* Posts by Commswonk

1335 posts • joined 3 Sep 2015


Brit comms regulator Ofcom: Disabled left behind by tech

Commswonk Silver badge

"Disabled left behind by tech..."

I am not going to dispute the raw data, but I find myself wondering if Ofcom has eliminated the effects of the availability of disposable income as a factor. By definition different socio - economic groups have differing amounts of cash to splash about, and it would not be unreasonable to suspect that anyone with a disability will have rather less money than others, irrespective of the socio - economic group to which they ostensibly belong.

I am well into the 65+ age group and run this (elderly!) PC on FTTC broadband, and while the PC is incurring no direct costs, when it finally conks I would want to replace it, and having the money to replace it is more important than paying for a smartphone as well. I also have a laptop for use when away from home (currently quite often for family reasons) and if that conked I would want to replace it as well. My fixed line B/B costs are more than I would like, as is the cost of running a PAYG data dongle on the laptop when away.

I have a cheap PAYG cellphone for phone calls & texts when away; I simply have no need for a (costly) smatphone as well. I am not selfie - obsessed and am perfectly happy paying for things with a bank card, credit card, or (heaven help me) with actual cash. I see no value in seeking some sort of social status in brandishing a smartphone around.

Ofcom may be right, but I would rather see a more comprehensive analysis of the raw data to find out what is really going on as opposed to what seems to be a snap conclusion that might well not be telling the whole story.

Drone goal! Quadcopter menace alert freezes flights from London Heathrow Airport

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Time to get real

@Pseudonymous Howard: It's not drones, it's phones which are the real thread. (snip) It is like the old school prank to issue a bomb thread to the school in order to get a day off or to evade an exam or whatever.

D is not adjacent to T.

So are the "threads" typos or are you suggesting that the whole thing is a stitch up?

Huawei CEO defiant on security claims, vows to be so good, 'no market can keep us away'

Commswonk Silver badge

From the Article...

We have a very strong track record in cybersecurity. Huawei has never and will never present a security threat."

To (mis)quote Mandy Rice - Davies:

He would say that, wouldn't he.

GDPR: Four letters that put fear into firms' hearts in 2018

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Oh No It Isn't...

"We take users privacy and security very seriously"

Has anyone ever seen some management drone say this, or does it always emerge in written form?

I suspect that the sentence is impossible to say without at the very least having to pucker up the mouth to prevent an outburst of laughter, particularly if the words "are our first priority" are added.

I would love to see someone from an errant organisation actually speak the sentence.

Commswonk Silver badge

Oh No It Isn't...

The already tired adage "if you're not paying, you're the product" has been so over-used this year it must be fit for retirement.

It may seem to get used a lot (perhaps to the point of tedium) by those who understand the implications of it, but there are far, far, too many people (mainly, I suspect, "the young") who need the message ramming home time and time again because they either don't know or don't care about their privacy enough to care.

There was a hint yesterday (yes, Christmas Day) that a 15 year old was about to take a picture of a family gathering and upload it to Snapchat or the like so I stated quite firmly that I did not give my permission for my image to be uploaded anywhere. Yes there were one or two perhaps cross faces, and no photograph was taken AFAIK; Christmas Day or not I was not going change my opinion about what I firmly do not want to happen with my likeness.

The "if you're not paying..." mantra can wait for another day, although I suspect it will be wasted until said 15 year old is about 50, by which time it will be too late anyway. With parents who cannot see any downside to social media in between, what chance do grandparents' have?

Bugger all, I fear...

Could you speak up a bit? I didn't catch your password

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: I don’t know why I’m reading this except...

On reflection I should perhaps have commented that even if it was white faux fir it still looked very spruce.

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: I don’t know why I’m reading this except...

It’s the red one with the white faux fir trim.

Nice typo that; very seasonal.

'Year-long' delay to UK 5G if we spike Huawei deals, say telcos

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Do we need 5G?

And I've never found a mobile as easy to hear or indeed to hold, as my landline.

Thanks for confirming that I am not the only person who finds mobile phones hard to listen to when using a fixed line phone; IMO it's a situation that has become steadily worse with the passage of time. It is the inevitable outcome of trying to cram more traffic into as little spectrum as is possible; at some point the unintelligibility threshold is crossed.

