* Posts by not.known@this.address

265 posts • joined 31 Jul 2009


We won't need to go outside if these haptic tricksters have their way

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Re: Where is my

Lawnmower Man clingy jumpsuit with lots of electrical wiring and gaffer tape?

Ex-staffer sues UK's DWP, claims superior blabbed confidential medical info

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DontFeedTheTrolls, I guess you've never worked with someone who seems to get more time "off sick" than the rest of the team get between them if you add all their holiday allowances together...

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Or it could have been a p***ed-off, stressed-out team Manager not impressed by the team Malingerer getting another taxpayer-funded holiday due to "medical issues", sending an email to the poor sods working their butts off covering for the clown saying "Can you effing believe it? The skivving bar steward is having another month off sick!".

Some employees know they can have a certain length of time off with, for example, a "bad back" and then return to work just long enough to "earn" another chunk of sick pay. I once asked someone I worked with why one of the company drivers was off so much and he explained it to me - the git knew exactly how to milk the system so he only did half the hours he should, leaving everyone else to take up his workload as well as their own...

Former Santander bank manager pleads guilty to computer misuse crimes

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A £300 fine and £85 "victim surcharge" in response to a reported £15000-worth of "computer misuse" crimes? I would be interested to hear the judge's reasoning on that one...

It is unfortunate that she lost her job for what could be a case of simply being naïve and trusting but she is now training for a role in HR? Where she will once again have access to people's confidential information? It would be nice to assume she has learned her lesson and will NEVER hand over information to anyone except a permitted recipient again but human history unfortunately suggests lessons will not be learned...

Smut site fingered as 'source' of a million US net neutrality comments

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Re: American democracy

Mexico, Greece or Canada if you don't mind (if they can con their way in to those countries) - the UK has enough useless wastes of oxygen already, thank you.

F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

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Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

"The amount of STEM grads is low and you are doing your best to block skilled immigrants to make it up."

When the education system switches to valuing nonsense degrees called something like "David Beckham Studies" or "Using Social Media Is Better Than Fixing Computers" then of course STEM courses will be ignored - why do a degree where you actually need to learn and remember stuff when you can 'earn' the same level of qualification for watching football or "analysing trends" on Farcebook and Twatter? And don't forget that the political parties who seem to do most to encourage these types of courses are also the ones who claim to care most for the 'working man'...

And bringing people in from overseas because your own students are either too lazy or too short-sighted to do something 'technical' is a really bad idea - what happens if those people came over so we paid them while they got free training then they 'went home' and took their jobs with them (or is that not what "off-shoring" really means?). Not exactly solving the skills shortage unless you can persuade them to stay... And guess what, the same political parties that seem to think you can keep a car running because you can quote how many views Kim Kardashian has had or fix a network outage by quoting the latest ill-advised Tweet from the White house are the same ones who put more effort into paying for training foreigners than trying to increase the local skills base...

Capita's UK military recruiting system has 'glitches' admits minister

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"How is ROYAL AIR FORCE recruiting going now?"

"BRITISH ARMY recruitment is proceeding according to our (cough, mumble 'revised') plan, thank you."

I guess that goes some way towards explaining why we are getting computer-controlled aircraft that won't (can't) fly without an always-on connection to the permissions database - we don't need real pilots any more, so it doesn't matter which Service they come from.

Russia claims it repelled home-grown drone swarm in Syria

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Black Helicopters

"Spy" planes

Regarding the P8 flying 'nearby', a more relevant question is "Was this the first time it was lurking near the Russian base?" since 'we' often fly as close to 'them' as we can and 'they' often fly as close to 'us' as they can, all without promoting a shooting incident (diplomatic protests are one thing, loss of life and/or hardware is a totally different ballgame).

A spyplane flying nearby much of the time is a sign of wanting to know what the other guy is up to and trying to catch him as he does something while a spyplane appearing at exactly the same time as an "anonymous" attack is either almost unbelievably stupid or propaganda...

Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

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Re: Has the collective IQ of the tech world hit rock bottom?

