* Posts by Major N

125 posts • joined 17 Nov 2008


Airlines in Asia, Africa ground Boeing 737 Max 8s after second death crash in four-ish months

Major N

Re: Background

The B737-MAX has 2 AOA sensors. one goes into Flight Computer 1, one goes into Flight Computer 2. MCAS uses one FC, alternating each flight (to the best of my knowledge). There is also no display of the AOA data from EITHER sensor, or an AOA-Sensor-Disagree light, UNLESS YOU PAY EXTRA FOR THEM.

Lion Air did not pay extra. Therefore the pilots could not know that the AOA was wrong, even if they had known about the MCAS system and what it did/would do in those circumstances. Which they did not, as they had not been trained, and MCAS is not mentioned in the MAX manuals apparently (well, it wasn't before the incident, probably is now)

I do not know at this stage whether Ethiopian did.

I helped catch Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht: Undercover agent tells all

Major N

Re: More Questions

I'd assume he'd bought either the laptop, or accessories for it that identified it, through his Amazon account.

Office 365 enjoys good old-fashioned Thursday wobble as email teeters over in Europe

Major N

Its still wobbly again today, emails went down again across our business about 40 minutes ago

Come mobile users, gather round and learn how to add up

Major N

Re: Patronised a customer?

Hmm, missed the acrostic.. make it half a pint ;)

I once wrote an idiots guide

Designed for my manager's eyes

In subtlety lacking

Occasionally stacking

The column sat on it's left side

Major N

Re: Patronised a customer?

I once wrote an idiots guide

For my dunce level manager's eyes

Though it lacked subtlety,

When read he didn't see

The column sat on it's left side

AT&T (sucks) upgrades folks to 5G (Evolution) that isn't actually 5G

Major N

They'll get away with it too, Pai is a Telco puppet which means the FCC won't do their job and slap this down. Not that they can, thanks to the wall shutdown.

Techie basks in praise for restoring workforce email (by stopping his scripting sh!tshow)

Major N

I used to run a site using Server Side includes to look up template files to keep the look across the site (circa 2002 or so). My host had default 404 etc error pages which were write-locked but for some reason I could save over them in place, so I added SSI Includees to make the error pages match those of the rest of the site.

Later on, I rewrote the site in PHP, and since the SSI error pages wouldn't use PHP, and I had learned more in those days, I used a .htaccess page to point the server at new, PHP error pages, retired the old SSI based templates, and never looked back.

Unfortunately, one day, my host deleted the .htaccess file, so the server failed back on the old error pages, which still had SSI include links to template files that no longer existed. They also had the server set up so that on a 404 page not found during an SSI Include request, it would instead include the 404 page.

So we had a 404 page that would try to include a template file, which because it didn't exist, would instead include the 404 page in line, and so on... 404s all the way down, until the server ran out of resources and fell over. For all paying users on the node.

Qualcomm all ye faithful: 5G's soon triumphant... like 2020 soon. Really

Major N

Exceptional headlining, Sir

Galileo's magnifico measurement: 1976 redshift test updated

Major N

That makes sense, thank you :)

Major N

"with a precision of 0.007 per cent"

Should this not read "with a precision of within 0.007 per cent"?

Happy to be corrected but it reads poorly to me

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

Major N


Apple heading for Supreme Court showdown over iOS App Store 'monopoly' gripe

Major N

Re: There are alernatives...

Apple may be a minority in the rest of the world, but I believe they hold about half of the smartphone market in the US. Hardly a minority there, and since that is where the case is being held...

The Solar System's oldest minerals reveal the Sun's violent past

Major N

Highly volatile noble gases?

Highly volatile noble gases? I thought the point of noble gases were that they were 'noble' and basically inert.....

Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway

Major N

"I was the world's first combined Analyst and Therapist... The business cards were a mistake..."

Major N

My colleague tells a tale of the time he was working for a company that prepared and sent mailshots for external clients, to a mix of commercial and private entities in a database. As part of the data cleansing for people, one of the tasks was to perform a find and replace for the word 'The' at the start of names of people and businesses, and putting it at the end, so The Reverend Green would become 'Reverend Green, The' and so on. They got a new member of staff in, and gave him this task.

Unfortunately, said new MoS misunderstood his instructions, and instead of finding and moving 'The ' from the start of company and person names, he just removed the three characters 'the' from all names in the database, and sent them off to print, thinking nothing of it.

The first they knew of it was when one of their clients rang up, very angry, as they had just had a call themselves from a very upset customer demanding to know why they'd sent a letter to their animal therapy company addressed to 'Horse Rapist'.....

(Note: This may be apocryphal, as it is a third hand tale. But it's still damn funny.)

