* Posts by ibmalone

499 posts • joined 6 Jul 2017

Page:

Altered carbon: Boffins automate DNA storage with decent density – but lousy latency

ibmalone Silver badge

Seems unlikely, given that bacteria don't spontaneously become other bacteria when they eat 'em, as far as I know

It's not quite the same thing, but bacteria can exchange DNA with each other horizontal gene transfer. Maybe it'd be wise to use an encoding scheme that prevented replicons appearing, but chances of random data encoding for something meaningful are likely to be in the bardic simian typist range.

Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: or just fixing an "unsolvable" problem

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATMR5ettHz8

Boeing big cheese repeats pledge of 737 Max software updates following fatal crashes

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Want to try to reprogram it so it feels and drives like an F1?

"Man with one altimeter always know height, man with two never certain."

Bandersnatch to gander snatched: Black Mirror choices can be snooped on, thanks to privacy-leaking Netflix streams

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: All your data belong us

So the ISP can snoop on the user data

Should read: "So the ISP can snoop on the supposedly encrypted user data."

College student with 'visions of writing super-cool scripts' almost wipes out faculty's entire system

ibmalone Silver badge

At least one record survived!

Boeing... Boeing... Gone: Canada, America finally ground 737 Max jets as they await anti-death-crash software patches

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: "I'd assumed in aeronautics 60 years old meant well understood"

Thanks, I can see once you start making major changes then it's no longer the same beast. It was more that the existing working non-MAX 737 aren't about to fall out of the sky because their design is 60 years old.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: More than 300 dead is largely worth an abundance of caution

For example, it ought to be quite easy to recognise the dangers in stretching out a 60 year old design this far,

I'd assumed in aeronautics 60 years old meant well understood. The basic plan flies, they aren't just going to roll over.

What do sexy selfies, search warrants, tax files have in common? They've all been found on resold USB sticks

ibmalone Silver badge

Might not, but there are reasons other than security to want it to, I'd think formatting flash should probably perform trim for the allocated area to allow wear-levelling to continue to work properly. (Whether that zeros the data on the device or simply causes the controller to report zero on an attempt to read that area I'll admit to not knowing off-hand. But modern SSD should have a secure erase hardware feature.)

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Photorec

IIUC, yorick's objection is that 'low level format' is about stuff like cylinders and not really something other than hard drive manufacturers do any more. A full format with erase is what you want, rather than simply replacing the filesystem superblock and leaving the tasty data in place for tools like photorec to rediscover.

Small Brit firms beg for 'light touch' as only half are ready for digital tax reforms due next month

ibmalone Silver badge

"or when Scotland and Ireland (Northern) vote to leave the UK"

Neither of those is going to happen.

Did the DUP tell you that? There'll be a border poll in the next two decades, we might have had one without Brexit, but it'll be an influence on the outcome. The more of a hash is made of the latter the more likely the former is to go south.

TalkTalk kept my email account active for 8 years after I left – now it's spamming my mates

ibmalone Silver badge

I was guessing they'd be able to read it, but to find out if there's any PII they'd have to actually read it, something of a catch 22. Schroedinger's enforcement notice.

ibmalone Silver badge

Surely the ISP don't know whether the mailbox itself contains PII though? They can hold it to fulfil a contractual relation (keeping the customer's mail), but once that contract is over they probably have to get rid of it for that reason if no other. (Probably some grace period is reasonable, 8 years is quite a lot of grace.)

From hard drive to over-heard drive: Boffins convert spinning rust into eavesdropping mic

ibmalone Silver badge
Megaphone

Re: Brian Blessed

GORDON'S A DRIVE!

IS THAT MY COAT?

Adi Shamir visa snub: US govt slammed after the S in RSA blocked from his own RSA conf

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Correction to popular myth about RSA

I've invented a time machine, but haven't published or patented it due to the obvious dangers to causality. It turns out in 384 years it'll get attributed to somebody called Bruce.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: So where would they move it to?

Was in Barcelona early last year, not long after the 2017 elections and independence poll, it was also peaceful and civilised. There were quite a lot of Catalan flags and yellow bows around.

