* Posts by Killing Time

250 posts • joined 1 Apr 2011


Banking in 2019: Sure, we'd recommend TSB's online, mobe banking say cowed customers

Killing Time


It was not being swayed by the public outcry, the extension of the five percent interest deal on the current account and the absolutely zero impact on my banking throughout the incident that retained my business.

That will remain the case until either I find a better deal or they have an issue that affects me.


Opportunity's mission is over, but InSight almost ready for a driller thriller below Martian surface

Killing Time

Re: this will be interesting

Yes I had seen that Wiki entry but then sumised that NASA had probably also factored in data from their other, and possibly the European orbiting radar assets to get the best possible overview of the landing site soil layer.

I just didn't bother typing it ... Cheers again.

Killing Time
Thumb Up

Re: this will be interesting


It seems the landing site was selected using data from the MRO which has ground penetrating radar so you could expect NASA to have a good indication of soil granularity and depth. As you say, baring hitting a rock its not a complete shot in the dark.

Highly informative. cheers

Bad news for WannaCry slayer Marcus Hutchins: Judge rules being young, hungover, and in a strange land doesn't obviate evidence

Killing Time

Re: "while talking to an unnamed associate over a recorded prison telephone line"

Schoolboy error....

Well the hangover defence failed, Aspergers diagnosis next?

NASA pops titanium tea cosy over Martian InSight probe instrument

Killing Time

Topple over?

'The shape is aerodynamic to ensure any passing wind presses the instrument towards the planet's surface so it won't topple over.'

I was under the impression the density of the atmosphere was so low that despite potentially high velocity it's force would be pretty negligible. I would have thought the winds cooling effect would have been a greater issue.

You could put a wider base on the instrument to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible but hey, what do I know, an aerodynamic dome shape works for all eventualities and they are the boffins after all...

Musk shows off the latest power plant for Starship, replaces Tesla CFO with a millennial

Killing Time

'As someone in a similar role I can tell you that appointing someone this inexperienced is often a red flag for potential fraud.'

While I'm impressed with the level of comentards El Reg attracts these days I don't see that a lack of direct experience is necessarily a red flag. It does depend on the integrity of the personality.

It could equally be said that the greater the experience the more the likelihood of knowing the systemic weaknesses which lead to fraud.

Theoretically that is what oversight and audit are there to eliminate. If that is in place, risk of fraud shouldn't be unduly elevated.

NASA's Opportunity rover celebrates 15 years on Mars – by staying as dead as a doornail

Killing Time

Re: Re By the way, an RTG is not a nuclear reactor in the sense I believe you are infering.

'Especially if it landed somewhere deep in the ocean.'

Actually that could be the best possible scenario. A relatively soft landing which may protect its physical integrity and would result in it eventually ending up as far from a population as possible.

Surely a far better outcome than coming in to a high speed impact and smearing itself across a landmass. To me, that scenario doesn't bear thinking about...

You can plan the launch to try to ensure the downrange area is relatively clear however there is still the possibility that the launch failure may be such that it could only reach a rapidly decaying orbit and then the result would be like Russian roulette.

That's why they don't launch this material into space without exploring every other option.

Killing Time

Re: Why solar

'concerned about the dangers of a failed launch dumping a live nuclear reactor back on earth'

Yes, that is the principal concern in selecting the power source.

Opportunity was at the limit of the power to weight ratio where solar was feasible. The last rover, having more mass and greater scientific capability was only feasible using a nuclear power source.

By the way, an RTG is not a nuclear reactor in the sense I believe you are infering.

Q. China just landed on its far side, the US woz there 50 years ago – now Europe wants to mine it? A. It's the Moon

Killing Time

And what did the documentary say about the risk of getting the nuclear waste there?

What was their assessment of the probability of smearing the waste across an ocean or landmass in the event of a launcher failure?

There are documentaries and there are documentaries.....

