* Posts by Christoph

2881 posts • joined 24 Dec 2007

Help us sniff out 50 neutron star collisions so we can calculate universe expansion, cosmoboffins plead

Christoph Silver badge

Re: How small can you make a black hole?

You what?

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

Christoph Silver badge

Central computer room in open plan office. Since they might have to evacuate in a hurry if the halon was about to drop, the Big Red Button was placed on the wall outside - in the open plan office. With no warning label.

Later, same solution - hinged box of clear plastic.

Granddaddy of the DIY repair generation John Haynes has loosened his last nut

Christoph Silver badge


I managed to just use the one for my first two cars - both were Half-Timbered Morris.

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

Christoph Silver badge

"Once a defendant has raised this defence, the burden of proof (to the criminal standard) to disprove this defence will rest with the prosecution,"

And have you ever considered the advantages of buying this really nice bridge?

Oh dear, Lads: Spam marketing bosses banned from forming UK firms for clobbering folk with 500k calls and texts

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Death to telemarketers! =-D

"Something lingering, with boiling oil in it, I fancy. Something of that sort.

I think boiling oil occurs in it, but I'm not sure.

I know it's something humorous, but lingering, with either boiling oil or melted lead."

-- The Mikado

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

Christoph Silver badge

It's so much better now

People no longer use systems that rely on old hardware and licences, that might break if the company that wrote the software vanishes.

They now use cloud systems that will vanish entirely whenever the supplying company messes up an upgrade.

London's Met police confess: We made just one successful collar in latest facial recog trial

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Facts - we've heard of them...

"Was this person simply provoked into a reaction that permitted a barely credible arrest as a 'message'. "

The police are well practised at deliberately provoking people into a reaction which they can then twist into an 'offence'.

Hey, UK.gov: If you truly spunked £45k on 1,300 Brexit deal print-outs, you're absolute mugs

Christoph Silver badge

The remaining cash went for 5 minutes of a consultant's time to tell them that if they wanted it printed they would require paper, ink, and printers.

UK transport's 'ludicrous' robocar code may 'put lives at risk'

Christoph Silver badge

"The entire purpose of a safety driver is as a backstop for catastrophic technology failure," said Tindell.

Quite. And if the technology failure is that the system has crashed or seized up so badly that the remote link no longer works, just exactly what is the remote safety driver supposed to do?

Or the incredibly rare circumstance that the car is under a bridge, among tall buildings, or in a tunnel so that the link doesn't work?

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Blind faith

Then add random roadworks, with signs that are badly placed or have been removed by vandals (which will be much more likely when they know it will mess up the AVs).

Pixaaaarrrrrrghh! Mars-snapping CubeSats Wall-E and Eve declared dead (for now) by NASA bods

Christoph Silver badge

Or they might get run over by a passing car.

Romford Station, smile! You're in London cops' final facial recog 'trial'

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Dubious tech fetishism

If you're using two cameras you don't need the rifles - you can run SCORPION STARE on them.

Kwik-Fit hit by MOT fail, that's Malware On Target

Christoph Silver badge

They should have practised safe computing and used a rubber

Smaller tech firms just aren't ready for a no-deal Brexit, MPs told

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Taking Back Control!


Let's trash the Good Friday Agreement and restart the Troubles!

Let's have Martial Law and Curfews to control food riots!

And Blue Passports!

(I wonder why the brexit bus didn't say that on the side?)

En garde! 'Cyber-war has begun' – and France will hack first, its defence sec declares

Christoph Silver badge

Re: And .....

If you really must claim that a nation is entirely defined by one past event in history, better get ready for the French to conquer most of Europe like they did under Napoleon.

Makes just as much sense as your pathetic sniping.

Stalk my pals on social media and you'll know that the next words out of my mouth will be banana hammock

Christoph Silver badge

That's amazing - it can actually predict the awful pun I might be about to post based on something I've seen a few seconds ago?

That seems just a trifle unlikely.

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Cat-5?

We had 40MB drives, but partitioned them as max 32 because that was all Norton Utilities (I think it was) could handle.

Holy crappuccino. There's a latte trouble brewing... Bio-boffins reckon 60%+ of coffee species may be doomed

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Umm... nope.

And never mind trivial details like the massive consensus of nearly all the people who have actually studied this and investigated it and know about it that the warming is happening, is very rapid, and is quickly getting worse.

