* Posts by Dom 3

330 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Brit Mars bot named while NASA 'nauts must wait a bit longer for a US rocket trip to the ISS

Dom 3

Re: Space?

The US definition predates the other. Discussion at the end of this page:


Essentially the 50 mile point is where it's no longer an aeroplane - there's nothing for *control* surfaces to work on. The 62 mile point is where - in order to maintain altitude - you've got to be doing orbital velocities anyway for your wings to generate sufficient lift.

NASA chief in Moscow: 'We will fly again on a Russian Soyuz rocket'

Dom 3

Re: Hyperbolae?

"something wasn't right in the lightup sequence of stage 2" - the core stage (a.k.a. stage 2) lights up on the ground, same time as the boosters. But otherwise I'm with you.

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

Dom 3

I had a go a few years ago. Any new password was first run through this:


which recognises that a long password of only two character types is as strong as a short password of four character types. (I didn't use the defaults, FWIW).

After that I ran it through a dictionary checker against a common password list, and a standard word list. If the last (up to) four characters were digits they were stripped before this test. And leet-speak variations were also tested, e.g p455w0rd would fail.

And people *still* managed to come up with piss-poor passwords.

I would like to have gone full john the ripper on it but I wasn't going to be able to sell that one to the customer.

Dom 3

Salted hashed passwords have been standard in any sane system for ages!

Dom 3

"he couldn't handle picking a new password every 30 days" - nor should he have to. The environment where this was a good idea has not existed for decades. Even .gov.uk have caught up:


Nor is it difficult to teach (even CEOs!) methods for creating strong but memorable passwords. No, not correcthorse(...) but using the initial letters of a phrase, or using the strong stub + domain-based suffix method.

Southend Airport tests drone detection system

Dom 3

Great place.

Station platform to departure gate is about the same distance as Stansted forces you to endure the duty-free for. And there's a Vulcan parked up.

T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

Dom 3

Hang on....

"Our client finds it highly surprising that the [UK Intellectual Property Office] examiner allowed this application to progress to publication" appears to refer to DT... in which case they are admitting it's stupid?

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Dom 3

One more thing we *do* know

We have a sample of one but it provides us with another piece of information - how long a dominant terrestrial lifeform can last without ever doing anything "advanced". Well over a hundred million years.

Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo

Dom 3

Re: Mains powered clock

"reference for boosting generators"

These days they just, errr, watch the telly.


Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

Dom 3

Re: Even the greatest minds have a few failures

Channel 5's been showing a two-part documentary on Concorde recently. So if any of the following facts are wrong, blame C5. Concorde *was* a loss maker at the beginning of the 1980s. Lord King gave the whole thing over to Brian Walpole (chief Concorde pilot) and gave him two years to make it profitable. The first thing they did was a bit of market research. They discovered that the majority of passengers had no idea how much the tickets cost, and when asked to guess, significantly under-estimated. So they simply put the prices up. And from then on it *did* turn an operating profit. Not to mention the marketing benefits of making it the star of their advertising.


As for "sold for a £1" - the last one or two, not the whole lot. My google-fu has failed and I cannot find a good link.

Fancy owning a two-seat Second World War Messerschmitt fighter?

Dom 3

Re: Are we sure...

And for those that don't get the reference...


How fast is a piece of string? Boffin shoots ADSL signal down twine

Dom 3

Acorn Econet got there first?

Decades ago I was told by people with a lot of Acorn connections that this had been done for a laugh with Econet. Although that could well be complete cobblers'.

EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

Dom 3

Re: Small steps...

Having auxiliary engines for takeoff and / or shutting down engines in the cruise has been done many times. Well, a few at least. Trident 3B, Nimrod, Convair B-36 come to mind.

El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

Dom 3

Paid, eh?

It's a shame it needs saying. Because unpaid internships are not legal. Or morally acceptable for that matter.

Amazon is to install its R&D brainboxes in Cambridge

Dom 3

Re: Ah

Because it is flat.

Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Dom 3

Re: Plausible

"we're ALL going for a Donner Kebab or a Vegan Curry". Great comment but I would take it further - the choice was between "a kebab (again)" or "something else". Having opted for "something else" the stag / hen party are then told that they have overwhelmingly rejected all animal-based foodstuffs and *must* go vegan.

