* Posts by Man inna barrel

75 posts • joined 10 Jun 2019

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All those ‘teleworking is the new normal’ predictions? Not so much, say bosses

Man inna barrel

Re: No surprise there

"I don't think it was ever in doubt that those industries or businesses with a high dose of control-freak manglement can't wait to people back under their eyeballs."

---

I was very pleased to hear that a control-freak manager has left at my work. I presume all the design engineers working from home was beyond his micro-management capabilities.

The message I have from proper managers at work is to keep working from home if you can. The production staff now have more room to work, so social distancing can be organised. We were actually getting pressed for space, so maybe all these people working from home has saved us an expensive move.

I am still getting used to teleconferencing. I have been using emails for months, but this can be terribly slow if you need some kind of chit-chat. My boss reckons a lot of time is wasted on a normal office routine. He said he could not see the point of commuting between two computers. Working from home is here to stay.

'Robbery, economic plunder, victim of larcenous cronyism and a heist'

Man inna barrel

Re: Heads you win, tails I lose - perhaps landing on its edge is best then?

There is nothing I would call communist about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The people of China serve the CCP, not the other way round, so it is plain totalitarianism.

I have seen it argued that CCP style totalitarian government allowed the imposition of draconian quarantine measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus, whereas liberal democracies would struggle to do the same. However, it is now emerging that the typical secretive and oppressive rule in China may have allowed the virus to spread more widely, due to suppressing early warnings from health professionals.

I think all ruling parties try to perpetuate their rule and suppress opposition, even in democracies. No need to copy from China. Naturally, all ruling parties believe that theirs is the One True Way, and would like to get rid of the pesky opposition, who are just getting in the way of progress.

Help! My printer won't print no matter how much I shout at it!

Man inna barrel

Printer is on fire

The printer is fine, but somebody messed up a print job, and now we have page after page of garbage spewing out. I cannot stop the thing. KILL! DELETE! STOP!. The bastard kept going. A print job has been issued. It must be executed. That is The Law. So I feed it paper until the vomiting abated. Not very Unixy, I admit.

Another good one was the photocopier in the electronics lab. It had a faulty temperature regulator, but worked fine for single sheets. There was a big notice saying "DO NOT PRINT MULTIPLE COPIES". One day, someone came in from another office to "borrow" the photocopier. I do not know how you get to be a secretary without being able to read, but there she was, trying to print 20 copies of some wodge of blah. And sure enough, smoke poured out, and someone had to rush over and turn the thing off, before the sprinklers were set off, and wrecked all the electronic kit in the lab.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns

Man inna barrel

Re: What might be harder to ignore...

"I suspect that unchecked corner cutting will be found to be one of the causes of the Grenfell fire."

The latest I heard on the flammable cladding is that there was a flame-proof version available, but the consultant was not told about it, or some such bollocks. The speed of buck passing here would put a top ice hockey team to shame.

Future airliners will run on hydrogen, vows Airbus as it teases world-plus-dog with concept designs

Man inna barrel

Re: Looks good to me

> It’s the hydrogen in the kerosene/ hydrocarbons compound that is the active element that is combined with oxygen to release energy in the form of heat.

That is not true. Pure carbon, e.g. coal, burns on its own. I am not sure how much energy comes from hydrogen versus carbon in a typical hydrocarbon fuel, but I am pretty sure the energy contribution from carbon is significant. One might say that hydrocarbons are a convenient way of storing and transporting carbon, rather than hydrogen.

Man inna barrel

Re: Looks good to me

My friend used to be a cinema projectionist, in the days of nitro-cellulose film. You had to be dead careful to turn off the carbon-arc lamp if the projector got jammed, or you could be blown to bits as the heat of the lamp ignited the film.

One jolly jape was disposing of film that was too worn out to be worth repairing. You take the film in its can out to the car park, light the end of it, and retire to a safe distance. Made quite a bang, I gather.

This was featured at the end of the film Inglorious Basterds, where loads of nitro film was piled behind a cinema screen, and detonated, to blow up a some Nazis.

