* Posts by Dave Pickles

93 posts • joined 12 Sep 2011

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FCC gives Google's broadband balloons 'experimental license' in Puerto Rico

Dave Pickles

Yes, but making money from those after a disaster is generally frowned upon.

2
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Set your alarms for 2.40am UTC – so you can watch Unix time hit 1,500,000,000

Dave Pickles
Mushroom

Already??

It seems like only yesterday that we had the 'billennium', where Unix timestamps went from 9 decimal digits to 10 and broke some locally-developed stuff.

7
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NHS WannaCrypt postmortem: Outbreak blamed on lack of accountability

Dave Pickles

Chartered Institute For IT?

That'll be the BCS, then.

3
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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

Dave Pickles

Top-Posting?

Having the events unfold in reverse order makes for a very confusing read.

25
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Spend your paper £5 notes NOW: No longer legal tender after today

Dave Pickles
Headmaster

What the reporter meant, methinks, is that in 1957 the price of beer was one shilling per pint, or 5p in today's (decimal) money. Hence the 6,000 percent is correct in absolute terms but not when inflation and taxes are taken into account.

8
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Mediaeval Yorkshirefolk mutilated, burned t'dead to prevent reanimation

Dave Pickles

Re: Early MacDonalds?

Did somebody call??

11
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A router with a fear of heights? Yup. It's a thing

Dave Pickles

Breakdown voltage for a given gas, pressure and gap length is determined by a Paschen curve (ooer!). It generally decreases with reducing pressure then rises again at very low pressure.

7
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If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

Dave Pickles

Re: Astrophysicists think

Niven and Pournelle describe this exact scenario in "The Mote In God's Eye" (1974). In their story a ship is accelerated to about 0.7c by lasers fired from their home planet. To decelerate the ship is aimed directly at the star in the destination system, tacking away at the very last moment using the light sail.

22
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Hopping the flash stepping stones to DIMM future

Dave Pickles

So the NV storage gets mapped directly into the processor's address space, and DRAM becomes another layer of cache. Neat, although we'll eventually need 128-bit addressing on the CPU to keep up with the storage.

4
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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Dave Pickles

Thirteen?

I thought Time Lords were limited to 12 regenerations. Didn't The Master have to do something terrible to achieve his thirteenth? Of course I stopped watching Dr Who when I left Uni in the 1970s so maybe they've found a way round the limit.

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On last day as president, Obama's CIO shrouds future .gov websites in secret code

Dave Pickles

Look up "HSTS preloading" for an explanation - basically the fact that a site will only accept SSL connections is pre-baked into the browser.

3
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MongoDB ransom attacks soar, body count hits 27,000 in hours

Dave Pickles

If there *is* a next product...

2
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The Register's Top 20 Most-Commented Stories in 2016

Dave Pickles

Re: Difficult to understand how the M$ Win10 clusterfuck didn't affect more people...???

All the hospitals I've visited in the last couple of years have been running XP, at least in the wards.

6
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OpenStreetView? You are no longer hostage to Google's car-driven vision

Dave Pickles

Re: As good as if not better than Google Maps?

That's because the Post Code database is not 'free' in any sense of the word. OSM would not want to have to pay many thousands of pounds per year for the right to use it, and could not accept the restrictions on use of the data which would doubtless be required.

7
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Dave Pickles

Re: How "open" is OpenStreetMap?

Well I'm one of the "happy amateur surveyors and mapmakers" and all my cycling around local housing estates with a GPS is entirely my own work. The project does have the right to use some other sources; Bing maps and the OS OpenData products can be used as a backdrop to get road alignment correct.

11
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Major outage at broadband biz 186k

Dave Pickles

Re: Accounts overdue

From the wording of the announcement it sounds as though the firm haven't been paying BTOR and so their customers' lines are being ceased as the bills fall due.

4
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We wanna give IoT folk kilobit data rates, beam NB-IoT telcos

Dave Pickles

Not necessarily a bad idea

The higher the data rate (within reason), the less time the Thing's transmitter needs to spend on air, so reducing power consumption and freeing the channel for other Things.

2
1

Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales

Dave Pickles

Re: The used market is an opportunity to profit?

Well if the punter knows that in 2 years time he'll be able to resell his phone for 25% of the original price, maybe he'll be prepared to pay a little more for it in the first place?

