* Posts by Jan 0

855 posts • joined 14 Dec 2009


Brit rocket wranglers get Reaction they wanted after rattling SABRE

Jan 0

I've been following this for a long time, is my memory failin?

Am I right to think I remember a time when the captured liquid air was going to be distilled in flight to dump some of the nitrogen, before condensing it again as oxidiser for the rocket engine? That saves more weight, as only hydrogen fuel needs to be stored at take off. Of course, that only works if the machinery weighs less than the liquid oxygen.

Thought you'd seen everything there is to Ultima Thule? Check this out: IN STEREO!

Jan 0

I see a leprous elephant head, pointing it's trunk at me.

LG folds at prospect of launching bendy phone while Samsung flaunts its upcoming kit on telly

Jan 0

Never mind "book format", I want 'Scroll Format. Then I can pull out as much screen as I need: portrait, landscape, Cinemascope, "On the Road"*.

*The 120 foot long, Jack Kerouac manuscript

Want to create fake web profile pics? This creepy AI tool makes them on demand. Plus predictive policing, and more

Jan 0

Re: "people could be taken in by AI-generated news articles that read like a child wrote them"

I would say the same about my local newspape.

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

Jan 0

Re: Hmmm...

> so they've grown up to listen to everything from Fleetwood Mac to Slipknot.

Isn't that a bit like teaching them the alphabet from N to Ň?

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

Jan 0

"fintech"? Isn't the correct term "sharks with frikkin lasers", or did you mean moneygrubbintech?

How's this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way

Jan 0

Re: Continents and Stars

>Moving first to London not being able to see stars was a huge disappointment.

I doubt that anyone has had a good view of the Milky way, from London, for several hundred years.

When I first went abroad, in the '60s, I was stunned by the brightness of the Milky Way and the number of meteorites that I could see while camping high in the Pyrenees.

However, on the Norfolk coast and other darkish places in Britain, you can occasionally* get a good view of the Milky Way. I presume that NZ's small population doesn't generate a lot of smog or light pollution. (Does the smoke from SE Asian forest burning get to NZ skies?)

*wind from the Arctic helps.

UK spam-texting tax consultancy slapped with £200k fine

Jan 0

Can anybody tell us, how much it costs to send 14.8 million spam SMSes?

For fax sake: NHS to be banned from buying archaic copy-flingers

Jan 0

> "documents scanned via a scanner and emailed as an attachment [in TIFF/JPG/PDF format] are recognized as being exact copies of the original, and are hereby considered as facsimile copies in addition to documents sent by a fax machine."

Yes, but that doesn't stop the "original" being an unsigned document with a carefully cut and pasted (literally with scalpel and glue) signature from an entirely different document. That's a technique that works with faxes, scans and even photographs, if you use a widely diffused light source.

We really should move to secure email.

Bloodhound SSC reaches the end of the road for want of £25m

Jan 0


Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

Jan 0

Re: "Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade."

Yes, but if you’re not in the USA, there are no refurbished ‘phones on offer via the Online Apple Store. However, I have bought some well spec’d Mac Minis. You can trade in old iPhones at UK stores, but you can get a better price by selling them privately.

You think you're hot bit: Seagate tests 16TB HAMR disk drive

Jan 0

Isn't it time that this technology entered 7mm, 2.5 inch hard drives? SSDs are fine to put the OS on, but I'd like some massive storage in my laptop.

Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

Jan 0

Re: Pips

There is no way to "fix the pips". It becomes obvious, when you have more than one DAB radio, that there is no standard for the delay introduced when the signal is decoded and reassembled. The Pips could be broadcast a few seconds in advance, but manufacturers would have to agree to introduce a standardised delay on all broadcasts. As I walk through my house all the FM radios are nicely in sync. I find NTP a lot more useful than "the pips". Does anybody need to use "the pips"?

Rocket Labs mean business, Brits stick pin in Mars map, and Japan celebrates HTV-7’s dive into the atmosphere

Jan 0

Re: Ooh err missus--

> Bloody stupid computer autocorrect that doesn't recognise the word ether.

Maybe it's clever enough to realise that you weren't writing about an organic reagent, but not clever enough to think you meant "æther".

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Jan 0

Re: One problem with this

Another problem:

> Mars bar then cost 6d

IIRC, they cost 3d in the early 50s, but got progressively smaller as inflation bit. I don't remember in which year the size reverted and the price started rising. but it would have been late 50s or maybe early 60s.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

Jan 0

Re: @ICPurvis47 -- Pet hates.

dī-ˈsekt may be a preferred pronunciation, but it is illiterate and doesn't make sense.

Dissect(ion) is a concatenation of 'dis' and 'sect(ion)';

Compare it with 'disconnect' or 'discombobulate. Why not say 'di-sconnect' or 'di-scombobulate'?

Linguists, update your resumes because Baidu thinks it has cracked fast AI translation

Jan 0


If I was a linguist, I'd have a 'resumé'.

(Yes, yes, I know that US people won't understand this comment.)

AI's next battlefield is literally the battlefield: In 20 years, bots will fight our wars – Army boffin

Jan 0

Re: Humans will always have the most important battlefield role

>Killing civilians will always be a problem

That's too simplistic.

