* Posts by steelpillow

557 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016

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And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows - it's going to cost what now?! €100m!

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

How fake is your news?

"Now the councillors have decided that Munich will switch some 29,000 PCs to Windows 10 and phase out Linux by early 2023."

That may be the view of one Councillor, but another says that they voted for no such thing - see https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2423164/munich-officials-are-sick-of-linux-and-want-windows-back

"it appears that the story has had a touch of the Chinese Whispers about it, coupled with some subjective translation from German to English."

Given that Microsoft sales droids are desperately cosying right in there as fast as they can, who do you believe - them or the frighteningly unaffordable cost estimates?

How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Janko Mrsic-Flogel?

Was my first thought when he joined Planet. Seems his new friends are not letting him wreck things this time round.

steelpillow Silver badge

Linux

Seriously, I am a bit concerned that the Linux "dual-boot" might turn out to be a simulator or VM on top of Android. I don't want Google getting in the way and tampering with it.

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Want one!

End of.

UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: pay enough , and you can get any speed you want

It'll be more like leccy & water, you pay a standard connection charge and the local service is obliged to connect you. The cost gets spread across their business. (Currently it's more like gas or drainage, they'll only connect you at the standard rate if they already have a line nearby).

The fun and games will all be in the way franchises are worked out.

Fridge killed my baby? Mag-field radiation from household stuff 'boosts miscarriage risk'

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

What "measurement"?

Magnetic fields decay sharply with distance from the source, far more sharply than say radio or electrostatic fields. In a domestic environment handling small tools like irons, levels of exposure will vary widely over the body. Putting the meter near a metal object will massively and arbitrarily affect the near field. These magic meters, what the fsck were they actually measuring?

"The researchers did not find the miscarriage risk increased with doses above 2.5mG, leading them to theorize that 2.5mG represents a threshold level for health effects."

A more probable theory would be that exposure to magnet-y gadgets correlates with exposure to carcinogenic chemicals percolating out of the gadget, an effect well known in the power transformer industry.

Another more probable theory would be that exposure to magnet-y gadgets correlates with poor eating habits.

Another more probable theory would be that the measurement error bounds are so huge that the study is end-to-end garbage. EM test engineers tie everything down with miles of gaffer tape and even then the error bounds are pretty horrendous. ("Come here a moment, Madam..." >rip!< >slap!< >"mmfle!"< ).

Another....

UK.gov needs help getting folk to splurge on full fibre and 5G

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Presumption in favour

There needs to be a minimum quality standard for laying FTTP and a presumption in favour of development, with exemption from Local Authority approvals. Otherwise, the multiplicity of LA departments and sub-departments involved >cough!< Worcestershire Highways >cough!< will continue to find endless reasons to say "No".

UK good for superfast broadband, crap for FTTP – Ofcom

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Because

Monopoly on the wet string at the end of the fibre = eternal profit.

Revealed: How Libratus bot felted poker pros – and now it has cyber-security in its sights

steelpillow Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: "The techniques that we developed are largely domain independent "

"...and can thus be applied to other strategic imperfect-information interactions, including non-recreational applications."

I assume they emailed a copy to the Pentagon.

A million UK homes still get crappy broadband speeds, groans Ofcom

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Recipe

1 pk: Moronic civil servants in Whitehall.

1 house: Moronic politicians in Westminster.

1 board: Greedy wolves in BT who never, ever give something for nothing but insist on being paid for what they actually need to do anyway.

Mix together and simmer gently until your guests explode.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: People are managing it...

To be fair to Gigaclear, they are expanding into areas and offering levels of service that the BT instant-profit-gnomes avoid like the plague. Their worst problem is obstructive and stultified bureaucrats in Highway Authorities (yes I am looking at you, Worcestershire) who won't let them do what others will.

Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: The vegetarian alligator

@ Steve the Cynic: Quite right too, as the majority of Wikipedians will happily attest.

