* Posts by Richard 12

2709 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: At 90X Jupiter's mass, and fairly pure hydrogen, how did this not ignite into a star?

Brown dwarves are MACHOs, and we have been pretty sure there aren't enough of them to account for the discrepancy for many years.

WIMPs remain plausible, and IIRC the Standard Model even predicts a few possibilities for them. Detection remains a problem as (by definition), they don't interact with the electromagnetic force.

Then there are various possibilities that have yet to make testable hypotheses but might.

And then hundreds of discredited or simply crackpot ones like MOND and others that might fit in some circumstances but do not work for smaller scales - like within a solar system.

2
0

Did you know: Crimelords behind DDoS attacks offer customer loyalty points?

Richard 12
Silver badge

The question is more "Who's buying them?"

I guess it could be cover for intrusion attempts or revenge for a slight or insult, but otherwise what do the purchasers want to get out of it?

"For the LOLs" doesn't really work if you just pay a few hundred USD, it's a bit expensive for a laugh and not visceral enough for a "to prove I can".

0
0

Ofcom wants automatic compensation for the people when ISPs fail

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Not thought though

So the ISP passes this cost onto Openreach.

Simples!

2
1

'Windows 10 destroyed our data!' Microsoft hauled into US court

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Re. 10

That may well be FTDI drivers deliberately nuking non-FTDI hardware. Actual physical damage in fact.

One of several reasons we don't use FTDI anymore.

8
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Even if that were true (it isn't), those who were upgraded to Win10 automatically did not agree to the Win10 EULA as they were not guven the opportunity to reject it.

MS (and others) will never go to court to enforce the EULA on a consumer because they might lose, and if they did it would quite possibly be the end of the company.

You don't bet the farm unless you really have to.

17
2
Richard 12
Silver badge

Except that doesn't work

I personally know of at least two systems where the Win 7 > 10 in-place upgrade failed and would not roll back successfully. In the end the only apparent possibility was a full nuke'n'pave. Fortunately there wasn't much data lost, but there was some.

I am certain that there are thousands of similar cases.

I am also equally certain that there are tens of thousands of people who tried to reject the upgrade but were forced into it, eg by the complete lack of a "Cancel" button in later stages.

Many of those will have wanted to return to Win 7, many of those will not have been able to find out how, and many will have been unable to because the "downgrade" process was not 100% reliable

Even a 1% failure rate would be many thousands of failures.

41
2

Pure Silicon Valley: Medium asks $5 a month for absolutely nothing

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: So they got $135m for this bo***cks?

Many companies selling real, physical custom hardware and software have an order of magnitude fewer staff.

I nearly said these companies have higher revenues as well, but then I realised that I have higher revenues than Medium.

As does the busker down the road.

6
0

Carnegie-Mellon Uni emits 'don't be stupid' list for C++ developers

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Good advice but

Guidelines are there to make you think when you break them.

Almost of of these recommended practices will have occasions when they should or indeed must be broken.

- The classic "access uninitialised memory" reason is when the memory content in question comes from another device, whether by DMA or other means. Initialising it yourself would be a bug - but reading past where the DMA has currently reached is also a bug.

So yes, break the guidelines - but when you do, think about why you're breaking them. Is it the right thing to do, or just the easy thing?

2
0

Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: We've been there before .. in 1991

Yet my several thousand unique image scrolling display scrolls smoothly and quickly on Windows.

Also on Linux.

It took an hour or so to write, and less to port and reuse.

0
0

Coppers 'persistently' breach data protection laws with police tech

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Simple solution...

Where are the consequences?

There clearly aren't any, as they either don't think they'll get caught, or don't care if they are.

1
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Some people can be trusted with that ability

Many people would abuse it - occasionally, and with what they thought was good cause - if they believe that they can get away with it.

The only way to avoid that is to have Consequences with a capital C.

The organisation can only be trusted if those who transgress are rapidly, publicly and always prosecuted, and fired.