As it happens I don't use a mobile often enough to find holding one a problem; whatever "addictions" I might have being glued to a mobile isn't one of them.

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Paranoia?

...special sauce code...

Shirley if it's sauce then it should be a recipe not a code.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: I wish I could draw

Where's Giles when you need him...

Watch it; you are showing your age... as is everyone else who gave you an upvote. And I am one of them...

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Wow, blundering around like freshly castrated cattle.

...then have a police marksman stick a 7.62mm round through it. If they can't pop a cap in the arse of a slow moving target against a light background then they should be handing back the firearms certification.

Oh dear. Firstly rifle sights aren't zeroed for use at high angles of inclination (or declination); secondly for sights to work the range must be known to a reasonable degree of accuracy; thirdly although the overall footprint of a drone might be quite large, there is actually a lot of empty space there - a lucky shot could be well inside the perimeter of the drone but still miss; fourthly where does the drone then (crash) land, and lastly where does the fired round finish up?

And of course if the drone is moving then getting a steady shot at a distance is (a) difficult and (b) likely to miss because the drone is moving at an unknown speed.

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Wow, blundering around like freshly castrated cattle.

Crossed my mind as well but likely they are too high to be hit with shotgun pellets in an effective way.

Came here to say much the same thing; effective shotgun ranges are much less than those for rifled weapons.

Added to which pheasant shoots tend to take place in unpopulated areas, and are likely to be "driven" so that pellet fall can be guaranteed to be in a safe area.

IBM: Co-Op Insurance talking direct to coding subcontractor helped collapse of £55m IT revamp project

Commswonk Silver badge

AIUI Agile involves users talking directly to developers making it up as you go along.

Dixons Carphone smarting from £440m loss as it writes down goodwill on mobile biz

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: hate it. use it

don't drop it down the toilet or you'll be playing dodge the brown snake.

Steady on... I've only just had my lunch. Probably true of lots of others as well.

But seeing you started it I'll suggest "going through the motions" if you drop your phone in the wrong place.

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

Commswonk Silver badge

Someone once said...

Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Perhaps this should be updated to be Lies, damn lies, statistics, and broadband speeds.

We must all pray that the FCC's shenanigans don't get across the pond.

Register Lecture: Right to strike when your boss sells AI to the military?

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Iraq

You forgot the <euphemism> </euphemism> tags in your post.

BT to 'sunset' Apache CloudStack cloud, customer demand went AWOL

Commswonk Silver badge

Quite so; let's strip out some of the excess verbiage...

As part of that process, we focus our efforts on areas where we see the strongest customer demand and as the same time secure the best return on investments"

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

Commswonk Silver badge

Thank goodness I'm retired...

Prior to retirement I often had to investigate why "something" wasn't working properly. Now I would have to report that A complete and comprehensive root cause analysis is still in progress.

While, I must assume, keeping a straight face throughout.

Pencil manufacturers rejoice: Oz government doesn't like e-voting

Commswonk Silver badge

With our system, the choice is between two virtually identical flavours of bland incompetence..

I fail to see how the adjective "bland" belongs in the above, unless of course you are referring to somewhere other than the UK.

And I have tried... really hard.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Commswonk Silver badge

@ Jay 2: I now await the examples of rage from users on Twitter who have based their entire existence on O2 infrastructure... If it's that important, have some sort of backup you need help. Urgently.

NHS supplier that holds 40 million UK patient records: AWS is our new cloud-based platform

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Red flag

When I see hyperbolic statements like this in relation to security issues, I get very, very suspicious that the security is flawed.

With all sorts of people having "legitimate" access to the records I'm not certain that any flaws in the inherent security will actually matter that much. The greatest vulnerability will be end users, and will be down to stupidity rather than malice.(Hanlon's Razor)

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Just a minute there

Clinicians working in any location with any third-party technology will be able to view and share vital patient information safely and ethically

More bullshit. The upshot of the above is that individual patients' data can finish up <Deity> knows where with no protection whatsoever. Will all this "third-party technology" be properly and securely tracked? Not that that would prevent the leaking of patient data, of course.

