* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4888 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

That naked picture on my PC? Not mine. The IT guy put it there

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: When I was in a similar position...

Combining this, and the above suggestion that IT can be vindictive...

At my last company there was a mostly friendly run-in of some sort between IT and one department. Quite possibly some argument down the pub. So they sneaked in at lunchtime, and changed their screensavers and desktops to some very "interesting" images. The PC's being locked down meant that it was impossible to change them back without an admin password.

At a less free-wheeling company that could have ended quite badly. But seems to have only resulted in something else to discuss at the pub...

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Bavarian town rescinds Hitler's honorary citizenship

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Raj,

That's bollocks. Churchill was certainly a racist. A man of his times, when racism was not only normal, but many people believed it was scientifically validated. He also spent the 1930s complaining about more rights (or even home rule) for India, which is obviously a lot less worthy than his constant (and correct) warnings about the Nazis.

He was an imperialist too. Though you'll find that the current national curriculum covers the British Empire, and why taking over a quarter of the world was a bad thing. I see nothing in modern British culture to suggest that we haven't accepted that the empire was "a bad thing<sup[TM]</sup>". And Britain has consistently been one of the world's largest foreign aid donors, providers of peacekeeping troops, supporters of global institutions and norms, since the war. Partly as a result of an imperial past.

But you'll have to come up with some justification for "genocidal" (which has a specific meaning). Or admit you're talking bollocks.

Come to think of it, mass murder as well. The bombing of German and Japanese cities is an interesting moral problem. After Dresden, it's clear that the British were beginning to have their doubts. Churchill pissed off Harris by criticising him for that, and changing policy. The Germans were also particularly criticised for terror bombing in Spain, and at the start of the war. So it was obviously seen as immoral. On the other hand, it was the only offensive tool the British had against Germany after the fall of France. And it was the committment to the bombing that did a lot to convince neutral opinion that Britain was serious, and intended to continue to fight until Germany was defeated. Would the USA have joined the war in Europe after Pearl Harbour if the phoney war had resumed after the fall of France - or just fought Japan? Also without the air attacks on Germany, would they have been able to beat the Russians in 1941 or 42? Admittedly the Germans made a pisspoor job or running their war economy, production actually peaked in mid 1944, according to the US Strategic Bombing Survey after the war. Because they didn't really start operating a planned economy until 1942 - and even then they wasted too many resources on having too many different models of tanks and planes, rather than just picking one, and bashing out lots of them.

Anyway it's a lot more morally complicated. Mass bombings of civillians are now unequivocally illegal. But then nowadays we have the technology to do precision bombing. Again, according to the US Strategic Bombing Survey, only 2% of bombs dropped in WWII fell within 500 yards of their target.

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Re: only 71? bah!

Yummy. Pints are always nice...

I agree, Hindenburg did try to stop Hitler. And to be fair to him, Germany had reached a political impasse by the early 30s. They had reached the point where either the communists or the Nazis were going to have to be brought into government, because between the two of them they had a blocking majority in the Reichstag. The other option was probably military dictatorship.

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The Russians didn't sign Geneva, but the Germans did. So it still applied to them regardless. And not only was the order illegal, the order even admitted it was illegal in its own text. And various German generals took the trouble to lie after the war, claiming they didn't implement it, when they had. Plus the written order only went to senior officers, with them told to only verbally instruct their juniors. So they knew it was wrong. And in 41, the army probably had the power to ignore that order. After all, Hitler didn't sign it himself.

Like getting involved in the purge of the SA (Brownshirts) for political advantage, this was one of the early acts that got blood on the hands of the senior army leadership. They did illegal things willingly, and early, and so compromised themselves.

The order was also stupid. Killing prisoners has a habit of persuading people not to surrender. And so senior officers were pleading with HQ and Hitler to rescind the order for the first year of the war on the Eastern front.

Not that Stalin was any better, obviously. According to Anthony Beevor's book, the NKVD (eventually became the paramilitary bit of the KGB) killed more Russian soldiers at the battle of Stalingrad than the Germans did!