Shiny sells, Marketing and Finance don't care about what might happen a few years down the line as much as the bottom line today. Shareholders don't care about the product as long as they get their dividend. Management don't care about customers other than as a source of income. Customer Support is seen as a necessary evil that gets the bare minimum of funding to put a layer of separation between the people making decisions and the customers who enjoy the "benefits" of those decisions.

This is obviously an exaggerated description and not representative of many companies in the Real World but it does, unfortunately, seem to bear an annoying resemblance to some of them, from IT suppliers to retail businesses, vehicle manufacturers and holiday companies...

US Homeland Security breach compromised personal info of 200,000+ staff

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Big Brother

Chicken, meet Egg.

Which came first, the discovery or the investigation?

As I read it, the "criminal investigation" used as an excuse not to tell everyone they might be in trouble earlier was the desperate scrabbling to find out what he'd done with his copy of the database and how he'd got it rather than something else being investigated and someone noticing this person getting up to mischief.

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Black Helicopters

Re: 'I wonder who they will find to extradite to the US for this one?'

The people who bear ultimate responsibility for most of these incidents tend to be several paygrades above the people who do the dirty deed - hence looking at the culprit and others at the same level but quietly ignoring the decisions that allowed the problem to occur in the first place...

Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief

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Re: Sly

From the Office of Naval Contemplation :-)

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Re: Cut off the UK?!?!

Androgynous Cupboard wrote "If only there was somewhere else to turn, perhaps a continent of half a billion like minded souls some 20 miles away. We can but dream of such a world."

I assume you don't know anyone who ever worked for a haulage company or on a fishing boat, used a ferry or the Channel Tunnel or flown on an airline affected by the "like minded souls some 20 miles away" whenever the farmers, air traffic controllers, truckers or other group decide to cause trouble....

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Big Brother

Typical BBC double standards

Werdsmith wrote: "BBC website comments sections are a very powerful looney-magnet."

True - but not all of them are visitors. Following a slightly dubious accident during a Formula 1 Grand Prix, I posted a comment asking if some of the posters on the BBC sports page would make their (nasty, rude and sometimes borderline psychopathic) comments if face-to-face with the driver but apparently the BBC Moderators consider it acceptable to make threats against sportsmen *and their families* but not to ask "would you say that if you were in the same room?"...

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Re: Oceania has always/never been at WAR with Eurasia/Eastasia

It's only really the latter half of the 20th Century that beancounters have had any "real" power - bankers might hold the purse-strings but a strong enough force could come along and pry those purses from the cold, dead fingers of the bankers (why else do you really think that the Eurocrats are so determined to reduce national Armed Forces below effective strength while creating an "internal security force" that can overpower any individual member state's defences?).

Unless you really believe that all wars since history began were fought because of a few money-grubbing merchants rather than because Religious Group A and Religious Group B disagree over which deity was/is stronger or whether it is Followers or Family who inherit control when the leader dies, or because one highly charismatic man manages to convince a large number of others that one hair or eye colour is inherently superior to all others then blaming the beancounters - however tempting - is to ignore what happens when nobody tells the playground bully to wind his neck in and play nice with others.

For goodness sake, stop the plod using facial recog, London mayor told

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Re: Oh that, Chelsea Flower Show v Notting Hill Carnival Question of where to 'trial', hey Amber?.

This is a valid point because there is so much crime at the Chelsea Flower Show, isn't there? In a similar vein, maybe they should put the cameras in nursery school since so many hardened bank robbers are found crawling in the sandpit or doing handpainting - not.

On the other hand, it would certainly prove there was something shonky if they suddenly arrested half the exhibitors and many of the customers for violent assault and burglary with menaces...

I would be interested to hear how many people really think there is more danger of criminal activity at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show than at the Notting Hill Carnival, and what they would say when some poor misguided victim of society commits a crime because all the local bobbies are keeping an eye on the daisies at Chelsea...

Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

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"Scrutiny might be warranted and prudent but assuming that Jihadi John is a British citizen, he should have the same rights as any other British citizen."