Just a bit of chemistry lesson here. Stuff like nitrocellulose is particularly inflammable, because it contains its own oxygen supply. Even throwing water on a nitro fire probably will not put it out.

Another fun fact. Nitrocellulose was one of the earliest plastics. One the applications was making billiard balls, instead of using ivory. I think all would agree that this was a major advance in a noble cause. Except the new balls tended to explode during vigorous play. Oops!

Man inna barrel

Re: Looks good to me

Hydrogen is extremely difficult to store, because it leaks through any container, including solid metal. The molecules are small enough to get through tiny imperfections. I am not sure how this is fixed in practice.

In order to get a usable energy density, there is a strong motivation to store the gas under high pressure, which makes the leakage problem worse.

I believe the leakage problem is controllable, though. One fuel-cell application I came across was a portable CCTV system, which my firm used on construction sites. The kit had two hydrogen tanks. Every few weeks, an engineer would swap out the empty tank for a full one. This was reckoned to be more efficient than using batteries. It should be noted that batteries have a self-discharge rate, so a leaky gas container is probably no worse that a typical battery.

Man inna barrel

Re: Looks good to me

I have read that hydrogen is a much safer fuel than most flammable gases or volatile liquids, because it so light. If there is an accidental escape, the stuff goes straight up, and does not collect into an explosive gas-air mixture.

LPG is particularly dangerous on boats, because any leaks end up in the bilges, making your boat into a bomb. Spilled petrol produces invisible vapour that tends to cling to the ground.

You won't need .NET Standard... except when you do need it: Microsoft sets out latest in ever-changing story

Man inna barrel

Re: Smug

30MB? Are some kind of loony typing addict? At the present rate, I will be dead long before I get that far. I am up to about 50k on my current project. I am just unwriting a load of code. I think I have done a good day's work if I get rid of a few hundred lines of useless code.

It is not that a modern PC lacks the memory to run apps that use megabytes, but more code means more errors.

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

Man inna barrel

Mad scientists.

I grew up in Malvern, that was quite influential in the development of RADAR. My father worked on the electronics. There were some serious mad scientists. One was Dr Nichols (sp?). His usual attire was a green mini-skirt, purple tights, and a basket on his head. The thing is, this was all entirely rational. Skirts are more practical than trousers, he believed. A basket on the head avoids strain on the spine. It is possible that Dr Nichols may have suffered some brain damage from his RADAR research. I am told that he used to tune waveguides by looking down the tube, and filing the bits that made sparks.

Man inna barrel

Re: Technological edges

The Spiftire was without doubt a work of art, but my history tells me that the Hurricane was the real warhorse in WW2.

The geometry and and design of the Spitfire are lovely, but did all that curvature make it a better warplane? There is an American warplane, called the A10, I think. It is ugly, old, heavy. and slow. But it does the business.

I think there is a serious risk of military porn here, so I will stop now.

Man inna barrel

Re: Battle of Britian - some of the forgotten bits.

I am pretty sure that all RADAR could do in WW2 was spot aircraft of some kind, as distinct from a flock of birds, for example. This was very valuable, because fighter aircraft could get up into the air earlier, and shoot down the Luftwaffe bombers before they reached our shores.

Man inna barrel

Re: Let's not forget the civilians

My father was an electronics wizard in WW2, building RADAR kit. I think he got the rank of Major in the Army. As far as I know, my Dad never shot any Germans, but maybe he knew where they were. I have still got some of Dad's valves. EF50: an RF pentode in an aluminium can. Do not use this valve in your electric guitar preamp, It his hopelessly microphonic.

Man inna barrel

Re: Will you kindly stop with the "Britain alone" myth?

Thanks for the history details. I just do not have time to read nasty stuff like Mein Kampf. It would just upset me. I am reading "The Open Society and Its Enemies", by Karl Popper. This is essential reading to prevent being infected by loony ideas. I thought I needed a booster injection.

I have been reading stuff about Nietzsche's philosophy. He had this idea of the Ubermensch, or Superior Man. This was not a new idea of his. I believe the Superior Man idea exists in Confucian philosophy. I think the Nazis particularly perfected the idea of the Untermensch, or sub-human. The push towards the East could be seen as a rational military strategy, to gain more living room, and viewing slavic people as sub-human might make that easier to sell.

