* Posts by alannorthhants

202 posts • joined 23 Dec 2009

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Vodafone: Dammit Britain, your emergency services need 4G!

alannorthhants

Re: So just where in the country do criminals go to avoid the police :)

Vodafone could provide 4G coverage across the entire country now if they wanted, and doing so would probably increase their chance of getting a contract from the ES hugely. However investing any amount of money in the hope of getting a future return is not something that the bean counters want to do since it will impact their bottom line now.

In short - if Vodafone want to get a piece of the ES pie, they need to show that it is worth going to them. Throwing cash away in order to get meaningless "surveys" is not the way of doing this.

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NASA dismisses asteroid apocalypse threat

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Actually it has already happened - ask the Australian cricket team!

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EU clears UK to give £50m to SABRE space launcher engine

alannorthhants
Devil

Re: oh the humanity!

Not enough

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Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

alannorthhants

MS update screw-up

Despite the title, MS is (surprisingly) not directly implicated here.

I spent a significant time working as a consultant for a major European company (name withheld to protect the innocent, not that I think they are). One time about 15 years or so ago, everyone got an e-mail from the IT department telling us to leave our desktop PCs switched on over night (you normally had to switch them off, or else) so that IT could push a major update out. All we would need to do is reboot the machines the next day to finalise the update.

Next day dawns and in I go, nice and early, with a pile of work that needs to be done on a PDQ basis. Reboot desktop, and all hell breaks loose - Windows fails to come up and instead gives me a whole slew of error messages. Facing a definite "pot of petunias" moment I take a deep breath and call the hell desk; after only waiting 10 minutes they pick up the phone and (surprisingly) say more-or-less immediately that an IT technician will be around sometime that morning.

When the techie turned up (after only 2 hours wait) he diagnosed the problem and fixed with with a surprising amount of speed. Feeling a little suspicious I asked him what happened, and he responded that the update pushed out the last night had failed. He then said the immortal words: "we (as in the IT crowd) are feeling pretty happy: the update only failed for half of the users; our testing suggested that three-quarters would be impacted".

This was on a site with something like 8,000 employees!

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Torrent-U-Like updates GULP DOWN your precious bandwidth

alannorthhants

Re: Security vulnerability waiting to happen

We are talking about Microsoft here. Give it 5 minutes or so.

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Metadata slurp warrant typo sends cops barging into the wrong house

alannorthhants
Holmes

When you say "associated with a case" what I assume you actually mean is that the person who's property is being searched must be a bona fide suspect in a case. Otherwise the police could search anyone's home based on a case that is occurring 50 miles away that has nothing to do with the person in question.

Also the police using evidence that they gained illegally is the sort of things that makes judges look very dubious. More than a few cases have been thrown out because the police went too far trying to get a conviction. The judges see themselves as the fulcrum of the law's balance, and most of them (although sadly not all) try very hard to discharge the responsibilities this entails in the full.

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alannorthhants

If the police enter a premises (whether or not by force) that they have no lawful right to enter then they are liable for any damage caused. If they fail to ante up the money willingly, then you are entitled to sue them for the damages plus the cost of the court action. Having a search warrant for the wrong address is not an excuse in law since the warrant will be invalid (having been based on incorrect information).

If you infringe the law by mistake, you will have still have infringed the law and the police can take appropriate action against you. The police are not above the law (regardless of what some of them think) so the same rules apply to them.

Extract from https://netpol.org/2014/06/12/police-raids:

If the wrong premises are searched by mistake, the PACE Codes of Practice, Code B, says that “everything possible should be done at the earliest opportunity to allay any sense of grievance” and there should “normally be a strong presumption in favour of paying compensation”.

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Ideal solar system for SECOND EARTH found – and it's just 186 light-years away

alannorthhants
Facepalm

Re: So....

It has.

Look at our MPs (on both sides of the house) ...

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Europe a step closer to keeping records on all passengers flying in and out of the Continent

alannorthhants

What about human rights laws

I wonder if I could use the human rights laws to avoid giving any information (right to privacy etc), and also to stop them from blocking me from travelling (right to travel inside and outside the EU).