If they didn't shoot you, they could demote you below private soldier, into one of the penal battalions. These were tasked with holding the very front lines, and were to be shot by their own side if they lived long enough to retreat. Theoretically an act of heroism, or time well served, could get you promoted back into the regular army again. But in reality, the paperwork was so slow that you were most likely to be already dead.

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Re: In other important news from The Local

I've checked the colander, and it's well pasta 1st April, so I assume this story must be genuine...

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Re: Lester, your Prime Minister

Surely that beard was some kind of crime against fashion?

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I'm not sure Karadic ever actually signed anything either. But he got convicted in the Hague last week anyway. When you're leader for so long, it doesn't really matter what you sign. If stuff is happening on your watch for years, and you do nothing to investigate or stop it - you don't really need to prove guilt. It can be safely assumed you approved, and were just careful not to write stuff down. Otherwise you could have done something about it.

Particularly when the crimes are so systematic. Hitler may not have signed anything, but almost everything else about the holocaust was oh so carefully written down and recorded. Even where the army dipped its hands in the blood, they still wrote stuff down. Like the Commissar Order - which even accepts in its text that international law can't be allowed to apply to a conflict as important as the invasion of Russia. The order was to kill all Russian commissars (political military officers or civilian communist leaders), and to err on the side of caution and shoot people if you couldn't be sure. So they apparently restricted the copies issued to only senior officers, but still kept them on file, rather than doing it verbally. Whereas Hitler did issue the order apparently, but in verbal form at a staff meeting, and didn't sign it, as it came from Wermacht HQ. Although I'm not sure if his later refusal to rescind it was verbal or written.

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Re: only 71? bah!

Kurt Meyer,

I admit that it's quite unfair to blame Hindenburg for everything that happened after his death - given that he was not a well man, or seemingly much in charge by the end. But then again he did make himself and Ludendorff virtual dictators in the last couple of years of WWI, so I'm not sure that "loyal servant" is quite such an accurate description of him either.

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Inflatable space podule set for orbital trial

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Re: I dunno

Because it's lighter than metal, I'd imagine that the walls of an inflatable stucture will actually be thicker. And certainly easier to sandwich different layers of materials - so you'll end up with something that's more damage resistant. Being able to deform on small impact is also good, as it absorbs energy before breakage.

Plus, if you're dealing with stuff hitting you at orbital velocities, it doesn't really matter what you use, you'll get a hole. You've then either got to be able to patch it, or just close the airlock, and move to another module.

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If they don't make the astronauts inflate it by blowing into a tube until they go red in the face, I shall be very disappointed. Particularly if one lets go, and it flies off round the solar system making a farting noise that nobody can hear...

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PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

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Re: "...bathrooms across North Carolina were 'safe' again."

Sorry to add to the general intolerance around here suddenly, but to the appropriately named JeffyPoooh, I now hate you!

For the expression "smell is not a Field Theory", you are to be congratulated, upvoted, and told to please shut up. It's not the pleasantest of mental images...

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We bet your firm doesn't stick to half of these 10 top IT admin tips

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Re: Nowhere to hide

Oh, and any IT management who enforces monthly password changes that can't re-use any major elements of the previous one should be beaten to death with their own rulebook. Their inability to understand basic human nature and abilities has rendered them unfit to manage.

Passwords are rubbish anyway. But if that's all the budget allows for, then for God's sake at least engage your brain as to how normal users react to passwords. I know very few people who can remember more than one or two passwords (if even that). In my previous corporate life I had 4 different ones for building access, email, Oracle accounts and the AS400 stock/sales stuff. Some had to be regularly changed - and the AS400 stuff I only used every couple of months, so had no choice but to write down. It wasn't on a post-it note on the monitor though.

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Re: Nowhere to hide

To be fair to them, the original charity got eaten - due to running short of money/competence. She was taken on as an anomaly, a consultant with considerable (and probably unique) expertise and experience. So our new heroes had no place in their multitude of procedures for a non-employee who was non-office based with a completely random level of caseload. They solved some of that by employing her, but all other procedures seem to have broken down.

