* Posts by Peter2

2850 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Ah, the 80's...

I remember that a local airfield had a family day, which despite not being family we had an invite to from the chap living across the road who thought the kids would enjoy it.

The family day area with "show your family your workplace" wasn't actually on the runway, but it was literally straight down the side of it. It probably should be mentioned that the local airfield was prefixed with "RAF" and this was still during the cold war, and this was [presumably] before anybody considered health and safety like minimum safety distances for displays near runways.

Que an alert klaxon, much swearing and shouted commands from people to walk or run towards me [and away from the runway] while holding your hands like this cupped over your ears. This was followed at a short interval [that required for the Quick Reaction Alert pilots to get to their aircraft] by the single loudest noise that I have ever heard by several orders of magnitude; an entire flight of fully armed and fuelled fighters taking off on full afterburner to intercept a potential Russian attack on the UK as the opening stages of WW3. Just a normal day at work for the RAF at the time!

I distinctly remember more feeling the noise than hearing it, and it's probably surprising that i'm not profoundly deaf. That said, I do think it's a shame that kids are kept miles away from anything mildly dangerous and interesting these days because of risk-assessment disorder; I think it prevents kids from learning to make sensible risk assessment decisions for themselves and denies any number of different experiences far more educational than the inside of the classroom.

Now IBM sued for age discrim by its own HR veterans

Peter2 Silver badge


Although the Anglo-Saxon world never was blessed by the great legal system Napoleon introduced in continental Europe

Ah yes, Napoleon's "you have no rights at all, but I graciously allow you the right to X" versus common law's "you can do anything you want, EXCEPT X".

Notably, common law makes up 40% of the worlds GDP, and Napoleonic law jurisdictions represent 23% of the worlds GDP.

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Were there no signs indicating that the Bridge was out?

I doubt that. A big lump of concrete is quite noticeable sitting in the middle of the road in your headlights for any driver more competent than a Tesla autopilot.

Look at the pictures of that bridge. At night, the headlights are going to reflect better off of the [still standing] crash barriers on the side, and I could see the potential for your mind filling in the missing bits for long enough that it's too late to stop. There not being any signs up is scary; I know that leftpondians hate rules and regulations, but one would have thought that mandating a "bridge closed" sign be displayed is rather obvious common sense.

So what if China has 7nm chips now, there's no Huawei it can make them 'at scale'

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Ah, I see

We had a new housing estate built near us with ~30 houses and probably a couple of dozen flats to judge from the parking which opened at the start of this year; it doesn't have a single charging point on the entire estate. The houses also aren't built with high amperage circuits to the garages or drives for charging an EV, which you'd have thought would have been part of the construction spec if we are moving to EV's in ~7 years. These houses were built by the county council.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: We've seen this before

Nowadays, they have some of the most advanced military tech in the world.

Such as?

Their tanks are a development of the T72, with the same autoloader. These are unlikely to be any more survivable than the T72's that are being spread across the landscape in Ukraine. They use a mix of soviet derived artillery, which they consider obsolete and are replacing with western standard 155mm artillery pieces, so they are on a par there with the west with their most modern equipment. It's advanced enough to not be insultingly outmatched and reasonably competitive with their neighbours, but isn't remotely competitive with NATO standard equipment. (except where they are using NATO standard equipment)

Their air defences are developments of older soviet equipment that will have worse range than the more advanced Russian equipment being blown up in Ukraine. Their most advanced aircraft and the only bit of equipment in their arsenal competitive with NATO equipment is the J20 fighter, which is probably equivalent to the F35. The US has as many F22's, and has built 5 times the number of F35's.

They can certainly build "good enough for most things" equipment, but they are unlikely to want to put it to the test against our obsolete equipment, let alone our most advanced equipment. Are chips going to be different for the foreseeable future?

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Ah, I see

This is the same administration where someone in a petrol powered car was sent ahead to 'reserve' an EV charging space for a publicity stunt by the energy secretary.

Yes, well that would be an accidental thing. You'd send a junior member of staff to do that sort of thing who's not going to be missed much in the office.

And of course, the only people who can afford EV's are the top 25% or so of the population by income who live in a city and don't need to drive anywhere, who tend to be the most senior of senior staff who won't be sent to sit in their car taking up an EV charging point. Junior staff (if they own a car at all) will tend to own a cheap second hand vehicle, which is going to be a petrol or diesel car, because 90% of the value of an EV is in the battery which has a thousand charge cycle life, and so the entire car is an economic writeoff before it gets to the point that it would be bought by a junior staff member.

As TikTok surveils staff's office hours, research indicates WFH is good for planet

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Impact in performance reviews

I'm not sure about the "mostly metaphorical" part.

Some years ago, I realised that we had an entire team of five people doing an elaborately pointless set of manual processes duplicating data entry something like 8 times in a mix of handwritten forms, labels and computer data entry to different systems.

I spent a few days and came up with a solution that reduced these 5 jobs down to something that one person is currently managing, while socialising etc in the office. (so not absurdly overworked) by entering the information onto the one system that was required, and then creating letters and emails from that, and spitting out labels to label printers etc.

