* Posts by Caver_Dave

37 posts • joined 11 Jul 2018

UK joins growing list of territories to ban Boeing 737 Max flights as firm says patch incoming



I can assure you that there is a VERY short list of Operating Systems that have been used as part of DO-178B/C DAL A certification (able to host critical sections of flight software).

Sure, we've got a problem but we don't really want to spend any money on the tech guy you're sending to fix it

Big Brother

Re:Travel, but not seeing the area

I spent a little time in Formula 1 racing as the first guy to do in car telemetry (with Arrows), but generally working with all the teams at the time (except Maclaren) on timing, electronics, radio data links and computing projects. As with Jake above I very rarely got to see anything of the local area.

My worst trip was driving overnight from the UK midlands directly to the Monza circuit in northern Italy (with plenty of snow on the roads in Southern France), work all day at the circuit and then drive to the hotel - eat, sleep. Another full day at the circuit, until the team had blown up all their engines! Check out of the hotel and drive overnight back to the UK - last on the Channel ferry and first off saved some time and I managed the whole journey back the Midlands in 14 hours. You couldn't do that now they time you between toll booths on the French Motorways, the long bore Granada would do 130mph quiet easily - Oh the speed limit is in kph :-)


Corporate travel bookings

The worst booking from corporate I've had was after a direct flight from the UK to Lviv, Ukraine. The return trip had me doing an 11 hour stopover in Krakow, having to eat two meals at 'air side' rates. When I investigated later, the flight back had been $1 cheaper than the flight out, but at my lowly grade in the company, the rule was the cheapest flight on that day.

My other trip for that company saw me flying to Boston (USA) at 1.5 hours notice, arriving in a night time thunderstorm, driving for an hour and finally arriving at the hotel at 02:00 GMT (bearing in mind that I was in the office at 07:00 GMT that morning). The guys I was meeting were surprised that I made the 07:00 local time the next morning.

I also had a VP tell me to take a satellite phone on vacation in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. "I told him that I'd rather be sacked than take a company phone on vacation!" The Yank was informed by my manager of the employment laws in the UK and only then did he stop shouting at me.

Corporate travel rules stink, for everyone except the bosses!

Schneier: Don't expect Uncle Sam to guard your web privacy – it's Europe riding to the rescue

Big Brother

Re: When the Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth...

My simple rule of ethics "would your friends, family and colleagues be happy to see [you credited with] that, printed on the front page of the Times [newspaper]?"

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster


Re: The man in the mirror

I've been stopped in London a few times and asked for my autograph by Yanks saying "Aren't you the guy from ... film?" I've even had two Yanks think that I was Tom Cruise, and I'm nearly a foot taller than him!

I think that our water must be stronger than the P155 they call beer at home, and it affects their eyesight!

Canada has lunar dreams as Germany worries about what lies beneath


Service Calls

I used to work for a company that supplied kit that went up on rockets to ..err.. places.

On support calls to that company the email signature always included the line "No on-site investigations will be offered for off-planet destinations."

UK tech has a month left to bare gender pay gaps, but less than a fifth of firms have ponied up


Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

I all the high-tech companies that I have worked in the Execs and Engineers tended to be men and the admin staff and cleaners tended to be women. Of course the median is going to be very different between the sexes if the jobs are very different.

MPs tear 'naive' British Army a new one over Capita recruitment farce


Not guns, bin bags

National Service should be a compulsory year of Army style management and living, but doing jobs for the good of the country. "Tidy up that park you scuz messed up when you were civvies", "go and talk to the old people at the community centre", etc. Just a bit better than you get if you are doing Community Service for committing a crime (maybe they should clean the barracks toilets!)

And I said this when I was the right age to do it!

Data-spewing Spectre chip flaws can't be killed by software alone, Google boffins conclude


Long known about

I was on a Fhebas run VxWorks course in 2002 where half a day was hijacked by a very detailed discussion of the issues of MMU, caches and attack vectors. (All the people on the course were top mil/aero engineers from around Europe, not your average spanners.) Whilst not exactly the same attack vector as Spectre, the items discussed - and the solutions - were very well known within that community.

