* Posts by steelpillow

1568 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016

UK politico proposes site for prototype nuclear fusion plant

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

fully operational, eh?

"a fully operational battlepower station"

Big changes coming in Debian 12: Some parts won't be FOSS

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

The installer

This is just including non-free in the temporary installer which runs in RAM and vanishes when its job is done. It makes extreme sense for the installer to "just work" on the widest possible range of hardware.

It makes no sense to push dishonour onto a hard drive when the user does not wish it to be there. Despite the impression given in the article, such users are still honoured. Last time I installed Debian, the installer offered me the explicit choice; did I want to accept non-free stuff in the main build or not? As far as I am aware, that has not changed.

Samsung’s Smart Monitor tries too hard to be clever

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Down

The future crippled - today

Abandoning the broadcast airwaves and going for a cloud-serviced smart terminal does seem the way ahead for home entertainment.

But Samsung are going to have to think harder than this. Why offer a crippled web browser when the world is your oyster?

One elephant missing from this review is gaming. It's a sine qua non for any pretensions to a so-lightweight-its-crippled-too desktop. Does it play Doom?

I wonder if it is more targeted at sales displays and the like.

China spins up giant battery built with US-patented tech

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Torn

The vast majority of patents are meaningless unless they are published, so they always are. The inventor seeking protection must choose between secrecy an patenting. The two are mutually exclusive, contrary to the OP's understanding.

Patent applications are different. They tend not to be published. When the patent is approved and published, its validity is backdated to the day of application. Hence the two different dates which appear on many patents.

There used to be an exception in the UK. Patents on military tech could be classified secret, so only suitably vetted personnel could know of their content. This was certainly invoked during WWI, but I don't know if it still is, here or anywhere else.

Cloudflare's invisible CAPTCHA works by probing browsers with JavaScript

steelpillow Silver badge
Meh

maintaining a higher level of privacy than traditional CAPTCHA systems

So it'll never catch on, then.

Is it a bird? Is it Microsoft Office? No, it's Onlyoffice: Version 7.2 released

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

You are seemingly being confined to official "public communications" which are legally required to be distributed. Financial spreadsheets, working drafts, Powerpoint presentations and other formats with beyond-PDF functionality are often have to be shared with interested parties, such as the local CALC (County Association of Local Councils), the financial auditor and so forth.

I usually return documents in one OpenOffice format or another, on the grounds that these are at least as legitimate as the proprietary formats they use. I also attach a PDF so they have no excuse for failing to read it when their version management system barfs on the source format. :)

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

People who work from home or other arbitrary off-site locations (look up "contractor") may well have *nix based desktops which suffer limited file compatibility with MS Office. Being able to handle your client's files smoothly is critical, so if they use arcane Office features the usual stuff like LibreOffice can leave you floundering. Anything that has better file compatibility, and can be picked up for free when the need arises, has to be a Good Thing.

In my case, it tends to be reading documents produced by local council officers who have just come off an MS Office training course and want to show off. Then, there are the community activists with a huge "anybody who does not believe in Microsoft, UFOs and my inalienable right to shaft them, deserves to be shafted anyway" chip on their shoulders.

Feel free to count the use cases there.

Ukraine fears 'massive' Russian cyberattacks on power, infrastructure

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: WTF .... SNAFUFUDBAR

Dear amanfroMars2, on what basis do you equate crass stupidity with machiavellian intelligence? I know Donald Trump cannot tell the difference, but I had hopes for your good self.

I'd rather have a stupid leader I can throw out at the next election than some abusive dictator who will rig it to stay in power. Go on, be frank, wouldn't you too?

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: WTF .... SNAFUFUDBAR

What strikes me about the SNAFUFUDBAR spouted by these two commentards is how well they match the utter lack of reality in Putin's attempts to mobilise a million-strong modern army just by bullying civilians.

A match made in heaven: systemd comes to Windows Subsystem for Linux

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Re: "extinguishing systemd"

And why would they replace their proprietary, secretive and IP-protected hooks into the OS, that tie users to Exchange and Office, with open-source hooks?

steelpillow Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Far be it from us

"Far be it from us to speculate that Microsoft embracing, extending and then extinguishing systemd could ever be seen as a good thing."

> Splutter! <

There goes another one.

Mozilla drags Microsoft, Google, Apple for obliterating any form of browser choice

steelpillow Silver badge

OS integration

Is this the same Mozilla that once tried to write the desktop GUI in HTML/CSS and integrate the browser engine into the OS, so that no separate browser app would be required?

They failed only because, at that time, HTML/CSS/Gecko ran like a dog. Since then we have seen massive increases in compute/rendering power and much improved compilation/rendering. Meanwhile the digital convergence and work/lifestyle integration continues, for example netbook style cloud-over-https has become a dominant thing. The idea could and probably should be made to work now. So what do Moz do? Vilify the whole idea of a browser engine tightly linked to the OS or GUI.

