* Posts by David Knapman

82 posts • joined 13 Jun 2007

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

David Knapman

Since our primary means of tracking aircraft is via radar, the idea that we'd massively scale out our radar infrastructure across the oceans despite them containing 0 military or civilian targets is far more preposterous.

I won't get into the actual likely capabilities of spy satellites vs Hollywood depictions, but even in Hollywood they realise that you have to maneuverer satellites to have sight of targets of interest and this takes time.

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At last! Vivaldi lets you kill looping GIFs

David Knapman

They didn't do a "version number reset". They follow a long standing convention that, just because something is composed of digits and dots, that doesn't necessarily mean that its a decimal number.

1.10 properly comes after 1.9 and is not the same as 1.1

(What really irritates me is when people apply this logic even when the version number contains multiple dots, somehow embracing a convention that multiple dots are allowed and all but the first is ignored, which is not a rule with decimal numbers that I was ever taught)

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No way to sugarcoat this: I'm afraid Uranus opens and closes to accept particle streams

David Knapman

Re: 98 degrees tilt? I'm confused!

Think in terms of rotation. If a planet is orbiting a star clockwise (from some viewpoint) and the planet is also rotating clockwise (from same viewpoint), there is zero axial tilt.

If, from the same perspective, the planet is orbiting the star clockwise, but is rotating anti-clockwise, the axial tilt may be described as 180 degrees.

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David Knapman

No, we still can't *see* planets around other stars. We can infer their presence by what they do to the light coming from their star.

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Voyager 1 passes another milestone: It's now 138AU from home

David Knapman

Re: Relay?

Because the size of such a relay and its power requirements are huge - beyond anything we could launch today. Bear in mind that we can only receive information from Voyager because we have vast dish antennas sat here on the ground.

Also bear in mind that the particular trajectories used for the probes was only possible due to a planetary alignment. You can't launch a probe a couple of years later and have it follow anything close to the same trajectory.

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

David Knapman
Joke

Re: A backdoor is a backdoor for all

But don't you see? Surely the biggest problem with Wanacry was the fact that it used encryption! Therefore, if they outlaw encryption, they'll be making everyone safer.

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The future of storage is ATOMIC: IBM boffins stash 1 bit on 1 atom

David Knapman

Re: What we need...

You might like to read up on Rare Earths before making comments like this - E.g. from Wikipedia "Despite their name, rare earth elements are – with the exception of the radioactive promethium – relatively plentiful in Earth's crust"

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Elon Musk joins anti-Trump legal brief

David Knapman

You mean the powers he's asserting under a 1952 law (which was revised in 1965)? Which of those were introduced by "Obama's Democrats"?

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David Knapman

The whole point of the legal challenge is to assert that the President does not have this power - that he's overstepped the bounds of what he's allowed to do.

Whether that's true or not will take time for the courts to decide. But in the meantime, and the subject of this very fast schedule, is that its believed that there's a good chance this legal challenge will succeed and so a Temporary Restraining Order is currently warranted.

Even if the TRO is overturned this week, the legal challenge itself will still go ahead and determine whether the President has overstepped his authority.

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Asteroid nearly gave Earth a new feature, two days after its discovery

David Knapman

Re: What if it had hit?

Because if you're going to apply an adjustment to its trajectory, such that instead of missing the planet it hits, the possible impact point is... anywhere.

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Australia's new data breach disclosure laws have a rather floppy definition of 'breach'

David Knapman

So, the solution to "notification fatigue" is to water down the reporting requirements, rather than, say, encourage better security practices to lessen the number of breaches?

Well, that makes sense.

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Latest F-35 bang seat* mods will stop them breaking pilots' necks, beams US

David Knapman

"keeping two sets of spares aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth would be a needless duplication." - because we all know that the defence industries are models of efficiency, of course.

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BT customers hit by broadband outage ... again

David Knapman

"It is ideal for telecom providers, financial trading exchanges, media and gaming companies that require speed, reliability and reach."

Hmm. Note how they're careful not to include "power" in that list.

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Space station to get shiny new ringpiece for automatic penetration

David Knapman

It'll be in the unpressurised trunk - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_(spacecraft)#Dragon_CRS - basically, only part of the dragon capsule is pressurised and accessed via a docking port. The rest can contain extra goodies but they're only got at by external means (robot arms or space walks)

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Home-cooked tech helps China topple US as top supercomputer user

David Knapman

Re: Confusion

No, *you've* reversed what they're saying.

