* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5819 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Assange offers job to sacked Google diversity manifestbro

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Re: I had to re-read the footnote.

Is that where he pretends to be a cat licking cream off people?

Oh, that mental image has put me right off my dinner next 100 meals.

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Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds

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Re: Yes, can I spec my self driving car

Thomas Steven 1,

NO! NO! NO! NO!

Not get into car. Alarm clock comes on with Thunderbirds music. Bed tilts up and pours you down a chute to the garage. Where you're loaded in through the roof of your car.

Possibly pouring you into your trousers as well. In which case you also need Wallace and Grommit music.

Some sort of auto-breakfast machine seems very important as well.

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With or without Raquel Welch in a skintight jumpsuit?

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Re: Option to drive manually

Francis Boyle,

It's not over-thinking. There's a lot to think about. If the car was brand new now, it would be a lot more tightly regulated - given how easy it is to kill/injure yourself and other people with one.

Just how reliable are we expecting self-driving cars to be? At the moment planes can fly themselves, and have been able to for years. But we still don't let them. For example, auto-landing systems can't lower the undercarriage or flaps. Even though I'm sure that could be done with some pretty simple software changes. And the pilots are supposed to take over for the last bit of landing anyway.

We're now having the debate about using the automation a bit less, so that the pilots have more hands-on experience for those times when the automatic systems get out of their depth and dump control onto the pilot.

Now admittedly driverless cars shouldn't ever be going faster than 70mph on the motorway, and ideally shouldn't be airbourne. So this makes the safety easier. But safety people tend to be cautious. So there'll be a big debate about whether driverless cars should just have a default braking behaviour - or whether they should dump control to the meatsack when they don't know what to do.

If they decide that non-professional meatbags will be too distracted and confused to take over - then they'll have to come up with a bunch pre-programmed stopping behaviours. If they can't think of safe ways to do that, then they'll either ban the cars, or allow the fiction that control can be handed over safely and hope for the best. On the assumption that the automatic systems will prevent more accidents than they cause.

As someone who can't see well enough to get a licence, this is of direct interest to me. If they go the hand control over route, you'll still need a driving licence to be allowed to operate one. My feeling is that it'll be at least 5-10 years from them being legalised for hands-off driving for normal plebs - before someone like me is legally allowed to use one.

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You had ONE job: Italian firefighters suspected of starting blazes for cash

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Re: GNU TERRY PRATCHETT

Crassus* in 1st Century BC Rome got rather rich (and unpopular) with a similar trick. He had a personal fire brigade. He'd turn up with a team of firefighting slaves and a lawyer at your fire. Would you like to sell me this property? Say for a third of its value? No? Well OK then, me and my firefighting slaves will be over there watching it burn, in case you change your mind...

*He of killing off Spartacus and Triumvarate with Caesar and Pompey fame. They did the generalling, and he did the vast wheelbarrows of cash for bribing.

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Foot-long £1 sausage roll arrives

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Re: achieve fusion

That's why the correct dose of toasties is 2. You cook number one and plate it up, cutting it in half. Then you cook toastie 2. At the point this hits the plate, and is cut in half, then and only then are you allowed to consumer toastie 1.

Unless you've foolishly put tomatoes in it, or made the awesome (but deadly) jam toastie. In which case, give it another hour.

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Re: Offal and fat

AKA: Lips and anus.M

Well I've heard that sausages are made out of lips and arseholes.

But personally, I think it's just bollocks...

[gets coat, wanders off looking guilty.]

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Re: Whilst we're on the subject of food stuff from Morrisons.

And they sell ox kidney - which is very important if you want to do decent steak and kidney pudding. They even do combined packs to save you a couple of seconds buying/unwrapping time.

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Happy

Re: Whilst we're on the subject of food stuff from Morrisons.

They also sell stripy cheese. It's basically layers of different coloured, but not noticably different flavoured, cheddars. But who doesn't want zebra cheese on their tiger bread?

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Re: I've just bought one

That's some top quality research done right there. I congratulate you.

Now can you tell me which iPad model is the tastiest?

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Re: Obligatory...

Beer or tea I think. Depending upon time of day and temperature.

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It's unlikely to be american because of tarrifs on food imported into the EU.

It's also a traditional British sausage, so meat quality is not an issue to be concerning yourself with. I'm sure it's made with nearly 100% pig product, and that's all you need to know sunshine.

