* Posts by Robert Helpmann??

2224 posts • joined 31 May 2011

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

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Bad planning

Impossible to kill and really has no use.

Kudzu has plenty of uses, which is why it is established as an invasive species in the US. It is great for controlling erosion, has a number of uses as food and animal fodder, and is a source of fiber for use in textiles and paper. The problem isn't the plant lacking utility so much as that few in the US make use of it.

Iran satellite fails: ICBM test drive or microsat test? Opinion is divided...

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Why the false distinction?

...if we don't want to kill each other it won't matter if we know how.

That, unfortunately, is a caveat that is unlikely to hold..

Huawei's horror show 2019 continues as Taiwanese research institute joins banhammer club

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: China Futures ...... in Special AIDerivative Ventures

Bring key developers in-house to develop international product for vendors ...

I tried to run this through...

1) unsuck-it.com - nothing coherent

2) English to Klingon (yes, I know there are differences between Martians and Klingons, but I hoped for some mutual roots in their linguistic set) - it simply lacked the vocabulary.

3) Running it through various online translators going back and forth between one language and another and got this:

"Bringing the main internal developers to develop international products for publishers to sell as genuine Chinese and the bursting of the earth will cost nothing when all billed is still given to the Chinese SMARTR AIMarkets command and control with their virtual product sourcing."

If I squint at this and turn my head sideways, I just make out I have had insufficient alcohol and am leaving work early to rectify this.

Computing boffins strip the fun out of satirical headlines

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: What is funny in one culture or language may not even be transferable into another...

That is the reason why English speakers often find German speakers to lack humor...

It's not the language that causes this perception; it is definitely the culture. The researchers in the article are identified as being from a Swiss university and Microsoft. I cannot for the life of me think of a famous comedian that has come out of either environment.

Cops told: No, you can't have a warrant to force a big bunch of people to unlock their phones by fingerprint, face scans

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

If I remember correctly, if you have a safe with a key, the police can force you to give up the key; but if the safe has a combination, they cannot force you to reveal the combination...

Which feeds directly to my statement that biometrics should only be used to establish ID and not provide authentication for access and is at best used as part of 2FA. Fingerprint readers and facial recognition are indeed like a physical key in that they provide some security, but only against the casual interloper. If you want to have a shot at keeping out the unwanted, they are simply not enough against a more determined attempt.

Spektr-R goes quiet, Dragon splashes down and SpaceX lays off

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Redundancy by email is undoubtedly the classy way to do it rather than an old-fashioned face-to-face meeting.

From other reporting, there was a company-wide meeting where President and COO Gwynne Shotwell and CEO Elon Musk made the announcement. The meeting was not mandatory, so there were some that first found out via email, but it was not the primary method for communicating the news to the company as a whole. It's still a crappy situation, though.

Here's an article that goes into a bit more depth on that aspect of the story:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/14/elon-musk-gwynne-shotwell-spacex-layoffs-announcement-detailed.html

Smartphones gateway drug to the Antichrist, says leader of Russian Orthodox Church

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

He knows when you are sleeping...

Every time you use your gadget, whether you like it or not, whether you turn on your location or not, somebody can find out exactly where you are, exactly what your interests are and exactly what you are scared of...

My smart phone has been pwned by Santa?

What's 23 times the size of Earth, uncomfortably warm – and has astroboffins excited?

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Richard dear chap, what does "about three times Earth's size" mean?

Give us a clue please.

Fair enough. Here's your clue: you can find this information by clicking the embedded link:

https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1542/nasas-tess-rounds-up-its-first-planets-snares-far-flung-supernovae/

... which will allow you to find a paper with the announcement for the newly discovered planet ...

https://arxiv.org/abs/1901.00051

... which in turn lists the size as 2.84+0.26−0.22 (R)

TLDR: About 2.84 times Earth's radius give or take a bit

Real-time OS: Ordnance Survey gets snuggly with Intel's Mobileye

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Real time tracking of...

Manhole covers?

Or bollards, apparently. I taught my two young nephews that word and had them say it every time we came across one while walking the national mall in DC. It drove their parents up the wall but kept the kids happy. They're never too young to be taught basic principles of security.

