* Posts by SonofRojBlake

59 posts • joined 24 Oct 2008


'Now is the winter of our disk contents'... Decision on Lauri Love's seized gear due next week


Re: El Reg Headlines

I've always been baffled why people like and repeat that quotation. Don't get me wrong, I am and always have been a fan of DNA's work, but that quote is the absolute worst. It's a rich, privately-educated Cambridge graduate gloating about the fact that things like delivering the work you promised something like on time is a concern of the little people. It's hateful privilege of the sort you'd expect from someone like Boris Johnson.

Fake broadband ISP support scammers accidentally cough up IP address to Deadpool in card phish gone wrong


Re: Deadpool

In the words of Reginald D Hunter:

"Dude owns a corporation, has access to state of the art equipment, and he uses this to beat up on street level crime. He doesn't go after the oligarchs, the media barons, the Murdochs, or the Trumps, he mainly just f**ks with the purse-snatchers on the corner.

Batman is a conservative's wet dream.

F**k Batman."

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


"How about all drones above a defined size have a transponder for identification, just like rest of the world of aviation"

Nope. I flew from Bradwell in Derbyshire to southeast of Grantham in Lincolinshire, a distance of over sixty miles, twice in 2015. I wasn't carrying a transponder. I guy I know flew from the Elan valley in Wales to Scarborough - over 180 miles - last year. It took him a little over eight and a half hours, and he went up to 7000 feet up. He wasn't carrying a transponder. How do you account for this?



"Police will also have the power to order drone pilots to land their craft on request and hand over information such as names, addresses, insurance details and copies of licences"

Whoopy doo. Meaningless without the power to find the pilot in the first place.

I fly a paraglider, so I read the AirProx reports fairly regularly. Drone encounters are getting more and more frequent, and every single airprox report contains the line "The drone pilot was not traced", or similar. Almost all the cases I've heard of drone operators actually being traced (and there are very few) are ones where the idiot put the video on Youtube or similar. A minimum amount of discretion and it's simply impossible to find these people, so blustering about what you're going to do with them when you do is so much hot air.

It gets worse. Right now, the drones of concern (the ones that exist, that is...) are flown line-of-sight or FPV for shits-n-giggles by pranksters. In principle at least, a lucky cop could nab one of these idiots by catching them in the act or possibly following the drone back to the owner. However, if you really wanted to screw up an airport, it would be trivial to build a relatively cheap autonomous drone that you have no intention of retrieving, and simply launch it from the back of a van, have it go loiter visibly over the middle of the runway at the airport for ten or twenty minutes, then either land at a different, pre-arranged spot or for even less risk simply ditch itself in a nearby lake/pond/river. Chances of plod tracing the pilot when there is no pilot? And when the drone isn't heading back to the launch point and the builder/launcher has no intention to retrieve it? Nil.

If this is a power-grab by police, it's had the (presumably unintended) side-effect of demonstrating that it's possible to completely paralyse an airport for days for fairly little cost, zero need for risky things like explosives or guns, zero risk of injury and negligible risk of capture. Well done lads.

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite



"while Blighty potentially spanks billions"

Spunks, shurely?

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


"The moral of the story? "

The moral of the story is never, ever, under any circumstance go to the USA, and if you live there, leave. The place is run by an armed criminal gang.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too


James. Clerk. Maxwell.

James Clerk Maxwell is the most important scientist nobody has ever heard of. He laid the foundations for modern physics. And he's not even in your top ten. He's not been on a banknote before, not had a blockbuster movie made about him and not been in Star Trek.

In terms of contribution vs. recognition, I can't think of anyone else whose ratio is so skewed.

Boss helped sysadmin take down horrible client with swift kick to the nether regions


Reminds me of an old engineer's story

From the papermaking industry - huge machines a quarter mile long, running at 70mph or more, hot, noisy, and very very expensive if they're not running all the time.

The machine stops, and nobody from the company can work out what's wrong. The old fella who used to be their chief mechanical engineer has just retired, so they call and beg him to come in "as a consultant". They promise to pay him pretty much anything he can justify, as long as he comes in RIGHT NOW. So he comes in.

Wanders up and down the machine for an hour, tapping this, twisting that. Eventually he takes a bit of chalk out of his pocket and draws an X on a part, saying "Replace that", and pops off home. The part is replaced, and lo, the machine runs like a Swiss watch.

