* Posts by Saruman the White

185 posts • joined 3 May 2018


'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

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Re: git broke English

I really, really hate to break this to you, but Linus is the original developer of GIT (although I suspect that other people have contributed to it). So whatever you do, please ensure that whatever rocks you through at Linus' house are very small.

Privacy activists prep legal challenge against UK plan to keep coronavirus contact-tracing data for two decades

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Re: Optional?

Let them mandate it, I will not put it on my phone no matter what they say or do.

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

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Re: "more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality"

Boeing don't need FAA clearance to build the planes. They do, however need clearance to fly the plane commercially - this is something that I believe they are unlikely to get in the near term.

Twitter ticks off Trump with new 'Get the facts' alert on pair of fact-challenged tweets

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Re: I, as President, will not allow it to happen!

As the Texans would say: Trump is all hat and no cattle.

It wasn't just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victims

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Re: Stelios & EGM

Accusations are easy for Stelios to make. Maybe he should ante up some evidence to support his claims.

Linux desktop org GNOME Foundation settles lawsuit with patent troll

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Re: An excellent result

I prefer boiling in oil - slowly, paying lots of attention to all of the very sensitive bits.

Nothing is too much for a patent troll.

Open letter from digital rights groups to UK health secretary questions big tech's role in NHS COVID-19 data store

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Re: Privacy and data ownership are critical for wide support

I will not be installing this app on my phone under any circumstances, even if they try to make it mandatory. If they try to prosecute me, I'll use the Human Rights Act on the basis that my phone is my private property, and HMG has no authority to tell me what I should, and should not, have installed on it.

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

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Re: Even easier to get wrong with Sun optical mice

Thanks for the reminder. I've spent the last 2+ decades trying to forget about them.

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

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Re: Honest question....

Generally satellites destined for GEO are initially launched into LEO, then (once everything is checked out) moved to a transfer orbit before finally ending up in its GEO slot. A GEO satellite can spend up to 2 weeks in LEO, sometimes longer if there is a problem, hence the increased risk.

India makes contact-tracing app compulsory in viral hot zones despite most local phones not being smart

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Fool proof!

... India’s IT minister has even labelled it “foolproof” ...

Oh but there are so many very clever fools out there, Minister

Who's still using Webex? Not even Cisco: Judge orders IT giant to use rival Zoom for virtual patent trial

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Re: As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

As it happens I have being doing 4 or 5 Webex sessions every afternoon since the start of April; tomorrow finally wrapping up the last one. However I have to agree; clunky, unsophisticated, but it does work.

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

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Re: Fraudsters will likely clone the app

And seldom disappointed I suspect.

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I'll be looking closely at the details when they emerge and will (or not) sign up depending on the data they require.

I'll be looking very closely at the details, and will raise a GDPR complaint with the ICO if they are slurping anything apart from the information they must have. Even HMG has to obey the law!

Sometimes one can go a little too far in search of isolation

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Re: Admiral Grace Hopper to post in 3, 2, 1...

Admiral Hopper died 1st January 1992. RIP.

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

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I have just replaced my printer at home (which I also use for business purposes) which had basically worn out after 10 years. HP was never even on my list of acceptable replacements. I settled on nice big Epson printer, and am more than happy with it.

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

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Re: Paranoid Android

It also does not work if you simply don't download and install the app.

I suspect that trying to force it on to everyone's phone without explicit permission (which is effectively granted by someone actively installing the application) is going to result in HMG being taken to court for breach of privacy.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital

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Re: Mindset

When I was a research student (several decades ago) I used to take tutorials on COBOL for under- and post-grads. I loved to start the first tutorial comparing a C "Hello World" to a COBOL one. Made people realise that you actually had to think to be a COBOL programmer.

Oh yes - the reason why I took those tutorials? I was the only other person in the Comp Sci dept (apart from the lecturer in charge of the COBOL course) who had any sort of practical experience in COBOL. Or at least, the only one who admitted to it :-)

Kepler telescope is dead but the data lives on: Earth-sized habitable zone planet found after boffins check for errors

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Very probably, although it is possible that there is a resonance between it's orbital period and it's rotational period. Mercury has exactly that (a 3:2 resonance).

White House creates 'Team Telecom' to probe whether foreign telcos should be allowed near US networks

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The decision will be: "we need more time to decide".

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

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I actually believed it for a moment ...

... until I got to the second half of the article.

Funny enough, re-vamping the Saturn-V has been discussed several times. The big problem (and they are BIG) are the main engines; each one had to be basically be hand-made and hand-tuned, and unfortunately all of that highly specialised knowledge is now gone. Shame really since the Saturn-V was really something to see launch, and it never suffered a failure!

Lets raise a glass to the NASA engineers of the Apollo program!

Australian state will install home surveillance hardware to make sure if you're in virus isolation, you stay there

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Yep, it was. Then they realised that their Most Hated Foe (at least for Rugby and Cricket) might actually be on to something.

