* Posts by Commswonk

1225 posts • joined 3 Sep 2015

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Brit ISPs get their marker pens out: Speed advertising's about to change

Commswonk
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Re: It's no good BT complaining 'WiFi'

@ Neil Barnes: Perhaps the majority of customers do connect via wi-fi, but even the "fastest wif-fi in the world" cannot overcome the problem of attenuation due to internal walls (etc) or the multipath propagation arising from the same walls and other reflecting surfaces in a domestic or other environment and guarantee to provide the same speed as a properly wired connection.

A search for "how far will my wi-fi go" will produce no sensible answers, because no manufacturer would be so silly as to specify a figure when they cannot control the environment in which their product will be used.

IIRC speedtesters tend to state that wi-fi should not be used, along with advising that whatever is used for the test should not have anything else running at the same time.

Complaining about wi-fi inclusive speedtests not achieving a certain supposed "up to" or any other target speed is a bit like complaining that a car does not achieve its rated acceleration or fuel consumption figures when towing a caravan.

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Commswonk
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Re: WiFi

...the boy has his PC wired into the router for whatever purposes teenaged boys use the internet - gaming I'd assume.

You might think that, I'm afraid I couldn't possibly comment.

I wouldn't want to be responsible for your disillusionment.

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Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

Commswonk
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Do you have a Men Only toilet at home?

No, which means I can't even get away with leaving the seat up. That abomination causes more trouble than anything physiological.

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Commswonk
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Re: Stop....

I need a vacation to over this outrage.

And they are holidays not vacations.

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Commswonk
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I was reminded of the toilet scene in one of The IT Crowd episodes...

Pah; nothing like as traumatic as what happened to me >25 years ago when I worked for <never mind>...

Nature called, so I took myself off to the Gents and, er, locked myself in. It is probable that the performance was accompanied by the usual sound and other effects.

I was mortified when I emerged to find a lady cleaning the place; my discombobulation was compounded by my boss thinking the whole thing was very funny.

Post Traumatic Shit Disorder set in immediately.

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Commswonk
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Re: It's not a sink

Old Joke Alert....

What's the difference between a bison and a buffalo?

You can't wash your hands in a buffalo.

(Well I did warn you...)

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TalkTalk ups the (dis)satisfaction ante as UK folk wake up to borked email

Commswonk
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Re: ISP email

...or BT which is provided by Yahoo!, which I suppose could almost be amalgamated into BooHoo?

Not entirely true. Some BT email is provided by Yahoo, some is not. Mine is in the latter category.

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Bowel down: Laxative brownies brought to colleague's leaving bash

Commswonk
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Further Advice...

Better avoid the "chocolate log" just in case...

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Openreach consults on shift of 16 MEEELLION phone lines to VoIP by 2025

Commswonk
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Re: Lancaster

Thanks for providing that link; I had not seen that previously. I would describe that as a report that was written to be read, not left gathering dust somewhere.

I was more than a little surprised when I looked at the list of participants; there are, IMHO, some "large gaps in the coverage". I would have expected a much more significant presence from the Emergency Services, but there seems to have been just a single PC from Lancashire Constabulary. Now it might have been that ES communication (TETRA / Airwave) was much more resilient than other communications systems, but if that was the case then I would have expected a report such as this to have highlighted that fact so that how and why it was better protected could have been the subject of comment.

Similarly BT appears not to have been represented, and only EE there to speak for MNOs. Perhaps they were invited but chose not to participate.

While it was (IMVHO) an excellent report I was left with the slight feeling of a golden opportunity having been missed. Doubtless other agencies will have conducted their own post mortems, but it would have been nice if there had been a bit more in this report for public awareness.

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MPs petition for legally binding target of 95% 4G coverage across UK

Commswonk
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Re: But Shirley...

@ Martin an gof: I think it is/was data capacity; you are right about the need for linear power amplifiers but I suspect that that is not really a major issue.

Of course one thing that TETRA was not is cheap, and the EE ESN supposedly comes in at a lot less that whatever TETRA is costing. Ha! - we will see. How on earth any bidder for the contract could put a price on things that had yet to be developed escapes me completely.

And of course there will be the problem that any data - hungry system tends to guzzle battery capacity, especially if it is having to transmit it.

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Commswonk
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Re: But Shirley...