Last time I checked, murdering people and inciting racial and/or religious hatred are against British law so Jihadi John and his cronies have chosen to ignore the protections said laws offer other people. And if they think the law doesn't protect others then they should not expect the rest of us to let them hide behind those same laws. Either the protection exists or it does not.

Jihadi John and his "friends" think it is acceptable to kill people just for disagreeing with them, so by the "same rights" logic it is more than acceptable that they should be targeted with extreme prejudice too...

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and all that.

UK Data Protection Bill lands: Oh dear, security researchers – where's your exemption?

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@Tom 38, you could also point out the fun the left-pondians have with "Wooster Sheer Sauce" - the norm seems to be something akin to "War Sez Ter Shire". Just because it is spelled "Worcestershire" is no excuse.

Similar for "Edin Burg" etc...

Missed patch caused Equifax data breach

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Re: Patching

Going down due to a Security update, or up and running and plundered by the bad guys?

Hmm, hard choice...

Capita still hasn't found what its looking for: A CEO

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Gissa job!

I have absolutely no experience in this role, which suggests I could be an ideal candidate if their reputation is anything to go by.

Obviously commercial sensitivity prevents them telling us how much the salary really is but I'm prepared to do it for £1M a year plus benefits... and a generous share package of course. :-)

15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

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Liberate mei?

or Liberate tutamei ex inferis?

(apologies for the spelling, I didn't do Latin at school)

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Re: But sadly...

Dammit DougS, you've just given away the plot for Star wars Episode 9!

(The First Order have a half-constructed Starkiller Base 2 that the Resistance think is not yet operational so they send a small group to the forest moon of NotNamedYet where they meet the incredibly cute and highly marketable cuddly StrangeNamedAliens who show then a sneaky way into the deflector shield control room just in time to save the whole Resistance fleet that has just arrived and discovered Starkiller Base 2 may not be complete but the Flippin' Big Gun is already fully functional and ready to blow up starships with no blowthrough even though it appears to use the same energy to vapourise an entire planet many magnitudes bigger than the starship...

(Darn, forgot the first half of the film where Rey, Chewie, Luke and someone else - possibly Maz Kanata? - have to return to Jakku to rescue Finn from where Unkar Plutt has him mounted on a wall...)

User thanked IT department for fast new server, but it had never left its box

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Big Brother

Re: Praise or accusations of work not done?

Reminds me of the time when our System Managers rang the Hell Desk to say that one of our DEC clusters had a problem and would need to be shutdown for a short time for the fix to be applied. He gave a brief explanation of what the problem was, what the fix was and what needed to be done as the Users of this particular VAXCluster were those rare beasts, Users who actually *did* understand how the computers worked and would appreciate what the situation was. This was in the time when Users had no access to the fault call logs and could not request copies, so some of the comments were less than complimentary.

Unfortunately the idiot who took that particular call did not recognize the name of the person calling him so didn't realise that, not only did the caller know what he was talking about and had the authority to shut the machines down, but he also had full access to the call logging system...

I suppose the idiot realised, in hindsight, that writing up the ticket advising the Second Line support team "This idiot doesn't know what he is talking about. Please ring him and tell him the systems is still up" wasn't the smartest thing to do, although I suspect the rather angry phone call from said System Manager to the Hell Desk Manager might have played a part...

And he had always seemed such a mild-mannered and polite System Manager 'til then!

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Re: you can fool some of the people, some of the time...

PT Barnum, referring to his Flea Circus... except it was "...fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but not all of the people all of the time."

I guess some budget holders have never heard this observation on human nature.

75 years ago, one Allied radar techie changed the course of WW2

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Given how stressed they get when someone says something they disagree with or Farcebook or Twatter go down for a short time, I don't hold out much hope for a 'Red Dawn'-style reaction if the sh*t hits the fan.

With most schools now teaching that competition is bad and that striving for mediocrity is to be applauded (you can't tell someone they are not as good as or are better than everybody else at something - you might hurt someone's feelings), I would rate the chances of anybody having a clue beyond 'look it up on wikipedia' as not very high either.

