* Posts by Paul Mitchell

36 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Feb 2007

Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel

Paul Mitchell

Re: Better than a PM

I have definitely, in the past, use the "eject" command on a machine to physically locate the one with the CD tray poking out :-)

Codebreakers decipher Mary, Queen of Scots' secret letters 436 years after her execution

Paul Mitchell

Scottish Titles

"and would later become King James I"

Of England (and Wales), James VI of Scotland of course.

DARPA seeks portable muon-making machine to see through almost anything

Paul Mitchell

Re: negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit


No degree symbol for Kelvin (or Celcius), that's an olde worlde thing for Farenheit or Centigrade.


Jeffrey Snover claims Microsoft demoted him for inventing PowerShell

Paul Mitchell

Re: At the risk of being downvoted to hell

Anyone remember JCL, the language where comments are significant (shudder)?

Green hydrogen 'transitioning from a shed-based industry' says researcher as the UK hedges its H2 strategy

Paul Mitchell

Re: Might be worse than burning coal

"Absolutely agree, nuclear is the only valid solution to our energy needs"

Not necessarily true.

If we get green hydrogen (other energy storage systems are available) sorted out, there's no reason to think that we can't have a load of wind farms driving the process when it's windy/solar farms when it's sunny; and then hydrogen powerstations for when it's not.

Brexit text-it wrecks it: Vote Leave fined £40k for spamming 200k msgs ahead of EU referendum

Paul Mitchell

Re: 3 choices

Good idea (otherwise known as Single Transferrable Vote: STV)

BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave

Paul Mitchell

Re: We all recognise HP there...

The only way to find what you need on the HP website, is to use Google. Even HP staff do that....

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

Paul Mitchell

By car drivers for car drivers

Leaving aside the legal issues on "lane splitting" in California, about which I'm neither qualified nor experienced to comment on....

Presumably the GM self-driving software (and hardware) was written by car drivers, for car drivers. Is it possible that it simply didn't recognise the much smaller motorcycle as another vehicle, as it never occurred to the developers that vehicles could be that small? Therefore it didn't make an allowance fo its presence, perhaps.

Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style

Paul Mitchell

Re: Dot Matrix, that takes me back.

I do remember using hammer-bank metal band line printers in the 80s. They really did sound like a machine gun if you opened the foam lined box :-)

They got superceded by full-width dot matrix line printers, which were nearly as loud.

Amazon's answer to all those leaky AWS S3 buckets: A dashboard warning light

Paul Mitchell

Re: So basically an idiot light.

Ah, the old HomerSimposon/Frank Grimes scenario...

USB stick found in West London contained Heathrow security data

Paul Mitchell

Don't forget the PHB

Unforunately it's quite possible to have good "no pluggable media" policies implemented directly on top of old working practices and/or equipment. Thus making the job difficult, if not impossible.

Cue the "manager" who orders his minions to just "get it done" because he/she doesn't want to look bad, but doesn't care enough to actually do anything about it....

PS Where's a PHB icon when you need one?

90 per cent of the UK's NHS is STILL relying on Windows XP

Paul Mitchell

Re: I know a precision engineering firm

Didn't Uncle Clive claim a ZX81 was all that was required?

By Juno! NASA delivers first new snaps from Jupiter

Paul Mitchell

Re: Juno and its pictures...

Because it was Saturn in the book, and got changed to Jupiter in the movie?

<Youngsters>Arthur C. Clarke, 2001</Youngsters>

Developer waits two years for management to define project

Paul Mitchell

Signal to noise

I am remined of when I was working for my PhD. We had a stabilised power supply for the labs/building, which you could plug your instruments into, and be assured that no voltage spikes were going to get on to your chart recorder because they made the pen servo jump.

Then we found out that someone in the lab next door had plugged their 'fridge into the sabilised supply, and every time the motor kicked in....


(Edited for attrocious spelling)

Smartmobes in spaaace: NASA deploys Android nanosats

Paul Mitchell
IT Angle

Re: Spring?

It looks like metal to me, so that's more of a "valence band energy storage system" than "molecular -bond"


Get ready to patch Git servers, clients – nasty-looking bugs surface

Paul Mitchell


I'd not be too happy about using strlen() directly on user supplied data either.

Fans demand 'Lemmium' periodic table tribute

Paul Mitchell

As has been mentioned elswhere, only 113 and 115 are heavy metals. 117 is a halogen and 118 is a noble gas(?).

Apply online to go to Mars. No, seriously

Paul Mitchell

They'll be on the second "B" flight.

Symantec fires staff caught up in rogue Google SSL cert snafu

Paul Mitchell

Re: Check your facts

Verisign bought Thawte back in 1999, and Symantec bouth them both in 2010.

Independent NOT.

What sort of tit builds non-bird bird boxes? Vodafone

Paul Mitchell


"The bird box end is passive, so does not require any power, while the transmitting antennas are powered from the garage."

So it's an aerial then?

Also, why does it have to look like a *bird* box, surely a plain wooden box would blend in just as well?

Met Police in egg/face blunder as shop-a-crim site's SSL cert expires

Paul Mitchell

Re: Cobblers

The fact that the certificate has expired today does not make it any less secure than it was yesterday.

