* Posts by sawatts

125 posts • joined 1 Aug 2013


How big is the UK space industry? It hauled in £14.8bn for 2016/2017 – report


Space Ducks!

Everything sounds better if you put "Space" in front of it.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt


Re: Wow, it's almost...

Leave polled 38% of the registered electorate.

Closer to 27.5% of the adult population.

Townsfolk left deeply unsatisfied by Bury St Edmunds' 'twig' of a Christmas tree


...or just plant one in the town square / village green which you can decorate each year?

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee


Dog Toffee??

Had images of someone rendering down poodles to make sweets.

Not what the article was about after all...

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time


Do what they can't do but in a fraction of the time?

Whats a fraction of infinity?

App-y, app-y, joy, joy: Pain-free software installer Flatpak (kinda) works on Windows Subsystem for Linux


Ren and Stimpy?

Sod the article - how long has it been since I last saw a Ren and Stimpy reference!

Revealed: The billionaire baron who’ll ride Elon’s thrusting erection to the Moon and back



Heart of Gold?

I'm getting more of a B-Ark vib from the passenger manifest.

Rejoice! Thousands more kids flock to computing A-level


Back in the olden days of 'O' and 'A' levels -- grades where awarded on a percentile basis.

This measured the student abilities against their peers - someone awarded an A-grade was in the top-10% for that year regardless of their actual marks, and largely decoupled their grade from the quality of the course or the teaching.

Now the "modern" courses seem dumber in their marking - just grading for marks and pressuring courses to produce more high-grade results. Grades are no longer a way to tell the quality of a candidate if all the munchkins have A*++-with-sparkles.

If only 3D desktop printers could 3D print sales! Units crash in Q1


If only 3D Printers could print 3D Printers

Would that count as reproduction?

Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything


Re: User-generated obfuscation

Nah just try to read my handwriting...

Microsoft commits: We're buying GitHub for $7.5 beeeeeeellion


sourcesafe for git

No wait - its Microsoft - so it will be git for sourcesafe.

Great Scott! Bitcoin to consume half a per cent of the world's electricity by end of year



Until the first quantum computer arrives -- and the lucky owner mines all the remaining BitCoins...

HPE: Hell yeah, those job cuts worked out great… for our investors


You can make huge profits by asset stripping.

'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'


Battery Draining and Unstoppable

I had to uninstall all Facebook apps from my phone last year - for the second time. Fortunately they where not part of the OEM installation, so I could do this.

The reason was that, even if I didn't use these apps, they drained my battery by midday. Without them I get a clear day off a full charge.

What was particularly unacceptable was that even if I force stopped these apps - when trying to keep some battery life for emergencies - they kept restarting. At this point it became a liability, risk, and safety issue to have them installed - regardless of their covert data slurping shenannigans.

Das blinkenlights are back thanks to RPi revival of the PDP-11



Many years ago in a house share we had a PDP-11 and WinchesterDisk stacked on the landing, by the bathroom.

It is very painful to collide with these devices when trying to get to the toilet in the dark. I still have a dent in my kneecap...

Virtue singing – Spotify to pull hateful songs and artists


Theres a big difference between "find offensive" (passive) and "being offensive" (active). Too often the former is taken as offensive - but I doubt that there is anything left that no one will find offensive.

Now time to check if I can get Macc Lads on Spotify...

And so it begins: Veritas lays off UK workers, R&D bods hit hardest


Seems to be a trend -- relentlessly shed staff to cut overheads for shiny reports, but being left without the resources to do productive and profitable work.

Get the FTP outta here, says Firefox


Still waiting for the gopher revival...

HPE swallows cloud consultancy RedPixie


A cloud ... in a box!

Ah HPE and clouds.

I tale I often tell is of a proud HPE presentation for a future product which would put a cloud within a single computer.

Far better than those old fashoned servers.

(this was presented with all seriousness)

Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser


Windows 10 forces you to use Linux even if it isn't the most conventient.

...fixed the title for you.

Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76


Who will save us now?!

We will never hear his voice again.

