* Posts by jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid

153 posts • joined 24 Aug 2020


If you're Intel, self-driving cars look an awful lot like PCs

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

I don't see how this is going to be very different to today. All cars must meet a minimum standard defined by the regulations, such as crash safety, lighting, performance (the UK MOT test checks this) etc. And if you pay more, you get more: better brakes, better lights, more airbags and so on.

If cars become more like PCs, then I just hope it doesn't mean my car will need continual hardware updates and memory increases to carry on working whenever I install a now OS, I mean, whenever I drive along a new road.

Edge computing has a bright future, even if nobody's sure quite what that looks like

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: What's old is new again

Recycling (reusing?) has to be the way forward. In English, we've only got 456,976 possible four letter acronyms available.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: I'm sorry, where's the difference ?

I think the plane use case has the planes not needing to talk to each other with low latency whereas 5G devices do. The planes' data is mostly just telemetry that doesn't need constantly adapting real time networks to ride on. Most of it can be stored on board and exfiltrated in bulk later.

I suppose you could give the planes an autonomous 5G style networking capability, somehow have point to point comms between all the planes currently over, say, the Atlantic. But why? Also, how?

We're all at sea: Navigation Royal Navy style – with plenty of IT but no GPS

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: "two main reasons why the Royal Navy no longer uses [paper charts]"

When they say " everything", they mean all primary and backup methods of navigation, of which there are several, including using paper charts.

Using paper charts as the primary full operational navigation capability in all conditions is the thing that isn't done anymore.

And if you do ever lose "everything", you'll still know where you were when that happened and the ship won't instantaneously jump somewhere without you knowing it. Also, there comes a point where knowing where you are becomes a lower priority to certain other things, depending on where you are what your are doing at the time.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Reg units need not apply

I once worked in a wood work factory when we did a manual stock take. Timber lengths were in metres, cross sections were in inches and volumes were cubic feet.

Boffins say Martian colonists could pee in buckets, give blood if they want shelter

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Where do you get the water for the blood?

Good point, but I don't think this process is using human beings as an alternative source of water. Rather, human beings as a machine to make the chemicals to bind the marscrete together.

Electron-to-joule conversion formulae? Cute. Welcome to the school of hard knocks

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Drivers

Plenty of support companies can handle hush hush. Who do you think builds the military systems in the first place?

Tech widens the educational divide. And I should know – I'm a teacher in a pandemic

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Re: Maybe I'm just stupid

Shouldn't they wait until both arguments are made before opening the polls?

With a Lidl bit of luck, this Windows installation will make it through the night

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: "a system was placed last winter"

I have some sympathy. My windows 10 laptop has thrown this screen up a few times after I Installed it last year. There's never anything on the screen of options that I want to do, despite the OS thinking there's still stuff it thinks I should do. As far as I'm concerned, it's nagware.

Rather than "I haven't finished the job" I view it as the OS just being needy and wanting attention.

Report details how Airbus pilots saved the day when all three flight computers failed on landing

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Threshold?

That seems like a long way, but not in comparison to the overall runway length, which is about 8,500ft. That 1,500 feet is a safety margin. Keep in mind the angle at which the aircraft is descending and that 1,500 can disappear quite quickly.

In space, no one can hear cyber security professionals scream

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Obscurity

Reminds me of something told to me by someone who really should have known better: They said that geo stationary satellites were immune to jamming from the ground because they were "too far away to be jammed".

Pi calculated to '62.8 trillion digits' with a pair of 32-core AMD Epyc chips, 1TB RAM, 510TB disk space

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Sorry to disappoint

You can prove that the sequence s=1+1/2+1/4+... equals 2 with some simple algebra.

If s=1+1/2+1/4+... then s/2=1/2+1/4+1/8+...

s=s/2+1, rearrange for s.

Please do not touch the exhibits – or this tabletop Windows Boot Manager

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

"This is why you take the handbrake off when you expect to park for more than a couple of days. Chock the wheels, leave it in gear. If nothing else, it stops the pads fusing with the discs."