The old fella's invoice comes in... for fifty thousand quid. A letter goes back "We appreciate you saved us more than this fixing it so quickly, but can you justify this? i.e. can you itemise the invoice?"

Letter comes back labelled "Itemised bill:

1. Chalk Mark - one pound.

2. Knowing where to put it - forty nine thousand....

Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone


Re: Several approaches

I used to just hang up. Boring.

I used to try to be helpful. "WHICH collision that was not my fault? I've had quite a few.... people just crash into me all the time, it's weird."

My latest approach is: "What are you wearing?" Female callers hang up pretty quickly to that one if you say it the right way. Male callers sometimes take a little more, ah, prodding before they realise what you're getting at. Chuckles aplenty.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled


"Oumuamua is an extremely rare object, and is believed to be the Solar System’s first interstellar visitor to pass through."

... that we've noticed.

The chances of it actually being the first are essentially nil.

At last: Magic Leap reveals its revolutionary techno-goggles – but wait, there's a catch


Anyone remember Steorn?

Steorn confirmed...

Trio indicted after police SWAT prank call leads to cops killing bloke


Three people in a different state when the crime occurred are prosecuted.

Nobody involved directly in the actual death is *named*, much less in court.

Serious question: why on Bod's earth does anyone *visit*, much less live in, the USA?


How Google's Smart Compose for Gmail works – and did it fake its robo-caller demo?


The "amount of compute"???

Really? Is this how far the language has sunk?

Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park


Re: Engage chemical engineer mode.....

Steam is water in its gaseous state. It's invisible.

Dry saturated steam is water in its gaseous state at its boiling point at the prevailing pressure. It's invisible.

Superheated steam is water in its gaseous state ABOVE its boiling point at the prevailing pressure. It's invisible.

Water vapour is water in its gaseous state, by convention BELOW its boiling point at the prevailing pressure. It's invisible.

Water is visible only in the solid state (ice) or the liquid state. If you can see it, it's liquid. If it's finely dispersed as an aerosol, that's still droplets of LIQUID water suspended in air.

My Goretex coat lets water vapour out, but doesn't let liquid water in.

Don’t fight automation software for control, just turn it off. FAST


Re: Even in the extremely unlikely event that fully autonomous vehicles ever become viable

"I'll still be driving myself thanks."

There will come a day when (say) 50% of the cars on the road are self-driving, and 50% are driven by drunk, tired, angry or otherwise inattentive-sometimes humans. And that year, it will be pointed out that although 50% of the cars on the road are human driven, those 50% are responsible for 99.9% of the deaths. And at that point the argument for making driving your own car on the public road illegal will become unanswerable. You'll still be able to do a track day or drive round the farm or the grounds of your stately home, but on public roads driving your own car will rapidly become viewed as violently antisocial insanity. I've been saying for a few years now - by the time my (so far unborn) kids are old enough to learn to drive, they won't need to bother, and by the time THEIR kids are old enough, it'll be against the law.

There are 10 types of people in the world, but there is only one Melvyn


The IOT titled simply "Heat" is one of the best explanations of a slippery concept I've ever heard. Highly recommended.

Stop calling, stop calling... ICO goes gaga after home improvement biz ignores warnings


My recent strategy with sales calls

"Hello, is that Mr. Blake?"


"[blah blah blah blah blah]".

"What are you wearing?"

(usually they hang up, but sometimes...)


"What sort of clothes do you have on?"

(mostly they've hung up, but recently one hardy soul queried...)

"Why do you want to know what I'm wearing?"

"How am I supposed to masturbate to the sound of your voice if I can't picture you in my head while I'm doing it?"


I'm not sure where I'd go next with this approach because so far nobody has made it past that last line without a stream of heavily-accented invective followed by hanging up on me. And oddly, the rate of unsolicited calls to my number has *plummeted* since I adopted this approach.

I can report this approach works AT LEAST as well on men as it does on women, and anyone preparing to have a go at me for anything related to sexual harassment should consider that these people rang me, not the other way round.

Brit regulator pats self on back over nuisance call reduction: It's just 4 billion now!