It's one of the reasons why ARINC 653 has had proper Time and Space partitioning since Jan 1997! The processor of choice for most COTS products was PowerPC, not Intel or Sparc for a reason.

Now with the integration of the old aircraft federated systems (separate boxes doing single jobs) into modern single box solutions with multiple cores and often multiple virtualised OS it all remains very well managed with solutions like VxWorks 653 or VxWorks 7 HVP. Wind River are now supporting this on ARM (with the demise of PowerPC) and Intel (under CAST32). (With Integrity, DEOS, LynxOS your support may vary.)

With everything (still working) on or around Mars running VxWorks I won't be blaming Spectre for any malfunctions!

How I got horizontal with a gimp and untangled his cables



I have a triathlon style lycra outfit that does not have the crotch padding beloved of cyclists. (I made my own padded pants to wear underneath to hide the squishy bits - I digress). I tried wearing that under my fibrepile caving under suit (onesies 1980's style) and all-in-one PCV oversuit for a caving trip.

The lycra makes you feel so slim and athletic that you invariably tackle that "too small" hole and end up with grazed shoulders, (or squashed nads if you try feet first.) And is so comfortable, having no seams of note.

So I can definitely see where your cable ninja was coming from [fnarr, fnarr] - but he should wear a ballet dancers cod piece!

I won't bother hunting and reporting more Sony zero-days, because all I'd get is a lousy t-shirt



It is getting increasingly hard to buy clothing without company logo's on them.

I'm sick of it!

If you want me to walk around in a shirt advertising your company, then you can bloody well pay me to do it - I'm not going to pay for the privilege.

Mine's the coat with no logo on it!

OK, it's early 2019. Has Leeds Hospital finally managed to 'axe the fax'? Um, yes and no


Re: What about scan to email?

I have a child who is a medical student. At the hospitals where they have gone paperless, the consultant looks at the tablet to see all the charts, drugs, etc. and there is nothing for anyone else to look at and learn from. At the other hospitals, the medical students get to read the paper at the bottom of the bed and understand why the consultant is asking the particular questions or prescribing a particular course of action.

There doesn't seem to be any option to share the tablet, or have more than one tablet.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers


Ex designer of military kit

You go down to your local PC dealer of choice and get a top of the range PC - £2,000 to £3,000. Then you molly-coddle it in a nice warm office.

Now take the milaero version:

To start with, no fans. Then add that it must work in a Siberian winter and a Saudi summer. (-40 deg C to +85 deg C)

Add to that, it will be working in a tank, fighter jet or helicopter - shock, Gforce and shaking.

It might also be subjected to condensation as the vehicle warms up, or salty water if it is in a small jet boat.

And it must have the latest processor, graphics, etc. that you have in your desktop PC.

I think that adding a zero to the price is actually quite reasonable!

Boffins debunk study claiming certain languages (cough, C, PHP, JS...) lead to more buggy code than others


Re: Perhaps...

In Certifiable systems you have to prove the quality of your tools as well as your code.


Re: Snotty PhDs

I was chatting with a PhD a while ago and mentioned that my daughter was a Doctor. He asked what subject, which I though was slightly strange. I answered Medicine. He wrinkled up his face in disgust and said "Oh, a degree in Medicine, not a proper doctor!" I certainly know which one I would like to treat me when I am ill!


Re: It's "What's the best language" all over again

Hence why I always gave interviewees a pencil and paper and asked them to write about their journey to the interview. Many MSc CompSci graduates could not put together a coherent description, or use the basic constructs of the English language correctly.

I always said that if they could put together a decent description in the English language, then I could help them program proficiently in any computer language. I was made to stop by my managers as they thought it was degrading to the interviewees!

Say what?! An AI system can decode brain signals into speech

Big Brother

There be dragons here!

