* Posts by AndrueC

2556 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

BT slams ‘ludicrous’ Openreach report as Vodafone smirks

AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Free market?

Utter tripe.

Charming. Are you a professional debater?

Perhaps I'm thinking of SurfTime then. I'm sure I recall something about BT installing analogue modems (presumably just something more akin to a DSLAM) at exchanges back before ADSL appeared. I've found this article which may be what I'm thinking of:

"Currently, BT has plans to upgrade its exchanges with digital local exchanges by November. It said that this would allow it to separate all internet traffic generated by SurfTime and other unmetered access products."

Anyway it was all a long time ago (almost as long ago as the PO) so if my memory is a bit rusty I apologise. If I'm wrong, just correct me. There's need for you to be a dick about it.

Hmm. Found another article which says that Surftime is just a discount scheme so shouldn't need dedicated hardware. My guess is I'm just remembering about the traffic separation system mentioned in the first article. Whatever - that first article still indicates additional work carried by BT on their network.

Or maybe not further on the article states "BT Net have a product called Surfport available to ISPs. With Surfport a BT Net not-modem answers the customers call and routes the IP traffic onto the BT Colossus IP only network, where it is collected and sent on to the ISP by a high bandwidth permenant connection".

1
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Free market?

They're the only network that doesn't have to pay rates on their fiber, giving them another price advantage.

That's not entirely correct but they do have a special rate that gives them (in my opinion) an unfair advantage. The VOA has been asked to review this a couple of times now but keeps coming down on the side of BT :-/

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Free market?

BT was gifted all that expensive (monopoly) infrastructure for a knock down price back in the 80s

And you think BT are still using that network unaltered from the way the PO left it? BT pretty much rebuilt the core using fibre optics (a condition of the floatation I believe) and upgraded all the exchanges to digital. A lot of the local loop is unchanged from PO days but a lot of houses have been built in the last 30 years so even that has been considerably extended since privatisation. And that's to say nothing of the roll-out of v90(*), IDSN, ADSL and now the installation of thousands of street-side cabinets.

Harping on about what BT may or may not have inherited from the PO is unhelpful. It was over 30 years ago and in telephony terms that makes it pre-history. What BT inherited from the PO was a network creaking at the seams, barely fit for purpose and in need of serious investment. BT has brought that network into the modern world and turned it into a world-class telephony network.

BT has earned the right to be judged on its own merits. Criticise if it you want but stop dragging ancient history into the discussion, please.

(*)That required BT to install modems in telephone exchanges so that one of the D/A conversions could be skipped.

8
3
AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Free market?

And the smaller bidders were stymied by the requirement to provide a wholesale product. I do think that was a valid requirement but it was inevitable that only the very biggest players would be able to meet that requirement and still come up with a viable RoI.

2
0

HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Devonian? @ ~Spartacus

Hypothetically, if a group of dinosaurs had developed technology, there would be little or no evidence of it.

This forms part of the basis behind a pleasantly readable science-fiction book called Toolmaker Koan. There's one scene where the humans are working with the 'aliens' onboard their ark looking at a map of modern Earth and suddenly the moon comes into view. The 'aliens' recognise it and realise that their ark didn't carry them very far after all. Quite poignant.

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Alert

Re: Devonian?

I'm not really up on Archaeological Science, but it does continue to suggest that the evolution of all life on this planet has been set back a good few times.

99% of species that have existed have gone extinct. Makes ya think a bit that does. My thought is 'it's time we got off this rock' ;)

2
0

Complaints against ISPs and mobe firms are up by a fifth — reports

AndrueC
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: John Lewis? An ISP?

Possibly over nit-picky of me, but I'm under the impression there are 2 ISP's in the UK - Openreach & NTL

Not really but you could be forgiven for being confused :)

BT Openreach is not an ISP. It's an infrastructure provider. It owns and operates the hardware side of things mostly. Its basic remit is to help move packets between the modem inside your house and the telephone exchange. After that someone else has to carry the packets.

If it helps any you could think of BT Openreach as being the telephony equivalent of Network Rail. Vital to the operation but you don't buy train tickets off Network Rail ;)

Inside the exchange there are several ways the packets can get carried further but simplistically it boils down to one of two options:

* BT Wholesale carries them from the exchange to your ISP.

or

* If you are with an LLU operator (eg; Talk Talk, Sky, maybe a couple of others) they pick up them up at your exchange themselves.

There are actually two ways BT Wholesale can get packets between exchange and ISP. Either they can carry them all the way or they can drop them off somewhere convenient where your ISP can pick them up.

