* Posts by Alan Brown

6307 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

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

Alan Brown
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Re: Tenacity

"When my washing machine borked a month after the warranty ran out"

Unlike spacecraft you're covered by various consumer rights laws in the EU. Even if the warranty is only 12 months, if it broke down like that you'd expect pro-rata repeair cover or trading standards would get involved.

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Kaspersky launches its own OS on Russian routers

Alan Brown
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Re: Secure router, vulnerable SCADA & ICS behind ?

"There have been rumors of NSA/CIA activities where they've i.e. intercepted routers being shipped to a hostile country to install backdoors before that though"

Usually by installing a custom boomloader.

It's not such a bad idea to reinstall the entire OS and bootloader when you receive your router. It might not get rid of all the NSA spyware but it should help (and you can at least obtain MD5sums/SHA256 of such things to compare with the published ones)

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Alan Brown
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Re: True microkernel approach?

"The past objection to the micro-kernel approach was the performance penalty of switching in/out of ring-0 to do serious stuff."

In order to be able to switch in/out of ring0, you must have a CPU that's designed to allow it. X86 is not that CPU.

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Alan Brown
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Um....

VRP is linux, IOS is a trainwreck of stuff cisco's borged and jammed together.

It sounds like Kaspersky is reinventing QNX

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'NSA' hack okshun woz writ by Inglish speeker trieing to hyde

Alan Brown
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Re: Sir

WRT language structure, US/UK/NZ/AU/ZA idiom is one thing, but the idiom and structure of other versions of "native english" show clear influences of other regional languages.

If you know what you're looking for this makes spotting the lads from Lagos pretty easy, but it's interesting that there's a fair overlap between them and eastern european english.

The telling thing (as mentioned) was random grammatical errors. People tend to be consistent in their misapplication of structures - but the sentence specifically picked out is what I'd expect to see in southeast asian former colonies. :)

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Crims share vulns but vendors don't. This needs fixing

Alan Brown
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laziness

“Attackers tend to re-use their technologies,” McNeely said. “If they work out something in a point-of-sale system, they try it again and again.

That's because vendors have a nasty tendency to only patch THAT bug, not all the other ones lurking in the codebase that use the same routines.

It usually takes repeated LARTing and unfortunately these lazy vendors are the same ones who will refuse to work with security researchers after the 3rd or so bug report is submitted in response to them patching an old one.

Submitting multiple bugs in the first report is likely to result in messenger-shooting - is it any wonder whitehats give up and just say "I told you so" when the inevitable happens? Perhaps liability insurers should setup their own reporting hotlines so that they can refuse to provide cover to vendors who don't issue patches in a timely manner.

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Gaze in awe at Elon Musk’s historic 156-foot erection

Alan Brown
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Re: Nice to see things put into perspective

" Bezos showed it was technically feasible which is very important in its own right."

DC-X showed that 20 years ago. Bezos is good at sounding his own trumpet but a sounding rocket is not particularly innovative.

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Australia threatens to pull buckets of astronomy funding

Alan Brown
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Re: glad I left

The bad news is that it's not much better anywhere else (and those places which are currently better are being dragged down to this level by their own self-interested politicians.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Thus continues...

> There isn't one!

Yes there is, he's over in the corner pointing the bone at anyone he feels is criticising him.

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You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh

Alan Brown
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It burns badly enough that the offending backup software should be named and shamed.

FWIW most such "encryption" is trivial and you tend to find that the "key" is either the DOS FS serial number or the ethernet MAC.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Useless backups

"rusty steel cupboards"

Yup. BTDT. The amazing thing is how frequently IT management refuse to spend money on doing backups right until you run a few quiet queries further up the food chain about what the cost of extended downtime of critical services would be (the usual answer is "It would break the company")

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Alan Brown
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Re: When life imitates art...

"Ejecting the DVD drive was easier than painfully tracking all the cables."

Labelling the fecking things avoids the issue in the first place - using labels that won't fall off.

Brother TZe-S641 label cassettes for the equipment (sticks well) and TZe-FX641 for cables (other colour combos are available) are worth buying and can be obtained for far less than the £25 apiece that Brother flog 'em for.

If you have "problems" with people removing labels, then "security" labels will dissuade that practice (TZ-SE4)

Dymo, Brady and others all sell similar labelling systems. Whatever you have make sure you have a good stock of tapes and a labeller in every area (they're not particularly expensive compared with having to trace cables) or people won't do it.

