* Posts by Steve Evans

2578 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

Portsmouth bomb about to be detonated

Steve Evans

The blast wave from the SS Richard Montgomery is one problem, the resulting wave, trapped in the narrow confines of the Thames is another... Windows get blown out first, then the water comes in... Nice!

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Steve Evans

Re: Bah!

I remember hearing about that from a Guernsey telecom engineer... The whole thing remained intact and the entire blast just excavated a cavern underneath it... Which it promptly sat back onto, slightly wonky.

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Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?

Steve Evans

I'd definitely go with the bluetooth option myself... Much less likely to be spotted.

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BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

Steve Evans

I'm glad I'm not the only one with W12 8QT burnt into their subconscious.

I don't know who to blame, swap shop or Blue Peter.

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Self-driving Google car T-boned in California crash

Steve Evans

Not a good thing to crash into, you know it's going to have plenty of footage to convict the other driver of careless driving.

Probably good enough footage to see he was on the phone at the time too (if he was of course).

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Microsoft inserts 'new kind of computer ... into our cloud' for speedier Azure services

Steve Evans

An FPGA to bounds check all the HTTP parameters, because web programmers don't seem capable if it?

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Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

Steve Evans

Re: stop being annoying

Oh good god you're not wrong... Recently I've been making some clean installs (with no adblock at the time), and opening some sites has full volume video automatically start... It takes a while to find the damn things too, as there are several moving, animated panels, and only one of them is the video with the sound on.

I didn't realise the web had become so full of shit and noise...

Adblock/disconnect rapidly installed.

As you say, I've got nothing against a few adverts, but when you open a page and 70% of the screen is full of non-content, you know there's something wrong.

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I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

Steve Evans

@A/C

Another idea for towns, have bollards embeded in all roads so that when the stolen car passes over, the bollard can be triggered, disabling the car. eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU7VNnuanhA

The general idea with stolen cars is to retrieve the car and catch the thieves...

You've just trashed the car, the thieves are off on their toes, and the wreck is blocking your pursuit.

Those aren't anti-theft bollards, those are to keep public drivers out of bus only and restricted areas.

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Apple guilty in iPhone ringtone patent rip-off battle with Sony, Nokia

Steve Evans

15 out of 16 patents dispatched. Not a bad ratio.

You only need one to hold up and it's win win win...

Which is why Apple, amongst others, spams the US patent system with ridiculous patents.

The US patent system cashes the cheque and says thanks you without even looking at the application, leaving the lawyers to sort out what is and isn't worthy for years to come... The system is incredibly broken.

If you were a small innovative company, you couldn't afford the lawyers to kill off the duff patent claims, so you're pretty screwed before you even get to market.

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World+dog to get retro classic Commodore 64 for Christmas

Steve Evans

Speccy vs Amiga is a pointless war, they are different generations and price brackets. The Spectrum was a machine built to a very tight budget, so didn't even stack up very favourably with the more expensive machines of its era such as the BBC Micro and Commodore 64. All 8 bit, Z80 or 6502 (6510), all from 1981/82. Sure it was fun to play with, and spawned a load of home programmers, but it was a bit of a toy.

The Amiga was the successor to the C64, and like the Atari ST or the same time, was based on the 68000, a 32 bit CPU and both launched in 1985. None of the 8 bit machines has a hope against these beasts.

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Steve Evans

Re: Likely lineups for those

I can't imagine some of these chips are easy to replace these days, I may be wrong :)

Needing a long obsolete chip sounds like a good excuse to learn FPGA's... IIRC there's a crazy man on the intarwebz who is systematically going through every chip on the BBC Micro motherboard and defining it in VHDL...

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Apple seeks patent for paper bag - you read that right, a paper bag

Steve Evans

I assume if everything falls out you'll be accused of holding it wrong?

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Android Studio 2.2 debuts

Steve Evans

It actually seems to be coming together rather nicely.

