPS when passing between Turkey and Iraq.

The cockpit effects are mild, because in 2023 navigation is still dead-reckoning from a computer point of view, with the aircraft position fine-tuned from external sources. You'll see an advisory message saying that ADS-B (air-to-air and air-to-ground position reporting) is degraded. Eventually, as you go out of range of ground stations, the navigation will be entirely inertial.

You can also get an advisory saying that the look-ahead terrain warnings are inoperative - that's because they directly use GPS position. There has been cases where this system generated a false "pull up" warning at cruise altitudes, which is more likely to present a threat from the startle element than anything else.

Radio altimeters will recover once outside of an area of jamming (which would have to be over a relatively small range). It is obviously possible to get jam-resistant GPS systems but the expense isn't worth it for civil aviation. Or more likely it's considered technology that shouldn't be exported from the country of origin.

Alarming: Tesla lawsuit claims collision monitoring system is faulty

Fursty Ferret

Re: Just a thought

>> Roll forward to the 2020s and you can't help but wonder whether the sidelobe suppression is up to scratch.

Radar is either not fitted or not used on the vast majority of Teslas because of the difficulties integrating it with the vision system. Having said that they're now refitting a higher resolution version to their new vehicles, so who knows?

Bing AI feels like ChatGPT stuffed into a suit – not the future

Fursty Ferret

Conversely, I've been quite impressed with the Bing-bot. Although it should have been called Clippy.

Like all modern tools it requires a degree of learning how to use, and many of the readers on The Register will struggle to cope with this as a consequence of their age. Once past their mid-30s most people struggle to pick up new skills without significant effort. It's easier to just criticise something as useless than it is to try it out.

You do need to be fairly specific with what you want. Personally I've found it useful for explaining concepts and it's also written some effective short Python programs. I hate Python with a vengeance and it did in 10 minutes (with a bit of back and forth where I clarified what I needed) what would have taken me all afternoon.

For the "how do I fix [problem]" Google is still faster if you append "+reddit" to the query. If you don't, then you'll probably still get a more useful answer from Bing given that Google search results are now almost entirely ads and spam.

Microsoft tells people to prepare for AI search engine that goes Bing!

Fursty Ferret

Re: Bing+AI!

I stopped using Google last year because the monetisation reached a point where it was genuinely unusable. If it's not direct spamming via ads inserted into search results in such a way that it's almost impossible to tell the two apart, it's the simple fact that nearly all websites now are just designed to manipulate Google search rankings with generic copy-and-paste spam.

In 2023 the most reliable way to get the answer you need is to tack "+ reddit" onto the end of the query, which is a new low.

James Webb Space Telescope suffers another hitch: Instrument down

Fursty Ferret

Just a thought, but maybe try a little harder not to use derogatory terms in future? The people who built the JWST are scientists and engineers, not “eggheads”.

Cops chase Tesla driver 'dozing' with Autopilot on

Fursty Ferret

The Tesla market and fan base in the USA is fundamentally weak, and a lot weaker than they would like people to know. It’s perfectly possible to set up the Autopilot system in their cars to disconnect without driver input or attention (just drive any Tesla in Europe and you’ll be nagged to make a steering input every 15 seconds or so), yet in the USA the system will allow frankly appalling risks to be taken. They could implement the European restrictions, but the increased safety will put off their target buyer.

License to launch: UK space regulator gives Virgin Orbit satellites the go-ahead

Fursty Ferret

Re: I'm confused by all this...

>> A plane is taking off from some airfield which is now called a spaceport for some reason.

Said (elderly) plane has to overfly quite a lot of inhabited land with an unusual and extremely heavy load bolted to the wing spar. I'd quite like it to be thoroughly tested and licensed before they get to do this.

IT manager's 'think outside the box' edict was, for once, not (only) a revolting cliché

Fursty Ferret

Ultimately pointless either way since carpet is an insulator, and the computer has a very effective metal chassis and ground connection which will deal with static build-up.

Intel's top-spec Raptor Canyon NUC can double as a 700+W space heater

Fursty Ferret

In some respects stuff like this just makes me admire the newer handheld devices even more.

*looks at Steam Deck happily ploughing it's way through a AAA game but sipping just 20W*

Plop. That's the sound of a boot manager booting PCs off media they can't start from

Fursty Ferret

this could be a handy way round time limits on the library PCs.

That would be brave, given that to get access to library computers you have to be a member, meaning they have your photograph and address on record. If I can point out this particular line from the Computer Misuse Act:

Unlawful access is committed if the individual intentionally gains access; knowing he is not entitled to do so; and aware he does not have consent to gain access.

Personally I think it's perfectly reasonable, but the tech-illiterate plod who turns up when the librarian says that someone's been fiddling with the computers that other people potentially use for financial transactions etc may not see it that way.

