* Posts by Peter2

1036 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Peter2
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Re: @Ben1892

I had a tour around a nuclear power station some years ago, and was able to gaze into the control room from the gallery. Nuclear power stations run on bespoke code written some time in the 1960's and not modernised much since. They just stuck a new console with a modern monitor in a retro style case at the end of the desk for the modern trendy stuff.

An approach which should have been followed with the QE class carriers, given that they have a design life of 50 years and might last longer than that if the government in around 2060 decides to do a relatively cheap life extension program to allow them to spend more on vote buying schemes instead of a relatively expensive replacement program.

By the time they certify all of the programs for WinX then that'll probably be out of support irrespective of the "WinX will be supported forever" thing from Microsoft. Unless you think that WinX is still going to be in support in 50 years aka 2067. Put into perspective, VAX-11/VMS was released 40 years ago, five years before a little company called Microsoft was formed.

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Australian govt promises to push Five Eyes nations to break encryption

Peter2
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Re: Conservative = tech-illiterate ?

At the same time the urge to observe everyone and everything seems to be very strong with his group.

If I was feeling snippy, I'd point out that these programs really got underway while liberals were in government in most countries. But look, breaking it down into political groups just leads to both groups throwing buns at each other pointing out which is more repressive and worse than the other and that doesn't get anybody anywhere.

The problem is authoritarianism versus liberalism, and pretty much all politicians are massively authoritarian or else they wouldn't be trying to persuade people to elect them as their rulers for a few years.

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

Peter2
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Seven years is the maximum sentence awardable by a judge for theft. This particular offense is probably going to result in a small fine and an admonishment not to be seen in front of the courts again, if that.

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Ex-NASA bod on Gwyneth Paltrow site's 'healing' stickers: 'Wow. What a load of BS'

Peter2
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Re: @andy 103: @45RPM

The problem, as mentioned elsewhere, is when kids get a thorough education in bullshit and not in actual fact.

Close. Very close.

The problem is essentially that kids get a through education in "argumentum ad verecundiam", that of the argument from authority. "Trust me, I know because I'm the teacher." or "the book says so, and the book is right". Teaching via this methods encourages charlatans to come out with people saying "this has SCIENCE in it. BELEIVE my claims or be ANTI SCIENCE", despite this approach actually being religion, not science. Science merely asks that you observe and record carefully, and tell other people the results in a coherent manner to ensure that they can confirm the same result so they can test your claim out if they think it's wrong. Nothing more.

Secondly, ever longer periods of education leads the people leaving the education system to think that they are all knowing, in a classic Dunning-Kruger effect rather than realising that for the most part they are merely being trained to a point that employers have some confidence it's worth paying them while providing further training and paying for somebody else to be providing the training.

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Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

Peter2
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Re: Okay...

The problem from Ubers point of view is that if Uber is only being "disruptive" by claiming that laws don't apply to it and playing very fast and loose and encouraging everybody else to do the same. That culture is why you visibly have problems like discrimination, sexism and a lawsuit from Google about stealing trade secrets, and those things are probably the tip of a larger iceberg.

Get somebody in who follows the law (and forces everybody else to) and the company is toast, and everybody there knows it.

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Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

Peter2
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Bootnote

Your correspondent knows a thing or two about long-range target shooting out to 1,000yds with a .308" Win Target Rifle, as defined by the NRA of the UK. Extreme long-range shooting with larger cartridges isn't something I've done much of, so if you think I'm wrong above, weigh into the comments section and show your working.

1,000 yards? Mere middling range. The Lee Metford rifle of 1888 was equipped with volley sights out to 3500 yards and they hit people at that range. (admittedly by telling an entire regiment "10 rounds volley fire at the target 3,500 yards in front of you, FIRE!")

Not quite single shot sniping, but shooting at this range isn't really, is it? ;)

By the way, nice shooting if you can actually hit anything at a thousand yards. That's a long shot.

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IBM will soon become sole gatekeepers to the realm of tape – report

Peter2
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Re: Magnetic Drives?

