* Posts by John Brown (no body)

10256 posts • joined 21 May 2010

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

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Because computer dates are numbers but real dates aren't

"cal 1752"

Ah yes, Ephemeral September rather than Eternal September :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: How come this is not working, must be the compiler's or interpreter's fault ...

"It is a good idea, PROVIDED:

1. You are in dev or test environment

2. You have debug statements in your code and forgot to enable them on the first run or simply want to ensure one can safely run the program multiple times. There are certainly other cases as well ..."

Yes, I don't think a time frame was mentioned in the article. It wasn't unusual many years ago to be working on a live system because there was no test environment. Having said that, I would always run something like that which would do the "change" but not write it back, write to console or printer instead so I could eyeball what was likely to happen before committing any writes into the database.

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John Brown (no body)
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"Does running something again when you get something unexpected seem like a bad idea?"

There's a saying for that, along the lines of "only a fool repeats their actions expecting something different to happen"

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John Brown (no body)
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"...and it still occasionally gets presented with new user variants that need extra coding - or a human doing the interpretation."

You mean like 02/03/18, 2nd March or 3rd Feb? Almost impossible to identify with certainty, even if you do know the nationality of the user. Sanity checking ism't likely to much help except in specific circumstances.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: No standard for epochs - @katrinab

"In 20 years time will there be anything outside of museums still using 32-bit Unix time?"

Possibly, yes. IIRC parts of the US nuclear deterrent still relies on 8" floppies (or only recently changed)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: The Standard Date Format?

"Many/most run out in less than possible existence of human species."

Is time to start planning for the year Y10K bug yet?

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Audi chief exec arrested over Dieselgate car emissions scandal

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Bureaucracy rules...

"The MOT emissions point test is nothing to do with the VAG emissions dodge. (Which was a software mode enabling ultra-lean running to cheat through the Euro IV-VI emissions regs and others)."

...and, of course, their original explanation was this is a mode engaged when the car is stopped at junctions, traffic lights etc., not their fault that it also happened when in the test centres, no siree bob!

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John Brown (no body)
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"Genuinely shocked that he didn't have enough money to get out of being remanded."

By the sound of it, the prime reason for the arrest was the risk of evidence being disposed of. Allowing bail would negate that.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: So lets see....

"As anyone (Hopefully with a Brain), would have done the proper thing. al-la Hillery, and would have bitbleached everything, the exact moment their number got into the que."

That's a big risk. If you don't every last bit of evidence, any remaining evidence then leads investigators to ask where the rest is. Like something as simple as an email reply on someone elses computer or still in the GMail cloud that includes something "bad". What happened to the rest of the chain? Destroying evidence is usually very much frowned upon.

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Brit mobile phone users want the Moon on a stick but then stay on same networks for aeons

John Brown (no body)
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Big Brother

Or maybe how you ask it.

"Or maybe how you ask it."

And that's why most survey results should be taken with a pinch of salt. Few surveys are independent. There's almost always in "interested party" paymaster who wants results that show them in a good light or helps sell product. How a question is asked can very easily be manipulated to guide the interviewee to a certain answer with some good level of probability. Pollsters are masters at this.

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Pwned with '4 lines of code': Researchers warn SCADA systems are still hopelessly insecure

John Brown (no body)
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"The "4 lines of code" attack, as described in the article, relies on physically hooking up a fake PLC to the targeted plant. I'd argue that if you have hostiles able to add a PLC to your plant undetected, then network security is not really your main problem."

Depends how they corporate network is set up. I might be as simple as plugging the device into any spare network port in the foyer. I'm sure some networks will be that poorly set up.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: SCADA systems running windows

"About 3/4 years ago my boss went to a very high profile company that make helicopter parts, they still have a CNC machine running Windows 3.1.... it would be took expensive to replace. It was completely off the network."

Not a high profile company, but a 3-4 years ago I did some work for a company still using paper tape to programme one of their CNC machines. A couple of others had their programmes uploaded by RS232C from a PC in the office.

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Wires, chips, and LEDs: US trade bigwigs detail Chinese kit that's going to cost a lot more

John Brown (no body)
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"which is the thing that China has stolen out from under us."

Stolen? Hardly. It was willingly given, contacts signed, shareholder approval given and everything.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Every one

"Putting all your eggs in one basket is a bad idea - so, moving functions such as fabrication plants, steel production, etc., back to your own country will mitigate the risk."

That might be what governments want to do, but in practice what happens is that businesses move their outsourced manufacturing to the next cheap labour market rather than bring them "home" where cost will rise too much in the longer term, even if there are short term incentives.

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

John Brown (no body)
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"Of course, if your name is Will then that's a different matter."

