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* Posts by Martin Gregorie

811 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

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Turn that bachelor pad into a touch pad: Now you can paint buttons, sensors on your walls

Martin Gregorie
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Some finishes considered harmful

Its probably not a good idea to use a pale coloured, matt paint on those walls.

If you do, then it won't be long before everybody can find your light switches and other favourite touchpoints by spotting the greasy patches.

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Hello DARKNESS, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again... about a 10,000-pixel alien-hunting camera

Martin Gregorie
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Re: 10,000 pixels?

Seems a reasonable enough resolution for what appears to be the first DARKNESS sensor to be fitted to a telescope. Besides, its a good idea to keep the physical size down if you're going to make it very, very cold because this saves on the refrigeration bill as well as making the package easier to install in the limited space around the focus of even a big telescope.

The detector is 80x125 pixels, which, with each pixel being 150 micrometers across, makes the sensor about 18 x 12 mm - thats very comparable with the sensor in a modern bridge camera, though with a resolution that's 1200 times less. That looks bad until you realise that DARKNESS is meant to work in the 700nm - 1um wavelength band, which is about 5.6 times longer wavelength than the bridge camera's sensor has to cope with and so needs a correspondingly larger pixel - roughly 30 times larger for reasonable sensitivity. IOW this is comparing an optical sensor with over 20 years development behind it to the first DARKNESS sensor that's expected to do real work, so I reckon its actually pretty damn good.

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Facebook faces foe formation in facial fingering fight

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Watch-out

FarceBoob have been doing this, or something like it, for longer than you might think.

The domain fbcdn.net in that URL belongs to them. Scanning URIs in my e-mail archive shows that it started to appear in 2009. Whois shows that the domain was registered to FB in 2007.

The examples I've found in e-mails have all been part of a URL pointing to an image somewhere in the depths of the FB-plex and so, by implication, can be used to connect you to the FB user who sent the e-mail. This linkage presumably will be added to the data they sell whether you're a FB user or not and does not depend on you appearing in the image. Bastards.

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France wants you to put lights and beacons on your drone

Martin Gregorie
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Blanketing ATC screens with drone details is unlikely

The feed to ATC screens tends to be filtered as a matter of course. Originally this was done to remove stationary ground clutter from radar displays, but was quickly extended to allow removal of returns from anything travelling slower than a user-selected speed, e.g. flocks of gulls. I think you'll find this type of filter is pretty much standard in secondary radar as well. Secondary radar only shows the result of interrogating transponders carried by aircraft and is a direct development from the IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems developed during WW2 to let radar operators to distinguish their aircraft from enemy ones.

Drones carrying the French system won't show up on existing ATC screens because these don't monitor the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. At present ATC doesn't monitor FLARM or Pilot-Aware transmissions either, though this is starting to change.

ATC is quite likely to start monitoring a drone conspicuity band if its use becomes mandatory and airspace incursions continue to happen, so whether they do this is probably dependent on the good behaviour of the drone-flying community and their ability to control maverick operators. However, its very likely that any such monitor system would only display details of drones that violate controlled airspace or are in class G airspace and above 120m.

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Having ended America's broadband woes, the FCC now looks to space

Martin Gregorie
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@JLV

That this was the US ISP/cable/broadband service providers reminding the FCC commissioners that they control their retirement benefits seems obvious, but I don't think the Swarm bothers them so much as Musk's much more ambitious high-speed satellite network. If this gets off the ground all the low-speed US broadband and TV networks will be toast.

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Virgin spaceplane makes maiden rocket-powered flight

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Hello Concorde!

I was working in NYC in the mid '70s - about the time there was a twofer on offer: one way on QE2 and the other way on Concorde.

I could probably have afforded it, but decided instead to spend somewhat less on driving a Landrover from London to Kathmandhu and back. As that took 10 months and included driving right round India plus a train ride to Darjeeling and an Annapurna trek it was the certainly the better choice.

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Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?

Martin Gregorie
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Re: An even better question

OF COURSE the original Star Wars was space fantasy, or as we used to say, Space Opera. Very carefully written too, with no cliche left unturned - everything from the lone space-travelling youth from a backwoods farm planet who makes good, through fights in a space bar while the band plays on, to spaceships that go WOOOSH past you in space (where nobody can hear you scream) and space fighters dogfighting like WW1 aces. You had to have read lots of pulp SF to fully appreciate the original film. It was a truly wonderful piss-take of the whole guns 'n BEMs 'n galactic empires 'n fearless spacemen genre. Unfortunately, the usual Hollywood drones got loose on the sequels and degraded them into the usual hohum product.

