* Posts by briesmith

111 posts • joined 25 Mar 2011

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A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace

briesmith

The British Disease

It's been mentioned on here before but it will do no harm to revisit it. In 1942, when Britain had been at war for 3 years, the German Navy sailed most of its navy out of French ports in the Bay of Biscay, through the Channel and up the North Sea to home ports in Germany. While this 2 day voyage was going on, the British largely did nothing. And the reason for that inaction was the usual British disease of smugness; and infighting.

It will have been the same during the 2 days a drone has brought Gatwick to a halt. The warnings over the years about drones will have been ignored; that's the smug bit. We've had drones for 10 years or more, even the kind of idiot that rises to the top in British military and civil service institutions could have foreseen that problems were looming. But smugness would have been their comfort. "If it ever happens, old boy, they'll probably crash or something, get eaten by birds or simply fail to find the airport. And if it does, I'll send Barkiss down there with me Purdey to take the bastards out. Nothing to worry about, old chap, must be lunch time now surely?"

At the airport, the management will have been transfixed because no one has told them what to do or what to do it with. After all you don't get multi-million pound salaries for making decisions, well, definitely none that can be traced back to you. The police will be trying to find the right crime code on their reporting system while all the time saying it's the job of the RAF surely and advising that until they get a human rights decision from the CPS their hands are tied. The Army will be saying they could bring an artillery unit down in a week or so - probably get one back from Germany or something - and that'll be that. The RAF would help but they don't really want anything to do with drones, "No pilots, you see, not our sort of thing, old boy".

And all the various services will have stood around, each waiting for the other to take ownership of the problem so they can immediately start to brief against them on the grounds that they told them their plan wouldn't work and only a fool would have ever contemplated doing that.

Whoever the idiot with the drone is, he should have waited until early Sunday morning (like the Germans in 1942). If he'd done that, he could probably have shut Gatwick down until the new year. Pretty much anybody at any kind of senor level in British political, military or public service life will have been long gone for the Christmas break by the time Sunday rolls round.

In case it helps, the contact number for the West Sussex Council's Resilience and Emergencies team is 033 022 22400. Resilience and Emergencies advisers are on call 24 hours a day. Apparently.

Stroppy Google runs rings round Brussels with Android remedy

briesmith

Re: UK needs the EU

Mrs May chooses her cleaner; that doesn't make him or her elected.

UK space comes to an 'understanding' with Australia as Brexit looms

briesmith

Re: RE: Mooseman

It really is so very good of you to take so much trouble to explain things to us; we are truly grateful and I am sorry that you are finding it fatiguing. When I told my doctor that it hurt to lift my arm over my head she told me to stop doing it. Perhaps there's a message there?

As for all the things we weren't asked when we voted to leave in 2016 - ie no longer be a member of the EU - can I assume with any confidence that when the next referendum comes round asking us to (re)join the EU, all the things that weren't mentioned in 1975 - "ever closer union", the euro, Schengen, EU passports, EU army, EU foreign service, EU government (qualified majority voting as opposed to member sovereignty/veto) and so on - will all be on the voting paper?

And just why exactly would a Common Market need an army?

Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

briesmith

Obvious Madness

When I first heard they were contemplating using mobile - cell - technology for emergency services comms I thought, they're mad.

You need only listen to a phone-in programme for a few minutes to hear just how uselessly unreliable mobile telecoms is.

Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks

briesmith

Re: Perfect for the job?

No, they would have agreed to pay a figure - probably twice the original construction cost - to fix it. Apparently this is what happened when we found out we didn't have a warm water capable destroyer.

Windrush immigration papers scandal is a big fat GDPR fail for UK.gov

briesmith

How much?

My bet is they asked those lovely companies that methodically strip the taxpayer of billions a year - you know the ones I mean - while giving very little in return for a quote for microfilming/microfiching the slips, got quotes for several million so decided it would be cheaper to just shred them.

One of the companies that strip etc probably received only marginally less for shredding them than they would have got for filming them but, hey ho, look at the money we saved.