That's a problem the article fails to address. The author calls for all procedures to be rigorously enforced on everyone, and exceptions added to procedures. Unless you're a very simple organisation, that's almost bound to fail. Once you get a few cases of it failing, then people will be sharing and writing down passwords - sending emails to and from their own accounts and squirrelling data away heaven knows where.

Your procedure needs to designate certain people who can override the rules quickly, but are capable of doing so with an understanding of the risks, consequences and IT capabilities. And deciding to do this as a one-off, update the procedures to cover this from now on, or to do something as a short-term stop-gap with better secured replacement to follow.

No-one has the resources, or foresight, to get procedures totally correct - and keep them current with changing circumstances. Anyone who claims otherwise is delusional. And while they think they have the best systems in the world, will almost certainly find that they've been circumvented massively at lower levels in order to get stuff done.

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Re: tailgate - oh the joys

An SAS commander in the Malaya emergency supposedly reprimanded the guards at a training camp for not firing on a returning patrol who hadn't properly approached or identified themselves.

He then apparently screwed up in some way himself, and got fired at for his pains. So he reprimanded the guards for missing him...

I've seen this from two different sources, but being a forces story, that has no bearing on whether it's actually true or not...

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Re: Nowhere to hide

my favourite saying is "Security is also providing access to those who should, as well as denying it to those who shouldn't".

This is really important. Actually I could even make an argument that in almost all cases, proper access is more important than data security. Unless of course your data has real life-and-death implications. For two reasons:

Firslty - you're probably trying to do something. If you can't do that something (whatever it is), then your whole organisation is rendered pointless.

Secondly - if you over-secure everything, so that people can't get their work done - then they'll just break the rules. And then your security it toast.

Obviously this is all subject to sensible risk assessment. Sometimes the risk of the right thing not getting done is less than the risk of the data being leaked or damaged - in which case your security needs to be more inflexible, people need to understand why this is and know they'll get hammered if they break the rules.

This is possible though. You can get people to agree to quite unreasonable procedures, so long as everyone agrees that the risk is high enough to justify the pain. And extra effort, and resources, are dedicated to helping the people on the ground to get their work done.

I give an example. My Mum works with vulnerable children. But as an outside consultant for a very well known charity, seeing as she's retired. They've got their network wrapped up nice and tight. So tightly in fact, that she's been working for them since she retired ten years ago - and only got issued a mobile phone this year. So sure, they can now remote delete this data, and enforce a password on her. But before that she had all the details on her personal phone, with no password.

She wasn't allowed to remote connect to their network (or even connect in the office) until she'd done several of those shitty online courses. But you couldn't get onto those online courses, without access to the network! Ahem. So she had to drive 60 miles to the nearest office, only for some shitty online video course thingy - that was a total bureaucratic waste of time. So because she was unable to connect to their secure (so secure you can't access it) data system, she was emailing stuff to her boss to upload, from her personal email account in the clear. And IT were no help, and just followed their procedures.

Sadly many of these big charities seem to have swallowed all the bureaucratic crap of big corporations and government - mostly I suspect by hoovering up all the crappy middle management types that are unemployable elsewhere - because they pay too many staff.

Chaos would be bad. This information is in some cases very sensitive. But just finding the names and addresses of families with disabled kids is easy - there'll often be stories in the media and charity press releases with names, that you can cross rereference with the phone book. I'd suggest that helping them is probably more important than hindering your frontline people - and there's an argument for keeping the sensitive notes in paper form, and never committing them to computer. But if you must, then you need to commit much more IT resources to the necessary hand-holding.

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Brexit: Leaving the EU could trigger UK science patent law rejig

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Re: Divide and conquer

Len,

Nope. Leaving the EU doesn't make our democracy better. Although we could change it if we chose to. And not all the aspects you complain about are particularly relevant. The head of state has extremely limted powers and the Lords are more a delaying and revising chamber. Both do a pretty good job, and if either become politically controversial know that their days are numbered.

The downsides of a more independent (and therefore less politically accountable) civil service need to be offset against the downsides of having more political control of them - as happens in the US for example.

But finally the EU is more undemocratic. Not because it's an evil conspiracy, but because it doesn't contain a demos. There is no homogenous electorate, and so even if the European Parliament did have proper power, it still wouldn't work that well.

