* Posts by Pete 2

2819 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Virgin Galactic test flight reaches space for the first time, lugging NASA cargo in place of tourists

Pete 2 Silver badge

You need to get a bus for the last part of the journey

> The Kármán line, at 100km, has commonly been regarded as where space starts, but Virgin

> Galactic will point to discussions within the scientific community about revising this figure downwards

> to 80km.

It looks like Branson has learned something from RyanAir, which has contributed some "original" thinking regarding where the actual destination is!

It also makes you wonder if that will reduce the cost of the fare by 20% too? Or is this just a sneaky way of raising the price.

Here's 2018 in a nutshell for you... Russian super robot turns out to be man in robot suit

Pete 2 Silver badge

Something on TV wasn't real: shocker!

And presumably there were some credulous people back in 1977 when they saw R2D2 and C3P0 for the first time? Or others who think that Eastenders depicts "real life"?

Personally I am surprised they had to put someone inside. CGI / deepfake is so good at producing realistic stuff that a completely virtual robot (and probably the whole show) could be whipped up on a render farm.

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it

Pete 2 Silver badge

Pub talk

> If you believe they are wrong, and that everything's just great and will be, could you please expand on why you believe that?

When you say "wrong" what it sounds like is whether others do / should agree with their politics. A field in which they are no better at thinking, analysing or solving than any other person of voting age. Being able to design packet protocols does not imbue a person with greater geopolitical insights.

But their views on the state of the world are irrelevant (unless you do agree with their politics). They are technical architects and really should limit their punditry to things that they know more about than ordinary folk.

That would be worth listening to. As far as opinions are concerned, they are like arseholes: everybody has one, but they are best not revealed in public.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Pete 2 Silver badge

Danger Will Robinson!

> this appears to be a honest to goodness accident.

The story says that the robot dropped the can of bear spray and that it broke open. That makes it sound as if a human could have dropped it instead. If that punctured can managed to hospitalise 24 people, I imagine the consequences would have been much worse for a human who had dropped it - since that person would have been much closer to the tin when it burst.

Also, if there had been more robots working in the warehouse, handling what turns out to be hazardous material, then there would have been fewer injured people. Either way, the "lesson" could be construed that the greater the proportion of robots at Amazon, the safer the working environment would be.

Now you, too, can snoop on mobe users from 3G to 5G with a Raspberry Pi and €1,100 of gizmos

Pete 2 Silver badge

Form an orderly queue

And how long before all the world's "security" services are on the phone with job offers, consultancy requests and causal enquiries regarding just what extra hardware they would need to, ahem, research this new vulnerability.

The publication does sound a lot like an advertisement. It's just that what ordinary citizens would consider a fault is seen as an opportunity by those charged with protecting our freedoms!

Shall we have AI judging UK court cases? Top beak ponders the future

Pete 2 Silver badge

Henry VI, Part 2!

> Some in the legal world fear the real reason for the project has more to do with cutting costs

And that alone would be an excellent reason. Anything that stops legal firms charging the rates of their senior lawyers (£200/hour recently in the UK, for a straightforward probate) and then having all the work done by an office junior, would be welcome.

If we can get web-present AIs to handle all the basic stuff that makes up the majority of a lawyer's workload that would be fantastic. If that could interface directly to another AI handling the bulk of litigation, that would be even better.

The only problem then would be how to get the system to work in such a way that those AIs would take 6 months to finish a simple job, when it only actually took a few seconds of compute time?

As for the Shakespeare quote? See here, but should that be a SIGTERM or a SIGQUIT?

NASA has Mars InSight as latest lander due to arrive today

Pete 2 Silver badge

Now THAT'S a worthy cause

> The power, which NASA reckoned would be enough run a household blender, will drive the three main instruments carried by the lander.

Mars! will it blend?

Joe Public wants NHS to spend its cash on cancer, mental health, not digital services

Pete 2 Silver badge

We're from the IT dept. and we're here to help you ....

> access to digital services is the lowest priority for spending

Not surprising since almost all NHS computer systems are so badly designed and implemented that they end up making people's work environment, stress and efficiency worse.

Rather than allowing IT people to design stuff for the NHS - a group of people they generally know almost nothing about, I feel they should let the medical staff tell them what is needed. In most cases they would point to a non-computerised thing and say "make it do exactly what that does".

FAX machines spring to mind!

Busy week for ISS as Russia resumes flights and vies for parking spaces with NASA

Pete 2 Silver badge

One for the fish!

