* Posts by Caustic Soda

37 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jun 2008

5G frequencies won't interfere with airliners here, UK and EU aviation regulators say

Caustic Soda

Comms regulators know nothing about RF? I am shocked....

It's been clear for a long time that OFCOM is staffed by people who know more about Eastenders than electronics, and that their comms reg stuff is much more focussed on people saying rude things on the TV and radio than it is on anything wireless. Cabled stuff falls somewhere in between ("When in doubt, blame Openreach!")

However that things are as bad everywhere else is a bit of a worry. There is no danger that 5G is going to interfere with anything on frequencies so far removed and I doubt very much that radio altimeters exhibit the poor selectivity of a Midland 1001 CB radio.

Rip and replace is such a long Huawei to go, UK telcos plead, citing 'blackouts' and 'billion pound' costs: Are Vodafone and BT playing 'Project Fear'?

Caustic Soda

I said I think there is a fair risk of future Huawei deliveries being compromised. This isn't about Trump - I can't stand the guy. It is about getting telcos to be honest about the cost to them of a change in the regulatory framework.

Caustic Soda

The waters are being muddied deliberately by telcos. Nobody is talking about making them remove Huawei from legacy networks, but they are lumping the costs in as if they were being told to do that. The cost of getting Huawei out of 5G for any of the big networks is no more than half a billion each, from starting to strip it out to equipping with non-spyware-compromised kit. The thing not being talked about enough in 5G security is that the most vulnerable bit of the network is still the bit which breathes and uses its own shop-bought hardware in a secuty-compromising fashion.

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position

Caustic Soda

Surely you mean "five by nine" and not "five by five". S5 is only moderately strong.

Auf wiedersehen, pet: UK Deutsche Bank contractors plan to leave rather than take 25% pay cut for IR35 – report

Caustic Soda

And most of them already get paid their weight in gold. I don't see any GPs or consultants sticking up for nurses who get screwed over every pay review while they protect their tax breaks.

Caustic Soda

As someone who has long been a salaried employee in an environment where freelancers have dodged taxes and ponced off taxpayers, IR35 can't come quickly enough. Other people who can go away rapidly: highly-paid hospital consultants and GPs who complain about pension taxation paid by everyone else in society.

Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

Caustic Soda

I get that, but some of us have very nice audio equipment which we expect high standards from. A high-fidelity broadcast will still be "compatible" with a 2" speaker on a kitchen radio. An MP2 DAB broadcast sounds absolutely terrible on my floor-standing Mission speakers. It costs nobody any more to produce a hi-fi signal than it does an MP2 one.

Caustic Soda

The Government should continue to ignore the tedious bleating from the DAB industry that we should turn off analogue. DAB is a hopeless technology which delivers audio quality not much better than AM.

Radio hackers set off Dallas emergency sirens at midnight as a prank

Caustic Soda

I live near a place which has siren tests every 3 months (it's nuke-related) and although they have been going on for 40 years, there are still people who panic and call 999 (this being the UK) to try to find out what's going on.

South China waters are red, Brit warships are blue, HMS Sutherland's sailing there

Caustic Soda

The Chinese have been sailing in European waters for years and it generates the usual hysteria in the Dail Fail.

BAE confirms it is slashing 2,000 jobs

Caustic Soda

The government is cutting spending on a number of areas of defence. What do people expect to happen?

Blade Runner 2049 review: Scott's vision versus Villeneuve's skill

Caustic Soda

The Pan Am logo was one of the most often-seen adverts in the original. I know they're defunct IRL but having them back in 2049 is both a reminder to suspend disbelief and a sign of continuity for those who paid attention to the first film.

Northern Ireland cops hired cybersecurity biz to ID critics on Twitter

Caustic Soda

The moral of this then is that despite the assumptions of Amber Rudd, unless you are "sloppy", it is quite possible to carry on anonymously on social media. Don't bareback the internet and there is no danger of you being caught by the Spooks.

HMS Queen Liz will arrive in Portsmouth soon, says MoD

Caustic Soda

That's why the RN is the world-leader in MCM.

Caustic Soda

Watertight compartments mean watertight compartments. The Titanic's weren't watertight. Nor were Belgrano's. A compartment isn't watertight if you don't close the doors or someone's drilled an unauthorised hole through the bulkhead. QE has got a variety of sensors and interlocks to ensure that her compartments jolly well are watertight, or that someone in responsibility will know all about it.

