* Posts by Rob Briggs

18 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Oct 2007

Ryanair cancels aggregator-booked tickets in escalating scraping war

Rob Briggs

RyanAir are just a bunch of wankers

Left me stranded twice, missed a wedding at which I was to be an usher. It's not that delays or cancellations happen, it's their "Fuck you!" attitude that comes with it.

Also a significant number of safety-related lapses in the last couple of years (missed and low approaches mainly, allegedly caused by poor cockpit resource management) - see Flight International for details of CAA and IAA reports.

Would I fly with them again? Not in a month of Sundays and I positively evangelise to all I meet that they do not fly with them also.

And Michael O'Leary is a tosser

UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

Rob Briggs


I have to disagree about the primary cause of reduced congestion that you postulate for the hard shoulder schemes. I'm a frequent traveller on the first of these (the M42 in the vicinity of B'ham airport and the NEC) and from my experience the benefit seems to come from the early segregation of traffic leaving at the next exit and joining in a disciplined lane distinct from the existing flow. Of course, temporary reduced limits to help (M25 M3-M40 section) but these still get hideously congested (understatement of the year) if too much traffic is joining in too-wide a funnel.

And for my next trick I will solve the credit crisis whilst standing on one leg and whistling "Yankee Doodle Dandee".

STOP: becuase that's what happens on the motorways

Raptor and Eurofighter go head to head

Rob Briggs

@Lewis: Export sales?

Whilst the West may not be expecting to assert air dominance in conflict any time soon, there are plenty of export markets (India, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia etc) who are actively seeking to acquire so-called 5th generation aircraft. It's sales to these markets where the agility and the equipment will make a difference.

Google's spycar revs up UK privacy fears

Rob Briggs
Black Helicopters

Can see this both ways, to be honest

and if I were photographed it wouldn't cause me too much stress, if it was in public. If I was in my garden, however, which is visible from the street, then I'd be more-than-somewhat perturbed. Likewise if photographs of any of my children were taken anywhere, Having said that, I'd just ask them to take them down.

This is all assuming it isn't for profit. If it were, then I believe that they have to get permission of the indviduals concerned and/or pay royalties. Still doesn't mean they can't do it, just creates a few more hoops to jump through.

All in all, I come down on the side of allowing them to go ahead; the freedom to take photographs, sketches, etc of anywhere without seeking permission is a freedom we have all taken for granted for so long it's hard to believe that we're on the verge of having it taken away.

Black helicopters because it would be so much more cool if Google used those for StreetView imagery than those Pope-mobile things

BT and Siemens slammed over prisoner call rates

Rob Briggs

You lot sound like a bunch of fascists

What is prison supposed to be about? No, it's not primarily punishment (although that is a factor) it is supposed to be about reducing the level of crime in our communities. The most effective way to do this for those in criminal justice system is to help them to not re-offend. At the moment, the only tactic that is employed is that of deterrence - commit a crime, we'll catch you and lock you up. Clearly, this has already failed since they're in nick in the first place.

Other countries within Europe have a completely different set of priorities, e.g. Sweden, The Netherlands, etc. Their focus is on reducing the re-offending rate through education, training, pyschological treatments, etc. The reasoning is that although it may cost upfront to provide these services, the cost to society overall is significantly lower because the costs of investigating, prosecuting and jailing criminals are so reduced.

Don't believe me? Look at the crime figures for yourself.

Rob Briggs

@Gordon Pryra

To reply to your erudite and eloquent comment, a significant minority of people in jail are a) there on remand and have yet to be convicted of any crime and b) suffering from various forms of mental illness.

Presumably if a mentally ill relative of yours was being held on remand after a false or misunderstood accusation, you'd want them burnt too?

Bloke crams 13 into Volvo S70

Rob Briggs

Pah! That's Nothing!

When I was still a sixth-former back in the early eighties, I managed to cram seven of my friends into my mother's BL Mini - two in the front seat (one with their leg in the driver's footwell), three across the rear seat, one lying sideways on the floor beneath the seated guys' feet and one on their laps. We drove a couple of miles quite ok, apart from hitting the chap with the spread legs in the front, in the nuts every time I went into second gear. Eight young lads in the car and if we'd been stopped we'd have just got a rollicking from Plod.

Volvo S70? bet you could get at least twenty in there if you tried.

Swedish authorities pull plug on female Elvis

Rob Briggs

Switzerland too

A few years back I lived in Switzerland for a year or so, in the Canton of Zurich. A friend of my wife's had a baby girl. Being American, they expected to be able to call their daughter what they liked. They chose something very bizarre and totally 'out there'. They chose "AnneMarie". This made the authorities very cross. The name had to be "Anne-Marie" or "Annemarie", it couldn't have a capital M.

After many thousands of CHFs on legal fees they did prevail in the end. And I know they have these rules to prevent unfortunates being called Purble-Berry Ding Wallah Moonbeam Zot but it does get a bit 'in your face' at times. My wife was pregnant with twins at the time and we were given an official form to list our preferences of names, five male and five female for each twin, to be submitted months before the due date and to allow the babies to registered quickly. The official name list was Swiss German, of course. Being British (me) and Irish (my wife) we please to be told that for foreigners names from our family backgrounds would be considered.

