* Posts by David Beck

333 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Apr 2007


Helsinki Syndrome: Ubuntu utterly fails to boot on metro

David Beck

Clearly mod has limited language skills.

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far

David Beck

Re: The days before memory protection WAS (less) necessary...

I would like to call BS, at least on the Burroughs comments.

The B5500 and all of its children including the current lot, had/have hardware protection at the word level. Each word in memory has a a number of tag bits which tell the hardware what can be done with this word. Protection from over-write or read is at the segment level and again done with hardware segment limit registers which contain the storage limits accessible by the currently executing code. All code is marked execute only and data are separated into different segments depending on the compiler based definitions.

I think Bell and Newell cover this design but I'm old and can't remember the real technical stuff, just the fluff level I wrote above.

David Beck

Re: almost Ah, the days before memory protection seemed necessary...


I worked on the RCA designs from 1967 until 1980 or so. Spectra followed by the RCA series and, after the Univac purchase of the RCA computer division, the Univac Series 90 machines. The Series 90 designs were EOL'ed as a part of the slimming exercise after Univac and Burroughs merged two 4billion dollar companies into one 4billion dollar company. This was 1986/87. Siemens, a licencee of the designs, left over from RCA days, continued with new machines from Fujitsu but still using software (BS2000) which originated in Cherry Hill, NJ in the RCA days.

If you want to play with non-IBM mainframes, both OS2200 (or EXEC8 as we like to call it) and MCP are available for download with emulators, be prepared it's a different world.

David Beck

Re: Ah, the days before memory protection seemed necessary...

The "four processor states" was an RCA thing, the IBM 360's only had privileged and non-privileged. Both designs had hardware memory protect in either 2k or 4k "pages". Everybody used 2k if they used memory protect at all. I worked on both systems in the late 1960's and 1970's. Lots of DOS/360 users had small memory machines 32KB and under, DOS would run in a 16KB machine, not just the OS but also its compiler family, COBOL/Fortran/PL/1. They needed a minimum partition of 8KB to run. The PL1 G compiler (about 60 overlays) had to swap out the root code for one large overlay to fit. If a new release of the OS bumped the OS over the 8KB boundry all hell broke loose and you went hunting for bytes. Since you lost all of a 2k protect segment if one byte was used the solution (until you could squeeze out those last 8 bytes you needed, the linker and loader worked on doubleword boundries) was to turn off memory protect. God I miss those days.

The Airline Control Program (ACP) which was the environment for IBM's airline package for years, used 2KB protection and 2KB overlays, that is no transaction code could exceed 2KB. You just chained a bunch together if you needed more. It was still better than coding in today's environments.

BR 14

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

David Beck

Re: Also works the other way round

They ask this question so they can determine if they have mis-dialled or if they have been given the wrong number. This is to avoid assuming a mis-dial and ringing you again because the problem was they had been given an incorrect number or transcribed incorrectly. How would you make this decision?

Google reveals how its Borg clusters have evolved yet still only use about 60 percent of resources (Alibaba might do better)

David Beck


In the past the 60% loading was attributed to temperature management in the data centres.

Motorola casually trots out third UK release in as many months: This time it's a 'Lite' take on the Moto G8 Power

David Beck

Agreed, I'd like NFC and a removable battery like my G5 too.

David Beck

Might be useful with a 5" screen

I have a G5, without suffix, 5" screen, 32GB/3GB, removable 2800mAh battery, 5gHz wifi, missing NFC. In fact I have two of them, and two addition batteries. Can someone suggest why I might want this monster? I agree with stratman, make an upgrade to the G5 and I'll take an interest.

Apple sues iPhone CPU design ace after he quits to run data-center chip upstart Nuvia

David Beck


Anyone recognise the language in which the "counter argument" is written? It appears to be a branch of English which does not have gerunds.

One man's mistake, missing backups and complete reboot: The tale of Europe's Galileo satellites going dark

David Beck

Ask a Bosnian how that's going.

Delayed, over-budget smart meters will be helpful – when Blighty enters 'Star Trek phase'

David Beck

Re: Great

Before smart meters Eon gave these out to customers. I still have one in the box as there were too many spiders in the electrics box for my taste so it never got fitted.

