* Posts by Sean Nevin

117 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Feb 2007


The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

Sean Nevin

Not just size

Yes, the size of websites has increased substantially over the past few years, but that's not the only problem. There's also the turnaround time for DNS lookup, establishing a connection, and multiple request/responses for the dozens of trackers, beacons, analytics, CDNs, and goodness knows what else that comes with every page view. When you're viewing a page, you're essentially viewing all the pages that it references as well. My own (admittedly limited) research on browsing shows that more than half the load time comes from third-party junk.

Kaspersky, McAfee, and AVG all vulnerable to major flaw

Sean Nevin

ESET NOD32 is also "likely to be vunerable" according to the Checking tool.

What's worse is that I'm also using EMET with its maximum settings.

Can't get a woop, woop! Twitter gives politicians nice Gaffe-Delete button

Sean Nevin

Am I missing something?

I'm not sure on the ins and outs of Twitter, having never actually used it, but as I understand it messages are sent out to subscribers. Could the *-woops organizations not simply subscribe to the various "leaders" feeds and keep a local copy of them?

C For Hell – Day Two: Outage misery continues for furious C4L customers

Sean Nevin

You say that like it's a bad thing... :)

Collective noun search for security vulns moves into beta testing

Sean Nevin

My initial preference was for "Plague" or "Scourge", as they seemed the most appropriate. However, upon further reflection, they already have attached meanings. "Panic" to me is also dismissed for this reason.

Ultimately, "Hatstand" won out in my opinion. It has a certain whimsy, and connects to the concept of Black/Grey/White hats quite nicely. Voted accordingly.

Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

Sean Nevin
Paris Hilton

Re: Drugs for morning sickness...

I remember that! It was Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC who refused to report on Paris Hilton.


Paris, because, well...

MariaDB seeks home-grown CEO for Oracle bout

Sean Nevin

Upvoted for Postgres. I switched to it from MySQL for new applications nearly ten years ago and haven't looked back once.

Dammit internet... you promised naked videos of my Facebook friends

Sean Nevin

From the article

Fake Flash updates are, of curse, a favourite ruse for tricking users into installing malware. /quote

A fortuitous typo. They are certainly a curse.

Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows

Sean Nevin

As an electronics engineer with a strong background in physics, I should be offended by this. However, I can't really get there. Not because I'm "dead inside"; but because I know this "study" was thought up, performed by, and compiled by Psychologists, not scientists. Ask them what standard deviation is and they'd probably say it means everyone like a little weirdness in the bedroom...

Jubcropgate: El Reg in snake-fondling nude nipslip outrage

Sean Nevin


Isn't the Register from the same country where the newspapers have nude women on page two? Why is it OK in the daily paper but not the *internet*?

Pirate Bay site sinks, Swedish police raid its ISP

Sean Nevin

Something's off here...

Just like Brolin above, I also did a traceroute to the pirate bay. I got the same address ( and did not get past my ISP's switch. Not just a power outage methinks. It seems like the bay has dropped off the internets...

Mobile phones still safe... probably

Sean Nevin

I can't understand why so much attention is given to the possibility of cell phones / wireless technology causing illness, yet none to all the chemicals and additives in food. Flavours, colouring, preservatives, pesticides and goodness knows what else. If anything is making us sick, it's all that garbage.

I can only imagine that it's related to a vast quantity of people still regarding technolgy as "magic" whereas food has been around for a while now. Sigh.

Mythbusters cannonball ‘myth-fires’

Sean Nevin

When I first heard about this from a co-worker, I found it hard to belive that they could have srewed up like this. I've been watching the show for years and just couldn't picture Adam or Jamie messing up so badly. Now I see it was the other ones and it makes more sense. I'll bet that Tony figured heavily in this...

How to make power conversion less sucky

Sean Nevin


This seems a bit off. What is it they make exactly? A look at their website seems to indicate they build power supplies, but why is that worth all that investment? Are they designing and/or building the semiconductors as well?

MOSFETs made from gallium nitride instead of silicon are already available, if somewhat more expensive, and have similar characteristics to regular CMOS. But if they were used more, the prices would drop.

As an electrical engineer, I've built a number of power supplies over the years, and I know that switching losses in power transistors are a major part of total conversion losses, but reducing those losses mainly comes from better design of the driving circuits and filters.

While I'd love a better transistor, there is absolutely no reason a good engineer can't design their own power supply. They aren't that difficult, (I'd rate them about medium) and you don't need a company for that.

Or they might be a supplier for OEMs. That could be a good idea, but information on their website is thin.

iPhones, MacBooks sicken Chinese women

Sean Nevin

What isn't made in China?

Seriously, I want to know.

Most of the kit in my shop is not made there, but that's because it's higher-end test/development equipment and I'd not touch a "Made in China" oscilloscope/spectrum analyzer/etc.

