* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

4034 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

From MySpace to MyFreeDiskSpace: 12 years of music – 50m songs – blackholed amid mystery server move

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I wonder

Will we ever see a time when Facebook loses everything, and people take a year to notice? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Brit prisoners to be kept on the straight and narrow with JavaScript and CSS

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

If there's no internet access in prison

How will they do javascript without stackexchange.com?

UK joins growing list of territories to ban Boeing 737 Max flights as firm says patch incoming

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: The reason that the Max series need MCAS

If one is faulty how can the software detect which one?

Does it have to? If it gets substantially different values from them it just has to light up a big alarm light and disable MCAS. It certainly shouldn't pick one sensor & trust it.

Radio gaga: Techies fear EU directive to stop RF device tinkering will do more harm than good

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Gonna ask what may be a stoopid question here...

I'd have just returned it giving manufacturer defect as the reason with a photo of the mess on the oscilloscope as proof.

I considered it, but it was already built-in to the equipment & my project was later than I wanted, so I decided to see if there was an easy fix first. Also, there would be no guarantee that any alternative replacement would be better.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Gonna ask what may be a stoopid question here...

Doesn't even need to be an official RF device. I recently installed a (CE-marked) 12v switchmode power supply, bought from Amazon, to drive some electronics. Seemed to be working fine, until I noticed later that none of the WiFi devices in the house could connect to the router.

A 'scope on the output of the PSU revealed vast quantities of RF hash at fundamental frequencies well into the MHz range, and harmonics far beyond that. Several ferrite chokes and multiple capacitors later I got the hash down to a few mV, and the WiFi devices started working again. A non-technical punter would not have been able to resolve that

And that's a device that supposedly meets EU standards. They'd be better to fix that sort of EMC issue before worrying about folks tweaking their ISM-band WiFi to increase its range

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: What's the problem....

Yes, they are European regulations, and the kit carries the CE mark to show the company claims compliance.

And there's the rub: claims compliance. No testing required.

And the UK has voted that we don't like all that European interfering, we don't want all that "red tape", and we can set our own regulations. The UK just got that little bit more dangerous, as you can guarantee none of the people advocating dropping the European regulations is doing so because they believe the restrictions aren't strict enough.

The BSI "Kitemark" requires testing by an accredited lab, just like TUV in Germany, or UL in the US. The national standards are in general far more stringent than the EU ones, not least because national standards are easier to control. I can't see the EU successfully mandating that every member must have a test lab that follows centrally-defined standards, nor would they have a hope of insisting that everything EU-wide had to be tested by, say, TUV or BSI. The price the EU pays for a common set of rules is a lax and ambiguous regulatory structure, which is the only way to get everyone to agree.

Besides, if people really want to ignore the rules they'll just keep on buying directly-imported Chinese tat from Aliexpress or Amazon, complete with the fake CE mark that doesn't actually use the defined typeface, so they can't be sued.

Buffer overflow flaw in British Airways in-flight entertainment systems will affect other airlines, but why try it in the air?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Unwise

Given the screenfuls of Linux missing symbol messages that I've seen pour past when these systems are rebooted (and the frequency that reboots seem to be needed) I'd be surprised if any of them get tested beyond "did it compile?".

What happens when security devices are insecure? Choose the nuclear option

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: French Government website UIs...

... still take their design cues from Minitel.

If only. Minitel was sufficiently minimalist to be clean and efficient. French website designers all seem to be people who consider the Citroen approach to dashboard design to be too conservative.

UK Ministry of Justice: Surprise! We tested out biometric tech in prisons and 'visitors' with drugs up their bums ran away

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Deterrent effect?

one prison had reported a higher number than usual of "no-shows" after visitors found the software was in use.

So would a sign and a dummy camera work as well? Cheaper & simplifies the authorization proces.

Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Loud speaker mounted on the roof

Hey Wanker with the earbuds, Look UP!

Too subtle. QM2-sized foghorn, linked to the pedestrian detection equipment from a self-driving car.

Assuming they survived the adrenaline jolt you'd probably also be able to book them for not carrying a plastic bag to cleanup the consequences from the pavement.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Geneva Airport

Once you have converted the price from Swiss Francs to Pounds or Euros you will probably have some sort of medical episode.

Well, that's true of anywhere in Geneva, not just the airport! At least it's back to 1CHF = 0.8EUR, for a while it was 1:1.

The airport itself is one of the better ones in the area (far better than Lyon) except of course on Saturdays in ski season when all airports around the area are horrendous. If you think Geneva's bad, try Chambéry at 2pm on a ski Saturday during school holidays, and it has far fewer flights.

As for the security queues, if you're travelling at a busy time it's well worth spending 8CHF on a ticket for the fast track security lane, from their website.

