* Posts by Scene it all

159 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Dec 2018


Aviation regulators push for more automation so flights can be run by a single pilot

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Re: Automation

AF 447 is interesting. Even with the frozen pitot tubes, if the pilot flying (a very under-trained first office) had simply sat on his hands and done nothing, nobody would have died. The Airbus has multiple levels of degraded ability and would have continued on in level flight. Instead he panicked and did exactly the wrong thing because nobody had ever taught him how to fly an airplane instead of how to fly a computer. And that is the fault of Air France management. Maybe the managers are the ones who should be replaced.

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Re: two or zero are the only options

And even the most advanced automated landing system, the "Cat III" system installed at major airports, that can bring a plane right onto the runway in zero visibility, will not work at all if the crosswind exceeds a certain limit.

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You cannot fly an airplane in bad weather, with two engines out, remotely, with zero notice. Miracle on the Hudson had *seconds* to react to the bird strike. And I can't see anyone doing a "Gimli Glider" slipped approach in a big airliner remotely. The computer probably would not even allow such a thing, and the cockpit camera probably can't swivel to the side to deal with the fact that the plane is intentionally flying *sideways*.. In the Sioux City DC-10 crash in 1989 it took *three* pilots to land the aircraft when an engine explosion took out *all* of the hydraulic systems.

Everyone who proposes this hair-brained scheme should be force to watch every episode of "Air Crash Investigation".

Twitter is suffering from mad bro disease. Open thinking can build it back better

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There have been studies of election results going back 100 years that verify that this exact thing happens. Elections in a two-party system tend to force the parties apart regardless of what the populace would prefer on issues.

Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000

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I used to work for a Very Large software company. They were so big that they were "self insured" for the employee medical coverage. But they did hire an insurance company to actually run the process, field claims, and so on. This company (named after a mountain) was quite clever in finding ways *not* to make payments. One I ran into personally was denying claims for a lab test performed by a hospital's in-house blood lab because the pathologist who read the results was not personally "in network". I complained that the HOSPITAL was "in network" and I had no control over who they contracted with. They grudgingly paid. Then the next year, same thing. So I complained about this to my company's HR department. It turns out that a LOT of employees had been complaining about this insurance company and how it was like puling teeth to squeeze money out of them.

So the company HR department cancelled the contract and switched to a different insurance company for processing claims. Everything went smoothly thereafter.

Tesla recalls 40k cars over patch that broke power steering

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Re: Maybe the roads will last longer

The predominant vehicle style around here (Northeast Florida) is pickup trucks. My Chevy Bolt weighs about 3,600 which is similar to a Tesla M3 Standard according to that list. The Tesla is physically quite a bit larger though.

There is a 75 MW Solar generating station 10 miles from me but I have no idea what proportion of the Watts going into my car are from that facility.

Hot, sweaty builders hosed a server – literally – leaving support with an all-night RAID repair job

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Re: Botched Aircon

In the very early days of DEC VAX development, the prototype hardware was in a room with its own aircon. The building itself had been built in the 1860s (yes, 19th Century - they made blankets for the Union Army in the Civil War) and was NOT air conditioned. It was sweltering in the cubicles and we would look forward to some excuse to go to one of the machine rooms ("gotta hang this tape..."). There was no raised floor, so the entire room was kept cold. The machines (each the size of two or three refrigerators) were carefully positioned just so over the massive *wooden* floor beams because the building engineer had said that was the only place that could support the weight. The floors in general were rated "25 pounds per square foot" according to the signs. SO don't stand with your feet together...

University of Edinburgh staff paid late due to Oracle ERP troubles

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When you know how much your time is worth

Back when I was working for DEC, in the database division (before it was sold to Oracle), we had a presentation from a representative of one of the world's largest airline and hotel booking service companies. They said they new exactly how much money one minute of downtime cost them. Their ANNUAL budget for downtime due to system upgrades, etc, was FIFTEEN MINUTES. Everything was tested at scale, multiple times, before the production system got touched, and then one shard at a time.

Qualcomm: Arm threatens to end CPU licensing, charge device makers instead

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Re: re: how long before Apple commissions a RISC-V chip?

