* Posts by John Smith 19

16301 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

John Smith 19 Gold badge

So let's give them the chance -

Never going to happe in a FPTP political system.

You can vote to keep your MP in

Or vote get them out.

But you can't effectively choose who replaces them because your best (only) chance is to vote the runner-up last time and hope the other parties know this and don't push their campaigns too hard (that's not a "pact" because they don't withdraw and you can still vote for them if you want to) so they don't split the oppostion vote and the same old MP gets in yet again

Sounds cynicl?

You want to do better?


John Smith 19 Gold badge
IT Angle

2 issues

The IT f**kup first, althouth it has been discussed in other forums

Highly customised SAP installation (been in for > a decade) is decided to be replaced with vanilla Oracle system

No customomisation. So they can continue to load upgrades.

Not sure how much documenting of the exiisting system they did, or how much mapping of existing tasks to new Oracle system. Not nearly enough I'd say

Genius f**king plan.

In the process they also discovered a small number of people with empty 2nd homes, who they dropped a 3x basic council tax bill backdated to 2013 in some case, which was as far as the regs in the ammended version of the Local Govt Finance Act 1992 allowed them (From 0 debt to 10s of £1000s instantly. Yes that is legal. And there is no appeal process I'm told. Quite the Kafkesque nightmare in fact)

But the big one was the notion that the Equal Pay Act (1970) somehow didn't apply to them. :-(

They tried to sort that one out a decade ago.

F**ked that up and now it's come back to bite them again.

I say get the stupid f**king halfwitted Councillors (and the Senior staffers who advised them) who are still alive and were resposnible for each tranche of f**kwittedness and make them pay.

Sure the Council won't get all the money they need but a bunch of misogynistic Aholes being made bankrupt sends a pretty good message for the future.

F**king retards.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"significant in "largest local authority in Europe". "


It means they have enormous purchasing power and could (if they knew what they were doing) get very good deals on all sorts of stuff and generally be a huge source of good in the greater West Midlands area.

If they had a f**king clue what they were doing of course.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Agencies are milking the tax payer dry and only answer is to raise taxes further."

And hve been.

For decades.

It's the same old scam.

"Oh we can't afford another permanent nurse (with their training and patient)"

Oh no

But you can afford an agency person at 4x the price to the NHS (not that the nurse will see anywhere near that).

John Smith 19 Gold badge

went cap in hand to the IMF

In fact he was the last time UK revenues has such a drastic revision upward

Which (when it worked its way through the books) meant he could pay back about 1/2 what he borrow.

Memory is not to be trusted in maters of history (or economics)

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"they buy in "consultants and advisors""

That's "they buy in "con-sultants and advisors

I've worked with (and for) enough of these people.

"The answer is yes (unless you want it to be no)"

UK flights disrupted by 'technical issue' with air traffic computer system

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Surely...several generations of software have actually failed to remove the vulnerability? "

You really have no idea how big bespoke systems are developed. Ever looked at the UI for Adobe? Still s***t.

The fun starts when supposedly clean sheet systems, developed with no (honest) legacy code at all also display the same bug.

I supposed it's total backwards compatability.

But do you really need that?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

" hard of input validation?"

Like what you did there.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Are you f**king kidding me?

"A piece of rogue flight data, that's extremely rare"

Never trust user supplied data.


And HTF did this info get into a system that deep that it could cause the whole system to go TITSUP?

Bosch goes all-in on hydrogen with €2.5B investment by 2026

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: Hydrogen. The scientists choice for the next common fuel

"It Actually takes 75% of the energy it stores."

In what form Mr (or Ms) AC would that be?

And a reference would be nice, given you're not even providing us with your name

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Hydrogen. The scientists choice for the next common fuel

But what a PITA

It takes roughly 3x the energy it stores to either hold it as a gas (at 5000psi, which under USAF range safety rules qualifies the tanks as a "several lbs of TNT" equivalent) or store it as a liquid at -253c

It's very good at diffusing through pipes (and the US methane natural gas industry will admit to loosing 2% of the gas it carries already)

There is one interesting option however. In the late 70s/early 80 the fusion crowd looked at making "microballoons" with internal pressures of 80-200atm.

turned out Iron doped hollow glass spheres, when exposed to IR could have their diffusion rates raised 100x, making loading them potentially very fast, either inside a vevehicle tank or at a loading station with the beads.