> The spent first stage subsequently descended to the ever-crowdpleasing landing on a drone-ship stationed in the Atlantic

I am sure that all the marine life in the area was suitably impressed.

Wombats literally sh!t bricks – and now boffins reckon they know how

Pete 2 Silver badge

No place in the larder

We all know that it is wise to store the instant coffee a long way away from the gravy powder (some of us discover this the hard way - student days .... ahhh!). It now looks like Wombat owners should make sure that the OXO cubes are always kept in their foil wrappers.

A new Raspberry Pi takes a bow with all of the speed but less of the RAM

Pete 2 Silver badge

the leader becomes the follower

So this looks like it is intended to compete with the Orange Pi Zero+

Originally the FriendlyArm and Orange Pi ranges were brought out as cheap alternatives to the RPi. Often with more features included in the lower price. However the cost saving never really made up for the lack of community support, software or Linux updates. Now we have a "proper" Pi board that will hopefully compete on price (though I have never heard of anyone complaining their computer had too much RAM.

I know what you're thinking: Outsource or in-source IT security? I've worked both sides, so here's my advice...

Pete 2 Silver badge

One size does not fit all

> You’re a small or mid-sized business.

The problem is that the term SME is applied to all companies of 250 employees or fewer. That is a huge range. From a small accountancy outfit up to a decent-sized manufacturing operation. And the set of requirements changes accordingly.

Most of those at the smaller end (for example: a garage, or shop) won't even have a full-time IT person. Even for the "large" SMBs such as those listed here with turnover (not profit) of £10million a year, a full time expert is out of the question.

SMBs account for 99% of UK companies and employ about half the workforce. I would suggest that what they need is something far cheaper, more streamlined and integrated. Since most small businesses will have largely similar IT requirements: website, payroll, back office, sales, VAT, stock control / inventory - and largely similar hardware and software (either a cloud or server - PC, plus third-party software), there would be a ready market for something that simply "does" all their security for them. Whether that would fully automate the work or simply list out what the IT person/people should do, would depend.

But I doubt many of the 5 million SMEs would be looking for a professional.

Haha, good times: Larry Ellison regales noobs about when Oracle staff almost didn't get paid

Pete 2 Silver badge

Get a float, or sink.

> Oracle staffers were about a week away from not getting paid, founder Larry Ellison has said of the firm's early days.

Many years ago I worked for a large blue organisation. We heard stories there that a while earlier the UK operation had to be baled out by the parent so they could run the payroll. And that was not during their "early days".

Stealthy UK startup drops veil on next frontier of speech wizardry

Pete 2 Silver badge

Send it to the colonies

> an educational tool designed to improve an English* speaker's pronunciation

When this is on the Google Play store for 99¢ I'll tell some people I know about it.

Some of them claim to have "English" as their first language!

Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel

Pete 2 Silver badge

Same old same old.

> the obvious question is “what’s new?” The answer is… not a whole lot.

But this is true of almost every Linux [ and by "Linux" we all know that means the kernel and the suite of apps that make up a distribution ] - and has been for years.

The question that rarely gets asked and even less frequently gets a satisfactory answer is: what will I be able to do, with this release, that I could not do before?

And most times the answer is "nothing". For many years now, all new Linux releases have been merely rolling the version numbers on libraries and utilities (squashing bugs and fixing security problems), adding support for new hardware and fiddling with the UI.

The only real change that has arrived in recent years is systemd. But even that is 4 years old, is hated as much as it is adopted and makes no difference at all to the users and the list of functions they can use.

One could argue that stability is a major benefit. That being able to take a user from 20 years ago (i.e. me!) and plunk them down in front of a Linux desktop that they will instantly recognise and be able to use, is a good thing. Apart from some minor silliness, like moving the position of menus and toolbars it is totally familiar. This is very true. But it is not innovation, it is not "cutting edge" and it is not what developers want to spend their time doing.

Linux has grown fat and slow in middle age. It is no longer the inspirational "alternative" it once was. It no longer leads in terms of utility or design. Yet it contains all the old baggage that makes it a hostile environment for people to adopt. Just try adding a new package - download this, edit that, compile the other, add new libraries to satisfy installation criteria, fix conflicts and maybe - just maybe - after a full day of effort and Googling user forums that shiny new app will work.

