* Posts by Dunstan Vavasour

396 posts • joined 14 May 2007


This is not, repeat, not an April Fools' Day joke: 5 UK broadband vendors agree to pay YOU daily rate for fscked internet

Dunstan Vavasour

The real problem is BT-OR

This is all very well, but unless the handoff between the ISP and BT-OR is fixed nothing will change.

My village was blighted for two months by a dodgy linecard in the cabinet. More than half the properties had an outage at some point, and they all had a visit from BT-OR to check their cabling. I don't know how much these cost the ISP, but it was clear that OR were filling their boots instead of fixing an obvious common pattern (the faults from this cabinet had spiked by 1000s of percent). Many of us were unable to work from home, and had to travel to offices, even the vicar was offline from parish emails. But this was secondary to BT-OR being able to send out newly trained repair men and charge ISPs.

It's clear from BT Retail's advertising that this isn't going to change: if your broadband is offline they know it won't get promptly fixed, so they'll send out a 4G hotspot.

What made a super high-tech home in Victorian England? Hydroelectric witchery, for starters

Dunstan Vavasour

Bamburgh Castle

A bit further north you'll find Bamburgh Castle, which Lord Armstrong acquired and which remains in the family. There is further Armstrong memorabilia there. It is also a great example of industrial wealth being used to safeguard our heritage.

From hard drive to over-heard drive: Boffins convert spinning rust into eavesdropping mic

Dunstan Vavasour

Shouting at your discs

This video from 10 years ago shows that disc performance is affected by shouting at your discs. I suppose this is an extrapolation of the same effect.


You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Thems my initials thems is.

For the first 20 years of my life it didn't matter that my initials are DEV.

UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

Dunstan Vavasour

"Train Station"

Am I the last person who calls it the "railway station"?

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

Dunstan Vavasour
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Re: From A&A to Z?

Actually the traffic limits are one of the reasons I went to AAISP - so I'm not congested by the freetards maxing their lines out all day every day.Averaging about 200GB per month for a family of four including two twenty-something gamers and steady use of Netflix/iPlayer.

Facebook flat-out 'lies' about how many people can see its ads – lawsuit

Dunstan Vavasour

Ad Contrarian

Well I've been following the Ad Contrarian blog for several years, and he has been calling out the fraud in online advertising for all that time.

The root cause is that the only source of metrics available is from the ad brokers themselves, so nobody is independently auditing the page impressions and click-throughs. And nobody dare say that the emperor's naked, and that the funding model for half the internet is based on fraudulent counting.


UK.gov commits to rip-and-replacing Blighty's wheezing internet pipes

Dunstan Vavasour


How often is it the copper final mile that's the limiting factor on domestic BB?

As long as we have ISPs racing to the bottom of the "unlimited 80Mb/s for just £XX per month" we'll have congestion, packet loss, latency, not to mention crap service when faults develop from ISPs who get the runaround from BTOR and just pass it on to their customers.

FTTP may be a nice totemic aspiration, but is a waste of time if the ISPs can't up their game.

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

Dunstan Vavasour

Northern California

Makes a nice change to see a patent plaintiff filing in California.

When NetApp, based in Northern California, sued Sun Microsystems, based in Northern California, for infringing their WAFL patents, they obviously picked on East Texas as being the relevant jurisdiction.

Sueball claims Apple broke hacking laws with iOS batt throttling code

Dunstan Vavasour

School Playground

Why don't they all grow up?

The Splunk that got sunk: Log-lover ends support for mobile apps

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: I know there's always Google, but...

Oh, and if you're around London and like pizza, you can have a little play http://live.splunk.com/s4r_UK

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: I know there's always Google, but...

They're diversifying, but the core product can be thought of as grep on steroids.

There are shiny product pitches, but basically it collects logfiles from, or runs scripts on anything, chucks it into an index cluster of brobdingnagian proportions and then greps your amalgamated data really really fast. Main use cases are IT Ops and security analytics where the swiss army knife approach to schema-on-the-fly means you can correlate anything with anything.

