* Posts by Brian Morrison

926 posts • joined 4 Feb 2008


Treaty of Roam finally in ashes: O2 cracks, joins rivals, adds data roaming charges for heavy users in EU

Brian Morrison

Hate what?

And there's your answer folks, they hate you and will extract money from you under any pretext possible.

As someone who now rarely travels (last such trip was in 2002) I really have no problem with paying the extra should I need to go somewhere else, but on the basis of the installed capacity it's a joke as bits are cheaper than water now that the infrastructure is there and keeps getting faster down the same glass fibre.

Now, let me see, who else do I *really* hate? There's a long line of 'em to choose from.

'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now

Brian Morrison

Re: Get your tin foil hat on!

Of course the other news from only yesterday is that GPs have been ordered by NHS diktat not to allow people to make face-to-face appointments until they have exhausted the telephone and online mechanisms for deflecting them from being seen at all.

"Dead? Ring Arthur Mills of Prestatyn. Stiffs taken out of the house and down the chute within the hour!"

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

Brian Morrison

More like him please

A top chap with a lot of good sense. Personally I'd like to have had his pair of hands in charge recently dispensing pithy advice and commands. We'd all be the better for it.

New systemd 248 feature 'extension images' updates immutable file systems without really updating them

Brian Morrison

I came here expecting to see an argument, but instead...

...I found a massacre with only 1 positive comment and everything else against.

And yet, nearly all the Linux distros have systemd on board and doing mostly what is needed.

Did I say that pulseaudio works for me too?

What's in Fedora 34? GNOME 40, accelerated Wayland, PipeWire Audio, improved Flatpak support, and more

Brian Morrison

Reboot if you fiddle around with Pulseaudio? It runs in user space and has a daemon, so all you need to do is kill it and start it yourself.

Brian Morrison

Re: not excited about the 'wayland' thing

From what I know xorg is pretty much unmaintained and X11 is even worse, that is the reason that things are changing.

If you want to keep old stuff then you need to have enough competent people to work on the code and ensure it gets fixes and features that allow it to interoperate with the rest of the world.

Brian Morrison

Re: GNOME 40?

No, they decided to name it 40 instead of GNOME 3.40. Not too difficult to find that out eh?

Starlink's latent China crisis could spark a whole new world of warcraft

Brian Morrison

Make as much trouble as possible...

...because the Chinese Communist Party and their government deserve absolutely all the trouble that comes along and irritates them.

I've got plenty of popcorn.

UK to introduce new laws and a code of practice for police wanting to rifle through mobile phone messages

Brian Morrison

Re: ...if they are "helping to locate a missing person"

Why is threatening to jump off Beachy Head of interest to the police? Ambulance service perhaps...

'Incorrect software parameter' sends Formula E's Edoardo Mortara to hospital: Brakes' fail-safe system failed

Brian Morrison

Re: Fail safe systems...

3 out of 4 engines were in this state, which was only reached through exactly the sequence of power lever movements you would expect when an engine quits and won't feather thus giving a massively draggy disc which the one good engine couldn't overcome.

Brian Morrison

Re: A failure of testing

You know you're in trouble when, in a critical engineering meeting, you are asked to "remove your engineering hat and replace it with your management hat". This is exactly what happened at Morton-Thiokol.

Apache foundation ousts TinkerPop project co-founder for tweeting 'offensive humor that borders on hate speech'

Brian Morrison

What Twitter thinks of an account holders posts should be irrelevant provide they're not illegal.

But we know how the hive mind in Twitter likes to prevent some things from being spread very widely.

Firefox 85 crumbles cache-abusing supercookies with potent partitioning powers

Brian Morrison

Re: Firefox 85 hangs

Latest Firefox packages for Fedora show this in the changelog:

- Added fix for mozbz#1679933 - startup crash

It's a Mozilla bug, so possibly affects lots of people, however I didn't see a crash myself with the first ff 85 package I installed.

Engineers blame 'intentionally conservative' test parameters for premature end to Space Launch System hotfire

Brian Morrison

Re: Well That Doesn't Sound Too Bad

I think the thing you described happened well over 50 years ago, it was one of the reasons that LBJ was so keen on NASA and the space program after becoming president and why so much of it was based in Texas.

He certainly wanted to make use of the astronaut's families for PR purposes but they found that the astronauts and their wives were less compliant than hoped.