The team manager responsible for that lot was utterly livid at their underlings being redeployed to do something productive that benefitted the business, and never forgave me for their little empire being broken up because their number of direct reports fell, despite departmental productivity going up by ~500%, costs falling by about the same margin and input errors being reduced to practically zero as a result of some input validation and things like postcode finder being integrated for checking addresses. If they'd have had so much as a pair of scissors then stabby stabby would have probably been practical rather than metaphorical.

Bad managers do still like to count the size of their empire, rather than it's productivity.

Arm IPO kicks off today with CPU slinger valued at $54.5B

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: All a mess

From an investment point of view, when somebody wants to buy something for many times what it's worth you say "thank you" and once they hand over the money you then cackle in private.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: British chip designer to trade on Nasdaq only

To summarise, Softbank bought Arm in 2016 for ~twenty years worth of ARM's yearly revenue and ~64 times their yearly profits, presumably hoping to shove up the licensing fees to make up for this, however when they tried to quadruple the license fees people started looking at switching to other things (eg RISC-V) and Softbank realised that they'd fucked up and dropped the prices back again leaving them with a business they'd hugely overpaid for.

So to improve matters, they sold a majority stake in ARM China to entities controlled by the Chinese Communist Party in 2018.

They are then surprised that the above has rather different objectives to Softbank, and that the China operation is now operating for the benefit of China rather than the ARM board. They then try and recoup their huge capital investment by selling ARM to NVIDIA, who would only want it to try and create a tech monopoly ala Intel. This is rightly blocked by competition authorities to maintain some semblance of competition. Softbank is still stuck with a huge capital investment that is not going to pay off for a century or so and so is listing ARM to try and persuade idiots to buy it off of them at well above what it's objectively worth.

The FT published this article 6 months ago which contains this gem:

One official said: “The expectation was never very high for them to list in the UK. We would have basically had to rip up listing rules and dramatically water down corporate governance standards.”

The article and comments on it appears to give the impression that UK investors have a culture that does not encourage investing money in heavily overvalued companies with poor underlying financials, and our regulators [the FSA] don't like unbacked bombastic statements that inflate the value of a company, whereas poor underlying financials combined with bombastic statements drastically overvaluing companies appears to be accepted and encouraged in the US.

While we will of course "lose" those businesses to the US stock exchanges in the short term, when the bubble bursts on the hugely overvalued tech companies in the US then presumably there will be screamed questions at the regulators that enabled losing hundreds of billions.

These days you can teach old tech a bunch of new tricks

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Regrets? I've had a few...

I could be flogging them and making some decent profit.

I hung onto a 20 something inch CRT for many years simply because of a desire to delay the hernia caused through removing it. You do remember the things weighed something like 40KG each? Moving those around were worse jobs that shifting photocopiers; at least those come with handles in sensible places!

I would imagine that the postage would be prohibitive with selling them, and anybody turning up would be quite inclined to say "F*&£ THAT" upon trying to lift one given the sheer weight and lopsided weight distribution.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: A first?

ME came out 3 months before 2k; thus explaining it's contemporary title of "Mistake Edition". ME was a horribly defective pain in the ass. 2K worked quite nicely out of the box, and the major change from 2K to XP was the bright green and blue interface, which especially in the early years was commonly disabled in favour of the original grey interface to reduce resource requirements so it ran programs better.

UK government hurt by delays in legacy tech upgrades, skills shortages

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: 'twas ever thus

I have worked in NHS IM&T.

Before working there, I was surprised as to how scandals about incompetent or malicious staff killing people. You wonder how it could possibly happen.

After working there my surprise is that the organisation functions at all, and that the frequency of scandals hitting the media is so low. I certainly wouldn't take a job there unless there was literally no other options available.

Microsoft Edge still forcing itself on users in Europe

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Annoyingly persistent

On Windows 10, Microsoft keeps changing the default program that certain programs (PDF especially) opens with to Edge with most security updates. Which wouldn't be so bad, if Edge was actually capable of reading 100% of PDF files, which unfortunately it isn't.

Elon Musk has beef with Bill Gates because he shorted Tesla stock, says biographer

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Shorting Tesla

But it's hardly surprising that Gates thinks that Tesla is overvalued. Practically everybody rational thinks that Tesla is sitting in a stock bubble; the only real question is when the bubble is going to burst.

Tesla is nominally worth 10x Ford, despite shipping fewer cars and making a smaller profit.

If you like to play along with the illusion of privacy, smart devices are a dumb idea

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Or maybe...

This sounds superficially reasonable, if you don't know a few things.

A) The obscure century old bit of equipment was picked up offline and bought with cash, so it had literally no digital footprint online connected to me.

B) I knew what it was, and so had no need to search for it, or for any information about it.

C) My wife did not know what it was, and didn't care beyond when it would be leaving the premises: She therefore didn't do any searches related to it, and even if they did then they'd have been under her account; not mine as we don't have the passwords for each others accounts.

D) We both have feature phones, because neither of us have ever seen the benefit to us of smartphones. We access the internet via laptop, and neither of us log into Google for searching, and we don't have any smart devices at home. (working in IT I have developed a pathological hatred of equipment that doesn't work properly and so have excessively reliable equipment at home rather than very fancy new stuff)

E) I'd had it sitting around for a good 9 months before it was taken over to my parents without getting adverts for it.

Maybe i'm just suspicious, but...