No need to worry about Will. Everyone gets to fire at Will.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: "My keychain has 2 sizes each ..."

"Out of curiosity, can you still openly carry a Leatherman in UK? Because if that's not "going equipped" I don't know what is"

"Going equipped" isn't quite as cut'n'dried as stated. Circumstances have a lot to do with it. After all, many people carry tools or other items that could be used for nefarious things all the time.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Where did you get that $20 padlock?

"Our only-game-in-a-small-town hardware store went for Master's case load discount. Guess what? Probably half the padlocks in a 10 mile radius open with the same key..."

When I was a kid growing up, Gran lived a few doors down across the street. Our back door key opened her back door. Being a kid I never gave it a thought. It was a happy coincidence that everyone agreed was convenient. It was only years later I realised a three lever mortice lock only has 6 effective combinations (can't use 0 or 7) so at least 1 in 6 houses on the estate shared back door keys! Of course, back then, no one really thought about stuff like that. People generally just accepted whatever locks the house builders happened to cheap out on. You only changed the lock if it broke or you were having a new door fitted for some reason such as rotten wood.

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Indiegogo lawyer asks ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Where's the cash?

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Sending the lawyer's letter

"It reminds me of the Not The Nine O'Clock News parody of That's Life -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2QZprRgxDc&t=50 "

Ah, so THAT'S where the Bart Simpson "I didn't do it" story came from :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: " We need to act before it’s too late and London’s success is threatened. "

"BECAUSE IT IS AN INVESTMENT IN A STARTUP."

It's more like a donation than an investment. An investment usually buys you a share of the profits. Crowd funding isn't even close to being an investment. Depends on the funding model and the reason for the crowd funding campaign. Depending on the model, it's an advance payment for a product which you may not get, it's a donation with a specified reward (eg my LOHAN engraved glass tankard) worth much less than the donation (or the model doesn't work), or it's just an outright donation with no reward/payback at all.

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Former FBI boss Comey used private email for official business – DoJ

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Unclassified email

"Dear FBI staff"

That reads almost identically to our corporate Yammer feed. Do I know you? :-)

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Swiss cops will 'tolerate' World Cup rabble-rousers – for 60 minutes

John Brown (no body)
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Re: @Shades -- Being sensible

"I'd like to add the morons who move to an area around an airport. particularly off other end of the runway(s). They know the airport is there, a look at map would confirm it. But usually a week after they move in, the bitching starts."

We had the same issues with a local cokeworks. It was built by a German company and was used (it's documented!) as a waypoint for Zeppelins during WWI. The locals were constantly complaining about the dust from the place. The oldest houses in range of the normal day to day dust levels were built in the 1930's but the loudest complaints came for the newer house built in the 80's that included a number of 4 and 5 bed houses, ie a more "well off" housing estate.

Is there a word for NIMBYs who move into an area and then complain about what was there before them?

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Drones Bill said to be ready for world+dog's crayons 'this summer'

John Brown (no body)
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"£43 billion... Even if you're buying completely blinged out top of the range consumer drones, that's a couple of full beehives worth."

I suspect they mean a little more than just the consumer market. They are probably adding in large chunks of revenue already in existence but which will move into the "drone market". All sorts of inspection jobs, aerial photography, etc., ie revenue that already exists but may, possibly, be generated more efficiently at lower cost and more than likely higher profits rather than savings for the end users.

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Office 365 celebrates National Beer Day by popping out for a pint

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Funnily enough, we're fine.

"Oh yeah. That's because we run our own Exchange servers with site failover. Hmm..."

We used to until recently. Now email is always slow anyway, that's just SOP. Being on the road, I do most of my mail access on the phone and the Outlook app takes at least 3 times longer to open and connect, and 3x longer to open an email than the Android mail app taking to our own Exchange server did. Having said that, I didn't notice anything unusual on Friday but then I don't get that many emails per day. At least half are just people at HQ who think the rest of the company are interested in their day to day operations.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Remember the good old days?

"Hate to be a wet blanket but, no one ever had a machine go down and the document you need is only on that machine? Or your file server fails? Or your local installation got corrupted and the software refused to run? Or some oik ran off with your machine? Or a document is corrupted and you suddenly find your careful backups had a flaw lurking and the doc isn't there? Or...Or..."

But then it's your own fault, or that of someone you know and/or work with and it can be dealt with in some way. With "cloud", it's some nebulous fault you can't find, have no control over and can do absolutely nothing about. That leaves not just users but the entire business with a feeling of helplessness and are at the mercy of possibly multiple 3rd parties all blaming each other.

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John Brown (no body)
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Joke

Re: About Time MS were taken to task

(or in 1pt white on white on page 32472 of the license acreement).