Killing Time

But you are right with your self declared attempt at wit.

What can mankind do to make an object such as the Moon worse? It has no atmosphere to screw up, it has no seas to poison, it has no ecology to unbalance and if you wait a few months, an incoming meteor will do more physical damage than mining and drilling would do over decades.

Let's think logically, not emotionally and not put barrier's in place where none are needed.

Yes, you can remotely hack factory, building site cranes. Wait, what?

Killing Time

Re: Hardly surprising

Conventionally, assessment of risk is

Likelihood X Potential Harm equals Risk

Potential Harm doesn't change only the likelihood can be changed in risk reduction.

Yes, the scenario you describe could result in the crane moving. But what is the likelihood of a miscreant being in the right place with the right gear and the motivation to do it? By most measures there are far more probable risks to spend time and effort resolving than this, such as someone breaking in and stealing a transmitter. I would argue that has a higher likelihood therefore you put your resources here rather than to an extremely low probability event. I would put your scenario at the same probability as a 'welded' control contactor or relay and they are at a level of acceptable risk.

At some point you have to set acceptable risk or you would never do anything.

Killing Time

Re: Hardly surprising

Is this view based on direct knowledge or as it reads, just supposition?

I have direct knowledge of one current manufacturers approach, which in a nutshell, is highly proprietary protocol with a specific frequency / ID code combination individually configured between Transmitter and Receiver, low power so that effective range is no more than a few tens of meters ( close proximity line of sight) and default action is DO NOTHING unless a specific valid command is received in every decoded packet.

This appears to address your points, is already widely installed and has been for a couple of decades.

Killing Time

Re: Not good

'Though you would hope that the controller itself would prevent some of the dangers as part of its functional safety management.'

They do, though you wouldn't know that if you just accept the so called report at face value. I do wonder what purpose 'reports' such as this hope to achieve other than FUD.

It would be interesting to know what the report author is offering by way of mitigation, what are they charging or how are they 'monetising' the results of their 'analysis'. To my knowledge they are not in the business of producing the equipment so are not pushing a particular product. Perhaps they are just somehow cashing in on the ignorance of people without the technical knowledge to make a rational risk assessment of this particular 'vulnerability' ( if I could reduce the font to sufficiently emphasise my assessment, you would barely make it out!).

By far, the biggest risk with equipment such as this is 'operator error' and it always will be.

Sadly, operator assessment and training funds may be disproportionately redirected to resolve this non issue. The cynic in me thinks the motivation is just the search for the next Millennium Bug and the business opportunities it created.

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

Killing Time

Re: Why not?

'Suppose it turns out to be really not much of a big deal after all. Except for re EU which declines into insignificance and te profits of a few European (not British) companies that take a nosedive?'

While your positive metal attitude would be commendable in a lot of situations, really, this is not one of them. In fact, it appears borderline delusional where you think that the loss of an economy and population of 66 Million from a far larger economy currently driven by a population of 742 Million would result in their demise and commercial decline.

I don't doubt you are educated, youthful,non racist and believe you have made a rational assessment. I just think you are naive.

I don't suppose my point above would make any difference to your positive and sunny outlook because you have rationalised our exit as resulting in the EU's demise.

If it were a game of poker I would love to be playing with you because you are on full tilt, sadly its not and I don't want to be part of your 'all in' strategy. When I go all in there are multiple outs, in this case, the probability is low to non existent on hitting the miracle card you are hoping for.

Killing Time

British Pubs

'Anyway, now we have five lads, aged 22-25, apparently wanting to tour British pubs to spread their message'

I just have this mental image of 'Bob's Country Bunker' and that being the kindest outcome...

Boffins don't give a sh!t, slap Trump's face on a turd in science journal

Killing Time


Yes,in line with the subject matter a lot of the comments on this thread are purile. What that has to do with our politics I have no idea.

It doesn't take a European to point that out. West or East.