To be fair, they haven't called it the Morrison's Finest Organic Wholefood Farm-Assured Superfood Sausage Roll.

So it seems rather pointless to moan about how it's not the world's finest quality food product. There are times when a lovingly produced and expensive food is what you want, and there are times when something that's big cheap and hot just hits the spot. Like at a football match in freezing December rain.

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Mushroom

The problem with the Greggs cheese and onion pasty is that the bigger they make it, the hotter the inside will be, when you try and eat it.

So there's a size limit after which the cheese-like substance in the middle will hit the critical threshold and achieve fusion.

Which is brilliant if it happens and solves the world energy crisis. But not so great if I've just bitten into it and it's gone all over my tongue...

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Google drops poker face, allows gambling apps on Play Store

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Unhappy

Does this mean we can have the disembodied floating head of Ray Winstone shouting out of our phone screens now?

And when we get augmented reality glasses connected to our phone it will also join in?

So you're walking down the road. Then the sat-nav says, "turn left onto Acacia Avenue."

Then Ray pipes up, "there's a little old lady crossing the road there. Bet in-play now! Will she be crushed by the oncoming lorry, or will it stop in time?"

"Would you like an accumlator on her poodle also surviving?"

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Space Duck 2.0 is New Horizons' next destination

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Re: Looks like Snoopy to me.

Surely it's a cashew?

For comparison, here's a picture of a giant space duck.

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CMD.EXE gets first makeover in 20 years in new Windows 10 build

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Re: They are bonkers

If I'm getting a chocolate monitor then I don't want any of this crappy, modern LCD stuff. I want a 30" CRT made of solid chocolate. I want to get my money's worth.

Now to find a fridge large enough to fit it in.

Oh and I'd better book some more gym sessions, so I can lift it.

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Linux kernel hardeners Grsecurity sue open source's Bruce Perens

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I mean, who wants to do business with people who do stuff like that?

I don't know. Lots of people do business with Oracle.

OK admittedly you did say, "<bold>wants</bold> to do business with"...

See also: Apple, Microsoft etc.

This is the kind of thing you can get away with if you're a dominant player, or customers are locked into your stuff. I can't see it going down too well in open source land, and from a non-dominant company though.

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Sun's core in a real spin, but you wouldn't know just by looking at it

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Happy

So this guy has spent 8 1/2 years playing GOLF on the Cote d'Azur - and gets paid for it! I'm in the wrong job, obviously.

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Ofcom: Blighty has devolved into a nation of unwashed binge-streaming mole people

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Re: Newsflash

Surely:

"THROW DOWN YOUR SPONGE PUDDINGS AND COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!

"YOU WILL BE TAKEN INTO CUSTARDY!"

But he was found dead in his cell a few hours later, covered in cream and sprinkles.

Police say he'd been topped.

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Happy

Re: Newsflash

With custard!

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Why do you cry when chopping onions? No, it's not crippling anxiety, it's this weird chemical

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Re: pah!

Mandolin soup is delicious. It's just the bits in it can be a bit stringy...

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Happy

Is that like an upgraded version of the tinfoil hat?

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Re: i chop a lot of onions

I think it also helps if your knife skills are reasonable.

Not that I'm anything like at chef-level, but I cook quite a lot.

I was doing ratatouille for 10 on Saturday. A friend offered to help and got stuck on veg-chopping duty. And he was leaning quite close to his chopping board. Presumably because he doesn't chop much and was looking at what he was doing. I'm pretty sure that's how I used to do it as well, given I've got very poor eyesight. But now I'm as much working by feel, as by sight. Using my hand to guide the knife, so I can chop without losing fingers.

So while his eyes are nice and close to the onions, mine would be much further away. Or that could make no difference, and it's just that I'm used to it. Occasionally I'll get a batch of really strong ones that bring a few tears - but normally there's no effect.

Now the time I stupidly used a blunt knife and squirted chilli juice into my eye - that did cause tears. My eye was red and swollen for the next 2 days. I think it watered for about 2 hours.

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Apple chief on Chinese VPN app ban: We always toe the line with other nations' laws

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Funny legal compliance

In the UK they don't comply with the most basic rules.

Get an iPhone through a mobile company and try and send it back within warranty period.

