* Posts by Richard 12

3294 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Netflix wants to choose its own adventure where Bandersnatch trademark case magically vanishes

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: I think the point here was that netflix intentionally

Great examples, let me explain:

"Word" (and "Office") are not trademarks. Only the icons for that application are trademarked, but the names were refused due to being common words.

"Windows" is a trademark in the specific, limited context of computer operating systems.

"Safari" is a trademark in the specific, limited context of a software application/program.

So it is entirely plausible that "Choose Your Own Adventure" might be declared a trademark in the context of books, but not streaming video (can one confuse the two?). Or that it's a common phrase and the trademark is invalid (do you have a dyson hoover?), or that it's trademarked in the context of arts and entertainment and Netflix are breaching it.

There will be much legal argument, and lawyers will make a lot of money.


Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers

Richard 12 Silver badge

With or without a plan, No Deal is the end of UK manufacturing, possibly the end of UK farming.

It's also seriously damaging to the financial sector (all those tasty taxes), IT and several other large industries.

Nobody at all trades under pure WTO rules. Nobody.

Under the WTO, if you unilaterally cut import tariffs, you must cut them for everyone - so zero-rating means the UK gets flooded with cheaply-produced stuff, and the local producers of said stuff go out of business because they become more expensive in the UK (undercut by abroad) and abroad (tariffs)

Worse, unilaterally cutting import tariffs removes the only big lever you've got when negotiating bilateral agreements. If chicken imports are already duty-free, what else can you offer? Cheaper chlorine?

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Can you blame us?

Trouble is, they couldn't be arsed to actually go and do their bloody jobs.

Look up their voting records. It's pitiful.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

Every EU member has a veto.

That's far, far more power than any of the devolved governments have ever had. One might almost call it ABSOLUTE POWEEEERRRRR!

Well, not quite but still.

The EU works on consensus, it's not adversarial like Westminster. That means the member states have far more power than it looks like.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

No, 30th June is what May asked for.

Even though it'd be illegal for the EU to do that unless the UK elected candidates to the EU Parliament.

She really seems to have never understood anything about the EU, despite her years in the Home Office.

The important dates are 12th April, which is when the elections start, and 23rd May, which is when the vote takes place.

On April 12th (or 13th?) the UK must start the election process or it won't be possible to be in the EU after the 23rd-26th May, because it wouldn't have any elected representation.

You know, the thing a lot of Leavers claimed didn't exist, even though Farage is one. He's bloody useless - he didn't bother turning up to any committees, and about 40% of the votes (ranked 746 and 748, very nearly the laziest MEP).

Presumably Farage was too busy arranging his second citizenship, or getting drunk in the bar to do his ****ing job.

PuTTY in your hands: SSH client gets patched after RSA key exchange memory vuln spotted

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Serial ports on windows

Windows serial ports are a lot better than they used to be.

It's now relatively simple to find the VID/PID of the USB serial adapter, and even an actual name and thus find the device you actually wanted.

You still have to manually disable serial mice in the registry though. Gods that's irritating!

In a humiliating climbdown, Facebook agrees to follow US laws

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Dear Facebook,

There's a lot of advertising billboards on my way into work.

Some of them are currently showing adverts for bacon, even though lots of jews, muslims, vegetarians and even vegans drive or take the bus past them.

Heck, they even show adverts for Halal investments, vegan sausages and chocolate eggs, sometimes right next to each other!

It's almost like it doesn't matter...

Meet YouTube-linked games-streaming Stadia, yet another thing Google will axe in two years (unless it kills Twitch)

Richard 12 Silver badge

Did they change the laws of Physics?

Latency latency latency!

Ever RDPd across the Internet? Even "playing" Excel is often intensely irritating.

I can only assume nobody in Google has ever played a first person game...

At 60fps, the latency from mouse to visual is 16ms or 32ms depending on the game.

My ping to Manchester is currently 28ms, and to Dublin (nearest Google datacenter) around 40ms. For reference, "slow" response starts being noticeable to most people at around 30ms.

So at 60fps, the game I see takes at least 3 frames just to get a mouse move from me to them and back, so in reality what I see is no less than 5 frames behind my input assuming the server and my browser can both draw it in less than ~10ms each.

So that "60fps" is 83ms latency, roughly similar to 12fps (albeit smoothed with really good interframes)

That's the best possible case, it'll be far worse for most people most of the time.