We came home; we couldn't be bothered to argue.

Boeing starts leak tests on nuke-nobbler raygun jumbo

Rob Briggs

Oh dear, why can't people think a little?

Two things have me groaning:

a) The 'put mirrors on it' brigade

b) The 'put a heatshield on it' brigade

To answer:

A) No mirror is 100% reflective, not even close. Mirrors used in astromony only achieve slightly better than 99% reflectivity. Given the beam power of the ABL, the power density delivered to the appropriate area of a missile would be sufficiently high to give at serious case of sun-burn

B) Don't confuse high temperature with high power. Think of a spark from a fire landing on your hand - it doesn't burn a hole in it. The high temperatures achieved during re-entry do not reach the sort of power densities that can be delivered by ABL

A final point; why does everyone assume that the ABL will be restricted to anti-missile duties? Seems to me to be an ideal wide-area anti-aircraft or anti-ship device able to take out large quantities of enemy assets.

MPs demand US spooks' guarantees on census data

Rob Briggs
Black Helicopters

@Steven Hewittt

Sadly the PATRIOT Act does apply here and worldwide to any US-registered individual or corporation. Say Lockeed win the contract, then the US spooks can go happy hunting for anyone with Islam as their registered religion through the data and there's nothing Lockeed can do to stop it, even assuming they wanted to in the first place. Just like those ludicrous laws that see NatWest bankers hauled off to Texas for (non-)crimes they (allegedly) committed in the UK.

Black helicopters for obvious reasons!

Social networking site bans oldies over sex offender fears

Rob Briggs

Utter Twoddle

How is this going to protect children? Obviously it's not. As for anyone over 36 being a paedo, words fail me. Why 36? There are plenty of offenders in their teens and twenties. And there are plenty of over 36s on Faceparty who use it to meet over over 36s.

Can't wait for the first age discimination suit.

Sikorsky X2 superwhirlybird enters ground spin-up phase

Rob Briggs

Forward Propulsion

For those who commented about the 'coolness' of jets, be they turbojets or turbofans compared with a turboprop, two main factors.

1. The pusher prop is driven off the main engine, i.e. it doesn't require an additional powerplant for the forward propulsion. This saves weight and hence fuel while allowing greating lift capacity and greater range.

2. Turboprops are more fuel efficient at these sort of speeds than either turbojets or turbofans. Fuel savings again giving rise to increased range and lift capacity.

As for comparisons with the V-22, hmm. It's taken over two decades effort by Boeing and the aircraft still isn't performing correctly. The V-22 is big, horrendously complicated and uses all manner of technology to perform certain tasks, e.g. auto-rotation, that have been solved perfectly well in the previous fifty years. The X-2, on the other hand, uses some very clever engineering *where it is needed* and in all other respects it is as simple as can be.

Now that's good engineering in my book.

British Gas sues Accenture

Rob Briggs

Wouldn't be too hard on Accenture

Believe me, I've no love at all for Accenture but BG/Centrica have had all the consultants in before and then some. None of them get it right because BG iteself doesn't know what it wants and what will work and it will be very aggressive going about not getting what it doesn't know it wants.

I worked on a large BG project many years ago. The project was in crisis. We kept telling BG that features they wanted would not work and could not be achieved in the timescales of the project. They just threatend to cancel the project. We carried on working, taking their money, still telling them it wouldn't work. They cancelled the project nearly a year later.

BG and Accenture? made for each other

Customers give Dell the finger over keyboard screw-up

Rob Briggs

@Anon Coward

--- Makes you want to buy an Apple...

No it doesn't

Hackers target outsourced app development

Rob Briggs

If you can't run a project when it's based down the corridor

...why on Earth do companies think that they can magically run a project on a different continent in a different culture?

Honestly, what do they expect?

Mind your languages with Microsoft LINQ

Rob Briggs

Entity Framework, anyone?

Linq isn't SQL nor is it an ORM tool. True, Linq statements are tightly coupled to the queried elements (tables in the case of a query against a DB) but the forthcoming Entity Framework for ADO.NET will add that necessary layer of abstraction, divorcing the the application layer entirely from the physical implementation.

Qinetiq Q-branch and Area 51 tech sell-off due a roasting

Rob Briggs

Joke's over

Can you please just ban that twaddle-generating 'bot amanfrommars? It was amusing once but now it's just plain irritating. Grrrrrrrrr!

Bin charging back on as Brown gets dizzy

Rob Briggs
Thumb Up

Actually, it can all work rather well

I've lived abroad in several countries where they have a 'pay as you throw' regime, Ireland and Switzerland being two examples. Ireland is an example of how not to do it - a variety of different charging mechanisms for roadside collections, depending on where you live, charges for access to dumps, bin collectors happy to leave refuse in the streets uncollected if it isn't properly tagged. In Switzerland, by contrast, you purchase an official 'abfallsack' (bin bag) which includes the disposal charge in its price, place your rubbish in it and that's that. Trips to the dump and recycling centres are free, special collections are made for items like polystyrene and bulky objects. If you leave litter or the wrong sort of rubbish it gets taken away but you get fined. Of these two, guess which one has a fly tipping problem... As a further question, guess which approach the UK will end up with...