You need a far better command of the language to avoid your trolling attempt being so obvious.

I'm willing to bet you probably had 'must do better' on your school report.

Killing Time

Re: Pareidolia

Very good point and a reasonable defence. It's arguable who the arrangement of pixels resembles if you really want to get down to it.

Here's 2018 in a nutshell for you... Russian super robot turns out to be man in robot suit

Killing Time

Re: Nothing new here.

'The Diddy Men all had convincing sounding names such as: Dicky Mint, Sid Short and Hamish McDiddy, and they danced around and sang in chipmunk style voices. But it eventually came to light that it was all a clever conspiracy perpetrated on the nation's school kids and that the "Diddy Men" were actually just children dressed up.'

I am gobsmacked! You have just confirmed my long held suspicion.

So they weren't real after all!

I remember them so clearly and was totally taken in by their names, dancing, singing and dressing up. Tell me, when did it 'eventually come to light' for you?

As a six year old it was about twenty seconds after seeing them my suspicions were aroused, how about you?

Killing Time

Re: How desperate are you folks getting?

"When you run out of arguments, you make a fool of your opponent."

Who is the 'opponent' here? The article is just highlighting the volte face of a broadcaster you might reasonably expect to check it's fact prior to transmission.

A little touchy aren't we?

Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

Killing Time

Re: Sunday Morning Herald column

The author claims to have been a previous Assange critic, however I don't see the article revealing any new info which may have swayed her claimed previously held opinion. Or anything which adds to the public debate for that matter.

Its just a rehash of all that has gone before including the fallacies being perpetuated surrounding the legal position of the Swedish charges, and the bizarre expectation that the Swedish authorities should have come to London to interview their suspect.

It strikes me as an opinion piece just to fill column inches. Neither here no there.

That's the thing about opinions, they can change like the wind for some people but unfailingly they are like arseholes, everyone has got one....

Killing Time

Re: Bigger "balls" than you!


There is a mechanism in written English where you start a new paragraph when you are making a new point. It helps the reader understand where you are going with your argument.

You may want to try it sometime, though having trudged through your post, personally I don't think it would have helped.

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

Killing Time

Re: Politics has changed. The world has changed.

Errr... Its an aspiration...It's a straight right at the ERG...

She was handed a busted flush, compounded it by gambling on a snap election to gain a mandate and ended up hamstrung by the vagaries of the Great British electorate....

There really are far worse political players in the frame who could balls it up even more. Give her a break!

Killing Time

Re: Strangely in the last week or so....

'Brexit is a divorce ... during the divorce proceedings we've behaved terribly - who on earth would take the current batch of politicians (both sides) back into their house and try and rebuild a relationship?'

If Brexit is a divorce then it ain't done until the decree is granted, despite our behaviour.

Current batch of politicians ? Infighting Tories and fence sitting Labour? They are disposable and will be gone when this debacle pans out. The concern and worry is who will be in the hot seat whichever way this turns out....

NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

Killing Time

Re: Wind

And before any of you enthusiasts calls ' Polar Lander' or 'Schiaparelli', they were believed to be caused by mistakes not omissions... Just saying...

Killing Time

Re: Wind

'I'm reasonably sure the rocket scientists thought of this, but those solar panels look a bit lightweight and flimsy.'

I'm trying to imagine the scenario where the rocket scientists factored in the hypersonic atmospheric entry then deceleration to soft landing and forgot to beef up the solar panel support structure.

Nahh I've got nothing....

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Killing Time

Re: OK, but why ....

Be careful around those batteries, mind they don't short out on your tin foil hat.....

Killing Time

Re: OK, but why ....


'Talk instead about the decision to put the rollout in the hands of the retailers, '

That was possibly driven by the fact that the retailers stand to gain by the introduction.

Access to consumption data in close to real time reduces their financial risk. Allowing them to balance their finances over a shorter period than a three monthly meter reading cycle ( probably closer to five months by the time they collate all the manual readings).

