* Posts by Simon Rockman

525 posts • joined 17 Nov 2007

Page:

Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?

Simon Rockman

Maybe it's deliberate

If data coverage - mobile and wifi - was better on trains, more people would use them.

And the last thing the rammed train system needs is more passengers.

Simon

3
1

Relive your misspent, 8-bit youth on the BBC's reopened Micro archive

Simon Rockman

Re: Good manuals

IIRC it was free if you requested it, but shipping a manual to people who in the main had just bought a magic typewriter was a waste of time and money for everyone.

3
0

Motorola extends modular phone adventure for another year

Simon Rockman

Good News

This is great. I'm an Indiegogo backer for the keyboard and have been holding off getting a phone until the keyboard arrives. It will be interesting to compare it with the Gemini.

2
0

Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

Simon Rockman

Re: Why only 4G??

It's only 4G because the other technologies don't support Push To Talk. There is a special flavour of 2G - GSM-R which does.

The core of the problem is the huge gap between the techies who think they know what the blue light services need and the actual requirements of plod and the Fireman Sam chasing scrotes through underground car parks and running into burning buildings.

2
0
Simon Rockman

<sarcastic tone> This is such a surprise.</sarcastic tone>. Here's a piece from January 2015:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/08/airwave_tetra_switch_off_gov_services_onmishambles/

I don't however think it's Motorola being disingenuous here. Airwave always knew the writing was on the wall and was pretty straight up that it was going to milk the old tech for all it was worth.

It's a combination of EE, Ofcom and DCMS all wishing that the impossible were true.

1
0

About to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? You might want to wait a little bit longer

Simon Rockman

Agreeing to let the update install resulted in a borked docking station - suddenly my ethernet and USB connections all died. Took an hour on the phone to Dell tech support to get it fixed.

3
0

Xiaomi the way: Hyped Chinese giant begins its battle for Britain

Simon Rockman

"an impending bloodbath of phone brands, in which the survivors other than Apple or Samsung".

There is nothing to say that Apple or Samsung will survive. In the early 90s the dominant manufacturers were Motorola and NEC. Motorola with all the skills and IP was untouchable.

In the early 2000s it was Ericsson which had the RF sewn up and Nokia which was supreme with amazing product platforming, distribution and efficiencies.

Nothing is a given, least of all Apple which is a fashion play.

New technologies are often the cause of disruption and 5G might shake the shape of the industry.

9
2

Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

Simon Rockman

So no Doro Clam then?

I notice Doro is out of stock on Three, and while the Swedish company showed a 4G clam at MWC it was a way from shipping

3
0

Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

Simon Rockman

Once we have Neutrino detectors in satellites all nuclear powered anythings will lose any element of secrecy an the subs will be obsolete.

0
11

Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

Simon Rockman

Not all mobes are smart

I'm still selling as many 2G phones as 3G ones, and triangulation is something the mobile networks only do in extreme circumstances. It's significantly resource heavy.

This idea also assumes that people have one phone. What if you have work and personal phones?

And it fails to understand future trends where you might have multiple devices and the one you speak on is different to the one you read which is different to the one for navigation.

5
0

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Simon Rockman

Not just POTS

A couple of my phones are not just POTS and wired, They are pulse dial. Proper rotating dials. Mostly for incoming calls but I do still dial out on them occasionally to see if the 1891 technology still works.

11
1

Russian regulator asks courts to disconnect Telegram

Simon Rockman

I once looked at rolling out a secure telecoms service.

I came to the conclusion that it was easy enough to build something which offered protection against a suspicious wife, business partner or rival.

Impossible to build something which would protect you from your government.

I don't understand why anyone uses telegram now that Whatsapp is encrypted. Using Telegram screams "I've got something to hide". With Whatsapp you hide in the masses.

0
9

Ofcom to networks: Want this delicious 5G spectrum? You'll have to improve 4G coverage

Simon Rockman

A coverage obligation? What a good Idea! I wonder why no-one suggested that before.

Oh, they did, four years ago:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/07/ofcom_omits_coverage_obligation_in_mod_spectrum_sale/

And 90%? - pants on fire - the operators should have to publish maps of their 10%.

