* Posts by Alan Edwards

503 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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Commuters' phone data could be tracked to save megabucks on census

Alan Edwards

Dual SIMs?

My phone has two SIMs on two different networks, one for work, one is mine - does this mean I am two people when the census-by-mobile counts people? If I've also got my LTE tablet with me am I three people?

I really don't think this is going to be accurate enough to use for a census. You'd need to follow it up with more accurate measures to correct for errors, so you might as well do it properly in the first place. The census is supposed to be a count of people, not a rough guess.

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Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

Alan Edwards

Re: Pharmacist

> I really don't understand the opposition some people have to progress.

I'm not sure it's opposition to progress, it's opposition to handing it all over to an external 3rd party company.

My opinion? It should be an extension of the existing NHS-run non-emergency phone service, not an all-or-nothing that makes you switch GPs.

For all it's failings, at least you know the NHS is not going to sell your medical history to advertisers. Or insurance companies.

Ob. Douglas Adams reference: "I've gone off the idea of progress, it's over-rated"

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DJI Aeroscope won't stop drone-diddlers flying round airports

Alan Edwards

Low hanging fruit?

As the system requires a transponder, I'm guessing this will only detect DJI quadcopters? Even then you can nobble it by removing the transponder module or it's antenna.

At best it will only catch people who accidentally fly too close to an airport or lose control of their drone, it will do nothing against the people who are determined to do it (who are the ones you want to worry about).

If you want to fly across an airport's controlled airspace it's not exactly rocket science to build a drone that does it autonomously with no radio emissions, no controller signal, and nigh-on undetectable on radar.

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Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

Alan Edwards
Coat

Hayes

You'd need to open up a console on the car's display and type an AT command to get it to charge, and then have to have one foot on the ground.

So I'm the only one old enough to know Hayes modems and the Hayes production code. OK.

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Outage at EE wrecks voice calls across the UK

Alan Edwards

Picocells out too?

This probably explains why my EE Signal Box picocell was dead most of yesterday. It had a red light so I bounced it, and it was flashing green light the rest of the day. Finally came back about 10pm when I restarted it again.

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Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Alan Edwards

Re: 17" laptops

> I believe that they are planning to release a laptop with the 36" screen

And it'll be 1080p, grumble grumble, rubbish laptop resolutions.

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Alan Edwards

Thinkpads

Had quite a few ThinkPads over the years, and loved most of them.

The T43 was a bit of a donkey, that went in favour of one of my favourites, the T61. My T510 was dropped by it's previous user hard enough to break the plastic fan vent and bend the heatsink fins, and was still working when I was made redundant.

My personal laptop is a T410, I have an X240 from work, and my mum has a T410 I set up for her. I've played with getting a X230 or T420 for myself, but I don't really like 16:9 screens.

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Azure fell over for 7 hours in Europe because someone accidentally set off the fire extinguishers

Alan Edwards

Use their own service??

> Azure Site Recovery lost failover ability

So a failure at one data centre knocked out everyone else's ability to fail over to a different site :)

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Alan Edwards

Re: The insane thing about it is...

> But who wants a san attached loud fan blowing server running 24/7 in their home.

I have a self-built VMWare ESXi server and a NAS running 24x7. The HP MicroServer that runs the NAS is give-or-take silent, the PSU fan in the VMWare server is quiet enough that I don't notice it.

The noise factor has stopped me getting a cheap ex-corporate server off eBay though. We once powered up a de-racked ProLiant DL-something in the office, damn that thing was loud. Lots of tiny screaming fans.

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Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

Alan Edwards

Motorised walls

To paraphrase Douglas Adams:

"This wall is vibrating"

"Maybe it's got an engine"

"Who would want a motorised wall"

"I don't know. Another motorised wall?"

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Brit military wants a small-drone-killer system for £20m

Alan Edwards

> presumably targeting has to be more precise than explosives

Not really, just target anywhere above the target drone. A lot aren't waterproof at all, and if it was the weight of the water would push it down.

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You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Alan Edwards

> I spend some hard time preparing a presentation for MS Office,

> it turned out they had OpenOffice.

I can (just about) beat that. I was supposed to be being trained on JSP, Java Server Pages. The course they sent me on was JavaScript. Hey, it's got Java in the name, it's all the same thing.

Turned out I really liked JavaScript, and make part of my living at it now.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Meeting rooms

There's a meeting room at the office in Bracknell that got nicknamed The Fridge because everyone thinks it is too cold in there. I suspect it got partitioned off after the AC was set up, so gets cold air all the time.

Handy for me when I visit because a) I like it cold and b) no-one else ever books it.

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Don’t buy that Surface, plead Surface cloners

Alan Edwards

Re: If we must have Surface-like machines..