Peter2 Silver badge

Recently, I visited my [retired] parents for a brief visit as a [retired] relative was visiting them while I was at work the next day. I dropped off a bit of very obscure century old bit of equipment for him, as he's an engineer and enjoys playing with things like that as it's directly connected to his interests.

The next day eBay adverts for precisely this very obscure century old bit of equipment were displayed to me. At no point had I ever searched for this online or indicated any interest in it.

It therefore follows that some smart device had (in no particular order) :-

1) Recorded our conversations.

2) Converted the speech to text and uploaded it to f*** knows where.

3) Identified the participants in the conversation by some means.

4) Picked out items mentioned repeatedly in the conversation.

5) Matched the participants of the conversations to their online accounts.

6) displayed targeted advertising to those accounts based on the above.

I personally find that considerably more 1984ish than i'm comfortable with, especially given that I don't have a single smart piece of equipment at home, meaning that all of this happened from my parents equipment.

It's rather thought provoking as to exactly how much surveillance we are actually under though, and one has to wonder about the sort of nefarious uses this could be put to by people with interests beyond advertising.

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Easy win but challenging keep.

Existing work practices are mostly legal requirements set down in 1820, and processes have been updated over the course of 200 years to comply with existing laws on a sporadic basis with extra bits added here and there. Because of an innate horror of adjusting processes, nobody actually knows which bits are being done for what reason, and none of the "legal requirements" that have been put in have ever been removed when they are completely obsolete and pointless.

So nobody actually knows why they are doing something, or what it might affect if they change it.

In other words, it's an ill managed shambles and digitalising it highlights the issues.

IT needs more brains, so why is it being such a zombie about getting them?

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: My AI's better than your AI

Why do I wait for searches that could be presented as part of an automated house-buying process?

Because the official searches are provided by the local council, who have no incentive to make the process any better? Obviously you can pay somebody to go and do the councils job (a personal search) but most people resent paying for somebody else to do the councils job, and some mortgage lenders still don't accept them.

Peter2 Silver badge

People think theres a prize for doing the bare minimum without a thought whether its done correctly or helpful to others.

There is; it's called "employment". If you spend all day neatly doing everything that would be nice to do, then you meet "unemployment" as your insufficiently productive doing what the company wants you doing.

Huawei reportedly building 'secret' semiconductor fabs

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Nothing to see here

Somewhat alarmist language for a very obvious reaction to sanctions


One wonders what they expect; that people are just going to say "oh no!" and quietly go bankrupt instead of working out legal ways of producing equipment that doesn't break US sanctions.

ICANN warns UN may sideline tech community from future internet governance

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: There are layers here

The internet should be governed and run by geeks and engineers in the public interest, with transparency and accountability to the population of the world. Not to a narrow set of companines and goverments who will do anything that gives them control, power, or lines their pockets.

Which geeks and engineers?

The people who came up with the concept and execution of the still wonderfully popular IPv6 rollout? Or how about the people that came up with the Great Firewall of China? Or do you actually mean "only a subset of geeks from my country, that I personally like, who also share my political opinions?"

The UN has to represent 8 billion people on the planet, not just us.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Not stupid IMHO

Is ICANN being wanting to be included as part of the technical community, or is it being treated as a special interest group?

I just ask because they tried very hard to pretend that GDPR wasn't going to exist and attempted to get their registrars in Europe to do things that broke the law in Europe where they operated. Their solution after ignoring this for 6+ years was to ask a court for permission to break the law for a few years while they figured out how to comply with the law. Presumably they missed the point that European courts don't actually have the power to grant you the permission to ignore laws, they exist to determine guilt or innocence and sentence people who are found guilty.

Page two of that last link suggests that the GDPR fiasco was caused by ICANN being beholden to Intellectual Property lawyers and their interpretation of "this will work" or "this will not work" tended more towards an interpretation of those IP lawyers interests than of comments by the technical community.

That would tend to undermine ICANN's position of needing a technical community involvement (as in their own private veto?) rather than being a part of wider civil society.

The UN doesn't appear to cause planes to fall out of the sky etc, so i'm not sure why people appear inclined to believe that they'd accidentally break the internet.

ISP's ads 'misleadingly implied' existence of 6G, says watchdog

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: why be miffed?

Reason 3: Most people don't know that a byte is eight times the size of a bit.

Anybody company advertising something that appears 8 times slower for the same price gets pushed out of business.

Peter2 Silver badge

But if you bought from a company called "ACME Full fibre (FTTP) internet provider", you'd be a tad miffed if you found out that they were selling basic DSL over POTS.

Actually, I wouldn't. I've done just that quite deliberately from well known top tier providers of leased lines for branch offices, the bosses house etc.

I'd be a tad miffed if I actually fell for one of the providers who were trying to sell bandwidth in megabits instead of megabytes, but knowing the difference it just reinforced my view that salesdroids are there to con and cheat me, and i'm there to see through the BS they peddle and read the contract carefully before signing anything.

Yes, they have a name which could be misleading and they should probably be hammered for misleading advertising any time they are doing it. However, i've lost count of the number of companies i've used that have a name which could be construed as being misleading; for instance Formula One Autocentres imply as strongly as possible that their services are as quick as the F1 variety. It takes them much longer than 8 seconds from arrival to change all of my cars tyres. ;)

Man arrested in Northern Ireland police data leak as more incidents come to light

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: I understand why but it's a bit of a bullshit charge

Yes, and no.