But one of the things you can do in Britain is to "vote the bums out!" Something not possible in the politically fractured EU. And if you don't like an EU decision it's therefore very hard to reverse. The EU is too big and unweildy to be democratic, unless the people of Europe were a lot more united (and culturally/politically similar) than they actually are.

The Eurozone crisis has I think shown the political limits of the EU. We more-or-less happily move cash to the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make up for the fact that sterling suits the South East better. The Eurozone politically cannot do that yet, becuase the peoples of Europe don't feel they're part of one group. Until that changes the EU cannot be democratic, because people will only vote in their own interest. Thus Greece and Cyprus got fucked, and to a lesser extent Ireland, Spain and Portugal, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Divide and conquer

Yeah, the EU is great at caring for the populous! It must have just been a mistake when they deliberately crippled the Greek economy last year, in order to screw them down in some particularly unpleasant negotations, plunging the country back into recession. Funny definition of caring...

Not that the EU is the fount of all evil or anything. This was just as much about German/Dutch/Finish/Slovak internal politcs, as Greek government incompetence. And is only a symptom of the fact that the Euro doesn't, and can't, work as currently constituted and desperately needs fixing or putting out of everyone's misery.

But this pathetic pretence that someone the UK are uniquely self-interested, and everyone else in the EU are just desperate to be fluffy and lovely, if only we'd stop being so awkward - well it's deeply annoying. As well as being massive bollocks.

If we leave, it should be because we're willing to pay a probably small price for more political accountability and democratic control. There's a chance we may profit out of it too, but I'd imagine that the differences either way will be small - as we're still going to want to trade with them, and they with us. Whatever happens, in or out, is a messy compromise - as so much of politics is. The EU has recently shown itself capable of staggering incompetence and nastiness though, particularly with the Eurozone and refugee crises - so please don't try to pretend that either side has any kind of moral high ground. Also the Eurogroup and European Central Bank have effectively brought down 3 elected governments in the last 4 years, Italy once and Greece twice. All three times deliberately. We're not in the Euro, so probably safe from that kind of meddling, but the Eurocrisis will probably see me voting out.

As for this story, the operative word is "could". Anything could happen. If we leave we'll be subject to the outcome of some very long, and complicated negotiations. I doubt a lot will change in the short term. Things that have come through EU laws won't all magically disappear. Some we'll have to keep, as the price to get the trading relationships we'll want, some we'll chose to keep, some may change over time. We want pharmaceuticals companies to make decent profits, so they'll invest in new drugs and the expensive regulatory systems we choose to have to try to make them safe. We want differential pricing, to allow the developing world access to drugs that they couldn't otherwise afford, even though this means we pay more for AIDS drugs than Africa for example. Our future governments may make changes and screw things up, but the EU have shown themselves perfectly capable of screwing up too. The big advantage of a smaller democracy is that it's easier to change stuff back. The disadvantage of the EU is that it's so big, and it takes so long to negotiate stuff, that it's very hard to change policy.

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Nest bricks Revolv home automation hubs, because evolution

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Re: Urrrgh

I'm happy with my Google Chromecast, it was only £30. But this certainly tells me that if Google ever produced a more expensive "Google TV" thingamijig costing serious money, that I shouldn't touch it with a 20 foot bargepole - given their pisspoor attitude to customer service.

They can obviously brick that thing at any time, as I believe it uses their servers to work. But it fulfilled a short term issue to put iPlayer stuff and NFL games on my telly - and so far it's done it well enough that I've never got round the long-term solution. When I need more, or Google kill it, I'll sort that out.

So far none of the boxes have done quite what I wanted, all seem to lock you into, or out of, other people's services, and I've not wanted to spend the time and money to get a PC set up for it. I guess a Raspberry Pi and hard disk might be the answer.

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Re: Hey, usually it's just "not supported anymore"...

Ah, the internet connected toilet. When it crashes you have to flush the cache, and if that doesn't work - analyse the dump.

I assume it'll be motion sensitive, have a web management console (with individual pooRL), auto post your uploads to Twitter and Facebook etc.