@Stevie: You ask, "If Jimmy Wales has some insight on how to deal with fake news why hasn't he trialed his ideas on Wikipedia?" He has, the community deal with it in their own way. Because "anybody can edit" is Wikipedia's core ethos there can be no backing down, so they accept that they have to deal with a lot of shit all the time. Oops, sorry, did I just provide a counter-example to your assertion that I am a purposeless idiot? No, the idiot is the one who thinks that Wikipedia "ought" to be reliable without having a f*cking clue where it's coming from. Like you, I guess.

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Re: BY ALL MEANS, TAKE 5 F'ing MINUTES and CORRECT IT!

You mean, "And watch as someone with no community engagement crashes in with badly-presented shit, takes it badly when it gets mopped up, and refuses to engage in discussion on the talk page expressly created and linked to for that purpose.

"Ask me how I know this."

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Re:Britannica contains many inaccuracies,

"I'm sure that dashing off a quick letter to the editorial board citing the problem and your authority to contradict it..."

Where was the Joke Alert Icon, you clown? That is one of Wikipedia's greatest strengths: you don't need to be an Accredited Big Cheese Of The Closed Shop before your fellow Accredited Bigger Cheeses With Bigger Pensions In Mind will accept your Gospel According to the Big Cheeses. Wikipedia respects a more honest, open and democratic peer review process - we are all peers in it together.

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

The vegetarian alligator

Jimmy Wales does not like fake news any more than the rest of us, in peddling that myth this El Reg hack is as guilty of fake news as anyone. But Wikipedia has a liberal "anyone can edit" free community ethos and, as Reg readers are acutely aware, managing any free community is like herding cats. If you have to deal with the problem, then Wales has more experience than most of the world put together. Starting with his views is an absolute no-brainer - much like the hack who posted their smug dissing of him.

For example, one thing the Wikipedia community are agreed on is that you can't trust Wikipedia as a reliable source! Anybody who thinks they can is being an utter twonk and has only themself to blame.

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Defining DevOps

I think I have seen more definitions of DevOps in this thread than I have seen posts.

That is as it should be, who's complaining...

OpenAI uses cunning code to speed up GPU machine learning

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Deep Learning Is a Hindrance to Progress Toward True AI

General intelligence will surely find deep learning useful. I could certainly do with it. Besides, neural net optimisation techniques developed for deep learning are likely to be of value in implementing GI architectures too. I could probably do with some neural stripping as well - pass me that Serenity DVD again...

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

steelpillow Silver badge
Meh

Re: Imagine a netbook with a SIM card. Bingo

The old netbooks had two problems. Technically, they struggled to get seamless connectivity, they were an idea ahead of its time. But also Micro$aft protected its monopoly position by crushing out manufacture of what was at the time a lean Linux-only product.

It has taken the combined might of Apple and Google to lever apart the current cracks in its armour. M$ must join the fray or perish.

At the same time, as hardware advances and several generations of "leaner, faster (honest!)" Windows flowed by under the bridge, we are finally approaching a netbook ecology in which the monopoly is actually able join in.

Would have been nice to see even one actual useful innovation though.

Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Netbooks, sigh

I know, let's call them "netbooks", this idea can't ever have been tried before...

Damian Green: Not only my workstation – mystery pr0n all over Parliamentary PCs

steelpillow Silver badge
Mushroom

"You're nicked" specrte rises - but not for our Damian

So pox boxes cache shit you didn't ask for, yawn. But some dumb pig doesn't realise that so he breaches the confidentiality of his profession under pretext of "national interest" over a crime that was never committed. Go ye lawyers, make fried bacon of him, go!

Ex-cop who 'kept private copies of data' fingers Cabinet Office minister in pr0nz at work claims

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Ok, so

".... what interesting politicial developments are supposed to be de-rezzed by warming up this stuff?

Green is a senior member of the current government, being the First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office. The Prime Minister currently needs all the Cabinet stability she can get and forcing him from office would be another nail in her and her government's coffin.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Going down, going down, going down...