By their own numbers, 2% of the police force break these rules every year. So it is clear that there are simply no consequences for transgression as either 2% of the force are repeat offenders or most of the force have done this at least once.

3
0

Now UK bans carry-on lappies, phones, slabs on flights from six nations amid bomb fears

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Not to be taken at face value

So doubly stupid.

The same "we're on to you" message would have been far more effective by saying "We're on to you".

Instead they chose to make flights demonstrably more dangerous in the name of fake security.

When even air security consultancies are asking WTF, you know the Government have lost their minds.

0
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

So now large, fragile batteries must go in the hold

Where several of the tens of thousands of innocent batteries will get crushed, start a fire and bring the airliner down.

Either they think the security at these airports can find prevent bombs getting onto planes, or they don't.

This ban greatly increases the overall risk of a plane falling out of the sky.

I won't be flying to these places because I don't want to be in a plane where the hold is filled with Li-Ion batteries.

Lithium batteries aren't permitted in airfreight. What kind of idiot forces them to be?

3
0

Plusnet slapped with £880k fine for billing ex customers

Richard 12
Silver badge

El Reg has a long history of completely unrelated stock photos.

I sometimes wonder which RNG they use to pick them.

0
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

We'll do you

0
1

Linux, not Microsoft, the real winner of Windows Server on ARM

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: 5 times more likely to be hacked

Perhaps because Linux makes up about 99.999% of Internet-facing devices?

Including a lot of IoT crap that isn't even pretending to be secured.

4
2

User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: On where power buttons are...

They used to be good. The "cheesegrater" desktop was indeed very good.

The current keyboards are poor laptop ones. No feel, too small and so many keys missing.

Charging the mouse means flipping it upside down or resting it on the charge cable.

There's no indication of charge level whatsoever - when is it fully charged? The paired Mac will warn you if it's nearly flat if it's running, but there's no other indication at all.

0
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: On where power buttons are...

I despise Apple desktop design.

It's clearly only for looking at, not for using.

The keyboard and mouse that come with them are almost unusable, and charging the mouse is ridiculous!

Yes, I also wasted 20min trying to figure out how to turn it on. Why hide the power button? TVs have put them on the edge for decades.

3
0

Europe will fine Twitter, Facebook, Google etc unless they rip up T&Cs

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Long overdue John Brown

No, courts don't.

The law is the law, and (at least in the EU), T&Cs and contracts cannot remove any consumer protections whatsoever. (Businesses are assumed to employ lawyers)

What happens is that they either drag it out until the consumer gives up, or they settle out of court.

26
0

Face down in a Shoreditch gutter: Attack of the kickstarting hipster

Richard 12
Silver badge

Duct tape works perfectly

As long as they have a beard.

Unfortunately it only works once, as the second time they don't have a beard.

9
0

National Insurance tax U-turn: Philip Hammond nixes NIC uptick

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Old Tom

You must have voted in a different referendum to the rest of the country then.

The ballot papers I saw said "European Union".

There was no mention of the Single Market or the Customs Union for that matter.

1
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

"safeguard British interests in the Single Market"

Direct quote from page 72. It's in the header and in bold, right after the "run a referendum on membership of the EU"

May has annouced her explicit intent is to remove all British interests from the Single Market. The exact opposite.

4
2

Dark matter drought hits older galaxies: Boffins are, rightly, baffled

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Dark Matter? WTF?

For a while there were competing WIMPs and MACHOs. MACHOs have since lost, but WIMPs haven't been found or disproved.

I live in hope for another "that's odd!?" Perhaps this observation will get us somewhere!

1
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

It's from before the photino birds evolved

Obvious, right?

5
0

SpaceX yoinks $96m GPS launch deal from under ULA's nose

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: reusable rockets

It's also a long way from land. With a boostback burn, SpaceX are landing around 200miles out to sea. That's within the (eg) Sea King endurance but doesn't leave much margin for time on-station.

