* Posts by steelpillow

955 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016

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This is how demon.co.uk ends, not with a bang but a blunder: Randomer swipes decommissioning domain

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

05-May-2021

That's the day Vodafone's registration of demon.co.uk expires.

Will be an interesting few minutes...

(icon for the memories)

DPL: Debian project has plenty of money but not enough developers

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Oh dear

Yes indeedy. A Debian which included install options for SystemD, openrc and good ol' sysvinit would attract back all those Veteran Unix Admins who do all the compatibility work.

But hey. let's not get too "enjoy the choice" here, that might be a bit too radical for a distro on which so many others are based...

Two arrested in Congo after Google Loon mobe balloon meets terra firma more than 1,000km from operating area

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Looney tunes

It's the new Congolese police test for drunkenness;

"Repeat after me; 'The Loon balloon deludeth us.'"

"The Loon balloon >hic!< deluneth..."

"You're nicked!"

US Air Force shows off latest all-electric flying car, says it 'might seem straight out of a Hollywood movie'

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Flying car? Flying bollocks!

So this is street legal, right? It'll do a hundred miles at 50 mph in heavy weather and park up in a multi-storey, right?

What's that? Speak LOUDER! Roadable aircraft you say? Err, how roadable? We-ell, maybe, we'll see.

OK, so now, what's the MTBF of these motor drive systems? What are the chances of so many crapping out on a mission that it has to be aborted?

may I see the FMEA?

1. Finger trouble; "Sorry Sir, I connected them in the wrong order."

2. Loose connections; "Yay! I make over a mile before something shook loose. Another 17 to go."

3. Mechanical failure; "Took a bit of grunt to get it out the garage door, but we made it."

4. Component failure; "and the MTBF of these 18 sets of bearings in a dusty valley is...?"

5. Battery flammability resistance under gunfire?

6. etc. etc.

Fusion boffins apply plasma know-how to building thrusters

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Nice try Sir, but you didn't engage Rimmer as consultant, did you?

I worked a while for a waferfab equipment manufacturer, where plasma etching and deposition were both used for key steps in microchip manufacture. My happy tasks were RF power matching into the plasmas and RFI suppression of the bloody consequences. First thing I did with all the design engineers was remind them (tactfully) of their GCSE physics, 'cos electromagnetism knows more dirty tricks than were dreamed of in their philosophies.

One thing I will say; these processes are all inherently grossly inefficient. If your chamber walls don't get eaten away then they will get crudded up. Get the balance perfect and half gets eaten and spat back out to crud up the other half. "Joy unbounded" as the late Stanley Holloway would say, "absolume tremedoso magnifamble in the practicauiflower" or similar.

This happy-slappy chappie reckons he can get all the way to Mars. Not relying on his plasma thruster for maximum warp he won't, Captain. He'll burn most of a Saturn V lifting his power supply to where he can switch on the leccy without falling backwards, then he'll find he is limited to sending the ship's cat in Starbug's escape capsule (ain't it th' truth, Mister Lister, Sir?) Oh, and wouldn't it be nice if he could get the cat back again, too? I have a soft spot for Danny John-Jules...

Aviation regulator outlines fixes that will get the 737 MAX flying again

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: Mostly cosmetic...

The men I have met who wear lipstick do so in order to look like ladies. The ones who want to look like pigs just put on >Don't say it*< uniforms.

* Just a stereotype for the sake of a joke, lads, most of you do a great job - even if you are a bit too apt to offensively stereotype your, ah, clients for "just a joke".

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Mostly cosmetic...

@TRT I'm sorry, are you under the impression that a real live Reg commentard might regard "cosmetic" as anything less than perjorative? Or do you just like dressing up pigs to look like ladies?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: So err...

Governance changes have already been made. Mostly cosmetic, but some real safety authority has been transferred back to the engineers, from the beancounters who originally stole it. Time will tell whether enough has been done.

The US judicial system is, thank goodness, a law unto itself, despite President Hasn't-the-Brains-of-a-Muppet's best efforts. Nobody does well in trying to second-guess its prognostications, and nothing is likely to happen soon.