The idea of the wicked Jews scheming against us does look like madness. In my very cosmopolitan part of Birmingham, I do not come across many Jews. I probably do meet Jews, but we do not make a fuss about it. I am happy with that.

The concept of the sub-human is fundamental to slavery. Slavery is the use of your fellow humans as mere beasts, like dogs or cows or horses. This is still happening.

Man inna barrel

Re: Will you kindly stop with the "Britain alone" myth?

That was a nice rational analysis of history. And possibly total bollocks. I am not sure what Adolf Hitler really intended out of the war he started. Rational is not a term I would apply to Adolf Hither.

Man inna barrel

Re: Will you kindly stop with the "Britain alone" myth?

I think Britain stood alone is fair. The Nazis conquered continental Europe with their highly effective blitzkrieg. Britain was next on the list. Who was there to help us? Yes, I appreciate that soldiers from India and other parts of the Commonwealth were very valuable to fight the Nazis, but the world has changed now. I actually do not mind living in a small country. Empires are a bloody nuisance, if you ask me.

Man inna barrel

Re: Will you kindly stop with the "Britain alone" myth?

Deliberately attacking civilians has got to be one of the worst aspects of war. That is, demonstrating massive strength to make the other side surrender. I guess it is OK for soldiers to battle it out, but leave us ordinary folk out of it.

Man inna barrel

Re: you could read that two ways...

I think one of the fundamental mistakes the Nazis made was thinking that superior weapon technology would win the war for them. The Nazis had superior tank technology compared to Russia, but Russia's clunky tanks still won. The V2 weapon deployed against Britain did not defeat us. And I am still not sure that the war against Japan was won by destroying two of their major cities with nuclear bombs. There was bad shit going on, but it might have been nearing its end anyway. It is easy to be wise in hindsight.

Man inna barrel

Re: Jingoistic Juices are flowing

A few years ago, I commuted from England to Northern Ireland a few times a month. This was just at the time of the Good Friday Agreement. When being driven from the airport at Belfast, we went past piles of rubble and Army checkpoints. That was a police station that the IRA blew up. This hotel here has been bombed twice. I will just take you down this road now, so you can see the terrorist murals. And just around the corner, the locals paint the lamp-posts in red white and blue stripes.

The silly and sad thing is, I found most of the people I worked with in N Ireland to be sane and kind, as most people generally are. There is nothing inherently wrong with German people. The thing you really have to work out is how nice people are forced to do horrible things.

Man inna barrel

Re: Jingoistic Juices are flowing

The Germans being "ill-prepared and making it up as they go along". That is news to me, They were fucking unstoppable in the early stages of WW2. It was stupid management that did for them. Like wasting resources trying to kill all the Jews, and fighting on too many fronts: e.g. Russia and Africa.

If the Nazis had been led by a sane dictator, we would all be Nazis now. Luckily for us ordinary folk, dictatorship appears to cause insanity. This could be an ancient self-regulating mechanism.

Man inna barrel

Re: Poles

A documentary about the war in the air (Battle of Britain) showed that a major problem for Britain was that it was running out of pilots. There were plenty of aircraft, but nobody to fly them. The Poles stepped in to save the day. As far as I know, before WW2, there was not much of a relationship between Britain and Poland.

Now, at my place of work, there are many Polish workers. My Polish engineer colleague tells me that Polish workers tend to apply for jobs in clumps. So you do not get just one Polish production worker, you get half a dozen. I am not complaining. Good hardworking people, the Poles. Their beer is not bad, too.

A Polish joke. Who do you hate most, the Germans or the Russians? Um, let me see, what day is it?

China, Russia and Iran all attacking US elections and using some nasty new tactics, says Microsoft

Man inna barrel

Re: LOL. *Microsoft* talking about security?

Microsoft have plenty of experience of their systems being targeted by crooks. People learn by their mistakes, right?

Well, one can only hope, I suppose.

