* Posts by Mage

7760 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

Mage Silver badge

Re: May I be the first to say...

"...which are copies of RCA Nuvistors. I used to have some of these. EMP resistant before anybody needed it."

No they were not. The Nuvistor was much later and completely different construction. The Russians developed "Rod Pentodes", which are not even remotely similar to the USA "Pencil tubes" used in missiles and hearing aids.



The Rod Pentodes used in Sputnik and MiG fighters as well as other early space stuff.

Superior to Germanium transistors. Much lower power and easier to make than the later RCA Nuvistors which were a last gasp dead end for USA tube industry (In Domestic products, only used in USA VHF & UHF tuner heads. Some Professional condenser microphones and hardly at all in Military).



Bristol boffins blast 1.59 Gbps down ONE 20 MHz channel

Mage Silver badge

Interstellar Radio

Just needs a very big dish. The efficiency of dish goes up with cube of frequency, hence long distance UHF uses maybe an array 4, 8 or 16 yagi aerials, but microwaves use a dish (MMDS, Satellite TV etc).

Additionally the reasonable range for radio due to power constraints is maybe less than 100 LY. OTH using spectroscopic analysis we could be detected maybe 10,000 LY away due to unnatural signature of gasses in atmosphere.

Latency also becomes an issue for Interstellar radio, with a RTT of maybe 150 years if we are lucky to have a sentient neighbour with radio (if even 100,000 planets with life in Milky Way, then chance is less than 1/4,000 roughly that a neighbour has life and tinier that they have civilisation, tinier still that they they are advanced enough to have radio, tinier still they point a dish at us. Terrestrial broadcasts are not likely to be receivable more than 10 LY distance.

Mage Silver badge

“5G breakthrough”

No, 5G is about integrating infrastructures.

This is a just a development of MIMO. Likely not much relevant to the real world, where on average MIMO adds a LOT of cost (all those aerials, LNAs, PAs, cables, couplers, band & dublex filters etc) for very little or no extra revenue.

Wait! Where did you get that USB? Super-stealthy trojan only drives stick

Mage Silver badge

Re: Guvmint Work

I'd not trust ANY OS with a malware USB slave controller using HID mode USB as well as offering access to the Flash Memory.

I expect it's safe to plug in a CF card or maybe an SD Card and format them. I don't think they have an HID mode.

Mage Silver badge

Re: format before any use...

Dreaded auto correct "Potentially"


Mage Silver badge

Re: suppose you could have ...

suppose you could have some kind of special USB hub that only lets certain classes of device connect.

Except due to design of USB, currently that would need very powerful secure CPU to analyse and pass the USB messages.

I don't believe the retail market has such a device.

Mage Silver badge

format before any use...

There is a big flaw in USB design.

It's called USB HID mode.

HOW do you insert and wipe a USB stick without it running evil HID mode software?

A USB charger, mouse, BT dongle, proprietary Wireless keyboard dongle, 3G Modem, keyboard, ANYTHING with USB can penitentially attack your gadget or PC. Not just a memory stick.

Microsoft files patent for 'PhonePad', hints at future Windows plans

Mage Silver badge

Oh Dear

In a properly run Patent Office, this would be chucked out. This and Continuum are old ideas and implemented ages ago.

How one developer just broke Node, Babel and thousands of projects in 11 lines of JavaScript

Mage Silver badge

Bloody stupid!

"Left-pad was fetched 2,486,696 downloads in just the last month"

There are LOADS of reasons why the current dependence on 3rd party sites & domains of websites is stupid, not just this example.


Security (not serving malware if someone hijacks a domain)

What's wrong with actually storing everything your webpage /site needs on your own server? If a site with a lot of transactions you can even cache whatever it is in RAM, or even on another server.

This is an example of what's wrong with programming and website development. As for people using google's content to make their site go ... Well just stupid and a poke in the eye privacy wise of their users.

Error checks? Eh? What could go wrong, really? (DoSing a US govt site)

Mage Silver badge

Moral on the -1 passed as array index?

Check array indexes.

Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

Mage Silver badge

increased levels of physical searches on or near transportation hubs

Then they would blow up supermarkets (or shopping malls like in Africa).

It's "Security theatre". There are no easy answers, except the long term analysis of "why do they exist in the first place" and dealing (slowly) with the sources of the problem.

