* Posts by Evil_Tom

18 posts • joined 12 Nov 2015

Criminalise British drone fliers, snarl MPs amid crackdown demands


What's the difference

What's the difference between a radio controlled plane or helicopter and a drone?

Honestly just asking... I don't know. I seem to remember the term "drone" came from radio controlled full silzed planes that were used as target practice in the early half of the 20th century?

Watch out! Andromeda, the giant spiral galaxy colliding with our own Milky Way, has devoured several galaxies before


Could it be?

Doesn't gravity "travel" at the speed of light? So it'd take stars on the rim 50,000 years to star moving due to the our central black holes moving.

So better start planning ahead. Other than that... simple!


Could it be?

Apparently (on some really rudimentary searching) that space is expanding at 68km/s per 3.2 million light-years (or 1 mega parsec). The more space the faster the speed and acceleration relative to us.

Andromeda is 2.5 million light years away and travelling toward us at 111km/s relative (250,000 mph)... the space inbetween is expanding at roughly 45km/s (due to less than 1Mparsec)... and this will reduce as Andromeda gets closer. Also as Andromeda gets closer the acceleration due to gravity will increase.

All information just from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-fast-universe.html


Could it be?

I thought it wasn't matter that was expanding, but space which the matter occupies. So things appear (at least on the small scales of galaxies) to remain the same size relatively. We only notice it for really far objects in that we notice the distances increasing so much that light wavelengths get greater.

Space is expanding (at evidently an increasing rate) but it's expanding in all directions at the same time, and at the same rate. In the case of the Milky Way and Andromeda, the forces of gravity and any existing momentum and direction they were already travelling in overcome the rate of space expansion between them.

I'm going to take a really hypothetical punt that if space is expanding at greater rates, in the extremely far future gravity for the most part won't be able to overcome that expansion and eventually strong forces like magnetism and atomic forces won't be strong enough. Wavelengths for light will get longer, energy more diluted across the universe and eventually even subatomic particles will get "pulled" apart.

This won't end well. Microsoft's AI boffins unleash a bot that can generate fake comments for news articles


Could it be?

There is a sci-fi series called Altered Carbon, where there are AI run hotels that are empty because no-one really likes them because of their weird quirks and people have gotten over the gimmick. They sit there empty for decades just maintaining themselves and awaiting customers (who almost never come).

So we're going back to the Moon: NASA triggers countdown by firing up spacecraft production


Re: Strange way of doing things...

Isn't leaving the Earth the hardest part, and so requires a sizeable rocket anyway, regardless of what you're shipping up there.

Once you're in space itself, the forces (and therefore rocket size) is less massive, but you still need to get all that stuff up there. Is it more efficient with splitting payloads in 10 but also using 10 rockets, or just one big one (numbers plucked from nothing)?

I understand there's a point where you want to carry X tonnes, but you need a bigger rocket with more fuel, but in turn that bigger rocket also requires more fuel.

Is there an optimum size of payload and rocket to use based?

Are you who you say you are, sir? You are? That's all fine then



I'm not sure if the "report abuse" button is for puns this bad.

Have an upvote for my groans.

Not so easy to make a quick getaway when it takes 3 hours to juice up your motor, eh Brits?


Could we think of it a different way?

Instead of charging the batteries in your car, why don't we have stations that have banks of batteries so you can swap out your batteries for new ones? They can sit charging at the station.

There are some problems with this... you'd need a universal battery standard, and what happens when there are no "full" batteries? People tend to already "rent" the batteries from the manufacturers, so as long as you get a guaranteed quality and range it might work?

Q: Shouldn't they be comparing number of charging stations to petrol pumps, and not stations?

Despite billions in spending, your 'military grade' network will still be leaking data


Could it be?

Could it be that external threats are either not reported (or discovered) as much, or that they are stopped by tools available - because they are taken very seriously?

I'm sure if there weren't Anti-Virus, Firewall and Email Filters, for example, there would be more breaches caused by external factors.

There's multiple ways of looking at these statistics and it's helpful to know we could be doing more to more effectively combat internal breaches.

This is about risk. The impact of an external breach (as written in the article) is seen as high, but the likelihood is apparently low. There are probably pretty standard mitigation in place across many organisations (as above, antivirus, firewalls, filters etc) which help with these.

What do companies do for Data Loss Prevention as standard? Probably less - it's not what the average person might think about - and definitely not as exciting or headline grabbing.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision


Re: Easy Fix

I remember on an episode of Voyager when Tuvok the tactical officer was lacking sight, they had a "tactile" interface. So although they were apparently flat glass panels they had some way of simulating feedback.

We've, um, changed our password policy, says CafePress amid reports of 23m pwned accounts


Unique usernames?

