* Posts by Peter2

2043 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Pandemic proves just the tonic for PC sales as shipments shoot upwards

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: False Dawn

It is possible to stick your storage on OneDrive or whatever and then you don't need a VPN because your connecting to office.com via SSL and it's secured that way.

It wouldn't work for us and I can think of plenty of reasons why it's not worth doing, but it's certainly possible to do.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: "restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels"

It's not in trouble.

IT devices have just reached a point where there is no point upgrading frequently for most people.

In 2000 if you had a 5 year old computer then it'd have been a 75mhz Pentium I. In 2000 the latest would have been a ~500mhz Pentium III, which would have been a ~650% improvement in processing speed. As a result, you didn't tend to hang onto old equipment for a huge amount of time.

In 2020 a ten year old computer could be a i7-970 which runs at 3.2Ghz with 6 cores. It's replacement from this year could well be a 3.5Ghz i9-9900K with 8 cores. While there is certainly some difference in performance over ten years, let's be honest; the older processor will still run the programs and take maybe a couple of seconds longer to load. As a result, the users don't buy replacement hardware because the existing equipment does the job perfectly well.

That just means that you have a mature market where the people flogging wares aren't offering enough value to the customer to cause them to part with their money.

Microsoft to pull support for PHP: Version 8? Exterminate, more like...

Peter2 Silver badge

The server configuration that PHP runs on is termed LAMP for good reason, and it doesn't have Windows in it.

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing

Peter2 Silver badge

Firstly, old tech works just as well (or in some cases better) than modern tech. Just because something gets superseded doesn't necessarily mean that the newer product is actually better for getting a job done.

Also, I was diagnosed with being dyslexic back when that was in fashion. Knowing people who are dyslexic, I think i'm something else, but I certainly have had serious problems with handwriting.

And in perfect seriousness do try writing with an old fashioned dip pen. I started because I got into reenactment and wanted a bit of practice outside of using them at events. I ended up coming to the conclusion that Biros are evil things that encourage if not require poor handwriting. They allow people to hold the pen improperly. Holding the pen improperly largely causes bad handwriting. Did anybody tell you that at school? No? Me neither.

With a dip pen, if your holding the pen at the wrong angle it simply doesn't work. That forces you to hold the pen at the right angle, and that means an instant and significant improvement in the quality of your handwriting. As you get used to it, it gets steadily better, especially if you do a few sheets worth of copperplate calligraphy instruction pages then you'll discover that your handwriting suddenly goes from being abysmal to being somewhat better than most peoples.

Hence my desk at work now has several inkwells (you can get beautiful antiques for a pittance because your one of the the only people in the country interested in them) and a collection of dip pens with different nibs. (each gives a different effect when writing) If you have trouble remembering to take your hand off of the paper and move it, just put less ink on the pen. It'll run out and force you to move your hand to dip the pen in the ink again. You'll get used to moving your hand after a while, and fully dipped a fine tip can easily last a page of A4. IMO dip pens have a undeservedly bad reputation.

Lastly, if you do decide to go down this route, get yourself a mini hot glue gun and a wax seal from ebay. Wax sticks fit a hot glue gun, so if you are required to fill in forms then you can fill them in with a quill, fold the form and wax seal it shut and then snailmail it just to make a point to people that they are being overly archaic in not allowing you to email it, and that you can play too.

If you can act, you can also then quietly mock green types (who still use biros) when they ask why your using a quill by pointing out that the feather (or wood) holder is bio degradable, the nib is replaceable, the inkwells have an age greater than the combined total age of everybody in sight and unlike them you aren't using a single bit of single use plastic. (and did they realise that a biro has four bits of single use plastic that go in the bin when replaced? The outer case of the pen, the ink in the tube is in a plastic tube, the cover and the bit on the end of the pen; all of which go in the bin every time you get a new biro)

You can get near endless entertainment out of being slightly archaic.

If there's a lesson to be learned in these torrid times, it's that civilisation is fleeting – but Windows XP is eternal

Peter2 Silver badge

As you say, as long as it's not on the network then it's not really a problem.

I decommissioned an NT4 box that was running the site voicemail at the beginning of this year. It's only external connectivity was communicating with the onsite PABX via a pair of 4 port modems imitating phone lines in a very, very old application. It ran 24/7 from ~1997 to 2020. In that time, it required one replacement PSU in (IIRC) 2007. After that, it had a yearly dust to keep it in good condition (I think a decades worth of dust did for the first PSU) and it ran pretty well.

My additions to the setup was configuring it to logon automatically after power failures (it wasn't on a UPS) and having a script that ran that automatically started the voicemail application if it rolled over and died, which it did usually one every few months in it's last few years due to the hardware having started getting somewhat defective.

In a funny note, the replacement VOIP system is universally considered to be a step down in functionality, usability and flexibility compared to the 23 year old system it replaced.

Euro police forces infiltrated encrypted phone biz – and now 'criminal' EncroChat users are being rounded up

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear

Yes. I'm sure lots of Journalists and Defense Lawyers were spending 3 grand a year on a contract for a phone.


Spying on defense lawyers is illegal, and even it is done then no details gained via it could be revealed to the prosecution (they'd be obliged to tell the court or end up never, ever being able to practice law again anywhere in the western hemisphere) so that's pointless and won't happen. Working in legal IT I can say that it's not something we are concerned about given that discussions with clients happen in person, not over the phone because that sort of paranoia is cheaper, and evidently more effective.

