* Posts by Robin Szemeti

94 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Aug 2007


Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school

Robin Szemeti

I'm not surprised the American cops made a mess of this, lets face it, you don't get particularly bright people in the police service. What is surprising is that the school principle was too dumb to recognise a bright kid, with a hobby in electronics actually wanting to show off his creation in school.

If the principle was half intelligent, he would have arranged a "show and tell" session for the kid, to encourage the other kids to actually do something apart from eat burgers and play XBox. Seriously, the principle's primary duty is to the kids (individually) and to provide and foster an eviroment for education. He's failed in both.

Google robo-car suffers brain freeze after seeing hipster cyclist

Robin Szemeti

Re: Maybe you "Entitled" cyclists....

Since you mention the COLREGs ...

"The vehicle that weighs the most is also the most difficult to stop. An Ocean Liner can't stop on a dime for a sailboat. The larger vessel has the right of way."

Err ... no it doesn't Power gives way to sail. See COLREGS, section 18

A power-driven vessel must give way to:

a vessel not under command;

a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre (this may include vessels towing one another[12]);

a vessel engaged in fishing;

a sailing vessel.

So unfair! Teachers know what’s happening on students' fondleslabs

Robin Szemeti

On your own device?

"Hi Jimmy, it's great that you have brought your {$device} to school, just install this software so we can monitor what you are doing."

I know what my kids would say:

"Fair enough, before you install it can I have the source code please, I need to know *exactly* what it is going to do"


"Fair enough, I'll leave mine at home then and you can provide me with one"


"Sure, I'm running Kali Linux ... you have a package for that?"

Oddly enough, my kids have been brought up to work when they need to work and play later ... and they do it without the need for micro-managment. The role of schools is to build individuals capable of making their own decisions for life in the big world.

Here's a hint: I wonder if the people promoting this crap have read the (many) recent articles how kids from private schools do better because of "SOFT SKILLS" like confidence, assertiveness and leadership? ... I doubt you will find this type of micro-managment crapware in any private school, however, in the lower tier schools educating the drones, I suppose it has a place.

Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

Robin Szemeti

Re: Those of us who haven't "upgraded"

+1 ...

I suspect 8.0 and 8.1 are fine for people whose existence consists of "arrive at office, check email, post amusing photo on facebook" but for normal bunsiness users, it's a disaster.

We purchased a couple of desktop machine from PC World for the girls that do our shipping. We're a small outfit and don't have dedicated IT support, but we do have some internal knowledge, which in Win7 days was enough to get a PC from the shop and set it up to work on our network, in reasonable compliance with company policies.

We do not allow our staff to cruise the net, log in to facebook or waste hours searching for stuff on eBay ... but with Win8 the new machines constantly bombarded them with this crap.

The useless "tiles" desktop whatever the hell it is called thing just keeps coming back, no matter how many times I switch away from it to our shipping application. Printer managment is retarded in so many ways.

It is probably OK if you are a iPhone user who wants the work desktop to look like their phone. but for normal business use, it's a nightmare.

I'm still running 7, I do a lot of 3D cad (Solidworks), circuit design and modeling, FEA, thermal simulations and similar, along with embedded C .. and frequently have the latop hooked up to a bunch of development hardware via USB/JTAG ... now why oh why would I want an interface that looks like a piggin' mobile phone?

MS is at risk of losing the entire business community on this one.

Woman caught on CCTV performing drunken BJ blew right to privacy

Robin Szemeti

Re: Dazed and confused ...

But they ARE protecting us.

They are there to protect us from muggers ... I am sure you would be happy for images of a mugger to be shown on TV

They are there to protect us from vandals ... if someone spray-painted the lift I am sure you would be happy for their image to be shown on TV

They are there to protect us from people who urinate in lifts and make them unusable by the rest of the block ... I am more than happy for that image to be shown on TV.

Please god tell me that now she has come forward and identified herself, the council is going to prosecute her for the damage and costs of cleaning it up etc etc.

REPORT: UK needs online eBay-style court for civil justice

Robin Szemeti

We're doomed

Scammers use the ebay "resolution" process in both directions ... the sellers who send empty boxes, and then just produce the tracking ID to ebay, case closed ... and buyers who return empty boxes, with a tracking ID .. money refunded, cased closed.

