* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Huawei P20 Pro: Triple-lens shooter promises the Earth ...

Alister Silver badge

Re: I rather think the author is using a turn of phrase you don't understand.

like I understand that "Shouldn't of" is becoming common

Ah, now there, we are in complete agreement!

Those who use shouldn't of or couldn't of should be hung, drawn and quartered with a blunt knife. It is an abomination unto Nuggan.

Alister Silver badge

Re: It's a real curate's egg

the author is using a turn of phrase they don't really understand.

I rather think the author is using a turn of phrase you don't understand.

From the page you linked to...

The initial meaning of the phrase was to describe something which was partly good but which was ruined by its bad part.

It's now more often used just to describe something that is partly good and partly bad.

Alister Silver badge

Long Exposure

With regard to your point about the "Night Mode" Hill shot, In my experience, with a long exposure shot, even on a top-of-the-range SLR or DSLR, you would get the problem of the sky appearing too light, as it reflects back the street lighting.

I would not consider this to be a problem of the specific software, just the limitations of the location.

White House: Is it OK to hijack, shoot down, or snoop on drones? Er ... asking for a friend

Alister Silver badge

Why now?

Radio-controlled aircraft, helicopters, boats etc have been around - and easily available off the shelf - for at least 30 years, and nobody's given a shit.

The task to make one of them able to deliver a terrorist payload is no different to that involved in modifying a quadcopter, and in fact most R/C aircraft have a much better range than your average "drone", so why is it suddenly a problem?

Russian regulator asks courts to disconnect Telegram

Alister Silver badge

Re: Who are the extremists, exactly?

So, Are you suggesting we ban children?

I could go for that, although I can foresee a flaw or two in the plan. But think of the benefits - Theresa May wouldn't be able to use "think of the children" any more - that'd be great!

Lib Dems, UKIP's websites go TITSUP* on UK local election launch day

Alister Silver badge

Re: NationBuilder, eh?

Roll on the GDPR.

I don't know why there is such unbridled optimism that the GDPR will magically fix all IT security issues. In my view it is more likely to be an unmitigated disaster, just like all the other government led security initiatives.

Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Active Directory go TITSUP*

Alister Silver badge

Re: Outlook.com email was screwed up on Sunday night/Monday for me

What do you do for email? Run your own server?

Well, as it happens, yes, I do.

But for my Hotmail I use Thunderbird, instead of webmail, so I can download all my mail from that account to a local machine, and then I can back it up on a USB drive as well.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Outlook.com email was screwed up on Sunday night/Monday for me

All my important email goes there. I would be screwed if I lost that account.


Issues like this are precisely why I don't trust the cloud.

Sorry, these two statements do not marry up. If you don't trust cloud services why the hell would you trust your important email to a Hotmail account??

Virgin spaceplane makes maiden rocket-powered flight

Alister Silver badge

Re: Perhaps?

doesn't produce any tech relevant to real space travel.

Whilst I agree with your main point, that Branson's primary goal seems to just be about giving rides to rich tourists, I think the principle of an air-launched second stage is one worth pursuing as an alternative to ground to space rocketry, which (with the exception of Reaction Engines) is what everyone else is doing.

Shhh! Don’t tell KillBots the UN’s about to debate which ones to ban

Alister Silver badge


Based in Wales?

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

Alister Silver badge

Strategic maintenance of skills.

Sadly, not a lesson learned by the UK government, who have systematically wiped out heavy industrial skills from the workforce, to the point that when we wanted a new steam locomotive boiler, we had to get Germany to make it for us...

Alister Silver badge

Doesn't fit on a laptop.

I'm sure if you hammer the nails in hard enough it will...

Alister Silver badge

I can recommend the IBM Model M - if the keys stick, just hit them with a hammer...


Alister Silver badge

or even "silent but deadly" possibly?

Super Cali upstart's new rocket test approaches, even though the size of it won't launch a Tesla motor

Alister Silver badge

Re: Ford needs to up its game...

In the UK, the Astra is made by GM (as Vauxhall)

Oops, not any more, it's owned by PSA Group, apparently!

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

Alister Silver badge

Re: The music

It has some of the most iconic music ever written.

Which were all pieces from classical composers. None of it was written for the movie.

Both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones scores were written by John Williams, who unashamedly borrowed themes from Holst, Strauss, Dvorak, and Bach (among others) to create his music.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Silent Running...