Installation was a breeze, much easier than earlier versions I'd played with... apart from one thing... Intel haven't signed their HAXM virtual device driver, so if you have a newer PC/Windows, you have to disable the safety net first.

Nice one Intel... Muppets!

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Nvidia: Eight bits ought to be enough for anybody ... doing AI

Steve Evans

Re: My CPU is a neural net processor

You're in good company.

http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/slideshows/2011/06/futurama/signatures/20110620_futurerama-benderxray-signed.nocrop.w670.h375.jpg

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The next Bond – Basildon or Bass-Ass? YOU decide

Steve Evans

Re: Where is this poll of which you speak?

I think it's like one of those "democratic" elections certain countries prefer...

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Excel abuse hits new heights as dev uses VBA to code spreadsheet messaging app

Steve Evans

And why not...

I once wrote a 6502 assembler interpreter in BBC Basic...

Come on, I can't be the only person who felt a programming urge, but couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write!

Sometimes it's the journey, not the destination which is the entertainment.

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Pains us to run an Apple article without the words 'fined', 'guilty' or 'on fire' in it, but here we are

Steve Evans

Re: Stupid headphone adapter...

"I'm sure in a few months you'll be able to buy a package of three adapters for $10 on eBay, just like you can with Lightning cables so you'll have spares."

As long as you are happy to run the risk of it suddenly stopping working, as happened to a work mate with his no appletax Chinese QI wireless charger case... Worked wonderfully for a few weeks, then "rejected".

He had to buy a "proper" one, which ironically is less practical in that the lower portion is deeper, meaning his headphone jack wouldn't reach the socket... Well not until we shaved a few mm off the plastic with a box cutter! I can see why they deleted the socket now!

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Windows 10 now rules the weekend, taking over from Windows 7

Steve Evans

Re: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

I'm more curious to know why there was an NetMarketshare upsurge in XP in July?

Was it retro month and nobody told me?

If that's just down to "statistical error", the magnitude of change for Win 7, 8 and 10 aren't far outside that either.

Personally, I finally ended up with Win 10 thanks to a new laptop, I've only had it as a VM before now for software testing. I'm not greatly impressed. Classic shell improved things, mainly by getting the start menu back to a Win 7 style desktop and not a tablet inspired frenzy of tiles (Microsoft, just give up, Metro was a failure, just remove all traces, at least from desktop installs!). I've had more than a few BSOD thanks to drivers exploding (wasn't that supposed to have been fixed in Win 7?), and the damn desktop icons keep sorting and aligning themselves to the left, even when all those options are turned off. Alarmingly I found reports of this bug dating back to 2015 in the betas.

And yes, that bar graph is hideous.

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Still got a floppy drive? Here's a solution for when 1.44MB isn't enough

Steve Evans

Re: @ D@v3

"FWIW, it connects to the host via a (parallel) floppy drive connector, not via USB. Admittedly a very niche use case."

Niche indeed... I've built quite a few machines in the last few years, and I can't remember the last time I saw a floppy header on the motherboard!

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BT boils over, blows off Steam, accuses Valve of patent infringement

Steve Evans

Re: A perfect example of why software patents aren't allowed

US patents... Says it all really... The UK patent office wouldn't even entertain those trivial ideas.

There's nothing innovative, nothing ground breaking, they're verging on the "bleedin' obvious".

The US patent office however, will take the processing fee and grant anything... They leave it up to the lawyers to fight it out later and get stupid patents wiped out... Which is great for the lawyers, but would really screw any small business who happens to accidentally implement one of these "ideas" in a few lines of python one afternoon.

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BBC vans are coming for you

Steve Evans

Re: I'd still like to know...

The vans are all smoke and mirrors. Whilst it could be possible to detect the signals generated by CRT TV's back in the day, flat panels are a whole different ball game, plus a 1920x1080 monitor would generate signals just like a 1080P TV.

The "detector" van works from a database.

