* Posts by Peter Ford

282 posts • joined 13 Jul 2007

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Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

Peter Ford

Re: Bah!

ABS systems usually detect the wheel slowing down abnormally, so they can release the brake before the wheel stops, so it is entirely possible that Tesla haven't quite nailed that.

Still sounds a bit poor though...

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ISP TalkTalk's Wi-Fi passwords Walk Walk thanks to Awks Awks router security hole

Peter Ford

Ralink router?

All the TalkTalk routers I've seen for years have been Huawei - doesn't mean there's not an exploit for them though...

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Engineer crashed mega-corp's electricity billing portal, was promoted

Peter Ford

or 'oops'

The one word you don't want to hear from someone sat at the console of a live production server...

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Microsoft vows to bridge phones to PCs, and this time it means it. Honest.

Peter Ford

KDE Connect

... does some of these things

but it doesn't show the phone display on the PC, or make calls (yet...)

It certainly notifies me of incoming alerts and SMS, and I can do file transfer like the phone is a network drive.

It can also use the phone as an input device, like a touch pad and a keyboard: might be useful in a presentation environment...

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Brit MPs brand Facebook a 'great vampire squid' out for cash

Peter Ford

Re: Not one to big up our Members of parliament

"Effectively, though, this just amounts to giving Facebook more information - even if it’s in the negative, it's equally telling about your personality. And this speaks to the fundamental disconnect between the business and the public."

Does anyone else see the irony of British MPs accusing someone of a disconnect between them and the public?

I might have misread - perhaps that was only an editorial comment, rather than an actual quote from a politician, but the point is still there: one of the worst groups of people for not understanding the mood of the public is the membership of the House of Commons...

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X marks the Notch, where smartmobe supercycles go to die

Peter Ford

Re: Economics

I see your £6/month, and say my (dodgy chinese brand) phone cost £85, is IP68-rated and generally damage-resistant, dual SIM (plus SD card), and is on iD @ £5/month (including 2.25GB data with rollovers)

Not only is the package cheap, but the phone is more likely to survive my lifestyle than a £999 iPhone X. The money I save pays for the wear and tear on my trouser pocket (it's not exactly a lightweight phone...)

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There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Peter Ford

Re: "It’s about pressing a button on your keyfob to find out where you parked your car"

I do a lot of kayak racing: my car is easy to find in a car park (except at kayak races...)

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Elon Musk's latest Tesla Model 3 delivery promise: 6,000... a week

Peter Ford

Re: The Model 3 is coming.... er??? 2019 or is that 2020?

"the Model 3 is the wrong car for Europe in that it is a sedan/saloon "

"What do they drive in Europe? I had thought the truck/SUV dominance was primarily elsewhere."

Hatchbacks...

In the UK at least the top-selling car is the Ford Fiesta (and pretty much always has been)

The next seven (at least for 2017) are hatchbacks, with the Mercedes C-class (at no. 9) being the only sedan in the top 10. BMW 3-series is probably just outside the top 10, but aside from those it's hatchbacks (including SUVs and MPVs) most of the way.

France is similar in it's love of hatchbacks - pretty much every French car model is a hatchback and the French are fairly partisan in their choices.

Germany likes their BMWs, Audis and Mercs as sedans, but even those makers have a lot of hatchback variants (BMW 1-series plus all the Xs and GT variants; Merc A-class, CLA and all the Gs; Audi A1, A3 and all the Qs)

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Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Peter Ford

Re: Intimidation ...!!

"Soon we'll be able to stagger drunkenly across motorways with impunity :-)"

Until *all* cars are self-driving, that sounds like a new form of Russian Roulette...

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SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

Peter Ford

Re: Yawn

Surely in the future we'll have a space elevator and rocket launches will be a thing of the past...

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Samsung’s DeX dock clicks the second time around

Peter Ford

KDE Connect

I can do the touch pad and remote keyboard thing with my Android phone and the KDE Connect app, as long as my PC is running the KDE Connect widget and can be paired. No cables required, just having the pone and PC on the same network.

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BOFH: Honourable misconduct

Peter Ford

Re: Script for Leave

When I was a student I had a jacket with pockets capable of carrying up to four bottles of Newcastle Brown, even if they were opened at the bar to avoid carry-outs...

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Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Peter Ford
Linux

RAM? Overrated...