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Hmm.

"Will other aviation regulators such as the CAA trust the work done by Boeing and the FAA?"

Good question. Europe and China are among those who have said they will not trust the FAA and will make their own evaluations.

Europe has been negotiating with Boeing and the FAA to get this far, so changes they demand are already incorporated. If acceptance leaks into 2021 the UK will no longer be under the European umbrella, but would the CAA want to snub the FAA? They are probably hoping for early certification so they don't have to think about it.

But I'm guessing China is likely to play a joker against America's Trump card (see what I did there? ;-) ) in trade negotiations and refuse.

Whom the rest of the industrialised world chooses to follow will be the interesting bit. A flight where you are licensed to take off or land, but not the other, is not going to go well.

steelpillow Silver badge

Pilot training

An expensive condition not mentioned, presumably because Vultures cannot imagine anybody unable to fly, is pilot re-training.

Many airlines bought the Max on the strict condition that no expensive and timewasting pilot retraining would be necessary, it was one of the Max's big selling points.

Boeing's own internal recommendation, certain to be endorsed by the FAA, is for proper simulator-based retraining to be introduced. A lot of airlines will then demand compensation for being sold a product under false pretences, in some cases written into the purchase contract. I wouldn't mind betting that some will use it as a loophole for cancelling a purchase they can no longer afford.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Re: But It's Shiny!

And does it connect back to Mummy for its regular dose of furniture polish, passing back, er - ahem - nothing, nothing at all, of business or personal relevance to its users?

Virgin Galactic pals up with Rolls-Royce to work on Mach 3 Concorde-style private jet that can carry up to 19 people

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: It's a shame that Reaction Engines missed out on this

I wonder if they have missed out. They have no production facilities, while R-R is one of their heavy investors. R-R have limited choices:

1. Develop a Mach 3 commercial engine out of thin air.

2. Copy the venerable Pratt & Whitney J58 hybrid turbo/ramjet technology of the Blackbirds.

3. (Hypothetically) Accidentally know about the classified US engines of the hypothetical Aurora replacement for the Blackbirds.

4. License the Reaction Engines SABRE and get a healthy shareholder's rebate on every license fee paid.

I'd say the SABRE option looks way the most cost-effective.

Arm China brands itself a 'strategic asset', calls for Beijing's help in boardroom dispute with Brit HQ

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: A failing experiment

@mevets. You ask, "At what point did "the west" become non oppressive?"

There has been no single point, it is a slow process over time and it is not yet over. Did the UK drive tanks over the protesters who pulled down slave-trader Colston's statue in Bristol? No, our police didn't even fire teargas. Have we been changing the law to tie Scottish or Northern Irish law closer to London? No, we have been loosening their ties. Did the EU send in the riot police to prevent Brexit? Do we have any equivalents to the Uighur concentration camps so graphically leaked to TV? Do Trump's attempts at dictatorship feel like Situation Normal or a wild anomaly compared to recent American presidents?

Sure, we still have a way to go, some of us further than others. But your pro-China bullshit is wholly belied by modern history. You are talking crap and you know it. The only question is, why?

steelpillow Silver badge
Black Helicopters

A failing experiment

The economic revival of China is one of the great social experiments of the modern era: can a nation build and maintain a healthy economy creating massive wealth, while remaining politically oppressive? The West has always said it is impossible and has pinned its hopes on free-thinking markets eating their way into politics. The current Chinese leadership has become "resolute" that this cannot happen, so here we see the Great Experiment approaching crunch time.

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: They don't build them like they used to

TBH that is a bit of a half-truth. Its design lifetime was a heck of a lot shorter. They built rock-solid so it would survive the Van Allen belts, cosmic rays, residual molecules and the occasional dust particle.

What they never predicted was that during its design life, Earthbound technology would advance so much. Massive improvements in ground-based comms equipment, plus power-saving software upgrades, are the true secrets of its longevity.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Imagination and wishful thinking

What we must really be thankful for is that Voyager got past the line safely and did not crash into it. At those speeds, even a worn-out remnant can have a devastating impact.