Document Foundation starts charging €8.99 for 'free' LibreOffice

Fursty Ferret

and arguably be superior to the App Store offering, because that version will include Java.

Some us would would argue the exact opposite...

Heart now pledges 30-seat hybrid electric commercial flights by 2028

Fursty Ferret

Doesn't make sense

Even the most basic back of the envelope maths says that with current technology, battery-powered commercial aircraft are not feasible. So many major flaws in this plan:

1. How on earth does removing 5 passengers (300 kg) get you 400 km more range?

2. Normal batteries offer about 0.2 kWh per kg at best. Unfortunately, the reason we use kerosene in planes is because it's incredibly energy-dense. Assuming our 30 passenger aircraft has 6.5 tonnes of batteries, that's only 1.3MWh and that's hugely optimistic.

3. Even if electric propulsion works for short flights, it's still pointless when you can squeeze 30x the passengers on a train that doesn't have to drag the power station along with it.

4. Airport infrastructure will be incapable recharging one aircraft during a turnaround, let alone a fleet of them. 35 minutes on the ground? Not going to work. What about smaller destinations with poor grid connections?

5. Propulsion is just one part. The cabin air compressors on a Boeing 787 pull close to 400kW by themselves, and that's before you even get to wing anti-icing, IFE, hydraulic pumps, window heaters, etc etc. Sure, a 30 passenger aircraft is much smaller but it still has big loads.

6. Inverter and motor reliability is unproven.

7. What happens if the aircraft diverts to an airfield without significant ground power? Even assuming, optimistically, that you can still 90kW into it, you're going to be waiting on the ground for a day.

8. A minor fault in one battery pack may instantly render a significant proportion of total stored power unusable.

It's just not possible. We may as well accept the CO2 issues from passenger aircraft (and maybe look at biofuels via solar power and carbon capture) instead of bothering with this. I'm not anti-electric, I drive an EV and have solar panels, but this is not going to work.

Got to admire the ability to extract money from investors, though.

Tesla faces Autopilot lawsuit alleging phantom braking

Fursty Ferret

Having been a passenger in a Model 3 running on Autopilot, I was very impressed right up until the point that it decided that an overhead gantry was blocking the road and jumped on the brakes mid-lane-change. This nicely exacerbated into tears because the driver behind (who was tailgating) assumed that we'd brake-checked him and promptly launched into a full road-rage tantrum.

Tesla owner gets key fob chip implanted in his hand

Fursty Ferret

Bad day?

Tesla Full Self-Driving 'fails' to notice child-sized objects in testing

Fursty Ferret

Not sure what this is meant to show. FSD isn't even engaged in the demonstrations, so it's just a test of the standard AEB system fitted to Teslas (which is admittedly not the best compared to Volvo etc).

If you're going to use something in a media campaign against Tesla then you should at least turn on the feature you want to complain about.

Chinese booster rocket tumbles back to Earth: 'Non-zero' chance of hitting populated area

Fursty Ferret

Re: might make them think twice about pulling this sort of shit in the future

China's been dumping rocket parts on its citizens for many years. This is nothing new - just the fact that it might land *outside* of the country.

Boris Johnson set to step down with tech legacy in tatters

Fursty Ferret

Re: Sub-sea nukes

The interesting thing about The Register is that although many of the readers are clearly intelligent, they’re particularly vulnerable to confirmation bias and susceptible to propaganda and miseducation campaigns run by both foreign states and commercial organisations.

You are quite correct that in the near future millions of people will arrive home and plug in their EVs to charge. That is where the accuracy of your claim ends. Firstly, the vast majority of people will charge on a cheaper overnight tariff. Secondly, the average commute is less than 20 miles, or 5kWh - and the car has all night to replenish this. For even cheaper rates still your car may also provide battery storage for peak hours of electricity use.

You are also correct that sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. That’s why nearly all new solar installations include 5-10kWh of battery storage. This will cover 99% of domestic electricity use and can again be recharged during periods of low grid demand.

What you are right about is the apathy of the government towards encouraging further investment, with no subsidies; taxes on public buildings with panels; and a refusal to redistribute the feed-in tariffs more fairly.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: Too edgy for comfort?

Fursty Ferret

Has Simon tried any other computers designed in the last decade? The MacBook Pro has sharp edges. So does the Razer Blade, and the Dell XPS 13 Plus. HP gets it right, though. Same situation with USB-A. It's going, consigned to the same place as a parallel ports and PS/2.

As for the power connector pulling out - that's literally what it's designed to do when you trip over it. MagSafe is OK, sorta, but sticks like glue and damages the computer every time you connect it because the tolerances are small and the magnets too strong.

If you have to be within 30cm for Windows Hello to recognise you then your machine is faulty; you're exaggerating; or you set it up in the wrong conditions (eg with the sun behind you).

Sometimes the need for The Register to Microsoft-bash is frustrating. Traditionally their hardware has always been pretty good, it's Windows (11) that sucks.