I've recently started amusing myself thus:

Given that, as I understand it, their priority is to keep you on the line and NOT hang up on you, I've hit on this to give myself something to do when this happens...

*ring ring*

Me: Hello.

Scum-sucking parasite: Hello am I speaking to Mr. *****? (or other innocuous opening)

Me: Yes.

SSP: I understand you've been in an accident/entitled to PPI refund/need you to answer just three market research questions...

Me: What are you wearing?

... (the sharp ones hang up at this point)

SSP: What do you mean?

Me: (as creepily as possible) What sort of clothes do you have on?

... (most hang up by now, but so far just one hardy soul has ploughed on, off script and confused...)

SSP: Why do you want to know what I'm wearing?

Me: (Honestly surprised I've got this far and deciding OK, you asked...) "How am I supposed to masturbate to the sound of your voice if I can't picture you in my mind?"

... The invective I was subjected to before they hung up was in such heavily accented English (or possibly not in English) that I can't, unfortunately, report its contents. I honestly don't know what I would have done next, if they had, for instance, actually described their clothing.

Either way, it's given me a chuckle several times so far. I recommend it.

I can also report that it is AT LEAST as successful when deployed (by me, a man) against men as it is against women. And before anyone suggests this is in any way creepy or harassing-style behaviour, THEY rang ME.

If you're a woman, I'm going to stick my neck out and recommend you don't try this approach.

It took us less than 30 seconds to find banned 'deepfake' AI smut on the internet


The funniest one Dead Ringers ever did...

Culshaw (doing Baker's voice, but in character as the Fourth Doctor) rang Sylvester McCoy, trying to get him to get involved in some world-saving escapade involving Sontarans or something.

McCoy played along, and it became apparent that he believed it to be the real Tom Baker, roaring drunk.

It also became apparent that this was not the first time it had happened...

(Close second was when Culshaw rang Baker himself, who at one point asked "what can I do for you? If it's money you need, I'm not short of a shilling.")

Accused Brit hacker Lauri Love will NOT be extradited to America


"travel to the USA would be out of bounds for him"

No hardship. Shithole.

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster


Re: Old as the hills

Thank Bod I'm not the only one...

Worcestershire's airborne electronics warfare wonderland


Re: A Geek's Guide to the World!

Quick question: why is Dunsop Bridge marked? I can't see any articles referencing the place on the Geek's Guide. Would like to know as I reasonably often bomb out there on a paraglider and would like to know what I've missed...

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission


Visited this with some mates

Loved it. Went up in winter, snow on the ground. The isolation, the odd buildings, the grey sky and the general atmosphere meant that if Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney had run into the road pursued by a Silurian I wouldn't have been in the least surprised.

Up, up and a-weigh! Boeing flies cargo drone with 225kg payload


I've been saying for a while now that BASE jumping will soon need to be renamed BASED jumping (or DBASE?) - 'cos once you've done a jump from a Building, and Antenna, a Span (bridge) and some piece of Earth (a cliff), all that's left is to drop from a Drone.

America's drone owner database is baaaack! Just in time for Xmas


"the days of model aircraft being flown anonymously by hobbyists – sometimes drunk, sometimes dangerously inept, and possibly peeping toms – is rapidly coming to a close"

The days of model aircraft being flown anonymously by hobbyists will continue for as long as the parts to build such things are available.

The days of off-the-shelf, ready-built, self-flying quadcopters being directed around the sky by johnny-come-lately random members of the public with no interest in model flying per se - THAT is rapidly coming to a close.


Shazam! Apple chucks £300m at Brit what's-that-song app – report


Shazaming a song is a bit like clicking on a banner ad... except if you've gone to the effort of getting out your phone, starting up the app and holding your phone up to the speaker, you're by definition already interested in the song. There's therefore a pretty good chance that if the app then

(a) successfully identifies it and

(b) immediately offers you a seamless, INSTANT way to have your own copy on your phone for under a quid, you're actually pretty likely to say "OK". That translates into lots of referral fees pretty soon. (Where "pretty soon" appears to be nine years).

I still think it's witchcraft, personally, but I credit it with

(a) allowing me to identify some SERIOUSLY obscure stuff that was driving me mad and

(b) allowing me to discover some good stuff from snippets played in the background of TV shows or over store PAs. Hope the founders can retire to an island, they deserve it.

Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!



Shome mishtake, surely?

I can RUN that fast.

iPhone lawyers literally compare Apples with Pears in trademark war


Calls to mind a couple of TV shows: the BBC's short-lived "Dirk Gently" adaptation, and US show "iCarly", which I've never seen.



That is all.

RAF pilot sent jet into 4,000ft plummet by playing with camera, court martial hears


The copilot had been gone too long, obviously.

PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU


Re: We all know what happened

Manufacturing might actually get better off. It's the financial consultants, no longer free to tout their services around Europe free of barriers, who are likely to suffer. And your barista will likely sound suspiciously more local, rather than, say, Romanian, in a few years' time.

Brits send Star Wars X-wing fighter to the stratosphere


" It also only has landing legs, not wheels" - it has repulsorlifts. NOTHING in the sacred original trilogy had wheels.

Amazon comes up with delivery-drone zones after watching Fifth Element all night


I don't give a monkey's if they hit each other...

... so long as they don't hit ME. The operator of any aircraft has an absolute responsibility to avoid conflict with other aircraft. In class G airspace and VFR, that means you need to be able to see and avoid other things in the air - regardless of what gadgets they may or may not be carrying. I pass through Amazon's proposed "no fly zone" at least twice every time I fly a paraglider cross country. If their drones can't spot me and avoid me, they're not legal to fly. End of.

Except I can see the CAA making an exception before long on the basis of sackloads of cash, given that there are maybe a thousand active XC paragliders in the UK, and Amazon would probably put a thousand drones up over, say, Manchester alone. Recreational users who've been quietly obeying the law for a hundred years or more will have little sway against the power of the corporates.

Why two-player games > online gaming: See your pal's shock as you bag a last-second victory


Re: My fondest gaming experiences have been two+ player:

Me, my mate, ONE Playstation ONE, the first hardware iteration with the video-out AND AV out connections, two TVs back to back, each with cardboard taped over one side of the screen, and vertical split screen game of Syphon Filter. No sneaking a peek at your opponent's location, so all the suspense of online but with the other player sitting right there. Genius.

British support for fracking largely unmoved by knowledge of downsides


Is to too radical to suggest they might try sticking to the facts?

James Bond's Lotus Esprit submarine car sells for £550,000


Re: only £550,000?

"I would have guessed a car in the UK with waterproof electrics"

Except... this isn't a car. It's a submarine. It looks a bit like a car, granted - but it's not.

Three axes data-roaming fees in SEVEN countries


Am I the only one who read the headline as the plural of axis, and pictured phone roaming along each of those axes independently and for free?

Sony sucker-punches Xbox on price, specs, DRM-free gaming


I've had a difficult decision in every previous console generation going back as far as SNES.

SNES or Megadrive? SNES.

PS1 or Saturn? PS1.

PS2 or XBox? PS2. (Got an Xbox later second hand for playing Halo).

PS3 or 360? 360.

Not saying those were the "right" choices, just my choices, made after some research, consideration, and always when the market was already established - no early adopter, me.

But this time, uniquely, the choice seems a no-brainer before either of the new consoles has even been released. Massive, MASSIVE fail, M$.

Police 'stumped' by car thefts using electronic skeleton key


"What sort of idiot leaves an easily found wad of cash in their car? "

When he was playing for City, Mario Balotelli was supposedly stopped by police in Manchester for "driving while black", and plod noticed he had something like seven and a half thousand quid on his passenger seat. When they asked him why he had so much cash on him, he just said "Because I'm rich."

It's hard for the man in the street to comprehend that even really, really, really rich people still actually drive around most of the time in cars that don't look that different to the standard exec saloon. But to those people, ten grand is pocket change.

COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim


Re: No Brainer

"we want rampantly hot fusion to drive steam turbines"

Newsflash - water boils at just one hundred degrees C. Nuclear fusion typically happens at about one hundred MILLION degrees. We really, REALLY don't want it to be that hot.

What would be nice is a fusion reaction that happens at about a thousand degrees - i.e. about a 100,000 times less than we currently know how to do it, and therefore comparatively "cold".