I'm still waiting for "Rendezvous with Rama" to hit the big screen

Agreed, but unfortunately I don't think the original story has enough sex and violence to appeal to Hollywood, and I shudder to think what an "adaptation" would turn out like.

Probably like I Robot - only the title remains.

Furious gunwoman opens fire at YouTube HQ, three people shot

Alister Silver badge

it was a vege commie muslim


Intel admits a load of its CPUs have Spectre v2 flaw that can't be fixed

Alister Silver badge

Re: So since Intel have now confirmed that are unwilling to fix...

You're right, car analogies don't work.

Oh, I don't know, it's not far off:

(Most)PCs have windows, the user is aware of this fact at the point of sale.


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

Alister Silver badge

Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

@D A M

If the engines are meant to be nuclear fission - which is what I remember from the book - then what fuel would you need, I wonder. Is it more likely to be reaction mass, than "fuel" as such?

Alister Silver badge

Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

Most of the triangular containers along the spine between the sphere and the engines are fuel tanks, as I recall.

Alister Silver badge

This prologue indicated a direction far less trippy than the final version. But 2001 just kept getting longer so the footage was never used and is presumed lost – although based on Kubrick's well-known obsessive cataloguing of research materials, it is sure to be stashed safely somewhere.

It was my understanding that Kubrick explicitly ordered the archive to be destroyed on his death.

I can't remember where I read that, though, unless it was Clarke's book.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

I'm going to go out on a limb here but wasn't HAL's behaviour almost supernatural to what humans can understand? i.e. he was under the control of the monolith or in contact with it.

No, that only happened in the sequel 2061, after HAL had been physically destroyed at the end of 2010.

In the original 2001, both book and film, his "psychosis" was due to conflicting instructions in his programming.

Doomed Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 crashes into watery Pacific grave

Alister Silver badge

Re: So glad to see

I'm a rocket surgeon, and I do brain science in my spare time...

Alister Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: More trash for the ocean

I know, I took a spent uranium fuel rod to the local tip, but they said they don't handle that sort of thing. It's ridiculous, I wrote to my local MP about it.

Need a needle in an artery? Move over, doc, there's an app for that

Alister Silver badge

wrong vessel

The article (and some previous commentards) seem to make no distinction between arteries and veins.

In all but a few extreme cases, it is normal to take blood from, or inject drugs into, a patient's veins, and NOT the arteries. The name sort of gives it away really, it's an Intravenous injection, or IV fluids that are given.

Unless you are doing something clever like blood transfusion or dialysis, you would not deliberately stick a needle in an artery.

Cloudflare touts privacy-friendly public DNS service. Hmm, let's take a closer look at that

Alister Silver badge


You might want to read RFC 1918

You might want to realise that given the troll icon, he was not being serious?

Alister Silver badge


Why don't you use

Ahh, long weekend. Refreshed? Great, now purge yourself with all the storage you missed

Alister Silver badge

Refreshed? Great, now purge yourself

I'm not sure you really wanted to say purge? Purge suggests an enforced emptying...

Gorge yourself is probably more what you meant...

Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why

Alister Silver badge

Re: Finally somebody said the truth

@David 164

Nope they are being tested on London roads, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfRqNAhAe6c

In case you missed it, that video shows a car which had to have a driver who was fully engaged in watching the road, and twice in the course of the video (10 minutes?) he had to take manual control.

Not very autonomous, is it?

Facebook exec extracts foot from mouth: We didn't really mean growth matters more than human life

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why are all the troll icons upside down?

Try clicking on the icon...

Machine learning library TensorFlow can count to potato... I mean, 1.7

Alister Silver badge

you say potato, I say tomato

Let's call the whole thing Pi...

Brit cloud slinger iomart goes TITSUP, knackers Virgin Trains, Parentpay

Alister Silver badge

Re: sort of reminds me

Yes, it's a question I've pondered before. A datacentre that we use in Derby boasts of multiple redundant fibre links, but whilst that may be the case at their site, all the fibres go through the same telephone exchange in Colyear Street, and that building only has one ductway and cable room, so at that point all the fibres are in the same duct.

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up

*Teetering Infrastructure Turns Services Utterly Pants

Thumbs Up for that one

India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

Alister Silver badge

Re: It was a stinker

the crew of the UFO moonbase makes up for a lot.

Mmmm... Gabrielle Drake...

Alister Silver badge

practical challenges (such as what do with all the trash generated by astronauts) remained.

That's easy, just build a rubbish dump next to the nuclear reactors on farside. What could go wrong?

Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Alister Silver badge

Re: > at some point she was in the headlights,

*If* we take the video on trust, then the car was being driven with dipped headlights which made it difficult for the human driver to spot the pedestrian.

Don't take the video on trust, it gives a wholly misleading impression of the lighting conditions.

See here for a more realistic view:


Using dipped headlights was entirely appropriate in the circumstances: the area where the accident happened is well lit with street lights and the human driver would have been able to see the pedestrian for at least 400 yards, probably more.

Alister Silver badge

Bad shots aside and sad as it is, why choose to cross there?

Because there's a wide footpath across the median strip, where she crossed.

Yes, Emergency Service Network will be late and cost more - UK perm sec

Alister Silver badge

we're all going to die!


Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

Alister Silver badge

Re: Cause of Death: Ostrich Algorithm

Others driving the route at night (without artificially dark video) have shown that a pedestrian should have been visible long enough to make a graceful stop.

Exactly. See here

There seems to be an erroneous belief centered on the Uber video that the accident happened in the dark, whereas the fact is it the road was well lit.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Self driving cars can only only react"

You have absolutely no way to know that.

The facts are that contrary to the widely held belief, the place where the accident happened was not a dark country road, it was a well lit urban street. The video footage released by Uber shows a very misleading view of the available light levels.

If you look here then you might begin to understand that the pedestrian would have been in plain view for a long time before the accident.

You are just making assumptions, when facts are needed.

No, I'm actually looking at the available evidence instead of accepting things at face value.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Cause of Death: Ostrich Algorithm


I'm thinking you're an idiot.

She was more than halfway across the road, which means she started crossing when the car was a long way away. The car was exceeding the speed limit, and so she probably misjudged the time she had to safely cross. She also probably assumed that the car would slow enough to let her get to safety as a human driver would do.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Self driving cars can only only react"

I timed the video and from when the pedestrian appears to when the video stops seems to be closer to 0.75 seconds rather than 2.

You cannot base any judgement on the video, as it is of such poor quality that it is in no way representative of reality. Human vision would have detected her much, much earlier.

Don't forget, the lady didn't just suddenly step out in front of the car, she had left the median strip and already crossed one lane, and was nearly half-way across the second lane before she appears in the video.

However, I agree that this shows that the either detection systems on the car were inadequate, or the software inexplicably decided not to brake or avoid the obstruction.

Uber's disturbing fatal self-driving car crash, a new common sense challenge for AI, and Facebook's evil algorithms

Alister Silver badge

Re: Shouldn't lidar work *better* in the dark?

how many average drivers would have seen her?

Leaving aside the the problem that the human wasn't actually looking, if this had been a normal car with a human driver I would have thought that the chances are high that an average driver would have seen her.

The video shows that the camera didn't pick the lady up until the last minute, when she appeared in the full beam of the headlights, but then we know that video cameras are poor at resolving contrast in dark conditions, and the human eye is much, much better at resolving and identifying movement in those conditions.

When I first read of this incident, I sort of assumed that the lady had dashed across in front of the car, or had suddenly appeared from behind an obstruction. It is clear from the video that neither of these was the case, and I think an average driver would have seen her much earlier and taken avoiding action.

This very much looks like a failure of the car's detection systems, and not an unavoidable accident.

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

Alister Silver badge

Re: Feeling Old...

...we attached a CD ROM to one of the (3?) interface options. Panasonic, Soundblaster and.....? Not IDE but can't recall the third one. Any one remember?


Alister Silver badge

Re: Feeling Old...

Kids these days don't understand that we used to have to buy a card specifically to get sound out of a computer,

And a card to connect the networking!

Who remembers the joys of setting jumpers on a 3Com Etherlink card to get the IRQ and base address set correctly.

Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

Alister Silver badge

Damn, you beat me too it, I was going to say it was used by pTerry in GP as well.

The way Moist inserts his "accusation from the ghosts" onto the clacks from Reacher Gilt is very similar.

Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook after spat over privacy controls

Alister Silver badge

Re: Advertising is borderline scamming per definition

If you don't want your data to be sold by 3rd parties then... well, here's a weird idea: How about not placing it online in the first place?

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, it doesn't work like that. If your friends, family or work colleagues have a social media account, then the chances are your details will be sucked up as well through their accounts.

F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m

Alister Silver badge

Re: @Alister

Ah right, thanks.

I think I saw that, too. Ironic that the stated aim of the program was to reduce costs, as you say.

Alister Silver badge

Do you mean the next-gen after the F35, or the competition which lead to the F35?

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