First-person shooter games would be unplayable against anyone with mediocre local processing, perhaps at all, and VR would be literally nauseating for absolutely everyone.

As a video streaming service it certainly could have legs. Twitch is often rather annoying, so making a better UX would be very valuable.

As a remote gaming service?

Not unless they install the servers in your local cabinet.

Croydon school rolling in toilet roll after Brexit gift deemed unfit for the Queen's Anus Horribilis

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Grow your own

More important in many places.

You only grow sheep if you can't grow anything better.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Grow your own

French oak that was already arranged in the shape of a ship.

Most of the English fleet was captured vessels. It's not piracy if you've hot a letter from the monarch, you see...

College student with 'visions of writing super-cool scripts' almost wipes out faculty's entire system

Richard 12 Silver badge

This is why I love git

The moment I start a project, even a throwaway, it's in local source control and I commit as often as I save. It's trivial to do and (with some IDEs) can even happen automatically.

If it turns out to work, I can make the result "public" without letting anyone see the early rubbish...

Bombs Huawei... Smartphone exploded in my daughter's pocket, seriously burning her, claims dad in lawsuit

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: If this is just a one off

Yes, they do. And if due to faulty manufacture, the seller, importer or manufacturer* is held liable for the damages. They usually settle out of court if it seems likely that they would lose, so you never hear about it.

Food is probably the market where this happens the most often, usually with restaurants. If minor, the customer usually accepts a free meal or an apology. If severe, the business's public liability insurance takes on the defense of the case and decides whether to settle or defend.

If the business doesn't have PLI, then yes, they do go out of business instantly. Especially as in many places/industries it's illegal to operate without it.

In the case of cars, the insurance company is usually the damaged party (they paid out to the consumer). You'll never hear about the way some back office staff recovered some percentage of your payout, as they'll increase your premiums either way.

Punitive damages are different. Punitive damages are only given if malice or incompetence are sufficiently proven, not accidental one-offs.

*Which one mostly depends on jurisdiction. In the EU it's usually the seller.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: If this is just a one off


A one-off badly manufactured thingy would still mean they badly manufactured the thingy and caused harm, for which they would be liable.

If proven to a sufficient standard.

What'll actually happen is that they'll settle out of court for some undisclosed sum without admitting liability.

Open-source 64-ish-bit serial number gen snafu sparks TLS security cert revoke runaround

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: If I owned a CA hit by this issue...

As a company, you'd be dead within a week.

Crypto relies on a good understanding and implementation of randomness.

Saying that one of the "random" bits was the same in every cert you've issued would be saying that you don't understand random numbers and can't properly implement it, so nobody should trust you.

Much better to admit you've only been using 63 bits of random and not 64, and fix it - after all, the fix is pretty easy if the rest of the implementation is correct.

These serial numbers are public, so it's not like you can actually pretend it didn't happen.

UK joins growing list of territories to ban Boeing 737 Max flights as firm says patch incoming

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: AoA sensors are a probe or fin on the side

Heads you live, tails you die

Richard 12 Silver badge

AoA sensors are a probe or fin on the side

Looks something like these.

The fin type is basically a fin on a potentiometer* (like a household rotary dimmer), the probe type measures differential pressure. I understand that the 737MAX has the fin type (as do most modern aircraft)

Any sensor could fail in flight - a plastic bag or helium balloon could wrap around it, a bird could hit it or crap on it, it could ice up or stick for other reasons, it might be fitted wrong or burn out young etc.

So if the sensor is really important, you have at least three, of at least two different designs and placed in different locations so that it's really unlikely that two would fail on the same flight (hit by the same object, ice up together etc)

With three sensors, you can tell which one is broken - the other two agree - and thus fly to an airport where they can fix it before you fly again.

If two break on the same flight, it's even less likely that they'd break in the same way at the same moment, so you can tell that at least two are broken - but you don't know which to trust and should ignore them all.

With only two sensors, if one is broken then you cannot tell which one is right, so you should ignore both if they disagree.

With only one sensor, if it breaks you simply don't know.

*Or other type of absolute encoder

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Avionics experts and the court of public opinion....

This aircraft is new. Very new.

This aircraft has now had two definite MCAS incidents, one of which caused a fatal crash during ascent.

This aircraft has now had another fatal crash during ascent. That's 3 serious incidents, including two fatal crashes during ascent in only 22 months. Far more than any other passenger aircraft that I'm aware of.

