* Posts by Alan Brown

5177 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Dell PowerEdge R730: Reg rack monkeys crack smiles over kindness of engineers

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: R720xd

"But compared to that old cabinet of Supermicros that everyone seems to have, working with Dells is typically great."

That's varied over time. I have several cabinets of Supermicros because they were better to work with than the contemporary Dells they replaced.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Dell cable arms

Tend to be fiddly.

But anything's better than no arm. Why oh why do so many suppliers not even add them to the "options" list?

2
0

Amazon UK boss is 'most powerful' man in food and drink

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: the geeks shall inherit the earth

"Geeks favoured Apple devices"

No, people always bought apple because it was shiny.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: It doesn't always happen, though.

"A shame, really, estate agents need a good kick up the jacksy."

So does the housebuilding industry.

Unlike British Leyland, it's rather difficult to go and buy competitive product (although a Huf house is competitively priced compared to getting something built by locals)

0
0

Ex-TalkTalker TalkTalks: Records portal had shared password. It was 4 years old

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: This is one of the main jobs that we expect governments to perform

"For example, the government office in which I work has no approved tool to change the local admin passwords"

This is a case of Dunning Kruger effect writ-large and the "security gurus" being well out of their depth in the first place.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Not Surprised

"Fines should be big enough to affect the profit of a non-conforming company"

Fixed fines are part of the issue. The ones which allow "up to N% of turnover" are the ones which hurt most, provided regulators are brave enough to impose them.

Rewriting laws so that fines can't be claimed as tax-deductable would help a lot too.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Not Surprised

> We need a regulator who can give them a good kicking in the dividends

ICO won't do it.

> and whistle blowers who are willing to testify.

Current laws don't protect them well enough.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: You let a TalkTalk engineer approach/enter your property?

card monkeys are not engineers, no matter what they might try to be called in the UK.

I'd have a lot more respect if they called themselves "lines(wo)men" or "techs", but TBH what shows up on the doorstep in this country is unlikely to have tech or lines qualifications.

0
0

That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Well Done the Chinese!

"The Chinese seemed to have pulled level and are overtaking the rest of the world in so many areas."

They were never far behind to start with and in a lot of instances it's been a matter of regaining abilities which China used to have that got lost over decades of instability, wars, invasions, etc (the last 200 years have not been kind to the Middle Kingdom)

At the start of the industrial revolution, China and the UK's abilities and scientific development were about the same - if anything China was well in advance of the UK. The difference is that the UK had easy access to coal whilst chinese coal was hellaciously difficult to transport from where it is (far inland and behind several large mountain ranges/impassable rivers) to where it was needed (the coastal provinces).

I can't see China picking wars. It's never fared well in expansionist ones and the market for chinese technology (especially nuclear reactors) is thousands of times larger in poorer countries than it could ever be in the West so it's not in their interest. Most of the sabre rattling is simply a reminder that the dragon exists and invading would be a bad idea (unlike russian sabre rattling, which is looking more and more like desperate plays to keep support of the russian electorate whilst their economy is on the verge of tanking again - or perhaps already has)

5
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"Lighting farts does not count as fusion."

A Farnsworth fusor does though. Just don't expect it to generate more power than is put in.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: "super-heated plasma that turns the Earth into another star"

"highly radioactive, long life isotopes"

These are diametrically opposed.

That which is highly radioactive has a short halflife and therefore becomes significantly less radioactive over a relatively short period of time (example: the Elephant's Foot at Chernoybl is already "cold" enough that you can stand close to it without being killed. See also U233 and Pu238)

That which has a long half life isn't particularly radioactive and as such isn't radiologically dangerous (eg, U238, U235, Pu239)

The chemical effects of some of these things are another matter. Uranium and plutonium are both toxic heavy metals. In the same way, the Polonium210 in a smoker's lungs decays to toxic elements which are probably the nucleus for lung cancers in ex smokers (the chemical effects of smoking itself are gone in less than 6 months after quitting)

To keep bad guys at bay, you _want_ your reactor "stuff" to be fiercely radioactive. If it is fiercely radioactive then it produces heat and should stay inside the reactor, but you want your "waste" not to be - and unsurprisngly, that's what happens in a MSR-non-fuel-rod system, where you can take out the more annoying waste products (like Xenon - which actively gets in the way of the nuclear process) as they're generated rather than having them build up in fuel rods, generating massive internal pressures, etc etc.