There is however one thing you can be certain of, eBay never, EVER loses. The buyer may lose, the seller may lose, but eBay never loses.

Same with an online justice system ... you can be sure that the lawyers, or their digital counterparts will come up winning every time.

Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

Robin Szemeti

Re: Seriously, he actually believed the advertised PHP version on the server?

"It doesn't matter, this security through obscurity technique you're describing is so pointless. Have you thought about this technique to display any other version besides the latest version? If you have, which of what?"

Dude, obviously I would be running the most up-to-date and secure version I can possibly find, I just don't see the value in advertising it correctly. I agree it adds little security, however my point was that basing research on figures that were based on data highly likely to be very wrong was probably not quite so bright.

Robin Szemeti

Seriously, he actually believed the advertised PHP version on the server?

I doubt any serious admin is accurately showing the actual version they are running, it's long been standard practice to report completely different Apache, PHP, OpenSSL etc variants in the server banner.

I'm surprised this guy is basing his research findings on the results on that site ... option 1: he doesnt reallise those results are highly likely to be miles out, so he's a dufus, or option 2: he does reallise, but published his research built on dodgy foundations anyway, in which case he's a dufus.

Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Robin Szemeti

What? Overdrive?

Dude ... you got that so wrong.

When you have 1,660 foot lb or torque at 2400 rpm ... and cant find a gearbox to take it ... you put the 2:1 ratio convertor BEFORE the gear box, giving you 880 ft lb through the box at 4800 rpm ... not after.

You still get the same torque at the rear wheels, and the box is working in sensible limits.

People get awfully confused about torque ...

If only 0.006% care about BLOOD-SOAKED METAL ... why are we spending all this cash?

Robin Szemeti

This is good news.

The supply/demand model would therefore imply that the price of the metal ores from these conflict mines should drop, as the big smelters begin to reject shipments ... and where you have a price difference, there is always an opportunity to make a profit ... ;)

Beyond a few feminists on Reddit, who appear to be professional complainers, I doubt anyone cares. Just make sure that the amount of blood is at a level that won't leave a stain on my clothing, that's all I ask.

Russia to ban iCloud.. to protect iPhone fiddlers' pics 'n' sh*t

Robin Szemeti

Re: That rifle

Could be a TOZ-122-10 ... http://www.tulatoz.ru/en/production/detail.php?ID=86&SECTION_ID=7

The scope looks somewhat like a Kahles, but I cannot imagine him using anything other than a Russian piece of kit in a publicity photo ... there are some Bulgarian scopes similar to the Kahles, could be one of those ..,

European astronaut exposes eerie snaps of ISS in Twitter feed

Robin Szemeti


My Dear Sir, UTC and GMT can be up to 0.9 seconds apart ... even for some fairly every day things, that can be significant.

EBay, you keep using the word 'SECURITY'. I do not think it means what you think it means

Robin Szemeti

Not just your current password ...

Don't forget, the retards are eBay do not just keep your current password in the db, they keep all your previous passwords too ... as anyone who has been faced with their "you can't use that password, beacause you have used it before" idiocy will know ... so potentially they have not just revealed your current password .. but your whole keyring.

Raspberry Pi used as flight computer aboard black-sky balloon

Robin Szemeti

LiPo suction

The best energy/weight density of any current battery (current, geddit?) is probably LiPo

Robin Szemeti

Amazing acheivment

Truly stunning ... I'm impressed.

Wait, not at the ballon altitude or the assembling of the various perpipherals. Frankly lofting a camera to 143,000 feet is not that much of an achievement compared to actually gettign hold of a Rapsberry Pi. It's the stuff of legends .. there are people who claim to know people who have seen one, but, when these leads are followed up, they turn out to be dead ends. Rarer than olympic guards and dodo eggs, the RaspberryPi is the stuff of dreams.

I'll get my coat, its the one with an Arduino in the pocket.

Mobile operators mourn death of embedded 4G

Robin Szemeti

The first two paragraphs

were quite well written. However, they were not so well written that it was necessary to repeat them again as paragrpahs 3 and 4 .. a bit too quick with the copy/paste methinks?

Microsoft probes IE8 dll AWOL hell

Robin Szemeti
Thumb Up

I fail to see the problem

Let me get this right ...