And very heavy, orders of magnitude heavier than anything previously attempted.

Helicopters aren't particularly stable at the best of times, and the airframes aren't designed for shock loading.

Ditching a helicopter is not fun.

0
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: reusable rockets

It has the advantage of being something that the US military have tried before.

They've even successfully done it once or twice, and so far no aircrews killed! Majority of payloads lost of course.

Frankly the FAA should shut them down. This operation is ridiculously dangerous and simply cannot be considered for routine operations.

Risking an aircrew is just stupid. There's a reason SpaceX use a robot barge.

6
1

Headphone batteries flame out mid-flight, ignite new Li-Ion fears

Richard 12
Silver badge

Hurray for wireless earpods!

Or maybe not. Maybe I'll stick with headphones that take alkaline AAs.

13
0

NASA finds India's missing lunar orbiter with Earth-bound radar

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Puzzled

So it covered a fairly large part of the expected arc, not the very tip.

My ASCII-art is terrible, but think on a circle and draw a line.

If the line is a true tangent (touches the very edge) to the circle you get one moment, and if you miss a little high you never see anything at all.

If the line crosses slightly inside, you get two chances and if you miss a little high you still see something.

17
0

Force employees to take DNA tests for bosses? We've got a new law to make that happen, beam House Republicans

Richard 12
Silver badge

@Matt Bryant

Die.

Go bankrupt.

Go bankrupt and die.

Lose your job, go bankrupt and die.

Those aren't choices, stop claiming they are.

Under the rules you're recommending, if you get sick and are not incredibly wealthy, you die. In many cases painfully and slowly.

If you're lucky, you bankrupt your family to pay (or even "co-pay", what a term!) for your treatment. You then can't get any insurance at all ever again, and next time, you die.

When you get sick, think on the thousands of people you have doomed to die. Then die, alone, in pain and having spent everything you have.

A civilised society cares for its sick.

A civilised human being is happy to pay into a central pot to care for all the sick.

A self-interested human being is happy to pay into said central pot because they themselves may get sick.

Only a fool thinks that pot shouldn't exist. Only a psychopath thinks the only pot is for them alone.

21
0

Volkswagen pleads guilty to three Dieselgate criminal charges

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: That was never the test

Yes, the only conditions that matter are those defined in the regulations. That's what regulations are.

You are saying that if you can run 100m in 15sec at sea level, then I can also demand you do the same at 5km altitude. Or 10km.

According to you it can be done under any conditions at all!

If you don't like the regulations, lobby your politicians to change them. I think that they could and should be improved, specifying behaviour under some range of conditions that covers all expected European driving conditions.

But they don't. In fact they explicitly exclude low temperatures and high altitudes. The reason is probably clear by now.

1
1
Richard 12
Silver badge
FAIL

That was never the test

Useful tests are under controlled conditions. A particular set of ambient temperatures and pressures etc.

The regulations do not and never can specify "real world" results.

They only specify results under a particular range of conditions.

The regulations specifically allow manufacturers to have higher emissions when cold etc.

Yes, it would be better if the test covered more sets of conditions. It didn't.

But nobody else actually changed how their engines ran based on whether they were actively being tested.

There have been a lot of really shitty articles about this.

It is meaningless to compare the emissions in unknown conditions to the emissions in specified conditions.

That's like saying Bolt is a terrible sprinter because he can't run 100m in 10sec, without mentioning that it was at 10,000m altitude. Of course he bloody can't!

6
2
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Natural Law v Governmental Law

The emissions laws are met by everyone else.

The difference is that the other manufacturers use a bottle of urea and a catalyst to scrub the NOx.

VW claimed not to need the urea. Seems they lost the pissing contest

The regulations are set un consultation with manufacturers - the targets are set at a level the manufacturers think they can meet.

15
12

If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: TBH I suspect it's another case of pulsars.

FTL is probably impossible as it would violate causality, and offer infinite free energy.

