* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

509 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

Page:

Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Let Downing Street lead

I propose that the first "smart" meters be installed in Downing Street, numbers 10 and 11.

If that does not make the occupants smart (i.e. flinch), nothing will.

4
0

Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Pi in the, er, print

Why use BCD?

Answer, there were no 64-bit computers in those days. Few people had a 60-bit CDC6600.

24-bit was common, allowing +or- 8 million. 36 bit would give +or- 32 billion.

What we did have were COBOL compilers allowing very large numbers to be specified. But to compute them efficiently BCD was the way.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Pi in the, er, print

The IBM 1620 I once programmed used binary coded decimal arithmetic. That meant one could manipulate very long numbers. I used it to calculate pi to 300 places.

Part of that calculation involved finding the square root of three to 300 places, which entailed a loop in which a 600 place number was divided by a 300 place number. A single hardware divide instruction took about one second to do that, as shown by the flashing lights.

The real use of BCD is in finance, to represent billions of dollars to the nearest cent without rounding errors for simple addition and subtraction. Percentages and currency conversions still have to be rounded, of course. VAX computers included BCD instructions for use with their COBOL compilers and variables of type COMPUTATIONAL.

Nowadays this long-length arithmetic would be useful for cryptography.

1
0

HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: Devonian?

@Voland RH

OK, you and I have problems with chicklechub. It all depends what language you grew up with. And whether you like using two prepositions to end a sentence with.

Just ask ze olientals.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Devonian? @ ~Spartacus

@Dewix

I would have thought that pottery and reinforced concrete would survive. Have not heard of any being found, though.

Also remnants of diamond jewellery.

3
0

UK.gov shovels £15m into training new quantum engineers

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Time to market

Dr Anderson: "advances made by scientists might take twenty years before appearing in the market".

Consider the transistor, invented in 1948. It did not show its full importance until the late 1960s when integrated circuits became available. But the quantum mechanics that underlies the transistor was developed in the 1920s.

So that was a gap of some forty years between scientific research and major pay-off. The moral is that a short term approach to science funding will not spend money wisely.

1
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Cable's fables

@Dr Syntax

Long ago, I interrupted Vince Cable with a point of information during a debate at the Cambridge Union Society. He is a courteous debater, but that is the only positive thing I can say about him.

0
0

Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Homage to the old 'Thrupenny Bit'...

The original seven-sided replacement for the ten-bob note was sometimes called a Wilson - cheap, nasty, and unpopular.

0
0

Kaspersky Lab hits back at Bloomberg's Russian spy link hit piece

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@croc

No, They are are not concerned with you as an individual; you are just a statistic.

What They are interested in is statistics by the million, just like the ad agencies and supermarkets look at the millions. Snowden has said little or nothing about Big Statistics. Maybe he is not a statistician, or maybe that is where the real secrets are.

0
0

Rosetta SNIFFS molecular nitrogen on Comet 67P

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Mostly as hydride

Given the overwhelming abundance of hydrogen in the universe, one might expect carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to be present as hydrides: CH4, NH3, OH2.

So the existence of molecular nitrogen needs to be explained. Cue hand waving about evolved planets.

0
1

Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: Cut to the chase

There many be many layers of "open software that's simple enough". That's where the complexity will be.

1
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Maybe the operating system shouldn't use the BIOS.

@AC

Or even "Whom do you trust?".

4
1

Dark matter surveys turn up new satellites … orbiting the Milky Way

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Get it right

As I understand it, many a globular cluster has more than "a few hundred stars".

How about exo-cluster, rather than some sort of downsized galaxy?

0
0

OpenSSL audit kicks off for post-Heartbleed strengthening program

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Types of error

The Heartbleed bug was not a subtle cryptography error but poor interface design, with two variables representing block size. Even if both variables were desirable, there should have been an 'assert'.

So we may need a redesign rather than a review. Also a zero-tolerance policy for compiler warnings.

0
0

Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: We'll see...

Can anyone field an answer to his question., perhaps with the ring of truth in a suitable group?

3
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Indeterminacy enters, with difficulty

Point 1.