You install some sort of random MS update and IE will no longer boot?

and the problem is?

Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO

Robin Szemeti


Making phones .. sure ..

Selling phones? Ah, there you may have a point ;)

I'll get my coat, its the one with a HTC in the pocket ...

E. coli turns seaweed into ethanol

Robin Szemeti


because whilst I believe in our ability to stop highly modified e-coli escaping out of a test tube and wrecking the place .. I do not believe we will do so well when the process is tried on an industrial scale.

Don't forget, they have had plastic-munching bacteria available for over a decade that could munch our polythene waste down no problem .. except no one think we would be able to convice them to only munch the stuff we no longer needed.

So sure, call me a doom-sayer ... but don't come crying to me when it all goes badly wrong.

Robin Szemeti

So what happened?

Well the e-coli got out into the marine ecosystem and basically disgested all the seaweed it could find.

That sounds bad.

Yeah, that was bad enough, it reoved a valauble food source, killing off a lot of the larger fish and marine mammals.

But the smaller stuff survived right?

Well, no .. although the smaller stuff was nto dependent on seaweed directly, and was not attacked by the e-coli ... unfortunately it was unable to stand the high levels of water-borne ethanol ...

So the seas died.

Umm ...

10 years ago today: Bill Gates kicks arse over security

Robin Szemeti


"and even a security leader, whose example other IT giants would do well to emulate."

Err, from where I sit, the landscape is pretty much unchanged. MS may well have improved its security, but so have "the others". The exodus to Linux continues, finally the CEOs who simply signed on Redmond's line for web services have woken up to the fact that there are more reliabel alternatives to IIS and as tablet computing pushes its way into offices and begins to replace the desktop, Redmonds grasp of control over the office is slipping.

As corporates make the move over to *nix based servers (which they are doing, in the droves) they are not doing it because they enjoy installing new software. Security is the driver and *nix still proves to be miles ahead of MS as it has for years and years.

My kids already prefer to use their smartphone or Kindle to access the web than the crusty old PC in the corner ... mostly because it is virus ridden and sprinkled in malware and adware.

I can only assume your "security leader" quote came from your advertising department ;)

Banana war: Velvet Underground shoots holes in Apple bag

Robin Szemeti

Do they have written transfer?

Copyright rests with the creator of the work.

While the source of inspiration may have been an advert, Warhols treatment undoubtedly created a work in its own right.

Under US law, copyright rests with the creator of the work unless there is a written transfer. For all I know, Warhol may well have never transfered the copyright to Velvet Underground in writing, and hence their use of the image is under an implied license.

i predict, that unless they have a written assignment of copyright signed by Mr Warhol, they will lose.

Bit-part actress slings sueball at IMDb over age gripe

Robin Szemeti
Thumb Down

Who's conning who?

So she's complaining that she needs paying out because someone revealed how old she is? That rather implies she was not telling people ... which is possibly fraudulent. What woudl be more interesting is if we can find some place where she claimed to be younger and bring about a class action from all the people who bough the movie thinking they were watching a 25yrs old, and it turns out she's older than that,

In reallity, it doesn't matter, but the craziness of someone suing for publishing a true fact ... well, it could only happen in America,

Windows 8 to get self-healing 'Storage Spaces'

Robin Szemeti

Sounds like Drobo

This "innovation" sounds exactly like Drobo, and no doubt a number of other NAS devices.

I'm not really sure how it differs from LVM, RAID etc ... most of this has, as you say, been done before ... although I will bet good money that M$ has obtained patents for this "new" idea ...

Robin Szemeti

But the big question is ...

Will the control panel app for this feature slide partially out of view a few seconds after you open it, and are just reading the info from the screen?

No? Then why do you think its a good idea to have this "feature" on your website huh? Bored of your articles hopping about on the page when I am trying to read them.

Boffins glue self-righting ROBO-VELOCIRAPTOR tail to car

Robin Szemeti

Damn resizing ads

keep moving the stuff I'm trying to read while I am reading it.

time to find a new tech news site that doesnt actively try to annoy its readers

Apple to appeal Italian warranty fine

Robin Szemeti

The Italian horses mouth?