Caustic Soda

You vastly underestimate the survivability of big ships with watertight compartments.

Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe

Caustic Soda

The DUP isn't getting a penny. It is the Northern Ireland government which is getting the money, a government which has been a power-sharing arrangement for many years. In fact the whole promise of money for NI is conditional on a power-sharing arrangement being confirmed within a short timescale.

If you're going to dabble in politics, please get the details right.

Italian F-35 facility rolls out its first STOVL stealth fighter

Caustic Soda

The Turkish question isn't going away. The way the West has appeased Erdogan and his chums is disgusting, and it is hard to see a way to any stable settlement in the Middle East which doesn't eventually put him on the other side of the problem to us. Unless of course we are happy for him to gas the Kurds, turn a blind eye to Daesh, carry on with his insidious propaganda aimed at European countries, etc, etc.

HMS Queen Lizzie to carry American jets and sail in support of US foreign policy

Caustic Soda

Awful lot of fuss about F35-B. The whole F-35B programme has slipped, and ours won't be built when QE comes into service. Thank God she's 4 years late or El Reg would have had a coronary about her having to fly helos only for 5 years.

The Yanks are going to help us work up our deck crew - we have not had to manage a fleet carrier since Hermes was sold, arguably not since Ark IV - and we get to fly the flag in a part of the world where we have a stake but have taken no responsibility for decades.

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Caustic Soda

Just because it takes several terabits/s of bandwidth to transmit pictures of cats around teh intarwebz it doesn't mean that you can't target missiles on old computers. The Nazis managed to target ballistic missiles with a clockwork computer.

That's not an Ofcom email about your radio licence – it's a TROJAN

Caustic Soda

I've just seen this on Twitter from someone with an M3 callsign - didn't realise it was affecting CB radio users too.

BBC clamps down on illicit iPlayer watchers

Caustic Soda

The sad decline of the BBC's engineering and R&D side is a consequence not just of cash pressure but idiotic management. get_iplayer was technically a "pirate" bit of software, but it had a bit of a conscience. BBC could do worse than recruit the people who built and maintained it to tell them how to build a proper bit of software that does a job people want. Instead Auntie has buggered about with iPlayer functionality several times over the years and managed to make it a little bit worse each time.

ICANN, ICAN'T, IWON'T: uWHAT? How the internet is actually run

Caustic Soda

Why would the UK DVLA need to be represented at this meeting? So the taxpayer paid for the business class flights etc, did they?

Son of Hudl: Tesco flogs new Atom-powered 8.3-inch Android tablet

Caustic Soda

"Will hove into view". Hove is the past participle of heave, or a rather up-itself suburb of Brighton.

4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM

Caustic Soda

I can't see Rantic getting very far with this attempt to shut 4chan. Bet they can't even Triforce.

Freeview telly test suggests 4G interference may not be a big deal

Caustic Soda

There is the possibility that they did the tests in conditions which didn't take into account all the vagaries of UHF propagation, but the original claims made about likely 4G interference were pretty stupid. Lots of dodgy aerial fitters were rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of another bonanza along the lines of DSO.

British radio telescope genius Sir Bernard Lovell dies

Caustic Soda

The Russians bombarded the US Embassy with microwaves for years.

US military pays SETI to check Kepler-22b for aliens

Caustic Soda

Do you copy, Rubber Duck?

It's only really since the 30s that we've been producing radio transmissions at VHF and above. Transmissions at lower frequencies would have been heavily attenuated or refracted back to Earth in the ionosphere except for whatever energy at the upper end of the HF spectrum went (more or less) straight up in the air. The "clock" for "first reception of Earthly transmissions" didn't start ticking in 1901 with Marconi, you're looking (as with Contact) at TV and radar in the 30s as a starting point. When the "radio timeline" gets to the 70s/80s, God knows what our new alien overlords will make of goings on around 27MHz.

