* Posts by GavinC

75 posts • joined 31 May 2010

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Theresa or Teresa May? Twitter confuses nude model and new PM

GavinC

Screwed!

So... one of them makes a living screwing people. And the other's a porn star?

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'Plane Hacker' Roberts hacks cows

GavinC

Re: Why do we shoot the messenger still?

"if he did indeed access the FMS to read data, there would be nothing to stop him writing data instead."

well, apart from the fact it's a one way link between the FMS and IFE. You can read, but can't write.

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Not just the proles getting the heave-ho as British Airways races to save millions

GavinC

Thats the same as most other airlines. In aviation, there are two major reservation systems (SABRE and Amadeus), which the majority of airlines use. The airlines websites are just a front end for these reservation systems. BA uses Amadeus. You can go to any airline that uses Amadeus, and often you can look up and modify your BA reservation through their site. Likewise you can pop into the local travel agents, and they can also pull up and modify your reservation. Its a hangover from the olden days when travel agencies and call centres were the only way to book.

Personally, I prefer it to creating a damn login for every airline you fly with. Just keep your booking reference to yourself, and there's no issue :)

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Compatibility before purity: Microsoft tweaks .NET Core again

GavinC

Re: Agile

That's why you wait until a platform is formally released before using it on projects.

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One ad-free day: Three UK to block adverts across network in June

GavinC

Re: move will "revolutionise" mobile advertising

No, I've never heard of Flattr, but it is something I will be looking in to. Thanks.

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GavinC

Re: move will "revolutionise" mobile advertising

Ad revenue per user is normally tiny - for a website I run it's around 0.5p per visit. So assuming someone visiting daily, then that works out at about around 9p per visitor, per month. I'm not sure how this compares to other sites, something like El Reg can probably command a much higher advertising fee than I can, but you will still be talking about around 50p per visitor per month.

But bear in mind that most people just wont pay at all, so even if you introduced a fee as low as 10p a month, you'd still be looking at a huge drop off in traffic, so you would need to counter this by increasing the price proportionately. Also bear in mind the extra costs and complexity of giving everyone user accounts, managing those, handling payments etc etc, and you can soon see why the vast majority of sites prefer to use the advertising business model.

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GavinC

Re: move will "revolutionise" mobile advertising

> I dont want adverts on any device i use.

Then be prepared to get the credit card out and pay a membership fee for every site you use. Websites cost money to run, its only fair those running the sites get paid for their efforts. The only way of doing this is either advertising or memberships.

What's so bad about a few graphic / text ads?

browsing the web is a privilege not a right. Everyone wants everything for nothing these days!

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Microsoft .NET Core update asks developers: How you doin'?

GavinC

Re: This is interesting

I think you are referring to ASP.NET here, if you are comparing it to PHP. ASP.NET is for web applications, while .NET is the base it is built on, which allows for the creation of full blown applications.

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Facebook debuts WhatsApp desktop apps as Slack adds SSO

GavinC

Re: Back to the '90s!

It exists because it did it better. Smart phones started to take off, and WhatsApp was not only quick to capitalise, but did it much better than everyone else.

At the time MSN/AOL/Yahoo messengers were popular, but their mobile phone apps were either non-existent or were incredibly difficult to use.

WhatsApp was not only easier to use, but thanks to using phone numbers instead of usernames, made it incredibly easy to find and message your friends.

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CERN publishes massive data set

GavinC

Download Failed: 99%

>you'll need a little over three years to have the full dataset

That would be a b*tch if your connection dropped out at 99%. Which with our countrys creaking infrastructure, is quite likely.

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Catastrophic 123-reg VPS cockup deletes Ross County FC website

GavinC

Re: Oh dear

Ross County FC? I'm not sure what kind of magnitude you refer to, but I'd certainly imagine them to be using a cheapish host.

But as someone that's had VPS's in the past, it's always been explicitly mentioned in the T&Cs that you are responsible for your own backups. Any one failing to do so themselves is just asking for trouble.

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Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

GavinC

Windows Subsystem for Linux

Shouldn't it be "Linux Subsystem for Windows" ?

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Pilot posts detailed MS Flight Sim video of how to land Boeing 737

GavinC

Re: it's a real pity MS abandoned Flight Simulator development ...