Of course BT Openreach own the main national telephony network so whatever method is used at the exchange it likely rides over BT Or equipment at some point anyway. It's very hard to avoid BT Or's network because it's ubiquitous and actually pretty damn' good.

And it's worth adding that even if you do get broadband from BT as per the headline that is neither Openreach nor Wholesale but is in fact a third division called 'Retail'. All three BT divisions mentioned here operate independently. Ofcom insist that all CPs (Communication Providers) get equal treatment so BT Retail operates under the same rules as all the others.

You could think of BT Wholesale as being like a rolling-stock leasing company. In which case your ISP would be the company that leases the rolling stock and provides the drivers.

Hope that helps :)

7
0

Nesting falcons interrupt £200m Vodafone 4G mast upgrades

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

A few years ago I was talking to a colleague and we got on to discussing pets. At the time I had a pet budgie and in his typical disparaging(*) way he said "why don't you get rid of that and get a parrot - at least they can talk".

So I pointed out that a budgie is a parrot and in fact they appear to be one of the best human vocal imitators :)

Taxonomy can be a funny old thing.

(*)He was, frankly, an unpleasant git and one of only two people that I can claim to genuinely hate. Thankfully we parted ways several years ago.

1
0

NASA upgrades Rosetta, Voyager and moon landing tracker

AndrueC
Silver badge
Joke

"Does my beak look big in this?"

0
0

Flying cars will take to the skies in 2017, if government allows

AndrueC
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Won't

I can't wait until it arrives

For ten quid more you could've gone with the matter transmission option.

1
0

BT fined £800k over lax emergency text relay delay blunder

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Their text service is a bit flaky in general. My land line phone supports SMS so I do sometimes send texts to it. They don't always appear in a timely manner and sometimes not at all. When I queried it a year ago I was told it could take several days for a text to appear sometimes. It's not a service I'd rely on :-/

1
1

Pi(e) Day of the Century is upon us! Time to celebrate 3/14/15 in style, surely?

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

I once memorised PI to 150 decimal places. It was written on page 57 of SMP book G I think. That was 30 years ago though so not sure how much I still know.

Hmmm.

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971699397510..bah. Getting old I reckon :)

0
0

BT inks deal with Williams F1 for go-faster cloudy goodness

AndrueC
Silver badge
Go

In fact a huge proportion of F1 is based in Britain.

Yup all of them around the Northants/Bucks/Oxfordshire area. An internationally recognised area of motorsport excellence. It's something that Britons should be proud of, like our satellite manufacturing and operating industry. Unfortunately it seems some people just can't or won't accept that when we're good, we're bloody good.

I live in a small town in rural South Northants. We have a Formula 1 team that wins championships. It's opposite Tesco :)

1
0

Google will make you live to be 500, claims Ventures president

AndrueC
Silver badge
Stop

Re: "Google will make you live to be 500"...

Further Correction: Google will take your brain and put it in a jar...

Or a box. :(

2
0

Carriers want 5G to do everything, for anything, anywhere

AndrueC
Silver badge

Re: Lan replacement

I'm not sure that Wifi will take over from cables though. Most devices still need mains power and anywhere you put a power socket you can put an Ethernet socket. I haven't (yet) worked in an office where cables came down from the ceiling - are you UK based? All the offices I've seen had sockets in the floor and/or walls.

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge

Re: Lan replacement

And it's that difficult to get a SECOND mast up compared to rewiring a whole office floor?

We don't have unlimited radio spectrum. Put another mast up and you have to ensure that they don't use overlapping frequencies. You could try using beaming technology but I'm not sure how effective that really would be an urban office environment.

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Lan replacement

Why?

Contention. It's what always holds wireless solutions back. 5G might offer a 1Gb/s connection but that's being shared by everyone attached to that mast. Not so hot when hundreds of people are all competing for the bandwidth ;)

1
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Joke

Hey cool. Does that mean I'll get back to having reliable reception inside my house?

0
0

Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

And they can't stick it in some kind of VM while they work out what to do with it?

These stats are measuring where XP is running. It's not going to make any difference whether it's on physical or virtual hardware. Of course if you have to run XP then running inside a VM is probably a good idea but still not a panacea. You might not be able to isolate the applications from the outside world and even if you can it's still possible to suffer a breach if the damage occurs within the VM itself.

4
0

Telly behemoths: Does size matter?

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

No mention of flat screen CRT technology? That had a bit of an impact in the late 90s. Otherwise an interesting article.

