* Posts by Stoneshop

3143 posts • joined 8 Oct 2009

2017: The FBI alerts parents to dangers of Internet of Sh*t toys

Stoneshop
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Holmes

Re: reminds me of the Furby...

The Furby was, what, twenty years ago? So, a bit more modern than the Pleistocene era Meccano and stuff, but still Stone Age tech in terms of processing power and storage, never mind connectivity.

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Security robot falls into pond after failing to spot stairs or water

Stoneshop
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Headmaster

Once it is able

to raise itself from the pond[0] can it be rightly labeled as 'emergent tech'.

[0] distribution of swords optional.

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Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise

Stoneshop
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Re: Cannonlake, kabylake, coffeelake, skylake

Whiskylake has my preference. Or Whiskyloch, rather.

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Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release

Stoneshop
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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

Some New Wave band[0] had a 12" out with a BBC B program on the flipside that, when run, provided a simple wireframe animation to go with the music on the A side.

[0] Fiction Factory, IIRC, but The Web has no knowledge of them releasing such an item.

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Stoneshop
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Not dead yet

Vintage Computer Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.

Random Reg Commentard: Yes he is.

ZX Spectrum: I'm not.

Vintage Computer Collector:: He isn't.

Random Reg Commentard Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.

ZX Spectrum: I'm getting better.

Random Reg Commentard No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.

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Don't panic, but your Bitcoins may just vanish into the ether next month

Stoneshop
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@Stumpy

I'll leave your 42 upvotes untouched, for obvious reasons.

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BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: Thnak you, thank you, thank you!

the next time a new manager is rotated through the department.

That's the spirit. Don't forget to line the inside of the barrel with a piece of carpet, so that he's already fully wrapped up when you're done rotating.

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Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Stoneshop
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It's mechanical, it will wear out and break

I think everywhere I've worked has had some sort of Aircon related disaster...

Not every place, but I think I'd be close.

First job as FS tech: total aircon failure on the site where I was Site Responsible at the time (though not for Facilities, fortunately). Temperature jumped over ten degrees in as many minutes while the sysadmins tried to shut down all not utterly bloody totally essential systems. Lost only 3 RA81's out of a hundred or so.

Another site had the aircon spring a leak, with the glycol-based coolant dissolving the original linoleum floor (they had simply installed a raised floor in one of the offices and put a pair of VAXes there) into a custard-like substance, engulfing a DELNI and what might once have been some thickwire transceivers.

Wooden 'temporary' office, with half the aircon capacity out of order due to a pinhole leal somewhere unfixable. Low tarpaper roof, nice toasty summer days. kept in check (for extremely tolerant values of 'in check') by two garden sprinklers under the heat exchanger.

Computer room, running at about 15% capacity (power and cooling). No problems. Systems are brought in, power and cooling are now at 25..30%. Still no problem. However, an external power failure now demonstrates that the UPS would very much like to have some of that cooling capacity too; it wasn't a problem previously because natural ventilation had been sufficient.

And one I heard from a colleague in the US: watercooled IBM mainframe in a university datacenter gets shut and switched off for the Christmas/New Year holidays, to save electricity. Snow ensues. System is switched on after the holidays and promptly cooks itself due to frozen and blocked heat exchangers on the roof.

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Feelin' safe and snug on Linux while the Windows world burns? Stop that

Stoneshop
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Re: I think that the point was

That the transmission vector was a flaw in SMB I protocols.

More specifically: the implementation of the handling of a particular request in SMBv1. "EternalBlue targeted an implementation mistake in the ancient version of the Server Message Block (SMBv1) message handler in the Windows kernel – enabled by default on any OS from XP to Windows Server 2016. ".

Samba is an entirely different codebase, and I have not heard of Linux servers being affected.

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Create a user called '0day', get bonus root privs – thanks, Systemd!

Stoneshop
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Holmes

Re: the problem with clueless amateurs...

If you really have something to say, then kindly do so; if not, nobody here really cares how long you havr been a system administrator or whether you are

one at all.

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Stoneshop
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Facepalm

FTFY

It would be nice to run these clueless amateurs

out on a rail, with tar and feathers added

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MH370 researchers refine their prediction of the place nobody looked

Stoneshop
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Re: What can be learned of the crash at this late stage?

Why aren't locator beacons released from the tail section when a violent* impact is detected?