For instance, I have an interest in military history and have a number of books sitting on my bookshelves about quite nasty improvised weapons the home guard deployed during WW2, and a instruction manual on practical methods for guerrilla warfare published during WW2. (both came from Waterstones; strangely...)

While owning those is absolutely legal, were I to develop links with a terrorist organisation then I would expect that my ownership of those would probably (and quite rightly) considered to be materials useful to terrorism which is an offense in the UK. This is easier to prosecute than membership of a proscribed organisation since terrorist organisations rarely issue convenient membership cards, and their members do tend to lie about their membership of that sort of group.

In the same way, it's well known that the IRA was funded and lavishly equipped by the Soviet Union to cause problems in Britain during the cold war; which is where the IRA got their funding, plastic explosives, RPG's, HMG's and AK's from. After decades of peace, after Russia invaded Ukraine elements of the real FSB IRA hunted down and shot an off duty police officer 6 months ago while he was coaching kids at a club.

In that context i'd suggest that anybody with links to the Real IRA (or the Real Russians) who downloaded a list of police officers and then say the electoral registrar with a list of names and addresses and started cross referencing them could probably expect that while owning both sets of public information is entirely legal, the combination of both along with their associations would be quite enough to justify a forensic examination of their entire life and their contacts under anti terrorism legislation while they are safely incarcerated.

And frankly, I don't think that that would particularly bother many people in England, Wales, Scotland or either the Northern Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland since I doubt that many people think that political violence is any kind of answer to anything. The investigation would be as fair as anything conducted by human beings is capable of being, so if they were innocent then they would in all likelihood be found innocent by the criminal justice system. (We don't do "plead guilty or else" or any other form of plea bargaining system on this side of the pond)

Humans stressed out by content moderation? Just use AI, says OpenAI

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Isn't the big problem of "moderator burnout"

I have been a moderator or admin on websites (including two in the top 50 trafficed websites at the time) for about 20 years.

In most cases, you do not see horrifying images of child sex abuse. I personally haven't seen one horrific image like that in 20 years. Every case I have personally seen that I can recall (and I would expect I would recall more serious...) is somebody posting pictures on a "best titillating pictures thread" and not realising that a particular model was ~6 months underage.

Equally, most people do not post gory photos of bodies turn in half during car accidents etc. If that sort of thing is being posted then I would suggest that there is something catastrophically wrong with the communities culture; and fostering and maintaining that culture and the peer pressure not to act out is really the first line of moderation in my view. AI's are incapable of doing this.

The bread and butter of moderation comes down to the equivalent of drunken louts acting in a way that is intolerably obnoxious, or old fashioned bullying behaviour of a number of forms. AI's are incapable of dealing with any great degree of nuance and treat every item very literally, which would tend to ignore the majority of bullying behaviour which is a long term pattern of insulting and degrading behaviour intended to adversely affect the targets self esteem. I'm not sure how an AI could be expected to cope with this; the effect of words on a person is ultimately a subjective issue which only a human can deal with.

Computer systems do excel at flagging up particular things for human review, but word filters flagging up things has been a thing for as long as I can remember and is not a use case for an AI.

Internet Archive sued by record labels as battle with book publishers intensifies

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Leave them alone, damn

Copyright terms can now be up to 70 years from the death of the author.

Personally, I think that a blanket rule of 70 years after the date of publication was fairer and rather easier to work with; since many authors publish under a pseudonym, and so in some circumstances it might be difficult to know when they've actually died.

UK voter data within reach of miscreants who hacked Electoral Commission

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Any monitoring taking place?

(UK tax burden is very low compared to other developed countries)

Are you actually serious?! Your comparing payroll and income tax and treating it as the total tax burden. That's so painfully and ridiculously absurd as to be laughable. Let's just look at the taxes on fuel between the US and the UK.

In the US, they pay 18.4 cents per gallon tax on their fuel.

In the UK we pay 52.95p per litre, and we then pay 20% VAT on the total. There are 3.78 litres to the US Gallon, so assuming that the fuel was given away free then we'd pay £2.15 in fuel duty, and then 20% VAT so £2.40 just in tax, compared to 18c (~£0.14) in the US.

Your figures completely ignore that, as well as other similar absurdities elseware with unavoidable spending being taxed heavily.

I would suggest that a better method might be to take the total tax take for different countries and compare it to that countries GDP.


France has a GDP of 2.958 trillion USD (2021) and a total tax revenue for that year of 422.9 billion euros.

The UK has a GDP of 3.131 trillion USD (2021) and a total tax revenue of £715.53 billion. (830.18 billion Euros)

I'm fairly sure that you can feel this question coming; if our tax burden is lower then how come it's delivering practically twice the tax? The tax burden on our economy is (surely?) ~double if it's producing double the amount.

Aspiration to deploy new UK nuclear reactor every year a 'wish', not a plan

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Necrotelecomnicon

There are an awful lot of people who have listened to their favourite village idiot who has promised that 900% of our power requirements can come from wind turbines at 20% of the cost of anything else.

