* Posts by elkster88

68 posts • joined 22 Aug 2016


Boffins say Martian colonists could pee in buckets, give blood if they want shelter


Is it difficult to build on Mars?

Nah. Piece of piss, mate.

Big Blue's quantum rainmaker jumps to room-temp diamond quantum accelerator company


Vapor something

“ A process called "plasma-assisted vapor deposition" is a promising candidate to get the job done.”

So, IBM are saying it’s essentially vaporware at the moment, got it.

8 years ago another billionaire ploughed millions into space to harvest solar power and beam it back down to Earth

IT Angle

Re: Cool idea, but...

Agree, solar panels in space to provide power on earth is a definite R. Goldberg solution. Technically possible, but at a huge cost. Maybe if that space elevator gets built... naw.

The obvious solution to reliable, reasonably priced solar power is to add energy storage, and/or use solar energy to create "green" fuels for vehicles, neatly meshing the intermittent nature of solar with the energy density/power/recharge time problems of current BEV technology. Could even be batteries, but doesn't need to be the expensive Li-Ion type since weight and bulk are not as important for a fixed installation.

Sure, there are increases in cost if you add storage. But it's GOT to be cheaper than lifting solar panels into geosynchronous orbit, PLUS needing the collector/converter equipment on the ground.

Redpilled Microsoft does away with flashing icons on taskbar as Windows 11 hits Beta


" ... make finding what you need easier."

> Microsoft said that "we've also rejuvenated Settings to keep pages from feeling overwhelming and make finding what you need easier." This was done with a "consistent navigation system," which sounds good, but also with "progressive disclosure, which allows advanced settings to remain hidden until you want to look at them."


How about just leaving the fucking menus and control panels alone for a change, and making everything work better under the hood?

The constant drive to move things around and change the user interface in Windows, simply for the sake of change, is infuriating.

It's akin to moving the letters around on a keyboard to make them easier to hit (yes, I know, Dvorak, etc.). Millions upon millions of us have spent literally decades finding the obscure places Microsoft put the various Windows controls, only to find with each new version, they hide/move them to new and difficult to find places.

Hungarian tech store closed by World War II bomb


UK celebrates 25 years of wasteful, 'underperforming' government IT projects


Re: Elephant in the room

" you pay peanuts, you get monkeys."

Or elephants.

Which are famously hard on keyboards and office chairs, hence the budget overruns.

That time a startup tried to hire me just to push clients' products in job interviews


Re: Current par for the present course of future event horizons

Anyone know if Google Translate is accepting nominations for languages to be added to their Translate product?

Asking for a friend. Mine's the one with the dried up babelfish in the pocket.

Thailand bans joke cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens


Re: Can we do the same here ?

I suspect you may have an objection to Monnetising some types of mathematical operations.

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful


Re: Give me buttons ON THE TV!

> my next project: build a "remote control translator" out of an IR diode and an arduino


I did exactly this. I have a Yamaha soundbar attached to the Samsung TV with optical cable. No integration of control codes over HDMI (CEC?). Lived with two remotes for some time until I hit upon the idea of using one of the unused A B C D buttons on the Samsung remote to operate the soundbar power, and translating the Samsung Volume + and - codes into codes the Yammy soundbar would understand. Arduino, IR photodiode sensor, IR emitter diode + a couple of resistors. Put it all in an old video camera battery charger enclosure so it actually looks like something a toddler didn't make.

It took a couple of weeks of fiddling with hardware & code but it's been working flawlessly now for years. Sure, I probably could have bought a universal remote but I learned a lot and that's worth something to me.

That Salesforce outage: Global DNS downfall started by one engineer trying a quick fix


"We have taken action with that particular employee"

Presumably involving a a shovel, a roll of carpet and two 20kg bags of quicklime.

South Africa's state-owned energy firm to appeal after court rules Oracle does not have to support its software


Re: Don't blame Larry

The author Vartanig G. Vartan wrote a book called "The Dinosaur Fund" which I read many years ago.

The _only_ fact I remember[1] from that book is that the highest denomination US note to ever be in circulation was the $10,000 bill, featuring Salmon P. Chase.

[1] Besides of course, the name of the author.

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


I would have thought...

...that normally on takeoff, the pilot would be using everything short of War Emergency Power, throttles to the stops. I would hate to clip an obstacle at the end of the runway because the airline was trying to save a few bob's worth of fuel, and the passenger cohort had more than the normal fraction of bloaters.

Every day's a school day.

