"What benefits do we actually get from projects like CERN?"
I give you a famous quote:
"Of what use is a new born baby?"
139 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007
Yep, I was thinking that too. My Very First Home Internet Connection (apart from dialup to the office) - except when the aerial fell off the chimney (not T2's fault: the bricks were rotten). But I only got 128k--. Very dependent on where you lived, as it needed line of sight to the base station, which was on a tower block in the centre of Reading.
Years ago, in the early days of Thinkpads, IBM had a wonderful network of local service centres. I used them a couple of times, and their fix times tended to be quicker than the 30 minutes it took to get back to the office.
One day, a sales guy called me: "I'm in Glasgow, got to do a presentation in a couple of hours, and the laptop power supply has died".
So I call IBM, who said "There's a service centre about 20 minutes from him. Give us his details and get him to drop in".
I call him back. He'd switched his phone off ;-(
20 minutes later, IBM rang: "We've spoken to your colleague" (ME: "wow, how did you manage that?"). "
"We can swap his power supply, but he has to bring the dead one in."
"He says he left it in the office" (that was in Byfleet, Surrey)
ME: "Thank you so much for such superb service. I will KILL the idiot next time I see him".
(the power supply was, needless to say, on his desk and fully functional).
Sad that a bunch of narrow minded idiots could tarnish that. The term "infamous" is just plain wrong. And "famous" barely does it justice.
I'm an atheist. a physicist and engineer.
I think the combination of those majestic words and the majestic setting was a high point in human history, no matter what you believe.
Thorium reactors have been built, but not for some time.
Why? Because they don't produce tasty isotopes of elements like Plutonium, so the military/government gains no benefits, doesn't put in any investment--. Look at where all the fundamental money for Uranium fission technology came from.
Add to that the reduced need for complex mining operations, and the near-elimination of all those juicy waste reprocessing, storage and decommissioning contracts, and it's no wonder the commercial nuclear operators aren't interested. No gravy train.
I understand, though, that India and China are putting money into Thorium.
Until not that long ago - and possibly still - Huawei had dedicated office space at BT Adastral.
Many of us were amused when HM Gov. required Huawei to pay for the establishment of the independent security audit centre. They duly did. The centre then looked around for staff, and ended up contracting with an outsourcer, who looked for people with Huawei expertise. Guess where they found them?
When asked if they considered that having the independent security audit staffed by people from the company being audited was a problem, HMG representatives said "Of course not, why would it be?"
As I recall, even the BT folk were gobsmacked.
Side note: I don't think Huawei are squeaky clean, but they do at least try to engage with all this stuff, and keep a little distance from the PRC. ZTE are the ones to watch.
A few years ago a Canadian company advertised for a support contract to maintain a pdp8. That was controlling a nuclear reactor.
Second reaction (the first is obvious) "hmm, that is a machine that is comprehensible, well engineered and designed to be maintainable. Perhaps its best not to replace it"
I have no axe to grind here, just playing the dumb user.
We've had DAB and FM, both portables and in-car, for some years. In absolutely every case to date, the DAB wins hands down: far better coverage, more reliable sound quality, and so on.
We live near Basingstoke and can SEE the Hannington mast. However, the same applies wherever we've been in the car in the UK: DAB rarely fails, FM is very hit and miss, and indeed the last two cars with FM we simply gave up, didn't get any signal at all near home.
Having worked in the past in the audio industry I find the comments about FM having superior quality quite funny: maybe downhill with a following wind toting a giant aerial and £1k audiophile receiver near Crystal Palace - but not in the real world!
What are we doing wrong?
-had a faded "tiscali" sign. It was supposed to have been demolished and the contents stored safely but some bean counters objected to the cost.
Not defending TT but I remember thinking "there but for the grace of god--"
Find me a company that doesn't have at least one similar problem. I'll buy it.
Amusing that the ICO is attempting to apply EU law extraterritorially, Shurely any fule no that only the US can apply its laws in other countries? Or so they always think--.
Oh yes, who owns the Washington Post, and might have an interest in better tracking of users? And who also makes a shedload of money from Europe?