Unfortunately, I don't know very many tech suppliers who make their stuff elsewhere, and I'll be needing some new computers soon. If I can find something not made in China I'll buy it.

New pocket-sized smartbomb - just for killer robots

Sean Nevin

Laser pointers

Laser-guided munitions are steered towards their target with a laser beam yes; however, the guiding laser is modulated, usually at a fixed frequency, and of a specific wavelength. The pointers you can pick up at a store or online are the wrong colour, and continuous wave.

ARM still raking it in, and not just in phones

Sean Nevin

They "make" some good stuff

I'm designing for an ARM9 SoC right now. One thing to keep in mind though, is that ARM does not make processors (hence the quotes) and it is up to the actual manufacturer ie. Atmel, Texas Instruments, or whoever; to integrate the core with the peripherals like Ethernet, LCD controller, and so on.

When a design engineer talks about a good ARM part, they're probably thinking of the whole chip.

That said, they are great processors; especially for embedded systems.

Steve Jobs in iPhone bitchslap to creationists, Tea Party

Sean Nevin

"Intelligent" design

My sister is currently studying genetics and molecular biology. While my field is physics and engineering, I do manage to glean some occasional understanding of the processes which make life work. One thing that surprised me however, is how un-organized and messy DNA, cells, and proteins are. From an engineering standpoint, the whole thing is held together with duct tape, baling wire and gum.

From this we get my favorite quote from her: "The best argument against intelligent design is to take a good look at the design".

Indiana judges dismiss girl's nipple exposure appeal

Sean Nevin

Another issue here

My real concern is that this ruling appears to circumvent one of the primary motivations of the constitution; which is namely, to protect the Minority from the Majority.

"In the end, (the girl) would have us declare by judicial fiat that the public display of fully-uncovered female breasts is no different than the public display of male breasts, when the citizens of Indiana, speaking through their elected representatives, say otherwise."

It shouldn't matter who they elect or what they want. You can't vote out Free Speech or Equal rights. Protection from "the tyranny of the majority" was envisioned early on for the constitution, as argued in the Federalist papers.

Stockholm schoolgirls fined for bugging staff room

Sean Nevin

They used a transmitter?

Why not get a laser listener instead? Bounce it off the window and you'll pick up everything without needing access to the room itself. It's how I did^H^H^H would do it.

Then again, they were obviously unfamiliar with the rules of covert intelligence gathering. Especially the covert part.

Boffins authenticate Apple 'Antennagate'

Sean Nevin

Lies, Damn Lies and Marketing

Apple _will_ admit its mistake. It will do so publicly and without condition.

Just wait for the next iPhone; the white version of the 4 I believe. Five internets says the antenna design is different and no longer susceptible to the death grip.

Then ask: If it wasn't a mistake, why did they change it?

Siphon Wars: Pressurist weighs into Gravitite boffin

Sean Nevin


Two containers, one higher than the other, one filled with water and the other with just a little water. Say a few centimeters. Fill a hose with water and place one end in the higher container, the other in the lower UNDER the water already present.

The atmospheric pressure will be equal on each end of the hose yet water will flow. Gravity does the work. The professor is correct and the dictionary was wrong. It happens...

NASA tests amazing bailout rocket which will never be used

Sean Nevin

Not odd at all

It's not at all strange that NASA still performed this test. After all, the thing was already built, and there was still a great deal of data to gather about how it performs.

In any event, they still learned how to build these safety systems (always good) and maybe now have some new ideas.

It would have been odd *not* to test it.

One fifth of humans say aliens walk among us

Sean Nevin


Why does everyone assume that the aliens would be studying or experimenting on us? Or invading or spying?

Could be they're just here to hang out; like a vacation spot. No subspace cell phones or whatnot. Like how some humans will travel to the middle of nowhere to relax.

BBC newsreader kidnapped by Phillip Garrido

Sean Nevin

Reminds me of an old joke...

A woman goes to the pastor of her church and gives him a note to read after the service.

"John Smith, having gone to sea, his wife requests the congregation's prayers for his safety".

However, being a little hurried, the pastor neglects to read the commas properly.

"John Smith, having gone to see his wife, requests the congregation's prayers for his safety".

Boffins build World's tiniest 'laser'

Sean Nevin

Re: So...

I'd say given the size of the weapons in question, they're looking at recruitment. Given their size a mousetrap would do the job. Perhaps baited with a small knicknack...

Twitter goes titsup

Sean Nevin


Who else here would love to have the story image (the dead bird) as an icon? Love it. Make it represent the general failure of all that Web2.0 nonsense...

Remembering the true* first portable computer

Sean Nevin


Right after it realizes the deviation of its position puts it in two places at once. Within its margin of error of course...

US lawmakers put Canada, Spain on piracy 'watch list'

Sean Nevin

g-O Canada!

