* Posts by Brian Morrison

891 posts • joined 4 Feb 2008


Happy Christmas! Bloodhound SSC refuelled by Yorkshire business chap

Brian Morrison

Just like Thrust 2 and ThrustSSC were you mean?

Oh, no you didn't mean that at all...

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

Brian Morrison

Genuine tax avoidance?

You mean the thing that's actually legal, as opposed to tax evasion which isn't?

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Brian Morrison

The crash was essentially due to additional factors, one being that they descended to 30ft over a runway that they could not land on when they were supposed to fly past at a minimum of 100ft if this was the case. This affected the flight control systems, disabling some of the protections that are inhibited if you are intending to land.

When they realised that they were too low and selected takeoff/go-around thrust, the spool up time of the engines was about 7 seconds, by the time the engines had increased thrust from near idle power they were busily ingesting tree branches and naturally flamed out as the combustion chambers filled up with crushed wood.

The A320 was very new then, and a lot more is known about the Airbus flight control systems now. The aircraft did what it was told to do, the flight crew were just a little bit ignorant about the corner case they were exploring.

Openreach names 81 lucky locations to be plugged into its super-zippy Gfast pipe

Brian Morrison

Re: Local regs + trees

This was exactly the reason that Ionica's Fixed Wireless Access phone services at 3.4GHz stumbled, the original channel sounding didn't spot the short delay multipath from trees and similar stuff and so the equaliser in the modem couldn't deal with it.

Of course, their bigger problem was installing many CP devices in premises where the customers wouldn't pay, but halving their premises per base station with DSP limitations and then halving maximum range due to the multipath problem didn't help with roll out.

Wasn't the 1990s fun in telecoms?

NASA has Mars InSight as latest lander due to arrive today

Brian Morrison

Re: "On the ground"??

I'd stop worrying about changes of mass and start worrying about apostrophes and contractions.

Astroboffins spy the brightest quasar that lit the universe's dark ages

Brian Morrison

Re: A long, long time ago

I think we need Dan Streetmentioner to advise on tenses...

UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather

Brian Morrison

Re: Judging by the volcanic cloud on the horizon

>And what the hell are they burning to make so much soot?

FFO, furnace fuel oil.

Often thick enough that the fuel tanks are heated to allow it to flow better.

Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks

Brian Morrison

Those lights....

...were actually mounted on the fuselage of the modified Lancasters, not the wings.

As you were...

It's Galileo Groundhog Day! You can keep asking the same question, but it won't change the answer

Brian Morrison


Once upon a time we used to actually make complex devices and do difficult engineering in the UK, but in so many areas of that large sector we lost our way. The UK is the only nation that built a capability to put satellites in orbit and then abandoned it.

Building our own GNSS system would be an excellent idea, even better would be building the launch vehicles to send the space-based part of such a system into space. We could probably even teach people educated in the UK to design these systems and learn how to engineer complex systems again as a national capability.

I find it hard to understand how we got to be where we are now, the sooner we start to build our capabilities again the less we will hear about how difficult it will be when we are no longer in the EU.

State spy agencies 'outsource surveillance' to foreign partners – campaign group

Brian Morrison

Re: outsourcing

And everybody had a share...

If you guessed China’s heavy lifter failed due to a liquid hydrogen turbo engine fault, well done!

Brian Morrison

Re: Translation...

They eventually developed them to the point where nothing physically cracked during the necessary burn time. But I do recall a Vulcain nozzle distorting and causing the changed thrust axis to push the Ariane off course and it failed to reach orbit.

When the Russians were developing the oxygen-rich turbo-pump-exhaust closed-cycle engines they had a few failures. Apparently when they went wrong the several inch thick steel turbo pump casings burned through in a few hundred milliseconds.

European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

Brian Morrison

Entomologists know this

Antennas please, insects have antennae...

I want life to be boring, says Linus Torvalds as Linux 4.15 debuts

Brian Morrison

Re: Yay for ArchLinux

Fedora 27 also showing the same result, but spectre_v1 still vulnerable.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Brian Morrison

Re: Intel CEO insider trading?

Almost certainly not, Executive Officers of corporations are required to announce share sales in advance according to a set timetable, they can't just dump it on a whim.

