* Posts by Ian Johnston

628 posts • joined 28 Sep 2007

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Help desk declared code PEBCAK and therefore refused to help!

Ian Johnston

Re: Early symptom of the demise of $BIGCO?

It's a reflection on the uselessness of telephone system design that nobody ever says "I'll transfer you". They always say "I'll try to transfer you".

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OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering

Ian Johnston

Re: Feat of engineering

I can do all these things with my sixty quid Lenovo (branded Medion) phone from Aldi. When benefits would I get from paying sixteen times as much?

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Scouse marketing scamps scalped £70k for 100,000+ nuisance calls

Ian Johnston

Re: Unicorn hunt

My local hospital uses automated calls as appointment reminders. They ring about a week in advance and you get to do a few "1" button pushes if you will still be attending.

Your local hospital reveals the fact that people have appointments with them to unverified third parties? Someone's going to have their arse handed to them on a DPA plate ...

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Essex drone snapper dealt with by police for steamy train photos

Ian Johnston

Re: New Steam Engines

Plenty of narrow gauge steam locomotive have been built this century as well. The "decades of public fundraising" claim is bit dodgy too, since work started four years after fundraising began and was finished fifteen years after that. Oh, and the single biggest component - the boiler - was built in Germany.

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Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Ian Johnston

Re: I was a devoted ThinkPad user for many, many years...

I love nipple mice so much that all three of my desktop machines have IBM Spacesaver keyboards, which include a nipple. Not a separate mouse in sight.

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Ex-Harrods IT man cleared of stealing company issued laptop

Ian Johnston

"then this is a huge breach of privacy, and also illegal."

Someone goes into a computer repair place and asks them to get into a computer which displays the logo of a well-known company on startup. The repair places calls the company and says "is this legit"? What "huge breach of privacy" do you think has been committed? What law do you think has been broken?

A couple of weeks ago I bought an audiobook on eBay. When it arrived, it had a library bar code on it and nothing to say it had been withdrawn. I contacted the library to ask if they wanted it back. Was I committing a huge breach of privacy? Was I breaking the law?

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Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Ian Johnston

Re: Musk has done good stuff with SpaceX, but...

It doesn't work. No reputable tests have ever found an effect.

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Ian Johnston

Re: Musk has done good stuff with SpaceX, but...

EMdrive is rather less likely to be the future than something which actually works. Still, perhaps it can be powered with cold fusion and run on polywater, though it might need some serious N-ray shielding.

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WannaCry-slayer Marcus Hutchins 'built Kronos banking trojan' – FBI

Ian Johnston

Re: Also Wannacry?

"He's a security consultant"

With qualifications and clients and professional indemnity insurance Or is he a "consultant" like every dopey sloane with a camera is a "photographer"?

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US laptops-on-planes ban may extend to flights from ALL nations

Ian Johnston

Re: secure storage

Absolutely. I am writing this near Lockerbie ...

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Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04

Ian Johnston

Re: The screenshot in the article says it all for me

Because we're all old enough to remember when no one quite knew what to do with microcomputers, and "storing recipes" somehow always ended up on the list.

A bit like the way that we are always told the point of smart appliances is to allow the fridge to order milk when you need it.

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Ian Johnston

Re: Re "Files" speed

Raspbian uses LXDE, you can use that too on your Ubuntu box.

With remarkable ease, if you use Lubuntu.

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Ian Johnston

Re: Lost: One brown and orange mojo

The distro had become the dominant Linux desktop by some distance when Unity was released.

Yup, and Unity blew it. They might as well have called 11.04 "Ubuntu Vista"

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NASA honors Apollo 1 crew 50 years after deadly launchpad fire

Ian Johnston

Re: The agency is recognized the world over as the most careful and risk-averse space agency.

The N1 blew up three times, killing nobody. It killed nobody because they were sensibly doing unmanned test launches. NASA put the Saturn V into human-carrying service despite unresolved and potentially lethal issues in unmanned testing, for political reasons.

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Virgin Galactic and Boom unveil Concorde 2.0 tester to restart supersonic travel

Ian Johnston

Re: Interesting ...

"When any aircraft passes the critical mach for its rated airframe, the centre of pressure shifts rearwards."

You're using some random buzzword generator, aren't you?

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Mac book, whoa! Apple unveils $300 design tome

Ian Johnston

I hope they have chosen semen proof paper.

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Google DeepMind 'learns' the London Underground map to find best route

Ian Johnston

DNCs won't help commuters yet, as the size of the memory matrix has to be scaled up massively for it calculate the best routes for longer journeys.