> My experience with the Spectre X360 i7 version has been the worst

> of any piece of hardware I can recall in at least 2 decades.

You've not used a Pavilion X2 then.

2Gb RAM and an Atom X5 make for painful progress, 32Gb storage means you can't install OS upgrades without an external drive, plus a MicroSD slot that works fine until you actually try and use it, at which point it sometimes dismounts the card without warning.

Piece of junk.

Not as bad as a Dell Venue 8 though. 1Gb RAM that is mostly taken up with the Android-to-x86 translator, leaving not enough to do anything else with.

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LG teases us with svelte V30 but refuses to say if it's coming to Blighty

Alan Edwards

Re: Dual SIM ? Memory expansion ?

GSM Arena (http://www.gsmarena.com/lg_v30-8712.php) tells you more...

There is (will be?) a dual-SIM version, and it has a dedicated Micro-SD slot.

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China claims to have turbine-powered drone carrying 200kg payload

Alan Edwards

3.4m long?

The gas-turbine motor alone is 3.4m long? Does this "drone" happen to have a human pilot and a couple of machine guns too :)

The gas-turbine engine in Rover's experimental turbine car was tiny, smaller than a petrol engine and produced a hundred and something horsepower.

Maybe they mean the entire craft is 3.4m long?

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Huge Apple news confirmed. Software deal with Accenture is official

Alan Edwards

Re: Don't do much work then?

> Ever try using an Android device to do work?

Yep. I've sat in a coffee shop in Birmingham with a Nexus 7, monitoring our incoming ServiceNow queues and doling out incidents as they come in.

Once you persuade ServiceNow to not load the tablet interface there's not a lot you can't do, especially with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I wouldn't want to write JavaScript on a 8-inch screen, but you could if you *really* had to.

A Windows 10 machine with 2 gigs of RAM though? Forget it, it will spend it's life swapping bits of it's brain in and out once you've got Outlook. Skype and Chrome open.

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Dell's flagship XPS13 – a 2-in-1 that may fatally frustrate your fingers

Alan Edwards

Re: Non-PC company

> Buy from a Chinese company that supports that nice Chinese administration

Nah, you let some corporation weed out the DOAs and buy an ex-lease 3 year old one on eBay for a tenth of it's new price.

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Oldest flying 747 finally grounded, 47 years after first flight

Alan Edwards

Re: Spinal Tap (inspired) Airways

B36 had 10, 6 piston pushers and 4 jets.

If you include the NB36 experiment, that really did have 11, it had a nuclear reactor too. Never actually powered anything, but still...

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DJI's Spark drones to be bricked by September 1 unless firmware updated

Alan Edwards

Re: To save lives

> It will be excellent if ISIS' drone fleet get bricked soon.

Actually it may not be. Brick the COTS ones they're using now and they learn to build their own, using open source flight controllers and ESCs. They then have the knowledge to make something *way* more capable than DJI makes.

You want a beast that uses 8 motors (two in push-pull on each corner) and can lift a crate of beer? Have at it, the controller already supports it, the motors and ESCs are cheap.

In short: build yer own! It's more fun, and you end up with something better.

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Oh no, EE! More UK mobile customers face sluggish roaming abroad

Alan Edwards

Isle Of Man

Just got back from a holiday on the Isle Of Man, first time trying out this free roaming malarky.

Tablet, phone and wireless router all roamed on Sure, which has just launched there. EE sent a 'Welcome to Guernsey' SMS, which got giggles from all the EE users on the ferry.

EE roamed onto the 4G network, Three got HSPA+. No problem with speed off either, but I wasn't exactly hammering it. It all just worked, apart from the router that took about 5 minutes to register itself the first time.

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UAV maker swipes at sponsor of opaque Qinetiq drone study

Alan Edwards

Re: Bah.

> external rail fitted with an infra-red homing missile

Missile's decision making process - "Shall I lock on to the tiny point that is a few degrees above ambient, or the giant ball of fire over there". Jet engines run rather hotter than drone motors, you'd end up shooting yourself down.

Trying to hit an Inspire 2 from a motorised 50-cal turret would make for better in-flight entertainment than any of the movies though.

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.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Alan Edwards

Re: And how well, exactly....

It's a Panasonic Toughpad, so probably along the lines of "Ah, I seem to have a layer of salt on my screen, I'd better run it under the tap to clean it off."

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Alan Edwards

Re: "whether the Navy should be abandoning low-tech backup solutions"

It's more about the mundane uses of a pocket tool for me.

Yes I could use my Leatherman to cut the seatbelt in a car wreck, but it's far more likely to be used for slicing a parcel open, cutting up fruit, cutting the top off an instant coffee packet with no perforations, chopping an errant branch off a bush that's about to take a layer of paint off the car. All things I've done with my Leatherman.