As we do not know what caused the third incident, the only prudent course of action is to ground the worldwide fleet until we do.

However, we do know that the Ethiopian pilots knew that MCAS exists, what it can do and how to disable it. That implies this crash does not have the same event chain as the previous two!

Something else happened - perhaps an unexpected side effect of the new procedure, perhaps something else entirely.

We don't know, and thus the aircraft must be grounded until we do.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: 737-800 v Max-8


Why did the FAA refuse to ask the question "What happens if it's broken?"

Even back then, and assuming that MCAS was perfect, if the MCAS lost all* its sensors, then the pilots need to be able to fly the aircraft without it.

That means simulator time, not just a couple of pages or a video to show them what an MCAS failure might look like and where the switches are.

If you can't fly the aircraft without it, then any failure of that system is a fatal crash.

* Seems to be just one... Gods!

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: The reason that the Max series need MCAS

No, that isn't true.

The computers have "normal" mode for when Everything Is Fine, and "alternate" modes for when the proverbial excrement has impacted the air recirculation device.

In the normal modes, it does all kinds of clever stuff automatically, to the point where it can technically handle flying and landing almost entirely on its own.

As it loses sensors, it fails back to simpler and simpler rules, based on how much information it is sure of.

In the worst of the alternate modes, it simply drives the hydraulics exactly how the pilot asked, because it knows that it has no idea what's going in.

That's supposed to be the basic concept.

Boeing appear to have forgotten this.

This is the Send, encrypted end-to-end, this is the Send, my Mozillan friend

Richard 12 Silver badge

Large files

This way you only need to securely send the recipient the few hundred bytes making up a URL.

That's far easier to do than to try to securely send the recipient a 1GB file.

Whether Mozilla can legally afford to keep running the service is another question, given the collective insanity of various governments.

Airlines in Asia, Africa ground Boeing 737 Max 8s after second death crash in four-ish months

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: UK CAA now suspended flights of the 737-MAX

If the Ethiopian crash turns out to be in any way related to MCAS (including 'it was turned off', whether intentionally or not), then the EU really needs to tell the FAA they no longer consider them competent to issue airworthiness certificates, and they'll make their own decisions from now on.

It'll be interesting to see what the FAA say when the results of the investigation are known.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Southwest's position (last November)

And once you've turned it off, the pilot needs to know how to fly and land the aircraft without it.

The number one set of skills and training needed by a modern commercial pilot is what to do when the computers are confused, how to spot that and how to fly and land the aircraft with them in the alternate laws.

The vast majority of commercial passenger jet incidents in recent years happened because the pilots did not understand what the computers were doing, or what to do when the computers don't understand what's happening.

- Air France 447 is a particularly tragic example, as the right thing to do was nothing, but the pilot flying didn't know that.

Because the purpose of MCAS is to make the aircraft fly like a 737NG, it obviously will not fly like a 737NG once the MCAS is no longer active.

So clearly, you need type-specific training and simulator time to learn how to fly a 737 MAX8 with MCAS (and other systems) misbehaving and disabled. I don't see any possible argument otherwise.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Background

If that's true then it should never have been awarded an airworthiness certificate, and whomever authorized it should be being held personally liable for all the deaths related to it.

Because that would be, and I put it mildly, a Fucking Stupid Design.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Except that clearly isn't true

As the Lion Air pilots were experienced on other 737 variants, yet did not do the right thing during their final flight

One wonders why the Boeing top brass still make that claim.

Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

Richard 12 Silver badge

But badgers are full of TB

Best put them in mushrooms, and snakes!

Meizu ditched hole-free phone because it was 'just the marketing team messing about', not because no one really gave a toss

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Niche use case

You'd never trust it to sterilise itself, but a properly sealed unit could possibly even be autoclaved, if designed with care.

Adi Shamir visa snub: US govt slammed after the S in RSA blocked from his own RSA conf

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: So where would they move it to?

US Transit visas effectively no longer exist, because you have to apply online, then personally visit a US consulate/embassy for an interview. Waiting time is around 1 to 2 months, costs at least $160.

If you qualify for ESTA then it's more or less ok, except that you run a high chance of missing your flight because their immigration is incredibly slow - at least partially because they don't have the concept of staying airside when "in transit".

I never connect in the USA for South America anymore. Direct flights or via Madrid.

WannaCry-hero Hutchins' trial date set, Microsoft readies Google's Spectre V2 fix for Windows 10, Coinhive axed, and more

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Monero Hard Fork

Oh, a different type of built-in obsolescence then.

