* Posts by Frederic Bloggs

200 posts • joined 17 Aug 2010

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Start learning parallel programming and make these supercomputers sing, Prez Obama orders

Frederic Bloggs

Weather? Certainly useful but...

I didn't see any mention of breaking encrypted data in your "useful" list. This may have been an oversight.

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Richard Branson cuts ties off

That should be: "rich dick"

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Emergency-service comms omnishambles worsens as HP dives for the door

Frederic Bloggs

dual-mode TETRA/4G

Is that wishful thinking or is there some actual evidence that the HO (probably secretly) has this as a "fallback" position? It is the only foreseeable solution that makes any sense. But no solution that has working PTT group calling and 4G+-like data in the same device will be available (even in beta) before at least 2018.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Uitsmijter

Frederic Bloggs

If you are talking about the stuff called Gouda that they send over to the UK for sale in supermarkets then you are absolutely, if distressingly, correct. However, a decent matured Gouda (particularly a farm produced one) is a completely difference animal. It has taste, bite and is only very slightly rubbery. It also melts very satisfactorily when toasted on bread and, perhaps draped over some previously grilled bacon, chopped tomatoes and with a generous amount of Worcestershire Sauce, makes a very satisfactory post pissup neck filler itself.

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Frederic Bloggs

No tomatoes. The only vegetation that should be present is gherkins. A lack of gherkins is a serious omission.

The Dutch are expert piss artists. They provide many neck fillers for post pissup consumption. FEBO will provide the usual ones like: croquette and bitter ballen but the crucial thing missing is that eating these things should be done during the drinking process, not just after. Then there are a range of comestibles for eating before drinking (like haring sla) which are designed to coat the stomach - to allow one to drink even more kopstoters (a beer with jenever chaser).

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Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

Frederic Bloggs
Coat

Yes, let's get some other constituency to run all our "public services". But not the Germans and especially not the French. The Americans will just give it to one of their big election contributors.

So who can we call? I know, let the European Union do it. It's big enough, it's got lots of money to erm.. invest. What could be better?

I am Fred's pet robot and wrote this for him whilst he was out and about in his coat. I am not feeling very well, I think I am coming down with a virus.

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Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Use Large Fonts.

Maybe it was a troll (good use of icons there) but it does beg the question: how big (many words) is a page then? Is it defined anywhere visible (I can't find it)?

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WikiLeaks slips out YET MORE Sony SECRETS

Frederic Bloggs
Headmaster

Re: ... can find nothing incriminating

Must try harder : 2/10

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GDS to handle Govt payments? What could possibly go wrong?

Frederic Bloggs

Surely...

Whomsever one gets to do the "single payment system" (or whatever else one might require), will have to maintain the "bespoke" system for ever (and ever)? Or is there some kind of magic "fix-it" sauce available to the idiot that said that?

It doesn't matter whom one gets to write or sells the software. Companies go bust, key developers move on or (sometimes) die. If the supplier (in house or commercial) doesn't have an independently verifiable and robust system for dealing with entirely predictable problems, then when it breaks - you still get to keep all the pieces.

I hope that sets everybody's mind at rest.

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EU Digital Single Market plan: We will compromise fast, and compromise early

Frederic Bloggs

And the graphic?

What has a couple of balloon flights tracked by Ham Radio got to do with the content of this article (apart from cheapness)?

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GDS monopoly leaves UK.gov at risk of IT cock-ups, warns report

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Government technocrats

The problem with the Civil Service and the politicians that "drive" them is that there is very little domain knowledge. Many people working there are "well educated" and by no means stupid, but there is a functional ignorance in anything remotely technical or scientific. Worse, many decision makers do not have the background or skill in the domains they are administrating to come to a view that will stand scrutiny by outside, informed, opinion. So they use consultants, whom have seen them coming...

The Civil Service then really doesn't help itself by rotating out the people that the contractors have trained up. The contractors have to start all over again with new ones every couple or three years. This appears to be an out of date hangup from colonial days about officials "going native".

To give the Government credit, they have recognised that big ticket projects are likely to equal gigantic (and expensive) failure - so they tried something else. The result has had some modest success (for at least 2 orders of magnitude less cost). It is by no means perfect, and some of the bad habits of old are creeping in, but by banging on at them in the technical press we can hold them to account because, at the very least, they actually understand the questions and the proffered answers.

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Frederic Bloggs

Soap?

Just have a gander at HMRC's APIs (designed by a committee of outside consultants) to see what that gets you. And I just looove the "signing" procedure (and lack of layering).

Yes, Yes. Let's go back the good old days of framework agreements with the big contractors.

