* Posts by steelpillow

557 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016


Falcon 9 gets its feet wet as SpaceX notch up two more launch successes

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: If only...

Thanks. The parallel is still worth noting and it is hard to do so while being kind about [CENSORED].

Actually, I just say what I think and let the up/down votes look after themselves. They speak more to me about the psychology of commentards than about my posts.

steelpillow Silver badge

If only...

...his Dot-Com Boomness's Autopilot-controlled cars "behaved exactly as designed in its abort mode."

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Ericsson blame 'expired certificate' in software version

"the main issue was an expired certificate in the software versions installed"

Can it be that carrier-grade installs don't get updated by operators as promptly as the run-of-the-mill swearware does?

Whoever woulda thunk...

Adobe Flash zero-day exploit... leveraging ActiveX… embedded in Office Doc... BINGO!

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: leveraging ActiveX

Probably thinks he's Archimedes.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Flash, ActiveX, Office doc embedding/scripting - should already be DISABLED

Yeah, but we have so much legacy flash/office stuff that our business depends on, we cannot just turn it all off.

We are too dumb to plan migration to a secure policy. We just have to learn and not do it again. This time we really will learn, we really believe that.

Except, we are still as dumb as Charlie Brown when it comes to being suckered one more time.

BTW, it's spelled AUGH!

Early to embed and early to rise? Western Digital drops veil on SweRVy RISC-V based designs

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: 28mm CMOS process technology

You stole my post!

I knew that Open Source technologies can lag behind the proprietary bleeding edge, but this is ridiculous.

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

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Explain pleeeese

The regular hydrogen nucleus is just one positively-charged proton.

The innermost electron orbital around it, known as the S, has room for two negatively-charged electrons.

H+ has no electrons and is just a proton.

H has one electron and a neutral electric charge.

H− has two electrons, and is stable because they fill the S orbital so nicely.

Intel eggheads put bits in a spin to try to revive Moore's law

steelpillow Silver badge


Nobody is talking switching speed yet. I wonder why not.

Nor is anybody talking about noise immunity - lower voltages mean greater susceptibility.

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

steelpillow Silver badge

The elephant in the back seat

So, if there is no driver giving signs of life, how the feck does the car manage to carry right on as if there is?

@Elonmusk: The default behaviour is not happening. That is a bug the size of an elephant. Look into it, or get cuffed when the court case that notices your failure to do so comes up.

It's nearly 2019, and your network can get pwned through an oscilloscope

steelpillow Silver badge

"So I unplugged the network and took pictures of the screen with my phone."

Used to use an old Polaroid instant film camera with special adapter hood.

Sysadmin went nuts. "Not what we are here for" blah blah.

But he insisted on being the only one who could set up network connections, because self-promotion security. He was a backroom admin, not routinely allowed on customer premises, so we explained that it was the only non-network option available and told him we needed a consistent presentation style in our reports (Pritt stick and photocopier).

After a bit he came back whining about digital backups. "OK, if you want to scan and archive everything, the roomful of filing cabinets is over there".

High Court agrees to hear full legal challenge of Blighty's Snooper's Charter

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Re: At least in the UK...

I'm not expecting miracles, I'm expecting the people we vote for to do what we want them to do.

The difference being?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: At least in the UK...

Nobody really understands the pros and cons of mass surveillance. Where do you draw the lines between publicly-available Internet stuff, commercially-sensitive Internet stuff, personal Internet stuff and private Internet stuff? Commerce, the right to privacy, and the national security we all pay taxes for, all have different ideas about where to draw those lines. Blink and the technology changes and the rules need to change with it. Don't expect politicians to keep up.

The UK constitution has a reasonably robust series of checks and balances built in to try and work towards a sensible balance on such thorny issues. It's more than most countries' constitutions have, but there's no point in expecting miracles.

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

steelpillow Silver badge

For old times' sake

Back in the day, PCs had no hard drive and an OS like MSDOS or CP/M had to be loaded from floppy disk on startup.

Neighbour had an Amstrad PCW. The main program for it was the Locoscript wordprocessor, which was integrated with a modified CP/M so that the whole shebang booted off a single disk: clunk, click, whirr, and you were away. You could also get other programs, such as spreadsheets, which ran on CP/M.

Talking one weekend, he says he's bought a spreadsheet but it won't run, so he'll have to send it back on Monday.

I offer to take a look, he shows me the PCW and the offending spreadsheet disk.

I ask, "have you got the CP/M floppy which came with the machine?"

"Somewhere probably, why?"