They would be fools not to have a back room project somewhere doing exactly that. And whether you like Apple products or not, they are not fools.

Oracle's Larry Ellison shares fears of bankrupting Western civilization with healthcare

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Re: Experience

Excellent idea. A "Smart Card" that fits in your wallet easily has enough storage for that these days. It is not like you need to have a copy of an MRI from 10 years ago on you at all times, but certainly a few years of doctor visits, test results, prescriptions, etc. The doctor pops it into his reader device, you enter your PIN, and he can see your records.

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Denmark has some experience with a central health database, so people traveling would always have access to records. AT least that was the idea. I am not clear on how well it worked out.

The trouble with a 'single national database' for a country the size of the US is it becomes a single point of failure unless it is highly replicated. EVen Denmark's was replicated. As far as I know, Oracle does not have much experience at all in truly replicated databases, other than master/slave copying. Add to that Oracle's track record of borking every large database project they have ever been hired to develop.

Ubuntu continues expanding RISC-V support – now, the $17 Sipeed LicheeRV

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I'll wait for somebody other than AllWInner to make these. I *have* programmed RISC-V barebones and it was a lot of fun. It is reminiscent of the old IBM 360 series.

Only 512 MB minus putting Ubuntu in there, means just a headless configuration. But there are plenty of applications in that space.

The GNOME Project is closing all its mailing lists

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Re: For a moment...

Not to mention freeing up hardware resources on the millions of desktops where Gnome is run. XFCE ftw!

Logitech, that canary in PC coal mine, just fell off its perch

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Back when I was trying to learn Japanese, I got a Japanese-layout keyboard (not Logitech). It did help with learning but it was rather expensive and the symbols were just painted on and had worn off within a year. Now I use a Logitech back-lit Latin-only keyboard which is a lot easier to see and there is nothing to wear off. I would not go back to a non-lighted keyboard.

I also love my Squeezebox Radio (that they don't make any more) and a Harmony Remote. The Harmony user interface is poorly designed and I am on my second one because the first just quit working one day.

Twitter's most valuable users are ghosting the platform

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Me too. I am actually finding Reddit to be a better way to follow my favorite issues. The narrowly focused sub-reddits are better filters than what Twitter offers. And Twitter's "algorithm" keeps pushing stuff at me I have no interest in just because it might maybe be somehow related to something I read once.

Biden wants SpaceX to beam internet to Iran amid uprising

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I think the spokesperson for the US State Department is being a bit optimistic about what "rights" the people of Iran are supposed to have.

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems

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The chained LEDs I ended up using had very strict bit-level timing requirements and an unusual serial protocol. At first I did try using an Arduino but gave up trying to make its UART port do the right thing. I ended up doing bit-banging on a GPIO pin on the RISC-V (which was much faster). The interface chips were there because I had seven separate LED fixtures to chain together, plus the RISC-V could not push enough power to run all the lights.

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When I was a kid, such things were not available to play with and learn from.

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A few years ago I decided to build a decorative lamp for the living room. It was made out of scrounged parts from a glass bathroom fixture, and some pieces of scrap wood for the base. Very abstract, with seven glass tubes filled with cut crystal. But the cool part was what was underneath each tube was a circular array of multi-color LEDs that were daisy changed on a serial connection. From each light a 4-conductor cable lead down to some interface chips on a small prototyping PCB. That in turn was connected to ports on a small RISC-V computer. At 6pm it turns on, and for 4 hours runs an apparently random light show of slowly shifting colors, never the same way twice.

Part of the fun was learning about RISC-V and programming the whole thing, in assembly language. No device drivers, no operating system, no C++. Bare metal programming. But another part of the fun was soldering all those little interface chips, hex drivers, and so on. All the electronic parts came from AdaFruit except for the CPU board, which was a kit from SiFive.

I suppose it was the first time I used my EE knowledge in many decades. But I would not even have attempted the project without that background.

In an interview, Limor Fried, the owner and chief designer at AdaFruit, said "If there's one thing I'd like to see from this, it would be for some kids to say to themselves 'I could do that' and start the journey to becoming an engineer and entrepreneur."