At historic Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google CEOs hearing, congressmen ramble, congresswomen home in on tech market abuse

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Sex(ism) and the Shitty

How dare a Vulture big up the little ladies' brainpower and belittle the Real Men?

It hardly seems worth asking why all the CEOs were Real Men too and equally dismal in their performances?

Nor whether their fellow Real Men in Congress felt that business is business, profit is profit, who gives a shit, but here is an opportunity to make an election pitch to some of the richest men in the world; ffs I must not rock the boat?

steelpillow Silver badge
Pint

We watched six hours of congressional hearings so you didn’t have to

Icons all round

Chinese ambassador to UK threatens to withdraw Huawei, £3bn investment if comms giant banned from building 5G

steelpillow Silver badge

Of course Huawei are independent of political pressures

Sorry Huawei, not your fault your Government are lying fascists.

Hey, maybe you should register Huawei (UK), float it on the UK stock market and transfer all your fsck-ing assets over here before your passports get revoked. You will find friends waiting.

Germany bans Tesla from claiming its Autopilot software is potentially autonomous

steelpillow Silver badge

Not really. Tesla's customers would have far less trouble.

steelpillow Silver badge
Pint

About fscking time too

This icon is two litres of Bavarian lager

Four years after swallowing Arm Holdings, SoftBank said to be mulling Brit chip biz sale

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Here’s a thought - UK.gov to purchase

Top priority - rad hard chips for OneWeb. I like it.

Now, who can uk.gov buy to roll out ARM based 5G infrastructure? Hey, that gives me a new business idea....

Singapore-sponsored finance blockchain ready to run international payments, say financial heavies

steelpillow Silver badge
WTF?

Scalability and client privacy

Scalability has always been blockchain's Achilles heel. Millions of users dragging all those ever-growing chains of immortal blocks from device to device as they go about their daily lives. "allowing employment agencies to pay gig workers". Really?

Then again, "making it easier for private and public health insurers to understand how their respective coverage overlaps for a single patient". So that's client privacy covered, then.

If the Solar System's 'Planet Nine' is actually a small black hole, here's how we could detect it... wait, what?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: At what mass do you orbit

@TechnicalBen. You seem to have arrived here after the Vulture concerned amended a blooper in their article. What now reads "estimated to mass something in the order of five to ten earth-sized-planets" read "ten solar masses" when the article was first posted.

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

Re: At what mass do you orbit

As already pointed out above, our astronomical Vulture got the wrong kind of black hole.

Asia’s internet registry APNIC finds about 50 million unused IPv4 addresses behind the sofa

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

"unused for sufficiently long that the registry is allowed to hand them out again"

FSCK! There goes my pension stash.

Heir-to-Concorde demo model to debut in October

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Starship?

Actually, given an air-breathing rocket such as SABRE, a sub-orbital rocket plane makes a lot of sense. For example:

* The spaceplane takes off horizontally from an airport runway like any other jet airliner. Rocket-powered does not mean vertical-launch, it does not need a launchpad, uh ... okaaay?

* An airbreathing rocket will be no louder than a turbofan with reheat.

* The sonic boom on the outward leg is directed upwards and little if any makes it to ground level.

* The spaceplane spends most of its journey in ballistic spaceflight, burning zero fuel. "Please do not undo your seat belt" though!

* Its engines would only be restarted as a safety precaution in case the landing was aborted at the last minute, so more fuel saved there.

GCHQ's cyber arm report on Huawei said to be burning hole through UK.gov desks

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Hong Kong

The elephant in the room now is Hong Kong. China's new law has made everything to do with China political. Whatever the HCSC's technical findings, China will not be giving Huawei many options from here on in and Huawei's assurances of good faith are as rock-solid as China's treaty with the UK turned out to be. The only question is, is it better for Hong Kong if we stand up and offend the oppressor into taking revenge that shocks the world, or to accept a commercial advantage in the hope of a quieter transition to Chinese assimilation?

LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software'

steelpillow Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Remember Open Office

Merging into OO is not practicable, the licenses are too different. The Apache license allows you to copy OO code across into LO, but LO is under the GPL and its code cannot go the other way. The only merge route would be to pull the extra OO functionality into the LO codebase.

But OO's main differential from LO is its corporate feature set that LO threw out when it forked and has avoided like the plague ever since -- oh, wait...

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Remember Open Office

There is already a corporate edition of LibreOffice. It's called Apache OpenOffice and it's what LibreOffice forked to get away from.

I smell monkey poo.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: dabshite

DRM does look close to what I have in mind. Wonder if we could persuade one of the big independents who still do FM to graft it onto their service anyway and write a decode/replay app. They could start with say midnight to 6 am and then expand it if it catches on.

But I don't do Internet radio, coverage is as shite as DAB.

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: dabshite

"Not quite clear on how squeezing bitrate allows more advertising in a linear audio format? Do they magic up extra seconds in each minute?"

It allows more channels, which carry more advertising. Buy a fixed wad of bandwidth and squeeze in all the channels you can. Q.E.D.

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

dabshite

dab is shite for three irreconcilable reasons:

- wavelength limitations forbid adequate coverage of not-spots, they are fractally distributed over the land surface of the planet.

- the standard allows operators to fsck the signal to squeeze in more "quality" content, i.e. advertising

- the technology it is subject to patent licensing fees

Give me a medium-wave slot with a bandwidth of 25 kHz and some mobile phone processing tricks, and I will digitally stuff Hi-Fi stereo down it, right into your back room and your short tunnel, my dear - and, as Groucho Marks would say, even innuendo. That saves 5 kHz on the dual 15 kHz channels that FM needs for stereo, which is plenty enough to add metadata such as song info, station playlists or whatever. So no need to revisit the dicing-and-slicing of channels, even. A dual-mode radio would automatically switch to the technology you just tuned to. You could even use your old FM tuner with a digital decoder bunged between the output socket and your priceless old valve amp. But hey, whoever designed consumer technologies for the convenience of the consumer? >Sigh!<

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Bwahahaha!

"We want to reassure our customers that their data was not at risk as a result of this error."

Well, you gotta either laugh or cry and who wants to cry?

Yes, Prime Minister, rewrite the Computer Misuse Act: Brit infosec outfits urge reform

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Don't change the ban, change the insurance policy.

The law is right to keep pen testers with unknown-coloured hats at bay. The problem is obtaining permission to carry out defensive screening. Emailing the hapless outfit with "Hi, can I run a fake cyberattack on you?" can hardly have a good response rate.

We need a regulatory regime where insurance companies put your permission in the small print and are then able to delegate the research to approved cybersecurity operations.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

steelpillow Silver badge
Angel

Unsalted butter of course. Applied before the scone is properly cooled.

Then the jam (if you can wait that long)

Then the cream

Washed down with Worcestershire-brewed pear cider (aka perry) from Clive's Fruit Farm, although his Wobblejuice cider when on draught is an acceptable alternative; none of that West Country playboy stuff.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

steelpillow Silver badge
Pint

Re: Who do you think you are? David Bailey?

Beer for the memory.

Dropbox attempts to muscle into password manager market with passphrase wrangler, document vault

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

One password I'd store in it

Currently the Dropbox service uses Google to manage and verify its web login. The usual two or three Google javascript servers have to be enabled and allowed to scrape up your shit before your ID/password are accepted. Clearly, one object of this exercise is to remove Dropbox's dependency on soiled chocolate, and hence also their clients'. One vileness less has to be a good thing.

US govt: Huawei is a national security risk and a menace, except, you know, when we need it for 5G standards work

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

The 5G standards committee

US: OK, what you got?

Huawei: This 5G tech miracle >slap!<

US: Uh.... This is crap, we'll bring you ours tomorrow

[Stage right, sound of photocopier]

US: This is how it's done.