5
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: "super-heated plasma that turns the Earth into another star" - @Lomax

"the lithium actually breeds more tritium when exposed to neutron radiation"

Most of which will probably immediately exit the reactor into the surrounding building.

Tritium gas is notoriously hard to contain(*). It's one of the big bugaboos surrounding thorium designs if you choose to use natural lithium instead of enriched stuff in the LiBeFl. At least in a Thorium system you might be able to add something to the mix to chemically bind the tritium as it's produced(**) (and MSR tech lends itself far better to basic industrial bucket chemistry than Fusion or Uranium systems ever will)

(*) It may be better to not contain it at all, but just vent to atmosphere.

(**) In a thorium system the amount of tritium which will be produced is known. Only 6% of natural lithium is susceptable to conversion.

2
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: "super-heated plasma that turns the Earth into another star"

"The problem with fusion is not that it's a runaway process (like fission) but that it's so damn hard to initiate and maintain. "

Fission processes are self-limiting at about 1300C thanks to doppler effects. Most of the problems we see are due to poor choice of coolant/moderator (ie, water) which can't run at these temperatures or anything close to them, or which has a nasty tendency to catch fire when exposed to air (ie: molten sodium, graphite)

Whilst the materials in question might be ok for lab experiments and proof of concept (or the odd nuclear submarine or other low power requirement), you'd have to be barking to use them in large production systems, yet that's precisely what's done.

Unfortunately the "civil nuclear industry" doesn't do any actual research into better systems and for the most part that's deliberate - they don't WANT to.

Most reactors are sold on a "Gillette" model (the reactor is cheap, but fuel supply is locked into one vendor. You can't put GE fuel rods in a Westinghouse Reactor, etc) and moving to next-gen systems takes a lot of R&D money they are unwilling to spend (cuts into profits) plus runs a high risk of nixing the vendor lockin (cuts even more heavily into profits)

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: $14 Billion buys you and awful lot of oil

Amongst other things, the chinese govt has been buying up and storing large quantities of cheap oil.

Whilst the stuff is dirt-cheap now, it's well below the price of extraction of the harder resources (US Bakken shale costs more to survey/drill/frack/extract than the current per-barrel price and tar sands run about 2-3 times the per-barrel cost)

What's happening is that those with large cheap resources and deep pockets are selling at or below costs in order to drive the alternative sources out of business - the resulting price rises would give them breathing space before fracking businesses can reestablish themselves again. Those countries who didn't go along with this ploy are forced to sell more oil at lower prices to keep their income up and/or start domestic cutbacks, driving the prices down ever further.

This is economic warfare at work. Consumers may benefit for a short time but when oil prices snap back to more realistic rates they'll overcorrect and make 1974 seem like a mildly bad dream (gas prices will track oil). It'd be better to be ahead of the curve and not be reliant on fossil fuels when it happens, but it's far too late to hope for that, so the next best thing is to be on the way to being less dependent when it happens.

4
1
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Tokamak is magnetic confinement too.

"their price per KWh will still be horrific unless we finally start making fossil fuel consumers pay for the impact of the pollution"

Fission-based nukes will still be cheaper, easier to run and already produce "acceptably low" levels of waste (which next-gen systems could turn into "very low")

5
0

LinkedIn sinkin': $10bn gone in one day as shares plummet 40%

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: The reckoning will come ..

"at which point the relation is still not visible to the outside world, but LinkedIn now has it logged. It's one of the reasons I'm considering removing my profile altogether."

What makes you think removing your profile will cause them to remove any of your data or remove the linkages they've established?

They're even creepier and more pernicious about trying to dig up your associations than facebook, which takes some doing.

4
1
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: The reckoning will come ..

"Just like FB - their system, their terms. If you don't like the terms, don't use it."

I don't, but they still have a bunch of stuff on their system about me and have been spamming various email addresses of mine for over a decade trying to get me to setup an account.

Supposedly the only way to stop the spam is... to setup an account and set it to "don't bug me" - but having done that on a lesser-used account they were spamming I can assure the great unwashed that they don't respect that setting.

The sooner they die (horribly), the better.