This happened to me. I was away for about 6 weeks, other half didn't want to drive my old banger while I was away, so it sat on the drive all that time (the car, not my other half!). While I was away I sorted out a new car I was buying. Dealer wasn't interested in trading in my banger and I couldn't sell it, so my plan was to get home and next day drive it to the scrap yard just a few streets from where I would pick up my new shiny car.

Got in the banger, rear brakes had seized. Drove it up and down the driveway a few times with the rear wheels locked then bang, they were free! Didn't seem right though so I jacked it up, took the rear wheels off and had a look. The brake lining was still stuck to the drums, and had come away from the shoes! Couldn't drive it, so got on the push bike, rode 10 miles to get some new brakes, fitted them then drove the car to the scrap yard to collect my scrap money and pick up the new car. Told the scrap yard it had brand new rear brakes, they weren't interested. The scrap money was slightly more than I had just spent on the new brakes!

COVID-19 cases surge as do sales of fake vaccination cards – around $100 for something you could get free

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Hmm

"There seems a fascination with cases when its the deaths/hospitalised count that really matters."

True, but case numbers are the early indicator of hospitalisations, which in turn are the early indicator of deaths. Now that the vaccines are working in the general public, the strength of that early indication has reduced, but we still focus on cases because as of now, it's still the only early indicator we have.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Easy to copy

So, I just checked and according to coronacheck.nl, when someone scans your qr code, as well as the vaccination status, they also see enough personal details to do an on the spot id check. So if people in the Netherlands were successfully copying their codes for others to use, and that was working, then it's the inspectors not doing their job.

As so often, security undone by human error/laziness/genius etc.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Easy to copy

"I suspect there's a negative correlation between being an anti-vaxxer and being even half competent"

Maybe, but it'll be the competent fraudsters making the money on selling them.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Easy to copy

" people were just screenshotting their QR code from their phone and sharing it..."

WTF? How the heck can that work?!? Surely it should have some additional factor of identity check with it? In the UK as I understand it, the vaccine QR codes can be scanned and they link to a UK GOV website that confirms the code as genuine. Surely it should also have the person's name with it?

*Recognising that any statement starting with " surely it should..." usually means "it doesn't..."

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: A long way still to go

"Any reason you used the world in data site, and not the WHO?"

Our world in data do a really good of job of clearly presenting information - something that a time-pressed journalist would appreciate I imagine. They also do a lot of fact checking on it.

As for their source? For vaccine data they cite either the actual country's official data (which will also be going to the WHO, so same data) or for some nations they cite ... the WHO. So it's basically data from the same sources.


Paperless office? 2.8 trillion pages printed in 2020, down by 14% or 450 billion sheets

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Re: Home schooling

"We had to print a lot of worksheets while home schooling the children. Using a tablet is no substitute for writing, drawing and colouring on paper for early primary school age children."

Same here, several sheets per day for several months. Could have been the same number of worksheets that the child would have had if they were in school, in which case the printing was simply transferred from school to home.

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, professor warns

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Re: Don't use your iPhone in church

Surely you won't actually get prosecuted in cases like that: As soon as the photos are shown in a court to be innocent, the case will be dropped.

But what worries me is that the route to that absolution will horrible for anyone falsely accused. Police will be knocking on your door at strange times, you and your family's computers will be seized, your employer won't trust you anymore and when your identity inevitably gets leaked, the local paediatrician* haters will be smashing your windows every night for months while the slow gears of the law grind away.

For things like this, I'm normally of the "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" mindset. But as soon as I read that Apple will be using AI to find incriminating evidence, I worry. Unless they have real humans very early on in the image identification process, the false positives that the AI will inevitably throw up could cause a lot of hassle - the sort of hassle that can never be undone.


Right to repair shouldn't exist – not because it's wrong but because it's so obviously right

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: "Right to repair" could be a legal quagmire

In light of forcing manufacturers to make things easy to repair, as usual, the late great Douglas Adams was ahead of his time.

