* Posts by steelpillow

573 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016


Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

steelpillow Silver badge

Who in their right mind? Oh...

Pay to disable adblocking? What adblock user in their right mind would pay to have adverts thrown at them? Oh, of course, I forgot, these are Internet users, a lot won't even know that they have it enabled. Sigh.

Microsoft founder Paul Allen reveals world's biggest-ever plane

steelpillow Silver badge

Half way there

Twin fuselages make for a clean payload space without massive undercarriage. The split tail removes any risk of interference or contact if the payload gets mardy, either before or during launch. It's becoming a classic configuration for space launchers. ISTR Rutan has retired from Scaled Composites, nevertheless I find the most surprising thing about this ship to be how conventional it is in other respects.

Main problem is that nobody has yet built a sensible orbiter on this scale that can launch horizontally: the structural, and hence weight, penalties of turning a coke can on its side are surprisingly large. If this beast finds a customer to do it justice, that will be the real breakthrough.

Telecoms fail in UK takes down passport scanners in Australia

steelpillow Silver badge

Single point of failure

One lonesome data centre storing the world's passports?

Repeat after me:

"In a critical system there should be no single point of failure.

"In a critical system there should be no single point of failure.

"In a critical system there should be no single point of failure.

"In a critical system....

Oh, and by the way, if the data centre had burned down, is there even an offline backup in another location? Have they exercised the recovery scenario?

Debianistas get Jessie mass package update

steelpillow Silver badge


So, OwnCloud is "unsupportable". What's that about? I know a few corporate users who will be worried.

Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

steelpillow Silver badge

Who is this Mr. Mass?

So, the government want to be able to spy on named individuals, subject to the Home Secretary's personal signature on each warrant. Much like demanding that the Post Office allow them to read the mail of named suspects, even if the envelope is sealed and locked in a van. Oh, my, they can do that already, is there no hope for mankind? (Be sure to encrypt your holiday postcards, boys and girls. We recommend a onetime pad passed by a different route.) But who is this named individual, "Mass", the surveillance is targeted at? Is Mr Mass the new Mr Big, or what?

After years of warnings, mobile network hackers exploit SS7 flaws to drain bank accounts

steelpillow Silver badge


Rhetorical question: so, is it easier to patch every SS7 link on the planet, or to squash rogue telcos under more and more red tape until you feel safe from blame again?

FTP becoming Forgotten Transfer Protocol as Debian turns it off

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Filezilla

Same here. And it supports SFTP, so I can use it outside the cage, too. :)

steelpillow Silver badge


Presumably by HTTP they mean HTTPS, otherwise you have gained nothing but a wider attack ecology. What do they think is wrong with standing up SSH/SFTP?

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: More honest questions

@keithpeter many thanks for the links. Next Debian install I'll opt out of SystemD and trust apt to pull it back in as a MATE dependency. I don't care if some silly blob sits on my HD and does nothing, I've been doing that myself for years.

steelpillow Silver badge

More honest questions

I dumped GNOME a few years back and switched to MATE. SystemD unnerves me for reasons discussed but the old way is, to be honest, a bit clunky for the 21st century.

First, has MATE had the sense to steer clear of SystemD as a dependency?

Second, and please don't blow my head off, it's just an idea, is it practicable to fork SystemD and castrate its excesses to create a genuinely clean init subsystem?

Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up

steelpillow Silver badge

SAM Coupé beat them all by decades

Great projects, love the look of the Next. But one fatal flaw: folks are forgetting about the very first hardware emulator, the SAM Coupé. It had built-in emulation of all the Speccy variants, using a mix of hardware and software, along with a much-enhanced SAM BASIC, equally enhanced hardware and pluggable expansion bays. Although relatively short-lived, it grew a significant fan base, several software emulators such as Sim Coupé and even now, new hardware add-ons are still appearing (e.g. www.samcoupe.com ) If you want to tap into the full fan base / talent pool, you need to recreate the Coupé. Who knows, if Bruce Gordon is still around he may be willing to help out.