First of all, having tried both P3D and FSX:Steam Edition, I can say there are very few differences between the two. Also, the makers of FSX:Steam Edition (Dovetail Games) are planning to release a new version towards the end of this year, which is claimed to be a vast improvement over the current version.

but back on topic - I've used FS for about 15 years, and a few years ago I had a go in a real life BA training simulator, flying a BA 777-200. Landing was surprisingly easy if you know what you are doing.

Most modern aircraft are fly-by-wire, so there is no need to work the rudder to balance out your turns, just turn the yoke and the computer does the rest. The only time you need the foot pedals is when you're on the ground. The foot pedals provide two functions - press the whole pedals to activate the rudder, and press the tips down to activate the brakes.

One interesting thing to note though - aircraft have differential breaks, so each are activated separately. This poses a problem for most people who hold a driving license - you become sub-consciously used to slamming your left foot to the floor quickly, while pressing your right foot slowly. In a plane, this has the result of throwing you off the side of the runway due to the differential breaking.

So watch out for that one if you ever do have to take control of a plane :)

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Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747

GavinC

Re: Losing engines

Reminds me of this old joke:

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked.” Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. “Ah,” the fighter pilot remarked, “The dreaded seven-engine approach.”

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Tablet computer zoom error saw plane fly 13 hours with 46cm hole

GavinC

Re: Goooooooo Bill

" Something as simple as increasing the font size and / or limiting the zoom could have averted a potentially catastrophic accident."

Unfortunately its not as simple as that. Airports are large, complicated places, and fitting all the information on one screen is just not possible. The only way to make it readable is to zoom in. Think looking at a google map showing all of London, and expecting to see every street name on the screen - not going to happen.

If you visit http://avherald.com/h?article=48c78b3a&opt=0 you will see a screenshot of the application in question, zoomed as they appear to have had it set. They departed using the runway at the bottom of the screenshot, and entered using taxiway T1 (the far left), which as you can see appears to be the end of the runway. In fact it is not, and the runway actually extends 411m beyond the screenshot.

As you can also see, this screen is quite cluttered, and there is simply no room to display the text if you are zoomed out any further.

Additionally, according to the linked article, there may also have been some confusion caused by some non-standard phraseology used at the airport. They were instructed to depart "Runway 09#T1", which is used to refer to a full length takeoff. It seems they may have confused this with a take-off beginning from taxiway T1.

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Irish roll out obligatory drone register

GavinC

I'm not sure what this is going to achieve. All the responsible drone operators will register, but these aren't the people that are going to be flying them near airports or built up areas anyway, and probably already have one of the freely available apps on their phone to check they are flying in a safe area.

Its the less responsible owners that are more likely to be breaking the rules, but then they wont bother to register anyway. Unless they are going to insist on retailers passing on the details of anyone buying drones, or drone components, then it just isn't going to work.

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Boeing builds British Airways 787 Dreamliner in 4 minutes

GavinC

Re: You need deep pockets for any class on 787 with BA

That happens with all airlines, it's a supply and demand thing. Look at flights out of Paris, and you'll find BA to be significantly cheaper than Air France, and in fact cheaper than booking the same flight originating in London. Price up a flight from Geneva-London-San Francisco and you will find it £100 cheaper than the exact same flight originating in London.

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GavinC

Re: You need deep pockets for any class on 787 with BA

The 787-9 (featured in the video) has first class, but the 787-8s that are currently in service do not have first class.

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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

GavinC

Re: I sort of agree

It's worth pointing out that Americans tend to be a lot more literal when speaking than us Brits. You'll often hear an American saying "I'm off to the 7-11 to buy Coca-Cola", rather than the British "I'm off to the shops". So I wouldn't read too much into him referencing the type of gun he's carrying, it's just the way they tend to speak.

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Hold that upgrade: Critical bug in .NET 4.6 'breaks applications'

GavinC

Re: Just wondering...

The co-founder of Stack Overflow, Joel Spolsky, is a former Microsoft employee, and is therefore more familiar with Microsoft technologies. He therefore chose to write SO in a language he was most familiar with. While .NET may not run as fast as C++ applications, it does have many other advantages, such as cheaper development costs. For a new startup, far better to get up and running quickly with a C# solution, then deal with performance issues later when they become an issue, than develop an optimised C++ solution and risk going bust before you have a product to show.

Anyway, who said they were obsessed with optimisation? Every programmer should be taking steps to optimise their code, regardless of what technology they are using.