Dreadful idea... <shudder>

Commswonk Silver badge
Thumb Down

Bullshit Alert

"This will also allow new solution providers with interesting technologies such as artificial intelligence to overcome the traditional barriers to market entry, leveraging the interoperability at the heart of our new architecture," he said.

I'm not sure I want my records stored by a company that can put out garbage like that.

Where's the mind bleach?

UKFast mulls putting IPO on ice due to six little letters: BREXIT

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Not that straightforward...

I'm not greatly surprised at the downvotes I attracted with my earlier post.

Just remember your downvotes when your job is outsourced to somewhere cheaper overseas or some other change disadvantageous to your current employment takes place.

Never mind; you can always console yourselves with the knowledge that the change was "good for the business".

Commswonk Silver badge

Not that straightforward...

From the article: ...not giving businesses the predictability they always say they crave

While that statement is undoubtedly true, I had a conversation with another family member who holds a managerial role in a UK distributor for an EU manufacturer. (Just to be clear the family member is not at "board" level; neither is the UK business FTSE 100 or 250 IIRC)

Said person repeated the "certainty" mantra and I asked in response about what certainties the business (or UK businesses in general) would provide in return for the greater certainty of a future trading status with the EU. The answer was revealing; it amounted to "none whatsoever", and "it doesn't work that way".

So if said family member's comments were generally accurate the conclusion I was unable to avoid was that "business" wants handing conditions that suit it while not recognising any need for any sort of quid pro quo.

Sorry British Business; it isn't all about you.

'Massage parlour' location looks like Amazon stealth-testing secret new wireless network

Commswonk Silver badge

A New Euphemism?

I rather like the idea of "Houses of ill Repute" being called "fulfilment centres", seeing as the article used the term.

On second thoughts, if some reports are correct at Ama*on Fulfilment Centres it's the employees who get screwed, not the customers.

Euro consumer groups: We think Android tracking is illegal

Commswonk Silver badge

Pedantry Alert

The complaint also tickles the fuse of a long-ticking time bomb buried in GDPR that has not yet detonated.

Fuses in bombs are fuzes.

The antisocial network: 'Facebook has a black people problem,' claims staffer in exit salvo

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: "strategic partner manager for global influencers"

I would have been ashamed of having such a job, and would not tell anyone.

Have an upvote. :)

It looks to me he was part of the problem called "Facebook" - the very idea you "influence" people.

Take Facebook out of the equation completely, and simply think "advertising industry"; see The Hidden Persuaders.

"Influencing" people is, I regret to say, all around us, and any hope of that changing is forlorn. The sad and worrying things are that too many poeple fail to see it for what it is.

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Global underepresented influencer strategic partner manager voice

To quote the article correctly: strategic partner manager for global influencers, where he focused on underrepresented voices.

To quote the great Dorothy Parker: What fresh hell is this?

Uber fined £385k by ICO for THAT hack of 57m customers' deets

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Couldn't happen to a nicer company

Anything that makes Uber execs bleed is music to my ears.

Would that that were true, but it isn't. The fine will ultimately be paid by its customers; the taxi passengers. That is the big failing of fines for corporate misconduct - the company pays from its source of income, because that is the only money that it actually has. Even if it has £££ in the bank, that money came from those who bought its services or products.


Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

Commswonk Silver badge

We won't get universal coverage until Ofcom gets rid of the rules banning towers from being taller the the average dutchman.

You've got a bit of a "thing" about taller masts, haven't you? Pity it's wrong though...

Apart from making frequency reuse a bit of a problem, just because the signal from a cell site goes further from a tall mast it does not follow that the signal from the mobile will necessarily be strong enough to work.

Having taller masts would be likely to cause more problems than it would solve.

UK's national Airwave terminal procurement framework awarded to Motorola and Sepura

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: government allergy to ownership

They should have bought it instead, this saving around £300m

Part of me wants to agree with you, but I think you have overlooked the fact that it wouldn't just be a case of CapEx; the Home Office would have had to take over all the Airwave personnel and pay for ongoing support of the network until such time as the ESN actually comes to fruition... if of course that actually happens.

I suspect that Motorola taking it over may be the least worst option, albeit a costly one.

