* Posts by UCAP

104 posts • joined 1 Jul 2020


43 years and 14 billion miles later, Voyager 1 still crunching data to reveal secrets of the interstellar medium


Re: Often overlooked

... a bit early in the day to start correcting it...

I think you mean that its a bit too late. The vast invasion fleet is already on its way (that is until it gets swallowed by small dog - scale is a bugger sometimes).



The probes that just keep on giving, decades after any reasonable person would have assumed that they had died.


Re: I like to think

One of the Star Trek films ("The Search for Spock" I think) started with a Klingon Bird of Prey destroying an old probe that looks remarkably like Voyager. Also in the original Star Trek film, V'ger was a Voyager-class probe that had been massively upgraded by an alien civilisation (you caught a glimpse of the probe hidden in the core of the vat V'ger structure).

Where meetings go to die: Microsoft Teams outage lets customers skip that collaboration call they've been dreading


Screwed up one of my meetings this afternoon ...

... but the silver lining in that cloud is that I managed to get some real work done.

UK Court of Appeal rules Tiny Computers' legal remains can sue Micron and Infineon over 2002 DRAM price-fixing cartel


First PC ...

... was a Tiny - pretty solid as well for its time (late 1990's) and got good use from it for several years before I started to build my own.

Sucks to be you, any aliens living anywhere near Proxima Centauri's record-smashing solar flare


Re: Proxima Centauri is a glimpse of our own future

Larry Niven also looked at it in A World Out of Time

On a dusty red planet almost 290 million km away... NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flies


Re: Well done!

Ingenuity is a tech demo aimed at proving that it is possible to build a drone that can fly on Mars. Basically it has proved that now, so NASA could move on. As it happens they want to try some additional flights with longer flight distances, perhaps as far as a couple of hundred metres, but sadly are not planning to use Ingenuity beyond the 30 day limit. It only carries a couple of fixed-direction cameras; no other science payload at all, so it has limited utility.

Saying that, if it is still health after 30 days and the batteries have enough capacity, it would not surprise me if someone in NASA decided to use it as some form of scout, at least until it finally failed.


Re: Well done!

I would also like to echo the congratulations. Remember, it only took 40 years to go from the Wright brothers to jet engines, so who knows what will be flying across Mars (and the other planets) in 40 years time.

We're on our way already: Astroboffins find 5 potentially habitable Tatooine-like systems from Kepler 'scope


As I was reading this article the image of Luke Skywalker standing looking at the twin suns of Tatooine setting in the evening came to mind, as did the haunting music that accompanied that scene.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine


Re: Not Me But.......

.. or possibly too clever to actually think about the problem.

Yep, the 'Who owns Linux?' case is back from the dead


My favorite screw-up

The kernel memory allocator - kmalloc(). SCO presented it as the grand example of copying from Unix; they did not realise that (a) the code they were presenting came from BSD Unix, and hence could be freely used in Linux if they wanted, and (b) it had been replaced in by a more efficient implementation some time before.


Follow the money

Last time round Microsoft was caught red-handed pass wodges of used fivers to SCO via intermediate cut-out organisations who turned out not to be so cut-out as Balmer thought. I cannot see the Microsoft of now repeating that mistake** given that they have adopted Linux with open claws (and been accepted by the Linux community, albeit with the odd hesitation), so the real question is - who is funding this trip into a legal Wonderland? If we can answer that we might get a clue what this is really about.

** Did I really say that?

IBM, Red Hat face copyright, antitrust lawsuit from SCO Group successor Xinuos


Re: Ah shit ...

I tend to refer to these situations as a "Pot of Petunias" moment. Its surprising how many people I don't have to explain it to!

Vegas, baby! A Register reader gambles his software will beat the manual system


Re: Reminds me...

When I first saw this comment, I read it is "we offered to pre-punch one of our customers". Given what I am currently doing for a customer, you would have had my sympathies.

Dammit, much too early in the week!

Microsoft fixes the thing it broke via another dose of out-of-band patching to deal with BSOD printing problems


I live in hope ...