Property used to have licence, didn't renew it = Knock on door.

Property just bought a new TV and don't have a licence (you did know that retailers take your address to log the sale of a TV didn't you?) = Knock on door.

To a lesser extent Antenna on roof and no licence = Knock on door.

I'm sure they make a continual pain of themselves round any new development as the new addresses appear on the database.

Whether the snoopers charter will extend to allow the BBC to demand names and addresses of people accessing their streams is something I'm sure we'll find out very soon.

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Got to dash out for some rubber johnnies? Amazon has a button for that

Steve Evans

Re: What?!!

It might be a huge package, but it's the size of the product inside that counts, and we all know what Amazon can be like with their choice of boxes!

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WhatsApp is to hand your phone number to Facebook

Steve Evans

FB never had my mobile number, and it will remain so.

Never installed their app, used m.facebook.com... Eventually they turned up the crippling to force mobile users to install their intrusive messenger app if they wanted to send messages... Installed Opera instead, as the mobile website messenger is only deliberately crippled for specific browsers, which doesn't currently include Opera.

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EU ministers look to tighten up privacy – JUST KIDDING – surveillance laws

Steve Evans

Not only that, but again and again (thinking about the French here), the perpetrators had been, or still were, on a watch list...

If you suspect someone, and you're presumably keeping an eye on them, and yet they still go off and do something "bad", it's not the bulk trawling that you need, it's better abilities when you have a specific target, which is standard investigative skills.

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Nuclear fallout shelter becomes cloud storage bunker

Steve Evans

Re: An increasingly popular model

Don't forget the naturally low ambient temperature of being in a cave...

Although it does make it a little tricky to get rid of excess heat if you do push it... I wonder if the Paris site thought about using the discovered well as a heat soak...?

(Now I've just got to shift the mental image of scalding hot geezers appearing on the French landscape from my mind!)

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Boffins design security chip to spot hidden hardware trojans in processors

Steve Evans

The slice and scan technique certainly sounds like a better way to check to me.

If "naughty" fab were to add a delay into their "naughty" bit, so it only became operable after several gazillion operations, it wouldn't show up during electrical testing unless the implementation had been particularly bad.

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Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Steve Evans

Re: Dunno...

It's all Greek to me!

Are you sure it's not double Dutch?

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DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs

Steve Evans

Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

And after they did so much to try to increase income...

Namely make it non transferable, so when you sell a car the tax doesn't go with it, so the new owner has to tax it, for the whole month... So unless you buy a vehicle on midnight at the start of the month, both you and the previous owner have paid that month.

Which is all completely bonkers. Tax should be for the vehicle, and given it's a paperless system now, why are we still working in month chunks? I should be able to tax it on 15th of July, with it running until 15th July next year.

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Viscous liquid oozing down the walls? You must have hives

Steve Evans

You have to move bees a minimum of several miles, or they'll know where they are when you release them, and head straight back to where they came from.

So if you want to move bees 200m down the road you have to take them several miles away first, leave them there for a couple of weeks, then move them back to where you actually want them.

Fascinating little creatures.

(Sorry, being far too factual, I'll go get a coffee).

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Tech support scammers mess with hacker's mother, so he retaliated with ransomware

Steve Evans

The ones I've received all had faked caller ID.

But I still have fun with them... When I have the time I keep them on the phone for as long as possible, my current record is 45 minutes... Unfortunately this was beaten by my friend Dave... I haven't had a call since so have been unable to better him. (I think maybe I insulted them too much and actually got blacklisted).

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Wanna build your own drone? Intel emits Linux-powered x86 brains for DIY flying gizmos

Steve Evans

Re: Typical Intel

I don't think it's intended for the likes of us mortals.

It's too big, expensive, heavy and power hungry (meaning a bigger, heavier battery) for a regular civilian drone. Do you really want to send an SSD into the air?

I guess they're got to do something to shift those "lower-power" Atoms, even if they are going to start fabbing ARM chips.