Simon

1
0

IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

Simon Rockman

I'm not convinced that a rotary dial isn't quicker..

To a number on my rotary phone I pick up the handset and dial. It rings immediately.

To do the same on my smartphone:

Press the button on the phone to wake it. Swipe to unlock, enter the pin (4 digits and enter),

Find the phone app, choose keypad, enter the number and press send.

Then wait while the phone registers, while it checks that it's got credit and does no end of lookups which take a full 10 seconds before the phone at the other end rings.

Ant then it sounds nowhere near as clear.

And this is progress?

But then my business does employ real, human operators to put calls through.

20
1

Roses are red, Three's feeling blue, spectrum appeal rejected, they'll have to make do

Simon Rockman

The irony is...

For all Ofcom's whingeing about Three blocking stuff it's Ofcom which has been sitting on it's corporate arse. The consultation for this spectrum sale was in 2014 (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/07/ofcom_omits_coverage_obligation_in_mod_spectrum_sale/)

The irony is that if BT does buy a huge chunk of 2.3 and 3.4 it may find itself frozen out of the 700MHz it must really want. That makes this spectrum much less desirable. And for all the bluster it's not really in the right place for Three. So that makes the lead bidders O2 and Vodafone. However Telefonica is lukewarm about the UK and has been trying to sell/float/forget about O2 which leaves an auction with just a canny Vodafone.

You have to wonder if it will make the reserve price will of £10m for a 10MHz / 2.3GHz lot and £1m for a 5MHz / 3.4GHz lot. But not as much as I wonder why an organisation which has a remit to "make the best possible use of available spectrum" has been sitting on it for four years,

0
0

Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'

Simon Rockman

8k video isn't just about frame rate. Experiements at the BBC showed that you also need a faster frame rate. There is an 8k, 240fps standard. Even compressed that's a lot of data, Current HDMI won't do it let alone the broadband.

2
0

Elon Musk's Tesla burns $675.3m in largest ever quarterly loss

Simon Rockman

Re: What proportion of those Sales

The deposit on a Model 3 is £1,000 (I've done that), the deposit on the new roadster as a founder or whatever is £180,000.

But then it is quicker than the holy trinity.

Simon

3
0

Wannabe W1 DOW-er faked car crash to track down reg plate's owner

Simon Rockman

How do you *not* know what the system is?

The plate which is most EL reg would be TCP 1P

0
0

Magic Leap blows our mind with its incredible technology... that still doesn't f**king exist

Simon Rockman

The problem with Magic Leap and Hololens is restricted field of view, and for porn you want the experience to be properly immersive.

6
0

Ofcom sees off legal threat over 5G auction terms

Simon Rockman

This is all just posturing

They are shaping up for the real battle: 800MHz. Whihc Ofcom has said will be allocated/sold/auctioned some time before 2022.

BT wants to be free of caps so that it can buy the 800MHz. Ofcom only cares about looking good to government by getting as much money as it can out of telcos. So Ofcom wants as many bidders as possible.

0
0

Checkmate: DeepMind's AlphaZero AI clobbered rival chess app on non-level playing, er, board

Simon Rockman

Chess and Go? It should be playing online poker.

Maybe it already is...

2
0

Ofcom just told BT to up its game on fibre investment

Simon Rockman

There is deliberate obfuscating of "fibre" and "superfast". When White says "fibre" it's very hard to tell what she is talking about - FTTC? V.fast? FTTP?

We've been here before. BT "launched" Infinity 4, it's 300mps service in 2013 and promised fast roll out. That didn't happen. Indeed it appears to have been withdrawn.

For all the bluster, BT has gone backwards.

What's good about the rivals Cityfibre, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, AQL, UFO and others is that they talk about "gigabit". It's a real number. Customers get 1Gps typically for around £30 a month.

I get a real 200Mps+ from Virgin for £60 a month.

BT, despite market dominance doesn't come close.

The universal service of 10Mbps is pathetic, but the one thing BT is good at is talking a good game to government.