But for practical usage engineers prefer Ammonia (which also burns without releasing CO2) stores around -30c or less thant 40atms of storage. Work has been done on such fuel cells since the 60s, but mostly around the hydrazines, which are very toxic.

NASA 'quiet' supersonic jet is nearly ready for flight

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: "Concorde famously burned an awful lot of it's fuel just getting off the ground "

"Being really picky (I know that’s uncommon around here), being a British jet engine design it’s technically called reheat rather than afterburner."


"Whatever it’s called, it gives your more power, but at the expense of appalling fuel efficiency!"


IIRC the rule-of-thumb is 2x the thrust at 3x the fuel consumption.

So you don't use it unless you really need it.*

If they had built more Concordes they had planned to drop the reheat.

That's my understanding.

*The joker in the pack is of course the SR-71, the first (and only) aircraft designed to operate under continuous AB (well, it was American)

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: Is there a point to this?

Yes, a couple

One is where something (or someone) has to be physically sent someplace ASAP and remote computer access won't work as a proxy for that person.

The question is wheather there is enough of a market to justify the development for what is less than what Concorde offered (but is still 50% better than any airliner flying today)

Development-wise the big joker in this pack is the engine.

Concorde was powered by an engine already developed for V bombers, so large thrust. AFAIK no one builds pure jets this big these days (even back as far as the Phantoms and the F111 they were low bypass turbofans) and a supersonic passenger plane carrying the engine development bill as well is going to need a lot of cash.

Unless of course you engage the assistance of Reaction Engines to put a pre-cooler in front of a current generation LBR turbofan (if you can buy such a thing on the commercial market, most AFAIK are military). A pre-cooler means (in theory) any turbofan can be used, but the ones on civillian passenger jets are very big, so very large frontal area. Either you junk them (turning it back into a pure turbojet) or get a new blade set which are much shorter. I'm not even sure either of these options is actually possible. They should be cheaper than a new-build engine, but I'm not sure by how much.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

It's an X plane.

Proper X plane programmes are designed to acquire a "Capability"

In this case "Exceed M1 at an acceptable altitude and with an acceptable level of boom"

In an X programme everything is sacrificed to the core goal. Everything else should be as OTS as possible (which BTW is what most pilots who've seen the SR71 cockpit notice. "Most of the controls are so normal"). So don't expect its fuel consumption to be good enough for a real SST, because that's not a core requirement.

It's to get the data into the database that the next generation of (US based) aircraft mfgs can use to build an actual passenger carrier.

Note that per Skunk Works doctrine LM do a chunk of their own flight testing before it goes to NASA, although it's been decades since LM left the commercial airline business.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: Can anyone confirm this Silent Supersonic memory

The terminology for this is tricky. I think the common phase is "Ring wing"

Yes they have been researched, mostly in the 20's and 30's but later in the 50's. Nasa NTRS, Cranfield and the U North Texas servers should have several reports on them (UNT treats NACA as a separate section which is probably when the work was done). And yes people have built actual aircraft to test the idea out. Yes they do fly, but I don't recall any of them going to M1 IRL.

Usuaully the line of reasoning has been "Wings form drag producing vortices at their ends. What if we extend them together so there are no ends?"

So it's usually viewed as a drag reduction strategy.

Good luck and happy reading.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Actually it wasn't so much a boom as a bang.

Like a high velocity bullet.

And for the same reason.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Concorde famously burned an awful lot of it's fuel just getting off the ground "

Well it was the only civilian aircraft ever with an afterburner :-)

Both mfgs were aware of this and had they had a continual programme of flight tests during the early days.

Had they got to the 17th Concorde they planned a series of structural and engine upgrades that would cut the noise and ended in eliminating the AB entirely.

Eliminating AB saves a lot of fuel from the takeoff and punching through the M1 drag rise (which drops back around M1.1. IOW all the early transonic aircraft were trying to fly in the worst speed for drag rise).

And lets not forget that Concorde demonstrated supercruise (no AB) for decades before the F35 made such a big thing of it.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: As much political as technical"Blowing exhaust Over the wing to create lift."

Oh you mean like the Buccanneer did in the 50's? * It cut the size of the wing by about half

It'll be fun to see what happens when someone finally applies Pradtl's second paper on optimising the wing to reduce root loading to the supersonic design problem.

*Roughly the nearest UK equivalent to the A4 Skyhawk.

