* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Frenchmen's sperm plunges by a third in quality and quantity since '89

Tom 13

Re: But I am an Englishman after all.

I don't think those feelings are restricted to Englishmen. At a minimum it includes your cousins across the pond. I expect it also includes the Germans, Poles, Greeks, Russians,.. In fact, I expect pretty much the only inhabitants of our fair sphere who would take exception to your characterization are the French.

Elon Musk jumps overboard from Paul Allen's GIANT MOTHERSHIP

Tom 13

Re: what adjective-of-size we should use

Martin 47 came close, but the truth of the matter is, there is no adjective in the English language that adequately describes the size of the Saturn V.

If you go to Canaveral and look at the one they've restored and mounted in rests so you can walk it's length the experience of standing at the working end of the rocket is awe inspiring. If you've been to the Smithsonian and seen the engine they have on display you think you have an appreciation of how big the rocket was, but you don't. My friends and I have been to Canaveral several times and every time we stopped and stood there for 10 minutes just staring up at the nozzles. Then we'd slowly walk along the length of the rocket. Even when we knew that because of the other things we wanted to see, we didn't really have the time. So something else always got cut from our visits.

Witch Doctor icon because every time I've looked at that Saturn V I've felt like a primitive.

Revealed: The gift that keeps on giving to Oracle ... is dying

Tom 13

Re: Then they ask their BOFH

If only there'd been a BOFH between us and the PHB. Heck, I'm not even qualified to be a junior assistant to the junior assistant of the BOFH, but I knew the PHB was wrong when I saw the announcement the first time. In the newspaper mind you, not even on an internal memo to the IT staff.

Einstein almost tagged dark energy in the early 1920s

Tom 13


Granted I dropped out of astro because I couldn't deal with diff eqs and vector calculus, but here's the part I don't get on a conceptual level with regard to the dark matter issue:

Essentially Einstein proposed a multi-dimensional framework inside of which our 4 dimensional exits. Our observations occur within that 4 dimensional framework. So if the missing mass/dark matter is simply another 4 dimensional framework sitting next to us in the multi-dimensional framework, why would we be able to measure something in the 4 dimensional framework? Yes we'd be able to detect affects it is having on our system, but we wouldn't be able to measure it directly. So it really is a sort of new ether in the sense that while we know it's there, we can't really experiment with it, measure it, or understand it. In fact, we're just like the ancient cavemen with one major difference: their block was ignorance that could be corrected, the block we face is an actual physical disconnect. So I see this as a variation on the immovable object vs irresistable force paradox: it's only a paradox because if you assume the one the other doesn't exist.

Tom 13

Re: But what about the cat?

I heard that the cat came back, the very next day.

World's largest miner spooked by climate change

Tom 13

Re: trump all of the upcoming complaints by the environmental fanatics.

It would be nice if that were true, but it isn't. No matter how much you feed the greedy maw, it always demands more.

Tom 13

Re: magic bullet that falsifies human-caused global warming

You can't scientifically falsify the existence of God. For the exact same reasons, you can't falsify the existence of AGW/MMCC/MCCC.

Adobe's revenge on Steve Jobs: HTML5

Tom 13

Re: "Adobe for its proprietary approach to Flash."

One other thing that is useful to remember, the widespread adoption of Flash took place BEFORE Adobe acquired it. I think Macromedia was more responsive to the community and that it IS Adobe's corporate culture which has bolluxed things up.

Tom 13

Re: bash Adobe for being buggy and dangerous, but ... exploits are Windows-only?

Because at root, Adobe subsumed the MS mistake when they decided Reader shouldn't just be a PDF reader and needed to be able to write crap to the disk just like MS apps do.

Adobe was never really comfortable in the MS world. But way back in the dark ages before Mordor forged the ring, I mean MS bound applications tightly to its OS (even third party apps), it was a bit more tolerable because even if MS wasn't specifically supporting their differently styled apps, they weren't trying to crush them into the MS way.

Who's using 'password' as a password? TOO MANY OF YOU

Tom 13

Okay, I'll cop to it.