Fair enough.

That approach means that it basically ceases to exist entirely, rather than splits into v1 (dead) and v2 (alive) as the entire point is to maintain a critical mass of disparate "miners". Each time it changes it will lose large groups of "miners" as they decide it's not worth it - a significant drop in value-per-time-interval for any good/service will always cause many operators to suddenly run at a loss.

As mid/large operators can't significantly scale down because of the external fixed costs, so they'll do something else, mothball or wind up completely.

So far every cryptocurrency seems to have been designed by people with little to no idea of how economics actually works. And I say that as someone with little to no idea how economics actually works...

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Monero Hard Fork

Means there are now two versions, and nobody wants the old one.

The difference between cryptocurrency and government-backed currency is that crypto ones do that every few years, and you've no rights at all!

It's not your imagination: Ticket scalper bots are flooding the internet according this 'ere study

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: North American problem?

It isn't an NA problem, it's just that most of the bots are hosted there.

Presumably because the hosting is cheap and they don't have to care about any pesky laws or regulations.

Also if you're competing against humans in (eg) Australia, you want to put the bots somewhere with bandwidth.

The case of the missing 300 Swiss francs: WIPO fires CIO following probe into allegations of fraud

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Are all these international patent organizations corrupt??

And I suppose it's also impossible to edit over the time shown in a CCTV recording for a few weeks ago.

Or for an internal post worker to be tempted by an obviously pre-opened bank card envelope...

There's no believable chain of custody, it'd be thrown out of any EU or EEA court.

In a galaxy far, far away, aliens may have eight-letter DNA – like the kind NASA-backed boffins just crafted

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Nitro

When we're talking DNA/RNA, I'm pretty sure that the first one to be able to reliably duplicate itself using "common stuff in the environment" wins everything.

In the primordial soup, there's plenty of goop for random experiments. However, once the first thing starts to eat the goop, there's less of it.

For two different types of life to compete, they'd have to arise from the goop more or less simultaneously, because otherwise #1 will have eaten everything.

Deton-8. Blastobox-3. Demo-1... One of these is the name of a SpaceX crew capsule test now due to launch in March

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: I don't get it...

The pad failure was during propellant load, which is done the same way whether it's for launch or fire test.

It was really just luck that it performed a RUD before a static fire engine test rather than before launch, as the sequence is exactly the same either way right up until the decision "let go/don't".

Given NASA's prior history with "things getting too cold and breaking", they're right to look into that very closely.

That said, is it safer to get the crew strapped into the abort-capable podule before the volatile mix is pumped in underneath, or to fill 'er up and then have the crew and support team walk across a bridge while the fully-fueled potential fireball seethes below?

I personally think SpaceX' approach is safer overall.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: What a let down.

The customer gets to name the flight.

But SpaceX get to name the vessel. I assume Dragons have names, anyway?

Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Well currently the problem with ARM is not the CPU

This, a hundred times this.

Right now, every SoC needs a customised bootloader and BSP, which means a huge amount of work before you can even start up a kernel and do your work.

And worse, it means there's no standard way for an application to detect which features a given machine has!

Fancy a .dev domain? They were $12,500 a pop from Google. Now, $1,000. Soon, $17.50. And you may want one

Richard 12 Silver badge

You forgot the reason for them

The ICANN board didn't own enough yachts, so needed to raise a lot of cash.

Northern UK smart meter rollout is too slow, snarls MPs' committee

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: If smart electricity meters can save electricity,

I avoid that by reading the meter every few weeks.

Sadly many energy billing companies have really terrible online meter reading interfaces, and you can't check before signing up...

Secret mic in Nest gear wasn't supposed to be a secret, says Google, we just forgot to tell anyone

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: £99

You sure?

Better keep refreshing the spec page...

Turn on, tune in, drop out: Apple's whizz-bang T2 security chips hit a bum note for Mac audio

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Astounding, indeed

USB 2.0 has plenty of bandwidth for multitrack audio and sufficiently low latency when properly implemented.

16 bit audio at 44khz is 700kbit/s uncompressed, so a bus offering 480Mbit/s should easily handle over 400 channels of audio (allowing for some overhead).

Most people want fewer than 8 channels.

So as a manufacturer, do you use the more than adequate, on-literally-everything interface, or do you use the really expensive interface that hardly any laptops have?

