* Posts by Adam Foxton

795 posts • joined 16 Nov 2007


Musk's popstar girlfriend Grimes croons about next-gen AI, plus more machine-learning news

Adam Foxton

Why not instead

Create a legal system that makes sense, one that can be flowcharted and is based on a few founding principles.

You know, rather than having a legal system so complex it needs an artificially intelligent supercomputer to figure out if your actions were or were not criminal.

You're solving the wrong problem, people!

Capita, Serco, Sopra Steria to write cheat-sheets for UK.gov in case they collapse

Adam Foxton

Isn't this just having proper documentation?

Spies still super upset they can't get at your encrypted comms data

Adam Foxton

Fuck yeah!

Don't mean to alarm you – but NASA is about to pummel the planet with huge frikkin' space laser

Adam Foxton

Re: I'm not worried...

Are they ill-tempered?

Who fancies a six-core, 128GB RAM, 8TB NVMe … laptop?

Adam Foxton

Re: What's the battery life like?

"And any colour you like, so long as it's black"

Only when it's turned off.

When working fully the screen can be pretty much any colour you like!

Sysadmin shut down server, it went ‘Clunk!’ but the app kept running

Adam Foxton

Re: DEC Engineer


Absolutely disagree. Breakers should be labelled with which machine(s) they power, and ideally machines labelled with appropriate breakers too.

At the very least have a map.

Having to know "okay, so it's the second breaker down for the first machine's primary PSU (excluding the red one for the UPS) and fifteenth up on that other switchboard for the secondary PSU, ah, no, wait, fifteenth /single phase/ one" is a recipe for disaster.

UK military may recruit wheezy, alcoholic keyboard warriors

Adam Foxton

Re: "At last! A valid use of a 'hacker in a hoodie' stereotype stock image"

It means you're better able to build a GUI in Visual Basic to track an enemy's IPs.

MPs slam UK.gov's 'unacceptable' hoarding of custody images

Adam Foxton

Too expensive?

I spend a fortune paying for food- maybe I should run away without paying the bill? If I shot down a few aircraft the buggers would soon learn to not fly so low over my house at unsociable hours.

Driving through pedestrians and cyclists would greatly shorten my morning commute.

But these things are illegal. So if I did them I'd be prosecuted. Why is no-one being prosecuted for not only breaking the law but then saying "okay, we'll keep breaking the law until we can be bothered to not break it"? That's the attitude expected not even of a one-off offender but of a career criminal, and is absolutely not appropriate for the Justice system.

Developers dread Visual Basic 6, IBM Db2, SharePoint - survey

Adam Foxton

Because you want the best person for the job, not someone substandard 'but at least they help our diversity figures'.

Majority or not, when a job is to be done the main focus should be 'is this person the best choice?'.

Billionaire bros Bezos, Buffett become bonkers bio brokers: Swap W in AWS for H for healthcare

Adam Foxton

If only they had influence with a number of Big Pharmacy companies to get them discounts for nationwide-grade bulk-buying, an efficient distribution network, and the tech to make this function properly.

Oh, wait!

Come on Bezos, show them how it's done!

Oi, force Microsoft to cough up emails on Irish servers to the Feds, US states urge Supremes

Adam Foxton

Surely the ability to access the files is irrelevant, it should be about the ability to access the files /legally/. Just because I'm an employee of a company doesn't mean I can look at any file (e.g. network admins being capable of accessing HR files but not being permitted to do so).

Microsoft US (one company) accessing Microsoft Ireland (another company)'s computer network specifically for the purposes of bringing customer data out of the EU- and then specifically so as to avoid having to follow established (and not that onerous for legitimate needs) EU procedures- would surely be illegal.

Indeed, should the very existence of this case not mean that Microsoft Ireland has to restrict access to their US counterparts? This is a blatant attempt to gain unauthorised entry to a computer system, and allowing this would make MS-Ireland criminals in their local jurisdictions as they would be exposing /all/ of their customer's data to the US. It should be treated as any other outside entity attempting to gain access.

Even if some theoretical weakness remained in the system, "You should exploit this weakness, and also you're not allowed to fix this weakness" is a seriously different argument to "the file is there and easily accessible, go get it"

Night before Xmas and all through American Airlines, not a pilot was flying, thanks to this bug

Adam Foxton

Re: Yo get the fly boys back on the job

"American Airlines- Up with the Aircraft, Down with the cool kids"

Donald, YOU'RE FIRED: Rogue Twitter worker quits, deletes President Trump's account

Adam Foxton

Re: Fake news

No, what's broken is the idea of using a single communications channel that you have absolutely no control over to handle your PR. This is why PR is more normally handled by services like a news agency or press conference where a multitude of outlets get to know what you tell them.

Twitter's absolutely within their rights- and indeed responsibilities in many localities- to remove accounts without their registered user's permission.