Score one for the bats and badgers! Apple bins €850m Irish bit barn bid

Major N

360mW? Guess it is just a single iPhone X sitting on a velvet cushioned plinth under a single spotlingt

What's silent but violent and costs $250m? Yes, it's Lockheed Martin's super-quiet, supersonic X-plane for NASA

Major N

Re: Thumping 'eck or Ecky Thump

if you manage to break the sound barrier on the M40, then you're doing something very wrong :P

OK, deep breath, relax... Let's have a sober look at these 'ere annoying AMD chip security flaws

Major N

Re: Pot and Kettle

Intel et al had been aware of the problem for at least six months at that point, so your attempted snark is both unwarranted and off target.

Text bomb, text bomb, you're my text bomb! Naughty HTML freezes Messages, Safari, etc

Major N

It seems View Source in IE11 (damn corporate restrictions) also hangs pretty hard....

BT boss: Yeah, making a business case for 5G is hard

Major N

Re: Carrier?

I think a little of both - network vendors selling basestation kit and backhaul, consumer OEMs and networks using the jump in G-number as a way of propping up falling numbers of handsets and contracts being sold, as iteration means less and less difference between phones, and people hold onto their devices for longer and switch from expensive subsidized contracts to sim-only....

Coinhive crypto-jacking increasingly pops up in top 3 million websites

Major N

No-one will be topping that, think you've earned your crust with those!

Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs

Major N

Re: Mathematically impossible...

clearly you've never driven around Derby or Swindon....

Hurricane Irma imperils first ever SpaceX shuttle launch: US military's secret squirrel X-37B

Major N

Re: Re. storms

The Hurricane Research division of the NOAA has apparently been asked enough times as to why we can't just nuke (?!) hurricanes out of existence that it's one of their FAQs....


Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Major N

Patterson Joseph.

Trump's taxing problem: The end of 'affordable' iPhones

Major N

Re: "it's difficult..."

gotta keep those damn Snow Mexicans out

Tim Cook: EU lied about Apple taxes. Watch out Ireland, this is a coup!

Major N

Re: Well, bears in the woods etc.

the way it works is Ireland won't tax the proportion of the value that is added by US Apple operation, Apple claim it is most of the value, due to the R&D, design, software manufacturing etc. taking place in the US, and thus it's taxable in the US, not Ireland. Ireland shrug and say 0.005% of a shitload of cash is better than none, and take the money, Apple ship the money to Bermuda and sit on it. Uncle Sam stares across the Caribbean, and waits.

So, Technically, it will be taxed by the US... IF they ever 'repatriate' it to the US from the Bermudan Black Hole. This is why they sit on $Bns in a tax exile while not paying dividends etc, because the instant they try to spend it, the IRS will take their rather generous cut.

A USB stick as a file server? We've done it!

Major N

Re: Sort of thing Apple used to 'evolve' (copy) into a decent product.

But then they wouldn't be able to charge you £100/32Gb premium for the larger models. and, heaven forfend, they might have to add a tenth of a millimeter onto the depth of the phone! Hear that low hum? It's Steve Jobs revolving in his grave at the very thought! If you strapped a few magnets to him, you could probably power Infinity Loop with the output...

Galileo in spaaace: France's 'equivalence principle' satellite

Major N

Re: No experimentation required

Technically, no, since what you would be doing would be accelerating the earth towards the second mass, although this would lead to a larger combinrded.velocity. also, if the mass was large enough to exhibit this in any meaningful way, you'd have a much bigger problem on your hands, that I'm not sure even Bruce Willis could save us from with nukes...

'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'

Major N

Re: Difficult to describe this one

I've always found the biggest issue to be the amount of people who use select / activate far too much. You don't need to select sheets, ranges etc to perform actions on them. Just be specific.








Anything that interrupts that flow of selection (especially during debug) ruins your report.

If you're concise and explicit, that problem goes away.


Sheets(otherSheet).Range(range).PasteSpecial xlPasteValues

The other one is where you open secondary workbooks. Noone ever seems to instance them into a variable, and as such rely on the filename as a handle, and when saving out date-specific versions to different places, that becomes a major issue just tracking the last name you saved it as.

I used to manage an estate of 90 reports, all run through excel vba, which were triggered through the Win2K task manager (I know, I know.. but it worked, mostly). By making the code concise and explicit, I could have 10 reports running simultaneously on the same machine, without fearing they'd screw each other up.

VBA is not evil in and of itself (the differences between versions, and even the versions used in different Office applications of the same vintage not withstanding...). Bad VBA is, however, and it is endemic, as most coders of it seem to learn only through recording macros and regurgitating what it records.

Google risks everything if it doesn’t grab Android round the throat

Major N

Re: Rubbish

when the iPhone came out. App is also the first syllable of 'apple'. You can blame their marketdoids for that particular monstrosity.

These Chicago teens can't graduate until they learn some compsci

Major N

That sub-headline. Pure genius. I raise a glass to you.

Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

Major N

Re: Education

Are these 'safer outlets' 230v?

Terror in the Chernobyl dead zone: Life - of a wild kind - burgeons

Major N

Re: Fukushima photos

What renewable disaster was that?

Apple VICTORY: Old Samsung phones not sold any more can't be sold any more

Major N

Re: Bugger

This only stops them being imported into the US, and I'm not sure but I think shops are allowed to still sell remaining stocks....

Let's NUKE MARS to make it more like home says Elon Musk

Major N

Re: Ridiculous

Settling underwater is less likely than you'd think, mainly due to decompression.. would you want to live somewhere where you have to spend a day in a hypobaric chamber just to go to the surface?

What Ashley Madison did and did NOT delete if you paid $19 – and why it may cost it $5m+

Major N

Re: But... do people *really*

Or, log the most recent co-ords on login, so if you're out in a city, it can show you users 'in your area'. IIRC Tinder did something like this...

Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

Major N

50kW to run a personal computer? that's some overclock!

Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Major N

CBT, a couple of hundred most likely, although you need to redo them every 2 years. a 125... you can get Chinese ones new for <2k easy, and a good Japanese one second/third/nth hand for under a k.

Perhaps middle-aged blokes SHOULDN'T try 34-hour-long road trips

Major N

Re: Lane merging

Yep, just mentioned that in another reply. Bredbury Scissors is an example of grand plans that never came to fruition. The M60 goes through a big right; this was originally meant to be a slip road for traffic coming off the M63 to merge onto the M66; heading south, the M66 would have continued straight to become the A6(M) Stockport/Hazel Grove bypass (which means it would not have been A road traffic merging into the outside lane, but motorway traffic). The M634 would have continued straight on to Hattersley, which would have joined the M67, which originally would have run both all the way into Manchester (which is why the A57 is so wide most of the way into town East of Manchester; space reserved for the motorway) to what is not the A57(M)/A635(M) Mancunian Way,. and all the way across the Pennines to meet the M1, either in Sheffield, or near J35A I believe, depending on who you talk to.

If you actually care, look up SELNEC, or go to Pathetic Motorways, which is fascinating if you care about the history of British Roads and bureaucracy, and what might have been, as well as the peculiar relics spattered about this isle of ours.

Major N

Re: Lane merging

Just like the M1 when it hits the M621 at the south of Leeds - reason for that being the M1 used to BE the M621 heading into Leeds, until they extended it North.

And the M60 at Bredbury in Stockport, where it hangs a sharp right, and the joining traffic comes in on the outside lane from an A-road roundabout. this used ot be the joining of the M63/M66, with the A-road merge originally being slated to be the A6(M) Stockport/Hazel Grove bypass, until it was binned.

There's myriad examples, usually they're due to roads being planned but never built. OR just pure bad expansion policy (see the centre of Derby for an example of how NOT to do roads.)

Playing with graphene? All the cool kids are using TIN – atom-thick sheets of stanene

Major N

Re: Snapple...


Major N

Re: Picking Nits: TIN versus Tin

by 'eventually' it could have several stages of intermediate unstable isotopes before finally settling down', I guess...

Doesn't everything (that does decay) eventually decay into something stable?

Major N

Re: Picking Nits: TIN versus Tin

I believe any isotope that has a half life (i.e. will eventually decay) is unstable. IIRC, Bismuth is technically unstable; It has a half-life of something in the order of a billion billion years, but because it has one, it is unstable.

The Breakfast (Table) of Champions: Micro Machines

Major N

I used to play it at my friend's house on the NES, many hours lost battling it out. Good times.

It also nicely ties us to an article earlier this week since Codemasters were producing unlicensed NES cartridges (as well as the almighty Game Genie)

Neat but narky at times: Pebble Time colour e-paper watch

Major N

Re: I see the usefulness, but not at full price

bought one second hand, the screen started tearing pretty much immediately. Contacted Pebble support, and after giving them the serial no, and pictures to prove I had that pebble, they sent me out a new one. Didn't even ask for the old one back. It took 6 weeks to arrive, but their customer service is great - they obviously decided that the financial hit for replacing them was worth more, as positive PR and increased consumer loyalty - than the negative press that would be generated by ignoring it.

Contact them - i'd be very surprised if you got nothing.

UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

Major N

Next there will be a levy on flour in case you format shift it into cake.

Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Major N

They used to keep one at Woodford in the 80s/90s... growing up on the flight path, it was always a sight when this lovely beast came in.

Ready to go again, soldier? Final Fantasy VII remake revealed

Major N

20th anniversary release, I bet ya. Just hope the initial PS exclusive doesn't leave me waiting a year for the PC release like with the original

Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 years away

Major N

Re: Madness

IIRC British Gas units use Vodafone. Other vendors may vary.


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