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair"

He described how manufacturers were forced to include that text somewhere on every single component, no matter how small, because it wasn't the customer's attention this was being brought to, but the manufacturer's:

I've got a broken combine harvester – but the manufacturer won't give me the software key

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Farming since the 70s

I think farming has changed a lot in the last 50 years, in the UK anyway. GPS is used to track the vehicle location in the field and coordinate with the seed drill to make sure the seed is planted at the right density to maximise the yield. The seed drill will have all sorts of sensors monitoring and controlling the seed flow rate as well, along with keeping the tractor on the straight and narrow to avoid gaps between the drills. This allows you to leave a special lane clear at regular intervals, to match the wheels of the later vehicles that will drive the fields maintaining the plants without wastefully destroying crops. It's all more consistent than relying on a single user's skill, and it's all in the interest of maximising yields in an industry where margins are already tiny.

UK's National Museum of Computing asks tunesmiths to recreate bleeps, bloops, and parps of retro game music

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Re: Miles ahead of the ZX81 too

I'm sure I can remember a game on the ZX81 that had sound. Strictly, the ZX81 didn't have any sound, turning up the volume on the TV just gave you white noise.

The ZX81 had a "fast" mode which simply turned off the video update. Switching between the modes created a blip in the white noise. I think it was a 3D maze game that rapidly switched modes in machine code, giving differently pitched fart noises from the TV.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Setup cartridges......

"I have used 3rd party cartridges over the years with minimal issues. For my Canon the 3rd party cost less than 20% of the genuine ones. Mine nags they are non-genuine when you put them but after that all is good"

My canon does the same with the non genuine cartridges, but absolutely refuses to use the non-genuine cartridges from my old canon printer- that are identical other than the identifying chip. Annoying as when my old canon printer died I bought another hoping that the box of cartridges I already had wouldn't be wasted. Got round it by swapping the chip from the empty cartridge to the full one whenever I change them. The printer just thinks it's empty but luckily lets me continue printing.

Tomorrow's wireless world will be fatter, faster, and creepier

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Are THZ frequencies for use by Wi-fi or 6g or 7g cellular phones safe?

Relax, it's not about frequency, it's about the power - that's what determines damage to living tissue. And despite the industry only relatively recently developing THz technology for industrial or consumer use, knowledge of the radiation in those bands has existed for decades. This is how safe radiation limits have been set by various health and safety organisations around the world, for decades now.

Ok, so you can't just conpletely disregard frequency. There are some frequencies that, say cause water molecules to vibrate and heat up, causing severe tissue damage if exposed to high enough power. This is how a domestic microwave oven works - on exactly the same frequency as WiFi, but at very different powers. This is why a microwave oven can burn meat, but a WiFi router can't, even though they are on the same frequency.

The sort of powers used for mobile Comms like WiFi are easy below the levels that will cause damage to living tissue. Big transmitters like TV towers, airport radars or telephone towers can cause harm, but only if you are really close. There will always be a safe radiation distance around such transmitters, which doesn't need to be very much, even for high power transmitters.

Our Friends Electric: A pair of alternative options for getting around town

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Driving in another country doesn't bother me much, lots of people do that with normal cars. What bothers me is the car being driven remotely. I presume it'll be controlled over the phone network, so what happens when coverage drops or even suffers just a second or so of latency? It's going to need a high bandwidth link back to the operator for them to maintain road awareness all round them.

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

Here's a sobering thought: lockdown 2 was called in November mainly because of the high number of people going into hospitals. On the 31st October, when that lockdown was announced, 1456 people were admitted to UK hospitals with covid. Yesterday, it was 742 - we're already halfway to that same rate of hospital admissions.

Granted, positive cases are currently a lot higher than in November, meaning the rate of hospitalisations per case is a lot lower now than then, which is good. Go vaccines!

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: We're all health experts now

Quite right! We are English and our ability as a nation to ignore common sense and repeatedly punch ourselves in the nuts is our right!

To be fair, I don't think that's uniquely English. Hooliganism, political hypocrisy, conspiracy theory idiocy, environmental lunacy and various other methods of social self destruction are seen all over the world.

Power to the people? You'd be mad to trust us with it!

Cyberlaw experts: Take back control. No, we're not talking about Brexit. It's Automated Lane Keeping Systems

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: And it is not always the car's fault

Seconded! I know that exact bit of road and I agree, the lane markings are impossible to distinguish from the painted over one at times. All you can do is follow the car in front and how they're getting it right.

