* Posts by /dev/null

348 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009


Say what you will about self-driving cars – the security is looking 'OK'


Re: "Audi’s forthcoming computer-controlled motor"

No electric Audis? I'm afraid your informant is sadly misinformed. See here.


Re: Entertainment systems...

But generally, nowadays, cars have integrated infotainment systems, which do.

Heads up: Fujitsu tips its hand to reveal exascale Arm supercomputer processor – the A64FX


Re: Why no ARM servers?

Common boot framework? You mean like ARM's Server Base Boot Requirements spec?

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator


Every game bundled ... appears to have been written by one Jonathan Cauldwell...

And he didn't start writing Speccy games until 1989, when the ZX Spectrum was verging on "retro" already...

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball


Re: What we need

It's a long time ago now, but, IIRC, one big difference between the 6502 and Z80 was that the 6502 was pipelined, but the Z80 wasn't, so even a NOP took four clock cycles on the Z80.

Uh-oh-oh-oh-oh. Now hounds of storage are hunting – run if you know what's good for ya


Nice Kate Bush reference there in the title, on the day after her 60th(!) birthday.

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep


Octothorpe / pound sign / hash / chess checkmate symbol etc etc...

Not to mention "medical shorthand symbol for a fracture".

Chrome sends old Macs on permanent Safari: Browser bricks itself


Switched to Safari

I switched to Safari on my MacBook some time ago after I got pissed off at the main Chrome process (not one of the worker processes) persistently burning lots of CPU time for no good reason. Conveniently, I found a script to reopen current Chrome tabs in Safari, which avoided manually recreating the dozens of tabs over half-a-dozen windows I perpetually have open :-). Only things I really miss are favicons and being able to pin tabs in one window only (not in every window as Safari does).

At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements


To be pedantic, it was late 1983 before the ZX Interface 1 and ZX Microdrive started shipping, but I like your analogy.

Sysadmin hailed as hero for deleting data from the wrong disk drive


Re: Personal Tragedy

If you're using a proper camera with removable card storage, there is a simple way to do photo backups. When the card gets full, stick a new one in and put the old one somewhere safe. SD cards are cheap enough nowadays to consider them as write-once media and they certainly don't take up much space!

'I crashed AOL for 19 hours and messed up global email for a week'


Re: Dig

I still have a bag of cover-mount floppies and CDs from 1990s computer mags, mainly because I've never found a good way to recycle them. Alas, I have plenty real coasters and no need for bird-scarers,

Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release


Re: A new scheme?

That occurred to me back in the days when the Linux roadmap seemed to suggest that the version number would be stuck at 2.6.x forever. In that case, why not just drop the "2.6", just like GNU Emacs 13 or Java 5. But then, I didn't expect he'd come up with the genius idea of bumping the major version number for no good reason at all....

Google's not-Linux OS documentation cracks box open at last


Re: Operating sytems introducing new looping techique.

32-bit handles, not pointers. So a limitation of 2^32 objects, not bytes.

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


Re: If you press litmus paper to Jim Al-Khalili, does it go blue?

And not forgetting the great stuff Neil MacGregor's done on R4 too (A History of the World in 100 Objects, Germany: Memories of a Nation etc).

It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?


Re: Dates

In fact, YYYY-MM-DD is so fabulous and sensible, it's enshrined in an ISO standard - ISO 8601 to be precise.

Apple's new 'spaceship' HQ brings the pane for unobservant workers



Finally, a use for all those little Apple logo stickers they ship with every product....

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10


RAM pack wobble

I believe the root cause of the the dreaded wobble was that Sinclair re-used a RAM pack casing design intended for the ZX80 (which had a flat, vertical rear surface for the pack to butt up against) for the ZX81 (which didn't). See Rick Dickinson's sketch of his intended ZX81 RAM pack in his fascinating (if you're an old Sinclair nerd) Sinclair design archives on Flickr.

Good luck saying 'Sorry I'm late, I had to update my car's firmware'


"making sure failed updates are reversible but successful ones are not"

But what if your successful update has successfully updated your firmware to a version that doesn't work as well as the previous one and you want to revert?

Windows slithers on to Arm, legless?


Re: Suez?

Don't forget that Suez was a joint Franco-British-Israeli operation; it wasn't just a unilateral British intervention. It also led to France falling out with the USA and withdrawing military cooperation with NATO.