There is no quick fix, nor "Security Forces" solution as has been proven.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Security expectations

It's of the nature of terrorism that any increased state "protection" is actually a win for the terrorists as they want to create terror and subjugation. They are not fighting a military war.

It's totally impossible to stop terror attacks.

If the State gets very militaristic it even breeds recruits. US reaction to 911 has made the world worse, not safer and created terrorists.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Safety Check

Facebook is an irrelevant parasite.

Also about the most bandwidth hungry method to communicate.

Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

Mage Silver badge


You can buy the Pi as a set with SD card preloaded.

Plug it in to mouse, screen, keyboard and Ethernet

No scripts needed or visible,

Scratch is on it as standard.

LEDs for GPIO port are available.

Current Scratch can turn them on & off.

Not sure why this strange thing exists.

Champagne supernova in the sky: Shockwaves seen breaking star

Mage Silver badge

Safe distance

Certainly the sort of wave you want to watch from a safe distance. What is the safe distance?

Apple stuns world with Donald Trump iPhone

Mage Silver badge

maybe next year ...

They will discover there is also a market for candy bars, flip, sliders and BB style QWERTY.

Not everyone wants a slab with only a touch screen.

What's wrong with choice? Even Ford eventually did cars in colors other than Black.

Something useful from Cupertino?! Apple sees the light – finally

Mage Silver badge

Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

Or on some systems since 1990s! (laptops, desktops etc).

Actually in 1982 I was selling nice Amber mono CRT monitors (some used on Apple II !)

Mage Silver badge



I hope they don't think they can patent or copyright this?

It MAY work for OLED screens, but LED lit LCD are violet/blue LEDs with yellow phosphor to provide the "white" backlight and this idea is poor on them compared to colour CRT, decent OLED, or eInk illuminated with a filament operated bedside lamp.

Ditch LED and CFL lamps in bedrooms and use long life filament (Halogen not so good) (less blue than high efficiency types)

'Contractual barriers' behind geo-blocking could breach EU rules

Mage Silver badge

Divide and Conquer

I think region locking DVDs, Games, BD & Geo blocking digital content funds piracy.

The books issue is two fold.

1) A hundred years ago, USA simply ignored copyright on English Language books. The USA and UK publishers more or less "divvy" up the world.

2) A book publisher doesn't usually have audio rights, no more than they have film or TV rights. Nor for worldwide unless not in English (see 1). A publisher of Audio needs to acquire these separately from author.

There is a separate issue that often the Publisher acquires books rights for life of copyright. It ought to be no more than 25 years and then revert to author (copyright would STILL exist and be unchanged from POV of public).

Copyright life is also now too long. Death of Author + 25 years is generous. The current death + 75 is simply a licence for people like Disney or Record companies to make money, as they will have acquired rights with a minimal up front and small royalty on sales (or in case of cinema, maybe profits which are mysteriously non-existent).

Always negotiate a percentage of retail sale, never "profit", accountants are too clever.

What to call a £200m 15,000-tonne polar vessel – how about Boaty McBoatface?

Mage Silver badge

OK Then

The main purpose of Democracy is really to ditch stupid leaders without the bother of a bloody revolution?

So it's maybe OK that they pick a name themselves if they get a bunch of loony tunes.

Mystery Kindle update will block readers from books after Wednesday

Mage Silver badge

Re: Email? What Email?

Older Models (than 2013) won't get an email if you already are up to date. The firmware on some models IS since 2013, but not at all new.


Mage Silver badge

Old versions ...

The "new" versions of software in some cases are out well over a year.

see link

OK versions of Kindle Firmware for 22nd March 2016

Mage Silver badge

Re: I applied the big update to my Mk2 Paperwhite a couple of weeks ago.

Why had you no backup?

Changing account on a Kobo or a Kindle, for instance, wipes the content.

Amazon's "Cloud" mostly only has a backup of books bought from Amazon*. It's nothing to do with DRM!

[*If you are daft enough to send your OWN stuff via Amazon cloud instead of USB, then Amazon keeps a copy that's reloaded, of random DRM free content. I tested it.]

After a firmware update, you may need to reload any backup, this is common on many gadgets.

Mage Silver badge

Re: And folks wonder why I won't use one.

Import the Amazon books into Calibre via a suitable extra plug-in*

Make backups

It's a PUBLISHER decision, not Amazon's if a book has DRM. Anyone can publish on Amazon without DRM.