If you really can't let go of Windows 7, Microsoft will keep things secure for another three years

David Beck

Re: Given the cost of a Windows 10 Pro license...

More likely part of a second hand licence deal usually but not always associated with companies going out of business. see-


'Lightweight' UPS-style flywheels to power naval laser zappers

David Beck

Re: F1 KERS flywheels

That would be Univac and Fastran drums. The Fastrans weighed about 5000 pounds and were about 8 ft long. I believe the problem was the bearings in the drums failing with the subsequent havoc, assuming this is all true and not just urban (naval?) legend. The Fastrans were real but were they ever deployed on a ship?

DNAaaahahaha: Twins' 23andMe, Ancestry, etc genetic tests vary wildly, surprising no one

David Beck

Re: Don't listen to naysayers

Thank you, saved me writing the same comment.

The DNA tests are fine, the interpreting for "ethnicity" is dodgy and different for each company as their databases differ.

What is not in question is the ability to match DNA for families whose members are tested. In what amounts to thousands of blind trials family members who did not know their cousin/brother/sister had the test got a resultant match when their results were returned.

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

David Beck


Maybe not 32GB but I've no problems with my X220 (real keyboard) and 16GB of RAM. You may need to update the BIOS to a modded version.

The big stuff can run on the desktop (HPxw6600 with 32GB RAM and 2xXeon (8xCores). The RAM was £40 when I bought it but it's on eBay for £26.00 just now. The chassis with two CPUs was £189.

I haven't anything but used for 15 years.

Y'know what? VoIP can also be free from pesky regulation – US judges

David Beck


I have a similar situation, not BT fibre but only fibre to the house. In the cupboard there is a small UPS, cost of about £50, into which is plugged, router, ATA and PoE switch needed for wifi. I get about an hour from the UPS under the current (excuse pun) load. ONT has its own battery but I think it only gets about 20mins. I could have gone for a cheaper UPS with less reserve time but I liked the one I bought.

David Beck

IF VoIP isn't a phone service then will all the charges/taxes disappear?

From my last US Vonage bill -

U.S. and Canada 750 for 1-(919)-338-xxxx (24/Jun-23/Jul) $19.99

Vonage Extensions for 1-(919)-360-xxxx (24/Jun-23/Jul) $0.00

International Calls for 1-(919)-338-xxxx (24/May-23/Jun) $16.66

United Kingdom Virtual Phone Number for 44-(207)-993-xxxx (24/Jun-23/Jul) $4.99

Taxes & Fees

Regulatory, Compliance and Intellectual Property Fee $1.99

Emergency 911 and Information Services Fee $1.99

Federal Program Fee $5.06

State Telecommunications Sales Tax $3.55

State 911 Fee $0.60

Total Amount $54.83

So for my $24.98 in services and $16.66 in call charges I paid $13.19 in taxes and fees, because it was a telephone.

I assume that if it is no longer a telephone then none of the listed taxes and fees apply, although there will probably be some sales tax rate applied.

Looks like a win to me.

Bank of England to set new standards for when IT goes bad

David Beck

Re: Banks too big to fail ...

The old system worked. It was the new shiny one that went all to crap.

Schadenfreude for UK mobile networks over the tumult at Carphone

David Beck

wireless charging

If you use a silicon case you can put the charging coil between the case and the phone back. Been doing it for years.

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever

David Beck

Re: £14 billion

It's £180 odd million a week nett. That means after all the items you listed as "money coming back". And why develop another GPS, without the French involved we can use the US one.

Autonomy pulled wool over Brit finance panel's eyes, US court told

David Beck

KPMG did the due diligence

And even if the Autonomy accounts had been perfect there was no way they were worth $11bn. This was all vanity using the shareholders money.

Car-crash television: 'Excuse me ma'am, do you speak English?' 'Yes I do,' replies AMD's CEO

David Beck

Re: F1 is a Car Crash

You got the wrong cars. What you just described is Indy racing. Circular track, IC engine only, ...

F1 uses sports car track, like VIR or Sebring, "engine" is hybrid, bodies are to the formula but not at all similar (only in the sense that all aircraft are similar). Regarding the electronics, the average F1 car has about 120 sensors reporting to the pits and on to the factory during the race. Admittedly quite a few of these are temperature sensors but if you are going to fly a 600 kilo car at 1 cm above the ground at 320 kph using a 1000 horsepower engine, temperature is a big deal.