Y'know how you might look at someone and can't help but wonder if they have a genetic disorder? We've taught AI to do the same

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Joke

Re: Reading the learning sytem's mind...

Perhaps we could get another machine learning system to monitor the first and learn to provide explanations as to what basis it had for its output... and then another one to validate the results from the secondary system... I suspect if we repeat this enough times, we will find the underlying algorithm amounts to "Because I said so."

Welcome to 2019: Your Exchange server can be pwned by an email (and other bugs need fixing)

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Give Adobe a break

A round of applause for Adobe, who didn't need to put out a single security fix for Flash today.

So they're ditching the whole thing?!?!?! Holy crap!

Instead, the internet's screen door will see a handful of performance and stability fixes

And I was soooo happy, if only for a fleeting moment.

Germany hacked: Angela Merkel's colleagues among mass data dump victims

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Headmaster

Say what?

How appropriate that the translation gem appeared at the end of the article, immediately above El Reg's own "Tips and corrections" link... similar to the ability Google Translate provides to allow users to give feedback on its output. If only someone made use of that ability...

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

How the mighty have fallen

Cook has been a very exacting beancounter CEO, but in the long term Apple needs a diverse range of products and services – and that's a diversity that's missing right now. It isn't clear if a beancounter can deliver that.

No. It didn't work last time. It won't work next time. It seldom works anywhere with a competitive market that requires innovation to keep from going under. Even when it "works", it is often hard to tell from the outside the difference between long term profitability and short term financial maneuvering, much as the article alluded. A good CFO has a different skill set than a good CEO and the two should not be confused.

China's loose Chang'e: Probe lands on far side of the Moon in science first, says state media

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: CNSA has a nice logo

The Federation logo from Blake's 7...

I loved Blake's 7 and watched it religiously when I was younger. I tried going re-watching it recently... there are some things you just can't go back to. I wanted to at least like it, but could not manage even that.

Oz cops investigating screams of 'why don't you die?' find bloke in battle with spider

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

Up-voted for the Schlock mercenary reference.

Racing at the speed of light, Sage superhero bursts through the door...

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Not me...

Did I mention ... erm ... OK, yes I did.

real friend

[ree-uhl, reel] [frend]

noun Someone who has never heard that story before.

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Devil

Re: So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

My current bugbear is seeing "lead" instead of "led"

Not to plumb the depths of your patients, but this truly must way on ewe.

What happens when a Royal Navy warship sees a NATO task force headed straight for it? A crash course in Morse

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Pint

Here's to a demanding job well done

Say what you like about foreign policy but the technical achievements of those who design, maintain and update the IT hardware and software that makes these things possible is to be admired.

Having provided support to the USCG, I can but offer a virtual beverage. I only saw the land side of the operation. Thanks for the article and providing a glimpse of the other side of that gig. They may be different forces with different missions, but the sea is the same.

The Great British Curry: Put down the takeaway, you're cooking tonight

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Post-Pub Nosh Neckfiller

shurely there's a demand for this thread to be resurrected ?

Yes! I very much miss this series. I was hooked from the very first article (the great Bacon Sarnie) and always want more. Please bring it back.

2018 ain't done yet... Amazon sent Alexa recordings of man and girlfriend to stranger

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: More questions than answers...

I don't understand what all the hand-wringing is about. Just kill the damn things already. The companies that produced these devices have a long history of giving you something they tell you is free or at a reasonable-ish price and then using it to gather as much information as possible in order to make a return on their investment. Any challenges to this model have been met with their best efforts to get past them no matter what. They have demonstrated a clear pattern of behavior and an unwillingness to change. The only way to prevent this behavior is to ban their products.

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Facepalm

Don't just do something! Stand there!

There are already penalties in place for anyone who disrupts or endangers air operations. No special case should be needed if they use a drone to do it with.

In the event that Something Bad™ happens, there will be cries from the voting public for politicians to Do Something™. As politicians have only one tool with which to Do Something™ (i.e. they can legislate), they use that and claim to Do Something™ even if it is completely redundant or utterly fails to address Something Bad™. If Something Bad™ continues, they will pass increasingly tough and thorough measures aimed in its general direction, being careful to note that any failure to alleviate the issue is simply an indicator its severity. In fact, it is beneficial to said pols that Something Bad™ be nebulous enough that it can be defined as an ongoing war, something that never goes away, thus providing them many election cycles where they can repeatedly Do Something™. That's the way to do it!