They won't take it because Apple insist that you go direct through them. They then try to claim that you have to promise to pay them something stupid like £120 if there's no fault with the phone - and they'll take that off your card at their discretion. Then they ship you replacements and collect yours.

That's totally illegal. Your contract is with your vendor - in this case the mobile phone company. And it's them that are legally responsible for returns.

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Cancel your summer trip to nearby Proxima b. No chance of life, room service, say boffins

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Happy

Re: The five year mission continues

I want to go to the planet with mangofish and gold trees...

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HP Inc reveals dockable, wearable VR workstation for the office

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Re: In the UK ?

2 weeks ago, we had a thunderstorm that was so heavy that it rained inside the pub...

Turns out that the seals on their conservatory roof couldn't take the pressure. Perhaps they were just upset because their beach ball blew away?

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Re: In the UK ?

But it so rarely rains in the UK.

Our weather is famous for its clemency and predictability...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: good toy for Christmas

Surely what you need is augmented reality zombie attack game, to keep you warm on a cold winter's night, walking home from the pub.

With bonus marks if it can make your kebab look like the severed limb of one of the other survivors.

Or even better, make it look edible...

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NEWSFLASH Now even science* says moneybags footballers are overpaid

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Re: How much are they taxed?

There apparently used to be a lot of shennanigans with paying a portion of players' wages into foreign trusts and companies ten years ago, but I think most of that's been stopped now. It would be funny if they were on PAYE, but I assume they're contractors. There also used to be a distinction in the way players got paid for "image rights", merchandising cash and their playing wages - another area ripe for possible tax exploitation.

There was some sort of system to recognise that foreign players who came here to play Wimbledon say, probably shouldn't be paying tax here, as they're not really "working" here, so much as playing a 2 week international tournament that happens to be in South London. As I understand it, this got abused and so was changed.

But that left people complaining about having to pay 45% tax to the UK government on their Wimbledon winner's cheque. Threats of foreign sportspeople not coming here for events etc. I've lost track of what the situation is now.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Saber rattling

As a counter-example, when David Beckham moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid, something like £30-£50 million of merchandising sales went with him. Taking Madrid to number one in the club turnover league, and knocking Man U down to no. 2.

So even if you accepted that you could account for all the possible variables with a statistical algorithm, in a dynamic team-game like football - you're still left having to account for marketing and kit sales.

Stats are bound to be more important in games like baseball and cricket, which are also team games, but much more focused on the performance of the individuals separately.

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NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

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Re: RS-25 turbo pump

What size family swimming pool though? Your linked piece doesn't answer that. So I googled a bit more.

There are actually 4 turbo-pumps, 2 low pressure and 2 high pressure for fuel and oxidiser. And they're surprisingly low pressure, fuel goes up to 45 bar, oxidiser only up to 30 bar.

I didn't easily find the answer in a few brief Googles. I think I found total propellant flow at 100% throttle, which is 1409 kg/sec. Which is both oxygen and hydrogen.

Which is quite impressive - given the turbo-pumps only weigh something like 50kg.

To put this into context, the UK rivers authority own 2 extra-large pumps for flood clean up. Each does 500 kg/sec - at much lower pressures too - and each completely fills the loadbed of a large articulated lorry.

The pumpset for Wembley stadium does 60 kg/sec and is 16m long by 800mm wide by 1m high. I happen to know that, because we lost that contract...

Oh, and the oxidiser high pressure turbo-pump is a mere 26,000 horsepower!

The fuel pump is 70,000-odd.

That's 35,000 Citroen 2CVs just to pump the fuel...

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Happy

Re: Blue whales.

Surely the problem with a 12 million horsepower rocket, is that all the horses will gradually catch fire. Is that why rockets keep dropping stages as they rise?

This must be the great SpaceX innovation. He's not landing his rockets in order to re-use them. He's bringing them back because of delicious horsey barbeque. Or should that be braai? I guess you can take the man out of South Africa...

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Re: Rocket powered car

Yes. Because nobody will be able to catch you. Or probably find your body after the inevitable crash and burn boom.

However you will need to modify your car slightly - as you'll need a slightly larger fuel tank. And your fuel bils may increase just a teensy bit. 10,000 mile services will also become a tad more expensive, but seeing as you're unlikely to live that long - this shouldn't be a problem.

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Think you could deliver a Register lecture? Tell us why

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I've got a seminar on the backflow prevention as part of the Water Regulations if anyone's interested? I've got the Powerpoint done and everything.