Post-Brexit tariffs on cross EU-UK electrical vehicle imports still going ahead

John Smith 19 Gold badge
Thumb Up

Arguments for a horse and cart transport policy...many opportunities for the staw men, Hmm?


John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Ramming in the electrons...packs to heat up...heat can be an enemy of chemical processes. I "


Which is why Reaction Engines have set up a specialist division to handle thermal management of EV battery systems.

Turns out the skills needed to design a system that can cool (but not liquify) air to near liquid nitrogen temeperatures are exactly the sam needed to manage fast temperature spikes brought on by fast charging batteries (of whatever description)

TBH I suspect there is acutally an optimum charging temperature at which the electrons go in quickest. let get up to that, then manage it to keep it on the swee spot.

Just an idea.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

string up the froggie named traitor

Now think of all the good he's done..

What helps currency speculators (which is what Farage was before he bacame the "Man of the PayPal" we know to day) is chaos

Speculators always have a plan to make money when exchange rates go on a roller-coaster.

Of course they need some massive event to put a major world currency in play and start making some real money.

Like 17 million deluded/greedy/gullible people committing a massive act of national self harm for example.

He salutes the people of (mostly) England.

UK currency speculators couldn't have earned anywhere near the bonuses they did without you.

Of course the real economy took about a 5% hit. But those are little people. Right Nige?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"BREXIT Mean Failure."

What Teresa May wanted to say all along?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

When did facts ever have any bearing on a religion like Brexit?


From the lie on the bus and it's matching statement-which-was-not-a-promise (although I'm sure a lot of quitters read it as such) to the idea that the HoC would dare to ask for a debate on brexit, when (supposedly) this was all about the HoCs right to assert its sovereignty the pervassive odour of quitter bu***it has been like the wiff from a field freshly spread with cow dung.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

To the "Oh but in Johnson's head he already is a Great Man" down voter.

so someone here thinks my description of him as a "a vacous, lazy, superficial chancer who's driven by self interest and a massive sense of entitlement" is unfair.

Alright, please, share with us what his admirable qualities are.

And if you're going to start with "He got the covid vaccine rollout working" I'd reply

"And created a system of crony access that stiffed HMG with £15Bn of unussable IE not just overpriced but actually not-fit-for-purpose PPE.

IOW £15Bn of UK taxpayers money straight down the sh**ter.

The floor is yours.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Some of those quitters wanting to raise a few upvotes"

Oh look I got a down vote.

I usually don't mind upvoting an AC if I agree on their views.

I won't be doing so on this subject.

Other commentards. Do as you wish.

But I won't.

Call it "tactical voting"

John Smith 19 Gold badge

I, for one, regret not being able to take any blame for this Brexit shitshow.

Blame? Surely the word should be pride?

After all the quitters won

The 15 million who are left (the estimate that the 2 million that gave them the majority had died off by early 2019) should look themselves in the mirror and own their victory.

Of course if you voted to quite because you thought the EU was the cause of all your problems, (which is basically what Dominic Cumins social media campagn message was) and it turned out they weren't then you shouldn't really expect things to get better for you, should you?

One of my British chums said they voted leave because they'd "heard" (but can't recall where) that the UK was a net contributor to the EU, and they thought that was jolly unfair.

When they were asked if they'd heard the phrase "The heaviest loads should be carried on the strongest shoulders" they got quite irrate.

Funny really. They've been on benefits for decades. They don't seem to mind British taxpayers helping them out.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

" openly talking about returning to the EU and how leaving was all Corbyn's fault."

Genius plan.

You might think the fact Corbyn was never Prime Minister of the UK would be an inconvenient fact that would argue against such a narrative.

But if there's one thing ew've learned it's that quitters just ignore inconvenient facts. :-(

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: "Sure, people will say the batteries can be recycled into other battery packs,

Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Stupidity is a lack of intelligence.

You appear to be using logic to make up for your ignorance, when you could just acquire some more knowledge instead. Here for example.

which is why these batteries aren't currently widely recycled.

Perhaps you should limit that idea to domestic use?

On commercial vehicles there are more incentives to have more of a round trip life cycle.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Lots of AC's agreeing the remain camp.


Most remainers have been quite open about their views.

Could it be....

Some of those quitters wanting to raise a few upvotes without having to admit they might (just possibly) have not been entirely correct in voting Leave?

