* Posts by Fifth Horseman

87 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Mar 2022


NASA 'quiet' supersonic jet is nearly ready for flight

Fifth Horseman

Re: Concorde, so loud

Absolutely the take-off noise.

A university mate of mine had a place in Heald Green slap next to Manchester airport. Most aircraft you quickly learned to ignore, Concorde not so much. It was hellish loud and also very good at setting off all the car alarms on the street. Not great when you are nursing a hangover from a typical student beer and curry night round Rusholme.

Engine-wise Concorde was essentially an Avro Vulcan with afterburners, and the Vulcan was already bloody loud to start with.

Oh, great. Yet another tech billionaire thinks he can get microblogging right

Fifth Horseman

Re: What's in a name?

Our O-level English teacher made us watch that film in class. It literally did give me fucking nightmares for months. For those here not old enough to remember, it came out at a time when the Cold War was going through a potentially "hot" phase in the wake of tensions caused by the Able Archer 83 exercises and various other things. Nuclear war felt like a very likely prospect at that time.

Windows XP's adventures in the afterlife shows copyright's copywrongs

Fifth Horseman

Re: What's the monetary damage?

True, but there are a smallish but significant number of companies providing specialist support for older machinery. A mate of mine makes a decent living keeping Thorn-EMI EMI-Mec machines running, and way back in the last millennium I did a stint at a company that retro-fitted CNC controllers to old manual machines. The oldest I worked on was a Harrison centre lathe from 1929 - it was worth the cost and effort because the lathe bed was probably better than anything currently in production.

Sci-fi author 'writes' 97 AI-generated tales in nine months

Fifth Horseman

Re: Life’s too short

I'm not saying it is actually a bad novel, but James Kelman's "How Late It Was" makes much more sense after a couple of bottles of Buckfast.

The world of work is broken and it's Microsoft's fault

Fifth Horseman

Feline assisted debugging

Pair programming with the cat was my Standard Operating Procedure for twenty-odd years. A couple of them turned out to be much better at it than me.

Cisco: Don't use 'blind spot' – and do use 'feed two birds with one scone'

Fifth Horseman

Re: Get a life, hand-wringers & namby-pambys.

It is normal for one man to refer to another as "bonnie lad" on Tyneside. Definitely not recommended usage anywhere south of Sunderland though.

Fifth Horseman

Re: Boycott The Language Marxists-Nazis

Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto whilst in - and based on his experiences in the slums of - Manchester. In the reading room at the lovely Chetham's library, if the head librarian there is to be believed, He was financially supported in doing this by Friedrich Engels.

Marketing biz sent 107 million spam emails... to just 437k people

Fifth Horseman

Re: What a joke

Directors of limited companies *can* be held liable for company debts in a variety of scenarios - deliberately committing a fraudulent act and "acting in bad faith" being two that I would argue apply in this case. I imagine the number of times this happens in practice is vanishingly small though. Having spent a couple of decades tangentially involved with the family electrical contracting business. abusing limited liability protection sadly seemed to be business as usual in some parts of the building trade, and I never saw anybody brought to book for it.

School principal resigns after writing $100,000 check to Elon Musk impersonator

Fifth Horseman

Quite. Very nearly got me a couple of years back when EU/UK customs went into meltdown - taking down most of the carriers' tracking systems in the process - because nobody seemed to have worked out what the new post-Brexit rules were. I imagine that scam was probably fairly lucrative around that time.

Fifth Horseman

Re: "I am very smart"

Damart, yes. Still going, they are based not far down the road from me in sunny Bingley.

They got themselves into a spot of bother a few years back sending out prize drawer promotions disguised as "account overdue" red letters. About as classy as the big thermal knickers they flog.

No reliable way to detect AI-generated text, boffins sigh

Fifth Horseman

Re: One advantage

Video feedback is great, unless you really are *too* drunk... Probably like me now.

I assume (guess? postulate? whatever...) that ultimately the second law of thermodynamics kicks in if you keep retraining on AI generated datasets - everything eventually turns into the linguistic equivalent of grey goo, and order in the universe is restored.

"semiotic feedback" - would have been interesting to hear what Umberto Eco had to say about all this, but sadly a little too late.