I'm curious if you honestly feel like the future of backup destinations is in magnetic tape media. Although SSD prices are still higher, the prices are dropping very quickly

Honestly, I think the future of offline offsite backups is in tape and I think HDD's are toast except possibly as online onsite single backup copies to save the hassle of getting last nights tape. SSD's aren't going to be affordable enough for offline offsite backups for a LONG time.

The catalogue price for a single LTO6 tape is £30 for 3.25TB uncompressed capacity. All you need to is ask, and you can get about 20% off of that if you have an account manager and are buying any sensible number, but anyway.

SSD storage costs are not in that ballpark. To get to 3250GB you'd need an awful lot of individual drives. Basically your looking at about £1000 worth of SSD's for the same level of storage and most companies doing tape run a month series of tapes.

Yeah, the price of flash is falling and that's a lazy comparison of looking at a last generation tape (LTO6 is last gen, LTO7 is available with double the storage) versus multiplying the space of the cheapest consumer SSD's which you wouldn't do, but the prices are roughly indicative. Even if the price fell by a factor of ten, tape vendors would still be saying "SSD's are triple the price!"

And that ignores that there is a tape roadmap out to LTO10, with a native capacity of 48TB per tape which the tape vendors will be marching along while the SSD price falls which is probably going to widen the gap to continue making tape viable.

So for offsite offline backups, there is little competition. Online backups are another matter, but for the cost versus risk factor it's not worth not doing offline storage of company endingly critical data.

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Peter2
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The exact size of the HDD doesn't really matter. My premise was that a company could go down a "no further R&D, ruthlessly reduce production costs" route and significantly impact the market, potentially keeping HDD's alive more or less indefinitely and potentially even wipe out tape for off site archiving.

I don't honestly think it's likely since tape does have a lot of compelling advantages but it's far from being impossible that radical action could keep HDD's in more or less mainstream use for a lot longer.

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Peter2
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Another, and perhaps more optimistic, conclusion is this: "Spectra believes that a probable long-term scenario is one in which flash technology and tape will coexist, and become the prevailing storage technologies for online and archive needs, respectively."

I think that's reasonably probable.

Though if an HDD manufacturer axed R&D and spending on new production equipment and just kept churning out 1TB drives on their existing equipment and got the price down to something like £20 per terabyte drive then that'd screw SSD's on storage and also be in a position to screw the rationale for tape- at that price if somebody created a briefcase full of HDD's connectable via USB3 you'd get the same storage as LTO7 at a similar cost without needing an expensive tape drive.

Difficult to foresee, the future is.

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'No decision' on Raytheon GPS landing system aboard Brit aircraft carriers

Peter2
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I really don't get why both the MOD & industry don't just turn around and say the actual situation.

"Yep, this is the first 70,000 ton ship we've built and it's got a lot of automation and systems never used before. All of them have to be tested and certified as working together before the acceptance trials are completed, and any problems found are fixed according to the original contract. It'll probably be available by ($actualdate + 2 months) but it might slip further backwards slightly if we discover any real problems. However, given the ships lifetime is 50 years and we haven't got any aircraft yet, it doesn't really matter too much if it's done a couple of months later than originally expected."

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Homeland Security: Putin’s hackers tried to crack electoral networks in 21 US states

Peter2
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Re: POSTAL VOTES

More than likely the DNCC “hack” was really a leak, which has been long suspected. That explains the effort put into hacking local election databases, by somebody, possibly Russia.

Wikileaks has always said that it was a leak by Bernie Saunders supporters who were pissed off at how corrupt Clinton was.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034038/Ex-British-ambassador-WikiLeaks-operative-claims-Russia-did-NOT-provide-Clinton-emails-handed-D-C-park-intermediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html

It depends who you think stands to gain by lying about it. Wikileaks doesn't have much to gain by lying about the source in my view. However...

1) The Democrats however would look incompetent if they admitted that the data was leaked from their own staff.

2) They'd lose the ability to play the "Trump is a Russian agent taking instructions from the Kremlin, and he's only in office because the KGB put him there!" line.

