* Posts by James O'Shea

1393 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

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Apple store besieged by protesters in Paris 'die-in' over tax avoidance

James O'Shea
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Re: "Frnech goivernment"?

Something which hasn’t existed since about 1789.

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T-Mobile Austria stores passwords as plain text, Outlook gets message crypto, and more

James O'Shea
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Re: Not Good Enough

What matters is how long it’s been since the files were encrypted, a.k.a. since the ransomware starts working, not when the ransomware is installed. Having ransomware sitting, not working, and not detected, on your system is pretty bad, but if it starts working users have 30 days to notice and restore the affected files. And once it starts working it should be easily detected and killed.

Frankly, if ransomware got onto a system _I_ was responsible for, I’d reformat the volume and restore from known good backups dating from prior to the malware’s install and would be very careful about restoring from backups made after the malware was present. Such backups would have to be extensively sanitized before they went anywhere near a production machine. Yes, this would take time. Yes, this would add costs. Yes, some data might be lost because I couldn’t be sure that it was safe. Certainly I’d just dump the whole thing back onto production machines, if ordered to, in writing, by a senior exec. Otherwise, no, it’s stays offline unless sanitized.

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Commonwealth Games brochure declares that England is now in Africa

James O'Shea
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Impossible. No schools in the US teach a subject called 'geography'.

https://www.pri.org/custom/files/styles/original_image/public/TrumpMap.jpg

It has been that way for quite some time now.

https://liberalvalues.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/the-world-according-to-ronald-reagan.jpg

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

James O'Shea
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Re: Finally somebody said the truth

I’ve never been to Manila. I have been to Cuidad Mexico. There is no way, no way at all, that Manila can be worse than Mexico City. In particular, there is no way that driverless cars can survive in Mexico, not with the way that the jaguar knights driving those VW taxis drive. Taxis in Mexico City are the fastest things on four wheels, despite the awesome traffice, because Mexico City taxi drivers aim for where there had better be a hole when their made-in-Mexico German-designed terror device arrives. And that VW will be trailing Cherenkov radiation... okay, I exaggerate, it’s only a sonic boom. I understand that they’re retiring the VWs. No doubt they’d be replaced by F1 racecars, except that those would be too slow. Anyone attempting to operate a driverless vehicle in Mexico City would find themselves in serious trouble, shortly before being rammed by one of the 140,000 taxis. Probably by more than one.

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Microsoft Store adds ‘private audience’ apps to its Store

James O'Shea
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What’s the name?

Sounds as if I might be interested

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Apple iOS 11.3 adds health records for battery, people too

James O'Shea
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IPhone only

The new battery thingy is prominently labeled a beta. It is also NOT available on iPads, or at least it’s missing in action on my iPad. There is a Battery item in Settings, just as there always has been, but it doesn’t have any of the new juicey goodness on my iPad.

My iPhones (a 6 and a SE) show 96% and 95% maximum capacity respectively and are, allegedly, capable of ‘peak performance’, whatever that means.

I have noticed that my iPad eats battery much faster than either iPhone. Hmmm.

Apple has a battery replacement for $30 thingy going on right now. It expires in December this year. One wonders what the new juicey goodness will say about the iPhone batteries at this time next year. And the battery replacement thingy is only for iPhones, iPads are specifically excluded. Hmmm.

On the other hand, my iPad is now ancient, and I was thinking of replacing it anyway. I was looking at a 10.5” iPad Pro, but the 64 GB version was too small (my iPad is 64 GB, and running low on available space; if only there was a way to increase storage on an iPad, some kind of removable card...) and the 256 GB version too expensive. The 128 GB version of the new iPad seems just right.

Memo to Microsoft: you could have got a sale of a Surface Pro if only the price were less insane and if only I could have run an OS other than Win 10 on it. Just saying.

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Details of 600,000 foreign visitors to UK go up in smoke thanks to shonky border database

James O'Shea
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DDMMYY-XXXX

Hmm... that seems to put a hard limit of 10000 IDs/day, assuming that they start with 0000 and push straight through to 9999, something which sounds... unlikely, if only for the way that it’d make life easy for certain elements of society. Adding two more Xes would make things much harder to fake. And would leave space for popuation growth.

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James O'Shea
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Re: Problems

"I hold two nationalities, so two id cards, and two passports, and the passport numbers change with time as you renew them."

Amateur. I have, in good standing, passports from:

The UK

The Irish Republic

The US

Jamaica (long story)

I have, in good standing, driver's licenses from:

The US

Jamaica

Barbados

Trinidad

Guyana (that one's about to expire and I can't be arsed to go back and renew it)

I used to have a UK license, but that expired years ago.

If I go to Jamaica on business, which I still have to every now and again, I depart waving the US identification and arrive in Jamaica on my Jamaican passport. If I go to Trinidad or Barbados, it's a bad idea to arrive on a Jamaican passport; the UK passport works fine in Little England, a.k.a. Barbados, but not so fine in Trinidad, where the Irish passport is better. Do not wave an American passport around in Piarco or Norman Manley or Grantly Adams unless you _want_ to get the Extra Special Treatment(tm). Some of the small islands will take an American or British driver's license as ID when entering/exiting. Waving a local driver's license gets the local, that is, non-tourist, rate at car rentals, small hotels, etc. (Who, me, cheap? Damn right.) I activate my nice Digicel SIM card in my phone, and avoid paying roaming charges. (Yes, I'm cheap.) If I'm in Trinidad I can be halfway to Port of Spain, cursing the traffic over the hands-free connection on my phone, before most of the Americans on my flight get out of Customs. If I'm in Jamaica I can be passing Rockfort, cursing the traffic over my hands-free connection, before _any_ of the Americans on my flight get out of Customs. If I'm in Barbados I'll be cursing the traffic on the ABC along with everyone on my flight. (Bajans cannot drive. They're worse than Quebecois.)