This is where UK's Navy will park its 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers

Dom 3

Re: Brows raised...


3,000 per hour.

Amid new push to make Pluto a planet again... Get over it, ice-world's assassin tells El Reg

Dom 3

My nine year old has a mnemonic which works for him and which does not include Pluto. More importantly he totally gets why Pluto does not qualify.

RIP John Glenn: First American in orbit – and later, the oldest, too

Dom 3

"NASA also recruited 13 women who passed the necessary tests but weren't allowed to be considered because they were not test pilots" - cobblers.

Wikipedia is quite clear:

"thirteen American women who, as part of a privately funded program, underwent some of the same physiological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959 for Project Mercury. [... they] were not part of NASA's astronaut program, never flew in space and never met as a group"

BAE Systems' autonomous research aircraft flies itself to Scotland

Dom 3

Re: Is it me?

A) Who landed the plane doesn't always go in the logbook B) standard practice is to take turns.


Dom 3

Re: Is it me?

Talking of 1960s - that's when the first fully automatic landing in revenue service took place. So I don't know what "modern autopilot systems are more than capable of flying instrument approaches up to the final few tens of feet above the runway" is all about.

Dom 3

Re: Maybe this is me being dumb...

"Introducing computers at the command stage – deciding where the aircraft should go as well as the precise mechanics of how it gets there" .

Password1? You're so random. By which we mean not random at all - UK.gov

Dom 3

Stub + algorithm

It's really not hard to create easy to remember, cryptographically hard passwords that are not duplicated across sites. First, think of a phrase.

I will choose 'yet another flippin password for:'.

That makes 'yaFp4:'. Yay, six characters including upper, lower, numeric, special.

Next. What is it for? theregister.co.uk? I will choose a selection of letters in a fixed pattern; let's say, third, second, fourth, first. Makes 'ehrt'.

Now tack on a memorable number. Yer mum's birthday. You *do* remember that every year? Well, maybe if you type it in ten times a day, you will from now on. Win-win situation.

Result: yaFp4:ehrt120152

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

Dom 3

Re: Where is that museum?

errr.. how did you work that out?

Dom 3

Where is that museum?

Anyone recognise it? Clearly in Spain...

China's Shenzhou-11 capsule docks with Tiangong-2 station

Dom 3


Since Shenzhou 5 in 2003, China has made five further manned launches. Soyuz launched 41 times. Shuttle launched 21 times before the programme halted.

'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

Dom 3

Re: Self-selection

"All the kids who did great in high school writing pong games in BASIC for their Apple II would get to college, take CompSci 101, a data structures course, and when they hit the pointers business their brains would just totally explode, and the next thing you knew, they were majoring in Political Science because law school seemed like a better idea" -


What's Chinese and crashing in flames? No, not its economy – its crocked space station

Dom 3


I really think all space station dimensions should be translated into Standard Shed Equivalents. The Bigelow BEAM would provide the prototype: one BEAM (internal volume) = one SSE.

Because the BEAM is clearly a shed.

UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads

Dom 3

Re: skills shortages

What there is a shortage of is 20-somethings with enough experience to be useful but who are unencumbered by high salary expectations, children, or the realisation that masses of unpaid overtime isn't doing yourself any favours.

We're not looking for MH370 in the wrong place say investigators

Dom 3

Evidence for incapacitated crew?

The known flight path from 01:21 to 02:22 doesn't look like a plane on auto-pilot with an incapacitated crew. Nor does it look like someone trying to get back on the ground. It seems likely to me that it was under control. So why would it not be under control at the time of fuel exhaustion?

In mourning for Nano, chap crafts 1k-loc text editor

Dom 3

Re: "did not want to assign *copyright* to the FSF for his contributions"

It's based on a strong assertion of *copyright*. "You *can* make copies, but *only* if you follow these rules".

Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

Dom 3

Use of bow and arrow in conflict still going strong:


Watch: SpaceX finally lands Falcon rocket on robo-barge in one piece

Dom 3


It's tacked on to the side of the main dwelling... it's constructed differently... it's not intended to be actually lived in... it's about six foot by six foot by twelve... it is quite clearly a shed. I expect Peake will be nabbing it at the first opportunity.