Anyone...

Anyone...

Anyone?

Anyone?

...sniff...sniff...sniff...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Alien

No. You only think you give lectures on how aliens control our every day lives. In fact the audience is just a hullucination, generated by the aliens, in order to stop you from actually telling people.

Just as I only think I'm typing this post, and in actual fact when I hit post it will simply disapper from my computer, never to be seen again.

The trick I've discovered is that if you throw away your tinfoil hat and replace it with a teacosy, they can no longer control your mind!

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Flash... Nu-uh! Tech folk champing at the bit to switch off life support

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Happy

Then the malware writers would have access to the code too. Could the open source community patch the new vulnerabilities fast enough? It could be like trying to fill a bucket faster than the water can pour out of the holes.

Anyway, what if everyone pointed and laughed? Or it turned out the code was written in crayon, by an infinite number of monkeys?

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Devil

It's easy. I've just finished my new crypto-currency software after lunch, having learned javascript this morning. What could possibly go wrong?

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Re: Bah!

Good. I think Java in the browser was even more exploited than Flash at one point. Which was pretty stiff competition...

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Happy

Simple solution

Surely this has an easy solution.

The academics have limited time and budget to replace it. But I'm sure the tech industry can find a way to easily provide them with compensation.

Adobe simply need to buy a small plot of land. Perhaps one on every continent? Then they place a grave and headstone saying "here lies the body of Flash died 2020 - much missed by malware writers the world over". Then all they need to do is bury some sort of piezo-electric doodad in the ground, and they'll generate megawatts of power from all the techies coming to dance on Flash's grave.

Pipe power to universities, they get the budget that would have been spent on that for Flash replacement, techies get fitter without having to pay for gym memberships... Everyone's a winner!

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Wisconsin badgers Apple to cough up half a BEEELLION dollars for ripping off chip designs

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Re: ICAN has Cheese?

Agamemnon,

An exccellent post, but I have to ask a vital question. With your cheese and crackers, what do you do about port in the US? Do the Californians produce any? Obviously they're not allowed to call it port, but fortified-wine-for-cheese is just small enough to fit on the bottle. Or there's an Australian vineyard who produce Starboard...

Anyway it's vital to any serious cheese consumption that it be accompanied by a decent bottle, ahem, glass of port.

When I lived in Belgium they maintained that you could fulfill this duty with beer. That any food could be accompanied by the appropriate beer. But I disagree. Lamb is better with a decent red and so is cheese, though port is best for that vital role.

The Belgians did successfully infect me with a love of fruit beers though. Nice to see the US craft breweries havinging a go at them. Not many of the English ones seem to go for it. Though Meantime's raspberry ale was very nice.

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Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient

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Re: Optometrist Algorithm

I thought your sentence was going to end "scientists would serve us better as casserole".

But it turns out you decided they should teach us to cook. I'm happy to have a replacement for kitchen-french, but only if they don't replace it with kitchen-maths.

I don't want to have boeuf bourguignon replaced with:

beef³+seared@523.15K+boiled@373.15K+wine

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Boffin

Re: Optometrist Algorithm

I've never figured out whether I want to tell him "better" is more accurately formed letters or higher contrast letters.

Tell them what you're seeing. So they can choose the next lens to try with more information.

Admittedly things are rather different for me. When you've got about 5% of normal vision the 5%-odd inaccuracy of the test is more-or-less equal to what you're trying to measure.

So the correct way to test vision this rubbish is apparently to work out the prescription for the lenses, and work backwards from that. The difference is between not being able to read the top letter on the chart, or maybe being able to read it with glasses on. So admittedly my answer above is given based on the fact that I'm dealing with people who're probably better trained and certainly have more experience (as they work in an eye hospital).

The other difference to having your eye test done in a hospital is they have these weird, massive, metal chairs. Bolted to the ground and with foot-rests. Which look like they've probably got mountings, so they can strap you in. And the room is filled with all sorts of gear that looks like torture equipment. Especially the thing with the chin-rest and massive lights they shine in your eyes and the probe that has to touch your eyeball in order to do the pressure test.

Is it safe. Is it safe...

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Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

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Re: Ok Google!

I was given an Echo Dot. And it would be fine for setting reminders or my shopping list - say when cooking and not having hands free. But I just tend to do that on my phone, as most of the time you do have a hand free within a few seconds.