Canada has a tax imposed on the sale of blank media, supposedly to offset the money "lost" by media companies due to piracy.

When those companies lobbied to push privacy invading legislation, our government told them to sod off, saying that their "losses" were offset by the tax that they themselves pushed for.

While piracy is not technically legal here, no one is going to bother a home user for downloading anything.

Besides, I can't find the music I like in stores, and I'm sure as hell not giving my money to Amazon. (They give most of their "charitable" donations to the Republican party)

FoxNews commentator Bill O'Reilly's website hacked

Sean Nevin

Check out the wikileaks site...

Notice how most of the people with the dumbest passwords are also the people with the longest subscriptions?

Just a small observation, make of it what you will...

Hilton documentary reveals hidden side of Paris

Sean Nevin

The media...

are after all in the business of making money. It's generally in their interest to make things out in such a way that more people will watch it.

I would not be surprised in the least if it turned out that Paris was, if not actually intelligent, then at least average.

Certainly not the bumbling, stupid, ditzy barbie doll that the press made her out to be.

Japanese call on deities to discipline wayward PCs

Sean Nevin

Technical Blessings...

...can only be done with duct tape. That will keep out the evil nicely.

Boffinry bitchslap brouhaha: Higgs and Hawking head to head

Sean Nevin

Re: The Answer

"is to not turn on the LHC. Until we do both Hawking AND Higgs are both right. And my cat is both alive and dead."

Yes, but they are also both wrong...

By the way, I nominate the word "Deiton" to become the official term for it if they do find this so called "lynch-pin" of existence.

America's CTO: We have a winner

Sean Nevin

What about

the BOFH? Did no one here write in a vote for him? I must confess that I forgot about him, but think about all the politicians (bosses) that could be made to disappear.

Palm's new OS not dead, just going Nova

Sean Nevin


I don't know what happened to other peoples Palm stuff, but I bought a Treo 600 about four years ago and haven't turned it off or had to reset it once. Ever.

I was prepared to get a Folio, but when that didn't turn out I got an Eee instead.

Palm really does make great stuff, and I hope that they can get their act together and keep competing, as there's nothing like quality competition to keep everyone else on their toes.

Hello Kitty gets claws into UK electronics

Sean Nevin


This reminds me of an old quote from alt.sysadmin.recovery...

"I still think 'Hello Kitty, Destroyer of Worlds' would be an appropriate name for a cruise missile."

High Court orders MPs to 'fess up on expenses

Sean Nevin
Paris Hilton

Re Gaol vs. Jail

If "Gaol" is good enough for Oscar Wilde's poems it's fine by me. Mind you whilst I don't see it very often in everyday use, it is nice to see that some people stubbornly cling to proper usage of a language that, in my personal opinion, does not receive the respect it deserves.

Paris, because she didn't spend enough time in there.

Shuttle astronauts: Aliens are definitely out there

Sean Nevin

To quote a great writer...

"Only Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

- Arthur C. Clarke

Palm 'innovative Wi-FI device' invite points to Foleo revamp?

Sean Nevin

eee Beater

The Foleo was what I intended to get when I first received an email about it from Palm. Then I read (on the Reg no less) that the Foleo was scrapped before it even came out.

Then the eeePC came out. Since I still wanted a tiny laptop-like thing for extreme portability, I got myself an eee.

However, while I do love the eee, if it and the Foleo had existed at the same time, I would have chosen the latter, even if it cost an extra $100, as I've always been very impressed with palm stuff. I have a Treo600 that I got about 4 years ago and aside from one little incident involving a coin and the charging slot, it has never been turned off or reset; and it's never let me down.

AT&T waves goodbye to 4,600 staffers

Sean Nevin

HG Wells

What's with the Time Machine references? Just for fun?

Also, I think the plural form for the Eloi is just 'Eloi'... At least it was in the copy I have... Oh well.

By the way, Happy Birthday El Reg!

Pirate Bay offers uncensored, ad-backed blog hole

Sean Nevin

@ JK

Indeed it is. The whole point of such freedom is to express your opinion on anything, even if it's offensive, misguided, or misinformed. By the same right, I can say what I think, even if it's offensive, etc.

The catch is however, that everyone else has the right to ignore you. I think that people should excercise *that* one a bit more than they do now.

(New) dirt-cheap bots attack Hotmail Captchas

Sean Nevin


@Joseph Zygnerski - That's a pretty good idea actually. Bogwitch, I think that was an *example*, not a standard document. Identifying objects is going to be MUCH harder for computers to do. As soon as I read that, I envisioned a picture of a pile of forks.

@Herby - Another good idea, but you have to consider the intelligence of the users. It may very well defeat them too... hmmm... That could be a good idea in it's own right :)

The missing five-minute Linux manual for morons

Sean Nevin

How I remember how to quit vi

Esc Escape this

: colon thing,

q Quit and do


Enter Return

Great article by the way.

