* Posts by alannorthhants

298 posts • joined 23 Dec 2009

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Sysadmin sticks finger in pipe, saves data centre from flood

alannorthhants
Facepalm

Old story

I do remember a story that did the rounds many moons ago. Apparently a computer facility somewhere in the US decided to test their backup power systems by physically shutting down the mains power. Everything started OK; power went off, UPS takes up the load, then the diesal generators kick in and take over from the UPS.

Everything works absolutely swimmingly. For about 30 sceonds, after which point the generators stutter and die, followed shortly afterwards by the UPS which did not have the capacity to keep the facility going for long (they wrere only sized to handle the load until the generators spin up to full capacity). Queue "oh sh*t" moment.

After a long-ish investigation the source of the problem was identified. Apparently the fuel tanks for the diesal generators had to be located some distance away for fire safety reasons. Because of the distance a gravity feed to the generators was out of the question, so they used fuel pumps instead. Which (you may have guessed it) where powered directly from the mains with no feed-in from the backup power systems. Hence the generators worked for until they have sucked the fuel lines dry, then shut down.

Queue secid "oh sh*t" moment plus much forhead slapping.

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Facebook, Twitter and Google are to blame for terrorism, say MPs

alannorthhants
Joke

Re: re: and there was me thinking it was mainly down to religion.

How would you feel if another country's military arrived and destroyed our government?

Seems a pretty good idea to me? Would they like me to hold thier coats while they get on with the job?

What steps would seem reasonable in retaliation?

Once they have finished the job, make them the next goverment. After a year or two of that sort of c**p I am sure they will leg it with their collective tail between their legs.

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US Treasury to launch pre-emptive strike on EU's Ireland tax probe

alannorthhants
Joke

Re: U.S. gummint has its priorities wrong

Has someone got a stutter, or are tryin to make a point by repetition?

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alannorthhants
Go

I suspect that there are two problems here. Firstly the EU Commission is allowed to investigate illegal state aid and (if found) punish the offenders and those who have benefited from it. The second problem is the EUC acts as judge, jury and executioner; this will annoy the US gov who claim a monopoly on acting like that.

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Microsoft's maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

alannorthhants
Joke

Re: Swindon

If you are in Swindon, then no.

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UK IT consultant subject to insane sex ban order mounts legal challenge

alannorthhants

As I understand, all we need to do to leave the EHCR is revoke the appropriate treaty. Parliment can do that in a few hours if it wants (even with the load of incompetents that currently fill it on both sides of the house).

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alannorthhants

ECHR is independent of the EU - in fact the UK was a member decades before we joined the EU.

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Windows Phone dives into irrelevant-like-BlackBerry territory

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: The quietOne

No idea what BB need to do!

Declare bankruptcy?

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

alannorthhants

Trade deficits also need to be taken into account

Remember the we are currently running a pretty significant trade deficit with the EU. This means that they have a lot more to losse if they decide to play hard ball. Not only that but some of the member countries (e.g. Germany) have obviously thought the numbers through and appear to be becoming aware that playing silly-buggers is definitely a losse-loose scenario for all parties.

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Bees bring down US stealth fighter

alannorthhants
Coat

Re: Brings a new meaning to

This is a story with a real sting in it's tail.

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Internet of Car...rikey what the hell just happened to my car?

alannorthhants

Re: Standard

How about "MS Windows for Cars 10". WSUS forces a reboot qhen you are doing 70 on the motorway.

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'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

alannorthhants

What is important is what was not said ...

I think it is important to note the phrase that "no known effect" could explain the observations. The obvious conclussion is that it might be something unknown and new to science. This is excatly the sort of thing that science is built on - find something that cannot be explained by "known science", then come up with a coherent way of explaining it.

On another note I cannot buy the idea of a Dyson Sphere; they (along with ring worlds) are intrinsically unstable (Larry Niven gave a good explanation in "Ringworld Engineers"). A Dyson Swarm is much more likely; in fact a partially completed swarm that occupies only a fraction of the available orbital slots could explain the observations.

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We're not looking for MH370 in the wrong place say investigators

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: Given that they haven't found it...

