* Posts by Paul Smith

304 posts • joined 11 Jul 2007

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Idiot flies drone alongside Flybe jet landing at Newquay Airport

Paul Smith

...when the drone flew alongside it.

Cool, a drone that can fly at 140knots (160+ miles an hour)! Where can I get one of them?

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'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

Paul Smith

Drakes equation and statistics

>>>Not to mention, Drake's equation - the chance of observing THAT EXACT MOMENT of someone building this ridiculous structure (rather than it not being built yet, it being already built, or it already having blown to pieces long ago) is basically zero.

Yes it's a long shot, but is it exactly a million to one yet?

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Flight sim records show MH370 captain practiced 'flight' near search area

Paul Smith

Pretty odd

Yes, it is pretty odd. But to determine how odd, I think you would have to check all the places he flew to in the Simulator against all the places he didn't have a reason to go to in real life.

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NASA puts lenses through a different drill to stare at the Sun

Paul Smith

Re: 16 million holes?

I would like to propose the Albert Hall as the new El Reg unit of measure for counting holes. "Now we know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall."

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Docker and storage – solving the problem of data persistence

Paul Smith

I get it

I get the deploy benefits, but in my experience, deploying a solution is not the solution, it is merely one aspect of solution delivery, a thorny one admittedly, but no customer has ever paid me to for the deployment. I get the scaling of the application, the ability to just run up additional instances on demand and drop them when they are no longer needed, which leads directly to what makes containerization so good for testing, the ability to blow away what was there and start again clean. However, this is exactly what makes containerization a problem for me; If you are blowing away an instance when you no longer need it, what exactly was the point of doing it in the first place? Stateless activities are (IMHO) meaningless unless they take place within a statefull context, and I don't think Docker et. al. have grasped that.

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Paul Smith

I never quite got containers...

I never quite got containers and this article has brought my problem nicely into focus. I was brought up with the idea that the whole (and only) point of software was to take some data from one place, transform it in a way that adds value and put it somewhere else. Containers could never do that which explains why I never got the point of them.

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China prototypes pre-exascale super trio with its own non-US chips

Paul Smith

Foot, Point, shoot.

You have to wonder who is responsible for US foreign policy these days, and if they have ever had to do any planning beyond the next quarter.

The US gov tells US companies that they can't sell their chips to China. Why? So China can't build a more powerful super-computer then the US. What did they think would happen next? Did they really hope that China would just kowtow and give up trying? Have they ever done that before? So China did exactly what China always does and learnt how to build the chips it needs itself. Now it no longer needs to buy any US made chips for its super-computers. And guess what? It longer needs to buy US made chips for its ordinary computers either. And because it will make so many, it can sell them to anybody else who wants them for less then the US companies can sell them. I wonder just how long the US chip industry has left? And more importantly, what act of incredible stupidity will the US try next to 'save' the US chip industry?

Talk about short-sighted! Should have gone to spec-savers!

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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

Paul Smith

Three options

"There are two sound ways to ensure that children are not exposed to dangerous or disturbing content,"

Three! The third option is for parents to take responsibility for their children.

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The Great Brain Scan Scandal: It isn’t just boffins who should be ashamed

Paul Smith

Given how this intelligentsia reacts to criticism,

"Given how this intelligentsia reacts to criticism,"... No risk of you falling into that camp then.

Please don't take this as a criticism, but I am not actually sure what your criticism is. The machine shows the researchers what it sees, how they choose to interpret that data is up to them, but, in theory at least, their conclusions and assertions are supposed to be peer reviewed prior to publication (you were referring to peer reviewed papers weren't you?) and if they were publishing rubbish, as you seem to be suggesting, that suggests a problem with the review or publishing process, not with the machine or underlying science.

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Gun-jumping French pols demand rapid end to English in EU

Paul Smith
Unhappy

Re: Interesting observation...

In all fairness, I really don't think most Brits know anyone else's language...

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Paul Smith

Re: It's a negotiation.....

I don't think you get it. The 'banks' wont go, there are perfectly good banks already in Frankfurt and Paris. The debt wont go, the British get to keep that. The facility to do cross euro trades will be reduced to the same level as that of other non-EU banks making them less attractive for cross EU business. Only the better wbankers will go, and their business of course.

