* Posts by WhereAmI?

153 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Dec 2020


Cloudflare offers $100,000 for prior art to nuke networking patents a troll has accused it of ripping off


That's just too sensible.

Google brings Street View back to India following 2016 ban


Re: tweak traffic light timings LOL

A properly-configured traffic intersection reports back to the central city-wide computer which then tweaks timings based on the flow and weight of traffic. Some systems will even switch a central lane to be one-way in the morning and the other way in the evening (the Mersey tunnel for example; I created the operations GUI for that one in a programming language called Cyrus*, so I was quite familiar with it). If a junction is not centrally controlled then it can only adjust the timings for that junction based on the traffic flow though it. Yeah - I spent fifteen years designing traffic systems. It's one of those jobs that you just don't tell people what you do because it's guaranteed to get your eardrums ruptured.

As for all that honking of horns in India: it's not hot-tempered drivers. They're used as a warning that someone is about to overtake you or, if up on some of the seriously narrow roads in the Himalayas, to let you know that someone is coming the other way round the blind bend you're just approaching. 'Narrow' is an understatement. I watched a very battered bus belonging to the Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation negotiate one of those bends with the rear left wheel hanging in midair over a *very* long drop and that was a scheduled service!

*Cyrus. Turned out to be just a fancy wrapper around Pascal.

NASA's Lunar Orbiter spots comfortably warm 'pits' all over the Moon


Re: 17C

That's warmer than high summer here. Sign me up!!!

Chinese booster rocket tumbles back to Earth: 'Non-zero' chance of hitting populated area


Re: I would say ....

Full agreement from here!

Walmart-controlled flight booking service suffers substantial data leak


Please tell me that they aren't really booking everything on Excel. Please.

Is the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope worth the price tag?


Re: And the answer to the question is

He didn't necessarily watch them live, nor does he state that he did. I still watch them now and yes, I'm old enough to remember the final Mercury launch (just!) and being utterly fascinated by the Gemini-Agena docking attempts. I also remember drawing a picture at school imagining what the docking would look like!

Did it inspire me? Yes, it damn well did. I was utterly determined to join the RAF, be good enough to get to the Empire Test School and then hopefully into astronaut training (assuming it became available to UK citizens). A lifetime of ongoing migraine attacks ensured that I didn't get passed the first hurdle, although I did go on to fly the small stuff.

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint


Re: It's still going on

You gotta love Turkish keyboards - I've seen that dotless I blow testing software right out of the water because the software assumed it was a lowercase L. Or, in one case, just simply couldn't deal with it and threw a 'test failed' every time it tried to do a text comparison.

I ordered a Gigabyte Aorus keyboard recently from a company in Italy because the one I wanted was not apparently available in the UK. I specified a UK keyboard layout and -tada!!- was sent a Turkish one. I then found that the company didn't have a returns policy. YFW??? As it happens, it was one of the very few times I'd ordered anything through Amazon and their customer service was very helpful. Within ten minutes they confirmed the lack of returns policy, issued me a full refund and gave instructions to keep the then-useless and very expensive keyboard. Three days and £30 later it's now sporting a new set of Corsair UK keycaps.

Supercomputer pinpoints exact origin of 'Black Beauty' meteorite from Mars


Re: OK, stupid question time

It's called a super computer or three.

Oracle seeks $1b savings, staff prepare for layoffs


Best friend's daughter was an Oracle on-site consultant and was paid extremely well for it. Too well. After ten(?) years of that, Oracle saw her as an overhead and she was 'reassigned' out of the company. Constructively dismissed, as I understand it, but too stressed out over it all to take them to a tribunal. Boeing snapped her up for almost twice the pay and less than 25% of the stress, according to her. And (quote) 'I don't even have to get out of bed in the morning'.

Pity she's still *kin about with Oracle crud, but at least Dear Larry's audit department gets no traction with her database usage.


Why would anyone want to work for that company?

First-ever James Webb Space Telescope image revealed


There are very few modern things that fill me with a real sense of awe and wonder, but that picture just succeeded admirably. I tried counting the gravitational lens distortions and then tried assigning different galaxies to the same object. Failed. Too many and my knowledge of astrophysics is too poor.

Mentally absolutely dancing with excitement for the next releases.

Meta's AI translation breaks 200 language barrier


Re: Get the basics right first

And then there's the languages that have no gender pronouns (such as Filipino). You just get used to being called he and she indiscriminately.

CAPSTONE mission is Moon-bound, after less rocketry than expected


Re: Luna

'Luna' specifically refers to the moon that orbits Earth, as opposed to (say) Phobos which is a moon of Mars.

