* Posts by Alan Brown

4029 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Let it go, let it go: How global DNS could survive in the frozen lands outside US control

Alan Brown
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ICANN still not to be trusted

And that's the problem. Right now they can have the contract taken off them. If this goes ahead they can't.

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Land Rover's return: Last orders and leather seats for Defender nerds

Alan Brown
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Re: There will still be one option for people wanting a new one.

"Cost them about three times the price of a new one."

He's lucky it only cost that much.

Car makers are in the business of selling car parts (Unless you're Ford, who are in the business of selling financial services). It's not in their interest to sell them cheaply enough for you to build your own car.

It's also not in their interest to make a car so reliable that it doesn't need parts (although the uniqueness of the japanese market makes it in their interest to make them last 5 years with no oil changes from new)

One of my tutors worked for a heavy machinery manufacturer and resigned shortly after one of his gearbox designs was savaged on the basis that the steel alloys specified were so strong it would never need repairing. It eventually went on sale with vastly derated mild steel gears and developed a reputation for unreliability. He resigned.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Fuel economy requirements

"The new fuel economy rules cannot be met by something which has the aerodynamics of a shed on wheels. "

Aerodynamics are irrelevant below ~45mph and any 4x4 which is doing what it's designed for spends almost all its operating life below those speeds.

You wouldn't really want to drive a series2 past 45 anyway. It got "interesting" in a lot of uncomfortable ways.

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Alan Brown
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safety

"As I understand it the critical factor isn't emissions but crash safety for pedestrians. "

It's all round safety. Range Rovers and Land Rovers are mostly exempt from EU crash safety requirements as the chassis are virtually unchanged from initial production, long before those regulations came into effect all those years ago.

Pedestrian safety is affected by the externals, so that's what's driving the runout of the range - changes necessary to comply with that mean chassis changes and that in turn means the grandfathering goes away.

On top of that, Defenders/90/110/Serieswhatever haven't been road legal in North America since 1993, so that's a large chunk of the market they're locked out of (even before then, North American units had to have a roll cage integrated to be able to be sold.)

In the real world such grandfathering should have only been allowed to continue for 3-4 years at most.

The last LR I had to put up with was a series 2 back in the early 80s. Compared to Nissan's Patrol and Toyota's Landcruiser it was atrocious (Shocking on-road handling, unreliable electrics, gutless, thirsty, high maintenance and couldn't handle conditions in NZ mountains in winter that the other two didn't have trouble with) so I was glad to see the back of it as a work wagon.

I gather they improved a lot after that but the damage had already been done ("Made in Britain" was already regarded as a warning label in the 1970s, but government directives mean that many organisations ended up buying british machinery long after the vast superiority of japanese-sourced stuff was apparent to everyone).

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Do svidaniya Roscosmos. By the way, any idea where that 92 BEEELLION rubles went?

Alan Brown
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So it will go from being a govt department with a corruption problem to a corrupt corporation under direct control of a kleptocrat.

I can't see this ending well

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Torvalds: decisions, decisions, top up sun tan or release Linux 4.1?

Alan Brown
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Re: 4.1? Should be at least 5.0.

"he'll bump the major version whenever he gets a whim to do so"

Same with a lot of the distros - hence why Slackware went from 3 to 8 overnight.

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NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

Alan Brown
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Re: Economics and Economists

"economics as a science "

Science consists of doing the same thing and getting the same results each time or knowing _why_ you didn't.

Most economics at government level is voodoo handwaving at best.

It's rather telling that the people notionally in charge of the economy have _NO_ economic qualifications but believe they know better than people with actual experience and an understanding of the backgrounds and put their friends in charge of crucial decisions. It's Dunning-Kruger writ large

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Alan Brown
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Re: Impulsive voting

> his implicit assumption was that in a coalition the need to gain support through debate means higher standard of legislation than the whipped lobby fodder of majority governments under FPTP provides.

I tend to agree. The most dangerous time for any country is if any given party has such a substantial governmental majority that it can ram anything through unchecked and such times are when the most extreme ideologically-driven laws get passed.

Laws that require broad cross-party agreements tend to be better thought-out.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Impulsive voting

> I came across numerous people before the UK general election who supported a continued Coalition or a Conservative government on the basis that "there's no doubt that we are [as a country] a lot better off now"

This is the reason a lot of people continued to vote for that nice Mr Hitler too. If there's a global economic upturn then national govts will always try to blag the credit for it.

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NSA bulk phone records slurp to end when law lapses next month – report

Alan Brown
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Re: Who is really stupid enough to believe this?