Thou shalt not hack indiscriminately, High Court of England tells Britain's spy agencies

Brian Morrison

Re: @Doctor Syntax

Whatever is done it must be better that the path to challenging these sort of edicts is shorter when the EU and the ECJ are no longer concerned.

I accept that our parliament *could* choose to not scrutinise the legislation very well, but then that was essentially impossible in the case of the EU Acquis which means we now need to do what mature democracies do which is to hold our representatives and our government to account. Yes it's a pain, but you never get anything by letting the people who want to be in charge do it for you. You have to have that Mr BigUglyBloke standing behind them armed with something large and bludgeon-like.

Chuck Yeager, sound barrier pioneer pilot, dies at 97

Brian Morrison

Re: Citation needed

Ha, litho-braking!

Otherwise known as collision with cumulo-granite.

X.Org is now pretty much an ex-org: Maintainer declares the open-source windowing system largely abandoned

Brian Morrison

Re: Bob Scheifler

But the people there back in the day didn't take actual offence, it just seemed like it.

Some arguments are fun, and I don't mean teco's arguments.

If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended

Brian Morrison

Well there has been a preview for well over a year, but the last couple of steps have been a bit awkward where preview->nightly, beta was effectively preview, and then FF68 was the current version and then the changeover which needed a bit of care. I had been following this for over a year with the preview version, if you didn't it would be a bit of a surprise.

Brian Morrison

I've been using the beta for some considerable time, alongside the 68.x version. It has been pretty reasonable, gradually improving in capability and features.

The update a couple of weeks ago meant that I had to do some housekeeping where the preview version became the beta version and I also ended up with the nightly version as well. So I got rid of the nightlies, no sense in having 3 versions.

Changeover from beta to release 79 was fairly painless, just a few things to poke at (previous experience helped a lot) and a few add-ons to sort out. The only real problem was losing the collections of bookmarks but it didn't take long to sort that out using the beta and logging in to my Firefox shared account.

Yes, perhaps they could have handled this better for those not expecting such a big change, but as a user of the preview for well over a year I wasn't affected very much.

China now blocking ESNI-enabled TLS 1.3 connections, say Great-Firewall-watchers

Brian Morrison

ZScaler mention that they will be releasing another blog about the effect of ESNI on their system.

It will be interesting to see what they say.

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?

Brian Morrison

Re: Typical Myopic story

The massive hiring spree was followed by a somewhat less massive firing spree, in certain areas of the company. I know a fair few people who thought they were on to a good thing but were shown the door because ARM hadn't realised that they were actually cannibalising their customers' own business models.

CERN puts two new atom-smashers on its shopping list. One to make Higgs Bosons, then a next-gen model six times more energetic than the LHC

Brian Morrison

There *are* people complaining about fire and people getting hurt by it.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Brian Morrison

Re: When STONITH falls

How can you know whether the word is there without reading it?

Signal goes Gaussian to take privacy to the next level: All your faces don't belong to us

Brian Morrison

Re: Fix the bugs first

If only Mr Marlinspike would also take notice of the vulnerability of centralised infrastructure too, he's stated quite clearly that he doesn't want to give up control of the server side stuff by migrating to distributed infrastructure. It may complicate things, but it would be more resilient and essentially immune to government action.

Rewriting the checklists: 50 years since Apollo 13 reported it 'had a problem' – and boffins saved the day

Brian Morrison

Re: It's (almost) never the instrument.

This problem originated with a heated oxygen tank that wouldn't drain its liquid contents which was worked round by boiling it off, this process itself leading to the fused thermostat where the gauge that could have revealed the consequent overheating was unable to display a measurement above 80F because that was assumed to be covered by the (failed) thermostat action.

They were really lucky that the centre engine on the SII stage didn't fail under pogo oscillation, it only shut down because the 62g vibration made the thrust sensors indicate low thrust and the control system think that the engine had exhausted its fuel. 1 more second and the whole remaining stack would have broken up.

Mozilla plugs two Firefox browser holes exploited in the wild by hackers to hijack victims' computers

Brian Morrison

All the cool kids...

...have already updated to FF 75.0

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots

Brian Morrison

In the current world situation I imagine it won't be long before a goodly percentage of 787s are simply powered down somewhere out the way and left until there are lemon-soaked paper napkins again.

Of course, it might give RR a chance to catch up with engine rebuilds that have left some aircraft on the ground for a fair while in any case.