Boffins blast beats to bury secret sonar in your 'smart' home

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Re: "There are a number of possible defenses"

The size of the device limits the effective range - plus sonar doesn't work so well through walls.

If you want to spy through walls, you need something that won't get bounced back by a couple of inches of brick or concrete - and if it's powerful enough to get through that, the soft pink squidgy meatsacks wandering around the room won't show up. Plus the volume would need to be so loud that you'd need to convert everyone to Heavy Metal fans...

Oldest flying 747 finally grounded, 47 years after first flight

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Re: Poor Design

Err, no. :-)

British Airways fitted the spall liners at the cost of a couple of passengers due to weight; Air France decided to put profits first. And this was done years in advance of the fatal Air France accident. I still wonder why the execs and beancounters responsible were not brought up on charges of corporate manslaughter.

Biometrics watchdog breaks cover, slams UK cops over facial recog

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Re: ACPO, the Home Office's ever helpful "arms length" not-a-company

Renaming something does not change its function - whether it is an Association or a Council, it is still the same people doing the same things.

A rose by any other name, and all that.

Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding

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Re: Do you drive a car?

Someone asked the local council in Farnborough where they got their accident figures and they said from Hampshire police, so they asked Hampshire police where they got their accident figures from and they said...

"The Council".

This was after a road was classified as an accident blackspot "after a number of fatalities" - which was strange as it was one of the most accident-free parts of town! Surprisingly since it was between the shops near FAST and the roundabout near the Aerospace Center, where cars often pull out without really looking, there had only been one fatality in the ten years I lived there - and that was a drunk who stepped out from between parked cars at night, and the driver had no chance to see him let alone try to avoid him.

It was also around the time that various police forces were found to be counting each car involved in any incidents as individual "hits" in the statistics - so if a lout walked down the road keying a dozen cars, that would be a dozen car 'accidents' even if the owners/drivers were tucked up in bed asleep when it happened!

Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.

Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

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Re: So he knew how to fix it anyway?

To quote Aladdin Sane,

"He phoned his office to consult with a colleague and instead got stuck dealing with his boss.


Can GCHQ order techies to work as govt snoops? Experts fear: 'Yes'

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Re: What if...


"So, Mr Boss, why did you fire my client?"

"Well, he refused to... erm, I can't really say."


"...but please speak to the nice Men From The Ministry who are waiting at the back of the room to take you for an extended stay at Her Majesty's Government's displeasure. Have nice day!"

BA passengers caught in crossfire of Heathrow baggage meltdown

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Re: Baggage load

Several thousand staff used to cover several shifts to move all the baggage around Heathrow, most of whom have been replaced by a complex system that makes Spaghetti Junction look like a Roman road... Instead of having to trundle the baggage half-way around the airport to get it from the gates to the Arrivals lounge (or from Departures), the baggage handlers take it from a point much closer to the aircraft you actually flew in on and leave it in the tender care of the automated routing system.

If the automated system goes down, you suddenly need to find the staff to drive the tractors pulling the baggage carts as well as the staff to unload the carts and put the bags onto the carousels instead of just pulling them off the 'plane and onto the conveyors...

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

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Re: Survivors

I was an Apprentice with MessyBeast at the Top Gear test track (although we called it something else back then) in the late 80's, working on the Plastic Pigs (aka Harrier GR5s) and asked why part of the main hangar roof was a different colour to the rest; I was told that it was due to someone working on the roof putting his foot through one of the skylights but that didn't explain why the nearest skylight was about 5' away... and coincidentally about 5' away from where one of the aircraft spent most of its time loitering...

Ta-ta, security: Bungling Tata devs leaked banks' code on public GitHub repo, says IT bloke

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Re: Outsource it all To India

Korev said " People's location and nationality are not good indicators of competence."

No, but repeated screw-ups, terrible customer service, staff who cannot understand the difference between a non-technical user and a desktop support tech with 10+ years of experience ("no, switching it off and on FOR THE 4TH TIME in 1 call will not help - the hard drive is making horrible grinding noises and is knackered - I just need a fault reference number to give to the client!"), relentlessly sticking to a script when the user is able to give a perfectly good explanation of what the problem is, etc etc etc... *these* are good indicators of competence, and I've experienced these - and more! - since a bunch of Cowboys (allegedly) Supporting Computers 'onsourced' our hell desk to another continent.