2
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Power cut interrupts UK.gov cloud service supplier

Dave Pickles

Dad's Army Diesel

I wonder if there is a case for data centres with backup generation to join the National Grid Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) scheme - nicknamed "dad's army diesel" by El Reg a while ago. There would be some extra cost for switchgear and synchronisers, but the generators would get to run more often and there would be a financial incentive to keep them in a better state of maintenance.

9
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Google BigQuery TITSUP caused by failure to scale-yer workloads

Dave Pickles

Re: All hands in the way...

In my BOFH days, when there was a outage the least useful PFY du jour would be tasked with answering the phones and keeping visitors out of the way.

0
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Bookmakers William Hill under siege from DDoS internet flood

Dave Pickles

Just a DDOS?

I'm seeing a lot of packets hitting my home web server from multiple addresses in the 141.138.130.0/24 range, which according to WHOIS belong to William Hill. They appear to be SYN packets with source port 80 and destination port 80. It's either backscatter from a DDOS or something nefarious afoot.

0
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DNS devastation: Top websites whacked offline as Dyn dies again

Dave Pickles

DNS wouldn't be so vulnerable if folks set really long TTLs on their entries and didn't use DNS for load-balancing - caches around the internet could then ride out any feasible attack.

21
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Software bug costs Citigroup $7m after legit transactions mistaken for test data for 15 years

Dave Pickles

Interesting footnote

"The reporting logic treated letters, such as A, B, C, as being less than the number 0. Therefore, 10B was treated as being a three-digit number with a value less than 100."

EBCDIC presumably?

15
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BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs: Cheap!

Dave Pickles

"Most pension funds are in deficit at the moment because interest rates are so historically low and so larger funds are required to cover the same liability."

Also the stock market is down about 15% on its peak of last year. It won't take much of a rise in share prices to eliminate the 'deficit'.

0
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Indian Capital Delhi bans Uber's surge pricing

Dave Pickles

Re: Supply and demand

So it should be unlawful for train and bus companies to charge more during rush-hours (or offer off-peak discounts which amounts to the same thing)? Not sure I'd go along with that.

5
2

Job ad promises 'Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack'

Dave Pickles

Re: was it C N Parkinson or L J Peter advice on job ads ?

It was C Northcote Parkinson who advocated writing a job description that balanced the good and bad points such that exactly one person would apply. That person could then be immediately given the job, with no need for CVs, selection panels, interviews, psychological assessments etc etc.

6
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Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

Dave Pickles

"Does this mean Windows will finally get fork()?"

I'm not up-to-date on the Windows kernel, but since it started as a rewrite of VMS I suspect it has a similar process creation model. Under VMS process creation is a much more resource-intensive operation than under Unix - basically it's a new login - and the concept of re-using the address space of one process when creating another does not exist.

1
2

Whatever happened to ... Nest?

Dave Pickles

Re: I bought a Nest before Google bought Nest.

"The only good reason for an IoT controlled house would be for the seriously disabled."

I was away from home for a couple of months last Winter, and it was reassuring to be able to check the house temperature and turn on the heating during cold snaps. However all that took was a Raspberry Pi, some Dallas temperature sensors and a couple of relays.

8
1

Silicon photonics boosted with UK fabrication research

Dave Pickles

1300 nanometre?

Presumably the laser has to be at least as big as the wavelength of light it's generating, and the receiver must be a similar size? With semiconductor geometries now down to 10nm you're going to have to forego an awful lot of transistors just to send an optical signal across the chip. A big fat copper conductor would be more economical in area terms.

1
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Raspberry Pi 3 to sport Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE – first photos emerge

Dave Pickles

Looking at the photos of the PCB I don't think the Wi-Fi can be driven off the USB controller - the chips are on opposite sides of the board, and I believe the USB controller has only 4 ports. No doubt we'll find out on Monday.

2
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US radar paparazzi snap 'Halloween Asteroid'

Dave Pickles
Holmes

Because the radar signal was sent from one dish and received by another several thousand miles away.

2
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Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

Dave Pickles

Strange how they never used the next line from the song: "You make a grown man cry".

5
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Windows 10 Device Guard: Microsoft's effort to keep malware off PCs

Dave Pickles

Re: But what about...

And what about developers? Even if the compiler is allowed to run, it wouldn't be possible to test the resulting executable without waiting for a signature. Could play havoc with project timescales...