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Martin Gregorie
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Re: Films - meh

I did it the other way round (book then film) and thought the film was a travesty of the book, especially some of the effects. The sandworms and ornithopters were especially crap. But Herbert was an very inconsistent writer. I tried to read the second Dune novel but slung it on discovering that the Face Dancers were such a powerful group that they could not have existed without being a visible part of society in Dune. I read quite a few of his other books and disliked a lot, quite apart from Dune II onwards. Eyes of Heisenberg, Santaroga Barrier and Hellstrom's Hive were also crap, but Dragon In The Sea and Destination: Void wer very good.

"Dragon In The Sea" is the only one of his books I've kept. Its also the one I really wish somebody would film. It would make a superb low budget, claustrophobic whodunnit along similar lines to some of Hitchcock's best.

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Holy helmets, Batman! Bane-like mask lets you 'talk' to computers without making a sound

Martin Gregorie
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Medical use

Pity this didn't appear a year or two back. It would have been interesting to see if it could have helped Stephen Hawking.

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'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Damn

Buy yourself a domain name and have the domain name registrar host it. Set it to redirect mail to whoever provides your mail service and tell your friends to send e-mail via your domain name. From then on you'll never have to tell everybody about a new e-mail address again.

I've been using this approach since the early naughties and have seamlessly moved ISP (both email and webhosting) during this time.

Cost depends on the domain name you choose, i.e. co.uk, org.uk, me.uk and .uk at around £8 a year are all cheaper than .com and .org (£12 - £13) a year including e-mail forwarding and web redirection.

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UK.gov: We're not regulating driverless vehicles until others do

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Good call

But there's a problem: merely by writing an AEV bill they've implicitly locked autonomous vehicles into the same cage as electric ones. That just seems like an unnecessary step to take at this stage. Two separate bills seems like a better plot.

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Recording Industry Ass. says vinyl and CD sales beat digital downloads

Martin Gregorie
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What about the artists?

Mildly interesting article, but what about money going to performers, song writers and composers?

When you consider that the "music industry" would not exist without the folks who write and perform music, not mentioning whether the move from downloads to disk purchase and streaming helps or harms them is a surprising omission.

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Prez Trump's $60bn China tariff plan to hit tech, communications, aerospace industries

Martin Gregorie
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Re: ... China does not play by the same rules ...

Look up what Charles Dickens and other 19th century authors thought of the American attitude to copyright and, if you're American, say that again with a straight face.

To a large extent what's happened with China can be traced directly back to the total trade embargo placed on it in the 50s and 60s following the Korean War. When I was in University in the mid/late 60s one of our lecturers visited China (and got vilified in our papers for going to see what they were doing). I was at a talk he gave afterwards. The main point he made was that the embargo gave a huge boost to Chinese manufacturing. I remember him saying that all their older lab equipment carried European and American brands, but all their new stuff was Chinese made and was doing the job. He also said that the embargo had two effects: apart from pissing them off, it also made them determined to never again be dependent on foreign technology.

So, regardless of what you think of the Chinese following the 19th century American model of IP theft, its obvious that, far from damaging the Chinese, the 50s/60s trade embargo was the kick start that made them into an industrial nation. Now add in the US Corporate fixation on driving down costs by outsourcing manufacture to the cheapest bidder while ignoring the fact that if you don't pay local workers a decent wage they can't afford your products, and the current situation looks, um, inevitable.

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Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today

Martin Gregorie
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Re: OK, that's it!

That's easy: the man who funded both the CA startup and the Brexit campaign.

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He He He: Seagate's gasbag Exos spinner surges up to 14TB

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Limits?

Not even close to hawg-calling distance.

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China to offer recoverable satellites-as-a-service

Martin Gregorie
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Because its getting damn crowded up there.

The planned constellations of several thousand micro-sats must have an impact on other launches as these try to find a launch window that suits the mission objectives while avoiding the risk of hitting a micro-sat. If you were to point out that launching one of these mega-constellations looks downright selfish and totally inconsiderate of other satellite users I would not disagree.

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Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

We used a burster and trimmer, which separated the sheets and cut the perfs off at the same time, but I digress...

One of our clients (I used to work in an ICL service bureau) supplied input data on paper tape. This arrived as several pieces of tape, each rolled up, end of tape outside, start inside with a rubber band round it to stop it unrolling. So, the first thing our computer operators did was to remove the band, dump the tape in a bin and wind it up again so the start leader was on the outside. This was done with a tape winder clamped on the bin.