3) The Democrats would be embroiled in a political scandal about lying and using propaganda to cover up their own incompetence.

Ergo, wikileaks is probably telling the truth as there is no released evidence to prove Russian hacking, and they basically have nothing to gain by lying about it whereas the Democrats have much to gain by lying, and much to lose by admitting it was an inside job.

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IBM's contractor crackdown continues: Survivors refusing pay cut have hours reduced

Peter2
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Re: Why contract these days?

Add in the UK governments obsession with "equalising" tax payments for those who have permanent jobs

Which is a direct response to many companies severely taking the piss by making practically every employee a "contractor" to avoid having to pay holidays, sickness, pensions and in some cases, the minimum wage.

Presumably it was thought that reducing the benefits to doing this would reduce the attraction for doing it for companies. Personally I consider that the companies taking the piss were the problem here, not the Government responding to it.

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Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

Peter2
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Martin Baker have a nice section on their website detailing some of these successful uses of their products, scroll down past the first bit for the stories of people who have submitted some of those heartfelt "thank you" letters.

http://martin-baker.com/ejection-tie-club/

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Peter2
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As someone who was never afraid to do IT's job for them, especially if it had the potential to demonstrate how totally useless they were

Was that an ITIL servicedesk where the people had 5 minutes to resolve any problem that came in, with bonuses for fixing things remotely, by any chance? I blame manglement.

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Labour says it will vote against DUP's proposed TV Licence reforms

Peter2
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As for the comment, with nuclear power we are powering our life on a mortgage, to be paid off over a million years ... the utilities companies do not even factor decommissioning of power plants into their prices correctly, let alone waste management. These are undeniable facts, once you know these facts, nuclear power is silly.

And once you know that natural nuclear reactions have taken place 2 billion years ago at Oklo creating a nuclear waste problem that mother nature dealt with perfectly safely by geological disposal then arguments against geological disposal in sensible and suitable locations looks increasingly silly.

Thorium is the future of nuclear anyway, not uranium.

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Peter2
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Environmental sustainability isn't a cult though. If you genuinely see it as such, it's probably because you're too far gone to the consumerism cult.

Um. So if you think that chopping down trees on the other side of the planet, machining them down into pellets and then shipping them all the way across the sodding planet to burn in our green and environmentally friendly biomass (ex coal) plants is not:-

1) Green in any way shape or form.

2) Environmentally sustainable.

3) Likely to reduce CO2 emissions.

4) something which should qualify for renewable subsidies (which lest we forget were sold to the public as being required to reduce CO2 emissions to save the planet from downing when the ice caps melt!)

Then your a flat earth nut?

This sort of thing is a perfect example of why you shouldn't let activists anywhere near making decisions because you end up with a patently absurd situation which for some reason is defended by environmental supremacist zealots righteously convinced of their own superiority and unwilling to admit that making decisions on feelings rather than analysis demonstrably results in poor outcomes that run contrary to their own objectives. The people responsible for this sort of absurdity have more knowledge of slogans than sense, imo.

So yeah, if standing in opposition to this lunacy makes me part of a consumerism cult, then sign me up. If other sane people join then at least i'll be in sane company.

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Peter2
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Some actually decent stuff there. Some properly demented stuff too, so I'm told ( I haven't read the full thing ).

That would pretty much describe every parties manifesto, to be fair. Like Horoscope's, they are designed to have enough that everybody can identify with. Also like Horoscope's they tend to get ignored as soon as they are finished with (ie, in power).

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Lockheed, USAF hold breath as F-35 pilots report hypoxia

Peter2
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Re: O2 many issues

They might be. If and when they move from press releases and the drawing board into production (and testing) then we'll find out. Until then, they are essentially marketing vapourware.

