* Posts by stevebp

47 posts • joined 26 Oct 2016

Safety driver at the wheel of self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian is charged with negligent homicide


Re: However

How do we know this was a long way into her drive? She may have only just taken it out of the garage. If her mind started to wander, surely Uber should have been monitoring that and therefore should accept some culpability for its poor testing conditions that seemed to disregard safety!

You're all wet: Drippy chips to help slash data centre power consumption and carbon costs


Tackling the problem from the wrong direction?

This is all very interesting, however, a good professor friend of mine told me that the reason chips emit so much heat is that when the electrons flow along the logic pathways, as soon as they hit a full stop (i.e. a decision pathway which involves a change of flow (essentially any logic gate), the current flowing down the unused branch is dissipated as heat.

The answer then - and apparently this is being worked on - is to redirect that current through the chip reducing the power requirement for processing and emitting less heat as a consequence!

I would be interested to know if any of the good people on here have come across this research and know where we are with it?

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results


Re: This device is far less unreasonable than it seems.

Apparently, the flood of oestrogen when pregnant with a girl creates the "blooming" mother effect, conversely, the flood of testosterone with a boy causes spots and a more 'masculine-looking' face. If you're around pregnant women (you know well) a lot, you can spot this quite easily - it can be upended though by twins (non-identical) and situations where a girl gets a larger dose of testosterone than normal (apparently that's a "thing").

UK utility Severn Trent tests the waters with £4.8m for SCADA monitoring and management in the clouds


They've been sold a dummy

Whoever is giving them advice should be taken out and shot. No-one in their right mind would put an infrastructure control and monitoring tool outside of their own, discrete management network due to the (almost certain) risk that a hacker will gain access to it or disable it with DDOS attacks. I see a worrying trend with Data Centre DCIMs and BMS too.

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive


Re: corporate employee or fulfillment center associate

That's an interesting point - the other thing that is notable about the UK workplace is the *very* rigid emphasis on Health and Safety. Any company deemed to have been found "cutting corners" would likely find its senior management, even its top executives, in court explaining how they are going to avoid receiving a jail sentence. If there is a serious-enough incident at a warehouse, the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) can even enter a premises and *close it down* for up to two years while they undertake an investigation. It's just not worth ignoring it.

Brit unis hit in Blackbaud hack inform students that their data was nicked, which has gone as well as you might expect


Re: Don't do business with them

You've obviously never worked in a University...

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


Re: Just a thought

It's not inconceivable - remember what happened to java!


Re: Just a thought

I was just thinking exactly the same thing, with the same set of questions - upvote to save me the bother of typing...hold on...


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

Is that the East Putney Building or the Management Centre (Lon03-05 I think they were - it's a long time ago!). My first real job was with ICL at East Putney in 1987-88 on a work placement for my HND. After I 'diplomated' I worked for them at STE08 until Fujitsu took them over completely in 1991

Smile? Not bloody likely: Day 6 of wobbly services and still no hint to UK online bank's customers about what's actually wrong


Re: No technical information

Actually, it would be the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority - cf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prudential_Regulation_Authority_(United_Kingdom)) - the job of regulating the banks was hived off the FSA some years back because they were useless at it (think 2008!) and the Govt created the PRA and FCA.

There is a recently published requirement from the PRA to be able to sustain a major outage and run off backup systems for an extended period of time - I think Smile may be getting a visit from the PRA after this - I hope the investigation is made public (it won't be)

TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader


I use Waze, which is free and constantly updated - why is anyone buying a sat nav these days anyway?


There's a principle here, that techy geeks on El Reg would do well to remember: when designing a UI that may be used by a wide range of people, from old grannies to hip young dudes who have lived their lives online, be *very* explicit about how everything works and the effect of carrying out any instruction in your manual. I recently had to contact a cooker hood manufacturer because their manual was so poor, I couldn't work out how to change the filter "Oh yes, we have an instruction video for that, but I can't send it to you because I'm working from home", I was told by the friendly lady on the call.