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Are you able to read this headline? Then you're not Julian Assange. His broadband is unplugged

James O'Shea
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Re: This is the tweet that got him silenced

The Germans considered that it was in their national interest to arrest Puigdemont. Perhaps there is something that Germany, or a large German company, might get from Spain if Spain were tossed a bone. Perhaps Germany looked at the way that Catalonia is breaking away from Spain and considered what might happen if certain parts of Germany got the breakaway fever. Perhaps both are true. Perhaps the Germans simply don't give a shit about Catalan independence. Perhaps there is another reason. Meanwhile, the Belgians and the Finns didn't think that it was in their national interest to arrest Catalan whatevers. At least not yet. Give it time. The Belgians in particular may have their problems with breakaway regions, too.

And St Jules really should have thought twice before making that tweet. Not only did it piss off Spain, it also got the Germans' attention just from the way it was phrased. All other Catalan politicians had best get out and stay out of Germany, or they'll be on the next plane to Madrid.

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James O'Shea
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Re: Why

I'm talking about the Julian Assange who ran as fast as he could from being investigated for rape in Sweden, and ran to the UK. It should be noted that his chances of being extradited to the US went up by at least two orders of magnitude as soon as he set foot in the UK, so he was NOT running from the possibility of being extradited to the US. I'm talking about the Julian Assange who jumped bail at the thought of going back to Sweden to face the music there. I'm talking about the Julian Assange who keeps on putting himself back into the limelight as soon as it seems that he's fading from public memory.

Yes, I have thought about it for a bit.

We should deny him the oxygen of publicity. We should wait for the Ecuadorians to get tired of his antics and kick him out. We should then give him a nice fair trial for jumping bail and contempt of court, find his ass guilty because he has no defense for those actions, lock him up in one of HM Prisons for a few months, then kick his ass out of the UK, preferably to Sweden so that he can face the music there, but Australia, from where he'll be extradited to the US so fast that his feet won't touch ground, or Ecuador, where the present government will do its best to ignore him, will do fine. Just get rid of the git.

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James O'Shea
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Why

Why, oh why, are we still talking about this idiot? Ignore him. Don’t grant him the publicity he so desperatelty whores after (oops, now the idiots at Microsoft won’t like this post. Look closely and perhaps you can tell how much I care). Let him vegetate away in the embassy, until the Ecudorians finally get sick of him and heave him out. Then slap him inside for a few months, and then bounce his ass back to Australia. Or, if they still want him, Ecudor. Or Sweden. I don’t care. Just deny him the oxygen of publicity.

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YouTube banned many gun vids, so some moved to smut site

James O'Shea
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Angel

Gun ownership, a religion?

Hmmm. If so, then John Moses Browning was a Saint.

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Google buffs Chrome Enterprise with new tub of PartnerShine™

James O'Shea
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MS Office runs only under MS Windows and Apple macOS on desktops and laptops, and on iOS and Android cell phones and tablets. ChromeOS is not Android. MS Office will not run under Chrome. LibreOffice will not run under iOS or Android; there is a a viewer. There isn't even a viewer for Chrome. Use Google's offerings.

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After repeated warnings Facebook bans Britain First for 'inciting hatred'

James O'Shea
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Because attempting to incite animosity and hatred towards majority groups tends to be self-limiting, when a few of the majority get together and thump them who would incite. After being thumped a few times, and finding that the police or other authorities, being members of the majority group being incited against, are strangely reluctant to do anything to stop the thumping, them who would incite either get smart and stop, or get even more stupid and do something which inspires a really serious thumping, typically good enough to end the inciting one way or another.

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Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

James O'Shea
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Re: We've been through something similar,

Around there there are a few, a very few, application suites which require Windows. One of them is Office. As in Office 2013, and, in a few cases, Office 2010/2011 (the Mac version is 2011) or Office 2016; there was no Mac version of Office 2013, and the Mac version of Office 2016 is... Office 2016. There is no Office 365. There never will be any Office 365. I am in the process of moving all copies of Office to Office 2016 running on VMs, with the VMs having zero Internet access. We simply must have Office. Mostly, we simply must have Excel. Word we can take or leave, though it does do some nice things. Some people live in PowerPoint; I tend to avoid them whenever possible. Access is best ignored. Outlook is a problem; some love it, most hate it with the fury of 10,000 suns. But nothing can replace Excel. Nothing. Not LibreOffice. Not Word Perfect Office. Not Google Docs. And most definitely not Numbers, the alleged spreadsheet app which Apple dumped into iWork as a makeshift. (Pages can replace Word, though there are things that Word does slightly better, and other things that it does slightly worse; Keynote is better than PowerPoint; there is no iWork version of Access, possibly because Apple was too busy laughing their asses off, the Mac guys who need a database use FileMaker Pro. Numbers is just so bad that some have said that it was really created in Redmond to make Excel look even better than it does.) If we tried to remove Excel there would be a mutiny. Deleting the rest of Office would get, at best, a meh.

