* Posts by Fursty Ferret

40 posts • joined 23 Feb 2016

Uber won't face criminal charges after its robo-car killed woman crossing street

Fursty Ferret

Re: Why?

I would guess that if you're tired; you've been walking for a mile or more just to find somewhere to cross the road; your eyesight maybe isn't so good; and you're not a driver so you've not got much experience in judging oncoming traffic speed purely based on the headlights you might make a mistake like this?

Think about the number of people who'll pull out of a side road in front you when driving and force you to brake because they can't interpret your distance from them.

Fursty Ferret

Re: Safety driver?

Different attitude to road safety in the USA. You only have to look at the number of people using their phones while driving to realise that big changes are made. "Pedestrian at fault" sounds about right for most of the USA, and the rest of it is still fraught as you try to cross legally against traffic turning right at red lights and expecting you to jump out of the way.

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin

Fursty Ferret

One sympathises. I got tired of adjusting my ancient stone circle for Daylight Saving Time.

Drone goal! Quadcopter menace alert freezes flights from London Heathrow Airport

Fursty Ferret

Re: At least people can take comfort from the fact that ...

Last time I checked the certification requirements for airliners tend to involve losing an engine at the most critical point: still on the ground but too little runway left to stop. Loss of an engine at altitude is an inconvenience.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Fursty Ferret

Defeat devices

It appears to be be possible (and has for some time) to circumvent the driver awareness system by wedging a water bottle or something of similar weight into the steering wheel, which fools it into thinking there's a hand on it. I should think that's what happened here.

The correct approach seems to be that taken by GM, which uses a camera system to track the driver's gaze and figure out if they're paying attention to the road or not. I'm also pleased to see that Volvos are immune to this little trick and use a different technique to detect a hand on the wheel.

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Fursty Ferret

Re: Hey software, get the fuck out of the way!

Regarding Boeing apeing Airbus here...

There are some fundamental differences.

1. Airbus uses voted data from three or more sources. A single source fault will be automatically excluded, often with only a maintenance message after landing.

2. Because of the fly by wire nature you will never find yourself at the limit of your strength. This hugely increases capacity for decision making.

3. In the event of two simultaneously faulty air data sources, Airbus publish a simple and quick procedure to remove the flight control protections. It's two buttons.

4. They are also aware of a single faulty AoA vane triggering a stall warning at lift off, and all pilots know the memory actions associated with it (TOGA power, maintain pitch 15 degrees).

The first crew of this 787 that continued the flight actually demonstrated almost perfect decision making. So one of the stick shakers was going off. The situation was carefully evaluated, a clear risk assessment was made and the safe outcome of the flight was never in doubt.

Huawei Mate 20 series: China's best phone, but a pricey proposition

Fursty Ferret

Third party launchers blocked

This isn't being mentioned in any of the hands-on articles (too much fawning over the colour), but recent betas of EMUI 9 have disabled the option to run third party lauinchers (such as Nova Launcher or the Pixel Launcher).

There's a workaround but it involves using ADB to uninstall a lot of the Hauwei software, breaking other things in the process. Just a heads up.

Redis does a Python, crushes 'offensive' master, slave code terms

Fursty Ferret

Re: A silly issue, distracting from real work

Unfortunately there is a generation of US students who do get offended. I write 'unfortunately' because unfortunately for them it is highly unlikely I would ever offer them a job.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to feel uncomfortable about terminology, and someone doesn’t have to agree with your point of view to work for you. A refusal to change with the times should be far more of a red flag to these potential employees, and in general you only have to skim the headlines to see how far an antiquated attitude gets you in IT.

As someone who just turned 30 the whole master/slave terminology was tired years ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever used it in my own architecture, preferring “Primary” and “Secondary”, both of which can be easily abbreviated to single syllable words.