Maybe that's what FRBs are! A civilisation inventing FTL travel...

And immediately exploding :(

1
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: "accelerate nano craft to speeds up to 161 million km/h"

Investmentments in Twitter and Snapchat are for the exact opposite reason. You can make a lot of money in the first few seconds.

And lose everything after that.

1
0

Favored Swift hits the charts: Now in top 10 programming languages

Richard 12
Silver badge

C is number one in microcontrollers

C++ is becoming more popular now that the really cheap ARM M0+ have so much RAM, but when you need raw speed in a tiny memory footprint, it's C or assembly.

And no commercial enterprise wants to write assembly. It takes too long.

2
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Meh, iOS language at #10 Android at #1

Android itself is mostly C and C++, being a Linux kernel and custom userspace.

Go is rather clever for massively parallel jobs, but I doubt it will ever be very useful for an individual movile device.

Android apps are mostly Java(ish) or C++. Java has the advantage of not needing an x86 or Arm64 port, but lower performance.

Often you don't care about speed, often you don't care about x86 as there's hardly any x86 Android tablets.

2
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

No increment/decrement?

Really?

But that is the one piece of syntax most used by anyone ever!

Sorry, but pulling that is just stupid and an indication that the design team have run out of things they can usefully do - either the design team must go or the language is dead.

What's the replacement syntax for "next/previous iterator"?

- many iterators fundamentally can't jump forward/back by more than one step, what would that even mean for a red/black tree anyway?

Or is nobody allowed to use while(??){...} loops on sets of iterators in Swift?

0
0

'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Better security questions needed

But those are all public knowledge!

7
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Why does anybody treat passwords as ASCII FFS

*cat* *sticking-out-tongue* *taco*

10
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Why does anybody treat passwords as ASCII FFS

Just accept almost any bytes above a certain length into your hash function.

This only needs to be entered by the user, nobody ever needs to see it. Who cares if the current font can't actually display it? You're only showing * anyway.

There should be nothing wrong with using an emoji sequence.

Oh dear El Reg. I can't post emoji? That's terrible!

5
1

Road accident nuisance callers fined £270,000 for being absolute sh*tbags

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: My policy is...

Bollocks. You can 'ing swear all you want, because they called you.

What you can't do is phone someone else up at random and swear at them.

Anyone calling you is fair game.

0
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

It should be like H&S law

If you are prosecuted under the HASAWA, you have to prove that you did everything reasonably practicable to prevent anyone being injured.

Even if nobody has been hurt.

If someone has been injured, it's obvious that you didn't do enough to prevent the injury - but you still have a defence if you did everything reasonably practicable.

So why shouldn't telesales also have to prove that they did everything reasonably practicable to ensure that they never called anyone who didn't give explicit permission?

It's not like it would be hard to keep records of where the names and phone numbers came from and the specific permissions granted.

4
0

MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

Richard 12
Silver badge

This isn't when the phone is connected

When wifi is on, your smart device regularly checks whether there is a wifi hotspot it can connect to - for example, as you get home it automatically connects to your home wifi.

When you open the "list of wifi", it also does this search and shows you the ones it found and their approx. signal quality.

Smartphones also use the visible wifi hotspots to determine their location without a GPS fix.

In order to do all this, it sends out wifi probe requests, asking for hotspots to answer with their MAC, SSID etc.

Those probe requests could have a randomised MAC, because they aren't used to connect anything. They are simply an "Is anybody there? Tell me about yourself please."

Once your phone decides that it will connect to a hotspot, it changes over to the "real" MAC address and attempts to connect to it.

The problem with the randomisation idea is that the hotspot can also send a "Tell me about yourself", and gets the real answer.

7
0

After 20 years of Visual Studio, Microsoft unfurls its 2017 edition

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: What's NOT new for Visual Studio 2017

The cross-compilation is based on support for clang, so it's there.

I believe they currently have three supported toolchain backends - msbuild, nmake and clang.