There is an awful lot of what I think that I certainly wouldn't say out loud! They will need some clever filtering algorythms.

I studied hard, I trained for years. Yay, now I'm an astronaut in space. Argggh, leukemia!


Re: Radiation effects methinks

It is being looked at and has been mentioned a couple of times on this site.

See Dr. Ruth Bamford of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Openreach to heap faster broadband on UK's media-heavy hubs


Re: Up to 1,000Mbps

Blame OFCOM for that. I have Gigaclear at home that runs 1Gbps native and then traffic shapes down to whatever people pay for (+ 10% for the lower speeds). So my connection has to run at 1Gbps, but OFCOM made Gigaclear change all their literature to say up to 1,000Mbps.

This the two-faced OFCOM that say it's fibre, if there is fibre anywhere in the system!

Six Flags fingerprinted my son without consent, says mom. Y'know, this biometric case has teeth, say state supremes...


Re: So I gather

My two were also the only ones not allowed into their UK Junior School library.

I explained why the school shouldn't need a 5 year old's finger prints to the school, the Local Education Authority and my Member of Parliament, who all said that I was wilfully damaging my children's education i.e. not answering anything about the privacy issues.

My wife went into school for a "parents meeting" (these used to be "parents evenings" so working people could attend!) and when presented with the threat of the children being excluded from school, (as they were not participating in parts of the curriculum) and despite knowing my objections, told the teacher it was OK to take the fingerprints. My household was not a happy place for a few weeks!

My MP is now Brexit Minister, so on past experience I would say that GDPR will soon be out of the window :-(

Data hackers are like toilet ninjas. This is not a clean crime, you know


Re: Arrested development?

Touch screen to log in at the Doctors!


Avoid the sh1t

This is one thing that I do not miss, now that I work from home. (I do miss office banter - as my colleagues are spread very thinly around the world, most don't understand the nuances of banter in a foreign language!)

However, I do find that I cannot really settle down to work until the family have left for work and school, and I can tidy the house.

I don't think that I have OCD - rather CDO (as the letters are now in the correct order!)

Icon choice: just hover over it!

Core blimey... When is an AMD CPU core not a CPU core? It's now up to a jury of 12 to decide


Re: "up to a jury of 12 to decide"

If it is anything like the UK court system, the Barristers will object to anyone who is slightly technical being in the jury. In one case I sat on they had to start again with a completely new potential jury, as almost all were objected to for one reason or another (most through having been fishing in the past 10 years)!

The lighter side of HMRC: We want your money, but we also want to make you laugh


Tax humour

I once asked a Tax Inspector the best way to go about paying my tax. He said "with a smile".

Well I tried that the next time I went into the Tax Office, but they insisted on cash!

Come mobile users, gather round and learn how to add up


Re: Patronised a customer?

I once wrote an idiots guide for my then,

Dunce level manager.

It wasn't very subtle.

On the occasion he did read it,

The twit didn't notice the left hand column.

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate


Re: A lot of snobs in here today.

My brother fixes the gas mains when they break or a digger rips them up.

He had to sit multiple exams and practical tests before he could work on the team, and he has to do refresher courses regularly.

How many of the so called "software engineers" have passed relevant exams and refresh their knowledge regularly?

Flame icon as that is what he sometimes finds when he turns up on site.


Re: Great for this Engineer

Maybe an idiot, but not self-proclaimed.

Members have been judged competent by a group of their peers at the BCS!

You need qualifications (in an appropriate field), proven (relevant) experience, letters of support from a couple of your peers and to pass an interview to get in.

They can also award Chartered Status. I have CITP through them.

(I think Chartered Accountant is what the original poster meant to say.)

An earlier reply said that it was down to supply and demand of qualified engineers. I would rather have a choice of 2 cars to get me from A to B, rather than a choice of 16 that will not get off the drive, plus the 2 that will work!