As regards to this whole Windows vs Linux thing, I have never before spoken on this subject (at least not on the internet). I remember I read a software development book once that said there is really no *better* language than any other. It depends primarily on what you're trying to do and how well you know it.

While I personally have very little liking (or use) for Windows, I realize that Linux is not for everyone, any more than Windows is good for the clued individuals.

Remember, whatever a user can screw up, they will screw up. Time spent making software that aims toward user friendliness, is generally better spent making the user more computer literate.

US teen cuffed for disposable camera 'Taser'

Sean Nevin

@ all the people going on about current, voltage etc.

Voltage and Current go *together*. They cannot exist independently. Two points might have a potential difference (voltage) with respect to each other, but without a connection they have no current.

That said, yes 70mA can kill you; primarily by means of ventricular fibrillation. At a point past 110mA, the heart simply stops and restarts. This is what defibrillator does. That piece of equipment usually runs at 3000+ volts. The high voltage is needed because the resistance of the human body, through the skin anyways, is very high. They also use a conductive gel.

The little device employed by the wayward (pfft!) student won't kill anyone. Period. Even *IF* you were to connect it directly across someone's chest (which seems doubtful seeing that anyone smart enough to build one of these for fun is probably not that stupid) it still won't conduct enough to do harm. Remember the high resistance of the body? Resistance causes the voltage to drop across a conductor. With less voltage you get less current.

The skin contact resistance of the human body is about 5k to 10k. At 300 volts (and let's assume a resistance of 10k right hand to left hand) according to Ohm's Law the current flow would be I = V/R or I = 300/10000 = 0.03A or 30 mA.

Speaking personally, I too built a little stunner out of a camera flash and brought it to school. After they got over the initial fear that all stupid people have when they see something they don't understand (is that magic!?!?) they had a great time playing with it. They even asked me to build them some of their own.

It's becoming a very sad world; a place where curiosity and wonder are cruelly stamped out and replaced with indoctrination. This reminds me of that piece entitled "Mentor's Last Words".

"My crime is that of outsmarting you, something you will never forgive me for."

We need to separate school and state. There is a great article about this actually by a fellow named Sheldon Richman. http://jim.com/schools.htm

Bell Canada chokes BitTorrent traffic on someone else's ISP

Sean Nevin

@ James

I can only hope you're kidding. Killing the net? Seriously? While bandwidth is finite in the sense that there is a limited amount of it at any given time, it is still not going to 'run out' and become a "scarce resource".

I think the problem that you refer to is cause by the fact that while the capabilties of home PCs have risen dramatically, particularly in the form of storage, the wires that connect you to the rest of the world are still the same tiny, noisy, unreliable things that Bell put up in the eighties.

The problem here in Canada is that Bell (much like your British Telecom) still owns and operates (barely) the actual pipes that give us the internet here (Nexxia). Even though Bell is not my ISP - a fact for which I am very grateful - my traffic still ends up going through their network.

And now we've come to the issue of this article, Bell has entered into a contract with a business to supply them with a connection of certain specs, and now Bell has decided to change the service. This is the problem here; since all roads lead to Rome, Bell still has ultimate control over the internet in Canada, no matter who your ISP is, you're still at the mercy of Bell and their "optimisations".

Vote now for your fave sci-fi movie quote

Sean Nevin


Oh man, this will take some thinking about. I guess I'll ponder it all day (rather than ponder work stuff) and make a selection around beer 'o clock...

Intel will flush Xeon line with six-core Dunny

Sean Nevin

@ Glenn

Oh come on now, if there's a group sacrificing virgins they're sure as hell not going to waste the good ones...

Oil rig dream bomb taxpayer bill 'astronomical'

Sean Nevin

Re: Glass is half full

I'd have to agree with that. What happened was a perfect "test". Everyone thought it was real (at first anyway) and did what they thought they should do. If it were me, I'd be doing some analysis of how it all worked.

As a business owner who runs some pretty critical software for businesses from cleaning to financial services, I check my UPS and backup systems regularly. It's a bit of a pain sometimes, but well worth it when the power goes off at one site for several hours or something.

Windows 7 fake spotted on BitTorrent

Sean Nevin

@ griz

A canary trap is a way of identifying *who* leaked a file by putting some unique identifiers in each copy you release. It is not intended to find out who is re-copying it.

Go on and re-read the book.

BOFH: What GPS is for

Sean Nevin

The Boss never learns...

...because they never last very long. Usually the Boss get fired (because of the Bastard); quits (because of the Bastard); or has a "tragic workplace accident" (again because of the Bastard). I think the Boss turnover rate averages about six weeks, just a little more than Beancounters.