I'd imagine that a major corporation like Airbus would have to do a few complex spreadsheets. I'd just love to be there the first time that someone attempted to open one of those (we have an eight-sheet, 32 column, 501 row, monster with lots and lots of macros and other stuff beloved by Accounting; I'm sure that it must be just a baby compared to spreadsheets generated at Airbus; no, I have no idea what it does, I don't want to know, I just know that the one time Accounting thought that it was messed up they were prevented from committing mass suicide only by our recovering a backup) and sees the mess that results. And there will be a mess. Excel doesn't like to move some things between versions of Excel, much less to some other app.

Someone at Airbus didn't think this through. Or simply hates the Accounting dept and wants them all to die slowly. Did Simon and the PFY infiltrate Airbus one night?

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Android P will hear no evil, see no evil, support evil notches

James O'Shea
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Childcatcher

Vladimir says...

Pinkie Pie!

Just think of all the bronies (and Russians!) who will be attracted!

https://davidswatling.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/my-little-putin.jpg

http://static.mmzstatic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/My-Little-Pony-Friendship-is-Magic.jpg

Thinking of the children...

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Microsoft says 'majority' of Windows 10 use will be 'streamlined S mode'

James O'Shea
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Devil

interesting

I have two major application suites and an old piece of hardware which require Windows.The hardware will be replaced by, at latest, the end of the year (it really is quite elderly) and the software will be run from a VM under macOS or some Linux distro, a VM which will have no Internet connectivity. I want to see how Windows deals with a total inability to update, ever, and thus to download whatever idiocy Microsoft thinks up next, because it simply can't call home. Ever.

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Half the world warned 'Chinese space station will fall on you'

James O'Shea
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Re: Finders Keepers

"Plus now I know not to set the dog on any bits of space station as I usually do for pheasants."

Surely you mean 'peasants'...

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Paul Allen's research vessel finds wreck of WWII US aircraft carrier

James O'Shea
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Devastators were torpedo bombers

See <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_TBD_Devastator> The 'T' is for 'Torpedo', the 'B' for 'Bomber' and the 'D' for 'Douglas', the manufacturer. . After the extremely severe losses during the Battle of Midway, Devastators were withdrawn from service. The Douglas SBD ('Scout Bomber Douglas') Dauntless was a dive bomber and reconnaissance aircraft; SBDs killed four Japanese carriers at Midway, and were involved in every major naval action in the Pacific. The TBD was replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger. (The 'F' indicated 'Grumman', Goodyear already had the 'G'. They built blimps for the USN for ASW patrol.)

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Good luck saying 'Sorry I'm late, I had to update my car's firmware'

James O'Shea
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Re: OTA Updates for Cars

"If the engine runs away on an ICE car you can switch off the ignition (unless its a runaway diesel) , put it into neutral and coast to the side of the road even if the brakes have been disabled and get out ."

Ah... nope. See, for example, <https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/>

"I imagine the power steering in a tesla is a lot more powerful and harder to manually steer against than in a normal car due to the autodrive function so while some 200lb male might not have a problem fighting it a 100lb woman may well do."

read the article above. It is entirely possible to lock the 'user' completely out of everything _now_. Steering, brakes, engine start/stop, transmission, the lot. Down to controlling the radio. Doing it to a Tesla instead of a Chrysler would not be significantly harder or easier. And, yes, this problem affected Chryslers and Dodges as well as Jeeps, they used the same electronics packages. Chrysler has allegedly fixed this p[articular loophole. Given that they're Chrysler, and have been proven to be grossly incompetent over _decades_, I'm sure that there's more stuff hiding in their code just waiting to be exploited. Ford and GM are better than Chrysler, but that's not hard. And Toyota is just begging to be hacked. I own a Toyota; their arrogance is breathtaking.

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Hey girl, move a little closer. 'Cause you're too gun shy. Hush, hush, bye says Pai

James O'Shea
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Re: Keep in mind, Pai *is* a lawyer and you'd think this migh thave been part of his induction

Feh. I am reminded of an old episode of Law & Order. Our Heroes are leaving the office after having been victorious in Defending the People from yet another set of vicious criminals, in this case involving two divorce lawyers. One of the divorce lawyers is going to do serious prison time, and the other will have his license suspended for quite a while. Adam Schiff asks: “Where did they get their ethics?” Claire Kincade replies “Law school.”

Historically there have been remarkably few lawyers with ethics... except for those who are paid to have ethics, such as the FCC ethics legal team. Examples abound, especially as most politicians are lawyers, and tend to have even less in the way of ethics than the average lawyer does.

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Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly

James O'Shea
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relevant image

wake me when they get to the gold standard. <http://www.cartoonaday.com/images/cartoons/2014/10/dick-tracy-iphone-watch-598x426.jpg>

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Star Paws: Attack of the clones

James O'Shea
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Re: If PETA is against it

sounds like a plan.

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James O'Shea
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If PETA is against it

I, usually, for it. In the past at least 95% of the notions emitted from PETA's tailpipes have been utter nonsense at best, and strikingly evil at worst. I do agree with them when they say that there are too many humans on this rock. I suspect that they might not agree with my solution to the population problem.

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James O'Shea
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Re: euthanize

"The people or the pets?"

Both.

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Full shift to electric vans would melt Royal Mail's London hub, MPs told

James O'Shea
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Mushroom

Re: Can't they upgrade it?

"If you need more electric capacity, you pay the local electricity distribution network to install bigger wires to your property, and as part of that they'll upgrade substations and interconnect wires as needed - and you pay for all this work."

I used to work for an electricity utility. It's not that simple.