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Peter2
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Re: given extra training to recognise the symptoms of hypoxia,

There's a difference between it being covered on the pilots original training "yeah, this could possibly happen if your plane is damaged so FYI..." along with a hundred other eventualities and "yeah, this plane is occasionally known to suffocate it's pilots. We think we might have figured out why and if that's the problem then we might have fixed it, but let's teach you how to deal with your own aircraft trying to kill you as you might need to know. But don't worry, you can have total confidence in our equipment! But seriously, don't forget to check your handheld backup oxygen container."

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Germany puts halt on European unitary patent

Peter2
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Re: Article 20 of the German Constitution strictly forbids ...

That's not an obstacle at all. This is what an obstacle looks like. (English Bill of Rights (1689)

"no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm."

Now, it appears to me that we are more ignoring the letter of that than the spirit, so I don't see how the German's can reasonably and consistently claim that a rather milder creative interpretation of their constitution is a massive breach of their rights.

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Donald Trumped: Comey says Prez is a liar – and admits he's a leaker

Peter2
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Re: @Kiwi Two things..

Consensual recordings are never an issue, but the UK has an interesting take on covert recording in that it is not explicitly illegal. However, you're not allowed to use those recordings in any legal process, and I think it's not legal to share them either

Not really. Admissibility depends on a lot of things, and quite honestly evidence is evidence and likely to be admissible by a court if directly relevant.

The situation is more:-

USA: You can prove your innocent, but the material is inadmissible in court so your found guilty.

UK: You can prove your innocent, the material is illegal but admissible in court so your found not guilty, but then get sued separately by the loser for a breach of the data protection act etc.

That said, if you had a recording but waited for the date of the court trial to produce it then you'd probably find it was found inadmissible, but that's only a problem when it's sprung on the opposition at the last moment as it can prejudice their right to a fair trial as they didn't know about that evidence so they could amend their story appropriately. (Lying under oath is obviously fair and accepted if they didn't know you could prove that they were lying beforehand, and that's fair)

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Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

Peter2
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Yep. Yes Minister was a documentary, rather than a comedy.

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Peter2
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If the owning partners are creaming off too much of the profit then you would expect market competition in the form of new practices being established nearby.

Buying or building somewhere to put the practice is a somewhat substantial cost for a salaried GP wanting to start their own company, representing a formidable barrier to entry.

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Peter2
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Re: Much of the NHS problems, are a result of other issues

It's a funny thing, but any of the big hotel chains can provide rooms for fifty quid a night and still make a profit. While there are further costs ensuing from care requirements (as opposed to medical issues better to be treated in hospital) why on earth does it cost so much more to get sheltered accommodation than a hotel room?

I think that £50 per room is something of a loss leader, which is why the rooms have a "pay to watch a film, billed to you when leaving" thing going and then charge extra for using their indoor pool, or having dinner or breakfast.

They'd probably cry foul if you booked every room in the hotel, disconnected the pay to use TV's, provided meals from a cheaper provider etc. If I'm wrong though, let's book out hotel floors for 12 month periods for sheltered accommodation.

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Peter2
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That's politics for you. GP's were told to reduce waiting lists down to X by the politicians, and they did it.

By not letting anybody book appointments for more than X weeks in advance. Not what was intended? Perhaps, but the figures look good and the politicians in power at the time could claim to have slashed waiting lists.

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Peter2
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Mmmm.

One minor thing though, GP's aren't part of the NHS.

I'm probably going to get downvoted out of existence by people who don't know this, but a GP practice is actually a private for profit business owned by the partners of the practice. They get money by charging the NHS for services rendered and providing those services more efficiently than the NHS charge rate under the terms of the "Standard General Medical Services Contract", which is available to download here:-

Standard General Medical Services Contract

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standard-general-medical-services-contract

So the recruitment problem belongs to that particular practice either not wanting to pay GP's enough to work there, or that they are doing precisely that: offering positions for salaried employees rather than allowing GP's to buy into the partnership and get a percentage of the practice's profits.

Regardless, as it's a private for profit business the government has no control over them.

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Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Peter2
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Re: @Kaltern

the attitude of the (few) people I've met from my area just seems to be so much more... open than where I came from originally.

