* Posts by Neil Barnes

3353 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Private property, without the permission of the owner, no?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: If that's what the law requires...

One might predict that a local club be formed to negotiate flying rights in bulk, with common requirements such as insurance, being a member, some sort of formal training, and an internet-mediated sign-on only required if you're doing things outside the normal.

This seems to work to allow paragliders, hang gliders, and sailplanes to operate in Dunstable, practically on the end of Luton's runway and well within the ATZ.

Clone your own Prince Phil, says eBay seller hawking debris left over from royal car crash

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Did he also serve as a rating, or was he considered 'officer class' and thrown straight in?

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Linux

Re: Apologies

Be fair. It's not like he owns the roads.

His wife, on the other hand... she does own the roads. It says so on all the legislation.

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Yiddish?

I'm no expert, but I'd have to agree with you there, and add the further thought that Yiddish is generally written in roman script (i.e. ascii) while Hebrew is not.

So perhaps Hebrew should have been the word?

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Headmaster

connects a user to its top-raking search link

Given the amount of less-than-useful material on the net these days, that typo seems apposite.

Three quarters of US Facebook users unaware their online behavior gets tracked

Neil Barnes Silver badge

"the average Facebook user would require more than $1,000 to deactivate their account for one year."

Which, given that the average user is worth only a few dollars a year to Facebook[0] is surely a good deal for someone. I'm just not quite sure I can work out for whom.

[0] Turnover 2018: $52B (https://www.statista.com/statistics/422035/facebooks-quarterly-global-revenue/)

Number of users 2018: 2.3B (https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/)

Average turnover per user = $23. Which curiously, doesn't seem to have changed since I looked at it a few years back.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

The IQ average will remain at 100, by definition, no?

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Manage Expectations?

They would perhaps do better to start with an already up'n'running biosphere, say one of those vases full of plants and water living insects, wrap it up really really well, and see how it gets on.

We already know that plants germinate in space, that they germinate in human temperature, and such: what you need to know here is whether they grow up in the right direction at one sixth of a g, and with a fortnightly day/night cycle with no seasonal affect.

Stage two - is there anything useful in moondust that plants can live on, other than using it as a structural support for the roots?

There's a lot of science here, important for those of us old enough to have seen Apollo landing, and wondering why we haven't got colonies all over the asteroid belt by now...

Forget Finding Nemo: This AI can identify a single zebrafish out of a 100-strong shoal

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: sometimes humans have to manually label the pictures

Maybe they identified the one they were interested in with a spot or something, and the AI is following the spot?

Huawei and Intel hype up AI hardware, TensorFlow tidbits, and more

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: That is no deepfake

Without having seen the video, but just from that still image, I'd agree: bit more red gain (everything red in the image is enhanced) and the whole picture is expanded and cropped.

No need for deepfake tech there if you have a vision mixer to hand, as you might expect at a broadcaster...

It's the weekend. We're out of puns for now. Just have a gander at China's Moon lander and robo-sidekick snaps, videos

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Headmaster

El Reg grammar bonus

For possibly the only correct use of 'decimate' I've seen in the press in years...

*taps on glass* Hellooo, IRS? Anyone in? Anyone guarding taxpayers' data from crooks? Hellooo?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Just a question

If the US government isn't doing anything for 20 days, do the USAins get 20 days tax rebate?

Q. How exactly do you test car seats? A. With this sweaty 'robutt' that twerks for days and days

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Terminator

Quotes

George Orwell - If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

Ford - if you want a vision of the future, imagine a robotic arse doing the same.

Germany has a problem with the entire point of Amazon's daft Dash buttons – and bans them

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Flame

Re: A 'proper' use for the buttons

And they're not the only culprits. Tried booking a seat at a Cineworld recently? On *every* stage of the booking process, a nice friendly button that looks as if it should take you to the next stage, but instead tries to have you sign up as a paid/paying member. The thing you actually want to press is an unadorned line of text...

SpaceX sends Iridium-8 into space while Musk flaunts his retro rocket

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Colonel, you better have a look at this radar.

The earlier attempts, for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, reminded me of not Flash but Flesh Gordon...

Steamer closets, flying cars, robot boxers, smart-mock-cock ban hypocrisy – yes, it's the worst of CES this year

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Flying car? For only 6,000 pounds?

Where do I sign? That's barely more than my paraglider equipment...