Let me guess ..your hack, err, sorry, *journalist* got the information from a talking horse ... it whispered in his ear ... it was able to do this, and your journo was able to detect the horse was Italian because it's head was detached and lying in the bed next to him?

I'll get my coat, its the one with the lump of Parmesan in the pocket.

Blocking Twitter, Facebook during riots not such a hot idea - MPs

Robin Szemeti

Unwritten subtext

No, of course we wont tunr it off, feel free to post as much incriminating evidence as you like. We'll be coming round your house a few months later to pick you up.

Much easier that way. Allows us to balance our workload. Carry on tweeting.

GCHQ code-breaking challenge cracked by Google search

Robin Szemeti

How much

So after all that, and they were failry tricky questions, I would say putting you in the top 1% of the IQ spectrum .. they offer:

Salary £25,446 (GC10) £31,152 (GC9)

err ... dood, you just screened them for being bright, and you think they are dumb enough to work for those salaries? get a grip.

I'll take a nice contract on £10K a month thanks.

San Diego woman strips to bikini to look for her chihuahua

Robin Szemeti

It could have been worse

She could have been looking for her pussy! ...

NetApp's £1m challenge won by precisely no one

Robin Szemeti

Or, alternatively ...

They said:

The kit, software and services is unclaimed because potential customers thought the offer was just not believable.


We can't even give the stuff away :(

Japanese take World Solar Challenge

Robin Szemeti

Hardly surprising, given the standard of construction

I did manage to look over the Tokai teams site and they place great emphasis on weight reduction of the bodywork and chassis. If it is built like anything else from Japan, I suspect it is a neat and elegant structure.

I had previously seen some pics of other cars, that frankly, looked like rolling scrap-heaps under the sleak bodywork. tens of metres of cable loosely coiled in void spaces, very basic chassis, badly welded suspension subframes, etc etc .. frabnkly, the standard of construction was far worse than you see at any amateur motorsport meeting.

If the Japanese team had applied their usual construction and attention to detail to the project, then it is hardly surprising they won, as from what I saw, the competetiors were poorly built and needlessly overweight.

Anonymous Twitter alternative developed for rioters

Robin Szemeti
Big Brother

Funniest thing I heard eva!

So let me get this right ... in order to receive the Top Secret messages from your fellow anarchists .. all you need to do is subscribe your mobile (which is linked to you by the account you signed in from) to this server ... and send the server your location information on a regular basis ... then by subscribing to the channel "#burnWallstreet" you can escape from The Man by getting Top Secret warnings ...

Errr ... so you identify yourself to the server, allow it to map your position, and then indicate your intentions by channel subscription ...

Sounds great! ... I am sure the authorities will love this, saves all that photgraphing and CCTV etc, this is much better! the sheeple simply sign in and carry a GPS tracker! .. should make rounding htem up for mass extermination later soooo simples!! Simply capturing the network traffic into/out of that box should be easy .. job done!

Open-source hardware group puts out vid system-on-a-chip

Robin Szemeti

Marketing fail

Massive geek and tech-head marketing fail.

I failed to see the unique features demonstrated, either the graphical camera + patterns feature, or the "its open source" angle. No snazzy video content of the cobination of live vid and patterns, no access to anyting like the source.

MilkyMist seems to be nothing more than the usual Windows/whatever music to pattern algoritm, in a box. The alternative would seem to be a laptop with a VGA output, which will allow you to play videos. have a GUI, store stuff etc as well. The only vaguely unique thing about it seems to be that it can (apparrently) mix up incoming video into the display ... if it can, they failed to demo it in there videos. I watched each one hoping to catch a glimpse of

The one unique selling point, and they fail to even show it in action ... lame.

You are trying to persuade people to not use what they would probably use (a laptop) and take a bit of a leap of faith ... which they may do IF the piece of cheese was tasty enough ... and you don't even show the unique thing it can do??? FAIL.

A classic example of why engineers shoudl be kept well away from marketing anything!

In desperation, and following up the nerdy "han I hack on it" angle, I followed the "developer" link on their page ... its supposed to be "open source" so one of the kewl things would be getting into the code and building other projects on top of the hardware platform ... its got some useful IO and with open source of the hardware design, you could have some fun ... and even just the board layouts woudl be fun to look at in KiCAD ... I wanted to see easy access to tools I could use, and documentation, to modify the unit, that would make it an interesting tech toy.