... that I will survive long enough to see a straight 12 months with Microsoft screwing up systems by a poorly thought out or inadequately tested patch.

Four women, including TV star, thought they were investing in a software business. It was a scam. Now the perp's going to jail


Re: Idiots

Just about anything and anyone is one up on John McAfee.

GitLab latest to ditch 'master' as default initial branch name: It's now simply called 'main'


I wonder if universities are going to change the name of Master's degrees (e.g. MSc), and if so what to?

Boeing successfully flies unmanned autonomous military 'wingman' aircraft that may become pilot's buddy


Re: Flying tonite!

The *service* life may be 50 years, but the *technological* life is probably closer to 10-15 years without some form of significant upgrade.

NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video


A truly amazing video, and the glimpse of the descent carrier just before it flies away is amazing! Thanks to NASA for adding these cameras to the mission payload.

Forget GameStop: Keyboard warriors and electronic trading have never mixed well


Otherwise referred to as the OhSh*t second, although that also includes the shortest measurable time unit (i.e. the between you pressing the button and everything starting to collapse in the heap).

UK watchdog fines two firms £270k for cold-calling 531,000 people who had opted out


Re: Spoofing unused codes

UK numbers are exactly 11 digits (except for a very few places that aren't...)

Proof of that statement is my home phone number - 10 digits including the STD code.

Not surprisingly, I cannot call that number from some countries (e.g. the US) since their exchanges have not been configured to support these odd numbers. Surprisingly, some UK exchanges (Swansea I know is an example) also cannot dial the number!

Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows


I feel for "Aapt"'s pain

I did something fairly similar once on a Sun 3 workstation (which really dates this event for those in the know) running SunOS. We had an considerable accumulation of files in /tmp that where starting to cause issues (SunOS insited on putting /tmp on a separate partition that never seemed to be large enough), so one morning, nice and early before anyone started work, I decided to have a clean up. Having logged in as root, I then entered the dread command "rm -rf / tmp/*" - yes I had accidentality inserted a space after the first slash.

A rapid control-c proved futile - too much was gone. I had just enough left to perform a backup of the important files, then spent the next couple of hours reinstalling the OS from tape.

Lesson learnt the hard way.

Voyager 2 receives and executes first command in 11 months as sole antenna that reaches it returns to work


Re: It's a different world

Probably a good thing, given how frequently nuclear-powered widgets went badly wrong in Thunderbirds (the original series that is).

Brit IBM veteran wins unfair dismissal case after 2018's Global Technology Services redundancy bloodbath


IBM don't care about its employees. IBM doesn't care about its customers. All IBM cares about is profit

And how does that make IBM different from any other large multi-national company?

Apple slapped with €60m lawsuit from Italian consumer rights org for slowing down CPUs in old iPhones


We have never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades

Pull the other one, it has bells on it!

Two clichés, one headline: 'No good deed goes unpunished' and 'It's always DNS'


Re: Been there, done that

Would probably have been more satisfactory to have let the complaint go right to the top of the chain (preferably to the CEO), then produce the audit trail with the proof. That way some of the fallout is going to hit the PA who appears to deserve it.

International Space Station scores powerup with solar panels that 'roll out like a tape measure'


Get to the back of queue please - its about 3 miles down the road

Facebook appeals ruling that it stole tech. So, Italian judge issues new judgment: Pay 10 times the original fine


Sometimes ...

... appealing a judgement is not such a good idea.

This is also a mild slap on the wrist for the original judge; it seems clear that the appeals court was thought that the fine was much too lenient, hence its <sarcasm>slight</sarcasm> increase.

Don't give up on Planet Nine yet: Hubble 'scope finds just such a world a mere 336 light-years away


Re: Was I the only one...

Jovian planets can generate a lot of heat. Jupiter emits significantly more energy than it receives from the some; this is powered by the planet's contraction (as I recall, it's diameter shrinks by about 1 cm per century). Certainly a Jovian or super-Jovian planet in the sort of a highly distant orbit proposed for Planet 9 would probably have the same characteristics and should stand out to a good IR telescope, if only we knew in which direction to point it!