For any buyer other than a government department the cost of filming the slips would have been trivial, a few thousand or thereabouts. My theory as to why such a relatively simple administrative task wasn't done is all too likely. Sadly.

Total WIPOut: IT chief finds his own job advertised

briesmith

Old Ways are the Best Ways

This is the way to do it.

https://goo.gl/LAi7hU

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

briesmith

Re: The Swiss are in it

I don't think someone who wants Scotland to leave the UK after 400 years can have anything sensible to say about the UK wanting to leave the EU after 40.

For those that think, going forward, there's nothing to fear about the EU, have a read of this:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/27/meps-raise-cronyism-concerns-at-hiring-of-jean-claude-juncker-successor.

All the EU has to offer is ever more nepotism and corruption as its elite - whose total grip on the EU's bureaucracy means they are the masters, today, tomorrow and for the future - share out the spoils.

At the same time as we have the EU's chief clerk appointing his successor, he is writing letters (to Putin) as though he were not an unelected civil servant but a head of state in his own right.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/juncker-putin-russia-reelection-congratulations-positive-relations-eu-president-spy-poisoning-uk-a8264786.html?trk=organization-update-content_share-video-embed_share-article_title

Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

briesmith

Options

What's Oracle worth these days?

The figures say that Google's cap value is more than $700Bn while Oracle's is less than $200Bn.

Perhaps Google should buy it, grant itself the licence it needs then sell it on?

Might be cheaper than all the legal fees/compensation awards and so on? They might even make a profit?

One final observation. How do you find a lawyer who can persuade a chief executive of a near trillion dollar company - Google - that fair use as a defence to a claim that it's lifeblood, game changing, Android the Microsoft Killer OS relies on somebody's else's software - will fly? And how do you find that chief executive who believes them?

"Yeah, we used your software to build our OS. Yeah, it's made us billions and will make us even more billions in the future. Yeah, it's gonna change the world. What, you want us to pay for using your software? Nah, not gonna. We just used a little bit, stuff that was just lying around. All perfectly fair, no biggie." Really?

Stephen Elop and the fall of Nokia revisited

briesmith

Microsoft will rue the day they abandoned their own phone. It will emerge as one of the worst corporate decisions ever made.

The smartphone is heading towards sonic screwdriver status; not to have your own screwdriver is simply crazy.

And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows - it's going to cost what now?! €100m!

briesmith

Acceptance is Hard

It is clear from comments here and elsewhere that there is massive reluctance to ever admit the sheer quality of Microsoft office tools.

They simply work very well, on their own and together. Windows is a much better, smoother experience than Android or any version of Linux and Office 365 is a much better, smoother experience than any of its competitors.

Some of the other MS products - SharePoint for example - are very poor and sometimes MS gets Nokiad as with the current internal competition between OneDrive Enterprise (SharePoint) and OneDrive (Personal) teams. And leaving WORD, for what must be getting on for 20 years now, with no reliable document preview function is unforgivable. But, on the whole, their stuff works and works reliably with a consistency of look and feel that open source software ensembles can never match.

That's why users like the Microsoft experience, an experience they continue to prefer even though it is further and further away from their smartphone experience. They seem very happy to work in two, distinct worlds. As long as none of them is Linux.

HMS Frigatey Mcfrigateface given her official name

briesmith

Naval Humour

Old jolly Jack Tar didn't think much of his officers in the Second World War; with huge justification. We had two ships, cruisers, in the Med - where we threw away ship after ship as we fought a futile battle against aircraft which sort of reinforced the correct view our sailors had of the officer class - one was called Penelope and the other was called Antelope.

To show their disdain, our salty types insisted that Penelope was pronounced Penny lope and Antelope as Anti lopey. Just a small piece of pointed diissing of a failed officer corps. (A corps that continues to fail to this day). It is mentioned that Glasgow was hit by a bomb that failed to explode but doesn't go on to mention that pretty much every ship in the Falklands Task Force was similarly struck; and similarly fortunate. Still it's ships that take captains to sea; why on Earth would they need to have weapons as well?

briesmith

Re: Towns again....