Master boot vinyl record: It just gives DOS on my IBM PC a warmer, more authentic tone


Ah, happy memories...

I well remember saving programs to (and sometimes successfully recovering them from) cassette tape on my Timex/Sinclair ZX81. I don't think I ever had a program on a vinyl record, though. Still have the computer and the tape player, and I'll bet if I dig deep enough I'll find the primitive drawing program (1 bit graphics!) I wrote.

Mine's the one with the audio jumper cables in the pocket.

Bad software crashed Boeings. Now it appears the company lacked a singular software supremo


Re: Interesting spin

"What no one has asked or disclosed is who is making the [AOA] sensors? Name and shame."

Angle Of Attack sensors are reliable, up to the point that they suffer a bird strike or other FOD. Which is why all A/C have two or three of them. Only using one of them as a basis for actuating MCAS, or not adding a third sensor, is another discussion altogether.

More evidence your work/life balance has gone to $%£*: Atlassian says user-interface interactions show hours tacked on to workday

Big Brother

Work is work, and my home life is my own

I suppose I could be accused of being a 'clockwatcher' but the idea of responding to work calls and emails outside of work hours is a complete non-starter for me.

Voicemail and email is there for those times I am not 'at work', even when I'm working from home. Once you start down that slippery slope of essentially being on-call at all waking hours, it's hard to claw your personal time back. Before the pandemic, I might have taken my laptop home with me less than a half-dozen times in 5 years, while my co-workers did nearly every night. Still don't understand that mindset.

No need for more asteroid-blasting attempts, NASA's OSIRIS-REx has more than enough space dirt


Re: Units

"NASA hoped to collect at least 14 MilliJub 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid’s dirt and soil."

Microsoft takes another shot at the Windows-on-Arm thing with a revamped Surface Pro X powered by new SQ2 silicon


Re: "frank self-awareness"

> I skipped mentioning his frank self-awareness

You're a better man than I. I'm afraid I would have no such degree of control should the opportunity ever arise to respond to such a low and slow pitch.

A virtual pint for priming the pump, so to speak ->

I love my electricity company's app – but the FBI says the nuclear industry bribed politicians $60m to kill it


Re: Scandal, but not this

"So if unprofitable apps got cancelled, it's no great loss."

Maybe not everything beneficial to society as a whole should be "profitable" as in putting money in some corporation or individual's pocket, especially when it's in the area of public utilities or basic infrastructure[1]. If it's helpful to consumers and results in decreased electricity usage, it's a boon to everyone and maybe the utilities should be actively encouraged or perhaps even required to provide such useful apps by the agencies that regulate them, rather than forbidding them.

[1] Postal service, anyone?

Microsoft will release a web browser for Linux next month. Repeat, Microsoft will release a browser for Linux – and it uses Google's technology


Re: "This means Linus Torvalds has definitely won, doesn't it?"

"Increasingly irreverent"

They may well be. Hadn't really considered their religious views, up til now.

Oh what a feeling: New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour

Big Brother

This is but the nose of the proverbial ...

Rest assured, the other bits, including both humps, will soon be squarely in the tent.

I won't be surprised when this is SOP for all cars, and in fact I expect it will eventually be illegal to disconnect or tamper with the government mandated spy system(s).

They'll need to replace fuel tax when all cars go electric, for one thing. No doubt the powers that be can come up with as many other excuses as needed. Joe Public won't care so long as the car's got plenty of USB outlets and multiple cup holders.

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G: So light, you might even forget about its terrible keyboard


Re: "...a capable machine for the road warrior..."

Those are all good- I just want to know what to call those cunts in airports who talk loudly on their phone set to speakerphone, held a good 2 feet from their face, thereby forcing us to hear both sides of their conversation, instead of holding it up to their ear so we only have to hear from one of the participants.

Admittedly that twat would still be bellowing his side of the conversation. Why is it that some folk can't just talk at a normal level and trust that their device's microphone actually works? And why can't they get a set of earbuds, a headset, or something else that doesn't subject all and sundry to their inane drivel? Hanging's too good, &c.

Microsoft tells AMD-powered Insiders they're unblocked in new Windows 10 Dev Channel build: 'Oh no we're not!'


A humbly crowdsourced edit

"In Windows land, sometimes it can feel like everyone is a tester."

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?


SoftBank bought a goose that lays golden eggs...

And the first thing the proud new owners do is decide to practically squeeze the life out of it, to extract more eggs, then they wonder why it's suddenly stopped laying.