It's actually on page 32768, but causes Word to crash due the 8-bit value limitation of the page counter. Clever of them :-)

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Shatner's solar-powered Bitcoin gambit wouldn't power a deflector shield

John Brown (no body)
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"Iceland is lucky they pretty much sit on top of a volcano."

For certain values of "luck" ;-)

Is there much effort at generating thermal power around Pompei or anywhere in Hawaii?

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Universal Credit has never delivered bang for buck, but now there's no turning back – watchdog

John Brown (no body)
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Re: We're spending more on administering this than we are on actual welfare

"I was once told it cost £30 in administration for each £1 paid in benefits."

Even by UK gov standards, that sounds a tad exaggerated.

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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

John Brown (no body)
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Re: fuzzy balls

"For a while I would attempt to clean the things there and then, but that nearly always got the chorus of "Ew" and "humph", "

Whenever I got that reaction I took a little sly pleasure in pointing out the vast majority of the gunk was their own sweat, grease and skin flakes with a dash of their lunches from the last 6 months.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Rubber bands

"I used to clean mice bals & rollers, while waiting for NT to finish whatever user install\reboot I was performing at the time as a courtesy detail "

Similar here. Part of the field engineers kit was foam cleaner and screen cleaner. It was normal for the cleaners to never, ever be allowed to touch computers so they were often quite mucky. I did one call to a factory where the computer screen was almost too dull to see, even with brightness and contrast turned up. Normally that would be an EOL CRT or an HT driver issue. In this case it was just a matter of cleaning the screen then turning the now blindingly bright screen down to more normal levels.

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John Brown (no body)
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"My first mouse was the boxy Genius mouse. Worked well until it had a case of ball fuzz. Opened it, cleaned it, and continued."

My first was the AMX mouse on a BBC "B" computer. It also was "boxy" and the mouse ball was a bare steel ball bearing about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the later more standardised rubber coated balls.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Not Millennials!

"But I know them when I interact with them."

I must admit, when I think or hear "millennials" I usual mentally picture a bloke (or blokes) in check shirts, beards and fancy waxed moustaches. Maybe it's a large overlap in the Venn diagram.

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Microsoft says Windows 10 April update is fit for business rollout

John Brown (no body)
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Re: good news

"Our AI approach intelligently selects devices that our feedback data indicate would have a great update experience and offers the April 2018 Update to these devices first. "

So, basically it collects all the data on the PC, hardware and installed software and checks to see if there are any "gotchas" and either does or does not give you the update. Where's the AI?

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The eyes have it: 'DeepFakes' bogus AI-meddled videos outed by unblinking gaze

John Brown (no body)
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Re: it IS against the rules to lie about it....

"Only if you're under oath."

And even then, "I may have misunderstood the question"

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Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Pedant Alert

No, stay in and read this instead!

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Pedant Alert

"And uses the term "Non-Motorway Traffic" on signs directing such vehicles away from it."

And for good reason too! There are multiple sections of the A1 which are proper motorway standard and designated A1(M). It would be confusing to name those sections as an M road since they are "disjointed" and there's already an M1. Even more confusing would be the junction in Nth Yorks where the M1 ends as it merges with the A1(M) between Leeds and York :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Crash Test Dummies.

"maintaining a constant speed for hours on end."

Do you mind if I ask where? I rarely get more than 300 miles in one day, my "record" is 500 miles. It's rare that that is all on motorway, but even doing 150-200 miles on one long road it's rare to do more than 10 miles or so at anything like a constant speed here in the UK. There's always a reason to be speeding up, slowing down, changing lanes etc :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Crash Test Dummies.

"They'd eliminate a sub-set of those accidents - those that arise from things they're programmed to deal with such as keeping lane."

I wonder how they'll deal with the odd things falling off the backs of lorries such as badly fitted straps with big metal buckles? Or lumps of wood and other miscellaneous objects often seen in live lanes, many of which could at least burst a tyre or cause other damage.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"I can identify a sign or tree from how it looks, and conclude that it must be on the side of the road because I know what the object is."

There were a few stationary trees on the roads of the UK yesterday. So even if an autonomous car can recognise a tree, can it also tell if it's lying in the road (partially or fully) and take the correct action or will it dismiss it until too late because trees are always at the side of the road?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"BUT Tesla is basically admitting that it's system is not capable of distinguishing between an object on the roadside and one on the road right in front of it.

That is pretty rubbish"

+1

Normally I'd just upvote, but that point needs separating out, quoting and re-posted for extra emphasis.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"Good alert defensive drivers will get twitchy straight away; "

I'd not even go that far. I'd say most drivers following at the same speed as the car in front would immediately be aware there must be a good reason for the leading car to be changing lanes on what in the video was an otherwise clear road, not a junction. The leading car, at best, was pulling out to pass a slower vehicle. A human driver would have known this and almost certainly have started reacting as soon as the indicator came on.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"The first car got around the obstacle, the car behind it certainly should as well (I'd exclude if there were something to the right of the moving car that might prevent an emergency lane change, but there's not)."