It's not YOUR account. It's /their/ network and /their/ account, which you use with /their/ permission. People seem to forget that.

EU watchdog: Govt bods are seeking 'legal knockouts' to dodge transparency

Adam Foxton

It certainly would!

Excel has a built-in interface for querying external databases. If the data was exposed sensibly- like the STL mentioned above- it would allow people to filter the data they need out of the whole dataset and work on it from there. Not everyone will need or want every field or all 11 million records!

When you only have a small hammer, filter out any inappropriately large nails.

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Adam Foxton

Re: Shower upgrade

You've got to be taking the piss

New plastic banknote plans now upsetting environmental campaigners

Adam Foxton

Re: I say!

This is clearly statist, "enforcing our beliefs on you" commie-talk.

So you could also call it Red whine!

Hell freezes over: We wrote an El Reg chatbot using Microsoft's AI

Adam Foxton

Re: First question

Surely to score highly on the Innuendo scale of 1-10 you'd give it one?

Ex-NSA contractor Harold Martin indicted: He spent 'up to 20 years stealing top-secret files'

Adam Foxton

Booz Allen

Should probably just re-open as penetrative testers. They've already had the very best in the business working for them :P

NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

Adam Foxton

So it's an environment with different temperatures and pressures. 3.5Bn years ago. What's to say that the greenhouse effect would work in the same way as on Earth as it is?

Also, how can we find out what materials they DID discover? That seems like it could be much more interesting...

US tech giants take brave immigration stand that has nothing to do with profit whatsoever

Adam Foxton

I thought these were tech companies?

Why does software development have to happen in any specific place? I've coded in hotel rooms, on boats and beaches, and had meetings with people on the other side of the world.

It's almost like these companise dont get the idea of the Internet...

UK prison reform report wants hard-coded no-fly zones in drones to keep them out of jail

Adam Foxton


Just install a bunch of cameras with motion trackers to see what's happening from the top the of the walls up. Any motion across the wall is either illicit or a bird.

The drone isn't even the issue, it's the items being delivered that are the problem. So you don't even need to stop the drone, or prevent a throw-over- you just need to have a system look to see if anything breaks the perimeter and if the intruder falls to the ground or leaves anything. If it just overflies the prison without doing anything then it's not an immediate issue (and could be halted with a directional jammer / net gun / interceptor drone). You can then identify where the payload landed and identify / collect / isolate it.

This way there's no reliance on criminals not circumventing geofencing attempts, and it covers throw-overs too. Occasionally you'll get a false positive from a seagull dropping a pizza.

Uber's robo-truck makes first delivery of ... Budweiser in Colorado

Adam Foxton

If it can't cope with things like pedestrians and roadkill

What the hell is it doing on public roads?

I understand, highway driving is- for the most part- simple. Especially for trucks. Maintain a constant speed in the left-hand lane (or right-hand lane for some odd bits of the world). Don't leave your lane, slow down if you're going to hit anything.

But in those circumstances a human's pretty safe too. It's only (mainly) when they've been lulled into a false sense of security and then things change that there are problems. So designing in this false sense of security seems to me to be a mistake. It HAS to be able to cope with a deer crossing the road, or an unexpected icy / oily patch or a tyre blowing out. If it can't cope with any eventuality you could reasonably throw at it, it shouldn't be allowed on any roads without the course being closed to public traffic.

Every LTE call, text, can be intercepted, blacked out, hacker finds

Adam Foxton

There is an upside!

We can expect 4G coverage in the UK to increase to 100% at the behest of GCHQ within a few months :P

I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

Adam Foxton

Re: I have a solution!

AC, when Run-Flats came out the manufacturers just beefed up their Stingers. Stuff like Magnum Spike at least claims to be effective against run-flats, too.


So... yeah, they can already disable any car they can get in front of, and relatively quickly and safely at that.

Adam Foxton

I have a solution!

Nice simple solution. Cars need tyres to drive on, right? So why don't we get something like a board with nails in it to burst the miscreant's tyres? They'd lose control of the car and have to pull over or crash- or at least slow down.

Wait, what do you mean they have those already? Good news, everyone. The Met already have the possibility of disabling/hobbling almost any tyre-using vehicle. Problem solved, cash saved.

Oh, ALL RIGHT, says Facebook, we'll let Windows admins run osquery

Adam Foxton

Re: So like WMIC then?

Yes, but we're not allowed to say 'Windows had it first", "Windows does it better" or "It's easier on Windows, you just don't know enough to make an informed judgement". That goes against the current IT Orthodoxy that the One Great Penguin is the way to truth.

Linus Torvalds won't apply 'sh*t-for-brains stupid patch'

Adam Foxton

No, what he meant was that he's not aware of a way to pull up the Product ID or Vendor ID for USB or PCI devices in Linux. He may have been referring to devices without drivers that enumerate but then can't be worked with.