The expiry date is simply an arbitrary vaule applied by the CA calculated on the basis of how much money you are willing to pony up. It has nothing to do with security per se.

There may well be perfectly good reasons to regularly update your certificates, but the calendar rolling over isn't one of them.

SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

Paul Mitchell

Re: ... the greatest nation on earth ....

I think you'll find they don't use that new-fangled "metric"

Microsoft seeks patent for blade server chassis

Paul Mitchell


1985 called, the VME boys want a chat....

Leaked memo: Apple's iMessage crypto has DEA outfoxed

Paul Mitchell


Obbx uvz, Qnaab

Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

Paul Mitchell

Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

I was definitely humming "Shiny Happy People"

Black hole radiation could provide insight into quantum gravity

Paul Mitchell

Yes there is in deed a mechaism that biases the positrons lower down the gravity well than the electrons (which I don't understand myself).

Hence the black hole loses mass as positrons rain down on it, and electrons are emitted as Hawking radiation.

Secrets of the asteroid belt: Vesta actually more like a planet

Paul Mitchell


Small planet, large asteroid...

Is the distinction really valid here?

'Completely useless' Windows 3.1 hits Google's Android

Paul Mitchell
Thumb Down

Long File Names?

"Windows 3.1 added support for long file names"

I don't think so... That was Windows95 and VFAT I believe.

Ballmer: One day, Bing will actually make money

Paul Mitchell

@Tom Kelsall

"I use the internet to seek it out at my chosen vendors. I don't believe I have EVER clicked on an internet ad banner intentionally. Why am I the only person ON THE PLANET who operates like this?"

You are very much not alone in this.

This is why the cash-back programme has flopped, and presumably why his ad-click revenues aren't as high as anticipated either. I find it hard to believe that people who search for something are then going to click on ads instead of the search results that they just asked for. I'm sure there are some who fall for the "pretty" ads and do this, but the vast majority surely not.

Firefox 3.1 vs IE8: 'Alpha, beta testers step forward, please'

Paul Mitchell


To have a new tab button, go to the "View" menu, choose "Toolbars" and the "Customise", you'll find it there

BBC vs ISPs: Bandwidth row escalates as Tiscali wades in

Paul Mitchell

Who's fooling who?

Surely the ISPs can provide the bandwidth that their customers are already paying for, they wouldn't be taking money for services they can't provide now would they?

I know, I know....

HMRC pays criminal for 'tax dodger' discs

Paul Mitchell

Are they still there?

Presumably LGT Treuhand AG will have informed their customers affected, when they discovered the data loss. And it seems likely that said customers will have changed/close/moved their accounts for security reasons shortly thereafter.

I don't suppose they thought that the perp after their bank accounts would be HMRC, but the effect is the same don't you think?

China goes lunar

Paul Mitchell


I understand that at the resolution of the Chinese satellite's cameras the remains of the NASA Lunar Landers would cover about 1 pixel.

So even if the Chinese were going to take time out of the lunar program they've spent millions on developing, just to assuage some paranoid fantasists, we still wouldn't be able to see anything useful.

And anyway, if people don't believe NASA's film and photographs, why would htye believe the Chinese either?

Think again, FSF tells Microsoft on GPL3

Paul Mitchell

No sucking involved

If MS distributes SuSE Linux, and that contains some GPL3 code, then MS is bound by the GPL3 for that code. There is no loophole.

Code distributed under GPL2 or earlier is indeed unaffected, but as was pointed out above, many open source licences state GPL2 or later. So MS could be in trouble with them too.

MS only have a problem if they don't want to follow the licence conditions of the software they're distributing. The GPL is very fair in this respect as it grants the same right to the recipient as to the distributor. Of course this doesn't fit in very with with MS's business model of End User Licences and retaining control even after you think you've bought the software from them.

Also, as pointed out above, MS already distributes GPL2 code (gcc etc) in violation of GPL2 because it doesn't make the source code available, and that's just the stuff we know about. In their closed-proprietory model in is almost impossible to say what other violations may be going on unseen. This is why there is a fuss about SuSE Linux and GPL3, because we can see it. Microsoft don't like this. What does that tell us about their motives?

Run free little root zone

Paul Mitchell

Taking the right turn from the wrong road won't work

It seems to me that America is making a rod for it's own back here, and taking the rest of the world along for the beating with it.

There should be no TLDs other than countries, and it's only America's refusal to use its .us suffix for its domestic sites that prevents this.

Working with country TLDs would then automatically put the censorship (and similar) issues with governments, at the expense of inconveniencing truly global companies who can actually justify being in a TLD. The legality issue is also addressed as domains would (have to) be set up in jurisdictions where they are legal.

Intel Tera – not firma, but coming

Paul Mitchell

Problems of preception

Having worked with Inmos Transputers and Intel i860s in the 90s this does all sound rather familliar.

However, although there defintely is a need for a parallel programming laguage for high performance applications, for most needs this is a red herring.

Modern operating systems run many separate processes to perform individual tasks, even Windows. So once the kernel can handle a a large number of processors (not necessarily a trivial task), the general application layer can carry on as before with the many processed geninely getting run in parallel.

Indeed, when I was doing parallel simulations it was impossible to beat the overall efficiency of running a complete simulation on each processor, rather than running a succession of parallel jobs really quickly.