It surprised me they didn't farm the work out to the DNO ( The company that handles the final connection to the home/business). Historically they held responsibility for the metering as they hold responsibility up to the 'supply tails' into your consumer unit. Collectively, they must have wanted too much to implement the change.

Regarding the protocols? Yeah what a f@*k up.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Killing Time

Re: Well, who'd have thought it?

@ ITfarmer

'If you love the EU so much bugger off and live there .. I have for over 10 years. At least I know what Europeans think of the UK.'

Is it possible your perception of your neighbours feelings towards the UK may not be general but far more personal?

Killing Time

Re: UK contributions

Not to mention them being a willing market for our products and services. Take a look around Greece and it's islands. Every other vehicle is from a German manufacturer. The Greek bailout didn't come without conditions.

Killing Time

It is a fact of life that in any negotiation there will always be a stronger and a weaker party.

If both parties were equal then there would be no requirement for negotiation as both parties can just walk away on an equal footing.

Sadly in the majority of cases, upon failing to get exactly what they want, the weaker party generally resorts to claiming victimisation with suggestions of punishment, bullying, arrogance or calls for respect from the other party. It really is a last ditch strategy, an emotional response that means nothing in the real world. The fact that it is regularly called by the Brexiteers is just a reflection of how strategically clueless they are.

Reality is hard, the gap between what you want and what you get is wide, no amount of name calling will change that.

Negotiation relies on some form of leverage. When you haven't got anything the other party wants, which it can’t easily replace elsewhere, you are screwed.

We have three choices -

a. We accept the deal May is given.

b. We stop the process, try to salvage our dignity and resume trying to democratically influence the EU more towards the UK’s point of view.

c. We walk away, take the huge hit, stop whining like babies, and spend the next few decades being the bitch of multiple trading blocs while we try to set up favourable deals with them.

That is the way we can exercise our right to self determination….

Killing Time


The referendum was a simple question, do we want to leave the EU. The Leave campaign was wholly based around, and sold to Joe Public, on our ability to negotiate a way out which would be beneficial to the UK, because if we couldn't reach a favourable deal we would just walk away.

Despite this fantasy, at least those clowns understand reality enough to grasp the fact that a so called 'clean break' is the worst possible option. Any other deal we may be able to strike with other trading blocks we will be the far weaker party, with no leverage and they will see how we treat trading partners. We will 'eventually' get deals which reflect our behaviour.

Is it naivety or just intellectually challenging for you to understand this?

I don't believe you speak for the entirety of the leave voters, at least the ones I speak to grasp the basic facts of the situation.

Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

Killing Time

Re: Nuclear Power Plants use quadruple redundancy.

'But, if one is broken and one is in maintenance....surely thats just single redundancy.'

That's pretty much how it works out in practice. My experience of TMR controllers is that when one unit fails, invariably the general reaction is not - OK we are just down one level of redundancy, we have time to investigate and plan. It's - What if another one fails! lets panic and make a poor decision.

Triplication of sensors gives less than triple redundancy in practice. Three simultaneous measurements of a single process parameter are never exactly the same due to general measurement principles i.e. there is always a factor of uncertainty. As a result, voted inputs are compared within bounds. On the complete loss of one sensor and any deviation between the remaining two exceeding bounds, which one is the correct value? Default reaction is - Shut it down!

It does little for resilience or redundancy to extend uptime significantly, at best it will prevent you operating on significantly false input data.

'He must be stopped': Missouri candidate's children tell voters he's basically an asshat

Killing Time

'Trump will probably fall for similar reasons. ............ or his denial of something that is factually supported. They will ask him a question they already know the answer to and when he lies he will go down in flames.'

@ Geoffrey W

Where the hell have you been the last few years?