... er no wait ...


Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

2018-03-14 - ISO 8601

But being pedantic seems inappropriate at this time.

(why isn't there a "for science" icon?)

New Sky thinking: Media giant makes dish-swerving move on Netflix territory


So much for rural telly...

Hopefully this will not be a wholesale replacement of satellite broadcasting?

When I recently lived in a rural area (only 3 mi from a major town) we didn't have much terrestrial reception, and on a good day our "broadband" could nearly reach 2Mb. Sky or freesat was the only option.

Now that we are within stone's throw of a major centre in Greater London our broadband frequently exceeds 2Mb - perhaps as high as 3Mb if the wind isn't blowing!

As much as I loath the Murdock empire I do like Game of Thrones...

Facebook invents new unit of time to measure modern attention spans: 1/705,600,000 of a sec



Next; tech; meltdown..? Mandatory; semicolons; in; JavaScript; mulled;


Always prefer a language to require the developer to be explicit rather than having to guess their intent.

However if you think tabs vs spaces don't matter you've not had to maintain a lot of makefiles.

Meanwhile recall the proposal to provide whitespace operator overloading in C++?


Although the worse example I recall being told about was a proposed language for minicomputers which used normal, italic, bold as part of the language syntax. ...until it was pointed out that in some situations you'd have to be able to tell the difference between a normal and italic full stop.

Cortana. Whatever happened to world domination?


Apparently none of the microphones attached to my PC were ever compatible with Cortina^B^B^Bana anyway.

Watchkeeper drones cost taxpayers £1bn


Part of the problem is taking the lowest bid regardless of how realistic is was. Although the company I was working for bid on the Watchkeeper contract at "US" levels which probably didn't help. (Interesting maths though...)

To be fair, the MOD (and UKGOV) are pretty terrible at managing techy contracts -- trying to be very specific and lock down requirements to "keep control" without fully understanding the scope of the problem or issues at hand. Requirements inevitably change mid-project, which is always going to be expensive. (On one MOD contract in the last couple of years we worked for six months against a specification that we later discovered had been changed four times during that period - nullifying any effort upto that point...)

Amazon to make multiple Lord of the Rings prequel TV series


Re: Running up stairways of falling rocks

The books are all used up

Nonsense - you are forgetting the Appendices! A to F -- there's six seasons worth of material for you. Just needs a bit of padding, some random love polygons, subplots about cute orc babies, and so on...

DXC slashes meal allowances for travelling troops: Please sir, may I have some more?


Re: One of the few things the US Govt does well...

One of the changes I lived through was the move from 'per diem' to 'actuals' as a UK Gov agency tried to go "real-world".

'Per diem' allowed you could minimise costs and pocket the difference, which covered the inconvenience of not being at home. In my first year as a grad I pocketed £500 from a weeks conference thanks to travelling with a higher grade.

'Actuals' didn't offer any incentive to save money - people switched from the fleabag motel to the nearest (nicest) hotels. The actuals were much more than the per diem.

Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon


Re: Clanger holes And there I was about to ask if...........

So, what flavour was the Soup Dragon's Soup?

Cortana, please finish my sentences in Skype texts for me


So how long before we find two Cortina^B^B^Bana enabled Skype clients having long conversations with each other?...

HP Inc exec: Yes, we'll put a bullet in the X3 device


Re: HP... A mere shadow

"you couldn't pay me enough to work there"

They don't pay anyone enough to work there - thats one of their problems.

Commodore 64 makes a half-sized comeback


Still active development for C64?

There was a talk at CppCon 2016 where Jason Turner demonstrated developing in C++17 for C64 - see https://youtu.be/zBkNBP00wJE - was a very interesting presentation (not just for the C64 aspect).

HP denies rumours Elite x3 is for the axe, admits coveting neighbour's OS


I've used a HP Slate6 6" Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) for a number of years now. Not bad for ~£150, though I had to replace the battery with an after-market one earlier this year.

The main problem - as with most vendors now - is a lack of support once the product is no longer "hot". I doubt that it'll get another Android update.