Fixing an upside-down USB plug: A case of supporting the insupportable

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Re: Can't put my finger on it

And the motto "Biting the hand that feeds IT", which I thought was very clever, got moved from the top of the page to down at the very bottom next to the copyright notice.

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess

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Re: Manual is optional,

Some people actually have problems with reading. I once worked for a guy, VP level, who I suspected was dyslexic. He could not and would not communicate by email - he had to talk to you face to face. He did his job by schmoozing.

Oracle opens up internal dev tools so customers can build their own apps

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Oo, simultaneous tabular and JSON data! Such a new concept. Try this in sqlite:

.mode json

SELECT * FROM mytable;

Laugh all you want. There will be a year of the Linux desktop

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And when the internet goes out during the Great Collapse you lose all of your photos, all your saved music, all your documents, all the saved PDFs of user manuals for your emergency generator, your lists of passwords, telephone numbers, on and on, because nothing is saved locally.

US Veterans Affairs hits brakes on $10b Oracle Cerner health record system

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Re: I wonder what happened to their previous system?

One of the developers of the Digital Standard Mumps software for the VAX line of computers told me that the reason MUMPS could not use hardware floating point for numbers was its use in the banking industry. It had to be able to represent large values with a lot of significant digits with no rounding or "just off a little bit" effects like 1.9999999 when you meant 2.0. So they had to invent their own internal number format.

You didn't HAVE to use those one-character names. That was a holdover from when MUMPS was strictly an interpreted text language running on small hardware. Modern MUMPS systems compile into an intermediate form.

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Re: I wonder what happened to their previous system?

A lot of medical systems used to be written in MUMPS. The language was even invented at a hospital. I always thought that its built-in key-value data store was the coolest part. A person at a contract support agency once told me that having MUMPS on your resume could get you jobs because of all the legacy systems written in it and people do not bother learning it any more.

Google challenges US ISPs with 100Gbps fiber broadband

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I have trouble thinking what my computers, with their comm jacks clearly labeled "1000 Mb/s", are going to do with a 100 Gb/s service.

Remember when you could set your browser not to load images at all until you requested them?

Florida asks Supreme Court if it's OK to ban content moderation it doesn't like

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Hamilton was quite specific. The "minority" they were protecting from a "majority" was rich white men like themselves.

Boeing wants autonomous flying cabs in US airspace by 2030

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Not to mention the 8 whirling machete-like blades that are whirling at knee height all around these things. They would be a hazard to small children, animals, and the blind.

Ad blockers struggle under Chrome's new rules

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Do these ad-blockers do anything that a PiHole or other DNS interceptions can't do?

AMD admits its Ryzen mobile naming scheme is a mess, promises to clean it up

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Re: But does Zen matter ?

Yes, I do not care what technology is used inside. I care about 1) how fast does it go? 2) how many cores are there? 3) How many watts does it use?

SiFive RISC-V CPU cores to power NASA's next spaceflight computer

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Re: In these apps speed and feature size are way less important.

That is interesting. I have written assembly code for both S/360 and RISC-V and the two instruction sets have a lot of similarities. Lots of registers, register-plus-offset addressing, variable instruction lengths, etc.

NASA sees our space future as both government and privately run

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"The SLS was designed for the Americans' Artemis mission, which intends to put people back on the Moon some time this decade using private and government spacecraft."

The article has this backwards. The Big Rocket people at NASA wanted to build a big rocket - they did not really care where it went. The Artemis project was designed to give SLS something to do, and it is *barely* able to do that, just like the International Space Station was designed to give the Shuttle something to do.

California asks people not to charge EVs during heatwave

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All EVs have a setting to charge only during certain hours. I have mine set to start at 9pm.

The truth about that draft law banning Uncle Sam buying insecure software

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Re: Another reality

There was a time when Oracle would sue anyone attempting to reverse-engineer their products in order to find or fix security problems. And of course Microsoft Office, *so far* behind the 8-ball on this, is effectively excluded...

Apple to compel workers to spend '3 days a week' in the office

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I have known managers who rely on physical intimidation. Including throwing chairs.

