* Posts by Orv

1113 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007


Wondering why 'Devin Nunes herp-face' was trending online? Here's the 411: House rep sues Twitter for all the rude stuff tweeted about him

Orv Silver badge

Re: Round 1?

There's no law that says any private company has to treat people equally based on their political views. In fact, quite the opposite -- the nearest equivalent would be the Fairness Doctrine and that was eliminated decades ago. It's also very common for corporations to attempt to influence elections -- they just can't coordinate with campaigns to do it. The NRA, for example, has no problem with endorsing candidates and even has an enemies list of sorts.

You can argue that it's unethical to pick and choose based on politics, but it's not illegal. If it were, outlets like Fox News and The Blaze would not exist, so I think Nunes might want to be careful about opening that can of worms.

Orv Silver badge

Re: But he actually has a case...

I assume the goal is to intimidate Twitter and maybe threaten them financially, like happened with Gawker. Twitter is, however, a much wealthier target. It's also possible Twitter is collateral damage and the real goal is to track down who ran the offending accounts and ruin them financially with legal fees. Anti-SLAPP laws may make that harder, though.

SpaceX Crew Dragon: Launched and docked. Now, about that splashdown...

Orv Silver badge

Re: What's it really all about?

The RS-25 was only sort of reusable -- they had to inspect it after each launch, and I think at least for a while they were fully rebuilding all the turbopumps. So the cost-benefit analysis of keeping it reusable is not entirely clear. The overall cycle cost of the Shuttle turned out to be inferior to non-reusable systems overall, although that's partly due to design decisions forced by military needs.

Orv Silver badge

The problem would be finding a budget to maintain it in its new use. As long as it's being maintained that money isn't available to spend on other projects. A commercial customer taking it over instead of destroying it would be perfectly acceptable, but it's just not a very commercially useful structure.

Orv Silver badge

It would probably collapse under its own weight on the moon. It was meant to be assembled in zero gravity.

Orv Silver badge

It's all good until someone launches a decoy that looks like a fire truck or a semi trailer.

PuTTY in your hands: SSH client gets patched after RSA key exchange memory vuln spotted

Orv Silver badge

Re: PuTTY's days are numbered

A big issue with command-line SSH on Windows is the Windows console is decidedly NOT xterm-compatible, and most hosts you'd be logging into will expect an xterm or at least a VT-100. So you're going to have to use some kind of terminal emulator anyway. PuTTY just happens to package that with an SSH client.

Sniff the love: Subaru's SUVs overwhelmed by scent of hair shampoo, recalls 2.2 million cars

Orv Silver badge

Re: smells like

My theory is Armor All. Dealerships *love* to prep car interiors with Armor All because it looks so shiny. (Makes the pedals slippery, though.)

Orv Silver badge

Re: Progress?

Pressure-operated brake light switches were a common thing on older vehicles -- usually sharing the same switches used to trigger the brake warning light if pressure was lost in one circuit. They're not favored anymore because they cause more of a lag in turning on the brake lights, and it's often possible to brake lightly without triggering a pressure-activated switch.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ 'backer'? Nope, you're now a creditor – and should probably act fast

Orv Silver badge

Personally I never throw money into any crowd-funding scheme that I would desperately need back should it fail. Personally I don't think it's a very good model for things this complex, although I know people who have had pretty good results publishing books that way.

I'm not sure what the point was about the "gig economy." I don't know anyone who's doing a gig job because they *chose* to or think it's a sustainable idea. But it's now just how the "job creators" have decided the economy's going to be structured. Even jobs that used to be regular, salaried positions are increasingly "contractor" jobs with no benefits. I don't blame millennials for that any more than I blame raccoons for the existence of trash cans.

Orv Silver badge

The oldest millennials were 2 years old when the Spectrum made its debut. I doubt they have enough nostalgia for the platform to have funded this mess. No, this was all about Gen X'ers. There's a lot of money in trying to sell our childhoods back to us.