" Later it comes out the CIA and South African government were arm-in-arm in the war in Angola. "

Not to mention that the CIA was responsible for most of the tonnage of the crack epidemic in USA inner cities during the early 1980s (CIA aircraft were shipping hundreds of tons of weapons/ammunition south and bringing cocaine north on the return trips to fund those deals. It was all part of Iran-Contra, authorised by Ronald Raygun and all came out during the Ollie North trials but didn't get much media coverage for some reason)

http://listverse.com/2015/01/15/10-reprehensible-crimes-of-ronald-reagan/ - #2 on the list. The others will have you shaking your head too.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Unfortunately

"What's to stop a black version of said agencies already existing"

Nothing. The fact that the NSA is out in the open is more-or-less an admission that there is at least one more in existence, the same way that the NSA was top secret when the CIA started coming out of the shadows.

BY the same token the russians will have something sitting in the shadows whilst everyone's paying attention to the FSB and GRU.

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Alan Brown
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"NSA, CIA, FBI and possibly others will be blamed for not detecting and preventing it"

Never mind that the 9/11 guys were flagged to the FBI and others several times by concerned citizens.

The existing laws in place then were perfectly adequate to deal with them (and outliers such as Tim McVeigh), IF the agencies had been competent and not engaging in turf wars.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Softening us up, surely

The NSA was already illegally collecting data before the Patriot act made it legal. What makes you think a mere law change will make them stop?

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Adult FriendFinder hack EXPOSES MEELLIONS of MEMBERS

Alan Brown
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"AFF were those responsible for utterly destroying the Yahoo! profile database with fake ID's"

In a circuitous way yes.

AFF paid affiliate fees to those who can get new signups onto their site. That gives them plausible deniability over the spamming (and a way of not paying out if there are complaints). Other sex site operators copied this method and affiliate spam is still one of the more pernicious things to deal with as there's no legislation to hold the businesses jointly and severally responsible for the actions of "affiliates".

The business itself is toxic. Penthouse bought them out a few years ago for around $500mil, but it turned out to be a poison pill and now AFF's creator owns Penthouse.

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Alan Brown
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OLD news

Hackers have been running round the Adultfriendfinder internal network since _at least_ 2004 when I found them doing it.

The staff freely admitted that the hackers were there (several of them are manchester based) but never notified Californian authorities as required by law there.

Trying to inform Californian privacy authorities about it proved fruitless too.

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Wheely, wheely mad: Petrolheads fume over buggy Formula One app

Alan Brown
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Re: Buggy software?

"Seems like F1 got taken for a ride."

Not really.

F1 as it currently exists under Bernie is and always was about the advertising.

It was devised as a way to keep cigarette adverts on TV in the face of widespread bans. In my opinion it lost its way when the ciggy companies lost their dominance on the cars as countries wised up to the loophole being exploited.

There is much better racing in various other marques and most of that has to do with homogenisation of the vehicles. All the arenas where there can be substantial variation between cars are less dependent on driver skill than they should be.

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Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays

Alan Brown
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"Now obviously the requirements of RAID-6 mean that you would probably do 5/2/3 but still I think the 2:1 principle holds."

It's pretty much guaranteed that anything larger than about 40Tb is extremely likely suffer to data corruption somewhere in the array even without a rebuild The statistics of CRC checking mean that one bad sector will slip through about that often and RAID may not catch it.

In addition, the extra thrash on a disk set means that you run a not-insignificant chance (2-6% on 100Tb) of losing the entire RAID6 array during a rebuild after a drive is lost. To bring that into perspective I've lost 2 RAID6 sets in the last decade, both of which were only 20Tb or less (HP MSA arrays)

Adding a third parity disk drops the latter problem down into the vanishingly small arena, but does nothing for the former problem.

In addition a RAID set only protects the disk layout and filesystem checking still has to be performed from time to time - which in almost every FS means taking it offline.

ZFS kills several birds with one stone. It assumes drive are crap, so builds it robustness around recovery and error checking of every block of data - as well as writing corrected data back to the disks when errors occur. It acts as a volume manager and filesystem, so you don't have to run 2 layers of complexity on top of your raid sets _AND_ you can run periodic FSchecks (ZFS calls them "scrubs") without taking the data offline. In addition it offers SSD caching of "hot" data and SSD backup of writes, so these can be spooled to the disks sequentially, even if there's a power failure. The result is that it's got levels of performance far in excess of what is regarded as "normal" for RAID systems and it provides a 3rd parity disk, with the potential to add more in future.

This isn't a substitute for distributed filesystems but there's a compelling case for using it in most circumstances instead of RAID and it makes great building block if you do need distributed FSes.