So the oil drop system he describes behaves like a quantum system. This means that somewhere, quantum indeterminacy, aka the uncertainty principle, has been introduced. The article says this is the result of the wide area forcing field.

Presumably, then, this can be modelled on classical computers.

Point 2.

Surely what he calls the "failure of quantim computing" is actually the technical difficulty of mustering enough qubits with current technology. This does not sound like a failure in principle.

2
5

Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Refresh be damned

I loathe those websites that automatically refresh their web page every two minutes or so. Specifically the Daily Telegraph with its front page and section header pages. I am reading the teaser line below the headline and it refreshes, slowly. I am about to click on a headline to go to the full story and it refreshes, slowly. I have complained but have been ignored.

Sure, I want an up to date page when I click on it. But when I've got it, I actually want to READ it, an idea that seems alien to the Telegraph's web department. No, I do not want to spend all day looking at glitzy moving adverts, changed every two minutes.

Lets hope El Reg remains a site that is good to read.

5
0

Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@Steve 114

Just to add to your stats.

I have a mere five computers: 3 on XP, 2 on Win7.

Apart from my 'main' Win7 machine, the others sometimes run Linux or more exotic systems.

1
0

I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Lying recognition

I gather computer scientists have proved that it is impossible to write a program that will accurately recognise another program as a virus - some kind of extension to Turing's Halting Theorem.

I conjecture (like a mathematician; scientists hypothesise) that it is equally impossible to recognise every kind of lying.

2
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: auto task list

Dartmoor retirement, more like it. (An infamous British prison.)

1
0

Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

MS Word

I do most of my proofing with MS Word. Shows you the typos and many other simple mistakes. Red squiggles, green squiggles, and blue squiggles make a colourful/colorful day. You don't have yo agree with all of them.

But can El Reg afford MS Word, or are they as impoverished as the BOFH company and their z-mail (retarded email)?

0
0

Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Ingredients

Not a random distribution, then.

If there are 10^11 bits within the supplied software, the standard deviation will be ca 1.6E5, so even 51% - 49% would be suspiciously large.

2
0

Snowden's favourite Linux - Tails - rushes sec-fix version to market

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Secure and stable?

@cantank

I am 70. You are more likely than I am to see it.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Secure and stable?

All this 'security' lark would be more convincing if the software remained stable for a few years.

0
1

Why does the NSA's boss care so much about backdoors when he can just steal all our encryption keys?

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

We have RIPA

Who needs a backdoor when the authorities can demand the password on pain of imprisonment?

This happened in the UK a year or two back. An Islamist who had 'forgotten' his password realised he was facing prison, and then 'remembered' it. Too late though: the offence was committed when he refused the original demand, and to jail he went.

1
2

Lenovo CTO: Hey, look around – we're not the only ones with a crapware infection

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Just take off...

How to get ethernet or wireless drivers when you don't have them already?

I have a USB wireless dongle, plus a CD for windows drivers. Most modern Linux releases seem to support it anyway. So I can then get to the PC maker's website.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: MS Might Share Some Blame

In Windows 7 you can create restoration DVDs that will install on to an empty hard drive, or one overwitten with penguinware. I have done that: there is a bootable start DVD/CD, then one or more system image DVDs.

0
0

Google offers 'INFINITY MILLION DOLLARS' for bugs in Chrome

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Simple infinity

I am surprised hat the 'infinity' image at the top of the article is not a Möbius strip.

4
0

Who uses the Universal Credit system? ALMOST NOBODY, says report

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: I struggle to know how seriously to take this...

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is traditionally an opposition MP. This report looks like crude party political sniping.

1
13

Debian on track to prove binaries' origins

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Trusted code

I have sometimes wondered whether one of the shadowy governemnt agencies maintains code that it can trust. And, indeed, as Jimmy Page notes, whether they have chips they can trust.

In Britain, possibly not, because it all costs. In the USA, perhaps they do.

0
0

Man the HARPOONS: YOU can EASILY SLAY ad-scumware Superfish

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Other Lenovo machines

I wonder whether this exploit was the money raiser that paid for the real sneaky software on Lenovo professional market computers.