"You need to load the OS before programs can run on it."

" * "

Gartner to wearables biz: Through failure comes success!

steelpillow Silver badge

"I really wanted to find a use"

Three things I would use are phonecall/message status, a big navigation pointer while walking strange streets and voice-activated dictation while driving (as the thing is already in the right place. No talking back to me, mind you!).

An external interface for clip-on medical sensors might come in handy later, if I ever get diabetic or something.

steelpillow Silver badge

Surely Project Jacquard must be looming close.

OneDrive is broken: Microsoft's cloudy storage drops from the sky for EU users

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Thumb Up


"The fact that Microsoft has a wide variety of images to illustrate failure..."


I wonder if any of them is compered by Clippy?

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Huh?

It's more subtle than that. Mass and energy tell spacetime how to curve, the curvature of spacetime tells matter and energy how to move. Gravity is effectively the local curvature of spacetime induced by the presence of mass and energy, so as mass moves around the curvature follows it and as the curvature changes so the mass follows it in a tight feedback loop. Depending where you are looking on the loop, effects on/by are interchangeable.

On time dilation, redshift is just how time dilation is measured, regardless of whether it originated in motion or gravity. A "gravitational redshift" is a measure of gravitational time dilation and is a perfectly sensible way to express that.

Oh, and gravitational waves are indeed "gravity", just as light waves are "light".

Pulses quicken at NASA as SpaceX gets closer to crewed launches and Russia readies the next Soyuz

steelpillow Silver badge

Drugs assurance

To be fair to NASA, the issue is more about risk management and assurance than a lone TV incident. What controls does SpaceX have in place to minimise the risk of doped-out or coked-up staff making dangerous manufacturing slips? Company policy, an inspection and enforcement regime, and corporate culture all play into that mix.

Fair enough. But they should also be asking about the risk of exhausted and sleep-deprived workaholics making similar blunders.

Baroness Trumpington, former Bletchley Park clerk, dies aged 96

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: A Good Life

My Mum got much the same job with the Admiralty, and at much the same age. Though the coded messages were ours, they still carried the same horror. And she smoked Black Russians afterwards, not cigars. She in turn taught me what was "important" for the rest of my life.

I'm sure the Baroness needs someone to talk to. This beer's for you, Mum.

Microsoft reveals terrible trio of bugs that knocked out Azure, Office 362.5 multi-factor auth logins for 14 hours

steelpillow Silver badge

"Unfortunately on this recording the audience were anticipating the story and kept interrupting the flow with laughter."

Oh, some of us have been doing the same with Microsoft for a very long time.

steelpillow Silver badge

System engineering

This is what happens when you don't do your system engineering properly before rollout. Every part of this multifaceted crap was foreseeable, testable and hence avoidable.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

steelpillow Silver badge
Black Helicopters

History lesson

A super-rich, arrogant little twonk sets himself up against the government that invented modern democracy several hundreds of years ago and has been dealing with super-rich, arrogant little twonks ever since.

Zo long, Zucker.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

steelpillow Silver badge

Regional variations

Was staggered how fast a 4G connection is at St Pancras station, massively beats my home WiFi/router/BTcopper-cos-sod-you-Sir. A fair bit slower in most provincial towns, but still comparable.

Home 4G is a bit weak and consequently stutters/cuts out a lot, so can't really judge its native speed.

Seriously considering giving myself a 4G through-the-wall thingy for Christmas. If I scrap my copper archaeology it'll pay for itself in a couple of years at most.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

steelpillow Silver badge

Cost to the consumer

With the cost of minor updates being passed on to the consumer, how much are these f*cking things going to cost us once their pwnage gets so obvious even the industry has to admit it, and security fixes start coming through - at cost plus? And how blindingly in-your-face-and-out-your-*rse is exploitation at scale going to have to get before that happens?

Amber Rudderless will get a peerage for this, no doubt.

Comparison sites cry foul over Google Shopping service

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: dissenting opinion

Upvote for standing up.

However I do find that comparison sites can be useful in narrowing down the field: typically I check several of them out, draw up a shortlist, and then visit each vendor individually. Never buy through them though (except once when a site was running an exclusive bargain offer from my chosen vendor).