They'll just use their devices in relay mode

By "their devices" I assume that you mean "users", in which case, er, they won't. Firstly handportable terminals cannot sensibly be made to act as repeaters, secondly... even if they could there would need to be one strategically located to act as a repeater for others*; unlikely... and thirdly, the last I heard Samsung hadn't even made a "vehicle" set work. Yes, vehicle sets can be made to act as repeaters, subject to their getting sufficient signal from the nearest base station, but how well that would fit the spec for 4G I don't know.

* In addition, portable to portable "direct" (DMO in TETRA - speak) gives rather disappointing ranges.

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Commswonk
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But Shirley...

...EE must have achieved that level of coverage as an integral part of its commitment to provide the new ESN.

</sarcasm>

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You've got pr0n: Yes, smut by email is latest workaround for UK's looming cock block

Commswonk
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Re: Probably mentioned already but

@ Simon Harris: My mother always threatened that if I misbehaved she'd 'pull my pants down and smack my bottom... even if we were in the middle of the shop'. (that was the early 1970s when that sort of thing was still allowed!)

Can you please assure us that you were under (say) 5 at the time and not rather older?

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Commswonk
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Re: Can we have porn by SMS next...

Ahh... ASCII Art. I have behind me an ASCII Art picture of the (then) Post Office Tower in London, printed off by a teleprinter. As readers may or may not be able to imagine the tape that generated it was rather long... the image itself is over 2' high, and was done on a Sagem teleprinter back in the late 60s or early 70s.

Correction; it isn't ASCII Art; that uses the 7 - bit ITA No 5; this was done with the 5 - bit ITA No 2 running at 50 Bauds. It was not a quick job.

<sigh>

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First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

Commswonk
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Re: inches and pounds

Seeing all that tech documentation in inches and pounds just makes me want to cry.

...with joy.

(Likely Downvote Alert!)

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Zookeepers charged after Kodiak bear rides shotgun to Dairy Queen

Commswonk
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Re: Sense of humor

@ M. Poolman: Yeah, can't see why they needed the extra clause in their permit!

I assume you meant claws...

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Peak smartphone? Phone fatigue hits Western Europe hard

Commswonk
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Re: Why can I not...

Is that too much to ask?

Yes, I regret to say.

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Making calls? Ha, not what most peeps use phone for – Ofcom

Commswonk
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Was The Survey Big Enough...

...to quantify the people for whom a mobile phone is a purely utilitarian device used to make or receive occasional calls and send or receive occasional texts when away from home? Those who don't give a shit about Twitter or any other social medium, along with those who are perfectly capable of spending an entire day (or longer) without ordering something they don't need from the internet?

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Eight months after Equifax megahack, some Brits are only just being notified

Commswonk
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Re: Timely

If their performance so far is anything to go by, you should have something from them around mid October.

Yes... all well and good... but mid October which year?

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UK.gov expected to quit controversial harvesting of schoolchildren's nationality data

Commswonk
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Facepalm

@ Jemma: ...possibly a clapped out Lee Enfield or Marconi Henry

I think you meant Martini Henry. (It's difficult to think what else you could mean.)

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Digital air traffic control upgrade puts potential delays on London flights

Commswonk
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That is only marginally funny.

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Britain's 4G is slower than Armenia's

Commswonk
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@ J27:Considering the relatively high population density and small land mass I would have expected that 4G service would be quite fast in the UK. Problem with communications monopolies?

I suspect that you identified the problem (at least in large part) within the first 6 words: high population density. If all the users bar one on any given cell went somewhere else than that "one" would enjoy a really spectacular download speed; a high population density brings with it more people fighting over / having to share a finite resource.

A bit like trying to travel on the M25*...

*Other congested roads are available.

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O2 wolfs down entire 4G spectrum as pals fiddle with their shiny 5G band

Commswonk
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And Another Thing...

@ Adam Jarvis:4G/5G ubiquitous high speed data streaming on the move is an Ofcom fairytale until we have a proper "connected" strategy regards the rollout of a ubiquitous fibre backhaul throughout the UK.

You can't have one (high speed 5G data services) without the other (fibre backhaul), yet these articles always fail to mention the fibre backhaul requirements of any 4G/5G rollout.

Assuming those assertions to be correct, the capital cost of setting up 5G coverage is going to be immense; think of all those picocells needing fibre connectivity back to "Deep Thought".

High capital cost results in high revenue costs to end - users, i.e. the paying customers. Can the MNOs be utterly certain that customers are going to be willing to stump up every month at the level that will be necessary to achieve the ROI? Or are the customers going to decide that what they can achieve with 5G is not sufficiently essential for the additional cost to be worth it?