Which technically speaking it could, this requires that you average the output over the course of a year. This is of course somewhat disingenuous as the problem is that ongoing wind output looks like a relief map of a mountain range, where all of the troughs would mean that the lights, computers, heating, charging for EV's and all modern society would cease to exist for the duration which can be weeks in length.

If you want steady output (which is a requirement, not a nice to have) then it leads inexorably to one of the following:-

1) Permanently committing to fossil fuels (Coal and gas in Germany's case; gas heating and power generation in the UK)


2) A logical conclusion that we need Nuclear power to replace gas, and had better get on with building it.


3) A temper tantrum and denial of objective reality in favour of complete fantasy which leaves the status quo of option 1, which is encouraged and funded by companies and countries who make good money selling gas.

Arc: A radical fresh take on the web browser

Peter2 Silver badge

Don't we all get to the point in IT where we hate all platforms equally? Apart from retro ones of course.

Only ones where the user interfaces are changed to be more shiny, and therefore more time consuming to use and less functional than their predecessors.

£214m effort to modernize SAP ERP in UK govt systems marked Code Red

Peter2 Silver badge

Sewage has always been pouring into rivers since Bazalgette built the first one; so it's more correct to say that the sewage system hasn't been completely re-built to match modern expectations to avoid doing that. Why? Cos it'd cost literally hundreds of billions across the entire sewage system because many parts filter rain water, and when it rains too hard then it overflows into the rivers and people don't want to pay for redesigning and rebuilding the entire system in one go as their bills going up hugely, so it's being done incrementally over decades by replacing old stuff that needs replacing anyway. Much like most of Europe, except that it's simply not a political issue elseware relative to other issues; for instance the Germans are mass strip mining the dirtiest sort of coal.

With respect to "Decrepit railways"; refer to this:-


Why is it struggling?

Network Rail inherited a lot of problems from its predecessor and needed to invest heavily in improvements. To do this it was borrowing money, backed by government guarantees so the state would have to pay back its loans if it defaulted.

Who was Network Rail's predecessor? Oh, that would have been Railtrack. So why did Railtrack have huge maintenance issues? Because they had inherited that from British Rail when the government owned it. Why did they have maintenance issues? Given a choice of maintaining railways or spending it on the NHS to buy votes, where do you think the government chose to spend money? Yeah. Hence the existing maintenance backlog.

People have a tendency to engage in rose tinted glasses when looking back; not everything was actually better.

most expensive energy costs

Led by a deliberate choice demanded by the public to move power generation from a triad of coal, nuclear and gas (offering security as a failure in one area could be countered by the other two sectors) to generating all power via gas. Sorry, generating everything from renewables backed up by gas. Except that renewables don't tend to work as well as people are encouraged to think, and gas is required for cooking, heating and power generation. And as idiots support running down producing our own energy needs in favour of wanting to buy it in from abroad where we don't have any real control over the prices then it's inevitable that they will then complain it's expensive because there are no forms of power generation they'll actually accept. For instance, German electricity is cheaper. But that's because they mass stripmine lignite (the dirtiest and most polluting form of coal with the lowest power output) and burn that to get their power prices down. Are you willing to do that? No? Well, that's why our prices are higher.

Slow growth, falling living standards

Um. Slow growth and falling living standards are because after the nationalised industries went kaput investment money was shoved into housing because "it's safe as bricks and mortar" and we're the generation having to pay more for necessities (like power; see above) as a result and so have less disposable income and are worse off as a result.

We've also got more of a habit of complaining, because absent of shared experiences like our cities being carpet bombed by our neighbours we tend to (from the POV of the nearly departed generations who lived through that) lack a certain perspective and complain more about smaller issues that are in most case fairly self inflicted like the higher energy costs. (ok, the Russians exploited our idiotic policies for their own benefit, but creating situations where they could do that is on us)

So as a list of emotive keywords; top marks. However, your notably evading any form of rational fact based response, or critical thinking. ;)

Peter2 Silver badge

Thirty years of cost cutting and privatisation have wrecked the UK economy.

It’s time to look at the evidence and conclude that a “liberal” economy just does not work.

I'm not sure what your trying to argue. Are you trying to argue that the wildly successful* businesses in public ownership bought by Her Majesties Government that were later privatised by the government did not then fail after privatisation?

Or were you trying to argue that despite those countries literally bankrupting the country and forcing the government to go to the IMF with a begging bowl, one of the conditions of the loan being a heavy drop in public expenditure [ie; the disposal of the loss making companies] that the loss making companies should have remained in government ownership? If so, how was that supposed to be paid for?

*Wildly successful; at losing money. See British Leyland.

But there I go with an “enlightenment fallacy ” the belief that a true believers will change their minds when presented with facts and rational argument.

I look forward to a rational and fact based response.

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway

Peter2 Silver badge

I learned to take photos on film. Because of that (and that you had ~30 photos in total which cost you money for both for the film, and getting them developed) you learned to make sure that you had a decent shot, that you'd got the settings reasonably right and weren't making any stupid mistakes like taking photos on bad angles for lighting (eg, into the sun or similar)

The result is that with a digital camera which sorts out a lot of the settings for me, I take excellent photos because I sort out angles etc instinctively and "know" if i've got a shot before touching the button.