Nail, meet head. Not only are you supposed to leave a gap big enough to stop in in the first place, but as you say, no other traffic around and the Tesla is supposed to be aware of vehicles around it, not just in front. Although apparently it relies only on cameras and proximity sensors for side and rear, radar only works at the front so potentially it could pull out into the path of a car moving significantly faster than you, but in this case, that seems to be the avoiding action the Tesla should have taken.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Auto-crash-pilot

"The issue of whether you'd have time time to take over from autopilot in time is a bit moot, if the autopilot actually did as well or better than a human driver would have."

Coincidently, I was listening to a podcast of BBC R4 Inside Science in the car and the episode included a section on semi-autonomous cars and the inherent dangers of drivers not paying full attention. Some guy from Southampton University had a full vision driving simulator set up with semi-autonomous driving, but deliberately a poor one designed to make mistakes. Even when the victims were told this, they still relied on the AI to control the car until it "crashed" because they were unable to regain control the first few time.

He also mention the Tesla that crashed into the truck crossing the road. He said it was because of the angle of view, the Tesla saw it as an overhead gantry and so ignored it as it was supposed to do (I'm guessing that the car only "saw" the truck chassis and not the white body against the white/bright sky). I that's true, then it confirms that the AI is no where near as good as a human at "seeing" what's in front of it. People can see a different, unusual or even a never-before-seen thing in front of them and immediately correlate it it with experience and deal with it.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Sigh ...

"Yep, If you haven't passed your IAM or ROSPA test within 5 years, add a government surtax of 100% to your insurance costs as a nice financial incentive to make people get round to it."

Most accidents are new, young drivers inside your 5 year deadline.

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Dinosaurs permitted to mate: But what does AT&T Time merger mean for antitrust – and you?

John Brown (no body)
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Re: What does it mean to me?

"Its just 2 US corps merging, neither of which have a significant broadband or any other type of presense IT or otherwise in the UK. Who cares?"

I think you mean two US based global corporations who have their fingers in many pies around the world.

"The UK is the headquarters for AT&T EMEA. AT&T serves over 57% of UK FTSE 100 companies.

AT&T offers a comprehensive service portfolio to clients - helping them put their business in motion across a nationwide infrastructure. AT&T has three state-of-the-art Internet Data Centers (Birmingham and London x 2) and a nationwide network of MPLS enabled POP's. The UK is also the AT&T Center for Global Disaster Recovery operations. "

"Time Warner's UK businesses - AOL UK; IPC Media; TIME and Fortune magazines; Turner Broadcasting; and Warner Bros."

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: What does it mean to me?

"Nothing, I live in the UK (this is still a UK based site isn't it?) and couldn't care less."

Virgin Media - US owned

Sky - Soon to be US owned.

So, how US companies act is relevant.

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Citation needed: Europe claims Kaspersky wares 'confirmed as malicious'

John Brown (no body)
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"Give me evidence, and I’ll be hater. But, give the F’n evidence already."

If there was any evidence, the products would be banned from sale completely and any EU based Kaspersky presence would be in court sharpish. As others have said, this smells distinctly political.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Probably because ...

"... you've been watching old footage on YouTube? "

Nice! That looked like a significantly shorter take off than an F3fB can manage. I wonder what it would cost to retrofit the QE and PoW with cats like that?

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Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

John Brown (no body)
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Joke

Re: sustainable, clean energy

"Next up we'll get to have all the nuke waste dumped on us, and again the profits from this will end up elsewhere...."

Sounds like where you live is already so badly fucked, you might as well take all that nuclear shit too anyway. Better you than me! Bloody NIMBYs!!!!

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: sustainable, clean energy

"It does until it goes wrong and you send a massive radioactive cloud over half the planet, what would really be useful is if you could build a massive nuclear reactor somewhere far away, maybe 150 million km away or there abouts, then use some sort or receiver on earth to collect that energy."

What a brilliant idea! Now all we need to is to invent some of those energy collectors you mentioned that are way more than 4% efficient and don't require enormous amounts of energy to produce and don't result in lots of pollution from mining and processing of the more exotic elements currently used. Oh, and a way to store all the excess energy for those days when the sun don't shine. Or those winter days where even when the sun does shine, it's for barely 6 hours out of 24 and at a very low angle where I live.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Undecimate?

> But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation

Dedecimate?"

Resurrection? (based on the original meaning of decimate)

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