A substation is sized for the local load. You need to have primary transmission lines inbound from the rest of the grid. You need to have a primary busbar and at least one secondary busbar. You need to have transformers (plural) to move the electricity from the transmission side to the distribution side. You need to have primary distribution lines outbound to your local load.

Problem 1: the transmission lines. Transmission lines run at very high voltage, thanks to Ohm's Law, in an effort to reduce the line losses. Typical voltages, depending on the requirements of the local grid, range from 69 kV (69,000 volts) to 750 kV (750,000 volts). The higher voltage levels are usually used in rural transmission lines, because some people get nervous about 750 kV overhead. And others get nervous about induction effects. Typically primary transmission lines might run at currents of 100 to 300 amps. (P=VI. 100 amps at 69 kV is 6.9 MW. 300 amps at 750 kV is 225 MW.) If you have to push more power through a line then your line losses go up. This typically shows up as heat. Enough line losses and your lines start to glow red. A bit more than that and they will, quite literally, melt. Or burn. Or both. If you are going to upgrade the substation for more power, first you must _replace every single transmission line feeding it._ Zambia and other copper-producing countries will love you. And if you think that I'm exaggerating about the care you must take with transmission lines, the reason why I was hired at the power company was that they'd just got a new SCADA system and they needed to get it up and running. One of my tasks was to set up and implement the database containing the line characteristics of every single transmission and primary distribution line and busbar the company owned. (And very boring it was, too) This was necessary so that the system wouldn't allow too much power to run over certain lines, or there'd be problems. The older lines were replaced over several years, because it was bloody expensive to buy a few miles of line capable of running 138 kV at 100 to 250 amps. The company had tried aluminum instead of copper, aluminum was a lot cheaper. It also burns much faster, so they didn't do that after one spectacular accident. (Before my time there, but those who had been there at the time still spoke of it in awe years later.) In the meantime, the guys at System Control had to be careful how they switched the power around.

Problem 2: the primary busbar. This is rated for specific voltages and currents. Run too high a voltage, the busbar has problems, not least being that some stuff may be close enough that the spark gap isn't big enough. The power utility I worked for once had a major blackout caused when a vulture (yes, I blame El Reg's mascot) sunned itself on top of a transformer next to the primary busbar in a very important substation and its wings were enough to bridge the spark gap. Result: 138 kV at 220 amps blew through the vulture, the busbar, and the transformer. It took several hours to clean up the mess and rebuild the fried parts. (We think it was a vulture. Parts of black feathers were recovered, and the only local bird with black feathers big enough to bridge the spark gap was a vulture. The rest of the vulture was vaporized by 138 kV at 220 amps.) You will have to replace the busbar.

Problem 2: the secondary busbar(s). Each secondary busbar feeds the distribution lines. You might have to either up the primary distribution lines to 24 or even 36 kV, or to add more distribution circuits, or both. You'll need a lot of space in your substation to increase the size and loading of the primary busbar, and more to do the same with the secondary busbar(s).

Problem 3: the transformers. They step down the voltage (and up the current) from the transmission side to the distribution side. They are sized for the load on the substation, plus a reserve. Increase the load, and once you're past the reserve (and this project will be blowing past that so fast there'll be a sonic boom) you must replace the transformers. All of the transformers in the substation. Do you know how much transformers of that size cost and how long it takes to get delivery on new ones? Have a look at, for example, https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/Large%20Power%20Transformer%20Study%20-%20June%202012_0.pdf and you might have an idea of what's involved. Not to mention that there may not be enough space in the substation to hold the new equipment, so you'll need a new substation. The utility I worked for had to put in a new substation, a substantial distance away from its load, when the station feeding that load proved to be too small to handle the required new equipment, and the cost of acquiring land in the area was prohibitive. I suspect that acquiring land for a new or expanded substation in the City of London might be... expensive.

Problem 4: the distribution lines. Primary distribution tends to be 36 kV or less, with 24 kV and 12 kV being common. Again, you want to have high voltages to cut line losses. Again, if you run the voltages too high you'll have problems with your lines, plus if the voltages get about 50 kV or so you're in transmission line territory. Power company linesmen will hotstick distribution lines, that is will work with distribution lines _without turning the power off_ so as to avoid power cuts. (Yes, they'll hotstick 24 kV lines, and with less enthusiasm, 36 kV lines.) There isn't enough money in the world to pay a linesman who knows what he's doing to hotstick transmission lines, and linesmen who don't know what they're doing and who play with 50 kV or higher lines will be dead or missing various body parts Real Soon Now. One of the linesmen at the power utility I worked for had both arms burned off by an accident involving a 13.8 kV distribution line. Another one was killed by a 24 kV line. You don't fuck with primary distribution lines, or they will fuck you up. Permanently. Transmission lines are worse. In any case, you're replacing all the primary distribution lines as well.

Problem 5: you're outside the substation, but your problems are just beginning. You must step down your primary distribution voltage (and step up the current) from 12/13.8/24/whatever kV to around 400/440 volts, three phase. You do that with local transformers. If you've resized your distribution busbars and distribution lines to have higher voltages, you will have to replace each and every local transformer. All of them. The local transformers are a lot cheaper than the big transformers at the substation, but there are a _lot_ of them.

Problem 6: grid safety equipment. Your current safety systems, including switches, breakers, and reclosers, (no, reclosers are _not_ breakers) are all sized for the voltages and currents on your gird. You've just increased both the voltages and the current. You'll need to strip out each and every breaker, switch, and recloser in the local load area and the substation. All of them. You'll have to strip out the isolators as well. And everything else that comes near the local load.