It would be nice for playing my music. The speakers aren't up to much, but you can connect it to better ones via USB. But all it's interested in is Amazon music. It's not interested in interacting with what I own, and just playing from that. So in the end, it's sitting on a table somewhere, while I decide whether to give it away, or if I can find a use for it.

It's also really crap at some things. "Echo, wake me up at 7am with Radio..."

"OK. Alarm set for 7am."

Great, thanks! What if I want to be woken with music? It seems half-finished to me.

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Re: About as reliable.....

Mum gave me one of those floor lamps with a touch sensitive bit of the frame, rather than an on switch.

So you could turn it on, and go through three different brightness levels just by touching it. Instead of just by pressing a button. Amazing labour-saving.

Except that in reality you could touch it once and nothing would happen, or it would cycle through all three levels of brightness and back to off, or it would just turn up one notch. Didn't matter if you just used a tiny bit of your fingertip or how hard you pressed, it just seemed completely random.

Then the bulb went, and it turned out you needed to remove 2 screws and completely disassemble the lamp head in order to lever it into the most fiddly housing I've seen on anything that large.

Sometimes the old way of doing things is just better.

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systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

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Trollface

Is there a systemd Paint yet, so you can also send him an abusive cartoon...

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HMS Frigatey Mcfrigateface given her official name

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Re: Naval Humour

Erm, what are you on about? Oddly enough the officers were well aware of the risk to ships from aircraft in both WWII and the Falklands. But you can't achieve anything if you don't put forces in place. You then do the best you can to deal with the risks.

Keeping Malta going was one of the major reasons that the RN kept pinging ships through the Med, and they succeeded. And by succeeding they were able to bugger up Rommel's supply lines, thus helping to tie down German aircraft in the Med that would otherwise have been in Russia, and also ensuring a victory against Rommel. Which was a precious German Panzer corps that spent its time in the desert, rather than heading towards Moscow.

It should also be pointed out that the RN comprehensively beat the Italian navy, despite being outnumbered for most of the time, and often fighting in areas closer to Italy's airbases. And they did this by being so aggressive that they psychologically dominated their opponents. Of course you may just argue that the Italian officer corps were even worse than the British...

As for the Falklands, again this was fought in an area where Argentina were much closer to their airbases than the RN were. But again the RN psychologically dominated the Argentian navy to such an extent that they only came out to fight once. And basically spent the whole war hiding, after the Belgrano was sunk.

Not a charge that could be levelled against their airforce, who put in a lot of sorties and took a lot of losses.

But, though they made several serious errors, the RN didn't do that disastrously in the Falklands. They kept the Argentian airforce flying low. With a combination of aggressive patrols from the Sea Harriers and the threat of Sea Dart and whatever the army's missile system was called (I've forgotten). That low flying was what caused lots of their bombs not to go off. Admittedly not understanding their own fuses didn't help, but then if you drop your bombs too low and they go off, you blow your own plane up.

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Re: Mach 5-6 Russkie missiles

The point about an aircraft carrier battle group is that it has an aircraft carrier. So it operates defence in depth.

This means that individual ships have point air defence capability, and then there are area AAW capable ships to defend the whole task force.

But firing missiles at short range requires being at short range. Well to get to short range of a carrier group requires driving along slowly through a zone where its aircraft can fly along quickly. If you've shot down all its planes, then a carrier group will be running away, terribly fast - as there's no longer any point in it being there. If you haven't shot down all its planes, then you're probably busy running away terribly fast, before they destroy you.

And firing off missiles at 600nm range requires a target. Which requires getting something with a radar on it significantly closer, in order to know where to aim your expensive, often not replaceable at sea, missiles. That platform then has to survive the air component of the carrier group in order to communicate. The ocean is big - and just a target of over-there guv isn't really enough for effective use of weapons.

You also neglect to remember that carrier groups often have "friends" underwater. If any navy regards their own submarine service completely as friends...

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Re: Salty names

Those are the names I still remember from reading about the Norway campaign.

We've had a Warspite since, for one a submarine.

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Authorities go hard on coffee maker for stiff Viagra-powered brew

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Happy

Normally coffee's what you have, after a stiff drink...

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Volterman 'super wallet': The worst crowdsource video pitch of all time?

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Why not. As the Beatles famously sang: Happiness is a Warm Bum...

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