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Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Alan Edwards

Numpty installers

An office where I used to work had a small room that housed the servers, network gear and phone system, and had a wall-mounted AC unit.

One day, we came in to find no servers and no phones. During the night the AC had died because the heat exchanger was a solid block of ice. The dead AC meant the servers rapidly heated the room up, the ice melted, dripping water into the phone system's main box which was mounted directly under the AC.

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Giffgaff 'roam like at home' package means £1/min calls in Jersey

Alan Edwards

Why??

O2 and EE specifically include the Channel Islands in Europe, how come Giff Gaff don't?

Adhering to the absolute letter of the new rules not the spirit?

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Microsoft founder Paul Allen reveals world's biggest-ever plane

Alan Edwards

Re: Hang on... Nuclear

Yep, the NB-36. The reactor never powered the plane, but it was fired up in flight.

It already had 10 engines (4 jet, 6 piston), what's one more...

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Amazon announces new Echo just as Microsoft's first Cortana-powered clone breaks cover

Alan Edwards

They may have uses (not to me, I don't like voice control generally) but they need to fix the authentication before I'll even consider getting one. A device that can be taken over by a random voice on TV has no place anywhere IMO.

At the very least the activation phrase should be customisable to anything, not just 'Alexa' or 'computer'.

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US Air Force networks F-15 and F-22 fighters – in flight!

Alan Edwards

Re: Oh goody.

One advantage of retro-fitting it in a pod - if it all goes the way of the pear you can dump the pod and still have a working F15.

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Windows 10 S forces Bing, Edge on your kids. If you don't like it, get Win10 Pro – Microsoft

Alan Edwards

Re: Meh, I give it a few months

"I love the way people scream monopoly over Microsoft then go all quiet when you mention goggle..."

The difference with ChromeOS is that they didn't take an existing OS and nobble it so you can't run Firefox or change the search engine, and there isn't a magic "pay $50 to turn it back on again" switch.

If Google wanted to screw you over with ChromeOS they could, they have full control over the OS. Lock the search engine down, and only pre-approved Chrome extensions allowed, so no AdBlock or uBlock.

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

Alan Edwards

Re: Banning delete after forward

> they will have to make the transmission and storage of any information in an

> encrypted format illegal

Trouble is, what is encrypted data. I can see a lot of conversation like:

Gov: Why are you sending encrypted data?

Me: WTF? I'm not

Gov: Explain this then...

Me: It's the install keys for a bunch of products on our shared MSDN account

Gov: (eyes glaze over, understood some of those words) Rubbish, it's encrypted, decrypt it

Me: It's not encrypted

(Rinse and repeat)

Of course it would also ban SSL and WPA encryption on wifi. It would be the end of e-commerce, at least on wireless networks.

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Alan Edwards

I know what you mean,,,

My example is ServiceNow, It displays everything, then shuffles stuff into tabs if you have that enabled, then the UI policies kick in and hide stuff that shouldn't be there. Buttons and fields you're trying to click may not be even close when it actually registers the click.

It also had an annoying habit of putting an Insert button where Update used to be before it shuffled everything around. This means it creates a duplicate record instead of overwriting the old one if you click too early.

My pet peeve is menus that disappear because the mouse pointer is 1 pixel outside it's border. I click on your header to get you to display, just stay put until I select something!

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Iconic Land Rover Defender may make a comeback by 2019

Alan Edwards

Re: Why?

To be fair, that "Land Cruiser" would be an FJ-40, not the land yacht we have today.

You can still do things with a current Land Cruiser that would make an X5 stop and think though.

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EE unveils sky domination plans with drones, balloons

Alan Edwards

Power?

Do those pickups have generators, or so they need a mains power connection?

I was thinking these would be 7.5 ton size trucks with diesel generators in the back. It's not going to run for long off a L200's battery.

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Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia

Alan Edwards

Resurrection wish list

Can I add the Ericsson R520m and T39m to the resurrection list please.

I reckon a T39m with 3G, modern Bluetooth that plays nicely with car kits, and maybe the spring-loaded keypad cover from the T28, would go down well.

Bonus points if they can make it work with the MP3 player and radio add-on modules from back in the day.

Makes me want to dig my 6310 and StarTac 85 out of storage, while the 2G networks are still running.

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USMC: We want more F-35s per year than you Limeys will get in half a decade

Alan Edwards

Re: Am I missing something?

A Spitfire with a turbo-prop engine, contra-rotating variable-pitch props, and fly-by-wire. *That* could be interesting...

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I've got a brand new combine harvester and I'll give you the API key

Alan Edwards

Re: Whats the point of an autonomous tractor?

> Whats the point of an autonomous tractor?