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Paul Smith

Good job the English never behaved like that... Oh wait.

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Paul Smith
Paris Hilton

Do you honestly believe that? You have just filed for divorce and you are still expecting conjugal rights?

Paris icon because even she isn't that thick.

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Paul Smith

Not unreasonable

There are about 4.5 million people in the Republic of Ireland, which is 'officially' bi-lingual, ie the official languages are Irish and English (in that order). So that leaves less than 2.25 million native English speakers out of a population of over 500 million. As a good (Irish) European citizen, I am not sure that I want my tax money spent on translating every single document the already verbose EU produces into a language that is spoken by not much more then 1% of the EU population. Polish is (and will remain) an official EU language as the 40 million Poles are members in good standing.

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IT consultant gets 4 years' porridge for tax fraud

Paul Smith

Cost benefit analysis

He actually only got two years for tax dodging, the other two were for child benefit fraud.

Work for nine years @ 0% tax, do two years inside. income = 9/11 = 82% of gross potential

Work for nine years @20% corporate tax and 40% personal tax, income = 48% of gross potential

Hmmm?

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Catz: Google's Android hurt Oracle's Java business

Paul Smith

Positive spin

Just think. All of the lawyers getting rich off this spat are lawyers not trying to get rich off something that matters.

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The Windows 10 future: Imagine a boot stamping on an upgrade treadmill forever

Paul Smith

Does anybody remember?

Does anybody remember when small business's bought computers to help them with their business? What part of the sys admin and patch management that is required for Win10 is helping a small business to do business? In much the same way that DEC captured the medium enterprise market from IBM when IBM thought it was too small to count, I suspect that Microsoft has accidentally walked away from the SME market. I wonder who will fill it?

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IBM's quantum 'puter news proves Big Blue still doesn't get 'cloud'

Paul Smith

Re: Bah!

Maybe I am just older then you but all the cool things that I remember IBM announcing are now available to me.

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F-35s failed 'scramble test' because of buggy software

Paul Smith

Re: I think there is a wonderfull message behind this

"Good grief it's a wonder that any software has been developed at all."

Haven't you been paying attention? No working software has been developed at all.

Google 'Bjarne Stroustrup interview' for a really entertaining and informative read, and although it is claimed that the interview was a spoof, I would suggest the the progress of the F35 software suite proves otherwise.

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One black hole, three galaxies, four BEELION solar masses – found by accident

Paul Smith

High school equation

If I read my wiki right, Orbital velocity (Vo) is proportional to the the square root of Big G times Mass divided by radius.

Turn it around and Mass is velocity squared times radius divided by Big G.

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Is Dublin becoming as unaffordable as San Francisco?

Paul Smith

Unlike San Francisco, Dublin has the capacity for further expansion

Capacity for expansion? Really? You obviously don't know Dublin very well.

Let me remind you; Airport to the north, mountains to the south and sea to the east. The expansion to the west was supposed to have been 'planned' in five fingers separated by green spaces, you could argue that one survives. One of the five (Tallaght) has a rapid transit route into the city (~35mins). The second and third largest conurbations in Ireland are suburbs of Dublin, one of them has a hospital, the other doesn't.

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Neo4j bolts on binary protocol to up its graph database game

Paul Smith

Typos

Are your sub-editors on strike or are you using Office 365 for your spell check? For an 'article' that is just cut-and-paste from a press release, the writing is as bad as I have ever seen on el-reg.

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F-35's dodgy software in the spotlight again

Paul Smith

Hacking opertunities

Just think of the possibilities for fun you could have if you hacked into Alis. Those are not your target coordinates, these are. Detect an fault on a minor sensor, better be safe and shut down the engine just in case.

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'Panama papers' came from email server hack at Mossack Fonseca

Paul Smith

Re: This is a lie

The breach was 'through' an email server, not 'of' an email server, and if their company was anything like mine, in one, in all. As for worrying about 5M/min and the time taken to move terabytes, I call BS. Any top company is going to have better then 50M/sec and if you do much international video conferencing, as I expect they do, then 500M/sec is not unreasonable.