Capita, Serco, Sopra Steria to write cheat-sheets for UK.gov in case they collapse

steelpillow Silver badge

Proforma living will:

"If [company name] ceases trading or delivering on its commitments to UK Gov, for whatever reason, then all its proprietary code shall immediately become licensed under a GNU Public License such as GPL3 or as appropriate to the system usage such as LGPL. Any licensed usage of proprietary third-party tools, such as compilers, used to prepare the code for installation, shall at the same time pass to UK Gov. Agents for UK Gov may take any reasonable steps to recover the source code and place it in a publicly accessible repository, and to recover usable copies of licensed toolsets. Agents for [company name] are forbidden to impede this process in any way and are obliged to support it to the best of their ability."

Hey-ho, I'll get my coat....

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: HTML-only calculator? I don't think so

"The CSS is only for appearance, it makes a bunch of links look like a picture of a calculator."

Wrong. You evidently didn't try cutting out the CSS between the <style> tags and seeing how the pure HTML actually renders. Try it now. Then eat your words. The key is whether or not the shit is *displayed*, and that is in the CSS attributes.

steelpillow Silver badge

Turning Turing?

So what was once Yet Another Markup Language now Ain't Markup Language but has become a programming language.

How long before the next iteration is made Turing complete and the first YAML code-injection attack appears? >sigh<

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Whitespace

Markup for display needs to be able to handle white space intelligently. Coding for white space by using alternative markup characters in place of the white space itself is just a little bit mental. Every page markup language seems to have its own touch of the moon, I have never met a really clean one.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Yet another

...beer for the Truth, DCFusor

steelpillow Silver badge

HTML-only calculator? I don't think so

Looking at the calc code (y'all did that before sounding off about it, right?), it comprises 21,351 lines, of which all but 15 are HTML. The remainder are CSS, there is no active javascript. So yes, it's just one giant boilerplate lookup table. But something active has to be in there to select which boilerplate, and that uses the CSS display property. This is the core feature that makes it "look" smart even though it isn't really. So the calculator is not in fact written in pure HTML, it is written in HTML+CSS, with the smarts all being in the CSS.

CSS does have some more sophisticated semi-programmatic features, such as the var () function, so it it possible that the code could be much reduced. But AFAIK that could only shrink the amount of boilerplate and bury it deeper, CSS cannot provide true programmability.

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

steelpillow Silver badge


"We built this rocket on debt and bull" can and should be improved upon.

The traditional British version would be a fraction less logically complete but rather more assonant:

"We built this baby on cock and bull."

Health secretary Matt Hancock assembles brains trust: OK, guys. Let's cure NHS IT

steelpillow Silver badge

Oh, great

More proprietary vendors dropping in incompatible boxen with ripoff support needs built-in. >sigh<

I know, how about starting with a schema/framework standard for the secure storage and interchange of personal health data. Then any fool can buy any box as long as it implements the standard properly. Why, you could even >sharp intake of breath< "publish" the schema in the public domain and >catch that bureaucrat as he faints< solicit comment.

"I had a dream last night" — John B. Sebastian

Using a free VPN? Why not skip the middleman and just send your data to President Xi?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: As usual, when it's free....

Either that or support is a GitHub wiki that you are the only one to post on in the last five years.

Or both.

Britain may not be able to fend off a determined cyber-attack, MPs warn

steelpillow Silver badge

Reality check

Name me one arm of national security that the UK government is funding adequately and could stand up to a determined attack.

Influential Valley gadfly and Intel 8051 architect John Wharton has died

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Re: A conspiracy theorist might see a pattern emerging


Just one Corretto, give it to me... AWS brews its own blend of Java with free long-term support

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Ahhh..... if we Italians...

Never mind, I shall patent them both in the US anyway and then auction off the patents to the deepest-pocketed troll company.

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

steelpillow Silver badge

Autopilot - not

One thing that Tesla's control software is not is an autopilot. No autopilot vendor recommends that the pilot keep their hands on the controls at all times, that is the whole point of the damn thing. Nor do autopilots cut out automatically and leave the plane potentially out of control.

Tesla need to be sued for misleading users and to be forced to change the product name.

If it was just called "supercruise" or similar, we might be less inclined to hand over responsibility to it.

Want to hack a hole-in-the-wall cash machine for free dosh? It's as easy as Windows XP

steelpillow Silver badge

eXperience Points? hahaha

My local bank's ATM was attempting to restart XP when I happened to be passing a few days ago. One of the Big [However Many are Left].

Just one example of how banking IT security is still an utter shambles.

Google swallows up DeepMind Health and abolishes 'independent board'

steelpillow Silver badge


I am told that Google has an aren't-we-nice subculture which describes itself as "goolgy". Something unethical, ugly or stupid may earn the criticism "that's not very googly".

