* Posts by Ian Johnston

789 posts • joined 28 Sep 2007


One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Goodbye Youtube?

The military, civil defence (police, nhs, fire etc), judiciary, civil serve etc are all organs of the state. People on a bus are not. People in a shopping centre are not.

You agree, then, that the RAF pilots who dropped bombs on Serbian passenger trains and Iraqi weddings were terrorists?

HMRC: We 'rigorously tested' IR35 tax-check tool... but have almost nothing to show for it

Ian Johnston Silver badge

This online process was designed to squeeze more cash out of contractors ...

No. It was designed to get them to pay their fair share, just like the rest of us. Stop whining and pay up, you greedy, selfish, antisocial fuckers.

Who are the last people you'd expect to spill thousands of student records? A computer science dept? What a fantastic guess

Ian Johnston Silver badge

The data included a racial categorisation for each student. Apartheid Seth Effrica rang. They want their system back.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Bye bye.....

I think I was one of Demon's first thousand; I used to connect via clootie.demon.co.uk, which was in a friend's spare room in Edinburgh and connected to London via (iirc) a 128kbps leased line. Since I could only dial in at 14.4kbps, he very kindly downloaded Netscape 0.9c and Trumpet WInsock for me. Remember the days when a state-of-the-art browser fitted on a floppy disk?

Later I moved to ibm.net because (a) the first year came free with OS/2 and (b) they too had their own private route to the US, which was a damned sight faster than Demon could manage.

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Coo, the angry old men in braces are out in force today.

Linux reaches the big five (point) oh

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: 3.23 & 4.21

He's channelling Benford's Law

Ian Johnston Silver badge

As Torvalds observed, there are a ton of changes in the new kernel with toys aplenty. Raspberry Pi fans get touchscreen support ...

Why the hell is support for individual hardware a kernel thing?

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Got a source for those 24 inches? According to the article you linked to, the vibration had an amplitude of 3 inches,

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace

Ian Johnston Silver badge

So, given that the whole "drone" story is extremely fishy, why did the Powers That Be want to shut Gatwick down for a day?

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Ian Johnston Silver badge

When Tony Blair called out troops to surround Heathrow on the day of a commons vote on his crusade against Iraq, he claimed that it was because a domestic terrorist group had acquired a surface to air missile. Yeah, right. Maybe the fantasy has turned up again near Gatwick, though it's hard to see how it would encourage MPs to vote for Mrs May's Brexit deal. Or maybe it really did and does exist, and Tony Blair was telling the truth about something to do with Iraq, which seems very unlikely.

Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? Some insiders are confident it is

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: "OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully"

Delphi was notoriously non-OS/2able. Didtant memory, but I think it used some sort of address space extension which didn't play nice.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: So now they know how it feels ...

The story from inside IBM - I was an OS/2 user for years - was that when W95 came out, IBM engineers had 32-bit windows applications running inside OS/2 within a few weeks. However, it depended on stuff from the joint development phase which MS hadn't licensed, and never would, for release.

My ideal OS would still be a cross between OS/2 and BeOS.

Fraudster convicted of online banking thefts using… whatever the hell this thing is

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Twenty months for half a million? Yup, posh white boy gone bad.

Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Science 50 years old

Voyagers 1 and 2 are 42 years old.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Each of these (remarkable) things has now "left the solar system" at least six times now, with each departure corresponding to a NASA budget vote. I presume this is the same.

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Could someone sell her the notion that it can all be handled by blockchain?

Bloodhound SSC reaches the end of the road for want of £25m

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: So sad

A national disgrace? No other nation wants to do it. Nobody cares. The Bloodhound project has been on its uppers for years, desperately trying to sell the the notion that it had anything to offer and any chance of success.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Maybe the wealthy and philanthropic thought this was a pointless project too.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

The schools visits were provided by a separate charity with separate funding.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

You need to learn the concept of a "false dichotomy". But thanks for playing.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

After all one of the main objectives of the Bloodhound team was to fire up enthusiasm in hi-tech in a potential workforce currently destined for McJobs in the service sector.