One day the client had run out of rubber bands and used a bit of sellotape to keep one of the rolls from unrolling. It was thrown in the bin and rewound as usual, but the operator forgot to remove the bit of tape from what was now the end of the roll.

Result: the tape shot through the 1000 cps reader as usual, but the tape on its end stuck to the reader's capstan and promptly sucked a metre or two of tape back into the reader's close fitting, transparent cover jamming the thing solid. It took the engineers an hour to work out how to remove the wedged-on cover without breaking it, get the paper tape clear of the reader, and allow the operators to feed in the rest of the tapes.

I think we were all startled at the amount of tape that reader had managed to cram into itself: it had a remarkably powerful drive motor.

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You always wanted to be an astronaut, right? Careful: Space is getting more and more deadly

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Sloppy

That makes sense to me, particularly the correlation between solar cycles and cosmic rays, which I already knew about. I know any change is unlikely to be purely variations in 'solar radiation' since the sun is at most a 0.5% variable star.

This article combines sloppy reporting with lack of clarity in its text for sure, but how good is the underlying study? I've never heard of Nathan Schwadron before: I'm certain I'd remember his name if I had.

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Google to 'forget me' man: Have you forgotten what you said earlier?

Martin Gregorie
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@at anon

As far as I can see, that is not even remotely being considered.

It would appear that the actual document(s) found by a search are not about to be deleted or changed in any way either, just that they will not appear in the results of any search that includes the name of FORGET_ME as an explicit search term.

But even so it will be tricky to implement since, while a search like "FRAUD FORGET_ME" must clearly exclude any stories about frauds in which Mr FORGET_ME was involved, searches for "CRICKET+FORGET_ME" should not be affected by the right to be forgotten and might (possibly) include stories in which fraud was mentioned in passing because the person making the enquiry presumably wanted everything he could find about the gentleman's cricketing history.

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Rant launches Eric Raymond's next project: open-source the UPS

Martin Gregorie
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You gets what you pays for with UPS

I have to take slight issue with ESR, but I'm in the UK and believe that our National Grid is in somewhat better repair than the USAian one.

Bottom line: the real cheap UPSes are junk, just as his rant says, but if you work out sensible requirements and look round a bit you'll find a UPS that meets all of ESR's criteria and does what you want it to do, though not at a rock-bottom price.

Back in September 2014, and in the face of a few power flicks that had dumped my house server (which has a soft-touch power switch - these seem specially designed to turn OFF if they see even a microsecond of mains loss). Fortunately none of these corrupted the disks, but I decided that, given the Governmental unwillingness to deal with ageing generating stations and rising power requirements (think charging electric cars and the giant whole-wall flatscreen tellies that the average consumer apparently must have) that a UPS would be a good idea, so I started to look for one.

The problem: I wanted a UPS that could support my house server (30-50 watts on average) during a power loss of 5-10 mins (most power glitches are shorter than this) plus enough time for the server to shut down cleanly once it had been told to do so by the UPS. Not what I'd consider to be exactly hard to do.

ESR was partly right: this was completely beyond the 'UPSs' sold by Amazon and friends at the time.

These couldn't run my server that long, let alone do anything else. In particular, they couldn't tell the server to shut down before it drained their batteries. This was the killer: any UPS that can't do this is just junk.

So, I widened my search.

I ended up paying 300 quid for a lowish spec Riello and got a piece of kit that does everything ESR (and myself) wants. It can run my server for up to 50 minutes. It has a UPS monitoring server process that runs under Linux and is easily configurable to do what I needed: shut down the server after a total power loss of more than 5 minutes.

The end result is that this Rielllo box comfortably exceeds ESR's requirements. It has a very nice LCD display that shows current status and gives direct manual control of it. The UPS monitoring server does everything ESR and I want and maintains a UPS event log. I have always run the UPS with the batteries in circuit. It uses a pair of 12v 7Ah SLA batteries. These are currently being reported as being in better condition than similar batteries I use in my glider and that get slung after 3-4 years when their annual test says they've lost 30% of the original capacity. The UPS's internal fans are no noiser than the server it powers, so quite suitable for domestic use.

Revised bottom line: after 3.5 years the Riello UPS is still reporting that its original batteries have plenty of capacity to do what the UPS is configured to do.

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Jupiter has the craziest storms seen yet, say boffins

Martin Gregorie
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Re: So we've finally found..

But with that said I'd still like to see god disproven or even proven.