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Joke

Re: Wow, blundering around like freshly castrated cattle.

If you are trying to blind the drone, you're doing it wrong. See for example US Navy's new drone-killing laser. My original post obviously was in jest; allowing people with a record of such behavior to do exactly the same thing as caused problems before does not strike me as particularly constructive.

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Wow, blundering around like freshly castrated cattle.

Perhaps we could let anyone convicted of pointing lasers at planes have a go at these drones as a way to do some community service and work off some of their sentences.

Icon because it is the closest thing to a laser warning sign El Reg provides.

On the first day of Christmas, Microsoft gave to me... an emergency out-of-band security patch for IE

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Really?

It's pronounced "Internet Exploder"

I would have corrected you in times past that it is instead "Internet Exploiter" but as the main competition is Chrome, I think IE has been surpassed in that capacity.

Oh Deer! Poacher sentenced to 12 months of regular Bambi screenings in the cooler

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: 'Murica never ceases...

I've been camping with shooters nearby lamping. Shining a light around, shooting at anything that reflects the light. Not safe, no idea if it was in season.

What would the advice be? I hear tell of having a gun for self defence, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable firing a long gun at another person if they were just being dangerous, and not actually trying to kill me.

Interesting. In the US, lamping is called spotlighting and is illegal in all cases that I am aware of. There may be some place that hunting at night is allowed, but I don't know of any.

While I get the idea of having a gun for self defense, the situation you describe is definitely not one where that would work. My advice is to remove yourself and anyone with you from danger as rapidly as possible and then to call the cops. Personally, if I feel that I might be headed toward a situation where I need a gun for defense, I am going to start looking for another place to be. I am fine with gun use for hunting and sport, but I don't want to be in an area where there is even the perceived need for their use against another person.

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: 'Murica never ceases...

What happens on private land? So assuming a large enough chunk of land to support a deer herd, would culling be a matter for the land owner, or would that still be permitted/regulated? I'm assuming a sensible landowner who understands why there are closed & open seasons.

Laws for private landowners typically are regulated by whatever jurisdiction they are in although there may be additional restrictions or allowances compared to hunting on public lands. Also, it should be noted that hunting wild animals is different in many locales than hunting in a game park for animals raised for the purpose. I am unfamiliar with which laws apply in those cases as I have never dealt with them, but I am aware they are not necessarily the same as for hunting wild animals. I know that in some areas, landowners are allowed extra permits specifically to be used on their property in addition to any used on public lands. Also, where friction often occurs is between farmers who are not pleased with wild animals raiding their crops and the state which claims the ability to dictate who can dispose of which animals.

I should note for those who are unfamiliar with animal populations in the US in general, and especially deer, we have plenty of wildlife that encroaches into urban areas. I work in the Washington DC area and have found deer in my front yard (I live in a townhouse community) and have even seen them along the beltway which is well within a very built-up urban area. As noted elsewhere, the lack of animal predators have allowed some species to flourish. That is not to say that there have not been efforts to bring back those predators. For example, there has been a successful* program to re-establish the black bear in Louisiana.

* The definition of "successful" depending on how you feel about a large omnivore living in proximity to humans.

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: 'Murica never ceases...

That's where legal hunting vs poaching comes in.

In this case, it is not simply that the asshat was hunting out of season and trespassing (typical poaching, in other words), it was that he was just taking heads and leaving the rest to rot. It is illegal to do that even if you have proper license and are hunting in season on land you are permitted to be on. And with good reason! Whatever one's view on consumption of meat, hunting or firearms, it shouldn't be hard to understand that killing an animal simply for the sake of doing so and then wasting the meat is wrong.

In the US, there are a variety of laws concerning what can be hunted and when due to the variety of jurisdictions. The most important components are state and tribal laws though there are some areas where federal and local jurisdictions have their say. Same for fishing, though that doesn't seem to evoke the same sort of sentiments against the practice as hunting even though they seem morally equivalent to me. The crims in this case were previously convicted of poaching fish. Also, it does not mention this in either the El Reg article or the linked one, but items used in the commission of a crime are subject to forfeiture. These individuals may have also lost their weapons, vehicles and possibly other things depending on the circumstances of their many crimes.

Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Boffin

Wales and Sheep inna Vacuum

Wales is for area, not volume and why bring sheep into it at all? That's just wrong! In proper El Reg units of measure, that's about 2381 KiloJubs and in improper El Reg units of measure, 1149441 Adult Badgers, 11231 Great White Sharks, 6667 Skateboarding Rhinoceri or 222 Austrailian Trams, give or take.

REF: https://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

Stop us if you've heard this one: Facebook apologizes for bug leaking private photos

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: "Data gathering biz still having trouble keeping data secure"

Their whole business model depends on your data NOT being secure

FB: What in the world do you mean by "your data"?

No not THAT kind of Office Wizard! Roll a diplomacy check to win the election: Vote tie resolved by a D20

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: It came in a box?

...but prior to that was plain old D&D; Basic, Intermediate and Advanced sets, which all came in boxes. Red, Blue and Black if I recall correctly.

And before that there was a single box set with some truly terrible cover art and no dice, just chits to cut out from near the back of the book instead of dice. There were editions before that, too, but I'm speaking from personal experience and too lazy on a Monday to bother using Google.

UK white hats blacklisted by Cisco Talos after smart security code stumbles

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: In case your comment was serious, I'd like to point out that...

That works, @Mephisto, although the reason we use those terms today probably has more to do with the use of black and white hats in old films. It's become industry terminology but, as mentioned, has nothing to with race. If you prefer, you might substitute Red Team and Blue Team, but these have slightly different connotations.

Bulk surveillance is always bad, say human rights orgs appealing against top Euro court

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Not sure about the logic

If I follow properly, the two points that are being argued don't track very well. It seems that conflating intelligence sharing with bulk surveillance does not accurately define what each is. It also seems that positing that bulk surveillance can never be lawful is like saying that there is an absolute right to privacy, which there isn't.

The biggest issues I see with any surveillance program are lack of oversight and transparency which have lead to a variety of abuses. I know that doesn't present much as to how to address shortcomings, and the rewards may not justify the investment, but getting such programs dragged out into the sunlight would seem to stand a better chance of happening than getting governments to stop spying altogether.

Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Interesting, but radiation killing through water?

I thought water was supposed to be an excellent protector against radiation?

I had to look it up as I couldn't remember, but "secondary muons generated by cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere can penetrate to the Earth's surface, and even into deep mines." For the length of time the Earth was purportedly showered with an intensified amount of this radiation, it would have been difficult and unlikely for large animals to avoid exposure.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Horrible

There are tonnes of idiots with seemingly unlimited cupboard space for gadgets they use obsessively for 6 months then almost never again.

I have very limited cabinet space. I have a rule that if I bring it into the house, it has to be used regularly or it goes to the local thrift store. I still have my bread maker.

Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Brings this quote to mind...

Presumably a turtle.

Obviously, but what is the turtles gender? That's apt to be important, I would think.

Lenovo tells Asia-Pacific staff: Work lappy with your unencrypted data on it has been nicked

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Meet our CSO, Mr. Hindsight

Isn't hard drive encryption literally one of the features of many of the products Lenovo sell?

Yes, but have the flaws in HW encryption implementation been corrected?

Dine crime: Chippy sells deep fried Xmas dinner

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Joke

Re: battered?

Directions for Brussels Sprouts en Absence

Clean, trim and slice thin.

Batter and deep fry until golden brown color is achieved.

Place on paper plate to drain.

Move to serving tray and squirt decorative patterns on sprouts with Sriracha sauce.

Place on dinner plate and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Move back to paper plate for eventual forced consumption by neighbor's cat that keeps going in your flower bed.

Eat dinner plate, thinking how much worse it almost was.

I didn't enjoy Brussels sprouts until I left home and realize that my mother's idea of how any vegetable should be cooked involved boiling it well past its demise. Finding alternatives was quite nice.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Interesting idea

I thought this was relatively inefficient. Another storage scheme is stacking concrete blocks using an electric crane and then allowing them to fall while recapturing some of the energy. It's more efficient (about 85% efficiency) than this is going to be. Lithium-ion batteries are about 90% but are nowhere near as stable. Looks like the sun inna box is the worst of available storage methods.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Actual danger?