On that same bit of road, when they started the road works years ago they imposed a 50mph limit. It was enforced with average speed cameras so you couldn't speed up then slow down for the camera. Result was that my commute became quicker and less stressful because all the lanes were all going the same speed, no swerving across the lanes, no sudden braking, just steady, constant motion. And this is what autonomous cars could bring n first instance, where they can all travel together at the same speed smoothing out the journey.

Trouts on a plane: Utah drops fish into lakes from aircraft and circa 95% survive

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Inaccessible lakes in its mountainous regions

"Objection to angling is a minor diversion from the utter destruction caused by the sea fishing industry."

Objection to the sea fishing industry is a minor diversion from the utter destruction caused by the human race overall.

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

It's the same with politics. I assume that most people go into politics because they genuinely want to do good, but to get to any real position of power they have to spend so long fighting the machine that all sense of good is destroyed in them.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Exaggerated hype

"However, the height is almost irrelevant. Only about 1% of the energy required to get into orbit is to get up to the right height; the other 99% is in the kinetic energy required to travel laterally."

So while it's true that the kinetic energy required to stay in orbit is a lot, we can work out just what fraction of the vehicle's total (gravitational Potential Energy + Kinetic Energy) is KE and how it changes with altitude. Making a few assumptions, such as the gravity in orbit being the same as on earth (it's only about 88% different at the ISS altitude, so near enough), the orbit being circular etc:

Gravitational PE = mgh, and g=GM/(h+Re)^2, Re is earth's radius, h is orbital altitude above ground.

Orbital KE=mv^2/2, where v ( for a circular orbit) =GM/(h+Re).

So, PE=GMmh/(h+Re)^2, KE=GMm/(2(h+Re))

Ratio of PE/KE = 2h/(h+Re) (after some cancelling out)

Popping some real numbers in, for the ISS at about 400km altitude, which is about the lowest orbital altitude you can do before things fall back to earth real quick due to air resistance, or keep boosting it to stay up there a la GOCE, that ratio of PE/KE is about 12%.

At a mere 100km altitude (absolutely not a viable orbital altitude for earth) that ratio becomes 3%.

The altitude at which the energy required to get there is 1% of the kinetic energy required to stay there is (for earth) about 32km above the ground.

Interestingly, the altitude at which the energy required to get there is the same as the kinetic energy required to stay there, is exactly 1 earth radius advice the surface.

I've neglected stuff like air resistance to fit through the thick air to get up there in the first place, and the KE boost you get by launching somewhere sensible like the equator and in a sensible direction, but hey!

The world is chaos but my Zoom background is control-freak perfection

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: "Set-dressing" has been going on for ages.


OK, you're paying data charges in the EU, but you can still roam free in, er, Iceland

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Roaming Charges ?

"it will be possible to cap the charges mobile operators are allowed to charge each other "

So, only "possible to", not actually happened. And "cap" not abolish. Doesn't sound like anything really.

Focus on the camera, mobile devs: 48MP shooters about to become the sweet spot

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Why the obsession with MP?

It's not about the number of pixels in the final photo. Having a large pixel count on the image sensor allows you to heavily over sample the image and apply lots of different image processing techniques, to improve the final qualitative picture quality. And I'm not taking about floppy dog ear filters.

Revealed: Why Windows Task Manager took a cuddlier approach to (process) death and destruction

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Optional sensible title here


Basically an interface into Google, but translates web pages into SnoopDogglish. Works best on dry, boring corporate statements. Translated output can sometimes be NSFW.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: meh

"Agreed. I'm Administrator, the computer should not be allowed to tell me 'Access denied.'"

My windows machine (I'm the admin) sometimes gives me that kind of back chat when simply deleting desktop icons! Likewise when unable to delete a file that I "own" because an explorer window somewhere is still staring at the containing folder as if expecting something to happen. I don't care if some other process still has it open, I'm the ruddy admin, do as I say!

I've come to realise that in modern windows, administrator isn't what it used to be anymore. In the old days I could delete C:\windows if I wanted to, heck, I even did when I didn't want to, my fault, I'll take one.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Why so long?

So upvoting this. Also, why so long to boot up? My laptop can perform billions of calculations and transfer 100s of MB to/from the hard disk per second. So really, what in Hades is it doing all this time just to go from off to on or vice versa?