Penguin icon for obvious reasons.

What does London's number 65 bus have to hide? OS caught on camera setting fire to '22,000 illegal file(s)!!'


Re: There's a reflection in the screen.

I regret that I have only one upvote to give (and of course an obligatory virtual pint, hence the icon).

If Fairphone can support a 5-year-old handset, the other vendors could too. Right?


Re: planned obsolescence - It's everywhere

I'd be interested in knowing which model of Sony Blu-Ray player has Windows 7 embedded in it. I've got a Sony Blu-Ray player myself but the "smart" network dependent features, I never use. So far it seems to play DVDs OK (I don't think I actually own any Blu-Ray disks).

Arm wrestle round two: Chinese outpost says it's fired the replacement CEO foisted on it by HQ


First thing I thought of

51 > 49.

If ARM wanted to retain control of their China operations, perhaps they should have made the cut on the _other_ side of 50 percent.

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays


Another good reason to be an El Reg reader

As it happens, I *just* unpacked a 4TB WD Red drive that I ordered three days ago. And thanks to Chris Mellor's article, I specified the old 64MB cache version (model WD40EFRX, CMR) rather than the new 256MB cache (SMR) drive.

The model number is identical to the 4TB drive I intend to pair it with in my NAS... but there is no external indication on the label that it is the 64MB cache version, unlike the older drive that explicitly says "64 MB". I suppose hooking it up to a Linux box and running hdparm is in order.

Resistance is futile: Some Cisco security appliances are ticking time bombs of fail thanks to faulty resistors


Have a euphemism on us.

"non-deterministic endpoint behaviour"

I'm nicking that for my next status report.

Schermata blu di errore: Italy might be in lockdown, but the sh!tshow must go on

Big Brother

In the spirit of F. U.

"You might well think that- I couldn't possibly comment."

No joy for all you Rover McRoverface fans: NASA's next Mars bot is christened Perseverance


Ok then...

So Perseverance McPerseveranceface it is.

It has been 15 years, and we're still reporting homograph attacks – web domains that stealthily use non-Latin characters to appear legit


Re: A þorny problem, to be sure

Þú, feld, núna.

Honeywell, I blew up the qubits: Thermostat maker to offer cloud access to 'world's most powerful quantum computer' within months


Re: Honeywell thermostats as a brand

On an uncharacteristically serious note, Honeywell has recently split off the thermostat business. It was spun off into an independent company, Resideo.

Ah. I've been pipped to the post, I see.

It is with a heavy heart we must inform you, once again, folks are accidentally spilling thousands of sensitive pics, records onto the internet


Re: Four sig fig?

Every time I encounter such unwarranted precision, I am reminded of this exchange:

KIRK: Mister Spock, can we get those two guards? What would you say the odds on our getting out of here?

SPOCK: Difficult to be precise, Captain. I should say approximately 7,824.7 to 1.

KIRK: Difficult to be precise? 7,824 to 1?

SPOCK: 7,824.7 to 1.

KIRK: That's a pretty close approximation.

SPOCK: I endeavour to be accurate.

KIRK: You do quite well.

A dirty dozen of Bluetooth bugs threaten to reboot, freeze, or hack your trendy gizmos from close range


I'm looking forward to the SIGRIDTOOTH...

... BLE exploit, named after Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson's neighbor's best friend's nephew's bin man's sister-in-law.

Parks and recreation escalate efforts to take back control of field terrorised by thug geese


Re: Geese police

A former cow-orker accidentally[1] skittled a tame Canada goose in the company car park with his pickup truck. Roast roadkill goose was an integral part of the next office pot luck lunch. Tasted a bit different than the wild harvested one he also cooked (typically mostly corn-fed), not bad, but different.


Ex-Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain was accused of sexual misconduct against Darktrace staff – report


Randy Cheek

Nominative determinism at its finest!

"The unfortunately named American, [...] allegedly asking an interviewee whether she had a boyfriend and telling another member of staff he was "looking forward to seeing you bend over in that dress". "

You can't make it up.

That's what makes you hackable: Please, baby. Stop using 'onedirection' as a password


Never going to hack me!

Yeah, what's up with all those lame passwords.

I got smart and switched all mine to "Correct Horse Battery Staple" some time ago.

Star wreck: There's a 1 in 20 chance a NASA telescope and US military satellite will smash into each other today


Re: No lineage?

Typing this: "boy stows away on a manned rocket to the Moon" into Google throws up this: Wikipedia article on "Stowaway to the Moon".