UK.gov needs help getting folk to splurge on full fibre and 5G

Brian Morrison

Re: "The market will provide"

Sadly previous experience is that the public sector tends to be even worse at this than a private company because the investment rules are even more strict and the people running the show are not from the top of the barrel.

I don't really know the answer, but making it compulsory to put in FTTP cabling on new build and renovated property would be a good move wouldn't it? The complaint from Openreach et al is that the costs are heavily loaded towards the last mile, shared infrastructure is cheaper so if the last mile stuff is already there then the process is less capital-intensive.

The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

Brian Morrison

ThrustSSC used rear-wheel steering for aerodynamic reasons, it worked but it caused a few problems. Andy Green had to drive while inputting two different steering movement frequencies (fast and slow) and also deal with the need to steer in reverse to begin a correction and then reverse the input again.

Andy Green is quite simply an amazing bloke, naturally he has the ability to think ahead of the car because that's what flying fast jets does for you.

Brian Morrison

Re: Richard Noble's book "Thrust" is well worth a read...

Thrust 2 reached a peak speed of slightly under 651mph, as you say the CFD predicted that the car would have flipped if it had gone 6mph faster which is lucky because before the record run they had cranked up the front suspension by literally thousandths of an inch to get a higher peak speed.

ThrustSSC learned from this, they had a Martin-Baker rocket pack installed inverted ahead of the cockpit. If the front wheel loads had dropped below a pre-set value then the rockets would have fired to use 4,000lb of thrust to keep the nose down, followed by jacking up the tail suspension and releasing the brake parachutes to abort the run. When you hear the "armed" and "safe" calls on the radio these refer to the arming switch for the abort system which includes the rocket pack.

Brian Morrison

Re: Science and Engineering for the hell of it

ThrustSSC created a shockwave that pulverised the surface of the Black Rock desert in Nevada, it was one of the reasons why they stopped after getting past Mach 1, the wheels were rotating much more slowly than they should have been and the structure of the car was being pounded by the supersonic flow and the acoustic energy from the RR Speys at close range. Some of the team wanted to put in the more powerful Spey 205 engines but it was decided that the risks were getting larger and it didn't make sense to ruin the very good safety record that had been built up.

BloodhoundSSC is a much different design, whereas ThrustSSC had a flat bottom across quite a broad part of the fuselage the newer car has less of itself close to the ground giving more space for the shockwaves to dissipate.

Brian Morrison

Re: A manned missile?

If you did that then it wouldn't count for the Land Speed Record.

Believe me, Andy Green will be in control of BloodhoundSSC all the way, he was a very great part of the reason for the successful ThrustSSC campaign in the mid 1990s.

Brian Morrison

Re: Why so called?

Yes. Ron Ayers, the aerodynamicist for both Thrust SSC and Bloodhound SSC worked on the Bloodhound missile in the 1950s so the name is a reference to that.

Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

Brian Morrison

Re: Don't know why...

The B-1A was cancelled because they couldn't make the engine air intakes work properly whereas the Concorde intakes did all that was asked of them.

The B-1A intakes were swept in two axes, Concorde's were swept in only one axis. The additional axis on the B-1 made it impossible to control the shock waves at high speed, that's why the B-1B was limited to about Mach 1.25 (they also took the opportunity to add RAM baffles to reduce radar signature from the compressor face).

Ted Talbot, the man who ran the Concorde air intake design team was shown the B-1A in 1975, he looked at it, noted the large number of pressure-measuring probes around the inlet and correctly predicted that it wouldn't be made to work with the technology of the day. Even the Concorde inlet was right at the limit of what could be done with 1960s/70s technology.

And yes, SR-71 inlets operated at Mach 3+. But they are symmetrical and circular, removing quite a lot of the difficulties...

Terry Pratchett's self-written documentary to be broadcast in 2017

Brian Morrison

Re: A man is not dead

Just get Miss Susan to toss chocolates at them...

UK warships to have less firepower than 19th century equivalents as missiles withdrawn

Brian Morrison
Thumb Down

Re: Non-USA options may be better value

I think you mean BLACK ARROW, it was that with which Prospero was launched.

Agree with general sentiment though... :(

‘Inflexion point’ BlackBerry washes hands of hardware biz

Brian Morrison

Re: my son had a new iPhone 7 delivered today

> Why?

