* Posts by Peter2

793 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

Peter2
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Re: Bad references

Yep, the issue with references is simply libel. The chances of getting sued are about zero as long as it's true, since "truth" is an absolute defense. (although you have to be able to prove your statements, and most people would prefer to avoid the hassle)

You can provide poor references without derogatory comments though, I have seen such a reference which basically said:-

"I confirm that $person worked for us from $date to $date, and I am sure they would be suitable for your vacency, assuming that that it is a junior position with adequate supervision".

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Complaints against cops down 93% thanks to bodycams – study

Peter2
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Re: Studying police officers improves their behaviour

Yep.

There needs to be a proper trial over 6 months covering an entire department where:-

1) There is a clearly identifiable (and working) camera.

2) There is a camera that the public thinks is working, but the policeman knows is not.

3) There is a camera that the police thinks is not working, but actually is. (ie issue a camera where the "off" button only turns off the recording light but actually continues recording)

4) Certain people have no camera for the entire trial

I personally would find the results of the number of complaints made against an officer, and proven true or proven false quite interesting. I mean, you'd assume that group 1 would have a clear reduction over group 4, but would group 2 have a drop in claims, and would group 3 end up catching a lot of officers out?

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'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

Peter2
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There are 9 (currently recognised) areas in the brain (namely motor control, object recognition, spacial processing, attention span, language, memory, executive function, emotion, and artistry) that will function at different levels in any person.

People with better systematising and memory skills are more likely to be drawn to STEM as these fields reward people who can remember obscure but important facts and the ability to think logically.

Secondly, this is checking people aspiring to have a MCP, PHD, CITP ETC. The discussion in the forum is about people in IT with a J.O.B. The two may or may not overlap. I recall working in a largish IT department where out of ~70 people surveyed as to qualifications we had one IT degree, one CCNA, one PRINCE2 and a lot of productive workers who were still working there (years or decades after) their probation periods because they got a lot of work done.

I'd put a grizzled & greyhaired IT department up against a well qualified department anyday with an expectation that 20 years of experiance will trump 20 months of education in most cases.

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Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

Peter2
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Re: Musk seems to be losing it

>"He might find a few loons wanting to spend the rest of their (possibly very short) lives on Mars, but, no one sane."

The advertising industry considers this one of the top hundred adverts from 1900-2000:-

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success." - Shackleton's advert for the north pole expedition.

He got 5k applications. Given the profile of the people interested in going it shouldn't be totally impossible to get enough people who work in a technical field (say, IT) who are both capable of dealing with highly technical equipment, working under pressure and most importantly SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF DEALING WITH IDIOTS.

Ok, maybe we might have been driven insane over the years. Enough so to go to Mars to get away from an endless 9-5 grind which might end with a livable pension, if the pension provider doesn't go out of business and leave you a penniless serf unable to ever retire.

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British bloke bailed after 'hacker plunders Pippa Middleton's iCloud'

Peter2
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Re: Interesting..

Any system is like this, starting from the bottom is always painful.

Imagine that your calling an Indian call centre or support that's been outsourced to Capita. Great effort is devoted in most organisations to ensuring that problems don't make it up sucessive layers. The first line is always "hope they go away" followed by trying to make it difficult enough that you give up.

Getting to the second line is quite difficult. Getting to third line is nigh on impossible.

Starting at the top and working down is quite a lot easier, especially if "the top" is the Queen who everybody in the police force swears allegience to. She probably made a call to "Sir Stratospherically Senior, CBE" asking them if they could find time at their convenience to look at $issue.

Imagine the effect this would have in your orginisation. In mine, the issue would descend from board level like a descending bomb, with everybody scattering out of the way until it hits somebody who can deal with it, probably in IT terms the sort of third line people who are locked away with armed guards posted at the door to keep users or first/second line techs away from them.

It then gets handled by Her Majesties Courts and Tribunal Service with the sort of efficiency that most people can only dream of, when the court clerk realises that "the Queen versus criminal" in this particular case is somewhat more litteral than the proforma it is in most cases.

Pretend it doesn't happen everwhere. When the CEO logs an incident on his assistants printer, does he wait as long as somebody reporting a similar issue in admin support? No?

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Sysadmin gets 5 years for slurping contractor payments to employer

Peter2
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Re: Love the pussy pass

if somebody got nine months imprisionment, suspended for one year then I think legally the situation is that they leave court as a free person and continue in this state until said person comes to the attention of the courts again. At which point a judge might order that the suspension is lifted and the person serve the previously suspended sentance.