What's AI good for? Industrial or consumer tech? Meh. Airliners? AHA, says UK.gov

Fursty Ferret

Err, no - current guidance is that when in icing conditions, you turn on the anti-icing systems. For engines that’s visible moisture and total air temperature less than 10C on an Airbus; wing anti icing when you can see ice on the ice detector or windscreen.

787 has automatic deicing so it’s hardly a new thing. Does drink fuel though on the Airbus as it taps bleed air from the engines.

The idea of waiting for a reasonable amount to build up went out 10 years ago, even on planes with pneumatic boots instead of heated leading edges.

Good news, bad news, weird news – it's the week in networking

Fursty Ferret

Oh, great: civil aviation wants to route messages over the Internet Protocol

Well, why not? The internet was designed to provide redundancy in the event of nuclear war, so provided an additional route for non-essential data traffic seems to be an ideal use case.

Datalink communications are still in their infancy for civil air transport. They only cover 40% of Europe (of which the UK is still more-or-less on a trial basis); there are two competing standards; half the time the aircraft just refuses to log on; the other half ATC don't notice and continue to issue voice instructions. Latency isn't an issue unless we're getting on for 30 seconds or so.

It does cut out of the verbal to-and-fro-ing that is a PITA across Rhein and Maastricht, and it's particularly useful for oceanic routing as it means that position reports are sent automatically, but it's worth noting that the datalink connection over oceans is via satellite.

I think the risks are minimal. It's not like VHF datalink communications are encrypted or secured in any way so a bigger threat is probably someone sat on their roof with a VHF transmitter, a laptop, and an evil plan.

No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

Fursty Ferret

It's not surprising when you implement a system that forces people to change passwords every 3 months that you get passwords like "August2017" or "myusualpassword"+(number of times changed).

Now boffins are teaching AI to dial up chemo doses for brain cancer

Fursty Ferret

Exciting is one way to put it, we guess.

And once again a Reg hack exposes their ignorance of a complex subject. Given that your specialist subject area is cheap journalism and stuff like managed switches, as opposed to neurosurgery and machine learning, why not just report objectively?

British Airways' latest Total Inability To Support Upwardness of Planes* caused by Amadeus system outage

Fursty Ferret

I'm guessing it's not that simple or that's how it would be done, but if my seat can weight how much I am so it knows how hard to blow the airbag up in my face, then surely it can scale up to weighing how much load is on the suspension of the plane?

Some can, but it's not accurate enough for reliable use. Sloping aprons, uneven tarmac, and wind will all throw off the calculation. The aircraft can calculate its own weight pretty accurately once airborne using aerodynamic data.

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Fursty Ferret

Re: Not content with breaking the web

Ah, the Brexit brigade out again.

Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?

Fursty Ferret

Quite frustrating to find that on a recent train journey my EE phone connected to the train's own 4G picocell(?) instead of hopping along between masts. Naturally the connection was either throttled or overloaded - or both.

How hard can it be?

GPU fairy visits Huawei owners, leaves graphics boost under phones

Fursty Ferret

Unless you bought a UK P20 Pro, which is now more than 22 point releases behind the rest of the world in terms of software updates.

Completely ignored by Huawei since release and will definitely be my last Huawei phone.

The positive reviews on the Internet were universally written by people who received a free one.

Shining lasers at planes in the UK could now get you up to 5 years in jail

Fursty Ferret


You do realise that the novelty of bashing on cyclists wore off about five years ago, don’t you? Even Jeremy Clarkson rides a bike now and has stopped going on about it in his columns.

I have a lot of sympathy for someone who feels so vulnerable (and rightly so given the number of drivers on phones, texting, fiddling with sat navs, driving tired, on drugs, drunk, lazy, and basically incompetent for the job) that they feel they have to use bright lights to avoid being killed.

In general when I see a bright light I neither drive into it nor pull out in front, which is the whole reason for them. I’m trying to work out why you’d be bothered by this more than badly adjusted car headlights, motorbikes on high beam 24/7, or sitting behind someone with high intensity LED brake lights.