In democratic countries, the citizens are responsible, because they pay taxes and employ soldiers as their proxies. At least, those who support a war are legitimate targets. If you live in a dictatorship, the populace is much less responsible.

Enigma message crack honours pioneering Polish codebreakers

Jan 0

Re: Whilst I'm still here

I couldn't possibly comment in this thread. Try posting using the "Create a new topic" link near the top right of this page.

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

Jan 0

Re: Cash

That sounds like my local greasy spoon! Double espresso, made with beans from the top local roaster*, two quid, less if you're a frequent customer.

* flavour that would probably kill a Starbucks regular.

Google Chrome 69 gives worldwide web a stay of execution in URL box

Jan 0

It looks to me as if Chrome is making a bid to become the operating system.

Probably for the best: Apple makes sure eSIMs won't nuke the operators

Jan 0

Re: eSIM sucks

> eBay is filled with iPhones that won't unlock

Are you sure it's not full of clueless owners who have no idea that that iPhones can be unlocked?

PPI pushers now need consent to cold-call you

Jan 0

There's a simple way to drastically reduce nuisance calls*.

Don't plug a 'phone into your landline. Get legitimate companies to contact you by email. Ask all your friends to use your mobile number. You'll receive remarkably few nuisance calls or texts.

*I do realise that this doesn't help the considerable minority that live in cellular wireless shadows.

Jan 0

Re: It's a start

> get the TV licensing people to stop the harassment and threatening letters

I've found that a few minutes spent filling in your details on their website will spare you from a boxful of nasty threatening letters.

I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one

Jan 0

We've seen this before

This article and comments remind me of letters and articles in Wireless World* in the late eighties. Electronics engineers were dismayed by the amount of effort being poured into cellphone technology, when there were so many more worthwhile projects available and we already had a reliable, global, telephone system. However, we're all now really pleased that the suits persisted and the techies ultimately delivered portable computers that could be held in the hand and connect wirelessly to the global telephone system and the Internet.

We have some interesting developments in AI, for example IBM's Watson. However, Watson also shows that the hardware needed to run an intelligent kitchen would require a sizeable adjoining room and consume far more power than all the electrical appliances. I wonder what technology will be being hyped in another 30 years and whether portable AI will have arrived?

* A defunct UK journal for electronics engineers and technicians.

You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

Jan 0

Re: well that didn't take long

@ Douchus

> any chance of a version of the el'reg site that's not like staring at a 60watt bulb? :

The interface in front of you is yours. If you want dark sludge on crepuscular purple, adjust YOUR interface. Customisation, geddit?

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

Jan 0

> However, as IPA boss Tony Meggs noted, the report does not consider the "mega-programme" that is extricating the UK from the EU. . .

If Brexit is a mega-programme, where’s it happening and why haven’t we heard about it? Where are all the vacancies and contracts? The Brexit programme that I hear about is dwarfed by the projects in this article, some of which must therefore be giga- or tera-programmes.

UK Foreign Office offers Assange a doctor if he leaves Ecuador embassy

Jan 0

Re: Er wot?

Sometimes I think that some commentards have no grasp of the history of the society they live in.

If WOT, was good enough for Chad during WWII, then it's good enough for a Limey like me.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/19/a3568719.shtml if you really don't know about Chad. Beer, because of its technical origins.

Great news, cask beer fans: UK shortage of CO2 menaces fizzy crap taking up tap space

Jan 0

Re: Perhaps someone can help me with this.....

Well, when you and I were at school, most CO2 was obtained from breweries. But then Grotneys cornered the CO2 market and injected it all into a strange device called a Red Barrel. It's not too big a leap from there to the current sorry state. Thankfully, many sensible people have remembered how to make ales and lagers without all this nonsense.

My next pint's a Billericay Vanilla Mild please.

GDPR forgive us, it's been one month since you were enforced…

Jan 0

Re: disappointed...

On the subject of spammers, I'm amused that there's been a huge surge in spam sent to my special whois email address. Is anybody else noticing this? It seems that the ICANN/GDPR spat alerted many spammers and spam list suppliers to a free source* of email addresses that many of them were unaware of.

*Now unavailable, after the horse has bolted.

Loose .zips sink chips: How poisoned archives can hack your computer

Jan 0

Great headline!

Thanks Shaun.

DIYers rejoice: Hitting stuff to make it work even works in space

Jan 0

"half a baby aspirin"

Is NASA cutting babies in half or does NASA use aspirin for under 16s?

Is this a cunning NASA ploy to replace El Reg units?

Long live the (milli) Jub!

Stingray phone stalker tech used near White House, SS7 abused to steal US citizens' data – just Friday things

Jan 0

Re: Boss said leave it alone.

Joke for UK readers only:

Do Sinclair Broadcasting use matchbox sized transmitters?

Chief EU negotiator tells UK to let souped-up data adequacy dream die

Jan 0

Re: Won't share with a 3rd country

> Yep, too bad the USA are not part of the UK anymore. Well, I grant you, as a 3rd party, they're still influencing the UK's policy just as if they were still inside.

