* Posts by Mark Dempster

178 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008

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Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

Mark Dempster

Keep away from children...

I installed an ERP system into a small manufacturing company roughly a 3 hour journey from our office. Initially everything performed perfectly, but a few weeks later the customer complained of extremely sluggish performance. Dialling in (this was in the days of 33k modems - if you were lucky!) everything looked fine. All performing as expected. But the customer kept ringing back with the same complaint. Eventually I was dispatched to take a look on-site.

It didn't take long to find the problem; the server was running a very complicated screensaver that took up almost 100% of cpu time. Of course when I'd dialled in previously, the screensaver was disabled. Apparently the MD had let his young son play on the machine, and that was the result. Cost him a day of my time plus expenses.

It's one of the first things I check since then, but I've not come across it again since.

Surprise! Plans for a Brexit version of the EU's Galileo have been delayed

Mark Dempster

Re: Good

>The Germans commented that they didnt know what they could possibly spend the money on if they upped their military spending to 2% GDP. The same Germany who couldnt even get planes and pilots to Iraq due to the poor funding of their capability.<

Germany is also forbidden by international treaty (as is Japan) from having signifcant armed forces - they're only allowed a small local defence force. That's a consequence of losing WW2...

Apple checks under the couch for $500m in spare change, offers it to make power-throttling gripes disappear

Mark Dempster

Re: Huh?

>So making an engineering decision to make the product more reliable and last longer is now sue-able. So do people prefer the sudden shutdowns and loosing their work? Oh wait, no, that's another lawsuit isn't it. Can't win with lawyers can you?<

But it doesn't do that, does it? It deliberately slows down a perfectly usable phone in order to make you consider upgrading to a newer model. If they were really worried about battery life on older phones they'd either have made this OS version an optional upgrade, with a warning about battery life, or they'd have put in a simple software switch to let you slow things down to preserve the battery if you wanted to.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now: Brexit tea towel says it'll just be the gigabit broadband

Mark Dempster

Re: I voted for BREXIT

If you were taken in by the promises made by Farage, Johnson, Gove et al then you really shouldn't be allowed out in public.

Or did you really think that the predictions made by actual experts were just 'project fear'?

Petition asking Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 sails past 7,777-signature goal

Mark Dempster

Re: Uh!

>I _WHOLEHEARTEDLY_ disagree with you on this. I, for one, would _GLADLY_ fork it, make fixes, and issue pull requests. It is likely that MANY would be willing to take charge over the project, or at least a fork of it, FOR GRATIS, *just* to get support in something "NOT Win-10-nic" that runs EXISTING software.<

And there you have the big problem with open source software - too many forks, leading to different versions of software that are *almost* the same as each other but introduce their own problems/ways of doing things that make support so much harder.

Email blackmail brouhaha tears UKIP apart as High Court refuses computer seizure attempt

Mark Dempster

Re: @NeilPost

No, you're doing it again. Communism & Socialism are very different things. There are lots of official definitions out there, but they essentially boil down to:

Communism : The state owns everything & provides you with the basics required to survive.

Socialism : The state provides basic services that we all use, & ensures that everyone leads a decent quality of life, while the private sector competes for the other things we might want.

Mark Dempster

Re: @NeilPost

I think you'll find that most of the scandinavian countries (you know, the ones with the highest happiness index in the world) have democratic socialist governments of the type that labour represent.

Mark Dempster

Jess Phillips represents her constituents well, but politically would be more at home with the tories. And Rayner isn't really socialist, more centre-left. Starmer's socialist credentials are quite reasonable, although he did back the original coup against Corbyn & sided with Owen Smith in the subsequent leadership election. However he is pragmatic & worked well with Corbyn afterwards.

Talking a Blue Streak: The ambitious, quiet waste of the Spadeadam Rocket Establishment

Mark Dempster

UK Space industry

It's worth mentioning (if it hasn't been already) that Blue Streak launched the UK's only satellite losfted without hitching a ride on someone else's rocket.