0
2

BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Alien probes

What the article didn't mention was all the alien space probes planted in the Oort Cloud, disguised as comets, which drop in to take a look at us every so often.

There's an awful lot of monitoring power packed into what looks like a 100 metre ball of rock.

1
0

IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

...The teaching vocation trade needs to turned into a profession...

FTFY

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@Peter Christy

No. It makes them representatives of the Great Unwashed, especially of the 50% of the GU who are of below average ability. Er, that's democracy, said by some to be the least worst form of government.

1
0

NASA plots methane-detecting laser in SPAAACE

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Water, water, everywhere...

The most important greenhouse gas is water vapour, the result of the sun shining on the oceans.

What are the greenies going to do about that?

1
0

ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Look for the EMP

@Bob W

If there have been nuclear wars on exoplanets, perhaps we should have detected the Electro Magmetc Pulses associated with those bombs exploding.

0
0

UK official LOSES Mark Duggan shooting discs IN THE POST

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: And still using DISCS IN THE POST

Yes, indeed.

An inconspicuous outer envelope contains an inner envelope marked SECRET. That will keep the hoi polloi at bay.

5
0

Google forced to – wah! – OBEY the LAW with privacy policy tweaks

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: FFS the images on your site are getting ridiculous !!

The Telegraph has become very bad, too.

Why have all the media come

To think that we are all so dumb?

Answer: look at some of the comments on the mass media sites. Makes El Reg look loke a philosopher's drawing room.

12
0

Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: I still shudder...

The bookmakers at the old chariot races could have used computers for updating the odds rapidly.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: I put it on a desktop system - hopefully

To "address" something "hopefully" is better than to actually fix it.

"Sir, I am hoping the battery indicator is correct?!"

1
2

FROSTY MISTRESS of the Outer System: Pluto yields to probe snapper

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Rather cold there

I am surprised at the statement about an atmosphere of nitrogen.

Pluto at ca 30 AU, so sunlight 1/900 of earth intensity. So for temperature, T**4 is 1/900, making T about 1/5.5 of Earth. Say (300 Kelvin/5.5) or 55 K.

Hydrogen and helium, but not much else.

0
0

Hoaxer posing as GCHQ boss prank-calls PM Cameron

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Reason for call

A fair guess would be that someone has won a bet.

1
0

Bloke in Belgium tries to trademark Je Suis Charlie slogan

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge
Pint

Re: Pills.

I am a bit of a Pilsner myself.

3
0

Latest NORKS Linux and Android distros leak

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Big Download

The download mentioned in the article has a truly throttled server. 2.4GBytes took more than 9 hours.

0
0

Boffins open 'space travel bureau': Come relax on exoplanet Kepler-16b, says NASA

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Am I dense?

The articles describes HD 40307g as "twice the volume" and "eight times the Earth's mass". That would make it four times as dense, or about 20 tonnes/cubic metre. Solid gold or platinum, perhaps?

Perhaps it should have said "twice the radius".

0
0

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Blaming the tools...

@Phil

Quite so. That is why bad programmers become the managers.

7
0

Prez Obama slaps sanctions on Norks in payback for Sony hack

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Who did the dirty Ddos?

"Today's actions are the first aspect of our response".

That means they deny being the cause of the NK internet Ddos in late December.

0
0

Cops think Mt Gox meltdown was an 'INSIDE JOB' – report

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: @AC

But do you remember Harold Wilson (*) saying in 1967 "this will not affect the value of the pound in your pocket"?

(*)British Prime Minister 1964-70 and 1974-76. Devalued the pound in 1967 from $2.80 to $2.40. Currently £1 = $1.56, approx. In August 1939, £1=$4 near enough.

2
0

UK.gov: Sod SIGINT, let's turn GCHQ into a TECH CRECHE

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Cut the payroll

The impression has always been given that many of the people most useful to MI6 work for newspapers or TV companies, thus reducing the government salaries bill. I suspect these proposed shenanigans with GCHQ are another governemnt beancounter ploy.

0
0

The Reg's review of 2014: Naked JLaw selfies, Uber and monkey madness

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: 10 page spread

Well said.

To El Reg: bring back the print formst button.

0
0

Page:

Forums