6
0

Who wants a quad-core 4.2GHz, 64GB, 5TB SSD RAID 10 … laptop?

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Dyson variant?

"Clean, oil, then gently rotate until the friction cannot be felt anymore"

If you're at that stage then you should pop the sticker and end bung off, remove the retaining ring and disassemble the rotor from the stator assembly. At that point you can trivially clean the shaft and bearing inner surface PLUS determine if the bearing assembly has gotten hot enough to melt the the plastic holding it in place (it happens - a lot - and moreso in smaller fans than larger ones) in which case the fan's wrecked and needs replacing as no amount of wishful thinking will ever get it "unwonky" again.

Reassembly being a reverse procedure but you can add a drop of graphite-infused light machine oil (sewing machine oil) from a repurposed diabetic's syringe whilst you're doing it (although graphite-infused isopronanol is often a better choice)

The problem with "just adding a drop of oil" is that most of the time access to the shaft is sealed and where it's not, that "additional lubricant" is actually washing grit particles back into the bearing surface where they can do maximum damage and the oil attracts more dirt to stick itself into the mess.

3
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Dyson variant?

"One occasional grotty task is stripping down laptops to get at the incredibly well concealed fan"

As a tip: A can of compressed air in the fan outlet (to loosen the crap that's got itself on the other side of the heatsink fins) followed by a full size vacuum clean hose held over the fan inlet works wonders.

Don't do both at the same time. Most of the "compressed air" cans are blowing flammable gas the inside of a vacuum cleaner motor is a pretty sparky environment. I've seen flames come out the exhaust when people ignore that advice.

If you have a vac than can suck and blow at the same time, use the blow hose and a nozzle in place of the can of air. Run the airflow the other way too, to make sure it's all cleaned out - and a flashlight shone in the fan inlet usually provides enough illumination to be able to look in the fan outlet and see if all the fins are cleared.

Cue people griping that this will destroy the fan and/or caused the internals to be staticed to death. Neither is true, although if the fan's bearing is dodgy you'll probably hasten its demise (plenty of audible clues this is about to happen anyway. Dodgy bearings rumble or rattle long before they cark it and they usually die through getting far too hot with no airflow so regular cleaning extends their life dramatically)

Regular application of the vacuum cleaner hose to laptop fan inlet and outlet will clear out most crap buildups before they have the potential to cause trouble.

3
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Not a cool name...

"Personally I like large screen laptops / luggables as they can do nearly everything a desktop can without having to lug a big screen around."

Back around 1992, my flatmate had a 386sx16 "box" - about 20cm*20cm*5cm, which had external everything and weighed about 1kg (most of which was steel case and 40MB MFM HDD)

He'd put it in his bag and carry it to work or home, where it plugged into external keyboard/monitor/PSU.

It's interesting the number of docking stations which are around replicating this same functionality (badly and with much greater fragility) nearly 25 years later.

I think he paid about the same as this device, or more if you inflation adjust.

3
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Not a cool name...

"it has the potential to be a little "uncomfortable" due to the heat"

Which is why the industry has been selling them as "notebooks" for years.

1
0

What's it like to work for a genius and Olympic archer who's mates with Richard Branson?

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Should've posted this earlier

'They might've deleted it or something - it was 200mb or so, back when that was still "big".'

It may have never arrived. Back in "those days" oversize mail often went down a black hole instead of generating NDNs.

One of my earlier experiences as an ISP was dealing with a government department (NZ's version of the DVLA) who were attempting to _email_ databases to consultants in another city, on another ISP.

About 250MB, over a 14k4 dialup modem, transfers initiated at end-of-day (5pm)

This was back in the days of sendmail 9.6 or lower and when the default (almost universal) mail limit was 10MB, but size only got checked AFTER the message was received. It didn't help that the /tmp/ area the mailserver used for buffering incoming messages only had about 100Mb of allocated disk space (this was the days when 1Gb cost £1000).

After several hours grunting away trying to send the message, our mailserver would choke and crash. It took a while to nail what was causing it (SunOs wasn't helpful in that respect) and when we increased the space, error messages about the oversized mail started being issued.