There is also a complete (as in appearance, probably not internally) Blue Streak suspended vertically at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Could you just pop into the network room and check- hello? The Away Team. They're... gone

Mark Dempster

Re: Watch this!

I remember a visit to Apricot during the 1990's, where they were demoing their new Shogun server (levely machine back in the day...). It had a built-in UPS, and the particular machine in question had a wedding ring welded to the (permanently live when not isolated) bus bar.... it seems that an engineer had found out the hard way not to forget to flick the isolation switch before messing about inside the machine.

It's 50 years to the day since Apollo 10 blasted off: America's lunar landing 'dress rehearsal'

Mark Dempster

Re: Grit

>Additionally the composition of lunar dust is only verifiable from NASA so it's unreliable data in this case. Their feet sink deep into it, it's clearly not a stable or strong surface.<

Actually the USSR returned samples from the moon using robots, although far less than NASA managed. So that's easily verified.

Further, just because the astronaut's feet sank into the top layer of dust on the surface doesn't mean that there wasn't more compressed/solid material immediately below it - they didn't sink up to their waists, did they? And that would explain why the LRV kicked up plumes of dust from the top layer, while finding sufficient grip below it.

UK Space Agency cracks open its wallet, fishes out a paltry £2m for Brit plans to return to orbit

Mark Dempster

>Remember when the UK launched its own satellite on its own rocket?<

The last surviving rocket of that type is on display at the Space Centre in Leicester

50 years ago: Apollo 10 takes an unplanned spin above the lunar surface – and sh!t gets sweary

Mark Dempster

>The ever-ambitious NASA suggested the crew go ahead and land if all went well<

That contradicts another version of events that I heard years ago (might even have been in the book 'First Man'?), which was that NASA deliberately put insufficient fuel into the craft because they were worried that the astronauts might be a little 'gung-ho' & decide to go down in history as the first men on the moon

I wonder which version is true? Giving them the option to try if they felt confident enough doesn't really sound like NASA...

Talk about a ticket to ride... London rail passengers hear pr0n grunts over PA system

Mark Dempster

Re: And in the future

Re-nationalising trains won't cost a penny. You just wait for the existing contract to end, and don't reissue the tender. It's all in the 2017 manifesto.

We won't even have to wait that long for some of the contracts; the private operators have a habit of handing them back when they're not making as much money as expected, after all.

Hurrah for Apollo 9: It has been 50 years since 'nauts first took a Lunar Module out for a spin

Mark Dempster

Re: I always thought the LM was the greatest engineering result in reaching the Moon...

I think you're ignoring Gemini 8, which docked with the Agena. For a short time, at least....

Mark Dempster

Re: I'm planning aa marathon

The Spacewalker is pretty good, if you don't mind subtitles.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6673840/

Danger mouse! Potent rodents 'see' infrared after eyeballs injected with nanoparticles

Mark Dempster

Re: Up to ten weeks

>Injections to the eyeball probably aren't fun.

My company has drugs that need to be administered in that way and it make me cringe to think about it.<

It's not as bad as you imagine (I had them monthly for a year or so). The first couple of times it's pretty scary, but it's mainly the thought of it - there's no pain involved because you've had anaesthetic drops. It's just that you can see the needle coming closer & closer... then your image becomes swirly for a few seconds as the fluid is injected.

It soon becomes routine, though.

UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

Mark Dempster

Sightings?

Virtually all the reported sightings were at times when it would have been very dark. Even if the alleged drone had navigation lights on it, it would be very difficult to distinguish them from the lights of real aircraft - and there would be plenty of those in the area.

Iran satellite fails: ICBM test drive or microsat test? Opinion is divided...

Mark Dempster

It might prevent US aggression

Let's not forget that the USA have been making threatening noises towards Iran for many years now - just as they did toward North Korea.