Re: As I read that

Werdsmith is a troll - I wouldn't waste your keystrokes

Boolean bafflement at British Airways' Executive Club: Sneaky little Avioses - Wicked, Tricksy, False!


Re: Are all avios

Then you should read Edward Gibbons' "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and you will understand that the "Trinity" was a way of the Catholic faith competing with multi-theism (i.e. Paganism), including the use of Saints, statues of Mary, relics, etc. No wonder Protestantism dispensed with all that other crap later on - presumably they kept the Holy Trinity because there was actually some base for that in the bible

Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO


You complete the article with the news that JKRowling et al have signed a letter against the hate culture on the internet that inhibits free speech. I don't see the connection to this story at all? This man's behaviour was totally unacceptable, as was the other stories you mention afterwards. There is a world of difference between political, religious and economics discourse, and hate speech, violent abuse, threats and trolling - whether you agree with J K Rowling or not, she is allowed an opinion and is allowed to voice it without people being personally hurtful, spiteful and abusive to her in return. It is impossible to avoid someone being 'offended' by what you say, since the offence comes from them, not from you. I believe Voltaire had something to say about it...

The good news: Vodafone switches on first full-fat, real-life 5G network in the UK. The bad news: it only got sent to Coventry


Don't get me started...

I work in the Data Centre industry and I lost count of the number of times I went to a conference panel where some marketing fool/CEO/COO stood up and pronounced "5G will usher in the dawn of self-driving cars because the need for micro-second response times is critical to avoid catastrophe".

At one point, my colleagues had to physically restrain me from yelling out that they had absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

This really irritates me because, even from a layman perspective, this end user case makes absolutely no sense: Given that most people struggle to get a consistent and ubiquitous 4G connection even after all this time, why on earth would anyone build the decision-making logic for driving safely on the road into the assumption that the car can maintain a 5G connection everywhere it goes? A connection, by the way, that will rely on the receiver being fairly close by - so an automated car driving into the mountains will suddenly lose connection and drive you straight off the edge of the road...will it?

The 5G uploads, *may* be required to send all the telemetry data back to the factory, but even then, if that is it's operating paradigm, it's poorly designed - why not use the home WiFi as you plug your car back in to recharge and why would you send *all* the data back anyway, when you only need the processed (i.e. small sub-set) data unless you're investigating a fault. In which case, you can request the entire historical data set.

So much to get annoyed about...

Windows invokes Sgrîn Las Marwolaeth upon Newport


Newport is not all that

I visit Newport at least four times a year and I can't say it's the most inspiring of architectures. Particularly in windy conditions, the draughts running through the concourse turn even the most summery of days into wind chill factor -10

Official: Apple debugs MacBook Air of sucky Butterfly keyboard


Re: Apple haven't made a decent device since 2012

"It gets a log of use day in, day out and hasn't missed a beat" - I'm loving the irony of this typo, but maybe that's because I'm missing human contact...

Computer, deactivate self-destruct system requirement, says Sonos... were it on a starship in space, and not a smart-speaker slinger


Re: "Send in their serial number"

This does open up the possibility that a broken Sonos device can be "upgraded" without the expense of paying full price for a new one! I have such a broken device...

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons


Re: Hmmm

I believe it did say that "You can continue using legacy products after May, but your system will no longer receive software updates and new features. Over time, this is likely to disrupt access to services and overall functionality." They're pretty much damning any new products unless you swap out the entire system. Sounds like corporate blackmail to me

Hold my Bose, we can do premium: Sennheiser chucks pricey wireless cans at travellers


MicroUSB is dreadful. My Kindles use them and the cables regularly fail because the connection is actually quite unsupported. I also hate fiddling around trying to get them plugged in the right way round. Any device using a different power connector gets my upvote!

UK's Virgin Media celebrates the end of 2019 with a good, old fashioned TITSUP*


Did anyone notice?