And don't forget "Compass Rose".

Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill

briesmith

Re: How many hospitals is that ?

You are right, it's about £2Bn a week. Latest government figures put public spending on the NHS at £108Bn annually. Add in the £20Bn or so that's private medical spending and we're up to £3Bn a week.

Here's how the missile-free Royal Navy can sink enemy ships after 2018

briesmith

Re: Arthur C. Clarke's "Superiority"

When we launched a Swordfish squadron of 6 aircraft against the Nazi "Channel dash" fleet in 1942, the German gunners shot them all down. Some described sending them - led by a hero of the earlier Bismark chase and sinking, Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde - as nothing less than murder. (See http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/february/14/170214-heroic-channel-dash-aircrew-remembered-after-75-years and other refs.)

I know there's been a lot of tongue in cheek stuff flying around here about methods we could adopt in extremis because our navy has pretty much ceased to exist, but when I read the comments I can't help recalling how our guys tied general purpose machine guns to the rails of our ships in the Falklands in 1982 in an attempt to engage the Argentine air force and all because their navy bigwigs had decided they could once again engage aircraft with ships - only this time, unlike all the previous times, successfully - and, no, they didn't need CIWS.

40 years earlier Cunningham had basically guaranteed defeat by the Japanese by offering up the only modern ships we then had to oppose them with, to the German air force in the Mediterranean in an early try-out of the Monty Python Black Night strategy. To see that repeated in the Falklands, and to know it will happen again whenever serious conflict returns, sort of takes the edge of the humour here.

briesmith

It's Not Always Funny

I'm glad you mentioned Esmonde (lost with his entire squadron in about 5 minutes trying to stop the sailing of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and other German naval units past Dover in broad daylight) who was, in fact, the hero of the Fleet Air Arm attack launched from the Ark Royal which crippled the Bismark and which allowed the Royal Navy time to concentrate sufficient ships - about 30 or so were deemed enough - to give the solitary German battleship a final seeing to.

Glad because, without being too po faced about everything, it reminds us that when politicians, knavish contractors and an incompetent military get things wrong, young men (or people these days I suppose) get killed.

The Swordfish was an embarrassment when it was introduced into service; open cockpits, no comms to speak off and no navigation or other aids, it was obsolete before it shipped. And this reality has come to pass over and over again since with our hopeless ships, armoured fighting vehicles, and missiles as well as our aircraft.

Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'

briesmith

The Easier Way

Is diverting the R&D spend of the motor industry into electric vehicles a mistake? We know or, at least, I think we know that current battery technology cannot work; the batteries don't last long enough to be cost effective. And charging is an impossibility because the only methods we have currently can't scale.

We can have electric milk floats, and Harrods vans, because they can build depots with sufficient charging endurance - they are lead/acid not li on - and servicing/maintenance capabilities. Those of us in multi-occupancy buildings will never have access to our "own" charging point and the thought of throwing away a perfectly good vehicle after 5 years because it wasn't cost effective to replace the batteries is never going to fly with the motoring public.

Shouldn't the effort be going into removing the polluting parts of the internal combustion engine process? Solving that seems to be to be so much easier that making battery driven cars work. The fuel technologists, the carburation technologists, the engine technologists, the exhaust system technologists all working together must be odds on to solve the pollution aspect surely?

Heavy lorries with diesel engines (both the very latest designs and those retrofitted with emissions controls) are already pollution free pretty much. Cars could follow if the inefficiency of the method used on lorries could be reduced. Is this not the road we should be going down?

'Clearance sale' shows Apple's iPad is over. It's done

briesmith

Re: Education PC seller says Apple is no good in that market

Edd China leaving Wheeler Dealers? WTF? When did that happen?

US Navy runs into snags with aircraft carrier's electric plane-slingshot

briesmith

Take a running jump...

Why can't these very sophisticated aircraft taxi slowly on to the electrical thingy which then, and while they are still moving, throws them off the ship? I mean, it's not as though they can change their minds, the pilots that is, is it? They're going.

