* Posts by John Robson

2119 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Slack to fend off the collaboration competition with... a new logo

John Robson Silver badge

Who needs file transfers for a chat - just drop a link to your local ftp server.

VoIP can be replaced by talking with people, or any other VoIP solution. Not every tool needs to do everything.

You just sent them a note with the room in it... how hard can it be?

And no inline images make for a much cleaner chat... in slack mine are generally unexpanded (and the chat is better for it).

John Robson Silver badge

Last time I ran an IRC server it took about 5 minutes to get up and running, never touched i again in three years

Most munificent Apple killed itself with kindness. Oh. Really?

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Look it's really quite simple.

Various distributions of linux have LTS options if you don't want to have to upgrade very often.

Then dump your existing Win7 install into a VM for anything that desperately needs MS... Just don't connect it to a network.

Jeep hacking lawsuit shifts into gear for trial after US Supremes refuse to hit the brakes

John Robson Silver badge

Re: So...

"Because those systems do have business being on the same bus."

No they don't. I can see that you might want a one way data signal from the ECU etc to the display system of the car, but there is no reason to have unrestricted bidirectional data flow.

I can't think of anything that would want to be displayed that couldn't be gathered from:

- A GPS receiver.

- A unidirectional stream (i.e. rev counter, TPS readings, error codes)

There is nothing that needs the radio to talk to the ECU.

Goddamn the Pusher man: Nominet kicks out domain name hijack bid

John Robson Silver badge

Re: If the .EU can do it

Because the rules around the .uk registry don't require that the registrant be a UK resident.

They do specify the equivalent for the .eu registry.

That's just the way they were set up... Check the rules of your own registry.

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

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Bye bye.....

Get ready to pounce and buy it?

Just for EU, just for EU, just for EU: Forget about enforcing Right To Be Forgotten outside member states

John Robson Silver badge

EU being sensible again...

Why are we trying to leave?

I can't recall the UK government ever managing to string this many words together on any mildly technical subject.

Wanted – have you seen this MAC address: f8:e0:79:af:57:eb? German cops appeal for logs in bomb probe

John Robson Silver badge

MAC not used to connect to mobile network...

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports

John Robson Silver badge

Because they have a ditch path (the thames) and can autorotate in the event of engine failure.

Their flight paths are quite controlled.

Youtube link

Forget your $145m Apple patent payout, WiLAN told – it's $10m or gamble on a new trial

John Robson Silver badge

Troll - or maybe just a skeleton

Is it still a patent troll if they acquire the patent from a company that was put out of business by the cost of fighting apple?

Assuming of course that the original company was actively using the patented technology etc...

NHS England claims it will be all-digital within the decade

John Robson Silver badge

Re: As with all things this could be great if done properly

And a 20 quid charge would stop people who need to see a GP seeing a GP...

It's not a good idea.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Wow, it's almost...

"Hardly a decisive outcome to leave, when two thirds of the public didn't support it.

Hardly a decisive outcome to stay, when two thirds of the public didn't support it.

That argument goes both ways you know."

It does - but one of the decisions can be revisited, the other can't.

"52% confidence that I don't want a family"

I could either:

- use a condom/pill for a few years whilst playing with kids and talking with parents.

- get a vasectomy

Which is more sensible?

If in a few years time my life has changed and I *do* want a family, then one decision looks very foolish indeed.

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

John Robson Silver badge

Re: "Apple seems to be try to sell privacy"

How many high profile people have had their iCloud accounts hacked - rather than being socially engineered into giving away the keys?

More nodding dogs green-light terrible UK.gov pr0n age verification plans

John Robson Silver badge

Pirate bay is blocked?

Since when?

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

John Robson Silver badge


Do they consider a local API harder to secure than a cloudy one?

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

John Robson Silver badge

Re: How about a high power laser burst ?

"Regardless, it would appear that it is not working for you."

So how many mass shootings have there been this year in the US?

NASA names the date for the first commercial crew demo flight

John Robson Silver badge

In theory they should redefine ‘economically viable’, although not for the 63ton launches...

John Robson Silver badge

It's more that there aren't that many payloads that need that much rocket...

Parker is the fastest thing we've ever lobbed, some very large satellites...

But in general satellites are built down to a mass limit so they'll fit in an economically viable launch vehicle.

22 tons to LEO (expended) is the F9.

63 tons to LEO (expended) is FH.

That's a huge difference, but 22 tons is alot of payload already - commercial payloads are typically closer to 4 tons (although some boost may be wanted, that will take some of the remaining 18 tons)

Source (somewhat out of date).

Falcon 9 gets its feet wet as SpaceX notch up two more launch successes

John Robson Silver badge

Ok, it couldn’t complete it’s final translation manoeuvre, so couldn’t *get* to land... designed to fail safe... no way to land at LZ if it can’t get there.

Still a mighty impressive bit of control, given how much those fins normall contribute.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Not a record number of cubesats

It is a record - for them... In the same way I can set a british record whilst still having had people from other countries do better.

John Robson Silver badge

Although in this case it looks like it could possibly have landed safely on land... Not that you'd try it in this case, since a collision with the landing pad would be rather detrimental.