Zoom's end-to-end encryption isn't actually end-to-end at all. Good thing the PM isn't using it for Cabinet calls. Oh, for f...

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Re: wait, what?

GCHQ operates in a purely advisory role in this case; it is the Cabinet Office which is actually responsible for providing secure communications links. As I understand it, GCHQ heard that Zoom was going to be used and basically blew a gasket in response, however the Cabinet Office ignored them and went ahead anyway. the rest, unfortunately, is history.

Exchange some currency you want to? Guess the BIOS setup keyboard combination first you must, young Padawan

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Re: Battery

The question is: who is the cattle prod being applied to?

Tupperware-dot-com has a live credit card skimmer on its payment page, warns Malwarebytes

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Their lids are sealed

Taiwan collars coronavirus quarantine scofflaws with smartphone geo-fences. So, which nation will be next?

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Re: Signal?

Pretty much the same here.

Implementing these measures is pretty easy in countries that are heavily urbanised, and where good mobile signal coverage is pretty much taken for granted. Achieving the same result in countries with significant rural communities who have poor and/or erratic signal strength is going to be more of a challenge, and attempting to improve the rural coverage (by putting up more base stations) is not going to be a viable option since it will simply take too long to do.

Crack police squad seeks help to flush out Australian toilet paper thieves

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This really is a crap story

US prez Donald Trump declares America closed to those flying in from Schengen zone over coronavirus woes

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Re: I was particularly amused...

Blame management. He has someone to sack when it all goes runny on him.

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Well air fares have gone up

Booking a flight to the US on business next month, air fares pretty much doubled in the space of 30 minutes. Suspect there are a lot of Europeans who think they can get around the band by flying via Heathrow. Bet Border Control has a surprise for them ...

Latest bendy phone effort from coke empire spinoff Escobar Inc is a tinfoil-plated Samsung Galaxy Fold 'scam'

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I have always held to the view that any other that sounds too good to be true, probably is just that!

I have rarely found any evidence to contradict this.

Australian privacy watchdog sues Facebook for *checks notes* up to £266bn

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That could hurt

Up to now FB has been subjected to likely more than a few mild hand raps (financially speaking), now all of a sudden it is facing a public flogging. £266 billion is going to hurt them if it actually gets through the courts; even if the courts disallow 3/4 of the fine, what is left is still going to sting a hell of a lot. If the ICO joins in with its 4% global turnover fines, then FB is going to have to change its ways, or it will go under from the weight of fines.

How's this for a remote support fix? Solar storm early-warning satellite repaired with million-mile software update

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Re: The Deep Space Climate Observatory

Yeah, but he had 18 months with little else to listen to. That would be enough to drive you completely around the twist.

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Re: Yay!

And Voyager 2 when it was way part Saturn (over 1.5 billion km away).

I work in the satellite industry, and my respect for the people who design and build the deep-space probes, whether for NASA, ESA or anyone else, is completely and totally unbounded. I host my glass to them!

Take it Huawei, Pai: Senate passes bill to rip 'dodgy' kit from rural telcos

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Re: Let's face it

First problem with that statement: there is no American made kit. At alternatives are Nokia or Ericsson, both Nordic.

Early adopters delighted as Microsoft pulls plug on Mobile Backend as a Service. Haha, only joking – they're fuming

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... this demonstrates why developers should be wary of dependency on something that is not fully supported ...

i.e. most of Microsoft's products.

Startup Mycroft AI declares it will fight 'patent troll' tooth and nail after its Linux voice-assistant attracts lawsuit

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Re: How mental is Texas?

The only question here is, can Texas field a sane judge?

Do you really need to ask this question?

Crypto AG backdooring rumours were true, say German and Swiss news orgs after explosive docs leaked

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This is really bad news for some companies. I know one country (I will not mention their name) who built a military satcoms system that use CryptoAG kit to provide COMSEC. They must now be wondering whether their entire communications system has been compromised. Some security bods are going to have a *very* bad month ahead of them.

Starliner snafu could've been worse: Software errors plague Boeing's Calamity Capsule

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Re: Capability Maturity Model ?

Unfortunately CMM turned out to basically be a fad - once the bean counters realised just how expensive it was to implement (a company like Boeing would need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get to Level 5) they very quitely dropped it.

This and the 737-Max fiasco has me thinking that Boeing is starting to suffer from a hardening of the corporate arteries. Management have lost sight of what the company actually does (aircraft, spacecraft, ...) and have become far too concerned with the bottom line. As a result of this shortcuts are being made in the engineering (software, mechanical, ...) that are having major Safety of Life implications. The only solution may be a radical overhaul of corporate management, starting at the top and working down to the bottom: the corporate equivalent of "nuke it from orbit, its the only way to be sure".