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My top three IT SNAFUs - and how I fixed them

alannorthhants

A couple of weeks ago I had a user call me to complain that they could not establish a VPN into the corporate network. The conversation went something like:

User: "The VPN service is down, I cannot connect to it, it needs to be fixed"

Me: "Well I have a VPN connection, so the corporate network connection, routers and servers are OK. Do you have a connection to the internet?"

User: "Of course I do"

Me: "Can you open a command window and enter the command 'ping 8.8.8.8' and tell me what you see"

User: <response indicates all ping packets disappeared into cyber-hyperspace>

Me: "Are you sure you have a connection to the internet?"

User: "Well of course I ..... ahhh, I see the problem now"

Me: <sigh>

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alannorthhants

My university used something similar to that (back in the late 1980's) when they move the computer centre from the edge of campus to the university's main building. The building had some huge shafts in it that were originally used for heating, but were no longer in use for anything. Someone had the halfway reasonable idea to run the network's backbone cables up this shaft, and since standard cables might be prone to damage the used these heavy armoured cables (which apparently cost a fortune at the time, virtual a special order).

Everything was fine and dandy for about 3 months, then they started to move the Computer Science department over from it's old location (also exiled at the edge of the campus) to the main building on the next floor above the new computer centre. In order to do this move they needed to a fair amount of reworking to the internal layout of that floor; hence some walls need to be knocked down, other walls needed big holes knocked in them for (internal) windows.

The builders had to get significant amounts of rubble down 4 floors. Guess what, those old airshafts looked soooo inviting ... right up to the point were a load of rubble sliced the armoured cables in half, requiring a complete recabling job cost loads-o-money.

I can still recall overhearing how the head of the computer centre described the builder's actions, along with their "not me, guv" response.

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China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

alannorthhants

Re: The Chinese and Russians are going to build it??

The Russians built three land-based railways; they did not attempt to tunnel 10's of kilometers under the sea. Keep in mind that engineering problems that had to be overcome with the Channel Tunnel, up that by nearly an order of magnitude and factor in geography of the area (much less well known than the English Channel, but what is known makes it harder to tunnel).

10 out of 10 to the Chinese for ambition, but minus several million for engineering practicality.

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Palaeoboffins discover 500 MILLION year old ARMOURED WORM

alannorthhants

Re: I expected

Or a member of the shadow cabinet ....

Or a member of the Lib Dems ....

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

alannorthhants
Happy

Any accident happend to my brother Jim,

When someone through a tomatoe at him.

Tomatoes are juicy and don't hurt the skin,

But this one was specially packed in a tin.

(with apologies to the late Spike Milligan)

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Les unsporting gits! French spies BUGGED Concorde passengers

alannorthhants

What about the noise

While I never flew on a Concorde, I understand from those who did (and survived) that they were actually fairly noisy beasts on the inside, much the same as most passenger planes are today. While I am not going to pretend to understand eavesdropping technology, I believe that at the heart of it is a pretty standard microphone, and they can easily be swamped by the wideband noise in a passenger cabin.

I can believe that French intelligence agents tried to bug Concorde, whether they ever got anything useful for their efforts is something I find harder to come to grips with.

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Finally! It's the year of Linux on the desktop TITSUP

alannorthhants

Re: Sad, but not unexpected

That's pretty much my story - Mandrake (as it was) was the first Linux distro I used for everyday work, and as such it helped me to unshackle myself from the chains of Windows (and also showed the wife that there are alternatives). Sadly when Mandrake an into problems and started to flirt with a paid-for subscription service (a bit like Caldera, aka SCO, had before they collapsed) I jumped ship, moved to OpenSUSE and have been a happy bunny ever since.

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Pundits ponder perilous placement of STANDING STONES on Comet 67P

alannorthhants
Coat

It's a monolith!

(I'll just fetch my coat ...)

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Facebook is VIOLATING your SEXUAL privacy, warn Belgian data cops

alannorthhants

It is kind of ironic ...

... that Ghostery reports that it is blocking Facebook Connect on El Reg articles (but not on the comments pages).