[*Best if you live outside the USA]

Mage Silver badge

Re: 62 PAGEs of books

The books not in collections are listed after collections, in collections view. At least on Kindle DXG ver 2.5.8 firmware.

Mage Silver badge

Re: OTA vs USB

They are not too likely to have WiFi & Broadband and no PC of any kind?

If you have no PC at all*, then a 3G Kindle is worth while. Curiously I know of one person that managed to get PC World to connect his Kindle.

[ANY OS supporting USB storage and Web Downloads will work to put content on/off a Kindle, unlike Apple's iThings, possibly even some tablets]

Mage Silver badge

Re: Expired certificate

DRM is optional

Mage Silver badge

Re: 62 PAGEs of books

There are "Collections" on Kindle and Kobo.

Sadly not hierarchical. But a book can be in more than one (say Westerns and Romance).

It took me a while to figure out how to have a book in a collection on Calibre (best way to organise) automatically be in that on Kindle/Kobo. You need to make an extra column and change settings on Calibre.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Non-cloudy thinking

Kobo uses also DRM based ePub (evil Adobe)

Kindle also uses DRM free prc, mobi

Amazon AZW doesn't always have DRM, it's a publisher choice.

Smashwords sells DRM free for Kobo and Kindle.

I have a Kobo and Kindle, the Kobo is over priced, but I wanted the 6.8" with hi def for PDF manuals, marginally better than large 9.7" DXG for PDF. For books the paperwhite is best value at 1/2 the price.

Calibre (with a file import filter plugin) is your friend to buy DRM from Amazon or Kobo and read on you Kobo or Kindle and backup.

Never rely on a Cloud except for temporary collaboration.

Mage Silver badge


USB based updating is safer and more reliable. It's not difficult.

Download update

Copy via USB

Disconnect and run menu option to update.

I almost never use OTA anyway, but download books I buy, import to Calibre, connect Reader to Calibre.

I back up my Calibre Library. This way my reading habits on Kobo or Kindle can't leak and I don't depend on anyone's Cloud. I do buy some books from Amazon, but most of my paper ones are from charity shops and eBooks from gutenberg.org and archive.org I buy as much books as I can afford.

The only update my Kindle DXG has had was in 2013 when it was bought, I doubt it's getting an update. The free 3G might be useful if I travelled (only Wikipedia & Amazon, all else is 60M limit a month), but I don't.

Microsoft will rest its jackboot on Windows 7, 8.1's throat on new Intel CPUs in 2018 – not 2017

Mage Silver badge

Re: "One solution is to boot a Linux USB stick ..."

Years ago I slip-streamed a CD with added SATA drivers for XP.

But still, MS attitude to Win 10 smacks of desaturation. They developed USB for NT4.0 and then decided not to release the SP. I tested the beta USB stack on NT4.0 and it worked with Win2K drivers (if you made the OS report as if it was Win2K, stupid Driver designers looking for an OS version instead of a capability, at the time MS dev advice was to look for the capability you needed, not specific OS strings. I guess few people listened or they not have to skip Win 9 ...)

Mage Silver badge

Re: Another reason


a) What is actually native now on Linux

b) Old stuff that works on WINE on Linux but not, oddly on Win 7 / Win 8 / Win 10 depending on program.

A Logic Named Joe: The 1946 sci-fi short that nailed modern tech

Mage Silver badge

Re: Leinster

Link to Gutenberg for Murray Leinster (unlike Archive.org they are usually proof read).

A good reason to get an eInk Kindle or Kobo (you only need to connect once to register, then use USB only. Calibre + plug ins is friend to allow DRM ePub on Kindle, or DRM mobi/AZW on Kobo)

Mage Silver badge

Re: *Remarkably* sharp prediction?

Misses the point. It's not about how amazing it is.

There are good and bad predictions. This one is about how people might use <random technology>

Rocket motors to power only ICBMs or space exploration?

See also "Shock Wave Rider". Far better than Toffler's book that inspired it.

Microsoft's equality and diversity: Skimpy schoolgirls dancing for nerds at an Xbox party

Mage Silver badge

Re: Not great but ...

Peppa Pig is completely demeaning to Pigs and Humans. Bring back Ivor the Engine and all the other Postgate stuff.

Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Mage Silver badge

Re:Deep Mind

Except if might NEVER deliver general AI. It certainly doesn't now.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Idea for profit

You mean YouTube ISN'T Google's Social Network?

