* Posts by Nik 2

77 posts • joined 29 Sep 2015


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a flying solar panel: BAE Systems' satellite alternative makes maiden flight in Oz

Nik 2

National Monopolies

I suspect that BAES sees itself competing against the alternative of 'being a larg-ish part of an international consortium'

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Nik 2

Come on, Pedents...

Nearly eightly posts and no-one has pointed out that the second paragrpahs expands the acronym incorrectly:

<quote>The name is an acronym for “General Image Manipulation Program”<quote>

GNU Image Manipulation Program, as given correctly further down the article.

Let's check in with our friends in England and, oh good, bloke fined after hiding face from police mug-recog cam

Nik 2

Re: What the heck

On the video he says "So I told him to F*** off"

That's never going to end well, especially if you've just annoyed said PC, even if doing so was entirely legitimate.

He also says that he had been told before he walked down the street that the camera was there, so if he'd been trying to hide he could have gone round a different way...

Icon: Stop, in the name of the (controversial and ethically somewhat dubious) law

Naming your company 101: Probably best not to have the word 'Oracle' anywhere near branding

Nik 2


But of you don't file a defence, you're not opposing the application.

Previous commentards may be right [no, really - ed] that the name is legit, but if you don't turn up to court to say so then you're going to lose.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon shows up at pad 39A, nearly 8 years after the last Shuttle left

Nik 2

Header tank for Mr Musk's ego?

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

Nik 2

Re: What about co-op sign-ins

<quote>Will this involve all my co-op sign-ins. Web sites that allow you to register/sign-in using your Google account.</quote>

No. Google accounts != Google+ accounts.

New Horizons eyeballs Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, its next flyby goal

Nik 2

'Since' - or 'ever'?

The subtitle says "The snaps are the most distant images taken from the Sun since "Pale Blue Dot" and the text says " It's also the most distant image ever taken from the Sun, breaking the record set by Voyager 1 for its famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth "

I think it's the latter, but it can't be both.

Former Google X bloke's startup unveils 'self flying' electric air taxi

Nik 2

Not all issues are created equal

“Because our fans & propellers are electric, they can operate independently. An issue with one has no effect on the others,”

Unless the issue is a flat battery :-/

Worldwide smartphone shipments DOWN for first time ever

Nik 2

OS vs OEM market Share

According to this article, Apple has 17.9% of the handset market, but iOS has only 14.4% of the OS market. Does that mean that 1 in 6 Apple phones ships with Android installed, or that 20% of the smartphones sold without shipped with no operating system at all?

See that over Heathrow? It's not an airliner – it's a Predator drone

Nik 2

Predator/Watchkeeper are hardly State of the Art

It's not quite fair to say that Predator is the state of the art in this field - BAE Systems have had some ptreety smart stuff doing self-flying for a few years now, (https://www.baesystems.com/en-uk/article/surrogate-uav-prepares-for-maiden-flight-in-uk-airspace) and there's a small company called Blue Bear that I know have done flying in formation using only on-board visual sensors on a drone. I can't imagine that this doesn't involve some fairly smart collision avoidance capabilities.

I'm sadly unsurprised that the regulation is harder to sort out than the technology...

No, Windows 10 hasn’t beaten Windows 7’s market share. Not for sure, anyway

Nik 2

MS is not the one to worry here

The people who are really shown up here are not Microsoft, but the hardware manufacturers. Every one of those Win7 machines is a sale they haven't made.

Boffins closer to solving what causes weird radio bursts from space

Nik 2

Easily understandable quantities

It can apparently release 10 million trillion trillion joules of energy in less than a millisecond during a single pulse.

For the benefit of those of us who struggle to comprehend numbers as vast and abstract as this, I estimate that this is roughly the energy content of a doner kebab scaled up to be around 150 miles across.

1 FRB = 1.2 exa-Doners

HTH :-)

[Icon: Hold the chilli sauce]

Brazil says it has bagged Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean for £84m

Nik 2

Re: actual profit..