Mighty Soyuz stands proud at Baikonur

Dom 3

Re: Middle Naut

Just google "russian smiling". Explains everything.

'Dominant' Facebook hauled over coals by German competition authority

Dom 3

German courts

I am a big fan of the German courts. They seem to be the only ones prepared to tell Big Business where to get off. E.g.:


'Boss, I've got a bug fix: Nuke the whole thing from orbit, rewrite it all'

Dom 3



Dom 3


My favourite example. Came as example code with a microcontroller, IIRC. Needs to be viewed in a monospace font to truly appreciate it.

unsigned char i2c_rd(void) // read an 8b streaming

{ unsigned char bit_count = 0 ; // bit counter the 8b streaming

SDA=1 ; P1M2=0x05 ; // prepare SDA as input (=1)


{ eep_buf=eep_buf<<1 ; // shift left 1b eeprom data buffer

dly_usec(4) ; SCL=1 ; // rise-up SCL

shift0=SDA ; dly_usec(4) ; // read bit_n from eeprom

SCL=0 ; dly_usec(2) ; // pulse SCL

bit_count++ ; dly_usec(2) ; } // increment bit counter(repeat for 8b)

P1M2=0x0d ; return eep_buf ; // SDA open drain(return data buf)

Commodore PET lurches out of its 1970s grave – as a phablet

Dom 3

Re: PET 2001

It says "CBM Model 3032" directly underneath the screen, with "commodore" to the left and "computer" to the right.

Grim-faced cosmonaut in ISS manual docking nail-biter

Dom 3

Re: Two and half hours to open the door

Twas ever thus, e.g. here with the shuttle:


Apply online to go to Mars. No, seriously

Dom 3

Read more carefully.

"This group will [...] blaze the trail on our journey to the Red Planet." Nothing about actually *going* there.

"NASA tested 13 women to become astronauts" - no, not really: http://history.nasa.gov/flats.html makes it quite clear - a "short-lived, privately-funded project testing women pilots for astronaut fitness".

International Space Station braces for pre-Christmas rush

Dom 3

No booze on the ISS

Mir was a different story though.

Spanish village celebrates Playmobil nativity

Dom 3

Re: All that's missing-

What's missing is someone taking a dump:


Spirit of the Ghost: Taking a Rolls-Royce Wraith around France

Dom 3

Re: Satnav

Feh. There's a bloke in Saffron Walden with *two* Bugattis in the garage:


Mars rover Opportunity shuns dodgy flash chips, relies on RAM

Dom 3

Re: Three months....

Ummm... yes, you can read the relevant bit of Steve Squyres's book on google. And that was what they thought would kill it.

Dom 3

Three months....

It was not "expected to work for three months". It was designed and engineered such that the chances of *any* of the sub-systems failing in the first three months was fairly low.

If you take that as the base line, and do the maths, the fact that *most* of it is still working 10 years later is no longer so surprising.

As you probably can't be bothered, I will do it for you.

Let us say that the rover has 20 sub-systems, and we want to be 90% sure that none of them will fail in the first three months. To achieve that, you need to engineer each sub-system such that it has a 99.5% chance of still working after three months. Which means that after ten years, (ignoring wear and tear), it'll have an 80% chance of still working. Which means you can expect about about four out of the twenty subsystems to have stopped working. Which, amazingly enough, despite the fact that I have been using makey-uppy numbers for illustration purposes, is pretty much what we have got.

I've done this here before.

Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

Dom 3

Re: Save time by flying

"not long enough to do anything with"? WTF? Even if I am microwaving something for 30 *seconds* I use that time to unload / load the dishwasher, empty the bin, etc, etc..

Congratulations! You survived the leap secondocalypse

Dom 3


Wikipedia carried a fake screenshot on the Leap Second page, showing 23:59:60 UTC on 2015-06-30 a good two hours before it happened.

Quite a shock to discover that such a reliable and trustworthy institution could be capable of falsehood, even one so unimportant.

Second-hand IT alliance forms to combat 'bully' vendors

Dom 3


The alt tag for the picture is "Pictured: a total spaz who can't stop hitting himself".

Mildly successful flying car crashes - in mildly successful test flight

Dom 3

"Czech company AeroMobil"

Rilly? HQ is in Bratislava, key people are Slovaks, etc., etc..


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