As for Brundle's aborted interview with the AMD CEO, it was nothing compared to when he attempted to interview Maria Carey.

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

David Beck

Applies to primaries only. Does that explain it enough?

Bosch and Daimler jump in together on driverless vehicle tech

David Beck

MB have had it for years

My 2009 reg A-Class has it. Works okay. Has a mode that detects if a space is big enough to fit as well as actually park the car. The driver controls petals and follows instructions, car handles steering. Only really useful if you are crap at parallel parking.

T-Mobile goes Apple/Google route by separating phone numbers and devices

David Beck

Re: I wonder how WhatsApp will cope with that

For me WhatsApp used the SIM number of SIM1 (dual SIM phone). What goes out as caller ID depends on dialer. So even though my phone rings when any of four numbers are called, two UK and two US, WhatsApp only cares about the one.

David Beck

Re: App versus battery

JetsetJim is right.

I've been doing this with my much maligned Vonage acct since 2005. Moved to Vonage UK a few years ago with virtual US number and receive calls on UK mobile, wife's rings too. Outgoing via Vonage app for int'l calls. Haven't had a phone plugged into the Vonage box for years. Or the box plugged in for that matter.

'Grey technology' should be the new black

David Beck

Re: Thank you for a thoughtful article

I'm surprised the call didn't start with the disclaimer, "For training purposes this call may be recorded". I consider this permission to record, if they didn't mean it as permission there are many ways to express the alternative meanings without confusion.

Make America, wait, what again? US Army may need foreign weapons to keep up

David Beck

Re: Military-industrial 101

Thanks, I was waiting for someone to give the Poles's their due. You might add the French lot as well as they did quite a lot of work.

The English contribution (Bletchley Park) was to solve the problem quickly enough to be useful. Most of that work was done by the PO engineer Tommy Flowers with direction from Turing.

Don't consider films, even English ones, as a reliable source.

US Navy runs into snags with aircraft carrier's electric plane-slingshot

David Beck

Re: We all need less stress...

LBJ also said of why he didn't fire J Edgar Hoover -

“It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”

An often appropriate assessment in the political (and corporate) world.

San Francisco first US city to outlaw ISP lock-ins by landlords

David Beck

Not a problem in the UK because it's poorly serviced by cable and most internet is delivered by copper from the local cabinet. In the US the concept of LLU does not exist.

David Beck

Re: About dang time!

There are apartment complexes without copper telephone lines to each apartment? Amazing.

Brussels cunning plan to save the EU: No more Cookie Popups

David Beck

Re: Love the EU again?

Did "Murdoch" write -


I believe you'll find this enlightening by what it doesn't say the MEPs do, initiate legislation.

David Beck

Re: Scapegoats

Depends, if the Commission has already a Directive which exhibits "competency" in the area of the Directive then the Parliament is not needed. If the Directive is a new competency, as allowed by a new or changed treaty, then the Parliament gets to say yes or no (with some small ability to amend). The discussions occur in Brussels but as you know all votes occur in Strasbourg since the French just couldn't stand the idea that the EU offices were all in Belgium. I suggest that we follow and move all UK parliamentary voting to the Isle of Man.

David Beck

Re: Love the EU again?


It is consultative. The MEPs can only agree, amend or decline what the Commission presents and only then if they need to ask the MEPs at all, that is, not a Directive. The MEPs cannot initiate legislation.

I'm not using my memory, just -


Amazon's Netflix-gnasher to hit top gear In December

David Beck

Re: Just switching from next day to some time delivery pays for the subscription.

They pay you to not use the next day part, in the form of vouchers for books & music. If you buy lots the vouchers can generate a net savings on the other purchases.

Brexflation: Lenovo, HPE and Walkers crisps all set for double-digit hike

David Beck

Re: Whilst I don't disagree with the thrust of the article...

Potatoes are harvested by machine. There is almost no manual labour involved, at least this is true in countries which do not have access to a supply of cheap labour. If the cost of labour moves the UK into the 20th century in farming methods it can't be all bad.