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World of the strange: There will be NINE KINDS of Windows 10

alannorthhants

Re: "and they're losing faith.'

Our main PC dual-boots OpenSUSE and WIndows 7. I think Windows 7 was last booted sometime around last Christmas.

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DEEPENING MYSTERY of BRIGHT LIGHTS on dwarf world Ceres

alannorthhants
Alien

Re: Pah.

Hmmm ... given that Star Wars was "a long time ago, in a place far, far away", could the Empire parked another Death Star in our back yard and then forgotten where they left it ("I sure I left it in this corner of the asteroid belt, Darth. Can't you blip the keys to flash it's lights."

Just think of the parking fines ....

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alannorthhants

Re: Dawn will be orbiting Ceres for a very long time

As you said, the hydrazine thrusters and reaction wheels are purely for orientation; the ion engine would be used to change the orbit.

The loss of the reaction wheels, while a serious issue that requires careful mission management, is hardly a show-stopper. At worse mission control could put Dawn into a slow rotation that matches the orbital period around Ceres; this would minimize the amount of re-orientation that needs to be performed, and hence allow the hydrazine to last that bit longer.

This sort of slow rotation is commonly used on Earth orbiting three-axis stabilised satellites, and was first used on a deep space mission by Voyager 2, so its pretty much a standard manoeuvre.

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alannorthhants

Re: Dawn will be orbiting Ceres for a very long time

The mapping orbit allows the spacecraft to photograph Ceres at lowish resolution, and in doing so allows the construction of a broad-brush map. By lowering the orbit scientists can start to look at interesting pictures identified from the map at a much higher resolution.

Oh yes, Dawn uses an ion engine; it has a low thrust but does not use much in the way of consumables. At the moment Dawn has plenty of fuel; don't forget this was all accounted for in the overall mission plan.

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Pacific nation accidentally does good thing in web crackdown

alannorthhants
Coat

Re: Should we be depressed?

... nation's best financial future is to be a prison-camp for other nations ...

Pretty much sums up how Australia was started.

Could you pass me the one with the boomerang in the pocket ...

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How Groucho Marx lost his voice and found his funny bone

alannorthhants

The beauty of Groucho's humour ...

For me, the real beauty of Groucho's humour was his ability to deliver pointed comments and and barbed jokes without ever having to resort to foul language. There is a lesson there that I wish some of the current batch of so-called stand-up comedians would learn from!

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

alannorthhants

Right now, at this particular moment, I think I known exactly the way he was feeling. How satisfying it must have been to keep on pulling the trigger at a Dell machine ...

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'We STRONGLY DISAGREE' that we done WRONG, says Google

alannorthhants

EU has already said that it will not "fix" the problem

If Google are fixing the search results (and I am not convinced that a solid case has been made to support this accusation) then they must be doing it by adjusting the search ranking algorithm. However Vestager has already said "It's very difficult to supervise the algorithm ... it is very important to find something that is guided by principle, which basically leaves the algorithm and the screen design to Google". This statement sounds a lot like "we cannot really sort out the problem, so we are just going to smack Google with a massive fine to help our budget, and then keep smacking them when they do not fix the problem in the way that we have not told them to do".

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Adobe, Level 3 drive a stake through heart of vid-stream creature before it attacks again

alannorthhants

Re: The ultimate patent:

I think someone actually tried to get a patent in the US on the "business" process of getting a patent and using it to sue someone else. As far as I recall it was initially granted, but the Patent Office subsequently revoked it when the patent owner threatened to sue the Patent Office.

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Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

alannorthhants
Trollface

"People speak different languages, the group reminded Kommissar Ansip"

That's the next thing the Euro Commision is going to address. Expect them to specify a standard Euro-language that everyone must speak with massive fines if you fail (and round-the-clock monitoring to make sure you keep to the rules).

Of course the language is going to have to be a mixed hybrid of every language spoken in Euro-land.

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FAA speeds up drone flight approvals for firms that don't need them

alannorthhants

Re: Visual Line of Sight

Drone operation is either VLOS ("Visual Line of Sight") or BLOS ("Beyond Line of Sight"). Typically you need multiple communications systems to operate in BLOS mode (e.g. long-range UHF coupled with satellite communications). At the moment no aviation authority allows small-drone BLOS operation, although the CAA is working on the rules.