Riddled with inaccuracies, eg:
Rosalind Franklin "Because she discovered DNA". No. She was instrumental in working out the *structure* of DNA. None of the four main protagonists in this "discovered" it.
Terrible copy editing.
El Reg: are you writing intelligent news or a breathless kiddie's comic?
My pi setup uses a several year old pi b, and indeed one of the nics is on the USB. I tested it and it can support 40Mbps bidirectional when NATting. As my downstream VDSL is only 16Mbps that's fine. It was not compute-bound, so I suspect this is the USB limiting things.
Haven't looked at the newer models, but a 3B should do a lot better if you use it's wireless NIC for the internal side. Even then, you may not get 200Mbps overall simply because of the real-world performance of 802.11 b/g/n/ac, but a bit more creativity would use one or more of the USB ports to run wired network segments for some stuff and offload the wifi.
ISPs selling 200Mbps or more services should really take a long hard stare at what wifi can actually deliver on the LAN side. It would help with customer complaints.
Don't confuse downstream bandwidth with perceived performance. Latency is a particular problem on cable networks, as is upstream bandwidth. No good having 200Mbps downstream if it takes 500ms for a request packet to crawl upstream, and another 200ms for the first response to arrive.
As for DNS, NEVER use the ISP router for this. If their DHCP forces it, find out the DNS IPs the router itself uses, and use those on the clients. Home routers are essentially all pieces of crap. If you want to get a little creative, a Raspberry Pi makes a really good home router/firewall/DNS server.
:-) - I love the bit about DNS. I was responsible for the VM DNS from 2003 onwards, and from 2006 onwards we could demonstrate, via Ofcom/SamKnows distributed test probes from real customer lines (not selected by us, BTW), that it was the fastest of all the "majors" by a factor of 3 over the next best.
From 2007 onwards it was also "revenue generating", in that it produced sufficient income to fully offset the NPV capex and opex.
Perhaps you had a different problem? What I do know is that ALL ISPs have a standard "customer moan" in their list: "Crap DNS", when it's actually something else entirely. Getting that out of the call centre response scripts is a losing battle. VM's CC folk used to recommend users swap to 188.8.131.52, despite that being 4-5 times slower, when the actual problem was usually a poor last-mile signal to noise on the upstream (a bane of cable systems, BTW). We banged our heads against that wall on a weekly basis.
VM are not alone in this: find me a major ISP that doesn't have the same problem and I'll buy it for you. The company, not the service ;-)
One thing is for sure: you pay peanuts--. Having been inside the industry (not any more) for some time, the main problem is the race to the bottom on price. That means less money to run the network, less to pay good support people, etc.
Zen and AA have persistent good reputations going back years. I'd add Eclipse, who I've been with since 2002, and despite them being acquired by Kcom, they also provide good service and good support.
This report also fails to explain to customers who they are actually dealing with. For instance, Plusnet is owned by BT, and is only partly independent, most particularly at the network level. Post Office is entirely operated by TalkTalk - and so on.
And below that of course in all but one case you are reliant on the Openreach local loop to the street cab (for VDSL) or the exchange. If you report a fault, your ISP has to call OR. Now OR's field staff seem very good (afaik they are actually employees, not contractors), but there is a chain of command problem there.
The "one case" is of course VM. afaik field staff are contractors, although I think that may have changed. Problem is that DOCSIS, being a shared medium on the "local loop" can suffer congestion on the last mile, and also has inherently more difficult latency characteristics even when not saturated. Add to that the problem of street cabinet maintenance: cable systems are rather like token ring, and any single loose screw-on F connector can mess up the whole segment. xDSL doesn't have these problems - if your Krone connection is bad it only affects you - but does have the well-known speed/range problem.
Call centre staff have no clue about all of this, and no control even if they did.
Marketing is very guilty: "Fibre broadband" (no it isn't), "Speed up to xxx" (downhill with a following wind if you live next to the exchange and the entire route to the destination (let's say Facebook) is uncongested). "Lowest price" (no, we can't afford to pay to keep it working or answer your calls). Etc.
It's a wild west industry still.