I should like to remind the world at large that in the game of cricket there are some strong parallels. Not only is unethical conduct deemed to be "just not cricket, old bean", but a googly is the delivery of a ball so that it breaks (bounces) first to one side and then the other, thus pursuing a zig-zag path which confuses and defeats the defender.

The acquisition of NHS patient data through DeepMind appears to be just such a googly, though delivered in circumstances which are very far from being so. It is just not cricket.

Michael Howard: Embrace of open source is destroying 'artificial definitions' of legacy vendors

steelpillow Silver badge

What is business?

"open-source is not just about a business model, it’s also a way in which people relate to each other and work with each other."

I would say that business is about more than just money and sales, it is also about your resources, such as your staff. The way folks get along is a part of any sustainable business model, it is not a bolt-on extra.

Still, It's good to see the old mantra is finally doing its work, no longer do we need to repeat ad nauseam, "Open Source is not about the software, it is about the business model."

So go to it, OS geeks, wherever you spot a proprietary consumer, get in a loud argument about whether OS is about "more than just the business model". Consumer then sucks up the subliminal message that OS is definitely about business, without triggering their conscious prejudice the other way. (H'mm, I wonder if Mr. Howard is ahead of me there?)

Yikes. UK military looking into building 'fully autonomous' killer drone tech – report

steelpillow Silver badge

Drone wars, not

Interesting that anti-drone technologies are evolving. Missiles tend to cost more than the drone they shoot down, a win-win for the drone operator. If Russian bragging is to be believed, ground gunfire and cyber attack have both proved effective. The problem with drone-on-drone is the one Britain had with the air war in 1939 - getting enough defenders to the battle zone before the attackers have done their stuff and effed off.

If I were an armaments company, I'd be building hi-res sensors and AI into my anti-aircraft gunnery systems right now.

UK.gov fishes for likes as it prepares to go solo on digital sales tax

steelpillow Silver badge

Too complicated

means the big boyz'n'girlz will lawyer it into a bottomless pit. Nice for the legal profession, f*** all use to anybody else.

If it is ever to work, then KISS applies.

For example why not just tax company revenues based on the UK share of their global user base? OK it's probably not /that/ simple, but the principle is there.

How one programmer's efforts to stop checking in buggy code changed the DevOps world

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Jenkins?

"someone who by his own admission writes seriously buggy untested code"

@boltar: It is old-fashioned politeness to deprecate one's professional expertise in a mildly humorous way. What you should draw from this is not that Kawaguchi is a bad coder but that he has an old-world charm and good manners that you appear to lack.

Samsung 'reveals' what looks like a tablet that folds into a phone, but otherwise we're quite literally left in the dark

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Why?

@dyslexic AC. Seems to me that a landscape 10" foldout would be just what you need, even if 2:1. Meanwhile, get a Planet Gemini. It has a 6" 2:1 landscape screen and will automatically adjust to your orientation. It's not an iPhone so that shit won't override it. It has a foldout keyboard, netbook-style, for which YMMV. Or, if you need slicker phone functionality, sign up for Planet's Cosmo Communicator due next Spring, which also has an external screen so you can use it more naturally as a phone while closed. Cheaper than the new iPhones, too!


steelpillow Silver badge


Given that the current vibe is firmly in the 2:1 aka "letterbox" arena, why should anyone want to fold it out square?

Now, three parallel folds that go riffle-riffle-riffle, presto! a 5" x 10" screen, that would be something!

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

steelpillow Silver badge

Life's not fair

The only "fair" solution would be a profits tax, levied in the country where the income was generated. But if you have a UK resident clicking through a Chinese advert, paid for into a Bahamas offshore bank account, placed on an American company's website hosted in Finland, how do you decide where the income came from?

Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

steelpillow Silver badge

This man knows more about AI than he does about hype

"It could be said that never, in the field of computer science, have so many ridiculous things been said by so many people in possession of so little relevant expertise. For anyone engaged in cutting-edge hardware in the 1980s, this is puzzling."

Sir, may I offer you:

  • 1980s-90s: VR
  • 2017: Blockchain

Google: All right, screw it, from this Christmas, Chrome will block ALL adverts on dodgy sites

steelpillow Silver badge

It's a start

Next, Google, you can let us block your sodding JavaScript all over the place so we can keep our privacy as well as our sanity.

Your ever-spreading ReCaptcha is not just invasive, it's downright evil.

Think about it: all the personal activity your scripts harvest is sold on to target the ads you are blocking. You guys are deranged.

Planet Computers straps proper phone to its next Psion scion, Cosmo

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The Indiegogo launch has already reached its funding target!



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