Desktop is the core Firefox market, while mobile eats all the surf dude statistics (My web site is desktop/academic/old fart oriented and Moz is still solidly among the top two or three browsers visiting). The look-and-feel for these two worlds is very different, despite the desperate attempts of GNOME to cover both bases and thus cover neither. Moz have been making that same mistake. There are even third-party sanity skins for desktop users - something lacking in the others. Moz habitually screw them over without a second thought, though thankfully they are just about clinging on. Moz should go back to their roots, focus on desktop/developer productivity, and sod the beauty contest.

Boeing to pay SEC $200m to settle charges it misled investors over 737 MAX safety

steelpillow Silver badge
Flame

Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

Poor hapless Boeing were pressured by the evil airlines into criminal actions they had no choice but to make? What insane garbage! Boeing coldly and deliberately cheated, lied and concealed in order to upstage Airbus and offer a shot that looked better but broke the law. That is US Department of Justice official, so we can say it here. It is an act of criminality unique in the annals of aviation, and 110% the fault of the criminal.

Good news for UK tech contractors as govt repeals IR35 tax rules

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Let me get this straight

IR35 is being revoked.

But the rules are not being revoked.

Instead of bashing everybody over the head with it, we shall only bash IT contractors - as and when we can catch them, which is around 10% of the time.

This will liberate the economy.

Can you just run that by me slowly again?

Boeing wants autonomous flying cabs in US airspace by 2030

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

There are ConOps, and then there are ConOps

In my world these were called the ConOp, no "s" required. I have written a fair few.

First the professional snark; no identification of stakeholder communities to be involved in the rollout. This project could hit the buffers at any time "because I was never informed and no way am I going to sanction this rubbish".

Then the conceptual snarks;

This blathers on about two or three vehicles per human ATC, i.e. pretty much what we do now but pilotless. Not exactly Urban Air Mobility capable of operating through the rush hour, is it now?

Passengers, passengers. Why? The first applications will be unoccupied cargo drones. Correction, the first applications already are unoccupied cargo drones, mostly carrying medical supplies.

Emergency provision. Can't recall if it was FAA or NASA, but somebody put a lot of work into this a few years back. Need a network of emergency landing sites so that wherever the drone is, in the event of power failure a dead-stick landing on one such can always be made. That's a LOT of emergency landing areas to provision. No mention in the ConOp(s), woopsie!

etc. etc.

Still at least the contracting author will have got paid for this. Just think, back in the day that might have been me!

Linux Foundation launches European division

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: The public sector

The problem with the public sector is getting it to contribute to the code base. That is a much harder nut to crack.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: The public sector

There you go, you see. Geeks even have trouble distinguishing between being a politician and seeking to educate, inform and influence politicians. Way to go, folks.

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: The public sector

Overseas aid is, above all, a political tool - as you must well know, VoiceOfYourOwnTruth. But do tell, which governments are spending overseas aid on F/LOSS projects in other countries? Your favourites, by any chance?

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

The public sector

The public sector is a very, very different world from hi-tech commerce. It lives, breathes and dies by tickboxes.

"We are not allowed to spend public money on stuff that is not focused on our own citizens."

"We do not routinely budget public money or resources for charities, as they have their own sources of income."

"Our thirty-five-year-old shortlist of approved IT suppliers does not include Open Source. We have no resources to revisit that list in the foreseeable future."

"Any code we write is Government Copyright. We have no legal mechanism for releasing that copyright to anybody else. Thus, your open-source license makes it impossible for us to release our patches to you."

And so on.

You have to find, get to know, and pull the political levers to get those tickboxes changed. Box by box, department by department, nation by nation. This is not a notable area of expertise for F/LOSS developers, foundations or lawyers. I have known it happen, but only in a limited way - and it took years of patient graft that few state-employed developers can afford to indulge in. Frankly, to make it happen the Linux Foundation and its ilk need to create political arms and learn to play the political game.

Look who's fallen foul of Europe's data retention rules. France and Germany

steelpillow Silver badge
Big Brother

Funny how at the same time

they were screaming abuse at UK Gov because our equally beloved politicans wanted to do the same, just make it legal.

Now's your chance, AI, to do good. Protect endangered eagles from wind turbines

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Single black blade helps tremendously

Yay! Came here to say exactly that.

As far as I know only the single-black-blade scheme has been tried. But would a more balanced match of thermal absorption across other colours be feasible? Depending on the paint mixes, maybe a yellow blade and two green ones? Or say two light grey and one with a broad red stripe? This is really important research that needs to be done.