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Greedy Government

...already earmarked to go to MoD

IIRC the above should have read "already earmarked to go back to MoD"

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: It has to be said

NB the HO wheeze which sold off Airwave was dodgy...

Unless my memory has completely let me down the HO never owned Airwave to start with, so I'd be interested to know the basis of your assertion. It was built by O2 using Motorola equipment for the fixed sites with (at the time) portable / mobile terminals being available from Motorola. Sepura, Nokia & Cleartone. The fixed network has had a succession of owners but - as stated above - I don't think the Home Office was ever one of them.

Joe Public wants NHS to spend its cash on cancer, mental health, not digital services

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: What ranking did "free and unlimited" parking achieve?

Common perception, and multiple localised newspaper/radio reports all have it the the MAIN thing people want from their NHS is free and unlimited parking when they get there.

Of course it is, because they can use the free car park all day while they bugger off to work in a car share. I'm afraid to say that the only thing that prevents this is to make it the most expensive available option.

Bloody tough on the (out)patients and their visitors though. Needless to say the problem is solvable but it requires a bit of imagination on the part of the hospital authorities to make it work, and if our local hospital is in any way typical that imagination is woefully lacking; whoever designed the car park put the disabled parking spaces on a slope with insufficient space between adjacent vehicles to open the doors fully to allow a wheelchair - bound patient to get out or into a car without a major struggle. Anyone else here tried pushing a wheelchair up a slope? Or worse still, across a slope?

TalkTalk hackhack duoduo thrownthrown in the coolercooler: 'Talented' pair sentenced for ransacking ISP

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: "legacy" issues

...meanwhile young kids who found the IT equivalent of a wallet bulging with cash on the pavement & nobody around to see you pick it up...

It matters not whether anyone sees you pick up said bulging wallet or not, it is still "theft by finding" if you do not report the find with the intention of if being returned to its rightful owner.

Britain may not be able to fend off a determined cyber-attack, MPs warn

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Carp

Why do we elect such pillocks to form goverments and opposition?

(Rogue apostrophe deleted!)

Because only pillocks stand for election in the first place. However as neither Severn Trent nor Centrica are actually "political" bodies I'm not sure that politicians can be held responsible for their shortcomings in the cybersecurity department.

In a way it's a failure of modern capitalism; in days of old all that was necessary to maintain security was to lock the doors at night. Now, with almost everything being IT based, that approach is no longer sufficient, and with effective cybersecurity being a cost to business with no apparent corresponding return to bulk up the bottom line it should be no great surprise to discover that electronic security simply doesn't feature in the business plan.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to them that a major cyber attack has the capacity to do far more damage to the bottom line than a bit of sensible investment would have done.

Commswonk Silver badge

They wouldn't have to invest so heavily in "cyber" security if they hadn't systematically pushed the utility companies into using the Internet for their critical infrastructure.

"They" being who, exactly? I greatly doubt if any pushing was required; the various corporate beancounters will have insisted on it anyway, with internet connections being a whole lot cheaper than Private Wires.

That aside, you are perfectly correct in pointing out that PWs would have been a far more secure way of providing the necessary network(s).

Finally a platform for train puns: IBM Halt station derailed

Commswonk Silver badge

Well going by that list, most of Wales and the Highlands of Scotland should have their rail services discontinued as well...

Reading that list brought back memories of this from Flanders & Swann:


Commswonk Silver badge

Re: I was think more along the lines of ...

IBM no - platformed.

Brits shun country life over phone not-spot fears

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: As it happens...

An AC wrote:...living up in the hilly bit of north Northumberland, I find that coverage is generally good (home broadband is approx 85 meg down / 20 meg up) and the village gets 4G.

AIUI you have Northumberland County Council to thank for that. I believe that the CC provided money up front for BT to provide FTTC in a lot of places that probably struggled to get ADSL; quite small places (for some undefined value of "small") have good broadband, much of it benefitting the transient population occupying all the holiday lets in the area. (OK I admit it; Mrs Commswonk & I, along with Chien Commswonk are in that category; we love the area.)