Department of Hollow Laughs: British Airways just told me that I am one of the people who’s credit card details got taken in the recent breach. To be fair to BA, they have been pretty proactive in fessing up to this. The email includes a free offer to join Experian ProtectMyId. So I completed that form, and the last item was a requirement to take a credit card to “validate”. Then I thought: “Hang on. Experian. Kind of frying pan to fire here--“. Ho hum.
That's not entirely true. Fibre transmission characteristics do degrade over time, exacerbated by stress - the latter was learnt the hard way by Energis, where the bright idea of putting fibre on the neutral lines at the top of electricity pylons started to fade when the wires waved around in the wind.
Even underground or sub-sea will degrade. I was peripherally involved in a project to put Raman amplifiers on an existing subsea run to extend its life - maybe an extra ten years before it had to be completely replaced. That was on a link that was maybe 25 years old at the time, to give an overall idea of lifespan.
The exact mechanism of degradation may vary, but consider that the fibres rely on very precise control of impurities over a very long distance, and that they have to be encased in materials that may, over time, leach impurities into the fibre.
This technology will mainly be of use in backbone links: it is quite unlikely that the sort of bandwidth available will be needed in last-mile domestic links. And if it ever is, the backbone will need LOTS of investment! Last mile links also will have so much native capacity that a bit of degradation won't really matter, so they may well last a lot longer than backbones.
- and not just "IT" ones.
Years ago, I worked for <redacted> hifi manufacturer. We had two brands, cheap and reassuringly expensive. Each brand had a model of bookshelf speaker. Which included them in a "group test".
The expensive ones came top. the cheap ones bottom.
The products were internally identical, the only difference was case finish and trim.
Mind you, Which? was *still* better than the typical hifi mag review.
Not in the case of Barclays last thursday. My wife had to make an urgent payment on a property transaction. Went to main branch - which of course is entirely automated, has, oh, maybe two staff doing equivalent job to those people who kick self-checkout machines in supermarkets.
All machines were down. NONE of Barclays branches had any access to any banking services that afternoon.
So if "online" is out, and "branch" is out, exactly how were Barclays still a consumer bank that day?
Not only Barclays "online" stuff was out yesterday. My wife had to make an urgent payment on a property purchase. Ended up going to the local main branch. The were dead as well - Barclays branches have, of course, been largely automated in recent years.
So there was no way to use any Barclays retail banking services yesterday. Luckily they fixed in late afternoon.
Pressure your MP for the introduction of a simple ID card, make it clear that this should NOT be linked to any backend systems other than a record of who you are.
Instead, the Great British Public allows itself to be whipped up into opposing frenzies by those who withhold key information - on all sides. I guess we just Like Shouting, to channel Python.
Why does the UK find it so hard to apply solutions that other countries simply do at the drop of a hat?
"Parents must not take kids out of school during term time to go on holiday when prices are lower"
"Let's have staggered school holidays"
"How come pretty much every other country does it then?"
Repeat ad nauseam for subjects of your choice.
BTW, the ECHR, like all legislation, is open to abuse. For instance, we have a Traveller problem - illegal occupation. They got an ECHR ruling that says "Their way of life must be protected" - even when that way of life involves long-term trespass, environmental crime, petty theft and vandalism, and routine intimidation. And no, we cannot apply for a ruling to protect OUR "way of life" because it is not recognised that "ordinary citizens" have any such thing to protect.
The UK is the only advanced country (apart from the US, I think) that does NOT have an ID card system.
Yesterday, a Belgian minister made the point that one reason illegal immigrants are so desperate to get to the UK from Belgium/France/wherever is that, without an ID card system the UK cannot track them, whereas other countries can.
Good grief, the Germans have one, and if there is any nation that is wary of over-reaching government powers it is surely them.
Within the UK, an ID card would dramatically simplify control of access to health, social security and other benefits.
Most of us already have a card - it's called a passport. It is simply not required to be presented for these purposes.
PLEASE let's have a central system and stop moaning.
I care much more about commercial entities tracking me. The government can be voted out, Google is harder.
BAck in the days of mainframes with green screen terminals - ICL as it happens, lots of mates worked there.
User routinely complained that her keyboard added spurious spaces. Numerous engineers failed to find anything wrong.