It's proprietary, licensed in gigabytes per day of indexed data. Lots of places index terrabytes per day: they pay lots of money in licensing and get lots of value out of it by being able to fix stuff before it breaks and costs money.

[Disclaimer, I've got a load of Splunk certs and think it's actually pretty cool]

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Vi

After years I've found the quickest way is to drop a copy of busybox.exe onto the path and then create a shortcut to "busybox sh". Enough shell commands to work round most Windows annoyances.

IBM lobs sueball at travel site Expedia for using some old Prodigy patents

Dunstan Vavasour

"Patents are granted by default. Inspection/testing and possible deletion of the patent only occurs if they are contested in court."

Yes, this. When progressing an application there will be search results returned, and you the inventor have to blag your way past these. It's not very difficult, as the search results seem like a keyword match. The patent inspectors have a pretty low threshold for blagging your way through search results and, particularly if you have "good" patent lawyers behind your applications, you'll get them through.

Now, if you are slapped with a cease-and-desist letter from a patent holder you have three options:

a) Stop doing whatever is allegedly infringing the patent

b) Negotiate royalties with the patent holder

c) Contest the patent

If you choose option (c) you have to decide whether to stop what you were doing while the legal process decides whether you are infringing: if you continue then you are liable to treble damages if you lose.

And it is this prospect of treble damages that makes this sort of suit so powerful: in many cases this effectively means that you're betting the farm on the outcome of a capricious patent court. Given that the C&D came in 2011, this is clearly the path Expedia have chosen.

Now IBM don't have to win these all, they only have to win one of them in order to end ahead. To my semi-educated eye, 346 seems to post-date a number of SSO offerings, so Expedia might have prior art. But 601 could be problematic, thinking about the world in 1996 I don't remember there being session management technologies available.

But Expedia wouldn't be contesting this if they didn't have some sort of prior art up their sleeve, I'm sure.

Telly boffin Professor Heinz Wolff has died

Dunstan Vavasour

Sorry, but...

...I'm afraid my first thought was "I didn't know he was still alive".

OpenStack says its work is largely done. Now your hard work can fill in the blanks

Dunstan Vavasour

Anyone who wanted to run a private cloud..

...has been able to do so for several years. The technology has been out there for a while, and it's not going to get any easier as IGnatius writes.

I've seen places that have successfully built their business model around their private cloud - I've seen other places that have learned that "If you build it they won't necessarily come". But whatever the underlying stack, a cloud has an awful lot of technology in it, and if you want to achieve good availability you'll need to carry an awful lot of skills in your workforce.

Darkness to fall over North America from a total solar eclipse

Dunstan Vavasour

Be interesting to see how the power grid copes with the sudden drop of solar followed by its sudden reappearance (sudden in generation timescales).

BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding

Dunstan Vavasour

If there's a part of your environment that everybody's afraid to fix in case it breaks, that's the first bit you should be fixing.

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: I'm not a BA Customer or Shareholder

"...issues have been addressed to make sure this can never happen again until next time"

Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Dunstan Vavasour

Adjustment Layers

Still a couple of releases before adjustment layers are on the roadmap: at the previous rate of development that's half a decade.

I'm more than happy using Darktable for photo processing, but GIMP doesn't cut it for the final furlong - I want to edit on lots of layers and there are too many essential actions that aren't easily switch-on-and-offable using layers (e.g. healing tool).

Traditional enterprise workloads on an all-flash array? WHY WOULD I BOTHER?

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Asking the wrong question

One of the more helpful comments I've read on the subject. To paraphrase, if you don't have to consider storage performance, you can do more and new stuff.

Lawmakers should grab red pen and let it RIPA on snoops law – experts

Dunstan Vavasour


"It is not the intention of this act to ..."

"This legislation sends a clear message to ..."


The *only* thing relevant in any piece of legislation passed is the powers it gives and the offences it creates or removes. Whenever I hear either of the phrases above, I know that the legislation being referred to is bad legislation.