The Big Blue Chopper video that IBM might want to keep quiet

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Re: Fuel saving

PhilipN asked "Did the pilot choose to save fuel by starting up only when the passengers were on board?"

Probably not fuel saving - self-loading cargo has the unhealthy tendency to ignore the warning signs saying "Do not walk into the rapidly whirling planks of death" and make rather a mess.

It may also have been a way to cut down the chance of loose articles of clothing or bits of paperwork - or wigs - getting blown into something vital...

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Re: I'm no pilot...

It's a lot easier to turn with the main rotor than against it; going the 'wrong way' puts more strain on the tail rotor transmission, uses more fuel and can make a LOT more noise - though that's not so much an issue with the Fenestron tailed cabs - while going with the main rotor lets torque do the work at a slight loss of lift, hence the way they get slightly lower as they turn.

It also allowed the pilot to make sure he was clear of the nearby trees and anyone who might wander a bit too close - you can never be too careful when your life depends on a million tiny mechanical bits and pieces suspended from an 'ignorant drainpipe' and getting too close to the local triffids can be a quick way to convert a fast and reliable means of transport into a very expensive bonfire, and the number of people who do not understand "keep clear of the moving blades" is rather depressing... (Yes, I know the pilot would have seen where the trees were when he landed but it never hurts to check!)

'Tabby's Star' intrigues astro-boffins with brief 'dimming event'

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There's A Light (over at the Frankenstein place)...

Fred Saberhagen's Berserkers, SoaSE's Vasari-chasing nightmare from the galactic Core, Strephon's Dark Lady from Traveller: The New Era/MegaTraveller, the Great Old Ones preparing for another visit (anyone checked how right the stars are recently??), someone else's version of Morse Code... there must be a simple explanation somewhere :-)

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The prototype for StarKiller Base undergoing development trials?

PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

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Re: P is for PayPoint

"They are names sound similar" is only a "that" away from being good English phrasing and I've seen far worse abuses of the language in bestselling fiction...

What's the opposite of a 'Pedantic Grammar Nazi'?

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

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I was wondering if there might be something like that behind all this - has anyone checked to see if all the affected companies/organisations have a common factor like the same Outsourcer?

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Re: Surprises?

Um, no, it's the other way around - the phones will work quite happily without the PC as long as the switchboard is up, but the PC is just a paperweight if the phones go down (especially if someone thought it was a good idea to use decent-spec PCs as dumb terminals running Shitrix with Windows on the servers. I thought we did away with mainframes years ago but apparently not...)

Dark-web pedo jailed after FBI and co use vid trick to beat privacy tech

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Re: So the FBI ...

If someone willingly decides the laws that apply to everyone else can be ignored, why should they get the protection of those same laws?

Also, this isn't something "victimless" like robbing a bank - few if any of the children assaulted by scum like this ever get to lead a normal life again. "Accidentally" falling down (and up) the stairs a few times would be justice, not having decent, hardworking taxpayers keep him for the next 10 years.

Enlightened? Don't make me laugh - too many bleeding-heart liberals making excuses for scum who deserve punishing not protecting.

New MH370 analysis again says we looked in the wrong places

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Re: Still no changes

Alan Brown: "MAS [...] had had a series of safety incidents (including a cigarette-caused fire in a heavy maintenance area nonsmoking area that destroyed a large amount of paperwork that shouldn't have been stored where it was located)."

"Sorry Mr Inspector, all evidence we weren't doing what we should has mysteriously been misfiled in the filing cabinet with the 'beware of the leopard' sign in the office in the basement and caught fire when an unidentified employee was having a cigarette in place nobody ever smokes as its full of very expensive and very flammable stuff just before you arrived to check it..."

Cynical, moi?

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Re: Still no changes

2Nick3: "And make it modular, so in 30 years people don't have to wonder why we are still using this 2010's technology and can just upgrade it."