Something which it completely and utterly failed to do, because it was using established technology to achieve a pointless ambition.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

It was always a pointless vanity project. The engineering isn't particularly interesting or groundbreaking (jet engines? meh. hybrid rocket? only slightly less meh.) and the achievement of propelling a retired RAF pilot as cargo in a straight at high speed for a few miles isn't particularly exciting. Good riddance to the bloody thing.

Let's try and excite people with genuinely novel engineering solutions to real problems, not by throwing money at an arbitrary target.

Q: If Pesky Pepper had a peek at patient papers, at how many patient papers did Pesky Pepper peek? A: 231

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Re : It would be serious if there was malice involved

If an unauthorised person reads my private medical information, then they have harmed me

In what way, precisely?

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Hey software, get the fuck out of the way!

The AoA reading seem near identical until the final dive and crash. Was the plane spinning then? Once there is significant side slip, all bets about equal ... well, anything, really ... on both sides are off.

NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

Ian Johnston Silver badge

InSight can drill 16ft! I do hope they drill into a mercury tooth filling ...

Proving Professor Challenger right: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100031h.html

Openreach names 81 lucky locations to be plugged into its super-zippy Gfast pipe

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Superfast Scotland's website has been promising me FTTP for three years now. The exchange has fibre, apparently, but there is no sign whatsoever of it getting any further. So here I sit on a lousy 4Mbps.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Three weeks...

Bearing in mind that every single action, with the possible exception of the Falklands War, in which Britain has fought since WW2 has been a clusterfuck, why would an EU army be a bad idea?

Barnet Council reckons Capita's dropped the ball on outsourced services

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Has Capita ever done anything competently? Serious question.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Here in the US of A, I can take you to several places where there is not 1G service.

This is developed world talk.

HMRC: 30 months to prep Northern Ireland backstop systems, 24 for customs

Ian Johnston Silver badge

It's strangely refreshing to see a government department admit ahead of time that a major IT project - not even commissioned yet, let alone started - will fail. Every major IT project the government has ever tried has failed, yet normally we hear that This Time Will Be Different.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Home security problem

Google "millennial doorbell" and once you've finished laughing, report back.

Mumsnet is full of women who never answer the doorbell unless they know in advance who is calling. Mind you, Mumsnet is also full of women with anxiety whose mothers are narcissists, whose children have ASD, ADHD and ODD (Bingo!) and whose husbands, sensible chaps, have long since done a runner.

Finally a platform for train puns: IBM Halt station derailed

Ian Johnston Silver badge

A list of stations with fewer passengers than IBM in 16/17:

Barry Links

Tees-Side Airport


British Steel Redcar


Reddish South

Golf Street



Elton & Orston

Stanlow & Thornton


Sampford Courtenay

Shippea Hill



Thorpe Culvert


Sugar Loaf






Kirton Lindsey








Portsmouth Arms



Loch Eil Outward Bound




Falls Of Cruachan

Roman Bridge


Whitley Bridge





Llanbister Road



Dunrobin Castle




Garth (Powys)


Gainsborough Central



Thornton Abbey

Ince & Elton


Berney Arms

Hubberts Bridge


Spooner Row


New Clee

Eccles Road


Hopton Heath






Georgemas Junction


Barrow Haven



North Llanrwst











St.Columb Road














Quintrell Downs










Moss Side

Newton St.Cyres

Harling Road



Maesteg (Ewenny Road)


Gilfach Fargoed





Roy Bridge

Glan Conwy






St.Budeaux Ferry Road

Bescar Lane


Dovey Junction



Loch Awe

Lazonby & Kirkoswald





Hawarden Bridge




Upper Tyndrum

Grimsby Docks



Dove Holes






Little Kimble




Ty Croes

Castleton Moor

Tyndrum Lower








Bridge Of Orchy








If at first or second you don't succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update

Ian Johnston Silver badge

What I would really, really like to know is why Microsoft updates are so grindingly slow. A really big Ubuntu update might be 500M, including a new kernel, and once it's downloaded it takes five or ten minutes to install. Similarly sized Windows updates seem to require hours - literally - of disk grinding. Why?

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Schadenfreude

So yeah, Linux has a long way to go before it can come close to being a viable alternative to Windows or Mac for the average person.