So the sentance is actually nothing, provided that the courts aren't troubled again by the person within the next twelve months.

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Peter2
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Re: hmmm...

"Hundreds of years ago you could be hung* for not being able to pay a fine."

[citation needed]

Debtors prison would have been more likely? At worst transportation beyond the seas in most cases, probably to then end up in indentured servitude to somebody in the 13 colonies who needed cheap workers which nets the person owed money some return for having done so.

Hanging people was usually reserved for severe crimes, such as stealing food if you were starving, for instance. Though transportation for that was more likely, or you might possibly find that you'd involuntarily volunteered to join the Royal Navy to man the fleet if during the Great French war, thereby gaining a seventy pound bounty which then belonged to you, and could be seized by the court. (depending on how the Magistrate was feeling at the time.)

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Lenovo denies claims it plotted with Microsoft to block Linux installs

Peter2
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Re: Microsoft will be paying vendors to deploy their malware os Windows 10....

"It looks like the Microsoft Corporation has deployed its "superinfluencers" into this thread. Redmond must be regarding this débâcle as a high priority fuckup."

It is a high priority fuckup! Somebody didn't read the (presumed) non disclosure thing in their agreement, which means Microsoft is now bricking it that anti trust people are going to be knocking on the door. I bet there are shredders running overtime.

"We want to move from people needing Windows to choosing Windows and loving Windows. That's our goal"

Pretty easy. Identify that you primarily have three seperate markets:-

1) Business users on desktops.

2) Home users on desktops.

3) home users on mobile devices.

Then recognise that WinX might be ok for groups 2 & 3 because they have fuck all alternatives, but most companies are on Win7 Pro and still buying machines pre-installed with it.

Just go with the flow, offer the corporate world Win7 Pro as "Windows Classic for business" for $1 p/m per PC and then just LEAVE IT THE FUCK ALONE. No extra features, improvements or wheel reinvention. Just a consistent working "people ready" enviroment. Corporate IT (and I count SME's in this) do not want "improvements", but do want "STABILITY" i.e some guarentee and confidence that the workers who earn money for the company will be able to work when they come in each morning.

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Hackers hijack Tesla Model S from afar, while the cars are moving

Peter2
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Re: 2G/3G/4G/5G/....

My ~2000 era car is designed with commendable paranoia.

The In Car Entertainment stuff uses dedicated wiring that is only used for this purpose, and so regardless of what you plug into your radio you can't screw with the rest of the car. The controls on the wheel are hardwired to the plug for the stereo unit not just network addresses on the car network.

The engine control unit is only acessible via the ODBII port, and while it is possible to read data from this at any time for diagnostics (or running one of those little HUD things from ebay, etc) the cars software is write locked when the engine is running, which neatly prevents pretty much any malicious activity.

The only time you can write to it is when the keys are in the ignition, the ignition is turned on, but the engine is turned off. This writes off a huge majority of attacks that can be launched,from the "try to kill the driver" sort of issues covered in the article to the modern celebrated "sit outside the car with a dealer laptop, open the doors, start the engine and drive away without needing the keys" features that must have been requested by organised crime gangs to steal expensive, but badly designed cars.

Now, if a reasonable set of security measures could be devised ~twenty years ago to prevent these sort of obviously forseeable problems why are we having these problems today...?

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Latest F-35 bang seat* mods will stop them breaking pilots' necks, beams US

Peter2
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Re: minimum weight

It's probably something to do with design tradeoffs.

The problem is going to be that it's a zero, zero ejection seat. Meaning that should the F35 catchfire on the runway then the pilot can eject from zero altitude whilst stationary. This requires a fairly powerful explosive exit, followed by a very fast parachute deployment.

At a guess, the reason the timer is set to it's current setting is that if it's set to longer then if you do a zero zero eject then the seat could well hit the ground before deploying the chute, a not ideal situation.

If you then eject at speed, kicking out the parachute pretty much immediately is going to cause the ejection seat to go from the aircraft speed to a slow decent very quickly. So quickly that the helmet is going to cause the pilots head to get something like whiplash, which presumably has never been a problem previously because the helmets were just there to protect the pilots head, instead of having a ton of electronics attached.

They probably used a very, very simple fault impervious and time proven system like a burning fuse lit by the initial ejection charge because I suspect the Martin Baker engineers are probably more paranoid about system failure than most of EL Reg's readers. I guess somebody is having to design in a more untested and less fault tolerent workaround at the moment that checks how fast the seat is moving and how far it is from the ground etc.