Logitech Zone Vibe 125: Weightless comfort on the ears that won't break the bank



Bose QuietComfort - now you're talking! Originally bought a set of s/h QC15s off ebay and was utterly amazed at the noise cancelling. The downside was that when the battery died, so did the headphones. So, while on a trip to the good old US of A, I picked up a set of new QC25s as they were a bit cheaper than back in the Emerald Isle and they didn't have the dead battery problem. They were superseded by a set of QC35s received as a birthday present about three years ago. They now have many hundreds of hours of gaming behind them and still manage to look almost new. They also can't be beat for shutting out the sound of jet engines on a long flight. I did try a set of Sennheiser Momentums (??) but couldn't get on with the on-ear format.

Pretty useless for work mind - no microphone!

Microsoft postpones shift to New Commerce Experience subscriptions


Sometimes it does depend on the subscription fee as to whether it suits the end user. I have a subscription to Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom at £9.95 per month. When it was first presented to me, my instinctive answer was 'f--- off!' until I worked out the long-term cost based on the price of the previous CS6 boxed set. Assuming a major boxed set upgrade every five years (not the more usual one or two) and no uptick in price, the subscription still came out around £100 cheaper over the five years compared to buying a single new boxed set. There isn't much of a downside as if I decided to kick Adobe into touch, quite a few OSS packages can open .psd files. So why don't I? Unfortunately Photoshop is the only package I've found that can handle .dds files easily and I make heavy use of textures. Nvidia do a standalone converter but it's fixed-size and near-impossible to read on a 3820-pixel monitor.

Returning to the Moon on the European Service Module


I've got almost four years on you so I am fluent in metric and still pretty good in Imperial, switching between the two as needed. I have some rule-of-thumb conversions which make that relatively easy, especially as my wife for some reason cannot handle metric size measurements. Still, I remember measuring 'something' with a friend while repairing a motorcycle some years ago and the answer was 'six inches plus a centimetre'. It made perfect sense at the time...

IBM settles age discrimination case that sought top execs' emails


So do mine! :-D

Big Tech silent on data privacy in post-Roe America


Praise for all

This is the most civilised discussion of a highly charged subject that I think I have ever participated in. From my POV - well done all! -->


Re: Democracy

"despite the US supposedly having separation of Church and state."

It doesn't and never has had, Constitution or anything else notwithstanding.


Re: Democracy

One interview that I have been unable to get out of my mind comes from the 2016 presidential vote. A gentleman who was confined to a wheelchair and was also reliant on an oxygen bottle was asked if he was going to vote Republican.

'Yes', he said

'Even though they aim to repeal ObamaCare and you are using Medicare?'

'Yes', he said. 'I wouldn't vote Democrat if my life depended on it'.

Think about it...

I couldn't believe the blind, thick-headed, utter stupidity of that reply.

Broadcom sketches out VMware ambitions that stretch from mainframe to cloud


Re: Reputation...

BT. They used to supply McAfee (which I was able to coerce into behaving itself) but they switched to Symantec. Given the current state of pay, I can't afford to dump Symantec and switch to something else. Perhaps 'forced' was not absolutely correct but everything else still stands.


Re: Reputation...

Symantec... can you spell c-r-a-p from that? It's been pushed on me by my broadband supplier and causes no end of trouble. It tells me that an executable file I've just compiled is a virus and has removed it for my own good. It tells me that an executable from one of the world's biggest aerospace companies is doing something nasty to my system and has blocked it for my own good. It blocks downloads until it decides that maybe I'm not trying to inflict malware on myself. It stops calls from the above executable to the dll I've just written because it's 'detected suspicious activity'.

In short, it's the biggest pile of shite I've had the misfortune to have to struggle with in the last decade. I'd love to get rid of it but... see first sentence.

Cisco quits Moscow


And the Kremlin is now drawing up legislation to make it illegal for Western companies to withdraw from Russia and to be able to seize the company assets if withdrawal is on the cards.

I really, really hope I'm smelling the whiff of desperation here.

As for Cisco kit being backdoored: it leaves the Kremlin with the option of installing Chairman Xi's Huawei kit instead. According to GCHQ Huawei's switches are not backdoored (according to GCHQ, that is - but would they tell us if they found something exploitable?). However, they also state that the code is full of holes, so... Cisco leaving Russia is unlikely to slow the TLAs down that much.

AWS sent edgy appliance to the ISS and it worked – just like all the other computers up there


Ah yes, but the Pis are only toys, whereas as the Snowcone is a real man's computer [/s]

NSO claims 'more than 5' EU states use Pegasus spyware


I don't think that's his primary intent, but the collateral damage caused by the crackdown might well result in exactly that.

Airbus flies new passenger airplane aimed at 'long, thin' routes


Re: Nope.

Mmmm. Doesn't work like that. In general if you lose half the engines on a twin, the other one is big enough to do all the lifting on its own. If you lose half the engines on a quad, the ground will come up sooner than you want. They are designed to lose one engine and keep going, not two.