Document Foundation starts charging €8.99 for 'free' LibreOffice

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: I'd pay

But you'd have to buy it from your local shop - you know, the one for local people.

Rare hexagonal diamond formed by crash of dwarf planet and asteroid, scientists believe

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

When you look at the hexagons in lonsdaleite they are not planar as in graphite, but skew. The bonding orbitals are SP3 all right, with the fourth electrons bonding alternately to the layer above/below. This preserves the optimal tetrahedral angle, while also allowing bond lengths, and hence energies, to normalise.

It is slightly less dense than conventional diamond, so something interesting is going on with those calculations that predicted it would be harder (and look like they may actually be right).

steelpillow Silver badge

which itself was named after the River Lune (according to Wilipedia "once pronounced Loyne") which carved it out and still runs through it.

I wonder what the river was named after?

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

However the tetragonal structure of diamond does have a periodicity which is simple cubic. Mistaking the periodicity of a translation unit for the lattice structure of the atoms themselves is the kind of mistake that Wikipedians and Vultures are both to likely to fall into.

By contrast a translation unit of lonsdaleite is hexagonal, though in reference to the cross-section of individual layers rather than actual hexagonal prisms. One might hazard that, because it is not isotropic but layered, one might expect its hardness to vary depending on what angle you hit it. But before finding that out, we need to be able to prepare specimens both big and pure enough to test.

steelpillow Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

"studying Lonsdaleite is hard"

ROTFLAD!

Musk seeks yet another excuse to get out of Twitter buyout: This time it's Mudge's severance check

steelpillow Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Now, you listen here.

You owe me a new keyboard - and $1 billion costs - and a social media network.

I always look on the bright side of life.

Draft EU AI Act regulations could have a chilling effect on open source software

steelpillow Silver badge
Angel

Just call it AINAI

"AINAI" is an acronym of "AINAI Is Not an Artificial Intelligence."

This software is made available "as is". It has no defined function, such as Artificial Intelligence or ruling the world or befuddling EU regulations, but is made available in case others might find it useful.

Ad blockers struggle under Chrome's new rules

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Re: Advertising weary?

Well, Facebook just decided to spam me in every other item in my news feed. All cunningly contrived so that AdBlockPlus cannot stop it. Solution: log out and stay out until the idiots see daylight the other end of their arses. No need to move fast, guys, I'll be a while. Unless ABP bring out an upgrade and the war between them starts over. Then it'll be a very long while.

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Re: Advertising weary?

I prefer to pay in my own sweat and blood, supporting my community of likeminded individuals. In the wider world this is known as charities, in software land it is known as F/LOSS.

SiFive RISC-V CPU cores to power NASA's next spaceflight computer

steelpillow Silver badge

Size matters

One of the issues with radiation hardening is the need to avoid very small or delicate features which can be destroyed by radiation impact. A few months on a visit to the ISS is one thing, a few years as a mission-critical component on an interplanetary mission is quite another. It will be interesting to see how compact these multi-core processors can be made.

Man wins competition with AI-generated artwork – and some people aren't happy

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

What is fine art?

Art is whatever you can kid the public it is. "Mai bodee iss mai arrt", go wrap a coastline in plastic and watch it blow away, whatever.

Fine art is whatever you can kid the critics it is.

There is a genre of "found art", which is just tastefully displaying stuff you literally found lying around.

None of these things sicken Joe Soap, but when the "artist" picks up an AI instead of a camera - whoosh!

Maybe we'll soon be following the 20th century's photographic art exhibitions with a new genre of AI art exhibitions.

Were this 1 April, I would report the rumour that the Tate Gallery is rebranding itself the tAIt in readiness.

EU proposes regulations for tablet battery life, spare parts

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: 500 Full charges isn't enough

Bit like cars - tweaked performance in the lab does not count, there needs to be a standard "urban cycle".

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: "spare parts for at least five years"

"2) "from the date of the device's introduction to the market". No: the date should be from when the device was sold new in a shop"

I'd settle for the date on which the manufacturer withdraws the product. Can't really blame them if an ancient relic bounces around the world's bankruptcy warehouses for half a decade.

India wants to quadruple electronics biz in just four years

steelpillow Silver badge
Linux

Re: Should we expect?

Far more amusing if you don't let on!

California lawmakers approve online privacy law for kids. Which may turn websites into identity checkpoints

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

ID checkpoints

Most websites already are Google ID checkpoints.

At least California would be less likely to sell me to the advertisers.

Facebook settles Cambridge Analytica class action for undisclosed amount

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Only used by the bad guys, then

Thank you martinusher. For a minute there I almost thought the Russians might have started the propaganda war in the first place. Good to be reassured their lies and deceit were only a pilot program with a small budget. Is it going to end when that budget is used up?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Only used by the bad guys, then

Please turn your irony detector on, then re-read. Thanks.