Looks quite fun with the onboard FPGA, although if you want to fly an FPGA you can do it for a fraction of the cost (weight and power consumption) with https://folknologylabs.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/storm-in-a-pint-pot/

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Steve Evans

Re: Hounded

And that is basically how their entire systems works at the moment... A simple database query...

Licence expired, and not renewed = Nasty letter

New TV purchased and no letter (because the BBC are told the address of all new TV purchases) = Nasty letter.

With the introduction of this iplayer enforcement, I can only assume they're just going to do a comparison of the licence database with the royal mail database, and send a nasty letter to everyone not in both.

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Gullible Essex Police are now using junk science lie detectors

Steve Evans

Re: Location...

____/\/\/\/\/\/\____

LIE!

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Steve Evans

Re: Ethics in Essex

So this relied on the "perp" having little or no knowledge of the law, or legal representation...?

All he had to do was deny everything, stick to his story, and no matter what the squiggle said, he would have been in the clear.

Well I guess it's true what they say, prisons are full of stupid criminals. The smart ones are still living in the outside world.

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Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

Steve Evans

"A human would have realised that... What are you?!?"

A slightly dented human from standing too close to a car assembly robot I would assume...

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BT internet outage was our fault, says Equinix

Steve Evans

Re: That explains it

From my experience this morning, things that worked, worked. Things that failed, failed. Constantly.

So it certainly appeared to be restricted to certain routes... Google DNS, google itself, G+ and Hangouts were all working perfectly.

Facebook partially worked, it obviously has some bit squirrelled away on servers which take a different IP route.

Speedtest wouldn't even appear, and linx.net failed to connect.

I wonder whatever happened to the original raison d'etre of the intartubes, namely that the message will always get through?

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Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

Steve Evans

10 per cent of its tablets

Are you sure about that? 10% seems like an incredibly small number... Especially given iPads are driven by ARM based processors, and almost all Android tablets are too.

99% would seem like a far more likely number TBH!

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Google's Nexii stand tall among Android's insecure swill

Steve Evans

Ah yes, updates blocked for network compatibility... Yet in the last 6 months, my unlocked, and constantly updated Nexus has been on O2 in the UK, T-Mobile in Italy, Vodafone in the Netherlands and I have no idea what it was in Poland (£3, 4G and 4gig of data IIRC - Don't ask me, Polish friends just said "What size sim do you need", and nipped across the road to the supermarket!).

Networks need to learn to be dumb pipes. They add no value, just hurdles.

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Steve Evans

"When listening to Google Play or Spotify on Android, adjusting the volume from the handset results in some unpleasant 'plop' noises"

Really? I live on spotify, earbuds on the train/plane or bluetoothed to my car. Never heard a pop from from changing the volume on either my phone (Nexus 6) or tablet (Nexus 7 2013).

Both work perfectly with my original Chromecast too.

Sounds like a driver/hardware issue with whatever device you have... Name and shame?

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UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

Steve Evans

Re: A suggestion

They should show a more than basic understanding of a subject before being paid to be the minister of it, not just commenting on it!

The amazing thing is that all these speeches and sound bites are written by a team of civil servants in the particular parliamentary offices... None of whom seem to have the slightest clue!

Let me summarise it for them...

Dear idiots,

Banning end to end encryption would disable ecommerce. Yes, that little padlock on your browser, that's encryption... It means your credit card information to amazon/ebay etc is safe from prying eyes.

End to end encryption is how VPNs work... So no working from home any more... You'll all have to come into the office... Or take the information home on a USB stick, which can be left in a taxi.

The bad guys will still use it. There are a million ways to transmit hidden information, some of it obvious, some of it less so like image steganography. Ebay could be (and might be) full of listing with secret messages in the item pictures, and you'd never know.

But I'm sure you'll still waste a huge amount of our tax money employing "experts" to research this, and maybe even try to implement it, before it all collapses like almost any government IT related project.... Just make sure you give the contract to one of your "mates" ok...