If we're living inside a simulation of the universe there's a good case to be made for its project manager being god, team members being the angels and the devil a team member who was sacked for insubordination or goofing off.

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Neo4j graph database boss: 'The mainstream is always under attack'

Martin Gregorie
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Yawn

Sounds more like somebody rediscovered IDMS, which was popular in the 1980s, rather than inventing anything new.

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UK peers: Is this what you call governance of facial recog tech? A 'few scattered papers'!

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Fight back

It won't be any spark from the general public. It will be the first time an MP or Minister gets nicked in error, so don't hold your breath.

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Knock, knock. Whois there? Get ready for anonymized email addresses after domain privacy shake-up

Martin Gregorie
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A bit more protection for the black hats

Most of the time I don't use 'whois' - except when I want a bit more information to decide if a dodgy looking email that got past Spamassassin is spam or contains dodgy links. However, using the combination of:

* a quick look at the sender and/or embedded domain name with 'whois'

* feeding the domain name through 'host' to get its IP

* feeding the IP back through 'host' to see if it references the original domain.

will often give useful clues about the malignancy quotient of an email and is quick to do.

If GDPR succeeds in making this information inaccessible without providing a replacement malignancy test tool I, for one, shall be extremely pissed off.

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Paul Allen's six-engined monster plane prepares for space deliveries

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Virgin Galactic delays

It is made by Scaled Composites, but IIRC Burt Rutan retired a year or two ago. I suppose he got bored in retirement and this BFA looked like an interesting project.

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Inviting nearby exoplanet revealed as radiation-baked hell

Martin Gregorie
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In today's dumbed-down new media era of anti-science and mistrust of experts and scientists, it seems to me that New Scientist has dumbed down so far that they are fast approaching red top status - from the wrong side.

Can't talk about the others (don't read 'em and I gave up on Scientific American decades ago when its gobbledegook quotient hit 100%), but New Scientist has definitely taken a turn for the better since it exited from the Reed Group. Prior to that I was planning to cancel my subscription, but those plans are now on hold pending an ongoing review.

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Sheer luck helped prevent mid-air drone glider prang in Blighty

Martin Gregorie
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Kites to only 120m at an optimal place?

Rather necessary. If you're at or above 153m you're infringing controlled airspace and likely to be in deep dodo if you or your toys are spotted there. Luton have decent radar.

I've flown at Dunstable and, consequently, know that London Gliding Club standing rules are that you do not go past the top of the ridge, which forms the southeast edge of the airfield and is where the kite fliers were standing, because the Luton Class D CTR (controlled airspace) is not far beyond it and extends from the surface to 5000ft. The CTR is a no-fly zone unless you're under ATC control. Northwest of the ridge the Class D airspace forms a shelf, with a lower limit of 500ft, that extends most of the way to Leighton Buzzard.

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EU aviation agency publishes new drone framework. Hobbyists won't like it

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Drone makers rush

Seems fairly reasonable to me.

Model flying hat on:

Members of BMFA affiliated clubs should be able to continue flying as at present, and presumably to operate small drones on the club fiend if the club allows it.

Recreational pilot hat on:

The insistence on height limiting systems and unique serial numbers for larger drones is also good. If enforced, these rules mean that I and my fellow pilots are unlikely to meet a drone thats big/heavy enough to cause damage except in a forced landing scenario or in the final stages of landing at a known airfield, which, if it has a published ATZ, is a place where drone operation is already forbidden. However, there is still a potential problem around small private airfields, farm airstrips, microlite and gliding clubs. At least the ID number rules may give us a chance of catching persistent offenders.

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Huawei guns for Apple with Mac-alike Matebook X

Martin Gregorie
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Beat me to the Linux question: I came to the comments section just to ask it.

FWIW I'm currently running Fedora 27 on a Lenovo T400 - best laptop I've had and Fedora 'just works' on it. The large (for me) 1600 x 900 display is very nice too.

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We've built a 4G drone tracking system, beams Vodafone

Martin Gregorie
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On discovering a problem break the glass

AC speculated that on ramming a geofence or losing contact with home, the Vodacopta would land regardless of where it was. Its far more likely that it will return to base - that capability is built into most drones and is also part of the Voda system.

Its interesting that Voda have something that can and is being field tested. This is a marked contrast to Altitude Angel, who have been talking up their drone solution[*] since 2015, but still don't seem to have anything testable apart from a cloudy map showing airspace and NOTAMS and an app to view it with.