She said, having given a list of requirements which are not those of the average person. I've been using Ubuntu since 2006 for work and the only thing missing from my life is a Skype for Business client.

iPhone XS: Just another £300 for a better cam- Wait, come back!

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Can we all start referring to "Windows Ten P", just to piss off Apple?

Want to hack a hole-in-the-wall cash machine for free dosh? It's as easy as Windows XP

Ian Johnston Silver badge

The cash safe is much more hardened and separate than the PC gubbins that controls the ATM.

Having watched the things being refilled in banks, the PC seems to be inside the same safe which protects the money. I suppose the miniature freestanding ones you find in shops might do it differently, though.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

As far a I can see, all of the attacks mentioned require access to the hardware, so that immediately limits the actual risk of these exploits taking place.

What's more, getting at the hardware to hack it invariably means getting into the same security casing which protects the cash store. Who busts open a safe - effectively - and then spends ten minutes to an hour hacking the computer inside rather than simply removing the drawer full of cash and scarpering?

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Whisper it…

The sad truth is that Tesla cars aren’t actually very good. It shouldn’t be surprising that they’re aren’t good cars - Tesla has grown remarkably quickly, and the technology hasn’t had a chance to mature. The result is that some parts, notably the batteries, are excellent, some are undercooked (the software isn’t ready yet) and others are shoddy (for the price, build quality springs to mind).

As someone said - perhaps here - it all makes sense when you realise that a $40,000 Tesla Model 3 is actually a $20,000 car with a $20,000 battery in it.

Junior dev decides to clear space for brewing boss, doesn't know what 'LDF' is, sooo...

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: I was also clueless at the time

OS/2 was clever like that. The file name as displayed was only one property of a file, and renaming it didn't change anything as far as any proper OS/2 software was concerned. Same with moving files around.

Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: Digital

As is the way with the military, all procedures have equal billing to ease the thought process -> Don't follow procedure = Get a**e kicked

Follow procedures = Get hanged at Nuremberg.

iPhone XR, for when £1,000 is just too much for a smartmobe

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Hush, child. You can't say that about the emperor.

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Meanwhile my sixty quid, three year-old Lenovo (Medion) from Aldi continues to work just fine and do everything I want of it.

Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: at Last

Neither of these worthy things has anything much to do with AI.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Any of 'em except Stephen Hawking, because he was a total bastard, professionally as well as personally.

Roscosmos: An assembly error doomed our Soyuz, but we promise it won't happen again

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: A glitch in a Soyuz

Just to get this story straight: The fault that caused a soyuz to misbehave and crew to climb to the escape pod has been identified and corrected.

It may have been identified, but it has not been corrected. For a start, it has already happened and is therefore beyond correction. Beyond that, it's not enough to know that something was wrongly fitted; you also have to know why it was wrongly fitted. If it was accidental, can you be sure that further accidents will not occur elsewhere. And if it was sabotage - which seems at least possible - how do you know you have caught all the saboteurs?

Oh, and all that aside ,,, what "escape pod". Soyuz capsules don't have "escape pods".

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Perhaps the assembly line worker who should have fitted this sensor properly was too busy drilling the next set of mystery holes?

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Wrong quantity

The Tesla is a measure of magnetic flux density, symbol B. Magnetic field strength is measured in amps per metre and is written H.

B = permeability x H

SpaceX touches down in California as Voyager 2 spies interstellar space

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Have you noticed that every time NASA's budget is up for review, one or other Voyager enters a new definition of interstellar space?

Self-driving cars may not have steering wheels in future, dev preview for PyTorch 1.0 is here, etc

Ian Johnston Silver badge

Re: No wheel is one thing

It might look like when Airbus ditched the traditional yoke for the sidestick. I think Tesla might seize this moment.

Ford, Mercedes, Saab and Honda have all experimented with joystick-controlled cars. All gave up: you simply cannot achieve the precision required, or the haptic feedback needed, with a stick. Although yokes were traditional on modern airliners, sticks work fine on light aircraft - and remember that an Airbus is flying itself for perhaps 95% of the time.

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

Ian Johnston Silver badge

You bitches. I love you.


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