Airbus flies new passenger airplane aimed at 'long, thin' routes

Fursty Ferret

Re: 515 orders

In the UK (and Europe under EASA), you can fly for 14 hours without a break provided some constraints are followed at the planning stage.

Not convinced the A321XLR is the right choice for the future. The wing design is relatively old and draggy, and struggles at higher flight levels compared to something like the 787, which will saunter up to FL430 and cruise along above most of the weather. A321XLR is capped at 390 (which it would only achieve while empty, and would be firmly in coffin-corner too).

Also a big difference between setting off at .76 Mach compared to .85 on a 4000 mile journey. My personal feeling is that a new narrow body with a modern wing would have been the way forward here.

Fursty Ferret

Re: Why

Your seat might be comfortable but unless you have an iron bladder, you have an aircraft full of people who will need a pee at some point and 2-3 toilets to share between them. If the food is served from both ends, that's effectively a rolling roadblock and while people can get past they have to wedge their arse into your face.

Meteoroid hits main mirror on James Webb Space Telescope

Fursty Ferret

Re: Mitigation Options?

Reflected heat from the earth and moon would be insufficient to have any impact on the telescope - they could only heat it to their own average surface temperature.

How one techie ended up paying the tab on an Apple Macintosh Plus

Fursty Ferret

Re: Tab and return

That concept I understood. The bit that confused me was the line "just as you would" with a typewriter, because he was doing it exactly as you wouldn't, even with a typewriter.

Fursty Ferret

"On every line, when he got to the edge of the screen," said Mark, "he TABBED to the next line. Just as you would hit return with a typewriter when you got to the edge of the page."

Could someone explain the typewriter link to me? Why would you tab your way across on a typewriter and then hit return?

Dear Europe, here again are the reasons why scanning devices for unlawful files is not going to fly

Fursty Ferret

Already here on Mac OS

Try (hypothetically) downloading an MKV via BitTorrent and then copying it to an external drive - you'll find it mysteriously and randomly corrupted.

When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer

Fursty Ferret

I desperately hope that this is one of the occasional "made up on a slow day" articles because it provides an interesting insight into what appears to be the truly terrible architecture of US-designed nuclear power plants.

Safari is crippling the mobile market, and we never even noticed

Fursty Ferret

Since Safari has ad-blocking built-in, and Chrome doesn't, I know which one I'm going to use on my phone.

Very surprised that Apple's policy of blocking third party browsers on the iPhone (well, limiting them to using Safari's renderer) hasn't turned around and bitten them in anti-competitive behaviour issues yet.

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs

Fursty Ferret

Re: The curse of overchoice

John - save yourself another 30 minutes per computer and use the sysprep tool to launch Windows directly into audit mode from the USB drive:


Cars in driver-assist mode hit a third of cyclists, all oncoming cars in tests

Fursty Ferret

Re: Try Scooters in Madrid

Isn't the moral of the story here that you could have just completed your journey by bike in less time?

Or you could have used the motorway network for the bulk of it, at which point a 30 second delay from being behind a bike is the least of your problems.

Fursty Ferret

Re: So technology works as intended...

Fewer miles.

If you're going to post something factually inaccurate, sanctimonious, and based on hearsay then at least get the grammar right.

Tesla sues former engineer, claims he stole Dojo supercomputer trade secrets

Fursty Ferret

Re: Probably not that interesting

Depends what you're looking at. For the generic "autopilot" that you get with every Tesla then yes, it's fallen behind the competition but it's not had active development on it for years.

For Full Self Driving? You only have to watch a couple of YouTube videos of a bog-standard Model 3 trundling across San Francisco to realise that they might actually have something.

Eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EKoL94QwsQ

or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQkXcySUnJk&

It's pretty impressive given that many of the drives are on the twisty single-track roads above the city.

French court pulls SpaceX's Starlink license

Fursty Ferret

Well, I'd agree with you if Bezos hadn't just negotiated a marvellous contract to throw his own satellites up on the back of Ariane rockets...

Fursty Ferret

I thought we had a monopoly in short-sighted backwards ignorant jingoistic idiots in England, but it's nice to see that other countries suffer the same problem.

The march of Macs into the enterprise: Demand is on the increase

Fursty Ferret

""There's no question that that system is entirely secure," said Bridge."

That is an... interesting opinion to hold for someone in his position.

Mistakes are made all the time. I can remember factory-resetting an iPhone 7 to eBay it on and getting a message from the buyer to say that half my old SMS messages were still on it. This was a long time ago and presumably fixed, but it's a brave person to claim that something extremely complicated is perfect.

Windows 11 growth at a standstill amid stringent hardware requirements

Fursty Ferret

It's not the hardware requirements, it's just a bit shit.

In my experience it's slower than Windows 10, system controls are now scattered across three places, it has ads baked in, it's less configurable...