Yeah I've used at least one of those passwords on a throwaway site where I don't actually care all that much about whether or not someone hacks it.

Sites that I care about get different levels of attention depending on the level of caring.

Sites I sorta care about but need easily remembered passwords get passwords with root pieces and salt.

Sites that I really care about because they have financials get randomly generated passcodes. What really sucks is that sometimes when I use randomly generated passwords with full complexity, they still don't meet site rules for password generation. Which means the sites are actually less secure than the password I generated for it.

Microsoft Security Essentials loses AV-TEST certification

Tom 13

Re: MSE Just works for me...

You know there are a lot of Mac users who've said the same thing about running their systems without AV.

They at least have the advantage of running on an OS that was built with the possibility of having to enforce security considerations in normal use. And a far better track record of not getting infected.

Tom 13

Re: What do you expect for free?

Shouldn't a bunch of professionals working on the software even as little as 8 x 5 with all European holidays off be able to produce something better than a gaggle of amateur tinkerers?

Tom 13

Re: keep the bad guys out 100% of the time


We're talking 89% NOT 100%.

Google tools gaffe let ZOMBIE web admins feast on websites

Tom 13

Re: what does deleted mean?

No, you had it right on the first post. Too damn many users want data recoverable no matter what prior authorization they've given you to delete it.

Some years back when I was working a different help desk, one of the decision makers came to our sys admins with a backup of a single app from a server that was 6 years decommissioned, wiped, and thrown in the trash. They wanted to know if it could be restored because the data on it would help them bid a proposal we just received. By some miracle one of the sys admins was able to restore the data and allow the decision maker access to the data. (Not sure whether or not we won the bid.) This person at least acknowledged IT had been authorized to do away with the server and all its data. Too often its expected that you can restore it regardless of circumstances.

'Look, isn't there some way we can get Julian out of here?'

Tom 13

Re: needs "sunlight and fresh air".

If he wants the same right to sunlight and fresh air that inmates have, perhaps he should go to court and spin the wheel. Either he gets the same amount they get, or he goes free and gets as much as he wants.

America planned to NUKE THE MOON

Tom 13

Re: What you guys don't realise

The bad effects of radiation were understood before they detonated the first test bomb. Marie Curie was dead from radiation poisoning well before work on the bomb was started. And I believe they did have at least one accident that killed researchers working on the first abomb before it was detonated. It might not have been as well understood as it is today, but it was understood to be an effect. The pipe dreams you listed were pretty much that: pipe dreams from people who either didn't know what they were talking about or deliberately chose to ignore the affects.

Tom 13

Re: ummmm...

Actually setting one off on the moon could have some pretty dramatic affects on the Earth. The atmosphere on the Earth provides a lot of material for interaction with the radiation, so it get absorbed into particles instead of propagating endlessly. On the surface of the moon there's nothing to absorb it, so it continues until it encounters something it can interact with. Since the blast would necessarily be directed toward Earth the most likely thing the blast would interact with is the van Allen belts. I believe the current thinking on that is it that at a minimum it will mess up radio and satellite communications for everybody on the planet for at least weeks. Potential affects of disrupting it on weather patterns: unknown, but given that at least a portion of the protective belt would be disabled it seems reasonable to assume it will have SOME affect. Likewise for certain types of cancer. Ozone would likely be depleted as charged solar particles would be likely to interact with it instead of being caught up in the belts. And on, and on, and on.

The sole potentially positive affect is the intimidation of your enemies. It is the last warning shot before all out nuclear war.

Tom 13

Re: Oxygen

Your example shows all the signs of an immature and uneducated mind. The very basis of science is that the premise must be falsifiable, and that eventually all premises are proven false. See Popper, even the Wikipedia links will do for a quick orientation.

The question of the existence or non-existence of God is inherently non-falsifiable and therefore untestable by science. It is not unscientific, it is meta-scientific if you will, which was the original meaning of metaphysics. And metaphysics provides the logical underpinnings of science.

Tom 13

Re: if you're GOING to test the tech

Depends on exactly what you are trying to test. The moon would yield lousy data on shockwave and other data. And it's remoteness actually makes gathering data rather more difficult.