Google may just have silently snuffed the tablet computer

David Beck

My Lenovo A3000 just needed a factory reset and app reload to fix a similar slow down, also clean SD card. I found thousands of orphaned files on SD card. Appears Android not to tidy.

Australia boards the slow boat to Brexit

David Beck

Re: Post-brexit UK trade deals with individual EU member states

Given that no EU country can make a trade deal, this would suggest the author of the article is clueless.

Given that no El Reg editor noticed this suggests that ...

Try to stick to what you pretend to know about.

Cooky crumbles: Apple mulls yanking profits out of Europe and into US

David Beck

Re: It's not about fair, it's about the law

Correct, the people most unhappy if Apple pay up will be the Irish Finance Ministry. No company in its right mind would commit based on the Ministry's legal position since that could be over turned by the Commission using anything they happen to have a "competency" in, in this case monopoly. The Commission doesn't have "competency" in tax, yet, I but can imagine Junker licking his lips now.

Not anonymous since I don't really care what a bunch of whiners think, I raised a teenager to adulthood without killing it.

New UK trade deals would not compensate for loss of single market membership

David Beck

Re: Really ....

So true, but conversely, if you want to replace MB and BMW as the premium brand as has happened in the US, you make a trade agreement with one country, Japan, and Lexus becomes the premium brand as it has there. It's only magic when you don't know how it's done.

Shock: Apple patents the phone book

David Beck

Re: CF-53 Toughbook....

At least 10 years of mobile data in ThinkPads.

My X60 built in 2006 has a Sierra 3G card but it has an external plastic bump on the lid which I suspect contains the 3G antenna. The X220 I use daily has 3G but the lid has a plastic edge at the top of the screen. I never buy new, I always buy ThinkPads and for the past five years always with 3G support.

Kotkin on who made Trump and Brexit: Look in the mirror, it's you

David Beck

Re: Really?

The UK just voted to leave the EU. If the negotiations for access the "Common Market" are acceptable to the UK it would remain a favoured trading partner, if not then it will just have to deal with the rest of the world instead. Lexus not Mercedes, Dyson not Miele, UK milk not Polish. Exports to India, China and the other BRICKs as well as the US. The EU has had 6 years to make a trade treaty with India and hasn't. Do you really think the UK cannot have a treaty ready for the day after exit?

David Beck

Re: Really?

I think you will find that MEPs don't actually initiate legislation,. Their job is to vote on what is passed to them by the Commission (unelected). You only get what the Commission wants. So you MEPs job is to rubber stamp Commission policy by definition. That's what MEPs do.

UK digi strategy on ice post Brexit results - sources

David Beck

Re: Register's list of Brexit Impacts

You don't need to pass a law. All EU regulations and directives are UK law. That's what being in the EU meant. Does no one here know anything about the EU?

David Beck

Re: @Doctor Syntax

There is no "EU" money, it all comes from the member states and since the UK sends more than comes back, the money Cornwall gets for having it's fishing industry destroyed by the Common Fisheries Policy is UK money passed through the bowels of Brussels.

Just a thought.

Energy companies aren't going to slurp your personal data. Honest

David Beck

Re: UK Energy Market

Energy Efficiency Directive, a government but not yours.

Unisys releases its ClearPath MCP OS for VMs or x86

David Beck

Re: Interestingly, there's a free "Express" edition for download

The OS2200 package can be downloaded to a UK IP. I know because I have it installed. I was surprised to find it included a pretty full set of software as well as the OS. For the Unisys/EXEC8 aware, you get the UCS compilers, no CMS but mini-CMS is included, DMS, TIP, ... all the normal stuff. This is the "Express" edition.

I feel like I'm in 1980 but my hair is still grey.

Amazon ports Alexa voice assistant to Raspberry Pi

David Beck

Why haven't Amazon released a smart-phone version?





USA only

Government hails superfast broadband deal for new homes

David Beck

Re: From the linked report

Sure, the developer makes an exclusive agreement with an infrastructure company like IFNL (who retail as Seethelight). No other supplier can install kit, including Openreach, Virgin,... Money is involved.

David Beck

Re: Still building mud and sticks.

Absolutely agree, UK new builds look like 1950s floorplans. No storage, microscopic bedrooms, open plan means there is room in the kitchen for a small table. Too much carpet and not enough insulation.