* Posts by xeroks

227 posts • joined 27 Apr 2010


Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey



A colleague used to work in the software part of an engineering works. She discovered, after she spent a day disposing of a lot of outdated manuals, that all their bins were weighed before heading towards the dump.

Apparently there had been a number of cases where large lumps of copper had been purloined using a bin & retrieve method.

The stupid thing was that these had thousands of pounds worth of precision machining done on them, and so the scrap value was a tiny percentage of their value.

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign



$10 per TB per month is the same as an AWS s3 bucket. Though using S3 for backups, you can move the files to Glacier, which costs $4

I helped catch Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht: Undercover agent tells all


Re: The golden rule of crime

My guess is that there is more to it than the cash. It sounds like, at least initially, there was the whole free-market philosophy he was emulating/embodying.

Then there there was the money, yes, but with it a level of being important to a lot of people. Once he'd gone beyond a $100,000 I suspect the cash was just a self importance meter, rather than a means to buying things.

Florida man's deadliest catch forces police to evacuate Taco Bell


Re: Here fishy fishy

I always imagined the prize was less for using sellotape, and more for getting rid of it afterwards, leaving the graphene intact.

Though to be fair it is one of those "why didn't anyone else think of that?" ideas.

Big Red's big pay gap: $13,000 gulf between male and female Oracle staffers – reports


This found that women were paid on average $13,000 less than men, **even after controlling for various factors such as career level, performance review scores and office location**


Re: All else being equal...

This found that women were paid on average $13,000 less than men, **even after controlling for various factors such as career level, performance review scores and office location**

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit


Re: Safe reserves and efficiency

This seems right. They may have planned for the very cold temperatures, but something unexpected happened.

Huawei and Intel hype up AI hardware, TensorFlow tidbits, and more


Re: deepfake?

Indeed. this is, it seems, a fake deepfake. How much faker do you want?

No plain sailing for Anon hacktivist picked up by Disney cruise ship: 10 years in the cooler for hospital DDoS caper



I'm going to keep a copy of this note and show it to people who disparage my own scrawlish handwriting.

"Here is the handwriting of someone who believes it is morally right to take down hospital IT," I shall say, "Do not trust people who write neatly."

I bet his desk is tidy too (definitely for the next 10 years)

Steamer closets, flying cars, robot boxers, smart-mock-cock ban hypocrisy – yes, it's the worst of CES this year


Obviously sex toys do not go down very well at CES.

you forgot the inverted commas around "go down"

Border guards probe 'suspicious bulge' in man's trousers to find he's packing fluffies


is that a Generation Game reference?

Remember Misco? Staff win protective award at employment tribunal


Except they probably won't 90 days pay from the Insolvency Service, even capped at £500 pw.

A previous employer of mine did the same thing and we were awarded the full whack in a tribunal. We received nothing like 90 days pay due to the various limits.

For me it was a bonus, as I wasn't actually out of work (though I did take a temporary drop in pay). Other people were out of work for long periods of time, and they really needed the money.

Conversely there there quite a few people who would have been eligible, but never claimed. In Miscos's case all 300 people should have been able to claim a few thousand pounds, but only 75 people did. Maybe they couldn't be bothered to fill in the forms, or just wanted to move on in life, or thought they wouldn't have a chance, or thought they were ineligible.

Virtual Nodes and Cluster Autoscaling arrive at Microsoft's Azure Kubernetes Party


Delayed Functions

The cost savings Lambda provides, particularly in combination with its suggestion of limitless processing power on tap is pretty difficult to argue with. It provides a path towards the gains cloud/grid computing promised.

I'm surprised it's taken MS quite so long to get it up and running.

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges


@DavCrav I believe the point AC was trying to make is that mass shootings, while horrible, are not the worst effect of high gun ownership.

To me, reducing the numbers of accidents and successful suicides are the bigger, more obvious targets that are easier to measure.

Reducing the number of homicides is harder to measure. The NRA have managed to prevent the authorities from recording stats and without past stats, future benefits can only be estimated.

However we know that one of the key factors influencing the decision to commit a crime is the availability of means. It seems a no brainer that less legal guns= less death by legal guns, and that a large national pool of legal guns is a resource that criminals can comparatively easily exploit to source guns for themselves.

but you know, personal defence is so important because scare stories.


underlying issue: SWATTers?