There are secions in the Wiki for Milky mist, almost all seem to be blank, no pages, no downloads, no source code, so nerdy FAIL

I did vaguely look at the NanoNote, being such as low-volume unit, my primary concern was "will it be compatible with anything" ... you really need to feel comfortable thats its going to be something other than an interesting curiosity, and that the designers really understand how compatibility is key. The web page for the "B*n" NanoNote, and indeed even the name itself contains some UTF8 character not rendered on any of my various Linux boxes or my XP boxes, clearly compatibilty didn't even cross their minds when deiciding on the name, so it leaves me little confidence the device itself will be compatible with anything.

Again a marketing fail. Do these guys even have a marketing guy on the team? If so he needs quietly taking out the back and shooting!

Nice try, and technically, an interestign challenge exectuted very nicely ... amazing what a team of just a few people can achieve. But, sorry, you really need to work on the marketing BIG TIME.

Robin Szemeti
Thumb Down

No no ...

You are selling to geeks here. Standards and compatibility are key.

The correct answer was "the standard defines a 5 pin XLR, if you have a 3 pin connector on your equipment, you will be able to use MilkyMist one with a simple adaptor"

Secondly, DMX 512 uses EIA-485, a balanced signalling protocol ... since you have chosen to implement it with an unbalanced connector, you can't really transform from 3 to 5 pin with a "simple passive adaptor" ... if you had used 5 pin, balanced signals you can go to 3 pin, unbalanced (and non standard) fairly easily, but you need an active adaptor to provide a standards compliant interface.

Sorry, bad and wrong design decision. Follow the standards and then let users break them if they want to, not the other way around.

Attention metal thieves: Buy BT, get 75 MILLION miles of copper

Robin Szemeti

FTTC? 40mbs? .. and then what?

Pardon me for not getting it, but why to people keep saying how the economy will be helped/boosted by "super fast broadband" ... for example the local town (failed) bid for a Enterprise Zone that would have inlcuded "super fast broadband" to businesses in the area.

Why? so they can porn-surf in HD while businesses in zones without the benefit have to watch in 640x480? Just how much broadband do you need for a company making widgets? "well, the widget machines ran at 400 widgets and hour, providing the young lads could climb in and re-grease them without getting squished" ... "but, now we have moved to an enterprise zone, with the superfast broadband for Mr Fletcher up in t'office, we run em at 450 widgets an hour" ??

Just how much more business could I expect to do with a doubling of broadband speed? I suppose the page-load times on my gmail account would reduce, giving me an extra 8 seconds of useful time to re-deploy? ...

'Angry Bird in the Sky' spotted by astronomers

Robin Szemeti

Nope ... not even a beak

Color me stupid, but even with the "highlighted" snap kindly provided by someone, I cannot get any hint of chicken.

Nice piccy though ... but the people who name these things must be whacked out on lens cleaner.

New GPL licence touted as saviour of Linux, Android

Robin Szemeti

more FUD from the FSF

The pile-of-poo that is the GPLV3 did not take off. Almost no one went for it, except for a few zealots, and the rest of the world has been quite happy with the tried-and-trusted GPLV2 ever since.

This seems to have stuck in the throat of the FSF who just can't accept peoples free choice that the GPLV3 sucks and they would rther keep using the old one.

For an orgniisation that promotes freedom, this seems to be a very odd standpoint.

There are a LOT of things I dont like about the V3 of the GPL and find the FUD spread around by the FSF about how "dangerous" V2 is to be somewhat offensive .. V3 has been around for a good while now, no one likes it .. end of story.

If Mr Stallman and his mates would just accept that the entire world does not have to conform to their exceedingly narrow view of freedom, it would be a good start.

NATO site hacked

Robin Szemeti

Passwords stolen?

I'm seriously hoping they mean "salted SHA1 hashes of the passwords, which will not allow the attackers to recover your actual password" rather than "Passwords" .... surely NASA will not have been dumb enough to actually store plain passwords?

Everyone know to only store hashes, I mean, its not rocket-science is it?

Firefox 'Do Not Track' header wins first convert

Robin Szemeti
Thumb Down

This is *so* not going to happen

"Hey, guys ... quick convene a board meeting, Mozilla has this new feature that will enable us to stop tracking millions of users .. .why, if we implement this in our advert/spam back end .. we could lose ..w ell, millions of dollars in revenue ... lets start work immediately!" ..

