* Posts by Russell Chapman Esq.

108 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Dec 2017


NASA needs new ideas and tech to get Mars Sample Return mission off the ground

Russell Chapman Esq.

Slightly tongue in cheek but who knows.

Mars Orbiter drops a large enough ordnance onto Martian surface. Resulting blast and low gravity puts Martian debris into a low orbit for long enough to be collected from orbit. No need to land on the surface.

UN: E-waste is growing 5x faster than it can be recycled

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Tell it to Microsoft and windows 11

MS does allow you to update older HW legitimately to Win 11, if you know how. My 2012 laptop, without TPM etc, started on Win 8 then progressed to Win 10. I thought I was stuffed regarding Win 11, but no. Full updates after the upgrade and the upgrade uses only legitimate MS options. Check out Chris Waite on YT and his Win 11 upgrade videos. No dodgy 3rd party SW. Purely an MS approved way of getting the job done, even if it is not widely advertised.

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

Russell Chapman Esq.

Keyboard Confusion

I have a Swiss version of an HP laptop. The Z and Y keys are swapped plus various other characters. If I have to use a British keyboard, it takes me ages to find the @ and ? symbols.

The bonkers water-cooled shoe PC, hexagonal pink workstations, and IKEA-style cases of Computex 2023

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Transbuds


Southwest Airlines blames IT breakdown for stranding holiday travelers

Russell Chapman Esq.

Such a pity

When Southwest was started by Kelleher and King, it was an amazing company. So sad to see it now rotting because of bad management :(

Musk's Hotel California erected at Twitter HQ, as some offices converted into bedrooms

Russell Chapman Esq.

Musk got lucky

Musk happened to be in the right place at the right time with Paypal. Nothing indicates he is much of a coder, he just talks a lot and got lucky at the time. For this reason, I'm not surprised to see him in his current situation.The Tesla name will probably be sold off. Musk is just that, a smell. Twitter will fade away.

Is it any surprise that 'permacrisis' is the word of the year?

Russell Chapman Esq.


Permacrisis can mean just one ongoing but I think adding Poly sums things up better. I saw polycrisis in the FT a few days ago. But seems we have a combination of many and permanent crisis going on globally. Guess I could make up the word Panpolypermacrisis!

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: It goes far beyond that ...

Heard about the dyslexic who choked on vimto?

ISS dodges space junk from satellite Russia blew up

Russell Chapman Esq.

Two ways this can go

The Kremlin is already prepared to isolate Russia from rest of the world, so destroying satellites will also take out Russian resources with the space debris. Or, it could be a bluff. But, I would not be surprised if the Kremlin is prepared to lose resources.

Your next PC should be a desktop – maybe even this Chinese mini machine

Russell Chapman Esq.

Probably get a lot of down votes for this

I've had Linux Mint, currently have Windows 10 on my laptop. I'm system agnostic, I just want to get the job done, much of which revolves around photography. Well, I recently got the ipad mini 6 with a hub, external ssd and the latest ipencil, and I have to say it all works very well as a package, Affinity Photo software included. I'm now at the point where I can consider putting Linux on my laptop and going Microsoft free. I'm no fanboi, but in this case, Apple has vastly improved my use-case for Linux as a daily driver.

Queen's shooting star was actually meteor, not SpaceX junk

Russell Chapman Esq.

Biggest meteor I ever saw

Was Christmas Eve of 2011 or 12, not sure which. Was in southern Switzerland. Looked out of window and saw this huge ball of fire, moon sized, slowly burning its way across the sky. Must have been my location in relation to the meteor because it took about 20 seconds to cross the sky from west to east. When I first saw it, I thought it was a plane on fire but it was way to big. Unforgetable experience.

Tesla owner gets key fob chip implanted in his hand

Russell Chapman Esq.

Dalaly by name, doolally by nature.

Baidu crashes the cost of robo-taxis by 75 percent

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Emergency drill. Not a Tuba but a Trumpet

In very slow moving traffic, on M6 if I remember correctly, German driver, tell by the plates, playing the trumpet while steering with his knees. My 1st thought was if car ahead suddenly stopped he would be rammed through the neck by his trumpet. At least he would go on a high note I guess.

Elon Musk's latest launch: An unsolicited Twitter takeover

Russell Chapman Esq.

Musk is bored.