Are you ready to go all-in, head-first, on a laptop? ASUS's Zenbook Pro 16X asks for that commitment

Fifth Horseman

Re: IEC lead

Absolutely. Some deviant nicked the cloverleaf power cable from my Yamaha THR amp at a gig last year. If it had been an IEC lead I am certain there would have been one in the venue somewhere I could have borrowed, but as it was - game over.

Maybe they just didn't like my playing.

Pentagon whistleblower Ellsberg given months to live

Fifth Horseman


Well done.

Huge lithium discovery could end world shortages ... Oh, wait, it's in Iran

Fifth Horseman

If anyone knows this fella's mother, can they ask her to keep him away from the computer until his medication kicks in properly? Thanks.

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …

Fifth Horseman

Re: Why would one ...

It can easily be modified into the US version, though. The following sentence probably scans differently on opposite sides of the Atlantic:

"I was really pissed off at my mate for turning up at the pub already completely pissed."

Fifth Horseman

Re: Why would one ...

Standard issue UK prison kettles - with a flat heating plate in the base rather than an element - make fine general purpose cooking tools. Your search engine of choice will gave you plenty of tasty recipes...

Why ChatGPT should be considered a malevolent AI – and be destroyed

Fifth Horseman

Re: Words

I'm no expert on the relative intelligence of different sub-species of Psittaciformes, but I can believe African Greys are one of the smarter ones.

An ex-neighbour of mine used to breed the bloody things, and I stupidly agreed to look after them for a few days whilst he was in hospital. They were easily the most cunning, devious and downright malevolent animals I have ever come across.

If this chat fairy gizmo ever comes close to African Grey Parrot Level intelligence, we are all in deep trouble.

Tesla hits the brakes on rollout of Full Self-Driving code to new users

Fifth Horseman

Err, you shouldn't really have had to go on a speed awareness course to know this. All the relevant information is in the highway code, and your driving instructor should have covered it with you at some point.

Thunderbird email client is Go for new plumage in July

Fifth Horseman

Re: Upgraded interface

Cornish (Kernowek) is a completely different language, and if you suggest otherwise the Kernow National Liberation Army will turn up and burn down your fish and chip shop... It is a Celtic dialect that is a kind of crossbreed of Breton and Welsh. Technically dead as a primary language, it is having a bit a resurgence at the moment thanks to historians/nationalists/nutters etc. The annoying Kelly's ice cream advert is in Cornish, rather than the first glance gibberish.

Yukon UFO could have cost unfortunate balloon fan $12

Fifth Horseman

Re: Cost

I was surprised the missile could get a positive lock in the first place. Sidewinders (mostly) have passive IR seekers, surely these balloons - especially the hobby ones - have tiny heat signatures? They are obviously better than I imagined... The proximity fusing will depend on the size of the target, again I have no idea how big these balloons are.

Fifth Horseman

Re: Cost

Canada geese are basically the council estate yobbos of the bird world. "All mouth and no trousers" as the local expression goes. We have a big resident colony of them here, they have become too lazy for any of that 'migration' malarkey. They earn their keep by bullying the Happy Valley tourists into handing over food.

Swans, OTOH, are genuinely scary, especially during mating/nesting season.

Titanic mass grave site to be pillaged for NFTs

Fifth Horseman

Utterly shameless

These people need to fuck off, and stay fucked off.

This whole "Web 3" nonsense is turning into a Tijuana donkey show. How bad does it have to get before someone yells 'enough' and hits the big red button?

Marketing company chases Twitter for $7,000 over 'swag gift box for Elon'

Fifth Horseman

Re: Freebies

Many years ago when I worked in the finance department of a (long defunct, for good reason) engineering company, the finance department of a plasma profiling company we frequently used sent me a really rather nice pen for Christmas. I used it for many years afterwards.

It came with a sweet little note: "You obviously don't have anything to sign our cheques with. We thought this might come in useful."

Accidental WhatsApp account takeovers? It's a thing

Fifth Horseman

Re: Phone numbers

Like the username - my pub quiz team used to be called the Norfolk Inn Good Team, until the landlord finally twigged and kicked us out. Welcome to El Reg, BTW.

I was going to share your frustrations with certain government agencies, but realised it would turn into a rant, and it is really past Horsie's midweek bedtime. You are definitely right, though.

The quest to make Linux bulletproof

Fifth Horseman

Re: It's all about making it easier...


