* Posts by Chairman of the Bored

797 posts • joined 19 Apr 2017


When a deleted primary device file only takes 20 mins out of your maintenance window, but a whole year off your lifespan

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Re: / tmp

Thanks, all, for the corrections on my -i fixation. I've been doing that since SunOS 2 and it definitely helped me way back then.

In getting old enough to cargo cult MYSELF? Guess that explains all the gray hair!

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Re: / tmp

Aye! I've shot my toes off in much the same way.

Tip: put a zero length file called -i in the root directory. It will force a rampaging rm -rf back to interactive mode. Then the trick to to not hit 'y' when prompted...

It's a zero length file, but at least once has covered my entire posterior.

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Speaking about the f*ing manual...

I think there is some sort of physical law that says something to the effect of, "If you're in deep ship when working on a production system, you will not find the required manual in your documentation wall. Nor will the requisite man pages be installed. After the disaster, you will find the resources with ease."

White elephants in the mist: Google's upcoming Pixel 4A may ship without Soli motion recognition, per FCC filing

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Gesture recognition?

Combined with the inevitable security failures in complex phone software, I can see apps being developed that finally answer the question- 'Are the punters around us primarily wankers or tossers?'

As Uncle Sam flies spy drones over protest-packed cities, Homeland Security asks the public if that's a good idea

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Re: "lol they're just using them for surveillance"

My fault using "order of battle"; it's probably uncommon outside of military and law enforcement circles.

I learned my electronics in the military. OOB refers to the command authority, structure, number of people, disposition of personnel, and equipment of a military or police force. No matter how peaceful your local coppers are, they think in these terms.

Personally I don't think the solution to US problems is to refund the police, but let's stop giving them military-grade kit and hiring guys who think they're freaking Rambo. If you step on the street with enough weapons to whack everyone in a block's radius you are sending a message...

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Re: I submitted my comment

Well, I sent my $0.02. Accessed the survey through Tor, natch. That probably just means my comment is deleted.

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Re: "lol they're just using them for surveillance"

I definitely cannot speak for conditions across the US, but the five counties and cites around me all have had UAS integrated into their order of battle for years. With a common APCO P.25 radio infrastructure and officers co-locating at each others' emergency communication centers, they do a reasonably good job of sharing actionable information. UAS are indeed used to find lost people and assess fires, and have done so successfully. The police do UAS demos at schools all the time to show students what can and cannot be done with the platforms, and of course to recruit I suppose.

So why does local law enforcement need a Predator? When they already have UAS up (I've seen 'em)? They probably don't. A time of crisis in not an appropriate moment for integrating a new system into your order of battle.

So there are three reasons: ISR for the federal forces in the ground, intimidate the local police, and to send a big f__k you to the governor of a state. The latter makes sense only if the national leader is prone to temper tantrums. Oh, wait...

Northrop Grumman to polish NASA's HALO, techies test tardy telescope tower, SLS boosters ready for Florida

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I thought...

...the tweet said we were going to put boobs on the moon in 2024. But we think that was a typo

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

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So you blow 100k on "added security"...

...and effen install FaceTime? Are you kidding me?

Someone needs to stop using his own product!

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

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Re: "Resistors, which cost a few cents apiece"

Meanwhile, in a particular research lab I worked in, every.single.fscking.resistor or other component would get entered individually into an ERP database, tracked, and "dispensed" as needed. This makes sense for a computer or $50,000 spectrum analyzer. But a $0.005 discrete?

No ship! Buy a reel of 5,000 resistors? You get 5,000 manual entries in ERP. Care to guess how many entries are jacked? That's how your $0.005 component becomes $2-5. Granted, we were a lab instead of a manufacturer, but that's unreal.

On top of this, I'd frequently get called in the carpet to justify things such as, "why does this design have four precision resistors and several hundred other resistors?" My reply would be along the lines of "We've got five guys in here, at 150 bucks an hour, arguing over six cents on a $45k piece of equipment. What are you smoking? I want some...'

Any they wonder why the competent design engineers left, followed by the clients

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party

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Re: I fail to see anything wrong here

Why sanctions? Whomever tried to send all the Puritans to the Americas back in the day didn't do a proper job.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'

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Re: you may laugh

Yes, quite right. See: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/11/24/cdc-inspection-findings-reveal-more-about-fort-detrick-research-suspension.html/amp

I'm surprised the anti-vaxxers' and conspiracy nutjobs' heads haven't exploded over this. I will shut up now.

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Re: you may laugh

Splitting a hair here, I've not seen any serious claims the virus "originated" in a lab, meaning that it's a bioweapon. The claims are more to the point that BSL-4 labs research nasty crap and some may have escaped.