Serious question, I genuinely have never understood this.

Annoyingly, it's now the same with the telly. There used to be a golden age about 20 years ago when LCD tellies would turn on in an instant because the electron gun didn't need to warm up. Now, the LCD still comes on immediately displaying the manufacture's logo sorry, advert, but now takes an age to boot up the computer that powers it. I'm getting older and every second counts!

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: "shutdown" doesn't really shut down the computer fully anymore

Any computer can go into that state as well, but it might be in hibernation with the operating state saved to the hard disk. All ready for that operating state to be reloaded into ram on power up.

Note that Windows "sleep"and "hibernation" might appear very similar to the user, but are actually very different - something I've had to explain at work when considering the security implications of sleep vs hibernate.

US Navy starts an earthquake to see how its newest carrier withstands combat conditions

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: BBC had no explanation

"Not sure the Brit press would be happy with the Royal Navy deliberately blowing up 18 tonnes of high explosive next to one of our new carriers."

It's not for the Brit press to be happy or not. It's all about testing that the platform performs as it should before it fully enters service. There'll be plenty more acceptance tests, this was just one of the more visible ones.

Baby Space Shuttle biz chases dreams at Spaceport Cornwall

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Why not land back in California?

It could be an emergency landing site, following some incident after launch that leaves the vehicle to far downrange over the US or the Atlantic to return to California, but unable to reach orbit, so in need of an handy landing site quickly.

No digital equivalent to the impulse aisle found as online grocery shoppers buy fewer sweet treats than in real life

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Fewer online refrigerated purchases?

"Unless you offer free/low cost 1 hour delivery to get the order to the customer before any refrigerated/frozen items go bad, nobody would bother to buy refrigerated/frozen goods online in the first place."

It doesn't get taken off the shelf the moment you order it, then left in the warm until it's delivered. I order groceries online, days ahead of delivery. The delivery firm has a refrigeratorated van, so chilled stuff arrives chilled, frozen stuff arrives frozen. Better than me driving to the shop and having to drive home in my non refrigeratorated car.

Ganja believe it? Police make hash of suspected weed farm raid, pot Bitcoin mine instead

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Re: LACK of smell???

A few years ago round my way, the police discovered a cannabis farm ehilst on a routine helicopter flight. It was the only house that didn't have snow on the roof.

Space junk damages International Space Station's robot arm

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

There already are agreements etc. to decommission old satellites. The problem is they don't carry much weight and are impossible to enforce.

US nuclear weapon bunker security secrets spill from online flashcards since 2013

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Hmm, so first up, I've not actually read the Bellingcat article and appreciate the answer might be in there. But has anyone checked the information leaked and confirmed it's accuracy?

It might be some deliberate misinformation designed to reveal an intruder. The alleged "stress words" might actually be words chosen to identify an intruder.

Or, it might genuinely be an operational SNAFU, which is the simplest answer?

MoD: Our networks are in 'unacceptable' state and both data and IT bods are stuck in silos

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Re: Secure?

Cloud based doesn't necessarily mean internet hosted, it could be a MOD internal cloud based system.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Just a thought

Fragmented doesn't mean secure, unless you mean secure from being shared with other MOD staff. You can have a system that is easily accessible by all staff from within, and still secure enough from the outside. Costs a lot though.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Just a thought

MOD is big enough that "external" often means another agency within the MOD and not the real outside world. It's sometimes hard to share information between different agencies of the MOD because those agencies might have their own IT systems, that don't talk with each other.

NASA to return to the Moon by 2024. One problem with that, says watchdog: All of it

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Re: Get real.

Agreed, that deadline does seem unreasonable.

JFK was a popular guy, but it wasn't him that provided the motivation, he just enabled the activity and rallied the nation like a great leader should. The real motivation was the Soviets getting the upper hand, especially as they already had the first person in space and had sputnik in orbit and flying over US territory with impunity.

Apollo was a great story of everyone coming together for a single unifying cause, but the motivation was almost military in nature. It was effectively run on a war footing, enabling huge resources to be thrown at it. That kind of motivation and risk appetite just doesn't exist today.

I have no doubt it will happen, just not on Apollo timescales.



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