It's official: .corp, .home, .mail will never be top-level domains on the 'net


Re: .int

As do about 165 other organisations:

List of organizations with .int domain names


Never been a fan of made-up pseudo-TLDs for intranet purposes. One company I used to work for used intra.<company>.com as their intranet domain, where the "intra" subdomain only existed internally. Seemed to work quite well.

Ex-Chipzilla exec Arms biz to SoC it to Intel in the data centre


PCIe 3.0? USB 2.0? Showing its age there!

Ghost in the DCL shell: OpenVMS, touted as ultra reliable, had a local root hole for 30 years


Re: Wasn't VMS...

NT was certainly intended to be portable from the start, but the first architectures it ran on were Intel i860 and MIPS, using Microsoft home-brewed hardware, to avoid falling into x86-centric habits. x86 support came later, then Alpha.

F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus


Re: "restart the supersonic harrier programme.."

Yes, history repeats itself.... in fact the supersonic Harrier programme (P.1154) collapsed because it was meant to be both a fighter for the Navy and a bomber for the RAF (like the F-35) and they couldn't reconcile that. Of course, in those days the Navy had full-size carriers with steam catapults, so they went with the F-4 Phantom II instead (not the F-111, that was what was supposed to substitute for the TSR2), as did the RAF, with the subsonic Harrier as a consolation prize.

Once again, UK doesn't rule out buying F-35A fighter jets


Re: Sea Hornets

Sea Hornets would, I'm sure, be much cheaper, but who builds aircraft out of balsa and plywood these days...?


Why? Because F-35As can fly further, carry more ordnance, and are about $28m cheaper than an F-35B, since they don't have a lift fan and associated impedimenta. Given that F-35s of some description will be the de facto replacement for the RAF's Tornado GR.4s, in addition to their original task of replacing Joint Force Harrier (now just a distant memory), the F-35A is probably the most appropriate variant to do that, since no Tornado squadron has ever been expected to fly off an aircraft carrier.

Oh and in the good old days of the Sea Harrier, the RN only had three squadrons (and one of those was a land-based HQ/training squadron) for their fleet of three aircraft carriers...

Tom Baker returns to finish shelved Doctor Who episodes penned by Douglas Adams


Re: Stephen Mangan

Nah, the original Dirk Gently, Michael Bywater, was closer to the one I imagined....

Windows on ARM: It's nearly here (again)


Alpha, MIPS, PA RISC, and PowerPC

Don't recall an NT port to PA-RISC, at least not one that was publicly announced. OTOH there were Itanic releases of XP and Server 2003/2008.

Red Hat opens its ARMs to Enterprise Linux... er, wait, perhaps it's the other way round


Re: Meh.

This isn't just "ARM". In order to compete with Wintel in the server space, ARM have now defined (and are in fact still working on) various specs (SBSA, SBBR), which describe a common 64-bit ARM server system architecture in (hopefully) enough detail that OSs such as RHELSA will Just Work on a variety of different hardware vendors' offerings.

Unfortunately, this means the dreaded ACPI has now spread to ARM systems, but if that's what it takes, then...

Look, ma! No hands! Waymo to test true self-driving cars in US with Uber-style hailing app


"... instead, it's hoped, the code will take care of such situations automatically"

I think we need more than just hope here. What if it doesn't? Will it slam on the brakes wherever the car might be, say, in the outside lane of a busy motorway? Then what? Wait for someone to turn it off and turn it on again?

Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man


Re: Musk, the new Jobs?

"I've had a Leaf for two years....... but it does what it says on the tin."

It leafs?

It leaves, surely?

Car insurers recoil in horror from paying auto autos' speeding fines


Re: Blimey people, it's just electricity. It's not exactly a new problem.

Yes, but it's how much electricity that's the problem. If you want to fully charge an electric car with a a range comparable to an ICE-powered car in, say, half an hour, (so, a power requirement on the order of 200kW) then that's equivalent to about 8 substantial houses all on the point of popping the master fuse on their mains supply. For one car.


The only emissions tests in an MoT test are for CO and hydrocarbons, there's nothing about CO2 or NOx.

Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride


Can't see it ever happening...

...until you can trust a self-driving car not to say "you have control", when it decides it has no idea what is going on and you're 2 seconds away from colliding with something. And if you can't trust it not to do that, then you might as well drive the damn thing yourself.

Snap, crackle ... patch! Apple kicks out iOS 11.0.2 to tackle crappy calls, fix email glitches


If you look at the release history of iOS, patch releases a matter of days or weeks after a major feature release is very much par for the course. It's an Apple tradition now.