This story seems to be a simple cut-n-paste job. We deserve more! I demand that El Reg sends a reporter - no, several reporters! - to work undercover at several Amazon sites to get to the bottom of what is really going on. Better yet, I think The Register should build a robot to go undercover at Amazon and find out what really happened. It worked great with the LOHAN project. I propose the backronym KARDASHIAN. It might not break the internet, but it can definitely take out a bear.

Estonian ex-foreign sec urges governments: Get cosy with the private sector on cybersecurity

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: In Order to Capture the Caress of AlMighty Core Forces with Perfect Resources Use Heavenly Amm0

And it passed with flying colours:-)

From the down-votes, it would see that some folks think that "passed" is as good a euphemism as any.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Worthless without pictures

Otherwise I hear the internet's full of them.

Yeah, just search for "politician" and you'll get an eyeful.

STIBP, collaborate and listen: Linus floats Linux kernel that 'fixes' Intel CPUs' Spectre slowdown

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

We're getting worse than the Victorians...

Thus giving new scope to the term "cringeworthy"!

Canuck couple returns home after night on tiles to gaggle of randomers hanging out in their flat

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: It always pays to carry a Micro-Uzi in a shoulder holster

Wait! You mean no-ones coming for my pencil? As metaphors go, this one sounds like the start of a crap weekend.

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Hmm.

For every great remake, there are a hundred reheated, rehashed and regurgitated movies and TV shows. I can think of only four remakes or reboots I enjoyed*. That's a remarkably bad return on all the time and effort and put into the productions.

* The only exceptions to this I can think of are movies based on Shakespeare**

** Other than anything having to do with Romeo and Juliet. I just want them to kick off and be done with it. I can't help it. They're so annoying!

Tech bosses talk kids' books! Could they show a glimmer of humanity? You only get one guess

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: A more relevant book comes to mind...

Other titles come to mind:

The Little Golden Book of the Prince

Whose Boat Is This Boat?

The Art of War and Virtues

Dick and Jane Play Corporate Tax Haven

The Taking Tree

The Very Hungover Catepillar

Oh, the Shit You Don't Know!

Sorry... got lost for a moment. It turns out there is a small industry of these parody books.

Malware scum want to build a Linux botnet using Mirai

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

tries to brute-force factory default usernames and passwords

So a dictionary attack, then? Yes, that's still a form of brute force attack, but I would expect a bit more precision in the explanation and hope for perhaps a bit less implied condescension.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean hackers won't nuke your employer into the ground tomorrow

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Paranoid

My questions is just whether I am paranoid enough.

If you were, you probably would have gone on a rant concerning the phrase "mission-critical cloud services". Ceding the responsibility and control of the bits of your company that must absolutely work in order for the company to go on seems insufficiently paranoid to me. I get there are business reasons and things that can be done to mitigate risk, continue operations, et cetera, but besides the issue of whose to blame when things inevitably go in the crapper is the fact that cloud security is still an area that is relatively immature. Want to use them as a COOP solution? Makes sense. Can they allow rapid scaling of existing resources? Sure. Would a truly paranoid security person recommend you put all of your eggs in that particular basket? Only if you want omelettes.

Oz telcos' club asks: Why the hell do Australia Post, rando councils, or Taxi Services Commission want comms metadata?

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Scope creep??

The headline was missing a comma. It should have been, "There's your scope, creep."

Arm kit vendors snuggle up around the Windows 10 Autumnwatch bonfire awaiting supported OS

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: unkind?

To edit for clarity, "'Some kind people' should 1) lead the windows team away to be looked after somewhere they can't harm themselves with something sharp or 2) bang their (the windows team) heads on a blunt windows[ill]." I choose Option 2.

Third Soyuz does not explode while auditors resume poking around NASA's big rocket SLS

Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: three or four launches enough to assemble the ISS

I bet Ikea will have a Røcketstüff pack sorted out...

That's the plot for a space horror movie scarier than any in the Alien franchise!

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019