* Posts by John Sturdy

315 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

Page:

Careful - your helmet might get squashed by a VOLVO

John Sturdy

Re: What a stupid fucking idea....

Or indeed educating them before the test, which is very rudimentary. One of my first laws on becoming dictator will be to make a reasonably advanced cycling proficiency certificate a prerequisite for getting a provisional driving licence.

1
0

Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

John Sturdy
Coat

This cloud thing may have a silver lining

It may be good for Spaniards (and even better for Basques and Catalans) to get their news about Spain from outside Spain, further from the influence of the Spanish government.

And with governmental behaviour like this, it's no wonder that parts of the country currently constituted as Spain want to get out of it.

It would be a delicious irony if this law is repealed first in the autonomous regions who would like to leave, and the rest of Spain has to get their Spanish online news searches from them.

"I'll get my coat" icon because I hope that the Basques, Catalans, and any other current Spaniards who would like to, can get theirs too.

6
1

Osborne ponders giving fleeing bank customers an API getaway car

John Sturdy
Boffin

Captain CSV to the rescue!!

Well, it would be a start. Some agreement on column headings and even which order they come in. Surely not too difficult for a large industry to agree on... oh wait...

Yes, I'm sure it's not really that simple, but I'm even more sure that what they'll come up will be far more complex than really necessary, and perhaps too complex for almost anyone to use.

0
0

Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'

John Sturdy
Alert

The timing is right

Perfectly timed for her to oversee her country falling behind its competitors, just like she did at HP.

0
0

Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about

John Sturdy
Devil

Re: Why was Ireland 3rd most heavily targeted?

Because corruption in Ireland is pretty blatant, but there's probably a lot more material not yet public, that would be excellent for blackmailing senior politicians into compliance with external interests.

Or possibly just to make up a price list to see which ones to buy.

0
0
John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Not Certain

The Chinese government seems very interested in spying on the Chinese people (a bit like the American government being interested in spying on the American people, and the British government in spying on the British people) so if the software isn't found in China, that doesn't suggest it's of Chinese origin.

1
0

Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: In defense of data slurping

I doubt they're just "logging" the data, for inspection after an incident. They'll be analyzing it continuously as it comes in, looking for things they think should be prevented or at least watched suspiciously (as in McCarthyism).

4
1

Cold? Cuddle these HOT GERMAN RACKS, yours for only 12,000 euro – we swear there's an IT angle

John Sturdy
Boffin

Computer-powered Aga

One company I worked for in the past had an old country house for its main office, which it had to get renovated (OK, the "had to" was the asbestos removal bit, but I digress). The MD was an Aga enthusiast, and the kitchen was next to the machine room, and they looked into cooling the machine room with a heat pump concentrating the heat into an Aga just one wall away. Would have been nice in the winter, not sure about the summer though. And they ended up going for conventionall AC anyway (probably cheaper to install).

0
0

This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Good, but not good enough

I'd be surprised if detecting missing clips visually at that kind of speed is that easy. Some kind of proximity sensing might be better (sonar?)

1
0

3D PRINTED GUNS: THIS time it's for REAL! Oh, wait – no, still crap

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Here's how a rational attempt behaves

Yes, publishing a file for use with CNC mills and lathes is more of a threat, but I don't think that the home-priced mills are up to the accuracy required. So you'd need fairly pricy equipment; but the G-code files would reduce the skill needed.

0
0

UNCHAINING DEMONS which might DESTROY HUMANITY: Musk on AI

John Sturdy

Re: An optimist?

It doesn't have to be a plague infecting humans; a widely-adopted GM crop plant becoming relied on for a few years and becoming a significant part of the food supply for some areas of the world, then being hit by a pathogen that wipes it out, could do huge damage. The resulting human destabilization would then take it further.

3
1
John Sturdy
Boffin

Pathogens engineer themselves (with a little help from us)

Who'll get there first, AI developers, or bacteria getting round each antibiotic we overuse? My money would be on the bacteria, by a few years at least.

5
0

Ingredient found in TASTY BEER is GOOD for your BRAIN

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: 3,520 pints a day?

Alternatively, they could put a lot more hops into the beer... just a way of saving time in drinking it, of course.

1
0

Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Don't forget it's a carbonated fluid........

The CO2 gas may be topped up at the bottling plant, so this can probably be worked around.

0
0

Forget bonking, have ONE OFF THE WRIST with Barclaycard's bPay

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

All these cashless systems will be guaranteed support those who like mass surveillance.

4
0

Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Head-mounted accelerometer and speakers! Yeah!

This combination should be good for headbangers --- sync the music playback wih your head movements. While playing air guitar using smartwatch accelerometers a la "Pebblin"!

0
0

Snowden leaks show that terrorists are JUST LIKE US

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Payphones in airports

So anyone other than your own agents using an airport payphone will come under increased suspicion of being someone else's agent, too?