Beer necessities: US chap registers bevvy as emotional support animal so he can booze on public transport


Re: You gotta shoot...

My instructor at an HP training school in the early 90s out in Fort Collins, CO was a Scotsman named Angus who had lived in the Netherlands for some time.

The only thing I can now remember him teaching me was the saying "Dutch cows drink Grolsch and piss Heineken".

Odd fellow, but he took the entire class out for beers at Coopersmith's.

Archive storage comes to Google Cloud: Will it give AWS and Azure the cold shoulder?

Thumb Up

Words to live by...

"All storage is vulnerable to physical decay, fire or other calamity, or mis-configured systems that mean the data stored is not what you hoped it was. ®"

By law, that wording should be engraved in the largest font size that will fit, on every single data storage device sold.

And hopefully burned into the forehead of anyone who places critical data in a single place, such as a laptop drive, and who then whinges about the consequences when it inevitably gets destroyed due to any one of a number of foreseeable causes.

Buzz kill: Crook, 73, conned investors into shoveling millions into geek-friendly caffeine-loaded chocs that didn't exist. Now he's in jail


Re: Spiders on drugs!

Now I really want to see this:

2014 documentary Dolphins - Spy in the Pod shows dolphins getting intoxicated on pufferfish.

Dolphin #1: "Can I tempt you with a bit of pufferfish?"

Dolphin #2: "Thanks, I don't."

Register Lecture: Can portable atomic clocks end UK dependence on GNSS?


Re: Interesting

"1ms gives you your location to the nearest 250 meters if my math is correct (probably not...)"

300 000 000 m/s * 1/1000 s = 300 km.

Heads up from Internet of S*!# land: Best Buy's Insignia 'smart' home gear will become very dumb this Wednesday


Re: Somewhat curious...

"I really struggle to see the business sense in this..."

They got your money, and having decided to exit the Internet of Tat business, obviously figure letting folk down gently is just a waste of money, simple as that.

It's exactly like the revolving door model of executive leadership in today's short term profit driven companies. Get while the getting is good and get out, leaving the mess behind for someone else to deal with.

Outlook turned eBay into DD-Bay: Topless busty babe mysteriously fronts souk's emails


If the avatar is still in your email client...

"If the avatar is still in your email client, an Outlook account reset (Inbox >> Gear icon >> Email Account >> Reset) will remove it, we're told. "

Umm, just out of curiosity, is there any way to not remove this avatar from my email client?

Asking for a friend, naturally.

A carbon-nanotube RISC-V CPU blinks into life. Boffins hold their breath awaiting first sign of life... 'Hello world!'


So it is possible...

For a bunch of CNTs to do something useful after all.

Can Amazon's AI really detect fear? Plus: Fresh deepfake video freaks everyone out again


Re: .. the armies of humans training today's AI systems


Fake fuse: Bloke admits selling counterfeit chips for use in B-1 bomber, other US military gear


Re: IC marking

> the bigger concern is unintended consequences of "minor" deviations from the original design, even if the new part has "better" specs.

Which is why any engineering based company worth two shits have for-real component engineers on staff. I can't count the number of times I've seen stuff break because folks think pretty much any IC with the same generic part number will perform the same, because "I checked, and all the specs are the same or better!".

Not all characteristics of the parts you buy are captured by the spec sheet. Sometimes there's a lot of qualification work that doesn't show up on the purchased part drawing, and the approved vendor list isn't just there as a helpful pointer of where to buy the part...

Another rewrite for 737 Max software as cosmic bit-flipping tests glitch out systems – report


Re: You've got to be kidding!


"error rates increase rapidly with rising altitude; for example, compared to sea level, the rate of neutron flux is 3.5 times higher at 1.5 km and 300 times higher at 10–12 km (the cruising altitude of commercial airplanes).[4] As a result, systems operating at high altitudes require special provision for reliability."

Which is why avionics invariably use EDAC memory.

Can't dance? That's no excuse. Let a robot do it for you at this 'forced exoskeleton rave'


Re: Despicable lies!

John, I'm only dancing.

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


Re: Why is there a choice?

Believe it or not, one of the ARINC 429 dataloader boxes in my lab loads flight software for some of the avionics that my company supplies to Airbus and Boeing using... wait for it...

3-1/2" 1.44 MB floppies.

At least it uses "modern" floppies, not the 5-1/4" or 8" floppies used by some of the older (but still operational) equipment that's sitting on the next shelf.



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