* Posts by Cragganmore

37 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Dec 2017

Ukraine asks ICANN to delete all Russian domains


MS & Oracle stop working with Russia

Just read this on Twitter (so may not be true) but what are the implications? Sounds quite a big deal.

US Navy in mad dash to salvage F-35C that fell off a carrier into South China Sea


I always thought the South China Sea was fairly shallow - and it is very shallow near the coastal regions, but some areas in the middle basin go down to +4,000m. That's some serious salvage operation to lift that back to the surface... assuming they can find it in the first place! I assume they glide quite well under water and travel a fair distance as it sinks. Maybe they should start fitting air bags!

Transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'


Re: They will never work in an urban environment.

In real life driving, you have to bend the rules slightly to actually make reasonable progress in certain situations... For example, edging out into the road to block one lane of traffic at a T junction. We've all done it - and it's necessary otherwise you'd wait forever... which is what an autonomous car would do - simply because its 'brain' will have rules regulated by lawyers and insurance companies.

'Nobody in their right mind would build a naval base here today': Navigating in and out of Devonport


Re: Depends if you think the French or Spanish are going to attack you

Our French chums probably feel like having a pop right now :)

US boffins: We're close to fusion ignition in the lab – as seen in stars and thermonuclear weapons


Not that green...

Even in 20 years' time when someone manages to develop a viable fusion power plant, it won't be that green. Sure, it won't generate carbon (other than very minor amounts indirectly) but it will irradiate the hell out of the containment vessel walls. This material will be degraded by the intense radiation generated by the fusion reaction and becomes brittle and weakened. So it will be periodically replaced. The surprising outcome is that the 'green' fusion reactors will be burying radioactive waste for generations.

US watchdog opens probe into Tesla's Autopilot driver assist system after spate of crashes


Re: A solution looking for a problem

"By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484 thousand miles."

Interesting to see if those stats include all the bogus whiplash claims?


Cyclists don't stand a chance

As someone that spends a fair bit of time on two wheels, I dread the thought of an 'autonomous' Tesla driven by someone with a completely false sense of trust in the vehicle's abilities... as in the basic ability not to plough through slower-moving cyclists during adverse environmental conditions.

Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac


Re: Yes but...

Memrister technology could be applied to biological computing. As far as I understand it, these devices essentially combine logic and memory into a single device. And they can be very small.

Biological computing does seem like a logical evolution for processing capabilities. However, it may not lend itself to applications that require a high degree of assurance and repeatability. Would you trust a self driving car for example powered by a computing system that is inherently opque in how it reaches decisions?


Yes but...

Moore's Law was of course founded upon the physical nature of transistor sizes with a direct correlation into 'processing power'. But today, there is probably no agreed definition of 'processing power'. It means different things depending on your aims. And so, isn't it more useful to look at the chip architectures and how software is applied to result in 'processing power'. Maybe Moore's Law is dead - but only because it is effectively broken rather than any constraint around physical sizes?

I remember reading Stanford University's 2019 AI Index Report that claims the demands of AI is now out-pacing Moore's Law ability to keep up. Apparently every three months the speed of AI computation (demand) doubles...

Facebook takes bold stance on privacy – of its ads: Independent transparency research blocked


Delete Facebook = happiness

Never regretted binning FB about 5 years ago. Close friends use Telegram, everyone else it was just either voyeurism or bragging (when did you ever put that photo up of your kids' melt-down!). I hugely objected to how extensive, invasive, and opaque the FB android App was on my phone. Just need more folk to break their addiction!

Amazon says it's all social media's fault for letting fake review schemes thrive


Time to ditch Prime...

It's really just not worth the benefits any more.. Often find products from the original manufacturers cheaper.

Reviews - minefield:

1. Display all reviews (rather than the selected guff Amazon chose to show)

2. Filter for those that actually bought the item

3. Filter for the exact product rather than something else entirely that gets grouped in.

4. Sort by most recent

5. Ignore gushing reviews

Conflicting messaging overshadows NHS Digital's attempts to inform public about patient data slurp


Link to opt-out form

It was quite easy to do - just need your name, DoB, NHS number or post-code - then it asks for email or phone to verify.


Boffins improve on tech that extracts DC power from ambient Wi-Fi


Just a shame the antenna is as big as a tennis court...

Reports link Bill Gates' departure from Microsoft board in 2020 with probe into employee affair


I'm surprised nobody's mentioned penetration testing yet... (OK I'll get my coat)

‘Staggering’ cost of vintage Sun workstations sees OpenSolaris-fork Illumos drop SPARC support


Re: Indigo?

Will be putting an Indigo 2 R8000 on eBay in the next week or so...

Seeing a robot dog tagging along with NYPD officers after an arrest stuns New Yorkers


Bomb disposal robots...

There's no philosophical difference between this silicon fido and the tracked 'robotic' bomb disposal units used by various militaries. They have a camera and rifle mounted to kinetically disrupt a suspect device. Perhaps its the sheer anthropomorphising (if that's a word) because its a dog look alike. Or maybe it's because it's so flippin capable, creepy, and connected. OK, I've convinced myself it's nothing like the bomb disposal units!

Missile systems software dev leaker has sentence almost doubled after UK.gov says 4½ years was too soft


Call me naive but...

... maybe having DV and Codeword level clearance should have been a tiny clue as to whether touting national secrets around foreign embassies was a slightly wrong thing to do! He's a first class idiot and deserves his sentence.

Uncle Sam to blow millions on getting fusion power finally working – with the help of AI


Low carbon wood-chip anyone...

