* Posts by BitGin

30 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2020

Web archive user's $14k BigQuery bill shock after running queries on 'free' dataset


Good point, the cloud is much cheaper. If he'd decided to build his own server to run a query on 2.5PB of data he'd have had to spend 60K on hard drives alone ;)

Fujitsu-backed FDK claims nickel zinc batteries ready for use in UPSes


Typical car batteries are "flooded" while typical ups batteries are some kind of sealed lead acid like AGM. AGM basically just has some fibreglass matting between the plates which probably makes them slightly harder to recycle. Can't imagine that making much difference overall though.

I'd guess the biggest environmental advantage is simply the longer lifespan and lighter weight means far less pollution is created by servicing or transporting them.

Of course the big question is the recycling. Lead acid may be far from perfect but as you say, the recycling of it is already a solved problem. Adding more and more different types of battery will likely just lead to less and less recycling and what recycling there is will have a higher environmental impact because of the need to sort the different types of battery.

Canonical shows how to use Snaps without the Snap Store


Re: So, is this wrong?

I think the answer is both yes and no.

As snapd is shipped in Ubuntu it's all tied to canonical so from the basic user's perspective who just wants to use software as it's supplied that statement is true.

OTOH if you're a distro or an enterprise user who wants full control over your snaps and you're prepared to do some work yourself then the statement is false.

The only part of the snap stack that isn't freely available is the backend to the snap store which (I presume) is mostly just the mechanism for maintainers to submit updated packages.

If mint wanted to they could build their own snap packages, host them on their own server and patch snapd to work with that. They can even mirror any snaps they don't want to build themselves from canonical's store.

The reason snaps (and other alternative packaging systems) exist is to solve problems that debs etc mostly hide from you. They're problems someone else is spending a lot of time and effort solving so you don't have to. When canonical moved chromium to snap they did it because it's very hard to build a deb of it and they were just using the Debian deb which was usually months out of date. Mint decided to put the effort in to build their own up to date deb instead. Good for them and all users but IIRC this meant they had to dedicate someone and several servers to just building updated chromium debs. Just typing "apt install chromium" is easy for you but only because of all the effort put in by someone else.

Canonical should probably have made the snap store a separate entity that had representation from multiple distros. They could have maintained defacto control by being the biggest contributor without all the pushback.

CAN do attitude: How thieves steal cars using network bus


Re: Why

Not really.

Your ignition timing is not safety critical. You might damage your engine or create more pollution than you otherwise would but you are unlikely to kill anyone. I'd also assume anyone with manual ignition timing would have a manual transmission so they already have a job to do that reminds them what speed they're doing.

Your headlights on the other hand...

If you are paying so little attention to your driving that you haven't noticed an oncoming vehicle that you need to dip your lights for or that it's dark and you can't see without turning your headlights on then you will eventually kill someone and shouldn't be on the road.

Do you honestly think that drivers are using all the "free time" this kind of automation gives them to worry about safety or to check text messages / watch Harry Potter movies?


Yeah but given all these lights are LEDs now those wires can be much smaller and cheaper.

Having separately wires also means you're much less likely to have a total failure leaving you with no lights at all.


Re: Why

If you're paying so little attention to your driving that you need your lights automated then you shouldn't be on the road.

Version 252 of systemd, as expected, locks down the Linux boot process


Re: we can dream

Either that or a few fairly critical bits of software made it a dependency which meant building a distro without it became very hard work as you suddenly had to maintain forks of those things.

Plus, it mostly works ok so from a practical point of view that's a lot of work for not much gain.

Weird Flex, but OK: Now you can officially turn these PCs, Macs into Chromebooks


They've got 3 years to get rid of some of those rough edges.

I'm sure there are lots of situations where you're better off with proper Linux but I'm also sure that assuming MS don't budge on Win11's hardware requirements there will be more "obsolete" computers available than there is demand for proper linux so there is potential for something like flex.

Whether Google can realise that potential is another matter.


No not like Mint. You need to know how to be a linux admin to manage Mint (or any other proper Linux distro) especially if you're talking about an organisation with lots of users who all need to authenticate against a central directory.

Do you seriously think a typical small, understaffed and underfunded IT department would automatically be willing or able to configure Mint to do that if its previous experience is Windows only?


Think about 2025, it's not far away and in theory every Windows PC predating an 8th gen Core or 2nd gen Ryzen (which must number in the hundreds of millions) goes to landfill when updates for Windows 10 end.

3 years to get some traction and polish behind Flex seems about right to me.

Proper Linux distros require a certain level of expertise to run, ChromeOS is going to be manageable for any IT department that can manage to install Windows and usable by any user who can click things in Chrome.

The question is whether they can round off some of those rough corners mentioned in the article and whether MS do something in response (like maybe a limited version of Windows 11 for older devices or simply turn a blind eye to people running 11 on unsupported hardware.)