You *reall* think they are going to implement it on the ad-farms .. and even if they say they do, you really think they will?

I floated a site into the cloud, and it didn't rain down in chunks...

Robin Szemeti


Some time since I've seen much serious web development done in Java, but iy must be useful to someone I suppose.

The CDN is much more useful, if you have a static site, you can deploy it directly to the CDN with no other messing about. Once its onthe Cloudfront CDN, you can pretty much just leave AWS to get on with it.

London's Olympic clock claps out

Robin Szemeti

There is nothing wrong with the clock

It's working perfectly, correctly showing the remaining time to the start of the games. Its just that it is counting down to the actual start time, not the planned start time ... the two events may not be coincident ;)

Google opens curtain on 'manual' search penalties

Robin Szemeti
Thumb Down

Wish it hadn't foundem

I personally detest these vertical search engines like Foundem, I truly wish services like google had a "keep this crap off my screen" button to eliminate these lepers of the internet from my results.

If I am searching for "rubber thong polish" I generally want to find links to sites that sell rubber thong polish, not some ugly looking site that has a bunch of outdated links to poor quality sites that paid the site operator to list them for certain keywords, usually unrelated to what I was actually searching for.

Normally I would wish them a slow, painful death, however, in this case I will settle for wishing them a quick painful death.

No Jobs, Schmidt deleted: Microsoft can't fail, can it?

Robin Szemeti
Gates Horns

What they don't say is ..

exactly what resources will be need to run Windows on ARM. What has prevented Windows running on ARM in the past has not been the lack of tableets or anyting else, it has been resources and processing. Windows on ARM will not be running on your embedded fridge controller anytime soon, I suspect they will start with high-end iPAd type devices and it will struggle with anything less than a 1ghz processor and 2Gb of ram.

What was chenged for Windows to run on ARM? simple, ARM devices have finally got big and fasty enough to run the bloatware the MS traditionally ships. I wait patiently to see how responsive it is compared to the competition ...

Google charges feds $25 a head for user surveillance

Robin Szemeti

How many?

$6.7 million / $25 a head = 268000 people in the USA are wiretapped?

geez ... land of the free?

Facebook set to unveil 'Gmail killer'

Robin Szemeti

Good grief!

If MS wasn't bad enough with its data leaks and exploits, allowing FB to sift through your emails is just crazy.

I cannot think of a more frightening combination (OK, I can, but it involves mating a goat with a venemous snake, so not really likely to happen)

You might as well paste your password on the bottom of all your mails ... like it or not FB will be sharing meta data from your mails with every marketeer on the planet.

No Thanks.

PARIS laid bare in intimate snaps

Robin Szemeti
Paris Hilton

Why did you do that?

Why stand the heli bottle vertical? there is no liquid in it ... it would have worked just as well lying down, without the risk of it falling over. its never a good idea to stand gas cylinders upright unless they are chained to somethign solid ... otherwise, when they fall over, they either break someones leg, ig you are lucky .. or snap their valve assembly off and leave the scene like a large gas powered torpedo.

Lie it down next time chaps, paris prefers it lying down, so should you.

PARIS launch go for 23 Oct

Robin Szemeti

Do not ...

get too frisky with the old "ooh look I've breathed a load of helium and talk in a funny voice" trick.

Firstly, a one off is fine, but ... do it too many times in a short space of time, and you don't get any oxygen into your bloodstream .. but the weird thing about breathing helium is .. it doesn't make you feel out of breath or anything ... you just start getting light headed and then pass out and bang your head on the workshop bench on the way down.

Not that I would know, as obviously I would not have done that ....

also, do not have a few too many beers and use helium to fill bin-bags .. and then let them off skywards with great long length of bog-roll tied to them .. which you set alight as they are about 100 foot up ... and watch them disappear .. flaming, into the night sky ... as the police will take a dim view of that sort of thing.

Not that I have done that either .. oh no.

Microsoft adopts invisible mobile pitch

Robin Szemeti
Gates Horns

And how will it give you your life back?


because it will be crashed for 90% of the time, with the battery flat for the next 10%