The exception will be the B747SP. Standing in West Drayton ATC as a Privileged Visitor, the operator on duty said 'watch that one' and pointed to a B747SP just departing CDG. Every minute or so he was requesting a change of altitude and by the time he was over London, he was already at cruise altitude. Apparently an empty B747SP can out-accelerate and out-climb some in-service fighters.


Re: Why

Ah well. The 737 has been ETOPS rated for decades and someone (I think it was Norwegian but I could be wrong on that) finally started launching them across the Atlantic on a regular basis a couple of years ago.

Not for me. No way Jose.

As for the comment above about US airlines Business Class - take a look at Alaska Airlines. Their 'Business Class' doesn't even recline...!!!!!!


Re: Stress that wing!

Delta had 36" pitch on the their first 777s and made a big fuss about it. It didn't last long, but I did get one run from LHR to ORD before the extra seats went back in.


Re: 515 orders

The LR version has no designated crew rest area. It's highly likely that the XLR won't have either. The normal way of getting round this is to designate one First Class/Business Class seat next to the cockpit and rotate the flight crew in to it. Unfortunately the cabin crew aren't so lucky.


Re: Why

Or do as we have done on a couple of occasions - plan a long-haul flight a year to eighteen months ahead and save for Business Class. It doesn't hurt as much when it's done on a bit-by-bit basis and you cannot beat being able to sleep flat on an overnight ten-hour flight.


Re: Why

You are so not joking. We were on an intra-US Delta flight having booked one of their extra-wide, extra-legroom seats when this git of a large American crashes down into the seat beside me, knocking me aside in the process and slapping his hands down on the armrests. Happy chappy - got both armrests despite being late on the plane. I said nothing but gradually proceeded to invade his space over the course of the next half-hour until he was so uncomfortable that he moved across to the other side of his seat.

You don't always have to make a fuss...

Tencent's WeChat wants no more talk of cryptocurrency and NFTs


"The likes of AliPay and WeChatPay are very widely used within China and have perhaps paved the way for easy acceptance of the Digital Yuan."

And the eventual banning of WeChatPay and Alipay in favour of the Digital Yuan. Centralised tracing of who's paying who, donchaknow? All in favour of the CCP's Digital Yuan, raise their hands.

(Not in a good mood today. The shit hit the fan before I'd even got to my desk and it's only ten feet from the door!)

Always read the comments: Beijing requires oversight of all reader-generated chat


Re: That would be a huge change

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Xiping is going to be a very busy man.


Re: That would be a huge change

I thought that was the idea.

How did you mourn Internet Explorer's passing?


Code lurker

I was looking at some not-so-old web code of mine (five years old IIRC) just three days ago. Most of it is HTML5/CSS, but buried in there is a small piece piece of JS to drive YouTube videos and buried in the JS is a 'deal with IE' branch...

Die? Nope. It's gonna join the cockroaches.

Whatever you do, don't show initiative if you value your job


Then you get the Head of IT who knows f.all about IT. I was contracted into a local college where one of the briefs was to stop students from installing games etc.. I locked down the C: drive using Cerberus (that long ago!) and notified all IT teachers that the students either had to save to floppy or to the D: drive (I didn't like that idea - too many options for plagiarism/deleting other student work etc. but - overruled). Then came the inevitable time that I had to show the Head of IT how to unlock the C: drive to install new software. It was a simple two-stage password and response job IIRC. No; it was too difficult. He didn't understand it. I was told go back round and unlock every C: drive and remove Cereberus.

Cue (or queue) the inevitable virus infections. At any one time around 30% of the college PCs were down with viruses. It didn't matter how many times I tried to explain the head of the college in extremely simple terms how we could reduce these problems, the glaze quickly came over the facial features and I was overruled.

They then hired someone full-time to IT Support who was completely incompetent and I got out.

AI chatbot trained on posts from web sewer 4chan behaved badly – just like human members


Down the back of the sofa. Usually just as you desperately need one.

Photonic processor can classify millions of images faster than you can blink


The Chinese Communist Party are going to absolutely luuuvvvv this.

Majority of Axon's AI ethics board resigns over CEO's taser drones


Re: This isn't a solution...

Eugenics? How?

The answer isn't getting rid of loonies (which is a fool's errand). The only viable answer is getting rid of guns.


The NRA's oft-repeated statement that 'guns don't kill people - people kill people' is very disingenuous, to put it mildly. So, let's say they are correct and we go with their logic to its final conclusion:

- guns don't kill people - people kill people

- people kill people with guns

- if you reduce the number of guns, you will reduce the ability of people to kill people with guns

What did I get wrong? It is far harder to get a firearms licence in any country in Europe than it is in the USA and that, IMHO, is a good thing. The corollary of that is we also have fewer rampant shooters because most of the loonies are weeded out during the licensing process. Yes I know - Hungerford and Dunblane. Two shooters in the UK in four decades, as opposed to how many in the USA so far this year?