H: Hey, you just photocopied ours.

US: Hell no, this is all patented by US companies, it's all ours. You can license it if you like.

H: Those patents are all dated after we gave you a copy!

US: Security, we got a snake in the grass here. If they don't shut the fuck up, beat 'em senseless and throw 'em out with the garbage.

Trump: You guys did a great job ensuring fair play with this G Whiz thing. What was that company I should buy into? Frisco, Disco, somethin'? Hey, did I just see Reagan's brain in the corner there? Can someone catch it and bring it over? Wibble...

It could be 'five to ten years' before the world finally drags itself away from IPv4

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: What has it got in its pocketses?

"How the traffic is transported around inside the ISP is irrelevant to Google, who can't see any of those details."

Well, not until they have de-anonymised them for their ad-targeting products, anyway.

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: What has it got in its pocketses?

OMG! The cost of NAT! Please, please point me to a PoP router that does dual-stack but not NAT and tell me how much cheaper it is than the standard ones.

Oh, and please explain why IP v4 addresses are so fscking in demand?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: What has it got in its pocketses?

There's certainly an endless supply of people who don't give a shit about pedantry but just want the easiest way to get online.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: What has it got in its pocketses?

I see v6 advocates criticizing v4 for not being forwards compatible.

I see v4 advocates criticising v6 for not being backwards compatible.

The only way to resolve this ping-pong idiocy is to have an overarching protocol within which both sit as subsets. Dual-stack then becomes just one option open to the software implementation.

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

What has it got in its pocketses?

"little pockets of IPv4"

...

"about a third of the traffic that reaches google is over IPv6"

So, erm gosh, that's tough: 1 - 1/3 = 2/3. Phew! No wonder the poor guy didn't realize what big pockets some people have.

Truly, the price of IPv4 addresses is so astronomical because so is the demand. It will not disappear until a protocol compatible with both v4 and v6 supercedes them both. We could call it The One Ring.*

* Remember the Cambridge Ring, anybody?

Huawei launches UK charm offensive: We've provided 2G, 3G and 4G for 20 years, and you're worried about 5G?

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Enough of these rational arguments!

Sorry, could you explain how Huawei's smooch campaign is "a purely emotional response from a bunch of ra-ra-brexit backbenchers"? Would you seriously regard a Trump/Cisco/NSA deal as ra-ra-British?

Being a pro-EFTA European I regard Brexit as the first step in a far healthier European integration - "Reculer pour mieux sauter" as the French say (oh, look it up you ignorant c***). But hey, since when did reason influence Brexit-bashers...

Devuan Beowulf 3.0 release continues to resist the Debian fork's Grendel – systemd

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

OpenRC oh yes

Just received this via my Devuan mailshot sub:

What's new in Beowulf 3.0.0?

* Based on Debian Buster (10.4) with Linux kernel 4.19.

* Support for ppc64el in addition to the existing i386, amd64, armel, armhf and arm64 architectures.

* runit optional alternative /sbin/init.

* openrc optional alternative to sysv-rc service and runlevel control.

* Standalone daemons (eudev, elogind) to replace aspects of monolithic systemd.

* New boot, display manager and desktop themimg.

Thank you my VUAs.

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

What most disappoints...

...about the debian adoption of systemd is the way they have encouraged/persuaded so may toolchain developers to abandon compatibility with any other init system. The devuan and other init freeks (sic) spend a lot of time feeding retro-compatible patches upstream where they can, but otherwise having to fork very basic things like udev. "All communities are equal but the systemd community is more equal than others".* FFS!

* Apologies to George Orwell

Talk about a control plane... US Air Force says upcoming B-21 stealth bomber will use Kubernetes

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: "the whole post could be misdirection"

Or maybe the Kubernetes install is just a test environment, to be replaced by something stupidly expensive and stupidly clunky on the production systems. These kinds of announcement always need to be parsed rather carefully.

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

"flight software running in the Cloud"

I thought this was blue-sky research.

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