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

Man inna barrel

Re: Power!

My Dad worked in radio astronomy. He always soldered his own connectors. But he never fixed the problem of the bloody rabbits eating the insulation on the cables.

Tech ambitions said to lie at heart of Britain’s bonkers crash-and-burn Brexit plan

Man inna barrel

Re: Countries without trillion-dollar companies ... will be owned or coerced by those that do

By and large, I think government should not interfere with business, let alone subsidise it. There is a valid policing and regulatory role. Some businesses seek to make money by unfair or deceitful means, so I think government should step in to prevent that.

Regarding direct government financing of businesses, there does seem to be a case for some essential infrastructure such as health, transport and communications to be directly supported by public funds. Some extreme forms of privatisation have made the people of the UK worse off. Private Finance Initiative? We will be paying for that long after I am dead.

My more right wing friends point out that UK nationalised industries in the past tended to be afflicted with selfish trade union actions, being crippled by strikes. But I am not sure that selling off these industries into some partly fictitious free market was the answer to that. We seem to have ended up afflicted with bankers instead of unions.

Classy move: C++ 20 wins final approval in ISO technical ballot, formal publication expected by end of year

Man inna barrel

Re: Is C++ becoming too large and complex?

Languages get messy because life is messy.

C is actually a very good language, because it provides just enough abstraction from the underlying hardware, but no more than that. If you have ever migrated an embedded software application from device-specific assembler to C, you would appreciate just how useful a C compiler is.

At the opposite end of the abstraction scale, I have experimented with various higher level languages, particularly functional languages such as Haskell. They are mostly elegant, fantastic at abstraction, and totally useless for any real work. I did manage to get some statistical analysis done in Ocaml, which was quite neat.

With C++, I am still learning C++11, so I am way behind. I lapped up many of the new concepts, but I still have a lot to learn. This does not appear to be a problem. I could still write code in older style C++ if I wanted to. I could write my code without range-for loops or auto declared types. I am not forced to use these features, but they are handy once you learn about them.

These complications to the language fix some problems, or simplify writing routine code. I used to write a lot of iterate-over-the-container stuff using the old for loop and iterators ideom. Pretty verbose, and occasionally prone to errors. The simpler range-for syntax makes the code more readable and maintainable. I found the auto type declaration method quite friendly, having got used to type inference in functional languages.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Man inna barrel

Re: Is Power Optional?

Doctors might be an example of people who know lots about something, so they think they know about everything. One tragic example of a doctor lacking in common sense was the chap who decided to get his garden bonfire going with petrol. He died in a ball of flame. The general idea of learning from one's mistakes is that you do not actually die.

Well I suppose the human species might have benefited by weeding out this poorly adapted person from the gene pool. However, there is a possibility that the self-immolating doctor already had children. Let us hope the good doctor bequeathed his stock of dangerous chemicals to his progeny.

Help. The political process is corrupted, full of lies and state-sponsored deep fakes. Now Microsoft's to the rescue

Man inna barrel

Re: Seriously?

Most people do not think about stuff too much because they do not want to, and they can get by and enjoy life without having to think. I am not sure that people resist thinking because it is difficult. Perhaps one of the problems is that thinking can make you see things that are unpleasant, depending on what you think about. For example, one of the fundamental points about thinking is that it reveals your ignorance. People do not like to believe they are ignorant, so they avoid thinking.

Google Chrome 85 to block ads that hog power, CPUs, network: Web ads giant will black-hole 0.3% of web ads

Man inna barrel

Re: For the love of a hack,

Part of the problem might be that the sites hosting the ads do not know what trouble the heavy ads cause, because the ad content is external. The TV listings web site I normally use loads pages from all over the place. Because of my slow WiFi, I can see the web addresses as they come up. I am fairly sure the actual content would take just seconds to load: it is just a table. Maybe multiple sites have to be visited to get all of the listings data, but that is just being generous.

I am not actually against web advertising, which is why I refuse to apply a blanket ad blocker. But some aspects of web advertising are mega stupid. For example, I buy a slow cooker from an online store, then get bombarded with ads for slow cookers. Do you advertising people not have brains? I have bought what I wanted, and I probably will not replace it for many years. You are wasting your time, and you are wasting my bandwidth.