Oracle bypasses SAS/SATA controllers in flashy new servers

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: NOT a pizza box

When they brought out the Netra t1 105 (1U server), we always referred to it as a "flapjack".

VCs say Uber is worth $41bn... but don't worry, we're not in a bubble

Dunstan Vavasour

Bigger Fool

Clearly a "bigger fool" valuation, based on being able to sell later at a higher price to an even bigger fool.

Countdown contestant pays homage to IT Crowd's Moss

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Word rejected by Collins' dictionary

Parsons Green - I think that's allowed isn't it?

Not even 60,000 of you want an ethically-sourced smartphone

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Who made what now?

There's nowhere near enough handsets in the supply chain for a marketing campaign. The second production run has created what would be a tiny amount of stock for any sales drive. What they have achieved could almost be called a proof-of concept exercise, making a small number of phones with traceable raw materials and better (though not Western) practices in the assembly plants: to make a profit at a price that's within 50% of massive scale production counts as a success.

Oh, and the Co-op are selling them. http://www.thephone.coop/fairphone/

Apple abruptly axes Aperture ... Adobe anxiously awaits arrivals

Dunstan Vavasour


I don't use OSX, I'm on Linux but there is an OSX installable of Darktable for those who prefer using Free (Libre) software. I tried Lightroom on windows but Darktable has all I need.

Gartner deploys new converged-systems quadragon rankings

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: "Completeness of Vision"

Do the products do all you'd want them to, and do they keep bringing out new stuff.

Most of these offerings are fulfilling the same needs (though in very different ways) which is why there is a vertical line on the right. Teradata is a niche product that's not going to tread on the toes of IBM's Pure, so probably shouldn't be among this lot.

Artists install Monty Python silly walk signs in Norwegian town

Dunstan Vavasour

Fitness Craze

Silly walks could be a new fitness craze too. You'd burn far more calories in the morning schlep to StarNeroCosta doing a silly walk. Maybe not on the way back, though, or you'd spill the precious fluid.

Labour calls for BIG OVERHAUL of UK super-snoop powers in 'new digital world'

Dunstan Vavasour


Any discussion about surveillance powers should be conducted with the participants sitting above a shark pool, and anyone who uses the words "it is not our intention to..." should be tipped in. It was not the intention of RIPA that councils would snoop on domestic bin usage, but it granted them those powers.

One year on: What exactly did the 2e2 collapse teach us?

Dunstan Vavasour

Sorry, didn't see you coming mate

Amen to that. Having your employers go bust on you is like crashing into a car that "came from nowhere".

Red Hat teams up with community-based RHEL lookalike CentOS

Dunstan Vavasour

No more SRPMs

Looking down the referenced FAQ in the article, it seems Red Hat are going to stop distributing SRPMs, and meet their GPL obligations by offering git access to the CentOS codebase.

Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Dunstan Vavasour

HP 33E

I had a HP 33E at Uni. I dropped it crossing the road and, before I could retrieve it, it had been run over by a car. Apart from a crack in the bottom corner of the case, it was unscathed.

This article has been deleted

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: *Headlines to which the answer is no.

Next thing is the tabloids will pick up on this trick. Imagine a world in which the newstands have endless made up stories about Diana/Madeleine/Shergar/Lord Lucan with lurid headlines ending in question marks.

Look at how many ways we ruin your life, Redmond boasts

Dunstan Vavasour

Pretending to work

You can't be effective in any of the situations listed. So people aren't working, they're pretending to work. I'm blessed to be in a job where I work effectively when it's needed and don't have to pretend to work when it's not needed.

Revealed: EMC's SECRET XtremIO briefing doc that tries to snap Violin Memory’s strings

Dunstan Vavasour

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you...

Amazon wrapping FireTube tellybox for Christmas – reports

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Patent?

A bit depressing el Reg getting this wrong. Still, at least the USPTO haven't renamed themselves "Intellectual Property Office" like our own.