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Only used by the bad guys, then

Trump, Brexiteers, the Russians, Yah! Boo! Hiss! Thank goodness none of the nice guys ever leveraged the >cough!< allegedly >cough!< illegal data-harvesting of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Journos, don'ch'a love 'em.

AMD smartNICs to meld ASICs, FPGAs, Arm cores

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Security Question

But there's an ARM CPU alongside the ASIC and that will run software stored onboard. The temptation to make the soft functions OTA-upgradeable will be overwhelming.

[where's the shattered padlock icon?]

77% of security leaders fear we’re in perpetual cyberwar from now on

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: MicroSerfdom

Sadly, when offered the choice, the mass-market punter chooses the plug-in-and-go solution. None of that pesky configuration rubbish!

It would have to be illegal to sell any online device configured for plug-in-and-go. Only government-certified White Hats allowed to pre-configure it to same before delivery. Bit like buying a car with the system pre-configured with the owner's details. But then, how to keep said machine free of finger trouble?

The internet's edge routers are all so different. What if we unified them with software?

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Open RAN

This little essay rings many bells within the Open RAN initiative for the Mobile edge. Exactly this kind of flexible redistribution of functionality over commodity hardware is at the heart of Open RAN. The only fly in the ointment is that several major Western governments have thrown their political weight behind it as the solution to their 5G woes, and such government support is usually a sure portent of disaster.

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Rules of the game:

1. Don't mention NAT

2. Start with a clean sheet of paper

3. Don't mention NAT

4. Ignore backwards compatibility

5. Don't mention NAT

6. There is no Rule No. 6

7. I told you not to mention NAT

8. What could possibly go wrong?

BOFH and the case of the disappearing teaspoons

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Clockwork BOFH...

I will now have Walter (now Wendy) Carlos' Moog rendition of Beethoven's Ninth ringing in my ears every time I read the BOFH. No bad thing, really.

Time to peet my bedtime moloko, but where will I find knives in the wilds of Worcestershire at this time of night?

steelpillow Silver badge
Pint

Re: you owe me

Beat me to the post. Have a beer to help dull the pain of mopping up coffee.

If you can find Dabbsy and share it with him, that would be kind. He has been around this business a long time, methinks some Vulture hath blundered.

PanWriter: Cross-platform writing tool runs on anything and outputs to anything

steelpillow Silver badge

LibreOffice

LibreOffice may not have an Outline mode as such, but it does have a nice Navigator tool, basically navigable lists of Headings, Tables, Images, Sections, etc. etc. You can use it to drag-and-drop copies of stuff in the main text, but not to simply move stuff around. Even so, the times I miss Outline view are few and far between these days.

What I really miss is the old Tags-On (semi-WYSIWYG) view when banging down HTML, as in HoTMetaL Pro and Seamonkey.

Lloyd's to exclude certain nation-state attacks from cyber insurance policies

steelpillow Silver badge
Pirate

Acts of war

On the face of it this ought to be a sensible move; insurers habitually exclude acts of war, and cyberwarfare is an obvious thing to lump in with that.

But how do you define cyberwarfare? Lloyds have plumped for action by a foreign State agency. Again, that might seem fair enough, except, how do you establish who perpetrated the attack, and even if you do pin it down to some black-hat organisation, how do you decide whether they are criminal freelancers or under state control or some unholy mix of the two?

Amazon has repackaged surveillance capitalism as reality TV

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Apathy is the problem

It's more than just apathy. If you mention the privacy/security aspect to most folks, they immediately brand you a paranoid New Age type and block their ears to any and all reality. They are utterly determined to believe that they can trust the likes of Amazon and Google and that no harm can come of their wonderful status symbol, and nothing but a death sentence will change that.

US Army drone crashes hours ahead of breaking flight duration record

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: 50 miles an hour straight down?

Zephyr only cruises around 30-40 kt, so 50 kt vertical is probably close to its terminal velocity in a nose-dive. I'm guessing it turned too tight at too low an airspeed, stalled and nosedived into the ground. A sadly common occurrence.

Interconnect innovation key to satiating soaring demand for fiber capacity

steelpillow Silver badge

Smart hard shoulders

H'mm. Interesting. Of course in the UK, Highways have been doing this for years. A slight problem has been the totally un-anticipated death rate through smash-ups when someone breaks down and stops on the hard shoulder. I mean, who could have foreseen that? Why, they are now having to turn the smarts off and go back to the old but safe way of doing things, what a tragedy for progress. Can't help wondering if the analogy will push that deep and fibre overloads will turn out to decay gracelessly.

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