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North Korea's Red Star Linux inserts sneaky serial content tracker

GavinC

Re: Downside

it's also a violation of the Microsoft Windows use EULA to use Windows for the deployment or development of nuclear weapons. They can't use it even if they wanted to, or they'll have to face something even worse than the US military - Microsoft's lawyers!

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Super Stuxnet's SCADA slaves: security is atrocious

GavinC

Re: As long as we don't get minimal security standards..

No-one is forcing you to use OPC, there are plenty of alternatives which are already widely used. For those that do, simply follow the standard industry advice, keep the control gear on a separate network to the rest of your IT systems.

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Device fingerprinting tech: It's not a cookie, but 'cookie' rules apply

GavinC

Re: @Ole

@Ole "My feeling is that if I'm not logged into some place (like here) or using a bank, then nobody needs to be able to identify me. Don't you think that can be done?"

But that's just it - we need to be able to identify you to see if you are logged in or not. This is exactly what cookies were designed for. Granted nowadays they are abused by the ad networks, but they do have a lot of legitimate uses, such as recording whether you acknowledged the cookie warning, ironically. If we couldn't use cookies or uniquely identify you, then we would need to ask you if we could every time you visit, and force you to re-login every time you return to the site too.

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EU Ryanair 'screen-scraping' case could affect biz models

GavinC

> Surely having your flights available ON price comparison websites is going to get you more business?

>It's not the having the prices on a comparison website per se. It's the comparison website directly selling the tickets to you that they have an issue with.

Interesting that they would allow SkyScanner. Ryanair portrays itself as being the cheapest carrier, and relies on this image to attract brand loyalty amongst customers. For many passengers, they go straight to Ryanair.com, find the fare acceptable and book without shopping around, assuming ryanair will always be the cheapest option (which it often isn't).

If they allow comparison sites to show their fares, then people will stop visiting ryanair.com and instead shop around more, killing any brand loyalty they have managed to build.

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Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool

GavinC

Re: All change Yet Again...

Who in their right mind would build a long term, 3-5yrs, project or product line on any microsoft 'technology' i.e. set of proprietary function libraries \ development tools.

All technologies evolve over time, whatever technology you use at the start of the project will be outdated by the time you finish.

Just because Microsoft have dropped this feature from future releases, doesn't mean everyone using it is now forced to switch. All projects using EF6 and Model First can continue to do so, they just cannot upgrade to EF7 without changing their database code.

It's like saying you wouldn't develop a 5 year project for Windows because by the time you finish Windows 12 will be released. If you start with Win7, keep using Win7.

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NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies

GavinC

You can't slurp satellite data, unless you own the satellite. Hence why NORK is cracking down on it's use. I'm sure they will quickly propose a wired solution through their own ISP as an alternative...

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Boeing CEO says no more 'moonshots' after 787 Dreamliner ordeal

GavinC

@RPF: I think your figures are a little off. There have been 51 orders for passenger versions, and 69 for freighters. Never heard anything about it not being able to fly "within 50 miles of a thunderstorm", although aircraft tend to avoid thunderstorms anyway.

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Malaysia Airlines mystery: Click here for the TRUTH

GavinC

Re: So what is going on?

It's also desirable to be able to disable the transponder in the event that it malfunctions - you don't want it broadcasting false information to ATC, or worse yet, you don't want it setting itself on fire.

There seems to be a lot of people focusing on why transponders can be turned off, but what benefit would keeping them on at all times actually provide? They are a radio transmitter, which would be next to useless over the oceans anyway, so even if it had been left on, we'd still probably be non the wiser as to the planes location until it made landfall somewhere (assuming it managed to do so).

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FAA: 'No, you CAN'T hijack a plane with an Android app'

GavinC

Re: Every article I've seen about this neglects to mention the most important thing

... and every post I have read about this fails to realise this is a GROUND based attack! You do not need to evade airport security, and you do not need to be on the aircraft. You use a radio transmitter to transmit a message up to the aircraft flying within range of your transmitter.

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Researcher hacks aircraft controls with Android smartphone

GavinC

Re: Does this need a special transmitter?

the attack mentioned is ground based - i.e you do not need to be onboard the aircraft.

Aircraft use a protocol called ACARS to transmit messages between them and operations / head office. They are broadcast over FM radio at 131.55 Mhz, and can be picked up by a typical airband scanner (they are digital, so all you will hear is a series of bleeps), tie that up to a laptop running freely available software and you can read the messages being sent.

