* Posts by Morrie Wyatt

115 posts • joined 14 Oct 2008


I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

Morrie Wyatt

Re: WHAT? Mythbusters

Radios before transistors were valve radios (thermionic valve radios to be more precise). They used a vibrator (no, not that kind) where a solenoid would open the contacts supplying power to its own coil. (A bit like an automotive turn signal flasher can on crystal meth.) The resulting intermittent power would provide pseudo AC power to step-up transformers to generate the necessary high voltages to run the valves. There were no transistors in those radios. Triodes and Pentodes, not transistors.

(The inverter circuitry sometimes had its own box, hidden in the engine bay to keep noise (electrical and acoustic) well away from the radio itself.)

There were portable (a loosely defined term at best) that ran on valves, powered usually from lantern sized dry cell batteries.

Then came the transistor, allowing a radio that was much smaller and ran on far safer voltages.

"Or what did you think they used before silicon?"

Germanium. (Well you did ask.)

Germanium transistors were what you usually found in early transistor radios. Silicon transistors came along later.

China on its way to becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

And of course

They will need to beware of those steampunk Nazis.

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Had to be said.


What makes you think it's restricted to the UK?

As I'm not British either, I felt it best to be carefully non-specific.




And just about anything to do with Donald Trump.

It seems to be endemic to the breed anywhere around the world.

(I'm an equal opportunity cynic.)

Morrie Wyatt

Had to be said.

"A phone's GPS accurate to roughly 15 feet, although military GPS devices can be accurate to centimeters. Then there is the fact that tall buildings will often throw a signal off and signals can be impaired by any large, dense object."

So GPS doesn't work for politicians then.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

Morrie Wyatt

Re: ED-209

"A few years back I was working for Scotrail, well not them, but as a sub contractor to the contractor contracted to the contractor with the contract for Scotrail."

Lone Star, is that you?

The Schwartz be with you.

Dark Helmet: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

Hooray: Google App Engine finally ready for Python 3 (and PHP 7.2)

Morrie Wyatt

Pratchett mode enabled

Is that anything like Bilious, the OG of hangovers?

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

Morrie Wyatt

Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem

Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.

Astronaut took camera on spacewalk, but forgot SD memory card

Morrie Wyatt

I'm probably going to hate myself.

Andrew, it's only a bloody GoPro. Hardly rocket science.

Sorry. had to be said.

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

Morrie Wyatt

144 years?

That would be a gross over extension of copyright.

Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it

Morrie Wyatt

And in a similar vein

My father used to work for the now defunct "Vinten Communications".

They had one "wiresman" who was absolutely meticulous in his wiring. If a wire entered a loom at a particular location, you could be certain it would come out at exactly the same location at the other end of the loom.

So this fellow was always assigned the new prototypes, as his attention to detail made any necessary troubleshooting of the new prototype so much easier.

One day after he had finished assembly of one such prototype unit, the staff gathered around to watch it fire up for the first time.

The power was switched on, and after a few moments smoke started wafting out of the prototype.

The wiresman's face slowly turned white as the smoke billowed forth.

Unbeknownst to him, the staff had hidden some paper drinking straws taped end-to end into the back of the unit, with one of the staff hidden away at the far end of these straws, blowing cigarette smoke down the straw. Fortunately for the poor wiresman, one of the observers couldn't hold a straight face for too long, exposing the practical joke as everyone cracked up laughing.

Strangely enough the poor wiresman was not amused.

So Douglas Adams was right, even before he wrote that "what they really couldn't stand was a smartarse."

Icon? Well where there's smoke...

April FAIL as IETF's funny-but-dodgy draft doc arrives a week early

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Trollptical illusion

Or a Piecemaker perhaps?

(The Rincewind shaped blur went thataway! -->)

Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won't be Java McJava Face)

Morrie Wyatt

Isn't it obvious?


East of Java. (It's actually west, but never let the truth get in the way of a catchy title.)

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

Morrie Wyatt

Re: I think the cyclist is at fault#2

Or to paraphrase the way my father put it when I first started learning to drive:

Drive with the presumption that every other road user is an idiot.

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

Morrie Wyatt

Large bipolar electrolytic capacitors are always fun.

Back in the late 70s, I was a young apprentice.

The company I worked for also imported cheap Taiwanese bench grinders.