The weight issue probably doesn't have much to do with weight in the seat per se, but how the pilot is built, ie people with strong neck muscles might get strained muscles, but slightly built pilots get broken necks. As telling people to measure people's neck with a tape measure is probably not an acceptable workaround, and given military fitness standards mean that body fat is not likely to be significant on pilots somebody probably figured that it wouldn't be an issue for >99% of people over $weight (+$FudgeFactor) as they probably have substantial enough neck muscles for this not to be an issue. Probably. Just guessing.

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2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

Peter2
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Re: "have claimed the Antikythera mechanism was of extraterrestrial origin"

The Antikythera mechanism is ~100BC to ~200BC, nobody knows precisely but this is 200BC, 2216 years ago.

1500BC is 3516 years from 2016AD so ~1300 years prior to 200BC. Dates run backwards from 1BC rather than forwards, as in AD.

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Peter2
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Re: "have claimed the Antikythera mechanism was of extraterrestrial origin"

Can't be. If you accept Plato made an infamous factor of ten translation error then Atlanean civilisation was the Minoan empire, and Atlantis was Santorini, which was blown to bits by a volcanic eruption before the volcano sunk into the ocean.

That was about 1500BCE though, and this is 200BC so it's unlikely the device is Minoan/Atlantean in origin.

Santorini/Atlantis might also be the original story behind the ten plauges of egypt; three days of darkness caused by a mini nuclear winter, flying debris from a multi gigaton explosion (fire and hail) massive growth of populations of red algae (rivers of blood), the fish dying as they couldn't breathe in the water, insects feeding on the dead fish leading to huge plagues of insects, which in turn led to a plague of frogs as their population grew, finished off with a plague of locusts. Even the boils are accountable for (Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt) as volcanic ash landing over the entire of Egypt.

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Target lost, Cruz missile misses: Ted's ICANN crusade is basically over

Peter2
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Re: Sooo ....

ICANN gets complete control.

ICANN is an ungovernable mess, who's legal department is of the opinion that ICANN staff can ignore the ICANN bylaws when they feel like it, they don't have to justify themselves and can lie about it when they feel like it with no repercussions.

The only thing leverage *anybody* has/had over ICANN was the threat of shifting the IANA contract elseware. The sane thing to do would be to transfer the IANA contract to some entity that can make threatening noises towards ICANN occasionally about awarding the contract to somebody else to keep ICANN working by their rules.

If IANA is transferred to ICANN then ICANN is forever the top body of the internet on paper, and there is no mechanism to transfer this elseware. The only way to do change this would be to create a second offical "root" and then re run the DNS wars. Does that sound absurd to you? It does to me!

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IPv4 apocalypse means we just can't measure the internet any more

Peter2
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Re: And who told you I want to be measured?

"Oh good grief. v6 "high priest" here"

Ok, i'll say it.

GET THE PITCHFORKS AND BURN THE HERETIC.

Just kidding.

Honest.

Sort of.

Look, all everybody wanted was a larger address space. Can we planitively ask why you have just added an extra two fields to IPv4 (ie 192.168.0.1 becomes 0.0.192.168.0.1, taking the address space from (254*254*254*254) ~four point one billion addresses to (254*254*254*254*254*254) ~two hundred sixty-eight trillion, five hundred thirty-five billion addresses? That's the better part of fifty thousand addresses per person, which ought to be enough for any reasonable use case excepting individually assigning addresses to nanobots.

Everybody would have been perfectly happy. IPv4 devices could be patched to the new version (IPv4.1?) relatively easily and IPv4 skills and tools would be easily and directly transferrable. Older devices could have been accomodated simply at the network layer by discarding the extra two address blocks. You could still actually memorise network addresses and layouts and talk to people about them. You can say (and remember) 10.0.1.20, you can't say (or reasonably be expected to remember) 3ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf. It's utterly meaningless gobbledygook that you can't even be expected to scribble on a sheet of paper and type in to something by hand without the addition of transcription errors. This is not exactly an abnormal use case in the real world.

As a result we have a situation where *NOBODY* wants IPv6. Pretty much everybody hopes it will go away and die a death, from network architects to network admins and even including the equipment manufacturers who by rights should be the most enthusiastic about it, since they at least stand to make some money out of it.

I judge the equipment manufacturers enthusiasm by the lack of cheap firewalls suitable for home users for under 50% of a users monthly takehome pay a decade on. I'd like to see you justify to a home user who cares for IPv6 even less than an IT professional why they should pay that much to... well, gain absolutely nothing. But it's new and "better". But you won't notice any difference, other than the fact that none of the local "fix your PC" services will touch it with a bargepole.