My little old HP EliteBook has a quad-core i7, an 256GB SSD and 4GB RAM.

It works fine, running a full Apache-PHP-PostgreSQL stack, NetBeans IDE and usually several browsers. The fan runs hard if I start up Candy Crush in a browser, but the memory is never an issue.

Of course, it's not having to stagger under the weight of Windows 10...

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Dori-no! PepsiCo boss says biz is planning to sell lady crisps

Peter Ford

Re: Do project managers live in the world?

I don't see the problem with this: it doesn't actually say anything about being a "ladies tool kit" aside from the Amazon categorisation. It does have a connection to a breast cancer charity, but how is that gender-specific?

If someone wanted a pink toolkit, maybe just to differentiate it from others, then this is cool. It might stop all the dickhead "alpha" males stealing it...

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Take a bow, TalkTalk, Post Office, Vodafone! You win most-whinged-about telcos award

Peter Ford

TalkTalk is a roller coaster...

On the one hand, they have done reasonably well at providing me and my family with phone, broadband and mobile at pretty low cost.

On the other, they seem to have dropped mobile without actually telling any of their existing customers: the first we heard of it was when my daughter got a warning about approaching her text limit. She was on an unlimited text deal... but apparently her deal ended and she is now on some less favourable deal with no warning!

All our mobiles are now going elsewhere as they get to the end of their current deals. Broadband and phone are definitely being looked into.

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Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Peter Ford

Re: Trains..

That is down to the unions, largely: look at the fuss in the UK when train companies tried to remove the guards from the trains, let alone the drivers.

The London Docklands Light Railway (and other similar systems elsewhere) runs pretty well without drivers, and that's not new technology.

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PHWOAR, those noughty inks: '0.1%' named Stat of The Year

Peter Ford

Re: 7.7 billion: the number of active phone connections in the world

Presumably it includes every business phone connection, including mobiles provided by companies, and every one who has more than one mobile, or even more than one SIM...

Does it include every smart-meter that connects to a mobile network to phone home?

In which case the number is starting to look small - I'm surprised it's only just surpassed the world population

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GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online

Peter Ford

1 is low, 9 is high, less than about 5 is effectively a fail. There may also be a 0 if the candidate doesn't turn up.

This allows for scope creep - they can add in 10 or turn it up to 11 if they need to...

Of course, the databases that have been created to store these grades likely only have single character* fields for the grade and will crash if 10 is introduced unless someone is smart enough to use hexadecimal.

* I hit a security block when I tried to type char-openbracket-one-closebracket here - it seemed to think I was trying an SQL injection! That's really not the most efficient way of avoiding SQL injection atttacks...

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ML fails: Loyalty prediction? Not really. And bonus prediction? Oh dear

Peter Ford

Re: Fails at basic logic...

Wow, EE get a 1-2?

Are they really that much better than all the others?

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Level 5 driverless cars by 2021 can be done, say Brit industry folk

Peter Ford

It doesn't have to strain the grid...

With a little bit of investment, each charging station could have on-site generation using the same sort of fuel that is dispensed by petrol stations: burning the petrol, diesel or anything else that can be bulk transported to the site could probably be done cleaner than running an ICE in every vehicle, maybe with a gas-turbine generator...

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Peter Ford

Re: Exactly...

Forget the rest, just this:

"Can go pick up your kids for you or shuttle them to their sports / school / activities."

If that was the only thing self-driving vehicles were legally allowed to do on our roads it would be enough for me!

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Li-quid hot mag-ma: There's a Martian meteorite in your backyard. How'd it get there?

Peter Ford

Re: "an asteroid hit the volcano, leaving a crater and sending the materials rocketing to Earth"

My reading is that, although the lava flow was billions of years ago, the asteroid impact that ejected the rocks was much more recent: presumably long after the atmosphere went away.

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Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

Peter Ford

Re: The whole point of simulating a universe

While your initial point is fair, the suggestion from this work is that it is not physically possible to make a simulation that covers a tiny bit of what we know - they looked at *one* small quantum effect and found that simulating it to any useful degree was not going to be possible. Now add on all of the other quantum effects and you find that to be sure of the exact nature of just the few particles one sim scientist might be looking at would require an unfeasibly large simulation.

Sure, that's impossible in the universe we know, and since were talking about simulating that universe there's an assumption that there is something of much grander scale outside of our known universe doing the simulation, but we're not talking just orders of magnitude greater, more like orders of magnitude times orders of magnitude...