Ah. I forgot. This is artificial intelligence at work: targeting ads according to user activity. I suppose I can be thankful that these targeted ads are an indicator of how much slurpage goes on when you just browse around and buy stuff on the internet.

Man inna barrel

Ads can be horribly inefficient because the advertisers do not pay for the bandwidth or CPU usage. Some ads cause my laptop to sweat a bit, and the fan speeds up. From time to time, I clean up my browser tabs, when the CPU fan speeds up. My Wifi is a bit slow, so it is really noticeable that ads clobber page loading times. Again, the ad slingers do not pay for this. I suppose the sites hosting the content that users actually want to see might be harmed by bandwidth-hogging ads, but I have had no success in my complaints about this.

I do not use ad blocking, because I know that the free-to-use sites I use probably depend on ad revenue. But seriously, why should an ad take more CPU than one of my physics simulations, or an interesting video article?

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

Man inna barrel

Re: "Self-Criticism and Ruthless Exposure of Their Own Shortcomings" --- V. I. Lenin Mandated

Stack ranking implies performance metrics, and some of those can be notoriously unfair. For example, in software development, productivity can be measured by significant lines of code. But I think I have had a productive day when I simplify some code by finding a better way of doing things, which actually ends up with negative lines of code output.

There is certainly a need to fire employees that are just useless at the job. I have seen plenty of those. I am amazed at how these people could have done anything useful in their previous employment. The really hopeless cases are fairly easy to spot. Like someone who is given a fairly routine development task, and spends a month of their probation time getting nowhere with a job that should have taken a few days.

Man inna barrel

Re: Well the

I detect two different attitudes in this thread about provision of housing and other facilities for workers: philanthropy or exploitation.

I gave an example of philanthropy in the form of Bournville model village built by the Cadbury family. However, I have come across the exact opposite. A customer was having some electronic kit made in China. He visited the factory. The assembly shop was just a big shed, with loads of benches, and a dirt floor. Next door to the assembly shop was another shed, with loads of beds. Presumably, this arrangement allowed the workers to work longer hours and be paid less.

A more positive example comes from a works visit to an electronics factory in the UK. There were many hand assembly jobs, such as screwing circuit boards in plastic boxes. All the jobs looked exceedingly repetitive and tedious. I asked how they prevented the workers getting bored, and was told that jobs were rotated several times a day. The manager admitted that starting pay is minimum wage, but as a worker learns more of the tasks, they get paid more. Overall, the atmosphere was quite happy. I have seen some really miserable factories.

Man inna barrel

Re: Well the

I am not sure you have your history right about Victorian industrialists. There was a fashion at that time for industrialists to build model towns and villages for the workers. I am just reading about Bournville in Birmingham. built by the Cadbury family; Quaker chocolate makers. The one thing the Cadburys left out was pubs. I think that is still the case today. I am not saying that all Victorian industrialists were philanthropists, but a significant number did treat their workers well.

The point is, a profitable business can be run without needed to maltreat your workforce. I would contend that treating your workers like shit is ultimately a poor strategy, as the workers will not be inclined to use their talents, and will do no more than what they are told to do. And a company that has a bad reputation for treatment of workers will tend to attract the least talented workers.

What's 2 + 2? Personal info, sniffs Twitter: Anti-doxxing AI goes off the rails, bans tweets with numbers in them

Man inna barrel

Re: No AI

All that is required for AI to succeed is for people to trust computer programmes more than they trust their fellow humans, or their own common sense. There are still challenges here. We had some success with satnav, with the computer instructing someone to drive into a public toilet, or into the sea. But these are mere feasibility demonstrations. There should be a proper training programme, so that people stop thinking altogether. Significant progress is being made in education to this end, but we have to be patient.

Man inna barrel

Re: No AI

What we need is for people to think for themselves, and not blindly trust what the computer says. People doing what the satnav says and driving into the sea is tragic rather than comical. I suppose AI will become a reality when people become so dumb that computers can overtake them.