If it's Boeing, I'm not going.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

Brian Morrison

Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

During the Apollo 13 mission, a failure was avoided by the skin of NASA's teeth when a vibration of >62g occurred in the centre J-2 engine on the SII stage, the engine and mount moved a good 6" or more in the longitudinal plane before a shut-down was triggered probably because the thrust sensors thought the increasing rearward movement indicated loss of thrust. Had this not happened there was only a second or so before a total structural failure and almost certainly loss of mission and crew.

This was recognised and fixed before Apollo 14 launched.

Don't be fooled, experts warn, America's anti-child-abuse EARN IT Act could burn encryption to the ground

Brian Morrison

They won't be preserved, it's simpler to make everything anyone does potentially criminal and hence subject to whatever searches whether warrantless or warranted.

Want to own a bit of Concorde? Got £750k burning a hole in your pocket? We have just the thing

Brian Morrison

Re: Which was the bigger engineering challenge ? Concorde. Or Apollo ?

The reason that the Rockwell B-1B is generally subsonic, or at least not Mach 2 capable, is because the US couldn't get the original intake to work properly. They did ask for help from Ted Talbot who got the Concorde inlet to work, he said he thought that it would prove impossible because whereas a Concorde intake was only angled from top to bottom the B-1A intake was raked in 2 directions, top to bottom and side to side, making the control mechanism to keep the shockwave focused on the inlet lip too difficult for the computing power of the day.

Brian Morrison

The TSR.2 Olympus was a very different beast from the engine that powered Concorde, it would be difficult to get them mixed up.

Have a look at the TSR.2 up at RAF Cosford museum, it has the engine and jetpipe/reheat assembly alongside. It's quite big...

German scientists, Black Knights and the birthplace of British rocketry

Brian Morrison

Re: German scientists, Black Knights and the birthplace of British rocketry


Leaking HTP tank in a large exercise torpedo without a warhead, started decomposing inside a closed torpedo tube, blew open the inner door and then after a few minutes of heating everything in the torpedo room to a couple of thousand degrees C with the torpedo fuel there was a multiple armed torpedo warhead detonation that blew a hole in the hull and sank the sub.

Not recommended at all.

15 years on, Euroboffins finally work out what it took to send the Huygens Titan probe into such a spin

Brian Morrison

Re: seems sloppy

You know you're in trouble when you have to measure the warming of your oceans using zettajoules as units. Not to mention having probes that are sampling single measurements in areas of ocean roughly the size of Portugal and you don't actually have full coverage of the oceans.

Science? We've heard of it...

Train-knackering software design blunder discovered after lightning sparked Thameslink megadelay

Brian Morrison

Re: Load shedding?

Well, yes, but this problem was essentially down to software.

The initial lightning strikes on the Barford-Little Wymondley transmission line caused a trip, these systems reset and were back on line in about 20 seconds and all should then have been well. However, the Hornsea wind farm's connector saw microsecond transients caused by the initial trip and reset, threw its toys out of the pram, and sulked. Little Barford went off line in various stages, and the 1.8GW of generation capacity that tripped out in total then caused the final load shed to prevent catastrophic frequency drops in the whole grid.

Hornsea have re-configured their system to be less pernickety, Newcastle Airport realised that they were not a protected customer and quickly asked to be so on the Monday after this happened.

Old-fashioned steam age electrical stuff is quite happy with things that take a few seconds to stabilise, clever fast sampling new wonderful stuff needs analogue and digital filtering to take account of transients, and people that can count to type in the correct limit frequencies in the traction control systems.

50 years ago, someone decided it would be OK to fire Apollo 12 through a rain cloud. Awks, or just 'SCE to Aux'?

Brian Morrison

Re: Apollo 13

Apollo 13 almost had a fatal failure during the second stage burn, the centre engine suffered a pogo vibration that caused the engine mounts to move nearly 6 inches at the peak of the cycle. Had this continued another cycle or two the stage would have come apart but luckily the sensors detected problems with fuel pressure and shut the engine down.

Jim Lovell thought that this was the mission's glitch and that they wouldn't have any more problems, but he was wrong on that count.

Happy Christmas! Bloodhound SSC refuelled by Yorkshire business chap

Brian Morrison

Just like Thrust 2 and ThrustSSC were you mean?

Oh, no you didn't mean that at all...

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

Brian Morrison

Genuine tax avoidance?

