* Posts by Richard Tobin

179 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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

Richard Tobin

Something wrong here

"With ESPN we were spending time rendering the navigation bar when what people wanted was the content".

How can it possibly be that rendering the navigation bar makes any perceptible difference to anything?

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Harry Potter to get the Pokémon GO treatment

Richard Tobin

patronus

patroni, second declension

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/patronus

3
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Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support

Richard Tobin

Re: Many Years Ago

We had a PDP 11/40 with 32k (words) of core and 96k of semiconductor memory. On one occasion decorators pushed the Big Red Button by mistake, shutting off the power. When we turned it back on, the system resumed (because the OS was all in core), but the programs in higher memory all crashed immediately.

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Open source, says me: Alibaba chucks MariaDB a $27m funding round

Richard Tobin

Open, says me

That joke is 80 years old:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0MT4t5SHJ0

at around 14:55

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Customers cheesed off after card details nicked in Pizza Hut data breach

Richard Tobin

Where?

What country is this in?

Other reports present it as if it were a US website problem.

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El Reg was invited to the House of Lords to burst the AI-pocalypse bubble

Richard Tobin

Dustbin of history

Trotsky, not Lenin.

2
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Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION

Richard Tobin

Records != accounts

As the "stop press" says, the number of accounts is nothing like that.

2
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Dot-Amazon spat latest: Brazil tells ICANN to go fsck itself, only 'govts control the internet'

Richard Tobin

The whole thing's stupid

We don't need any new top-level domains, let alone ones controlled by companies.

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As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

Richard Tobin

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/quick_double_x_flare-1041.gif

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Richard Tobin

Arithmetic

"For reference, an X2 is twice as powerful as an X1, and half as powerful as an X3."

No, an X2 flare is two-thirds as powerful as an X3 flare. Within a class (A/B/C/M/X) the scale is linear.

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Dangle a DVR online and it'll be cracked in two minutes

Richard Tobin

DVR?

Since when did "DVR" come to mean "ip camera"?

7
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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

Richard Tobin

Confused units

"It was believed that the proton was about 0.877 femtometres, less than a trillionth of a millimetre. But now scientists have found the subatomic particle is 30 billionths of a per cent lighter than that estimate."

0.877 femtometres is a length. You can't be 30 billionths of a percent lighter than a length.

38
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Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes 'No' to modular overhaul

Richard Tobin

Re: Rules of thumb

"every malloc and free maps on to an OS call" - not true. No version of unix has ever done that. It would be unusably slow.

3
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Intel redesigns flawed Atom CPUs to stave off premature chip death

Richard Tobin

Clock Bus Clock

You seem uncertain as to whether it's the LPC Clock Bus or the LPC Bus Clock. Presumably the latter, since the idea of a low-pin-count clock doesn't make much sense.

3
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Huawei faces UK sales ban if it doesn't cough up 4G patent tithes

Richard Tobin

Somthing wrong with those numbers

"Huawei originally offered to stump up 0.34 per cent of revenues on 4G equipment [...] the court decided to award Unwired 0.051 per cent on 4G equipment and 0.052 per cent on handsets"

Surely the award is not six times smaller than what Huawei offered?

0
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Our Sun's been using facial scrub: No spots for two weeks

Richard Tobin

Re: Predictions?

Here's the page it comes from:

http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Solar/1/6

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Richard Tobin

A bit late

A sunspot rotated round on the 22nd.

0
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PDP-10 enthusiasts resurrect ancient MIT operating system

Richard Tobin

Re: DECs funny numbering sytem

The DEC 10 was also known for its Prolog system, much the fastest implementation at that time, which was developed in the AI department at Edinburgh University.

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/Groups/AI/util/lang/prolog/doc/intro/prolog.doc

It ran under TOPS-10 rather than ITS, however.

9
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Richard Tobin

ITS UNIX

In 1992, Unix System Laboratories (USL) sued Berkeley Software Design Inc for, among other things, violating USL's alleged trademark on the word "UNIX" in their phone number, 1-800-ITS-UNIX. Disappointingly, MIT didn't sue them for using "ITS".

9
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Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

Richard Tobin

Re: The timing of this 'release'

Yes, just before it split 7-for-1.

0
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Mozillans call for new moz://a logo to actually work in browsers

Richard Tobin

Re: Searching for "moz://a"

Define "validaddress()". moz://a has the form of a URI; there's no way for browsers to know that "moz" isn't a new or experimental URI scheme that they haven't implemented.

3
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Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

Richard Tobin

Thank Jobs for digital music?

I've been buying digital music since the 1980s, on CDs.

6
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‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

Richard Tobin

Helpful suggestions

My electricity meter is in a dark inaccessible corner, so to read it I take a photo of it with my phone. Recently, every time I do this the phone suggests that I might prefer a photo of it that I took several months ago instead.

14
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Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

Richard Tobin
WTF?

Phones?

"Java SE is free for what Oracle defines as “general purpose computing” – devices that in the words of its licence cover desktops, notebooks, smartphones and tablets. It is not free for what Oracle’s licence defines as “specialized embedded computers used in intelligent systems”, which Oracle further defines as - among other things - mobile phones, hand-held devices, networking switches and Blu-Ray players."

So Java is free for smartphones and tablets but not free for mobile phones and hand-held devices. Surely some mistake?

2
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Fallout from Euro Patent Office meltdown reaches Dutch parliament

Richard Tobin

Fired?

If the article is correct, he should be imprisoned.

13
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Oh joy. You can now buy a gold plated quadcopter drone

Richard Tobin

"more than four times the legally permitted height"

"more than four times the legally permitted height" and "heights of up to 2,000m (6,500ft) ... the maximum legally permitted altitude is 400ft."