Google gets the green light to flood US Gmail inboxes with political spam

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I have moved most of my important email off Google to Proton for reasons like this. Also I use Thunderbird, which has its own spam filters independent from Google's. I would delete the gmail account entirely if I was not afraid I would lose my YouTube and other Google-based accounts too.

Midwest universities unite to support US chip industry revival

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That is Ohio State University in the picture. It looks like they cleaned it up since I was there, or else Photoshopped it.

Computer glitches harmed 'nearly 150' patients after Oracle Cerner system go-live

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Re: Not a unique issue

There is a scene in the 1971 film "The Hospital" (starring George C. Scott and Diana Rigg) in which a hospital administrator is badgering a comatose patient in the Emergency Room for his insurance information. In fact, the person in the bed was a doctor on staff at that very hospital. He later died, but would have survived had the hospital staff not been incompetent (which was the point of the movie).

Tesla jettisons 75% of Bitcoin holdings, boosting cash balance by $936m

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Why am I reminded of John DeLorean's scheme to finance *his* car company? It involved a white powder...

FCC chair wishes for 100Mbps down, 20Mbps up broadband minimum in US

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In my small development in Florida, US, all I can get is VDSL at 100/20. I am just close enough to the neighborhood equipment box for this to work. The neighborhood is all underground service so installing new infrastructure is expensive and the cable company (Comcast) says it is not worth it to them to wire up new streets with only a few houses. The phone company (AT&T) being regulated like the power company and municipal water service, HAD to put their wires in back when the streets were going in and everything was dug up already. Comcast didn't wanna. And AT&T is not about to come back and put in fiber for the same reason, according to a tech I spoke to.

For the 100/20 VDSL, including a VOIP phone line, I pay $100/month. And then if I want to watch TV I pay another $60 or so a month to various streaming services.

SCOTUS judges 'doxxed' after overturning Roe v Wade

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Is a state free to decide that roads will switch to driving on the other side? No more right-turn-on-red? Meat inspection laws?

Smart thermostat swarms are straining the US grid

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My thermostat is set at a constant temperature. As the Sun comes up and it starts to get warmer, the central AC starts GRADUALLY cooling the house. As the outside temperature gets warmer, the AC works harder. It is not a simple on/off unit, but variable speed - both the fans and the compressor are variable speed. So it does not make a sudden demand on the grid, it ramps up slowly, depending on the weather, not the clock.

It did have an option to connect to the internet, but I told the installer to leave that off.

US EV drivers won't be able to choose vehicle safety alert sounds

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Since you can not actually hear the sound from inside the car (with the windows closed), this is just a "look at me~ I'm cool" issue.

SpaceX Starship booster in flames after unexpected ignition

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I am not worried so much about the fire, but the shockwave and what it could have done to parts of the booster. Weakened welds? Pipes and fittings? My prediction is they will scrap it.

America's chip land has another potential shortage: Electronics engineers

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Re: Means of production

One of the rare places I have seen that hires real EEs to do EE work is radio astronomy. Just about all their gear is custom built for a particular telescope. But that is a tiny job market.

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Chip design is hard

EE of the type required to design chips requires *math*, and *sub-atomic physics*! eek, and that is even before you get into the manufacturing technology to actually make the stuff. I had one required course in this and that was enough. Most of EE requires serious math of one form or another. On the other hand, you can get through a CS curriculum without ever encountering Mawell's Equations.

Intel to sell Massachusetts R&D site, once home to its only New England fab

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Re: And then there was the whole enclosure airflow direction issue

I remember the first time I walked behind an early DEC VAX 780 in the lab (I worked for DEC too) and the blast of air coming horizontally out the back of those machines at about knee height could knock papers off of tables. And the noise!

Half of bosses out of touch with reality, study shows

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Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

And since the invention of the telephone 140 years ago, these discussions have not had to happen only face to face.

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Re: And the other half will follow...

Right. TheRegister is about IT, not car mechanics.

Mars Express orbiter to get code update after 19 years

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For a while wasn't JPL using FORTH to program their spacecraft?