Hurrah for Apollo 9: It has been 50 years since 'nauts first took a Lunar Module out for a spin

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

What's the opposite of 'progress'?

It has been 50 years and look at how far we've come since then

Also 50 years since the first Concorde test flight, and now we're all flying supersonic.


Ah, this military GPS system looks shoddy but expensive. Shall we try to break it?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Miltary testing

No idea whether the Tavor has a bottle opener attachment.

A Swedish friend told me that when he was doing his military service he was issued with a bottle-opener as part of his official kit. Earlier trainees had discovered that the latch/hook on the standard rifle ammunition clip was perfect for opening bottles, but after it had been used for that a few times it got bent enough to cause the weapon to jam. I couldn't tell you the type of rifle, though.

Three-quarters of crucial border IT systems at risk of failure? Bah, it's not like Brexit is *looks at watch* err... next month

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: "In other words, not voting is effectively the same as voting to continue the status quo."

The majority (IE including those who did not vote) voted Remain.

Using that logic the majority in 1973 voted not to stay in the EEC (since only 67.23% of 64.62% voted "Yes") and the majority of the French voted not to create the EU in 1992 (51.04% of 69.69% voted "Pour").

People who didn't vote don't count. Trying to claim that people who didn't vote clearly supported your preferred option is just silly.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Cheer up, what's the worst that could happen?

A “hard border” between England and Scotland would be hard to imagine.

Never mind the legal arguments about where it is drawn.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Cheer up, what's the worst that could happen?

[And totally unconnected - who can explain the spelling of tarriff, tarif, tarrif, tttaaarrrriiiffff, tariff ? why can't it be consistent with the r's and the f's?]

It's an anglicization from Arabic, so originally wouldn't even have been in the same alphabet as the English word.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Cheer up, what's the worst that could happen?

So Scotland would have an excellent case to unilaterally leave the Union, based on breach of contract, and apply to the EU to take over the UKs membership, which I suspect would be granted in very short order.

The EU has already said very clearly that a future independent Scotland would not be able to do that. It would be welcome to apply to join, but would need to meet all the conditions of any new member, including implementing the Euro, meeting the economic convergence criteria and joining Schengen.

Sniff the love: Subaru's SUVs overwhelmed by scent of hair shampoo, recalls 2.2 million cars

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

pedal area

The issue would more likely be linked to cleaning products used around the brake pedals

Or shoe cleaning and polishing products?

Why are there never free power sockets when my Y-fronts need charging?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: An inch too short?

Now it's a puzzle involving YouTube videos (why not a regular web page with text and photos?)

I'd upvote you more than once for that alone.

Boffins put the FUN into fungus by rigging yeast to squirt out the active ingredients in cannabis

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

rigging up yeast so it produces cannabis compounds

Is anyone surprised that it's at Berkeley?

Did you hear the one about Cisco routers using strcpy insecurely for login authentication? Makes you go AAAAA-AAAAAAArrg *segfault*

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Or better yet, the strncpy_s function that is standard in C11.

strncpy isn't a good choice, not least because it doesn't null-terminate excessively-long strings. strlcpy guarantees that there will be no overflow, it's a much safer option.

Customer: We fancy changing a 25-year-old installation. C'mon, it's just one extra valve... Only wafer thin...

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
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All the same

It might have been annoying while they were doing it, but I'll bet they went home for Christmas feeling damn satisfied with themselves for having risen to the challenge.

IBM elects pirate-foiling Navy vet to board

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Navy vet?

My first thought was that she dealt with injured sharks (or seals, maybe?), a sort of nautical James Herriot...

Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Apple PC

Apple will move their PCs to ARM 'by 2020'.

Which, when you think about it, is less than 11 months away.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I'm sure that DEC had a similar attitude.

Sun, too. They, at least, should have learned since they did it to DEC.

Data breach rumours abound as UK Labour Party locks down access to member databases

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Laws don’t apply to politicians

They don't have to. The constitutional position is clear, they're MPs until the next election.

I know, but it would give them some legitimacy (or the boot).

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Laws don’t apply to politicians

its time to ask the people properly in a democratic vote.

Perhaps we could start by asking the Independent Group MPs, from both sides, to resign their seats and force byelections based on their new allegiance?

Down productivity tools: Microsoft Teams takes a Monday tumble

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Why do things have to keep changing?

30 years is about the time it takes for the stuff you learned first to come back into fashion, so hang in there. You've nearly completed the circle.

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Actually, if you make a sundial large enough....

... it could be very precise.

Like #18 on this list? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jantar_Mantar,_Jaipur

Banking in 2019: Sure, we'd recommend TSB's online, mobe banking say cowed customers

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Flawed survey ?