I think the underlying point is that there's not much chance of us even doing a little simulation that could demonstrate that a simulation is possible (the proof-of-concept is not even feasible) so why worry :)

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10 minutes of silence storms iTunes charts thanks to awful Apple UI

Peter Ford

People are paying to download this?

Surely anyone can arrange to record a few minutes of silence to an audio file?

It seems to happen every time I attempt to record something, at least until I have figured out which input I was supposed to select...

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Facebook pulls plug on language-inventing chatbots? THE TRUTH

Peter Ford

"Natural language does not emerge naturally"

Err, so how did it emerge?

I hope I'm not provoking another evolution/creation "argument"...

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Clear August 21 in your diary: It's a total solar eclipse for the smart

Peter Ford

Save the Cheerleader...

... save the world?

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America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

Peter Ford

Re: "having a load of Lithium batteries in the hold sounds like a bad idea to me."

My laptop has a removable battery module, so perhaps I should take the battery in my carry-on bag and put the rest in the hold...

Of course, that wouldn't work with an awful lot of low-end kit where the battery is not easily removable (like tablets)

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Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land

Peter Ford

Re: Linux is a viable alternative for a range of uses these days.

+1 for ZorinOS

My boss's good lady got ransomwared on her windows PC a good few months ago, so I blasted it and installed ZorinOS. No complaints so far...

1
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PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

Peter Ford

I suspect PayPal have plenty of evidence to show exactly how stupid their customers are.

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Drugs, vodka, Volvo: The Scandinavian answer to Britain's future new border

Peter Ford

Re: And this tackles people who cycle or walk past ...

In cases where a village is bisected by the border, we could do what happens in many european places (e.g. Samnaun in Switzerland/Austria) or elsewhere in the world: put the border around both sides of the village and turn the village into a tax-free shopping paradise...

Another interesting thing about the CH/AT border - you can kayak/canoe across the border on the river En/Inn. It's a serious piece of whitewater and at the bottom of a deep gorge, which is probably why the border meets the river there...

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Today's bonkers bug report: Microsoft Edge can't print numbers

Peter Ford

Re: Optional Title

132 is my kids preferred binary number...

2
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Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

Peter Ford

Static IP address?

Is it just me, or is that not the obvious workaround?

Skip DHCP altogether and set up a static IP address for the machine - you can do that in Windows, can't you?

The only piece of information you need to do that is the network address block - in most home routers that's likely to be 192.168.1.0/24 - and then choose any one of the mid-range numbers for the last octet to avoid conflict with the router and other dynamically-assigned addresses that might be in use.

I have quite a few devices on my home network and for me it's helpful to know the IP addresses of some of them (I have a raspi to do my internal DNS). The mobile phones are about the only thing that use DHCP in here...

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Virgin Galactic and Boom unveil Concorde 2.0 tester to restart supersonic travel

Peter Ford

They'd probably slow down for a while to refuel, like the SR-71 did.

At least this thing probably won't be on the edge of a stall while flying slow enough for a tanker to fuel it...

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BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

Peter Ford

Re: huh ?

"Unless the infrastructure runs on 2 Raspberry Pi's and a usb disk instead of the blades and SANS that are on the books but have been replaced by a few rows of LED strips in the data centre."

Shhh - you'll give the game away!

1
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HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

Peter Ford

Re: "the quality of our customer experience"

Isn't that pretty much what they *are* saying?

2
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BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

Peter Ford

Re: Sounds all to familiar

I seem to remember setting the ready message to "OUT OF CHEESE" once... That resulted in some interesting support calls.

1
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Magnetic, heat scanners to catch Tour de France electric motor cheats

Peter Ford

Re: Um, dumb question

"Now think of cycling, where the rider is all-but attached to the bike and so body size and shape is even more important. Further, you have variations in bikes not only for different types of riders but for the same riders at different stages."

But that's not a requirement: the riders could ride up the mountains on the same bike as they sprint the special stages and cruise the long bits. A bike design could be made standard allowing for longer seat posts and bar stems to fit the riders. Complexity is not an excuse - the NASCAR racers might have various manufacturers badges and stickers but they are standardized cars, and even a stock car is more complex (not much, admittedly) than a bike.

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Let's play: 'IT values or hipster folk band?'