For a long time, the US have had at least half of the machines on the list. Only in the last two years have they dropped to below half.

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NASA 'naut to boldly enter pump-up space podule

David Knapman

Why would this one module be worth preserving? You have to bear in mind that this same fate is envisaged for the entire ISS at some future point in time, and surely the project as a whole is more "museum-worthy" than this module.

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Lenovo cries 'dump our support app' after 'critical' hole found

David Knapman

What gets me down is that, I practically guarantee that today, or next week, or next month, someone will sit down and write the next great "value added" application to be pre-installed for one of these vendors - and make exactly the same mistakes yet again.

There doesn't seem to be any learning here.

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Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

David Knapman

Re: Just Like Home?.

But we *need* to find the planet of the Trumps so that we can return the one that landed here.

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What was all that about a scary iMessage flaw? Your three-minute guide

David Knapman

In the usual cast of characters, Eve is usually a passive eavesdropper. For someone who takes active steps to modify the message, you'd usually be looking for Mallory.

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Who'd be mad enough to start a 'large-scale fire' in a spaceship?

David Knapman

"The experiment will ride along with the CRS-6 mission planned to launch on March 6th"

Checks Calendar. Checks sentence. Either there's a lot of lead time in this story, the use of the future tense is wrong, or there's something wrong with that date.

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Virgin Atlantic co-pilot dazzled by laser

David Knapman

Eh?

I can't make sense of the geography here:

> as the Airbus A340 passed over the west coast of Ireland.

Okay. So it was well into its flight then?

> apparently targeted by a laser some six or seven miles west of Heathrow

Now, either the laser was "six or seven" miles west of Heathrow, but somehow they were able to aim into the cockpit of a plane quite far away and heading west? Or the plane itself was "six or seven" miles west of Heathrow and the British Isles are significantly smaller than I thought it was?

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Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

David Knapman

Has anyone noticed that when people are out and about in public and *not in cars*, they're not displaying *any* kind of license information? That means that they can't be tracked and identified. Surely, this means we should tattoo license numbers onto everyone's foreheads.

For the sake of the children.

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Like a version? JDK 9 will point out its own flaws the very first time

David Knapman

Why?

So, their version numbers, unlike everyone else's, are middle-endian? If the rightmost number changes, it's a "must install", but if the middle number changes, you can ignore it?

Does anyone else do version numbering like this?

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Most developers have never seen a successful project

David Knapman

Yes, the definition of success is the tricky one to nail down. If it's "Did we deliver what the customer needed?", it's very different to "Did we deliver what the customer asked for?".

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You can hack a PC just by looking at it, say 3M and HP

David Knapman

Is this "our screens have poor viewing angles, so we're going to make them worse and call it a feature?"

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Want to self-certify for Safe Harbor? Never mind EU, YES WE CAN

David Knapman

Re: Who cares?

Until the Microsoft Dublin case is sorted, hosting within the EU is still no protection if the parent company is US based.

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PEAK PLUTO: Stunning mountain ridge snapped by New Horizons craft

David Knapman

Re: Science is amazing

Your wish is hereby granted - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-space-agency

Of course, you probably mean a space agency that does missions like this, rather than them just existing.

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Teaching people to speak English? You just need Chatroulette without the dick pics

David Knapman

Chatroulette without the dick pics?

Wouldn't that just be an empty screen where nothing ever happens?

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SpaceX gets ready to crash barge-land ANOTHER rocket

David Knapman

Re: fuel?

It's both right and wrong, and so is your comment - since the hydraulic fluid used is fuel (after it's used by the hydraulic system, it enters the main fuel tank)

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Nobel bro-ffin: 'Girls in the lab fall in love with me ... then start crying'

David Knapman

Because we all know that it's fundamentally impossible for two people of the same gender to fall in love?

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O2 craps itself on national Blighty holiday as cabinet minister moans: 'Oi, sort it out!'

David Knapman

Is "we can confirm that service returned to normal at 23.35 hrs yesterday" code for "everyone stopped even trying to use our service"?

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Oh no, Moto! Cable modem has hardcoded 'technician' backdoor

David Knapman

Re: What you have to remember

Oh dear. Flashbacks to DB-25 connectors and a soldering iron.