My estimate is that it costs about 8p/label.

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Alan Brown
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Re: When life imitates art...

"wasn't much help as the switches were in a room 20 metres away and the cabling for it (5 long Cat5 leads ziptied together) went into the space above the ceiling tiles"

That's where one of these (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKgzPYNu6-g) comes in handy.

There are a bunch of tracers on the market with greater and lessor ranges. If truly lost, invest in a Cat and Genny. These are somewhat bulky in a server room but if you know how to use them properly you can tell where a cable is in the wall/floor/ceiling/ground and _how far_ buried it is (it's nice to know "6 inches vs "10 feet")

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Alan Brown
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Re: Replace tape

"THIS DRIVE CONTAINED SO MUCH DIRT"

I just pulled a DLT drive off the bottom shelf in a room which meets this description.

The room itself was fairly clean. People forget that drives are in cases with fans and that tends to suck every bit of airborne dust available into the case.

Rather fine dust, finer than talc, over a 15 year period....

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Alan Brown
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Re: Replace tape

The good thing about packages like Bacula is that they actually READ the tape before writing to ensure people haven't pulled that kind of stunt.

(They also use a database which contains SHA256 and exact location of every file on every tape so restoring XYZ file doesn't mean having to run hours of restores, AND you can tell when the file last changed.)

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Banking system SWIFT was anything but on security, ex-boss claims

Alan Brown
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> managers who were acquiring bodies in order to impress their next employer with the size of their present team

This happens a lot in civil service (featherbedding). Managers do it because the more people they have under them the higher their pay and the better their pensions

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London cops hunt for drone pilots who tried dropping drugs into jail

Alan Brown
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Re: Time for Trebuchets!

"Quadcopters make a furious whining sound and attract attention"

Yes, I've been wondering about this. Moving to ducted fans would make them much quieter and probably solve parasitic blade tip loss issues.

BTW the standard used for a military trebuchet was to throw the heads of captured soldiers back at their mates, or to toss dead/stinking carcasses into beseiged cities. Biological warfare, etc. They were never accurate enough to use as general purpose weapons.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Solution - Netting

"maybe the phones are the bigger issue"

The vast majority of prisoners smuggle phones into prisons to keep in contact with the families, thanks to extortionate payphone charges and difficulty of accessing same (profiteering is too kind a term).

Fix that and the powers-that-be could concentrate on crims who use phones in jail for more nefarious purposes.

As for the drugs: There's a more general problem there and the driving force behind the drugs war is "profit" - when you know that a medical knockout dose of cocaine is less than 50p but can sell on the street for upwards of 50 pounds you realise there are people willing to take risks for that kind of markup.

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Sex ban IT man loses appeal – but judge labels order 'unpoliceable'

Alan Brown
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Re: downvote here

Precrime kind of exists.

Various police departments have found that by predicting where trouble is most likely to happen and putting patrols in that area at that time, it generally doesn't. Just the presence of police is enough to disrupt criminal behaviour in most cases

Unfortunately this doesn't get recorded as arrests so isn't called a success by politicians who "must get tough on crime"

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Alan Brown
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Re: Free Movement will stay

"All in all, even if a Brexit actually happens, any new deal will almost certainly still contain Free Movement."

Except that Free movement comes with Free Trade and having to accept all EU conditions.

In other words, under such circumstances the only thing gained would be a lot of extra paperwork and loss of any influence in the EU parliament. (As previously noted this may be a good thing given the more looney EU rules are driven by the UK.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Simple is best

"You're forgetting about NI"

Given that 10 out of the 12 NI counties voted "remain" by substantial margin and the other 2 only "exit" by a little bit (and they're not the most populous counties): It's entirely possible tor NI to trigger its right to vote to rejoin the Irish Republic. The interesting question is whether it can do this on a county-by-county basis in the same way that rejecting being part of the republic happened in the first place.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Let's hope

> One of the 12 "loosers" offered qualified "7 out of 10" support for the EU

I'm pretty sure that most of the "losers" felt that way, but that it was better in than out.

Nobody said it was perfect but being outside the EU and having terms dictated to us is likely the worst possible outcome - that said, at least the UK government will no longer be able to push through EU laws despite opposition from other countries then enthusiastically enact them here whilst blaming "them barnpots in Brussells" for forcing them to do so.