He needs a new toy to play with. Money does not buy you happiness. He is looking for amusing diversions. Even if he buys Twitter, it won't hold its allure for very long, he would probably sell it again in 6 months to a year.

A smarter alternative to password recognition could be right in front of us: Unique, invisible, maybe even deadly

Russell Chapman Esq.

Back when Mme D was still What!!!!!!

My mind saw 'Mlle F' as something quite different. Had to double take.

There's no Huawei back now: Biden signs law that forbids US buyers acquiring kit on naughty list

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Hope I'm not being a grammar pedant.

I did indeed click on the corrections link and have just had feedback that they are updating the article.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Hope I'm not being a grammar pedant.

The first line of the article states, 'US President Joe Biden has signed The Secure Equipment Act yesterday'. You can't mix Present Perfect with Past Simple in the same clause. If the writer wants to say when the action happened then Past Simple is the way to go. Simply put, Joe Biden signed, not, has signed.

When I was learning Italian and helping an Italian friend with their English, use of the Present Perfect was often problematic. When I see this grammar mistake it makes me have flashbacks.

Unvaccinated and working at Apple? Prepare for COVID-19 testing 'every time' you step in the office

Russell Chapman Esq.

This comment thread is depressing

One of the things I generally like about ElReg commentards is how affable everyone is. This thread however just seems to be swirling around a whirlpool of anger and spittle. If you want the vaccine, have it, I do. If you don't then don't. But let's stop with the anger and vitriol that this topic so easily generates, it is infantile. I got rid of my social media because of the cesspit the comments sections have become. I would hate to see ElReg go the same way.

Metro Bank techies placed at risk of redundancy, severance terms criticised

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: "less than 90"

May the fleas of a million camel infest your underwear.

A speech recognition app goes into a bar. Speak up if you’ve heard it already

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Only once a month ..

If this were a real situation, kill the dog as quietly as possible. In a training situation, a blast of doping to subdue the animal before getting it down for long enough to complete the operation.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Only once a month ..

When Bradwell nuclear power station was still online the siren would go off from time to time, you could hear it in our village on the opposite side of the Blackwater Estuary. When it coincided with the army practising at Fingeringhoe Ranges, you could image that war had started.

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

Russell Chapman Esq.

Hydrogen not Electric

The logistics of providing charging points for all these cars and the time needed to charge them will be a bit of a nightmare, and also generating the amount of electricity needed to meet the near future demand. JCB are doing a lot of work on hydrogen which looks pretty much ready for prime-time. Go on YouTube and search Harry's Farm interview with JCB.

Oh the humanity: McDonald's out of milkshakes across Great Britain

Russell Chapman Esq.

Copy and paste of the article.

A shortage of truck drivers has led to empty shelves in British supermarkets. There is even talk of the army being called in to help. For those who wanted the UK to remain in the EU, it feels like a moment to say: “We told you so, Brexit was a disaster.” But that misses the point. The empty shelves are a visible message from a workforce that’s usually invisible. They tell a story about what’s gone wrong in this corner of the 21st-century economy — and not just in the UK.

Earlier this year Dominic Harris, who had been a truck driver since 2012, started to feel dizzy and unwell. He went to hospital, where a nurse told him his problem was exhaustion. There are legal limits on driving hours: heavy goods vehicle drivers can usually only drive for nine hours a day (currently 10 because of the shortage).

But that doesn’t mean the shifts are nine hours long. It was typical for Harris, who is 39, to be out of the house for 12 to 15 hours a day. When he got home, he was so tired he would go straight to bed. “I’ve lost quite a few relationships with friends,” he says. “I’ve not been the same old Dom.”

Hours can also be unpredictable. A current job advert from XPO states: “You’ll be working a minimum of 45 hours per week on an ‘any five from seven-day’ shift pattern, so your working days may change each week and could include weekend working. You will also be starting early AM and must be prepared to work through the night.”

In spite of the tough hours and the fact they often pay for their own qualifications (Harris paid £1,500), drivers have been slipping down the wage ladder. In 2010, the median HGV driver in the UK earned 51 per cent more per hour than the median supermarket cashier. By 2020, the premium was only 27 per cent. They have faced a particular pay squeeze in the past five years: median hourly pay for truck drivers has risen 10 per cent since 2015 to £11.80, compared with 16 per cent for all UK employees. “Why would I want to be a truck driver, with all the responsibility, the long, unpredictable hours, if I can go to Aldi and earn £11.30 an hour stacking shelves?” says Tomasz Oryński, a truck driver and journalist based in Scotland, who is planning to move to Finland.