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David Knapman

What you have to remember

Is that this is 1995 and practically nothing is connected to this "internet" thing, so a backdoor should be perfectly safe. In a "Cable modem", whatever that may be.

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Battle for control of Earth's unconnected souls moves to SPAAAACE

David Knapman

Re: Did I miss....

Do we have to solve one problem at a time, and in a strictly defined order that you've decided? Is education unimportant?

And last I checked, disease hasn't been eradicated on any continent, and I don't expect it to be any time soon.

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A cookie with a 7,984-year lifespan. Blimey, Roy Batty only got 4!

David Knapman

Lets be honest here - they'd probably have set them to last even longer but no-one's taking the Y10K problem seriously yet.

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Valve set for OpenGL BIG REVEAL at upcoming conference

David Knapman

Re: Are AMD and nVidia on board?

MS aren't dropping ARM support - they're dropping Windows RT - but since they've just announced that a Windows variant will run on the Raspberry PI 2, and the PI is ARM, I wouldn't say they're dropping support.

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Friday: SpaceX will attempt to land rocket on floating, robotic 'spaceport drone ship'

David Knapman

Re: After landing

Almost all of the weight (i.e. massive engines) is at the bottom, and I presume that they've managed to find at least one person in their engineering department who can make sure that the landing legs have been build to make use of that fact.

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'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P

David Knapman

Re: ?

A mission run by people who can distinguish the difference between comets and asteroids?

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Eye laser surgery campaigner burned by Facebook takedown

David Knapman

Given Sasha's track record

Should we expect a website critical of facebooks handling of these sorts of cases to appear shortly?

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Oracle plans German DCs to soothe NSA-ruffled nerves

David Knapman

All well and good

But until the Microsoft vs DOJ case about their Dublin data centre is resolved, it means diddly squat.

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Evidence during FOI disputes can be provided in SECRET

David Knapman

Just so I'm sure

Just want to check I'm reading this right. The whole line of reasoning is:

If the public knew the truth about Company X, it could harm Company X's commercial interests, therefore the public should not know about this.

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US judge 'troubled' by Apple's $450m bid to end ebook price-fixing row

David Knapman

Re: I still can't understand how no-one goes after amazon

Because it's not illegal to have a monopoly - which I'm not even sure Amazon do have in any particular markets.

If we both set up companies selling the same product, and I happen to be able to sell it for cheaper than you are able to, and so I end up with the majority of customers, that's just the way things are. There's no legal, moral or ethical requirement that I raise my prices, you lower yours, or some government function intervenes, so as to balance the market between both of us.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

David Knapman

Danger

The most dangerous object to be making use of whilst driving is the car itself.

So they ought to ban the use of cars whilst driving, and the problem will be solved.

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Australia gets spooks' charter, new leak penalties

David Knapman

And so...

And, so, we see, that the lesson **has** been learnt from Edward Snowden:

The laws also impose increased penalties for leaking information. A new offence would be created that offers five years in prison for disclosing special intelligence operations, rising to ten years should the disclosure “endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation”

Maybe not the lesson we wanted our governments to learn...

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Space station astronauts pop outside to replace crippled computer

David Knapman

Re: It looks suspiciously like an AE-35 unit

I think space inside the station is reserved for things that benefit from having access to warmth and atmosphere. Computers don't (yet) need either.

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David Knapman

I suspect big and bulky is actually a bonus when you're trying to manipulate things in a spacesuit. You don't want to be dealing with anything that requires fine dexterity to fit.

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Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?

David Knapman

Re: Call yourself an editor?

Agreed. The "relations" in "relational databases" are the *tables*, not the links between them.

Which is more obvious if you actually study e.g. relational algebra.

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Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed

David Knapman

What's really depressing is that, due to how these stats are collected, we know that these are all machines with access to the internet.

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David Cameron defends BT's taxpayer-funded broadband 'monopoly': It's a 'success story'

David Knapman

Gaps?

Would those be the same gaps that companies have been spotting for years? That as soon as a company establishes that there is a worthwhile market in such a gap, BT decides it's actually going to rollout into the same area.

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

David Knapman

Re: RE: service charge

Yes. And I'm sure they install the OS and all of their utilities from scratch as well. Do you not think it's quite likely that they have this automated?

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