Let's just hope it doesn't also have a download feature...

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Re: Disturbing

Of course, on the other hand we're talking Google here. I wonder when they'll finally kill Google+? Even though it's still got decent numbers of users, it doesn't make them much cash, they don't seem to use it much themselves, and they're slowly stipping it out of their other systems, like Youtube and Gmail.

Also do you remember the first Nexus phone? The one where Google sold the hardware direct, but hadn't put in place a service or returns department! Great planning their guys! A month or two later they did a deal with HTC (ISTR) and got them to do their servicing and support. Incidentally they also didn't do the tax/export paperwork either, so people were getting a nice form delivered saying come to the post office to pick this up, along with your £50 import duty.

Now that's what I call professional customer service from a company turning over around $100 billion a year...

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Devil

Re: Disturbing

Be fair to Google. These things must require one, maybe two, whole servers to be permanently connected to the internet - with somefive 9s uptime and everything! That's expensive, and Google probably just don't have the spare server capacity to deal with it...

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Champagne weekend for Blue Origin with third launch

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Happy

"My commanding officer swore blind that the whole planet was about to be eaten by a giant mutant star goat."

Perhaps rather than building 3 Arks, Bezos is attempting to placate it...

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

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Re: ¿Puzzled?

If you're reading Dabbs articles to become informed about tech issues, you're probably doing it wrong.

If you are in possession of a working sense of humour, and wish to read (or join in) a good old grump about tech issues - then you have arrived at the right place.

If you don't find his stuff funny, then don't read it. Journalists have bylines for a reason.

I'm sure he'd say that the only point to his articles is so that he can get beer from the other side of the bar to the one he's standing on. If some people happen to find them amusing, then it's much more likely that the flow will continue.

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Re: ¿Puzzled?

I've just found another use for the El Reg Dabbs article. Most weeks there seems to be someone who doesn't get it, posts something grumpy, and the Dabbs rejoinder is usually a pleasure to read.

I'm normally Mr Nice on forums. Rarely venturing further than Sarcasm Junction. But I do appreciate a quality bit of creative snark.

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Re: ¿Puzzled?

There's no use for any of Mr Dabbs' articles on El Reg - at least so far as I can tell. That's the charm of them. And probably why they turn up on Fridays - when I should be phoning a customer about Legionella control - but I know it's going to be a looooong conversation, because he's not going to like the answers.

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You can't dust-proof a PC with kitchen-grade plastic food wrap

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Re: Oil Bath

That's OK. I thought he was trying to cook chips anyway...

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Woman scales Ben Nevis wielding selfie stick instead of ice axe

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Pint

Re: Erm

"A smart person learns from their mistakes; a wise person from the mistakes of others." - Unknown

But the brightest of all chooses not to leave the warm pub.

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Furious English villagers force council climbdown over Satan's stone booty

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Devil

Re: Belief?

Be careful. The last person to argue this (or that normal people don't marry their sisters), got burned in a giant wicker shoe.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Legal nonesense...

You mean that this rocky problem could also lead to outcomes to their detriment, and then the boot would be on the other foot, with a hard to shift obstacle in their way - and then they'd be between the devil and the deep blue sea?

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Re: Move the bloody thing

As well as being a joyless anonymous coward, unable to see how these oddities of life add to the fun of it all, I'd suggest that you've missed the obvious solution.

We don't need to smash this stone up. Moving it is in fact very easy. Simply ring the church bells at midnight, and it'll move of it's own accord.

Of course the article doesn't state where it'll move to, or stop - so some research may need to be carried out first. After all, we don't want even more claims from people whose parked cars have been whacked.

Or I guess we could just ask satan to come and reclaim it. I assume if we asked his representatives on Earth Piers Morgan or Simon Cowell nicely, they could have a word with their boss, and see what he says...

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ExoMars probe narrowly avoids death, still in peril after rocket snafu

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Re: Can't they test the instruments before they get to Mars?