[*] with claims of autonomous navigation, beyond LOS operation, geofence awareness and collision avoidance for other drones though not, apparently for GA and other Class G airspace users.

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NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

Martin Gregorie
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Re: I really hate that man

H.L Mencken has been proved spectacularly right. If you don't know what I'm on about, look here:

https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/h_l_mencken

What you're looking for is in the middle of the first row.

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Facebook smartmobe app's pre-ticked privacy settings violate German data protection law

Martin Gregorie
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Another thing I'm waiting to see is the much more common appearance of a 'Delete my Account' button on the account details page of websites that require users to login.

It seems to me that this is needed for compliance with the GDPR Right To Be Forgotten clause, but so far I don't remember seeing it on any website I use regularly. Of course, its reasonable for a website to refuse to action this button while there are outstanding transactions or where the account balance is non-zero, but I can't think of any other reasonable exceptions to immediate deletion of the account and all personally identifiable details in it.

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See that over Heathrow? It's not an airliner – it's a Predator drone

Martin Gregorie
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It would seem that fully autonomous flight is still quite some way in the future. Its well worth watching this:

https://vimeo.com/159496346

to see why. The video is a talk to American Airlines flight crew by a training captain and is about the failings of flight automation and of the problems it can cause when flight crew become too reliant on it. Its about 25 mins long and well worth watching, especially as the training captain is using his personal experience to illustrate several points.

Apart from giving a good insight into flying modern airliners, it made me wonder about the current headlong rush into self-driving cars.

As well as highlighting the obvious problems of the car suddenly saying "Problems, Boss: YOU HAVE CONTROL" to a daydreaming, sleeping (or snogging) driver who has consequently lost situational awareness, its descriptions of how automated control systems can get things dangerously wrong, even in the relatively benign environment of controlled airspace, made me wonder if self-driving cars will ever be safe except (maybe) on a motorway.

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Elon Musk's Tesla burns $675.3m in largest ever quarterly loss

Martin Gregorie
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Re: "I expect to remain CEO for the foreseeable future"

Well we know how bad he is at predicting the future.

Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.

- Niels Bohr

....my favourite quote.

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Bzzzt! If you're in one of these four British cities, that was a drone

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Humm

Nossir. Not even slightly.

The London CTR is SFC-2500 ft on the 2017 ICAO 1:500,000 chart and the 2018 chart has not yet been published. This means that anything flying inside it MUST have explicit permission from the control center and must obey all applicable instructions from it.

The same will apply to all other class D airspace in the UK and other EASA countries.

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Buzzzz... gulp. What the heck was that? Drone air traffic app maker swallows $4.5m

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Safe drone use...

IIRC Altitude Angel's product is meant to let drones be flown beyond LOS, as they'd need to be to fulfill Amazon's drone delivery service and the various power cable and pipeline inspection tasks that have been suggested.

As far as I can see, their current offering is little more than a database containing permanently restricted airspace and NOTAMs plus an app and a mapping display tool that let users query the database and graphically display the results of a query.

Beyond that, there are rather vague plans covering everything from geofencing to some sort of sense-and-avoid systems to allow multiple drones to operate in the same airspace. However, I still see no hint of how this is going to provide the collision avoidance services needed to keep drones separated from General Aviation users of Class G airspace, let alone extending it to include controlled airspace like the London CTR. By General Aviation I mean recreational pilots in light planes, microlites, gliders, balloons and, of course, police, military and emergency service aircraft - many of whom do not carry collision avoidance systems and are not in receipt of traffic advisory services. This part of Altitude Angel's offering hasn't changed since they first launched the company and still seems to be ignored by them.

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F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus

Martin Gregorie
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Re: I can understand....

That flight control software, UI's etc. unique to a new aircraft may need a bit of fixing once it meets real life.

However, the thing that really puzzles me is why is it written in C++? This is a genuine question: I thought all US Milspec software had to be written in Ada.

So, when was that directive cancelled? Or was it simply ignored like tried and tested project management methodologies seem to have been?

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Firefox to emit ‘occasional sponsored story’ in ads test

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Bye Bye

Palemoon is fine by me, especially now it has the "Cookie Exterminator" extension running alongside Ublock Origin.

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GOLD! Always believe in your role. You've got the power to know you're indestructible...

Martin Gregorie
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Re: The start of a trend?

the sats have to be at latitudeslongitudes far enough apart to get each one at least 120 degrees FoV.