0
0

No more turning over a USB thing, then turning it over again to plug it in: Reversible socket ready for lift off

John Sturdy
Boffin

Connecting things properly

I'd much rather see USB replaced by Ethernet with a connector that can take a decent power level, has an obviously directional shape, and is genderless (like an Anderson power connector, but smaller and with more than two contacts). Then you won't get distinctions like "A" and "B" connectors, or like USB-on-the-go being different from USB; things can just connect, and let the software/firmware sort out whether they have anything to talk about. NICs are cheap now; from a quick look at the protocols, I think they probably take less silicon to implement, too, and you'd probably get far better performance for most things without the grossly inefficient USB protocol.

For a little extra, make the connection reasonably mechanically robust and it can even hold devices onto each other (e.g. bluetooth/wifi dongles onto phones/computers) without worrying about bending connectors.

Vendors could add value to the products a bit, then we can let market forces push the prices down; tiny NAS units could take the place of USB flash drives, wifi dongles could be routers, and so on.

1
0
John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Size Part 2...

If you've got the fingertip sensitivity to read braille, you should be able to feel which side of the plug/socket has the plastic strip in it (a blind friend of mine, who is an experienced braille user, does this without difficulty).

0
1

Crypto Daddy Phil Zimmerman says surveillance society is DOOMED

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Frankpledge may have limited privacy

The frankpledge system (mutual legal responsibility in a group of households) may have encouraged people to keep informal surveillance of each other (although at least that would have been P2P).

0
0

ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Have they looked underneath?

Perhaps it's an MI6 bluetooth (or similar) dead letter box, like the one in Moscow?

0
0

HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk

John Sturdy
FAIL

I think our accidental creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is likely to wipe us out far earlier than any AI we can create in the same timespan.

3
0

Tesla and Panasonic to build NOT-SO-SECRET GigaFactory in US

John Sturdy
Devil

Panasonic batteries? With DRM? And pyrotechnics? and price-fixing?

When I saw "Panasonic" and "battery" mentioned in the same article, I was reminded of the incident of Panasonic patching cameras to block rivals' batteries, and while looking for that article, I also found Panasonic pulls pyromaniac batteries (well, I suppose it's better than denying the problem) and Sanyo (a subsidiary of Panasonic) fined for price-fixing laptop batteries

I wonder whether Tesla use DRM on their battery packs?

0
0

SOULLESS machine-intelligence ROBOT cars to hit Blighty in 2015

John Sturdy
Stop

Re: I want a driverless car!

"Driverless" might not mean "unattended"; legislation might still require a human to be in the vehicle, nominally ready to press a big red button to stop the vehicle in case of an emergency that the vehicle fails to detect.

Of course, they'll never press the button in time, because they'll be too busy texting, but at least there'll be someone to blame.

2
0

Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

They say "protecting privacy rights of hotspot users while making their usage of your Hotspot fully traceable", which suggests they have no more clue than the cops.

1
0

Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of 'terrorism' is too broad

John Sturdy
Unhappy

No, they spotted that one

They invented the term "domestic extremist" for those, in case anyone decided that they couldn't call them terrorists. There, a government thinking ahead. Who'd have thought it?

5
0

When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

John Sturdy
Terminator

"Your plastic pal who's fun to be with"

How large will the complaints department have to be?

I just hope anything like that won't be cordless, I want to unplug one already!

I suppose we'll get used to anything.

3
0

UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

John Sturdy
Holmes

An appropriate way round it?

Perhaps the companies concerned, when approached for files containing the records, can say "The data you're looking for was in 114 files, which we have inexpicably lost. You know how it goes."

9
0

Call girl injected Google exec with heroin, drank wine, left him to die – cops claim

John Sturdy

Re: A shame

If she'd called an ambulance and they'd been able to revive him, he could have identified her, although as a drug supplier and cause of injury, rather than a killer; still enough to scare her off calling.

1
1

Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Arrests

That'll be David Mery: http://gizmonaut.net/bits/suspect.html

0
0

'I'm for free speech!' brave Boris bellows, bewildered by 'right to be forgotten' bluster

John Sturdy
FAIL

Streisand effect

However, in this case, the information he was seeking to remove was brought from a position of relative obscurity to wider public awareness.

0
0

Is tech the preserve of the young able-bodied? Let's talk over a fine dinner and claret

John Sturdy
Unhappy

Now cancelled, it seems

The page pointed to now says:

Unfortunately the April dinner with John Lamb on Digital Enablement of the disabled had to be cancelled. The RTC Club Committee sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.

0
0

Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

John Sturdy

Re: It's actually quite a tricky spec.

ISTR the PC3100 was almost instant-on (although it was a resume, rather than a boot); and it ran on 3 AA cells for about 3 weeks.

0
0
John Sturdy
Thumb Up

The one I really miss from that era was the Sharp PC3100; it just fitted in a cargo trousers pocket or a bumbag of that era. Like the Libretto (which had about the same footprint but was around twice as thick) I have one somewhere that I'd like to gralloch to fit a Pi inside.

0
0
John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Drifting OT ... one thing I recall

That sound like the MicroWriter; the keyboard format was re-used for a PDA called the AgendA.

I don't think the mass market, even back then, was up to anything that had a learning curve steeper than pressing keys with the corresponding characters written on them in large letters.