I believe they usually do some sort of test and calibration of instruments after launch and the major engine burn. Then they get put into hibernation until just before arrival. Of course, if some of the rocket debris is on the same course - then when the probe slows down for insertion into Mars orbit, it's going to have a cloud of higher velocity debris right up its arse. In which case it could get near to Mars and only then go kaboom.

Of course, that depends on which way the rocket was pointing when it went boom whether they do a course correction en route and such. They've got a while to work it all out.

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MH-370 search loses sharpest-eyed robot deep beneath the waves

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Re: Waste Of Time

Vic,

True, I'm sure they're trained on all the flight modes. But as I recall, one of the conclusions of the enquiry was that pilots needed more training on the backup flight control modes where the computer is either partially or wholly ceding decision to the pilots.

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Re: Waste Of Time

Last year there was a fire onboard a plane. It was the batteries of the emergency beacon on the top of the plane that goes off if it crashes. Few planes ditch. Even fewer ditch in unknown areas. But if you make all planes carry a transmitter, then you've made all planes slightly more complicated, and slightly more dangerous. With another high-capacity battery (i.e. fire risk) required.

What the balance of safety is, I don't know. But there are arguments on both sides.

Now in this case, the satellite comms remained functional. Something you wouldn't expect in most crashes. So had they paid extra for real-time tracking they'd have a far better idea where the plane was when it ran out of fuel (still leaving a reasonably big search area).

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We can. But it costs money. Satellite bandwidth is not cheap. And most of the time, planes are operating under ATC in controlled airspace. So the location is known. In most accidents the crew have time to get a radio message out. Plus, if you crash in the deep ocean, everybody's dead anyway, so it's only a matter of finding the wreckage.

Remember there was a plane a couple of years ago that had a fire in their emergency radio beacon. So there are reasons not to want any more electrics on your aeroplane than you absolutely need. And none of these things are ever "a few hundred quid", because they have to be certified. So they cost mucho dinero.

On the other hand, most planes have a satellite uplink. Used for the passenger phones (horribly expensive), passenger internet (also horribly expensive) and for data communications. So they can report back to maintenance if they're having mechanical glitches, and get the plane booked in for repairs on give diagnostic info. Many airlines also pay for extra data, and use this uplink to give course, location and speed info to their control centre, so they know exactly where all their planes are. Malaysian were losing money (as many airlines do) so hadn't gone for that expense.

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Re: Plane goes missing, search robot goes missing…

Didn't the Aussies also lose one of their nice deep-scanning sonar doohickeys in January? I seem to remember one of their survey ships having to run back to Freemantle for a new bit of kit, just as that Chinese ship was turning up last month.

As you say, clearly a conspiracy.

Watch out for those Old Ones.

You'd be mad not to...

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Re: Waste Of Time

Actually, it is a waste of time only in a different way.

Mr Anonymouse,

It's not a waste of time to try and find out what happened for the families, and/or recover bodies. Though admittedly there should be limits on how much time and effort you spend on this. The Chinese are putting in a lot more than they normally would, because this has become a political issue.

However, the real reason to do this is air safety. Air travel is even safer than train travel. Which is an amazing achievement considering that trains don't have to rely on both wings and engines working to avoid crashing - and don't even need steering.

This has not happened by luck. But by dint or hard, and continuous effort. It means investigating every accident, and trying to learn the lessons from it.

As an example, that Air France crash in the South Atlantic. I believe the plane was lost for 5 years? Or was it only 3? Anyway they did lots of searching, and found the wreckage. Got hold of the black box and learned some extremely valuable lessons about pilot confusion - and the way that modern fly-by-wire planes can sometimes dump control on the pilots in an unexpected mode that they're not expecting. Basically they're trained to assume that you can't stall a fly-by-wire plane, because it won't let you make those control inputs. But if the flight computers have totally lost track of the situation, there's a failure mode where they'll just exactly follow the pilot. Hence some retraining is needed.

There was also an issue with both pilots trying to use the stick at once, again a total breach of training, but that's resulted in Airbus redesigning their controls to stop it happening again.

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Water treatment plant hacked, chemical mix changed for tap supplies

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It could be there's some bigger commercial/industrial customers whose meters are reported directly on the network's controls systems. So the billing system uses that info to charge them. Not sensible, but doesn't mean someone hasn't done it.