It's not a matter of they'd pay for the work, it's a matter of they'd have to pay for replacing the local grid. All of it. And that would be very expensive and would take a very long time to do. And, note, I haven't said word one about where and how you're going to get the power to run over your nice new power lines and nice new substation. That's a whole different, and even more expensive, problem.

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He's cheesed it! French flick pirate on the lam to swerve €80m fine, two-year stretch in the clink

James O'Shea
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Re: Running in France

The Battle of Kursk was a very large battle... but it wasn't won without firing a shot, without the tanks even being present. Sedan was the greatest _victory_, not battle, because the Germans won a tank battle without using any tanks. The French ran away too bloody fast. How fast did they run? They ran so fast that they didn't blow the bridges over the Meuse. Both the RAF and the French air force were ordered to bomb the bridges at Sedan and the Albert Canal. The French didn't show up. The RAF's Advanced Air Striking Force sent in Fairey Battle light bombers. The Battle crews went in despite fighter opposition, despite heavy anti-aircraft, and took losses of 75 to 95%. The first Victoria Cross awarded to an RAF aircrew in WWII was earned, posthumously, attempting to bomb the Meuse bridges... which should have been blown up but the French ran off too bloody quickly. The Battle crews in 1940 put on a performance equal to the Devastator crews at Midway, up to 100% casualties, or the Liberator crews over Ploesti, 24% shot down, one aircraft returning with 365 bullet holes. With the caveat that if the French had just blown the damn bridges the sacrifices of the Battle crews would not have been necessary.

The main part of the French army legged it, leaving the rest of the French army, mostly Algerians and Senegalese, and the BEF hanging with nothing on their flanks but rapidly retreating clouds of dust. The BEF and the French forces which actually wanted to fight had no choice but to fall back on the Channel. It should be noted that in between the time when the BEF and some French forces were evacuated from Dunkirk and the final French surrender, some British units, notably from the Foot Guards, went _back_ to France, only to be rolled up when the French pulled the plug. The Canadians went in in 1942; bad idea. The Western Allies went in in 1944: two British, one Canadian, two American landings in Normandy. The Poles and the French went in with the British and Canadians. You might want to read John Keegan's 'Six Armies in Normandy' or Max Hastings' 'Overlord'.

In the meantime, the Russians were piling up massive casualties at Stalingrad, and Kursk, and many other places, but stopping the Germans and rolling them back, and back, and back, to Berlin. The Russians had 26 million dead, mostly civilians, but they broke the Germans. The last defenders of Der Furhrerbunker in Berlin in 1945 were the _French_ Waffen-SS unit, Charlemagne. At least some Frenchmen seem to have thought that they were on the wrong side in the first place, which might explain how fast they ran in 1940.

And, oh, yeah, the biggest tank battle of all time is no longer Kursk. The battles around the Chinese Farm in the Sinai and on the Golan during the Yom Kippur War were both bigger; the greatest tank commander of all time, greater even that the Liebstandarte's Michael Whitman, was an Israeli reservist lieutenant who killed 40 tanks in three days on the Golan, despite having four tanks shot out from under him in that time. And when the North Vietnamese went south in 1975 they went south behind more tanks than the Germans committed to the invasion of the Soviet Union.

There is a significant difference between tank _battle_ and tank _victory_.

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James O'Shea
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Re: the district of Montrouge, south of Paris.

That would be Blue Mountain. And its very expensive.

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James O'Shea
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Re: Running in France

Son... it is a simple fact that in 1940 most of the French army ran like hell.

"The French 55th Infantry Division command post was just south of Bulson. Its divisional commander had just ordered a battalion to support the defenders of the Marfée heights and was beginning to re-establish communications with his neighbors, when down the road came 'a wave of terrified refugees'. There were gunners and infantry, officers mixed with men, some on foot, some with transport, some insisting that they had orders to withdraw and others just running for their lives. All agreed that there were German tanks at Bulson.

This was the greatest tank victory in all the records of warfare. Several times tanks had gained a victory without firing a shot, but now they had routed an enemy without even going into action. For Guderian had not yet managed to get his tanks across the Meuse. Any tanks the panicking soldiers had seen were French tanks. It was ironic that the panic began among artillerymen--the primary anti-tank weapon--of a division that had double its normal artillery complement. And they were men of an army that had instructed them throughout their military careers that tanks had no independent value and no function but the support of infantry. The tank, like the Stuka, was more fatal to morale than to men, as neither of these weapons caused significant battlefield casualties, the tank no more than 5 per cent of them. It was the _idea_ of the tank which was so effective, and that was why the lightweight PzKw I and PzKw II tanks could prove as effective on the field as the heavier models.

Faced with a torrent of soldiers hurrying from the fighting, a French general and his staff blocked the road with trucks to halt them. But the mob was not even slowed. Some did not stop until they reached Rheims, 60 miles away. And every man who fled had his story ready. Combining the pleasures of delivering bad news with a zeal for conversion, they told of tanks and Stukas by the thousand, and their numbers grew as the story was repeated.

Now even the divisional commander sought permission to move his command post to the rear. Still without any proper verification, the corps commander agreed. And so it was that the 55th Infantry Division changed from an effective fighting force to a routed mob."

-- page 227, _Blitzkrieg_, Len Dieghton, Ballentyne books.

The unit on the 55th flank was a North African division. Algerians. They stood and fought and died for France while Frenchmen legged it. Other Frenchmen, notably De Gaulle's armored units, fought hard... but had to retreat when their flanks were exposed when the rest of the army legged it. At Arras the BEF staged a counter-atteck, lead by Matilda infantry tanks; things looked bad for the Germans until a Luftwaffe FLAK commander turned his 88mm FLAK guns on the Matildas, and the BEF had to break off.