One of these had been returned under warranty, so was on the department manager's bench with the base off to check the wiring. When nothing obvious presented itself the switch was turned on and we retreated to the office doorway. These grinders used a large capacitor and a centrifugal switch to energize the motor start winding with the resulting L/C circuit providing a phase shift to ensure the motor started in the right direction. The grinder started up and seemed to be running normally, until with a loud bang, the capacitor blew its lid, (through the small covered pressure relief hole in the end of the cap) blasting a jet of evil smelling vapor directly at all standing in the doorway.

We at least now knew what the fault was. The centrifugal switch "didn't", leaving the start winding connected. The start winding and capacitor weren't designed to run for more than about 10 seconds, so the capacitor overheated, boiling the electrolyte until the weak point cried uncle.

The office became almost uninhabitable for days, and took many months before the smell finally faded to barely perceptible levels.

I still work for the same company some 40 odd years later.

China's first space station to – ahem – de-orbit in late March

Morrie Wyatt

Jeph Jacques beat them to it.

" Next Amazon delivery setup, orbital warehouses dropping capsules with whatever you ordered.

The step after that, they drop meals which cook using the heat of re-entry."


(Start at 3042 for the back story. Or better still, start at 1 for the full experience.)

Of course Uber allegedly had a tool to remotely destroy evidence

Morrie Wyatt

Equally apropos

While the "Nuke it from orbit" reference was obvious, (see icon) there's also the older choice that fits nearly as well.

Fire up Ripley and leave the jury to: "Believe it or not."

Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

Morrie Wyatt

C++ --

When you take into account that Sun originally touted Java as being "C++ --" it was built directly upon the syntax and power of C++ (and C before it), but added on garbage collection to mitigate memory leaks, (their reasoning behind the --) Java can't really stand on the high ground of "Original Code".

It is (allegedly) a progression from the work of those that came before.

Now when Google created their own runtime engine, that used the same basic Java code syntax and function naming conventions, with the explicit blessings of Sun, later bought by Oracle, Oracle now choose to cry foul?

The mobile JRE produced by Sun / Oracle had many inclusions that had absolutely no use in the Android marketplace, but Oracle demanded that to use Java in the mobile space mandated the use of their Mobile JRE (with ongoing royalties), so Google chose to develop their own runtime engine, Dalvik, which they specifically do not call a JRE as it doesn't implement the full Java specification, or claim to be a Java engine.

Now Oracle claim that because it uses Java like syntax and naming (C++ -- anyone?) that Google is infringing upon their copyright.

Neither Pot or Kettle are without their optical spectrum absorption properties here, but Oracle's greed on this one would move all programming back into the dark ages, as nobody could program anything without fear of being sued for copyright infringement because multiplication and division get called from the "Math" library, and user the characters * and / respectively. (Clearly infringing upon the API copyright rather than just being a sensible aggregation of like processes with a logically descriptive library name. That is basically what Oracle are arguing.)

And don't get me started on software patents!

(I sincerely miss the wonderful work of Pamela Jones and Groklaw on topics such as this.)

Your next laptop will feature 'CMF' technology

Morrie Wyatt

And for the older Aussies among you:

Diana Fisher would be pleased.

"What colours does it come in?"

Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX

Morrie Wyatt

You have to admit.

It'll make for one hell of a delivery drone!

The bigger the drone, the bigger the impact

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

A drone that can carry 150 Kg of passenger can:

also fall with a hell of a thud, when (not if) the rotors suddenly stop spinning due to any number of possible causes. Even with some sort of "Dead Man" chute arrangement, you still have a heavy payload that is guaranteed to obey the law of gravity, ending up:

(a) stuck on a roof,

(b) in a tree,

(c) on a busy freeway,

(d) all of the above.

Pretty well anywhere other than the intended destination.

And you can bet that the lawyers will be on standby when it does.

And as the ability to hover at the intended destination will be an indispensable requirement, two or more spinning rotors are guaranteed to be present, ready to slice and dice their way through any (in)convenient obstacle(s).

Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Morrie Wyatt

Re: a septic tank is small

Or alternatively, the "USPTO".

Or maybe not. After all, a cesspit is designed to hold the shit, not issue it (with its mandatory collection of pluralities and overly broad vague hand waving about generic ideas) for the patent lawyers and NPEs to feed upon.