We should be at the stage where all a user has to do is sit at a screen and say (or type) "I want to write a document" (or letter, email, flame, program, magazine review ... ) and everything just happens. And the same applies to hardware - especially stuff you can plug in like USB. None of these should be issues, but they are all insoluble due to group dynamics and office politics within the community.

So Linux will continue to increment version numbers. Giving the illusion of progress without change. And in 20 years time someone else will re-write this comment about Ubuntu 38.10. That is, if the Y2038 problem hasn't destroyed the world.

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Pete 2 Silver badge

The silver lining

> However, Wu is convinced it'll be enough to save the city a fortune in electricity bills for street lighting.

What's the "plan B" for when it's cloudy? Which judging by the 10 day weather forecast happens quite a lot

Don't make us pay compensation for employee data breach, Morrisons begs UK court

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: You shouldn't be able to get to there from here.

> All of which need the Internet.

But it doesn't need a public internet connection.

It just needs the specific ports to the specific address / URL. And the same applies to bank access. There is no reason for a finance computer to ever need access to Google, BBC, ToR, Facebook or anything apart from a few dedicated, preferably hard-wired, connections. Ones that would be audited and under change control.

Pete 2 Silver badge

You shouldn't be able to get to there from here.

> ... who had legitimate access to the company’s entire payroll, published its contents online using anonymising network Tor.

While that part is undeniable, the employer should have protections in place to prevent a (legitimate) user from either taking a copy of the data to remove from the workplace, or from being able to upload it to an off-site location.

If that means that users' PCs don't have any ability to plug USB drives (or anything else) in, that would be a definite step forward. It would also stop people loading dodgy stuff onto a PC or server.

It it further means there needs to be an air gap between internal systems holding sensitive data and anything with a public internet access then that would be a good thing, too.

One could possibly go further and question the need for any office computer to have general-purpose internet access, at all.

Having those restrictions in place would also go a hell of a long way to stopping the reverse: bad people gaining access to sensitive data from outside the building.

Perfect timing for a two-bank TITSUP: Totally Inexcusable They've Stuffed Up Payday

Pete 2 Silver badge

The future is coming!

TSB down, HSBC inaccessible.

Earlier in the week it was the turn of Natwest and Barclays to prevent their customers from accessing their money.

The cynic (where? here? nah!) might suggest that this is part of the softening up process for BREXIT. When financial turmoil will become the new black.

Possibly time to find a shoebox that will fit under the bed and to start stuffing it full of hard currency.

Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere

Pete 2 Silver badge

The numbers

According to Wiki, the RAF dropped nearly a million tons of bombs during WW2. The americans "contributing" a further 600kT.

Another source puts the total WW2 amount, dropped everywhere. at well over 3 million tons.

But it doesn't end there! If the researchers wanted to investigate more instances they could look at Vietnam. During operation Rolling Thunder the americans dropped 864,000 tons on the north.

Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again

Pete 2 Silver badge

Independence day?

> NASA’s solution is to try to get disinterested commercial outfits using the orbiting laboratory,

The most interesting possibility would be for an outfit like SpaceX to take it off NASA's hands. Then if they bought themselves a suitably placed "Tracey Island" far from any other country's jurisdiction they could make their launches from there. And once free from annoying things like national laws, taxes and things they could set themselves up with the world's first (and only) extra-terrestrial tax haven.

I am sure that Apple and many other mega-corps would be interested in a slice of that!

That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Even the simple things

> It had been a running, non-rebooted print server for twelve years.

The BOFH solution would be to clean it up, blow the dust off. Put it back where it was.

Then tell the company you had "installed" their new print server.

For extra points, sell them a 12 year maintenance contract.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: 6 point plan?

> ...what's a budget?

It's a small bird that lives in a cage. In the past, they were used by coal-miners to warn of impending doom. When the budget stops and you still have work to do (or coal to dig), you know there is going to be trouble.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Step 0

> Before taking a pencil to the back of an envelope or breaking out the Excel and pivot tables, it’s important to understand who is driving the migration and what they want

I would suggest that the very first step is to work out who will get the blame when it all goes terribly wrong (though I think we can all guess the answer).

We learned how to migrate all the clockwork-powered computers prior to Y2K. The strategy hasn't changed just because the buzz-words in the sales brochure are different.

The best tip is to employ outsiders to do the work for you. That way, when someone does go pointing fingers, it will be in the direction of people who no longer there (and therefore cannot deny their part in the failure: whether true or false). This is the major benefit of contracting-out work - the indemnity value.

