* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

Alister Silver badge

The ship, measuring 39m (128ft) abeam at the waterline, will have just 35cm (14”) clearance either side and 50cm of water clearance between her hull, the riverbed and the surrounding dockyard.

That's a bloody tight parking space, that is, I wonder what they'll do to CPO Vercoe if he scrapes it.

SpaceX nails two launches and barge landings in one weekend

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Thumb Up

Would help if someone could get building the Eagles too

+1 (at least) for that, I always thought the Eagles looked "doable" unlike some other Sci-Fi vehicles.

I wonder if Musk knows about them?

UK parliamentary email compromised after 'sustained and determined cyber attack'

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Re: 2FA

I think others have hit the nail on the head with our parliamentarians being too important to be bothered with trivialities such as 2FA.

Well, I don't. If you use an email client, the last thing you want is a text, phone call or other 2FA process every time the client connects to the server.

As far as I know this is not an attack on a web based mail account we are talking about, it is repeated authentication attempts against a server using SMTP, IMAP or other mail protocol. It would be most unusual to have 2FA on that sort of connection.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Passwords must be


To be fair, it's not a dictionary word...


WannaCrypt blamed for speed camera reboot frenzy in Australia

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I don't think it was necessarily the spelling mistake that D.A.M was referring to...

Claiming that Linux, (or Linox) runs on top of Windows was probably slightly more indicative of ignorance and confusion...

UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

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Re: Escape tunnel ...

Apparently there's a tunnel, with an entrance close to the embassy, that runs all the way to Heathrow Airport. Perhaps he could be smuggled down that.

Nope, he could never afford Heathrow Express' fares.

Fasthosts' week to forget: 4-day virtual server summer bummer

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He told The Register the majority of customers had migrated to an alternative platform, and that “multiple desk failures” was the cause.

Ah, the legs fell off?

'No decision' on Raytheon GPS landing system aboard Brit aircraft carriers

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Re: EM noise

And just a further rant, in addition to a lack of carrier based AWACS, the lack of cats and traps also means that you can't use carrier based tankers, so your strike aircraft are limited to relying on land based tankers which are big, cumbersome and a prime target for enemy action.

The highest fuel consumption of a fully armed carrier strike aircraft is the initial take-off and climb to its operational ceiling.

Previously, for both the US and UK navies, normal practice would be to launch your carrier-based tankers (for the US they would be Lockheed S3 Vikings, or latterly FA18 Super Hornets, the Royal Navy used to use Sea Vixens or Buccaneers), then you would launch your strike aircraft, and they would carry out an air-to-air refuelling before setting off for the target.

With the new British carriers, you can't do that, so either the strike aircraft are limited to the range of the fuel they have left after take-off, or they have to rendezvous with a land based tanker, which will normally be (in the UK) an Airbus A330 or A400, which will have to have flown from a land base out to where the carrier is operating.

You do have to wonder if any admirals actually had an input into the decision making process.

Alister Silver badge

Re: EM noise

@I ain't Spartacus

This is why you have AWACS aircraft on your carrier as well...

Strangely enough the admirals do tend to have thought of this basic stuff already...

Except that they can't launch or recover AWACS aircraft from the nice new carriers, strictly helicopters only, (with reduced range and endurance) so maybe the admirals thought of the basics, but MOD decided it didn't matter.

Alister Silver badge

QE is due to make her maiden voyage sometime in the next few months. She is delayed by several months, with both the MoD and the ship’s builders keeping extremely tight-lipped as to why.

They forgot to include engines in the functional spec?

Queen's speech announces laws to protect personal data

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Re: Is this a deterrence?

What is the point of increasing the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offences when terrorist incidents generally result in the death of the suspects?

Absolutely, they should re-introduce the death penalty for suicide bombers, that'd show 'em!

Tesla's driverless car software chief steps down

Alister Silver badge

Tesla has been riding out recent storms over its driverless car technology quite well.

What Tesla offer is a selection of driver aids which among other things incorporate cruise control, lane-keeping and auto braking, but to call it "driverless" technology is very misleading.

US voter info stored on wide-open cloud box, thanks to bungling Republican contractor

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You're a bit behind the times Rich, it was the North Koreans who didn't do it, not the Russians.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Police State

Where is 'here'

The link points at www.cnil.fr so maybe it is France?

Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

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Re: Right, $50 of bars will stop a 4000lb car going 74mph.

What about ride height issues, especially in places like the US where trailers have to roll over railroad track bumps where they can get caught?

I'm quite sure that any bumps in US roads are Yuge, compared to in all the European countries where side impact bars are mandatory.