Compact Cassette supremo Lou Ottens talks to El Reg

Dunstan Vavasour

1970s Horizon

Going slightly off topic... This weekend thebox.bz went offline. One of the projects they'd undertaken was to assemble a library of classic Horizon programmes, some from quite old VHS tapes, content that was available nowhere else. That endeavour has, alas, just been snuffed out.

El-Reg proves that less is more. A well researched interviewed talking to the right person, I suspect this interview has had very little editing, if any. Thank you.

'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail

Dunstan Vavasour

Ticking Boxes

Both sides knew it was a pointless act, with copies in other places held by other organisations.

But some manager somewhere will have been able to put a tick in a box.

Ad man: Mozilla 'radicals' and 'extremists' want to wreck internet economy

Dunstan Vavasour

"Cocoon spun by techno-libertarians...

'Mozilla, Rothenberg wrote, exists "inside a cocoon spun by techno-libertarians and academic elites who believe in liberty and freedom for all, as long as they get to decide the definitions of liberty and freedom."'

If you don't like our cocoon, stay out of it and advertise elsewhere.

How City IT is under attack from politicians, diesel bugs, HR

Dunstan Vavasour

He's just grandstanding for effect, these places are designed to get warm. The building being warm to the touch probably shows that the heat is being removed effectively from the transformer.

Paul Allen buys lovingly restored vintage V-2 Nazi ballistic missile

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: A question for rocket scientists on El Reg...

Because making rockets is hard to do in any age, We understand the physics, but making the many components all work together properly so the rocket flies is hard.

The same goes for making atom bombs. That's why I'm not unduly worried about Iran's programme.

Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Dunstan Vavasour
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Heady Days

Mosaic *was* the killer app for the WWW. Running on SunOS with X and a colour monitor, all the ingredients for the modern browser were there:

- Text and Images displayed together for a page

- Coloured highlighting of hyperlinks

- Forward and backward buttons, for a good sesh browsing the web

- Rendered presentation of other protocols (ftp, gopher and IIRC news)

Lynx allowed you to read from the web, but Mosaic allowed you to browse.

Its accompanying page "What's new with NCSA Mosaic" was the de facto chronicle of the expansion of the WWW over its first few years. Heady times, and the importance of NCSA in building on Cern's work was pivotal: Mosaic on the client side, NCSA server, and "What's New" in disseminating information.

British car parks start reading number plates

Dunstan Vavasour


We will not be enslaved through coercion, but by the lure of convenience.

Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Who mentioned solar? A knob, that's who.

Wind turbines are pretty good at reducing chronic CO2 emissions, they're just rubbish at providing reliable power exactly when needed: they should be built and operated, but kept outside the "generating capacity" figures, as they can't be relied on.

Still, if the problem is with peak demands then surely there is scope for demand management? For decades the very biggest energy users (such as the steel and aluminium industries) have had load-shedding arrangements. Surely this could be run back into medium sized users, even if it won't work for domestic users? But even in a domestic setting, if you could incentivise people to put their washing and tumble driers on overnight instead of at 6pm, you'd be a lot of the way there.

Raspberry Pi patch adds warranty-safe overclocking

Dunstan Vavasour

Re: Why?

Because you can. That is all.

Windows 8? Nah: Win Phone 8 should give Apple the fear

Dunstan Vavasour


That's one of the most saddening articles I've read in a long time, because I think the analysis may well be right.

Markets to remain glutted with rapidly-depreciating Facebook shares

Dunstan Vavasour

Beer can shares

In some states there is a 5c deposit on beer sold in aluminium cans. In the dotcom bubble there were beer can shares: if you'd "invested" in canned beer with 5c deposit per can instead of shares, the returned deposit would have been worth more than the shares 12 months later.

I predict that over 12-24 months, Facebook will be a beer can investment.

The Oatmeal hits $850,000 goal for Tesla museum

Dunstan Vavasour
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Land Grab

Running a museum is a long term project which needs a lot of planning and fund raising and all that. The focus of very specific campaign was to prevent the historic site coming to market and being flogged off to the highest bidder for redevelopment. For this limited objective, it is very much Mission Accomplished.

It is, in the very truest sense, a Land Grab.


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