Now, from where I'm sitting in the Emerald Isle, it's my (possibly faulty) understanding that the Second Amendment was considered a necessity because at the time there was no standing army. The USA now has one of the best standing armies in the world, so... tradition and history aside, what is the need for the Second Amendment? It is, after all, an amendment and amendments can be amended. Implementing gun control does not mean stopping Americans from owning guns - it will just make it more difficult and yes, weed out most of the loonies.

Dear Europe, here again are the reasons why scanning devices for unlawful files is not going to fly


Re: The sound of Perseverance

So explain that to every animal in the animal kingdom. Every. single. mammal uses some form of 'violence' to their offspring as a teaching and survival aid.

Excessive spanking... now that is a different case, just before you throw it at me.

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words


Re: French terminology

Unfortunately certain groups over here want to call pets just that - companion animals - because 'pet' is 'demeaning to the animal'. So if I want to stroke one of my cats, I now have to refer to it as 'animal companioning' instead of 'petting'?...!


When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer


White overalls, blue hardhat and the dosimeter. And yes, a walk across the red-painted top of the reactor hall. I'm guessing I possibly got the 'special treatment' because I was the only one there. I was escorted by two employees, both female, which stood out because, well, they were both female and working in a very (at the time) male-orientated industry.


Re: nice story

Fifty-six years later that still rubs an unhealed and very raw spot in me. I was seven years old at the time and I recall the disaster like it happened yesterday. When the news broke the whole school went very, very quiet and my teachers seemed to find it very hard to take classes. I spent hours looking out of the main window next to my desk trying to imagine what it would have been like to see that mountain of (I have no words for it) racing towards me. So many dead children, so many of them close to my age.

One of those things I can't forget, even if I wanted to. Requiescat in pace.


I got to visit Wylfa power station on Anglesey about twenty-five years ago - literally just stopped on the off-chance there was a visitor centre or something similar. Turned out to be a far better visit than I could have ever expected. They suited me up, kitted me with radiation detectors and took me into the main power station itself where I spent a fascinated half-hour or so watching them pull a spent rod out of Reactor 2 (I think it was - so long ago).

Of course, 9/11. There's a proper Visitor Centre there now and you can't get within half a mile of the main power station. The new Visitor Centre is good, but it can't compete with actually having seen the beast.

Ransomware grounds some flights at Indian budget airline SpiceJet


Beijing needs the ability to 'destroy' Starlink, say Chinese researchers


Re: On a more serious note....

Well, you can always watch 'Threads' and live the destruction of Sheffield vicariously.

Joking aside, it's a horrific film that every world leader should be forced to watch on a regular basis, just in case they forget what it's about.


Re: @Pete 2 - wolf in sheeps clothing

"Unless you were fighting the old Imperial Japan. In which case their declaration of war was delivered to your fleet, in harbour. Then the embassy would handle the niceties a few hours later. Although admittedly in the case of Pearl Harbour that was by mistake rather than design and the embassy were supposed to give a few minutes warning."

Surprising how many people simply ignore/don't know about that. Even more so that who-ever-it-was in charge on the American side refused to see the Japanese ambassador and the ever-quoted myth that the Japanese attacked without warning got started. They did try to tell the Americans what was incoming but... the Americans weren't listening.

Cue the downvotes.

'No plan survives contact with the enemy'.

Original killer PC spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 now runs on Linux natively


Re: Word Star

Loved it. Started with the CP/M version on a Caltext LSI/3 and was eventually forced onto DOS 3.3 on some form of a 286 IBM-PC clone. I wrote a lot of technical stuff on WordStar, including my first published book (don't ask- decades out of print and not even available from the dark corners of the internet). About the same time I tried migrating to MS Word 2.0 as this was now company standard. Didn't like it one bit - muscle-memory problems with WordStar commands :-D . Eventually moved full-time to Word 6.0 but still missed the simplicity of WordStar.

What I didn't miss was the horrific noise that came from the Epson LX-80 daisy wheel!!!

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL


Re: Just a quick question.

"If it was done by a native, regional variations can sometimes be an issue, as expressions that are quite innocent in one place can be vulgar or have unintended connotations in others (more so than in English), but you normally spot what's going on straight away"

I've lived in Northern Ireland for almost three decades. Prior to that I lived in England, mostly down in the West Country. I have an invisible language changeover switch in the middle of the Irish Sea that I have no control over and for which I'm quite grateful because much of the dialect in one place has absolutely no counterpart in the other. I've frequently found myself in the position of translating the conversation between my wife (Irish) and friends (English) because the idioms are just so different.

Canada bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks, citing national security risks


Re: An apology

This: "arguably American companies are as much of a threat as the Chinese". It's convenient to ignore that fact.