The attack involves broadcasting messages back to the plane, so you would need an FM transmitter capable of broadcasting on 131.55 Mhz. It would then be a case of using typical h4x0r methods, such as buffer overflows to exploit weaknesses and inject code into the system.

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GavinC

Re: ADS-B is really good

Yes, i don't understand the ADS-B based hack - as you say it is one way from the aircraft to base stations, and is then used by ATC to plot the location of the aircraft (backed up by radar as well I believe), so the only hack here would be to make ATC think the plane is somewhere other than where it actually is (although this could cause major problems).

The other hack mentions using ACARS, which is a two way communication protocol, used mainly for transmitting messages between aircraft and head office/operations departments. As these messages pass through the FMC (Flight Management Computer), I guess a buffer overflow or similar could be used to take control of the FMC, allowing you to manipulate the flight plan of the aircraft, or perhaps override the GPS data to redirect the aircraft.

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Review: Intel Next Unit of Computing barebones desktop PC

GavinC

Re: Nope

I think you misread the previous post, or do not know what TheDailyWTF is (www.thedailywtf.com).

The OP said they will suffer a BSOD and end up being featured on a website, NOT that they would BSOD daily. Granted, more accurate grammar / capitalisation by the OP may have made that point clearer.

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SimCity 2000

GavinC

Re: Police stations

Was it not "Bay Area - San Fran 128..." ?

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Larry Ellison buys airline

GavinC

1500m Runway - More Than Enough

1500m is a decent length for a runway, and is more than capable of handling most business jets, and most small airliners (although they may be range restricted).

Lanai has a runway length of 1524m. A Gulfstream 5 (one of the larger business jets) requires 1570m for take-off when fully loaded, giving it a range of 5,800 miles. Chop off a few hundred miles of range, or leave behind a suitcase or two, and you'll easily get airborne from that runway.

You'll get an A320/737 off that runway as well, but you'll need to head to one of the larger islands to refuel before continuing to the mainland.

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OMG: RIM adds VoIP to its stealth social network

GavinC

Data Allowance?

"it's still going to come out of your data allowance"

As others have mentioned, VoIP will only work over WiFi.

However all blackberry users need to pay extra for Blackberry Internet Services, which provides unlimited data for all blackberry services. BBM uses your BIS connection rather than standard data, and if VoIP was to be enabled over the networks, I guess it would too. Also the BBM connection is encrypted I believe, so network operators would be unable to block VoIP if it was enabled (short of blocking all BIS access).

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Valve's Half-Life

GavinC
FAIL

What, no G-Man?

How can you write a Half-Life article and not even mention the G-Man?

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Kaspersky Lab to create new OS 'to save the world'

GavinC

Confused

This announcement has me a little confused.

Stuxnet did not target the PLC's directly, this is simply not possible as a PLC does not have an operating system in the conventional sense, but instead can only execute a series of logic statements. Viruses are really not a concern for PLC manufacturers. There may be a risk of a DDoS, but i'm sure the various manufacturers are working continually to eliminate all such risks of this.

What stuxnet did, was spread between laptops used to program these devices, and look for the project files. it would then modify the logic statements in such a way as to cause damage (e.g spin the centrifuges to full speed, then immediately put the motors into reverse without first slowing down.)

So exactly what part of the stack are Kaspersky trying to replace? Their press release words it as if they are trying to replace the software within the PLC's, but this doesn't need replacing, it is secure enough as it is. The only part that needs replacing is the windows laptops used for programming. Surely it would be far easier to just switch to a stripped down version of linux, or QNX for these laptops?

And how exactly do they intend for their operating system to work with existing software? To do this will require a Windows virtual machine, or at least a partial re-implementation of the Windows API.

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Apple files disappearing-feature iPhone patent

GavinC

i'm not sure what kind of curtains you have in your house, but last time I closed my curtains, it was still blindingly obvious that there was a window there. The day I close the curtains and can no longer see where the window used to be then you may have a point, but until then this is a new concept that has not been done before.

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GavinC

Re: You are almost righht wth those two points

if it is so obvious, then why has no-one else done it?

What prior art? I am not aware of any devices which do this currently.

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Lunar water-prospecting rover rolls closer towards launch

GavinC

Re: I'm all in favour of this but . . .

The carrot on the end of a stick doesn't provide enough energy for the horse to run, but it will still chase it.