I can only assume that you represent the stereotypical view of an IT employee with implied weight and fitness issues. One might suggest that you try riding a bike along a section of your commute and see if you still think that bright lights are the primary safety issues to users of the road.

How do you get drones talking to air traffic controllers? Pretty easily, says Brit startup

Fursty Ferret

In some respects this project is missing the point. Controlled airspace isn't actually that extensive in the UK - we're talking about a relatively small diameter around some airfields, a protected area for instrument approaches, and airways / holds (all of which are relatively high level (5000ft and above, really).

So the first question to ask is: why does a drone operator want access to controlled airspace in the first place? In general unless you're right next to an airport you can happily fly your drone to about 1000ft AGL with reasonable confidence you won't cause a problem, and even if you did see a Cessna or something bumbling through the area you could drop your drone's height below 500ft pretty quickly.

Even if this is hypothetical planning for some new super-drone carrying passengers, there's again no reason why it would require access to controlled airspace. Emergency? Land it in a field and call for help on a phone.

This is a solution looking for a problem, IMHO.

Imagine you're having a CT scan and malware alters the radiation levels – it's doable

Fursty Ferret

Even a fault that required a second scan is bad enough given the radiation dose delivered during a full-body x-ray CT scan.

If a second scan failed it's likely the machine would be taken offline for troubleshooting - can you imagine if all the machines in a hospital - or across the country - failed simultaneously? That's the real risk in this scenario, not one person being given a higher dose*.

* I believe the accurate dose calculations are derived from the software running on a normal computer, but I'd be highly surprised if the machine itself wasn't capable of keeping track of the radiation delivered at a firmware level, even if it's a rough and ready estimate that will shut it down if it becomes extreme.

'I knew the company was doomed after managers brawled in a biker bar'

Fursty Ferret

When dispensing you must wear cryo gloves and the face mask (think wood turning).

Think I'm showing either my age or my university's lax attitude to the welfare of its students, but at the time the only requirement was to make sure the room was ventilated* and gloves were forbidden (the risk being, apparently, that momentary contact with skin wouldn't do any harm due to the insulating effect of the gas, but if it fell between a glove and the skin it'd cause nasty burns).

* I'm almost certain they found this out the hard way.

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

Fursty Ferret

but this is a false economy: if you make phones, you need your own Gallery app to show off your imaging smarts.

Must disagree. One of the most annoying thing about Android phones is the pointless app duplication insisted on by manufacturers when Google does perfectly reasonable ones already. Out of the box on most you get two calendar apps, two music apps, two gallery apps etc etc.

This is the right way to go, IMHO.

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander

Fursty Ferret

And you can't install Chrome on 10 S. You'll have to get Pro for that.

To be fair, it's not as if it would kill Google to add Chrome to the Windows App store.

Drone collisions with airliners may not be fatal, US study suggests

Fursty Ferret

Re: 250kts assumes

Exceeding 250kts below 10,000ft is a fairly common - some airspace doesn't actually have a speed restriction; other times it's for ATC's benefit; more often it's for us to either lose height quicker or make up time. Most well-built aircraft will happily descend at 340kts.

Some common sense required, obviously.

Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life

Fursty Ferret

Re: A large chunk of accidents ...

The Sunday drivers aren't nearly as big a problem as the lycra-clad dickheads that use twisty country b roads as a velodrome. Those arseholes can be found every evening.

Would you prefer that they ride on A-roads? You do realise that roads weren't built for your express enjoyment? Come to think of it, why are you using B-roads when an A-road is probably the fastest route?

Also, what's lycra got to do with it? Seems to be a bit of an obsession amongst the anti-cycling brigade.

Voyager antenna operator: 'I was the first human to see images from Neptune'

Fursty Ferret

This may come across a bit rude, which is frankly my intention. You're a bit of a knob.