UKIP doubled price of condoms for sale at party conference

Pete 2 Silver badge

Subsidised by everyone else

You would have thought that the entire rest of the country would chip in to make these free to all Kippers whether at their conference or elsewhere. Who would want to risk another (accidental) generation being produced.

UK cops run machine learning trials on live police operations. Unregulated. What could go wrong? – report

Pete 2 Silver badge


It sounds like what we need more than anything is a Machine Learning programme to ascertain the benefits of Machine Learning.

Maybe then we will be able to start cutting down on all the government / public body IT projects that fail, overspend, get cancelled, run late or don't do what they should

Put your tin-foil hats on! Wi-Fi can be used to guesstimate number of people hidden in a room

Pete 2 Silver badge


> The system [paper PDF] then computed the slight changes in the Wi-Fi network strength over time into a guesstimate of the number of people in the room

It is a fairly gross assumption that the only "bodies" in a room are human.

Revealed: The billionaire baron who’ll ride Elon’s thrusting erection to the Moon and back

Pete 2 Silver badge

This counts as _not_ going to the Moon

Just as a "near miss" isn't a "hit", so taking a trip that goes near the Moon is far more a case of not going there, that arriving.

Just like there is a big, big, difference between being one the tourists pressing their faces up against the railings of Buckingham Palace and being one of the privileged (or intruder) few who actually get to go inside. If I was putting up that money or putting my life on the line, I'd at least want a few rocks to bring back and to write my name in the dust.

Security procedures are good – follow them and you get to keep your job

Pete 2 Silver badge

Do as I do

uTorrent, WireShark, Powershell, Ccleaner, SnippingTool, FreeWatch, DontSleep, PDF converters and Caffeine were among the more common risky apps.

The report said: "Like security bypass, the use of high risk applications is often a warning sign of something worse. A user will typically install such applications so that they can get around security measures, download pirated media, or engage in more sinister activity."

The real-life reason that people will use these and other freeware off the internet is that their organisation does not provide (i.e. spend money on) suitable secure tools that do what these do. If you need to read PDFs now would you wait 2 - 3 months for your purchase order to be approved? Which manager would accept that amount of delay. IT staff always get stuck on the sharp end of project delays, with little support from above. If they are pressured to deliver but receive no help in getting the tools they need, is it really their fault if they "improvise"?

Law firm seeking leak victims to launch £500m suit at British Airways

Pete 2 Silver badge

35% of what?

So the bloodsuckerslawyers will only take 35%. But they will arrange insurance for if they lose. Presumably that doesn't count towards their fees.

Given the chances of losing, one could understand if the insurance was quite high - through a subsidiary, perchance?. So it would be interesting to see just how much (or how little) ended up in the hands of BA customers.

Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

Pete 2 Silver badge

Musk did get one thing right

Asked about the wisdom of smoking marijuana while he is under investigation by the SEC for the “take private” tweet, Musk told the Guardian by email: “Guardian is the most insufferable newspaper on planet Earth”.

ref: The Guardian

(Personally, considering its tiny circulation, I'm surprised he had heard of it)

Could you hack your bosses without hesitation, repetition or deviation? AI says: No

Pete 2 Silver badge

Career progression

> But attackers who are already on the inside of a network, abusing his or her credentials for nefarious intent without anyone the wiser are rapidly gaining notoriety.

It has been a source of puzzlement for years - no, decades, why IT workers with admin prvileges are so reluctant to use these for their own benefit. It should be quite easy for any sysadmin worth their paycheck to insert whatever sort of "payload" they choose onto their boss's computer. Or their boss's boss or ..... the CEO. Or even a co-worker who they dislike or who's job they would view as a promotion (that alone would be enouigh motivation for people to secure their own kit).

That is, if "icky" stuff would actually need to be placed there - rather than the individual in question having already done the dirty work and it just needing to be discovered and reported.

I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one

Pete 2 Silver badge


If only someone had applied AI to 3D TV. They would have learned very quickly that neither technology had much of a future once the marketing hype had turned into a pointless reality.

Go Pester someone else: TSB ditches CEO over bank's IT meltdown

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: Dreaming

> Or did I dream it?

I think it was probably a dream. The only time I have ever seen something approaching this was in the run up to Y2K. IIRC provision had been made for client companies to even simulate the payments they would be making through the banking system (at least in some limited fashion).