It doesn't seem to be a problem anywhere else.

Tesco Online IT meltdown: Fails to deliver thousands of grocery orders

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Fourth Estate?

Guess who's just locked up £1.5bn Australian prison mega-contract? Our very own Serco

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International Justice Business

Soames said the contract marked an “expansion of our international Justice business

Oh dear Gods, I bet he really believes that as well. "I AM THE LAW"

Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

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(when say the kill shot(s) came from elsewhere)

My money's on the grassy knoll...

2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

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The number of pupils signing up for GCSE computing has plateaued just years after the qualification was introduced, raising concerns that not enough is being done to help teachers with more difficult courses

Because it's the teachers' fault, not the fact that the course is completely crap, and any pupil looking at their GCSE choices will instantly recognise that.

Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

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Re: What a load of crap

Yes, exactly.

Alister Silver badge

Re: What a load of crap

Yep, but for the emergency services it isn't efficient to use local staff based at local stations, it's much better to have centralised stations and increased response times, apparently.

Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

Alister Silver badge

Re: Days?

We must be doing something wrong then, we only have two VDSL2 connections which offer real world speeds of 60Mb/s down and 16Mb/s up, (we are 2 miles from the exchange) and then two dedicated 20Mb/s fibre links. We are an SME, so where would we get 100Mb/s uplinks from without going bankrupt?

Internet boffins take aim at BGP route leaks

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Re: Pedant Alert

"The four roles in question are:"

*lists five items*

Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Qrator Labs", "Arrcus"

Anyway, anybody typing and using thumbs for anything but the space key, should be re-trained at it...

On a mobile or phablet?

IBM will soon become sole gatekeepers to the realm of tape – report

Alister Silver badge

It's taken me a while to respond but I wanted to check my facts before posting.

I remembered reading an article which stated that as larger and larger capacity disks are used in RAID arrays, the more likely you are to see non-recoverable read errors on some sector of the disc. If you take the manufacturer's stated figures, the incidence of URE is about 10^14.

Which means that once every 100,000,000,000,000 bits, the disk will be unable to read a sector. That figure of 10^ 14 is roughly equivalent to 12TB. So if you use drives of 12TB or more, then you will have a URE at some point.

So imagine if you have a disc failure in a RAID array using 12TB disks. The time taken to rebuild the array means that there is a significant chance of a non-recoverable read error on one of the other drives during the rebuild (BER / URE). That would be GAME OVER.

So using more, smaller drives in larger arrays in RAID 6 or better, greatly reduces the chances of a multiple failure and data loss.

Alister Silver badge

What would be the point in churning out cheap 1 TB drives versus more expensive bigger drives that have a lower cost per byte?

It's an interesting question, at the end of the day spinning rust will break, and I definitely would not be comfortable in having 16TB of data on one drive in an array, the rebuild time would be horrendous.

I for one would rather have larger arrays of smaller drives (although I'm not sure that 1TB isn't too small nowadays as you say.

But there must be a sweet spot where price-per-byte and the time taken to recover from a failure intersect, although I haven't looked into it, I would guess around 4TB.

Alister Silver badge

Spectra Logic's Digital Data Storage Outlook 2017 report predicts IBM will emerge as the sole tape drive manufacturer.

Looking at the way IBM is rapidly disappearing up its own backside, this may be wishful thinking!

It ( / they) seem to be divesting themselves of anything hardware related, in an effort to become all cloudy and edgy, and service oriented.

Ofcom fines Three £1.9m over vulnerability in emergency call handling

Alister Silver badge

Re: Because you

Ah but what if the degree was in medicine and he has become a doctor.

Ok, I know this was probably in jest or sarcasm, but I'll bite anyway.

Being a doctor doesn't make him magically able to save you over the phone, and any competent doctor would immediately say "ring 999".

Alister Silver badge

Re: Not breach of OFCOM rules?

If Three did not breach OFCOM rules then what right in law does OFCOM have to impose a penalty?

Apparently reading and comprehension have failed here.

The incident they were investigating - a failure of a fibre link - was not deemed to be in breach of OFCOM rules.

However in the process of investigating that incident, they found that Three only had one Datacentre handling all emergency traffic, with no failover, which is a breach of OFCOM requirements.

Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Alister Silver badge

Re: Optional

If you can show your applications side-by-side unsnapped doesn't the need to snap go away?

It can be a pain to have to manually resize and move all the windows to fit, compared to just maximising them on one monitor. To the best of my knowledge, you can no longer tile application windows in current versions of MS Windows.