On the other hand, if you have the tech to hit a specific spot on the moon and guarantee detonation, and you time it to go off when the moon is up over Moscow and making a very bright light that everyone can see, there is a certain fear and awe affect. This affect is particularly persuasive with the sort of atheist megalomaniacs who chatter endlessly about what kind of baby killing neanderthals Americans are when they are the real killer on the planet and fear nothing more than their own deaths.

Still I do prefer Reagan's solution on crushing them economically.

Apple manufacturers: ARRGH, pesky iThings are impossible to make

Tom 13

Re: Down-vote for "loosing".

I dunno...

There is a certain sense in which you do loose money when your company loses money. I mean, it certainly isn't being tethered to anything productive when you lose it.

Tom 13

Re: It makes me wonder...

You only know the real cost of things you already make, and even at that, only based on past performance. Any time you introduce a new product, there are new processes, and possibly even new manufacturing equipment. Sure you can work with a sample in a test or model shop, and computers make it easier to try to emulate scaling processes, but until you actually make the first process run, you don't have any real data.

So pricing contracts for new stuff is an art that is informed by past experience. And if you can make improvements in the processing while the contract is ongoing, you can improve your profits. That's the part the business guys really count on when they write the contracts: that even if you take a hit at the start, your people are good enough to make up for it over the run of the contract.

Tom 13

Re: just how exactly many things can go wrong in process engineering.

And that's assuming both sides are communicating clearly.

Not a process engineer myself, just a fly on the wall during one dispute between an OEM supplier and the buyer. Being as I was working for the OEM at the time, I consider it a good thing we were both right about the engineering and able to win the argument. The point of contention was on how exactly to measure the temperature of media inside the device. Buyer was getting inconsistent results because they were simply dropping probes inside a chamber. Our process involved attaching the probes to both sides of the conduit in which the material was being heated and with that assembly being inside the chamber.* Since the key selling point was the stability of the temperature inside the conduit and not the box, ours was the better measure.

*OK, not exactly heated, but close enough for this posting. More than that might risk disclosure of parties, and/or breach legal agreements.

TVShack O’Dwyer strikes deal to avoid US extradition

Tom 13

Re: "Do Not Fly"

If the TSA were that efficient, Americans would actually support them. I expect he'll be back in Old Blighty and bouncing his grandkids on his knee before they get the paperwork processed.

Tom 13

Re: Google OK though?

The US precedent, which is Napster. In that case the courts found that even though the money came from advertising, because Napster's business model explicitly depended upon promoting pirated material the company was liable for damages as a conspirator in the distribution of those materials.

The same thing applies to TV shack, but not to Google. Google's business model explicitly depends on advertising legitimate search terms, not pirated materials. So long as they make an honest and good effort to remove infringing materials when notified they comply with the law.

If we didn't have a mutual treaty about extraditing fraudsters between our countries, you would have a sovereignty leg to stand on. But you do have such a treaty so the sovereignty issue is moot. You want that leg back, break the treaty. But I'm willing to wager that on the whole, your country gets more out of observing and maintaining that treaty than it would gain by resigning from it.

Patent trolling to go under anti-trust spotlight

Tom 13

Re: This is easy to solve

If you want to try that root, you've taken the wrong exit.

Instead, outline the characteristics of patent troll companies and tax their gross income at 50%.

Since it generates money for politicians to give to their constituents, they are sure to guarantee that the laws are both enforced and enforceable.

Tom 13

Re: simple solution

I'd like to see that extended to copyrights as well, although I'd be willing to make it a bit longer for copyrights. Say 7 years instead of 2.

It surely wouldn't fix all the problems, but it would be a decent start.

Amazon's secret UK sales figures revealed by Parliamentary probe

Tom 13

Re: Wonder what they're really trying to hide?

tax avoidance =/= tax evasion

Now go to the board and write it 1000 times. No computer programs allowed.

Tom 13

Re: All tax avoidance is perfectly legal, just like what Amazon, et. al. are doing.

Say it loud, say it proud.