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Aw, snap! How huge HTML links can crash Chrome tabs in one click

Frederic Bloggs

For what it's worth

It crashes in linux as well (but nicely)

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Improved Apple Watches won't get more expensive? Hmmm

Frederic Bloggs

Re: RE: Meaning that income per inhabitant of a household has been rising

My finger in the air guess is that the median number of persons that work / household has definitely increased since the 1960s.

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Skin colour's irrelevant. Just hire competent folk on their merits, FFS

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Here is the PC forecast

But, but.. What has the PC forecast to say on "Melanin Enhanced, Normal or Depleted"?

I think we should be told.

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Does your storage look like it's held together by elastic tape? Oh, you're using IBM kit, too, huh?

Frederic Bloggs

George 3 for me!

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Legalese and coding? Yup, it's the open-source FOSDEM shindig

Frederic Bloggs

But was FOSDEM useful?

Difficult question to answer. Which, by itself, probably is an answer. There were a lot of talks, most of which didn't actually say much that was truly new. Most of the interesting technically based ones ended up talking about stuff that looked as though they might become useful - maybe in two years time - and then only if the authors/makers were still working on it. Very few (that I attended) had anything that I could use (or even sensibly play with) today. In other words: effectively vapourware.

And then there were the "keynote" speeches. The stand out one for me was Larry Wall spending an hour talking about Tolkien and his oeuvre, using it a metaphor to spin out his announcement that perl6 version 1.0 will be ready this (as opposed to "by") Christmas. Even by the standards of the other talks that I went to, this one was particularly sparse with real facts or indeed, any other useful stuff.

But FOSDEM did give me one absolutely concrete thing: a cold.

I really wanted to go to FOSDEM, having never been. But now having done so, I probably won't go again.

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We can change a bit from 0 to 1 WITHOUT CURRENT, say boffins

Frederic Bloggs
Happy

ICT1301

The headline picture was a blast from the past. It appears to be one of the ferrite core memory modules from an ICT1301 (circa 1961). That brings back very happy memories. Thank you.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Frederic Bloggs

"improving comments"

Clearly I am on some moderation list, but if you want me to "improve my comment", then how do I do that now? There is no link, nor is there an edit box any more.

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Europe's top court mulls vandal's right to privacy after bloke catches thug on home CCTV

Frederic Bloggs

The end of the Surveillance State?

I know I am be recorded by the 1000's of cameras deployed here in the UK. Does this mean they all have to ask my permission?

Of if one were to break one of the windows in a building, say in the Vauxhall area (one might, for instance, take agin green window glass) from the public pavement, does this mean one could get away with it?

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Boffins weigh in to perfect kilogram quest with LEGO kit

Frederic Bloggs

Re: I demand neodymium ring magnets based Lego

Ah, so you had that kiddies game that allowed players to dip their magnets attached to small rods (with string) into a pot and obtain cardboard fish with metallic noses as well then?

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UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

Frederic Bloggs

Sadly not in the not(very much coverage) spots in the South Downs and other rural areas "served" by more than one distant base station. Before the EE/T-M roaming there was a degree of base station flip flopping here but when the roaming was switched on, the service became unusable. For some obscure reason (that EE [c/w]ouldn't explain) my mobiles tended to roam onto the even weaker T-M base hereabouts.

Ended up changing to Vodafone, but only because it has a local infill base station. With no 3/4G, but at least the 2G phone system works.

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Technology quiz reveals that nobody including quiz drafters knows anything about IT

Frederic Bloggs

Re: I assume this quiz was made up

And Facebook. Actually, I'm a bit surprised they didn't trial there first. Maybe (although it's unlikely) because Facebook was thought to be an unrepresentative demographic.

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El Reg reanimates Cash'n'Carrion merchandising tentacle

Frederic Bloggs

Re: /steel

And I know that red is a house colour an all, but red bottles are for fuel, blue for water.

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U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND

Frederic Bloggs

Re: And there goes another one

Not to mention the relief of still being alive to relish your feelings

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Flies WANT beer booze and now we know why - yeast

Frederic Bloggs
Pirate

Mozzy traps

One wonders whether well known "cut a lemonade bottle in half, fill bottom half with some water and add a sachet of yeast, invert the top half and force into the bottom half and gaffer tape together" style of mozzy trap - which is extraordinarily effective - was the inspiration for this research?

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Frederic Bloggs

Brugge (the town name that the locals use) means "bridges". The town is called "bridges" 'cos there are 10's of the things crossing the river and canals around which the city is built. Many of these bridges are old and not designed for modern heavy traffic. Which is why the council don't want lorries full of heavy beer crossing them or using the cobbled streets that surround them. Remember that road wear is proportional to the 4th power of the mass of the vehicle causing it.

So, no hills.

(PS why do the British insist on calling towns and cities in Flanders by their (hated) French names)

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BMC Software flings patent sueball at ServiceNow

Frederic Bloggs

The NHS?