Vtcodger, there is lots of good solid theory and published examples of best practice. This is what we should all be reading as part of our continuous professional development - not all of it is only available through the professional bodies, there are also good books, and the Internet (if you filter hard enough).

Who honestly does structured CPD other than members of the professional bodies?

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire


Re: Interesting idea

"Homeopathy is placebo. But that doesn't matter. Placebo works even if you know it is placebo!"

Sources: my wife the Pharmacist who sells people placebo drugs (for a few pence) but she has to remember to ask what they need to cure before giving them out! Plus many double blind trials where the benefits continue after people are told they are on placebos.

The human mind is truly strange!

The dingo... er, Google stole my patent! Biz boss tells how Choc Factory staff tried to rip off idea from interview


Re: Light bulb

Oh, I would go with the telephone as the most famous!

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



As with nearly everything space oriented, the OS is VxWorks. So, no having to reboot it any time soon!

HSBC now stands for Hapless Security, Became Compromised: Thousands of customer files snatched by crims


2FA via your phone app

Great idea until you realise how much of the country does not get a mobile signal. I'd have to drive (too far to walk) to near where my bank's nearest branch used to be before I'd get a signal!

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time


Re: Karma

I'm a permi and yet I've still had 2 people replace me on 2 occasions and 3 on 1 occasion.

Managers truly do not understand what their staff do in my experience. But that's probably because Brits don't shout out their achievements and applaud themselves 5 times a day like most of the Yanks I've worked with.

SpaceX touches down in California as Voyager 2 spies interstellar space


Re: Lack of Astonish!

I believe that the commercial operating system VxWorks has a planet wide monopoly on Mars and surrounding it.

Software can be written properly, it's just that most script kiddies don't know how to do it and most finance departments won't pay for it.

Take the wheel, Arm tells its notebook-grade Cortex-A76 CPU: Now you're a robo-ride brain


Re: Two cores? How do you know which one is wrong?

There has to be at least three to allow recovery. It doesn't matter if that is three copies of the processor, or three copies of a control variable in RAM.

I've programmed systems where there are 4 copies, just to be extra sure, as it's highly unlikely that two copies will fail in exactly the same way, but if two were to fail in differing ways (with modern, ever smaller geometry memory devices or processors, a cosmic ray can run through many gates) then you still get a consensus.

These days Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) is king in most applications, so multicore is the way even mission critical systems are going.

8 cores on your device, then have 4 in lock step performing one algorythm, and the other 4 also in lock step performing a different implementation of the same high level requirements. (Duplicate, non-identical, versions to mitigate against coding errors.)

Run a high integrity RTOS e.g. DO178C DAL-A certified multicore VxWorks 653 and Robert is your uncle.

Contractors slam UK taxman's 'aggressive' IR35 tax reforms


Re: Do the right thing

I was told by an accountant to "pay your taxes with a smile"

I tried that but they insisted on sterling!

Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway


Raise you with Towcester

I used to work for a 'merican company who used to pronounce it Tow-cess-ter rather than Toaster.

East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line


Logic and engineering don't always work

I was able to provide BT and the County Council (as it was they who were handling the BDUK money) with a whole sheaf of diagnostics, which basically said the pre 1930's cable from the exchange to our village (paper insulated wires!) was completely shite, even for voice; the 1950-60's cable was crap and the 1980's cable might get 5-8Mbps after a spell of dry weather. We even showed how the 1980's cable fed line unit was where people were put when they complained - at the expense of someone who was already on there!

My village and two adjacent ones topped the County Council consultations as to who wanted their broadband upgraded by a huge margin and I even had meetings with the BT East Midlands Sales Manager.

Do you think that it helped at all? Of course not! The money was spent on a waterside development in the middle of Northampton. Engineering proof and public support are still not a match for BT and County Councils.

We went our own way in the end and got an outside company Gigaclear in to provide Fibre to the Premises to our 4 local parishes. When the County Council person in charge of the fibre roll out turned up to the launch of our privately funded scheme I nearly lumped him one!

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