Unless it's done at the buyer's expense, in which case it provides an additional boost to the local economy in Portsmouth.

In addition to any routine servicing of mechanical parts, there will be a lot of NATO-standard kit to remove, and Brazilian Navy gear to fit in its place.

One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics

Nik 2

Re: Just a f**king minute

The cash-flow exposure to Maplin is more to do with the amount of time that stuff sits on the shelves, rather than a delay in obtaining payment from customers.

Please, please, c'mon, just... please, pretty please, just, like, please use our AI – Microsoft

Nik 2

El Reg? Cynical?!

Before anyone gets upset we're being too dismissive and skeptical...,

Very funny. Isn't that pretty much house style? It's the reason most of us are here.

Opportunity rover survives Martian winter for eighth time

Nik 2

True to a certain extent, I think. 90 days was the primary mission objective, and would have been achieved for the nearly-worst-case situation for panel dust collection. Everything else was massively overengineered against the 90-day objective because it was known that the level of dust collection might not be worst-case.

I doubt that anyone seriously thought they'd get away with it for this long, though.

icon: Go - and keep on going.

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return

Nik 2

Live Bokeh

Bokeh is the effect seen on very out of focus items, particularly light sources. For cameras with mechanical shutters, the shape of this reflects the symmetry of the shutter - often hexagonal.

With software, you can change the shape of this in real time. From Android N you can use a pre-loaded range of animal silhouettes, including a gecko and a grasshopper. Hence, Live Bokeh.

Escrow you, Apple! Ireland expects Cupertino to cough up to €13bn

Nik 2

Re: Tax refund

I think that one of your commas should be a decimal point.

Still, it's enough to give everyone in the country an IPhone X and an IWatch.

Attn El Reg Standards Unit: Can the sum of £11.4Bn please now be officially known as an iRefund?

Total recog: British AI makes universal speech breakthrough

Nik 2


Is that the language that Civil Service documents are written in?

On a more serious note [really? - ed], one only has to embed this into a SoC and miniaturise it to have a digital babelfish. Responsible for "more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation", IIRC. What could possibly go wrong?

Technically pretty impressive though.

Elon Musk says he's not Satoshi Nakamoto and is pretty rubbish at Bitcoin

Nik 2

The clue is in the word 'elusive'

I think that if Elon Musk had invented Bitcoin, he'd have mentioned it before now.

Mr Musk is many things, elusive is not any of them...

Possible cut to British F-35 order considered before Parliament

Nik 2

Warfare as a Service

Has been considered, but there were problems finding enough money to pay for the liability insurance.

Nik 2

UK-headquartered multinational BAE Systems builds about 15 per cent of the F-35, it is not clear whether this is done in the UK or through BAE's American subsidiary.

Both - there are very substantial bits of aeroplane built in the UK, but there are also BAE Systems Inc (as it's called) elements to the F35.

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

Nik 2
Thumb Down

Even the question is stupid

How likely am I to recommend this company to a friend?

0 - because I don't have any friends?

0 - Because this isn't the sort of thing my friends and I talk about?

0 - because I know my friends won't ever use this sort of company or service?

Even when I'm really pleased with a company, it's probably less than a 1 in 5 chance that I'll tell anyone, for at least one of the reasons above.

Hack me off enough and I'll go round reading every story on El Reg looking for an opportunity to mention how useless [redacted] are in the comments.

Another UAV licence price hike? Commercial drone fliers rage over consultation

Nik 2

Re: Stunning Logic here

And, just to rub it in, we're spending the extra money checking up on those who are still complying with the regulations...

The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

Nik 2

Re: Cool, but why?

Outreach and encouraging youngsters to see STEM subjects as cool and exciting is a big part of it.

"See our 1000mph car! Become n engineer and you can build a 1000mph car to encourage the /next/ generation"

Schrems busts Privacy Shield wide open

Nik 2

Effective Remedy

Not sure which Data Protection Commissioner, but the Effective Remedy argument, AIUI, is about whether or not a resident of the EU can lodge a complaint against the US if their data were to be illegally accessed.