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UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw

Alan Brown
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Re: Wi Fi meters...nothing but bad...

"If the smart-meters ever get home networked/domotics & Internet of Things, then it'd be just your Fridge/Freezer that was switched-off for 4 or 5 hours, your freezer wouldn't really notice, but the Grid would survive better."

The vast majority of UK housing has everything on 1 or 2 circuits and the IoT won't happen like you're envisaging for another decade at least.

Shutting off my freezer wouldn't make you my friend, because I'd be sitting in the dark, fuming.

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Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers

Alan Brown
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Re: Swings & roundabouts

"And lets face it, how detailed do you think the web logs will be from a backpacker hostel in Thailand, two years after the fact? "

Revenge porn tends to be posted within days/weeks of a breakup.

Someone posting stuff several years afterwards is someone who is seriously unhinged and needing a major head-reading session or three. Usually they'll have already brought themselves to the attention of the fuzz with such antics and a posting of this kind of thing would constitute aggravated stalking which carries penalties a whole lot more severe than a few weeks weeding public flowerbeds.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Totally inadequate

"A three strikes and you're out system would handle that in no time at all"

Because that's worked so very well in the USA that they've repealed it most places due to the laws of unintended consequences.

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Alan Brown
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Re: All very well...

"If the ladies in question ever did succeed in getting a site taken down, a mirror of the content will simply appear elsewhere."

Which is why there needs to be a seriously credible threat of time in pokey for the people who published it - or provided it to the publisher.

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Zero rating? Zero chance says Vodafone India

Alan Brown
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Re: Major problems

> T-Mobile US does the "these sites don't use your data"

The issue in mobile networks isn't bandwidth/data consumption within the distribution network, it's at the cell level.

Because of this, _any_ favouritism agreement or offer is a breach of net neutrality.

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BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

Alan Brown
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Re: "(the prius) would have struggled to keep the MPG in the 30s "

"which is something I can't remember to do with the valve timing"

Actually it's Miller cycle.

Atkinson has a shorter compression stroke than exhaust and complex mechanics to achieve it.

Miller replicates this by closing the input valve late in the compression stroke.

With modern computer controls and actuators there's no reason you can't do away with the camshaft altogether and drive the poppet valves electronically. In fact this is (partially) done on the Fiat airtronic engines, but not to achieve a Miller effect when it would be advantageous

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Alan Brown
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Re: "(the prius) would have struggled to keep the MPG in the 30s "

"in traffic the engine often has to run at low load to recharge the battery."

If you do have to charge it makes much more sense to run at full load for a shorter period.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Idiot's Solution

"Back in the 1990s, clever people at Toyota decided that the problems of pollution from Diesel were probably insoluble, at least in densely populated Japan"

Especially with the 200ppm sulphur content japanese diesel had back then.

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F1? No, it's Formula E as electric racing cars hit the track

Alan Brown
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Re: Benefits from racing..

"Range will always be a problem with BEVs"

Range isn't an issue if the things can charge quickly. Smaller motorbikes frequently have sub-100mile range on a tankful and noone complains (much) about that, because it's only a few mins to fill-er-up.

The real winners for BEVs will be range extension (think generator on a trailer) for the occasional trip and faster charging technology - As long as the costs are brought down.

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Hacker uses Starbucks INFINITE MONEY for free CHICKEN SANDWICH

Alan Brown
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Re: No excuse to hack

"it's worth contacting the associated entity and reporting it."

In general what you get for your trouble is a mountain of threats and attempts to cover up the existence of the issue.

Because messenger-shooting is an ancient and honourable response.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Appreciation?

"They work on a safe wall analogy. "

To use that analogy, explain to them that the back wall of the vault turns out to be made of wood, backs onto an alley and has an unlocked door in it.

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Get off the phone!! Seven out of ten US drivers put theirs and your lives at risk

Alan Brown
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Re: If I had a car...

"Eating or even smoking are not intellectually challenging activities."

In one smash I attended, when the driver was cut out of the vehicle she was found to be still holding onto the sandwich on the passenger seat that she'd reached for just before drifting across the centreline and under an oncoming cattle truck.

The fact that the car was 18 inches high after the event might give an indication of the survivability of the impact.

Apparently this is a relatively common occurance.

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Robocalling Americans? That'll cost you $1.7 MEEELLION

Alan Brown
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Re: Allow everyone the option to have a phone whitelist by law

Unfortunately the endgame for whitelist-only is already showing up a few posts up.

Malware installed on mobiles calling people in the addressbook using audio files downloaded from a C&C server.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Theoretically - yes

"The problem is that the telcos are not willing to do anything about it. It is like assigning the cat to guard the canary. They get termination fees and they also sell their customer data to the marketeers which feed it to the robocaller outfits."