FIFY

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Trans-Pacific Partnership returns, without Trump but more 'comprehensive'

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Ask Liam Fox

And both sets of Brexiteers don't seem to realise that, just as leaving the Single Market is likely to have a big impact on trade with Europe, so the TPP is even more likely to impact trade with the TPP member countries.

Apart from anything else, many of the TPP members are or were Commonwealth members and will remember how the UK dumped them without a second thought when it joined the EEC.

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'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature

Martin Gregorie
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Or maybe someone wants the countermeasures to STAY disabled by default? .... and maybe that somebody told Intel and AMD to build that flaw into the silicon in the first place?

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Martin Gregorie
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Re: I Remember When...

"It's a feature not a bug" was more usually rephrased as "A feature is a documented bug" and the fix was to rewrite the relevant manual pages. This was a commonly heard phrase back when the mainframe was king in both IBM and ICL programming teams.

I've personally been there and reported one of these bugs: the ICL 2900 IDMSX database had an error in handling ordered sets containing more than one record type. These were linked by key within record type instead of, as the manual said, in key sequence regardless of record type. We raised a bug and waited.... Eventually a new IDMSX release appeared in which the only change was to the manual page. We were not amused.

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HTML5 may as well stand for Hey, Track Me Longtime 5. Ads can use it to fingerprint netizens

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Anyone test-driven Brave or Vivaldi browsers etc?

I tried Vivaldi when it first came out, but didn't like it a lot: I like more control of the fonts, font sizes and controls than it gives and found its text size zoom profoundly irritating. It was part of the Fedora default install for a long time, so I kept trying it and deciding it was still not what I wanted. Then, a year or so ago its Fedora package vanished. I've ignored it since then.

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Martin Gregorie
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Re: Bar-stewards

I think anything that severely restricts cookie lifetimes is useful.

I'm achieving the same thing, but without having to restart the browser all the time by using the Cookies Exterminator add-on. This auto deletes cookies, localStorage and IndexedDB objects as soon as they become unused. I see it burst into life each time I leave a website. Its configurable enough to not delete stuff left by nominated sites.

There are other add-ons that do more or less the same thing, though there may be tricks that the add-on of your choice doesn't know about. All I can say is that I haven't (yet) spotted anything the Exterminator should have deleted but didn't.

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Destroying the city to save the robocar

Martin Gregorie
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Re: Obviously the solution is....

For automated cars to work properly and not constantly be gamed by human drivers then all manually driven cars would have to be banned from the roads.

This is the big problem that all the autonomous car advocates forget: for a significant number of us, a roar vehicle that can't be manually driven and/or can't tow (and park) a trailer is completely and utterly useless. Examples:

  • as a glider pilot, I need to be able to retrieve my mates if they land out. This means towing their trailer off road into the field they landed in and positioning it in front of the glider while the glider is derigged, loaded into its trailer and then towed home in its trailer.
  • Sailors will have similar requirements when launching and landing their boats

Even if trailers are not involved, there are everyday uses of road vehicles where their use becomes impossible if they can't be manually driven:

  • Model fliers need to drive off road too: club flying fields and sites major competitions are all off the road system and lack the markings and curbs an autonomous car will need to be parked
  • Visitors need to park at National Trust or English heritage sites: its unreasonable to expect them to pay for building car parks suitable for automatic parking.
  • Emergency services will be unable to operate if all road-using vehicles are forced to become autonomous.

...and there are doubtless many other cases where the ability to drive a road vehicle manually is a necessity.

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ITU aims to to keep the radio on with new satellite regulation fees

Martin Gregorie
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Joke

Re: 1,000 Satellites?!?

Has anybody calculated the LEO satellite population needed to guarantee a 1% chance of collision with a new launch?

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Heathrow Airport's local council prohibits drone flights from open spaces

Martin Gregorie
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This is totally unsurprising

A quick look at the ICAO 500,000 scale aeronautical chart for Southern England and Wales shows that both Heathrow and Northolt are both well inside the London CTR, which is class D controlled airspace from the surface to 2500 ft. In short, nothing should be flying there without explicit permission and that includes drones and model aircraft.

This isn't a new regulation either: London CTR has been in effect and about the same size for at least a decade and has been class D airspace since July 2014.

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Cabinet reshuffle leaves UK digital policy and GDS rudderless. And now the news...

Martin Gregorie
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Re: re: PPE Grads

What - are they even more useless than MBAs?

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Indian data leak looks to have been an inside job

Martin Gregorie
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Cheepnis

Don't forget that 500INR is roughly 6 quid. Sounds like a pathetically low cost for corruption, even in India.

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