Google wants to listen in to whatever you get up to in hotel rooms

Man inna barrel

The next level of hell below touch screens

I have to admit here that I have problems with any kind of voice activated stuff, as I am usually unable to speak, following throat surgery. I silently screamed when I found that accessing voice messages on my mobile phone required me to say my name. Are people really so lazy that they want to "command" their digital servant, instead of the arduous task of getting up and pressing a button?

My mobile phone actually irritates me a great deal. Despite being an electronics engineer, I have real trouble working any kind of touch screen. Texting is very useful, with me being mute, but typing any kind of coherent English on the touch screen is an exercise in frustration. No wonder people resort to barely comprehensible l33tspeak abbreviations.

Now that touch screen technology is with us, hardware and software developers like to exploit it to their advantage. It basically allows new devices to be invented, without making new hardware. But I am not sure the interface benefits users as much as it does developers. And the trouble is, touch screen metaphors are encroaching on to desktop user interfaces, which I find confusing.

What would you prefer: Satellite-streamed cat GIFs – or a decent early warning of an asteroid apocalypse?

Man inna barrel

Re: Poor Countries?

This is story from quite a few years ago. A colleague in the Republic of Ireland relied on satellite internet, because he lives out in the sticks, where high speed wired connection would not be economic to implement. There must be many places in the world where the same economics apply.

I think the cost of space telescopes is due to come down considerably, due to reduced launching cost, which Elon Musk is helping.

Facebook apologizes to users, businesses for Apple’s monstrous efforts to protect its customers' privacy

Man inna barrel

Re: Facebook Tracking

This rather depends on whether dead people have rights. The organ recyclers are welcome to my bits and pieces after I am dead.

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

Man inna barrel

Re: Where's the IT content?

I had a need to grep my emails for some content I knew was there. The built in webmail search was not working. This text-level search would have been quite possible if the format were just HTML. But my BT Mail had to go further than that. All the HTML was base64 encoded. Aargh!

Man inna barrel

Re: "plain old ASCII text is a barrier to communications"

ASCII was meant as a universal communication medium. Look up the acronym. You have to consider that ASCII is an encoding convention, which assigns graphical symbols to byte numbers. Though ASCII contains a good deal of cruft, and is rather arbitrary in its selection of symbols, it is almost universally understood, which is why it is preferred for writing computer programmes, and so on.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

Man inna barrel

Re: Local 'languages'

Equating a genuine language with a written form is problematic. In China, there is a single written form, but many different spoken languages. The spoken languages are usually mutually incomprehensible, but written Chinese is a common means of communication, at least among the educated. The Chinese writing system has the advantage that it makes no attempt to represent spoken sounds, but represents concepts and ideas.

Man inna barrel

Re: Local 'languages'

Have you ever lived and worked in the Kingdom of Fife? As an Englishman, I felt I was in a foreign country. Even the Scots think Fifers are weird.

Physical locks are less hackable than digital locks, right? Maybe not: Boffins break in with a microphone

Man inna barrel

Re: WD40?

WD40 worked fine for me on a stiff barrel lock. I was concerned that eventually it would latch up altogether and lock me out. This happened to my neighbour across the corridor. The local locksmith drilled out the barrel. I don't think he could have picked that lock even if he knew how. My lock still has a noticeably more free action than it used to, so I think WD40 was the right stuff to use. The advantage of WD40 is that it penetrates the mechanism. There are limited routes for getting lubricant into a barrel lock.

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

Man inna barrel

Re: Obviously was not tested

I am seriously puzzled as to why an application update would need to go anywhere near user data, let alone delete chunks of it. Is the user data in the form of specialised Adobe files that needed "updating"? Was there some change in where user files are stored? I am speculating. I would like to know the real answer.

Whoa-o BlackBerry, bam-ba-lam: QWERTY phone had a child. 5G thing's newly styled

Man inna barrel

Touch screens drive me nuts. I am always hitting the wrong things. I have trouble with the touchpad on my laptop emitting unwanted clicks as I move around the screen. It screwed up some PCB CAD the other day.