Oh, and most of the laptops and desktops that do have Thunderbolt only have one of them...

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Possible solution...

Except that then means you can't use any Thunderbolt or USB 3 kit at proper bandwidth.

Given that a major use case is running an external display (requires Thunderbolt) while also playing audio (requires USB sound card)...

Blockchain is bullsh!t, prove me wrong meets 'chain gang fans at tech confab

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: more than speculation


And why is it better than what is currently used? (Hint - it's worse because blockchain is slower and has larger storage requirements)

No, you can't quote IBM or Oracle. They'd gleefully tell you eating your grandmother was a good idea if they thought you'd pay them to cook her.

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams

Richard 12 Silver badge

Hah! That won't work on me!


The Lance Arm-strong of performance-enhanced CPUs: Armv8.1-M arch jams vector math into super-microcontrollers

Richard 12 Silver badge

A lot of the competitors are 8 bit

AVR (Arduino), PIC and friends.

These are the chips inside your PSU, your cooling fans, your washing machine, your boiler and your thermostat.

Except these days they are also the chips inside a lot of IoT, as the upper end have an ethernet stack

Bad news for WannaCry slayer Marcus Hutchins: Judge rules being young, hungover, and in a strange land doesn't obviate evidence

Richard 12 Silver badge


In the US, that phrase means "Has a British accent"

Judge snubs FBI's bid to snaffle Autonomy docs ahead of founder Mike Lynch's UK showdown

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: As court documents are they not in the public domain?

Evidence submitted to a court is never, ever public during the case as that would be prejudicial.

Most of it is then sealed at the end of the case, as it always contains a lot of private, personal and commercially sensitive information.

So no, it isn't public and probably never will be.

From Red Planet to deep into the red: Suicidal extrovert magnet Mars One finally implodes

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: "Sounds a bit like the Brexit campaign"

So a campaign can simply promise absolutely anything and everything, regardless of whether it's possible, true or even remotely plausible?

Billions for the NHS! Free cookies for everyone! Flying cars! Unicorns! Dragons! Deportations for anyone who looks at you a bit funny! Eviction for that family down the road with darker skin than you! Free beer! Free cheese wotsits! Instant awesome trade deals with every country in the world! An open but totally closed border with Ireland! Free parking!

Oh yeah, they actually did promise most of that.

UK transport's 'ludicrous' robocar code may 'put lives at risk'

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Airports and supermarkets

It was never a "3" point turn, ever.

It had always* been "turn the car around in the road".

You lose by touching anything - the kerb, another vehicle, pedestrians etc - or by not making progress.

As long as you are getting somewhere each time you move the vehicle, you still pass the section.

That's never changed.

*Since it was first added to the test. There was a time when there was no requirement to drive backwards at all.

Leaky child-tracking smartwatch maker hits back at bad PR

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: So Prior to the sale of these devices

Yes, there is such a database. They market it as being located in Germany.

Given their general attitude to security, one assumes that database is live replicated all over PaedoNet and searchable by anyone who has enough PaedoCoin.

You'd think someone would vaguely skim GDPR and security best practice before launching a device that has "I Am I Target" painted on it in such large red letters, but Internet Of Insecure Shite does seem to attract this kind of insanity.

He should think himself lucky that his product was merely banned, rather then the other legal (and extra-legal) responses one can think of.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Iceland

Iceland went effectively bankrupt during the 2008 financial crisis, so not quite sure what you're trying to say there.

Thanks for all those data-flow warnings, UK.gov. Now let's talk about your own Brexit prep. Yep, just as we thought

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Won't someone think of the tomatoes?

If it had a time limit then it would be utterly useless.

Same if either side could end it without the agreement of the other.

One or other party could simply run out the clock or pull out unilaterally and fuck the other. Same thing either way.

I'll paint you a picture:

How about we agree that I hold a sword over your head, and you hold one over mine for the next few years. I happen to be wearing a suit of armour so I'll only be mildly inconvenienced if you drop yours, while you'll lose an arm if I drop mine. (Doesn't matter which way around you think this is)

The unilateral option A is that I can decide to drop it on your head at any moment, or vice-versa. The time limit option B is that we agree to drop the swords when the alarm sounds, no matter what happens to be under the swords at the time.

Option C is that we both agree we won't drop the swords at all, we'll put them down gently once we've jointly agreed what to do.

Remember that I'm wearing armour, and you aren't. Would you accept A or B?

Of course not, you're not stupid.

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