* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Elon Musk and ex-Google man mull flinging 700 internet satellites into orbit

Tom 13

Re: What latest setback?

Orbital is one of the old bulls., so more likely Branson with the Virgin Galactic incident. You know how everybody always gets Branson confuse with Musk. I mean, they both started in the same line of business, they always appear on the same shows, why even their names have the same number of letters.

Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?

Tom 13

Re: take into account that an incredible number of MS-only shops

When correcting someone else's FUD, it is best not to spread your own. I work pretty much in Windows only shops, or at least on the Windows side of the house in such shops. All now routinely load Firefox and Chrome as part of the baseline. You load IE because there are still some silly apps around that "require" it to work properly (or at least require you to be running IE or they won't troubleshoot any issues you have with it). You load Chrome because it integrates to GMail. And you load FireFox to give people a choice. And in fact that's the way I run at work. IE certain work specific sites, Chrome for my mail and other work related Apps, FireFox for safety on the world wide web.

The rest of your rant seems both justified and about right.

Brussels' transport chief demands a single European sky to end 'air traffic gridlock'

Tom 13

Re: Cool rationalism?

I get it. It's painful to admit that to get the benefits of the EU nations have to give up some sovereignty. But that's the reality of the situation.

On this side of the pond we went through a similar stage under the Articles of Confederacy. Fortunately for us the new country was young enough, and the problems of the confederate government so severe we confronted it head on and created a new government under what the new Constitution.

You're going to have to do the same. What I see as the most vexing problem for you is that your new confederated government is even less tied to the people it ought to be working for than are the national governments whom the people are generally already unhappy about. After that you can deal with the lesser but still possibly insurmountable issue of an Englishman being unwilling to live with a Frenchman having a say in how he goes about his life, vice versa, and crossed with 26 other countries.

Why solid-state disks are winning the argument

Tom 13

Re: more the controller that herds them all


But the same is probably also true of spinning metal disks so it's sort of moot to the warning question. In fact, if you're talking about absolute best of class systems, based on my experience if you don't have a tape drive* in the mix somewhere you aren't fully covered. I once had the privilege of working with a group of people who had mirrored desktop drives. Of the six systems in two years that we had to replace for drive failures, I think the mirrors helped with two. I think we actually only had one drive failure. Each of the other instances was a case of data corruption on the drive. So the mirror just dutifully copied the corruption to the second drive and both drives were useless from a data recovery perspective. After we put fresh images on them, everything worked fine.

*There are some over the wire systems that work sufficiently like tape to qualify as a tape drive, but if you can't go back at least a full year in the archive to restore a file, I wouldn't count it. That's the bit that most drive redundancy systems (whether SSD or spinning metal) don't address.

Tom 13

Re: Will SSDs warn in advance of failure?

The answer to that is definitely Yes. In fact it is built into the SSD to achieve a usable lifespan. IIRC the standard is that they build the SSD with 4 times the memory of its rated capacity and as potential failures are detected it shunts data to a new location and marks off the suspect block so it isn't accessed again.

Oh wait, you meant will it warn you as the admin of the system in advance of a failure? Erm, ah, ... Yeah, they really should do that.

'Older' WireLurker previously tried, failed to leap from Windows to iThings

Tom 13

Walled gardens are great

Right up until the thugs scale the walls to get inside and the walls are now trapping you with the thug.

This is not an Apple only criticism. In fact, it's probably my biggest issue with Windows 8 even though its crap interface has gotten more phosphorous.

Tech bubble? No, no way, nope, says Silicon Valley investor

Tom 13


“My candidate for the bubble today would be the super low interest rates, even negative rates, [so] the bubble is, in effect, government bonds."

After a couple years of subpar returns in my IRA I divested myself of all my bond funds, and I haven't really started doing my end of year research yet to figure out if/how I will shift money around. So I popped on over to http://etfdb.com/etfdb-category/government-bonds/ to see what things look like. Of the top 10 best rated ETFs on the site 6 had YTD returns of less than 3%. Yes, two of them had better than 20% returns, but they were all in 20+ bond funds. Doesn't look like much of a bubble to me.

Met Office: 2014 was fifteenth warmest on record

Tom 13

So it seems that like most warmists

the Met Office also has not learned the difference between weather and climate let alone science and theology.

Tom 13

My winter heating bill and summer electric bills say otherwise.

3D printed guns: This time it's for real! Oh, wait – no, still crap

Tom 13


So it's now a great gun for the staged show where the sequined cowboy can shoot two targets with one shot?