Kieran Smith, chief executive of Driver Require, a recruitment agency, says employers have pushed labour costs down to compete for powerful customers such as supermarkets. “Customers have enormous purchasing leverage [and] they have nailed down the haulage companies to the tiniest margins.” He says lots of drivers leave in their 30s because the hours make it almost impossible to participate in bringing up children, yet the wage isn’t high enough to support the other partner staying at home.

As a result, the workforce is ageing. In 2000, there was an even split between over-45s and under-45s. Now the over-45s account for 62 per cent. Between 20,000 and 40,000 people pass their tests to become truck drivers in a non-pandemic year, but many appear to leave the sector. Harris left this summer to start a business tending graves. It’s peaceful and he likes the connections he makes. He doesn’t want to go back.

Ageing workforces and labour shortages are problems in other countries too. In Europe, some eastern European companies are sending drivers to work in western countries on eastern rates of pay.

In the UK, the extent of the problem was masked before Brexit by a supply of EU drivers who helped to fill vacancies. In addition, a loophole in the UK’s badly-regulated labour market allowed drivers to set up as limited companies. This upped their take-home pay by cutting their tax (at the cost of their workers’ rights). This year the government closed the loophole, which prompted some drivers to leave. Meanwhile, Covid led to cancelled tests for new drivers and prompted many Europeans to go home.

Adrian Jones of the union Unite says the short supply means drivers now have a moment of leverage. He wants to see long-term reforms such as in the Netherlands, where a collective agreement is negotiated between employer and union groups which sets a floor on pay and conditions across the sector. “This collective agreement becomes law, so it gives transport suppliers the ability to say to their customers: this is law, so I can’t go cheaper than this,” says Edwin Atema from Dutch union FNV.

But some employers still seem intent on short-term fixes. Tesco is offering new drivers a £1,000 bonus and a “market supplement” over a six-month period. “All temporary incentives are at Tesco’s discretion and subject to review, variation and removal,” the job advert warns.

The story of Britain’s empty shelves, like that of its unpicked strawberries and unprocessed chickens, is the story of how migration combined with a weakly regulated labour market and hugely powerful retailers have allowed some goods and services to become unsustainably cheap. The system shaved money off our shopping bills but it wasn’t resilient. Remain voters are right to say Brexit helped to cause the current crisis, but wrong to say everything was fine without it. Brexit voters are right to say migration helped suppress driver pay, but as the Netherlands shows, Brexit wasn’t the only way to resolve it.

The labour shortages are a moment of reckoning. If we just use them to bicker about Brexit, we’ll drown out the real lessons in the noise.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Most of it is to do with the terrible wages paid to lorry drivers and the antisocial hours. Interesting article in the Financial Times today https://www.ft.com/content/5f832d86-827e-4596-999d-e0618364dbe3

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs break out of nuclear hellscape home and into people's hearts

Russell Chapman Esq.

What a Muppet movie this would make

The Muppets, Pigs in Space. A film about the love tussle between Miss Piggy, Kermit and Boarzilla. Just need to throw in a bit of Revenge of Billy the Kid to the mix and you would have something beyond words.

What job title would YOU want carved on your gravestone? 'Beloved father, Slayer of Dragons, Register of Domains'

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Exploring cemetries

That would be a really interesting walk/bike-ride if you ever decide to finish it. Because of Covid, my family in France/Spain have given up on coming to the UK this year. Brexit hasn't really changed things too much with regard to travel in Europe.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Exploring cemetries

I had to look up taphophilia - The love of funerals and cemeteries. No, definitely not. I simply like when I find a place interesting and I'm visualizing the images I can capture with my camera.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Exploring cemetries

If there is an interesting old one, I do like to have a wander and read some of the stones. If you are ever in the area, check out Tower Hamlets Cemetry Park. A gorgeous old graveyard that's turned into woodland, in the heart of the east-end of London. I quite fancy doing a bit of a photography project there, it's such a calm, relaxing place with a great ambience as you wander around the stones and monuments.

Norton dodges UK courts after telling Brit watchdog it will be nicer to consumers

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Norton auto-renewed my contract in March

Shouldn't that be Coq? According to another El Reg article.