At last, someone's taking Apple to task for, uh, not turning on iPhone FM radio chips


Think of the marketing...

TBH, I can't imagine any smartphone marketing person getting very enthusiastic these days about a new feature that turns your super-retina displaying, 3D-face-recognizing, animoji-capable, machine-learning, augmented-reality-projecting smartphone into a pocket tranny from the 1950s.


Re: My decorator...

could they not cram the metadata* into the RDS part of the signal? (I really ought to know the correct terminology here)

[*station name, frequency, programme, song title - what else do I need - I'll watch TV if I want pictures]

Actually, that is exactly what they do nowadays - it's called the RDS RT (radio text) field. A fairly recent car radio with a big enough screen will show you it. No need for DAB to get that metadata!

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


Energy density

Well, Wikipedia tells me that the energy density of jet fuel is about 43 MJ/kg, whereas Tesla's latest 2170 Li-ion cells appear to have a density of about 280 Wh/kg or 1 MJ/kg.

So, still some way to go then.

BlackBerry's QNX to run autonomous car software


I'm not sure that QNX is required for the infotainment system - which doesn't need the levels of reliability one would demand of the car's driving aids, sensors, drivetrain and autonomous functions.

All software should be reliable. There is no excuse for unreliable software. Just because a software bug isn't going ram your car into the back of a truck doesn't mean you should put up with it. Even if the consequences of a flaky piece of software is that your radio goes off, or touch-screen goes blank, or your satnav forgets where you are or where you want to go, that's still a distraction and an annoyance you could really do without when you're driving.

Scottish pensioners rage at Virgin cabinet blocking their view


Re: It's Scotland

It's probably related to the way that alien planets in Doctor Who all used to look suspiciously like a quarry in Whales

Of course, nowadays, excavating cetaceans is banned by international treaty, so they have to use CGI instead.

Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84


Re: IT angle

Australian Personal Computer magazine was first published in May 1980. It's my understanding that IBM released their PC on 12 August 1981. It's also my understanding that PCs had been around for some time prior to Australian Personal Computer magazine's debut.

Not to mention the British magazine Personal Computer World, which started in 1978.

Anyway, the IBM MT72 didn't really fall into any of these categorizations; it seems it was basically an electric typewriter connected to a tape drive with a bunch of electrical relays.

Sysadmin jeered in staff cafeteria as he climbed ladder to fix PC


Re: What is this ?

I take your point, but giving your PCs essentially random numbers of the form AN548690249032 doesn't seem great either....

Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release


Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

Until you changed to different tape deck and found the tape counter counted at a different speed on the new one....

I still haven't found what I'm malloc()ing for: U2 tops poll of music today's devs code to


Re: Eye care

+1 for the late great Sandy... one of the more frequently listened-to artists on the small but perfectly formed music collection on my phone. Check out her exquisite cover of Knockin' on Heaven's Door if you haven't already.

White-box security webcam scatters vulnerabilities through multiple OEMs


Chacon, Thomson, 7links, Netis, Turbox, Novodio, Ambientcam, Nexxt, Technaxx...

Who? Most of those sound like planets out of Elite to me....

Fortran greybeards: Get your walking frames and shuffle over to NASA


Because software that runs 10 times faster than it did before, will run 10 times faster on the new faster computer too.

FTP becoming Forgotten Transfer Protocol as Debian turns it off



RFC114 might have been published in 1971, but that described ye olde ARPAnet FTP. The Internet (TCP/IP) FTP protocol we all know and love didn't arrive until 1980 with RFC765, updated in 1985 by RFC959 and later RFCs.

(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return


Rotors "powered by the wind"

Actually, that's pretty much how a gyroplane/autogyro works.

To quote Wikipedia...

"An autogyro is characterized by a free-spinning rotor that turns because of the passage of air through the rotor from below. The vertical (downward) component of the total aerodynamic reaction of the rotor gives lift for the vehicle, and sustains the autogyro in the air. A separate propeller provides forward thrust".

It's 30 years ago: IBM's final battle with reality


Re: succesful standard

Aaaand... 1.44MB 3.5in floppy disks, which were around for a while too.

Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly


Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

Not just one type, they can launch Harriers too.

Just a bit awkward that all the Harrier squadrons have now been disbanded.

The RN still have 9 Sea Harriers in taxiable condition for flight deck operations training though...


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018