Those states can be much more confident that Trump won't decide to invade if they're capable of causing some serious damage in return, even if they are totally out-gunned.

Your mates vape. Your boss quit smoking. You promised to quit in 2019. But how will Big Tobacco give it up?

Mark Dempster

You might have convinced yourself, but no-one with a brain...

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

Mark Dempster

Re: Starship

>should've picked "Thunderbird 6"<

Thunderbird 6 was a Tiger Moth...

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges

Mark Dempster

Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

>"pandering to the perception" (U.S. cops being trigger happy murderers waiting for an excuse, and gun rights being an 'enabler' for them to 'be that way') might make you *feel* better, but it's neither TRUE nor HELPING.

And in my opinion FEELINGS are IRRELEVANT.

More often than not, guns STOP crimes.<

Speaking as one of the relatively few people in the UK who shoots in a number of different disciplines (and even trained as a gunsmith many years ago) I can hardly be accused of being anti-gun; but your statement that guns stop crime is, despite being peddled by Trump supporters everywhere, absolute hogwash. There may be a small number of occasions when it's been the case, but it's the simple widespread availability of very dangerous hardware - and lack of suitable checks/restrictions - that is the root cause of the USA's problems with gun violence. It's why these things happen more in the USA than elsewhere.

US and UK Amazon workers get a wage hike – maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

Mark Dempster

>Who is championing the equivalent legislation in the UK? I suspect, nobody.<

The labour party is aiming to bring in a £10 minimum wage when it regains power, and to do away with zero hour contracts.

Mark Dempster

Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

>Now I'm confused. If Sanders is a dirty rotten commie why does this policy sound like Thatcherism ?<

You ARE confused. It's Thatcherism (and its US counterpart Reaganomics) that has led to the situation where large corporations are effectively receiving state benefits rather than individuals.

Mark Dempster

Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

>According to Sanders, the goal of the bill is to eliminate government subsidies to workers due to low wages. A bit surprising since Sanders is on the far left of the political spectrum. He must be torn between sticking it to Bezos et al and doling out other people's money.<

I think you've misunderstood his motivation. The point is that the state is currently subsidising companies that COULD afford to pay a living wage, by topping up the wages of their employees. State welfare is a great thing to have in society, but it should be there to help the individuals that need it - not to reduce the wage bills of multinational companies.

We have the same issue over here in the UK; I don't know how the figures compare in the states, but in the UK the MAJORITY of our benefits payments are made to people who are actually in work - not to the 'scroungers' that the right-wing media like to demonise. The Labour party have a similar living wage proposal to Sanders', so hopefully the problem will be addressed before too long...

Never mind Brexit. UK must fling more £billions at nuke subs, say MPs

Mark Dempster

Re: Here We Go Again.....

The MOD fully expected to have aircraft for the carriers. They were postponed by the Tory defence review in 2010, when they also sold our entire fleet of Harriers (which could have operated from them in the meantime) to the USA for £1

London's Gatwick Airport flies back to the future as screens fail

Mark Dempster

>It really doesn't double the cabling costs. Pulling a multi-pair cable is a sensible precaution and if it is combined with the appropriate type of switch failover to an alternative pair is seamless. The switch will even notify that a pair has failed so that action can be taken by the SOA. The only difference in price is the cost of cable + switches which is minimal because labour is the big spend.<

That probably wouldn't have prevented the issue, though, as pulling 2 cables from the same location to the same destination means they're separated by millimeters at best - so both would have been cut through at the same time.

If you're going to this trouble (and for something so important why wouldn't you?) then you need 2 completely different runs of cable, preferably from 2 different providers, coming into the building at different locations.

The last phablet? 6.4in Samsung Galaxy Note 9 leaves you $1k lighter, needs 'water cooling'

Mark Dempster

Re: Mifi+Tablet+(VOIP(Sipgate/Skype/Other))=Phablet

>Why does anybody bother getting a large screen smartphone?<

In my case it's because I have crap eyesight & fat fingers.