Or are the MNOs going to force eveyone's hand by shutting down legacy systems?

If the perennial tales of woe about the GBP (not ££!) being under financial pressure are true then 5G investment might not be the wisest idea, because the returns might not materialise.

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Commswonk
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Re: Empire

Somewhere between "not much" and "no".

O2 was BT, but that's a very long time ago. A very long time.

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Commswonk
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Re: As always...

Sharon White/Ofcom "Where is the all this (dark) fibre to support all this new mobile spectrum?"

Oh dear... how is Sharon White (or anyone else) to know where the fibre needs to run to, and in what quantity until the MNOs draw up their plans and place orders?

And if she (or anyone else) said to fibre installers "JFDI" their response would - quite reasonably - be "who is going to pay for this?"

It is, or will be, the MNOs problem to decide what network connections they require, and then to order and pay for them, either up front or via a negotiated long term lease.

Or are you expecting the taxpayer to fund a semi - speculative network in the hope that the MNOs will eventually pay enough to cover the costs?

And rural locations are generally short of street lights anyway.

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'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

Commswonk
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Devil

@ Dave 137:Apologies as I'm an ex ISP customer service/tech support drone

If you are looking for sympathy you have come to entirely the wrong place. The "apologies..." should be enough to ensure you live to tell the tale, though.

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UK.gov: We're not regulating driverless vehicles until others do

Commswonk
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Re: Hmm...

The British government has declared it is waiting for industry and international regulators to start creating standards for autonomous vehicles.

While I would agree that enacting standards and regulations now would probably be a mistake, the topic should, nonetheless, be the subject of rigorous informed discussion starting not later than , er, now.

Why is HMG sitting on its hands waiting to adopt other peoples' ideas when it ought to be ready to participate in future discussions from a more or less equal starting point?

And what if everyone else does the same thing? A last minute dash to get something enacted, with all the usual consequences of a knee - jerk reaction.

Perhaps it's the "informed" bit that's causing difficulties.

As per usual, we are being let down. No change there then...

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Watchdog growls at Tesla for spilling death crash details: 'Autopilot on, hands off wheel'

Commswonk
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Re: Experience of autopilot

It really is unfortunate that the term "autopilot" has been allowed to enter the lexicon of motoring, however much or little control it is actually able to exert.

Comparisons with aviation are completely misleading, IMHO. Certainly in commercial aviation the aircraft will be equipped with "autopilot", and it will doubtless be enabled for some part of a flight. However, the same aircraft will be equipped with two fully qualified pilots, but the use of "autopilot" does not enable both of them to do their crosswords of choice (or whatever!) at the same time. One or other of them is always keeping watch on what the aircraft is doing while the autopilot is flying the aircraft.

Furthermore aircraft occupy distinct corridors based on track and height, those corridors being specifically designed to keep aircraft well apart and thus minimise (or hopefully eliminate!) any chance of a mid - air collision. Yes; there are lanes to follow but they do not have white lines within in which both human and auto pilots are required to remain. On top of that ground controllers do keep an eye on what air traffic is doing; for example any change of height does or may need clearance from ATC before putting it into effect. Other than when on the ground air travel is mercifully clear of fixed obstacles and other influences that might upset a pleasant journey.

As if those weren't sufficient differences in themselves, any event that requires the intervention of a human pilot should have a sufficient interval in both time and space between that intervention being required and something really nasty happening, but the same cannot be said of cars more or less bumper to bumper (fender to fender if you really must!) on congested roads.

In my view there is simply no sensible similarity between what happens in aviation and what happens in motoring; the differences between the two concepts of travel are so great that allowing them to share the word "autopilot" is profoundly, and dangerously wrong.

Somehow (and no; I don't know how either) the word "autopilot" has to be expunged from land - based travel.

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Commswonk
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In my neck of the woods there are streets without lane markings. They are painted on, wear off and are never repainted.

At the other end of the spectrum I know several roundabouts (am I right in thinking these are unknown in the US?) where there are myriad white lines, sometimes crossing live lanes, and single lanes splitting into two and all sorts of confusion for a human driver, especially one with possibly limited knowledge of the area.

And others where the designer appears to have settled on a bizarre layout just to see if he can get away with it.

Just the sort of things to make a (semi) autonomous car think "I want to go home".

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Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Commswonk
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Re: No surprise

@ Tom 7:

We had 100% control - we could veto pretty much anything we wanted to.