Chuck Yeager, sound barrier pioneer pilot, dies at 97


if Chuck had been born maybe 20 years later, it is almost certain that instead of breaking the sound barrier he would have been strapping himself in at the top of a rocket bound for orbit. He definitely has The Right Stuff in spades! RIP to an exceptionally brave yet modest man.

UK infoseccer launches petition asking government not to backdoor encryption


Re: It's easy

GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 all know where their skeletons in the closet are buried (sorry - mixing metaphors a bit). They won't do anything that the security forces don't want them to do.


Re: I have signed it

I've signed it.

It's always DNS, especially when a sysadmin makes a hash of their semicolons


Re: Back in the day? Still!

Also a nice demonstration to PHBs why they should never make major changes to an existing system just because "I think its a good idea" - every time I have heard those words, a catastrophe has always followed.

Saying that, I've had CYA strategies in place for decades now, and had to use them. One strategy is to keep an absolutely straight face during the inevitable blame-fest and shouting match.

YouTube is going to splash adverts all over your videos, and won't pay creators unless there's a big enough audience


Re: Not the advertisers backsides feeling the heat

I suspect that insert ads into someone's content without their explicit permission (and Youtube's T&Cs are not explicit permission in many jurisdictions) is probably going to subject Youtube to numerous actions for breach of copyright. Basically they are changing someone's content without their permission. Could get very expensive for Youtube, and open the doors to a competitor!

Reports of one's death have been greatly exaggerated: French radio station splurges obituary bank over interwebs


Re: Better later than sooner for the aforementioned people

Clicked the link and just got this one: "Operators killed when huge stack of backup tapes fell over". Seems appropriate somehow.

Solving a big, yellow IT problem: If it's not wearing hi-vis, I don't trust it


Had a similar problem once

Working at a company that made flight simulators when I was an undergrad on a year's placement. I was helping them develop some data entry and processing systems running on a Commodore PET 800 series (it was that long ago). Anyway we would normally leave the machine to run overnight because the volume of data it needed to process was too large to work through during a single 9-5 day. The problem we had is we would come into the office in the morning and find the PET locked-up and frozen, requiring a power-cycle to get it working again.

Took us the best part of a month before we realised that the neighbouring company was a medium/heavy engineering company, and were operating a drop hammer in the night - the power spikes that was putting on the mains was then screwing our systems up.

A UPS put on the mains used by the PET solved that problem.

Swiss spies knew about Crypto AG compromise – and kept it from govt overseers for nearly 30 years


Many years ago ...

... I was a part of a development team who were building (at a colossal cost) a SATCOM network for customer who I had better not name. Since they were not a part of NATO they had no access to UK/US military-grade cryptos, so elected to use high-grade crypto devices from CryptoAG. I am now wondering just what they are thinking now knowing that their supposedly secure network is an open book to both the CIA and BUD - bet they are definitely not happy bunnies at the moment.

No, your software ideas aren't copyrightable, US judge tells SAS amid its long-running feud with Brit outfit


Re: SAS cannot copyright the ideas

No, you are clearly think of Oracle


Re: Gilstrap Made this Ruling?

He's probably saving himself the embarrassment of making a ruling in favour of SAS, only to see it ignored by the UK courts. Has happened before with other judges, and they don't like it (its seen as a big black mark against them).

Either that or SAS's legal eagles submitted such idiot arguments that they failed to get over Gilstrap's normally low bar.

Apple on the hook for another $503m in decade-long VirnetX patent rip-off legal marathon


Re: Sounds like the US needs a law against vexatious litigation

Its actually quite difficult to declared a vexatious litigant; the UK courts really do not like restricting people's access to them. You have to have seriously pissed off the judges on multiple occasions, and completely ignored the judicial warnings that they will have sent, before you end up on the Bad Boys list.

