* Posts by ciaran

109 posts • joined 31 Jul 2007


Russian sailors maroon themselves in Bristol Channel after drunken dinghy ride goes awry


Many uses for a lighthouse

You'd think so, but actually lighthouses are just general navigation beacons.

You get big powerful ones that you can spot from far away as you approach the coast from the sea, these tell you basically which part of the coast you're approaching. Then you might get a smaller lighthouse to signal the clear water channel to approach a port. Any dangers they warn about are basically irrelevant to a boat of less than a ton.

Also many lighthouses don't illuminate 360 degrees. If only because then the local villagers can't sleep, but also to only cover a particular danger or channel. So even if it was working its feasible that it wasn't identifiable in the fog.

College student with 'visions of writing super-cool scripts' almost wipes out faculty's entire system


Re: find is your friend

User the magic command "xargs". So for example

$ find . -name "*.bak" | xargs echo rm

Then actually do it...

$ find . -name "*.bak" | xargs rm

Its a must-have tool. Well worth practicing...

Tech security at Equifax was so diabolical, senators want to pass US laws making its incompetence illegal


Re: licence to act

Yes, with an obligatory insurance that pays out when anyone is subject of a data breach. That would mean the company is policed by the insurance company. The US is supposed to like a free market, I'm always amazed that they don't just inflate the insurance requirements of any strategic/sensitive industries...

US watchdog legal fight against Qualcomm and pushy chip deals closes with argument over how awful lawyers are


Re: Q: Default mandatory Licensing in US?

Reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) ?

Fine, we'll do it the Huawei, says Uncle Sam: CFO charged with fraud, faces extradition to US over Iran trade claims


Re: Not unfair at all, and certainly not the result of lobbying by US companies

Reverse engineering is not forbidden by law. Your favorite breakfast cereal can be reverse engineered by your local discount supermarket. So you can look at an existing product, write down the spec of the value it provides, pass the spec to a team that will produce a lookalike, and iterate over the process untill you get a marketable product.

The law says that you can't copy. So the team isn't supposed to see the existing product. That's ensured via copyright protection. The law also provides patent protection, but no only for reverse engineered products.

I was told that 20% of products put to market fail because "they were only coping existing products", and I thought "that's excellent, lets do that!".

Racing at the speed of light, Sage superhero bursts through the door...


So his "2 minute jobs" make him loose a shirt regularly?

2 minutes isn't really embarrassing, but generally you don't shout about it...

No, you haven't gone deaf – the Large Hadron Collider has been wound down for more upgrades


Re: mmmm

Switzerland is part of the Schengen Area, so no passport checks at the border. However its not part of the single market, so they can search your car. Once they find something interesting, then they ask for the passport.

CERN has a special status, they can receive goods both from Switzerland and from the EU without border checks.

US may have by far the world's biggest military budget but it's not showing in security



Is this a deliberate bug?

[If you were worried about the state of US military security systems you might not want to read the latest audit.] with such frequency, there was no reason to suspect an attack.

Laser-sharp research sees three top boffins win the Nobel Prize in physics


Re: fS laser pulses are qualitiatively different than longer ones.

For example "Laser Shock Peening". Good description in this article about the F-35B (the SVTOL one).


LSP uses high-energy laser pulses to create a shock wave that mechanically not used to create thermal effects). The process, shown in Figure 4, involves first coating the part surface with a sacrificial ablative layer (typically paint or tape). Water is then flowed over the part surface and a high-energy laser (1-10 GW/cm2)1 is directed at the target region. A laser pulse vaporizes the ablative layer, creating a plasma cloud that is confined by the water layer. The rapidly expanding plasma generates a pressure shock wave (1-10 GPa)2 that plastically compresses the metal, ...

Et tu, Brute? Then fail, Caesars: When it's hotel staff, not the hackers, invading folks' privacy


Re: Bah!

I've seen hotel doors with a big knob to double-lock the door, that make a big "thunk" when they are turned, and that have absolutely no effect whatsoever.

However you need 2 people to test it - one to use the keycard from the outside and one on the inside to lock it. So no-one ever ever tests it.

This is typical security theater, I assume its the same everywhere.


Security Theater

Yes, its obviously just theater. Surely one of the attendees could have found a way to infer the amount of metal in a room? Or inconspicuous metal detectors in the hallways? Then they could bring the police along to a search when there was an actual suspicion.