You mean the thing that's actually legal, as opposed to tax evasion which isn't?

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Brian Morrison

The crash was essentially due to additional factors, one being that they descended to 30ft over a runway that they could not land on when they were supposed to fly past at a minimum of 100ft if this was the case. This affected the flight control systems, disabling some of the protections that are inhibited if you are intending to land.

When they realised that they were too low and selected takeoff/go-around thrust, the spool up time of the engines was about 7 seconds, by the time the engines had increased thrust from near idle power they were busily ingesting tree branches and naturally flamed out as the combustion chambers filled up with crushed wood.

The A320 was very new then, and a lot more is known about the Airbus flight control systems now. The aircraft did what it was told to do, the flight crew were just a little bit ignorant about the corner case they were exploring.

Openreach names 81 lucky locations to be plugged into its super-zippy Gfast pipe

Brian Morrison

Re: Local regs + trees

This was exactly the reason that Ionica's Fixed Wireless Access phone services at 3.4GHz stumbled, the original channel sounding didn't spot the short delay multipath from trees and similar stuff and so the equaliser in the modem couldn't deal with it.

Of course, their bigger problem was installing many CP devices in premises where the customers wouldn't pay, but halving their premises per base station with DSP limitations and then halving maximum range due to the multipath problem didn't help with roll out.

Wasn't the 1990s fun in telecoms?

NASA has Mars InSight as latest lander due to arrive today

Brian Morrison

Re: "On the ground"??

I'd stop worrying about changes of mass and start worrying about apostrophes and contractions.

Astroboffins spy the brightest quasar that lit the universe's dark ages

Brian Morrison

Re: A long, long time ago

I think we need Dan Streetmentioner to advise on tenses...

UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather

Brian Morrison

Re: Judging by the volcanic cloud on the horizon

>And what the hell are they burning to make so much soot?

FFO, furnace fuel oil.

Often thick enough that the fuel tanks are heated to allow it to flow better.

Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks

Brian Morrison

Those lights....

...were actually mounted on the fuselage of the modified Lancasters, not the wings.

As you were...

It's Galileo Groundhog Day! You can keep asking the same question, but it won't change the answer

Brian Morrison


Once upon a time we used to actually make complex devices and do difficult engineering in the UK, but in so many areas of that large sector we lost our way. The UK is the only nation that built a capability to put satellites in orbit and then abandoned it.

Building our own GNSS system would be an excellent idea, even better would be building the launch vehicles to send the space-based part of such a system into space. We could probably even teach people educated in the UK to design these systems and learn how to engineer complex systems again as a national capability.

I find it hard to understand how we got to be where we are now, the sooner we start to build our capabilities again the less we will hear about how difficult it will be when we are no longer in the EU.

State spy agencies 'outsource surveillance' to foreign partners – campaign group

Brian Morrison

Re: outsourcing

And everybody had a share...

If you guessed China’s heavy lifter failed due to a liquid hydrogen turbo engine fault, well done!

Brian Morrison

Re: Translation...

They eventually developed them to the point where nothing physically cracked during the necessary burn time. But I do recall a Vulcain nozzle distorting and causing the changed thrust axis to push the Ariane off course and it failed to reach orbit.

When the Russians were developing the oxygen-rich turbo-pump-exhaust closed-cycle engines they had a few failures. Apparently when they went wrong the several inch thick steel turbo pump casings burned through in a few hundred milliseconds.

European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

Brian Morrison

Entomologists know this

Antennas please, insects have antennae...

I want life to be boring, says Linus Torvalds as Linux 4.15 debuts

Brian Morrison

Re: Yay for ArchLinux

Fedora 27 also showing the same result, but spectre_v1 still vulnerable.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Brian Morrison

Re: Intel CEO insider trading?

Almost certainly not, Executive Officers of corporations are required to announce share sales in advance according to a set timetable, they can't just dump it on a whim.

UK.gov needs help getting folk to splurge on full fibre and 5G

Brian Morrison

Re: "The market will provide"

Sadly previous experience is that the public sector tends to be even worse at this than a private company because the investment rules are even more strict and the people running the show are not from the top of the barrel.

I don't really know the answer, but making it compulsory to put in FTTP cabling on new build and renovated property would be a good move wouldn't it? The complaint from Openreach et al is that the costs are heavily loaded towards the last mile, shared infrastructure is cheaper so if the last mile stuff is already there then the process is less capital-intensive.



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