Ah, night shift in the 1970s. Ciggies, hipflasks, ADVENT... and fault-prone disk drives the size of washing machines

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When those old disk packs fail

I remember one year working for a company who built flight simulators (at the time mostly military, but some civilian). They had a big IBM mainframe that ran all sorts of stuff for the company, both technical applications as well as financial and management stuff. One day the shift operator went into the next room to find the tapes that had to be mounted in preparation for that night's backup; just after he went in the room there has a very loud "bang" followed by lots of noise as of broken glass bouncing off things. When he went back into the main server room he was greated by the sight of the mainframe crashing, and one of the "washing machine" disk drives with a hole in its side, with the metal bent outwards.

It turned out that the lower bearings on the disk spindle had failed, resulting in the spindle tearing free and (along with the disk drives) deciding to take a strolling around the server room. Odds are that had the operator been in the room at the time he would probably have caught some of the debris that was flying around at great velocity.

Took IBM 3 days to haul in a new disk drive unit, wire it up and then rebuild the system from scratch and backups.

Curse of Boeing continues: Now a telly satellite it built may explode, will be pushed up to 500km from geo orbit

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Re: Where will the bits go?

There are 3,600 seconds in an hour. 3000 m/s = 3 km/s, multiple it by 3,600 results in 10,800 km/h.

180 km/h = 50 m/s

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Damage to the batteries was probably caused by over-charging. Spacecraft batteries are a whole lot more complex than your standard AAAs; they have incredible power storage density and are designed to literally last decades. However, you have to be careful on the charge-discharge cycles, and when charging them you typically monitor the battery temperatures - when the temperature starts going up there is either a serious problem or the battery has reached full charge. Over-charging results in the battery over-heating, which damages the case (which is normally sealed and pressure-resistant).

The batteries release hydrogen gas when they are discharged; this is kept in the battery gas (this is why it is pressure-resistant. If the case has been damaged by heat, it is possible that the extra pressure generated during a discharge cycle will rupture the case. Spacecraft are pretty fragile things, so this could result in it breaking up.

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Re: Oh brother!

Some Boeing manager thought that it would be a good idea to re-use them, since (a) no-one would ever know, and (b) it would push Boeing's bottom line up by a few dollars. He was subsequently promoted to project manager of the new 737-MAX development project.

In the red corner, Big Red, and in the blue corner... the rest of the tech industry

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Re: C

The C standard libraries are now defined as a part of an international standard (the same one that defines the language); there is a long-standing convention that no-one can claim ownership of them (although if anyone had a claim, I suspect K&R would be at the front of the queue).

What I'd like to know is what external libraries/APIs does Oracle use in any of their products!

Windows 7 back in black as holdouts report wallpaper-stripping shenanigans

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I would be really interested to know what was so offensive to those people who down-voted my original message.

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I've noticed that you cannot change the wallpaper through the Control Panel - it ignores any changes you make and applies something random which it makes up. Suspected when I first saw this that this is Microsoft's attempt to make Windows 7 so unpleasant that everyone is forced on to 10. Really PITA, but as expected.

Google and IBM square off in Schrodinger’s catfight over quantum supremacy

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Conventional supercomputer?

Regardless of what IBM says, I think Google's claim still stands - you can hardly call a supercomputer as being "conventional" (at least in terms of what most people think of as conventional) since the hardware architectures they use tend to be highly exotic.

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS

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Many years ago ...

... when I was the IT manager for my company (not have gratefully passed that poisoned chalice to someone else) I had been configuring a new Linux server which was being used to host a couple of fairly important applications - e-mail and a Document Management System. Before going off on a nice two week holiday to Canada, I had been tweaking a couple of settings relating to the LDAP directory, and had accidentally left it in a state where the server would not boot unless it couple first contact the LDAP system, which of course was also hosted on the server. Was not able to test the settings to find the problem since we only had a production system at that time; my company was too small to afford a development/test server.

Anyway one fine sunny morning I & my family was just visiting the Montreal Olympic Stadium when my mobile went off. It was my Director who explained that they had had a power glitch that had forced the server to shutdown, and it was now not rebooting - could I please help them sort it out. This was definitely my personal "Oh Shit ..." moment! For the next 90 minutes, while wife & children went off to see what they could see, I was stuck outside the stadium diagnosing the problem, realising what I had done, and then having to remotely guide my boss (who I should add is a pretty good guy - have known him for over 30 years) on who to boot the system into run level 1, mount the file systems, edit the faulty configuration file, and then elevate the system to run level 3.

After that I persuaded my boss to purchase a small development/test server; I was also a lot more careful when editing configuration files after that!

Space Force is go, go, go! Because we have a child as President of the United States

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Re: It Is With Such Baubles That Men Are Led.

Oh yes, and please make sure that it is completely, utterly, airtight.

Whoooooa, this node is on fire! Forget Ceph, try the forgotten OpenStack storage release 'Crispy'

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Re: proper application of thermite


Bandwidth weirdness at TalkTalk has customers fuming at being denied on-demand I'm A Celeb

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Oh, what a surprise ...

... TalkTalk has a problem and is just a little slow to admit to it.



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