Before branding them loonies you have to recall that for a large portion of the 20th century the Catalan language was banned in schools and they spent the years after the second world war under a dictatorship that they'd fought to oppose. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Catalonia#Fall_of_Catalonia

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: So where would they move it to?

Or, you could be stopped for half a day (or possibly it was a day) and questioned, missing your onward flight. Happened to a friend's colleague. This is the same person who didn't make it to NY to pick up some kind of Gates Scholarship related award because their visa application was held up for months, despite the Gates scholarship people and the mayor of New York's office getting involved.

Their name was Mohammed of course.

Hearts and minds.

Ah, this military GPS system looks shoddy but expensive. Shall we try to break it?

ibmalone Silver badge

Three-quarters of crucial border IT systems at risk of failure? Bah, it's not like Brexit is *looks at watch* err... next month

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: You can't blame the government...

Granted, this does requite the EU to agree to start negotiating a free trade deal with the UK, but since a FTD is to the benefit of both parties, why would they not?

Le sigh.

tradebetablog.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/myth-of-10-year-grace-period/

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: You can't blame the government...

This would put us in a rather awkward position with regard to WTO rules and "favoured nation status". Customs control is also far more than simply the checking at the border, in theory that's simply to make sure nobody is circumventing the rules.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Silly Me

This is precisely why they rushed into invoking article 50 without a plan (because plans weaken your negotiating position or something). By locking in leaving while brexit fever was still high (anyone remember a national newspaper branding judges traitors for upholding parliamentary sovereignty?) it was possible to make sure we were pointed at the cliff, and now nobody can agree who should hold the steering wheel.

Which rather neatly illustrates why major constitutional change often requires some kind of supermajority or a clear up-front plan. With support so divided and no properly articulated course of action set they'll be grabbing at the steering wheel right up to the end.

Lenovo kicks down door of MWC, dumps a stack of sexy new ThinkPads

ibmalone Silver badge

I think one factor is that if you genuinely type by touch, then the chiclet style keys present a flat surface, while indented keys on traditional keyboards provide a better guide to the key grid that stops you losing alignment with it. On the flat keys there's no indication you've drifted off the key centres until you hit a gap or wrong key. Haven't used newer ones intensively, but I also found older ones also got a bit sticky if hit sufficiently off-centre (not actually sticky, but slightly trapped, requiring more force or an adjusted keypress), while any cheapish full-fat keyboard I've used has consistent pressure across keys.

Is any of this the end of the world? No. Is it weird that something that's mildly irritating is seen as a luxury feature? Yes.

ibmalone Silver badge

My old T420 is fine with Linux. Admittedly it also works extremely well as a doorstop or ballast.

The biggest uptick in demand for software devs by bosses is for... *rubs eyes* blockchain engineers?!?

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: "A 2017 Stack Overflow survey singled out Perl as the most hated coding language"

There's some fun to be had in writing clever condensed stuff, see code golf. The more seductive route though is writing something and thinking, "actually I could get rid of that if..." and, before you know it, in the name of tidying you've reduced everything to a single code-executing regex. The trick to staying on the light side is keeping an eye on whether things are getting clearer or just smaller.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: "A 2017 Stack Overflow survey singled out Perl as the most hated coding language"

My favourite Perl game, since I write a reasonable amount of it, is writing clear, well-structured programs, and then chuckling quietly when people tell me Perl programs are incomprehensible as a whole. (See also Bash scripts, but not, apparently, Python, even if the specific code you're looking at seems to be spaghetti with branches that end in exceptions it's not possible that this is actually the case.)

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: WTF is a...

If it comes to that, what is a "Blockchain engineer"? Is there an accredited course I can take? Or possibly engineer just means "does stuff with" now...

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Infrastructure

Maybe Plan 9 can?

WWW = Woeful, er, winternet wendering? CERN browser rebuilt after 30 years barely recognizes modern web

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Not by hand

LyX is nice: write LaTeX without having to keep track of every last {}. I'd still be using it if I worked with people who were happy to use diff rather than track changes.

(Actually, maybe gitlab's pretty diff is good enough now, hmm...)