Killing Time

Re: There are some people that the


Firstly, I don’t work in the public sector though I have some experience of the sector as a contractor and I can’t comment on your level of ‘experience’ but I have been around quite a few years and with the exception of a few VAT increases, I don’t recall any significant changes in the general level of taxation in the UK. I would go further and posit that the vast majority of the population of a working age haven’t actually seen major changes either.

Where headline taxes have been reduced, targeted taxes have been introduced or refined (CCL or vehicle excise tax, for example) to impose incumbent government policy. Despite my aversion to any loss of income, however distasteful, I can see that at least I have an element of control in the tax I pay.

The stark reality is that whatever your political beliefs, the UK’s taxation level is unlikely to change over the longer term (several terms with opposing parties in power) as is the requirement for a public sector and the need to attract people of the required capability that it doesn’t grind to a halt. For every entrenched numpty in the public sector you will see their equivalent in the private sector, however they either move around a lot or are lucky enough to be ‘carried’. Whatever sector they are in, they don’t really contribute.

You are going to be taxed and as a rule of thumb, more so on what you enjoy.

As to where we are? We live in a first world democratic country with functioning national infrastructure, comparable with the the top tier of global nations and a health service which will give a citizen access to 95 % of treatments available without some form of payment.

I can live with that and use my general nouse to work out the most tax efficient way to do so.

Killing Time

Re: There are some people that the


Where you say 'indeed' I assume you agree with the quoted statement.

The rest of your post touches on big numbers, political points and finally points out that the state needs to budget. I think most people know that.

Vitally, what is missing is any indication of what constitutes a 'benefit'.

I put forward a simple argument, I would say it is anything gained over and above the cost of accruing it and in this case the cost is certainly not 90 % of the total.

Maybe a bit of a simple outlook because I failed to make a political point or take a dig at a section of society however I subscribe to the KISS principal, it's served me well over the years.

Killing Time

Re: There are some people that the

'Nor how only 10% of taxes collected actually provide any kind of benefit -- not a very good return on investment'

Do sane people really believe this kind of rhetoric? Is the intention to hook those too lazy to question this kind of ludicrous statement? Or is it just mindless repetition of soundbites that fit baseless beliefs?

What complete and utter nonsense.

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

Killing Time

Re: Did they.....

If you think they are shit then I'm afraid we will have to go our 'Separate Ways' or you will feel the 'Edge of the Blade'!

Woman who hooked up with over 15 spectres has found her forever phantom after whirlwind romance and plane sex

Killing Time

'The 30-year-old "spiritual guidance counsellor" from Bristol plans to have a baby with her spectral fiancé, Cornwall Live reported, though how that will work is anyone's guess.'

If it's not IVF on the taxpayer then sadly it will probably be some unsuspecting Saturday night 'sperm donor', then child support on the taxpayer and housing on the taxpayer. It's not as if the chosen career is likely to wholly support one person let alone a single parent family.

Who's the idiot?

Samsung's graphene batteries promise to charge five times faster – without exploding

Killing Time

Re: Sod phones

'What is the rating of the average sub-station? What's the current loading capacity of the cables running down the average street? How many fast charging cars can be coped with at once'

Any answers you get would be meaningless because you can't define average in this context. The reality will be that the charging stations will probably negotiate their loading at any one time based on tariff, energy source and local loading. If the local power transformer is overloading the first indication is the voltage drops off. Some simple electronics will detect that and the smarts will do the rest. To think you will get first dibs on the available power because you were plugged in first is a little naive.

Killing Time

Re: Sod phones

'Except now we'll need 500A charging cables.'

Cable sizing is specified by the potential fault current of the circuit, not the expected load current.

i.e. If there was suddenly a dead short on the end of the cable instead of a load, could the cable cope with the power flow without burning out, until the protective device next up the chain activates. This being the case load heating characteristics have no impact.

Relatively short cables of a very good conductor such as copper can take surprisingly large loads for short periods of time. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the existing supercharger cables could cope.

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

Killing Time

Re: BBC Claims: Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder to take legal action against Ecuador

No big surprise though is it.