Supposedly Chinese labs have leaked in the past. The Russians offed a bunch of people at Mayak with an Anthrax screwup (that was a BWC violation...). The US Army's Ft Derrick lab was shut down by CDC last year, only got it's approval for restart this March. Sometimes s..t happens. When the nitrogenous waste hits the rotating aspirator, it's time to check your ego at the door and figure out what the hell happened ... so you can share information on how to prevent another occurrence with everyone else doing similar work

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position

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Re: Makes me wonder...

My understanding is that it inserted a probe into the bell of 901's main thruster. Seems uncomfortable, but it works.

Stop us if you've heard this before: Boeing's working on 737 Max software fixes for autopilot, stabilization bugs

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Re: Flying less

For us blebs, perhaps.

But for the management class, it's a whole different story.

Start of flight announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, and the cattle in coach...."

Hi, Google Duplex here, trying to book a haircut for a socially inept human. Sorry, 'COVID-19'?... DOES NOT COMPUTE

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And let the mischief begin

I can see it now:

Me:" Hey, Google!"

G: "Yes, sir?"

Me: "Call that girl who handles my taxes, I want to talk to her about payment"

G: "Ok, I got you a call girl who will give you a hand job, you need to pay."

Me: "What the fsck??!!"

G: "That's another hundred bucks."

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

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Re: Cambridge Police are too busy with serious crime

Transphobic tweet?

#toyota #hybrid I'm afraid the wifes everfscking hybrid tranny has lost another seal. POS.

That should work, no?

Apollo astronaut Al Worden – once named most isolated human being of all time – dies aged 88

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So long, astronaut

I'm amazed the mighty Saturn V could even lift off given the mass of the brass pairs you and your mates were packing.

IBM's outgoing boss Rometty awarded $20m+ in 2019 for growing revenue 0.1%

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Number not kwite right

$1.1M for limos, jets, and blow seems low.

Want to own a bit of Concorde? Got £750k burning a hole in your pocket? We have just the thing

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Re: Which was the bigger engineering challenge ? Concorde. Or Apollo ?

Bad intakes? Close but not quite.

Top speed of the B1-A prototypes were about 2.1 to 2.3 Mach at high altitude. B1-B, though, added the requirement of low level penetration and reduced RCS, as the USAF realized high speed / high altitude was useless against contemporary air defense systems. Hence the abandonment of the XB-70 (3+ Mach) bomber and the 2+ Mach B-58 Hustler, which was removed from service all the way back in 1970.

Why is the B1-B slower than -1A? For RCS reduction, the B1-B ended up with fixed vice variable intake ramps instead of the variable ramps of -1A and a serpentine duct that prevents any direct line of sight to the fan face. Limits speed to something like 1.2 Mach... But then, it can go 0.92 Mach on the deck, which is damned impressive. Above 1.2Mach, supposedly the intake serpentine can incur damage.

Basically, a nice, hot 3+ Mach aircraft at altitude is a hell of a missile sponge. And you're not outrunning any missiles. Survival involves terrain masking and RCS reduction, not peak speed.

Amazon staffer based just a stone's throw away from Seattle HQ tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

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Re: Respirators

Shots, aye! What scares me are the anti-vaxxers kids in my kids school. nothing like knowing your son is sitting next to Marco Polio.

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Re: Respirators

I don't think COVID-19 or any of the other coronaviruses have reverse transcriptase; so no DNA modification to host. Thank $deity.

I'm not sure what it is about the AIDS drugs that makes them interesting for this problem.

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Re: Respirators

Not Tamiflu. Some researchers are apparently working with cocktails of the HIV drugs to see if they can get some response. I am not qualified to discuss whether that makes sense or is just wishful thinking.

Discussion on a National Public Radio broadcast a couple of days ago included a statement that struck me as very interesting. Children seem to be somewhat immune to the novel coronavirus. That's not too surprising because usually the aged get hammered by respiratory stuff more than young, non-smoking, and generally healthy people. But the doctor who was being interviewed said there's a body of thought that children are constantly exposed to all types of coronaviruses in school settings, and generally have a low level of permanent infection. Something about a total lack of social distancing and questionable personal hygiene. So it raises the question- if this theory is correct then closing schools may be precisely the wrong answer... There may be a benefit to zero social distancing.

But gooooood luck getting a controlled test for THAT experiment approved by a Medical Review Board!

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Re: Respirators

I know! I'm definitely not of sound mind and body. Definite dirt nap material, and my doctor friend is already completely wasted about away from whatever crud he's been screwing around with through his career.