Tom 13

Re: Show me somebody excited about 3D printing

Just because it isn't currently useful for making guns and seems to us to be favored by geeks who still live in their mother's basement to make minatures for their war gaming clubs doesn't mean there aren't areas that exciting and useful. For instance:


Tom 13

Re: But if it was plasticy enough not to show up on an x-ray, it would also be useless as a gun.

For purposes of the current iterations of 3D printers, what you claim is true, but it is not universally true. When Taurus first introduced one of their lines of polymer pistols there was considerable concern that because so much of it was plastic, it would not be detected by the then standard detectors. I recall a number of solutions being proposed including impregnating the polymer with iron so it would show up. Ultimately Taurus made the barrel portion from steel and that calmed down law enforcement. What I don't recall if whether the decision to use steel was completely political or to what degree it made the engineering simpler.

Languages don't breed bugs, PEOPLE breed bugs, say boffins

Tom 13

Wasn't Erlang the language

the Martians used to write their rocketry programs in Jeff Wayne's musical version of War of the Worlds?

Net neutrality Thursday PROTESTS: Time to learn your chant

Tom 13

I guess all you libtards missed the election the other day

The American people pretty decisively rejected exactly this kind of executive fiat behavior.

Even I wound up with a Republican governor and I reside in the hell know as the People's Republic of Maryland, bluest of the blue states, dependent on the federal government for all of its wealth while at the same time sporting some of the richest counties in the USA.

Tom 13

Re: So you like the double dipping the ISPs want to do?

Except that's not something any of the net neutrality proposals will fix. What they will do is put the US government in charge of what the maximum speed of the internet will be.

If you want those issues addressed that goes through the FTC not the FCC.

Feds investigate Homeland Security background checker security breach

Tom 13

"It is extremely concerning that the largest private provider of background investigations to the government was hacked,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the rankingest Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee...

Yes, but at least we know about it. If it had been a federal government agency which had been compromised, the public still wouldn't know. Hard drives would crash and we'd all be told there was nothing to see there.

Trickle-down economics works: SpaceShipTwo is a prime example

Tom 13

Re: Formula 1

Thanks Squig! I didn't know where ABS came from, but I knew it wasn't racing. Professional drivers HATE ABS. If you are skilled in what you are doing, you have more control without them. It's just the average punter who benefits. But I can see where even a skilled pilot would benefit from having them.

Tom 13

@ Allan George Dyer

I think I found your problem:

...but there is a certain quality about, for example, "my breakfast" that is not interchangeable with "a drug patent" or "a performance of Beethoven's 5th".

You don't understand anything about economics, because comparing those equally and making them interchangeable is EXACTLY what economics is all about.

Tom 13

Re: But for Southern Europe or US, it could be a brilliant technology

Cali may get all the attention for population, but take a good look at the US. The real population density is east of the Mississippi river (in fact, mostly east of the Ohio river) and for the most part north of the Mason-Dixon line. In fact if you look at electoral vote counts at less than 65% the land mass they have 8 more electoral votes after deducting for the Senate variance. And that's after 30 years of people migrating from the Northeast to the South and West.

We get the same weather as Northern Europe, only perhaps a bit colder; well, except for the Scandinavian countries. But I'll bet Maine would be willing to go toe to toe with them.

Tom 13

Re: Didn't Regan try trickle down in the 80's? How did that work out?

Very well thank-you very much. Inflation was reduced, unemployment fell, interest rates dropped. Oil production increased and the economy boomed. In fact it was the start of 25 years of sustained economic growth.

But haters don't like admitting to the truth, so they like to credit it to Bill Clinton instead.

Tom 13

Re: So what do you call it when they 'invest' large sums

Protection money.

Tom 13

Re: Why supply-side / trickle-down failed...

Except it didn't fail. It did exactly what Reagan expected it would do: increased tax receipts received by the federal government, and more so from rich people than poor people. What didn't happen and what Progs improperly blame him for is control spending. Tip O'Neill (the ultimate Prog of the 1980s) insisted on spending twice as much as Reagan increased revenue. Meanwhile, an economy that had been cratered by Jimmie Carter to the point that it was the worst recession since the Great Depression rebounded and started a sustained 25 year expansion that Billie "Blue Dress" Clinton later took credit for. It took another Democratic regime in 2006 to crater the economy in 2008. Once again they shifted blame to George W. Bush.