Who do you think would make the best PM:

If the survey company had a better understanding of English they would have realised that a multiple-choice question with those fixed answers should ask "Who do you think would make the better PM".

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

And a new wall?

Airbus will shutter its A380 production line from 2021

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

The other thing that killed hub & spoke is the security theatre. You have to suffer it twice, and with 500+ people deplaning from an A380 or queueing up to board it's even more miserable.

Its a nice enough plane, fairly quiet & smooth, but I'm not sure I'd claim that economy on it is like business class elsewhere, especially with the appalling rock-hard plastic seats that BA use in cattle class. Add to that the delays of loading and unloading 500+ people and I avoid them whenever I can. I'd much rather have a 787 or 777. I won't miss it, to be honest.

Ever used VFEmail? No? Well, chances are you never will now: Hackers wipe servers, backups in 'catastrophic' attack

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Backups?

How do you backup 100's of terabytes and live VM's?

If you're running a business that holds that much data, you need a system in place to back it up. Anything else is unprofessional.

Not heard owt bad about Huawei, says EU Commish infosec bod

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Make it illegal to sell an uncertified item in the EU.

Better yet, have a real certification process that has to be provably followed, like the BSI Kitemark, German TUV, etc., and not just a self-certification sticker that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Treaty of Roam: No-deal Brexit mobile bill shock

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: So predictable !

But at least we have a government that thinks it wants to do really *IMPORTANT* stuff like implement Daylight Saving Time all year round.

So does the EU, they even held an EU-wide survey about it last year, which voted to drop the regular time changes (by 84%)

Of course, they didn't publicise it very well, I think the French turnout was 0.6%, the UK managed 0.02%!

Thanks for all those data-flow warnings, UK.gov. Now let's talk about your own Brexit prep. Yep, just as we thought

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: "There isnt? So you wouldnt advocate rejoining the EU?"

Or the claim Leave sent 1000 000 000 lies (that's about 16 for every man, woman and child in the UK) to its (very carefully selected) group of leave voters to ensure they voted the "right" (or should that be far Right?) way?

And Remain paid Facebook a fortune to push their propaganda. It cuts both ways.

9 countries in the EU do not use the Euro. So no you don't "surrender your currency"

Yes, you do. The UK and Denmark, as existing members, negotiated opt-outs, but every new member is required to use the euro once they meet the economic conditions. Sweden is trying very hard not to meet those, to avoid being forced into the eurozone

I don't think the EU is perfect but it gives the UK

a) A very big, closely located market for goods and services (especially financial, which are 3x what the UK mfgs)

We had that with the EEC, no need for a political union.

b) It's social justice requirements put a bottom to how badly UK employers can treat their work force, which have historically been pretty s**t.

I feel that the UK actually hits a happy medium between the brutal rules that apply in places like the US and the ludicrously excessive protections in places like France. That shows in how the UK has one of the lowest unemployment rates, and highest growth, among the EU members.

c) It puts a limit on how bad UK governents (or rather their data fetishist senior civil servants) can spy on their people.

I'm no fan of the snooper's charter, but I'm sceptical that the EU will actually do any better in the long run. In my experience it's just better hidden, despite what the public rules might say.

d) It gives the UK a say in EU wide issues and the leverage to implement solutions individual countries cannot.

That's down to the EU's choice. It already works with non-EU countries like the US, Canada, China, etc. all of whom have input on joint ventures. There is no reason why that wouldn't apply to UK-EU relations, other than the EU's obvious desire to prevent the UK from gaining any advantage from Brexit.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Won't someone think of the tomatoes?

the current May agreement is more about setting out the field for the real negotiations that will happen after the 29-March than defining how things will be after the negotiation period; where it is assumed matters will be improved upon.

If the backstop had a time limit I'd agree with you, but as it stands now the EU has zero incentive to negotiate anything. With that agreement it can simply refuse to take calls from May, knowing that we will have no choice but to do what it tells us to until it decides otherwise. Where is the EU incentive to improve anything later? A time-limited backstop would focus everyone's mind on improving things in the background once the public furore has died down.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: a second *binding* referendum and cancel the madness that is Brexit.

So why is the onus on the EU to come up with a solution?

It isn't, and that isn't what I said, although it appears to be all that remainers are capable of hearing. Good negotiations should target a compromise where both sides get something, and both sides concede something, but you usually need a way to apply a little encouragement. Obviously both sides will push hard to concede as little as possible, so when the UK gives the EU a perfect opening to just shrug their shoulders and say "this is the deal, take it or leave it", it's entirely the fault of the UK's idiot negotiators and the behind-the-scenes twits like Hammond for giving them the impression that we'll concede eventually.