Small population centres (villages and smallish towns) tend to be more open and friendly as people value knowing their neighbours.

The larger the population centre, the less privacy everybody has so they tend to avoid communicating to give each other privacy. This comes at the cost of knowing the people around you.

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Peter2
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Re: UK Fault lines

I seem to recall that somebody in the comments on a previous article on hyperloop pointed out how many people you could get in a hyperloop car compared to on a train, which seemed to make it impossible to be used as a mass transport system even if it was faster which would make it expensive beyond the point of making any economic sense whatsoever.

It's like Concorde in that respect. Incredibly cool design and engineering work that delivers people really quickly, but makes absolutely no economic sense whatsoever compared to the competition. I'd be surprised if hyperloop gets built on full scale honestly.

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Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Peter2
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Gov: Would you like a bigger budget to process all of that information?

Councils: And can we have it databased and available so we can check if people are really resident within schools catchment areas, and are putting the right things in the right bins?

MI5: . . .

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Europe to upgrade its continental GPS

Peter2
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The handsets don't keep track of the satellites per se. The satellites transmit a timing signal, and the receiving device does some math based on the number of signals received and calculates the position of the handset relative to the position of the satellites.

With GPS there are two sets of signals, military and civilian. The civilian sets find that the timing signals are slightly (and randomly) offset to deliberately induce a certain level of inaccuracy compared to the military signals. This is a design feature intended to make GPS fit for navigation but useless as an unauthorised guidance tool for throwing missiles around. This was originally about 50M horizontally and similar vertically, but reduced down to about 5M horizontally and 20M vertically for civilian users (inaccurate enough that if somebody built a cruise missile trying to do low level flight using it then it'd probably crash enroute)

1970's military systems were supposedly accurate to sub meter after decrypting the military signals, I'd guess that it would be possible to do better than this with modern processing power.

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First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

Peter2
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So, the chap was given essentially given:-

1) no induction from a live person;

2) no training from a live person;

3) no supervision from a live person;

4) Documentation which said "do this".

Doing "this" caused a severe disaster, which was then blamed on the person following the documentation. Let's say they want to go after the person for criminally wiping their database.

In the UK to prosecute you'd have to prove "Actus reus", essentially latin for "the guilty act" as in "he did it" and "mens rea" meaning "a guilty mind" as in "knowing and intending to cause [the guilty act]".

So in short, as he just followed documentation he was given there was no intention to cause "the guilty act" and therefore he's not committed an offense.

However, the person who wrote the documentation was a pillock. The person who authorised it was an idiot, and the person managing the lot of them ought to be fired for incompetence.

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Peter2
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Re: This is Getting Out of Hand

and investors will remember...

Doesn't seem to have stopped any number of asset bubbles in the past. The dot com bubble certainly didn't put investors off.

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Virtual reality headsets even less popular than wearable devices

Peter2
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Re: Stacy "Motion Sickness..."

Oh gods, didn't decent cause serious vertigo in those tunnels especially strafing in 3D.

To be fair, you did get used to that, but I think that 3D VR or just Augumented Reality glasses is going to cause a lot of eyestrain problems.

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Peter2
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Re: Stacy "Motion Sickness..."

The problem for me is motion sickness - something that I hope they get sorted soon

. . .

Ok, I've been a user of 3d systems since the early days when it was stereoscopics on a CRT with flickering LCD glasses, and I've seen a few generations of equipment come and go. This is in my view a problem that is fundamentally unsolvable and they are no further forwards to addressing the problems than 20 years ago.

I'll explain why to my understanding, and you can tell me if you think I'm nuts or somewhat correct. I make no claim to be a world leading expert, only an admin type with the usual blend of cynicism that we develop when exposed to marketing types view of their equipment versus the actual reality of it for too long.

The problem with motion sickness/vertigo on these systems is that your eyesight is reporting one thing to your body, but every other sense in your body is reporting something else. This causes your brain to sit screaming "BAD INPUT" as it's error checking says that while your vision reports your walking forwards your actually stationary. Short of the Microsoft hololens (or star trek holodeck) setup where your actually moving within a literal 3d environment then 3d equipment will always produce vertigo.