It's rare to find someone who's still enthusiastic about their job, and while you might hate yours (after all, you're on El Reg even as the working day begins), but that's no excuse for the ignorant cynicism you're demonstrating.

Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

Fursty Ferret


Briefly, on a tangent, do you know why Asians are such bad drivers? Or why Blacks are such fast runners? No, seriously, it's statistically true. Just look at the stats from the department of transport/athletics federation.

Quite brave to post a statement that claims to have a solid statistical backing and then completely fail to reference said sources.

New iPhone details leak: Yes, Apple is still chasing Samsung

Fursty Ferret

Not entirely sure how it works on my S8, but the camera is clearly pointed in the right direction as the phone unlocks so quickly you don't even get to see the lock screen.

Three: No fixed date yet for 4G services abroad

Fursty Ferret

Moved to EE from 3 in June for exactly this reason, with my phone loafing along on the slowest international networks while others had flat-out 4G.

Not regretted it at all - speed tests give upwards of 150Mbps, and even better, the issue of network saturation in big cities and total failure around the south side of Heathrow has vanished.

Nationwide banking suffers its own Black Wednesday

Fursty Ferret

I tried to log in last week and received an error message from a php server running in debug configuration, spewing out a surprising amount of privileged data. Doesn't inspire confidence, and all their IT team could do was tell me to try a different browser, which kind of missed the point.

IBM: Customer visit costing £75 in travel? Kill it with extreme prejudice

Fursty Ferret

If you think that you can fly to Hamburg and back for £42 and that someone down the line isn't getting screwed, you can't really criticise the prices of British railway providers.

I hate advance tickets on railways because I'm neither a pensioner nor unemployed so can't book years ahead to get the cheap rates.

Huawei P10 Plus: The bigger brother is the real contender

Fursty Ferret

"With a price nudging £680, the flagship Huawei is no longer in its own price segment: the S8 is just a tenner more."

So for an extra tenner you get a better screen, prettier phone, better warranty, reasonable confidence that the Chinese government aren't browsing your photo gallery, waterproofing, wireless charging, a better camera

Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

Fursty Ferret

Re: Best traps

The reason they're not sold in the UK is because it's generally considered anti-social to let an animal die of dehydration and stress, regardless of whether it's a mouse, rat, squirrel, cat, dog etc. Such traps have to be inspected on almost an hourly basis and are definitely inappropriate for an isolated environment.

I bet you tortured ants with a magnifying glass when you were a child.

Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO

Fursty Ferret

Re: Not a PC

OP doesn't mention whether this lighting ran via a fused spur, but if so then provided appropriate fuse installed then no risk. If inappropriate fuse then doesn't really matter if connected to 32A cooker breaker or 16A lighting circuit, it'll still burn the house down.

Common sense is the order of the day in domestic electrical work, not a slavish but rote knowledge of the rules without the understanding of WHY they were written.

So called professional in my house managed to wire an FCI the wrong way round, immediately blowing the fuse, breaking the ring and leaving the appliance reliant on the 32A MCB for protection. Same company handled the under cabinet lighting by twisting the wires together and wrapping in insulation tape.

Place came with a full electrical safety certificate...

Flight 666 lands safely in HEL on Friday the 13th

Fursty Ferret

Re: Not a bit of it!

Doesn't cutting off the foreskin just void the warranty?

Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Fursty Ferret

not until the fleshie pilots can over-ride the silicon pilots. If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going.

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. The whole point of the Airbus fly-by-wire philosophy is that the aircraft can deliver its maximum performance at any time without risk of stall, overspeed, or exceeding the maximum rated load factor. Pull the stick to the stop in an Airbus and it'll settle one or two knots above the stall - not a nice place to be, but safe.

At no point has someone deliberately needed to stall a commercial aircraft in flight other than for certification. We've seen at least two 777s written off within the last few years thanks to un-intuitive autoflight systems. Those accidents could not happen on an Airbus. Granted, there have been losses on the A320 side of things too, but only through pilot incompetence (pulling computer circuit breakers, FFS).