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Assange™ lawyers demand Swedish prosecution files or no London interview

alannorthhants

It is important to note that the Swedish police cannot arrest anyone (Assange or not) in their embassy unless the ambassador gives them permission. However the ambassador can give the Swedish police permission to enter the embassy in order to ask Assange questions, although he cannot force Assange to answer them.

Of course if the ambassador is fed up with Assange and allows the Swedish police to arrest and remove him, the moment Assange steps out the door the UK plods are going to be all over him like a rash. At that point the Swedish police will just have to go to the end of the queue; the UK courts get first dibs on a small account of breah of bail conditions.

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

alannorthhants

Of course the NSA has a simply counter to tis strategy - they get a few tame Congress-criters to pass a law making it illegal to knowing send something to a non-existent address, with *huge* penalties if the law is broken.

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Microsoft RE-BORKS Windows 7 patch after reboot loop horror

alannorthhants

KB3033929 has certainly borked our system. The problem is that having reverted it off the system, MS Update insists on trying to reapply it even though I have set it manual update installation only. Obviously Uncle Bill still knows what's best for you!

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Paul Allen hunts down sunken Japanese WWII super-battleship

alannorthhants

Re: Who trained the Japanese to torpedo bomb?

[But it's interesting to note that both the Italian and British fleet avoided at all cost a battleship battle in the Mediterranean]

I disagree; the RN had a serious attempt to engage a battleship-vs-battleship action at the Battle of Cape Matapan, but the Regia Marina legged it for home when their flag ship (Vittorio Veneto) was hammered by an air attack lauched from the Formidable. The RN got a consultation prize however when then managed to sneak three battlkeshipd up on an Italian force of three cruisers + 2 destroyers at night; the results were pretty predictable when the first warning the Italians had was the gun flashes at point-blank range!

It should be noted that the RN commander subsequently signalled the Regia Marina in the clear giving them the location of survivours and guaranteeing safe passage for a hospital ship.

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alannorthhants

Re: Not so vulnerable...

[... if it took 20 bombs and 17 torpedoes to sink it. Just check what was needed to sink HMS Hood in a far shorter time.]

You really are comparing apples with pears in your statement. A few points to consider:

1. Hood was built nearly 30 years before the Musashi. Technology had moved on a lot in that time - no WW1-vintage battleship could ever realistically win in a straight-up fight with a WW2 (aka "modern") battleship.

2. Hood was a battlecruiser, not a battleship. Battlecruisers had heavy guns but thin armour, and were intended to fight and destroy cruisers, not battleships - the Battle of the Falklands in WW1 is a perfect example of how they should have been used. In the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood's real job was to smash the Prinz Eugene to scrap, not to take on the Bismark.

3. Hood had known flaws in her armour protection. She was scheduled for a rebuild to correct those problems in 1940 or so. Not surprisingly the rebuild was cancalled when WW2 kicked off.

4. Hood was at least sunk in a ship-to-ship fight, which is what she was designed to do. Musashi never fired her guns in anger; she was taken apart by a concentrated aircraft strike.

It is interesting to speculate what would have happened if the Musashi and Yamato ever came face-to-face with an equivalent US battleship force. I suspect that the USN might have found itself gravely overmatched - the 18" monster guns mounted on the Musashi/Yamato would have seriously out-ranged the American 16" guns, and even a single hit by one them would have probably caused major damage. Fortunately for the Americans, Pearl Harbour forced them to use a much more dangerous weapon - the aircraft carrier.

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Amazon's delivery drones SHOT DOWN by new FAA rules

alannorthhants
Black Helicopters

This is not really a surprise

The technology that will allow these very small drones to fly BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight) is still being developed, and the rules are still in the process of being defined. Surprisingly the UK CAA is in the forefront here: they are currently trying to define rules for drone BLOS operation, and there is an expectation that (once they have completed the process) all of the other aviation authorities will simply adopt them with little more than minor regional amendments.