The "head of IT" at the govt department made out that it was all our fault that they couldn't send these dumps to their consultants, never mind that the other ISP also had a 10Mb mail limit (he was the one who'd had the bright idea of emailing it, claimed that he knew mailsystems backwards and that none of them had size limits)

Some years afterwards he showed up at another customer (a large clothing distributor) where thankfully the IT staff knew of his past and managed to get management to keep him on a short leash. He didn't last long there, but apparently that was down to being caught downloading porn on company equipment rather than technical reasons.

FWIW: That 10Mb per message default limit is still in sendmail and most other MTAs. ISPs often set the limit to a lower value, but at least these days when the ESMTP handshake takes place and the client side says "I have a message of N size", the server side will say "No, too big!" BEFORE the message is transmitted.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: I would post

"what a steaming pile of manure the "eMailer" was, are you?"

I wasn't, but I told the NZ Sugar wannabe that it was (they sold it there as the "iPhone" a decade before Apple thought up the name), especially given they wanted ISPs to stump up 20k for support software that would only work on SunOs 4.1.3 (hardly justifiable, given the poor user experience it offered with a price tag approaching a week's salary. IIRC I called it a "very slow, extremely expensive shiny toy which can't even display web pages properly")

They weren't happy and harrumphed a lot. I eventually saw the thing on sale in Dick Smith Electronics where it sold for several years through the 1990s - right up to the point where they all stopped working one night.

It turned out that Sugar-wannabe had managed to get the demonstrator devices running by installing the control software on a sparcstation in a student lab at Victoria University (unauthorised). One day the sparcstation failed to switch on and ended up in a skip shortly afterwards as it was a decade old.

Yup, all those commercially sold units (a few thousand) were using the software on that Sparc, not something purpose-installed by some gullible ISP.

Yup, all the user data was held on the sparcstation - without any backups.

Users weren't happy at losing their mail and other data.

Dick Smith Electronics wasn't happy, as they were court-ordered to 100% refund all buyers and Sugar-wannabe had slung his hook, so they ate the costs.

The fate of the drives in the sparc remain unknown - they weren't in the thing when it was recovered from the skip so it's unknown if they were erased or not.

5
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Excel

I saw it used in a Regional Health Authority (who constantly had financial troubles, but were handling $500million+ each year using this thing, which also held details on half a million patients) and to my eternal shame it got pulled into my company as the accounting system.

One of the company directors was "mates" with the "authors" of this monstrosity and rather than spending the "exorbitant" sum of $500 for a networked version of Quickbooks, insisted that we use the accounting system from hell on the basis that his "mate" saw it as a simple conversion from the existing larger setup (I was outvoted by the other director, who happened to be non-technical and his wife)

6 years later, after the company books were in a complete shambles (said director and his "mate" at the RHA were the only one able to understand the accounting system. Even Inland Revenue gave up trying to audit it) I finally managed to wrest the system out of his control and spent 6 weeks feeding everything into.... Quickbooks (with the aid of a couple of friends).

We very quickly established that rather than turning a profit every year, the company had been making a staggering loss and to cap it off had been trading insolvent for the previous 18 months.

Time to call in the receiver - who was very understanding and had seen this kind of thing several times before, but that didn't make it any less stressful.

Lesson: When someone pulls this kind of stunt, resign or get as far away from the financials as possible. When the inevitable happens, shit will fall on you (as a director) from a great height even if you're not involved in the money stuff, but at least you won't run the risk of a nervous breakdown trying to cope with it all.

8
0

Boffins smear circuitry onto contact lenses

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Application?

"how soon till computerised lenses (the internal kind)? "

Not long.

Implantable lenses intended to eliminate age-related long-sightedness are already being tested.

Unlike conventional cataract-replacement lenses, these are at least as focussable as natural lenses (and as such would eliminate LASIK and its ilk if they work as well as is hoped)

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Application?

"Unless you have an astigmatism, and therefore weighted lenses, I understand that most lenses spin freely on the eyeball."

Speaking as someone who does: The effect of weighted lenses is that they work fine if you're sitting upright, walking or driving, but once you start jogging, lie down, tilt your head sideways or look down on something (for example the electronics job you're poring over) your vision gets really bad, really quickly.

IE: they work fine when you try 'em out at the optician, but real world uses are somewhat more problematic - and if your asigmatisms are as bad as mine, you NEED those astig-corrections in order to be able to read roadsigns when driving, so spherical lenses are a non-starter.