Really? And this is an endorsement?

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Supercapacitors have the power to save you from data loss

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Correction

The "wet" capacitors are essentially electrolytic capacitors where the (very thin) "plates" of the capacitor are held apart by (again very thin) slightly damp "insulator" material. This dampness will, over time, evaporate out of the device through the weeny vent provided. This is why these capacitors have a finite life.

Obviously the hotter they get, the faster the electrolytic dampness evaporates. In the limit it will boil and, generally, an engineered weak spot in the cap will blow and, again generally, cause the case to fly away from the motherboard with a characteristic bang, clatter (as the cap body hits something) and nasty smell. Sometimes the cap develops an internal fault, this makes the boiling happen too fast for the safety valve; this is when the cap actually explodes.

But don't worry if you keep your computer case shut, you'll be fine.

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Frederic Bloggs

Re: Back in the day...

The crucial thing that the reservoir of power gave was the ability to guarantee that the current block would be written. This gave rise to some of the earliest logging filesystems, which resulted in a quantum leap in reliability in the (frequent) power problems we used to have. Mind you a huge 100KW motor-dyno-generator helped enormously come 8:30 in the morning when all the heavy machinery on our industrial estate started up more or less at once. Nothing like an huge flywheel to smooth out power spikes! (Happy times).

It's nice to storage principles being dragged kicking and screaming into the 1960s (again).

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Buying memory in an iPhone 6: Like wiping your bottom with dollar bills

Frederic Bloggs

Camels Milk

Is by all accounts is not only expensive, but may be a premium source of MERS as well. Still, after decontamination, the Jesus Phone that you had just bought earlier will make a nice heirloom.

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Give us a digi-Czar and more bureaucrats, begs UK tech-services biz

Frederic Bloggs

I'm confused

But is this the GDS that is beta testing a bit of "low hanging fruit" called Spine 2?

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Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Anything goes?

Sadly, the heyday of RAYNET operating at small events on behalf of user services such as St John and Red Cross has largely passed. Most of these organisations now have their own handhelds and do their own comms (I declare an interest: I used to examine their users' competence to operate). As a result RAYNET groups are nothing like as active as they were before about the mid 1990s.

RAYNET now really only come into its own at large events (either in numbers or especially on area covered), maybe a cut cable or fire in a telephone exchange (happens surprisingly often) - or an actual disaster. But because members don't operate as frequently (I used to go out two, maybe three weekends a month in the summer) nor with the sort of ad-hoc (and variable) intergroup working we used to do; I wonder how the lack of that constant practice, doing real comms, affects operational efficiency and cohesiveness.

I worry about encryption, it has always been strictly verboden, and my concern is that it will be misused. I also wonder how it is going to be achieved in the field on an actual event. Practically, encryption really only makes sense on a digital circuit (voice or data). But doing it "on demand", and therefore in clear the rest of the time, is not going to be easy. will we see voice scramblers on analog circuits?

Then there is the tendency for "incident commanders" to take whatever is given (and still ask for more). Which in this case means: encrypt everything. Then, suddenly, one of the major checks / balances disappears because no other amateur can listen in. And trust me: there are are *always* people who listen and, if they can find a reason (however specious), they *will* complain.

How is the use of encryption going to be policed? Who is going to do it?

I am a bit curious about why this is being introduced now - in these times of universal monitoring of everything by our lords and masters. As I mentioned above, the onus has always been on what might charitably be called "self regulation". There has never been much in the way of official monitoring. What there was, generally relied on complaints made or tipoffs. Perhaps someone can enlighten us?

RAYNET is not universally loved on the bands and I suspect that being *allowed* to use encryption will prove very divisive. Therefore, yet more reason for grumbling and internecine strife - which probably means even more "unintentional interference" than usual for operators at an event to deal with.

Sigh...

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Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Fighter Aircraft Simulator

The hardware must have improved by as much as 3 orders of magnitude since then...

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Collective Delusion.

Atheism is a bona fide religion.

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That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

Frederic Bloggs

And? :-)

Doing more research would suggest "cupona"(am) (as I am still quite liking the accusative). But "taberna" is still more universally understood and isn't actually wrong. After all "tavern", "taverna" etc still exist.

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Frederic Bloggs

to the pub

Like the 'ad astra et ad taverna' but it's clearly in the wrong order and not very latin really. How about "ad tabernam ad astra"?

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Confused...

It doesn't have to be a root user especially, just a directory in which one has sufficient rights to create a file AND (rather more importantly) some dumb person (with sufficient rights) who is likely not to notice a a file called '-rf *' or whatever before doing some wildcard rm anyway.

The crucial thing is, of course, that the perp will have logged in with a username and left his (bound to be a bloke) fingerprints all over it, username, creation time etc etc. Any sysadmin worthy of the name is likely to notice these peculiarly named files and is going to investigate.