A perfect abort scenario... This is the reason we put launch sites on the coast...

I suppose I ought to say launch and landing sites now...

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

John Robson Silver badge

Will probably upgrade...

one of the phones in the house at some point... Need to check where in the upgrade cycle we are at the moment.

But they go down through the family - the upgrade is really on a 4+year cycle... even if each of us see 'new' phones a bit faster than that...

Pencil manufacturers rejoice: Oz government doesn't like e-voting

John Robson Silver badge

You can rub out a pencil, but you can still see where the mark was made.

Who is going to rub out a pencil mark anyway - the advantage of the paper system is that the paper is put in a sealed box, watched by multiple interested parties. Then the box is transported (still watched) to a counting location where it is unsealed (watched) and the ballots counted (still being watched).

We've had a long time, and much practise at this kind of thing, and many attacks have been tried... they have countermeasures in place...

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

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Do they...

"Adjust them for daylight saving twice a year?

"Just asking.

No - they do however adjust our clocks a up to twice a year, by a second, to account for the inconsistent, and imprecise, rotation of the earth...

Pulses quicken at NASA as SpaceX gets closer to crewed launches and Russia readies the next Soyuz

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Elon & Drugs


Looks like there is some conflict, but that it is falling on the side of the states being allowed to make their own laws. I'm still running with BBC on this one - since there is quite an extensive body of legislation that explicitly declares it legal.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Elon & Drugs

Spazturtle: 1) It wasn't legal, weed is illegal in the entire US.

BBC: Mr Rogan offered his guest the drug, which is legal in California, as the pair discussed tech innovation and the public's perception of Mr Musk.

Bizarrely I'm going to side with the BBC on this one...

Domain name 'admin' role eyed up as latest victim of Whois system's GDPRmeggdon

John Robson Silver badge

"Your argument is one of the weakest arguments I've ever heard in my life."

Considered downvoting you for suggesting that an argument had been presented..

But can't work out an appropriate alternative descriptor...

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

John Robson Silver badge


Expanding 3G? Please. Here in the US of A, I can take you to several places where there is not 1G service. And every carrier has large areas without 1G service. Why are we bothering with 5G when the providers still haven't gotten 1G right?"

It is right - it's making them money - if you live in a not spot then that's your problem, not the operators.

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

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Reluctantly may have to get a smart meter.

Camera on a stick, or stick a RasPi down there...

Probably more power efficient (even with a camera) than a smart meter...

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

John Robson Silver badge

Three weeks...

When we're out it'll only take three weeks to recoup that though...

Boris said so...

(I would put the joke icon, but I don't actually think it's funny)

When selling security awareness training by email, probably a good shout not to hit 'reply all'

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Holland was clearly making a point..

>>If sending to more than three people (or more than 1 domain) then any decent client should default to BCC

>In my organization we frequently have triparty exchanges where everyone could contribute.

That's fine - three people in the same organisation wouldn't even trip my filter.

BUT if you sent it to ten people, then you would have to tell it that you really wanted it to be clear to all.

IF you sent it to multiple external domains then you would have to tell it that you really wanted it to a screwup.

Maybe three is a bit tight for some organisations, I'm only suggesting a default.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Holland was clearly making a point..

Could you mitigate this with an application-level security setting/GPO (on by default?) to BCC for corporate email clients so that you have to actively move addresses to the TO/CC field if that's really your intention.

If sending to more than three people (or more than 1 domain) then any decent client should default to BCC - and do so visually...

Sensor failure led to Soyuz launch failure, says Roscosmos

John Robson Silver badge

Re: spacecraft design

Forgot to add the link:


The launch escape for Apollo got tested...

" There was some doubt it would on Apollo, though it never got tested fortunately."

Of course the test flight was a technical failure, in that the booster used failed before reaching the appropriate altitude... The abort launch escape system however performed flawlessly, detecting the breakup and pulling the command module away to a safe landing.

Surely the absolutely best flight to have a booster failure on.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: spacecraft design

The launch escape for Apollo got tested...

" There was some doubt it would on Apollo, though it never got tested fortunately."

Of course the test flight was a technical failure, in that the booster used failed before reaching the appropriate altitude... The abort launch escape system however performed flawlessly, detecting the breakup and pulling the command module away to a safe landing.

Surely the absolutely best flight to have a booster failure on.

Microsoft confirms: We fixed Azure by turning it off and on again. PS: Office 362 is still borked

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Compound problem

"Its a shame that this happened on the same day that the public transport system suffered a significant failure requiring a far higher number of people to work from home. I expect that the two are linked in some way."

Well yes - without access to their cat pictures by email the drivers couldn't get in...

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

John Robson Silver badge

Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

"Fuelling up? I have to take my glove off to unlock the tank, but then I have to tap in my (longish) passcode to use the pay-for-fuel app. Sadly, my bike loves gas stations."

So they ban mobile phones on forecourts (pointlessly) then expect you to pay with an app on the mobile phone they just banned...

That's brilliant...

John Robson Silver badge

Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

"However what I actually do about unlocking is use smart unlock to detect the bluetooth on the bike intercom to keep it unlocked (the bluetooth switches off with ignition) and it has a gloves mode so that I can still use the touchscreen with summer riding gloves on (when stopped!)"