I had Virgin for a year and while the TV service, when it was working, was actually quite good, I was plagued by problems:

1. The TV service on a certain set of channels was digitally corrupted (pixellated) and two fruitless interventions (many days) later by an engineer who came to the house, I eventually got through to him that he'd temporarily fixed it (he didn't believe me at first). So he then went back to the street junction box and got it working. Apparently he fixed it by swapping my port over (which was defective) with one of my neighbour's. I assume my neighbour wasn't too pleased with that temporary workaround

2. Their DNS service regularly (almost on a daily basis) went down, stopping all connectivity not related to the TV service anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours

I've switched to NowTV and don't get any of these issues now and the service is £15 cheaper/month

Judge shoots down Trump admin's efforts to allow folks to post shoddy 3D printer gun blueprints online



his reminds me how we used to get around Sunday Licensing Laws in the 1980's - basically, between (I think) 2-6pm pubs were not allowed to sell alcohol but were allowed to sell food and give away a pint with it.

Teachers: Make your pupils' parents buy them an iPad to use at school. Oh and did you pack sunglasses for the Apple-funded jolly?


Re: To summarise... (from the comments above)

My college lecturers used to insist I buy the books they had authored! No-one blinked back in those days....


University Libraries

Interestingly, the university I worked at, went hell to leather to replace all it's paper books and journals with digital resources *despite* the evidence, in front of them, that students prefer paper because they can spread multiple paper resources out in front of them and flick easily between pages and sections without worrying about charging cables and screens. Electronic devices are also disruptive because they tend to have email loaded on them - which distracts constantly, and the software encounters issues or needs upgrading (Windows is really bad at this), both issues which eat up the available study time. I marvelled at their arrogance despite the facts and the student satisfaction scores went tumbling downwards, of course...

'Is this Microsoft trying to be cool? Want to go to the Apple Store?' We checked out London's new retail extravaganza


Steve Ballmer is alive and well

I saw the opening on BBC London News last night and the whooping, arm waving and general pant-wetting excitement displayed by the staff reminded me of the cringe-worthy Windows 95 launch with Steve Ballmer and equally cringy Bill Gates trying to dance like Theresa May (or is it the other way round?). There was your definition of MS coolness right there - it doesn't exist...

Anyone for unintended ChatRoulette? Zoom installs hidden Mac web server to allow auto-join video conferencing


It wouldn't matter if it did as RC is so buggy it rarely works on my MacOS, doesn't integrate with O365/4/3 (whatever value we're up to at this stage of the year) and Mojave. RC is my org's corporate UC tool. The sound quality on Skype is crap but I prefer it's integration qualities

Germany and South Korea go nuts for 5G while Blighty subsists on test bed crumbs


Re: So lets just get this straight

I think what happened was, the guy from DT brought his 6 yr old into the auction room and he wasn't paying enough attention because angry birds on his phone was distracting him. So his son decided to wave the bidding board around for him. Before he knew it, he was the proud owner of an old set of recycled bandwidths at an exorbitant price....I wouldn't have liked to be him explaining that to his boss...

Oblivious 'influencers' work on 3.6-roentgen tans in Chernobyl after realising TV show based on real nuclear TITSUP


Re: On the bright side

So wouldn't that also be true in Universities?

Lip-reading smart speakers: Just what no one always wanted


What date is it?

Wow - did no-one consider this might be an April's Fool?

Let's spin Facebook's Wheel of Misfortune! Clack-clack-clack... clack... You've won '100s of millions of passwords stored in plaintext'


Re: GDPR complaint in 3, 2, 1…

Do you think there's a connection here...?

Google: All your leaked passwords are belong to us – here's a Chrome extension to find them


What app for the iPhone would anyone recommend?

I use one I got for free but now requires you to pay and so my wife can't use the same one - any suggestions?

Biz game in the mainframe: T-Systems buddies up with IBM


IBM in search of a strategy?

Why would IBM buy a "failing mainframe" division off another company when they have pretty much divested themselves of all manufacturing? Is it just me confused or have the board completely lost the plot? I do know, from some of the people I know who have recently joined IBM, that their hiring standards are definitely lower than they were!