If all it takes is something to sense where you are and something to relay the information back to base then why should it need "upgrading"? If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it. The laptop I am typing this on has several orders of magnitude more memory and a processor that is so far beyond the performance of my first PC that there's no comparison, but I can't type much quicker and the vast increase in performance has made no difference to the way the words appear on the screen.

Unless there are some sort of "magictech" changes in the next 30 years, a tail-mounted GPS and a satphone will still be a tail-mounted GPS and a satphone - both are using technology that has been around for over 100 years (radio for the satellites to tell the GPS where it is and for the satphone to call home) so what sort of changes are you thinking of?

And for any on-aeronautical types who may be wondering, a flaperon is part of the control surfaces that stick out the back of the wing and the back edge can go up and down; the flaperon on one side of the aircraft goes down and the other up to roll the aircraft or both go down to increase lift; it's a combination flap and aileron.

Sysadmin 'trashed old bosses' Oracle database with ticking logic bomb'

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Re: Conversion?

Some UK supermarkets now actively encourage customers to "pick your own" and bag it yourself, going so far as to supply handheld barcode scanners- I don't know quite how filling bags is any worse than putting a couple of bits in your pocket until you get to the checkout but apparently it is; they keep most people honest by having random checks where one of the few remaining staff has to rescan a number of items at random (that is, they are supposed to ferret around inside your bags rather than just grab stuff off the top - most people are smart enough to literally bury the evidence, but not all!).

Given my druthers I won't use those effing things because I believe that if I'm going to do the work of their staff then they should pay me - every cashier replaced with a self-service checkout is (a) more profit lining someone else's pockets and (b) another statistic on the Unemployment register - and for some of them, it's the only human conflict they get outside their immediate family or doorstepping god-botherers...

US border cops must get warrants to search citizens' gadgets – draft bipartisan law emerges

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Re: Another political 'feel-good' move

The only 'legitimate target in a military operation' is a military target; using military forces to deliberately target civilians makes you one of the bad guys.

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

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Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

Doesn't matter where you live or how rapidly the season - or the weather - changes, if you set your thermostat to maintain your desired minimum internal temperature then you can leave your heating enabled all the time and it will only come on if the temperature drops below whatever value you set.

If you set your thermostat way high and then rely on timers or switching your boiler on and off by the time of year to limit how long your heating should run for then you are definitely in the "box it up and send it back, you obviously don't have a clue how to use it" category.

Boeing-backed US upstart reckons it'll be building electric airliners

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"hybrid" engines?

Is that like the Hybrid road cars that use the fossil-fuel burning, environment-destroying* infernal combustion engine to keep the piddling little batteries charged?

I'm not surprised Boing have put money into this - whether it works or not, they have proved what a caring, thoughtful company they are by investigating and investing in "environmentally friendly" technologies (and if it is successful, they won't need to worry about paying for or stealing the tech, they will be part-owners already).

*Funny how the green lobby consistently neglect to mention the environmental costs of digging up the rare minerals used in the batteries used by "environmentally friendly" cars, the manufacturing, processing and disposal of the batteries and the vehicles themselves (WEEE regulations don't just apply to old fridges...).

Who knows, maybe they have made a working fuel cell or fusion reactor that can supply the juice to turn the engines...

Whatever, I wish them luck.

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

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Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

The first use of a Mossie as a "moving bombing target" was by Leonard Cheshire when flying with 617 Squadron. He had pioneered the technique by flying his Lancaster below the other Squadron Lancs and letting them drop "on" him. Then he realised a Mossie would let him get in and out lower and faster, and the ultimate iteration of this method involved him flying an RAF Mustang at treetop level, IIRC.

This sort of ingenuity is why 617 Squadron was widely regarded as the premier RAF Squadron in Bomber Command.

Alabama joins anti-web-smut crusade with mandatory opt-out filters

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Re: Just spotted more idiocy.

@Dan 55 IThis "random collection of words" are the definition of a 'Computer' under the heading of 'Devices' in the proposed Bill that will have to have filters installed. To put it another way, this is not a very-well thought-out piece of legislation.


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