That's the real reason you can't force the rich to pay higher taxes. And the sooner pols and voters learn this basic law of nature, a law as unyielding as Newton's first approximation of Einstein's equations, the better off we'll all be.

Where were the bullet holes on OS/2's corpse? Its head ... or foot?

Tom 13

Re: Unsurprisingly for this site, downvoted.

Possibly because many of us have personal experience with how MS broke any non-MS software related to Windows and DOS during that time period. And yes, I was cutting my IT teeth as a power user at about that point in time. I was the DTP specialist running Ventura Publisher and buying Windows and Corel Draw with my own money to support projects. We used QEMM at the time, and MS constantly and needlessly broke their software.

Tom 13

Re: I can either run MS Windows and have enough money to buy it and a number of apps

My recollection is similar, except I couldn't even afford the fancy new MS software at the time.

Also, MS did get some luck in the CD-ROM becoming standard gear soon after they introduced 95. I recall the shellacking PC Mag gave IBM for the number of disks required to install the first release of OS/2. But nothing was said when 95 required 4 more disks when it was initially released. While getting the CD-ROMs to work with boot disks was initially a PITA, it was worth it to avoid disk swapping and the ultimate failure of one of the disks. I mean, we almost always had problem installing WordPerfect 6.1, and that was only 6 HD 3.5 floppies.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft downed in Pakistan

Tom 13

Re: The rhyme

3v3ry0n3 Kn0wz3 3l1t3 H4ck0rz c@nt sp1ll!

Claimed $400m Google buyout is fake, ICOA boss warns

Tom 13

Re: the markets are not that easy...

The market no, individual stocks in the market and/or individual punters buying or selling individual stocks are another matter. Spam itself wouldn't be profitable if it weren't for the laws of large numbers and low costs. If the costs are low enough you can annoy a hell of a lot of people to make a bit more money.

Now one of the posters below does have a point about being able to trace the purchasing culprits behind the scheme. But the follow on to that is, will those purchasers themselves be fronts that have disappeared? I'm guessing the have.

Fanboi droves use iPads to buy more iPads on Black Friday

Tom 13

I for one am glad to see the Grey Wednesday/Thursday red ink.

Now if the retailers will do the proper thing and stay closed on Thanksgiving we can get back to normal.

But the rest of the article is pretty much bunk. The 10% figure for iPad is misleading because the competing platforms are not HP or Samsung, but particular flavors of Windows, Android, Linux, etc.

Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox

Tom 13

Re: I also forgot the author of the Dorsai stories too

Dickson. He wrote some of my favorites.

Tom 13

Re: Which is a better conductor of electricity? Gold or copper?

Having once watched professionals in the field of electricity argue almost exactly that question (only they were arguing aluminum with lead as a lubricant vs gold) of which made the better connector, you'd be surprised. In a pure science context it is gold. But in real world engineering there are other factors which intrude and make them roughly equivalent in viability for commercial applications.

But you're right on your bigger point that if gold were cheaper, people would consider engineering applications that are currently out of reach because of the cost. Even more so for platinum, etc.

Republicans deny Hollywood pressure to pull copyright proposal

Tom 13

Re: Yeah, right.

Mickey IS covered by copyright. If he's also covered by trademark, he's got double protection. Most people think it is no coincidence that every time the copyright was about to expire on The Mouse, Congress passed an extension of the time limit and grandfathered existing works into the new coverage. IIRC, this was even a point of contention at the Supreme Court, with one side arguing the limit had become so long as to invalidate the concept of 'limited' in the context of the US Constitution. The Court turned down the argument, but telling said while this decision was binding on the lower courts, that if Congress increased the length of copyright again, lower courts should hear any new cases, even if the arguments didn't change.

Tom 13

Re: More like a communist party purge...

You really need to lay off the Kool-Aid. Reverse the party designations and you have a much more accurate description of the current state of affairs.

Tom 13

Re: copyright /= patent

Strictly speaking in the context of the sentence you are correct. But in spirit both pieces are set out in the Constitution and both carefully balanced the needs to compensate inventors/authors with the need for originators to be able to broadly adopt and adapt those ideas. If we went back to the original numbers specified and properly limited patents (I'm in favor of bringing back the requirement for a working model), we'd go a long way toward fixing what has been broken.