As far as I can see, a significant part of the problem might be that the kind of investigation and prosecution that has been done in this case should be done in all swatter situations.

Essentially: if you SWAT someone, the authorities should go after you with the same rigour regardless of whether someone died as a result.

That would help prevent this kind of thing from occurring.


Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

according to pretty detailed wikipedia entry, "...evidence that emerged during the course of the criminal trial into the Health and Safety charge showed that Menezes was lawfully in the country on 22 July 2005."

The same article doesn't say he was criminal, despite mentioning the various theories why he ran onto the train.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere


Re: Racist?

I didn't see it as racist, just reporting the facts and language as stated in your email. But I'm not of chinese origin,

I've had them purport to be from Ukraine, Russia, and India, but not China. The most recent one started with "Howdy", so I assume it was intended to be from the US. I suppose it could have been someone pretending to be someone pretending to be from the US. These would-be blackmailers can devious in their usage of broken English.

The mysterious life of Luc Esape, bug fixer extraordinaire. His big secret? He's not human


it's the future

So I guess there are questions about the code quality here: did it produce maintainable, readable code?

It went through a couple of human review processes, so I guess the answer is "yes."

And if the trigger for this is a broken test, then unit and integration tests become even more important to the code creation and maintenance process.

In fact, the existence of a robot "code fixer" suggests that test driven development will become the way we work as coders - with Mr. Esape doing the coding.

If you think this is not going to happen, or that this is a one off: think again.

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin


but there's still Digikey & Mouser

A few years back I discovered Digikey, which was US only at that point.

Man what an awesome catalog they had: by which I mean a real paper book like the thickest, richest most addictive telephone book you've ever seen. It was like being a kid again.

I literally had to throw it out because I was spending too much time browsing it.

I used them again recently. Their website has not changed in about 30 years and their delivery charges for small orders is still expensive, but the delivery is surprisingly fast. I ordered stuff on the saturday evening, and it was delivered on the monday morning.

The range of components blows anything Maplin or Tandy had right out the water.

Good news: Sub-surface life on Mars possible, moons from big impacts. There is no bad news


"The chances of anything coming from Mars (capable of taking advantage of specific characteristics of human physiology and causing widespread and fatal epidemics) are a million to one, he said.

But still, they come."

It has a nice ring about it, but could do with some work.

Your Twitter app stopped working? Here's why


Re: Why are so many [..] devs [..] willing to bet their [success to] Twitter / Facebook

"believes it can start reaping the benefits "

maybe twitter is now at the point of make or break.

Would I pay for it? I don't know. I'm weaning myself off social media, partly because it can suck up too much time, partly because it's poisonous now.

EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.


Re: Plug cable entry angle

"You mean something like this ? Available for about 5 years now."

No - that doesn't have an earth. Also way too flimsy, and reliant on moving parts for normal usage. Fine for use cases where you need the plug as small as possible.

My Sony phone charger does something very similar for compactness, but the best one I've seen was an old apple design where all 3 prongs folded into the very normal-sized plug body, which also contained the voltage convertor goodies and a USB socket.

It really is amazing when you think back to the huge iron transformers we had to use before high power semiconductors were cheap.

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker


Re: RE: buy something else without the logo.

"FINALLY a use for hyper real augmented reality sunglasses. Editing out the logo"

came here to say this. Hololens should be able to do.

No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?


Re: They have a point.

"Most smart meters communicate thought the power lines, not over the air"

Apparently not the ones used by scottish power.

Ours is located in a position where mobile signal cannot be assumed. we explained to the engineer that the older providers - vodaphone etc were OK because we have a signal booster that works over their frequency bands. Other providers - like Three- require other arrangements.

Of course the engineer (who was not actually from scottish power, but was just contracted to do the job) had no way of testing if the signal was suitable for the meter.

Developer’s code worked, but not in the right century


why in the blue blazes...

why in the blue blazes would a supermarket have its own date format?

One of my first employers stored future dates and and thus encountered the millennium bug very early.

They had been aware of the problem well before that, but because storage was still expensive, they put it off for a few years. Adding a digit or 2 to all dates was a big deal, requiring the whole database to be unpacked and repacked. It would have taken more than a weekend on the hardware of the time.

They worked around it for awhile by turning the last digit of the year into an alphanumeric (yes it was COBOL) so 2000 was 9A, 2001 was 9B etc.