One of my uncles was in 4 Royal Tanks at Arras. You can bite me.

12
2

Worldwide smartphone shipments DOWN for first time ever

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Will not be replacing any time soon

I have multiple Apple iDevices: a iPhone SE (the Donny Trump iPhone, the one for small hands!) and a iPhone 6 (not, repeat not, a 6+, the iPhone for gorillas) and a iPad Air 2. The SE replaced a previous iPhone, the 6 replaced a ZTE Android which had replaced, briefly, a Samsung non-smart phone. I’ll currently on the road and typing this on the iPad, though using a 3rd-party Bluetooth keyboard instead of the (utterly useless) Apple soft keyboard. Apple will not be making new sales to me until these devices die. The 6 and the SE will get new batteries thanks to the Apple battery replacement for $30 program, ending in December 2018. That should push their lives out to another three or four years. I got the 6 in 2014, and the SE two years later, which would mean that I’d have the 6 for 7 to 8 years and the SE for 5 to 6 years. I’ll probably get an iPad Pro later this year or next year, especially if the new model iPad Pro ships with 5G cellular and 802.11ad or af or whatever, but I currently see no reason whatsoever to get new phones. None. Zero. In particular, Apple seems to have abandoned the small form factor, so I may end up holding onto the SE for a long time, even if the replacement battery starts to go and I have to get a replacement for the replacement. I _like_ the small form factor. I don’t give a damn about headphone jacks on the phone; I play music using the iPad, usually attached to some external system or another, typically in the car. I don’t give a damn about SD cards; I buy iDevices with enough space to do what I want in the first place, currently 64 GB on all three, though one reason why I’m thinking about replacing the iPad is that 64 is getting kinda small on it, so I’ll step up in size. One reason why I haven’t already got a iPad Pro is that Apple is being greedy and no longer has an iPad Pro model with 128 GB, just models with 64 (which I know is now too small) and 256 (which costs too much and doesn’t give me features I care about other than more space) and 512 (which is insane, it wasn’t that long ago that I had a serious desktop system which had 250 GB storage). Nah, I’ll wait for 5G and 11ad or af or whatever. And I may wait a little longer until the price comes down a little.

I have looked at Samsung’s various Android offerings. Their small form factor offerings are underwhelming, their large form factor offerings don’t offer enough features that I care about to make me abandon the iDevice ecosystem. Unless this changes I’ll be staying with Apple. And unless Apple comes up with something that I care about, I’ll be staying with the existing iDevices, except maybe the iPad. And even that can wait for a while.

1
1

A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Why a print button?

Because I want to print things. I do not care if you think that printing things is old-fashioned; I want to print things. I usually print things to PDFs and store them in folders in a nice hierarchial system, with the name of the PDF containing the date the thing was printed. I then back up the folders, so that the PDFs don’t get losted. Some PDFs are emailed to people who need to have access to the thing. On occasion I print to actual real paper; those copies usually go to [official idiot office] because they insist on actual real paper. On occasion I print to the fax function of the printer, and have [other official idiot office, which insists on faxes, not emails] print from the fax function of their printer. Or, perhaps, to the PDF creator function of their printer. I have a lot of PDFs. Typically, I print to PDF every time I order something, every time I get a reply from a vendor, etc; this adds up to a nice paper trail, especially as all PDFs are in a nice little folder named, for example, ‘Replacement Windows Desktops Order 15 Feb 2018’, and yes, that’s a real folder. Vendors have been known to ‘forget’ stuff; having their words on a nice PDF really helps Legal when they remind said vendors. Having the vendor’s words on actual paper really helps Legal if they have to go in front of a judge. Which has happened.

Now, get the bloody print button implemented. It should have been there in the first place, your product is not fit for purpose until it is in place as specified from the beginning. You have until Friday. On Monday your management will recieve a note from Legal, informing them that the contract has been terminated for non-compliance, and with your damn foolishness attached to show why. The penalty clause in the contract will be activated, and your company will owe us umpty-ump thousand dollars/pounds/euros, payable by the end of next week, or we’ll see you in court. And if you think that I am joking or bluffing, try me. And stuff your bloody DevOps bullshit up your arse.

17
0

Flight Simulator's DRM fighter nosedives into Chrome's cache

James O'Shea
Silver badge

and some say that I'm paranoid

Certain apps, including some games, get installed inside one of my VMs which do NOT have network access except when _I_ say. Yes, there can be a performance hit, and some apps refuse to install in the VM at all, but I can live with the lower performance and I can live without the refuseniks. Flight Sim X dates from 2006. Given the improvement in hardware since then, despite Spectre/Meltdown, I can get very nice performance in the VM. As the VMs in question aren't supposed to connect to any network except on _my_ say-so, I don't install web browsers on them. IE and/or Edge will be there, of course, but I don't use either, so I don't care. I don't usually use Chrome. Firefox, yes. Safari, yes. Opera, yes. Vivaldi, yes. Chrome, no. And I don't store passwords, etc., on the VMs, because I don't connect to networks on those VMs and therefore I don't need passwords. What would happen if I had installed this 'package' would have been that I'd have spotted it trying to call home, and failing, and I'd have yanked the 'package' so fast that there'd have been Cherenkov radiation.

Be paranoid. They _are_ out to get you.