The point I wanted to make is that after getting rid of Norton Lifelock, things noticably perked up. Shaved a few seconds off boot time and programs load more quickly. But not only that, I've managed to keep a 9, nearly 10 year old laptop running quite nicely, no need to throw away when you can upgrade. I was nervous about relying on Windows Defender for security but read up on it and with the addition of the freebie Malwarebytes, I feel reasonably protected.

I only updated to Win 10 from Win 8.1 this year, had been using Windows Classic shell to get the start menu, I was put off by all the telemetry but found solutions to mitigate a lot of that so did the upgrade and Windows Classic Shell is great on Win 10.

I don't work in any IT related field but I like to be aware of what is happening in the tech world as it effects our lives so much.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Norton auto-renewed my contract in March

Not something I wanted at all. I contacted them the same day and got a full refund. Windows Defender with the free version of Malwarebytes is a pretty good combination.

Had Norton on this laptop since I bought it in 2013, with an I7 cpu and upraded to 16GB Ram and a 2TB EVO 860 SSD, converted the optical drive to HDD, runs perfectly for what I need. Removing Norton definitely improves performance.

Royal Yacht Britannia's successor to cost about 1 North of England NHS IT consultancy framework

Russell Chapman Esq.

Cost per metre.

On average, luxury motor yachts cost approximately 1 million British Pounds per metre, to build.

Watchdog 'enables Tesla Autopilot' with string, some weight, a seat belt ... and no actual human at the wheel

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Hmm ...

Along the same lines but not a shredder, a powerful press molding machine at the Kia factory in Slovakia. One of the Korean workers found a way to bypass all the safety systems to save time while clearing an obstruction in the machine. While he was in there, another worker came along, saw the machine wasn't running and hit the 'Go' button. The result was one very squished, very dead person.

How to ensure your tech predictions catch on in a flash? Do the mash

Russell Chapman Esq.

Future Gazing

I've wondered what historians and archaeologists from the future will be able to find from the 21st century. We don't build things to last. Things like the Pyramids will still be around in a thousand years, but what of the construction we have today? Unlikely that modern construction will last more than 150 years. Cars, trains and planes from today won't be around in 1000 years. Then we have data, even the best stored digital data corrupts over time, so much work of our time is only available in digital format, unless we carefully archive and protect this information, it won't be here in 1000 years. In fact I do wonder if we are in a way creating a new dark age, similar to last one, it's not that stuff didn't happen, we simply don't have the records.

My guess is that in 1000 years, future historians and archaeologists will find a layer of plastic from our time and little else.

Easily distracted by too many apps, too many meetings, and too much asparagus

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: April fool video

That is not the case. I lived in Lugano for several years. Spring flooding is not a thing. Maybe you are more in mind of Venice?

Russell Chapman Esq.

April fool video

I can understand how the BBC video about spaghetti in Ticino would work. It was 1954, rationing was just over, I doubt many in the UK had even seen spaghetti before. If you do have the chance to visit, go to Lake Lugano, Maggiore and Como, in summer it really is stunningly beautiful.

Bad news for automakers: That fire at the Renesas chip plant was worse than expected

Russell Chapman Esq.

This is why...

I don't understand TSMC being asked to set up in Arizona, despite the tax advantages, water is a major issue for production.

Ticker tape and a binary message: Bank of England's new Alan Turing £50 must be the nerdiest banknote ever

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

You meant it as a joke but it is less of a joke than you realize

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

Cinema pick n mix is expensive, just as well you didn't go for the icecream as well

Russell Chapman Esq.

£50 vs the 1000CHF note

I don't know why we make such a big thing about 50 quid notes. In Switzerland 1000CHF notes are pretty common, about £778 equivalent. The big supermarkets accept them without batting an eyelid.

Google's ex-boss tells the US it's time to take the gloves off on autonomous weapons

Russell Chapman Esq.

CaspianReport has just done a well put together video on this very subject. https://youtu.be/iC1ygtfAKZE

The 40-Year-Old Version: ZX81's sleek plastic case shows no sign of middle-aged spread

Russell Chapman Esq.

Computers vs girls

My ZX81 came from WH Smiths back in 81/82. After the ZX81 came an Oric Atmos, it was a revalation to have a proper keyboard. At school we had BBC Acorn and a bit later IBM PC. Then I kinda lost interest for a good few years. Computers could not compete with girls, late teenage years, what do you expect.