I suppose 6,500 *is* more than four times 400, but it's probably not what you meant...

9
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NASA tried turning lost spacecraft STEREO-B off and on again... but it didn't work. True story

Richard Tobin

Hurray!

This is most impressive.

6
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Funny story, this. UK.gov's 'open banking app revolution'. Security experts not a fan of it

Richard Tobin

API

API does not stand for "application protocol interface".

7
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How IT are you? Find out now in our HILARIOUS quiz!

Richard Tobin

Scientology test

It's particularly easy to see what's going on in the Scientology "personality test". Every tenth question is in the same category, so you can easily score 100% once you've worked out what the categories are. More amusingly, you can chose your scores so that the graph of them that they show you is a picture of a house or something like that.

2
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Apple pulled 2,204lbs of gold out of old tech gear

Richard Tobin

Odd unit conversion

All but one of the numbers appear to have been converted from metric tonnes to pounds, but with the conversion factor (2204.6+) rounded down to the nearest integer:

2,204 pounds of gold = 1 x 2204

6,612 pounds of silver = 3 x 2204

44,080 pounds of lead = 20 x 2204

23,101,000 pounds of steel = ???

189,544 pounds of cobalt = 86 x 2204

13,422,360 pounds of plastics = 6090 x 2204

16
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Snowden WAS the Feds' quarry in Lavabit case, redaction blunder reveals

Richard Tobin

Not a mistake

That "mistake" is there to disguise the fact that it's *not* about Snowden.

5
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Amazon's Lumberyard invaded by zombies

Richard Tobin

It has certainly worked - the Register has now reported it twice.

6
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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Richard Tobin

Uninitialized variables

When Sun introduced shared libraries in, I think, SunOS 4.0, dozens of standard unix utilities and probably thousands of user programs failed, all with essentially the same bug.

In C, local variables are not initialized by default, but at program startup the stack would be full of zeros, so that local variables in main() at least would be zero, and many programs inadvertently relied on this. But when shared libraries came along, the dynamic linker ran before main() was called, and the stack no longer contained zeros.

Of course, more modern compilers will generally warn about uninitialized variables.

2
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Ad-clicking bots predicted to rip US$7.2 billion from Mad Men

Richard Tobin

You can help!

Google for "whiplash", "loans", and "attorney", and click on the ads!

4
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We applied to Google's €150m journalism fund – here's what we sent in

Richard Tobin

Re: €250,000?

250,000 is (20 tau - 10)^4

0
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TalkTalk CEO admits security fail, says hacker emailed ransom demand

Richard Tobin

Ransom demand

Can they really have only received one ransom demand?

3
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Solar panel spammer hit by UK’s biggest ever nuisance calls fine

Richard Tobin

Lock 'em up

It's the only language they understand.

4
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KARMA POLICE: GCHQ spooks spied on every web user ever

Richard Tobin

Meaning?

What does "visible to passive SIGINT" mean?

2
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All pixels go: World's biggest sky-gazing camera gets final sign-off

Richard Tobin

Re: "nearly 10 square degrees of"

10 square degrees is right, as the linked SLAC page confirms. What the article currently says - '"almost 10 square degrees of sky" on each side' - is drivel.

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Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

Richard Tobin

Eek!

I've got one of those huge humans stuck to my feet!

1
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The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

Richard Tobin

Re: Stupidity statistic alert

"Average intelligence" is meaningless without specifying a scale. The usual scale, IQ, is defined to have a normal distribution, so the mean is equal to the median.

0
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I've seen Kaspersky slap his staff with a walrus penis – and even I doubt the false-positive claims

Richard Tobin

Conflict of interest

Can you think of an industry with a more obvious conflict of interest? They need a constant supply of new malware, and if they know about it before their competitors, even better. And what's the best way to achieve that?

1
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Candlelit vigil planned to honour executed Newcastle cow Bessie

Richard Tobin

Praying's not good enough

They should sacrifice a goat.

17
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Apple Fanboi? Stand by to get Beats Music LIKE IT OR NOT

Richard Tobin

You'll NEVER FORGET about Dr Dre NOW

Who?

10
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MYSTERY Russian satellite: ORBITAL WEAPON? Sat GOBBLER? What?

Richard Tobin

It's obvious

Its purpose is to distract attention from the other secret satellite they sent up at the same time.

4
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DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

Richard Tobin

Bank accounts

Many couples have joint bank accounts, and these are not frozen when one partner dies.

17
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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

Richard Tobin

Re: What do they call them in Scotland?

We call them Scotch eggs. Your Scottish friends were exaggerating. The ordinary adjective is indeed "Scots" or "Scottish", but "Scotch" is used in various traditional terms like the whisky and the eggs. It's quite likely gone out of fashion because of the sneering way some English people use it.

4
1
Richard Tobin

Better hot

"Scotch eggs are, of course, served cold." That seems like a waste of all the effort you went to to make your own. A freshly-cooked scotch egg is delicious, unlike a warmed-up shop one.

7
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FTC tells 'scan to email' patent troll: Every breath you take, every lie you make, I'll be fining you

Richard Tobin

Re: Bogus

Patenting covers use as well as manufacture, so customers can be liable. You may think that's stupid, but it's the law.

1
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CATACLYSMIC Sun BELCH causes hour-long RADIO BLACKOUT in SPAAACE

Richard Tobin

Re: It is an amazing sunspot, and some massive flares going on

Even on the earth's surface the sun's orientation varies. It's upside down when viewed from Australia, and on its side in the morning and evening when viewed from near the equator.

It's much more noticable with the moon, because of its phases.

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