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MoD confirms award of giant frikkin' laser cannon contract

Peter2
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Re: Speed of light = your [sic] hitting it

I think a 100kw laser is a bit beyond a flashlight on steroids. It's coherent light for a start. I'm not sure, but I think your actually talking about the spot size growing as a result of the beam divergence?

Yep, but problem at long ranges on the early weapons. However each generation of laser is going to get steadily more powerful. When we get from the hundreds of kilowatts to the megawatt range then presumably the spot size being a bit large at range is going to stop being an issue at all. In the interim you'd expect that missiles would be used for high altitude intercepts, which pushes attackers down to below the level of the radar, which means that the range is going to be comparitively short.

Accurately bearing on a moving target is pretty much a solved problem, just after WW2 the first tanks had gyro stablised guns so they kept pointing at the target while moving over rough terrain. This is an easier problem to fix, really since all of the technology already exists- the Rapier missile already tracks on target with 1960's technology. If it could be done fifty years ago with tolerable accuracy then with modern hardware improvements then it ought to be quite possible to produce a more accurate result today.

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Peter2
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Re: Frikkin lasers

"When the target is moving, and moving fast, it's usually a very different and much sadder tale."

With a bullet, yes. You fire it, it takes a while to arrive and the target has moved. Manned targets are even known to make random course changes to make it difficult for shells to hit them, given they can't adjust course mid flight.

You can of course fire things which try and guide themselves to the targets but manned targets are also known to drop packs of tinsel out of the back, which radar thinks is the target. Dropping burning chunks of magnesium is quite attractive to heat seeking missiles and does for those.

But a laser travels at the speed of light, so if your pointing at it then your hitting it. There is no such think as evasion. This is a gamechanger, because no matter how expensive and advanced your flying thing is, it can't evade unless it can move faster than the speed of light.

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Peter2
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Re: Frikkin lasers

Many years ago a bunch of military people with a chemical pumped laser decided to test this "a mirror will defeat lasers!!" thing at the end of the year when they had some money left over in the testing budget which they had to use in case they lost it the next year. So they bought a mirror. Not just any mirror like a bit of glass or polycarbonate with a micrometer thick bit of foil stuck on the back, but a thickish chunk of aluminium polished to a perfect mirror finish. (so it also acted as a heatsink)

The laser was reflected, for about a millisecond. Then the imparted heat caused the mirror finish to expand minutely at the point of attack, which destroyed the mirror effect and allowed more energy to convert to heat on the material. After several hundred milliseconds the surface finish was totally fucked and the laser simply bored a hole straight through.

IIRC the smoke from a few dozen white phosperous grenades also has very little effect, other than giving off a prettier show with the laser.

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National Cyber Security Centre to shift UK to 'active' defence

Peter2
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Re: Bows and arrows against the lightning...

You mean stuxnet wasn't the work of a bored teenager, and that it wasn't an isolated incident?!

Shocking.

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Peter2
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Re: Lawful?

@ Vic; Much. And it's good to know there are competent designers out there that haven't been defeated by management!

As you say thugh the general point is that if we had competent politicians then we'd have a rules for civilised digital warfare. Simply lifting Asimov's first law and replacing "robot" with "system" would suffice.

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Peter2
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Re: Lawful?

Generally there are even laws to govern wars, such as the Hague convention and the Geneva Convention(s) of Civilised Warfare.

If politicans were passably competent then we'd have a set of laws relating to the offensive use of hacking, limiting the damage caused. For instance, deliberately sabotaging equipment without injuries or fatalities being acceptable (since stuxnet shows it's been done already, and if you make that illegal they'll just do it anyway) but hacking systems to cause human harm is forbidden.

Such as you can disable a chemical plant by deliberately burning out hardware, but you can't cause a major industrial accident or explosion. Deliberately tampering with infrastructure such as traffic lights should be avoided, but failing this then if targeting shared infrastructure then they should be disabled totally, and not set them up to occasionally all show green, etc.

Frankly, most nations are going to do that anyway because the response to causing large numbers of deaths is going to result in what used to be called a punative expedition when we were brutally honest about such things, but today are rebranded as something like "limited scale military operations" in newspeak.

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Swedish appeals court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange

Peter2
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Re: The 8th, but not the last..

Google the maximum penalty. CPS guidelines say 6 months if a magistrates court does a summary conviction or 12 months in the case of a Crown Court doing it. Plus losing the bail bond that was put up by his mates, but that's unlikely to worry him that much given that he didn't pay it.

