* Posts by cream wobbly

86 posts • joined 26 May 2015

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GNOMEs beat Microsoft: Git Virtual File System to get a new name

cream wobbly

CNDVFS it is then!

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The glorious uncertainty: Backup world is having a GDPR moment

cream wobbly

Beware of the Leopard?

Not really feeling it, are you?

In computing jargon, erasure is as simple as unlinking. The data's still there, but there's no direct path to its retrieval. It's the electronic version of 'in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.”'

In legal jargon, erasure has a very definite meaning, closer to the common sense concept of erasure: the data's gone. This type of erasure in computing jargon means scrubbing; whether that's overwriting with zeroes, or "dd </dev/urandom >/that/guy" in a loop fifteen times with an upside-down chicken on your left elbow.

Of course if you scrub something, you should log it...

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Half of all Windows 10 users thought: BSOD it, let's get the latest build

cream wobbly

Re: "reflects perhaps misplaced confidence"

Nah, I wanted the new Notepad that handles Unix line ends. It took a while to install Notepad, but it was worth every penny.

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BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'

cream wobbly

Re: Fiat 500

"You can guarantee that the owners have not the slightest clue about oils so just pick up 20w50 and go with it (which to paraphrase Robin Williams is "great when you're in a landcrab, but not so great when you've got VVTi") or (and my neighbour actually killed one doing this) top it up to the valve gear."

So, you don't like the Fiat 500 because someone once didn't know how to do an oil change?

Maybe there ought to be warnings. Just saying....

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cream wobbly

Re: One evening about ten year ago...

I knew this would come up in some capacity or other...

"you have to warnings on cups that coffee is hot"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald%27s_Restaurants#Burn_incident

That Wikipedia article is well-researched. The elderly lady in question took off the lid to add cream and sugar and ended up with third degree burns. She had an eight day stay at the hospital while she underwent skin grafts. She lost nearly 20% of her body weight: 20 lbs.

You might want to adjust your prejudices so you don't sound like a prat in future.

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Google to 'forget me' man: Have you forgotten what you said earlier?

cream wobbly

Worth adding for clarity that the generic name search was the method used to arrive at the list of URLs. But the legal complaint revolves around the URLs on the list; not the search term. The merits or lack thereof for the presence of each URL is what was being debated; and that's where the simplistic methodology came up.

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Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

cream wobbly

Re: Not useful

"We have only a sample of one (here) which is statistically meaningless."

Not really. We know roughly when proto-life emerged from spiral molecules, and for roughly how long the conditions conducive to forming those (or similar) molecular spirals were in existence prior to that. We know roughly the astronomical conditions necessary to producing the planetary surface conditions. From there we can deduce some very broad probabilities.

Thing about broad probabilities is when you combine them, they either splounce out to infinities, or they limit themselves. It happens that these are the sort that self-limit.

I mean, it's not like we have anything close to useful that could guide us where to look. Pretty much the best we've got is "I hope that star isn't exploding or collapsing", (but even that makes an unreasonably big assumption that stellar stability is key to life). We don't really know how old their planets are ... yet. We don't know anything at all about their surface conditions. But that's just the probability for evolving life. Life, it can be concluded, given certain pretty common conditions, is pretty much inevitable.

When you start talking about intelligent life though [1], the probabilities start to diverge again. Add in technological intelligent life, and the divergence increases. Add in communicative technological intelligent life, and it's almost as useless trying to make predictions about that as it is to prove the existence of a soul [2].

So it's quite possible that we could eventually make great predictions about where to look for signs of intelligent life [1] but technological and communicative? You're just going to have to keep that screensaver running and brute-force it.

1. Yes I know, not the Whitehouse. Ell Oh Ell.

2. Pronounced "arsehole", natch.

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The Gemini pocket PC is shipping and we've got one. This is what it's like

cream wobbly

Battery life?

The Series 3 got a month from two AAs. The Series 5 got a week from two AAs. How long does a 4Ah battery last with this thing? How long does it take to charge?

"Perhaps they could double the battery capacity to 8000mAh, as was originally envisaged."

