* Posts by elkster88

94 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Aug 2016


US starts 'emergency' checks on cryptocurrency power use, citing winter power demands


Re: Pay as you go

"If they are paying the bills then what's the issue?"

Reductio ad absurdum: If someone (e.g. Elon Musk) decided to build a giant electric powered heater in the middle of the desert, as a means of spending down his billions, would you still say it was an OK use of resources, so long as he was willing to pay the electric bill ?

There has to be some point where the cost/benefit ratio gets examined for the use of shared resources, especially ones that contribute to anthropogenic climate change.

There is no inherent need for cryptocurrency to use "proof of work", other methods exist to provide digital money without the enormous power requirement...

Here's a couple of possibly relevant links...



<dons fireproof suit>

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix


rec.motorcycles, AKA Reeky

> I still have my rec.motorcycles patch, and my membership number.

As do it.

But do you have your Geeky (tm) pocket protector? I do.

UKRM is still active. There's a couple of us refugees from reeky. Drop in and say hi. Reeky is dead, overcome with pharmaceutical spam.

I remember having some offline discussions with Dr. W, much different "IRL" to his reeky persona.

Fed-up Torvalds suggests disabling AMD’s 'stupid' performance-killing fTPM RNG


Re: Spluttering performance while producing random data

I've just had a eureka moment - a lettuce based seed generator.

Tokkers can Tok like Tweeters can Tweet – for now


Re: Text is the latest addition to options for content creation

"I hate it when you look for instructions for something and all you can find is a Youtube video".

And in 90+ percent of those supposedly instructional videos, the crucial thing you needed to see is badly lit, only appears for one or two frames, is out of focus, and the camera operator has an advanced case of St. Vitus' dance.

Another redesign on the cards for iPhone as EU rules call for removable batteries


Re: As luck would have it....

I count three - Ireland, Malta and Cyprus.

Ukrainian cops nab suspects accused of stealing $4.3m from victims across Europe


Oxymoron alert

... and shut down a multi-country network of call centers selling fake cryptocurrency ...

Now we're building computers from lab-grown brain cells


Came to the comments for this reference...

... and I was not disappointed.

Have a jolt from my electrode.

PC tech turns doctor to diagnose PC's constant crashes as a case of arthritis


Re: South don't work in the North

Believe it or not, it was due to the vertical component of the Earth's magnetic field being of the opposite sign Down Under.

Years ago I was involved in a project for an Australian customer. Part my job was to specify some high resolution monitors. I had assumed that all I needed to do was to make sure they would operate at the local mains voltage and frequency. I had plans to purchase a lot of monitors in the USA and have them shipped to Australia as they were much cheaper in the USA for the same model (shipping cost to Australia vs buying local was not a concern since the system components were all being put into a large shipping container).

During my research, I discovered that CRT monitors were "yammed" (AFAIK that is/was the correct technical term) for specific hemispheres, to allow for the difference in the vertical component of the Earth's magnetic field.

I was sceptical, so I figured if I turned a monitor upside down, it would be equivalent to operating it in the Southern hemisphere. Lo and behold, the screen now displayed a large rainbow blotch of colors that had not been there before. Restoring the monitor to its normal orientation and hitting the degauss button repeatedly, fixed it. But I couldn't ever get the blotch to go away when the unit was upside down.

If I hadn't seen it myself, I would never have believed it.

Microsoft to offer unlimited time off for US staff

Big Brother

This is all too familiar...

I am a recent retiree from a tech megacorp that instituted an "unlimited" PTO policy not long after I started working for them.

My boss said it was a good thing, as it meant that a couple of us new guys in his group could get a bit more vacation than we would have been entitled to (2 weeks) under the guaranteed entitlement plan. I was a senior engineer and had previously been entitled to 5 weeks leave at my last employer, so I regarded this as a welcome change.

That boss was laid off not long after the policy change, and my next manager announced that he interpreted the new "unlimited" PTO policy to mean "undefined" and that he consequently had discretion to dole out time off in accordance with the old guidelines, which meant I was back to 2 weeks per year. I did manage to squeeze out a bit more holidays than those 2 weeks per year but it was always with a bit of tension and it was obvious that my boss thought he was doing me a huge favor to allow it.

Of course the reason for doing so was to eliminate the financial liability of having to pay for accumulated time off when people left the company. The company also at the same time got rid of paying out 401k matching money on every check, instead making a one time payment in the next fiscal year only to those employees who were on the payroll post December 15th. This was also proclaimed as a benefit because they increased the matching percentage by one percent, but of course it was a huge "Fuck You" to the employees who left voluntarily or were laid off any time between Jan 1st and December 15th.

Extremely glad to be out of there, the most employee-unfriendly outfit I have ever worked for.

PS I made sure my last official day of employment was December 16th, and took the last week and a bit off as PTO...

Epson says ink pad saturation behind 'end of service life' warning on inkjet printers

Thumb Up

Re: Brother

I have an Epson ET-3760 Ecotank and it's brilliant. Saved $100 by not getting the top of the range model with touch screen and fax (!) capability. Still working off the ink bottles it came with. Scanner with ADF, seems to work as well as expected. Previously had a Canon multifunction unit which worked OK but gobbled ink cartridges like a gobbling thing. And of course would refuse to print in B&W if any of the color cartridges were empty.

I also have a Brother HL-5250DN laser which is going strong after a handful of toner cartridge replacements with no hint of print quality loss.

And even though the Epson is not marketed as a photo printer, it does a very nice job printing photos on semi-gloss photo paper. Good to know that the ink sponges are user-replaceable and there's a utility to reset the maintenance counter.

Yeah, we'll just take that first network handshake. What could possibly go wrong?