Surely?

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REVEALED: GCHQ's BEYOND TOP SECRET Middle Eastern INTERNET SPY BASE

Frederic Bloggs
Headmaster

History is sometimes useful (or at least informative)

The really interesting thing is that anyone is surprised - given that the UK has something like a century and a half of form in the "clandestine" submarine cable tapping business. The UK controlled every commercially useful submarine cable in the world up until (at least) the first World War. The official rationale being that the cables were there as a result of building, and to control, the British Empire. They were tapping away for 50 odd years before anyone either twigged or at least were in a position to get uppity about it. Is it any wonder that they continue doing it, and on any satellite links they can get hold of as well?

As the UK is about to have yet another war anniversary orgasm (sigh), El Reg's readers might like to research some of the antagonism that the US had for the UK's wire tapping activities - and the use that the information gleaned therefrom was used for - against what the US saw as its interests. And how that coloured the US's attitude toward the UK during the 20th Century and since.

So save the feigned anger. It's pointless and won't change anything. You should all know what to do, to obtain a measure of privacy, go ye forth and do it.

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Cameras for hacks: Idiot-proof suggestions invited

Frederic Bloggs

Read this man's website

Ken Rockwell

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Who fancies a billion-quid bonanza? Just flog the Home Office some shiny walkie-talkies

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Easy-peasy

Nah... no in-building or underground coverage. Crack that and you are in with a shout though.

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Frederic Bloggs

Just like the current one.

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Whoever you vote for, Google gets in

Frederic Bloggs
Headmaster

If you found this surprising then ...

you will want to read this very long article which posits that the US is not a democracy but an oligarchy. I await a similar analysis of the UK with some interest (even though I think we all know what any conclusion might be already).

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UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

Frederic Bloggs
Headmaster

Syllabus? Exams?

Has anyone got a clue what the syllabus might look like? What operating systems will it cover? Which APIs? Got any interesting and/or worthwhile sample programs that the little darlings might have a chance of completing? Given that course work is no longer going to count, how are they going to examine programming? 24 hour / Weekend Hack-Fest?

Obviously the programming languages taught will be out of date long before pupils pop out of the system into useful work, so I won't bother asking which ones will be taught. But somehow I doubt it will be C or assembler.

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When the lights went out: My 'leccy-induced, bog floor crawling HORROR

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Always carry a torch

Fenix make excellent torches. I recommend one of these reviewed here. A standard alkaline AAA cell lasts 2.8 hours continuous use (a conservative estimate for decent alkaline batteries).

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Frederic Bloggs

Re: Welcome to the pretty countryside

Just to give you an idea of the volume of wood that DRAX might consume: I have a 25KW (nominal) gasifying wood log boiler that is 92% efficient. During the heating season I put through about 1m3 of dry waste wood every week (it depends a bit on how much hardwood there is in the waste). A m3 of dry wood weighs about 350-500Kg (again depending). Double->triple that for freshly felled logs. Fresh (> 20% moisture content) wood will reduce efficiency by up to 80% (depending on species and water content).

Each of DRAX biomass sets will burn about 2.4 millon tonnes rising to 7.5 million tonnes in 2017 when they all convert. It is claimed that they will need 1.2 million hectares of forest on a continuous basis to supply this. I think that they are using optimistic growth factors for their forest regeneration to get something as low as this and, in any case, the US (unlike the UK and Europe) is not noted for restocking and managing their forests. They are still mining virgin forest there. And that 7.5 millions tonnes will be mainly wood pellets and thus dry. That implies at least double the weight per year of actual trees.

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Frederic Bloggs

Welcome to the pretty countryside

And the dark skies we have here in Sussex. Hang on, aren't they even darker than usual? Why yes, we seem to have another power cut. The fifth this year in fact.

On another note, the problem in the UK is not generating capacity as such. We actually have several mothballed power stations, some of which could be switched on within days. The real problem is the balls up of an electricity market where the incentives dictate that, for instance, gas powered stations can't be economically run (because one needs them to be running for at least 10 hours per day to make some money) whilst, at the same time, fields full of containerised diesel generators are being planted to cope when the wind doesn't blow.

In the meantime the DRAX power station is "converting to biomass". I can't imagine that is going to last when someone realises that, within a very few years, it will consume every burnable stick currently being grown in the UK (and probably Scandinavia as well) . It make a mockery of all that effort now being made to put back the forests that once covered the UK.

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Patent law? It's all about Apples, Newton and iPads

Frederic Bloggs

Re: Well, thanks for not descending into Randian lunacy

To state the bleeding obvious: They may live longer, but they are very unlikely to pay more tax per year of life as a result (unless, of course, the government ups everybody else's tax to compensate).

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