I just spent fifty quid on a small computer which can find am optimum route between any two street addresses in Western Europe in about ten seconds, tops. Now, explain to me why I should be impressed by a system that can only cope with a small subsection of the London underground,

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All roads lead to Rome as Irish seminary gripped by Grindr scandal

Ian Johnston

But he told me that he himself had been told about the Bishop who apparently said "Forty percent of my priests sleep with their housekeepers. Forty percent are homosexuals. It's the other 20% keep me awake at night."

Insatiable, were they?

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Hack probing poodle sacrifice cuffed for public crap

Ian Johnston

Re: He's lucky

And there are some where you'd go on to win the London marathon.

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'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

Ian Johnston

1) Trains would never work as you'd die from asphyxia

2) Cars would never replace the horse and cart

3) Man would never fly

4) That polywater was an illusion

5) That N-rays didn't exist

6) That cold fusion was somewhere between scam and delusion

7) That homeopathic treatments don't work for AIDS

8) That Tesla's wireless power distribution system was too lossy to be practical

And so on. Remember, they also laughed at Bozo the clown.

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Ian Johnston

Re: The real universe doesnt care

Actually, it's the shape it is. The EGM96 coefficients are only an approximation which, for example, miss out both Snowdon and the Thames Estuary.

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Ian Johnston

Re: I don't believe this has an exhaust. That's what all the excitement is about.

Cold fusion produced plenty of reproducible effects, all of which turned out to be bogus. The effects of the EmDrive are not reproducible: every group to try it gets different ones, mostly within experimental error, and effects within experimental error aren't affects at all.

Have you done any experimental physics? If so, you'll know that measuring anything at the very limits of detection is problematic and prone to unexpected errors. In my case, by the way, it was trying to detect milliwatts by liquid helium calorimetry.

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Stop using USB sticks to move kids' data, auditor tells Education Dept

Ian Johnston

Re: Stop leaving spare USB ports active on machines that handle sensitive data.

That's fine, if you're supplying machine for battery hens in call centres to use. Completely useless in a professional setting, like a school.

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FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

Ian Johnston

Translation: the FBI know they are going to lose, so they are trying to scare people away from Apple and onto more crackable platforms.

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Flying Scotsman attacked by drone

Ian Johnston

Re: It's science!

There are no significant compressibllity effects until you reach M0.5 and even then they are slight. At the speed of a falling water column air is, for all practical purposes, incompressible.

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Ian Johnston

Re: It's science!

Your explanation of the Bernouilli effect is complete cobblers. Why on earth would fluid not want to be separated? Symmetrical aerofoils are often used, and they have exactly the same bath lengths above and below them.

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'You've been hacked, pay up' ... Ransomware forces your PC to read out a hostage note

Ian Johnston

Re: "Eastern Europeans go free"

My Czech friends are most insistent that their country is in Central Europe (civilised), not Eastern Europe (barbaric).

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Yelp-for-people app Peeple is back – so we rated Julia, its cofounder

Ian Johnston

Re: Rupert Murdoch

I believe the original Mrs Merton question was "So, Debbie McGee, what first attracted you to short, balding millionaire Paul Daniels?"

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Intel and Micron's XPoint: Is it PCM? We think it is

Ian Johnston

Re: Simple Enough

Many materials have more than one solid phase.

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Loons in balloons: Google asks FCC to approve Net plan

Ian Johnston

Blow, blow thou winter wind

How are these things suppose to deal with wind? Do they launch a succession of them and let them drift?

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Oculus Rift noggin-bucket ... heyyy, errr ... have we all got them on already?

Ian Johnston

Golly. something even naffer looking than Google Glass. They said it couldn't be done. Mind you, they also said that a VR headset couldn't be done, and they were right. Two head mounted screens and a PC to drive them isn't quite the same thing.

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Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Ian Johnston

Did we ever find out what happened to the Tesla customer service representative who advised a journalist to give hid battery a quick charge to warm it up after the car spent a freezing night outside? He duly ran out of charge, reported this and Musk went batshit.

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Facebook farewells flaky SHA-1

Ian Johnston

Re: Win/win? for who?

Wouldn't that require a processor running at some significant multiple of 90GHz? Not bad for $80.

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IN YOUR FACE, Linux and Apple fans! Oculus is Windows-only for now

Ian Johnston

Is the underlying message here that they have given up trying to make a proper VR headset, and instead have cobbled together a couple of displays and few accelerometers, with a Windows programme to do all the actual work?

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Oculus Rift VR bucket will be seen on noggins near you in 2016

Ian Johnston

Sounds like a desperate attempt to keep a bit of momentum as far bigger and better funded competitors move rapidly towards launching products.