Well, cases where that might be beneficial are, as far as I can see, pretty limited: fires and deep-water crashes. In nearly all other cases it's easier to find that large lump of fuselage with the recorders still inside than the recorders on their own. As for fire resistance, that's a design criterion, but keeping the recorders away from one is probably better. And with deep-water crashes you want the recorders to stay floating, otherwise they'll be on the sea floor somewhere without the additional easier-to-find bulk of a bit of fuselage around them. Because if you don't know with sufficient precision where the plane went down allowing you to find them quickly, you might not find them before the locators run out of power.

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Stoneshop
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Re: What can be learned of the crash at this late stage?

Fires are funny things. Imagine one burning through cabling in the fuselage. As individual cables melt through in different locations the pilots progressively lose the ability to control the plane because the cabling from cockpit to avionics is gone...

...

More fire. Decision: "Let's go up high and try to starve fire of oxygen and heat." *

Does not compute. You lose control, and still decide to use whatever control is left to increase the distance between you and terra firma. Plus, they were at FL350 already; going higher still would have done very little w.r.t. starving the fire. And Li-ion fires (thermal runaway actually) are driven primarily by the energy stored in the cell, not by combustible material plus oxygen. Also, I doubt that gambling with 200+ people's lives that way is the normal modus operandi for an airline flight crew. You have a fire and notice loss of control,, you try to get the plane down somewhere as fast and as safe as possible.

Now remove the links to the avionics including to the engine computers, inside the engines. They obey the last instruction given - maintain the power setting. The aircraft flies blindly on until fuel exhaustion. Meanwhile the fire also burns to exhaustion and stops.

Aircraft that lose all command of flight control surfaces don't stay airborne very long, and definitely not for over seven hours: any disturbance can't be corrected and will result in the craft changing attitude. And once roll or pitch exceed certain levels, the plane is done for.

Rremember United Airlines flight 93 during 9/11 ? I hypothesise pilot mischief would have resulted in a bashed in cockpit door during the hours preceeding the final ocean impact.

Sorry, what? With the hijackers in control, they would have crashed the plane into whatever their target was. If they hadn't been able to enter the cockpit, the pilots would have diverted to the nearest airfield, or even any reasonably flat field that looked to offer sufficient survivability if the hijackers were close to breaching the door (at that point people on board were already aware of the WTC crashes).. And if the passengers had managed to overpower the hijackers and regain control but with the pilots incapacitated, they wouldn't have flown far out to sea. I doubt that none of them would be unable to sufficiently control the plane to put it down in a field if not on an actual airfield.

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Stoneshop
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Re: What can be learned of the crash at this late stage?

the fact we've not seen much debris indicates that the plane likely landed mostly intact and then likely sunk intact.

Maybe, but AF447 hit the sea surface with a comparatively moderate speed of less than 150 kts (a bit over 100 vertical and about 60 horizontal), and several larger pieces broke off and kept floating.

With MH370, there are roughly two options for the end of the flight: uncommanded, with fuel starvation at altitude, hits sea surface at a considerably higher speed than AF447, plane breaks up with numerous pieces staying afloat (including seat cushions and such), or someone is still in control, getting the plane to go as low and slow as possible before hitting the sea surface (either with or without the engines still running), but 'as slow as possible' would still mean about 150 kts, a little over its stall speed. It's hard to imagine its impact being less severe than AF447, and the resultant debris quite likely being similar. So in both cases there will have been a fair amount of debris. That few parts were found nonetheless is probably due to the wide area over which they were dispersed during the time it took floating from the crash site to where they were found, and a lot of those locations not particularly brimming with people, if they're even accessible at all.

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Stoneshop
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Re: What can be learned of the crash at this late stage?

perhaps caused by a cargo fire, which seems the most likely scenario to me.

Um. How would a cargo fire make the plane go off course, mere minutes after the last and entirely unremarkable contact, then fly on for several hours with more course changes (and non-erratic legs between them) during the time it was still tracked by radar?

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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Zeno's thoughts measurement

To know everything would require more mass than exists in the universe, perhaps?

At the very least, knowing everything there is to know would make the total mass of all thought a new data point which has to be known, increasing yet again the total mass of all thought, etc.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: "Of course, we know that thoughts are generated by the firing of neurons in the brain"

Well, given that neuronal firing is a synonym for the rapid movement of ions across a neuronal membrane, there would be a shift in mass involved.

However, a swift kick to the head to dislodge some stuck thoughts doesn't usually achieve the desired results.

But we have to experimentally validate to see if that is actually is the case, and in the process we might indeed find a value for the mass of a thought, by applying standard kicks to the head (calibrated in NorrisLinguini) and averaging the number of unstuck thoughts resulting from that.