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning


Re: Alternative business model please

Porn was behind the growth of video streaming and the internet too - now it's Netflix


Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

You're assuming that FB would charge users and *not* then indulge in data slurping? How likely is that? If the primary intent is to make as much money as possible - an organisation will do that whatever the social cost unless reined in by legislation and regulation (i.e. whatever they can get away with). Some organisations might actually care about their brand image, but my confidence in that has been undermined by the Co-Op's example of CEO misdemeanours

Microsoft reveals terrible trio of bugs that knocked out Azure, Office 362.5 multi-factor auth logins for 14 hours


Office 358

I understand that Microsoft have had network issues in London - my Client is complaining that Office 365 (sic) has been unavailable for two days and he's resorted to texting senior management with updates. He says that the service has "lost all credibility" with the Executive.

Seeing as Bitcoin is going so, so well, Ohio becomes first US state to take biz taxes in BTC



So a man who owns Bitcoin is trying to encourage greater take-up and legitimacy of this pyramid gambling scheme. I hope the Ohio electorate realise what's going on and cast him directly out of office before they become an even greater laughing stock!

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone


Re: @AC

There was a saying in a bank I once worked in that, "if you want to get the monkey off your back, call in Audit or Infosec". Unsurprisingly, it works very effectively.

Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?


Most ill-conceived idea yet?

GIven that WiFi on trains is pointless unless you're trying to work (usually on a laptop) and require a seat to do so, to have those two rare events coincide on one overcrowded commuter journey is just stretching coincidence a little too far! I'd just settle for the train to arrive (maybe even on time would be nice) and there be some seats.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter awaits Microsoft Office exam winners


Re: Harry who?

A Wizard of Earthsea was a set book for my Humanities lesson at age 12 - I'm pretty sure it was the cause of my nightmares ever since of a 'dark shadow' chasing me :-(


MS Exams

Why would you encourage your son/daughter to go through all that pain - they'll have a lifetime of hurt just trying to get Word to correctly format a simple document

Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release


Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

WHS did a C15 cassette for Speccies and the like and also did a great tape deck that was probably the most reliable around as it was tuned for loading games rather than playing music.

IBM. Sigh. Revenues. Sigh. Down. Sigh. For the 20th quarter in a row


I have heard of apocryphal tales where IBM have schmoozed execs from financial institutions on the golf course, only to have IBM converged products appearing at the DC loading bay without anyone in IT having any idea where the new strategy has come from. In one case, once the IT staff successfully lobbied the CTO, the decision was reversed and the offending V-Blocks were ditched for more effective systems. Essentially, where once IBM would have been the 'safe choice' for execs because "no-one ever got fired" for choosing them, they are now an anachronism in the marketplace, annoying IT staff through their ineffectiveness and high price, low value offerings.

IMHO, to get back on track again, they need to ditch the "IBM first" policy they have in their consultancy stream, and look to provide real value to clients at a keen price.

Amazon's AWS S3 cloud storage evaporates: Top websites, Docker stung


You built your cloud service on what?

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. If AWS is your 'cloud strategy', make sure another cloud provider (or your own private cloud) is in an 'active-active' configuration strategy as well. You won't regret it.

Electrical box fault blamed for GS2 data centre outage


What exactly is "Tier 3 Enhanced" anyway?

Or "Tier 3+" or anything else that mentions "Tier" that hasn't been independently certified? I know this site really well and I wouldn't call it "Tier 3+". Not with only one power source, albeit split into two pdus by the time it hits the cabinet. There are multiple redundant DRUPS (they operate at N+2 following a similar recent incident) in the H1 power station but that wouldn't prevent a fault such as this taking out the entire floors that H1 serve. GS decided that rewiring the floors to be served by more than one 'power station' was too expensive. I visit a lot of DCs and they all make claims such as GS do and most of them are fanciful at best. If you want to know precisely how 'available' a DC is and could be in the event of an incident, then go and speak to an independent organisation that can validate it for you - don't trust the marketing. If you're now baulking at the assumed cost, then perhaps your business isn't that critical in the first place and outages are an acceptable cost of outsourcing your services.

And so we enter day seven of King's College London major IT outage


Re: Some interesting links...

If KCL are using HP under the SUPC framework, they may not need to go to tender as long as they have held a "mini-competition".


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