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: And the content has not improved since then.

Funny thing, they didn't routinely bake tablets. The Library of Nineveh was (partly) preserved by the fire that destroyed the palace, this was hot enough to bake them, allowing them to survive millenia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Ashurbanipal. The same fire also ruined many of the reliefs, limestone and gypsum not coping well with heat, so swings and roundabouts. A sample of the tablets is in the British Museum's Ashurbanipal exhibition (though it finishes this week I think). What's astonishing about them (other than their age) is how dense the information is, cuneiform really let scribes pack things together, so many of the tablets are surprisingly small.

(That exhibition also made very clear to me the reality of those gaps in translations of the Epic of Gilgamesh. They've got an example of each of the twelve tablets, which are, again, surprisingly small, and in some there'll simply be two pieces with a large triangular third fragment missing.)

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Surprised Gaelic speaking people haven't pointed this out

Q: How do you spell an Irish name (or surname)? A: However the owner tells you.

This is what most style guides suggest about any name (with a bit of variation on the subject of self-awarded titles).

To be fair to the rest of the English speaking world, the Irish monks settled on a way of using the Latin alphabet that is completely unlike any other.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: pro-Buffy flame war.

There's no war to be had as one is clearly wrong. We could debate the correct punishment; a stake through the heart might be thematically appropriate.

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin

ibmalone Silver badge

What's this "Sun" thing people keep mentioning?

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Innovative sundials?

It should be perfectly possible to make a sundial that glows in the dark too.

Using it to tell the time is a challenge, but you'd certainly be able to see it.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Innovative sundials?

Length of the shadow will give you this, but needs to be worked out for location. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundial#Nodus-based_sundials

Dratted hipster UX designers stole my corporate app

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: I'm hoping UX/responsive design is a phase

Since it's come up, I'm looking at the odd buttons on my browser top bar, I think I can see how they came about, and while you wouldn't call it skeumorphic, it's taken the worst part of that idea and thrown away the rest.

Hamburger: set of horizontal lines that opens a text menu. It's attempting to represent lines of text, click on it and you get the lines of text menu.

Vertical lines with one on the right slanted. On very close inspection they are unequal lengths. This opens bookmarks and history menu. It's a bookshelf! A very small one.

What both have in common is that once you know what they do, you can see what the idea behind it was. Of course by that point you don't need the obscure visual hint. They replicate real things, but in such an abstract way that they actually obscure their meaning. Funny thing about that skeumorphic calendar link, both have flaws, the skeumorphic example doesn't need fussy details like the clips, but it has richer information provided in using GUI elements to make it clear things can be interacted with and hinting about events that the 'clean' design lacks.

How's this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way

ibmalone Silver badge

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Needs pointing out...

As a very small child in London for the first time, I obviously pushed the emergency stop button on one of the long zone 1 tube station escalators. Not sure everyone was amused as I was.

Got to do again it many years later as an adult when someone fell over behind me while getting off one. Just lucky I'd been waiting for a second opportunity...

ibmalone Silver badge

Sure it's not worth giving one of them accoll?

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Buttons that you shouldn't press...

I received an urgent phone call from a colleague with the immortal words "There's been a bit of a cock-up".

If there is a silver lining to this kind of incident, it's the opportunity to come up with a truly memorable understatement. Make it good people!

Crypto crash leads to inventory pile-up at Nvidia, sales slaughtered

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Gambling on Crypto

You didn't hack Mt Gox by any chance?

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Easy get-out?

Reference to the singular includes the plural

...now tempted to comb through Acts to see if this leads to any loopholes. (But not tempted enough to actually do it. Was tempted enough to check and DPA 2018 doesn't have either statement, it uses "he or she" seemingly throughout. Possibly a retrofit for older legislation?)

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Hoots Mon

Homage to Catalonia anyone? (The region, not the book, but since we've got an Orwell theme going...)