Perhaps. And how long would *that* be expected to last? How long to charge?

This is the *only* obstacle to me adding one to my wishlist, and making room in my budget.

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

cream wobbly

Re: Hmmm...

If it helps, Minix, Mach, Hurd, Exec, and Fuchsia (okay, Zircon) won't suffer the 'slowness feature'. Less-than A aitch-ref equals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanenbaum%E2%80%93Torvalds_debate greater-than I'll wait for you to catch up less-than oblique a greater than.

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Millions of moaners vindicated: Man flu is 'a thing', says researcher, and big TVs are cure

cream wobbly

Re: Expect better than this from the reg

"the commentards at El Reg tend to have well-developed critical and analytical skills and take great delight in pulling this sort of research apart"

Nope, most of them up to this point have been "Oh I need a wee dram and to sexually harrass some women". The well-developed critical analytic skills you're talking about are few and far between and exemplified by the post you're railing against. Well done!

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'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes

cream wobbly

Re: bazillion other laws or observations we still consider correct

By which you mean, these ain't fudges; they were just written as unknowns which became known later.

Dark matter and dark energy are unknowns. Axions might turn out to be the phlogistons of our age, but right now, we don't know. That's kinda what "unknown" means.

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cream wobbly

Re: Phlogiston

Completely agree. It seems like "dark matter" is elusive because it's not there, but that doesn't make it a bad model to explain the universe. The only problem is that people are trying to explain the universe in terms of something for which only its non-existence has been shown. Phlogiston-as-cautionary-tale is very much a valid take, here. Emperor's New Clothes is another. Not that we know they don't exist, just that *so far* we cannot be sure.

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The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

cream wobbly

Re: The Quantum of Firefox

That's a bit of a leap.

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cream wobbly

Re: 30 per cent faster

I use uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger. Extremely useful with pretty much every news site, every blog masquerading as a news site, and all the social media sites; but I have to disable them both for anything work-related.

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80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Tesla Model S

cream wobbly

Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth: a_yank_lurker

"Yet don't require insurance, an annual worthiness test, a proficiency test, to be visible at night and an understanding that red means STOP and green means GO."

Insurance, roadworthiness and proficiency tests aside, bikes are required to be visible at night in the UK and the US, and cyclists are are required to follow the rules of the road; which include not breaking the push-bike speed limit of 25 mph. (You get a lot of pop-pop bikes being impounded in the US for doing 30.)

Other road users also subject to all the same conditions as cyclists include walkers, runners, skateboarders, rollerbladers, wheelchair users. Are you butthurt about them, too?

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cream wobbly

Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

"why spend £70,000 on a fast car and then not go fast?"

Sensible people who buy fast cars for 70 grand (and more, and less) take their speed to the track. Croft and Barford circuits aren't that far away. Barely more than a half hour. Maybe the battery would run out before he got there, though? Is that the "mitigating circumstances" you're looking for?

The limit at Shincliffe is 40 mph. The cyclist was heading south (per the local papers -- you can look up the Chronicle and the Northern Echo yourself though.

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Sex harassment scandal scoops up Silicon Valley's Slimy Scoble

cream wobbly

Not clear

"It's not clear why Norton decided to go public with her account now"

Maybe look at the news sometime. There's a bunch of people have had enough of staying silent-demure-victim, and ... the applicability of the phrase to victims isn't lost on me ... *coming out*

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Another day, another cryptocurrency miner lurking in a Google Chrome extension

cream wobbly

Feed it junk

Surely there's some enterprising yoof out there could monkey with the code a bit so it sends back garbage. It wouldn't take as much CPU time either, so it would vastly outweigh the valid data.

I'd use *that* Chrome extension.

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Google slides text message 2FA a little closer to the door

cream wobbly

TXT-based 2FA?

SMS. You're thinking of the file name extension. Different things, deary.

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

cream wobbly

"and they are called railways"

Almost every logical development of self-driving cars lands on some form of railway.

Every self-driving car making the same observations will choose the same lane of traffic.