"Neither the BBC nor The Telegraph nor The Guardian is making the kept copies allegation that the Reg is. That might be because they don't see it as significant or it might be because for another reason."

The point is, he's blabbing about confidential work-related stuff and that alone is a breach of whatever. BBC Radio 4 had the goodness to bring on an interviewee to make exactly this point. Whether he kept any record outside his own head is not directly relevant (tho' presumably a crime in its own right).

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Re: What Proof It Was Him ???

The ex-plod concerned admits he cannot prove who the individual was, just that the timings make it look a lot like the MP (now how does he deduce that?).

But one has to ask, if the user was doing nothing illegal, why was Mr Plod so avidly recording all the pr0n surfing and keeping it long after he left Her Majesty's service? "Just so he could trawl it for timestamps, m'lud" does not wash.

I don't give a flying f*** at a rolling doughnut what legal pastimes our MPs enjoy, but I am deeply concerned if plods, ex or otherwise, take their work home and use it to manipulate national politics.

Google Chrome vows to carpet bomb meddling Windows antivirus tools

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Good thing too

APIs and extensions are a much cleaner way to do this sort of thing. Plenty of warning, support for accessibility stuff, all very civilised. Good for Google, I say (and I don't say that very often any more).

UK.gov admits Investigatory Powers Act illegal under EU law

steelpillow Silver badge
Mushroom

I had a [nightmare] dream last night

So the "Office for Communications Data Authorisation" will replace the Home Secretary's personal monicker as the stamp of authorisation.

OMG worst case scenario: warrants issued by an AI system pre-authorised to do so by the Chief Officer (who left last month).

"Hi, Sarge, where do you work now?"

"The Office for Communications Data Authorisation, Constable Pleece."

"Oh, great, can you *uck up the warrants for my gangland paymasters? Here's the list."

"Right, I'll get on Vulture Central and see what the latest unpatched USB exploit is."

... etc.

As Apple fixes macOS root password hole, here's what went wrong

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: That was quick!

"Now that's hardly fair. EVERY vendor will try and keep quiet about a problem like this until it's fixed"

No, that's hardly fair. There is a very big difference between vendors with a reputation for fixing holes asap and those with a reputation for sitting on them for years on end.

Why does no one want to invest in full fibre broadband, wails UK.gov

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Bureaucracy

There are plenty of companies offering FTTP.

Here I am, a Parish Councillor for Royston Vasey (well, near there anyway) and we have received several offers to lay FTTP provided we can drum up enough launch customers from out of the sticks. Did that and County Highways decided that they would interpret the law differently from everybody else and they refused permission for fibre to be laid using standards that several other local authorities have accepted. It made the whole game uneconomic so the whole of rural South Worcestershire lost its chance for FTTP.

Meanwhile BT took 8 MEELIONS off the County Council to do what they were going to do anyway and lay just enough fibre on the lucrative bits to preserve their local loop monopoly.

My elected County Councillor is spitting feathers but powerless to bring his career bureaucrats to task.

This inconsistency among local authorities is a know nationwide problem. All it needs to fix it is a national standard for fibre laying, with exemption from planning consent if you meet that standard.

Watchkeeper drones cost taxpayers £1bn

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Good value

"Doctor, how can I get rid of stubborn stains?"

"Drop a bomb on the place!"

— Beachcomber, ca. 1960s.

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spolier alert

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Staines, Middlesex.

Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Not a production design!

This hybrid is about getting electric fans into the air and shaking down the technology, while keeping a pair of turbofans as safety backup. It is not a production design!

Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

steelpillow Silver badge

Mostly

Far the commonest attack vector on passwords is to watch over the user's shoulder as they type it. Strong passwords make that harder.

Frequent changes of password are pointless, as any exploit on your account is likely to happen soon after it has been stolen. You will have no idea it has been stolen until too late.

Trying to get users with a careless nature to be a lot more careful is impossible. You can employ an expert psychologist/manipulator and that may help a little, but you can't beat mandatory strength checkers and a written copy in an old-fashioned notebook in the same old-fashioned pocket or handbag where you keep your plastic.