It had been argued that the Ombudsman was a process whereby a complaint could be made, but Commissioner thought it might not be, and the judge agreed.

Hair of the Dog is the only effective remedy -->

Outlook.com looking more like an outage outbreak for Europe

Nik 2

Re: Intermittent connectivity

Likewise 'Some Users' - it may be everyone except those in the server room.

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

Nik 2


It's the ability to slide into the inside pocket of a suit or coat that would differentiate it from small laptops, for me.

Can files created or saved in Android be seen from Linux, or are they on completely different partitions?

Fruit flies' brains at work: Decision-making? They use their eyes

Nik 2


<quote>The team collected a few hundred specially genetically modified D melanogaster fruit flies and tethered them to a plate in front of a white screen with their heads fixed, leaving their wings free.</quote>

Almost seems easier to train the things to sit still.

Asteroid Florence buzzes Earth, brings two moons along for the ride

Nik 2

Re: What a rubbish artists impression

You're looking at the Mobile Phone version of the picture - you need longer arms to properly support the IPad version.

El Reg gets schooled on why SSDs will NOT kill off the trusty hard drive

Nik 2

What's in it for me?

In order to generate the capacity required to justify the new fabs and hence lower prices, NAND needs to offer enough of a benefit that a large part of the customer base will pay the higher prices, at least in the short term.

The benefit of HDD over tape was enormous, and the opening of the home PC market allowed HDD to replace FDD as well. I don't see that NAND offers the same level of additional benefit.

Not to say that we won't get there eventually...

Our day with Larry Page: Embedded with one of the world's richest men

Nik 2

Re: Known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns

"last time I heard any real wisdom coming from a government official."

It will certainly the last time anyone hears a government official try to explain anything vaguely complicated to a room full of journalists.

Commentard Quizwall experiment ends with more quizzing than commenting

Nik 2

We have to have walls, because without walls we wouldn't need Gates or Windows.

I'll get my (very old) coat.

SpaceX nails two launches and barge landings in one weekend

Nik 2

Re: Even old curmudgeons are happy!

<quote>Pleased to see some entirely good news based on intelligent, effective science and engineering. NASA ought to be hiding its face in shame considering (a) the serial failures of the ill-conceived, monstrously expensive Shuttle, and (b) how quickly SpaceX has got a working, vastly cheaper reusable system into operation. This is impressive stuff.</qoute>

Elon Musk is always very careful to put NASA on his thank-you list, and to say that SpaceX couldn't have done what they do without NASA's contribution. How much this is a political (small 'p') gesture I don't know, but do remember that space shuttle design work began before the Apollo 11 landing.

SpaceX's ability to take feedback from missions and get improved parts into operation is truly impressive.

NASA's Kepler space telescope finishes its original mission catalog

Nik 2

Re: Well-

Perhaps, but in higher gravity environments they're likely to be smaller rather than larger.

Did I miss the point in the article where we accounted for the recognised bias in exoplanet discovery caused by the design of the Kepler mission and were thus able to draw accurate conclusions about the nature of planets in the galaxy as a whole? No, I thought not...

Robot lands a 737 by hand, on a dare from DARPA

Nik 2

Re: first they came for the co-pilot...

Partly because train drivers are heavily unionised, and will take strong action to head off this threat, which is why implementation is limited to wholly new systems like DLR in London and to shuttle systems at airports, etc.

Also, I used to know a train driver, and he would have to leave the cab of his train to perform maintenance on a fairly regular basis. AIUI, this was often of the percussive nature.

One in five mobile phones shipped abroad are phoney – report

Nik 2

Re: Oh no!

You may jest, but I ordered a cheap high-powered laser pointer from ebay which turned out to come attached to a shark. Fortunately the battery contacts were corroded, otherwise the consequences could have been frikkin terrible.

US military drone goes AWOL, ends up crashing into tree 623 miles away

Nik 2

ICBM, Vx, now this?