What it needs is Ofcom to properly understand the problem and fix it.

Of course Openreach needs to be hived off but that's a start not the solution.

3
3

UK emergency crews get 4G smartmobes as monkeys attempt to emerge from Reg's butt

Simon Rockman

Hmm, some gentle moving of the goalposts here. When I met John Lewis, COO of Airwave he told me that it was 99% landmass, not 97%. What's more because Airwave is ~400MHz it caries well out to sea. Going LTE has siginficant coverage problems. They may be addressed by using device to device communications, so that the police can talk to each other in areas outside of coverage, but Release 14 doesn't support groups through a repeater so it's not functionally as good Airwave.

And going LTE gives a huge problem with the London Underground. All the bluster from the Mayor on providing 4G coverage on the tube is really about making sure this works. The underground now (after more than a decade of teething problems) uses a similar system to airwave. Moving the police to LTE breaks that.

@lglethal The new ESN can't just more to the Tetra frequencies Airwave is on because there isn't the bandwidth. Tetra only does voice and messaging, there is a theoretical data rate of 9600bps but in reality it's 1200bps.. Trying to run LTE in that spectrum wouldn't work. You can't even just do 2G voice because for the push to talk requires VoLTE and so it's all 4G.

Like the initial commetard I too expect the Airwave contract to be extended for the forseeable.

What's not being said in this announcement is that the Samsung deal is one in the eye for Motorola (which owns Airwave), and is probably (I've no inside knowledge on this) suggesting dual-mode Tetra/LTE devices.

BT and Samsung who have the contract going forward will be telling the Government that this is Motorola being technology laggards and just trying to line its pockets.

It's actually the pragmatic approach.

12
1

Nokia updates classic comeback mobe 3310

Simon Rockman

If only it had...

This thread of how people want it to be different is depressing.

It is what it is, even when the 3310 was new it wasn't the leading edge. I remember reviewing it and coming to the conclusion that it was way more than the sum of it's parts. It was a nice balance of phone and features and well implemented. Snake and removable covers were interesting novelties.

I can see a model were people have a good, well made dumb phone for voice and a phablet/tablet for everything else.

10
0

UK Home Office re-bans cheap call gateways because 'terrorism'

Simon Rockman

End of MTR

Something which has done a lot to promote anonymity is the end of call termination revenue.

If (as I do) you have a mobile phone network there was a time when you got paid for handling calls. So if a customer on Vodafone called a customer on my network, the customer would pay Vodafone who would then share the money with me. I got paid for the bit of the routing which was mine.

This had many downsides. Not least an old-boys club on who got paid what and Ofcom stepped in and now transiting calls is all done for mutual benefit and under various obligations but no cash.

Taking the money out of the equation also removes the need to know who's calling. If I get a call I just deliver it. If I was being paid to deliver it and I found someone regularly not paying me I could sanction them by blocking calls they sent me. But there is no point running credit control when all callers are freetards.

Where this hurts is in tracking nuisance calls. A major way to spot spammers and scammers is to compare the SS7 billing info with the presented CLI and if they are lying, and if in particular you see huge volumes of bulk calls from the same place with clumps of different CLIs then you get suspicious.

In the modern VoIP world there isn't all the signalling info you need to do this. You need to employ other techniques to block the nuisance calls. Ironically the way we do this involves having to spoof CLI.

I'm not saying we should return to call termination revenue. but having lost it has removed the need to be certain who is calling.

28
0

HP denies rumours Elite x3 is for the axe, admits coveting neighbour's OS

Simon Rockman

I've got one

And I really like it. OK I have to have an Android phone for all the apps - Xero, Chromecast and the like, but the x3 Elite is my number 2 phone. The android number 3 phone is a Kodak Ektra and that's quite nice.

But all this Windows Phone shenanigans is just treading water until next year when Surface Phone, er, surfaces, and that will take on the world.

Simon

1
0

Sputnik-1 replica used to test the real thing goes under the hammer

Simon Rockman

Not quite

I understand from a book I read about Korolev that while the Russians had much greater launch capacity than the US - they could get a missile/rocket into space - they could not do re-entry. The one thing the Americans could do. The Americans just assumed that the Russians could do reentry.