As an aside I recall a snippet on You & Yours one day highlighting that something had gone horribly wrong with FTTC in Rothbury and that the speeds consumers were getting were utterly dreadful. I suspect that uptake of the service completely outstripped what had been planned for, meaning that additional fibres had to be run in from Alnwick, but I would be interested to know any further details if you have any.

Can't really comment on the phone coverage as my mobile only gets used for "emergencies".

Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Sounds about right

If the rozzers get a court order I have no problem with any recordings being handed over.

You and I might think that, but of course as one of the "tech giants" Amazon has to preserve and protect its status of being above the reach of the law.

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Marketurds vs Reality

@ Milton: Thanks for some really well-written posts here today

I'd very much like to second that.

'My entire company is without comms': Gamma's Horizon cloud PBX goes DOWN

Commswonk Silver badge

"My entire company is without comms."

Did your mother never tell you never put all your eggs in one basket?

We definitely don't need more towers, says new Vodafone boss scraping around for €8bn savings

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: no more Towers?

That's Voda out of the 5G race around where I live...

Not necessarily; it's perhaps simply a case of "towers" not being the best way of providing a 5G network. As has been stated (almost) times without number path losses at SHF are such that a conventional "tower based" system is not the right way; 5G will need lots of "little sites" with aerials on lamp - posts and the like.

Towers are so yesterday


Cheeky cheesemaker fails to copyright how things taste

Commswonk Silver badge

Yes, try real Dutch cheese, start with Limburger cheese!

Or perhaps finish with it. Seeing nobody else has posted this link I will:


Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Commswonk Silver badge

Re: Quantum navigation

I'd get my coat, but I can't find it.

That's cos you lent it to some chap called Heisenberg, and he in turn passed it some Schrödinger fellow because he wanted to see if it was both raining and not raining at the same time.

Or something...

Skimming cash off UK police budget for tech projects probably not the best idea, say MPs

Commswonk Silver badge

From Whose Perspective..?

From the article: Slicing police funding to inject cash into national programmes – a big chunk of which is funnelled into tech – might not be an effective use of public cash,


the Home Office may not be making the best use of its budget and needs to figure out how to improve delivery of broad projects.

From the Police perspective it's dreadful; the Home Office top - slicing budgets with Chief Constables having to manage on what's left.

From the taxpayers' perspective it's dreadful because their money is being spent, notionally on policing, but the service they get from the police when they are really needed is diminishing.

From the Home Office perspective it's ideal; other peoples' money to spend, plenty of meetings to hold and no real accountability because the likelihood of serious chastisement when nothing comes from it is vanishingly small.

It's because of the last point that there is no real incentive for the Home Office to "figure out how to improve delivery of broad projects".

Having said that it is perhaps unfair to single out the Home Office for criticism; it is hardly the only department of government with a record of burning through millions with little or nothing to show for it at the end, or for what does result not fulfilling the intended purpose.

Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

Commswonk Silver badge

@ gerdesj:You should see what I've done to my U/F heating. I nearly cooked the dog.

OT from the point of the article but never mind...

Some friends of ours had a major refit of their home after an equally major flood a few years ago, and that major refit included underfloor heating. In this case the ground* - to - room interface was some very nice tiles. The effect was to nearly cook anyone who entered the room, particularly in what used to be called "stockinged feet". (Curiously their dog didn't seem to mind.)

I had a quick look around and discovered that (a) there didn't appear to be a room stat, (b) what might loosely be called the "control system" was at the back of a cupboard at ankle height, (c) the "back of the cupboard" was actually the outer leaf of the wall, and (d) it was noticeably draughty in there.

Needless to say I was unable to keep the diagnosis to myself, and I advised them about what to tell their installer, including the results of a quick on - line search for a suitable wireless thermostat, etc. I suspect their installer was a bit hacked off about someone else telling what was required, but he did it anyway, and the result was a properly controlled temperature.

It's quite amazing how non - technical friends will interpret "basic engineering principles" as a branch of black magic and general wizardry, and it would have been inappropriate to dismiss the whole thing as "Simples".

We wizards need all the adulation we can get.

*Yes it really was the ground; it is a very old house.

Townsfolk left deeply unsatisfied by Bury St Edmunds' 'twig' of a Christmas tree

Commswonk Silver badge

Bah Humbug

That is all.


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