Sci-Hub domains inactive following court order

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Down

Let's be fair

Publishers do have a responsibility to ensure proper peer review before publication. Most reviewers that I ever met seem to do it for free, but editorial grunt and other business costs (marketing, web maintenance, etc) do have to be paid for. That justifies at least a token charge for access to their resources, perhaps requiring a short copyright period after publication.

If the publishers didn't welch on their responsibilities by getting only a fraction of submitted papers reviewed so the queues build endlessly, and even then letting the cranks review each other's stuff on especially-profitable pseudoscience rags, then I might have a grain of sympathy for them.

Authors stick with the mainstream journals only because they need the prestige it brings for their next funding round.

No, peer review and scientific publishing are shot to shit with more and more mainstream authors settling for arXiv or similar, and the publishers have only themselves to blame. Let's be fair about that.

From Vega with love: Pegasus interstellar asteroid's next stop

steelpillow Silver badge
WTF?

spinners

Another interpretation would be a roughly spherical rock of very dark colour, but with a bright red stripe on it. That could account for the brightness variation, and the only way of distinguishing it from the baguette model would be timing stellar occultations which, for whatever reason, does not seem to have been done.

Intel finds critical holes in secret Management Engine hidden in tons of desktop, server chipsets

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Open Management Engine?

I don't know what these management processors are supposed to do, but presumably it is useful when you have another half dozen or so processors clamouring for attention and all mixed up with some proprietary tweaks. For example I can imagine an ARM chip having say seven 64-bit cores and a 16-bit ARM ME.

Rather than make a management-free multi-core chip, it might be better to open up the management subsystem with a published specification and accessible UI/utilities in its own right. One obvious feature would be to patch its firmware with code you trust. You are then back in control.

I don't see how else Intel can put the genie back in the bottle. But hey, do they care?

Open-source defenders turn on each other in 'bizarre' trademark fight sparked by GPL fall out

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

No shit!

"We spent three years avoiding a meeting -- and now, what he has to say to us comes as a complete surprise!"

No shit!

But seriously, you know what they say about FOSS, "Enjoy the choice". They sometimes forget that that goes for their lawyering too.

Massive US military social media spying archive left wide open in AWS S3 buckets

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

Archive

The Wayback Machine should be told!

Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Tesla semi?

"most of the time brakes barely get warm which is an indication of how much energy there is to be recovered."

More an indication of how effective the air cooling is.

Like I said, moderate braking isn't massive amounts at any one time but it all adds up, which is more than some folks' comments do around here. ;p

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Tesla semi?

"KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System)."

Kerse you, Red Baron!

To reply to another post, of course stopping from speed will soon fill any sane supercapacitor and, if you don't divert the current, you will then get no more regenerative braking. So the system needs to be smart enough to understand that and adjust mechanical braking accordingly. But that is not my point.

Most braking time is spent easing back gently for corners or other traffic hazards. Not spectacular amounts of energy on any given occasion, but repeated many times during a typical journey. It is this persistent low level of expenditure that regenerative systems can most easily recapture.

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Tesla semi?

Regenerative braking is essential if the economics of electric power are to be realised in everyday stop-go driving on real roads.

Basically, when braking the motor acts in reverse as a dynamo and charges a supercapacitor. When accelerating, you drain the supercapacitor before drawing on the battery. In F1 racing the system is called CURS.

Also, you won't even need to use the brake pads unless braking sharply, as the dynamo exerts its own very effective braking force, so you greatly reduce copper and/or asbestos pollution of the roadside.

How good the Tesla toys are at that depends on how good their designers are, but if F1 can do it routinely I don't see why Tesla can't.

Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

steelpillow Silver badge
WTF?

Uh?

Question is, is this 9% of owners breaking bad and spending 100% of their time unlicensed or 90% of owners running a bit over and spending 10% of their time unlicensed? The solutions for each are very different.