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Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Other elements

Though to be fair I'm not sure there is enough tin or aluminium on the planet for the size of hat this nut job needs.

Some subcutaneous polonium will do just fine. Or plutonium.

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Stoneshop
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Re: I'd like to see for myself

Stage 4: Release the tiger.

RSPCA on line four for you.

A sixteen-ton weight will work just as well.

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Everything you need to know about the Petya, er, NotPetya nasty trashing PCs worldwide

Stoneshop
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Re: Bring Back

If you make your password policy so onerous that your end users resort to writing their passwords on post-it notes, you may as well have not bothered. The same could be said for other aspects of IT security.

As long as unprivileged users (and non-users, including cleaners and janitors) are barred from entering areas where one might find those passwords on post-its, or, probably better, in an notebook that can be shut and put away under lock and key (and not taken to the toilet and left there) when there's no need to use it, it's not a bad choice.

Try reading a password that's on a paper to the side of the monitor of whatever system you've just logged into remotely.

Of course, you don't write it on the whiteboard or on a labelwriter label that's visible from outside the room, Especially not when a TV crew comes around.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Bring Back

where most of the staff were engaged in trying to come up with a new shade of green paint,

The Meaning of Liff offers: FRATING GREEN, GRETNA GREEN, MATCHING GREEN, SPROSTON GREEN and TWEMLOW GREEN

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Stoneshop
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Re: The real blame goes to..

... none of this ... ... none of this ...

That's an extremely optimistic view.

Even OpenBSD, with its focus on security first, second and third, tends to have an occasional bug to fix.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

International advertising conglomerate WPP was taken offline

Good.

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Kaspersky Lab US staff grilled by Feds in nighttime swoop

Stoneshop
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Holmes

It seems like Microsoft is the best choice for Windows AV, since you don't have to add an extra company to trust

Given their track record on bugfree and robust code, putting all your eggs in Microsoft's basket seems overly optimistic to me.

and worry about possible Russian govt ties

I'll grant you that.

or a certifiable loony CEO

Um. Especially the chair-slinging one.

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Stoneshop
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Headmaster

Kaspersky or the FBI?

Yes.

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Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos

Stoneshop
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Pheasants.

My one ever roadkill[0] on a motorcycle in some 400Mm, and even that one was second-hand.

It swooped across the road, got hit by an oncoming van first with a glancing blow which resulted in some rather cartoonesque saltos that landed him right ahead of my front wheel, probably dead already.

[0] Not counting the 23.7 trillion midges that ended up on every bit of frontal area after a summer night's ride across the Markermeerdijk. You don't want to close your visor because it'll be totally plastered over in green goo in mere seconds, and you don't want to open it either.

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Stoneshop
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If the software was really bright, it might even slow up a bit and let the dumb beast head off into the night

It will simply adjust its speed to match yours; how can it hit you from the side otherwise?

Once in northern Norway I had four reindeer standing in the road ahead of me. As I slowed to walking pace they started to move *keeping to the road* (well, two were on the road itself[0], the other two just off the road, one left, one right. Based on my experience with goats I expected them to get startled, the one on the left crossing over to the right, the one on the right simultaneously wanting to be on the left, and all four of them colliding in a pile ahead of me in a tangle of legs and antlers. They actually didn't, gradually increasing their speed, with me trailing them at a prudent distance. Finally they figured they had something better to do than try to outrun a motorcycle, and turned hard left down a shallow slope towards a small stream.

[0] reindeer running on pavement make a curious 'flof-flof' sound

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

Stoneshop
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Windows

Maybe we need coffee tipping bins next to the other bins in the street?

And then some enterprising soul will collect the stuff, reheat it, slap a posh name[0] on it and sell it. Maybe even with a system of drains connecting the coffee tipping bins to a central collecting tank for immediate reuse.

[0] merely meaning "street fluid" in some foreign language

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Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

Stoneshop
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Re: Still driving?

Apply power and a solenoid activated, removing a braking plate from the end of the motor.

That would add unsprung weight on at least two wheels, which is something vehicle designers want to avoid as much as possible as it degrades vehicle roadholding. It would also take a fair bit of power to keep the electromagnets engaged against the force of the springs. A reservoir with compressed air would store the actual energy to apply the brakes, and an electrical valve requires way less power than an electromagnet keeping a braking plate disengaged directly.

where if power disappears, the spinning electric motor becomes a generator

Regenerative braking, as used on nearly all electric (and hybrid) vehicles. Used to store the energy otherwise lost by braking (as friction/heat) back into the batteries, or a capacitor bank.