Because he wanted one, and it's his money not mine. He previously had an iPhone 4S and then an iPhone 6 so he's replaced each phone after a couple of years. By the 2 year mark the screens are usually cracked, I am hoping that he manages to look after this one better with the assistance of a decent Spigen case.

Brian Morrison

Tough choices

I happened to charge, boot up and update my daughter's Z10 BB10 phone the other evening.

After almost 18 months it didn't actually feel slow or dated, and the hardware was as tank-like as ever.

But the is no question that things have moved on, my daughter is now using Android and my son had a new iPhone 7 delivered today. There are not going to be many competitors to these two platforms now until a new generation emerges whenever that will be.

French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

Brian Morrison

"If you have the secret keys to everyone's private communications escrowed with every gov agency world wide who demands them, just how long until the well funded criminal gangs also find a copy?"

I thought that government agencies *were* the well-funded criminal gangs...!

Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Brian Morrison

Re: Yes, all very nice, but...

Noogaah. It's French isn't it?

Brian Morrison

Re: Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

It's certainly worth trying but remember that the Snapdragon 800 is a 32-bit ARM v7 chip and also that Qualcomm does reduce support for re-writing drivers for the low level stuff in the chips so that they can concentrate on current and upcoming designs.

Android 7 is certain to make more use of the efficiency of the 64 bit v8 cores and is bound to work better with more RAM. I have a Nexus 5X that is running Nougat as of last night, it will be instructive to see how the 2GB RAM affects it, during the Lollipop and Marshmallow era it felt sluggish at times but has been massively better since the system interrupt rate was increased a few months ago.

Sex ban IT man loses appeal – but judge labels order 'unpoliceable'

Brian Morrison

Re: They might be painful to remember they exist

"The recent one is much more Dreddlike, he doesn't snog Anderson for a start!"

Or remove his helmet...

'Flying Bum's' first flight was a gas, gas, gas

Brian Morrison

As an airship fan I am quite pleased...

...but I do wonder why the A600 had been painted with double-yellow lines outside the sheds (derestricted, fairly narrow, blind bends) and then people were allowed to park on the lines both sides and create a traffic nightmare. With hundreds of pedestrians around there too it was just asking for trouble.

I wish HAV well, but someone needs to think about what to do with the spectators.

Latest Androids have 'god mode' hack hole, thanks to Qualcomm

Brian Morrison

Re: Nexus OK?

Google stated that Nexus fixes for the last of the vulns (after 5th August updates) will be released in early September. The delay is because the patch for this was not released until too late for the August batch.

OK, we've got your data. But we really want to delete it ASAP

Brian Morrison

Re: I have a cunning plan!

Wot, every ~600ms?

BlackBerry chief: We don't have to make phones to make phones

Brian Morrison

The problem is...

...that the technology that prevents access to organised criminal communications is the exact same thing that prevents access to government employees acting as whistle-blowers about abuse of legal restraints on law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Apple quite understands that there is a moral issue, but cannot act if providing access allows government to cover up good things instead of simply prosecute bad things.

Ethical dilemmas are not easy to resolve.

An anniversary to remember: The world's only air-to-air nuke was fired on 19 July, 1957

Brian Morrison

It was a fairly pointless safety measure too, the weapon had a cadmium safety wire which was inserted into the stationary part of the warhead but if surrounded by water there was enough uranium 235 to reach critical mass. Had the aircraft gone into the water if it couldn't maintain altitude it is quite likely that a low-yield nuclear explosion would have occurred.

The Little Boy design fired a hollow piece of U235 onto a solid cylinder containing more U235, because there was essentially no compression the design relied on very large amounts of fissile material. It was a stopgap weapon and there was no intention to build more than one, although in fact more were built because of the need to prevent the Hanford reactors being damaged by the Wigner effect (stressing the reactor cores due to unexpected nuclear reactions).

Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

Brian Morrison

Re: She scares me

Ken Clarke for leader? Easy, he is too pro-EU and so could never have been acceptable to the party or a sufficient percentage of Conservative MPs.

Brian Morrison

It doesn't work like that, the Prime Minister is merely "first among equals" so replacing one with another is purely an internal government matter and only requires the agreement of the Crown (which cannot normally be withheld).

The election among Conservative party members is for party leader, only convention dictates that party leader must be PM.