Get over it: Microsoft is a Linux and open source company these days


Re: 'The Register purchased by Microsoft?'

Attempting to find journalistic balance through opinion pieces isn't really journalism, it's just clickbait.

A well thought out balance article about Microsoft and open source would be a nice read though. It could look at where MS have genuinely contributed to open source and Linux and where it appears to have just made some PR noise. Where it's being helpful and where it's being a hindrance.

Which of its products are truly cross platform and which appear to be but in reality are seriously hamstrung by missing features or Windows only dependencies. EG how useful is Teams without desktop office or onedrive, how useful is powershell if most of the modules you might want to use are Windows only?

Do MS really love Linux or are they just doing everything they can to keep Windows relevant in a world where everything is moving to the Cloud and the Cloud runs on open source and Linux.

British motorists will be allowed to watch TV in self-driving vehicles


Re: Too early.

"failure just means even better batteries to reuse or recycle."

Erm??? EV Myth alert.

Nope there is currently basically no recycling of lithium batteries at the moment. Maybe there will be in a few years time but then there are lots of things we've been promised in "a few years time".

And if you'd be happy with a massive stack of slightly crash-damaged lithium batteries being reused in your house as a powerwall then I hope you never forget to change the battery in your smoke alarm and are a light sleeper.

As it happens I don't have a problem with EVs in general. What I do have a problem with is the is the ever growing size, weight and complexity of modern cars. Cars should be transport not a massive 2-3 tone pile of electronics that will all be obsolete in 3-4 years.

Which do you think will have a longer lifespan, an EV with manual controls or a self driving EV?

Personally I don't see a reason for a manually driven EV with a minimum of BS gadgets not to last for decades (with the odd battery replacement but otherwise fairly minimal maintenance) while I can't see a FSD car lasting much longer than the lease agreement.


Re: Too early.

I'm not convinced.

I'm pretty sure your 17W laptop isn't powerful enough to do all the processing needed for a full self driving car and doesn't have any the peripherals needed for FSD.

Lidar, multiple camera, radar etc all have a power draw as do all servos and actuators needed to turn the steering etc.

I'm also suspicious that FSD vehicles will have a much shorter lifespan than human driven cars given all the extra complexity in both the hardware and software. It's already not that uncommon to see 5-10 year old cars written off after minor accidents because of the cost of replacing the parking sensors in the bumpers. I can only see cars with all the sensors needed for FSD being much worse in this respect. This is compounded by EVs needing to have longer lifespans to offset their increased pollution during production.

Happy birthday, Windows Vista: Troubled teen hits 15


512MB ram minimum memory requirement

Claimed by MS was the biggest defect with Vista. So many people brought brand new machines with only 512MB and vista and discovered what a terrible combination that was.

Yes it would boot up eventually, yes it would open a document eventually but "eventually" is not why you buy a new PC.

DIY Sinclair clones: Left it too late to back the Next? Build your own instead


I'm still waiting for

The 1MB ram upgrade for my Sam Coupé to come back into stock.


I'm still waiting for...

The 1MB ram upgrade for my Sam Coupé trip come back into stock.

System at the heart of scaled-back £30m Sheffield University project runs on end-of-life Oracle database


Re: idiots

In fairness to the universities... many of those unnecessary shiny new buildings are paid for by specific funding (donations or grants that can only be used for that shiny new building).

Most universities would like to spend money on things like keeping the rain out of their existing buildings or upgrading ancient software but everybody donating money to these places wants their name on a plaque on the front of a swanky new building where everyone can see it and not in a filing cabinet on a receipt for an upgrade license from Oracle (possibly behind a door marked "beware of the leopard").

Maybe they could try moving their datacentre into each new building they put up so they can claim all those IT upgrades are part of the budget for the new building rather than maintenance?

Product release cycles are killing the environment, techies tell British Computer Society


Re: Complete waste of time.

Extended software support

Our devices contain components with a certain lifetime. It would be dangerous to extend software support because of the risk of fire.

Using 3rd party parts and or service engineers is dangerous as we cannot guarantee the quality of the parts or instillation. Poor quality parts or installation is a serious fire risk.

3rd party service engineers present a serious risk to children's personal data as paedophiles may download their photos while servicing their phones. Just think of the children!

Etc etc

Not saying i agree with it but this is what will happen. Iirc this has happened to cars in Europe where it's technically illegal (or at least will be if the rule ever gets implemented) not to use original branded spares when you do repairs because it's clearly not safe to use an unbranded part from the same factory.

Thales launches payment card with onboard fingerprint scanner


given the number

of phones in use without security updates, is it really such a good idea to use them to authenticate transactions like this?

Mobile malware may not have been a serious problem so far but that doesn't mean it never will be.