The interesting part is that many of the nastier laws that UK.gov has managed to ram through and then enact here (zero-hours, etc) are likely to be pulled in the EU and then end up having to be repealed here to retain trading agreements with the EU - meaning that our workers will end up with better protection because UK.gov would no longer have the ability to force the EU's hand.

On that aspect it might appear the Neocon agenda pushing the Brexit vote has shot itself in the foot.

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USA streamlines visa for visiting Australian tech workers

Alan Brown
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"being an overt bible basher demanded everyone worship their way also receives short shrift"

Bring an overt in-your-face bible basher in Australia may result in someone deciding that your face is the part that needs bashing - especially if you don't take it out of their face.

Australians are remarkably tolerant for the most part but trying to jam religion down anyone's throat after being told to stop is a fast way of ending up bruised.

FWIW, various religious groups have trumpeted church-attending christianity rates of around 30% in Australia and New Zealand but digging a little further into their "stats" finds that weddings/funerals/christenings and other "social" events are all counted for an attendance requirement of twice a year (as are easter/christmas services) - The real figure is probably lower than 5%.

IE: Australia & NZ are a couple of those almost completely secular "atheist hellholes" the religious nutters rave about and they like it that way. The general population also don't like it when people refuse to integrate with the greater population and will take steps to try and ensure they do.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update completely borks USB webcams. Yay.

Alan Brown
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Re: The beginning of the end

> (IBM) Hell, they more or less invented the desktop mass market.

But it only took off when clones appeared.

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Alan Brown
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"this was planned behaviour, so the question is , what exactly is M$ upto?"

I can see where they're coming from. It's an attempt to lighten CPU load by avoiding having multiple pieces of software unpick a mpeg stream. The problem is that they didn't think it entirely through.

I can see the point of not providing a virtual interface for legacy software (forces devs to adapt) but it breaks a shitload of old software.

Like the rollout of XPsp2 firewalling, this is a good idea but was bound to cause disruption. They should have telegraphed it better.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Windows 10 = Windows Vista

Make no mistake. Vista _was_ bloated, but it was the last of the major bloatware.

Up to that point MS was working on the basis that memory and cpu power would always increase so there was zero need to optimise anything. It was the rise of netbooks which torpedoed this strategy as Vista either wouldn't install on them or was so painfully slow noone would put up with it (2Gb was the practical minimum for XP once AV software is loaded and you want to run Office apps, 4Gb for Vista)

Win7 is primarily a result of putting Vista on a diet. It'll run in 2Gb (or less) like XP would and performed tolerably on netbooks (it even runs passably on a 768MB Tosh Satellite I keep around). At the same time MS took the paring knife to Office and its memory/cpu/gpu footprint was improved too.

As pointed out, i915 should never have been certified for Vista, but for that matter the i945 and the 3xx/4xx ranges were abysmal on it too thanks to their anaemic GPUs.

Win8 and 10 have pretty good memory/CPU footprints. That lesson has been learned. It helps that CPU core speeds haven't increased noticeably and nor have core counts on desktops, so MS can't use Moore's law as a software strategy anymore. The primary criticism is the awful tiles-based portable-use oriented desktop - which can be thrown out. They're also fairly reasonable on their GPU requirements, to the point that if you can run Win7 then Win10 is usually a better performer. That said: 3rd party software has continued to bloat.

It's almost as if MS has taken a leaf from IBM's playbook back in OS/2 days where they only let developers have the kinds of machines endusers would be using rather than the latest/greatest stuffed with infinite ram and top end CPUs. There's still a lot to criticise about Windows (and it's still slower than Linux on the same hardware) but the UI performance is fairly good.

The demise of Surface tablets and Windows phones may remove the handbrake from bloat though. Having to ensure stuff worked in those environments was beneficial for the rest of the software.

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Alan Brown
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Re: "We worked with partners to make sure their applications..."

c) if you have software which is pulling in a YUV stream and redoing it as H.264 or MJPEG, then make an interface available that looks like a virtual webcam so you don't break legacy software.

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New UK trade deals would not compensate for loss of single market membership

Alan Brown
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Re: Got to love this assessment....

You can assume that if the UK leaves and reverts to WTO arrangements the GDP hit will be much worse than 4%

Ford have already announced they're closing their remaining UK plants and moving them to the mainland. GM won't be far behind.