Actually, electric cars have independent motors in their wheels don't they?

Negative, because of the unsprung weight. For Tesla, the standard model S has rear wheel drive with one 270kW or 310kW motor driving both rear wheels, the D (dual) variant has two motors, one front, one rear.

ISTR someone telling me that's how self-parking disk heads worked on MFM drives,

Self-parking wasn't that common on MFM/RLL drives; it started to become a feature on early IDE drives.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Still driving?

f the person inside (no longer the driver) has no mechanical linkage to the brakes, then the car really must have a failsafe method of applying the brakes in a power-fail emergency.

Thinking about this problem a bit, and knowing how it's implemented in trains, I think the following should work (provided the actual braking system is hydraulic, like in conventional cars, c.f. Eddy Ito's comment on mechanical steering linkage still being a DOT requirement): a small reservoir holding compressed air is connected to a cylinder via an electrically-powered normally-open valve. This pneumatic cylinder is linked to the master brake cylinder. As long as the valve is powered, it's closed; when the power fails the valve opens, the pneumatic cylinder presses down on the master brake cylinder, and the car should stop.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: If $50 won't buy side bars

QR code slung under the trailer side

... containing the URL for joesfenderbendershop.com, or similar car parts pr0n.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Right, $50 of bars will stop a 4000lb car going 74mph.

Nope. Train and bike, actually.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Still driving?

it would radically open the interior to substantial design changes

<suppresses bad joke here>

if [joystick] centrally located the driver could sit on either side making cars region agnostic.

If it's a multifunction controller, I think you want to use your dominant hand. But it wouldn't be very difficult to position the joystick for optimal control, left or right of the driver, as desired.

although I believe Tesla uses induction motors

They do. Problem is, those need some current and a working power controller to work as a generator, which is how you use them for braking. The rotor might have some remanent magnetism, but that won't be doing much regarding braking if power is lost.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Being human

I do as well. Although the truck driver apparently pulled a pretty stupid manoeuvre,

The NHTSA report states that the Tesla driver would have had 8 seconds to take evasive action. From that statement I take it that he was cresting a hill, or there was a curve in the road. That's a little over 250m that the truck driver would have seen as clear the moment he started crossing the eastbound lanes. Not really a stupid manoeuvre, IMO, especially if one could expect approaching drivers to have a modicum of self-preservation and actually adjust speed and course to avoid a collision.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Still driving?

The loss of a load of sensors and massive change in data from other surviving sensors didn't appear to trigger any sort of reaction.

From 13:36:12.7 (US Pacific time, so 17:36:12.7 local time) through 13:36:25.8 the car's data logging reports "Vehicle alert consistent with collision damage", and a number of sensor fault/sensor missing messages, including "Brake controller CAN node is MIA". So even if a brake command was issued, there would have been no response.

I wonder if one can design an emergency braking system for a fully electric vehicle such as a Tesla that can stop the car if for any reason the power fails. And does Tesla have a power-assisted mechanical steering linkage, or is that fully electrical as well leaving you at the mercy of Newton's laws?

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: Bleh

Adam 1 incorrectly asserted that, "...you ain't surviving 25G."

John Stapp survived 48 g deceleration with adequate harnessing, i.e. a jet pilot's seat harness. Your car's seatbelt and airbag wiil be found somewhat lacking when trying to cope with those forces.

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Stoneshop
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Re: They still call it Autopilot?

presumably the sensor suite must have been damaged too badly for it to navigate properly,

The crash report states the Tesla's battery pack and navigation system were disabled by the collision, so it must have simply coasted more or less straight on, gradually leaving the road. It then hit a fence and an utility pole, coming to a stop after some 300m. From the picture in the article it appears those impacts weren't very violent.

Would the battery cutting out disable the brakes? So that even if the car's logic (if still working, which it probably wasn't) had commanded braking following the loss of camera and other sensor data, it simply couldn't?

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PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

Stoneshop
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Re: Power problems

Of course _WHY_ you would let cleaners into your data centre/server room is beyond me.

In this case, the system was in one of the office areas[0]. Hence the presence of a paper shredder close to it.

[0] The 11/725 was essentially an 11/730 with an 'office-friendly' enclosure. Subsequent office-friendly enclosures, like for the mVAX 2 had a more office-friendly airflow layout.

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Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: You want toast!

Anyone savvy enough to own a triwing screwdriver would do the same thing, but less likely to make it worse..