Defaulting to legacy Internet Explorer just to keep that one, weird app working? Knock it off

Orv Silver badge

Re: Count me in.

In my experience a lot of these issues are caused by devices that use Java applets as clients. With all the security restrictions that have been (rightly) put on applets, it's often nearly impossible to get them to run in a modern browser. Compounding this is that most machines either don't ship with software signed with good certificates, or those certificates have long since expired.

Orv Silver badge

I've used serial-over-LAN many times, mostly on older SuperMicro servers. It has a lot of issues, though:

1. Usually can't access the BIOS.

2. Hand-off to the OS is dodgy.

3. Configuring serial terminals is nearly a lost art for some reason; the bits to make it work are certainly all there, but you won't find many cookbook explanations -- especially now that initd is disappearing.

4. The actual wire protocol is only sort of standardized, and ipmitool does not give useful error messages.

5. There are some odd pitfalls. e.g., you *must* make sure you don't have kernel logging to console; otherwise if you have a lot of kernel messages the kernel will grind to a halt as it waits for them all to be sent at 9600 baud.

In most cases having a graphical representation of the console is just easier. Everything happens the way the OS expects, that way.

UK transport's 'ludicrous' robocar code may 'put lives at risk'

Orv Silver badge

Re: You can't stand in the way of progress...

Or possibly it will wait forever for you. It depends on how the AI interprets the scene.

One test program in the US had problems with their cars being blocked by seagulls. The seagulls weren't intimidated by the cars once they realized they wouldn't get run over, so they'd hang out in the middle of the road until the safety driver took over and inched forward.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Missing the obvious

The best solution is not AVs or smart cities, it is simply relocating business districts closer to where people live rather than in city centres dedicated to commerce and business

This has long been the case in places like Detroit, where the urban center became unappealing. The problem is that instead of an inward-outward flow that can be served by public transit, you end up with people commuting from suburb to suburb, without enough people going in the same direction at the same time for public transit to be viable. And the traffic is still terrible because the road networks weren't usually designed with suburb-to-suburb commutes in mind.

Part of the problem is people don't necessarily pick where they live strictly based on commute distance. Usually they pick somewhere because the schools are good, or prices are low, or they like the neighborhood. They don't pick up and move every time they switch jobs or their employer decides to change offices. The old company town scenario where Bob's Widget Works locates in Outer Slowsville and then everyone who works for Bob builds a house in Outer Slowsville just doesn't happen anymore.

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace

Orv Silver badge

If it's a decently-sized "industrial" type drone, I think radar would have no trouble detecting it at that range. I'm told geese show up pretty well and they probably don't reflect radar nearly as well as something metal.

In the past drone reports have mostly been due to pilots seeing and reporting them, sometimes after a near miss. It's possible it was originally detected that way.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Cut off the GPS so it lands

It'd be a lot more practical to jam GPS in the area than to shut down the whole system. But that has some of the same issues as jamming the drone's signal; it's hard to know what the result will be and it's also very illegal.

Orv Silver badge

Re: It's not like they can triangulate the signals!

Yes, in this case I believe the problem isn't triangulating the signal -- that's quite straightforward, as you note -- it's figuring out which signal is the correct one. Unlike WWII-era signals there's no reason for this transmitter to identify itself in any human-readable way.

Orv Silver badge

Re: How about a high power laser burst ?

The risk-reward equation is rather flipped, there. A V1 that continued on course was likely to kill someone. A drone is not going to kill someone unless you zap it and it lands on someone's head.

Also, minor niggle -- the Spitfires didn't actually touch the bombs. That would be too risky. They used their planes' wingtip vortexes to make them bank, in a way the primitive autopilot in the V1 couldn't handle. Basically they sent them out of control using wake turbulence.

Linux.org domain hacked, plastered with trolling, filth and anti-transgender vandalism

Orv Silver badge

Re: Hopefully

Someone who has a cock and a pair of balls between their legs is a man, regardless of whatever happened in the womb and no matter what he believes he "really is" or what he wants to be. You might not like that it, but I'll make it crystal clear for you, it is a biological FACT.