John McAfee blogs for help, offers $25K reward for neighbour's killer

Tom 13

Re: Disguises include: Man selling burritos, drunk German tourist

Are you sure that last one was a disguise?

Woz: Microsoft's innovation lead 'worries me greatly'

Tom 13

Re: he was creating the very first home computer that you could buy from a retailer

Minor nit: not the first, maybe not even the first successful, but certainly inspirational, early, and long term successful. Apple (Woz and Job in their pre-incorporated garage) and Radio Shack-Tandy (French and Leininger) were inspired by Altair. And for all that Gates & company churned out dull boxes, I believe they were also inspired by the Altair. Interestingly, initially they were all also primarily promoters of their own versions of BASIC.

El Reg mulls commentard icon portfolio shake-up

Tom 13

Re: Ooh, ooh! Please sir, can we get our hand grenade back?

Oooh! oooh! Not just any hand grenade. The Holy Hand Grenade. As an animated gif.

Should Microsoft merge Office into Windows - or snap it off?

Tom 13

Re: Refresh my memory, willya

In a proper world it ought to. On the other hand, in a proper world the existence of that settlement would also have dictated immediate severance of IE from the OS and possible time in the pokey. Given that neither of those happened (at least in the US), the IE decision might take precedence over the prior decision. Also, the courts might decide that in the current iOS, Android, and MS environment, MS's market share no longer constitutes a monopoly.

US petitions Obama for better policing of its mega-cities

Tom 13

Re: Zombie storm troopers

Got that one covered already. Well sort of. Technically he's only a sheriff but...


Tom 13

Re: Ah

When did the UK annex San Francisco?

Not that I'm necessarily opposed to them do so, I'd be glad to be rid of it. But I do rather think that would have been a bit of news I would have noticed.

Tom 13

Re: Do the math.

In the UK it is 'maths' in the US, it's 'math.' Given the article was written from the US about a US topic, it is just as appropriate here as it is to use 'colour' when commenting on an article written from UK about a UK topic.

Tom 13

Re: Sorry not Constititional

No, not exactly: another commie missing the point completely.

Unlike England where authority once derived only from The Crown, in the US we've always had a system of divided government. One of the most important was simply assumed to be fact: The individual states enforce most of the laws for themselves. In fact, even within individual states, most cities enforce the law for themselves.

HP PC chief: Microsoft's Surface is 'KLUDGEY'. There, I said it

Tom 13

Re: I've got one and it's kludgy

I wouldn't say "only when you use it for a while". It was obvious to some of us without even trying it. I am inclined to believe that if you actually do the testing yourself it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that it fails miserably.

IRS may be able to count beans, but it can't count its own PCs

Tom 13

Re: Good luck with this!

You can pretty much substitute just about any other federal agency in that statement.

35 US states petition for secession – on White House website

Tom 13

Re: White v Hispanic and Black

No, the crap is coming from you. I grew up in one of those "German" towns. Back in the day the paper was in German. But it didn't last long that way because those Germans wanted to Americans not Germans. So they learned English, and now it is what they all speak. That's what's missing today: no melting in the pot.

And if think a group that voted 71% for Romney is racists, what about the group that voted 100% for The Big 0? Sounds a hell of a lot more racist to me. I've seen reports we have 56 precincts in PA with that level of racism.

Windows 8 security is like a swiss cheese flak jacket - sez AV firm

Tom 13

Re: Bit of a daft test then

But it was also a bit of a daft security system at the start too. The UAC popped up way too often and you either got annoyed, turned it off, or adapted his daft friends approach. It gotten somewhat better since then.

I've always liked a differentiated approach myself. Until the companies made it nearly impossible to not buy a suite I always ran AV from a different vendor than my software firewall, and none of it was from MS, who ought to have their own decent security in the system.

And it's not just MS. When I see a program pop-up a message from a third party vendor that says "An executable file wants to access the internet. Do you want to allow this?" I want to scream. WHICH FRICKING FILE?!?!?!?

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