Surely all of Google's bits have used same sign-on for ages...

Swede builds steam-powered Raspberry Pi. Nowhere to plug in micro-USB, then?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Nope

I'd use an AC motor not DC. No brushes to wear out.

SMPSU is what is needed.

Snowden WAS the Feds' quarry in Lavabit case, redaction blunder reveals

Mage Silver badge

Re: I wonder...


Mage Silver badge

Re: I wonder...

"The individuals who carried out the attack might have been wrong,"

No level of injustice makes Terrorists into Good Guys when they attack civilians.

You are Gerry Adams and I claim my baseball bat beating.

Mage Silver badge

Re: I wonder...

Does anyone know any longer ...

The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, or destroy the theatre are deffo bad guys.

The Governments spying on their own citizens with out specific warrant, killing people in countries they are not at war with, detaining people without trail... They are probably bad guys even if they claim it's for our own good.

Apple iPhone GPU designers Imagination axes 20 per cent of staff

Mage Silver badge

Very sad.

Perhaps they ARE inefficient, or Apple pays too little out of greed (their margins are fat) and others pay too little because of very slim margins.

On many products there is a retailer driven rush to the bottom on prices.

I don't know what's wrong. Sure their ought to be still a good market for MIPS in Routers, TVs, Setboxes even if ARM dominates Phones and Tablets?

How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest

Mage Silver badge

If they release a Windows Classic

Based on updating XP, I'd buy 5 copies.

Maybe the same of Office 2003. I HATE THE LATER OFFICES, ESPECIALLY "FLAT" and RIBBON!!!

Meanwhile two machines are staying XP (but not online) and the rest are now migrated to Linux Mint, Mate Desktop, WINE. Copied all my Windows True Type Fonts to server, then downloaded to all the Linux computers.

Everything has Libre Office, which once you figure the quirks and disable some silly defaults isn't bad.

Irish shun beer, whiskey in favour of … wine

Mage Silver badge


Probably An Teagasc and the NDC promote Cheese in Ireland.

There is a MASSIVE variety of Irish cheeses, today, a far cry from 30 years ago when there was Galtee processed cheese, Calvita milder processed cheese and rather suspiciously rubbery "Chedder" style cheese.

There is Cow, Goat and Sheep cheeses, in Danish, English, Swiss, French and Greek styles as well as local styles.

Woz: World-changers to Apple Watches, why pay for an overpriced band?

Mage Silver badge

Apple Watch.

Since it needs an iphone anyway, I suspect such a gadget can be under $30 retail inc postage including decent case and strap.

I wonder what all those < $20 Chinese watches do, often more functions with an Android phone than iOS. (Via Bluetooth). Some have camera and SIM, appear to be complete "Dick Tracy" and more gadgets. They are being used to cheat in exams.

Silicon photonics boosted with UK fabrication research

Mage Silver badge

Re: 1300 nanometre?

14nm or 10nm silicon claims are a bit misleading. They used to refer to size of a transistor, now the 14nm refers to smallest feature.

Isn't optical a good way to interconnect chips on a common substrate (PCB, Alumina / Sapphire, Quartz etc).

Mage Silver badge

10 Years only?

That's acceptable for a domestic product, but seems poor for industrial or aerospace.

Steve Jobs, MS Office, Israel, and a basic feature Microsoft took 13 years to install

Mage Silver badge

Re: Too expensive? Yeah, sure!

Indeed, try doing 576 line, interlaced video 25fps (PAL sources) in the original XP free video Editor.

No European video support.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Mac OS X didn’t support Right to Left (RTL) languages?

No, because you don't need OS support.

I've used MIXED RTL / LTR editing on VANILLA DOS.

Why should you care about Google's AI winning a board game?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Bollocks: 100,000 times quicker

I think you are wrong. It's 100,000,000 faster now. A 1979 8bit cpu is in the 100,000 times quicker class.

If we knew how to do real AI, then any computer could do it, but slowly. It's nonsense to suggest that AI is "held up" by lack of computing power. A Raspberry pi and big NAS ought to be able to be intelligent, if we knew how to write an AI program.

AI today, as is "Expert Systems" and so called "Neural Networks" are all just specialist "fragile"* database applications.

[* In sense that it's useless if it encounters anything not pertaining to the programmed domain]

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