0
0

The fracking oil price drop whacked Panasas – who's next in energy IT?

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Who's next?

Naval reactors have vastly different safety and operational requirements to civil ones.

Steam generating PWR works fine at small scales and there's plenty of cooling water around any ship when things go wrong.

The single biggest risk with current technology nuclear power plants is that they're water-moderated and vastly oversized versions of the original Nautilus reactor.

Water under high pressure (up to 20 atmospheres) and at high temperature (up to 400C) is both corrosive and wants to flash to steam at the slightest opportunity. Couple that with the native temperature of nuclear reactions being over 1200C (that's the temperature at the centre of a fuel rod) and things get nasty if the water goes away. Zirconium fuel rod cladding has a melting point of about 1850C but mixed with borated water it gets broken down to zirconium hyroxide and hydrogen pretty quickly long before the temperatures reach that high (which is what happened at Fukushima to drive those explosions). The end result is that no matter how careful you are, water used for reactor moderation has small amounts of nasty contaminants under normal conditions and is utterly loaded with them when things go pear shaped.

(That residual heat when a reactor scrams? Most of it is because oxide pellets are shitty thermal conductors and it takes a _long_ time for the heat energy in the centre of a rod to make its way to the outside)

The single largest safety improvement which could be made to civil reactors is to separate water from the radioactive stuff (and no, using molten sodium as moderator/coolant isn't a particularly bright idea) and get rid of any form of pressurisation of the reactor core - as you increase the size and pressure of your containment vessel engineering stresses increase exponentially. The best way to do that is with Molten Salts (even if not using molten salt fuel or thorium - there's a UK consultancy which has designed more-or-less conventional fuel-rod-based systems with salt moderators.)

That said, even including all the military reactor incidents along with the big 3 civilian ones, nuclear power is statistically hundreds of thousands of times safer than burning coal in terms of deaths per TW/h (coal fire steam boilers go boom occasionally, it's not news) even for all those plants built before all the new safety rules went into place post Three-Mile-Island (many of which need applying to conventional plants)

Fukushima can be summed up thus: "Tepco listened to consultant advice over safe positioning of backup generators and other anciliary equipment outside the actual reactors, then completely ignored that advice, putting things where they'd already been told was a risky location." - and yet noone died, even considering the number of other fuck ups that happened to allow a meltdown to take place on a plant that was more than a decade past its designed shutdown date, had been hit with an earthquake substantially larger than it was designed to endure AND hit with a tsunami larger than anticipated" - even with all that, the meltdowns could have been averted if Tepco management hadn't been so criminally inept at handling the disaster as it unfolded (including refusing offers of external assistance and generator provision). The only reason things didn't get worse is because the chief engineer onsite told management to fuck off and started doing what was actually required to save things.

0
0

The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Glad to hear that advertisers are feeling squeezed

"I propose that ad agencies put a stop to this by creating an ad submission environment in which ad creators will only be able to submit images (eventually a video), and set up a script containing only commands from a given set of options."

This has already been done.

Advertisers and malvertisers have repeatedly found ways around such restrictions.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Primary issue

"Advertising companies are so far off the rails that ads have become a vector for malware"

Whilst it was originally the popup menace that goaded me into blocking adverts, this is the main driver for keeping them blocked.

That and when you're in outer bumfuckia with sod-all bandwidth at "screw you" rates, advertising is a major parastic drag and charge. I might feel more friendly about it if I hadn't had recent experiences of pages taking 2-3 minutes to load on unprotected browsers when they only had a few kB of actual text on them, or if the advertisers were paying for the charges they're forcing people to incur to display adverts they don't want.

2
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Telegraph

"The Tory-graph is the latest to install "No entry if you're Adblocking" technology to their website."

It (and the article limit per month) are both easily circumvented by selective cookie blocking.

3
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Adblockers

"Most ad blockers blacklist the entire advertiser domain, so nothing loads."

Unfortunately with the proliferation of anti-blockers and their increasing hostility to the end user, some of the blockers have moved to pulling down the ad but not displaying them. This is also used to mask activities.

2
0

Windows 10 will now automatically download and install on PCs

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Fucking hell

Half the machines I was dealing with had originally been purchased with Ubuntu onboard and "upgraded" to windows (the usual case of one country, one license, 2 million installations).