I have a few hobbies which result in me bumping into photographers. Out of those, there are only two who really outclass me in every way in equipment I'm frankly envious of, and knowledge. Having a chat with the better one (cadging some tips in the process) he suggested that having lived through film photography was a training experience worth considerably more than the college class in photography that many of his competitors had. We were saying this watching an aloof know it all "professional wedding photographer" who was wandering around after us trying to duplicate our shots (which were mostly close up portrait photos) at an event. (probably trying to implement "if you can't beat them, copy them")

The thing is, we were both using 15-55 mm lenses which are suited to close up work, but can't do distance photography worth a damn (hence us wandering around taking portrait photos.) This chap copying us was using a 200mm+ telephoto lens which can't do portrait photos worth a damn, but can take very nice photos (looking like a closeup) from a few hundred meters away. He needed an entirely different set of angles and shots for his equipment, but didn't have a clue how to use his equipment, and of course with no rather harsh financial penalty for taking bad photos (which used to be inherent to film) there is nothing to stop people from just keep snapping away until more or less by random chance they get a half decent photo.

Digital revolution at HMRC left 99,000 UK taxpayers on hold over five-day fiasco

Peter2 Silver badge

Anybody capable of managing an IT infrastructure should have very little difficulty in navigating a tax return if they kept reasonable records, assuming that they aren't trying to cheat the tax system.

The paper tax returns are very user friendly, and contain good notes and explanatory information. The last time I used it, the online system was of 1990's vintage and was a complete usability disaster. This practically forced everybody to either use an accountant, or buy a software product which can present a usable UI and submit information to the website backend to skip the UI. Or submit paper forms.

So a huge number of small businesses submit paper forms.

You don't have to worry about HMRC inspections if you are basing your tax figures on decent records, and as noted that your not trying to fuck about. If they visit a normalish house with a normal family car parked outside and find reasonable records that make sense then you've nothing to fear, and most people I know in this position have said that they actually get tips from the tax inspector (ie; btw did you know that you can claim for that?)

Equally if they visit a small palace with a Porche on the drive (bought in cash) with the owners claiming poverty and their tax records being severely at divergence with observable reality (ie; Palace, Porche) then yes; you can expect a long and unpleasant searching experience while they conduct a forensic audit trying to figure out where the undeclared income is so they can tax it.

TETRA radio comms used by emergency heroes easily cracked, say experts

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Spectacularly irresponsible.

It sounds like another case of the people developing the technically brilliant new thing not actually listening to the requirements of the end user.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the end user feedback is similar to "I am betting my life that this thing works when I was facing down a hostile drugged up nutter with an machete in the middle of the countryside at night 20 miles from the nearest 5G signal" followed by a comment like "and the new thing silently failed and I didn't get any backup, and now nobody wants to touch the f****** things with a barge pole".

Which to be fair, I have very considerable sympathy with. And I personally feel that complaining that it fails to be perfectly secure misses the point; that's one of a number of things it needs to do and I suspect that the police are probably more worried about being abandoned alone without backup in a life threatening emergency than they are about potentially broken encryption. I suspect that they cheerfully take the old system over "perfectly secure, but only works in certain parts of city centres, and not in subways etc" with full knowledge of it's defects.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Spectacularly irresponsible.

A better system might be to use existing 4G and 5G data services

They decided to do that in 2014 with development slated to finish 2017 with deployment finishing in 2019 by the TETRA contract expiry date.

A working replacement wasn't delivered in time, and a 5 year extension on TETRA was put in through to 2022, with the hope that rollout would have been finished in 2022.

In 2022 they put a further extension in on TETRA with the hope that a working system would be delivered by 2026.

At which point the police asked if they could have some new TETRA handsets please because the existing ones are heading towards the age of the newest users. But of course they'll be replaced by 2026!

World's most internetty firm tries life off the net, and it's sillier than it seems

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Air gaps don't work

Does it?

Personally I thought it proved that people who don't know what they are doing in a complex environment and deal with that by over simplifying to "don't connect it to the internet and it's perfectly secure" still don't know what they are doing after over simplifying things because they can't comprehend the complexity.

Stuxnet was quite simply a trojan. Even running windows out of the box with no additional software you could harden the box by disabling auto run and putting in a software restriction policy/applocker policy which prohibits running any form of executable code (eg, .exe, .bat, .vbs, .etc) unless specifically whitelisted and it wouldn't have been able to run when the removable media was plugged in.

Even taking the laziest way of doing it which is just a default level of "deny" and then only approving %program files% so that only existing installed programs would work would have prevented stuxnet from running, since it had to execute from removable media which would have been disallowed.

Post Office Horizon Inquiry calls for compensation to be brought forward

Peter2 Silver badge

While agreeing that the victims should get paid, it should be realised that without law firms willing to engage in protracted trench warfare over these sort of issues people don't get any payout and bluntly, if law firms aren't willing to do a deal with people whereby the law firm gets paid if they manage to win then few people could afford to get justice at all.

Unless you have a 100% success rate in court (which nobody does; unless they only take on a tiny subset of cases that they are sure they can win) then people do end up putting a lot of work into cases very much like this that they then don't get paid for, which are paid for by the cases they do win.