And then there's eyestrain and headaches, which VR peeps claim they can fix with higher refresh hardware. Again, wrong. (imo)

The issue is simply how your eyes work. Your eyes focus on something a long distance away, and then refocus to something a short distance away. Ever used a pair of binoculars? Same principle with your eyes focusing as with the focus wheel. You do it subconsciously though. This is not a serious problem on a typical VDU as everything is at the "same" distance as far as your eyes are concerned as they are just essentially reading a modern equivalent of a piece of paper that happens to be a bit brighter. Usually you change focus maybe a couple of times a minute when looking away from the screen for your cup of $beverage.

VR is tricking your eyes into *CONSTANTLY* changing focus between short range and long range at a rate that is not natural or supportable by the muscles that do the focusing work and that causes what is known as eyestrain. Eyestrain causes headaches, as anybody who has read the UK mandatory HSE Display Screen Equipment poster will know.

So even projecting text onto glasses for somebody to read will cause them to read that (~1inch focus) followed by focusing back to what they are doing at 2 feet away, and then back and forth.

Now you might be able to solve the latter by detecting the distance to whatever the person is focusing on, and projecting text that's readable at that focus length, but increasing the screen refresh rate appears to be a case of barking up the wrong forest.

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

Peter2
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Re: Boom

What is the figure of 1600 based on? I thought it was based on a rough guess and assumptions that pretty much all of the soviet era stuff is in use and maintained perfectly.

The Russians sensibly refuse to comment but given their known defence budget and known spending their figure is almost certainly closer to 16 than 1600.

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UK surveillance law raises concerns security researchers could be 'deputised' by the state

Peter2
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Re: Warrant Canaries

I think that just a big a question is "who issues the warrant", because if it was a real court as opposed to the kangaroo variety then the court order would be part of the public record.

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BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding

Peter2
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Re: Even if it is sourced locally

Devil's advocate for a moment: couldn't you say the same thing about electricity?

Yes, you could.

Which is why important servers have UPS's to ensure they don't lose power for more than a few milliseconds and backup generators which can then ramp up and take over from battery backups.

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‪WannaCry‬pt ransomware note likely written by Google Translate-using Chinese speakers

Peter2
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Re: More to the point

If Google says "it was done from THIS IP at THIS time", then I would imagine the Chinese government would be able to produce the rest from the logs of the great firewall of China. Unless China is massively behind the west in spying on their citizens, and we're told that they have a clear lead in this area.

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Intel pitches a Thunderbolt 3-for-all

Peter2
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Re: one physical connector to rule them all

Which is why people still sell monitors with only a D-Sub (aka VGA) connector and (some) things still come with PS/2 ports. Both cheap effective options that just work and courtesy of being around forever you always have plenty of stuff in the back of a drawer that can work with it.

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Industrial Light & Magic: 40 years of Lucas's pioneering FX-wing

Peter2
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The use of Frank Oz and his puppets to populate the planet of Dagobah and bring Yoda to life was another practical old-school technique that arguably gave the Jedi master more gravitas than the somersaulting CGI goblin of the prequels.

Much to learn they still have. Watch this again:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUKGTkiWik

Yoda was popular as a character not because of his looks alone, but because much of what he says to Luke is actually both wise, and said to the viewer as much as the character. When Luke gives up because something is too much of a struggle for him to keep trying, he decides he can't do it and then goes and sulks, that's something human relatable as is the lesson that it could be done if he hadn't given up.

Not for nothing are quotes from Yoda such as "Luke: "I don't believe it!" Yoda: "And *THAT* is why you fail." found in motivational courses and quote books.

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Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

Peter2
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Re: I hope they succeed ... but! Economics!

Depends on the scale and the willingness to "Think Different". Details matter.