Staying vaguely on-subject with trouncing future green energy dreams... is anyone else mildly perturbed by the knowledge that 30% of the UK's 'renewable' energy mix comes from burning "low carbon" wood-chip? Sounds very much like a cop-out to me. But don't worry, I'm sure someone in HMG has worked through all the life-cycle CO2 emissions (amongst other stuff) and figured out it all makes sense comparatively.

Fitness freaks flummoxed as massive global Garmin outage leaves them high and dry for hours


Just upload manually to Strava..

Work-around: just connect Garmin watch via USB to laptop, and navigate under activities folder to locate the latest "FIT" activity file and manually upload to Strava. Actually quicker than doing it via (the now kaput) Garmin Connect.

How many times will Strava's IT folk double-check their backup strategies this evening...

Tinfoil-hat search engine DuckDuckGo gifts more options, dark theme and other toys for the 0.43%



Another vote for StartPage. It uses Google search but effectively acts as an intermediary isolating you from Google's omnipotent tentacles.

Q. What's a good thing to put outside a building of spies? A: A banner saying 'here we are!'


Re: closely guarded state secrets

So secret that Wiki lists its power output in kW :)

Wanted – have you seen this MAC address: f8:e0:79:af:57:eb? German cops appeal for logs in bomb probe


Re: Am i being thick...

Apparently: "During the investigation, the German police successfully communicated with the alleged blackmailer multiple times via an email and succeeded in capturing his/her Motorola brand device's MAC address f8:e0:79:af:57:eb, which was allegedly connected to several public Wi-Fi networks in Berlin at different times"

really... how...


Am i being thick...

(probably) but how would the Polizei figure out the MAC address in the first place? Would surely need an initial lead to know which router (or other) logs to look through.

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports


Re: Ha

If it looks like Scooby Do = probably a Great Dane.

If it looks like Simba = probably a big cat.

Hope that helps?


Re: Ha

The fuzz did back-track on that statement (maybe under heavy leaning from Earl Grayling). Difficult to see how you could get to 93 witness statements from employees within the airport if it was all BS.

Equally - it's difficult to see how you could defend the entire approach/take-off air-space (not just the airport perimeter) in a reliable way in day/night/rain/fog etc. As many have said on here, it is reasonably easy for a determined technically competent person to make their own quad-copter with a 30 min battery life, with an autonomous GPS system that would take-off, route over an airfield approach, and then head back to a pre-determined location. No radio-traffic or comms involved - so nothing to detect or block/jam.

Assuming a radar-based detection system (mitigates rain/fog etc) could detect, then the challenge is applying kinetic energy to disable the device. Again assuming you don't care where it lands/crashes! Directed energy weapons might seem an obvious choice but not that clever with aircraft in the vicinity.

The Russians apparently are considering deploying their own counter-drones - presumably directed onto target by a separate detection/tracking system. But that would still mean significant disruption and diverted flights whilst drone-dog-fight takes place in the skies. And it wouldn't appear certain that it would take out another drone 100% of the time.


Only twin-engine are allowed over London... bit safer apparently.

Real-time OS: Ordnance Survey gets snuggly with Intel's Mobileye


Re: Disappointing...

There's a Muff Street in Bradford... snigger


Re: Ripe for the picking

You mean the Galileo project that we're no longer part of because it's run by those beastly Europeans.

Back to the subject - according to Wiki (so it must be true etc) "part of Ordnance Survey has operated as Ordnance Survey Ltd since 2015"... it begs the question which part has been ring-fenced as its own legal entity and for what purpose? Maybe the team that has the worlds biggest collection of coloured pencils for all that shading work.

Also the Met Office was until recently MoD-'owned' but now an "Executive Agency" (such a lovely term) and a Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Even our war-fighters need to know whether to bring an umbrella to the battlefield.

A few reasons why cops didn't immediately shoot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


Re: How about a high power laser burst ?


Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly


"... the near-certain fact that in just a few years the enemy will be able to track those with one of their mass-produced robotic drones and so their locations while out on patrol will cease to be "totally undetectable..."

The ocean's still a big place... a very big place. Unless you put a nuclear reactor on board an underwater drone it won't be on station long enough to have any chance of searching - let alone travelling fast enough to keep up with a nuclear powered submarine. And I don't buy the Russian propaganda around nuke-powered drones. (I'm not talking about nuclear warheads - which I know they've also talked about - and I hope to god they would trust the thing not to go wrong). Why else would they mention a mother-ship concept to launch a nuclear drone as it would have the endurance and speed to traverse from a Russian base. Plus, if you realistically wanted to put develop a reactor small enough and autonomous/reliable enough to stick on board an underwater drone it would probably cost something approaching the costs of building another small SSN. So what's the point?

Physics ultimately gets in the way of making oceans 'transparent' - things will get incrementally better in terms of detection, but conversely folk will find ways of making things quieter and find better ways of countering. Classic definition of an arms-race :)

Never mind Brexit. UK must fling more £billions at nuke subs, say MPs


Re: Simplistic solution to two problems

Large scale energy storage needs more investment as a solution for bridging those days of zero wind or darkness. Plenty of good (and not so good) ideas:

- pressurised air stored within disused salt mines.

- free-fall weights in disused coal mines (short term power peaks)

- molten salt (as a very high thermal storage density)

- electrolysis to generate O2 and H2.

- reverse hydro (as in Llanberis, Wales)

I'm sure there are more crackpot (i.e. interesting/novel) ideas out there!

Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?


Re: 'None of the actors can be taken at face value

Like this you mean...


Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt


Re: For those inclined to puns and music ...

I'd vote for HMS Dick Dastardly...

Nest's slick IoT burglar alarm catches crooks... while it eyes your wallet


Physical security

Better locks, secure doors, external lights etc. Better to spend money on stopping miscreants gaining access in the first place rather than watching grainy footage of them ransacking your lovely home on your smartphone.