SiFive inches closer to offering a true RISC-V PC: Latest five-core dev board includes PCIe, SSD interfaces


Not really. Spectre type attacks use a fundamental flaw in the processor design related to speculative execution. RISC processors typically utilise similar speculative execution approaches, so in principal could be vulnerable to the same attack vectors. It all depends on whether the designers of the chips have addressed this issue and implemented a mitigation strategy into the silicon.

Brit startup would like to beam 5G connectivity down at you from hydrogen-fuelled drones


Delicate structures

the delicate lightweight structures which give them such long endurance are very poorly suited for coping with winds and turbulence below their ~65,000ft operating height

I was involved (somewhat peripherally) with trials on a HAPS platform (now, like so many, cancelled). The flight trials had to be cancelled since they could not risk getting the HAPS out of the hanger - the gusting up to 4 mph, and the HAPS could not handle more than 2 mph (I kid you not).

These things are incredibly light and very fragile. The platform I was involved could, in theory, be lifter by one person, but had such a huge wingspan that two people were normally used to life it to stop the wings tilting over and crashing on the ground.

NASA trying to stuff excess baggage into OSIRIS-REx after too-successful asteroid scoop


Re: Why only 2 oz ?

It would make for a more complicated mission profile, which in turn would push up the costs enormously, as well as making the mass budget for the mission a whole lot more complicated.

For example, it took NASA months to plan out this single sample collection. Adding additional samples would extend the planning process much longer, and would mean that the spacecraft would have to reposition itself and change its orbital profile a lot more. This would require a lot more fuel, and pushes the mission risk up significantly.

Another example, in order to take multiple samples, the spacecraft would have to be fitted with multiple collector heads to ensure that sample cross-contamination does not occur. In addition the return capsule would have to be made larger to accommodate all of the samples which in turn would mean a larger landing system (i.e. bigger parachutes).

Ed Snowden doesn’t need to worry about being turfed out of Russia any more


Re: If he needs a place to stay...

Only 30 years? I was under the impression that Uncle Sam was thinking along the lines of 300.

FYI: NASA appears to have scooped dirt from an asteroid 200 million miles away and plans to bring it back home


Re: To boldly go where Japan has been ten years ago?

Different asteroid, with a very different composition. The more samples we get, the better the chance of actually understanding the science.

Will there be no end to govt attempts to break encryption? Hand over your data or the kiddies get it, threaten Five Eyes spies


Re: Futility

More likely we'll see legal challenges and fines by Australia to force companies like Facebook to tow the line

At which point Facebook and anyone else the Australian government fines for not doing the impossible will probably remove any and all corporate presence from Australia and subsequently ignore them. Alternatively they'll simply withdraw their service, sit back and wait for the screams of outrage.

Years after we detected two neutron stars crashing into each other, we're still picking up X-rays. We don't know why


Re: "the emissions are 100 billion times brighter than those from the Sun"

Yes, they did get an optical counter-part - it was called a "kilo-nova" (like a supernova but much, much smaller). It was visible for about 3 weeks before it faded, and was observed using every telescope they could beg/borrow/steam observing time for, and in just about every spectrum they could utilise.

Former antivirus baron John McAfee collared, faces extradition to America on tax evasion, securities allegations


Re: is he still a US citizen ?

I guess the real question is - would any other country give McAfee citizenship? Most countries (at least those I've looked at) seem to require you to have settled in the country for several years before you are allowed to apply for citizenship. They often also have a requirement that you are "of good character". Both criteria might be a bit tricky for McAfee to satisfy.

Red Hat tips its Fedora 33: Beta release introduces Btrfs as default file system, .NET on ARM64, plus an IoT variant


CentOS is not a Redhat distribution

Red Hat has three main Linux distributions – Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and CentOS

Unfortunately this is not completely correct. CentOS is built from Redhat source using a Redgat toolchain (again built from source), but it is not supported by Redhat in any way. In fact the CentOS maintainers have to ensure that all references to Redhat are removed from the documents, user interfaces and package names; they do this because Redhat set the lawyers on them once and threatened to sue them.



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