Just out of curiosity, can you point where the UK or the US are mentioned in the article you have cited? As far as I can see it is the Netherlands and Russia are mentioned, no-one else. Also UK/US do not have any primary radar assets in the region, so I don't know why your rant is being directed at them unless it is just trying to get up-votes from those who believe that the US/UK axis is behind every bad event in the world.

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Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

alannorthhants

Re: Same today?

Ditto here; trying to connect a VPN to my company's network and am seeing ping times of 70-80ms (normally about 10ms) and packet loss of between 40-50%. Have run traceroute several times and found that the transmission times jump in BT's core network; not only that but there is obviously huge routing instabilities since the traceroute paths are changing on an almost second-by-second basis.

This is not good!

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alannorthhants

Yes, that was the original idea. The problem we have now is that the global internet is now many, many orders of magnitude larger than was originally foreseen (don't forget - the original "internet" only had 20 or so nodes on it) which makes operating it a whole lot harder. For example the original routing protocols have long been pretty much abandoned (except in small networks where they work just fine) and more complex protocols have been developed and deployed. However these protocols can take longer to converge to an answer if there is a massive reconfiguration of the internet (such as a major node failure). Added to this is that no protocol can compensate for stupid network design (e.g. running primary & backup cables through the same duct, having both primary and backup systems on the same power supply, etc).

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Ban ISPs from 'speeding up' the internet: Ex-Obama tech guru

alannorthhants
Facepalm

Clearly an idiot

Brian Forde is clearly an idiot who has no idea on how network technology and the internet work. Unfortunately there are plenty of politicians who will jump on his bandwagon solely in order to get a few sound bites and some air time.

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By Jove! NASA's Juno prepares to slip into orbit around Jupiter

alannorthhants

Re: What D.A.M wrote...

Otherwise it would?

No chance; keep in mind that the Hyugens (sp?) probe was crushed after only travelling a couple of hundred kilometers into the atmosphere; it still had maybe a thousand kilometers to go plus a sea of liquid hydrogen plus another sea of metallic hydrogen.

In fact there are some doubts whether Jupiter still has a solid core left. Some of the theories suggest that the solid rocky core may be soluble in metallic hydrogen, which means it would have dissolved long ago.

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alannorthhants

Re: Delimitation

The main factors that decide the shape & size of the solar panels are (a) the maximum power consumption of the spacecraft during its nominal mission, (b) the incident solar flux (i.e. how much sunlight is actually hitting the spacecraft), and (c) the efficiency of the solar cells at the end of the nominal mission (radiation will degrade them). Normally NASA would not use solar arrays that far out, however they have a shortage of Plutonium for RTGs so that had to be ruled out early in the mission design. The spacecraft needs about 350W of power (give or take, I don't have the figures to hand right now), so they sized the overall area of the solar array so that it would give about 410W at the end of the nominal mission (490W at the start) when in orbit around Jupiter

Once you have the required solar array area it is just a case of how you split it up - you could have had two panels but they would have had to have been *huge* at at risk of being damaged during Jupiter insertion. You could have had four panels, but that would make instrument positioning very complicated. Three is a compromise that happens to work in this instance.

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Get ready for mandatory porn site age checks, Brits. You read that right

alannorthhants

Re: Mandatory Age verification on porn sites that are not hosted in the UK?

The World now consists of Blighty, and some empty spaces on the map filled with mythical creatures

Such as honest politicians?

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Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

alannorthhants
Unhappy

Re: Logical impossibilities

You can't prove it, therefore you must be lying and hence a terrorist.

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Fly to Africa. Survive helicopter death flight to oil rig. Do no work for three weeks. Repeat

alannorthhants

A long time ago ...

Many, many years ago I worked for a year for a company that makes flight simulators. They had a contract to build a new simulator for the Indian army - I think it was for helicopters, but don't quote me on that. While the simulator was being built the Indian army constructed a nice new building to house the simulator.

This is where it got interesting.

The Indian army got the Indian air force to ship the simulator out in a Hercules, flying it into the army base (which had a runway) that would be the future home of the simulator. This the air force did very happily. When they arrived at the base, they taxied to the end of the runway, opened the boot and shoved the simulator (in its transport cases) out the back, then left PDQ before the screams of outrage started (note: this was in the monsoon season, so it was just a touch damp out there).