Nissan haven't announced any cutbacks in Sunderland YET, but they're also not announcing any new models will be built here. Toyota are already ramping up their factories in eastern europe.

Given that outside the service industries, vehicle manufacture is the single largest foreign currency earner in the UK that should be cause for concern. When you factor in the number of companies making parts in the UK which are dependent on UK or EU component sales and would have to move if faced with tarriff barriers the scenario looks even worse. Several have already begun that process by deciding to expand their european operations (in one case building a new european factory) instead of proceeding with plans to expand UK plants.

Manufacturers need several years of lead time and cannot deal with financnial uncertainties in the market. Even if the UK stayed in the EU entirely the damage has already been done as far as triggering plans to move away from a single point of failure.

Many banking operations have decided the same thing. Amex has told its EU staff in brighton to be prepared to move to Paris - in this case non premium accounts are already supported out of India and the UK has been used for multilanguage premium account support. You can guarantee that any risk to "passporting" will result in a mass exodus from the city - which will be a massive GDP hit.

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Alan Brown
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"outside the EU, single market membership also comes at the cost of accepting future regulations designed in the EU without UK input "

Which may actually be a good thing (for the EU) as most of the most troublesome regulations were insisted on by the UK over the objections of everyone else.

Uk.gov has a long history of ramming nasty stuff(*) though Brussels despite opposition from the rest of the EU states, then implementing it in the UK and blaming "them barnpots in Brussells" for it.

(*) bad for the country, bad for the poor and/or clearly aimed at keeping various rich mates happy.

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NSA's Cisco PIX exploit leaks

Alan Brown
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" And many try to write code with the minimum effort."

Not only that but the culture extends to expending minimum effort fixing bugs too.

(FWIW: I'm currently banging heads against Huawei on this very issue. Cisco and chums aren't the only ones guilty, it's just that the NSA has access to their source code.)

Experience (with Suse and Redhat, amongst others) runs like this:

You've got this hole. There may be others.

"Fixed."

Tested, You've got this other hole. There may be others.

"Fixed"

Tested, You've got this other hole. There may be others. Have you bothered actually checking this stuff?

"You're a wanker and I won't work with you anymore. We refuse any more bug reports from you"

Some months later media reports the same holes in various bits of software they haven't bothered checking and there's a mad panic to fix it before the script kiddies all pile in.

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New science: Pathetic humans can't bring themselves to fire lovable klutz-bots

Alan Brown
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Large tesco, Middle of night, only the automated lane open. Lots of customers queuing with what looks like their weekly shop (50-100+ items to scan). 35 closed checkouts and 4 automated lines (The self scanner walkaround thing shuts down at 10pm)

"Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area" => "WHO THE FUCK PROGRAMMED THIS USELESS PIECE OF SHIT? I WANT TO RIP THEIR FUCKING ARMS OFF AND BEAT THEM WITH THE SOGGY ENDS! NO SCRATCH THAT I WANT TO RIP OFF THEIR FUCKING HEAD AND SHIT DOWN THEIR FUCKING NECK! WHY CAN'T THIS FUCKING PLACE HAVE A PROPER CHECKOUT?"

Customers in queue all smirking. Staff looking embarrassed. Managers hurriedly opening a manual checkout.

If a bot dropped one egg I'd live with it. twice would be put to one side and a third time would result in action taken to ensure it can't try again.

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DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs

Alan Brown
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"So that's 1 out of every 15 drivers not insured."

Quite possibly that high (or higher)

The Met Police told me in 2003 that their estimate is that 1 in 11 cars in London are uninsured and/or running on fake plates - the primary driver for the latter being the congestion charge.

As others have suggested - an app to pickup uninsured/unregistered vehicles would be "interesting", but only if it can match VINs too, thanks to the cloning issue.

(I've been minded for years that a potentially highly lucrative enterprise would be to get authority to impound unlicensed vehicles, then simply employ someone to walk London roads and call in a lift truck when they're spotted. The flipside being that you'd need a couple of airfields to store the things before scrapping.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Could never move the tax to fuel ...

"If you remove the requirement for a car to be taxed, then the roads will fill up overnight with old bangers being kept for "spares"."

You still need MOT and emissions checks.

Regarding the latter: California has had roadside emissions cameras for a couple of decades. Drive past one with an engine out of whack and you'll get a letter telling you to show up at a testing station by XYZ date "or else".

The same technology can be used to spot boilers that need replacement (see previous posts, this is the source of around half the NOX in London)

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Alan Brown
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Re: In reality...