"Simplicate, and add lightness" - William Bushnell Stout. Adopted by Colin Chapman as the design ethos for Lotus sports cars.

The Balthazar laptop: An all-European RISC-V Free Hardware computer

Fifth Horseman

Re: escape meta alt ctrl shift

To be fair, I suspect that the *true* hardcore emacs users consider communing with the machine using anything other than a VT100 or VT220 terminal to be utter sacrilege, and so probably don't even own a mouse.

Fifth Horseman

Re: Odd designs

In fairness to Commodore, only the PET2001 keyboard was horrible.

A dishonourable mention goes to Sharp for the MZ80K, which had a keyboard very much like the aforementioned 2001. The original Tandy Color Computer keyboard was rough, as was the membrane abomination on the Atari 400. The Oric 1 was grim too, I don't think these were ever sold in the US, so you were lucky there...

helloSystem 0.8: A friendly, all-graphical FreeBSD

Fifth Horseman

Re: re: "just works"

I was wondering about VoiceOfTruth too. There have been a few FOSS articles now that he hasn't trampled all over in size twelves. I assumed he had been hit with the ban hammer.

Alphabet reshuffles to meet ChatGPT threat

Fifth Horseman

Re: AI art is dangerous

So, essentially: "Any art I don't like is crap".

Grow up.

Brit MPs pour cold water on hydrogen as mass replacement for fossil fuels

Fifth Horseman

Re: Hydrogen is an energy storage medium...

Cape Wrath is a long way from anywhere else, but the most remote part is probably the Knoydart peninsula. It has the distinction of being the sole settlement on the mainland where the only (vehicle) access is by sea - a ferry crossing from Mallaig. A very nice spot it is, too.

Not in the Highlands, but Unst in north Shetland takes some beating for sheer remoteness. A mate of mine's last forces posting was to RAF Saxa Vord (same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska), he's never been the same since...

BBC is still struggling with the digital switch, says watchdog

Fifth Horseman

Re: Too many "heads in the sand" technophobes run the BBC

They *did* used to show up, many years ago.

My last house was a complete strip back and start again refurbishment. One afternoon, an irritatingly self-important individual from "TV License Enforcement", or whatever they called themselves, showed up threatening all kinds of legal mayhem if I didn't cough up. At this point the building is an empty shell, no wiring, plumbing or plaster. The only power a temporary 110v supply for site lighting and tools. "Have a good look round, if you can find a TV, or anywhere to plug one in, for that matter, I'll pay. Otherwise bugger off and let me work!", says I. Jobsworth looks at shoes, looks at amount of dirt, ways up options and grudgingly leaves.

Never seen one of the critters since, mind.

Microsoft leaves the Office, rebrands everything as 365

Fifth Horseman

Re: But you only traverse half the normal strip.

"Of course, if the strip is cut length-ways it turns into a normal strip of double the length, albeit half the width."

It's actually a little bit more subtle than that... Try it, then cut the resulting strip in half lengthwise again. The end is result is probably not what you would expect.

Crypto exchange Bittrex coughs up $53m to end claims of US sanctions busting

Fifth Horseman


Here's me thinking Bittrex was the nasty tasting purple dye added to methylated spirit to deter Glaswegians from drinking it.

Amazon halts work on ‘Scout’ delivery-bot that delivered parcels no faster than humans

Fifth Horseman

Re: I'll tell you why

In my town both the bot and contents would wind up in Cash Converters. Or for sale for a tenner in the alleyway behind the local Yates's.

Fifth Horseman

Re: Scalability

A great uncle of mine was a drayman for one of the local breweries in the horse-drawn days (Websters, now long gone. Sam Smiths over the border in Tadcaster do still use horse-drawn drays, but mostly for publicity purposes);

Both drayman and horse would have a pint at every pub, and by the end of the round old uncle Edgar was usually pretty plastered. The shire horse, due to weighing in at the best part of a ton, handled his ale a bit better and always found his way back to the brewery mostly upright with Edgar half asleep in the dray. I don't think current health and safety laws would permit these shenanigans. The past, as they say, is a different country.