Even the fullest of full regression testing that I have seen has always failed as soon as it has to receive external inputs or transact business with external systems.

This is always going to be a problem for banking systems since they are so completely interconnected. I assume that is one reason why they have so much otherwise obsolete systems and software - nobody has the foggiest idea how it works and they are all too scared to try and change it!

Pete 2 Silver badge

Get what's coming

> Paul Pester has been booted out of TSB's top office after months of criticism over his handling of the IT chaos that hit the bank this year – but is still expected to take away about £1.7m.

Let us all hope the money is paid into his TSB account. And that there is a "hitch" which means he can't access it for a very long time.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite: A business mobe aimed at millennials? Er, OK then

Pete 2 Silver badge

New phone review

octo-core bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz gigabytes bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz megapixels bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz milliamp-hours bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz X-inch screen bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz form factor bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz standby time bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz dual SIM bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz notch bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (no) headphone jack bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Lyon for speed, San Francisco for money, Amsterdam for fun: the best cities to be a techie

Pete 2 Silver badge

The survey is done by RS Components

But they miss out two important factors

1.) Are the products in stock

2.) Can they deliver?

It is interesting that Philly comes in at second place, a very close second place but with a sucky QoL that in no way is compensated for by the "Cyber Security commitment" (if I knew what that even meant). It seems to be an artificial factor designed merely to push american cities up the ranking.

Oddly the only English cities on the list are London and Birmingham (there are 3 Scottish cities).

I am therefore happy to report that none of the best English techie destinations have therefore been revealed.

Let's keep it that way!

No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

Pete 2 Silver badge

A brick in the wall

There is more to IT security than passwords. And it seems to me that if a determined hacker has managed to breach ALL the earlier levels of security, then a few puny keystrokes as a the last line of defence won't be much of a deterrence. No matter how long, contrived or frequently changed the password policy requires them to be.

All a computer-level password can be expected to do is to keep out the casual, in-office, user who wants to use someone else's PC to send rude messages to the CEO. While there exist admin-level users with universal access, few hackers would bother trying to brute-force a user password - they would go straight to the root accounts and concentrate on them. Same amount of effort required, far higher gains on a successful breach.

And with the security "wall" that all companies have, there are far more easily exploitable holes than this. The whole "strong password" security theatre is nothing more than that. There are many more pressing security problems that need to be addressed before user's passwords gets to the top of the pile.

Black hats are baddie hackers, white hats are goodies, grey hats will sell IP to kids in hoodies

Pete 2 Silver badge

The fifth column

When Franco was conquering Spain in their civil war, he was reported as having four columns of troops outside Madrid and a "fifth column" of supporters inside.

Most large organisations have many staff who are happy to collect their monthly pay, yet spend a significant amount of effort actively or passively working against their employers interests. Whether those people are actively sabotaging or betraying the company or government department they work for or are just goofing around, doing nothing useful is debatable.

However, it should be recognised that there is a broad spectrum of hostility that does not begin or end with selling the company's IP, phone directory, confidential material or client data. While that can never be stopped entirely, there are basic fixes that are easy, yet rarely implemented.

One would be forced to conclude that even simple things like removing USB connections to PCs and scrutinising outgoing email are not common simply because organisations do not care about security. Preferring to think any breaches are down to lone-wolf employees who are outliers. That mind-set is far more acceptable (to both employers and employees) than recognising that 5% of your staff are crooks!

AI image recognition systems can be tricked by copying and pasting random objects

Pete 2 Silver badge

Come back in 20 years!

> Arguably, it is too much to expect a network which has never seen a certain combination of two categories within the same image to be able to successfully cope with such an image

Although equally arguably few people will ever have seen that combination, either. The problem seems to me, with no experience of image recognition software, that the systems are pretty crap at recognising anything and rely too much on "tricks" such as context, to turn their guesses into even vaguely credible "image may contain ..... " analyses.

Most people would start by looking at the picture as a whole. In this case the interior of a room. They would identify it as such and then work down, from the big things to the little things. It does seem to me that the identification process employed here is simply not up to the standard necessary to contribute anything useful.

Everybody dance now: Watch this AI code fool friends into thinking you can cut a rug like a pro

Pete 2 Silver badge

So fake it's real!

> There are fears this sort of technology can be abused to create fake videos or images that trick people into believing stuff that never really happened.

So basically it is Auto-Tune for Strictly Come Dancing.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

Pete 2 Silver badge

Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

The GIMP project should do itself a favour and focus on improving the awful UI, rather than adding technical features.