This of course guarantees that when it's finished the "update" windows won't be happy. Suggesting that people switch back to Ubuntu was met with looks of horror.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Can move all but the game machines...

"I cannot help but wonder what the open source take up would have been now if game makers had ported games to Linux at the same time as Windows?"

You can get Steam for Linux (and Android). It's worth looking at.

And yes, it's likely to drive the transition.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Fucking hell

I just got back from Burma.

The _average_ network connection speed is 500kB/s, with the fastest office GPON or ADSL topping out at 2MB/s unless you pay thousands of USD/month and thanks to APNIC's chronic shortage of IPv4, almost every connection is running through 2 or more layers of NAT (real world IPs for end users are EXPENSIVE)

With Win10 attempting (failing, reattempting, failing, reattempting) to download its 3200MB of goodness over that kind of connection, a slow link becomes glacial (not to mention that even at 0.2p/MB, the costs add up bloody fast).

This isn't conjecture. Win10 attempting to force-download was causing major problems on sites I got asked to look at.

3
0

Sir Michael Lyons tells .uk registry Nominet: Time to grow up

Alan Brown
Silver badge

They've been taking lessons...

...from New Zealand.

The Domainz mess was pretty similar, right down to the wanting to hire consultants who gave answers the board wanted to hear, etc.

In the end it took a membership revolt to get rid of the massively inflated egos, one of whom went on to front ICANN and from whom ICAN has taken its cues going forward.

1
0

Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Simples, Judicial precedent from long long ago, that's what I'm talking about.

"Depending on the offense, solvent bail jumpers tend to get picked up when they renew their drivers licenses or something, otherwise they are ignored."

For what it's worth, bail breach offences are generally treated lightly (mostly it's a telling off by the courts and "don't do it again") and only habitual offenders actually get time in the cells to think about it (not very often even then).

If Asshat was to get treated "differently" on account of his celebrity/notoriety/cheeking a judge, then there would be ample grounds for any lawyer to challenge it and possibly get the judge recused for bias.

1
0

Assange will 'accept arrest' on Friday if found guilty

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Don't like his chances

"The Americans have already said publicly that they don't have a case against him. Stands to reason - he's not a US citizen and he handled the leaked material whilst not on US territory. It would be hard even for them to show that an offence in US jurisdiction had been committed."

That said (and I don't think they want him), the same applies to Kim Dotcom yet they seem very keen to lay their hands on that particular guy.

4
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Don't like his chances

Be that as it may, the penalties for bail breaches are quite low(*) and should he be nailed to the wall it would be selective enforcement - which would be overturned on appeal.

(*) Most offenders are given a dressing down by the courts and told "Don't do it again" even for repeat offences. First-timers almost never get a stronger penalty than this.

Ass hat may be a creep, but bear in mind the charges were originally dismissed by swedish police and only taken up when pursued by a politician with an obvious agenda. The original complainants didn't seem to want to take it further. That does lend some credence to his paranoia, although personally I can't see the USA actually wanting him. He's far more trouble than he's worth.

5
2

UK govt right to outsource everything 15 years ago – civil service boss

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Do they think we're daft?

The benefits THAT USED TO BE OFFERED like...

There, FTFY.

There's no long-term benefit from staying in the public service, rather quite substantial penalties unless you're one of the troughers at the top echelon. It's been like this for about 15-20 years.

0
0

Lawyers cast fishing nets in class-action Seagate seas

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: RAID 1

Given the failure rate of Seacrates in our datacentre, RAID1 is unlikely to last long enough to replace the first drive that goes titsup.

0
0

UK IT pros love OpenStack. Who says so? SUSE says so

Alan Brown
Silver badge

The problem with Suse

Is that they're even bigger on running away when customers have trouble with what's been sold to them than they are with their sales hype.

1
0

Uni of Manchester IT director resigns after sacking 68 people

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Do some research!

"Who, among all the IT professionals commenting here, could have managed IT for the London Olympics without outsourcing?"

Temporary events like the Olympics are a good fit for outsourcers. Not so much for large companies/outfits, where outsourcing invariably leads to a race to the bottom in terms of enduser satisfaction and service levels.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Scapegoat?

Hachetmen are routinely hired for this kind of job.