Inside Internet Archive: 10PB+ of storage in a church... oh, and a little fight to preserve truth

steelpillow Silver badge
Angel

Re: More of this sort of thing

ISTR that Christ himself was well known for his habit of consorting with the "publicans and sinners". I am sure He would approve of your sentiments.

steelpillow Silver badge
Angel

Essential service

I have to say I already find the Wayback Machine an essential service. I blush to recall that I have even retrieved my own stuff from it on occasion, when my backup system failed.

Top marks to these geezers, I wonder if they are archiving Wikileaks?

Somewhere I came across a religious cult which regards information as Divine (taking "God is Truth" quite literally) and its destruction as a sin. Not so much a defunct Church as merely a change of religion, then. I can live with a God like that.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Archive vs right to be forgotten

There is no right to be permanently forgotten - ask any archaeologist. A data protection filter during a person's lifetime would surely be a good thing, but it would require massive administrative overhead with affected people arguing over what items should be blocked/unblocked, I don't know if it would be feasible.

Internet of So Much Stuff: Don't wanna be a security id-IoT

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

(And now for) something completely different?

"IoT is something completely different and therefore requires different thinking when it comes to security." — really?

A client device is just an "idiot savant" T with another idiot (possibly also savant) mucking around with its input devices. Strip away the second idiot and what has really changed?

The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

steelpillow Silver badge

Classic Theme Restorer?

My several essentials:

- AdBlock Plus

- Flashblock

- NoScript

- Classic Theme Restorer

- Toggle Animated GIFs, or other similar animation stopper.

- And, because I must suffer Facebook because so many friends can only reliably be caught there, F.B. Purity.

No compatibility, no upgrade. If I can't use it as I wish to use it then speed and footprint are irrelevant. I can wait.

How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don't say 'regular patches'

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

No easy answers

Things like digital weather and traffic updates become increasingly relevant to flight systems as they become more automated and intelligent. Airgapping, data diodes and the like cannot shield the machine from stuff the pilot used to deal with over voice radio.

There are no glib answers to be had, just careful hardening, thorough testing and eternal vigilance.

Amazon to make multiple Lord of the Rings prequel TV series

steelpillow Silver badge

Less obviously exciting is the “previously unexplored storylines”, because Tolkien's deep history of Middle Earth was not his most engaging work.

It's pretty much Game of Thrones with added Gods and Immortals, don't see how it can fail (unless the production team are utter deadheads). All it needs is the writing style livening up a bit.

When Numenor falls and the shape of the world changes to cut off Middle Earth, I hope the CGI lives up to the moment.

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: Best script

My favourite related TV sketch (The Fast Show?) was Gandalf and Saruman as a couple of gay old friends meeting up in the street and going off together. Can't recall if they were depicted as actors in identical costume robes and whiskers, but either way, once you've seen it you can't look at LoTR any other way.

Red Hat opens its ARMs to Enterprise Linux... er, wait, perhaps it's the other way round

steelpillow Silver badge
Headmaster

History

Anybody else remember the StrongARM chip, which incorporated Intel proprietary memory cacheing technology? ISTR DEC made it and Acorn bought them back for its later RiscPCs. Then Intel embraced, extended as XScale and exting... sold off.

Meanwhile ARMLinux was also migrating to StrongARM and ARM was moving on anyway.

The problem system designers face is that ARM is not a hardware product line, it is a box of bits that chip designers dip into and play with, so few ARM chips were compatible at the OS level. For many years, ARMLinux became a fragmented pile of incompatible bad smells.

The success of Android forced a massive push to clean it up and standardise chip architectures, never mind incorporate the garage-hack ARM-but-not-X86 OS options into the main kernel tree. That is at last beginning to pay off across the board.

Let's hope the wait was worth it.

Audio spy Alexa now has a little pal called Dox

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Why portable?

This is just to iron out the mobile bugs so the next one, with screen and 360 deg always-on camera >8O will work smoothly.

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