Just a thought...

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"ironically his failure was lack of ambition, failing to understand how great he could have been."

Oh but in Johnson's head he already is a Great Man.

It's just all those little people who don't see his greatness and think of him as a vacous, lazy, superficial chancer who's driven by self interest and a massive sense of entitlement.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Sure, people will say the batteries can be recycled into other battery packs,

but that's just taking an already worn/degraded battery and flogging it "

That comment alone tells me you really know nothing about the subject you're talking about.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"We never had more than a very peripheral influence or

control over the vast majority of EU regulation. "

Or perhaps UK MEP's failure to work with other countries parties because they are soooo special

Or electing UKIP MEP's who trousered their money and did litereally b**ger all work for their constiuents (IE the UK).

Or that might have been because the UK had the smallest number of civil servants in the EU secretariat* Even Romaina was better represented.

Or maybe that's just a string of stories you read in the Daily Heil.

Here's the thing. The UK didn't take the European Parliament very seriously long after it became a very serious body indeed. They sent the clown prince Farage there (but they'd never be stupid enough to elect him to a "real" constituency, despite his trying (so far) 7 times).

*A body of 46 000 people (1/2 the size of the UK DWP) to administer 28 countries.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: Fuck business. They really meant it.

Actually Boris Johnson said this.

In fact you could sum up his "philosophy" (as far as he has one) as

"Fuck business" (over Brexit)

"Fuck America" (over the Norther Ireland/RoI border-that's-not-a-border mess and Joe Biden's interest in it)

I'd include "F**k smart young blondes, even if you're already married" but he's never said that out loud so I couldn't include that. It's more of an impression I have about him.

But the idea that (political) actions have actual physical (and financial) consequences IRL doesn't really seem to penetrate the majority of the public school and Oxbridge people who are running the UK government at the moment. And hasn't done so for a very long time.

Australia's 'great example of government using technology' found to be 'crude and cruel'. And literally lethal to citizens

John Smith 19 Gold badge

AC is troll?

IOW. Do not feed.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

the notion of averaging an entire year's income...sounds quite sensible to me.

Inferenecing skills are not your strong point, are they?

Let's try this.

IRL you live on the money you were paid that week or month.

Not on an average of last months and next months salary.

UK government's newest department to lead mega ERP procurement

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"BA in Politics and History "

But sadly not the history of governement IT failures.

Which would have been quite a relevant subject for her to study.

Yet another Minister with a "Big Idea."

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Perhaps a look at Birmingham City Council is instructive.

2019 Decide to take IT back in house.

Switch from heaviliy bespoked SAP to Oracle.

Estimate £20m

Current estimate £100m

Migrating a single major ERP to another single ERP.

This top-down centrally planned migrate-and-merge has f**ked up so many times before what's the odds HMG wil succeed? 100:1?

Don't get me wrong. Data centres should be merged to the places with the lowest operating costs. Remote working staff should not have to migrate if that's somewhere remote (next to a hydrolectric dam in Cumbria for example).

But it should be organic, encouraging mergers, not forcing them.

Of course following the successful campaign by SI's to emasculate the Civil Service of not just people who can do technology but even people who can manage the process of doing technology they have no f**king clue of what a s**tstorm this will be.

Now Apple takes a bite out of encryption-bypassing 'spy clause' in UK internet law

John Smith 19 Gold badge

I've been reading "True Names and the opening of the Cyberspace frontier"

The story was written in 1980 and the other articless and essays up to 1995

And f**k me sideways how much of the points raised and solutions suggested are still relevant close to 30 years later

You know, like charging for email sending with a crypto currency?

I need a drink. The same old stupidity over-and-over...and-over is too depressing.

They are like f**king cockroaches.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

It's a very simple thing to explain and understand.

As Upton Sinclair observed "No man's ignorance is so great as a man whose livelyhood depends on his ignorance"

And if you're playing the TOTC card you don't want to hear anything about "No you can't have "unsecure encryption on demand," which is basically what you want. It doesn't work that way. It's all or nothing. The mathamatics of cryptography trumps your belief that we can do this."

John Smith 19 Gold badge

And UK Gov is starting it all over again.


It's the same old cabal of data fetishists, so many of whom seem to be Oxford PPE graduates.

Many of these high level civil servants are are in the Intelligence community (Policy, not operations. IRL the equivalent to "Thomas Brian Reynolds" in Enemy of the State) so are used to putting out a cover story to hide what they want and why.