Realises his position is in jeopardy so he is getting his retaliation in first whilst trying to take the moral high ground.

Make Ecuador look like they are attacking him. There is no doubt he plays the role of the virtuous martyr quite effectively.

Killing Time

'Or do we just get to label people you don't like with a horrible crime without ya know, evidence, guilt, jury trial.....'

Personally I was ambivalent to him and just had him down as a self important no mark who just virtue signalled while having little concern for the outcome of his 'words'. However, its crystal clear from his 'actions' he is deliberately evading 'evidence, guilt, jury trial.....'

Now therefore, I really don't like him....

Killing Time

Re: So in other words

'I feel sorry for the Ecuadorians'

I genuinely feel sorry for the cat....

Facebook names former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg head of global affairs

Killing Time

'If Clegg hadn't sold out for a taste of power as he did, my constituency wouldn't now be returning a f-witted Tory drone to Westminster.'

Do you mean leaving UK politics? Because as I recall, he lost his seat in an election. Pretty difficult to remain a political force without a seat.

Or do you mean entering a coalition with the Tory party? As again, I recall there was a hung election result where neither Labour no Torys could put an effective government in place without the Liberal seats.

Clegg was faced with a choice of sacrifice parts of the Liberal policy and enter into a coalition or sit back and watch the UK effectively be without governance or international representation until an election rerun could be arranged still with no guarantee the result would be decisive.

Yeah, I'm sure it was the thought of power that made him ditch the student grant policy and as a result, completely alienate the voter demographic all political parties are striving to garner.

What a useless wanker....

Fujitsu says sayonara to UK exec heavyweights

Killing Time

Re: ICL?

Your colleague sounds like a fortunate guy but to my knowledge those contract conditions were not widespread. It sounds Scandinavian in its generosity and may have been legacy from Nokia Data, ICL was buying up multiple companies at the end of the eighties rather than developing anything themselves and in an attempt to gain market share. I myself arrived via a buyup and don't recall any contract renegotiation issues as a result.

It would be interesting to know what the percentage of the current 14000 employees still hold on to legacy contracts given the timescale and natural staff turnover.

Killing Time

Re: ICL?

ICL effectively disappeared in the early to mid nineties as I recall. I left them in 96 and the transfer was pretty much done. Fujitsu already had an existing UK operation but also owned a significant share in ICL.

With few original products being produced any more, this resulted in ICL buying, badging and selling on Fujitsu kit to the point where it made little sense in them surviving as a separate entity.

That was over twenty years ago, any issues associated with ICL would be long gone by now.

Outage outrage: TSB app offers users a TITSUP* encore

Killing Time

Re: Surprised they have any customers left...

'You only get 5% if you've been with them more than 3 years or more.'

That is not the case, moved current account about nine months ago specifically for the 5% deal and since the upgrade issues I have received written confirmation reiterating that 5% interest is still the interest rate.

Your assertion is mistaken.

Killing Time

Re: Surprised they have any customers left...

'Move your energy supplier to OVO'

Not really comparable though is it? Do they support direct debits and all the transaction flexability expected of a current account? My money says not...

It's just a glorified savings account without,as far as I can make out,the FCA guarantee's.

Killing Time

Re: Surprised they have any customers left...

'I guess it's just down to laziness that people put up with this crap.'

Can't speak for anyone else but in my case it's an extended 5 percent interest period, a written undertaking that I will receive no charges as a result of these issues and zero impact to my banking since it started.

These are the my reasons for putting up with this crap.

... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

Killing Time

Re: Savings

Alan Parsons was lamenting the invasion of privacy, I think Muse convey the brutal reality better....

Killed by drones

My mother, my father

My sister and my brother

My son and my daughter

Killed by drones

Our lives between your fingers and thumb

Can you feel anything at all?

Are you dead inside?

Now you can kill from the safety of your home with drones


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019