Seems easy enough.

Anyone remember the good old days when you just typed in a pin to unlock a device?

John Robson Silver badge

Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

Motorcycle courier did cross my mind - but I'd expect the phone to be unlocked, and powered from the bike, so that it can deal with things like routing etc...

At which point you don't need to unlock it at your destination.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

Doing anything that would require a crash helmet suggests to me that you really ought not be unlocking your phone, and probably should be wearing gloves as well...

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

John Robson Silver badge

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

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

Why ? This is space, there is no aether to decelerate the probe. The probe will continue at its speed, and the sail, being pushed by the laser, will accelerate further and go faster than the probe.


Because they are proposing two sails - one that is detached, and still accelerated by the earth bound laser, and one which is pushed by the light reflected from the detached sail...

That would be a retarding force.

Unfortunately I don't think that we could target one of the two sails from here, so we'd likely hit the 'back' back of the 'braking' sail, and accelerate it instead... Additionally the accuracy with which the second sail would need to be positioned for reflected momentum to target the prove would be insane.

UK.gov fishes for likes as it prepares to go solo on digital sales tax

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Too complicated

VAT isn't a tax on their turnover, and they don't pay any, they reclaim it all...

I had missed the sales of cloud services... That's certainly more complex.. but let's deal with the big (and easy) problem of adverts first.

The issue of selling digital services is complex, particularly when multinationals sell to other multinational companies...

John Robson Silver badge

Re: Too complicated

Monetisation is basically via adverts...

So tax advert *display* rather than sales. Then the adverts are taxed in the regime they are used for monetisation...

Bruce Schneier: You want real IoT security? Have Uncle Sam start putting boots to asses

John Robson Silver badge

The heating could be secure in ten years - if it was rationally designed now.

It should have an RJ45 port, and acquire an address from DHCP. It should also grab an NTP server (or guess at the DHCP server, then pool.ntp.org if the DHCP server neither gave it one, nor acted as one).

It can then present a web/API interface over that local connection - which also offers firmware upgrade functionality (with a physical button press also required).

Anything that just has WiFi, and refuses to talk locally - only talking to some external server... Well, that's just dumb...

FYI NASA just lobbed its Parker probe around the Sun in closest flyby yet: A nerve-racking 15M miles from the surface

John Robson Silver badge

Re: ..am I the only one who noticed..

It would need linear momentum - and alot of it...

And a very significant number of assists, as you go faster past a body you get less time to be deflected, so the increase in energy is reduced.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: So what I'm wondering now...

I should probably add that there is also some (repeated) trade of energy with Venus - gravity assist.

Whilst the probe arrives and leaves the gravitational well of Venus at the same speed, its direction is changed (hence the new orbital path each time) - and that direction change is a velocity change, which requires energy - which is exchanged with Venus.

So Venus does change orbital velocity, but its mass is such that the change in velocity is negligible.

John Robson Silver badge

Re: So what I'm wondering now...

No - speed is increasing as it 'falls' to perihelion, and then slowing as it climbs to aphelion.

Velocity is both speed and direction, the speed is changing, and the direction is changing as well.

What is constant (ignoring drag/radiation pressure/any thruster based control input) is the energy.

Continuously trading gravitational potential energy back and forth with kinetic energy.

HSBC now stands for Hapless Security, Became Compromised: Thousands of customer files snatched by crims

John Robson Silver badge

regular password changes...

So how long does it take you to tell me that there has been a (failed) attempt to log in to my account? or any attempt from an unrecognised device/location?

If the answer is anything longer than 5 minutes then I'm sorry, but there is no rotation frequency I can use that will protect either of us.

If the answer is under 5 minutes then that's great, that's when I need to consider password rotation...

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

John Robson Silver badge

Re: A good way to get the Galactic police at our door

You seem confused by the sheer distance involved, and the limited collimation possible.

The laser would be spread out over an entire solar system, it would be observable as a deviation from the spectral pattern of a normal star. It wouldn't be a blinding light...

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

John Robson Silver badge

What a ridiculous concept...

"Voters in Mid Sussex, Watford and North West Leicestershire are testing pre-issued poll cards, which are seen as a less restrictive solution. If someone turns up without the card on polling day, they must present another form of ID."

Hey - at least the above is vaguely reasonable.

I suspect that the 44 counts are those where the 'right' person has turned up later in the day. How would impersonations of people who just didn't bother to go themselves be detected? Do we count it when people say 'Oh yes, silly me, I've had a busy afternoon' and leave?

I happen to know many of the people who man the local polling booth - so I'm pretty confident that I could only vote once, and no-one else could vote as me - but having to bring the card they posted me isn't a huge problem.

Having to bring photoID is a much bigger ask - even non photo ID is tougher now. I happen to have had a lot of dealings with various government departments recently, but I but those letters are "not a utility bill"..

Chuck this on expenses: £2k iPad paints Apple as the premium fondleslab specialist – as planned

John Robson Silver badge

Does split screen mode not address this - it might not, that would after all be two word instances...

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