He'd get more than that if they decide to charge him with contempt of court, hold him in prision until the case is heard (obvious flight risk?) and then stick his case at the bottom of the priority list.

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VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

Peter2
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Re: It seem to me

"Modern research indicates the life expectancy went down quite a bit after agriculture was introduced. Hunting and picking berries really was healthier! "

Mmm. Yes, and no. Mostly no.

While yes, being outside, always active etc was good for you, you got robbed constantly when gangs decided it was easier to wait until you'd done the hard work killing, an animal and dragging it back and cooking it and then just robbing you. This resulted in groups (tribes) for mutual defence, which resulted in having a 20% chance of dying a violent and brutal death, exclusive of the deaths due to illness.

As socities got larger, the chances of dying a violent and brutal death went down. In the last hundred years, despite two World Wars, the holocaust and other genocides, the atomic & nuclear strikes on Hiroshima & Nagasaki this figure fell to 1%. Medicine also reduced the number of deaths due to illness, so if you don't die a violent death then your more likely to die of old age than disease, complications of childbirth etc.

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Hololens for biz shocker: Surprisingly, it doesn't totally suck

Peter2
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Re: My company has one

One possible solution would be to have the user stare at a closed in screen, have a camera take a video, add the AR stuff in real time and "play" it to the screen.

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Peter2
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Re: My company has one

The problem (imo) is that these things screw with your eyes massively.

When your walking around normally your eyes focus on something 5 metres away as if it's 5 metres away, and then make a minor change to view something one meter further away than that. With these sort of VR experiances you have a projection to a screen 2 inches/5cm in front of your eyes perfectly scaled as if it's sitting 5 metres away. Your eyes madly refocus between real objects 5 metres away, and virtual images 5cm away.

The headache is near certainly going to be eyestrain from your eye muscles protesting the abuse. If so, I doubt there is any real way of preventing this sort of problem; it's likely to be a fundemental problem with the technology.

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Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

Peter2
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Re: Locked in? BTDT.

Un pro tip: as per fire safety regulations if your in a key card controlled place then hitting the fire alarm or using a lighter under a sensor causes the doors to unlock. Failing that, it tends to result in somebody attending quickly.

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US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets

Peter2
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Re: They should save time...

There are effectively two problems with the UK building Nimitz class carriers. Firstly is that despite building a dozen of them and refitting things like better weapons the Americans have never really implemented automation systems to seriously reduce the number of people required on their carriers. We already have a manpower crisis in the fleet, we literially couldn't come up with ten thousand people to man two Nimitz class carriers.

The other issue is that a Nimitz class ship can take 85-90 aircraft (including helicopters). The RAF has a total of 137 Eurofighters, plus 98 Tornados. This includes the spares, long terms maintenance, everything. We will also have 24 F35's at some point in the future, probably after the Americans finish developing them so they can be used as warplanes as just have the ability to fly.

This means that if we had Nimitz class ships, if we could man them, and if our existing aircraft could land on them then they'd take basically the entire active RAF, plus the Fleet AIr Arm. You'd then be able to queeze in pretty much all of the helicopters from the Army Air Corps on our "commando carriers". (which would have been considered a bit larger than a light fleet carrier 50 years ago).

In other words, the Nimitz is WAY too big for us given how much we spend on defence, and how much of a return on investment we get for what we spend.

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Star Trek's Enterprise turns 50 and still no sign of a warp drive. Sigh

Peter2
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Re: Start combining ways maybe?

Getting all of these technologies on a spacecraft is sort of possible. Getting it on a *small* spacecraft is not.

Accelerating a spacecraft to a noticible percentage of lightspeed is technically possible with existing technology using the "bigger hammer" method of engineering (just assemble a rocket at Lagrange 2 the size of a modern cargo freighter, it might take a few (hundred) thousand rocket launches but it's not impossible to do)

But even if you got up to 20% light speed with your launch assist then a journey of 5 lightyears is still going to take 25 years. And while you might get there, your not going to be able to stop. (obligatary reference to Poul Anderson's novel "To Outlive Eternity")

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It's OK to fine someone for repeating a historical fact, says Russian Supreme Court

Peter2
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Re: Or the Russians haven't updated their website yet

Firstly, Stalin's purge of his officer corps was partly because they were pro German and he was worried that they might come marching into Moscow with the Germans if asked to fight them.

> "Stalin, like Hitler, had a fetish for edge-based defense"

Yes. Just like the French. And the Belgians. And the Dutch. And the Danish. And the Norwegians. And the Greeks. And the Polish. And the Italians. And *have you got the point yet*?