Re: And Bill kept his job.

Never forget: the most important product your company makes is your paycheck.

Heineken says there’s no free beer, warns of phishing scam


Re: Heineken says there's no free beer, warns of phishing scam

Years ago at a Hewlett Packard training class in Fort Collins, my instructor was a Scot named Angus, who had lived in the Netherlands for some years.

He claimed that the Dutch had a saying:

"Dutch cows drink Grolsch and piss Heineken".

Which reminds me, I'm overdue for a refresher course of craft beer sampling in old Fort Collins.

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth


Re: Of earths

I had to get a Fluke to prove it to him.

I hope that put him in his plaice.


Re: Of earths

I've recently become aware that building power entry earth connections in the middle eastern desert might as well be connected to nothing but free air, until / if it rains heavily, at which time the earth connection becomes functional. Otherwise it's just a big metal spike surrounded by dry grains of sand, which functions as a good insulator. This plays havoc with sensitive noise measurements.

Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims


Re: Still doesn't change anything ....

Oh, look. Now you’ve made Tim Cook Apple cry.

FAA to airlines: 5G-sensitive radio altimeters have to go


Qualifying new radar altimeters.

"The problem is that qualifying new stuff for aircraft is expensive, as is the swap out of kit."

Spot on.

Also- the qualification process is not terribly speedy. Which is why it's incredible that this was not being foreseen and addressed long before 5G was deployed.

ASML CEO: Industrial conglomerate buying washing machines to rip out semiconductors


From the title, I had a mental image...

Of someone throwing printed circuit boards into a washing machine and expecting a loose pile of ICs after the cycle ended.

China's top tech city Shenzhen locks down completely for at least a week


Re: eggs->basket!

"we had backup suppliers, just for contingency."

One of the very few things that Dr. W. Edwards Deming[1] got wrong, in my opinion, was his strong preference for sole source suppliers. Hard to implement JIT with multiple suppliers, and we've been hearing about the evils of keeping too much inventory/safety stock for many years. But sometimes, systems fall apart.

I would dearly love to hear what he would have to say about the state of our supply chains now.

Here's a video of Dr Deming talking about his famous "red beads" experiment. He doesn't utter his catchphrase, but the video shows his inimitable manner of speaking.

[1] Yesterday, upon seeing that the hotel my wife and I are staying in is located on Deming Way, I involuntarily uttered "off to the Milky Way", which was one of his favorite catchphrases when I attended his 3 day seminar in Washington, DC about 40 years ago.

How to polish the bottom line? Microsoft makes it really hard to claim expenses, say staffers


“ accounting folks had us use Concur but we also had to submit paper receipts for some reason.”

We’re required to keep the paper receipts for all expenses submitted for reimbursement under US government contracts. I also find that Concur is quite slick and easy to use with the smartphone app, simple and quick to snap a photo of a receipt.

UNFORTUNATELY, my expense reports are now being audited by a “machine learning” system, which has repeatedly kicked back every report due to expenses paid by cash, since the restaurant and commissary here in the secure compound we foreigners stay in, accept nothing but cash.

I’m convinced that the US government warehouse where the paper receipts are filed is the same one where the Ark of the Covenant is stored…

EthereumMax, a Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr sued over alleged 'pump and dump' cryptocurrency scam


cryptocurrency scam

A principle of good writing: Never use multiple words, when one will do.


Aircraft can't land safely due to interference with upcoming 5G C-band broadband service


Re: A better explanation?


See this diagram.

5G vs. Radar Altimeters

RAF shoots down 'terrorist drone' over US-owned special ops base in Syria


Re: Heat?

> What heat does a small, presumably battery-powered, drone emit?

Very little- but having seen some of the Houthi "drones" downed by the Saudis, they're more akin to an over sized radio-controlled airplane with a combustion engine + propeller, not a quad-copter style drone. Basically a conventional light aircraft, without a pilot, plus a cheap GPS guidance system and an explosive payload.

Big enough to cause actual damage, so cannot be ignored. Not expensive to produce, compared to the sophisticated missiles and the cost of operating the aircraft used to launch them, so as long as the Houthis and their backers can afford to keep producing and launching them, they will.

Ironically, the main danger on the ground is to be hit by drone debris from a drone being shot down, vs. from one of the drones successfully reaching their target, since the reported rate of success in downing them is pretty good.

Cryptocurrency 'rug pulls' cheated investors out of $8bn in 2021 – report



"The website currently has flagged 66,239 crypto tokens as potentially problematic"

I've got a better number- all of them.

How to destroy expensive test kit: What does that button do?


Ah, fond memories ...

I once added assembly code to an unused block of EPROM memory in an add-in PC floppy disc controller, that caused the PC speaker to say "Help! Somebody get me out of here, I'm trapped in this computer!" every time the system booted up. Said PC was a common use system in an engineering lab.

Didn't even have to change any of the existing code, just put the required 0x55aa signature at the beginning of the block, plus the size in 512 byte blocks in the 3rd byte, and an INT 20h at the end / or a RET instruction (IIRC). And not to forget- had to make sure the checksum of the entire collection of 512 byte blocks was zero.

It lasted a couple of weeks before I was asked to restore the original contents of the controller's boot ROM.

My copy of Peter Norton's "Programmer's Guide to the IBM PC" hasn't been cracked in over 25 years but I still have fond memories of playing in that domain.

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'


What's in a name?

I suppose replacing "Alice" and "Bob" with "X Æ A-12" and "X Æ B-12" might be going a bit _too_ far...

EurekAI... Neural network leads chemists to discover 'four new materials'


Are any of them ...

... (the finest) Green?

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).