Once sanity had been restored and the simulator moved under cover, the company I worked for had to assemble the thing in its nice new building. Everything went well until the time came to mount the cab on the simulator frame, at which point they discovered that the steel covers on the cable ducts sunk into the floor where not strong enough to take the weight of the cab + huge fork-lift that was carrying it.

Queue even more bad language!

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Microsoft buys LinkedIn for the price of 36 Instagrams

alannorthhants
Trollface

The first thing that will happen ...

... you cannot access your LinkedIn profile unless you are running Windows 10 with telemetry back to MS enabled.

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Java API judge tells Oracle to suck it up, quit whining about the jury

alannorthhants

The java APIs are a ratified standard

Sorry, but you are sadly mistaken here. Sun Microsystems (in the days before Oracle) did submit the APIs for standardisation, but subsequently withdraw them. The only de facto "standard" is the API specification by Sun (and now by Oracle of course).

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Will you get reimbursed if you're a bank fraud victim? Brits think not

alannorthhants

Re: I just say no

It depends on what sort of authentication model the bank is using to protect the online access systems. Ones that use a simple account number (or user name) plus password are pretty prone to attack, however adding the entry of 2 or 3 letters from an addition security word does make them better. Of course if the authentication information is written down (which I suspect a lot of people do) then all bets are off.

The best I've come across is an on-line account number coupled by an access code that is generated by a small device from my bank card; you have to enter the PIN in order to generate the code, and the device is recorded and associated with my account. Therefore someone would have to get my on-line account number (which is different from my main bank account number), my bank card, my device and my PIN (which is never, ever written down - not even my wife knows it).

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Get outta here, officer, you don't need a warrant to track people by their phones – appeals court

alannorthhants

Re: Can you keep a secret??

A far better approach is to leave your phone (switched on) at home. At least any attempt to use the phone location information would give you some plausible deniability.

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$10bn Oracle v Google copyright jury verdict: Google wins, Java APIs in Android are Fair Use

alannorthhants

Re: Phew...

Not Samba. MS tried that with the EC and was handed its backside on a plate. They were forced to write documentation defining the protocols they use for SMB and AD, and to hand said documentation to the Samba developers (their first attempt, throwing the source code over the fence and saying "work it out for yourself, morons" did not go down well).

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alannorthhants

Re: Phew...

... again

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alannorthhants

Re: Google must have paid big bucks...

I disagree, Oracle is more like Typhoid Mary

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alannorthhants

Re: @tekHedd - I haven't downvoted a post in a long time...

Instead of blaming the tool (Java) I think you should try directing your rage at the developer - Cisco. They may be fine at producing routers, switches and the like, but the (non-embedded) software they write is almost universally crap!

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HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

alannorthhants

Re: January 1st?

That's because the Scots REALLY know who to celebrate News Years Day. One day to recover is not enough (and sometimes neither is two).

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Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

alannorthhants

Re: The Last of Us

Tried it on a new machine I had just built. Spent a few days on the disk, then was purged with extreme prejudice and replaced with OpenSUSE Linux. I could not believe how clunky the user interface was!

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Edward Snowden sues Norway to prevent extradition

alannorthhants

Re: The marathon-couch-surfing champion in the Ecuadorian embassy

Bail breaches lasting many years with the breachee publicly taunting the UK courts is something that I suspect will result in a pretty bad loss of the judge's sense of humour.

Ecuador's unwelcome guest is likely to spend several months in the slammer followed by a pretty rapid deportation plus bonus cancelling of all UK visas.

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ExoMars works! 2 Mbit/s link established and camera snapping

alannorthhants

Re: Those bits that are following it

But the craft has to slow down before reaching Mars, at which point those bits may become very important!

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Angry Vodafone customers spark Ofcom probe after phone bill overcharge snafu

alannorthhants
Facepalm

Some times it seems that technology hates you

Wrong. Technology hates you all of the time. It just likes to wait until you are feel complacent before smacking you one.

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

alannorthhants

Re: Atmospheric entry

It is more than enough - that is why landers are all fitted with heat shields.

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Pothole campaigner sprays Surrey street with phallic paintings

alannorthhants
Coat

Sounds like ...

... a bit of a cock up.

Mines the one with the funny bulge in it.