So did any random foreign infosec hero get detained at the airport on the way out?

Great article, thanks.

MongoDB turns on, tunes in, drops ACID and goes mobile


No blockchain?

I'm shocked that a product anouncement from a technology company running an operational loss doesn't hype the blockchain! What are they doing over there?

White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'


Re: Can we please dispense with the term 'fake news'

So "Fake Bull$hit"? Or "Bull$hit Bull$hit"? Surely it should be Fake-squared news, or F2N?

National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office


Some things the government should know..

I think the government should know all the people who are legally resident, if for no other reason than to tax them. So there should be government-issued cards with your name and face. From there you can bring along any other documentation to prove anything you need proving like your date of birth. I see no reason to put your age, sex, social status into the card.

The card should have an ID number which should mean absolutely nothing - it should just be an external key into a database, and it should change every time you renew the card. The card should have an expiry date, of course.

Fraudster admits she was OPM dealer: Leaked US govt staff files used to bag cash, car loans


Life sentence for stealing some kids films from a video tape store!

In california if you're convicted 3 times you're sentenced to 25 years in jail. Sounds fair.


AI built to track you through walls because, er, Parkinsons?

Black Helicopters

What do they use for reception?

The emissions are generated by a "wireless Wi-Fi device" (a wifi repeater, is that what they're saying?) However they don't say what's being used for reception. I doubt you can generate those heatmaps using a normal wifi (MIMO?) interface.

Expect this to appear in every Cop or Spy TV series starting next september...

Your F-35s need spare bits? Computer says we'll have you sorted in... a couple of years


Re: Israel F35

The photos are just photos. A F35 can indeed fly in civilian airspace, The F35 is quite good at posing for photos....


Re: I'll have some of that business please

Frankly they are lucky that the older F35B are still usable. The aluminium structural components need a special treatment called "Laser Shock Peening", which is basically impossible after the plane has been built. Of course that only became evident, or even possible, after the testing showed that the plane was dead without it.

I love it when Lockheed Martin claims that the change to aluminium bulkheads from Titanium - only for the B variant - has absolutely no effect on the lifespan of the plane. That kool-aid must be good, but I'll stick to the beer...

Sort your spending habits out, UK Ministry of Defence told over £20bn black hole


Re: Simple solution

False flag operation against Gibralta, then declare "justified" war on spain.

Google's socially awkward geeks craft socially awkward AI bot that calls people for you


Re: "The software pretends to be you, or act for you"...

No, its "the box" from Star Cops, 1980's british SF series.


The writer planned that the box would use the owner's voice, but the director used a different voice. Making some dialog strange. The box had to ring his girlfriend and reserve a restaurant, the dialog said "be annoying, she won't know the difference". Bit of a fail on that side but the whole thing was worth it. I bought the DVDs when they came out...

F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m


Recent report on F-35

This is long but interesting. Its reassuring that its still possible to criticize government programs, but its horrible that it's impossible to control them...



Re: and Pigs might fly a.k.a F-35

In any case if you turn on your radar you're not stealthy any more.

No matter how much hi-tech jumping around you're doing, if you outputting 10's or 100's of watts of power, you will be detected passively by anyone in range.

ECM is a good approach. It helps if you're not built like a mirror, so having a small radar cross section is an advantage. How small is an economics calculation vs. the cost of the ECM. In this the french Rafale is a better design than the Eurofighter.

Executing the DIMM sidestep: Movements in High Bandwidth Memory


No mention of the ATI Fury?

The first time I encountered HBM architecture was in my ATI Fury graphics card. Its surprising to see many companies mentiond without this mass-market example being mentioned.

Hypersonic nukes! Nuclear-powered drone subs! Putin unwraps his new (propaganda) toys


No real commonality in the F35

bombastic bob says "the benefits of having a common airframe "

Sorry bob, there's only about 25% commonality between the different versions.

Each version of the F35 has different wings, for example. The F35-B uses aluminum in the central body while the others use titanium.

The current projected "Total cost of ownership" is so high the USAF is saying its unsustainable.

The actual underlying design is flawed for current needs. Its range is too short, and the body too wide. The US Navy doesn't want it.

IBM kills Global Technology and Global Business Services: It's all ‘IBM Services’ now


I, for one...