29
3

Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Re: Problem / Solution

There's six 'editions' of Win 7:

1 Starter, designed for, errm,. 'less powerful' systems in, errm, 'emerging markets' (translated: for low-end, otherwise useless, hunks of junk for the 3rd-world) and should never be seen in 'more developed' markets (places where most of the inhabitants ain't brown or darker). Starter is 32 bit only and has max RAM of 2 GB, min RAM of 512 MB. Missing many features including Aero, user-changable wallpaper, Active Directory. Sometimes showed up in 'more developed' markets on tablets and such very low-end systems. To be avoided at all costs.

2 Home Basic, one step up from Starter. Better, but still low-end, hardware. Min RAM, 32-bit, 1 GB, min RAM, 64-bit, 2 GB. Max RAM, 32-bit, 4 GB, max RAM, 64-bit, 8 GB. Also aimed at 'emerging' markets. Only some Aero features. No AD. Geofencing; thou shalt NOT activate Home Basic outside of certain specific locations, this thing is aimed at 3rd-World, not cheapskate Yankees. Run away, run away.

3 Home Premium. The standard home version for 'more developed' (paler) markets. Up to 16 GB RAM in 64-bit version, otherwise as per Home Basic. No geofencing, so it works in 3rd-world markets, too. All of Aero. Still no AD.

4 Professional. The lowest version that I would even consider. Has AD. Has Aero. Missing some stuff other editions have, notably high-end encryption (no BitLocker) and language packs. Up to 192 GB RAM for 64-bit version, otherwise as per Home Basic.

5 Enterprise. Has almost everything. Aero. AD. BitLocker. Lots of language packs. Not available in stores, you have to get it direct from Microsoft. Same RAM as Pro.

6 Ultimate. Has it all, including excessive cost. Same RAM as Pro.

1
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James O'Shea
Silver badge

It grows. It’s currently in excess of 32 GB on my Asus laptop.

1
0

Three in hospital after NSA cops open fire on campus ram-raid SUV

James O'Shea
Silver badge

They wanted to die

I've driven by Ft Meade. There are nice big signs advising that 'use of deadly force' has been authorized, and lots of guys with automatic weapons clearly in sight. Anyone who tries to get in really should know that he's asking for a dose of 9mm or 5.56mm or possibly .50 caliber. And, yes, there were at least a few armored vehicles hanging around. There was a non-trivial chance of stopping some 25mm SAPHE. I don't know if the AFVs are still around. I do know that I'd be staying on the other side of the fence, thanks.

21
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Aching bad: 'Kingpin Granny' nicked in huge prescription drugs bust

James O'Shea
Silver badge

As this is, after all, Tennessee, she might sell an entirely different kind of crack.

6
0

Who wants dynamic dancing animations and code in their emails? Everyone! says Google

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Re: feh

That would depend on the email client. Some don't do JavaScript at all, some can do JavaScript but might have problems with AMP. Some can do just about everything that a web browser can do. I avoid the question by just turning off everything which isn't plain text and basic attachments. No viewing pix or PDFs in the mail, I _must_ download the attachment... if I feel like it. It's amazing how often I don't feel like it. Doing things this way means that macros and such cannot run until I download the attachment and open it with the appropriate application,which I do only in certain very specific circumstances. It means that .EXEs are instantly visible. It makes things difficult for phishers and other fraudsters. It also exposes the kind of person who insists on using HTML and JS tricks to tart up email in an. attempt to hide the fact that they're useless gits. All that I see is the plain text, no pix, no colors, no singing, no dancing, just the text. There would be a reason why I hate webmail and decline to use it.

6
0
James O'Shea
Silver badge

feh

I have Gmail set to deliver mail to my email client via IMAP. My email client is not a web browser. I have turned HTML and such off. I will never see their dancing ads. Should Google try to get around this, by, oh, giving static sending email using IMAP to my email client, I will kill my Gmail accounts.

18
0

Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Re: "But the latest version is incompatible with the one you've got."

Stockholm syndrome, eh? So, if new features require a new format, what should a dev do? They can’t put the new features into the old format... ooh, I know, they can be Apple and just ‘upgrade’ the old format the first time the user opens the filein the new version. Hmm... gee, what happens to users who don’t have or can’t use for some reason the new version? Well, that’s too bloody bad, ain’t it?

So then users either must ‘upgrade’ or face not being able to use files from some other users, or devs must shoehorn new features into the old format... forever and ever, amen. Which works until the format is a huge kludgey mess (can you say MS Word .DOC format? I knew you could) and the competition delivers the same features is an easier-to-access format (ODT, anyone) and threatens to eat your lunch.

I figure that MS Office 2019 will either be the first version with a new file format (may I suggest .DOCXYY, .DOCX is way too girly?) or the last hurrah of .DOCX. if only because .DOCX _started_ as a huge kludgey mess and got worse.

6
2

No yolking matter: Google Translate cock-up gives Norwegians more than un œuf eggs

James O'Shea
Silver badge

You have dared to compare Norwegians to Swedes. Hell waits for thee, as soon as the Norwegians can find their war axes and the Swedes can stop laughing.

4
0

Ruskie boffins blasted for using nuke bomb lab's supercomputer to mine crypto-rubles

James O'Shea
Silver badge

what really happened

was that they didn't pay the Shirtless Brony his cut. Baaaad idea.

21
3

It took us less than 30 seconds to find banned 'deepfake' AI smut on the internet

James O'Shea
Silver badge

vile slander

That's not a pig, that's T. May Not. And she's not dead, except between the ears. And it is a fake, Cameron has _some_ principles and there are things which he just won't do. (Not very many things, to be sure, but some) That's really Tony Blair, faked up to look like Cameron. There's nothing that B-Liar won't do.