Alternatively, use some kind of variable clutch hooked into a system that weighs the plane as it lumbers up? My VW Passat had an electric clutch and an electric steering system. And it didn't crash that often.

Just what Europe needs – another bungled exit: Mars lander goes AWOL

briesmith

Speaking of Matt Damon...

When the entry tube/airlock thing blows up wiping out the entire Martian ecology, the explosion is presaged by a few frames of film showing a whitish jet of something coming into the tube.

Is this explicable or just a cock-up/necessary error (if the jet went out of the tube, as it surely would, we film-goers wouldn't see it).?

Damon says he blew up the tube but did he?

She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

briesmith

Re: OK it looks small to radar

Or a ten quid drone to fly over and have a look?

Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

briesmith

What's the fucking point?

Millions, if not indeed billions, are spent on (advertising) network resilience yet still server centres and other installations fall over, go "off grid", suffer "outages" or "unplanned downtime".

Is it simply impossible to prevent these occurrences? Is all the advertising about resilience etc complete dishonest bollocks?

Or are the PoP operators just lying to us on the grounds that it is so much cheaper to be a crook than try and actually build in genuine resilience?

And what about all these certificates they display so proudly on their websites? Are these all lies as well? Are the awarding bodies just in on the scam and taking the dosh while they can? Shouldn't an operator suffering one of these unexpected "inconveniences" lose their accreditation? And what about some com-pen-pay-shun?

Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network

briesmith

Re: Distopia UK

Pass the Bacofoil, Mother.

Look out, Windows Phone 8 users – yes, both of you – here's ... Windows 10 Mobile

briesmith

When There Were Three

There were these three systems you see: VHS, BetaMax and LaserDisc.VHS relied on terrible technology - a real lash up - to encode its tapes which came in really big cassettes making the players similarly huge. The picture quality and sound were awful and the tapes kept breaking. Betamax used really clever encoding technology which rendered really well with brilliant sound and came in neat small cassettes which rarely entangled or failed. The Laserdiscs were very expensive but the best in terms of picture/sound quality, offered random access and because they were old 33.3rpm LP record sized, could be stacked very economically on shelves etc. The players - also pricey - were thin while pretty large in plan area but, peculiarly, no bigger than the VHS players which seemed to contain a lot of air (because of the enormous loader mechanism I suppose).

Anyway, Android won and Windows 10 and iOS disappeared.

Uncle Sam's boffins stumble upon battery storage holy grail

briesmith

Re: @uncle sjohie (and others)

I don't want to plan my day around where I can refuel my car. Sorry. I've got better things to do and they've got this miracle fuel which is cheap, energy dense like you wouldn't believe and in such easy supply that its price has been falling for the last few years. I think they call it petrol or gasoline or something.

How will Ofcom reduce our reliance on BT if it won't break them up?

briesmith

Sometimes we can be arsed

We installed Radio Relay nationally while we were finishing a war and were basically bankrupt and I'm told the installation standard/wiring etc quality was far higher than any fibre installer - and there has been a shitload of them - ever achieved.

Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

briesmith

Perpetual Motion Again

Something wrong with all this?

Regardless of the chemistry used, the energy cost of splitting hydrogen away from its accompanying atom (probably oxygen - there is no free hydrogen around I know of, well, not within 93m miles or so) is at least equivalent to the energy value of re-combining it in an engine to create motive power.

How will that basic thermodynamic equation ever change?

And if that is the case how is it conceivable that the hydrogen energy equation can ever stack up against petrol/lpg which is now so cheap and likely to remain so as other uses of oil fade away?

Were petrol/lpg getting more expensive then hydrogen might have a chance but with it reducing in price how can it ever work? Particularly when its energy density and portability are factored in?

I think petrol will remain unchallenged until such time as our understanding of batteries improves to the extent there is a step change in their performance (cost, weight, recycling time etc) or we get fusion engines for vehicles.

briesmith

Re: Who's the target audience?

It's a Citroen surely?