Where do you live? Haven’t you noticed that they are still inside? Don’t you hear the USAF “protecting” you by flying from a former RAF station most days?

The USA is inside and we vote for their poodles.

Huawei Honor 10: At £399, plenty of bang for buck – it's a pity about the snaps

Jan 0

Re: Phone or camera?

Come back Catherine Monfils, there's nothing to forgive!

Reg man straps on Facebook's new VR goggles, feels sullied by the experience

Jan 0

@Tony Paulazzo: The Rift suffers from underwhelming resolution. I've only spent a 15 - 20 minutes in a Rift environment, but I kept getting distracted by the pixels. Reality doesn't appear pixellated, even though its mediated via discrete rod and cone cells. Current technology just can't provide visual VR, let alone tactile, kinetic, olfactory, etc. VR.

Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn? Doesn't matter – they may need to update their room key software

Jan 0

Re: Let's face it, all locks are cr*p

Hmm. I notice that the lockpicking lawyer has no video of an Abloy mechanical lock being picked. (Destroyed, yes, but that's not "picking".)

World's biggest DDoS-for-hire souk shuttered, masterminds cuffed

Jan 0

It would be interesting to hear how much the attack on GitHub would have cost. Could it have been a demonstration of the power of webstressor to impress a customer?

The tech you're reading these words on – you have two Dundee uni boffins to thank for that

Jan 0

Joe, if you really make the grade, you could ask for a Tektronix 4010, perhaps?

That’ll save yards of paper every time the screen is redrawn. (Yes I have played Star Trek on a teletypewriter:)

Jan 0

Superb article!

Alistair, this is by far the best non-humorous article of yours that I’ve read. It is a shame that the monument is posthumous, but at least it gives hope to other unsung heroes and will be greatly appreciated by their families. I really appreciated the factual and historical content.

Thanks too for, as usual, producing an article that isn’t full of typos, schoolboy errors and grammatical mistakes. All in all a wonderful (late) breakfast read.

Oracle pledges annual Solaris updates for you to install each summer

Jan 0

Plans, we've heard of before.

Like many other plans, what's to stop this being dropped next year?

Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

Jan 0

Lock makers that you can trust?

The easy way to stop your door being kicked in is to have an outward opening door, meaning that the would be intruder has to kick the entire door frame in!

I'm not sure that I'd trust the company that convinced most UK households in the last century to use its easily circumvented rim locks. If I wanted one less key, I might consider an Abloy mechanical combination lock, but Abloy keys are so small and neat that I'll continue to use their keys.

As for the IoT stuff, well your home IT system could detect your 'phone as you approached and switch the house on, or you could send it a message from further away if it needs to heat or cool some rooms.

Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic

Jan 0

Re: It is just me that's noticed.....

H4rm0ny> I refuse to believe these tales of sweets that cost half a pence. Surely that would be below the minimum transaction free of your debit card.

Maybe, but I don't think we had debit cards before decimalisation. (The Barclaycard, credit card, arrived in 1966). Back then your statement was on a Hollerith card, which you returned with your cheque. Harvey Matusow discovered that, if you edited the Hollerith card, you could choose a new balance. I never tried this, but I had a friend who achieved the same end by purposely "maxing out" his Barclaycard on high end camera gear a few days before emigrating to Australia:)

What's silent but violent and costs $250m? Yes, it's Lockheed Martin's super-quiet, supersonic X-plane for NASA

Jan 0

Oooh look, there goes concorde again!


Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

Jan 0

Re: re: without a beacon

As someone who lived* by a bend on an unlit main road in darkest North Wales, I can assure you that the sheep come off worse. I can still clearly remember the tell tale sound of cars going too fast and the strange thump as the sheep died. The car will require an expensive repair, but the sheep is a write off: It's unfit for anyone but a desperate road kill eater. (Burst blood vessels and shit everywhere.)

It still reminds me to be very well lit at night and to always pick an escape route when I hear a fast car approaching a blind bend.

*It was North Wales, long ago, so assume small values of "living".

Corking story: Idiotic smart wine bottle idea falls over, passes out

Jan 0

Re: Corked?

Any fule know how to bang a cork in a bottle. Maybe you should find out what the term 'corked wine' means?

Jan 0

Re: These clowns were still in business?

£350 for a Coravin!!? That would buy a Vacu Vin, a lot of stoppers and still have change to buy some nice wine.

Still, fools and their money....

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Jan 0

Re: Feeling Old...

IIRC a prime selling point of the IBM 360 was that it came with a file containing "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell".

On the games front: don't forget that without a desire to play games, we wouldn't have Unix.

BOOM! Cambridge Analytica explodes following extraordinary TV expose

Jan 0

Re: Collapse of Facebook

>Facebook ... too big to fail.

But it's not like a bank or a major utility. Who's going to get hurt if it vanishes overnight? All the essentials for contemporary human life will still be 100% available.

Uber breaks self-driving car record: First robo-ride to kill a pedestrian

Jan 0

Are there countries where it's legal to run down pedestrians* on a normal road? There may be mitigation, but in civilised countries, it's the driver's responsibility to not drive into pedestrians (and many other things).

*If it helps, think of small children.


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