The reason Sputnik was launched was that by leaving it up there the Russians didn't have to solve the re-entry problem.

0
0

TalkTalk plans to bail on mobile in major shake-up for beleaguered biz

Simon Rockman

Four months

That's all they have.

The mobile networks signed an undertaking in Dec 2014 that by 2017 there would be 90% *landmass* coverage in the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-secures-landmark-deal-for-uk-mobile-phone-users

Further investigation by El Reg revealed "by 2017" meant "by the end of 2017" but that gave them three years.

Now we are 16 weeks from that deadline does it look like the networks will meet that promise?

3
0

Another day, another drone upstart skips the consumer market

Simon Rockman

It'll need to be heavily autonomous

Being invisible to radar is pointless if it's squawking it's location.

7
0

China: Cute Hyperloop Elon, now watch how it's really done

Simon Rockman

The thing that most disappointed me at the last election..

Was the complete lack of ambitious infrastructure promises in the manifestos.

4
2

London 'not-spots' look out! Mayor wants team to tackle crap signal

Simon Rockman

Starting now for 2019

Good luck with that. "Connect", the TETRA system used for driver communication and signalling was a three year project. It took over 11 years. Putting LTE in with consumer access and the ability to handover a train full pf people streaming Youtube is significantly more difficult.

But this isn't that much of a problem. The police won't exclusively be using LTE anytime soon, they will have TETRA capable devices for another decade.

Cooling? The tube should replace the second carriage of every train with a flatbed truck with a huge block of ice.

2
0

UK ministers' Broadband '2.0' report confuses superfast with 10Mbps

Simon Rockman

Re: Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

Yeah and 640k is all you need.

Infrastructure - both broadband and HS2 - *creates* use cases.

When I see that we are arguing over 10Mb/s and 24Mb/s I weep inside. The need for these speeds has already passed. We should be building 1Gb/s and planning 10Gb/s.

Simon

5
0

Virgin Mobile has in-continent data roaming problems – peeved customers

Simon Rockman

Fantastic headline

That is all

4
0

UK mobile number porting creaks: Arcane system shows its age

Simon Rockman

Re: Have they sorted 07777 numbers yet?

BT owns 0777

1
0
Simon Rockman

Re: Makes me wonder..

No, text messaging uses an *entirely* separate database and routing system called IR21 (cf. SS7 vulnerabilities and various Snowden documents).

Because of the way SMS was just a good idea at the time (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/08/the_real_history_of_sms/) it was set up with an infrastructure that is even more archaic and strange.

That number and text ports happen at the same time is pretty miraculous.

3
0
Simon Rockman

Re: POTS

Someone did once suggest that Fuss Free Fones could be 3F, rather than 3G. I didn't like the idea.

1
0

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4G: Tube comms trials for emergency crews

Simon Rockman

A whole heap of issues

El Reg has documented many of the issues withe the ESN which show why it's just not going to happen, but the tube has some very special problems,

The chief one, and one no-one likes to talk about, is the working practices.

Say a light bulb needs replacing, and all the requisite permissions and forms have been filled in for a new one.

Someone needs to fit the new bulb. That needs to be done outside operating hours at k'ching overtime.

That someone also needs to have the necessary safety certificates. There are two of them. But no-one who changes light bulbs has either of them so has to be accompanied by someone who does.

No-one has both certificates so the bulb-changer has to be accompanied by two people with certificates. All at k'ching rates.

On the London Underground it really does take three men to change a light buld.

But it gets worse. Under the working practices they don't just rock up at the faulty bulb. The get paid to travel to a muster point and then paid to travel to the faulty bulb whereupon they take a break. Then the tricky technical work of replacing the bulb is done, then they take another break. Then they travel back to the muster point and then home.

The cost of the operation is eleven times what you would expect.

The Tetra system on the Underground is called the Connect project. It was a three year project which took more than 11 years to complete.

I am overwhelmed with admiration for Virgin media who got wifi into the stations, but hugely pessimistic that anything will happen with the ESN.