It's morbid, but sometimes we've got to look in the mirror and admit that were not 20 anymore :(

I think I need a large, unhealthy, and totally satisfying drink. To your health, eh?

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Talked to a neighbor who spent his life in public medicine, retired o disability after one too many bouts of weird stuff suffered far from home

His take is that we should take comfort in the fact that ~80pct of cases will be minor. Assuming this coronavirus behaves like most, we can expect a significant drop in transmission and mortality in the summer months, and then US and Europe will get slammed hard in the fall. Similar to the 1918 pandemic's two waves.

At 1pct mortality, basically most people will personally know of one victim who ends up taking a dirt nap.

This virus seems to kill through a viral pneumonia, and the usual supportive measures (oxygen and steroids) do not seem particularly effective. None of the usual antivirals seem to do much. Mechanical respirators are needed to recover victims. These cost as much as a small car, take months to order, and require trained respiratory techs to set up and operate. He said that until we get a vaccine, respirator availability becomes a limiting factor.

Asked him for his advice, and he said "people should get their flu and other shots and avoid doing stupid things that consume medical resources."

'Unfixable' boot ROM security flaw in millions of Intel chips could spell 'utter chaos' for DRM, file encryption, etc

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Re: "maintain physical possession of their platform"

At my age, maybe the only hard drive possible!

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Honest question...

Is the system DMA controller in modern Intel chipsets baked into the CPU silicon and part of the HW trust boundary, or is this a separate chip?

What's inside a tech freelancer's backpack? That's right, EVERYTHING

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Freelancer? You forgot four items!

Or four copies of one item, to be precise:

One little black ledger book for you,

One for the tax man, one for the missus, one for the mistress

Fancy that: Hacking airliner systems doesn't make them magically fall out of the sky

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Re: The human factor

@Elledan- awesome post. Needs an upvote and a pint for thoroughness.

Human factors are hard. That's why my previous life we said there were three ways to do things: the right way, the wrong way, and the Marine way.

The Marine way involves drilling your man senseless, then let him recover enough to hyper focus on task. You break complex tasks into smaller and smaller and smaller tasks. When the task is small enough, you assign a man to do it, trained and drilled until it can be done to perfection. That's why you go on a warship and you will see men and women physically watching gauges. SCADA? DCS? We've heard of it. Industrial automation? Meh. Marine attitude is that if I want a valve opened I want a human to experience the flow. Does the pipe vibrate? Smell different? Sound different? I can automate that, but how do you cover all the eventualities?

My problem is that I have to the faintest idea how to strike a good compromise between cost-efficient, minimal staffing (airlines) against my urge to throw a bunch of people at a problem.

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Good wet-ware

Hopefully the wet ware was unaware of the experimental objectives. If I know I'm going to face controls or nav issues, perhaps I'm more alert to the possibilities of borkage.

I was once party to a study where we had a number of operators doing adult-level work on a network-intensive system. Unbeknownst to them, they were participating in a study of human effects from a vicious simulated cyberattack. We expected to see mental stress, confusion, and human errors. Other than the obvious connectivity and functionality deficits, the operators just shrugged and carried on. I debrief we had to TELL them their had been an attack. Respone? "Really? No s__t! We just thought I'd was another fscking Windows problem..."

Moral: when your OSes and networks suck so badly that 'normal ops' looks like a cyberattack, your operators will be well trained.

Hopefully the pilots overhead are not trained in this manner.

Sure, check through my background records… but why are you looking at my record collection?

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Re: Strangest job interview technique

Mornington... I'm a Yank and had to look that up. Excellent word / end state for a game. Thanks!

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How to tell you work for idiots

My former firm once had a posted requirement for >10 years of C# experience. Only six years after C# spec was published. Yet many people applied and got hired. Police call that "a clue."

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Strangest job interview technique

After a couple hours of normal interview technique I went into this one-on-one in a quiet room with a guy speaking in a monotone saying adjectives and nouns, and I had to say the very first word that came to mind. I guess they wanted to test my mental health.

Any idea how hard it is to not say "clam" when "bearded" is spoken when you're nervous, irritated, and trying to game an idiotic test?

EU court tells prudish IP office to fack off for balking at 'fack ju' trademark application

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The King of Fa

We had a Failure Analysis branch, creatively named "FA" on org charts. A very well respected, highly competent, but slightly mischievous engineer took over the branch and titled himself "The King of Fa".

When you entered his office for a consult, he would ceremoniously don a purple robe and crown, raise a staff (fountain pen) in welcome, and say in a booming voice, "Welcome, stranger! Please tell me, what is your FA KING PROBLEM?"