"The NOx problem is caused by running the engines very hot (improves fuel economy)"

There's a lot more to it than that. It's to do with the distribution of the fuel charge in the cylinder and the localised heating of the compressed air. Lots of R&D goes into trying to get this as sorted as possible. (Stratified charge being one of the big areas of contention). Computational fluid dynamics is getting better and better every year, which helps design better geometries but it also requires higher injector pressures and faster metering valve (and eventually, fast acting pneumatic/electromagnetic poppet valves)

"a 16 litre truck engine which can go from idle to max RPM and from cold to hot, each time it changes through its 24 gears in climbing from 0 to 56MPH and back between roundabouts and traffic lights"

This is Drayage work and should be replaced with a diesel-electric or diesel-hydraulic Hybrid (limited RPM range makes engine management much easier) or full EV. The engine you describe is designed and intended for long-haul transportation and shouldn't be on the roads you envisage for more than a tiny proportion of its operational life.

NOX is _only_ an issue in urban areas and even then only in the inner urban ones.

Taking London as one example, Nox is only effectively measureable within the North/South circulars and only of concern within the Inner London Ring road (and some arterial routes to the N/S circs), with small (in most cases less than 1 block long) hotspots on some suburban high streets. Even then, as of 2007 about HALF of inner London NOX was generated by static heating systems (mostly 1970s-80s era domestic gas boilers) with most of the remainder coming from large diesel engines and only about 10% from small diesels.

The same applies in most european cities.

Which means that

1: greater emissions controls on cars rapidly runs into the laws of diminishing returns

2: Paradoxically, greater emissions controls on petrol engines starts increasing their fine particulate output, so you start needing DPFs on petrol engines too.

3: Emissions controls to keep dense urban levels of pollutants down are useless and drive up costs in non-urban areas for no good reason.

NOX standards for new boilers (oil and gas) have been in place since 2001. Sooner or later there's going to be a change of rules to ban older boilers in urban areas (these are almost all unsealed systems with high CO emissions that can vent back inside the house anyway - one of these nearly killed friends of mine some time back after making them sick for years)

At some point the realisation is going to be that areas like London Zone 1 will have to effectively ban IC engines entirely and concentrate on vastly improved public transport 24*7.

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Alan Brown
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Re: In reality...

> You've just put 10,000 people out of work in a failing economy!

Those 10,000 people (at the DVLA) are parasites who were just making the failing economy worse. You're better off paying them the dole as its much cheaper than keeping them employed.

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Alan Brown
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Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

" I had a pretty Chinese teenager decide she was going to walk out onto a light controlled crossing when it was my right of way"

Unlike the USA, pedestrians ALWAYS have right of way on UK roads except where expressly prohibited (motorways, etc)

The lights are advisory, not regulatory.

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Alan Brown
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Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

The highest reduction _WOULD_ be from tachygraphs - because we've already had a huge reduction in DUIs (the only people who do it now either do so unintentionally or are the hardcore who've been doing it for years and believe they'll never be caught - the latter being almost entirely a rural phenomenon in most countries.)

In any case, what you're arguing for is the removal of human driver entirely (robots don't get tired, don't get distracted by the cute ass on the girl walking by or the kids in the back fighting, don't get tunnel vision and don't miss one hazard whilst concentrating on another.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: In reality...

"In an ideal world, I'd scrap car insurance as well and have a blanket scheme paid for by a fuel levy as well, because it would mean you couldn't be uninsured as long as you paid for fuel..."

This is getting dangerously close to state-run personal injury insurance (http://www.acc.co.nz/) and that's not allowed as it must be communism. (FWIW, with injury cover already in place, vehicle insurance gets surprisingly cheap - but not even New Zealand is brave enough to scrap the compulsary insurance as part of annual registration and switch to fuel-based fees.

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Alan Brown
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Re: In reality...

"We were fed the Diesel nirvana, now we are told the NOX emissions are is too high and we need to go back to Petrol."

The real issue was the balance of what was coming out of refineries. Whilst it can be tuned one way or the other there's an optimum ratio of petrol to diesel production which needs to be matched by consumption.

Diesel was cheap, simply because the supply outstripped demand.

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Alan Brown
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Re: In reality...

"The economically rational answer is to increase the tax on fuel to match what was taken in by road tax."

And that answer (surprisingly) is about 2p/litre.