If you saw a second-hand car you really, really wanted, priced at £10K, would you go to the salesman and tell him "I'm OK with giving you £10K if I have to, but I'd like to start the negotiations at £7K"? Would you expect him to reply anything but "It's £10K, take it or leave it"? Of course not. You need to convince him that you're really prepared to walk away without a deal if he won't compromise, it's the only way to get him to negotiate properly. Maybe you won't get far, depending on how much he wants the deal, but you'll certainly stand more chance than if you tell him right off that you'll definitely buy it at any price. That's what Corbyn, Hammond & co are doing by insisting publicly that "No Deal" isn't acceptable (whether it really is or not).

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: a second *binding* referendum and cancel the madness that is Brexit.

leave the EU (with an agreed plan of how to do so in advance).

An "agreed plan" which of necessity can't agree on anything except "we'll do our best to negotiate what we'd like with the EU" ?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: a second *binding* referendum and cancel the madness that is Brexit.

A HardBrexit like that is surely going to be an absolute success!

It won't, but if we could convince the EU "negotiators" that it was a serious option then it just might focus their minds more on achieving a real compromise than scoring a pyrrhic victory. As it is, the constant calls from Corbyn&Co to take "no deal" off the table just sends the message to the EU that we'll chicken out at the last minute, so all they have to do is stonewall and wait for us to give in. Not helpful.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Time to have another public Brexit vote?

The Brexit vote of 29 March 2017 was not a legally binding vote.

For a government to hold a referendum and then ignore the result would be political suicide. If you just want non-binding advice you hold an opinion poll, not a referendum.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Time to have another public Brexit vote?

Or is there a newly-minted Leavers' rule - no more frequently than every forty years?

For that sort of major change once per generation seems to be the usual rule of thumb, so every 25-30 years if requested would seem a reasonable compromise to avoid constant upheaval. Pity we didn't get one 25 years ago when we were taken into the EU.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Time to have another public Brexit vote?

hold a second *binding* referendum and cancel the madness that is Brexit.

And a third one in 2022, a fourth one in 2025, etc., in case we've changed our minds again?

Or do we have to stop once we get your preferred result?

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: a second *binding* referendum and cancel the madness that is Brexit.

5% of the voters have probably died, and there's 2 years worth of new adults, there's a good chance the "will of the people" differs from what is actually happening

So you assume that youngsters want to Remain, oldies want to Leave, and as the oldies die the pendulum will swing steadly to Remain?

If that were actually true, then the Leave viewpoint would have been declining for decades, yet it hasn't. It actually increased to the point where it was carried in a referendum, so your basic assumption must be flawed.

The bit you're forgetting, in your enthusiasm to make people vote again and again until you get the result you want, is that somewhere in that middle range between "young" and "old" something happens to change Remain voters into Leave voters.

I suggest that it's "experience", and it's still happening today.

Things that make you go .hm... Has a piece of the internet just sunk into the ocean? It appears so

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: .UK or .GB??

Was Arlene in a happy space at the time?

The name was chosen several years before she was first elected, so maybe so.

It's not just in NI that it can cause offence, it also excludes the Crown Dependencies like the IoM & the CI, and other overseas territories that are British but not in GB (or even in the UK for that matter).

But really, given the recent Olympic medal successes, who cares what it's called? It has no bearing on the abilities of the athletes.

Senior slippery sex stimulator sales exec sacked for shafting .org-asmic cyber-space place, a tribunal hears

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Linkedin says....

consolidated expertise in ... turnaround strategies

Well, that bit is honest.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Oh deary dear...

is anyone in the frontline of retail, hospitality or entertainment likely to be handling anything confidential or sensitive?

I suppose that may depend on exactly which bit of the entertainment or "hospitality" industry we're looking at. The tabloids generally love it when something sensitive gets handled without sufficient attention to confidentiality.

Smaller tech firms just aren't ready for a no-deal Brexit, MPs told

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

I suppose general uncertainty is better than general failure. Of course neither are as serious as corporal punishment.

Unfortunately our old chum Major Cockup trumps them all.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: Incompetence where incompetence is due

... lets get everyone together, see what we want in terms of a future relationship with the EU. then informally sent those ideas to the EU, come up jointly with a deal that benefits both sides,

Absolutely agreed. Unfortunately the EU reaction was "let's agree how much you've willing to pay us first, then we'll talk about the terms for letting you go ". A win-win deal was never on the cards, the EU wouldn't even negotiate informal terms until Art.50 was invoked. Now we're heading for lose-lose.

Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

Re: SMEs in other EU countries have the same problem

Look out for a lot of things to carry words like...

"Not For Sale or Use in the UK"

Already happens. Have you ever tried to buy equipment fitted with a Schuko mains plug from a continental Amazon website for delivery to the UK?

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