1
2
Simon Rockman

Re: 2020?

Minimum LTE is 2 x 5MHz

0
0

Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Simon Rockman

Two comments

I've no problem with her being a "she". I do think she is too young. There should be something a little time-worn and crusty about the doctor (it's why Matt Smith didn't fit). That said I hope she doesn't quit after five minutes like the recent Doctors all have.

4
0

€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

Simon Rockman

Meanwhile some beautiful old typewriters are worth nothing. £100 is steep. My Imperial is worth about that, but my Royal Barlock maybe worth more. I'm picking up an IBM golfball at the weekend.

5
0

Former GCHQ boss backs end-to-end encryption

Simon Rockman

I agree that it was a very good, intelligent interview.

I also agree that the lack of technical understanding of those in power is a huge problem.

So having someone explain things on Radio 4 in the morning is hugely important.

Simon

1
0

What? What? Which? Former broadband minister Ed Vaizey dismisses report

Simon Rockman

Believing BT bollocks

BT has a lot of copper in the ground. More than many copper mines. And it sweating that asset. Rather than put in fibre as proposed by the CN21 proposal decades ago BT wants to use G.fast which is bloody clever but incapable of delivering the speeds. BT has a link between Martlesham and the BT Tower which delivers terrabits over a single fibre, adn yet it has persuaded the government that 10Mps is all anyone needs.

Hong Kong has 95% availability of 1Gb and a 10Gb service. BT weasels the statistics by redefining "Europe" as five countries on some spurious data and then claiming we are "leading".

The government should stop listening to BT and go out and look at what the rest of the world - particularly Asia - is doing.

10
1

You'll soon be buying bulgur wheat salad* from Amazon, after it swallowed Whole Foods

Simon Rockman

Amazon selling food

I thought Amazon's preferred offering was spam.

0
0

Amazon and others sniffing around Slack

Simon Rockman

I see the Windows Phone version of the Microsoft Teams app has a rating of 2.6/5 on the Microsoft Apps store.

Slack (beta) has 4.0/5

2
2

Nokia plans comeback on back of virtual reality

Simon Rockman

See also what Lytro is doing. The company has pivoted from being a consumer device to an industrial one.

0
0

So few use Windows Phone, Microsoft can't be bothered: Security app is iOS, Android only

Simon Rockman

Windows Phone is dead, long live Surface

Perhaps the reason there is no Windowsphone version is that Microsoft sees Surfacephone as The Future.

But it does look pretty bleak for Windows Phone, not only are new apps not being developed for Windows Phone, existing ones are being discontinued. I paid for Flightradar24 and now no longer have it. Even the BBC has discontinued, iPlayer as an app, saying that you can use the browser instead, but that's flakey. When The Today Programme goes quiet I don't know if it's the cellular connection, browser or bluetooth to my headphones which are to blame. I think I'm going to buy an FM radio..

1
2

Intel swallows Tesla-hating self-driving car biz Mobileye for $15bn

Simon Rockman

Re: "talking about computing rather than size of engine"

"Paint can", that'll be another one of those El Reg units of measure.

0
0

81's 99 in 17: Still a lotta love for the TI‑99/4A – TI's forgotten classic

Simon Rockman

Never did it for me

I go misty eyed at most bit of kit but even in the day I never got the TI99/4a. How could somethin which was 16bit be so much slower than the 8bit computers?

Then of course we got the QL (albeit with an 8bit bus) and found out.

3
0
Simon Rockman

The HP x3 phone has a 12C app on it.

0
0

New prison law will let UK mobile networks deploy IMSI catchers

Simon Rockman

WhatsApp does secure voice

So anyone who wants to make a call that their mobe network can't and over to the police just needs one of the most popular apps around.

There is a big difference between IMSI capture and listening to the call. And litening to a call from a plane where there are cell hand-off issues would be very hard.

I often wonder how the secure phones (Black Phone, General Dynamics et Al) handle the MAC address. There is no point the phone bit staying under the radar if the WiFi is broadcasting an unique number.

0
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018