Lester Haines: RIP

Brian Morrison

This is sad enough that I shall use my special word...


My condolences to Lester's family and friends, we will remember him.

I shall be making a dedication over my next bacon sarnie, and choosing my sauce variety carefully.

Letters prove GCHQ bends laws to spy at will. So what's the point of privacy safeguards?

Brian Morrison

The only way to fix this is to make the rules simple and effective, with large sharp teeth in the event of misuse.

It doesn't mean leaving fishing in the databases a matter of a few keystrokes, it should mean logged access using cryptographic tokens which cannot be created without the say so of a judge.

It should also mean that anyone who misuses access should be subject to an immediate minimum prison term of at least 3 years.

Of course, I'd thoroughly prefer that the data isn't collected without good cause too, so in that respect the part of the 1984 Telecommunications Act that allowed it should be repealed and it should be replaced by a narrowly drawn law that allows for bulk collection only when a judicial warrant has been granted and this should be subject to regular and frequent review to assess the proportionality of the request in the light on new information.

German boffins' clock drops 10 seconds in a billion-and-a-half years

Brian Morrison

Re: Not good enough

And now you know why Zarquon only arrived when it was too late to do anything useful.

Android Pay debuts in UK

Brian Morrison

Re: Just activated here in the UK...

Not at all, I registered a couple this morning. All I had to do was to enter the CVV for the cards already on my Google account. You get a text with a security code to ensure that it's your phone.

Brian Morrison

Re: Just activated here in the UK...

I think its real value will be when I nip to my local supermarket and realise that I've left my wallet at home but have my phone with me.

We'll see how useful this will be in a few months/years...

Android's security patch quagmire probed by US watchdogs

Brian Morrison

The G3 is currently updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow with security fixes from March 2016 IIRC.

These should appear as OTA updates, they certainly have for carrier G3 models in the UK.

Investigatory Powers Bill: As supported by world's most controlling men

Brian Morrison

Re: To all at, and involved with the coalition...

You already are on their list, along with everyone else...

Lauri Love backdoor forced-decryption case goes to court in UK

Brian Morrison

Re: "Laurie Love backdoor"

Likkie? You're not one of Rimmer's Z shift by any chance?

Brian Morrison
Big Brother

The important point about this court case is that the gubmint, actually the NCA acting on their behalf, is trying to compel key disclosure using a direction under a civil case instead of using the RIPA procedure under s49.

The reason for this is because the RIPA method has built in legal and procedural safeguards whereas the civil direction does not. So they're using one law to get around another law that makes it too difficult for the NCA to get what it wants, Lauri Love is trying to get his computers back, this is the back strike from the NCA to try and get what they couldn't before. Note that the original order had expired with no apparent action by the NCA.

Dropping 1,000 cats from 32km: How practical is that?

Brian Morrison

You've just invented perpetual motion - hovering, rotating cats just waiting for their angular momentum to be harvested.

At least until the toast has gone cold and the butter has been absorbed into it and can't stain the carpet any more.

Blighty starts pumping out 12-sided quids

Brian Morrison
Thumb Up

Really looking forward to the time when we decide to return to having 240 pence in the pound and bring back the litter of non-sensical coins that went with it.

Let this dodecaquid be only the beginning!

EE most 'reliable' mobile provider for cities – Ofcom

Brian Morrison

Re: Can we have a proper checker?

I think it's quite nice to be able to select the networks individually, if they were all selected at once then the map would be quite difficult to interpret. I notice that the signal type and location selections are persistent so it's 1 click to change networks.

In the case of my home postcode it's mostly uncovered for 4G data, the best network is O2 but their coverage engineers have been very sneaky because the border between 4G indoors and nothing literally follows the postcode boundary. Naturally outside the postcode boundary is mainly grass and open spaces, the houses are all inside it.

Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

Brian Morrison

Re: Whatsapp, Facebook and Google

WhatsApp is not free, after the first year it costs a small amount each year to use it.

'Fairly bad core bug' crushed in Linux 4.4-rc5

Brian Morrison

Re: Difference of opinion

Note that this is a bug introduced and fixed in the same 4.4rc series, so it will only affect people who use these kernels for testing.

Had this been in a released kernel then it would have merited more attention perhaps.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019