Isn't there a feature in gmail that if you put a suffix in the email address it'll pump the received emails to a folder.

so if you have emailaddy@gmail.com and give someone emailaddy+thereg@gmail.com and give that email address to someone, any emails to emailaddy+thereg@gmail.com can be sent, via a rule into a folder.

They don't offer aliases otherwise, but this is an alternative, perhaps. I've just also read that outlook does the same thing.

A clever person will notice a pattern, but if you get a lot of spam you know where it's coming from.

Y2K, Windows NT4 Server and Notes. It's a 1990s Who, Me? special


A production server? I raise you a datacentre!

One of a pair of UPS units had failed and was constantly on internal bypass. To do the work to repair, Health & Safety demanded (reasonably) that the faulty unit be hard bypassed at the wall. This meant we had to have the appointed person electrical engineer on site to flip the switch.

He did and the entire data centre went silent. "Whats that meant to happen?" came the cry from the electrical engineer as all the disks span down and bleeps started happening all over. I just looked at him, bewildered. Without another word he just powered it back on about 20 seconds after power off, and I died a little inside.

NetApp arrays, VMWare hosts and everything booted up. We lost some disks, and lost volumes and the config of one fibre switch reset to an older config (as someone hadn't saved it). Thing was, is that we lost the only two read-write domain controllers as they were both stored on that same volume that corrupted. All other DCs on other sites were read-only. To top all of this off this was an extra secure system which was separated from our main network and the company had skimped on the DR options and only given us 2 days snapshots and no tape backups. We also couldn't invoke a full DR quickly as the disks on the main site were Fibre Channel, while the DR site was iSCSI

We had to get the RW DCs up again (which we did from old snap-mirrors of the disks - not system state backups), do a system state backup of them in their crap, old state we'd got running, and then do an authoritative restore into themselves. There were so many conflicts.

It turned out the labels on the electrical switches was wrong (or the labels on the UPS). Either-way it was 5 days work to get it all up and running.

Things I learned:

Never store CRITICAL passwords for a system within the system (especially if it's super secure/isolated). Have "break-glass" accounts.

Always take a system state backup of at least one DC. Consider storing it offline.

Have more than two read-write DCs, Never store them on the same volumes. Consider one offsite.

Save your switch configs religiously.

Authoritative restores of domains aren't too scary. You'll have to make some sacrifices to some account and object changes but that's worth it!

Don't be afraid to tell your non-technical boss to piss off if he's breathing down your neck looking for answers every 3 minutes. Give him a time you'll update and make sure you update him.

Fed-up graphic design outfit dangles cash to anyone who can free infosec of hoodie pics


How about a Nigerian Prince... or is that from the wrong scam?

BOFH: On a sunny day like this one, the concrete dries so much more quickly


I worked for a building & maintenance company and was asked if there was a chance of getting information on an employee from files or a backup.

I asked from what system and year and the answer was "we don't know and 1976". My sarcastic answer was "if you can tell me what application you were using and database I'll get it back for you".

Apparently it was for an asbestos exposure legal case. The "database" was potentially a filing cabinet in the basement which had flooded several times over the intervening decades rendering whatever paper remaining into a mulch.

Bonkers British MPs rant: 5G signals cause cancer



This reminds me a little of the GreenPeace anti fracking paper that stated that the fracking companies were pumping carcinogenic chemicals into the ground with water to fracture the rocks and increase pressure to release the oil and gas.

It turned out that the "carcinogenic chemicals" were sand... because there is some paper somewhere that states that silicates and silicon dioxide can cause cancer... if inhaled in high enough quantities and over a longer period of time. That's probably true... but the objectors would have to also note that sitting on a beach is also carcinogenic... of course that even ignores the carcinogenic EM radiation you're exposing yourself to.

As usual... context is key.

Notes: I'm neither for nor against fracking - they could potentially use OTHER chemicals, but the case was only about sand.

Cloud will kill tech sales jobs


The cloud is a lie... it's just someone else's computer.


Re: Question

The only companies/organisations I know who have had to return to on-prem have done it due to data residency issues and the ensuing legal issues.

Often a large organisation will organise a load of stuff to go the cloud and then their legal departments can't renegotiate contracts and then it's ripped to shreds after years of input. I'm sure Balfour Beattie did this and it cost them a lot.

Virgin Media hikes broadband, phone prices by five per cent


Pay up front for line rental to save

You can pay for your line rental up front with VM to save a little.

I do this to after going through retentions each year explaining that I can't afford it and want to cut it down or leave. Then after squeezing all that I can out of them, feigning poverty and saying that I'm sure they'd love to get a 5-7% pay increase, just like their bosses (that usually gets them on your side), I ask if I can pay for the line rental up front!

In previous years it used to be a saving over around £100, but now it's about 40 or £50


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