4
0
John Sturdy
Thumb Up

I hope to resurrect my Libretto

I think I still have my old Libretto somewhere, I might dig it out sometime and try putting a Pi or similar-sized machine inside. I expect I'll have to replace just about everything except the case and keyboard, though; but still, it's a nice form factor.

0
0

Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

John Sturdy
Linux

Re: I've been helping friends (and businesses) upgrade from XP to ...

Yes, just helped someone switch an infested windows machine to Mint (Mate) and they're very happy with it, they say it's much better.

2
0

Getting documents all too easy for Snowden

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: It's not exactly Mission: Impossible is it?

The problem with this is that the better they are at keeping secrets, the harder they are to oversee. Done properly, security in such agencies should keep data compartmented so no individual can see data from divisions other than the one they work for, other than by special arrangement.

1
0

El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

John Sturdy
Boffin

Anderson connectors

Nice big genderless DC power connectors; the middle-size ones I use are rated at "a very high current for ten seconds, or 175 amps continuous". They seem to have dropped the 700A version, which had up to 10 data connectors in the middle; I would have called that "data + power, done properly" but it was almost the size of a netbook, which unfortunately probably ruled it out as a contender for a new variant of USB.

Available in lots of colours, too, with slightly incompatible geometries, for different voltages, although everyone seems to ignore the manufacturer's suggested colour coding scheme.

0
0

Ex-NSA guru builds $4m encrypted email biz - but its nemesis right now is control-C, control-V

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: I'm all for bringing encryption to the masses, but...

especially a bloody ex-NSA guy

Does that make much difference? There are two specific situations in which I'd mistrust a company offering closed-box security:

1. Where they employ someone who's publicly known to have been on the NSA's payroll

2. Where they don't employ anyone who's publicly known to have been on the NSA's payroll

I might make an exception to case (1), if that person is Mr Snowden.

4
1

Amazon's 'schizophrenic' open source selfishness scares off potential talent, say insiders

John Sturdy
Boffin

Sirius, Sirius, Sirius

Maybe banks which have strengthened the Linux kernel to meet their statutory obligations should contribute that code and let hackers see *exactly* how they should attack your saving account?

I suggest a web search for "security through obscurity". You'll find that terms such as "fallacy" occur a lot in the results.

Or, in brief (although many web pages explain it better than I can here): if the workings of the mechanism have to be hidden for the system to be "secure", it's not really secure. A really secure system is still secure even when the mechanism is publicly understood. It's the difference between having a door-handle that doesn't look like one, and having a lock that requires a key.

1
0

Google Glass driver told she CAN wear techno-specs while on the road

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Next time ...

But as the driver's head moves, and as the vehicle moves, things which were behind the side bar will become visible; I doubt that obstacles and other road users will remain entirely hidden behind the sidebar for more than a fraction of a second.

3
2

Human overlord Watson lives in the 'clouds' now, in a $1bn cognition unit. Don't be afraid

John Sturdy
Headmaster

The firm claims it's 24 times faster and has seen a 2,400 per cent improvement in its performance.

Would it ask the the firm to explain the distinction between speed and performance?

3
0

Campaign to kick NSA man from crypto standards group fails

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: The enemy you can see

"every participant is untrustworthy", or just "each participant may be untrustworthy"? What if every member of the group is an NSA plant?

1
0

Sony seeks mojo reboot with 147-inch 'honey-you-can't-afford-me' 4K home projector

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: Title is too long

"No more commodity products," he promised. "No more parity products. No more 'just good enough' products. We must – and we can – do better."

Well, they were ahead of the game in putting rootkits on commercial media releases.

9
1

Coming in 2014: Scary super-soldier exoskeleton suits from the US military

John Sturdy
FAIL

Re: Battlefield Realities

On top of which, every part will presumably be made by the lowest bidder (or the highest briber).

1
0

That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

John Sturdy

One of the big advantages of ARM is that the chip is so small you can stick it in the corner of the GPU/ASIC/custom lol-cat search combobulator to handle all the ancillary computer stuff while the special silicon gets on with the hard bits

Yes, that's what I had in mind as the main possibility.

Another possibility would be something like ICL's CAFS (Content Addressable File Store) which implemented search functions in the disk controller, matching the data as it passed the disk heads (without having to read it into RAM first). But I expect they're more interested in pulling popular blocks of data into RAM for faster repeated searching.

3
0
John Sturdy
Boffin

If they're going to make their own CPUs, perhaps they could add search-related operations in hardware (or with specialized hardware assist) --- Boyer-Moore search might be amenable to this, for example (just the "search" stage of it, not the table preparation stage).

3
0

Los Angeles' weather is just like MORDOR, says Brit climate prof

John Sturdy

Re: Dick

On a second look, it also shows how well TeX generalizes beyond the fonts for which it was originally designed. Could Knuth be a reincarnation of Fëanor? (it would explain a lot.)

1
0
John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Dick

All it takes for serious principles and scientific processes to look less like they're tweaked to fit a particular dataset and desired set of results is for someone in academia to apply them in a different setting, to show that they generalize plausibly.

3
0

Page:

Forums