The mistake some make is thinking that such a person would EVER be suitable for managing a growing outfit or having any kind of decent staf relationships - invariably putting someone like this in a position where he's expected to look after the company will result in things rapidly going pear-shaped.

(WRT outsourcing: My opinion - it's useful if you need to cull a lot of deadwood or reorganise the internal workings of the outfit but should never be left outsourced for a prolonger period for the same reasons the report authors put forward.)

0
0

They're alive! Galileo sats 9 and 10 sending valid signals

Alan Brown
Silver badge

GPS

Gallileo supposedly uses a format compatible with NavStar.

Your old phone/GPS probably won't work with Glonass or Beidou(Compass) and almost certainly won't work with IRNSS, QZSS, the upcoming French system(*) or any of the augmentation systems using ground-based repeaters.

(*) Yes, the french are insisting on having their own independent GPS system, in addition to having fingers in the Gallileo pie.

3
1

Layoffs! Lawsuits! Losses! ... Yahoo! is! in! an! L! of! a! mess!

Alan Brown
Silver badge

There's also the issue

Of Yahoo being the only major still allowing ivory trading on its network.

Stock can't fall far enough for a company which is profiting from enabling CITES breaches.....

5
2

Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Goodbye FTDI

" it functions identically for the DEFINED inputs and states."

The method that FTDI use to detect and knock out the workalikes is NOT defined.

IE: it's not on the spec sheet. They discovered a way of killing fakes and ran with it instead of just flagging the devices and refusing to support them.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Not counterfeit

The chips in question are not counterfeit.

They're a completely different rs232 device which uses the same command api as fdti''s one. The big sin is using ftdi's USB ID (naughty but common and the basis is that they work alike. They should use one the generic serial device ID if they don't acquire their own one)

There was an analysis of the silicon last time around. The "fake" devices are actually better implemented than FTDI ones and they can be bricked specifially because they adhere to the published command set better than ftdi''s own silicon does.

I suspect that deliberately bricking chips in the UK will come down to the computer misuse act. This could get interesting. ...

The fact that FTDI is setting these to a zero or random I'd is extremely telling. Apart from the dubious legality of trashing end-user equipment they _could_ have reset it to 'generic rs232 device'.

21
10

SpaceX breaks capsule 'chute world record

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Deployment speed?

"How is that phase (slowing from reentry speed to 300kts) going to happen?"

The same way that it's always been done.

Aerodynamics. Yes they do have some. Apollo and soyuz chutes deploy at about that speed too.

1
0

US police contracts and private forum posts dumped online

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: American Cops need reforms Re videoing cops

It's not illegal in any state to record cops. Such laws have been ruled as constitutional violations and as such are invalid.

Cops (USA and uk) just wish it was illegal because it means their misdeeds are becoming harder to cover up.

2
0

Seagate’s triple whammy: Disk numbers, costs, and flash

Alan Brown
Silver badge

As with WD

As soon as SSD is "cheap enough", spinning disks are doomed - and they're cheap enough already for a vast number of applications

And as with WD, noone with any sense will buy Seagate SSD products after both manufacturers fucked over the market using the Thai floods as an excuse (drive prices are still higher than pre-flood, with warranties slashed to boot).

I was willing to buy Hitachi and Toshiba products whilst they were restricted from being folded into WD and Seagate operations respectively, but now the chinese ministry of commerce has allowed that step they're as suspicious as the parent companies.

Expect to see the WD and Seagate names being branding of a major existing SSD maker within 5 years.

It's just not worth purchasing spinning rust below 500GB so we don't - lower support costs more than make up the small pricing difference over 5 years, 10% vs 1% failure rates and longer SSD warranties are enough to see to that.

2TB consumer and 4TB enterprise SSDs already exist(*) - and those 4TB SSDs have lots of empty space than the 2.5" case they come in, so it's clear that suppliers can easily go bigger without higher density product (Samsung have famously already demonstrated a 15TB SATA drive).

HAMR might have staved off the inevitable if it was deployed in 2012, but it's too late now. Unless mechanical drives can miraculously whizz 20TB drives consuming 7W out of a hat, I'd say the market will be dead by the end of 2017 if not sooner.

(*) Edit: those are in conventional form factor. I see Seagate is flogging 3 and 6.4TB drives as PCIe HHHL cards

5
0

Forums