8
1

Boffins crack smartphone location tracking – even if you've turned off the GPS

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Re: Curious...

"Agree that all sensor information should have permission, and frankly should be more prominent in advance of app installation. Why would a torch app need ANY sensor information, for example, its either ad related or malicious (fine line sometimes...)"

There was the case, a few years ago, of the fine upstanding gentleman who murdered his wife and wanted to get rid of the body. This is Flori-duh, home to many lakes, rivers, streams, and canals inhabited by everyone's fav reptile, the American Alligator (as distinct from its cousins the Chinese Alligator and the American Crocodile; the Chinese 'gator lives in, well, China, while the American croc rarely ventures north of Miramar) and the nice, warm, welcoming, ocean has lots and lots and lots of assorted sharks and barracuda (the Flori-duh Tourist Board is now very upset with me). We're not quite up to Australia levels of wildlife hostility, but we're working on it. In any case, instead of just dropping the body into a convenient body of water, m'man decided to go out into the woods and dig a grave. At night. He turned on the flashlight app on his phone to shed some light on the process (why he needed light to dig a hole is another question...) and the flashlight app called home to Mama. When the cops investigated (those of us who watch Law&Order know that the first suspect is always the nearest and dearest) they called up the cellco and got pointers to go to the company which sold the flashlight app, who were only too happy to provide all kinds of data, including exact GPS readings on where the phone had been that night. This resulted in a little expedition into the woods, and a quickly located body.

Moral of the story: if you want to get rid of the wife, leave the phone at home when you do. Or feed her to the gators. Or, at least, don't turn on the flashlight app.

15
0

No, Windows 10 hasn’t beaten Windows 7’s market share. Not for sure, anyway

James O'Shea
Silver badge

"And 2.4 kids."

You keep goats in the house?!

14
0
James O'Shea
Silver badge
Coat

lies, damn lies, and...

"Doesn't statistics also prove that the average person has one testicle?"

Slightly less than one, actually. And slightly more than one chesticle.

[looks up, sees that SWMBO has a sharp implement in her hands, runs away really fast]

12
0

Crooks make US ATMs spew million-plus bucks in 'jackpotting' hacks

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Amateurs

Here in Deepest South Flori-duh, we have _professionals_.

Step 1: a gentleman shows up at an ATM machine inside a premesis such as a drug store (Walgreens, CVS, I’m looking at _you_) or on the wall outside a supermarket or similar (Publix, Winn-Dixie, that’s _you_) and fiddles around with a debit card. Then goes to the manager of the establishment and says that there seems to be something wrong with the ATM. Manager says that it’s not his problem, it’s the bank’s (Chase, Wells-Fargo, that’s _you_) problem.

Step 2: the manager gets a phone call from, allegedly, the bank or whatever which owns the ATM. The call asks if anyone has reported a problem with the ATM. The manager, of course, says yes. The voice on the call says that they’ll send techs around to fix the issue, and asks the manager to be on the lookout for John Smith (or, as this _is_ Deepest South Flori-duh, Juan Diaz) with [bank] IT ID #12345678. And to call 305-555-SCAM when the tech arrives.

Step 3: Someone with a [bank] IT ID reading 12345678 shows up, asks the manager to call the office. ‘Tech’ opens up the ATM, fiddles around, tells manager that it’s fixed. Note: the ‘tech’ does NOT take out any cash. Nor does he swap out the hard drive, that’s alarmed.

Step 4: John Public uses the ATM. And the scanner installed inside it records the card info, complete with PIN, etc., and beams it back to the mothership.

Step 5: our heroes make copies of all the cards over a week or so and then roam wild for perhaps 24 hours before destroying the copies.

Step 6: do it again at a different ATM.

‘Jackpotting’ makes it obvious that that particular ATM is hacked. If you do it this way, you can milk many, many, MANY ATMs over a long period of time before the cops work out which ones are trapped, and by that time you’ve moved on to other machines. You don’t make as much at one time as with ‘jackpotting’, but you make a lot more over time. Slow and steady wins the race, boyz.

I just love Deepest South Flori-duh. I really do.

4
0

Equinix CEO bails after ‘poor judgment in employee matter’

James O'Shea
Silver badge

She does now...

3
1
James O'Shea
Silver badge

Hmmm...

I wonder... boy(s), girl(s) or both?

3
2

Julian Assange to UK court: Put an end to my unwarranted Ecuadorean couch-surf

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Frankly

I would let him sit there until he comes out and gets plonked into the pokey for jumping bail, or until the heat death of the universe, whichever comes first.

If he comes out, after he gets plonked, I'd deport him to Ecuador and let them do whatever they liked with him. I'd just call Ecuador and have them send an Official Ecuadorian Government Aircraft to pick him up. And have the OEGA carry a vehicle of some kind which can pick him up at the gate of whichever of HM Prisons he was a guest at, so that it's Ecuadorian all the way... and anything which might or might not happen en route is NOT HM Government's problem.

If, as is likely, the Ecuadorians decline to send an OEGA, I'd put his ass on a Riff-RAF Airlines C-130 and heave him out over Quito. Who knows, he might actually listen when instructed on how to use a parachute and so survive the trip. Maybe.

1
2

Intellectual Property Office drops, er, patently cool cartoon to teach kids about trademarks

James O'Shea
Silver badge

Yes I would

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