The FTC/FCC charge up to $11,500 per call made illegally. $1.7m is on the rather small side.

I totally agree on the telco front. Making them jointly liable would shut the practice down overnight - and it's worth noting that if someone can find a pink contract showing that anyone within the organisations is knowingly selling to a criminal operation, that is exactly what will happen.

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Virtual reality pr0n on the Rift? 'Why not?' says Oculus founder

Alan Brown
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Re: Could they block it?

"In the end the adult industry will adopt it, or make Stuff for it"

ITYM "the adult industry will be one of the first to adopt it" - as they did with VHS and other leading edge tech (including websites)

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Nork hackers no pantomime villains, but a hugely unpredictable menace

Alan Brown
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"the primary issue was lack of adherence to DISA requirements in the baseline configurations "

Having had to deal with the effects on 3rd parties of numerous DoD systems being used by skiddies and spammers through the 1990s and early 2000s this isn't really a surprise.

The standard US military response to being informed they had a problem was threats - which were duely forwarded to DISA. My understanding is that a lot of people ended up doing the electronic equivalent of scrubbing the parade ground with a toothbrush, but it was clear there was a systemic failure to address information security across the DoD.

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BT's taxpayer-funded broadband monopoly may lock out rivals, says independent report

Alan Brown
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"I wonder if it was a mistake not to chop up BT into smaller bits, back in 1984."

Even if that had been done, without the right precautions it would simply have reassembled itself through internal buyouts and mergers.

That's what happened in New Zealand and (on a much longer timescale) has almost completed happening in the USA.

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Alan Brown
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Re: The thing is

"You can't expect BT to allow others to put wires in their conduits, although doing it for them might be acceptable."

BTOR won't even do that. The only cables in BT ducts are the property of BT.

Openreach needs to be cleaved off entirely

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Milking cow shot dead by police 'while trying to escape'

Alan Brown
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Re: Just for you townies...

"...this is what happens to a car that hits a cow:"

That first shot looks like the occupants got lucky. A friend of mine wasn't.

He hit a black cow on a dark road at 60mph at 2am. The impact flipped the cow over and it went through the windscreen legs first.

It didn't end well for the cow, my friend or his passengers.

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Ofcom: Oi, BT! Don't be greedy – feed dark fibre to your rivals

Alan Brown
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"Because BT have some history of not fully utilising their assets, then when somebody proposes to offer a separate solution they'll move to undermine them using the assets previously left to languish."

AKA "leveraging a market monopoly" and "anticompetitive behaviour"

It's totally illegal, but ofcom have been letting them get away with it for years.

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Alan Brown
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Split off Openreach.

Openreach is deliberately restricted in what it can do by BT head office - artificially restricting supply means that prices can be held high.

Once it's a separate company the brakes can come off development.

This is what happened in New Zealand - and the separation there was based largely upon observations of BT's ongoing market abuse over the last decade since Openreach was created.

Predictions were that the newly separated lines company would be a dead duck(**) but it's now highly profitable and responsive whilst the remaining telco is in trouble.

BT is possibly concerned the same thing may happen. At the moment everyone deals with "BT" because they have to, but given a real choice of supplier there's no guarantee that things will stay that way.

(**) This was thrown about so much that many shareholders of the newly split off company dumped their shares and the price dropped 30% in the first week of operation. Those who held on (or hoovered up the sold ones) are making a nice income tyvm.

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Alan Brown
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Re: How does this affect investment decisions?

"If any spare capacity that gets installed can be required to be sold at low cost to a competitor, it makes an awful lot of sense to no longer install spare capacity."

And this is why the de-facto monopoly must not be in a position to be selling at wholesale AND retail.

Openreach must be cleaved off. BT has been repeatedly noted to be abusing the market, but Ofcom keep pretending it doesn't happen.

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Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' - from his PASSENGER seat

Alan Brown
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Re: correction Christophe

"It always pays to assume The Man has an interest in bigging up the case in these scenarios."

Exactly.

And in any case if he managed to pull what they said he pulled it would be all over the aviation press as uncommanded activity causing the pilots to declare an inflight emergency and precautionary landing.

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The yummy mummies' likeable wagon: Nissan Qashqai Tekna

Alan Brown
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Re: Customer Service?

Nissan is aware of the problems with dealerships and has pulled a couple of franchises in the past.

The problem is that the franchise network is so entrenched that it's impossible to reassign it to someone else. In the end they had to give them back to the same franchises despite the ongoing problems.