Mark Dempster

Re: Nobody buys Samsung anymore...

>Nobody buys Samsung anymore...

They're too common.<

Surely the fact that they're common PROVES that people are buying them?

Almost 1 in 3 Brits think they lack computer skills to do their jobs well

Mark Dempster

Re: Just wait until all the old people die off

>you mean the worlds 5th largest employer getting funding of nearly £4000 per second *underfunded*

The NHS employs 1.7 million people across the UK. It is the country’s biggest employer and ranks at number five globally

Planned spending for the Department of Health in England is approximately £123.7 billion in 2017/18<

So? It's still underfunded, even if the numbers do look scary to those who don't understand them. If you look at what the NHS does with that money, the outcomes it achieves, etc, it's still the most efficient healthcare system in the world. It would be more efficient still if this government didn't keep making 'efficiency savings' which actually make it LESS efficient...

I assume you favour an insurance based system like the USA? Where (like any insurance policy) they avoid paying out for anything they can wriggle out of, won't cover pre-existing conditions, & have limits on how long treatment can be funded? Most times that they do pay out they don't cover all the cost, and the patient has to cover some/most of it themselves. Healthcare-related debt is the most common cause of bankruptcy in the US - and still costs more per head than the NHS

Microsoft devises new way of making you feel old: Windows NT is 25

Mark Dempster

Re: "It took Redmond until 2000 to create a usable server edition."

>But in doing so you make it 4x more expensive. Not that NT was cheap, but Netware was pretty pricey and the difference was enough to pay for a substantial hardware upgrade.<

The genius thing that MS did to beat NetWare was not to bother enforcing user licence counts...

You could run 100 or more users on NT with only a 5 CAL setup as long as you weren't worried about the legalities - and many companies weren't. NetWare enforced the user count very strictly, so you HAD to buy the appropriate number of (very expensive) licences.

That's why you rarely see Netware any more.

Mark Dempster

Re: 16MB?

>Luxury! We had 1KB RAM and counted ourselves lucky!

And we could play a game a chess with that!<

Still the only computer chess game that I've actually beaten...

Brit spending watchdog brands GP Primary Support Care a 'complete mess'

Mark Dempster

Re: and to think...

>The State is inefficient. And NHS proves it, it does not matter if they outsource or not, the result is going to be the same.<

No, it's not. That's just an argument that neoliberals use to justify cuts.

The NHS is (or was) the most efficient healthcare service in the world. Despite always being a rationed service it delivered excellent outcomes for low cost (compared to other systems). The problems come from politicians trying to run it as a business. For example they see 80% bed occupancy as inefficient, so they cut the number of beds available to give 95% occupancy. That might work for a hotel, but not a hospital! That 20% 'spare' figure was in order to cope with sudden emergency demand, or natural increases such as happen during the winter. So now, in the 'newly-efficient' service, we can no longer cope with bad weather & hospitals grind to a halt - including, this year, non-emergency surgery being cancelled for 2 months! Just think what kind of backlog that causes, quite apart from increased suffering.

These organisations had specialised knowledge & experience that is lost when bringing in outsourcing. Politicians with none of these skills should leave them alone, beyond ensuring that they have the resources required.

Outsourcing never works as advertised - and I'm ex-Capita myself.

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep

Mark Dempster

>That usage in the US has gone away decades ago. It was current when typewriters were a thing and was used then, but since computers came around, nobody abbreviates pound as #.<

The term still seems to be used by most telephone conferencing systems, automated licencing validations, etc

At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements

Mark Dempster

>Whilst they are not as robust as the older models, doesn't mean you hammer the hell out of the keyboards just to prove a point! I keep my clean and where possible, for example when Im working from home, will use an external bluetooth keyboard.<

So, you yourself prefer to use a completely different keyboard and you admit that it's less robust than earlier versions, but you don't understand why people complain about them?