14
2

Microsoft goes cloud KERR-AZY, chops Windows Server to bits

Dave Pickles

92 per cent smaller...

... so 92 per cent cheaper? Thought not.

1
1

GLOWING TAMPONS hold the key to ending pollution

Dave Pickles

Bradford Beck?

Good luck with your project in that 'watercourse', guys. Not the least of your problems will be working out which of the tampons were actually yours...

0
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UK air traffic mega cockup: BOTH server channels failed - report

Dave Pickles
Headmaster

Re: "both channels failed at the same time"

Para 4.2 explains that a recent system change to include more military functions was one of the triggers. Another was the design shortcoming which allowed an operator to 'fat-finger' the wrong button when signing-off, thereby consuming an extra session.

9
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Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

Dave Pickles

So everyone (all three of you) who paid to upgrade from 7 to 8 needn't have bothered; they could have stayed on 7 and got the free upgrade directly to 10...

28
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PROOF the undead STALK Verizon users: Admen caught using 'perma-cookie'

Dave Pickles

As I understand the scheme, Verizon subscribers are SOL. However the rest of us can lend a hand by adding random UIDH headers to our HTTP requests. Advertisers will lose interest if the targeting (which they are paying for) becomes too polluted.

1
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A brief history of BLADE SERVERS: From the Big Bang to the, er, 'unblade'

Dave Pickles
Joke

"I lost interest in blade servers when I discovered that they didn't throw knives at people who weren't supposed to be in our machine room" - .sig from alt.sysadmin.recovery.

6
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Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority

Dave Pickles

Not sure I want a certificate management agent footling with my server.

6
1

Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Dave Pickles

Re: Stop with the mobile requirement already

It's a problem if you're in $FOREIGN_COUNTRY facing enormous roaming charges to receive calls and texts, with no way to top-up a PAYG account. Any way some of us just don't want a mobile phone.

7
1

Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Dave Pickles

Should have called it Windows 15

It is supposed to offer the best of Windows 7 and 8, and will be out next year. 7 + 8 = 15, geddit?

4
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Apple promises iCloud security alerts, better 2FA after, er, NAKED Internet of Thingies flap

Dave Pickles

Re: Mothers maiden name ?

"She honestly thought that there must be a database of peoples mums maiden names..."

The problem in the UK is that there IS such a list, and it can be searched from sites such as ancestry.com, given your full name and approximate date of birth.

2
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Hey Intel – that new Pro 2500 SSD looks awfully familiar

Dave Pickles

Self Encrypting

Slashdot are reporting that the drive has hardware-based self-encryption.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/14/07/23/1838211/intel-launches-self-encrypting-ssd

0
0

Home automation while it's hot: Winter warmth for lazy technophiles

Dave Pickles

Re: and your hot water (that must reach 60C to avoid legionella risks)

This bogey seems to be the reason why these systems never have programmable hot water temperature. I'd like to be able to set the hot water according to the use I intend to make of it, and not be forced to store a tankful at a far higher temperature than I would ever need.

I did wonder whether it would be possible to come up with some kind of countercurrent steriliser to momentarily raise the incoming supply to a high temperature, but I lack the thermodynamic and engineering nous...

0
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Google Maps can now tell cyclists how HIGH they will get

Dave Pickles

UK-only alternative

www.cyclestreets.net gives alternative routes for speed or quietness, and displays a height profile for the journey.

5
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WWI historical project will catalog eight million life stories

Dave Pickles

D C Thomson

The site is run by the same firm as "Friends Reunited" and "Find my Past".

0
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Boffins brew graphene in kitchen blender

Dave Pickles

Condoms?

According to the BBC News article, "In addition to its potential uses in electronics, graphene might have applications in ... the production of thinner condoms."

Talk about putting lead in your pencil.

6
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How Brit computer maker beat IBM's S/360 - and Soviet spies

Dave Pickles

KDF9

Ah the English Electric Leo Marconi KDF9 - happy memories. 48-bit word length (split into 8 6-bit 'syllables' - 'bytes' hadn't been invented yet) and an arithmetic unit with a push-down stack so you programmed arithmetic in RPN. I owe most of my career to the machine at Birmingham Uni in the late 60s.

0
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CCL Computers probing source of fake virus-riddled dispatch mail

Dave Pickles

Re: I got it,

My version was from a host in Korea, sent to an email address I only ever used with an online storage provider. I've also never heard of CCL.

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