Samsung Galaxy's flagship leaks ... don't matter much. Here's why

ibmalone Silver badge

reverse / buddy wireless charging

Can someone tell me what the use case for the reverse wireless charging feature phones are starting to have now is? I've seen others advertised with this. Is it: you've got a phone and always let the battery run down, you know someone else with a compatible phone who doesn't, they are frequently willing to lend you their phone for at least ten minutes (I'm assuming it's a pretty quick charge and you're not going for 100%) to donate some battery to you. And they have to be the people buying the phone for that feature.

(Charging your earbuds seems about the only plus here, or you could just use wired headphones that you wont need to charge and that this phone apparently does have a jack for.)

ibmalone Silver badge

We don't know yet I suppose, and leaked pictures can be mock-ups, but the GSM currently listed specs do also say it will have a 3.5mm jack. (Though since I read them I'm not sure what to believe...)

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: No jack, Jack.

Add to this:

Days when my bluetooth speakers inexplicably fail to connect and I can just plug in a cable instead of trying to sort it out there and then.

Headphones with 3.5mm jack at home, at work, earbud ones I keep in my jacket, hands-free (with mic) ones that live in my backpack. I do have bluetooth over-ear ones that are handy, but hardly want to carry them round all the time, and bluetooth sports ones for running, for which the battery lasts no time at all (and which don't satisfy the basic sports requirement of not trying to escape from your ears during exercise, but I'll concede that's not bluetooth related, never hard a better sports pair than some long-destroyed Sonys that clipped around the ear).

Ability to plug phone into stuff like my guitar amplifier or one of those little amplug things.

Ability to interchange all that kit between different phones, laptops, speakers without faffing around.

Ability to listen to sound without some protocol negotiation mishap introducing repeated clicking that needs you to go through a rigmarole of unpairing and pairing devices.

There's one advantage to bluetooth from a user's point of view: you don't have to deal with cables, so no tangling and you can still use a speaker with the phone in your pocket. (Actually, there's two, I can connect to my neighbours speakers at 3am and play Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, but that's beside the point.) Quality is not going to be better, if the stars align it might be as good (for example every item you own is Apple and all your sound sources are AAC). Sometimes that's worth it, sometimes it's not.

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

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Missing the obvious

Interesting thing about the highway code, there isn't a right of way, there's "give way to".

I'm not defending people riding through red lights, particularly if they stupid enough to do it while people are crossing, but if you're going out there with the attitude, "I'm in the right and I'm going to shove everyone out of the way," then you are a contributing factor to an accident. Are you able to take a timely measure to avoid them? If you're a road user then you should be thinking about avoiding accidents. Someone else is an idiot? Whether they're a cyclist or a bus driver you shouldn't be forcing an accident to punish them, it's not your job or your right.

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Missing the obvious

As you say, the pedestrian will take more damage in a collision, so it sounds very like the poster is pushing people off as they go past out of irritation, which is vigilantism, not self defence.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Linux desktop

Hardly irrelevant, if someone insists on using a legacy distro they shouldn't be surprised that getting cutting edge things working on it is hard. "'I want' doesn't get" as the saying goes. Was there any reasoning that went into it? The analogy with Windows is misleading, there are plenty of things that wont work with older versions, say you're running software that requires newer version of DirectX for example. At what stage does '"He wants to" is good enough' become silly? Mac Classic maybe? BeOS? Linux 1.0 kernel? Eventually you've got to let go of the past...

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Linux desktop

Why is an average office employee using RHEL6?

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Linux desktop

Essentially anyone who has been running RHEL6 in recent years should be well aware that its libraries are ancient. I'm certainly painfully aware of that fact (we've had an upgrade to RHEL7 on our very long to-do list for some time. That's partly the point of it.

The rest is just a noisy rant, the whole point of FOSS and distros is you use the software built for your system. Anyone with good reason to be still running RHEL6 should be more than capable of building their own software for it. The real pain comes when library versions have changed sufficiently to make even that difficult, which is at heart the reason recent software will be packaged for recent libraries.

How I got horizontal with a gimp and untangled his cables

ibmalone Silver badge

Re: Pictures or it didn't.......

Running shorts are usually not that tight. Remarkably short sometimes, but not conforming. Even my UA ones have a fairly loose outer.

Maybe the shorts in question were a bit more... specialist?

Page:

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019