You know, the people that use data instead of handwaving and wishful thinking.

Christoph Silver badge

Re: All right for some

Trump has plenty of stocks of Covfefe

Do you feel 'lucky', well, do you, punk? Google faces down magic button patent claim

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Yiddish?

WTF is racist about naming a commonly used language? Named that by its speakers.

What a cheep shot: Bird sorry after legal eagles fire DMCA takedown at scooter unlock blog

Christoph Silver badge

"It's safe to assume that Bird's lawyers didn't know much about Doctorow or Boing Boing beforehand

Very safe. If they had the slightest clue, then just about the last person they should have attacked like this is Cory Doctorow.

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

Christoph Silver badge

"beardie bore board CiX"


I'm not that boring.

(Here from seeing a note on CIX)

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Comparison

Trump got elected with a promise to build the wall, the Democrats got elected with a promise to block the wall.

Yes, the Democrats could end the crisis in an instant. All they would have to do is abjectly surrender to whatever Trump has a whim for. They would betray their principles, they would betray the people who elected them. But they would end the crisis.

They would also have made Trump an absolute dictator. Whatever whim he has, they vote for to avoid a shutdown. Then in the afternoon they vote again because he's changed his mind again.

If you have told a bully that you will abjectly surrender to his demands if he makes threats, he will NOT then go away and leave you in peace. He will make more and more and more demands, never-ending.

If once you have paid him the Dane-geld, You never get rid of the Dane.

Fly me to the Moon, let me play among the stars. Do you think we could get another probe to land on Mars?

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Britain should re-examine EM Drives

Don't your hands tend to fall off when you handwave that fast?

Forget 2019's tech biz takeovers, here's the mega-merger everyone's talking about: Milky Way and LMC, coming soon

Christoph Silver badge

That story isn't very clear. Since the LMC is far smaller than the Milky Way, how will it "swell our black hole by a factor of eight and the stellar halo, ... will increase fivefold"?

It may contribute to the halo as yet another star stream like the existing Sagittarius Stream and several others, but it will take a very long time before its core merges with our central black hole - and how can that core be seven times the size of our own?

Oz cops investigating screams of 'why don't you die?' find bloke in battle with spider

Christoph Silver badge

Re the list of lethal spiders

As Terry pointed out, it's quicker to list the non-lethal Australian species.

"Some of the sheep"

Your two-minute infosec roundup: Drone arrests, Alexa bot hack, Windows zero-day, and more

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Drone arrests

"they catch holy hell"

The authorities are going to throw everything they can think of at them. They will ask for the maximum sentences possible, pour encourager les autres. They do not want this to become a regular occurrence every time some gang wants to blackmail airports.

It's a Christmas miracle: Logitech backs down from Harmony home hub API armageddon

Christoph Silver badge

They seem to now have the correct solution

That fix is now the right way to handle it. If you find that a facility that customers find useful is a security risk, default it to disabled but allow customers to re-enable it while warning them that this might be a risk.

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Friday

Where's the cabbage icon?

Small American town rejects Comcast – while ISP reps take issue with your El Reg vultures

Christoph Silver badge

"Comcast executives are going to be having crisis meetings over this one."

What's the problem? They will simply order their congresscritters to pass laws making it illegal for the municipalities to compete with them.

NASA names the date for the first commercial crew demo flight

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Echoes...

They should at least have made the wake-up message "Good Morning, Dr. Chandra. I’m ready for my first lesson now."

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

Christoph Silver badge

They will have trouble with the protests this time round

Last time they tried this the police attacked the demonstrators and then claimed the demonstrators were rioting.

This time everyone is carrying a video camera. They can't confiscate all of the videos showing gangs of police charging down the street attacking everyone in sight including bystanders. Or of someone chucking a stone in the general direction of the police, then calmly walking up to and into the police lines before the police charge the crowd for throwing stones at them.

Wow, what a lovely early Christmas present for Australians: A crypto-busting super-snoop law passes just in time

Christoph Silver badge

"because we're not going to go home and leave the Australian people on their own over Christmas.

Why all this whinging about Australian software? If they can get this designed, coded, tested, and up and running on all the multitude of different systems and have that all in place well before this Christmas, Australian software must be by far the best in the world. No other country could even begin to do anything so complex in that timescale.

UK spies: You know how we said bulk device hacking would be used sparingly? Well, things have 'evolved'...