I have one of those things but not the other. Which bathroom should I use, given those biological facts?

Orv Silver badge

Re: Hopefully

Transgenderism is not something like homosexuality or bisexuality which has existed since the beginning of most species as a safe fallback for reproduction.

At 1:1 mass, a man is chemically designed to be physically stronger. Is men in women's physical sports fair...

Counterexample: A *female-to-male* trans professional boxer just won their debut match against a cis male:


This is tricky stuff. The Olympics have long struggled with the issue of gender, especially after their frankly humiliating treatment of Caster Semenya. The problem is it's hard to divide people into two decisively binary categories -- it's more like two overlapping bell curves when you look at size, weight, etc. Syndromes like androgen insensitivity mean that there are cis women who are XY, so genetics doesn't work; there are also a surprising number of chimeras out there who are XX or XY depending on where you take the sample. For a while female athletes had to all undergo genital inspections, which were both humiliating for the athletes and still resulted in ambiguous cases. Their current technique is to rely on testosterone levels. While there is a strong correlation with strength (people who transition male-to-female lose a lot of upper body strength when they start taking hormone therapy), this has had the bizarre result that some cis women who happen to have high T have been required to take testosterone blockers in order to compete.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

Orv Silver badge

Re: Worst possible outcome

I'm not too worried about "extend" because this isn't a market niche where Microsoft has much market penetration anymore. If they started adding proprietary extensions, very few web devs would actually use them because there's already a rich set of features that's common between Chromium and Firefox.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Bloatware

Yes, but unlike MSN, I can't go get a cup of coffee while it finishes loading. Having to wait for the browser to become responsive every time I want to quickly visit a URL is annoying.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Chrome

1. When it first came out, it was faster than anything else. It long ago lost that edge, but that got its foot in the door.

2. It came out at a time when Firefox had only just emerged from the ashes of Netscape, and Opera was beginning to feel pretty creaky. It shook up the field.

3. It went to a multi-process architecture early, which made it more stable than competing browsers. The idea that you could use a browser all day and not have it crash out was revolutionary.

3. It offered really good dev tools. Firefox's have caught up, but for a while nothing had anything quite like Chrome.

The data slurping became a concern later. Keep in mind some of what gets filed as "slurping" is optional stuff people actually like, like bookmark sync between systems (which Firefox has added too, now.)

Orv Silver badge

Re: Good news for Linux

At the time they were sort of right. Sort of. A fair number of things depended on IE's rendering engine. That didn't require the whole browser, but it did require some of its DLLs. This was something of a circular situation though; because IE couldn't be uninstalled, software would quietly rely on it because it had to be there, which meant you couldn't uninstall it without breaking things...

Orv Silver badge

Re: This will save Edge

Safari is the Toyota Yaris rental car of browsers. It's a bit slow, there aren't many fancy options, and I wouldn't want to drive it every day, but it gets me where I'm going reliably in a pinch.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Worst possible outcome

What recent Chromium features are, in your estimation, aimed at stealing more user data? Keep in mind Google tends to push everything onto the standards track, and withdraw stuff that doesn't make it into the specs (e.g., Object.observe, which I actually found useful.)

Orv Silver badge

Re: And who got fired for taking all the wrong decisions?

I can't remember the last time I actually edited the registry on a machine. I think it was under server 2003, so probably not overly recently.

Yup. What sysadmins really care about is "can I manage it centrally? Will it fit into my existing infrastructure?" If it understands GPO and talks to Active Directory they're mostly happy.

A big reason Windows still rules the corporate world is management tools. macOS has been actively getting worse in this area (it was never good), and Linux is stuck with a lot of creaky old tools that require you to roll your own integration.