To be fair, msbuild is quite good and a lot of other IDEs use nmake.

VS still seems very naiive about multicore/multiprocessor machines though. /MP is a hit of a hack, and it seems that it is still completely impossible to put pre-build steps in parallel.

1
0
Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: The best IDE bar none

Nope. Not even close.

For example, "Find References" just doesn't work at all.

It's a naiive text search. Look for references to a private member variable and they appear *everywhere*. Makes it utterly useless

The refactoring tools are a terrible joke. It can't even recognise a constructor, and half the time it just doesn't work at all.

Not to mention that changing a method signature is stupendously difficult. Forgot to make something const originally? Need to add an extra variable? Welcome to hours of pain trying to fix it, because VS will not help you.

- at least the compiler might.

The "find callers" is also ludicrously slow. How can it possibly take VS longer to find the callers of a method than it takes the toolchain to do a full clean build?

The other IDEs I use do all that - and finding callers and references seem nearly instant. Perhaps clang is just a better backend than Intellisense?

The project files are really scary in a multi-developer environment, as they are very hard to merge and VS will not help you.

Lost a closing tag in the merge? Poof, your project is gone. Not even an "invalid blah at line X". Just gone. Hooe you're good at manually manipulating XML.

VS does have some very nice debugging tools, but the rest is really very poor.

1
1

Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Or we can read this as

RJ45 depends what you do.

If your use of the network connection needs high bandwidth or low latency, you will curse every device without an RJ45.

Adapters on laptops are a curse. A bundle a extra bits - that all look very similar - will get forgotten, lost and broken.

I can't count the number of times an important Macbook user forgot the Mac-to-projector adapter and had to do the presentation on a small screen...

RJ45 adapters on laptops are even worse, as the RJ45 locks but the USB doesn't.

Many applications can handle hotplug of the network connection, practically none can handle hotplug of the network adapter itself...

1
0

Your Amazon order is confirmed: Eutelsat via Blue Origin. Estimated delivery date: 2022

Richard 12
Silver badge

One presumes this is an option, not a booking

Given that Blue Origin have yet to stage a rocket at all, let alone put anything into orbit.

SpaceX had a lot of trouble getting the staging sequence right, it seems likely that this is because it is hard.

I wish Blue Origin all the best, but this announcement is several years too soon.

6
0

Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Answer

A successful defence is however meaningless in this situation.

You have already lost your job, your home, your family and your entire future.

Because you don't have anonymity, the news and the local gossips have destroyed you before your lawyer even speaks.

And the "enhanced" DBS will include this as well ("hearsay" is in there), so even if you move away your career is still ended if you were a teacher, care worker or other post where the Enhanced DBS searches are done.

7
1

Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery

Household loads are becoming increasingly non-linear with really awful harmonics.

For example, most LED lamps draw a huge surge partway up the rise, then snap off partway down the fall.

Then there are the electronic motor drives in modern washing machines etc, and the turn-on surfes of the SMPs in all the household equipment.

The only linear loads in my home are the kettle, coffe maker and electric oven. Everything else is an SMP or a motor drive.

This is only going to get worse, of course.

9
0

Pence v Clinton: Both used private email for work, one hacked, one accused of hypocrisy

Richard 12
Silver badge

Abject and total fail on your part

You *do not know* what Pence emailed using his personal email service.

He, the operators of his email server - and the group that hacked into it - are the only people who might.

He demanded that Clinton's use of a personal email service for Government business be investigated by the FBI.

Pence's use of his own personal email service for Government business also be investigated by the FBI.

There is no difference here. Both breached their duty, both must be investigated and, if anything is found, prosecuted.

In fact, so far we know that a great many, possibly a majority of US officials have used personal email services.

Clinton is the only one who has been investigated, and it was found that she had no case to answer.

Unless you are willing to subject your own side to such investigation, you are a pure, unadulterated hypocrite.

19
1

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017