Damn those crazy Norks and their 'practical joke of the week' stunts.

Raspberry Pi gives us all new 'Pi Zero W' for its fifth birthday

Nik 2

Re: I wonder

No, they're designed to be fully swappable with the original Zero.

NASA extends trial of steerable robo-stunt kite parachute

Nik 2

Re: Not really a stunt kite

I'm offended by your suggestion, sir.

This is proper, old fashioned pedentry, and nothing less. ;-)

Nik 2

Not really a stunt kite

The term 'stunt kite' usually refers to the super-agile delta-shaped kites which perform stunts whilst controlled by a relatively static human.

The inflatable aerofoil kites which are used by people performing stunts on surfboards are known as power kites.

Nice use of the technology though.

Experimental satellite-slinger seeks cargo: What could go wrong?

Nik 2

Smells like opportunity

Come on, El Reg. This could be a chance to get those paper aeroplanes launched into space in a big way.

SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

Nik 2

Re: Launches already are routine and garner no mention in the press

After a few successful landings, I think that coverage of SpaceX landings was dropping until the RUD event last year. Re-use and human tests/flights are the next big event.

Shame that the Mars shot was postponed though.

Vivaldi and me: Just browsing? Nah, I'm sold

Nik 2

Re: "Microsoft’s Edge browser keeps stealing the default browser setting"

IME, the behaviour is as described, but not as in the headline {= FAKE NEWS!!!}

Some links will open in Edge (Help files from Office, I think), but Edge doesn't actually change the OS setting to make itself the default browser for everything. I suspect that the excuse is that these web pages need to guarantee that the browser used has certain capabilities, and that only by making that Edge can MS be sure.

Sounds like rubbish to me, but in this world of iEverything and Google, the monopoly abuse complaints of yesteryear seem relatively trivial.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is delayed, Ministry of Defence confesses

Nik 2
Black Helicopters

Put yourself in the place of the contractor(s). Would you hire someone who has proven themselves to be fair, firm and effective when dealing with suppliers and partners, or someone who appears to be a bit of a pushover?

Where would you have our retired military folks use their skills and expertise, and how would you employ civil servants whose jobs have, via TUPE or otherwise, ended up with civilian organisations? A lack of an onward career path is hardly a aid to recruitment.

Would we not want commercial organisations supplying products and services to the government to employ the most suitable experienced staff, regardless of where they had previously worked? How much extra would we be willing to pay for those items in order to avoid this?

'Revolving Door' is an easy political football, but it's a rather more nuanced situation than it might appear to the hard of thinking.

Anyway, back to the subject of the story. Given the scale and complexity of the beast, I think that a little tolerance on an operationally unimportant milestone could probably be forgiven...

[Will there be an F35 icon in due course?]

'Alexa, manage my enterprise storage'

Nik 2

What would they write on the coffee cups?

Imagine a shelf with a dozen coffee cups all labelled 'Alexa'. Or maybe you need to know your MAC address...

British military laser death ray cannon contract still awarded, MoD confirms

Nik 2

Lead Contractor?

The July story references MBDA as the lead contractor, but they're not mentioned in this article?

Linus Torvalds releases 'biggest ever' Linux 4.9, then saves Christmas

Nik 2

Re: Since when cooking a Christmas Dinner is via a point and click interface?

Whereas with the CLI you just need to remember it's

$ sudo dinner -make -serve -washup type=xmas_lunch

F-35 'sovereign data gateway' will stop US reading pilots' personal data? Yeah right

Nik 2

Re: Someone's been reading too many LM press releases on sales "successes"

"There was that bit where we bought 4 mothballed subs from a certain country across the Atlantic. One seaman died IIRC when a fire broke out during the ferry over trip. "

AIUI, this was a result of a failure to RTFM. Specifically the bit that cautions the crew to close all the external doors and windows before submerging.

Boffins turn phone into tracker by abusing pairing with – that's right – IoT kit

Nik 2

I tell you, we should be careful before we demonise the IoT. These things will have their revenge...



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