Apart from its name, that is its major problem for users.

Connected car data handover headache: There's no quick fix... and it's NOT just Land Rovers

Pete 2 Silver badge

Do you own your car?

> "This is an unreasonable demand to make of JLR because any such automatic bullet-proof method would be dependent upon a similarly bullet-proof system/process whereby JLR is informed of the sale of any of their vehicles, including private sales."

It is not unreasonable. When car makers offer "connected car" services, they take on a duty of care regarding the data they collect. A part of that care is to prevent it being used by any party that does not have a right to it. That includes previous owners of the vehicle.

This is a break from the old supplier-customer relationship of a single sell-buy transaction (with warranty obligations). Since the car-makers have elected to create this feature and to make it open-ended, time-wise, the onus is on them to make it work. And not just for the original owner.

The Death of the Gods: Not scared of tech yet? You haven't been paying attention

Pete 2 Silver badge

Add this book to the pile

Basically, just more doom-mongering

The news media is full of it. It sells. But merely telling us we're doomed, DOOMED I say is meaningless. What are the solutions, what actions should we take to mitigate this. How can we protect ourselves or profit from it (ans: write a book).

So instead of heaping on the anxiety, increasing fear and making everyone a little more depressed, how about some positive, helpful, suggestions, instead?

Lo and behold, Earth's special chemical cocktail for life seems to be pretty common

Pete 2 Silver badge

So, why don't we still have dinosaurs?

> "Most of the building blocks we have looked at in other planetary systems have a composition broadly similar to that of the Earth"

If being "earthlike" was enough, this planet would continually be spawning life, as it originally formed. Those "respawns" would then start their own path of evolution. So as well as having us, the result of billions of years of evolution from the first time that life appeared, there would also be forms of plants, animals and all the rest that are the product of evolution from the second time that life started on Earth. And from the third, fourth, the seventy-seventh, the 2,916'th and so on.

But we don't. We only have a single thread of evolution that seems to go back to the start.

So it would seem that being "earthlike" is not a good idea for a planet if it wants to start producing life. It is only a hospitable environment for once life has got past the initial stages. After that, being earthlike is not a set of conditions that is suitable for starting evolution.

The conclusion would be that a planet only has one shot at starting to give rise to life-forms. Maybe once they get to the stage of converting methane, CO2 and ammonia into an environment rich in water and oxygen, they have past the point of spontaneously allowing life to form. If whatever life had developed, then died out, it would explain why we don't see other planets' TV.

The trick wouldn't be starting life, but in having the remarkable set of coincidences, luck, and starting conditions to allow life to avoid all the extinction possibilities in the billions of years after it forms, to eventually give rise to intelligence. Or us!

EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

Pete 2 Silver badge

Re: thunderbolt - not thunderbird

> Though Brains and Lady Penelope are always a good bet in any international emergency

And with the Parker probe heading for the Sun, it's good to see that the series is still current. Though you'd need a fairly long USB cable to re-charge that. I doubt that the shape of the connector would be the biggest concern.

US voting systems: Full of holes, loaded with pop music, and 'hacked' by an 11-year-old

Pete 2 Silver badge

Old joke!

Which could explain why the previous generation of voting machines the americans sold to Canada, just declared Obama the winner.

UK cyber cops: Infosec pros could help us divert teens from 'dark side'

Pete 2 Silver badge

Career _path_? a single patio slab, in reality

> The focus is on showing youngsters that there's a lucrative legitimate career for their interests and skills if they change tack.

At least, there could be if all the jobs weren't being off-shored. Also, the "youngsters" should be reminded that their lucrative legitimate career will end at about the same time as a profession footballer's - in their mid-30s. It should be mentioned to them too, that they won't be able to actually start that career until they have got a degree (even though what they learn will be out-of-date, irrelevant and of little practical use) - so they can't start earning until they are 21.

And then there is all that student debt ....

Stress, bad workplace cultures are still driving security folk to drink

Pete 2 Silver badge

> Wut ? Who does that ?

The only places I have seen this was in large advertising firms based in the Tottenham Court Road area during the late80s-early 90's (and then, only after 6 p.m.)

None of the american IT firms I have worked for would even allow booze on the premises.

Pete 2 Silver badge

And then, what?

> Stress, bad workplace cultures are still driving security folk to drink

But who drives them home again, afterwards

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