Dyson backs Britain plc with $2.5bn AI and robotics investment

steelpillow Silver badge

Airblade, airfield, airware

Whenever I look at a Dyson airblade fan or hand dryer, I think of the Rockwell XVF-12 VTOL jet which had airblades in its wings - it's obvious why he has now acquired an airfield. (If only).

The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

steelpillow Silver badge

Full moon shines on Martin "Dracula" Riddiford

So very, very wanted! Best keyboard designer on the planet returns from the grave, hurrah!

(The reason why phablet+clamshell+keyboard never cuts it? Bloody awful keyboards, that's what.)

The two old bugbears, screen quality and lack of air interface, gone.

OS/UI will be the interesting bit, I wonder if MATE will prove usable.

Bring it BACK... with MODs! Psion 5 storms great tech revival poll

steelpillow Silver badge

Go Psion!

Bought the last (only?) S5 for sale in Worcester the day it was launched. Loved it to death. Phablet + bluetooth keyboard comes almost close enough but crashes and burns on the screen and keyboard.

That letterbox display was a killer: wide and pocketable at the same time. Yes letterbox is brilliant for email and browsing and and light office stuff as well as feature films. Never mind the quality, feel the width (anybody remember?)

And the keyboard. Perfect feel, exact minimal size for decent functionality. No portable keyboard since has even come close. And to make the form factor work, it really needs to.

My ideal spec: widen it another 12 mm (same as my old cheque book, remember them?), make it 20% thinner with a modern battery, colour, WiFi+Bluetooth+4G+LTE. Sod the memory slots, that's what the cloud is for. Not rocket science, just usability.

Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Classic Theme Restorer

Yet another Classic Theme Restorer user here, one of those poor old dinosaurs who actually appreciate a productive desktop.

Would be interesting to know the proportion of FF users who have installed CTR. Any FF statisticians out there?

Prepare your popcorn: Wikipedia deems the Daily Mail unreliable

steelpillow Silver badge

Reality check

Wikipedia cheerfully admits that it is unreliable and refuses to cite its own pages. Would that the Daily Mail or El Reg were so forthcoming.

There is a story that when a researcher compared Wikipedia with the Encyclopedia Britannica, they found fewer howlers, page for page, in Wikipedia. Now, where can I get that story reliably verified....

Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

steelpillow Silver badge

Don't whinge about it, fix it

The thing that no longer surprises me about comments on Wikipedia is how utterly uninformed its critics are. Clearly they are not experienced contributors or they would know better than to spout such rubbish. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that, provided you stick to the house rules, anyone can edit - even you. As somebody once said, "Try it, you might like it."

Facebook's internet drone crash-landed after wing 'deformed' in flight

steelpillow Silver badge

It's all been done before. J W Dunne developed a similar tailless swept monoplane with negative lift at the wing tips back in 1911, although he didn't crash it in a windy landing until the next year, whereupon he built another one. Invented in the UK, monetized in the US, ain't it always the way.

Smart meter benefits even crappier than originally thought

steelpillow Silver badge

Integrated and smart oh yes

Just what we need, fast rollout of integrated and smart DDOS attack vectors. I know, let's combine it with the latests White Hat IoT DDOS shutdown counter-ware so the nation can black out every time someone doesn't like somebody else.

And for our next trick, says Google while literally wheeling out a humongous tablet ...

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

It's route-plannin' time!

About time too. Best use ever is pulling up Google Maps and deciding where we are all going to get ****ed.

Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

steelpillow Silver badge

Pixel's immediate target is not actually to usurp Apple, but the challenger to it, Samsung. The S7 disaster has handed that to Pixel on a plate. All the first-generation Pixel needs to be is better than the S6. Only exploding iPhones could make Google happier at this time.

Google may just have silently snuffed the tablet computer

steelpillow Silver badge

Desperate to replace my defunct Nexus 7 + bluetooth keyboard. Reduces my phone needs to an unhackably simple old Nokia brick with massive battery life and my PC needs to an "I've got a COMFORTABLE keyboard and monitor" desktop. Maybe the new "Android/Chrome fusion" will be put on something usable. Please?

Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

steelpillow Silver badge

The Prime Numbers game

Think of all those gear ratios as the standard cosmological model for over a thousand years, comparable to today's Inflation + Relativity. That explains a lot, see:



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