Is that fair? No, it's not. But as the existing system only includes "billable time" spent in court and so excludes the preparation work such as preparing the court bundle and meeting with the clients and so on then that small part that is "billable" [in court] is going to come with an excessively high time cost, the same as it would if IT staff weren't allowed to charge for hitting the "apply" button. If we were required to do that and not for downloading updates etc then inevitably we'd have a high hourly charge for one hour worth of time too charged in hour long blocks just as law does.

Of course, changing that would require paying more money to lawyers for the work they actually do, most of which is not actually in court and newspapers would have a field day with "lawyers paid for nothing" so nothing will change until the point that the criminal justice system actually collapses entirely, which truthfully it's probably not actually that far from doing because nobody can afford to access it.

The AI arms race could give us the cool without the cruel

Peter2 Silver badge

What if there was a way to harness the turbocharged transformative power of arms races without victims?

Competition between companies works just as well as competition between countries with people shooting at each other; for instance Intel & AMD.

And more to the point, look carefully at what happens when Intel thinks that it's beaten AMD down sufficiently; their R&D spend goes down and production drops to create forced scarcity to drive prices up, and that situation basically remains until AMD produces something competitive again.

If Intel was allowed to operate a monopoly as they would clearly like to (see historic legal attempts to stop AMD producing x86 chips) then we most certainly would not be running chips with 12 cores and 24 threads at nearly 5Ghz on a desktop. If Intel had a monopoly then R&D would have been slashed decades ago and the price would be much higher for much, much lower performance.

No open door for India's tech workers in any UK trade deal

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: This isn't the Brexit we voted for.

the economic case for largescale immigration as we have witnessed over the last 25 years is at best marginal.

You appear to be assuming that everybody in the economy is impacted equally, and everybody is interested in the overall benefit to the economy and the overall detriment rather than the effect of the policy on them.

The practical reality is that any policy (including high levels of immigration) have benefits and detriments to different people. For instance, if you started buying a house 25 years ago then the average house that you bought for £65,475 is now worth £305,731 as a result of housing supply not increasing as fast as demand, and by economic fundamentals the price rose.

The generation since then have had to deal with the property prices exploding as a result of the immigration, while their wages have also fell as a result of additional labour supply rigging the market in favour of the older generations who quite liked the idea of cheap staff in hospitality, building etc as that's a benefit to them, while they didn't face any of the detriments from competition like lower wages, having passed the early point in their careers, and ladders like "training" and "career progression" were pulled up behind them as they are required to retain staff, and who cares about that if there is a permenant surplus of desperate labour willing to work for tuppence? On top of that, that same generation who bought their house in the late 90's had to pay basically no interest for the last decade of their mortgage.

The fundamental problem which we've now well and truly got with the economy is that almost everybody over 50 is relatively very well off, and those under 50 are reduced to grinding poverty by being expected to pay house prices that are 4.6x higher than 20 years ago on basically the same wages, while paying higher prices for electricity and gas, higher costs to travel to work and higher costs for food, while also paying for their own personal development to be suitable for anything beyond basic labour. Which of course suits the older generations as they can help their kids out, because they are well off. Assuming they only had a couple of kids so the money is reasonably concentrated.

The stark reality is that the only people with any significant disposable income in the economy are the over 50's, and that's going to mean very bad things for the economy since a lack of customers is likely to mean impending unemployment.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: This isn't the Brexit we voted for.

I know dualling has been banned, I think the anonymous cowards need to meet at dawn to satisfy their honour!

Dualling hasn't been banned; you can still play dual play split screen games so people could meet to satisfy their honour in Goldeneye, Perfect Dark or whatever people are playing split screen versus games these days.

Duelling has been banned though, so you couldn't go out for breakfast for two, pistols and then coffee for one.

UK government hands CityFibre £318M for rural broadband builds

Peter2 Silver badge


Not really. The bits that are the priorities are the bits Londoners colonised when they sold their multi million quid bedsits in London for a proper house out in the countryside during the pandemic, which are the towns and villages within a 10 mile drive of a mainline railway station back to London.

It's interesting that after 20 years of talking about fibre out here within 2 years of our lords and masters moving in enmasse all of a sudden we end up as a top national priority for fibre connections.

A cynic might think that these things are connected.

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Multiple redundancy

I talk to people who say, I'm ditching my landline because money, and I say, don't

Given that BT is turning off the POTS (phone service on landlines) in like 2 years it's not as if it matters much. (and yes, I don't think that BT should have been allowed to do that to save the maintenance costs)

Forget these apps and AI, where's my flying car? Ah, here's one with an FAA license

Peter2 Silver badge

Do you measure distances in kilometres, or miles? And does your car measure it's efficiency in litres per kilometre, or miles to the gallon?

I went to school probably about the same time as you and I use a complete bastard hybrid of what works better for a particular situation. A good example is that I measure cable runs in metric, but I don't like 1cm to a meter on a scale metric architects rule because you need a magnifying glass to use the resulting plan, whereas I do quite like 1 inch to a meter on imperial architects rules, so my floor plans are done using an imperial scale rule for inches to the yard, but with me using meters instead of yards. An architect knew the scale ratio for an inch to a meter off the top of his head when using a photocopy of my office cabling plan, so i'd assume people of our age group doing stuff like this is hardly unusual. ;)

And this before we mention that almost everybody senior to you tends to work in the Imperial units they were taught back when, so unless your very junior then you pretty much need to know how to work in imperial to meaningfully communicate with the people who sign decisions off

Experts scoff at UK Lords' suggestion that AI could one day make battlefield decisions

Peter2 Silver badge

Technically, we've had autonomous target selection for a long while. The SMART 155 artillery shell is a good example of this.