Never thought we'd write this headline: Under Siege Steven Seagal is not Above The Law, must fork out $314,000 after boosting crypto-coin biz

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My Freudian Slip is showing

I kept reading"bit coin" as "bit CON". But knowing El Reg, perhaps that's intentional?

Wi-Fi of more than a billion PCs, phones, gadgets can be snooped on. But you're using HTTPS, SSH, VPNs... right?

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Nice attack

And I always thought that the only good use of a deauth was to clear the crowd off an AP so I could win a race condition and get access. Yes, that's a d__k move, but sometimes a guys got to go aggressive...

Just the place you'd want to spot a BSOD: While waiting in line for a roller coaster that lifts you up 124ft

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Re: Slow news day?

What's wrong with butcher's kiosk displays? One in my town always cracks me up:

"Be safety conscious... Always cover your meat"

"Making flank steak? Make sure you beat your meat..."

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Re: It'll just make it more exciting...

Look at the bright side of this... At least they still cared enough to bother with the maintenance! It's when the maintainers are so dispirited that they no longer bother that you have to start wondering... Kind of like a couple networks I've had to use!

Google product boss cuffed on suspicion of murder after his Microsoft manager wife goes missing, woman's body found, during Hawaii trip

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Re: Sad yes, but is this really pat of El Reg's core mission?

The maybe spank IT?

Oracle plays its Trump card: Blushing Big Red gushes over US govt support in Java API battle... just as Larry Ellison holds Donald fundraiser

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Castenada's statement...

... Is really quite good. It's a beautiful non sequitur.

Remember, kids, the deadliest BS is odorless and transparent. These two firms will kill us all.

'Windows Vista' spotted doing a whoopsie over EE's signage

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Re: having to work with less than a tenth of [640k]


<Whips out my full length Quantum Plus Hard Card>

Oh, yeah! Not floppy at all!

Wake me up before you go Go: Devs say they'll learn Google-backed lang next. Plus: Perl pays best, Java still in demand

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I miss perl

Any language that allows one to write expressively enough to create poetry, yet arcane enough that optimized code is indistinguishable from line noise rocks.

Obligatory Black Perl reference:


Sometimes I look at a Perl script I've written and have to say, "how the ....does this work? It's unreadable! What idiot, er, I did that? Damn.. " Perl really is a write-only language

RIP FTP? File Transfer Protocol switched off by default in Chrome 80

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Re: Whippersnappers!

My uni had some sort of multiple personality disorder going on: IBM mainframe + VAX + Sun. UUENCODE was my friend, along with the conv options in dd. I miss the VAX but at the time would not have minded if a small incendiary bomb took out the IBM

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Re: Whippersnappers!

@Slacky - remote automated management over cu? That's badass CLI work. Try that with a browser! Me? All I could get cu to do was keep a dialup line connected despite a flaky PBX.

Involved cursing and lots of rtfm, but I'm a stronger man for it.

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UUCP. That was a real man's file transfer protocol. Store-and-forward message passing over dialup connections. Plus email and netnews in one go! Try that with this newfangled ftp stuff!

Admittedly most people only experienced the joy of using these tools through uudecoding pictures of, er, kitties they downloaded from Usenet using rn in the late 80's

I'm getting seriously old.

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd

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Ok, blame me

I've been informed that I'm the one guy on the face of the Earth who asked for something like homed. In my defence, I have no recollection of any software discussion that night. I have dim recollections of a great many decent shots of whiskey, some awful fruity crap, something about bras, and some other stuff my barrister says I should not discuss. So when did I talk about systemd-homed? Can't recall, must've been the booze talking.

Rockstar dev debate reopens: Hero programmers do exist, do all the work, do chat a lot – and do need love and attention from project leaders

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Don't be a tosser...

Some guys just toss stuff up on GitHub and hope it sticks. They don't communicate, fail to test, and believe their code is pure manna.


Judge snubs IT outsourcers' plea to Alt-F4 tougher H-1B visa rules: Bosses told to fill out the extra paperwork

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I wonder if...

...one could start outsourcing jobs at outsourcing firms. Could it become recursive? To what depth?

Are you getting it? Yes, armageddon it: Mass hysteria takes hold as the Windows 7 axe falls

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Re: What about the mysterious bug in Windows cryptolibraries Krebs talked about today?

I wonder why the heck the garage was redlining your vehicle. If your car is new enough for OBD-II fitment I'd expect the emissions check to primarily consist of reading any emissions fault codes from your ECU.

I think there is a MOT test that checks whether your exhaust system is louder than a typical vehicle if the same type. Im not sure how redlining is an appropriate test for that...

El Reg needs a 'screwed' icon



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