Do you not see any problem with that?

Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo

Mark Dempster

>Here is how you make the UK the number one destination for business. Cut business tax rates to 17.5%.

Cut income tax rates to 20% for everyone and the first £20,000 of everyone earnings are completely tax free.

Dismantle the welfare state entirely and allow private free enterprise to take care of the rest.

If we have a tariff free trade deal with the US and EU we become the best place in the world to do business and companies would flood here from all over the world.

This isn't rocket science, it's simply a total rejection of socialism, marxism and post modernism which are a cancer that eat away at the soft under belly of our nation.<

In other words, let people starve as long as the 1% get richer. Well done.

Mark Dempster

Re: It's nice to see the government being courageously optimistic!

>IMHO, none of the parties in Westminster don't have a clue about how to solve the impenting fiscal meltdown especially JC who seems to think that nationalising everything in sight is the answer but has no idea how to pay for it.<

I suggest you read the labour party manifesto - how we pay for things is described quite clearly, despite what the media might tell you.

For instance, renationalising the railways costs nothing - you simply wait for the franchise to expire, and don't put it back out to tender again. The train operators only lease their rolling stock, so we'd take up that lease & retain the profit that they make.

Mark Dempster

Re: Brexit Schmexit

>But rather than demonstrating against the Tories, why didn't you demonstrate against the clueless twats of the Labour party who have kept the Conservatives in government through a string of utterly dislikeable and incompetent leaders, all with weird, incoherent policies that have made the Labour party unelectable even against the dislikeable, colourless, cloth-eared, lightweights of the Conservatives?<

Well firstly, I'd point out that it's the tories who are actually in control, and demonstrating aginst any other party is completely pointless. Secondly, I think you'll find that the current labour leadership is eminently likeable - and it's only those who are force-fed their opinions by media moguls who don't pay any UK tax or, indeed, reside her, that believe otherwise.

>My sympathies are somewhere towards the right wing of the Conservative party, but I'd welcome a good, strong, electable Labour party,<

No, what you actually want is a return to 'new labour' - the aberration created by Tony Blair that turned the party into a slightly-watered-down clone of the tories. It's not an opposition if they implement the same policies, you know! And no point voting between one or the other, either.

The fact is, the labour party has an ambitious and fully-costed manifesto put together with the aid of nobel-prize-winning economists that offers a completely different path to the one we've been following for the last 40 years, and which has left us in the mess we're in. True opposition, in other words.

No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

Mark Dempster

>Own satellite system now. If the concern is military use ... do you really want the EU calling the shots in a a time of crisis ?<

As a member of the EU they wouldn't be able to deny us use of it at any time. As a non-member then we won't be able to use it at all, according to the rules WE insisted on. And we currently use the US GPS system - which they can, and likely would, lock us out of if it suited them.

>The EU will be harder hit than the UK since we made 90% of the hardware and software. We can get other customers and we can build our own. Or is thereg also doing an indy/telegraph where all brexit is bad innit and we have to point out every thing not in our favour. This is an opportunity for us to build our own system who we don't need to ask permission to use and we know 100% that we will be in charge of it if the shit hits the fan.<

I really don't think you understand the costs involved. And why on earth would you allow access to it for countries you don't have a military alliance with?

Mark Dempster

Re: Meh

>Another amusing development I read about this morning (msn so I dont count it as credible yet) is the EU putting together some kind of security fund to only be spent in the EU for technological developments for war. If it is true it is a good job we got out before paying for another gravy boat.<

As a member state we had the ability to veto any development such as the one you mention. So it wouldn't be an issue.

>And of course the EU is now in a trade war with the US. We should be pushing to leave asap and demanding the gov just gets on with the hard brexit (the EU could always decide to do a trade deal if they want but lets not hang on for them to get common sense). In one breath it sounds like the EU understands 'tariffs are protectionist' and then they prove clueless as they then retaliate.<

You do realise that the US's aggressive new tariffs apply to the UK too? And would do whether we were in or out of the EU? But outside the EU we'll have a lot less ability to fight back.