0
0

'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

Word is a bit more tolerable if people do the following:

1. Use styles.

Seriously - don't just select 'Bold' for your headings. This goes for paragraphs as well. Create styles and use those.If you want to include text in a different font (eg; italics for quotes or fixed font for some source) create a style. Don't just rely on 'Normal'. Create a style for the text under each heading (Heading 1, Body 1, Heading 2, Body 2, Source 2 etc.).

It makes Word happier (probably because it reduces the mark-up it needs so documents are less fragile) and makes a lot of document-wide operations more sane (like disabling spell checking and auto formatting for source code paragraphs). If a document has multiple contributors it encourages conformity.

2. Never (ever. Seriously)

Edit or define hierarchically numbered heading styles. Life is too short. Your co-workers might tolerate some occasional profanity but no-one should be expected to put up with the torrent of abuse that you will unleash if you start messing with these styles.

2
0

Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

Re: filesystem time on a Window box filesystem

You might want to think about (or look into) whether NTFS and FAT (and FAT32) all behave the same way in this respect.

That's true but you might want to consider that it's largely irrelevant. FATx is pretty much only used on USB sticks these days (and even then NTFS would be preferred unless portability with another OS was a factor). NTFS has been the default file system for hard disks since Windows XP. As a consequence it's pretty safe to say that 99.9% of documents created under Windows on a local disk file system will be created on an NTFS volume.

The 'Windows file system' is NTFS and has been for over a decade. FATx is just a legacy file system that Windows (in common with most OSes) supports for inter system compatibility reasons and is mostly only seen on portable devices.

1
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Boffin

Also being picky, that is local system time, which isn't necessarily the same as world atomic clock time..

Ah but most (probably all) modern OSes are using UTC (aka GMT) internally. Local time is a user feature that modern OSes only bother with as a convenience for us. Anyone who has had to muck about with date/time processing knows that you never store or manipulate local time. It's too much hassle and too error prone.

You can see this on Windows (and presumably on Linux as well) in a month or so when the clocks go back. Create a file just before DST kicks in and note the creation time. Check it after DST has started and it'll have changed by an hour. That's because the file system stores the time as UTC and applies a locale specific conversion when displaying it. DST yields a different result for that conversion.

0
0

Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: "Satellite is the ideal way to distribute 4K. We will drive it just as we did with HD"

720p had no traction in Europe either as acquisition format or deliverable.

Indeed not. When you have had PAL and SECAM already for several decades 720i doesn't bring much to the table especially if you get a bit carried away with compression. Some EU countries even made use of PAL+ to deliver widescreen format over analogue although in the UK I think only C4 did that and probably only for films.

0
0

Win! Classic El Reg tees, plus something special for the weekend

AndrueC
Silver badge
Happy

Oh I'd go for a pint glass. My last one (an old TeamB glass from Borland cracked when I tapped it last month). And just 'cos I'm a programmer doesn't mean I can't play golf. I've got my scores down to double digits now I'll have you know :)

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Unhappy

I thought you meant golf tees. I'm a bit disappointed.

1
0

Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Abolishing Corporation Tax

Is it really a good idea that everyone could defer tax indefinitely by stashing their savings in a company?

It's so good that we should give it a name. I suggest we call it 'Capital investment'. Maybe we could set up some kind of marketplace where the funds we stash away can be moved between different companies in order to best benefit us. Perhaps companies would see that as an opportunity to compete and we'd develop a kind of 'Darwinistic' survival of the fittest environment.

All we need now is a name for such a marketplace. Lemme think a minute.

4
0

Game of Moans: Sky coughs to BORKED set top box BALLS-UP

AndrueC
Silver badge

Re: Glad I am on Freesat

Not always. Talk to a T1000 user. Now there was a box that had difficulty remembering series links. But my Freesat HDR is working like a charm. The EPG is horribly sluggish at first but otherwise a lovely box.

2
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Go

Re: SOP. Never consider rolling back the previous version.

The real issue is pisspoor testing of releases - probably ignoring the spread of hardware they've dumped over the years that somebody is still using.

To be fair to Sky I've been a subscriber for over a decade now (my first box was a silver Panny). Only once have I been seriously impacted by a firmware fault and they rolled that back within a week. I don't agree with all the changes they have made over the years but my various Sky boxes have been some of the most dependable and reliable kit I've owned.