NASA tells Curiosity: Quit showing off, no 'wheelies' please

Morrie Wyatt

Re: This is amazing. I doubt "Wheel wear" was even considered give their original life expectancy

Mandatory XKCD reference: https://xkcd.com/1504

Donald Trumped: Comey says Prez is a liar – and admits he's a leaker

Morrie Wyatt


"Senator King asked him if he was familiar with Henry II's 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?' comment"

I wonder why he asked that?

After all, Comey is not the Archbishop of Canterbury.

(Mine's the one with the Blackadder DVD in the pocket.)

Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters


And all this from the self-same countries that screamed blue murder over data sovereignty and "Safe harbor" because their citizens privacy might be impacted.

Now we know why. This way they might be able to keep all the data where their backdoored encryption keys can be used to get at it.

What? Me cynical?

Police drones, robo surgeons and chatbot civil servants. What could go wrong?

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

Re: I for one welcome our flying cop overlords!

And I was watching James Cameron's Dark Angel the other day too.

BOFH: Password HELL. For you, mate, not for me

Morrie Wyatt

Go you one better.

My son dealt with cold callers by passing the phone over to my two year old grandson, and let them talk as long as they liked.

Strangely enough, they didn't seem to stay on the line for too long.

Oracle to driver developers: 'Come play with our interface'

Morrie Wyatt

Tread carefully.

Given Oracle's history with the Java and the Google lawsuit, would you want to walk into that particular minefield?

Microsoft flips Google the bird after Windows kernel bug blurt

Morrie Wyatt

Microsoft flipping Google the bird?

Why not, with Windows Vista, 8, 8.1 and 10 they have done precisely this to their <cough> Customers.

Why would they treat Google any differently?

Oracle confirms Java EE 8 is delayed for 'major enhancements'

Morrie Wyatt

Fair enough.

After all, it must take quite a bit of time for Oracle to code all of the bugs in.

SpaceX's used flight-proven rocket to loft Euro satellite this year

Morrie Wyatt

Flight Proven

So the launch should be a guaranteed success then.

There's enough spin in that phraseology that they can use it as a backup gyro.

Genes take a shot at rebooting after death

Morrie Wyatt

You have to wonder

Do these genes speak in small caps, and ride a horse named Binky?

Apple, AT&T, Verizon named in $7bn VoIP patent claim

Morrie Wyatt

Re: "Not a troll"

But they are only after a poultry seven billion!

They do indeed look fowl.

Zombie SCO rises from the grave again

Morrie Wyatt

Follow the Australian example.

Considering the history and expense already involved in this case:

Require TSCOG to deposit a security bond with the court before proceeding with the appeal process.

Enough to cover court costs, and the total value of IBM's counterclaims (with triple damages of course) in the event that TSCOG lose on appeal.

I'm sure that the Court can set the bond at a suitable value.

And if TSCOG do win anything on appeal, the bond is to be distributed among TSCOG's outstanding bankruptcy creditors. (Along with a very serious slapping for not having used this money for paying outstanding creditors in the first place.)

If you can't afford to lose, don't play.

(Cheques, Credit Cards, Promissory Notes, TSCOG Stock Certificates, IOU's and lotto tickets not accepted. Strictly cash or equivalents.)

Failed school intranet project spent AU$1.4m on launch party before crashing and burning

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Australian as she is spoke

Nah, more like to to the bottom of the esky.

Now the grog's all gone and everybody's pissed!

How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

Morrie Wyatt

I suppose we should.

Make the effort to check out the local planning office at Alpha Centauri just to make sure no hyperspace bypasses are on display.

Beware of the leopard!

Icon? The power to get there, and the result of the demolition of Earth to make way for the bypass of course.

The ball's in your court, Bezos: Falcon 9 lands after launching satellites

Morrie Wyatt

Returned to Earth

By which I presume you actually mean landed on "Of course I still love you" somewhere out at sea?

Which makes the landing all the more impressive.

Congratulations to Elon and his crew.

(The icon? Not This Time at least.)

The fire was pointing in the correct direction so it did go to space today.

BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?

Morrie Wyatt

Sorry, must have missed it.

After that process description, the boss's eyes must have been fully glazed over, his brains dribbling from his ears, and drooling like a komodo dragon with a head cold.

And it didn't get a mention.

'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

Morrie Wyatt

Did the "B-Ark" get it right?

Sure it's not Golgafrincham?

After all, the entire compliment of the "B-Ark" was reliably informed that it was doomed.

Australian government Slacks off in cabinet

Morrie Wyatt

Sure you spelled it correctly?

"What else do you need when you're running ruining a country?"