(Hint: Don't ever let the Nissan franchise in Epsom "service" your car.)

Thankfully there's no legal requirement in the uk for service during the warranty period to be performed at the dealership. Despite posturing to the contrary this won't invalidate your warranty.

WTR iffy parts, the other big problem with Nissan (and other makes) is that a minor part failure in an assembly can often only be fixed by replacing the entire assembly. The power steering in my Primera was a classic example - popped O-ring on the input shaft resulted in a £1400 quote for a new assembly(£800) and installation(£600) - whilst a reconditioning firm took the thing out, refurbed and reinstalled for £650 - I pointed this out to the stealership and the response was that they're not authorised to make that kind of repair even if the staff are perfectly aware of the service and qualified to do it.

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Hacker 3D prints device that can crack a combo lock in 30 seconds

Alan Brown
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Re: I guess it depends what you want it for.

"You can stop them, but for a shed is it worth it?"

Even a cheap lock is worthwhile on the shed. The Plod won't prosecute if the shed was unlocked because "it was open" is hard to disprove. A broken lock plus the hidden camera is usually enough to secure a conviction for burglary.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Analog Security

"In the case of the vast majority of Masterlock products "...

...Picking them by feel is old hat - I was doing it 35 years ago.

They're an expensive security illusion.

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Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

Alan Brown
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Re: low speed bumps are not "accidents"

"The classic example is the rear-end shunt in heavy traffic that catapults the hit vehicle into the one in front."

In almost every instance of this (3 car shunts) it's because the driver of the middle car stopped too close to the one in front. There's a rule buried somewhere about stationary spacing and from memory it's about 4 metres.

Once the car in back is travelling at silly speeds when it hits all bets are off - and it's usually fast enough to kill the occupants of the first car that gets hit.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Inappropriate speed limits

"Speed limits are most needed on roads which appear to be safe to drive at faster speeds, but are in fact quite risky at faster speeds. "

Adjusting the roadside furniture is actually far more effective at regulating speed than signs.

In particular in the UK:

Pedestrian fences speed up average traffic by 5-10mph

Yellow lines speed up cars by 2-4mph

Pelican crossings speed up average traffic by 10mph (The green light.....)

painting cycle lanes or flush medians speeds up traffic by 5mph.

ANY kind of segregation of road and pedestrians results in drivers being less prepared for pedestrians stepping off the curb.

One example: Pedestrian injury rates are 25% higher around crossings because pedestrians will start crossing before they reach the stripes, which many drivers simply don't expect.

You get the idea.

Drivers slow down if there are perceived hazards - and fencing hazards off in an area where there have already been problems paradoxically reduces safety because the traffic speed increase and reduction of driver attention outweigh any reduction in pedesrian incursion (slightly fewer crashes but significantly greater injuries)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Speed limit reduction

WRT reasonable speed limits:

a pedestrian hit at 20mph has a 98% chance of survival (as long as they don't hit head on a curb)

a pedestrian hit at 30mph has a 90% chance of survival

a pedestrian hit at 35mph has a 50% chance of survival

a pedestrian hit at 40mph has a 10% chance of survival

What's a reasonable speed limit for several tons of steel in a residential setting and why should residents of an area be forced to kowtow to those passing through?

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Alan Brown
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Re: Inappropriate speed limits

"There used to be in the UK - it was called police discretion."

Long before that, there was a period where there were no speed limits at all in the UK, after the blanket 20mph limit was abolished in the 1920s

It was rapidly increasing rates of crashes and deaths which resulted in a 30mph urban speed limit (a number pretty much plucked out of the air) being quickly reimposed.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Inappropriate speed limits

"20mph may well be an appropriate limit approaching a well-lighted school at 8.50am on a wednesday morning in term time. It is not appropriate at the same place at 3am on a Sunday morning, when it is dry and there is no traffic."

If that school is in a residential area (most are) then the residents tend to get pissed off with arseholes whizzing by at 50mph at 3am - road noise is a significant factor in modern speed limits and there are enough foxes/deer/cats or whatever else around that it's still not overly safe to increase speed by more than a few mph.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Speed limit reduction

" autonomous braking is really only effective up to about 30 kph, at which point it's a mitigation tool at best."

My Adaptive cruise control works pretty well in autobraking from speeds of 20mph and up.

There's no reason why autobraking can't run at high speeds. It just requires the car looking further ahead.

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Alan Brown
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Re: I hope this is programmed right ...

"Stop, and warn and watch the guy behind, and be prepared for anything"

In situations like that I bang the hazards on. If you do it whilst looking in the mirror you'll usually see the noses of oncoming cars dip sharply as soon as they start flashing.

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