1
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Coat

sometimes it doesn't even ask if you want to series link

That's usually down to the channel concerned not having set the metadata up correctly. CI has done this a number of times as has Discovery. I usually fire off an email and they usually fix it. That can also be the reason why series links sometimes break but if rebooting brings them back then that sounds like the box.

But another pet hate of mine is the way some channels just start repeating earlier shows to prolong a series. History does this a lot. They seem to just start randomly inserting previous episodes as they get close to airing the final few.

On the plus side it seems that ITV have stopped using series link as a way to get every episode from every channel on Freesat. I gave up using series link on Midsomer Murders because even if you only marked the new episodes on ITV HD you also got the endless repeats on ITV 3. One case where the more powerful series link of Freesat was not an advantage.

History have done that only a few days ago. The series link for Storage Wars (stop giggling) suddenly linked across to the series of repeats. They've also been known to mark repeats as being part of the series so you get two or three recordings of everything throughout the week. Very annoying when you only have two tuners in the box because it's pot luck what will get dropped and Sod's law says it won't always be the repeat you saw the day before.

Oh and this is only tangentially related but: Why the fucking hell can't Discovery broadcast to its schedule. It doesn't show live programmes. It must be possible to know to the nearest nano-second when everything is going to end. So how the hell do they sometimes end up running two or even three minutes late? Stupid arseholes.

Mine's the one with the list of grievances in the pocket.

2
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

I've not noticed any problems which is a relief. My Samsung box is on a timer that cuts the power to it every night at 3am and doesn't restore it until 3pm. It wouldn't be the first time that power cycling a Sky box has meant I avoided problems. What I have noticed are a number of channels being careless with series link data.

0
0

Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

AndrueC
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Sing it with me...

If you start impersonating David Essex I'm leaving.

11
0

Over 50? Out of work? Watch out because IT is about to EAT ITSELF

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: A few words of Interview advice

At 44 I'd consider that a risky strategy. To a manager it may suggest that you don't want too much responsibility, yet when you're 55 you'll probably stll expect a salary commensurate with your age.

It's a risky strategy and one I only slightly applied. I said I wouldn't mind being a team leader but loved coding so much I didn't want to be a manager. The trick is to demonstrate that you still have the passion of a youngster but tempered by many year's experience.

As for my salary at 55 - that's what a private pension is for. Not saying I will retire at 55 but I'm making damn sure that the option is on the table ;)

1
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Grey beards pricing themselves out of the market

The true learning bit is often just mastering a new syntax along the lines of where does the comma,semi-,colon go this time.

Oh yes. Along with 'Oh you've given it a [new] name now'. On a good day there's also 'Wow, that's a lot easier than all that code I had to write'.

Only very occasionally do you come across something truly new. Mostly it's just a matter of mapping old concepts to new buzzwords.

2
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: @AndrueC

Outstanding result! May I ask what type of C# dev? As in, industry segment, wpf/wcf/asp.net etc?

My primary experience these days is desktop development using C# and Winforms. I do also have some WPF experience along with some SQL. Multithreading is something I've done sporadically over the years. Some in C++ (15 years or so), some in C# (the last decade).

As far as industry is concerned I've just spent a year or so in the financial industry but prior to that it was data recovery at the disk then the application level. I don't really concern myself too much with a particular industry. Aside from real specialist roles I tend to just look at it as coding. Gimme the tools and a spec and I'll write it :)

I live in South Northants which is a pretty good location. I was getting a lot of interest and had about eight interviews lined up or taken in total over the almost two weeks. And that was despite choosing not to bother with Birmingham or London since both are reachable in an hour or so. Milton Keynes seemed to be a particular common location.

2
0
AndrueC
Silver badge

On the plus side I'm 48 and a software developer (C# currently). It's taken me nine days and three interviews to find a new job. I don't (yet) see any sign of agism in software development.

7
0

EE 'best' of the UK mobile network bunch, but how good is that?

AndrueC
Silver badge
FAIL

What the survey doesn’t do is give any information on call quality

And presumably not much info on indoor signal strength either. I can get an acceptable signal in my back garden or on my driveway but in my 22 year old house the phone sometimes deregisters from the network and if I don't at least go upstairs there's little to no chance of holding a conversation.

On the plus side my landline continues to give excellent service.

I was doing okay until EE did its little merger dance but I think they must have rearranged their coverage and now I'm in an effective not-spot. Vodaphone's checker suggests it might be a better bet but that would be a deal with the devil.

1
0

What time do you call this, BT? Late, state-funded broadband rollout plods on

AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Speed - what speed

However reality is that most times during the day I struggle to get 1Mb/s; video streaming is often so blighted with pauses I give up in disgust.