It's an incentive, and it seems to work. 26 teams competed to win the Ansari X-Prize, I'm not sure if any of these were trying to launch a man into space prior to the founding of this prize.

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'Programming on Windows 8 just like playing bingo' - Microsoft VP

GavinC

Re: What?

Here's my take on what was said - Microsoft is committed to all the technologies in Win8 for the life of Win8. i.e they make no promises they will survive in Win9.

In fairness though, while Microsoft may have went through many database access methods (to use your example), all of them continue to work in Win7.

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Google snags patent on price discrimination

GavinC

Re: Isn't this the umbrella law?

Your example is flawed - prices for umbrellas increase when it rains because demand for umbrellas increases. Everyone is still paying the same (inflated) price for them.

A better analogy would be charging someone without a coat more for an umbrella, as they are more likely to need it than someone wearing a raincoat.

The key here is that google are offering different prices to each user, not increasing price based on demand. I'm pretty sure there is plenty of prior art, but this example is not one of them and misses the point of the patent application.

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GavinC

Re: This is evil

@AC: this patent is different to what airlines are doing. In the example of an airline, they will increase the fare based on demand for that flight. As more people book, the fare increases. (well, it's a bit more complicated than that) . the Whitney album pricing is the same - it is based on demand for the item.

What Google has patented, is adjusting the price based on how likely the current visitor is to buy it.

The difference being if you and me both go to book a flight, we will both see the same price, as it is based on demand for the flight. But if we both go to buy something through google, we will see two different prices based on how more likely you are to buy it compared to me. (being based in Scotland you can guarantee I am considered less likely to part with my cash!). therefore they are adjusting the price based on likelyhood of you buying, not based on (overall) demand for the item.

For a while Easyjet used to store a cookie on your machine which saved the details of any flights that you had looked at, and inflated the price if you looked at the same thing twice. This may be considered prior art I guess, but I'm sure the lawyers will word in such a way to make it sound different. I believe this practice is no longer in operation though, at least with easyjet.

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Level 3's UPS burnout sends websites down in flames

GavinC

Re: redundancy never works at DCs ?

That may be the case, but how many stories are we not seeing where the backups work perfectly and isolate the single failure without interruption?

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Billion-dollar high-tech ghost town to run itself without humans

GavinC

why not? It's extra work for builders, plumbers, electricians etc. Trickle down economics at its best!

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Hated Visual Studio 11 beta in HIGH-ENERGY colour blast

GavinC

Better... But

Thank god they have brought back colour to the UI - it's already looking orders of magnitude better than before, just with a few coloured icons.

BUT WHY IS THE MENU BAR SHOUTING AT ME???

UI Design 101 - Lower case letters are easier to read, and colour makes interfaces easier to navigate. Obviously the Microsoft designers missed the first day of UI class...

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United Nations gifts NORTH KOREA with tech worth $50k

GavinC

"So those publications are already available to anybody and everybody for free - you just need an internet connection."

North Korean's do not have internet access, but rather their own internal internet. As such, they will need a locally cached version of the database.

You cant have them accessing the full internet... they might find out that everything they've been told is all lies!

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RIM execs chewed through restraints after in-flight fracas

GavinC

Re: Great Circle Route

The great circle route involves flying over the north poles, which not all aircraft are capable of doing. Only aircraft fitted with a self contained navigation system can fly polar routes, all other forms of navigation system are reliant on magnetism for navigation, which becomes unreliable once you approach the north/south poles.

Searching the Air Canada website, it looks like they use a 777-300ER on the direct flight, but 767-300's from Toronto. The 777 should have no problems, but the 767 cannot fly a polar route. It may be the case that the flight was operated by a 767 when this incident took place.

From the Boeing website:

If an active route takes an airplane over a pole, the preferred mode is lateral navigation with the autopilot engaged. The flight management system (FMS) on the 747 and the 777 are operational in the polar areas with no restrictions. The 757 and 767 flight management computer (FMC) and the 757 and 767 Pegasus FMC are operational to 87 deg north latitude and 87 deg south latitude because of airplane certification restrictions. The MD-11 FMS is considered to be in the polar region when the airplane is above 85 deg north or south latitude. (See “Polar Route Navigation by Airplane Model.”)

http://boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_16/polar_story.html#4

As others have mentioned, winds may also have affected the flights route.

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