All that talk of "ringfencing car tax" for roads was claptrap - the UK collects a few hundred million from that whilst picking up £45 BILLION or so in fuel taxes - which were pointedly NOT mentioned.

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Alan Brown
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Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

"ANPR camera at every petrol station."

They already exist (to detect driveoffs) and most of them live-feed into the Police national system.

Drive off barriers. At a site with flammables and a driver who may be inclined to criminal damage if restrained (or GBH). That's a seriously unthought-through option that would be disabled the first time

a car gets torched beside a pump (to remove DNA) and the offender legs it.

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Alan Brown
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Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

"Even better launch a game"

You'd need to check the VIN for extra credit (see cloning comment)

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Alan Brown
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Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

"Untaxed vehicle drives past ANPR camera. "

Car fitted with cloned plates belonging to an identical model somewhere in the region.

No alarm.

Car fitted with plates which never existed - no alarm either (Police ANPR setups don't look for unissued numbers, as I discovered when one ran a stop sign a few years ago and I T-boned him. The car even had a counterfeit tax disc which looked genuine. The cops only realised it was a ghost car when they called the plates in. The ANPR aspect is that it was right beside one of London's "ring of steel" cameras, which I pointed at as I asked how such vehicles can exist.)

Cloning and completely bogus plates have been a major issue for years, so have counterfeit tax disks and fudged VINs.

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UK military buys third £4m Zephyr drone for 'persistent surveillance' trials

Alan Brown
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Re: You have to ask

It won't even fly one day if it can't gather enough surplus energy during daylight hours to keep it aloft after dark.

The can't be allowed to descend from the high altitude otherwise they're hazardous to everything else in the airspace.

Once you have a week in the air over Arizona there's no reason you can't fly for "12 months" (unless that 45 days happens to be centred on Jun 22 - in which case you might find it can't stay aloft in December.)

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The calm before the storm: AMD's Zen bears down on Intel CPUs

Alan Brown
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Re: "competitive TDP."

"but the only improvements beyond single digits between generations of Intel chips you will see in the future is on the GPU - because graphics is easy to parallelize."

Yup and for the kind of stuff I'm supporting, that's a major problem.

The mantra for the last 50 years in research computing has been "computers always get faster" and they've relied on it when predicting delivery of results.

We've been getting a steady stream of complaints that "the new server is no faster (or slightly slower) than the old one" - and invariably the culprit is badly written, singlethreaded code that simply doesn't know how to run in a multicore system.

Physicists refuse to take computing or programming courses (they think that IDL(*) is a good language to do heavy lifting in FFS), let alone accept that they have to know how to multithread. The current kludge is to run lots of individual processes from the command line but this comes with its own gotchas.

(*) IDL is to scientific computing as MS Excel is to business operations.

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Alan Brown
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Re: The Athlon days were good.

"Intel thought as long as they could market with the highest clock speeds of CPU and RAM then the performance didn't matter."

They're right, up to a point. People buy based on clock speed, not on actual benchmarks.

When I point out how small the differences are between E5 2.4GHz and 3.5GHz cores for most _real world_ operations people look at me as if I've sprouted a second head.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Stock HSFs

"The Intel HSFs aren't *that* bad."

And surprisingly, Intel stock coolers are pretty efficient.

Foil/air bearing fans aren't terribly expensive compared to any given CPU. These tend not to fail ever (unless dropped). I'm guessing the mentality is that a system is only expected to last 3-5 years at most so why spec the fan beyond that? (Because some proportion of them die early!)

Of course most home systems end up with clogged up heatsinks long before the fans die. There has to be a better way of getting heat out of the box which doesn't cost the earth.

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Alan Brown
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"Which AMD chips were the hot ones?"

All of them have been hotter than comparable Intels. Some hotter than others.

None as hot as the Intel 286 I left a baked-on fingerprint on though. The blister took weeks to heal.

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£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests

Alan Brown
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Re: I'm glad they're optional.

"at least it's optional to have a smart meter, for now..."

It's likely to stay optional - with suppliers loading in charging penalties if you don't take it.

FWIW I thought UK smart meters weren't going to have 100A contactors in them to be actually able to turn the power off

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Alan Brown
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"Perhaps if our white goods had the capability to communicate with the grid and run when there is the most capacity available it would also make sense."

This is one of the sensible uses of the Internet of Things - and it doesn't require smart meters.

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