TriWing, Robertson, Bristol multi-spline, Torq-Set, ASSY, Torx sockets, XZN, snake-eyes, Pentalobe ... And if none of those fit it's time to bring out the Stanley Fubar XXL.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Yank here.

Never heard of a set top box called a converter. It's a set top box.

It appears to be a holdover from when VHF-only TV sets had to have a downconverter box added when UHF transmissions were introduced. And for viewing DVB-x on a conventional analog telly you'd also need a (rather convoluted) D/A converter.

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Stoneshop
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Holmes

Re: A big job.

Computer admins have to deal with weird shitty problems being dumped on them all the time.

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Stoneshop
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Power problems

Had a similar problem, but in this case the system, a VAX 11/725, went down hard around 17:30, once or twice a week. Obvious suspect: cleaners. Considered improbable, because the system was in a recess, the power strip and the wall socket were behind the system requiring some serious gymnastics to reach them, and there was a power socket in plain view on the wall to one side of the recess. The console printer just showed the usual logging chatter, cutting off suddenly, then the power-up sequence the next morning as someone came in finding the system being down.

Initial diagnostics pointed to airflow problems, and over the next few weeks all of the associated components and wiring were replaced, with finally the entire system being carted off to Repair, to be stripped down, cleaned and reassembled. With any even slightly suspicious parts and harnesses being replaced again. A temporary replacement was installed which ran fine for the entire time it was in use. The original system, which must have been the cleanest 11/725 in EMEA, also ran flawlessly under test. In the meantime the mains supply at the customer had been monitored for spikes, brownouts and noise, as there was a manufacturing hall next to the office, with packing machinery being constructed and tested. That didn't yield anything either.

Moving the system back to the customer, same problem again.

So a colleague decided to go and see what the hell was going on; unfortunately I was off for a training course. He sat there waiting for the cleaners to come in and do their thing. One plugged in the vacuum, in the appropriate socket. The other went to take the waste bag from the document shredder, tied it closed and put it down. Right in front of the air intake for the system. Which duly experienced an airflow problem and switched off.

The temporary replacement system, although being technically the same (an 11/730), had a different enclosure and didn't mind plastic bags being put right against it.

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US Secretary of State: I will work with Russia on cyber security issues

Stoneshop
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Re: Diplomacy....

Would it not be more honest and ethical to simply say "I won't deal because I don't trust you, Mr. Rabid Dog."?

Even if you're sure your adversary is actually rabid, then it can still be advantageous to try and buy some time and make sure you have a nice firm grip on the 2x4.

And if you're not sure the dog is rabid, treating it as such may well eliminate your chances to turn it into a companion.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Diplomacy....

So you see any negotiation with others as 'buying time' while secretly acquiring the means to attack?

Any adversary considered untrustworthy enough to not stick to their end of the agreement.

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BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Stoneshop
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Windows

Committees

“Ah,” said the marketing girl, “Well, we’re having a little difficulty there.”

“Difficulty?” exclaimed Ford, “Difficulty? What do you mean, difficulty? It’s the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!”

The marketing girl soured him with a look.

“Alright, Mr Wiseguy,” she said, “you’re so clever, you tell us what colour it should have.”

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Lordy! Trump admits there are no tapes of his chats with Comey

Stoneshop
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Windows

Re: But nobody uses tape these days anyway.

NO TAPES.

NO TAPES! NO TAPES! YOU'RE THE TAPES!

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Stoneshop
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Childcatcher

Tapes

And then destroyed them

No, they still contained the Ted Nugent tracks that were on them, because Trumpolini forgot to press 'record'.

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Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: @MiguelC -- Hook, line, and sinker!

And the difference is what, again?

Cheeto Benito has multiple bedrooms, of which at least one is demonstrably not his parent's.

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Stoneshop
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Re: The truth will out...

(But nobody uses tape these days anyway.)

Well, a bit of Sellotape[0] to affix a scrap of notepaper to some SD card.

[0] Or 3M Scotch[1][tm] brand in Leftpondia.

[1] A truly Great American Brand.

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Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

Stoneshop
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Re: Am I missing something?

What am I missing here?

Well, a Dastardly Daesh at 3500 yards (unless you happen to be this particular Canadian sniper, which I doubt). And drag. The vertical component of the bullet's speed is not affected by gravity only but by the vertical component of the bullet's drag, which decreases with at least the square of the speed (and probably some higher-order factors). So you're not dealing with a pure parabola, and you would have to wrangle some fierce higher-order equation series to get at the right answer.

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