Also, is it reasonable to demand that everyone has to own a mobile phone to be able to pay for stuff? Sure banks could make having the 2fa on a mobile an option but that isn't the way they tend to operate.

The Wight stuff: Marconi and the island, when working remotely on wireless comms meant something very different


The hovercraft trip to Ryde is some much fun it inspired the Beatles to write their famous song just about buying the ticket.

Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'



But don't expect users who aren't interested in all that bollox to fund you while you do it by automatically doubling their annual fee by increasing their storage quota when they aren't even close to needing it.

Also, maybe, if you must come up with bollox, maker sure it's useful bollox that people want... Instead of a web browser in a file syncing app. We already have plenty of web browsers.

Ubiquiti iniquity: Wi-Fi box slinger warns hackers may have peeked at customers' personal information


If you're prepared to run cables for backhaul you can use mikrotik and their "CAPsMAN" system. I'm pretty sure it does count as ridiculously overcomplicated but the APs start from about £20 so it is cheap.

Or you can just buy a bunch of powerline ethernet adaptors and a bunch of cheap standalone access points and build your own. Just set all the APs to use the same ssid, wpa psk but different channels and your devices should automatically hop between them as you move around the house.

The only real advantage to something that calls itself a mesh network is that it has that backhaul stuff built in, you have a single management console so changing your psk / ssid is a lot easier and you might get some help picking the channels for the various APs. Some mesh stuff helps move devices between APs but not all and I'm not convinced it's that important on a home network.

Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1


I'm curious, how is snap not open?

Everything is opensource except Canonical's snap store which you can bypass entirely by just downloading the snaps and side loading or you can just build your own snap store using apache. There's a 1 page blog post on ubuntu.com that details the whole thing.

You can examine the yaml file that builds each snap and you can open each snap and examine all the files inside it to see exactly what it does.

Assuming you're mainly complaining about Chromium being snap only... The reasons seem reasonable to me:

- The Debian packaged version of chromium is usually weeks to months out of date with security patches so it's a bit of a non starter.

- It takes significant effort to build it as a deb to the point that it almost looks like Google would prefer you to use Chrome. Mint have had to buy a bunch of extra servers to build it and at least one human to keep it building.

- It's very easy to build it as a snap and allows ubuntu to have a fully up to date chromuim with pretty much no cost to them. This is because the dependencies for chromium are a bit complicated and complicated dependencies are one of the things that snaps are intended to deal with.

- Chromium was not the main browser on ubuntu and if they have it in the repos they have to maintain it for the life of the release (potentially 10 years for the commercial support customers) which makes it a pain in the neck.

I'm not claiming snaps are the be-all-and-end-all but if you're going to criticise them pick something that is a genuine problem with them like their slow load times or lack of control over updates, the mess they make of the output of "df", etc.

Pure frustration: What happens when someone uses your email address to sign up for PayPal, car hire, doctors, security systems and more


>> Hmm, if BobSmith@gmail, is receiving emails for Bob.Smith@gmail..... is Bob.Smith@gmail receiving

>> emails for BobSmith@gmail??

No, BobSmith@gmail wouldn't have been allowed to create an account with that address as it's already taken by Bob.Smith@gmail. He probably tried but got told he could only have bobsmith8729@gmail. However he has bobsmith@workdomain and got confused entering his gmail address.

Ubuntu 20.10 goes full Raspberry Pi, from desktop to micro clouds: Full fat desktop on a Pi is usable


Re: But snap... ?

snap refresh

But you're not really meant to run it manually. It runs automatically when it wants to with no way to control it yourself (probably my biggest bugbear with snaps)

That assumes you installed from the snap store. If you side loaded a snap that you downloaded manually from some website then you will have to manually update that yourself.


Re: But snap... ?


It's sandbox stuff not file permission stuff (well technically some file permission stuff is used in the background).

From the cli you use the snap command to change them.


Here's US Homeland Security collaring a suspected arsonist after asking Google for the IP addresses of folks who made a specific search


Re: Stupid Gets Caught

Pretty sure that "carrier grade" nat would allow them to go beyond that router to the actual device, hence the "carrier grade" bit.

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets


Is anyone prepared to defend Excel for...

hitting its limit on the number of rows and then failing silently?

Seems like the most basic thing a bit of software can do is warn the user when it hits a hard limit like this.

Venerable text editor GNU Nano reaches version 5.0 and adds the modern frippery that is scrollbars



No function keys is getting more common in 2020 rather than less so.

OK that's mostly laptops with the function keys locked into being media controls and you can usually change it but it does make some of the keyboard twister key combo presses even worse if you've got to add a "fn" key into the mix.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea


Re: Training data?

How to get images of guaranteed non criminals?

Easy, just use baby photos. What could go wrong?