With computer brains in short supply, President Biden orders 100-day probe into semiconductor drought

Russell Chapman Esq.

Literal drought could worsen chip drought

Read an article yesterday, somewhere in the business press, that because of a drought in Taiwan, TSMC is having to import water from other parts of the island as it's local reservoir has almost dried up. I had no idea that chip production required so much water. Fewer typhoons have been making landfall in Taiwan, which relies on them to fill up the reservoirs. If the rain shortage continues into this year, we might see TSMC having to suspend operations on the island, along with many other factories, in order for the population to have enough drinking water. There could well be a very serious chip drought, with very serious knock on effects to industries all around the world.

I have a feeling that China is going to be watching the weather forecasts for Taiwan with great interest over the next few months.

Party like it's 2004: Almost a quarter of Windows 10 PCs living with the latest update

Russell Chapman Esq.

I finally upgraded

I bought my laptop in 2013, an HP Envy dv6 with an Intel i7, I was also running Classic Menu on Win 8.1. The last year, the performance was really getting me down but for personal reasons I didn't change to Linux because I use Nik Software with Lightroom a lot. I really don't want to lose them because of what they allow me to do. What to do? I upgraded to a 2TB Samsung Evo SSD, converted the optical drive to use a 1TB HDD and upgraded from 8gb of Ram to 16gb. But still I resisted Windows 10, in fact, I was one of those who read up on and implemented actions to stop my Win 8.1 machine having Win 10 forced upon it. The thought of all that telemetry was my main issue. But then I learnt, MS backdated and forced the same telemety on Win 8.1, an OS with not much life left. So I bit the bullet and upgraded this August

So far? I kept the Classic Start Menu software, definitely not a fan of how MS does menus these days. Things run very smoothly. I also installed Revo Uninstaller to get rid of the crud and bloatware that came with the Win 10 upgrade. Still researching the best way to stop the Win 10 telemetry. My laptop has quite a few more years of life in it. If only Linux had professional quality photography software with support for Nik Collection plug-ins, the only thing stopping me going Linux.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: @Martin an gof -- Maybe I have missed the point


That brings back memories. Never use it myself but my grandmother and mother often used it.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Maybe I have missed the point

I bought the hand sanitizer long before the lockdown, at the start of the incubation period of this virus here in the UK, in February. There was no social distancing, lots of shared contact surfaces while out and about. While many were laughing at me for wearing a mask on the Tube, I was helping my family stay as safe as possible, when outside. What precautions were you taking back then, or did you laugh to yourself and mock anyone who looked a bit daft in a mask.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Maybe I have missed the point

Antigen tests if you have the virus at the moment. Antibody testing is to see if you have developed immunity.

The complication with antibody testing is that there is a window, where you have developed immunity but still have some of that virus in your system, which you can still spread, particularly as it is based in the lungs and breathed out.

Nobody has sure data of how big that window is, at the moment. It could be days, or months, nobody knows for sure yet.

So TL:DR. Even with an antibody test to say you have developed immunity, you might still be able to infect others for an as yet unknown period of time.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Maybe I have missed the point

I have no problem with an App being used, its just missing working in conjunction with massive testing of the population. I started following Dr John Campbell on YouTube back in January. Once it was officially an epidemic in China and obviously different epidemiology to SARS back in the 2000's, governments around the world had a window of opportunity to get PPE, antigen testing and contact tracing etc in place weeks ago. That opportunity was wasted because of reactivity rather than proactivity.

I bought P3 level masks and litres of hand sanitizer in February, for me and my family, it was obvious what was going to happen.

Russell Chapman Esq.

Maybe I have missed the point

If I'm going to use an app, I want it to tell me who to avoid, I don't want to know I have been in contact with an infected one after the fact. Secondly, the only way to know who to avoid via app is if we are mass antigen testing the population, getting the info into a database which can be accessed in real-time, which here in the UK is not happening. So correct me if I'm wrong but these apps will at best be able to tell you if you have already come into contact with one of the few who have actually been tested and positive for the virus, which is a bit late in my book. Am I wrong?

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay

Russell Chapman Esq.

Re: Anti-mortar system?

Not going to say where, when or why. But watching some lads play football in a walled in school yard and mortars whistling overhead, being fired by both sides. If you are in that situation cowardice really doesn't work, you have to get on with it.