If I were the hacker, I would look at creating an AWS storage and backup account in the targets name and run regular backups to it. No reason for the companies IT department to be suspicious and 3TB would cost less then $2000.

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Paul Smith

Dodgy dealings doubled

"The documents landed first at German outlet Sueddeutsche Zeitung last year".

Last year! Why has it taken so long for any mention of it to be released? Could it be that the actual guilty parties have been given a chance to clean up their act? David Cameron's daddy was a bit naughty, but was David really that squeaky clean? How about Blair or Sarkozy, Chirac or Merkel. I don't care about Putin as I expect him to be bent, but I would love to know about the Clintons and Trumps of this world.

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Dropbox slips 500PB into its Magic Pocket, not spread over AWS

Paul Smith

In house

Why is there any surprise that they brought it in house? They require a physical storage for lots of infrequently accessed data. That requires infrastructure and costs no matter who physically controls it so they either pay some one else enough to make a profit doing it or pay for it themselves and keep the profit someone else would make.

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Airbus' Mars plane precursor survives pressure test

Paul Smith

Re: Bernoulli's Principle?

"if the lift came from downwash..." but it doesn't come from downwash, does it? Any object being pushed through the air with a positive aspect ratio will push the air it displaces down and forwards. The reaction is up (lift) and back (drag). The pressure differences at different parts of the wings surface are not the cause of the lift, they are a consequence of it.

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Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

Paul Smith

No! No! A thousand times NO!

"it's fair to say that the majority of law-abiding citizens would want prosecutors to be able to access evidence that could help convict someone of a serious crime, regardless of how strongly they feel about their own personal privacy."

No it is not fair to say that. It would be fair to say that citizens object strongly to innocent citizens having their rights violated, whether by criminals or by the criminal justice system. It would also be fair to say that citizens expect investigators to follow a trail of evidence to its logical conclusions, remembering at all times that all citizens are innocent until proven otherwise. If, and only if sufficient evidence warrants it, should prosecutors consider bringing criminal charges. Does this mean that some criminals will get away with it? Yes. That is one of the prices to be paid for living in a fair and honest civilization. The alternative approach, which is to assume that everyone (you included) is a criminal, has been tried many times, and has failed every time.

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Raspberry Pi 3: Four days old and already flying

Paul Smith

Re: RS still has 2,128 in stock.

About a wheel barrows worth by my reckoning, possibly closer to a hat box in official El Reg measures. My Pi 2 box (still waiting for my three to arrive) was 3.5x7.5x12cm or 315cm volume. 1285 of them would have a volume of 404775 cubic cm or a cube of 74cm per side (about 2'6" x 2'6" x 2'6").

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There's a courier here says he's got 50TB of cloud data for you

Paul Smith

At last...

The cloud just got physical!

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Raspberry Pi celebrates fourth birthday with fruity version 3

Paul Smith

Re: Whichever way you slice it

Sorry, but I have to call BS on this one. Nowhere that requires you to 'hike' in requires fancy AV manipulation. Bring a modern smartphone instead and record your photos, video and audio (and get free GPS and communications thrown in) and do the AV processing when you get back to civilization. Saying the Pi can't do it because it only has 1GB is like saying Google is a useless search engine because it doesn't know where you left your keys.

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Bitcoin burrower biz Butterfly Labs billed $38m for 'bilking' buyers

Paul Smith

More basic questions...

It is claimed that this company took in $50m of orders for bit coin mining machines that it used itself rather then ship.

a) How many bit coins would $50m of hardware generate,

b) where are the bitcoins that were generated?

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Why Tim Cook is wrong: A privacy advocate's view

Paul Smith

Re: except

Online backups on US owned, US based or US controlled servers are just saving TSA the hassle of hacking your device.

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Paul Smith

Re: except

I had a quick glance at the US constitution and I couldn’t see anything about being protected from murder. Nor did I see anything to gives potential or unnamed victims supremacy over my rights. In fact, the fourth amendment was pretty explicit about what must be done before my rights can be violated and stopping a murder (which this case is not about) is not on the list.

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Free science journal library gains notoriety, lands injunctions

Paul Smith

Re: Paying and longevity

A very valid point but it also shows what is wrong with the current situation. What is the advantage of publishing in a prestigious journal if it is behind a paywall that prevents your target audience from reading your opus?