HP (use to) make good hardware. Software - less so.

Get out your specs: Java EE's headed to the Eclipse Foundation


Re: Nespresso


Elon Musk among 116 AI types calling on UN to nobble robo-weapons before they go all Skynet


Meet Human Mk II

Maybe I've read/watched/eaten too much SciFi over the years, but...

Perhaps we should considered that eventual replacement of biological humans with a non-bio form just an inevitable form of evolution? It would certainly have some positives for the spread and survial of a "human culture".

Lets hope that their teenage years pass without too many problems.

HMS Queen Liz will arrive in Portsmouth soon, says MoD


the first true aircraft carrier in Royal Navy service for almost a decade

"the first true aircraft carrier in Royal Navy service for almost a decade"

I'll join pedants corner and point out that the RN has only had "Through-Deck Cruisers" since the last WWII era vessels were decomissions (HMS Hermes, 1984, in service with India until 2017).

These where definitely not aircraft carriers 'cos HM Gov said they didn't need those anymore. They did manage to survive many releted collisions with aircraft though.

Windows Subsystem for Linux to debut in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update


POSIX subsystem for Windows NT...

Anyone remember this? A bare minimum POSIX.1 subsystem included in the original NT releases - allowing MS to undercut big-iron UNIX vendors for US Gov contracts for a "POSIX compliant" OS (but not defining how POSIX it should be). Dropped shortly afterwards once they'd secured the market. Many unhappy end-users left with either a massive porting exercise, or legacy/unsupported systems.

And then there was Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) (discontinued). Not sure who that was for.

Meanwhile the first thing we do with a Windows desktop is install Cygwin and fire up bash...

Dump X of your crew, DXC Technologies UK told. Hundreds face axe again


Re: Will HP ever learn?

To reuse a to-frequently-relevant quote:

"Reorganisation is managements' way of covering their tracks"

Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C


Re: In over 40 years of programming ...

OOP-Hype? Thats just smalltalk.

Breathless F-35 pilots to get oxygen boost via algorithm tweak


Pilots breathing...

...if you don't explicitly state it in a requirement, then it won't be in the product.

Of course, the prime can then charge extra for change amendments.

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


Re: Signed Integer

Buggers up my time machine then.

Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill


Re: "its who runs out of ammo last that matters."

Battle of Britain hung (partly or wholly) on who would run out of pilots or planes first.

Advantage to the pilots who could bail out over friendly territory.


Reminds me of a lesson ignored from war games...

Its not the quality of the planes - its who runs out of ammo last that matters. If you've still got something armed and flying when the air cover has fired all its shots, then their carrier looks vunerable.

Now consider the development and price for drones... Can you launch something capable of taking out a carrier for $5 million.

Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86


Re: Primos

As I was told at the time, the MOD spent an unfortunate amount of time deciding on a minicomputer to standardise on. This being a Prime model which promptly went out of production.

I missed out on the Primes. When I started work (1990) they had just been removed and the ground floor of our building was a dark warren with unexpected holes in the floor. There were still people who bemoaned losing a "real" computer - even though the 386PC desktop was quicker, not shared, and cost less than a years maintanance.

This is the same realm that built a big new building to house a new Cray. Had to be big because the new computer was a hundred times more powerful than the old one, and that was quite big enough. Last time I saw the place the new computer was installed in the lobby, and the cavern was used as a super-chilled typing pool...

Britain's warhead-watcher to simulate Trident nukes with Atos supercomputer



Oh I was thinking of ASOS. No, ATOS, that makes more sense...

One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail


Re: In other news

"It's almost as if nobody bothered to read Mr. Brooks excellent book on this subject."

Better than that - they got a team to each read one page each!

NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it



Well, it _was_ non-threatening...

Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio


Ideal for Management Spreadsheets

Gotta be the driving motivation here.

HPE hatches HPE Next – a radical overhaul plan so it won't be HPE Last


Re: Continuous reorg

A wizzen old man once said: Reorganisation is management's way of covering its tracks.


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