I, for one, welcome our new exponentially intelligent overlords! Especially if they are pervasively fueled.

Toyota picks Renesas SoC to power its first self-driving cars


Cameras or Lidar?

So, ARM chips inside? Don't care. What I want to know is what sensor technologies are going to be used!

Waymo is using Lidar, accurate but impossibly expensive. Lidar is great for close-up obstacle avoidance but gets even more expensive if you want 1-second notice of an obstacle when you're doing 130KM/h.

Tesla is using cameras, which are cheaper and should be similar but better to human eyesight. Tesla add a normal radar, but I'm not sure if they know what to use it for.

ARM has reference platforms for handling video feeds in an automotive environment, I don't know if anyone has picked it up.

More details please.

Your data will get hacked anyway so you might as well give up protecting it


Re: Dead people don't have money (problems)

Equally probable, yes.

In any case, the lawyers will get their cut off the top ;)


Re: Pumpkin connection

When I was a kid in Ireland (Dublin) we hollowed out turnips. VERY difficult. And too small. Basically a fail.

I doubt the idea came from American TV at the time.

We also had mashed potato with something green in it, and with a coin hidden in it. Who comes up with this stuff?


Dead people don't have money (problems)

I would guess that your investment fund would be raided by your heirs about 10 seconds after the will was read. That's why I think you'd be broke, and hence doing something "useful"...


You'll be revived on mars, or worse...

I love the frozen head idea, but realistically you'll be a cyborg with no money if you're ever revived. Now where would it be profitable to put a "technically dead" cyborg ? Somewhere dangerous that no living human would ever accept to go to. So basically you'll be managing a methane factory in Jupiter orbit, or harvesting Oort cloud debris. But you won't have a window to look out of. Fun!

Smartphone SatNavs to get centimetre-perfect GNSS receivers in 2018


GPS is bad at measuring height

Basically no, the height part of the GPS measurement has a much larger margin of error. The lateral measurements are best when the satellites are low and well separated, while the height measurement will be better when the satellites are basically directly above you.

Also you want the height over the ground, but the GPS maps don't have accurate surface height information. The GPS measurement gives your location on a sphere, which the earth isn't.

iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn


Re: iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

That's exactly what a PC salesman said to me in 1989 when I wanted to by an Acorn Archimedes. He thought an 8088-based PC was the hot product I should be investing in. Actually all the shops gave me the same pitch.

WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins denies Feds' malware claims


Re: Flocke Kroes Guilty - FAIL!

The reason they are taped is because the police kept misreporting the interviews. For more US police fun, see this report on a bodycam showing a policeman planting evidence..


Also current in the US, they have a law that lets the police steal anything valuable from you, and its up to you to sew the police force to get it back


So generally any protection a tinfoil hat can provide is worth the money.

Waymo waves off original Google Firefly driverless car


Personal transport itsn't the objective

Waymo's technology is too expensive for personal vehicles. Trucks are the real objective. So why not use minivans as a stepping stone?

As you stare at the dead British Airways website, remember the hundreds of tech staff it laid off


But Ryanair will make a profit from it

Just you wait, in a few month's time Ryanair will have a option to not be chosen to be deplaned if they overbooked the flight. Its perfect, they'll make money from both ends! They can overbook more than other airlines by saying that anybody who didn't take the option knew and accepted that they could be ejected. And they make more money by upselling when you by the ticket.

Manufacturers reject ‘no deal’ Brexit approach


Re: Welcome to Trump.UK

Unless Scotland votes to "merge" with Ireland... A federal Ireland where dublin has absolutely no say over Scotland. Just enough to have back.door membership. If it would work for Northern Ireland then it could work for Scotland...

New Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters can't transmit vital data


Re: make the whole MoD military personnel

The Army, Navy and the Air force are all permanently at war... with each other. Why do you think the harriers were scrapped? Kill strike from the Air force.

The MoD is there to try to keep them apart. Their basic tactic is to say 33% each. So actual needs are not considered. If the army wants a budget increase to buy, say, new guns, its going to cost the MoD 3 times the price to keep the other 2 happy.

So if the military were in charge, it would have to have 3 co-chiefs that sign of on every expenditure. War by meetings. With meetings.