However, these are still fairly closely human controlled in that they are fired by a human at a particular killbox which is assumed to contain a large concentration of armoured vehicles and they then blow up something in that killbox. The only thing Brimstone brings along that things like SMART155 doesn't have is pattern matching to prioritise a customisable target list; for instance try to hit artillery first, then tanks, then APC's etc.

I think what the politicians are looking at is a Dalek which can choose what it kills. [And notably that didn't end well even in fiction; practically the first autonomous decision to kill something the Daleks made was to exterminate their creator Davros...]

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time

Peter2 Silver badge

This article written by George Orwell is essential reading:-


I find this particular paragraph quite timeless, given how long ago it would have been written:-

The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.

The reality is that certain people who are utterly ignorant use a stream of meaningless drivel to try and sound like they are actually some kind of high level specialist that actually has some idea of what they are doing. They rely entirely upon other people not challenging them on this and their personal nightmare would be somebody who simply says "are you trying to say A?" and forces them to pin themselves down to a meaning in English; their preference is to essentially gaslight people by forcing them to redefine the meaningless drivel that they spew to actually have some form of worthwhile meaning which they can change at will by saying "no, that's not what I meant".

Yeah, Rishi, it's AI that'll make Britain great again

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Ha

Has this gov any interest in making Britain attractive? Any desire to improve the economy or boost anything but tax's?

They want to boost their PR ratings.

Unfortunately, the critical problem in the economy would appear to be a huge lack of disposable income due to unavoidable expenses (housing, petrol, diesel, electricity and gas for transport and heating and food costs) having risen dramatically. The solution to this on the part of government is to raise the base interest rate, which raises mortgage costs for everybody not on a fixed rate while the few savers watch their money invisibly become worth less each month.

There are two possible ways out of that. The first option would be for prices to fall, however government policy has been to keep house prices high for the last two decades, which hurts the younger generations who are left struggling on the property ladder while paying roughly triple the amount for largely the same houses that the last generation lived in. Fuel costs aren't likely to fall much further unless most of Europe goes back to buying from Russia again and accepts that we'll be on the path for conscripting another generation for a fight for Eastern Europe in a decade or so, so that's not going to happen and electricity and gas costs are linked because most of our electricity power is generated by gas and while we had nicely diversified supplies it didn't help because the Germans didn't; and so having ditched Russia have gone and bought from everywhere on the market, driving the price up hugely. That's not likely to go down at any point in the near future.

That leaves the only other way out of the hole as pay rises, which the government is opposed to because it'd break their deliberate policy of making unaffordable government debt vanish into thin air via fiddling with monetary policy and bankrupt the government, so they'll destroy the economy instead to remain solvent.

And interestingly, nobody inside or outside of government is seriously discussing problems with the economy, let alone suggesting solutions to them.

Meta tells staff to return to office three days a week

Peter2 Silver badge

This would depend on what the job is.

Programming? Yes, working from home would tend to be rather more productive as morons can't wander over and disturb you.

Anything involving communication? Sitting around a table with some paper to scribble on is pretty indisputably the golden standard that other solutions are tested against.

North Korean spy satellite launch ends in sea smash

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: "discovering concrete causes"

"unnecessary executions"

Unnecessary is relative. For a democracy, bumping off anybody is unnecessary; we have multiple groups all of whom have different agendas so if one person ends up humiliating themselves and making their organisation look incompetent (ie; the Insulate Britain protestors demanding everybody be forced to insulate their properties; who turned out not to have insulated their own properties...) then it just harms the public standing of that organisations agenda, everybody laughs at them for a few minutes, shakes their heads and moves on. SpaceX blowing up yet another rocket committing a Rapid Unplanned Disassembly out our way is more of a standing joke about bad PR than cause to execute somebody involved.

Now imagine that there is only one agenda, only one glorious leader and only one set of propaganda. Somebody making their organisation look incompetent undermines the propaganda and risks the workers questioning the worldview that their workers paradise is the bestest system in the world, and that risks making the plebs think that actually the glorious leader is a glorious prat who's wearing the Emperor's Invisible Clothes. That in turn risks somebody contemplating that maybe things might be better if things were different. As that can only happen if they destroy the entire system and depose the glorious leader (which in practice can only happen via execution) this is a problem for authoritarian systems, who respond to the potential threat of collapse of their system by executing anybody pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes, as well as executing the weaver who "produced" the emperors invisible clothes.

Ex-McKinsey IT director claims he was fired for whistleblowing

Peter2 Silver badge

Ah, the age old management method of "solving" a problem by shooting any messengers providing bad news, to ensure that everybody falsifies data so that everything looks great on paper. The shortcoming with that approach is that while paper reports look great nothing actually works in practice, and the higher management has (by their own a deliberate policy of not wanting to know what the actual situation is) no idea what's actually going on in the company and so any plans they make are near certainly based on false premises and almost certainly undeliverable.

One hopes that they now actually sort out their disaster recovery systems, preferably before they need to recover from a disaster and discover that they can't.