Tom 13

To return to the car industry, just about everything that makes automobiles safer – disc brakes, ABS, crash protection boxes, you name it – all of that has trickled down over the years from the more expensive to the cheaper models.

And to extend the metaphor a bit, with the exception of automatic transmissions and maybe ABS, even those started out in the ultimate playground of the rich, automobile racing.

Taylor Swift dumps Spotify: It’s not me, it’s you

Tom 13

Re: It was about the songwriter's share

So are you claiming songwriters shouldn't be paid at all? Because even if the song writer is only getting 1% of that share, and the "singer" is getting the other 99%, that means the singer is getting the T-shirt money for 99 T-shirts instead of only one and still at per ONE MILLION SONGS. That's not a heck of a lot of money. Certainly less than they'd make selling T-shirts at a concert of 10,000 people.

Tom 13

Re: Whereas with streaming

If this statement from El Reg is factually accurate:

One estimate of Pandora's statements was that one million plays yielded the songwriter as much as they'd get from selling one T-shirt.

There's no way the the streaming revenue will EVER match the upfront 70p and £1.20 (times a million albums), even if it is over your lifetime.

Tom 13

Re: People will definitely pay for music.

Actually, that's the question. If we assume your statement

I think the answer is that Spotify is too cheap. But maybe that's all the cash consumers are willing to part with for it as a service?

is true, then no, people will not definitely pay for music, at least not at a level that supports the production of more music as a living.

It is true that some people will pay for music. In fact it is probably true that some people will pay a LOT for music. And we can see even here in the comments section at El Reg that some people will NEVER pay for music. The question then becomes can you achieve a mix of sales across those various groups such that some people will produce music to make money? Right now that is a very open question.

Rich techbro CEOs told to sleep rough before slamming the poor

Tom 13

Re: gent in the Victorian era

You're exceedingly late for that quote. It's actually Roman era and when King James did his translation I believe it came out as "The poor are with you always, I am only with you for a short time."

The problem with the modern welfare state is that Adam Smith's invisible hand is an amoral bastage. The more money you are willing to spend on poverty, the more of it the hand generates. Poverty isn't done away with by charity donations or building shelters. That's only done by changing people's perspective on life. Which is a hard thing, a very very hard thing to do. And quite frankly, none of the usual whiners about income inequality are up to the job. So I really would rather they stuff it where the sun don't shine instead of getting all sanctimonious and insisting that government, at the point of a gun, imposes their morality on me and mine.

iBail: American Psycho actor Christian Bale rejects Steve Jobs role

Tom 13

Re: only ever used to insult women.

No, it's used to insult men too. In that form however, it is such an invective that it is rarely used. Think of it as being roughly like being in Detroit calling a black man a ni--er.

Disney wins Mickey Mouse patent for torrent-excluding search engine

Tom 13

Re: search engine which returns the results you requested

The very least they could do is make it a configurable option.

Tom 13

Re: It could be in the nature of a defensive patent

This is Disney we're talking about. When it comes to mean, they make Dick Butkus look like a cub scout helping a little old lady across the street. After loosing rights to a character he considered his own, he waged a lifelong war to purchase and destroy every copy of the work that existed.

Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

Tom 13

Re: continuation of the Antares program at risk.

No need to put the program at risk. They should just re-assign the contract to the people who should have won it in the first place.

Tom 13

Re: When all else fails, find a scapegoat.

A team of US engineers designed the craft and are responsible for the ongoing servicing of the program.

That bit cannot be repeated often enough. Even if when the investigation is concluded we find that there is a fatal flaw in the engine design, the US engineering team still holds ultimate responsibility because they chose to use that rocket.

Tom 13

Re: Blown up not blew up

The range safety guy is there to blow up the rocket before the rocket blows up when it looks like the rocket might be about to blow up. We are told that's because when the range safety officer blows it up, he blows it up more safely than it would blow up if the rocket simply blew up. So it really is arguing semantics.

Tom 13

Re: even a tried and proven 50 year old design

Except it ISN'T a proven design. In fact, to the extent it is proven, it is proven bad. This particular engine was put into mothballs because of how many problems the Soviets had with it when working on their moon shot program. Not just the design, but the engines themselves.

Tom 13

Re: The engines, albeit 50+ years old, are solid.