This July, Google will weep for there are no more worlds to banhammer: 'Bad ads' to be blocked globally

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: The problem is...

There's the problem.

With *very* few exceptions, the purpose of TV is to persuade you to keep watching long enough to see the adverts. The purpose of most sites on the internet is to do the same.

Nobody seems to know whether the adverts actually do anything other than to trigger make a cup of tea/press the fast forward button/kill the page but there's a mindset that doesn't even explore options other than adverts.

(which is why, incidentally, I'm about to move from WhatsApp to Signal. The threat of inline adverts alone...)

IBM insists it's not deliberately axing older staff. Internal secret docs state otherwise...

Neil Barnes Silver badge

So what is new? Older long term workers cost more than newbies and since the company is run by has-been counters the older workers have to go - simples.

Fixed that for you.

Isn't it time for a shift in business ethics? So that the responsibilities of the company formally extend to their employees, and not just to the shareholders? It's interesting to watch the behaviour of some of these companies, from the standpoint of someone for whom a job leaving school could have a reasonable expectation of a job for life within the same company (though with no guarantee or expectation of it being the *same* job).

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: rEFInd

I don't recall the details - it's been a few months - but I couldn't get anything to stick in the EFI module. It reported everything fine, but after a reboot it forgot. I have rEFInd booting from the external USB stick, but it's not really a major issue now since most of the time she simply suspends the OS (Mint) by closing the lid.

Neil Barnes Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Might I add...

There's an apparently increasingly common snag with this: 'bugs' in the UEFI system that prevent the installation of Linux without jumping through major hoops. Acer, I'm looking at you - my wife's machine, a cheap and cheerful goes-all-day-on-a-charge laptop won't boot anything except Windows from an internal drive; I have to keep a tiny USB stick with a bootloader on it to allow it to run the Linux which has completely replaced W10.

It's quite happy to boot from that external drive...

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Somewhere around the place, I probably have 'Crisis? What Crisis?' with the rather odd feature of an off-centre hole on one side only... and it was a damn sight more than 1mm.

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: The silence is deafening

Aaaand... six pm Monday, Heathrow's just closed down due to a drone sighting...

LA Times knocked out, HackerOne slips up and – amazingly – router security still sucks

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Something's fishy

They might hope that they are rather better at it than the Candiru fish, of which only one documented case has been recorded and which is considered somewhat unreliable: "When subsequently interviewed, Spotte stated that even if a person were to urinate while "submerged in a stream where candiru live", the odds of that person being attacked by candiru are "(a)bout the same as being struck by lightning while simultaneously being eaten by a shark.""

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Remember

AC is obviously the same age as me. I recall trying to keep my eyes open, then being woken to see the actual landing. Our black and white telly was not a problem...

My late grandfather used to remind me that he had been born at the end of the 1800s, before anyone had flown a powered plane, and lived to see people walk on the moon. In his life he never travelled faster than a local train...

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: They just need to make the penalty so outsized

But I think previous research has shown it's not the size of the penalty that stops criminals; it's the risk of being caught. And it looks rather as if the risk of being caught is close to zero.

If the culprit is smart enough to wear gloves when handling the drone, how do you tie it to him? Do the comms systems keep track of 2.4GHz channels once the connection is turned off? And even if someone finds a way to force a drone to return to launch: "Ow, office, I was just walking to the pub when this bloody thing fell on my head!"

Without catching the culprit in the act and either having a return to launch observed or active control, it's going to be damn near impossible to prove it.

Hot on heels of 2.0, Vivaldi 2.2 adds tab session management among other goodies

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Thumb Up

Quick question

I didn't see mention of Noscript and U-block origin... does it? Or does it not need them?

Because without them, the web is unusable.

Phew, galactic accident helps boffins explain dark matter riddle

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Surely it's easy?

I seem to have upset a lot of astrophysicists - anyone care to explain why? Or was the coat not indication enough that I wasn't being serious?

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coat

Surely it's easy?

Ancient galaxies have less dark matter, new galaxies have more. But when we see an ancient galaxy, we see it a long long time ago, when it was actually young.

Obviously, dark matter is just stars that have worn out.

I'll need the coat for the Nobel Prize, thanks -->

Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

Now you're torcing.

Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Stop

Re: I would dare Waymo

I wondered the same thing while driving on single-track roads in the Hebrides recently... an artificial driver is no damn use if it can't do everything I can do, better. And if it can't, I'm not getting in it.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: offtopic but reminds me of an old joke

Oddly enough, I was in Yosemite the day after 9/11 and some kind soul placed the bear version of that joke on the windscreen of my car...

Dog with 'psychotic tendencies' escapes home to poop on his neighbours' pillows

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: It uses cat doors

They're extremely reliable - I know, I make'em.

And yes, we do sell them in New Zealand.

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: How in the hell can it take 3 months to determine that the bag contents were old cotton candy??

And upper and lower case letters and at least one special character?

Oh, wait, that's something different...

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Hey software, get the fuck out of the way!

I rather think the biggest error on AF447 was the two pilots not knowing what each was doing; one of those sticks should have overridden the other (I don't claim to know how to implement this!)

I'm glad I was on that plane on its flight down to Brazil and not the return flight that night...

Doctors join wombats in sh!tting bricks to help parents relax about kids chowing down on Lego

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Real men have survived having a 40-pin processor chip embedded in their knee...

Seeing as Bitcoin is going so, so well, Ohio becomes first US state to take biz taxes in BTC

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Just for curiosity...

How much does it currently cost, in dollars, to generate a bitcoin?

Oh, I wish it could be Black Friday every day-aayyy, when the wallets start jingling but it's still a week till we're paiii-iid

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Thumb Up

Plus one...

for the George Mikes reference!

Thanksgiving brings together Apple's Siri and Google Assistant

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Mushroom

Stop the world, please.

I want to get off.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Security overdone

Mea culpa - I do so much on the full duplex types I forgot the active ones... doh...

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Security overdone

People may not be aware that in general, embedded chips are *dumb*. All they can do is respond - by modulating an RF exciter signal - with a longish number. Basically, beep, 999-123456789 and that's it. Certain variants can store a tiny amount of data - a few bits - and others can be programmed with a complete number (one or more times). Which presents a beautifully simple security hole...

Also, multiple chips close to each other can be *very* difficult to read reliably, though you can use a handful of exciter frequencies. In practice it's nothing more than tattooing your ID number on your arm.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

@Giovani - you need one of ours - they have a rotary lock which as far as I know no cat has succeeded in defeating. We also supply a modification which prevents cats holding the latch down and prying up the door (it's a rare thing, apparently). I don't work on the cat flaps but on other products in the range.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

I can tell you the little buggers are frequently less than cooperative, and our alpha testers find the cats behaving in ways we would *never* have imaged. Including one who gives the device a smack before attempting to use it - a born engineer, that cat.

Bright spark dev irons out light interference

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Have you ever put something apparently useless to good use?

You say potato's, I say potatoes...

Anyone else old enough to remember Keith Waterhouse's Association for the Abolition of Aberrant Apostrophes?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Kitchen knives

Use it as you would a shovel, not a rake... then the sharp edge isn't damaged, and you're holding the knife the way the handle suggests.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Had a similar experience but with the light itself

Back in the days of Umatic professional video cassette recorders (in the broadcast world), it was common for kind people to offer to 'help' junior to fix one by making sure there was a nice bright bench light shining into the works.

There are a surprising number of IR sensors to tell the mechanism where it is, and quite fascinating things happen when they get confused...

Creepy or super creepy? That is the question Mozilla's throwing at IoT Christmas pressies

Neil Barnes Silver badge

When you aren't drinking enough, it glows. Which is fine.

I'll eat when I'm hungry,

and I'll drink when I'm dry,

and if moonshine don't kill me,

I'll live till I die.

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

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

We're not thinking this through...

What we do is, we *launch* it using a 'leave your engine at home' laser/light sail drive, adding engines as it gets further away so we don't melt the sail.

Then the locals, seeing the blue-shifted reflection of their sun coming down their throats, send out some young buck who will catch the probe in a spare airlock, while simultaneously diving toward's Barnard's star at to match velocities... oh, wait, that's the way the *Moties* do it. We have to think of something else.

Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: "captured audio of the killings, and subsequent removal of the bodies"

"Alexa, how do I conceal a body?"

Rocket Labs mean business, Brits stick pin in Mars map, and Japan celebrates HTV-7’s dive into the atmosphere

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

penetrating two metres into the surface of the red planet in search of signs of life.

"You bastard, that *hurt*. Earth-shattering kaboom time, I think."

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019