Former HP CEO and Republican Meg Whitman – who split HP with mixed success – says Donald Trump can't run a business

Man inna barrel

Sounds a lot like the UK right now

We end up with a latin-quoting toff comedian as prime minister, with an incompetent cabinet of ministers, partly because the opposition under Jeremy Corbyn was ineffectual and unelectable. Maybe things will change with the new Labour leader, Keir Starmer. His sensible legalistic approach is a bit boring, but a breath of fresh air as far as I am concerned. A bit late to get into government though.

I do not really know much about Joe Biden, but I get the impression he represents the sensible end of Democrat politics, rather than being a sanctimonious lefty. The question is: do voters in the USA vote for good sense and honour? The evidence is to the contrary, otherwise someone like Donald Trump never have been considered as a president, let alone winning.

I should say that an uninformed electorate easily swayed by empty slogans is a long standing problem in democracy. It is not that people are stupid, but rather that they are often unsophisticated in politics, and they are up against a political machine that is very skilled and sophisticated.

Single-line software bug causes fledgling YAM cryptocurrency to implode just two days after launch

Man inna barrel

Re: YAM = ??

This reminds me of the South Sea Bubble (ca 1720). It was an early financial scam, which involved talking up share prices to ridiculous levels, without any solid business to invest in. They sucked in plenty of government money too. There was a business that tried to operate in S America, but was barely profitable, because Spain controlled trade in S America, and England was not friendly with Spain at the time.

Does this sound familiar in today's financial climate? I cannot understand so much money being piled into companies that show no signs of making a profit. It seems to happen a lot these days. Somebody makes money out of this kind of thing, but I doubt it is the small investors.

Man inna barrel

Re: Investment?

This "investment" in cryptocurrency has always struck me as silly. As for the bitcoin mining business requiring power stations to drive the computer networks, that is not just silly, it is damn near criminal. Why are we wasting power on this?

Bill Gates debunks 'coronavirus vaccine is my 5G mind control microchip implant' conspiracy theory

Man inna barrel

Re: Very good skeptoid podcast recently debunking this stuff

I am not surprised that there are many people that misunderstand radio technology. I do RF electronics and antenna design at work. My colleagues consider this deep voodoo. This is in a company chock full of mathematicians and other educated folks.

US restricts visas for folks working at Huawei and other Chinese tech makers – seemingly over China's human-rights abuses

Man inna barrel

The CCP scores a direct hit in the foot

I think the Chinese Communist Party are doing some serious foot shooting at present. I am still pretty sure that Huawei are not especially evil, because their headquarters are in China. I think there may be laws in China about Chinese companies being governed by whatever rules the CCP dreams up, and even a company with the stature of Huawei will have to bow to those rules, so this worries the security folks. But major companies based in so called liberal democracies are also subject to political influences, in exchange for a few billion quid.

I think it quite right though, that we stop buying cheap Chinese kit, because we do not like the politics of their government. This is just basic diplomacy, of the kind that does not need an army, or posh blokes shouting. Perhaps Huawei could relocate to Wolverhampton, then we can all get on with useful stuff.

One year ago, Apple promised breakthrough features to help iPhone, iPad, Mac owners with disabilities. It failed them

Man inna barrel

Voice control for the mute

I find all this very funny, because I am unable to speak, for medical reasons. My boss gave me a mobile phone when I was in hospital. This is quite useful to text messages to and fro. But when someone leaves a voice message, I am expected to say some magic words before I can access the message. I laughed, or rather, I wheezed in some rhythmical manner. If you are old enough, you may recall a cartoon series called Wacky Races. I am Muttley, for my sins. And I do not like dogs.

I recall an engineer friend who got a spiffy new mobile phone. He said he could call anybody on his contact list, just by saying their name. To demonstrate this wondrous feature, he tried to call his wife, whose name is June. "June..." Nothing happened. "JUNE...". Still no response. And then, at the top of his voice: "JUNE!!". This activity drew embarrassing attention to our party, so my friend resorted to prodding the screen, and let his wife know that he would be home shortly.

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