The point is, under competent hands you are perfectly safe regardless of which modern aircraft you're in. But I know which one I'd prefer to be in when windshear's forecast, or the runway's short, or there are mountains around.

Microsoft's HoloLens secret sauce: A 28nm customized 24-core DSP engine built by TSMC

Fursty Ferret

Re: What about heat dissipation?

<i>Since your skin offers a far better thermal path than open air, almost all of its heat will go to your head.</i>

Not necessarily. This would be true if the chips were pressed directly against your skin, but all Microsoft has to do is use something that's thermally insulating between you and the device and the problem is solved. Since most VR devices have some sort of padded interior, it's not difficult to solve the problem.

Celebrated eye hospital Moorfields lets Google eyeball 1 million scans

Fursty Ferret

A little perspective

There has been, of late, a shift in The Register's attitude towards data collection in the direction of sheer bloody paranoia.

If by giving Google this data we can save the sight of just one person through earlier diagnosis then it's worth it, because the cost to the people whose data is made available is zero. Zilch. Nada.

If you're going to write articles like this I trust that you don't use a smartphone; you don't browse the internet outside of The Reg; you don't have a smart meter; you don't drive; you don't use credit cards; you don't buy from big shops; you don't have WiFi at home; your music collection is on CD or vinyl; your books are paper; etc etc.

Bear in mind that this policy of evaluating treatment methods by careful analysis of big data is becoming the norm because it WORKS. Yes, precautions need to be taken, and yes, if you're truly paranoid you could assume that your phone is trying to get a closer look at your eyes to see if you're on the list, but there are bigger things in the world to be worried about. Theresa May, for example.

We tested the latest pre-flight build of Windows 10 Mobile. It's buggy but promising

Fursty Ferret

I just switched away from Windows Phone

I've used Windows Phones for years, and my last one - the Lumia 930 - worked brilliantly with Windows Phone 8.1. It's a disaster on Windows 10, though. Chews through battery, apps crash randomly on a frustratingly regular basis; mobile data is intermittent; calls connect but the microphone doesn't activate; Edge is slow; and Cortana feels abandoned.

Don't get me wrong: I think the philosophy of Windows Phone as conceived was brilliant. The apathetic attitude from Microsoft towards making it work and the pointless purchase of Nokia (who really came up with the innovations in the later years) saw it collapse beyond rescue.

I now have an Xperia Z5 Compact and am a little puzzled at how Microsoft managed to balls things up so spectacularly in comparison to the competition. There are two apps on the phone for email; three for text messaging; two calendars; two music players. I have no idea which one I'm supposed to use and I can't imagine any other random person who buys the phone will know either.

Chinese boffins grow new eye lenses using stem cells

Fursty Ferret

<I>What was the source of the stem cells? Ethical and legal problems could end up holding progress in the field back.</I>

The stem cells are already in the lens so no ethical issues involved. The procedure was trialled in children because they have far more stem cells in the lens than adults.

Plane food sees pilot grounded by explosive undercarriage

Fursty Ferret

Re: Is there anyone on board that can fly a plane?

However, I am surprised that they don't give cabin staff a few hours in the real flight training simulator and a refresher every couple of years. Or do they (and impose secrecy for PR reasons)?

They don't because it's highly unlikely that cabin crew would be able to land it safely even after practice in the simulator. You may (with enough study) be able to coax an autoland out of the thing, but since an autoland requires a lot of ducks all lined up in exactly the right order to work anyway, that's a gamble at best.

PC flight simulators bear absolutely no resemblance to the real thing, particularly the landing - in fact, even £30,000,000 full flight simulators are noticeably different to land than the aircraft itself.

My airline allows us to eat the same meals because they concluded that if we're going to get the shits it's highly unlikely to be from the food on board.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019