Music lovers move to block Phil Collins' rebirth

briesmith

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Phil Collins can't sing. He has a really poor voice. It's obvious his A&R man never liked him and gave an already thin, lacking in musicality, voice a hard metallic edge that makes it pretty much unlistenable.

Phil Collins doesn't play the drums. He uses his wealth to buy lots of hittable things and then he sits down and hits them. All of them; loudly and frequently.

Where do I sign?

Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

briesmith

Good Idea Son

A warplane, with people in it, in 2030?

Now there's a good idea if I ever heard one.

Not.

How much do UK cops pay for Microsoft licences? £30 a head or £137? Both

briesmith

No fair, cops are getting it in the neck

That's because Scotland's population is roughly half that of London's where there's been a single force since Harold marched down from somewhere near Chelsea.

briesmith

Re: Why pay fees at all?

Because they are not free. Want proof? Ask anyone who works in sales for these open source suppliers what their sales target is. Oh, and the software's shit.

So, what's happening with LOHAN? Sweet FAA, that's what

briesmith

Well Spent

Are you mad? Do you know what these bumbling fools are doing? What their dream is?

They are building a balloon or a rocket or some combination of both which they will then launch into the heavens.

Nobody investing in this project can possibly be a supporter of money being well spent. The whole idea is mad; something done for the hell of it. There will be never any monetary gain to be had from this; just the right to say, over and over, "told you" with all the smugness you can summon.

If what you are after is unlikely profit gain I recommend you buy a lottery ticket or a premium bond.

Woman makes app that lets people rate and review you, Yelp-style. Now SHE'S upset people are 'reviewing' her

briesmith

Missing the Point

Everybody - well, most everybody - commenting here is preoccupied with the website and its potential features but what about the crap she wrote in her "apology"?

Are people that can pen that sort of nonsense allowed out without a carer? She needs help if that's how she sees the world.

She's made this crappy app because she loves us and she knows we love everybody else; that's her basic shtick. Have the Mothers reformed? Is Frank acting creative director via some celestial interweb connection?

What a complete load of total bollocks.

Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

briesmith

Re: technical or political

Because he's the boss with knowledge and expertise in economics? Used to have lots of defence related political stuff here as well but that seems to have fallen out of fashion. Shame; we techies don't have to be single issue OCD sufferers; well, not all the time.

briesmith

What a Dick Richard Is

Like Tim, I am also banned from his "forum" for not agreeing with him. He is, of course, not just Corbyn's go to man for economics, he is also regularly on the BBC, quoted in the Guardian etc in the way the left use their circular validation system to promote their own.

He's in the Guardian - which the BBC buys in numbers you wouldn't believe - so let's have him on Question Time, Today and so on. He's on the BBC and in the Guardian, let's get him to write a "report" on something says the TUC. Some left-wing captured outpost of the UN employs him because of his work for the TUC and the BBC get him back on because he is now a UN validated "expert" and round and round it goes.

In my view his parents knew something when they christened him.

Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

briesmith

Drives us mad...

Managed an IT department which had a key to disk system. Many of the operators (all girls then) would Tippex over the cursor because its constant flashing as it sat in the top left hand corner of the screen when the station was idle used to irritate them.

PS The IBM Selectric typewriter would remove characters using lift-off tape when the backspace was used; if you knew how to tell it to.

Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

briesmith

Re: Liff's too short

I believe all letters were created equal; even k and q which I have to force myself not to be judgmental about. "Least" implies the relevance in other circumstances of "lesser"; that's why you shouldn't say "least letters"; preferring "fewer" is more correct as "few" and "fewest" could also be correct in different compositions.

"Few" or "fewest" convey a sense of being special while "less" and "lesser" simply disparage those letters which have no one to speak for them; except me.

And, anyway, which letters are the least letters is so subjective. And can there be more than one; surely, there is only the least letter? (Probably k or q but there I go again.)

Guardian: 'Oil reserves will soon be worth NOTHING!' (A bit like their stock tips, really)

briesmith

What's It Mean to Us Though?

I see all these projections for the catastrophe that global warming will bring to the world but no one, so far, has told me what it would mean for Hertfordshire.