The only countries that really did massive properly prepared multi layered defences in WW2 was the UK and Switzerland. The only reason either countries managed this is because of having a couple of years panicking about an intended invasion. The British coasts were massively fortified to the point of insanity first with masses of really heavy more or less static artillery left over from WW1 (see 6", 9.2", 12", 13.5", 15" gun howitzers) and then with minefields, barbed wire and all of the other nasties that could be devised. Pillboxes in defensive lines all across important points went in manned with the Home Guard, however the full set of defences took literially a couple of years to complete and even then the main defences were unquestionably at the coast at likely invasion points.

Other nations couldn't manage this since defenses are as a rule insanely expensive and slow to build and it's natural to build up defences strongly where you think your going to need them rather than weakly everywhere.

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Watch SpaceX's rocket dramatically detonate, destroying a $200m Facebook satellite

Peter2
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Re: Hydrazine

i'd have thought that cleanup and decontamination is going to be a bitch.

Firstly, Hydrazine is rather unpleasant stuff. It's other use is dissolving/etching glass IIRC. Secondly, (covering this as I guess a few people may not know) it's use in a rocket is attractive because you just have two chemicals that you inject together and they ignite on contact.

Now imagine that you've got unignited pools of both chemicals sitting splashed over the pad. Mopping it up could be somewhat... interesting.

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

Peter2
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Re: Can't add USB?

I have a floppy still in use holding backup configuration on an ancient legacy bit of kit. My recollection is that it is directly hardwired, soldered and welded to the equipment.

My enthusiasm for attacking the equipment with a circular saw and a soldering iron to upgrade it can be imagined. If it could be done with a couple of extension cables though then I would actually consider this. It's not a horribly bad idea.

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SpaceX blast kills Zuck's sat

Peter2
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Re: [SpaceX] called the explosion an 'anomaly'.

Well, it was sort of supposed to happen and it was normal. The rocket is just a big tube fulled with stuff that's supposed to burn.

It did burn nicely, and very quickly. It's just that it's supposed to burn slowly rather than all at once.

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Making us pay tax will DESTROY EUROPE, roars Apple's Tim Cook

Peter2
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Apple now have to pay 13 billion to Ireland. Ireland doesn't want to charge this because Apple are blackmailing them with the job losses thing.

The average wage in Ireland is 26,800. This multiplied by 6000 comes to a wage bill of 160million per year. 13,000,000,000 / 160,000,000 = 81.25 years worth of salary for Apple's Irish staff.

Isin't it worth simply hitting Apple with the full tax rate and then paying the laid off Apple staff to read the newspaper for the rest of their natural lives? Given that they probably tax employees as well and would get non trivial interest on 13 billion if you just left it in a bank, one suspects that 13 billion would actually last longer than 82.25 years.

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EU verdict: Apple received €13bn in illegal tax benefits from Ireland

Peter2
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Re: What I don't get...

What we should do is write a very loosely worded new law called the "taking the piss" act.

On conviction via jury trial for "taking the piss" a company shall be taxed by a percentage of the companies annual turnover decided by the judge instead of on (declared) profits.

/problem.

You'd only need to make one conviction, everybody else would frantically settle with HMRC to avoid punative tax rates. We'd then be able to pay down our national debt and or increase spending on services that have had to be cut because of rampant tax evasion.

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Apple is making life terrible in its factories – labor rights warriors

Peter2
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Re: Where's the hand wringing over other companies?

"And consider how horrible the conditions were in US factories a century ago, or UK factories before that. It is easy for us to get all high and mighty expecting other countries to have the same worker protection laws and enforcement we take for granted, because we've already "made it" economically."

The point is that these companies are moving production to these countries explicitly *BECAUSE* they don't have any worker or enviromental protection laws. Not having to protect or renumerate their employees to any reasonable standard is why they are cheap. Because they are cheap is why they mercilessly laid off their western employees who made the company what it is, and hired cheaper foreign labour.

If you are going to have a minimum wage and working conditions in your own country then you need to ensure that the same conditions are in place on foreign staff or your simply committing a nasty form of national suicide as your own economic base gets eaten out from underneath you.

While multinational companies are somewhat less dangerous today than they were in the days when the East India Company literially owned most of a sub continent outright I submit that multinationals are still at best a menace.

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Google broke its own cloud by doing two updates at once

Peter2
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Re: Change management 101

"I'd add one more:"

Too true. I was a bit slapdash with the list in any number of ways, I should have said business continuity/disaster recovery plan rather than backups but I think people got the general thrust of where I was going...