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Metel malware pops bank, triggers 15 percent swing in Russian Ruble

Paul Smith

What has hacking ATMs got to do with hacking back office systems?

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Paul Smith

Re: Just why?

No, that was genuine production code. Of course the sample was simplified! The original was a header file defining the offsets on an IBM 3270 terminal emulator input form that was used as the interface between two major but utterly incompatible banking systems. You couldn't hard code the values the way you suggested for the obvious reason that the position of a field was dependent on the fields that came before! It only became a problem when subtraction was used get from the known position of a prompt to the end of the previous input to determine its length. I didn't design or write it, but I had to fix it and I had never been caught out by bracketing in #defines before. The fact that I can still remember that one so clearly after all these years is a little scary.

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Paul Smith

This 'bug' in some C code cost me some sleepless nights:

#define ONE 1

#define TWO ONE + 1

#define THREE TWO + 1

What would you expect THREE minus TWO to equal? If you thought ONE, you would be wrong. THREE minus TWO equals THREE!

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Sena's multi-action camera monster, or Cardo's PackTalk club rider juggernaut?

Paul Smith

I dont get it?

I don't understand how a review of motorbike intercoms could include the sentence..."I couldn't test the intercom, having reviewed a single unit". Are you applying for a job with MCN?

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Google forked out a whopping $16m on govt lobbying last year

Paul Smith

So only about 10% of what Kent County Council plans to spend on managed services, or less then it costs to elect two senators.

Had you said $16billion, about what they earned from android, I would have thought that was a lot of lobbying, but $16million? Hardly seems worth the effort.

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RSA asks for plaintext Twitter passwords on conference reg page

Paul Smith

Apptitude test

Just think of it as a reverse aptitude test where anybody who signs up will be automatically considered for all infosec job opportunities. Considered and rejected.

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Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet!

Paul Smith

Silicon uptime?

Newgrange! 1,000 years older then Stonehenge, 500 years older then the Pyramids. Keeping the world from ending for over 5,000 years!

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Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Paul Smith

Car metaphor

A light on the dash board to say you have a problem is (IMHO) better then a kill switch that someone else operates. If you have ever had a car cut out on you while in the overtaking lane of a busy motorway, you will know why it is not always a good idea to let someone else decide when to withdraw service. In my case, the ECU decided that an oxygen sensor might be faulty (it wasn't) so it killed the engine. Not fun.

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Bigger than Safe Harbor: Microsoft prez vows to take down US gov in data protection lawsuit

Paul Smith

Re: Sir

Not quite. MS as an American Company is being forced into a choice of breaking Irish and European law or breaking American law. Either way, it faces hefty penalties so while I laud their attempt, I also recognise that it is in their own self interests to get this sorted.

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Fan belts only exist, briefly, in the intervals between stars

Paul Smith

Good Job?

Was your write up on the valve issue and Bigelows part in it (which made up over half the article) cut and pasted from the book or just interesting(?) fun facts that you felt like sharing? It would be more appropriate as part of an article on computer history or old technology, but it has no place in a book review, don't you think?

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Invite-only bug bounty criticised for turning up the heat on Tor

Paul Smith

Attention

"Litchfield remains concerned that Tor just brought a whole lot of unnecessary attention to themselves"

You don't think that perhaps Litchfield was just attempting to bring attention to himself?

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Bookstore sells some data centre capacity, becomes Microsoft, Oracle's nemesis

Paul Smith

Re: glaring propaganda of promoting Microsoft article

I am curious to know in what ways you think one is inferior/superior to the other. After twenty years as a corporate Windows user I have spent the last year using an Ubuntu machine. I cant using voting buttons on emails anymore (unless I use the web front end) and it is more difficult to join Lync online meetings. In every other sense (including the number of calls to the help desk) I would have to say my experience has been as good or better.

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Paul Smith

Re: Oh really?

I Wish you had put the TL;DR at the start. That was three and a half minutes waiting for a punch line that I will never get back.

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'Unauthorized code' that decrypts VPNs found in Juniper's ScreenOS

Paul Smith

That doesn't worry me...

It would be a government contract so it is never going to work.

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