In Windows this is easily accomplished in Device Manager, and means that you can use the likes of PCIDatabase.com to look up which manufacturer and chipset you're working with, then get a driver that's close enough that it'll get your device working.

This is something that's been in Windows for decades and has saved my ass on a good few occasions.

Does such a thing exist in Linux?

It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

Adam Foxton
Thumb Up

Re: Futurama

You should write a book, chivo243. People need to know about the CAN EAT MORE.

Replacing humans with robots in your factories? Hold on just a sec

Adam Foxton

If I might make an observation

Surely the first thing to do should be to flowchart the law, to make the rules as they stand properly bounded and clear. Weightings can be given to different crimes to determine punishment, threshhold of evidence, etc

Which also has the advantage that we can start to get rid of Lawyers too!

Our pacemakers are totally secure, says short-sold St Jude

Adam Foxton

7 Foot range for an immobile target

It's a good thing people with Pacemakers are in the peak of physical health and don't need to lay still in, say, a Hospital bed. Or at home. Or sit in a car. Or anywhere else that could be fitted with a pinging 'bug'.

And that's before all the comments above about different aerials etc kick in.

Adam Foxton

That's not Capitalism.

That's crime.

Apple is making life terrible in its factories – labor rights warriors

Adam Foxton

You're absolutely right. In the whole history of socialist and communist endeavour there has never been a very wealthy ruling class sucking up all the wealth, nor have there been famines, shortages and brutal suppression of groups- entire ethnicities- who don't stick closely enough to what the State says.

No, wait, I got that backwards. They ALL ended up with an oppressive bunch of rich 'elites' at the top, with massive nepotism and old-boys-networking. And with the state owning rather more than 99% of the are they're in power over.

Automation wouldn't be bothered with as manpower becomes cheap and expendable. This is why the Soviets beat the Nazis back in WW2- they just threw millions and millions of their soldiers at the enemy, many without training or equipment, and stood another line of troops behind /them/ to stop the first lot retreating.

Or outside wartime, lets use the Great Leap Forwards which killed 45 million people and lead to a few people getting very very rich.

So yeah, lets all be commie bastards and hand the world over to our masters who will treat us like shit and run the country into the ground. Let's do that, because it sounds like such a fucking great idea.

You know how that data breach happened? Three words: eBay, hard drives

Adam Foxton

Whatever happened to

just hitting the drive repeatedly with a hammer until the casing is buckled and PCB smashed? It's quick, effective, and great stress relief!

Manchester cops to strap on 3K bodycams

Adam Foxton

That's not too bad

Anything visible from the street is publicly visible anyway.

It can easily be thwarted by curtains, blinds, clothes horses, some sort of legal indoor foliage, or anything else not optically transparent.

As other have said, the worry is when they turn it off. Why even give officers that ability? Storage is cheap and something like a mobile-phone-grade camera reading onto an SD card would take sod all power to run.

First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Adam Foxton

Re: Concorde

No, Concorde was the British version.

We dispensed with the American's vulgar evacuated tube concept and simply added wings and engines to get it to a height where there was naturally sod all air.

This also allowed it to travel rather a lot faster than a Hyperloop, take off and land all over the world without needing to lay new track, operate alongside existing infrastructure, and for a bill of £1.2Bn rather than $6Bn.

Its passengers also didn't suffer the G-force issues Hyperloop passengers will, and had access to what was described as a 'surprisingly large' selection of drinks. If it was still in operation it'd also no doubt have wifi, which will be in short supply inside a big steel tube in a bigger steel tube.

So Concorde looked better, was faster, more flexible, more practical and pleasant... and we built it about 50 years ago. A more elegant solution from a more civilised age.

'I hacked Facebook – and found someone had beaten me to it'

Adam Foxton

Re: Shhh!

Nah, it's not the classic injunction- it's just the SQL

MH-370 search loses sharpest-eyed robot deep beneath the waves

Adam Foxton

Re: At least they know where THAT is

Quite possibly. If they're towing it subsea it'll have a USBL beacon on it, hopefully rated to the full depth of the water column they'll be in.

For some reason no-one fits this sort of thing to aircraft flying over huge water masses, though. It's a shame as we'd have been able to find at least part of the plane in no time at all.

The question with the tow fish is 'would it be worth recovering?' though. SAS kit is expensive, but then so's hiring in a 6000m rated ROV, vessel, etc before the battery runs out!

Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Adam Foxton

These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know...morons.

Terrorists seek to commit deadly 'cyber attacks' in UK, says Chancellor Osborne

Adam Foxton

There is another alternative

The issue isn't so much the data streaming out of these facilities as the possibility of sending commands into them.