Virgin Media touts high-speed signups and TiVO

Caustic Soda

Virgin are good enough when they work. I have TV/Phone/50Mb BB and am usually happy but when it goes wrong, it is a disaster. They have disconnected me rather than my neighbours (when they have terminated their service) three times over the years. The last time I started out with the Fault line (ending up somewhere in Asia via what sounded like a 1950s SSB radio circuit), who told me the account was closed, so I needed to call Accounts & Retentions. Called them, they are somewhere in the UK. They blamed the Sales team, somewhere else in the UK, who had called my new neighbours who didn't want to sign up but who marked my account for closure instead. "They are always doing that sort of thing" sighed the girl in Accounts & Retentions sadly. Wasted 2-3 days of phone calls to these various people before I finally started moaning on Twitter and then, "shazaam", they asked me to get in touch again and the whole thing was sorted in about 5 minutes. I shouldn't have to gob off to 2k followers on Twitter to get the basics of customer service out of them.

Fox News outs Beatles as 'Manchester's favorite mopheads'

Caustic Soda


Aren't The Fall technically a Salford band, rather than a Manchester one?

Vulcan kept airborne by £400k refuel

Caustic Soda

Lee on Solent airshows passim

When HMS Daedalus was still operational, they used to have an airshow most years, and though the Red Arrows used to turn up, the thing that always stole the show was the Vulcan flypast.

I didn't go all that often, because I had no need to. It always seemed that the Vulcan's flightpath took it directly over my house in Pompey, usually not much altitude. Quite often it would bank over Pompey with the throttles well up to line up its run over Gosport, and it was just the most amazing thing I have ever seen or heard.

I was lying on Southsea Common when the Vulc flew over on its way somewhere last summer and it brought a lump to my throat to have that memory of childhood brought back. Don't give a flying you-know-what if it's illogial, or obsolete, or expensive to maintain, it is a symbol of the innovation and excellence that made this country great and should be maintained to show future generations how beauty can be combined with technical brilliance.

Radio Society tries to beat back powerline networks

Caustic Soda

How To Please Everyone

Now that the Amateur Radio Service has been reduced to CB-levels of technical competence by the Foundation Licence, the sensible thing to do is ban PLT and reallocate some of the bloated spectrum allocation hams enjoy to accommodate wireless.

El Reg uncovers Tiger Woods tech angle

Caustic Soda


I hope Tiger's lawyers see this thread. I had absolutely no interest in what Woods has been up to, until he started abusing the English legal process.

It took no time at all to find the "offending matter" on websites hosted overseas, dragging up in the search lots of comment along the lines of "what filthy perversions might Woods be trying to hide?".

Big own goal Tiger - or should I say "double bogey"?

First ever supersonic stealth jumpjet starts hover tests at last

Caustic Soda

Cheapest way to do the job...

...put our proven maritime reactor technology in, put the wires and plumbing in, and fly Rafales.

It will please our French collaborators and save us a bleedin' fortune. Unless we do something silly like buy Rafales but insist they have RR engines...

Mine's the coat with four stars on the epaulettes.

Luvvies make last ditch appeal for radio mics

Caustic Soda


There is plenty of bandspace out there which Ofcom could recycle more effectively than radio mics.

It makes little sense to scrap technologically-backward but much used analogue TV and keep technologically-backward and widely-derided DAB in Band III.

It makes even less sense to leave the swathes of secondary-allocation bandspace radio amateurs have, especially that Ofcom has reduced the entry requirements for a licence to CB radio levels. The RSGB will kick off about it, but a small reduction in the percentage available to the "service", as it used to be called, would free up plenty of space for Ofcom to flog. How much do the RSGB pay for their freq allocs at the moment?

Agency sues to stop Defcon speakers from revealing gaping holes

Caustic Soda

Cures, diseases, stable doors, etc

One thing I have never understood about the US is that whenever someone is humiliated, they seem to try to find grounds to sue whoever has caused the upset. This generally results (a) in amplifying the original sense of humiliation and (b) getting laughed at by anyone who didn't hear the original story. In this case, MBTA have brought the integrity problem to a far larger audience than it would have had had the students just given the presentation.

I can see them now, sat around the MBTA boardroom, saying to each other "...and we would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for them pesky kids...."

BT starts threatening music downloaders with internet cut-off

Caustic Soda
Paris Hilton

Who at BT gets the letter?

When I binned BT a few years back, they were offering all their users access to huge amounts of copyrighted music through their Usenet servers.

Who at BT gets to write to themselves in these sorts of circumstances?

Paris, cos there isn't one of the gorgeous redhead in GA.