They don't give a s**t about kiddie fiddlers, except as a useful lever to control their behaviour of course. The C in MICE.

Their real "heroes" are

a) Francis Walsingham and his reputed ability to read every letter posted in England.

b) Cardinal Richel Richelieu and "Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I will find something in them which will hang him"

It's a very inefficient way to catch sexual predators.

It's an excellent way (if you can remote update the "suspect words list," and you can bet any system they mandate will require such a mechanism) to spy on the whole population.

It's an excellent way to spy on a whole population

Metaverses are flopping – hard – says Gartner

John Smith 19 Gold badge

The Orgasmatron


IIRC the original of the term was from Wilhelm Reich's later work and his idea of "Orgon"energy released by sex.

He also believed that this energy could be used to control the weather, using a "cloud cannon."*

But has anyone been reading the 1995 edition of Vernor Vinges "True Names"?

*Yes the thing you see in the video for Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting."

Time running out for crew of missing Titanic tourist submarine

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"there hasn't been no release of a radio beacon with a distress signal from the sub. "

I think that would require Titan to have a radio beacon to eject in the first place.

I'm not sure there's any evidence that was the case

"Release the emergency buoy" is a common trope in submarine fiction. IRL in mini-subs......

John Smith 19 Gold badge

some kind of sonar transponder

this has happened before..

There's at least one case of a submersible in the North Sea being trapped on the sea bed in the 70's. Yes they did use "pingers" to navigate around the legs of the drilling rig.

They were rescued in time, but the CO2 level got high. That means killer headaches, gasping for breath and thick "brain fog" :-(

Can I count the number of single point failures in this design?

No backup submersible (SOP for the offshore oil business)

No backup game controller!! WTF

BTW 10m of water --> 1 atm additional pressure.

4000m --> 400atm

That's higher than the pressure inside the Shuttle main engines.

OpenAI CEO heralds AGI no one in their right mind wants

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Back in the day it smelt like BS

Still smells like BS

And let's not forget the most enduring acryonym in CS.


John Smith 19 Gold badge

"yet all of a sudden they're happy to use ChatGPT as a reliable source of truth."


It's the Eliza "Therapist" program born again for the 21st century.

Written to demonstrate how easy it was to simulate apparently intelligent behaviour without actual intelligence.

Bill Gates' nuclear power plant stalled by Russian fuel holdup

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Mankind has NEVER created a container that doesn't leak after a few years. EVER."

Which makes Yucca Mountain with a life expectancy of 10 000 years sound exceptionally bat-s**t crazy, does it not?

The thing is CO2 does actually have several large uses, such as blowing it through sea water to make concrete IOW make net carbon negative concrete. That's pretty important given concrete is the #1 construction material on the planet.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"name is suggesting that the ore is "high assay" so they don't have to do as much enrichment. "

No that's just PR-Speak.

All Uranium ore has different levels of total uranium. A viable deposit can have Uranium at 250ppm (basically 250g/tonne) up to several % (US ash pile from coal fired power plants have been checked and found to be about 125-150ppm).

But the U235 part is always 0.7%.

So you want 19% enrichment? That's going to need roughly (19-0.7)/0.7 tonnes of uranium (not ore) to get that level of U235.

But IRL the process is not 100% efficient and as you chase more and more of that 0.7% the energy needed goes way up. Typically they go down to 0.2%, so actually that 195 is (19-0.7)/0.5 tonnes of U needed.

For PWRs enrichment sticks about 20-25% on the costs of fuel. For higher enrichment it will be much higher.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"To be fair the Russians kidnapped some,"

Amongst other things they helpe designed the Kuznetsov turboprops that make the Tu95 one of the few propeller aircraft that can break 900KmH

And IIRC Von Braun came out of hiding to talk to the US Military and offered to bring his team to the US (which they quite liked the sound of).

No kidnapping required

The Russian offer (cold rooms, inadequate food, wall to wall guards) not so appealing.

Study finds AI assistants help developers produce code that's more likely to be buggy

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"but the work of engineers who had no fear of “hard.”"


So, can it teach them that trait?

I don't think so.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Could we..verge of another AI winter corps realise just how limited machine learning really is?"

I wish.

"Computer says no" was always bu***hit. It was whoever prgrammed it/set up the database that makes it say no.