Mark Dempster

>Time to withdraw the U.K. from Enhanced Forward Presence, Baltic Air Policing and all the rest. Let the EU do it and foot the bill for it.<

Are you aware that the EU and NATO are not the same thing?

Mark Dempster

Re: In perspective, Galileo isn't important

>I remain ignorant - of a practical application for why we need high precision (sub-1 metre) satellite positioning. It's claimed our military or emergency services need it, but why? (Seriously)<

Because if you don't have that accuracy, you end up with much more collateral damage - eg schools being blown up rather than the nearby military target. And, even if you ignore the moral aspects of that, in this age of full-coverage journalism of such attacks it would be a PR disaster

Mark Dempster

Re: EU Are Being Vindictive

>Did Cameron not ask to implement s temporary halt to immigration into the UK ? and Angela Merkel refused ?<

I don't believe he did, no. But did YOU know (most leaver's don't seem to) that EU rules specifically state that any EU migrant can be expelled from a country if they don't have a job sfter 3 months? The UK just chose not to impose that rule. And that would surely have removed the complaint that 'they come over here for benefits and housing', wouldn't it?

Mark Dempster

Re: Dictionary anyone?

>It's a mistake to portray leave voters as stupid in my opinion, especially when the government itself didn't know initially what leaving would entail. Expecting a member of the public to do so therefore when an entire civil service hadn't got to grips with it seems more than a little unrealistic.<

The remain campaign was run by the then-Prime-Minister, and warned of very dire consequences of leaving - but it was dismissed as fear-mongering by the leave campaign, if you remember.

>You could equally claim that remain voters didn't fully understand the implications of staying in the EU, however positive doing so may or may not be.<

As 'remain' literally meant 'carry on exactly as we are' I think we all knew the implications, even if leave voters WERE too stupid to realise that.

NHS England fingered over failure to forward patient correspondence

Mark Dempster

Re: True story.

>Why should we be forced to pay more so that this level of incompetence and indifference can continue unabated?<

Because if you always go for the lowest bidder for any contract then you end up with problems like these.

The only real solution is to bring everything back in-house where a single organisation can do a professional job

Ongoing game of Galileo chicken goes up a notch as the UK talks refunds

Mark Dempster

Re: It'll be worth it

>Just because one or two idiots misquoted its meaning and were corrected, it did not mean the NHS were going to get £350M a week<

Boris said it did. On live TV, while sat on the bus.

Surely he wasn't lying?

Mark Dempster

Re: Plane tiresome.

>We already have the capability to build one and I'm sure our new best friends in India would launch them for a few considerations.<

Absolutely. And it would only cost about 50 times what we're paying now, too.

Doctor finds physical changes to astronaut's eyes after ISS stint

Mark Dempster

Re: UFO/ Doesn't explain the purple wigs worn by the female staff on Moonbase.

Yes, but the female crewmembers had something underneath

British military spends more on computers than weapons and ammo

Mark Dempster

>Excuse me, but doesn't spending £6bn on 2 aircraft carriers count as new weapons? Also they spend more on aircraft than IT or weapons. But what is a fighter plane?<

I imagine that aircraft carriers, and fighter planes, would be more accurately thought of as weapon delivery systems rather than weapons in their own right.

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Mark Dempster

Re: Academics

>The car gives nobody anything by way of science or inspiration.<

No, but it's pure PR - and good PR, too. If SpaceX had just lifted a block of concrete to orbit then the launch might have been given a few seconds of coverage on the news because it's a new rocket. But because of the car & everything else associate with it ('Life On Mars' on the stereo, HHGTTG & a towel in the glovebox, etc) everyone's talking about it - even those with absolutely no interest in space technology

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