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Peter2
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Re: Change management 101

When there is no real definition of competence and every IT professional considers that everything not done via their personally prefered way is incompetent, then incompetence would run rife, wouldn't it?

However, if you go by a few measures:-

1) Do you have backups?

2) Can you restore them?

3) you've tested that?

4) is the uptime for all of your systems >99.9% per month? (that's under 45 mins of unscheduled downtime during working hours, per month it's hardly difficult to meet)

5) your enviroment is virus/malware free without being user free?

6) Do the users have (working and adequate) tools to do their jobs?

7) You have a set of documentation for your site that will let somebody pick up with a minimum of fuss if you have an intimate encouter with a bus?

Then you'd probably come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people in IT are in fact competent, even if their approach to getting the job done is different to mine. Ultimately, "does it work" is the test.

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French submarine builder DCNS springs leak: India investigates

Peter2
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Isin't it quite usual to have a third to half of a given fleet in for maintenance, upgrades, working up/training etc? A quick looks suggests that only six of the US Navy's 12 supercarriers are operational at the moment.

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Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

Peter2
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Re: Roundabouts...

In the UK we don't generally have any traffic lights on roundabouts, so that is probably not going to help much.

The laws of the UK state that you should give way to vehicles oncoming from the right, however most drivers either forget this (or don't know) so people generally tend to respect the other laws involved, those being the laws of physics.

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Peter2
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Re: Propaganda by CEO's

"In the US there are huge subsidies for farmers."

There are in the UK, and the entire of Europe as well.

The basic point is that it is currently being accepted that there is no alternative to uncontrolled immigration because we need huge amounts of unskilled labour for farming. My point is simply that there are alternatives. No money to buy machinery? Politically, interest free loans to buy machinery is likely to be more politically acceptable to a large segment of the population than saying that we have to have large amounts of unskilled migration.

There are choices, it's just that they aren't being discussed.

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Peter2
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Re: Propaganda by CEO's

Personally, i'd prefer unskilled imigration to be very sharply reduced.

There is a really weird thing where people say "oh, we need lots of unskilled labour for farming to gather fruit." without considering how other countries manage. How do other countries manage without massive levels of unskilled migration? A quick look around will lead you to something like this:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt73GOk4JRY

Now, why wasn't mechanical fruit picking like this invented in the UK? Even more, why is it not USED in the UK despite being invented, built and widely deployed elseware? I'm *sure* the answer has nothing to do with high competition for seasonal unskilled labour keeping wages at (or below) the minimum wage.

Western workers don't want to do unskilled manual labour? No problem, economics takes care of the problem via automating it, substituting the unskilled jobs for higher paid semi skilled labour and then machine operators, mechanics etc which western people do want to do.

So do we *need* unskilled migration, or is it a political choice to save farmers having to make capital investments in automation equipment that every other higher wage economy uses...? Answers on a postcard.

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Sex ban IT man loses appeal – but judge labels order 'unpoliceable'

Peter2
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Re: Medical treatment?

"The law in this country seems to be skewed to devastating an accused persons life before any evidence is produced or proven in a court of law. Punish first, ask questions later mentality seems to prevail.."

It does now. Quite some time ago it was the case that newspapers etc did not dare to publish information about a court case prior to it being heard in court for fear of the courts dragging the newspaper in for contempt of court, as the courts seemed to be of the opinion that they decided who was innocent or guilty, not a court of public opinion which has been given a story by one half of a case, without perhaps having the facts.

If courts started dragging editors in for contempt of court again then it'd change pretty switftly.

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My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Peter2
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Re: Fat-Burning Hats

"Shouldn't be too hard- you burn a lot of energy regulating your temperature, and the head is one of the places that looses most heat"

When I did my D of E some years (!) ago some smartass made a comment about the amount of heat lost through the head, and the (ex miltary) instructor testily pointed out that this particular nugget of wisdom comes from arctic enviroment studies where the outside tempreture is in negative numbers and the person is wearing an inch thick insulation everywhere else on the body other than the head.

He suggested that this might not be quite so correct in the UK.

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Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords

Peter2
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Don't forget sites that demand fixed length passwords without using special characters.

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New UK trade deals would not compensate for loss of single market membership

Peter2
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Re: Also, the reverse would apply

"Norway has said it will veto us joining the EFTA".

Citation needed.

I think the actual quote from Norway's PM was:-

"The most important thing we can do is to safeguard national, Norwegian interests. An EFTA agreement will give us a good relationship with the UK. We can also get [a good relationship with the UK] through other agreements as well. And do we want Britain to be involved in dictating what the EFTA negotiates with third countries? Will our key national interests being benefited by that? That is the discussion we need to have,” Solberg said, pointing out that the dynamics of the EFTA negotiations with other countries will change."