Every self-driving car driving in the same lane of traffic will drive along the same two patches of tarmac or concrete. Why not make them metal?

Since everyone seems to be going the same way, scale up from 5 .. 7 passengers per ride to 50 .. 70 passengers per ride.

Sell tickets!

Have platforms!

Sell sandwiches of dubious freshness!

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Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride

cream wobbly

Re: Really??

"but autonomous driving will always be responsible for deaths"

Ahem. That case had nothing to do with autonomous driving. Rephrased, then: the driver who engaged cruise control and then took his eyes off the road to enjoy a movie was responsible for his own death.

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Hey, IoT vendors. When a paediatric nurse tells you to fix security, you definitely screwed up

cream wobbly

Re: IoT vendors bad for health care?

"Not connected to the Internet" but connected to a VPN means two things:

1. there's only one more layer of security to get through to attack such devices

2. there's likely zero security on the device itself because the VPN is seen as sufficient

and for a bonus

3. you can scratch the first two letters of IoT

I would tend to believe a former healthcare professional which she speaks in the context of cybersecurity that these devices don't need to be connected.

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cream wobbly

Re: IoT vendors bad for health care?

FWIW, this is a perfect example of doing the right thing the wrong way, and why Milosevic's take is where we need to be going with this.

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cream wobbly

And why does her view need validating against restaurateur Bruce Schneier's opinions?

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Computers4Christians miraculously appears on Ubuntu wiki

cream wobbly

Re: Direct link to Deity

"it was probably the one thing that stopped the person taking their own life"

You know, whenever I look for something, I always find it in the last place I looked.

Religion just happened to be the last thing you turned to before you extracted yourself from your suicidal phase, so it feels like it was the only thing that helped, despite it being just the first thing that helped. I hope you find the will to pursue a sounder path out of depression, because mere religion is almost guaranteed to let you down.

Back to the topic: the religious seem to think that secularity is theirs for "potential conversion". It seldom is. It's very seldom welcomed. And if someone wants religion, as you did, they'll go find it. A Christian Linux is a terrible idea. Let's say you'd been told by Clippy that "It looks like you're writing a suicide note... you should go talk to a priest" -- I've a sneaking suspicion we wouldn't be having this conversation today.

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The new, new Psion is getting near production. Here's what it looks like

cream wobbly

Facepsion?

"much slimmer housing than the original (135mm vs 220mm)."

"The bad news is that the "double sized" 8000mAh battery hoped for on the IndieGogo launch page will actually be a 4220mAh model: the 8000 mAh wouldn't fit."

Maybe make it bigger.

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EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

cream wobbly

Joke, right?

"A rough approximation is that, for a given weight, batteries do not hold the same amount of energy as aviation kerosene."

Rough approximation? That's nothing like proximate. It's a mealy-mouthed vagary at best. And in fact what we need is specific energy - energy per unit weight, rather than energy density - energy per unit volume. So look it up. Jet fuel has 42.8 MJ/kg, Li-ion batteries have 0.875 MJ/kg at best. As someone else pointed out, two orders of magnitude is your rough approximation. Near enough, kerosene has 50 times the specific energy of the best Li-ion batteries. If we're being precise, it's 48.9 times, but the best Li-ion batteries are varied, so 50 is a good figure to bandy about.

I have to applaud your efficiency in writing articles. Just put some blather in the body and wait for your pissed off readers to crowdsource the actual news in the comments. Your only problem is that a shitty AI could do it better but that gives you more time for downing pints so who cares, right?

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Scottish pensioners rage at Virgin cabinet blocking their view

cream wobbly

Re: Fail to see

You failed to see because you failed to look. Good grief.

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Prejudiced humans = prejudiced algorithms, and it's not an easy fix

cream wobbly

Re: TL:DR. Biased training sample --> "Computer says no."

Nope, all are responsible for skewing the data in both examples. Incompetence doesn't absolve someone of responsibility.

What you're angling for is intent: you're actually, really, begging the question.

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cream wobbly

"So offering a job only to someone over six foot tall... clearly discriminates against women."

No it doesn't.