Sorry, but that is simply not true.

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Commswonk
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Thumb Up

Re: So long, farewell...

Oh bloody brilliant. How long have you been waiting to use that?

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Brit Lords start peer-to-peer wrangling over regulating the internet

Commswonk
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Re: Step 1

@ The Nazz:

Simple.

Whenever a Company/Organisation acts outside of the law, make each and every board member be jointly liable for such actions.

To demonstrate its simplicity even further, please tell us exactly which UK laws Facebook, CA & other associated individuals may have broken over the US Presidential Election and / or the EU Referendum.

I think I would venture "not quite that simple" after all.

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Commswonk
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Re: Inside Track

Here's a Peer who knows a thing or two about the subject - is she on the panel?

Yes but are they the right things? I might be doing her a tremendous disservice but I suspect not.

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Commswonk
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Rather Irrelevant, Really.

A number of points spring to mind.

Given the global nature of the internet I'm afraid that no nation can effectively regulate how it operates, given that any nationally - devised Law or Regulation runs out of steam at that nation's border. There is often criticism of the US on El Reg for demonstrating its belief that its legal remit is global, so it would be indefensible to support any other government trying a similar trick.

Facebook (to name but one) is barely answerable to the US government, and it certainly won't be answerable to the UK one; this has been nicely demonstrated by MZ deciding to send a minion to tell the HoC to sod off (which is what it will amount to) rather than doing the proper thing and coming himself. In the specific case of Facebook (although the same argument can be used with other "undesirables") the only real option would be to block its operation in the UK, and I cannot see any government wanting to go down that route for a number of reasons, not least the fact that it would put the UK on a par with (say) NK.

The Consitutional position of the HoL is similarly irrelevant; although I have to admit to having no strong objections to its existence, it is essentially undemocratic, but in and of itself that fact does not preclude its coming up with good policies or policy suggestions. In this specific case it might well come to sensible conclusions that attract the support of many or even most in the HoC, but getting government support is something else entirely.

Even then when it comes to "actual" policy making there is the inescapable disease of corporate lobbying to contend with. Almost by definition corporate lobbying takes place in the shadows unseen by the great unwashed (that includes me, I'm afraid to say) so what emerges at the end of any policy - making process can all too easily be a completely emasculated version of what was originally envisaged, leaving ordinary citizens every bit as vulnerable to being misled, or having their personal data abused as they were before any sort of policy was deemed necessary. No; I don't like it, but I don't think I am under any illusions about things changing for the better any time soon.

Finally (for now anyway) even if the "internet" could be perfectly regulated in the UK (actually it's not the internet that needs any sort of regulation; it's people misusing it that's the problem) that would not prevent misuse taking place beyond the reach of any UK regulation, such as the alleged Russian interference in the US Presidential Election. The abuse could be "processed" elsewhere, but stopping the product of that abuse crossing the UK border would be another matter entirely, not least because the mindset would become one of "we have effectively stopped abuse of the internet in the UK" which in turn would create a misplaced confidence in the belief that as a result no abuse was creeping in (flooding in, more likely) from elsewhere.

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User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

Commswonk
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Coat

Re: "Mangler"

Manager >> Manger >> Pig at trough?

Surely any ambiguity between "manger" and "manager" can be resolved with a Crib Sheet.

Mine's the one with the straw in the pocket...

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Commswonk
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Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

Negative patient care outcome > patient died

ISTR seeing that in one of Michael Bond's Monsieur Pamplemousse books, along with

Patient failed to achieve his wellness potential. Its meaning is much the same.

I wish I could remember exactly which book it was, because I would enjoy reading it again.

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Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Commswonk
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In Other News...

The use of a single LIDAR sensor is all the more remarkable given that other companies running self-driving programs use significantly more: Google-owned Waymo has six on its cars; General Motors uses five.

Uber rediscovers the concept of the Single Point of Failure.

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Yes, Emergency Service Network will be late and cost more - UK perm sec

Commswonk
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WTF?

Re: Green light?

Meaning: "Capita told me what to say before I came here today".

Wrong contractor. I don't think Crapita has any involvement in this (not yet anyway) unless politicians have outsourced their speech writing, in which there is really is no hope.

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Commswonk
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Indeed you do remember correctly. Not good.

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Commswonk
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FAIL

He admitted it was a “very complicated project” and said the current radio system Airwave will initially operate in parallel. “Progress is being made, some very good progress in a number of areas. Is there more that needs to be done? Yes there is.”