For fax sake: NHS to be banned from buying archaic copy-flingers

Orv Silver badge

Re: such as secure email

Though with a Fax you KNOW it's connecting and printing

Although not necessarily that anyone will see it, or that the printout is legible, or that you haven't misdialed and sent it to the wrong machine.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Security and but also third party issues

The big problem with fax is that there is no method of asserting the recipient is the intended one - the details could be out of date or the number misdialled - you don't know until the notes have gone somewhere they shouldn't have.

I used to work at a place that had a block of 16 DID fax lines, all going to a single computer fax system, all numerically sequential. Numbers that weren't currently assigned went to my email. I used to get an amazing number of misdirected medical faxes. From what I could tell a prosthetics lab at a local university hospital had a number similar to one of ours.

The US medical system is also heavily reliant on fax. The biggest problem I've had with it is faxes often disappear into the aether. Fax compatibility is far from 100%, and I once had to change pharmacies just because their fax machine could not successfully receive faxes from my psychiatrist.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Orv Silver badge

Re: GPS and EMP

Over smaller areas it's pretty easy to jam on the surface, but that's nothing like knocking out the whole system. Anti-satellite weapons are possible but not as easy as science fiction makes them out to be, and they can't be pre-deployed stealthily.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Trident

Auto landing airliners is done via airport radio beacons. It’s a solved problem, and nobody is interested in GPS type nav for it.

There's actually quite a lot of interest, at least in the US. Maintaining all those radio beacons is expensive and they're seeing increased failure rates as the equipment ages. ILS will probably be the last to go, but we're already seeing experiments with using GPS instead of VOR beacons, allowing more direct flight paths.

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

Orv Silver badge

That's a government project for you. Always behind schedule, always over-promising and under-delivering.

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

Orv Silver badge

Re: You'd have to be a Dummy,....

Vandenberg allows polar orbit launches, which makes it doubly useful.

And provides some unforgettable light shows for those of us in SoCal.


Orv Silver badge

Re: You'd have to be a Dummy,....

To be fair, unlike NASA, SpaceX didn't have the military sidling up to them and saying "we need it to do [CLASSIFIED]," which was the source of a lot of the excess fat in the Shuttle's design.

Influential Valley gadfly and Intel 8051 architect John Wharton has died

Orv Silver badge

Re: 8051

I remember hand-assembling 6502 code for my VIC-20 because I didn't have an assembler. It was good practice for programming PIC microcontrollers and the like.

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

Orv Silver badge

Re: Whitespace

To me the problem with Python (and significant whitespace in general) is that whitespace characters are by nature invisible, and a lot of editor tooling assumes they aren't significant. Anyone who's ever dealt with a Makefile where someone accidentally put a space where a tab should go knows this can only lead to tears.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Makes me pine for the days of XML...

XML proved handily that it's possible to make something verbose and inefficient for computers without actually making it human-readable.

5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1... Runty-birds are go: 12,000+ internet-beaming mini-satellites OK'd by USA

Orv Silver badge

Re: Sorry, I was picking my mandible up off the floor...

IIRC a big complaint about Iridium was that they were very reluctant to change their birds' orbits to avoid potential collisions.

BTW, as you probably know but I think some other commenters might not, the term for the potential catastrophic situation we're discussing is "Kessler syndrome." Probably worth a Google.

Orv Silver badge

Re: What could possibly..poison our atmosphere?

What next- a bunch of low-flying birds that are powered by plutonium?

We already did that with some space probes, although we took pains to make sure the plutonium wouldn't burn up if they re-entered. (Even if it had, mind, it would be a faction of what was already released by WWII-era bomb fabrication plants.) The satellites powered by fission reactors were more of a potential threat, as was demonstrated by Kosmos 954.

Super Micro chief bean counter: Bloomberg's 'unwarranted hardware hacking article' has slowed our server sales

Orv Silver badge

Re: I give SuperMicro the benefit of the doubt.