Physics Nobel Prize in a superposition between three quantum physicists

Fifth Horseman

Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

I've been a bit snarky and down-vote happy with this poster, but perhaps I have been a bit harsh. 'c', defined as being the speed of light *in a vacuum* (as you point out) is a pretty much unassailable constant. If it isn't, the whole of modern physics falls to bits very quickly. The actual speed of light does change depending on the medium it passes through, though, but the constant 'c' never changes, and the observed speed is always lower than this. This gives rise to some interesting phenomenon like Cherenkov radiation, the warm fuzzy blue glow you see around spent nuclear fuel rods in a cooling pool - essentially the light version of a "sonic boom" where some energetic particles are travelling faster than the *local* speed of light. But always below 'c'. Some condensed matter physics experiments have dropped the local speed of light down to a comfortable walking pace...

So, maybe this is where the confusion is coming from. However the rest of the poster's arguments still make little sense, so I think perhaps resitting first year Relativity might not be a bad idea, then reading a good physical cosmology text for the black hole stuff.

Fifth Horseman

Re: 79, 75, 77

Quite. Most physicists (probably Nobel Laureates in other disciplines too) ultimately win the prize for their earliest works, and then ultimately struggle to achieve anything else of note - Einstein being the classic example, and perhaps John Bardeen the classic exception. Shin'ichiro Tomonaga, joint recipient of the 1965 prize - Quantum Electrodynamics - with Richard Feynmann and Julian Schwinger was quite amused that he was the "old man" of the three.

Fifth Horseman

Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

You will be more than happy to provide us with citations of your published and peer-reviewed research then, I assume?

Fifth Horseman

Re: Measuring a property does not set it...

I don't think he/she understands any of it, frankly.

Linux luminaries discuss efforts to bring Rust to the kernel

Fifth Horseman

Re: Rust is desirable simply because of its memory safety

For entertainment value, have a look at XC - stripped down C (no pointers, the horror!) coupled with a message passing system derived from Occam. The target Xcore CPUs are essentially the spiritual heirs of the Transputer, after all...

I stopped seriously evaluating it, and the Xcore, when it started to become apparent that XMOS were no longer interested in the general purpose microcontroller market, but still, it was fun.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

Fifth Horseman

Re: windows 11 makes me cry

And some films were just made to be abused... Ilford HP5 being the classic, but there are others. Nominally rated at 400ASA, but could be pushed out to 3200 with the right developer (Microphen?). Loads of film grain, but *nice* grain.

It worked the other way round, too. I once went out on a road trip using an old (pre-DX coding) Cosina camera using HP5, totally forgetting that I had been using 50ASA Pan F before. The negatives came out as pretty much solid black blocks and really should have gone straight in the bin, but after a lot of faffing in the darkroom I did get some prints. They were 'different', but quite beatiful in their own way.

Man wins competition with AI-generated artwork – and some people aren't happy

Fifth Horseman

Re: Computer-Generated "Art"efacts

A couple of years' back, I went with a mate to a computer generated art exhibition at the Lowry gallery. It was underwhelming, to say the least.

Mate: "This is a right load of bollocks. Lets go across the river to the IWMN, they've got some tanks!"

*The permanent exhibition of L. S. Lowry's work is definitely worth seeing though, much more than "matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs", much darker than I expected.

Fifth Horseman

Re: Understanding my cat

Same here. I'm convinced those things really do have coke in them, but I've never summoned the courage to try them myself...

California asks people not to charge EVs during heatwave

Fifth Horseman

Re: What about crypto mining and gaming computers?

It is not about standby, the cathode needs to be heated to allow thermionic emission so the valve can function. You are quite right, the heater supply is usually 6.3V, but you occasionally find 12.6V.

Tesla faces Autopilot lawsuit alleging phantom braking

Fifth Horseman

Re: Last week

I'm not sure what the actual laws regarding this in the UK are (I know, I should check... I do know that dog strikes should be reported to the police, but not cats for some reason) but I was specifically told by my driving instructor, many moons ago, that if a smallish animal ran in front of the car, then the safety of other road users was more important than that of the animal.

I did doubt the wisdom of this a little later after hitting an Alsatian with a 1975 Morris Marina, which resulted in a wrecked car, an angry dog, and a nasty bite.

Fifth Horseman

A cousin of mine was a motorcycle Compulsory Basic Training instructor for a good few years. Pretty much the first thing he used to say to each bunch of CBT students was "Assume everyone else on the road is trying to kill you". He wasn't wrong.

Elon Musk 'buying Manchester United' football club

Fifth Horseman

Why the hell have you created a user account simply to post this drivel, then?