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FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

alannorthhants

... despite insisting repeatedly that Apple were the only ones on the planet who could help its investigation, the Feds may use someone else's unlock method instead ...

This can only weaken the Feds case. Apple's legal eagles must be doing cartwheels of joy.

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VMware's GPL violation case rolls into German court

alannorthhants

Re: Hardly surprising

I suspect that the brief was written by US lawyers trying the normal tactics that they like to use in the US courts. It probably has not occurred to them that these may not be looked at favourably in Germany.

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New York judge blocks FBI demand for Apple help to unlock iPhone

alannorthhants

Appealing the judges descision

Very risky approach. At the moment using the AWA to force Apple to unlock its phones has remained at the judge's discretion. Take to the appeals court and loose and you now have a bind precedent that applies to that circuit (and will be taken into account by all other circuits). Take it further to the Supreme Court and loose and that is game over.

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Borked ESET antivirus update says entire web is too risky to browse

alannorthhants

Been causing me headaches all data ...

... in my role as IT Manager, been getting people complaining all today. Thank <deity> that the update has come through and the dust is finally settling - now I can start to get some work done!

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Apple fires legal salvo at FBI for using All Writs law in iPhone brouhaha

alannorthhants

Re: coercion in the US is easy

They tried that once before. Look what it got them!

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IBM Watson offers $5m for an AI to save the world

alannorthhants
Joke

Cyber-amoeba

Sounds like some IT PHBs I've known.

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UK to stop children looking at online porn. How?

alannorthhants
Mushroom

This will be widely ignored ....

I believe that a lot of the porn sites that have ".co.uk" domains are actualy hosted overseas. Unfortunately for this goverment, it's authority stops at our borders, so anything overseas sites will probably ignore this rule. Plan B will be to get the ISPs to do the blocking for them, but the technical complexity of this (plus the simle fact that the porn sites can just change IP addresses, domain names, etc) will probably defeat that; if not then the use of VPNs terminated in overseas servers will do the job. Plan C will probably involve banning VPNs (no chance of that working - business will scream like mad), while Plan D will involve banning the internet, television, video, and all written communications.

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'Hobbit' heads aren't human says bone boffin

alannorthhants

How about some more icons!

Actually it would be good if El Reg allowed some more icons. We see someone saying "what about a <insert-whatever-you-like-here> icon" at least once a week, and sometimes more.

What about it Vulture Master!

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alannorthhants
Joke

Re: Homo Trumpus?

I have to disagree with you. Politicians are the sad rements of a primordial species that bacteria and other unwanted things evolved from.

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Norks stabilise non-threatening space speck ... for about five minutes

alannorthhants

Re: Well, so much for the loitering nuke theory

If the satellite is tumbling then any solar arrays used to generate power are going to be pretty ineffective, meaning that the satellite is going to be pretty much reliant on any on-board stored power (in other words, batteries). Unless the Norks filled the satellite with Duracells they will loose power in the next few days.

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Roll up, roll up to the Malware Museum! Run classic DOS viruses in your web browser

alannorthhants

... or indeed Windows?

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Official UN panel findings on embassy-squatter released. Assange: I'm 'vindicated'

alannorthhants

Re: And who were the other four?

Can't say, but lets remember that Assange has not actually been charged with anything in Sweden (the UK is a different matter now); he is wanted for questioning.

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alannorthhants

What illegal rendition? He was to be legally extradited to Sweden as a consequence of an International Arrest Warrant to face possible (not actual) charges of rape. Everything else is a product of Assange's imagination. The US has clearly stated that they are not interested in him, although that does not really agree with Assange's egomania.

Best thing for the UK is to toss Assange out of the country (after the courts have dealt with him), cancel any visas that he has and then ensure that he is not allowed in again. Let him winge and cry from his home country and see how much notice they take of him.

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Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'

alannorthhants
Mushroom

A completely meaningless ruling

Firstly - the UN WGAD has not authority or juristriction over the UK, or indeed any other country. All they can do is to winge and moan.

Secondly - they have a strange definition of what constitues "detention". Assange (TM) is free to walk out the door of the embassy at any time that he likes - how many prisoners can say that?

Oh, I get it - the fact that the UK courts want to chat with him about little issues such as jumping bail and contempt of court and that Assange (TM) is too afraid to face the music is just too unfair on him.

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