Blue sky basic income thinking is b****cks


He missed the point

The basic income plan is actually a right-wing libertarian policy. With a basic income (which would only prevent dying of starvation) you can abandon lots of social protections like minimum wage, discrimination, employee persecution. When people aren't scared to walk away from a job it reignites the "free market" for employment - treat your employees properly or tomorrow you won't have any.

Equally you've got a great idea for a new product? Fine, go an live in a garage for 3 years with a few buddies to see if it'll work, no worries if it crashes.

Want some work experience? Fine, go an be an unpaid intern.

Want to restart manufacturing jobs? Since your employees are already getting a basic income, how much will the workforce actually cost?

The author says that people are never happy - of course not, that's why they'll go and get a job!

Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society... Doesn't sound sinister at all


Phase 1: fact-checker AI

AI will take over government this way...

Phase 1: TV journalists will ask an AI's opinion about a debate or a political campaign rally, to get an "objective opinion".

Phase 2: Politicians will use AIs to help them prepare for debates and to build their plans...

Phase 3: we vote for the AI directly.

Robot cars probably won't happen, sniffs US transport chief


Re: I'm not so pessimistic

The fully antonymous case will have a "manual mode", with a stupid tiny joystick and a 10kmh speed limit. Its an obvious solution. Personally I'm perfectly fit and I would easily pay an extra 3Keuro even for just an "autonomous mode". However the "not quite autonomous" mode of the Tesla autopilot scares me. I want the one that will safely stop and beep at me to resolve the problem.

Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction


Or an anti-matter beam!

My favorite plan for asteroids is to fire anti-matter at them.

Like anti-protons for example. Expensive to generate, and you'd have to do it on the moon, but easy to shoot and 100% of the incoming energy would be absorbed by the asteroid. If it was taken over by a mad scientist they could only attack earth's satellites, an anti-matter beam wouldn't make much of an impact on the atmosphere and would only create some gamma radiation. Same thing if the beam missed the asteroid or was dispersed.

The effect of the beam on the asteroid would be to generate thrust, and should work even if its spinning. So it should be able to deflect the asteroid minutely. You'd have to start early, its not a quick process...

The FBI lost this round against Apple – but it aims to win the war


Re: Interesting question for USAians

If there is a legal backdoor for one country, then surely there must be a legal backdoor for all countries. That was the problem with the "Clipper chip" - it only worked for the US. I don't see Germany or France accepting devices sold in their home countries where they can't use the backdoor controlled by the US government.

Polite, helpful? Stop it at once in the name of security


Surely Ergonomy is more important than Security?!

Bad ergonomy, everyone has an excuse for going around it.

Great ergnomy with appropriate security, you teach the right way and everyone helps convince the newbies that its the easiest way.

Also you can get compliments about how you're making everything work easily.

Science contest to get girls interested in STEM awards first prize to ... a boy


Re: Orwell said it (more or less) ...

This is mine: We're all equal, but we're all different.

I think the one place where there should be a strict 50-50 share is in elected bodies. For every seat there should be a male and female representative.

IBM open sources its blockchain code – the non-crazy part of Bitcoin


What the RFID?

I fail to see why an article about blockchain technology keeps bring RFID technology into the discussion. Blockchain is purely virtual, RFID is mostly a mistake^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H a physical implementation. Yes an integration could link them, but certainly there are no RFIDs used in the healthcare industry...

When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer


Buy a voucher for personal home support in the supermarket

Carrefour (in france) is selling a voucher (about 80 euros) for someone to come to your house and have a look at your problem. I didn't look at the details, but its definitely an interesting product.

All Systems z are Go: IBM ports Google language to mainframes

Thumb Down

No sign of Go for AIX yet, which is a pain.

Qualcomm, Nvidia are driving us nuts – with silicon-brains-for-cars


Re: I guess I am going to budget for a few more years on my current fleet

That's the wrong question, I think.

Sure, computers make mistakes, always have, always will.

But once the self-driving car makes significantly less mistakes than a human it should be accepted and used, no ?

We're all really excited about new smartphones, laptops, tablets – said no one ever


Re: I used to love technology

Car technology really sucks and its getting worse. So many options, the integration is awful. I have a Renault, I can't turn off the radio without turning off the GPS, and the "mute" function on the radio also mutes the GPS. On another car I've played with you just can't turn off the radio/media player at all, and there's no mute button.

I really want my self-driving car, but I know its going to suck too.


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