So the 'internet' connection should just be one-way. Just take the data being fed out of the systems and feed it into a web server box via RS232/RS422/something similar. And then cut the Tx line(s) from the webserver to the computer it's monitoring.

Et voila, instant perfect security; it physically cannot be hacked into.

Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

Adam Foxton

A chrome android?

Yes, Impirious Leader. By Your Command.

HTC in crisis: How did it get to this point? How did it get this bad?

Adam Foxton

Re: Nice hardware, crap management.

Amazing battery life?! Only in that I was amazed at how terrible it was on mine, barely eking out a workday.

That's when I swore off HTC, despite buying 8 of their smartphones from 2004-2010 as better and better devices were released. My two Samsung Galaxy Notes (one either side of the HTC one) have performed better for longer. And have a removable battery and external storage.

Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

Adam Foxton

Why does 5G have to be faster?

Why not have the 5G specification focus on lowering power consumption, signal range, etc rather than just headline speed?

Okay, they don't get to advertise it as "15,000,000x faster than wax cylinder" or whatever, but it does mean that the standard would be a valuable addition

If it's backwards compatible- or at least can be implemented on the same silicon with a firmware update- then all the better!

Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool

Adam Foxton

I use oil-cooled electronics daily- it's been common for cooling and waterproofing subsea kit for decades, I'm amazed it's considered such a new idea by you guys- and they clean up nicely. Just remember a non-conductive contact cleaner. Even Limonene or alcohol based ones are good if the equipment won't be powered on for a while!

Gremlins in the first six months? It's the seller's problem – EU court

Adam Foxton

Re: Nothing new

Existing law in the UK, yes. But what about the rest of Europe? Anyone able to update us on how this affects the other however many countries would be covered by the ECJ judgement?

Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole

Adam Foxton

Re: Take a good look

Actually the cartels are an example of what happens when drugs are illegal

Their weapons come from the necessity of defending themselves against armed police enforcing laws created by self proclaimed hardasses...


Adam Foxton

Re: Ceres bright spots iluminate without sun light

Rather than just insulting you, how about a little educated guessing?

The bright spots are bright. Really, really bright. Ceres' albedo is below that of our Moon but not by much, and on the moon the reflected sunlight is incredibly bright- that's why there are no stars in photos from the moon, the brightness had to be lowered that far to stop the cameras being swamped that the pinpricks of light became invisible.

Now look at the photo. Its actual brightness would be like looking at the sun through a slight cloud- still retina-searingly bright. It's clearly had its brightness lowered (or more likely the sensitivity of the camera was lowered). That dull-grey looking surface is very bright indeed. The really reflective spots are even brighter as they're reflecting far more of the sunlight.

When the brightness is juuust right for looking at craters etc, the reflective areas are still substantially above the maximum brightness that the camera can record- hence the brilliant white appearance. And they're so much brighter that the camera finds them off-the-scale bright even when they're not in direct sunlight.

Ha! Win 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 pops out of the Microsoft oven

Adam Foxton


Microsoft released the .NET Micro Framework- free-as-in-beer and open-source under Apache 2.0- almost 6 years ago, allowing .NET code (okay, MOST .NET code) to run on anything from tiny ARM microcontrollers (anything with >256kbyte Flash and 64k RAM) up through mobile devices, through PCs and on to massive hyperscale Azure deployments.

They've also not set the lawyers on groups like the open-source Mono ".NET on non-Windows platforms" project, either (indeed they're now actively helping them), so that code can be run on Android, iOS, OSX, loads of flavours of Linux, UNIX.

As for their Windows range of OSes, CE/Compact have been about for years on a variety of platforms. It also provided the basis for their older Windows Mobile platform and the (terrible) new Windows Phone platform.

So no, Microsoft doing things with ARM based devices isn't exactly anything new, and neither is their fondness for developers.

I'll just leave this here for a laugh too... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8To-6VIJZRE

Chinese 'Superphone' manufacturer declares war on Apple

Adam Foxton

Re: Chinese And Hitler ? Wong

Does he have a sibling with a similarly Nazi-ish name?

If so, could the two Wongs make a Reich?

KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Adam Foxton

Re: Call in Scott and Alan Tracy!

That's because the vertical-takeoff Thunderbirds landed on ground. SpaceX have already done that.

Plus, when landing they dropped onto a catching apparatus. Which is what SpaceX needs, actually- something to catch the underside of the rocket and fasten it down.

Astronomers battle plague of BLADE-WIELDING ROBOTS

Adam Foxton

Re: Astroturf

Not quite

I have a job that requires lots of travel for short periods of time, so when I bought my house I tore up the lawn and replaced it with AstroTurf.

I've since done no maintenance to it, what with it being UV resistant plastic and all, but have recently found that it's covered in weeds!

Gardening with a bucket of weedkiller once every 2 years isn't much of a problem, I guess...


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