----

The average height of women is less than the average height of men. You make a requirement for people "only over 6' tall" and you immediately disqualify more women than men.

Here's a picture for you

Look at the difference in population at 182 cm (6 foot) -- for men, you're at about the 60th percentile. You have a huge population of men to choose from -- for women, you're in the weeds, somewhere around the 95th or 98th percentile. This is simple statistics. To claim it's non-discriminatory is a blatant display of ignorance.

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Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

cream wobbly

Re: I'm touched by the weirdness of this request...

Agreed. Mort is where to start. The first two, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, make better sense after you've read three or four subsequent ones.

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

cream wobbly

Same but different

1) So you were an illegal immigrant? Although the fact you're British (and with a name like Steve, probably white) means you were an "expat", which apparently makes you better than me, even though you broke the rules.

2) I've seen a couple of those newspaper jobbies emptied in broad daylight on a busy stripmall, to be sold by the "gainfully unemployed" at intersections. I've seen the bolts sticking up from the concrete where they used to be the day before. UK and US criminals are cut from the same cloth.

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Linus Torvalds slams 'pure garbage' from 'clowns' at Grsecurity

cream wobbly

Re: Ego Overload

Per Lee D, he can have valid points and still be wrong, because of context. Torvalds isn't swimming in Brad's pool; Brad is swimming in Torvalds's. End of debacle.

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cream wobbly

Re: SELinux is not the answer.

And here's where it gets interesting: grsecurity might work, but that doesn't make it good. It might work despite breaking other things. It might break other things in order to work. It might not work according to the design intent. It might work despite having a terrible design. Or some combination of these. Or some combination of each by degree. Or for shorthand, "garbage".

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

cream wobbly

Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

There is no such thing as 'cheap' Apple products.

And equally:

There is no such thing as 'poor value' Apple products.

The lowest-spec Apple device is still a good device. If it doesn't meet your needs, you're a sample size of one. There are hundreds of thousands for whose needs it would easily meet. Personally, I run a Mac Mini for movies only. I don't need the machine to do much beyond play DVD media from the external disk, and pull down a big stream from Amazon Video into an HTML5-compliant browser, then push it out the back through an HDMI cable and HDCP stripper so I can watch HD on my projector. Since that one's getting old, I'm going to look into the latest ones.

Windows and Linux still don't have proper DVD player and using one browser.

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cream wobbly

Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

"I'm not sure many people really want to rack mount Apple kit anyway, so nowadays a super-powerful an all-in-one makes more sense."

We rack mount high-end workstations. If Apple sold rack-mountable ones, they might be under consideration. But then we'd be running a real OS, not some vintage reissue hipster crap.

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cream wobbly

Yer HP Z2?

I mean, the top Jags aren't to my taste either. If I had that sort of money I wouldn't be buying one. But I also wouldn't fool myself by comparing it to a Fiat 500.

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First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

cream wobbly

I Love You

This reminds me of the Unix version of the "I Love You" virus:

----------------------------------------------------------------

If you receive this email, delete a bunch of GIFs, MP3s, and binaries from

your home directory, then send a copy of this email to everyone you know.

----------------------------------------------------------------

So who to fire?

1. the creator of the virus

2. the supervisor of the creator of the virus

Proceed with legal action against the pair.

What else?

3. put CTO on administrative leave (if he wasn't already caught by #1 or #2)

4. investigate CTO

5. audit all documentation, beginning with all new employee orientation

6. instigate a new orientation regime where the new employee is assigned a mentor

7. apologize to the poor victim of this prank whose career is now upended, perhaps offering them a try at the CTO position

This is obvious stuff. If any business wanted to do it any other way, I wouldn't want to work there. So:

8. Turn down the CTO position at such a lax place of work. They probably have passwords on stickies, if they have them at all.

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Has AI gone too far? DeepTingle turns El Reg news into terrible erotica

cream wobbly

Re: Has a thing that doesn't exist gone too far?

The story is titled "Has AI gone too far?" There's more than a nod & a wink in the article that AI hasn't gone far enough. So in answer to your not-a-question, maybe yes? I think so? One thing I can say with certainty: probably.