And certain applications don't necessarily show all the content if they aren't maximised - a classic example is RDP sessions, which (depending on the resolution of the remote machine) may not show the whole desktop and taskbar unless the window is maximised.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Optional


Replacing 2 or 3 screens with one single wide one does have disadvantages though - as someone upthread already noted, you lose the ability to snap a windowed application to a single screen, which for me is one of the most useful things about multi-monitor working.

Alister Silver badge

Ever heard of Pythagoras?

He lives in Diagon Alley, doesn't he?

Didn't know he worked for Samsung though...

Misys and D+H borg, form mega-fintech titan Finastra

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“the world’s third largest fintech company,”

It appears that frank ly and A/C have this covered... :)

But, no, I can't resist...

I don't see what all the flap is about, it's all going swimmingly...

It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

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Re: Videos of two headed flatworm

Whenever you think you've sussed The Rules in biology, somebody discovers an organism that breaks 'em.

Ahh, that made me think of the following - sometimes referred to as the Harvard Law of Animal Behaviour:

"under strictly controlled experimental conditions of temperature, time, lighting, feeding, and training, the organism will behave as it damn well pleases."

Alister Silver badge

It's quite obvious

In zero G the worm doesn't know if it's coming or going.

Voyager 1 passes another milestone: It's now 138AU from home

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Re: Wonder When

in 2273 according to Wikipedia:


Alister Silver badge

Re: Not sure what they used...

I don't believe they used COTS microprocessors at all, instead they had custom-designed 18-bit serial processors, which may have used things like the TI 7400.

Ever wonder why those Apple iPhone updates take so damn long?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Using your customers as testing and QA

Lazy & stupid IT practice

But isn't that the whole basis of the continuous development methodology?

British Airways poised to shed 1,000 jobs to Capita

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And yet these companies still expect their employees to have a sense of loyalty and corporate pride. Amazing!

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

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Re: One thing for sure....

2) One of my Uncles called a fuel can a flimsy (he claimed he learned the term from the Brits in Italy during the last days of WWII ... not sure where this actually came from, he's the only person I ever heard use it).

This comes from the British issued fuel cans being made of very, very thin metal, due I suppose to rationing of materials. Most British land forces quickly adopted captured German ones (and later copied and manufactured their own), which were much more strongly built. Hence why they are still commonly called Jerry cans.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Who shits at school?

I admit my typo - 7 1/2 of course

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Re: For Your Izal Only (Sheena Easton)


I was thinking more of the texture, rather than the strength :)

Alister Silver badge

Re: Who shits at school?

The school day is only 6 hours long.

It may be now, but both my junior and secondary school days were 81/2 hours - 8:30 to 16:00.

After consuming the provided stodgy school dinners, a bowel evacuation was commonly required during the afternoon!

Alister Silver badge

Re: For Your Izal Only (Sheena Easton)

When I was a lad, at boarding school, the only loo paper provided was Izal Medicated.

I too remember (without fondness) Izal Medicated. Very similar to greaseproof paper, and completely non-absorbent.

But, 40(cough) years on, it's the smell of carbolic soap which always brings back memories of my infant school toilets - tiled in dark green, with lighter patches where the moss had taken hold...

Raspberry Pi sours thanks to mining malware

Alister Silver badge

Why does the Pi not force people to change the default password on first login like other Linux distros do?

It does.

Alister Silver badge

I hope I'm not giving too much away here, but I'd heard that the FlexiCrypt system is based on the use of hashtags:




which makes it extra secure for everybody, (except if you're a terrist)

IBM warns itself of possible outages in lab shift screw-up

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Yes, I should have included the <sarc> tag, it appears...

Alister Silver badge

"please let us know if this service interruption (some services possibly up to two weeks) could be a major impact to your product release schedules".

Well, given that:

The IT services provided by those facilities included virtual systems, control desk, software configuration management, build automation, ID build automation, appscan source vulnerability scanning, and continuous delivery with UrbanCode Deploy

I would suggest it might have an impact?

I wonder if this is a somewhat drastic method of finding out what services they need to keep... turn 'em off for two weeks, and if no-one complains, they obviously weren't required.

I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Alister Silver badge

a PGE spokesman reassuring everyone on the news that Californians had "the best electricity in the world"

Every Volt hand built by craftsmen.

You know this net neutrality thing? Well, people really love it

Alister Silver badge

Re: Net Neutrality is about politics

If you want control over your connection, use YOUR OWN router. Using your own modem would be a good idea too.

And what if the ISP doesn't allow third-party routers / modems to be connected? This is quite common.

And to forestall your next idea, what if there is only one ISP in your area, so you can't change?

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