No, they aren't. OSC has blown up over half the engines they used to date. The Soviets canceled their moon shot program because they had too many problems with these rocket engines. That's the whole reason these rockets have been mothballed in Siberia for the last 55 years. Maybe the design in good and the manufacture was flawed. Maybe the design has a flaw we haven't recognized. I'll grant the most likely cause was a problem with the OSC refurb or the assembly of the rocket on the pad. But no matter how you slice it, using this particular engine was a BAD decision.

Yes, the root cause of the program is the US Shuttle program. It pretty much scuttled our own rocket engine manufacturing base for the last 30 years. Everybody is now relearning things that should already be well known.

Seth Rogen bags Woz role in Sorkin's Steve Jobs biopic

Tom 13

Shouldn't Rogen and Bale

switch roles?

Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY

Tom 13


I now have sufficient music on my PC that it will no longer update the iPod because it's too small. I'd probably buy a new one if they sold something large enough.

FBI impersonated newspaper to finger school bomb threat suspect

Tom 13


Because there wasn't actually any spyware. I read the original story yesterday. All it says is they confirmed his IP address when he logged into the website. Message was sent via email to only him. The "newspaper" is trying to generate readership by hyping something that is a standard process for catching bad guys, especially people who are threatening to run another Columbine at the local school. The only people ruining the reputation of that rag are the people running it.

Tom 13

Re: Blade Runner mentality

Given your post, I believe the cop is correct and you did not stop at the stop sign as required.

Amazon wants YOU to LOOK OVER its BOOKS – its slush pile, that is

Tom 13

Re: Does it really matter anyway?


Just because the book has already been published in dead tree format doesn't mean you can publish the ebook at zero cost. So you have to prioritize. Especially when you keep losing money at the rate Amazon does.

Tom 13
Paris Hilton

Re: We see no way in which this could possibly go wrong...

Exactly. There's absolutely no way some story from a fan slash fic site could ever win one of those contests.

Does the Googler tapped to run the US Patent Office still believe in patent reform?

Tom 13

Re: Congress might have something to say.

I was thinking along the same lines. There might be helpful changes she can initiate inside the system. But given the morass that is the legal system, I'd bet a month's salary there are at least three ways for other staff to block any positive changes she tried to implement. Moreover, the job of an Executive is to execute the law as it exists, not change the law from their office. Congress needs to change the law, not her.

Boffins snap first pics of hot white dwarf nova bursting out of its shell

Tom 13

Re: Hurrah for amateurs

This is one of the things I like about astronomy it is one of the few and perhaps the last of the sciences where a dedicated amateur with a minimal financial investment can still make valuable contributions to the field.

HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist

Tom 13

Re: Correlation does not prove causation.

My understanding of whale diets is that the really big ones actually eat very small fish, just in huge quantities.

Still, eliminate the small fish and the populations of medium and large fish will decrease.

Tom 13


I saw him at an sf con a little while back. He's still angling for a guest appearance with that other sf Doctor who doesn't have a name. He'll take most rolls, just so long as he doesn't have to play another deranged/pedo killer. Apparently he's had too many of those rolls recently.

BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army

Tom 13

Re: lining up to bollock 'BRITISH Petroleum' after the Gulf spill.

Well the "bollock" part might have been deference to them being British, but the outcome would have been the same regardless. BP actually fared better than Exxon did in their gulf spill, and Exxon was a nominally US company. I've always been amused by the fact that if the catastrophe would have happened a few days later, the administration would have had all kinds of egg on its face as BP was about to be given a Presidential safety/environmental protection award of some sort.

Tom 13

@ Loyal Commenter

Look on the bright side. At least this time we bought a piece of it first. We could have just launched the investigation because of trade interference or some such.

Tom 13

Re: cost per aircraft climbing from under $150m to over $400m.

But part of the question there is what is the wording in the contracts for cost cutbacks? The manufacturers are all going to have fixed capital equipment costs regardless of how many planes they make. That still has to be recovered. You do that by upping your per-plane cost or just flat out having a cost to cancel built into the contract. Still it does look like they managed to "save" one third over the original projection.

Yeah I know. Friend of mine works in R&D for the military and I hear all kinds of horror stories about the competency of the people making the machines of war. But even so the problem of covering the capital investment stands.

Tom 13

Re: Rail Guns..

Are you putting a Vulcan gunner on that Gatling Railgun?

Tom 13

Re: Numbers

Maybe. Maybe not. Depends where all the numbers come in. Which you can only figure out from testing.

So can we have our $10 billion for this year? We'll let you know how much we need next year in 360 days.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019