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Re: The.. just.. I don't even

I would imagine the billing system is probably polling information from the control system. And presumably the treatment controls are on the same system as the network/metering ones. Obviously this should be via a locked down account with no permissions - but I guess it isn't. Well, even more obviously, it shouldn't even be connected - that info should be going to an offline database first.

I can understand wanting to have central control of the system. Rather than having to control things individually at each pumping station and works. But that should be via a private network, not the internet. And there certainly shouldn't be a bloody web server.

Admittedly they do regular testing of the water. But although some of that will be manual, so not vulnerable to computer intrusion, I'd expect that this will also be moving towards automation though.

You can do an amazing amount of damage though. If you control valves, pumps, or worse pumps and valves - then you can easily cause pipes to burst. With chemical dosing you can either overdose or underdose the water and cause problems. Sewage plants are also delicately balanced, in that they have beds which use bacteria to break down some of the waste products - and if too much of certain chemicals gets in there, it kills off the colonies, and stops the treatment plant working.

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Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

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Re: getting close to home

That's what the chips are for, on the way home. With curry ketchup, rather than mayonaise though.

Duvel is 8.6%, as I learned the hard way. But I think Chimay Bleu is over 10. Hic! Which I think is the strongest beer I've had that was actually drinkable. Delicious in fact.

Although drinking fruit beer on a Summer afternoon can be dangerous, given lots of it is over 6%, but it goes down far too easily.

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Re: 9/11 was a "lucky shot"

DougS,

What do you expect if you fly 2 planes into a building, when each has got well north of 20 tonnes of fuel onboard? Plus don't forget the hoped-for casualties from the two other planes.

Anyway the point is that Al Qaeda were after mass casualties, as well as headlines. There was a plot that got foiled a few months after to detonate bombs on 8 planes over the Pacific simultaneously. That wasn't like the Heathrow plot here, mostly home grown, but one of Bin Laden's senior lieutenants. So they were hoping for a couple of thousand casualties there.

The point is that their schtick was killing lots of people at once. More headlines that way. I guess because their only constituency is nutters. Whereas the IRA had to have some public sympathy in order to survive in the community - and had an objective that was actually sane. Even if their method of achieving it was evil. That imposed limits on them. When AQ tried to hold territory in Iraq, the locals rose up and killed/expelled them, then did a deal with the hated US army to keep them out.

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Re: I lived in London in the 1970's ...

Nice bit of revisionist history there. If you were a soldier or a policeman you and your family were fair game for the IRA. And in fact so were children as Omagh proved. Don't try and pretend the IRA were some kind of worthy opponents

boltar,

I didn't. Try reading people's posts before flying off all in a lather.

I said that the IRA weren't always trying to maximise casualties. And their operatives were also trying to stay alive and avoid arrest. Not that they were honourable, nice, fluffy or whatever else. They sometimes issued warnings, or attacked property/infrastructure when it wasn't in use. Their objective was supposedly to cause enough constant trouble that the rest of the UK would get sick of the troubles and abandon the Unionists. This made them less of a threat to life than the modern Islamic terrorists who are often trying to maximise casualties - and be as cruel as possible.

I've no illusions about the IRA - my Dad got bombed by them twice.

Oh, and Omagh wasn't done by the IRA. It was the Real IRA - or the I Can't Believe It's Not IRA... Who were opposed to the peace process.

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Re: GSM ACC

Alexander J. Martin,

I'd imagine the legal argument is easy. Telecoms is a regulated area. You'll almost certainly need a license to operate. In the specific case of mobile phones, you have to buy a license to use the radio spectrum, and that comes with conditions. The network itself may or may not be publicly owned, but the spectrum is.

Anyway I'd imagine that the appeals for people to stop phoning were to get the numbers down, so they could switch the networks back on. As if you've got too many people trying to connect to one cell, it's probably not going to be able to discriminate between priority and non-priority callers due to volume of traffic. At which point, the most viable way to work things would be to drop to some other mode - that either limits or drops connection to the lower priority users. I'd assume you want to keep them on the network so texts and 999 calls can still get through - but drop call requests.