AGD: silence about metadata retention plans is about security

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

Going for the classics!

Ahh, the tried and tested and certain (to fail) Security by Obscurity.

If only the "Bad guys" were like the weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

They might just laugh themselves to death.


Let's Encrypt certificate authority signs first cert

Morrie Wyatt

ACME protocol?

Does it mean that we need to beware Judge Doom, falling anvils, painted tunnels, roadrunners and other such cartoon dangers?

You've been Drudged! Malware-squirting ads appear on websites with 100+ million visitors

Morrie Wyatt
Thumb Down

Safety induction sites anyone?

They, even more than advertising, are one of the banes of my existence.

They require flash, java, and a variety of other plugins such as ActiveX and every other malware magnet de-jour, just so you can answer normally blatantly obvious multi-guess questions to qualify online for access to a building site.

Particularly with our good old Australian ADSL internet access, that streams the associated videos at 0.5 bits per millennium.

All for the purposes of safety of course.

Are smart safes secure? Not after we've USB'd them, say infosec bods

Morrie Wyatt

Is it just me?

Or is anyone else reminded of the Thunderbirds episode "Vault of Death"?

"Nosey" Parker breaking into the electronic Vault at the Bank of England with just a hairpin.

That electronically controlled vaults was a bad idea is something they worked out in 1965!

Ant-Man: Big ideas, small payoff

Morrie Wyatt

Pseudo scientific sense.

"When small, they are of course much denser and that means that, y'know, when you are a person, you still have all your man-sized strength but in a much smaller space which means ... more strength ...?"

Matter with the space removed is the basic secret behind the gravity of a black hole after all.

And I'm old enough to remember analogue mechanical wrist watches, where tapping on the crystal is a bad move, because the force would be applied through the tip of the balance wheel pivots and could smash the little ruby bearings due to the concentration of force from a wide area (the balance wheel) onto a pivot only a few thou wide.

So greater strength?

I suppose, given the suspension from a NASA Saturn V Mobile Launcher Platform to support the weight of my disbelief that there could just be the barest shade of support for the premise.

Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Morrie Wyatt

I can only hope

That someone can film one of these final flights with special attention paid to audio quality.

There are many clips on youtube that lose out due to all of the wind noise recorded because the mic was unprotected.

I really want that howl stored in highest possible quality for future generations to experience.

Unfortunately, living in Australia I am unlikely to be able to ever hear it first hand.

Hey Google, what’s trending? Oh, just the death of journalism

Morrie Wyatt

What a straight line!

<Fireproof Suit>

You know you set yourself up for this.

"The Register can confirm that it was not contacted."

Because Google only contacted Journalists.

</Fireproof Suit>

Australia's data retention regime starts October 13th says A-G

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

What part of AU$131M?

The minimum figure would be AU$131M of course.

Add all running and compliance costs as a 100% tax deduction.

The only way the government should expect this retention scheme to operate is a cost to the government, not to the ISP.

Let the costs be deducted from the politicians pay packets. See how quickly they would vote that through the upper and lower houses!

Glass door to the ancient past FOUND ON MARS

Morrie Wyatt


So, it was Mustard on Mars with the Meteor what dun it!

(Icon seems the obvious one here.)

Virgin Media wins ELEVENTH patent case against Rovi

Morrie Wyatt

Next step

Ask the court to declare them as a vexatious litigant

After that, they need to apply for court permission before throwing sue balls.

Rand Paul stages Senate filibuster against Patriot Act

Morrie Wyatt
Big Brother

Re: Did he actually filibuster it?

In the context of Rand Paul's usage, it is a way of running down the clock.

Those that hold the majority within the senate are allegedly in favour of the bill going through, so the only way to prevent it is to stop it from reaching the vote.

The bill can't be voted upon while senate discussion is ongoing.

As I understand it, the rules explicitly permit a speaker to have their entire point of view heard, no matter how long it takes.

So as the parliamentary session is of limited duration, if Rand Paul is able to tie up all of the remaining available time, the senate will not get to put the bill to the vote during this session.

With provisions within the Patriot Act about to expire, if the vote is not taken, the expiry will drop them from the act, requiring another run through the parliament to get them re-instated.

Lather, rinse, repeat for long enough, and the Patriot Act can be de-fanged to some degree, with no further additions for an indefinite period.

(All usual disclaimers apply. IANAL, don't play one on TV, not a politician etc.)


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