He said: “We are looking at how we can roll out features of the new system while we continue to operate Airwave for longer.”

When TETRA / Airwave rolled out well over a decade ago police forces gained a significant increase in communications capability. (I hate the word "functionality" with a passion, even if I do use it occasionally) I really do not see how that overall capability can be retained if two different systems are trying to operate in parallel, unless that is someone is going to design and build a monstrous interface that can sit between the two systems and translate between them.

On top of that control room systems have integrated command control and communications systems and I would expect trying to integrate two types of communications system into one ICCCS would be more or less impossible; certainly costly. I sincerely hope that control rooms aren't going to be nearly duplicated to get around this. If that isn't bad enough then trying to shoe - horn a separate communications system into most types of emergency service vehicle will be a real nightmare. (Let's just say I'm not guessing here...)

Given that a "big bang" approach for any nationwide transition from one system to another is impossible then it is equally impossible to escape the fact that during what looks as though it will be a protracted transition emergency service communications will be downgraded with an associated downgrading of operational effectiveness being unavoidable.

Thank <deity> I am retired...

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10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

Commswonk
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Facepalm

Re: What's "fast"...

But the other terms are so vague, they might as well be marketing spin-fluff.

You swine; you broke the code and have just gone and told everyone.

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Boffins stalk house-hunting bees, find colony behaves kind of like a human brain

Commswonk
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Re: More Research Funds, Please...

I wonder if this report is also being carried by Buzzfeed....

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Commswonk
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More Research Funds, Please...

Clearly a sting operation.

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Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

Commswonk
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The Shape of Things to Come...

i.e. different parts of the technology chain arguing that "it wasn't me guv".

What it needs is a couple of major motor insurers to stand up and say "on the present showing we will not be quoting to insure automomous vehicles". They are not under any legal obligation to provide insurance cover, so they will either refuse to quote or will come up with outrageous figures that will put everybody off.

The technology companies involved are going to have to learn that they either stand by the integrity of their product (if it has any) or they drop the idea of participating in any further developments.

"The Law" (both criminal and civil) is unlikely to tolerate a state of perpetual obfuscation generated by various component makers, including those who write the software. Neither the "victims" of traffic mishaps nor the drivers of the vehicles involved (including those in non - autonomous vehicles) should be expected to cope it either. Justice delayed is justice denied...

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Manchester Arena attack: National Mutual Aid Telephony system failed

Commswonk
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Facepalm

Re: Unbelievable

@ Terry 6: 3b) How did the subcontractor get the job? On what basis?

Please tell me that you don't need really need anyone on here to answer that question for you.

Clue: the same way the Primary Contractor won the Primary Contract.

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Commswonk
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@ Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese If there is a specialist subcontractor who can do something better than the prime, then I'd like to see that aspect of the work subcontracted out.

The above prompts the question "why didn't the subcontractor submit a bid to be the primary contractor then?"

While I don't actually disagree with you your example (of Ford v Cosworth engines) doesn't actually match the case you argued. Ford make engines, but contracted some specialist engine manufacturing to Cosworth. In that case Ford was the Principal, and Cosworth a Contractor. Ford was not a Contractor who subcontracted work to Cosworth.

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Commswonk
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Re: Yet again

the reason for subcontracting is that you lack the skills in house.

In which case you shouldn't effing well submit a tender. And the Contract Principal should ask bidders quite specifically "Do you currently have the necessary skills and other resources to fulfill this contract (if it is awarded to you) without recourse to subcontracting".

Outsourcing has been going on for so long now that this sort of blunder should simply not occur.

Ever.

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Parents blame brats' slipping school grades on crap internet speeds

Commswonk
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Whaaat...

On average, parents say their child does 3.9 hours of homework a week

Although the article makes no mention of it I assume that we are talking about primary school age children here. Even so 3.9 hours per week seems modest indeed.

And the sample size isn't all that great either. How were they selected?

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Sysadmin wiped two servers, left the country to escape the shame

Commswonk
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Re: No shame in cocking up!

I feel some vegetable puns coming on... Let's hope none leek out

1206A: thank goodness; they seem to have stopped sprouting up now.

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UK's data watchdog seizes suspected Scottish nuisance caller's kit

Commswonk
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Unhappy

I bet the MD of the company is already putting plans in motion for another company to be setup.

Probably, sad to say. I wonder if the ICO can impound computer equipment pending the payment of any fine. I suspect not if the equipment is leased or otherwise not the property of the offenders.

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