This is considerably more nuanced than "Norway has said it will veto us joining the EFTA".

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Peter2
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Re: Really ....

"Does anyone anywhere have a source for such policy and research from those who championed the Leave vote? This is a genuine request for information not a troll."

eureferendum.com

They have a number of monographs covering various things in very simple form as well as the Flexible Exit plan (aka FLEXIT) which El Reg covered some while back.

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Russia is planning to use airships as part of a $240bn transport project

Peter2
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Re: No mention of the Hindenburg?

"One of them flew into the ocean for unknown reasons. A prominent theory is that their altimeter was grossly out of calibration, they found themselves suddenly approaching the looming surface in stormy night conditions, and they dipped their stern into the water at speed by applying hard up elevator."

It sounds like the altimeter was working perfectly! An altimeter is just an aneroid barometer configured with a display with a dial that measures in altitude rather than a dial from STORMY to VERY DRY.

In other words, it doesn't actually measure your height from the ground, but the barometric pressure. This will drop the higher you get from ground level so lower pressure = higher altitude as far as an aneroid barometer based altimeter is concerned.

Unfortunately the barometric pressure at ground level will drop when a storm approaches (barometers are widely used for weather forecasting) so the mark on your altimeter may read 200 feet when your actually sitting on the tarmac until you hit the "zero" button. Or in this case they might have been slowly dropping altitude and finally going into the water with the pilot reading the same altitude.

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Peter2
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Re: 1957: Russia is planning to launch an artificial satellite

The biggest historical problems with airships seem to be that :-

1) They used hydrogen, which burns and explodes quite well because helium wasn't available. No longer a problem.

2) Because the structural materials used were heavy, the amount used was kept to a minimum resulting in a structurally weak airship. Today we have lightweight composites and computer modelling to show these things, so this is unlikely to be a problem.

Additionally, there is the point that people stopped trying to build airships. Why? By the late 1930's powered aircraft had the performance to take over pretty much any role that airships could perform.

I can't see any particular reason why it should be impossible to create a viable airship these days. Making one that is economically viable compared to established air transport is going to be one problem, and the safety record that heavier than air aviation has established after a long trail of disasters is going to be difficult to compete with, especially since heavier than air established it's safety record via the trial and error method after disasters, whereas a few learning disasters is likely to put paid to airships again.

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Judges put FCC back in its box: No, you can't override state laws, not even for city broadband

Peter2
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Re: The view from the UK

As a Brit, doesn't the court ruling just say that a government can't run an ISP and compete with a private business from taxpayers money?

Can't you just apologise profusely to the court and transfer all of the (working?) assets into a Cooperative so it's nominally independant and then do a door to door leafleting exercise explaining the situation and that your local ISP can continue to run for $amount per year and asking for people interested in subscribing? Split the cost between the number of members, and job done.

Or bill the town council for internet access to their offices (and home working staff...) for $runningcosts? Even if this is wildly inefficient for the stated purpose, I don't think there is any avenue to prevent government from being wildly inefficient and wasting taxpayers money.

Either way, ruling complied with, and ISP retained with i's dotted and t's crossed. Life carries on as before. If you want to then expand, money could be raised via public subscription (ie crowdsourcing, kickstarter et al) and a leaflet drop to ensure interest.

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Amazon launches its own plane line. Sort of

Peter2
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E-business market = A central and huge, yet inexpensive (per square foot) warehouse which holds a huge amount of stock of a huge number of different products which doesn't have to worry about looking pretty because no customer ever sees the backend which takes payments online and then posts products out.

Supermarkets moving into e-business already have a big warehouse like thing (ie; the supermarket) and their only additional cost for going online is to hire somebody to walk around the shop, pull a product from the shelf and then post it out. This makes sense as an extension of what they are doing.

Bricks and mortar shop = a chain of little shops which are insanely expensive (per square foot) and hold very few products, and very little stock. It also gets taxed to death by the local authority who then make it as difficult as possible for the little shop to make a profit by charging customers more for car parking than the average transaction in the shop is worth.

Amazon setting up chains of small physical shops on high streets makes very little sense.

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15 million tech-fried Brits have tried giving themselves a 'digital detox'

Peter2
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Re: Non Smart Phone

Google "nokia 215" or visit your local ASDA. £25 for an unlocked device that takes a single SIM version, or £30 if your after one that'll take 2 SIM cards.

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