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SWELLING moons of ice dwarf Pluto snapped by NASA spy-probe

alannorthhants

Re: Its a planet.

Titus-Bodes law? Good grief you are behind the times, that hypothesis was discounted a long while ago.

Moons? Some asteroids have moons, but no-one was suggested that thet are planets. Also some planets do not have moons (Venus & Mercury for starters) but no-one has suggested that they are not planets.

With the discovery of dozens of Kuiper-Belt Objects (KBOs), some of which are larger than Pluto, the astromical community decided that they had to get a proper definition of what is a "planet" - up to then there was no definition, just an informal agreement. Rightly or wrongly the definition they eventually came up with excludes Pluto, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

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Let's be clear, everyone: DON'T BLOCK Wi-Fi, DUH – FCC official ruling

alannorthhants

It's still a type of jamming

It may not be as crude as simply swamping the area of white noise on the necessary frequencies, but it is still a form of jamming. I would suggest that the FCC has made the correct call on this one.

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Canonical goes all Internet of Stuff with Ubuntu for DRONES

alannorthhants

Re: Rasbeen there done that...

Raspbian is not Ubuntu.

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alannorthhants

I'd beg to differ

For a lot of embedded systems, 600 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage is extremely high spec.

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alannorthhants
FAIL

This is going to fail big time!

I am currently working on an advanced satellite communications system; the target platform has 1 GB of FLASH (has to store the kernel, root FS image, FPGA bitstream, DSP code and user configuration files) and 512 MB of memory. I was vaguely interested until I saw the minimum hardware spec, now I cannot (and will not) touch it no matter what it offers.

Not certain what Shuttleworth is thinking - MS proved that trying to push out an embedded BSP OS with huge hardware requirements just results in an equally huge market failure. I guess that that lesson needs to be learned once again.

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Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds

alannorthhants

Re: So he admits it

Microsoft screws up its kernel all of the time, and patches frequently result in yet more screw-ups. I guess however that Mr AC thinks that is acceptable since they are professional screw-ups.

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Facebook privacy policy change leaves Dutch stomping feet

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: The zuck has blinked..

I went one step further - I have never, and will never, have a Facebook account and deliberately disable the Facebook app on my 'droid phone. If I ever find that they have any information on me, I will happily drop them in a whoel barrel-load of c**p - face(book) down.

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European data law: UK.gov TRASHES 'unambiguous consent' plans

alannorthhants

WIN/Gallup International, survey of EU support in 13 European countries, results published on 21st or 22nd December 2014.

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alannorthhants

In a poll just before Christmas, 51% indicated that they would vote to leave the EU.

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Now Obama seeks China's help to halt alleged Nork HACK ATTACKS

alannorthhants

You are forgetting that the film directly struck at the over-inflated ego of the Nork's Great Leader.

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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: Google will quit Europe

It will be dire. All of a sudden the EU (and all of its members of course) will have absolutely no way of extorting money from Google. One big fat revenue stream gone for ever.

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Égalité, Fraternité - Oui, peut-etre. Liberté? NON, French speedcam Facebookers told

alannorthhants

Besides a French court cannot impose a driving ban on a UK license (or vice versa). The most they can do is fine you.

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SCIENCE LAB TERROR: MYSTERY of the MISSING BRAINS

alannorthhants
Devil

Getting stuffed ...

... the 18th century utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham had his body stuffed...

I'd like to do that to most of the House of Commons.

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Euro spacemen clear Ariane 6 for liftoff

alannorthhants

Re: How is Ariane 6 cheaper?

Astrium does not exist; it's was officially renamed as "Airbus" this year.

'nuff said.

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alannorthhants

Re: Great stuff.

UK is a major member of ESA - goes a long way to paying my salery! However Arianespace is not a part of ESA - it is an independent company (albeit spun off after ESA developed the Ariane 3 and Ariane 4), however ESA still has a vested interest in Ariane launches and hence helps fund the development of each Ariane generation.

Arianespace launch control is located on Devil's Island. Darmstadt is the location of ESOC (European Space Operations Centre) that manages ESA satellites and deep-space missions.

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