If you flooded every single valley in the UK to form dams which you could run hydro power off of (which might encounter some political opposition from people living in those valleys) then you still wouldn't have anywhere near enough storage capacity, and it would be utterly economically unviable even if you accepted that any industry would flee to sane countries in response to prices rising faster than rockets heading to orbit, dropping power requirements considerably.

Pretending anything else after the studies on the idea have been done is an absurdity on a par with suggesting that the world is still flat, as is ignoring the undeniable fact that electricity prices have increased by a percentage that has no relation to the percentage of green usable electricity delivered unless you commit the same sort of accounting tricks used to get to zero coal use in a month.

Ah yes, chopping down trees to shred and feed into coal plants makes those coal plants "biomass plants" instead of coal plants. Even if the trees are co-fired with biomass then it's still "green energy" and saving the environment! Produced twice the amount of power today as wind as well!

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Peter2
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Re: Placed underground you say ?

>"The roof must be designed to withstand significant impact."

Like this? :-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25vlt7swhCM

PS. Don't tell Greenpeace. They spent lots of money on fearmongering TV advert campaigns about "what if an aircraft hit?!" and they get incredibly hysterical when confronted with evidence that people actually considered these issues long before they were born.

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AI-powered dynamic pricing turns its gaze to the fuel pumps

Peter2
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Re: Also this is NOT AI

I have an AI solution for doing this already for anybody that wants to buy it. Totally foolproof.

Have a weekly top up scheduled, and if in 3 days you've used >50% of the fuel in the hole under the garage then hike the prices by 10%, when 60% used then 20% and so on.

I'd also sell the next petrol station a sign 200 yards in front of the variable priced station advertising "NEXT PETROL STATION: ONLY 5 MILES AWAY. FUEL IS UP TO 10P CHEAPER PER GALLON TOWARDS THE END OF THE WEEK, AND UP TO 50% CHEAPER AT BANK HOLIDAY WEEKENDS".

Substitute petrol for "gas" if your American.

One fuel station would do quite well out of this, and the other should go bust.

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New York Attorney General settles with Bluetooth lock maker over insecurity claims

Peter2
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Re: Equipment Lockout != Security

This is a lockout.

http://www.shardasafety.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Ball_Valve_Lockout_Safety_Products_Locks_Safety_Locks.jpg

Bring your own padlock(s) if you don't trust the ones provided. Now I don't work in factory environments but I am passing familiar with industrial safety measures and like most IT Pro's who have seen things go badly wrong I'm somewhat paranoid.

Would I trust my life to a physical warning sign warning I'm working on equipment backed up with a couple of padlocks physically preventing somebody from throwing the power switch short of deliberately cutting the locks off with an angle grinder? Probably yes.

Would I trust my life to a Bluetooth fob...? Hell no. The list of problems with that idea is so long I hardly know where to begin. What if the signal gets blocked and the machine coding decides that I have left the area as has happened with deaths covered by el reg previously. No way am I trusting my life to a piece of computer code written by somebody in a hurry to meet a deadline that probably didn't have any QA testing "cos that's expensive and the programmer can do it". No, just no.

I'm going with a big physical lock on the breaker for the equipment. Seems far safer to me from my life experience.

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Bankrupt school ITT pleads 'don't let Microsoft wipe our cloud data!'

Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Other media options are available.

Dumping the data to sets of PST's and directories and throwing it on some form of removable storage would be the most sensible way of going about it frankly.

But doing that and encrypting it and saying that you'll hand over the encryption key when paid would be illegal under what law? It's certainly far more moral than simply deleting all of the data in question for non payment.

Obviously any IT professional would have pulled the data from the cloud if it was known that the bill wasn't going to be paid, but I guess they didn't have one on staff. I guess we'll see a lot more of this sort of thing...

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Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes

Peter2
Silver badge

El Reg has run a previous news article saying that he's won a court case saying that national laws don't apply to him. Therefore all such cases are going to the international labour organisation which has got jurisdiction, representing so much of their workload that it's effectively shut down the ILO and caused them to start attempting to get the issues sorted.