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Windows Phone users beg Pokémon Go creators for attention

Steve Evans

Probably cheaper...

It'll probably be cheaper to just send a budget Android phone to all those that signed the petition than employ the development staff, and support the windows version.

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Cycling paramedics in epic rush to save patient who ate stale sandwich

Steve Evans

Re: Range of use

Just for clarity, I do actually ride a motorcycle (a proper big one), my comment about curbs was really that the ease of mounting a curb with a heavy equipment laden motorcycle is very dependant on your angle of attack. If you can approach it at 90 degrees, no problem (just not too fast or you'll wreck the wheel rim!). However, if you've just been squeezed out of space whilst running parallel to the curb, you're not going to get a heavy motorcycle to go up it (a nice light trail bike could be bounced on the front shock, but not a fully loaded paramedic motorcycle!), it'll just glance off. A pedal bike can be manually lifted with a single foot down and a quick *heave*.

And no, I'm got going to go and experiment with my motorcycle to find at which angle the "easy" becomes "Oh bugger, whoops, oh no oh no oh no" *crunch*

"Excuse me, can someone help lift this thing off me, it's heavy!!!"

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Steve Evans
Thumb Up

Re: Range of use

Not only cheaper, but quicker... I regularly see 4 wheel ambulances stuck in queues of traffic attempting to negotiate a path past drivers who are either deaf, blind or stupid (probably all three, I'm usually in East London). A two wheeler (bike or motorbike) is a lot more flexible, and in the case of a pedal bike, can always use the pavement when confronted by incredibly stupid car drivers.

(I'm sure a motorcycle could use the pavement at a push too, but they're not so easy to get up the curbs).

Sure they can't carry as much equipment as a "Big" ambulance, but first on scene doesn't need all that. They can carry enough to stem bleeding, restart hearts, clear airways and get the patient stabilised with plenty of pain relief drugs whilst the "Big" ambulance is still fighting its way through the mini-cabs.

So to the gallant two wheelers, motorised or pedalled, I salute you.

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Pokemon Go oh no no no, we're not reading your email, says gamemaker

Steve Evans

Can iOS users not avoid all the prying just by creating a new gmail account purely to use with the game?

It's certainly what I do on Android for apps that insist on accessing my google account. A very boring, quiet, and empty google account.

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UK.gov wants to fine websites £250,000 if teens watch porn vids

Steve Evans

I can't wait...

...for the first hack of a .gov.uk website to host a bit of jiggy jiggy... 5% of UK turnover would be a fair lump of a fine...

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You know how that data breach happened? Three words: eBay, hard drives

Steve Evans

Re: Has it been six months already?

The idea of grinding up the drive chassis for the aluminium (aluminum), mixing it up with some rust and then sparking it off on top of the platters is strangely satisfying...

I might have to try that... Although it does sound a little intensive on the man-hours.

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Cali bloke accused of illegally trousering $68k using mom's Apple AuthenTec gobble tip-off

Steve Evans

Re: His mistake ...

Hardly surprising given the way he went about it...

Someone who suddenly starts throwing everything he has, and a load extra he had to borrow in order to throw, in one particular direction obviously knows something he shouldn't...

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This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

Steve Evans

Re: What are the El Reg units for SD card costs then?

What? I don't know that...

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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Our CompSci exam was full of 'typos', admits Scottish exam board

Steve Evans

Re: By design?

Yup, sounds like a perfectly normal system requirements document to me...

Welcome to the real world of end users, and sales driven documentation.

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Cops deploy StingRay anti-terror tech against $50 chicken-wing thief

Steve Evans

Re: there is no try, there is only do or do not...

If they can't find a 2 bit thief who stole come fast food, how much success do you think they'll have trying to catch a tech savvy terrorist who uses disposable phones?

So who exactly are they going to be able to track and trace?

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