Intuition, logic, common sense, all say a warmer world just north of London would be every nice.

Less heating expense, more arable productivity, fewer winter deaths as Grannies stop dying from the cold, greater health/less obesity through outdoor activity, and so on.

Isn't that worth something? Shouldn't we be paying the Chinese to get on with heating everything up a little bit that bit quicker?

Forget Nokia: Finland's promising future is to be server central

briesmith

Iceland Is Another Country

There is a "Scandinavian" country not mentioned here; one that could really do with the money. Iceland.

More totally green hydro electricity than any reasonable person could want, bags of cold places/water with which to keep server farms cool (you could probably just leave the windows open in the winter) and more unused land than you could shake a stick at.

An island, so security - who's coming and going - is very easy to maintain.

Handily placed for internet wiring being mid Atlantic with, one imagines, many cables already running to it or nearby.

Quasi EU status might mean that data stored on servers there remained within the EU for the purposes of public procurement. (One for the lawyers).

Intelligent, well-educated, mostly English speaking populace. Six hours from Washington DC (Helsinki is 9), 3 from London (same for Helsinki).

What's not to like? Apart from the occasional volcano/earthquake... And the fish...

Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

briesmith

Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

Or, say, Scotland?

briesmith

Wrong, wrong and wrong again

"we've used up half the oil in in 150 years. and the other half will take more energy to get it out that we'll get from it."

Just how wrong can one short post get? Is this one a record?

briesmith

Re: A big If

And the tighter ones do what? :)

RADIOACTIVE WWII aircraft carrier FOUND OFF CALIFORNIA

briesmith

Not All Plain Sailing

Reinstatement to the fleet is, however, expected to be delayed while the showers are replaced with baths and the CocaCola machines removed.

The good news is that the remaining aircraft are in excellent condition and, in tests, out performed the F35s ordered for the Navy's other "new" carrier. It's also become apparent that the planes can be restored to full fighting capability before the projected "first fly" date of the F35s.

Vodafone: So what exactly is 'ludicrous' about the Frontier report?

briesmith

Re: Two words....

it's "kerb" ffs. With or without hollows.

That dreaded syncing feeling: Will Microsoft EVER fix OneDrive?

briesmith

Alternatively

Try Kahootz at kahootz.com.

ALIENS ARE COMING: Chief NASA boffin in shock warning

briesmith

How Long, Lord, How Long

Epsilon Eridani (BD−09°697), located in the constellation Eridanus, is 10.52 light-years from Earth and the closest star known to have planets orbiting around it.

Were there humanoid inhabitants of the Goldilocks planet orbiting EE then if they were, say, 100 years ahead of us in terms of evolution/development they could be here, finger in the air, next week having set out at 10% of light speed (107,925,285 kilometres per hour) 100 years ago.

BT slams ‘ludicrous’ Openreach report as Vodafone smirks

briesmith

BT - Marching Backwards Slowly

Openreach or BT or somebody describes their DSL service as Superfast.

Enough said eh?

BT are beyond the pale, culturally hardly changed from their old GPO days and they are exacting a terrible price which the British economy - we poor bloody taxpayers - have to pay.

Oh, and if you don't like BT why, you can go to Plusnet.

More dishonesty and confusion marketing from possibly the worst company in the world.

Labour has a pop at the government over missed GDS targets

briesmith

Sometimes you've got shit on your face...

We have had a working revenue protection system managing the London Congestion Zone for years. It's proved very difficult to get into the charging area without being caught by a camera and billed. The system seems to work; and work very well.

So what did "they" do when they wanted to switch to camera based revenue protection for the Dartford River Crossings? They built another system and called it DART or something equally stupid.

Now you may have to be an IT expert to balls up any Government IT project but you only have to be a really stupid, totally lazy politician to order a new, expensive, untried IT system when there is a tried and tested one fully operational less than 10 miles away.

And, what happened to fucking austerity? How did they ever get budget for this new DART system?

How many Watches will Apple flog? 20, er, 18.5, no, five, wait, 50 million!

briesmith

Knobbery

That's why the downvote.

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