@Jtom: It's not that cut and dried, at least under US law. Statements of opinion and rhetorical hyperbole are protected, for example. Ability to show damages is not enough. US law tends to fall on the side of not chilling speech, even that speech is really assholeish. (You may be correct in terms of UK law, though.)

Ken White has an analysis of Elon Musk's statements calling Vernon Unsworth a pedophile that is probably instructive here, in that it shows which of his statements are defensible and which may not be:


Alphabet gives bipedal robots the Schaft 'cos no one wants to buy its creepy machine maker

Orv Silver badge

Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

I think they're thinking of the ED-209, which demonstrated an inability to successfully negotiate stairs in Robocop.

Upset fat iOS gobbles up so much storage? Too bad, so sad, says judge: Apple lawsuit axed

Orv Silver badge

Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

Erm, firstly TVs and then subsequently monitors have always been measured by the size of their diagonal screen dimension. When I say always, I mean at least many decades, at least 5 of them to my personal knowledge. It's the industry standard, nothing to do with marketing.

They also have traditionally been marketed by the diagonal size of the CRT, in spite of the fact that the screen bezel will make the actual picture smaller. This stems from the fact that beam control is hard at the edges of CRTs, so the bezel hid the wavy edges and distortions.

Some of this is no doubt marketing -- bigger numbers are better -- but some of it may be because early TVs actually used round CRTs, with a rectangular mask over the front to delineate the picture area. A 10" CRT was 10" diameter before you put the mask on it. The diagonal measurement would have been closest to the actual CRT diameter.

Orv Silver badge

Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

In the computing word KB, MB, GB, and TB were all understood to mean powers of two until hard drive manufacturers noticed they could use powers of ten and claim that the size difference may very due to the space used by putting a filesystem on the drive.

I used to call the power-of-10-based units "salesman's gigabytes," since they bore no relation to what the OS would claim you had.

The TiB, GiB, etc. unit designations are an attempt to retroactively make their chicanery OK. I refuse to use them, mostly because they sound stupid when you say them out loud.

Orv Silver badge

Samsung probably includes the disclaimer because they already got sued over this same point -- but in China:


They'd let it get rather out of hand. Some of their phones would eventually run out of storage without you doing anything, just from accumulated updates to the pre-installed crapware.

Another Meltdown, Spectre security scare: Data-leaking holes riddle Intel, AMD, Arm chips

Orv Silver badge

Re: Speed vs. Security

If you want real security you have to physically separate different classes of users and not run them on the same chip/computer/memory system etc.

Which is why these are of particular concern to cloud hosting providers. An important requirement for cloud systems is that a program running in on user's VM shouldn't be able to observe what's going on in another user's VM.

Orv Silver badge

Re: Waiting for bug-free CPUs?

Itanium's VLIW architecture was safe in that the optimizations were mostly done at compile time, so things like speculative execution aren't done on the fly nearly as much. That approach has its own problems, though, like requiring a recompile for every new chip iteration.

Orv Silver badge

Re: New phone

Z-80 derivatives continue to have a distinguished career as microcontrollers. They just aren't discussed as much in hobbyist circles because very few game systems used them (the GameBoy being one exception.)

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

Orv Silver badge

Re: At least is isnt oracle or M$

I just want to salute you, AC, for a brilliant troll.

The D in Systemd stands for 'Dammmmit!' A nasty DHCPv6 packet can pwn a vulnerable Linux box

Orv Silver badge

Re: There is a reason ...

Funny. I used to cart laptops between home and worksites, often only 'sleeping' between sites. Never had a problem with the wired or wireless network changes. Only times there was an issue was when the network itself had issues. This was back when I had to put nearly a week's wages on a PCMCIA card to even get wireless into the laptop. Still got the matching PCMCIA card that provided the wired network BTW.

I remember that era too. I also remember having to fiddle around on the command line every time I switched networks. At the time it seemed acceptable because WiFi was so new and shiny. Now I'd be kind of annoyed, I think.

Also, if you got 1990s Linux to actually wake up from sleep consistently you were doing pretty well. ;)


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019