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Re: I lived in London in the 1970's ...

The IRA threat was different. The World Trade Centre attack killed a similar number of people in an hour as 30 years of the troubles did. They were interested in getting away afterwards - and often not particularly trying to kill people. Whereas the current nutters seem to want to take as many people with them as they can manage - and not survive themselves. So they're harder to deter, and need more force to contain.

Not that I'm saying we should be any more worried or stop going about our daily lives. But those people in the security services paid to deal with this every day do have more of a threat on their hands. And it's their job to ask for more powers, even if society chooses to ignore them and accept a bigger risk.

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Re: Not only in the capital

They were apparently still allowing text messages (at least the government statement was urging people to use them rather than calling) - so I imagine they weren't worrying about remote triggers. Or had blocked texts at the specific cells they were worried about. Some of the second lot of London bombs and the Madrid train bombs used SMS triggers.

That's not a nice trade-off to have to make - between making people's lives even harder (given the level of disruption and lack of voice comms) and safety.

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Re: getting close to home

Hopefully makes you think that the beer's lovely, and so are the restaurants. As is the chocolate. So now's as good a time as any to go. I'm sure the economy will be grateful, and there'll be cheap hotel rooms available too.

Not been back for a while, so perhaps it's time to plan a trip. I used to commute through Maelbeek station every day.

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Re: That's perspective for you.

I am surprised that the number of people killed was this low because we're talking peak hour traffic here.

They seem to have bombed the Metro well over an hour after the airport. And after 9am. So it willl have been a lot emptier. That's my old route to work, and it's a lot less crowded than the London Underground even at peak times. The tunnels are also bigger, and less deep - which at least makes the emergency services' job a bit easier.

I'm surprised they're even allowing text messages. That's a tough dilemma for the police. Bombs have been triggered by text message before - I know the UK system has therefore got the facility to block texts - but on the other hand people need to be able to communicate. Especially when public transport has been shut down.

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Live Below the Line Challenge 2016

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Neil,

I'm thinking about doing it, but it's no fun on your own. I may try to persuade a couple of friends to join me in the suffering... Or see what happens here. How about you?

I believe the pressure cooker is the solution to ALL cookery problems though. But I think the problem with dry chickpeas is as much the husks as the hardness. Anyway they're OK tinned, and there are other options. I'd have gone for potatoes, but I don't eat enough to use up a big sack, so end up paying more for less. But it definitely seemed against the spirit of the thing to buy loads to get them cheaper, then chick them afterwards.

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NASA's mighty SLS to burn 1.215 Olympic-sized pools

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Re: Needless confusion!?!!?!

And this is why NASA have crashed a probe into Mars and El Reg haven't.

All Hail the El Reg Standards Soviet!

And despite this, the FAA certify NASA and not El Reg. It's a travesty I tell you.

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Tech biz bosses tell El Reg a Brexit will lead to a UK Techxit

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Re: derisory renegotiations

The 54% is for National Parliaments. Sadly it's basically a non-event - though it gives legal force to an exisiting system, where if enough parliaments get together they can forced the Commisison to reconsider a measure they don't like.

In normal Qualified Majority Voting - which is what happens in the Council of Ministers (when they're not doing it by unanimity) the blocking minority is something like 35%. Both voting systems are done by population, So Germany, Britain and Poland together are a blocking minority in QMV.

For the Parliamentary red card, I think that means if the British, German, French and Italian Parliaments were to get together, they could block any Commission regulation. Of course that would mean Parliaments defying their governments, so it's sadly a good idea watered down to be mostly ineffective.

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A typo stopped hackers siphoning nearly $1bn out of Bangladesh

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Re: Bah

Destroy All MOnsters,

You don't appear to understand QE, or inflation (which there isn't much of at the moment), or the devastating economic effect of deflation in highly indebted economies. Given that many peoples' pensions and investments are held in government debt instruments, the alternative to QE (almost certainly deflation and massive government defaults) is too horrible to think about.

QE isn't a money injection, or money printing, as it's a reversible process designed to force down market interest rates.

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