It's more about efficiency than yield. GPS knows *exactly* where the tractor is so doesn't need to overlap to make sure the whole field gets ploughed/seeded/whatever, so diesel isn't wasted. The tractor will get pulled off course by ground variations, the GPS can spot that better than a human.

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Standards body warned SMS 2FA is insecure and nobody listened

Alan Edwards

Re: SMS messages ... may be ... redirected,

"getting the network operator to transfer your number to a new sim "

The fact that your phone has stopped working is a bit of a giveaway, though.

Plus the network will send SMSs to your phone warning you that the SIM will stop working soon - at least O2 does, I assume the others do similar things.

If you can get physical access to the phone for a little while, using Pushbullet or Continuity to echo the SMS to a computer would be easier, and the target would be none the wiser.

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

Alan Edwards

Dodgy keyboards

I got myself a Corsair mechanical keyboard, ages back.

Took it home, plugged it in, tried to log on to Windows - wrong password.

I started to wonder what sort of weird settings it was set to and how I was supposed to fix it. It was only when I watched the dots going into the password field that I noticed one was missing - problem turned out to be a dodgy switch under one key that happened to be part of the password.

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British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

Alan Edwards

Re: VPN

> f.ex secret courts (FEMA)

Ahem, FISA. FEMA are the emergency management agency.

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Icelandic Pirate Party maroons itself from coalition talks

Alan Edwards

What does it say to the people that voted for them, though? "Thanks for voting for us, you might as well not have bothered, we're going to do nothing"?

Isn't it easier to effect the change they want from a position of power?

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Paging 1994: Crap encryption still rife in devices

Alan Edwards

No need for SDR

Back in the day I did it with the earphone output of my Pro-26 and a laptop running some software, POCSAG I think it was.

It was like the days of loading games off cassette, twiddle the volume on the scanner and the gain on the laptop audio input and see if the next message was less garbled.

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French hackers selling hidden .22 calibre pen guns on secret forums

Alan Edwards

Re: Not an Internet story

Don't tell him, Pike.

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'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

Alan Edwards

Re: Machine Operating System

Kinda.

Going back a bit so the details are a bit (a lot, actually) hazy. You could put a non-printable character in the disc name, which had the effect of stopping a directory listing at that point. With the appropriate text before that character you could display all sorts of nasty/scary/downright annoying messages, and lock people out unless they knew what file they needed to run.

It became a bit of a manual virus, it quickly spread around the discs for my school's BBCs.

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Got to dash out for some rubber johnnies? Amazon has a button for that

Alan Edwards

Re: Yet another IOT "solution"...

"Oh, what does this little button do?"

In Douglas Adams' house it would turn a light on that says 'Do not press that button again'

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71,000 Minecraft World Map accounts leaked online after 'hack'

Alan Edwards

Re: A password manager?

I use KeePass. v1.x doesn't need any extra libraries, runs straight off a USB drive, and doesn't need Admin or anything. That is my master list, DropBox handles syncing the database onto the iPad, phone etc.

The USB drive has a TrueCrypt volume on it, KeePass sits in the TC volume. The portable version of TrueCrypt also runs without needing Admin IIRC.

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$329 for a MacBook? Well, really a 'HacBook' built on an old HP

Alan Edwards

Re: EBay

I'm toying with getting one of those numeric-pad-less mechanical keyboards to use with my work-supplied HP ProBook 430 when out of my home-office.

The iMac and ProBook are at the top of my list of worst keyboards, narrowly beaten by the HP Pavilion X2 only because it's also smaller than normal.

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The calm before the storm: AMD's Zen bears down on Intel CPUs

Alan Edwards

Stock HSFs

The Intel HSFs aren't *that* bad. The Pentium G2120 in my VMWare server has been going more-or-less non-stop for over 3 years on the stock Intel fan, it's already killed the fan in one PSU.

I'm still using the stock HSF on my i7-6700 too. I've got a Corsair H-90 ready to go in, I only put the Intel one on to check the rest of the kit was working. One day I'll get around to taking it to bits and putting the Corsair in, but the Intel is coping well so far.

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Alan Edwards

I've just broken their detector...

My streaming box that does iPlayer is connected via Ethernet, it doesn't touch the wireless network.

Technically they could try and get into the (encrypted) powerline Ethernet connection between the rooms, I understand those things leak a bit, but I would think they'd just move on to a softer target who was using wireless.

Even if the Shield TV was on the wireless network, good luck telling the traffic from Twitch or my local Plex server from an iPlayer stream.

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California to put all your power-hungry PCs on a low carb(on) diet

Alan Edwards

Re: Hair dryers and vacuum cleaners next?

> If your rig draws 75W, and you use it 40 hours a day,

> 5 days a week for eleven months a year for five years, that us 165KWh

Yeah, but how much does the time machine to give you 40 hour days cost to run :)

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