They had come to a longer term fix by the time I left, just before they ran out of letters.

New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy


Re: Bullshit

what they mean is "It would make future unauthorised biopics about actors, musicians, or athletes look a bit 20th century because the viewer would see the actor's face, not the face of the person being represented. Also we won't be able to tart up our old stock of biopics."

Nominet throws out US corp's attempt to seize Brit domain names


Re: I fucking hate domain squatters

automatic re-registrations on expiry are OK - if they're by the original holder.

It's pretty nasty however, if someone else auto registers your domain because you miss an email or two. Especially if they charge £1000s to get it back.

or is that what you meant?

Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers


Re: This!

oh, please don't tell the homeopaths about the binary water. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

NASA dusts off FORTRAN manual, revives 20-year-old data on Ganymede


tape to cloud?

Hopefully the content of those tapes is now stored in some more easiliy retrieved medium.

If you think about it, all the space missions we've done are likely to have data we didn't know to analyse.

Going back through the archives must be like re-reading a Douglas Adams novel - no matter how often you've read it previously, you will pick up something new.

Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?


Re: Probably...

IIRC there are some states which oral sex is legally referred to as sodomy.

2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century


Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

That is pretty horrible. I can see that using the block to celebrate the Queen's silver Jubilee might have been a good idea. but the design isn't great.

The artist, Albert Fleischmann, does some really lovely work in perspex, but I don't think this is one. Don't know if it was a "design by committee" problem or a very rushed implementation.


Re: For more details....

oh, I had that.

I may even still have it somewhere. It was an interesting read. though I really need to watch the film again, it's been so long.

Just when you thought it was safe to go ahead with microservices... along comes serverless


Re: Is it just me

"Give that servicing each of those requests now seems to have the overhead of spinning up the service that allegedly doesn't exist and closing it down afterwards it seems likely that the charge ought to be more."

I suspect you're right that the spin up /down will add to the cost. However, those costs are less than the savings made from not having hardware sitting doing nothing.

It's difficult to tell: while AWS prices are *extremely* compelling at the moment, they are in the game to make lots of money in the long term.


Re: Is it just me

"Or is 'serverless' just microservices but using a vendor-specific framework?"

Kind of. Microservices I've used have still been billed by the server. You can add scale-out rules - e.g. if your servers are at 80% capacity, then fire up an extra one. So you tend to specify the smallest, cheapest servers you can, automatically add more when you need them, and shut them down when you don't.

The serverless paradigm means you don't bother with that. You have 100 requests? You get charged for the processing required for those 100 requests.

I've not looked into what control you have over those tasks - you must be able to throttle them in the case of an exceptional number coming in at the same time.

As far as vendor-lock in is concerned, they're all at it. Microsoft's service fabric is a powerful framework for microservices, and while you're not totally locked into Azure, you are tied into Microsoft.

Surprise UK raid of Cambridge Analytica delayed: Nobody expects the British information commissioner!


Re: On the other hand...

"Maybe they are trying to give CA enough rope."

I'd love them to be super smart with Lizbet Salander on-side gathering evidence on the quiet. However, that's wishful thinking. CA will do either make like POTUS http://www.newsweek.com/2016/11/11/donald-trump-companies-destroyed-emails-documents-515120.html or will, as someone else suggested, have the salient data in cloud storage in another legal regime.

Military techie mangled minicomputer under nose of scary sergeant


For some reason mainframe machine rooms seem to be filled with devices that cause mayhem to many people.

In my first week as an op. I managed to power down one of ours twice.

That thing that looked like a desk with the monitor on it? The desk was the console, not the monitor. If *desk* is powered off, the whole thing goes down. And the designers put a power switch under the desk, exactly where you would rest your feet...

The designers also thought our mainframe would look good if it had some nice solid worktops. Solid enough for temporarily putting stacks of mag tapes on, great for preparing your work for the evening. However, they didn't think it would be a good idea to put a cover on the little control panel on the side. You know, the control panel that you could accidentally press with your thigh while temporarily piling mag tapes onto the worktop.

Remarkably I never hit the unprotected "emergency off" button by the door, but I know a couple of people who did.

1980s sci-fi movies: The thrill of being not quite terrified on mum's floral sofa


Re: Jabba the Hutt in 1983’s Return of the Jedi

What's the problem with Bluray? It has far better quality than DVD and streaming. and you usually get the same extras as DVD.