If you can currently connect at 17Mb/s at any time then you already have a pretty good connection. The fact you can't saturate that connection 24/7 is probably a separate issue to that being discussed here. It's possible that your exchange is congested but that's pretty unusual. BTor are fairly good at managing SVLAN/VP capacity. What does your exchange status say if you put it in here.

I'd be inclined to blame your ISP or possibly you are using a wifi connection and interference from your neighbours is limiting throughput during peak hours.

5
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Happy

Ironically the programme for Cornwall involving BT, the EU and Cornwall Council has been going great guns and is ahead of schedule. Seems like the weak link here is the government.

5
1

Crap mobile coverage costs UK biz £30m a week, reckons survey

AndrueC
Silver badge
Unhappy

Reception was okay for me until EE merged. Now reception inside my house is more than a bit dodgy. Do I live in the arse-end of nowhere? No. I live in a small town on the A43 about five minutes from the M40.

1
0

'Tech' City hasn't got proper broadband and it's like BT doesn't CARE

AndrueC
Silver badge
Facepalm

An MP has told Parliament she was left "shocked and surprised" by BT's response that it was "not commercially viable" to improve broadband access

MP. Parliament. Fiscal responsibility.

Spot the odd one out :-/

3
0

Breaking news: BBC FINALLY spots millions of mugshots on cop database

AndrueC
Silver badge
Facepalm

MacGregor told the Beeb last night that there were "grounds for doubts" about the reliability of facial recognition tech.

That's strange. It always works on TV. It can spot a terrorist wearing a fake beard and dark glasses in the middle of a crowd of people. What could possibly be wrong with it?

9
1

'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: He is right though, too many cooks does make for shite

Ah yes, I 'got out' of data recovery just about when the first 4k sector drives were coming onto the market. Our software would have handled it because we didn't hardcode block sizes. Good job too - we once had to do an AS400 recovery and those used 528 byte sectors IIRC. I think we also saw some 1024 byte sector sizes but I don't know where they came from.

Some of the last stuff I wrote was for Windows. The joys of SPTI. Lordy that was a right PITA from what I remember.

1
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: How bad is Torvalds?

Including 48-bit LBA? [evil grin]

Lol, I don't know. It's been a while since I had much to do with low-level disk access. I used to write data recovery software for a living. Our DOS imager would have no problems with it as the default mode was via int 13h and it knew about the extensions. It also it had a 'no BIOS' mode and just twiddled the old task file registers so that could be a fall back in some cases where the BIOS didn't support a drive properly.

Lot of water under the bridge now. From C++ under MSDOS to C# under Windows. 25 years of programming - and still going :)

1
0

Landlines: The tech that just won't die

AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Cheaper alternative to truecall

CPR call blocker worked fairly well for me but it doesn't have the screening ability. For me that's the big draw with TC. With CPR I'd have had to block all anonymous callers and that was a step too far. With TC they get screened and so far I've not had any marketing types bother to even leave a message. As noted previously my GP's surgery did though.

But CPR is definitely a more affordable alternative.

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Meh

Ah, so you've had some bad experiences. Can't say I ever have. There was once the time that an insurer double charged me but I just called my bank (Barclays) and they refunded the money by next working day. I have heard that some banks can be a pain when it comes to the DD guarantee but my single experience of Barclays suggested that it worked really well.

Hmmm. I - almost - complement Barclays and BT in one post. That's a bit disturbing :)

2
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Thumb Up

I haven't paid my line rental to BT for many years.

..snip..

I 'foolishly' allow New Call Telecom to 'raid' my bank account for £10.09

Ah so New Call Telecom pay BT for you. You can run and you can hide but as long as you're jiggling electrons on BT's local loop they will get their two kilogrammes of flesh :)

0
0
AndrueC
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Call filtering

How is it acceptable that, as policy, their outgoing phone calls look like scams?

I think it's mainly to protect patient privacy. Not everyone wants their partner or family to know that they are awaiting the results of a test especially since the only reason ours calls is if the test shows a problem. Some people might not even want family to know they've been to the GP recently.

3
0

Secret Service on alert after drone CRASHES into White House

AndrueC
Silver badge
Joke

Re: There has been mention before

Lets face it, you need a news outlet to report a scare and not actually bother to check the source or facts first.

In the UK that probably means having the Daily Mail on speed dial. Hell they'd write up the story even if it never happened.

1
0

Forums