3D printed gun plans pulled after US State Department objects

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Re: @DavCrav

"If we are to truely in control of our own lives then surely the right to suicide is one of our rights"

Indeed. But, as I pointed out, if you remove and easy method of doing it ON IMPULSE, lots and lots of people who would have taken that route decide, on a moment's reflection, not to do it AT ALL. You have a right to jump off a bridge... but it's a fact that if you make it even *slightly* difficult to get over the rail, the rate of jumpers er... falls. Drastically. If we can protect people from killing themselves on impulse - and we CAN - then surely we should. That does not in any way limit your right to jump off something tall if you really want to.

"without a gun another object could easily replace it as a weapon"

Really? You'd be happy bringing a knife to a gunfight?

Nothing easily replaces a gun. Guns are portable, fairly cheap, easy to use, reliable and safe (for the user - you can't cut yourself with it, but do see above re: killing yourself). With a loaded handgun a person with absolutely no training at all can have a reasonable chance at seriously injuring or killing a target from ten yards away. No other object can do that.

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Re: @DavCrav

"remove the gun and are the suicides going to drop"


When catalytic converters were fitted to cars, making it harder to kill yourself with the "tube from exhaust through window" method, suicide rates overall dropped. Note: not "suicide by gas" - suicide. Removing ONE method of suicide caused the number overall to reduce.

In the fifties, nearly half of suicides were completed by breathing coal gas (containing carbon monoxide) from an oven. In the sixties, coal gas was phased out and replaced with near-monoxide-free natural gas. The suicide rate nationally fell by about a third, and stayed down.

It's a reliable and repeatable observation that if you remove a common and easily-accessed method of suicide, people do NOT find alternative methods - suicide rates fall.

Watchdog: Y'know what Bitcoin really needs? A REGULATOR!


Re: US Treasury said ????

"my knunkles still hurt from that ruler she used with Jedi-like precision."

...when you used a word like "knunkles", say?

Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week


Re: Longevity?

"this thing will blow up the moment you try to fire anything"

You missed the story that was all over the news about it being successfully test fired, then?

It was the Reg what won it: Online Hitchhiker's Guide thriving

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Re: Almost, but not quite, totally unlike Wikipedia

"No drama-kiddies and flamewars"

It had those... years ago. It's settled down a lot since.

"should HG2G ever get to the popularity of Wikipedia, it will suffer the same "September that never ended" that all online communities suffer "

It had those too... there used to be a highly predictable silly season once a year as the new intake of undergrads got internet access uncontrolled by mum and dad and joined en masse, got rapidly bored by the relatively sedate pace of the place and scarpered, usually leaving behind three or four productive, useful remnants.

There was also a sudden influx of people who used a set-top box to access the internet in about 2002.

Hootoo survived all of this, and I wouldn't bet against it making it to 42...

Why isn't EVERYONE using this icon?

Ten ancestors of the netbook


Pah to fondleslabs

"Only its keyboard gave the netbook an edge"

Yeah - that and the fact that you can do actual, y'know, WORK on it, as opposed to play Angry Birds, because it'll run proper programs, albeit at a rather leisurely pace a lot of the time.

In the loop: how Halo defined a new decade of first-person shooters


Some Bungie employee summed up Halo in terms of creating thirty seconds of perfect action, then getting the player to play that same thirty seconds over, and over, and over, and over again.

It worked on me.

And yes, Installation Zero 4 was quite clearly an Orbital, in the Banks' Culture style, rather than a Niven Ringworld.

James Bond doesn't do CGI: Inside 007's amazing real-world action


Re: Best Bond stunt

Funny - the corkscrew jump was, in one sense, one of the first CGI stunts ever. The image you see is of a real car really doing a real jump over a real bridge, sure - but IIRC it was the first stunt ever *planned and simulated* on a computer to make sure they could do it.

Adele's Skyfall poised to fall from sky


The show ain't over till the fat lady sings...

... so Skyfall's going to last about five minutes.

Legless Lithuanian attacks copper with todger


Police state?

Let me get this straight... he was at home, not bothering anyone except possibly his girlfriend. The police came into his house, then tried to charge him with "breach of the peace"??? How can you breach the peace in your own bloody house?

All US Army combat units now to include robots


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Modern Warfare? It's getting weird when a FPS video game set in the near future UNDER-represents the tech level of the battlefield of the right now. COD:MW2 seems about five years behind.


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