Ofcom just told BT to up its game on fibre investment


loss making excercise

Looking back to the 90's when many people got cable installed, you had many comparatively small companies doing the work.

AFAIK they were unable to extract the revenue to pay for that investment. After that initial round of cable laying, they stopped: any housing developments built since were not hooked up simply because the expense outweighed future revenues.

FTTP will be in the same boat. The infrastructure should be considered a public utility.

Tom Baker returns to finish shelved Doctor Who episodes penned by Douglas Adams



"Dirk Gently is possibly the best Dr Who story never made."

Well, to be honest it does contain significant chunks of "City of Death" Not that he had any qualms about recycling good material!

iPhone X: Bargain! You've just bagged yourself a cheap AR device


"Tits on trees"

if you're interested in that kind of thing, I recommend a bird feeder. I have one and see loads.

Usually a blackbird or two make an appearance, and until recently load of goldfinches too.

What do Vegas hookers, Colombian government, and 30,000 other sites have in common? Crypto-jacking miners


also apps?

Interesting article.

It made me wonder about how prevalent and detectable similar techniques would be if implemented on mobile apps.

As an example, I recently started playing a iOS game. It's very engaging, so I spent far too long playing it over the weekend.

It is free, but with the usual opportunities to pay to remove advertising, boosts, customisations etc.

However, while I've been playing it, I've noticed my iPad (Air 2) gets pretty hot and chews through battery. It's only a platform-type game, and while there are quite a few animations going on, it doesn't look - to me - like it should be so intensive.

That got me thinking how easy it would be to include code running some other task - say bitcoin mining - in the background. These kind of games require internet access to fetch ads and content so any data transfer required to support the task could be easily disguised.

Is it possible to determine if the app is doing that? Or if it's simply inefficient coding that's causing my hands to get nice and toasty?

Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support


Re: Too many stories like that one.

I missed so many meetings because of this. Turns out Outlook notifications and windows 7 do not play well together.

The "by design" action of the notification popup is for it to be hidden behind any other windows.

So: it pops up with something your not worried about.

You continue doing some work.

Something important triggers the popup to update - but is still hiding behind the thing you're working on.

Good news is that there's a fix. You can add a simple macro to outlook to make sure the popup is always on top. Works well for me.


US Congress mulls first 'hack back' revenge law. And yup, you can guess what it'll let people do


this going to go well

At least no-one will actually die, just spend the rest of their lives in legal disputes as the mess gets cleared up.

oh... was that a hospital system I just wiped?

IKEA flat-packs TaskRabbit to crack assembly code


"A component had half the holes drilled with the the component 180° out of alignment."

hmm. Are you positive it - or possibly the piece it joined up with - wasn't the wrong way up?

Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple


iPad coding

It's not comiling, but the iPad is capable of running (+ IIRC debugging) javascript locally.

I've used this capabilty plus Textastic to throw together a few (small) applications in the past.

Boffins grudgingly admit they may have found an exomoon


Did someone lose their job over that? got a link?

Autonomous driving in a city? We're '95% of the way there'


Re: Quick thought

I understand the current proposal is that when in autonomous mode, the car is insured by the manufacturer.


However, I agree that manual drive cars are likely to get higher premiums. But that will be down to stats: I expect that - until we get used to the new rules of driving - humans will be at fault more often than robocars.


Re: "Like a human"

Bumper-to bumper autonomous vehicles on the motorway.

All driving at 67mph.

Being slowly overtaken by a lorry, who has to get to the front before pulling in.

Highly efficient, but just kill me now.

User left unable to type passwords after 'tropical island stress therapy'


Re: One week at Bigger Blue.

A friend was a BT engineer in the 80's. They had to wear suits to any client visit, with overalls (on top!) when clambering through dust.

A suit on the first day at a job, especially first day ever, isn't unreasonable. Second day... you're right, he should have taken the cue from his colleagues.

€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine


Re: Ethics failure?

€100 seems steep for an old typewriter. Perhaps the seller was already making a huge profit already.

I remember reading (years ago) about a woman who sold her house to a bloke for double what she thought it was worth. She was very happy, even when, hours later, he sold it for double again to a supermarket who needed the land for their development.

Of course he knew about the supermarket's plans, but I suspect was able to gauge how much they were willing to spend.


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