* Posts by Brian Morrison

907 posts • joined 4 Feb 2008


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.

The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

Brian Morrison

ThrustSSC used rear-wheel steering for aerodynamic reasons, it worked but it caused a few problems. Andy Green had to drive while inputting two different steering movement frequencies (fast and slow) and also deal with the need to steer in reverse to begin a correction and then reverse the input again.

Andy Green is quite simply an amazing bloke, naturally he has the ability to think ahead of the car because that's what flying fast jets does for you.

Brian Morrison

Re: Richard Noble's book "Thrust" is well worth a read...

Thrust 2 reached a peak speed of slightly under 651mph, as you say the CFD predicted that the car would have flipped if it had gone 6mph faster which is lucky because before the record run they had cranked up the front suspension by literally thousandths of an inch to get a higher peak speed.

ThrustSSC learned from this, they had a Martin-Baker rocket pack installed inverted ahead of the cockpit. If the front wheel loads had dropped below a pre-set value then the rockets would have fired to use 4,000lb of thrust to keep the nose down, followed by jacking up the tail suspension and releasing the brake parachutes to abort the run. When you hear the "armed" and "safe" calls on the radio these refer to the arming switch for the abort system which includes the rocket pack.

Brian Morrison

Re: Science and Engineering for the hell of it

ThrustSSC created a shockwave that pulverised the surface of the Black Rock desert in Nevada, it was one of the reasons why they stopped after getting past Mach 1, the wheels were rotating much more slowly than they should have been and the structure of the car was being pounded by the supersonic flow and the acoustic energy from the RR Speys at close range. Some of the team wanted to put in the more powerful Spey 205 engines but it was decided that the risks were getting larger and it didn't make sense to ruin the very good safety record that had been built up.

BloodhoundSSC is a much different design, whereas ThrustSSC had a flat bottom across quite a broad part of the fuselage the newer car has less of itself close to the ground giving more space for the shockwaves to dissipate.

Brian Morrison

Re: A manned missile?

If you did that then it wouldn't count for the Land Speed Record.

Believe me, Andy Green will be in control of BloodhoundSSC all the way, he was a very great part of the reason for the successful ThrustSSC campaign in the mid 1990s.

Brian Morrison

Re: Why so called?

Yes. Ron Ayers, the aerodynamicist for both Thrust SSC and Bloodhound SSC worked on the Bloodhound missile in the 1950s so the name is a reference to that.

Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

Brian Morrison

Re: Don't know why...

The B-1A was cancelled because they couldn't make the engine air intakes work properly whereas the Concorde intakes did all that was asked of them.

The B-1A intakes were swept in two axes, Concorde's were swept in only one axis. The additional axis on the B-1 made it impossible to control the shock waves at high speed, that's why the B-1B was limited to about Mach 1.25 (they also took the opportunity to add RAM baffles to reduce radar signature from the compressor face).

Ted Talbot, the man who ran the Concorde air intake design team was shown the B-1A in 1975, he looked at it, noted the large number of pressure-measuring probes around the inlet and correctly predicted that it wouldn't be made to work with the technology of the day. Even the Concorde inlet was right at the limit of what could be done with 1960s/70s technology.

And yes, SR-71 inlets operated at Mach 3+. But they are symmetrical and circular, removing quite a lot of the difficulties...

Terry Pratchett's self-written documentary to be broadcast in 2017

Brian Morrison

Re: A man is not dead

Just get Miss Susan to toss chocolates at them...

UK warships to have less firepower than 19th century equivalents as missiles withdrawn

Brian Morrison
Thumb Down

Re: Non-USA options may be better value

I think you mean BLACK ARROW, it was that with which Prospero was launched.

Agree with general sentiment though... :(

‘Inflexion point’ BlackBerry washes hands of hardware biz

Brian Morrison

Re: my son had a new iPhone 7 delivered today

> Why?

Because he wanted one, and it's his money not mine. He previously had an iPhone 4S and then an iPhone 6 so he's replaced each phone after a couple of years. By the 2 year mark the screens are usually cracked, I am hoping that he manages to look after this one better with the assistance of a decent Spigen case.

Brian Morrison

Tough choices

I happened to charge, boot up and update my daughter's Z10 BB10 phone the other evening.

After almost 18 months it didn't actually feel slow or dated, and the hardware was as tank-like as ever.

But the is no question that things have moved on, my daughter is now using Android and my son had a new iPhone 7 delivered today. There are not going to be many competitors to these two platforms now until a new generation emerges whenever that will be.

French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

Brian Morrison

"If you have the secret keys to everyone's private communications escrowed with every gov agency world wide who demands them, just how long until the well funded criminal gangs also find a copy?"

I thought that government agencies *were* the well-funded criminal gangs...!

Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Brian Morrison

Re: Yes, all very nice, but...

Noogaah. It's French isn't it?

Brian Morrison

Re: Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

It's certainly worth trying but remember that the Snapdragon 800 is a 32-bit ARM v7 chip and also that Qualcomm does reduce support for re-writing drivers for the low level stuff in the chips so that they can concentrate on current and upcoming designs.

Android 7 is certain to make more use of the efficiency of the 64 bit v8 cores and is bound to work better with more RAM. I have a Nexus 5X that is running Nougat as of last night, it will be instructive to see how the 2GB RAM affects it, during the Lollipop and Marshmallow era it felt sluggish at times but has been massively better since the system interrupt rate was increased a few months ago.

Sex ban IT man loses appeal – but judge labels order 'unpoliceable'

Brian Morrison

Re: They might be painful to remember they exist

"The recent one is much more Dreddlike, he doesn't snog Anderson for a start!"

Or remove his helmet...

'Flying Bum's' first flight was a gas, gas, gas

Brian Morrison

As an airship fan I am quite pleased...

...but I do wonder why the A600 had been painted with double-yellow lines outside the sheds (derestricted, fairly narrow, blind bends) and then people were allowed to park on the lines both sides and create a traffic nightmare. With hundreds of pedestrians around there too it was just asking for trouble.

I wish HAV well, but someone needs to think about what to do with the spectators.

Latest Androids have 'god mode' hack hole, thanks to Qualcomm

Brian Morrison

Re: Nexus OK?

Google stated that Nexus fixes for the last of the vulns (after 5th August updates) will be released in early September. The delay is because the patch for this was not released until too late for the August batch.

OK, we've got your data. But we really want to delete it ASAP

Brian Morrison

Re: I have a cunning plan!

Wot, every ~600ms?

BlackBerry chief: We don't have to make phones to make phones

Brian Morrison

The problem is...

...that the technology that prevents access to organised criminal communications is the exact same thing that prevents access to government employees acting as whistle-blowers about abuse of legal restraints on law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Apple quite understands that there is a moral issue, but cannot act if providing access allows government to cover up good things instead of simply prosecute bad things.

Ethical dilemmas are not easy to resolve.

An anniversary to remember: The world's only air-to-air nuke was fired on 19 July, 1957

Brian Morrison

It was a fairly pointless safety measure too, the weapon had a cadmium safety wire which was inserted into the stationary part of the warhead but if surrounded by water there was enough uranium 235 to reach critical mass. Had the aircraft gone into the water if it couldn't maintain altitude it is quite likely that a low-yield nuclear explosion would have occurred.

The Little Boy design fired a hollow piece of U235 onto a solid cylinder containing more U235, because there was essentially no compression the design relied on very large amounts of fissile material. It was a stopgap weapon and there was no intention to build more than one, although in fact more were built because of the need to prevent the Hanford reactors being damaged by the Wigner effect (stressing the reactor cores due to unexpected nuclear reactions).



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