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Tesla Powerwall: Not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

Ian Johnston

There are other suppliers of li-on batteries. Mastervolt, for example, do 2.5kWh (12V) and 5kWh (12V & 24V) batteries at broadly similar prices per kWh.

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Microsoft HoloLens or Hollow Lens? El Reg stares down cyber-specs' code

Ian Johnston

Is this another blow to the twitching near-corpse of the Oculus Rift?

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Who was downloading smut in the office while eating ice cream?

Ian Johnston

He fixed the ethernet cable?

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The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

Ian Johnston

The solution to that problem seems obvious. Design an iron equipped with Bluetooth LE, linked to a smartphone, running an app that uses its camera to scan a QR code printed on a fabric care tags. This QR code contains all of the care information for that article of clothing, so every time that dress or dress shirt goes under the iron, the app adjusts the iron to the ideal temperature.

Neither "obvious" nor "solution" seems quite the right word here. At the moment you look inside the garment (the labels are not outside, obviously), see whether it's one, two or three dots and set the iron accordingly. A slight improvement might be to have a finer scale, with degrees rather than dots.

Finding the tag, finding the smartphone, starting the app, scanning the QR code and getting Bluetooth working is not an improvement in any conceivable way. It simply adds stages for no benefit at all.

This is why people laugh and point at those who promote the internet of things.

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Apple Watch: We ROUNDUP the ROUNDUPS. Yes, Roundup-squared

Ian Johnston

Re: What about the following options?

Spot on, but you forgot the prototype "left" in a bar to be "found" by a friendly tech blogger and retrieved by Apple after bloodcurdling "threats" of legal action which curiously don't seem to come to anything.

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Saturn's rings, radio waves ... poetry? At home with Scotland's Mr Physics

Ian Johnston

Maxwell's real breakthrough in electromagnetic theory was positing the displacement current, which is the rate of change of electric flux density , dD/dt. There was no empirical reason to expect this, but it made the equations nicely balanced by adding a term analogous to dB/dt. Everything else in the equations predated Maxwell, but he unified them and, by adding displacement current, git EM radiation to pop neatly out. It has - rightly, I think- be described as one of the greatest intellectual leaps ever made.

Incidentally, Maxwell's own house, Glenlair in Galloway, is regularly open to visitors. The main part of the house was destroyed by fire years ago, but the surviving bit is under restoration. While in the area you can also visit Maxwell's grave in Parton kirk yard and see a memorial window in Corsock kirk, for which (the building) he paid. It's claimed to have the only stained glass representation of Maxwell's equations in the world.

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Stress me, test me, vex me ... boffins seek Hall Effect in frustrated magnets

Ian Johnston

I strongly suspect that article to have been written by the editors of Social Theory, getting their own back on Alan Sokal.

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Streaming tears of laughter as Jay-Z (Tidal) waves goodbye to $56m

Ian Johnston

Re: HiFi vs Premium

Excellent find, and directional too:

IMPORTANT: Please observe the correct cable orientation during installation. The cable is marked with an arrow "→" which indicates signal direction. e.g. Bluray/DVD → AV Receiver→ TV/Projector

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Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Ian Johnston

To force-click on an item, you simply click on it once as normal, but then maintain the pressure with your finger until you feel a second click.

It has only taken Apple five years to catch up with Android, then? How nice.

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By Odin, Parallels thinks cloud service providers should buy Odin

Ian Johnston

Odin is, or perhaps now was, also the port of wine to OS/2.

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AUTOPILOT: Musk promises Tesla owners a HANDS-OFF hands-on

Ian Johnston

Re: Navigation Needs Update

Or when he goes of on a screaming rant about "big oil shills" at the slightest criticism.

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Adobe lifts sheet on Dropbox-style doc sharing cloud

Ian Johnston

Re: Subscription dystopia

LibreOffice Draw edits pdfs surprisingly well.

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Apple Watch: Wait a minute! This puny wrist-puter costs 17 GRAND?!

Ian Johnston

Five hundred quid for a tiny secondary display for your iPhone? What a bargain.

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Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

Ian Johnston

Re: Presumably....

...the same people are behind the Graun's recent web disaster, which converted a reasonably useable news web site into a ghastly disorganised mashup of blogs spouting cack, reposting of "news" from fourth rate journalistic sources, confusion over what counted as opinion and what as news, confusion over when material was originally published, etc etc.

Trying to recreate the spirit of the printed paper online, then?

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Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

Ian Johnston

Very entertaining. I don't know which bit I like best, the claim that every single HSBC customer who owed taxes has paid or the claim that call-me-Dave's meeting with Vodafone didn't happen, and that everything was settled through a curiously unreported court case.

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