Peter Ford

Welcome to TalkTalk

Sorry this part of the site is not available right now.

I think you'll find that is actually TalkTalk's mission statement

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India launches hypersonic space shuttle precursor

Peter Ford

Descent...

"The dummy craft then made a hypersonic descent to earth"

They say that like it's a good thing!

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Peter Ford

Re: Trains

"isn't Bombardier a Canadian company?"

Depends how you say it. I think they prefer "bom-BAR-de-ay" so yes: (French?) Canadian.

If it were British it would be "BOM-a-deer"

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Peter Ford

Re: Viewing habits

No adverts in Eurovision, so no tea breaks. That might just be in the UK on BBC: some of the fillers they show when other networks are putting in their adverts make you pine for a Waitrose Christmas advert.

Anyway, no alcohol before song nine...

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Tesla production executives depart as 'leccy car maker reports narrowing loss

Peter Ford

Cutting costs?

If the current controversy about pay awards to CEOs in the UK is anything to go by, losing C-suite executives looks like a good way to bring Tesla into profit. Every little £14m helps :)

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Germans stick traffic lights in pavements for addicts who can't take their eyes off phones

Peter Ford

Re: On the gantry?

The flashing ought to help the colour blind - the implementation appears to be flashing LEDs that presumably don't flash when the crossing is safe.

2
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China's Dalek-like robots fear only one terrifying nemesis: Stairs

Peter Ford

To be fair...

If its job is riot control, then causing the miscreants to run away or escape downstairs will disperse the troublemakers to some extent.

In fact, it's more likely to stop the rioting by causing everyone to fall about laughing.

18
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Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

Peter Ford

Re: For those using HOSTS file blocking...

I have a slightly more elaborate version of the HOSTS blocking: I have a dummy web server that servers up an empty page when requested, and any domains and sites I wish to block are listed in my local DNS which points them to my dummy web server.

The joy of this is that any machine connected to that network, unless it overrides the DNS settings fed by the DHCP service, gets the same advert treatment whatever browser they use. It also allows adverts served by the content provider to pass through as long as it comes from a server that is not otherwise blocked. I notice that the Register pages have very little advertising on my browsers, except the sneaky job adverts from Technojobs that are served by a proxy page...

As far as I can tell, sites such as Forbes check for the existence of markers in the advert content and assume that if it's not there then you are blocking their adverts.In that sense, because they are detecting the absence of something loading, perhaps they are already working around the situation which this whole article presents as illegal. If you base your decision on what is not there, then could you could posit that no personal information has been stored or retrieved?

0
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Peter Ford
Mushroom

Re: snooping my machine

There *is* an alternative to *me* checking out of society, although it might lead to me being forcibly checked out of society. After all, advertising companies have offices, employ people, operate computers. All of those are potential targets for someone sufficiently annoyed by the intrusion...

0
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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

Peter Ford

Re: The same memory as the BBC Micro Model A of 15 years ago...

Not quite: Elite actually used the monochrome mode 4 (medium resolution, 320x256 I think) for the top half and the low resolution four-colour mode 6 (160x256 with fat pixels) for the bottom section where you needed the extra colours: they were only 10KB graphics modes.

The disk version used overlays loaded dynamically when swapping from flying play to trading screens: the cassette version was much more limited in scope but loaded in one go.

We just don't do that sort of hackery in modern computers...

1
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Fleet of 4.77MHz LCD laptops with 8088 CPUs still alive after 30 years

Peter Ford

Aside from those obvious moving-part failures like hard drives and cooling fans, I've had all sorts of things mysteriously fail:

several of those ADSL filters that plug in to the phone socket,

one of a pair of CPUs (not through overheating, it just died),

RAM in a desktop,

a PC power supply (not the fan - that was fine - the control circuitry went doolally),

USB drives (I suppose they suffer some mechanical stress),

and most weird a single port in a 16-way gigabit switch...

Solid-state is not necessarily forever.

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The ball's in your court, Bezos: Falcon 9 lands after launching satellites

Peter Ford

That's stage 1 sorted

But what happens to stage 2?

That's the bit that does the tricky satellite-positioning part - where does it end up?

Or have I missed something?

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Peter Ford

Re: admin obverhead

I have a cron job that grabs the comments from the subversion history and makes them into timesheet entries each day.

My boss is happy that he gets anything in my timesheet...

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