Last chap walked in, looked at her sitting at the desk, and said "why don't you get a cup of tea while I look at it."
As soon as she was out of sight, he wound her chair up a couple of inches.
Problem solved: she was short and well-endowed. Observation is the key to good outcomes!
At a large machine room in Tokyo owned by a well known consumer electronics manufacturer whose (short) name begins with "S":
A long row of very heavily loaded racks, with front and back doors off, and in front of each one a standard tall office fan set to maximum.
The entire division's operations depended on those fans working.
--publically available if you care to do a quick Google search for, say "CEO email".
BTW, in my time at Virgin Media I once had a phone call that started "This is the CEO's complaints office". Most companies now have a department like that, and believe me a call like that to a member of staff concentrates his or her mind wonderfully.
Well, I'm still with Eclipse and have always been a "consumer". The service is labelled "business" and is priced accordingly, but to this day (he says, tempting fate) on the occasions when there's been a fault they step up and fix it intelligently. You get what you pay for.
Note: I used to work for Virgin Media, and I've seen the insides of almost all the main UK ISPs. Always go for the small operator, and leave if it gets too big. But that applies in almost any area of business-.
As per TSB and the BA failures. Where is the regulatory requirement that a detailed analysis and report be made available to all relevant bodies (all equipment and component suppliers, all their customers, all end users of the service and relevant regulators).
Contrast with a major aviation accident. The entire industry gets told the full details, is required to make recommended changes, and the details are available for scrutiny by any interested party.
Until the finance and it/networking industries are held to these standards, we will continue to suffer this sort of failure.
One positive mark to Visa though, for at least offering a superficial but reasonable explanation with little delay.
FM is almost useless, 3/4G mobile drops out if you move your heard - never mind the car.
DAB has the odd blank spot on the road, that's all, but never garbles.
DTV is messy: lost BBC4 HD in March, and it looks like the only way is an even bigger aerial.
Of course, this may be because I live in a very out of the way place called Basingstoke (someone has to)
I can *see* the local transmitter (Hannington) that FM, DAB and TV comes from.
BTW, El Reg: "FM already uses MPEG audio" (I paraphrase for brevity). WTF??
DAB is not perfect, and it's always a problem when you are an early adopter as the BBC was, but for the vast majority of current use it does seem to beat the others.
RDS is a total pain. I always disable it.
1: Information is usually way out of date
2: It's usually not "local" at all
3: Idiot broadcasters who press the "RDS announcement" button and then forget to turn it off. So suddenly, the debate I'm listening to is interrupted by a short traffic announcement and then a stream of DJ wibble that can only be turned off by - disabling the RDS on my receiver.
Look at the delay between SD and HD TV broadcasts - latter is several seconds behind.
And let's not start on the ridiculous wandering audio sync: I have to fiddle with the "audio delay" setting on the TV almost daily, and it's not a question of each channel being different, it changes between programmes.
The Blockchain enthusiasts are just the latest in a very long line of groups who, having invented a hammer, think all problems are nails.
I'm sure I'm not alone in having experienced this attitude repeatedly in professional life (cue one of the last conversations with an engineering team at my former employer: "and we'll be using a new DB for this bit". Me "what, *another* DB type? That means the product has three different types of DB and multiple instances of each. Customers already think it's too complicated". Them "<shrug>" ).
Blockchain *may* be useful for low transaction rate applications where you need to guarantee zero deletion errors, but nothing else. And what happens when the code is no longer maintained and won't run on available hardware? Pity if the world had put, say, property transactions on it--.
If you are on a "renewable energy tariff" your supplier commits to buying sufficient renewable power on average to cover their total customer load on average. Doesn't mean that at a given instant *your* supply is totally sourced from renewables, but averaged over a period it will be.
Sometimes the renewable supply is below sold renewable demand, so non-renewable kicks in (those CCGT units start and stop quickly). Sometimes is exceeds demand, and the surplus can be sold to the general market.
Just because we cannot *completely* change to renewable energy in one step is not an excuse for not moving towards that target. Same with electric cars: sure, right now they are not suitable for all purposes, but from personal experience they cover *most* of the requirements already.
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