Christoph Silver badge

Mission creep? Good grief! Who could possibly have expected that? (Aside from everyone who isn't actually living on Rockall).

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

Christoph Silver badge

They want this in place before the next election.

They are making it illegal to reveal the existence of interceptions.

Will they be able to prove that they are not intercepting the communications of the opposing parties?

Since they have deliberately made it impossible to prove that they are doing such interception, the burden of proof falls on them to show that they are not doing so.

Christoph Silver badge

"He later accused international tech of holding the view that “Australian law doesn't apply to them”."

And he holds the view that Physical and Mathematical law doesn't apply to Australia?

No, you haven't gone deaf – the Large Hadron Collider has been wound down for more upgrades

Christoph Silver badge

“We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.”

-- Douglas Adams

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

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Norfolk

You mean like the ones who have only one arm and one eye?

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

Christoph Silver badge

Accuracy of 10 to -18 is much better than one second in the age of the Universe!

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Enquiring minds would like to know?

By comparing multiple mechanisms in different places

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

Christoph Silver badge

Re: How many constitutional rights were violated ?

"Which is why you do not say yes to any opportunistic requests for a vehicle search."

Which annoys the police because they now have to keep you hanging around while a drug-detecting dog is fetched, so they can give it the covert signal telling it to do a false 'alert' and then have 'reasonable suspicion' to do a forced search of the vehicle.

The outcome of annoying the police is not likely to be fun for you.

CubeSat buddies, like those sent to track Mars InSight landing, can be used in future missions

Christoph Silver badge

Re: First attempt - Brilliant results

Do they have solar panels? Or did they run on battery power for the short time needed?

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

Christoph Silver badge

If a plane can do this, what happens to cars?

It is still claimed that we will soon have fully automatic driverless cars. These will be operating in a vastly more complicated environment, with far less time to sort out problems. And there will be far more of them. What are the chances that nothing like this will happen?

A plane can in emergency hand control over to the pilots. A car may have no driver, or the driver may be asleep, drunk, and/or distracted. In any case if they are suddenly given control they will not have time to assess a situation which is so complicated that the car has given up.

Car automation can do a lot, but I cannot accept that full automation will come any time soon - and it will at the least require a major rebuild of all the roads, together with new signage designed for automatic reading.

That sphincter-flexing moment for devs when it's time to go live

Christoph Silver badge

Changing the user interface can have major unexpected consequences.

Back in the 80s, the company internal telephone system was updated. The new system examined external calls and sent them by the cheapest route - BT, Mercury, or up the leased line to head office.

Old system: Pick up phone, get internal dial tone. Dial 9, external dial tone. Dial number.

New system: Pick up phone, get internal dial tone. Dial 9, system waits for the external number with no dial tone then works out the cheapest route.

Nobody, not even the switchboard, was warned in advance about this change.

In a large office building, large numbers of people thought there was a fault. Many of them tried pressing the 9 key again and again to try to get the external dial tone.

The telephone system watched the key presses until it recognised a valid number, then dialled that number.

Note to non-UKans: The UK emergency number, roughly equivalent to the US '911', is '999'.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Missing Information

Well, quite. Why should he bring such sensitive documents into another jurisdiction? Even if he needed to work on some, why the entire cache?

Something is very odd here.

Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

Christoph Silver badge

"If Japan suddenly disappears into the ocean, we'll know why."


Brexit: UK will be disconnected from EU databases after 2020

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Titanic

And the captain ordering "Full Steam Ahead towards the iceberg!"

Douglas Adams was right, ish... Super-Earth world clocked orbiting 'nearby' Barnard's Star

Christoph Silver badge

Re: "The detached sail will accelerate but the probe will decelerate"

The trick of using part of the sail to decelerate the remainder was devised by Robert Forward, and detailed in his novel Rocheworld about a crewed voyage to Barnard's Star.

He even found a way to bring the ship back again, still using only the Earth-based lasers.

His scientific paper describing the system seems to be behind a paywall, but here's the abstract

Chinese teen braniacs are being trained to build new AI weapons

Christoph Silver badge

If the West is in trouble

We'd better expand our programme of welcoming and encouraging highly qualified people from other countries to come and work for us. Only a lunatic would do anything to discourage those people.

Dell upping its margins again: Precision 5530 laptop will sting you for $13m. Yep, six zeroes

Christoph Silver badge

And that's ...

Cutting their own throat

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