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cream wobbly

Re: Please no

I don't know but I'd play that version of Cluedo.

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Take a sneak peek at Google's Android replacement, Fuchsia

cream wobbly

Re: Nothing to do with Oracle

If those archs are listed, Magenta could be a sign of something bigger; especially if the Fuchsia OS is roughly API compatible with Android.

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cream wobbly

Re: Old joke

Actually, the surname derives from the Middle High German "vuhs", meaning "fox", so re-introducing "Fuchsia" to the English language would yield "Foxia".

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'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

cream wobbly

Re: Bureaucracy

Damned right, sir. US bureaucracy in my experience is a lot simpler to navigate than the French system. US bureaucracy is brutally up front & efficient with obtuse rules; French bureaucracy wonders why you think it shouldn't be so obstructive; and British bureaucracy would like you to come back tomorrow.

For all its faults, at least the US government is all searchable. This "engineer" rule in Oregon was very much known about beforehand. I've read similar nonsense before. The only reason French and British bureaucracy can be navigated at all is because someone somewhere took pity on you and maybe bent the rules a little. It's because those countries' rules seem to be that the license is the law. Once you have something, it's yours to keep. In the US, the rules *always* apply. An improperly issued privilege can be revoked.

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Hackers uncork experimental Linux-targeting malware

cream wobbly

Re: Never on BSD ?

Yesterday Microsoft, today Linux, tomorrow Linux-on-Windows-as-delivered-by-Microsoft.

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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

cream wobbly

Re: Honest inquiry

"Fedora, which now has an exceedingly long boot time on a mechanical disk, well in excess of 40 seconds" with systemd.

Jeez, well if 40 seconds is "exceedingly long" you already have other problems. We're running RHEL7 (with systemd baked in) on server and high-end workstation hardware that takes in excess of 4 minutes to decide who it is, why it's been put on this Good Green Earth, also where its arse is. That's before the kernel loads the ramdisk.

systemd doesn't solve any problems for us, but it brings plenty of new ones.

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cream wobbly

Re: confusing script-based system

You know what *is* confusing? The new unit files.

Sure, they work. They can build all sorts of dependencies and stuff and you can tell something not to start until something else has started, all that good stuff.

And the old /etc/rc.d/rc?.d/[ks]* symlinks to /etc/rc.d/ scripts also controlled ordering.

Ah, "butt parallelization". Sure. When you're booting a server or a high-end workstation that takes several minutes to enumerate its hardware, you don't care whether the OS boots in 30 seconds or 4 minutes. So systemd's *only good feature* was designed expressly to solve a problem with noddy laptops and other prat-about hardware that's better solved by a decent SSD.

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cream wobbly

Re: @Andy

"Since when did Apache turn into a Unix(-like) operating system?"

Fine. GNU, then.

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cream wobbly

Re: @Andy

"The closer you are to pid0, the closer you should stick to the Unix philosophy."

Right. Such as not aliasing "rm" to "rm -i" and having patches contributed to nix beginner errors like "rm -r .*".

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Trump, Brexit, and Cambridge Analytica – not quite the dystopia you're looking for

cream wobbly

Worse than guessing

"Facebook likes successfully predicted [...] sexual orientation in 88 per cent of men"

This is remarkable. They could improve things by predicting everyone's straight, for a cool 97.4% success rate.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

cream wobbly

Before everyone gets all worked up about this...

...oh I see you already have. But anyway.

ANYWAY.

I recall a few times—not once or twice, a *few* times—when my Dad had to call up the NEEB to dispute the bill after the little man who came round didn't bother to knock at the door so didn't get to see the meter (which was upstairs) and made up some shit instead.

So this is nothing new. It's just put some little hitlers out of a job.

Later on, when posh people started moving in and didn't want horrible little men traipsing in with their smelly boots over their best Axmiddleclass, they'd tell my Dad to get a new meter on the outside wall. He was thinking about taking their advice, but on the first floor. That'd've been a sight—old jobsworth up a ladder.

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