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Cook fights for life after Google summit blaze

Peter2
Silver badge

Having learned to take everything sales and PR types say with several tons of salt, it'd note that it says:-

A spokesperson for the web giant told The Register on Friday: "We can confirm there was a small fire in a kitchen at Shoreline Ampitheatre. We're thankful to the fire department for putting it out and ensuring everyone's safety. No attendees were hurt but regretfully, three event staff were injured and we're making sure they receive the proper treatment."

Now, that could mean that a discussion is going like this:-

Google: So, <event company> are your employees receiving treatment.

Company: Well, their at hospital, but I don't know how their going to pa...

Google: Great to know they are getting appropriate treatment.

Unless Google explicitly say they are paying for treatment, I wouldn't assume they are footing the bill. This being America hopefully they had medical insurance that covers their medical care.

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Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Time waste

They are very good at what they do. To be completely transparent, their technical skills are better than a lot of front line tech support people. It is a shame they are scamming rather than working for a legitimate company.

ITIL says that you should not recruit technical staff to main first line servicedesks.

ITIL was written as "how to get a functional servicedesk with the civil service pay structure". First line is expected to be paid 12k starting pay, up to 15k with about 5 years experience IIRC. The manual sayath that it's difficult to retain competent technical staff on such a wage. Second line is barely better for the same reasons and the structure is built around expecting that you can only afford one or two actually competent people at 3rd line, with us protected by legions of minions with such narrow training that they can't get a job in a different environment but are somewhat operationally effective.

Why managers decide to ignore certain bits of ITIL (like deliberately hiring minimum wage idiots) but then decide to rigidly enforce other parts of the ITIL structure (written assuming minimum wage competence) eludes me.

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Peter2
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Dump the landline

Great idea. Do you dump the VDSL running on it as well?

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Peter2
Silver badge

Re: Those in call centres

I can say will do anything but trigger their rage at being thwarted. I know my solemn duty is to keep them on the line for a long time, but I usually can't bear it.

Can't bear it?!? Hand in your BOFH badge now!

Just pretend to be a compilation of the worst traits of the worst suicide inducing users you've ever had inflicted on you to deal with. I actually had one scammer repeatedly screaming down the phone in frustration at me "following his directions" a little to literally. Well, it would have been if the Win98SE box running purely in my personal virtual memory (virtual nightmares, really...) was actually a real PC. Wasn't at a PC at the time so I improvised.

Scammer: "ok, goto type scammer.com into the address bar"

me: scammerdotcom says the page can't be displayed)

<5 mins of increasing frustration on his part>

me: Oh, you meant that "dot" should have been a full stop? Why didn't you say that?

Scammer: I DID SAY THAT YOU #%#$

me: <sob, hurt voice> but I'm just doing what your telling me to do, your instructions aren't very specific and I'm terrified that your going to leave my computer with this virus on it and etc etc etc...

He calmed down and was brought back to the brink another two or three times, lastly by the discovery that my "virtual" box was running win98 rather than vista or win7. Poor thing.

Ended up with their "supervisor" who made better progress, though IE 4 wouldn't display the website, they wanted me to send an RDC help invitation to get around that (on 98!?!) so eventually pushed them into realising IE4 was a bit old so tried to download firefox, which wouldn't run, "magically" let their 4th attempt at installing a different web browser to work before they gave up, then they had to talk me through uninstalling the AV, firewall, etc with reboots at each stage (and getting hung up on the old press any key thing to continue thing, I couldn't find it on the keyboard!) only to finally download their program and in their moment of triumph having finally got the program to run...

The piece de resistance...

Me: Yes! it's run. Oh. Was it meant to pop up that warning?

scammer #2: Yes, that's perfectly normal. Just click on yes.

Me: <upset> But it doesn't give up that option!

them: What does it say...?

Me: it says "A Fatal Exception of OE has occurred at 000, uh lots of numbers and "This application must be terminated" with a blue background.

Them: <fraught silence>

Me: <innocently> Was it supposed to do that?

I have heard a few phones slammed down on me in my career after telling people "no", but never one anywhere near that hard.

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