Shall we ask if El Reg buys all of their journalists 3k per year phones? I doubt it, somehow since they'd only be good communicating with another person using the same comms channel and a £3k a year bill per user is going to put off pretty much everybody. Even if they did do that, it'd be pointless given that if I wanted to phone them instead of just emailing the tips address then it'd be no more secure than phoning another mobile.

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: There is no price...

Just a ridiculously poor design. The firmware on the docks tends to match the quality of the connector too.

Are you assuming that the design goal was to produce something of high quality that would last a long time?

If you build something that breaks often then you sell lots of them.

Peter2 Silver badge

It might have, but it's reputed that this happens when you use them though, unless you buy the optional extra uprated version that is capable being used as indicators instead of just as hazard lights when parked illegally.

Peter2 Silver badge

No, they'll put the price up for the privilege of not having them, a trick they got from BMW who used to charge a fortune for the privilege of not having an ashtray or lighter fitted to your car.

Indicators however, remain an expensive optional extra on a BMW that is rarely seen fitted.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Peter2 Silver badge

There's no reason why these satellites can't provide navigation, comms (the British military currently buy commercial bandwidth I believe), and emergency location beacons.

The British military have their own satellites called SkyNet and so don't need to buy commercial bandwidth. Hollywood liked the name, but we had it first!

The last generation of SkyNet satellites was bought on a PFI scheme under Labour when that was in fashion, which the military has developed a particular loathing for and want ditched so the satellites are going to get ditched at the end of contract (~2022 IIRC) rather than at the end of operational life.

Frankly, buying this system outright and running it inhouse could deliver something useful and it's certainly worth considering if things can be done this way.

The traditional model has always held that launches cost billions and therefore satellites should be of an extremely high specification and lifetime to spread the launch cost over the operating lifetime. If you can cheaply throw a constellation of satellites up then the requirement for satellites to be built to a very, very high standard goes away because firstly you can launch fifty of them, and secondly instead of being in a geo orbit that takes 50k years to degrade you can simply design it to orbit at a low altitude and burn up in 10 years.

The build quality then only needs to be something like "90% will last ten years" rather than "99.9999999999999% chance of lasting 30 years", which one assumes is somewhat cheaper to engineer. 10% failed after 10 years? Meh, still 45 of that batch working up until their planned de orbit time which is probably "good enough".

Someone must be bricking it: UK govt website for first-time home buyers snapped up for £40,000 after left to expire

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Some junior management grade messed up...

And one wonders how often somebody that got screwed on not getting paid by accounts the last time said "actually, nah" and just let things expire.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: How is this STILL a thing!?

And, more importantly, who authorised the .org.uk in the first place when they could have had a .gov.uk that could not possibly expire? Why was it anything but a redirect for all those years? Why did the *real* gov.uk site not get anywhere near as many links as the original .org.uk for all those years?

An imagined discussion at HelpToBuy a number of years ago.

Tech: The gov.uk people say that they haven't heard of us as a government department, and want a letter signed by the minister for the department of administrative affairs confirming that our department exists. When they have that then they'll ask if anybody in whitehall objects to this name being taken in case it clashes with any project that somebody else has. There is then a mandatory 30 day wait for responses, 15 days to compile a report for the allocation committee, and then at the next names allocation committee meeting then they'll review the request and decide if they will deign to create us a .gov.uk domain name. At that point, the request and proposed address will be passed on to the head of the civil service, and the PM to approve, and then following Royal consent being granted the allocation committee will pass it along to the creation department.

Boss: The PM said we'd be up and running by the end of next week. I told him we'd do that. You said it could be done easily. Why are you now telling me it's not going to be ready for what, six months?

Tech: It takes five minutes to set up a domain name. I didn't imagine that it could possibly take this long to get a gov.uk domain name!

Boss: So, we've got the site ready on HelpToBuy.example.com, but we can't just get a gov.uk domain name?

Tech: Yes! We'd be up and running in 20 minutes if we were using an org.uk domain name! Dealing with this...

Boss: Ok. I promised the PM personally that we'd be up in time and i'm not going back and telling him I can't do it. Pick that domain name, get it printed on all of our stationary and we'll use that. When we get a gov.uk domain name then we can shift the site to the that, right?

Tech: That'd work.


11 Months later

- - - -

Boss: We finally got that gov.uk domain name. It comes with government hosting too; switch over to that, would you.

Tech: Hang on, this only supports static .html and coldfusion on an Oracle database? That's insane! It's...

Boss: Do you have any asprin?

Tech: *Hands over bottle* We could just redirect the gov.uk domain to the working site?

15 years later, that tech and boss has moved on and the postmaster checking the "left staff" emails sees the email and forwards it to the domain renewals team. It's not on the approved list to renew, so doesn't get renewed because it's not anybodies job to do it

And that's how something like this happens.

Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: RE: UPS generally shuts down in the time it takes to utter the first four words

The problem is that if you plug dual PSU servers into both the UPS and the mains they draw ~50% power from both. So if you load the UPS up to "capacity" as shown on the front of the UPS then as soon as the power goes then you get double the demand on the UPS.

These things of course come out in testing. Or in experience, if you don't bother to do the testing.

LibreOffice slips out another 7.0 beta: Spreadsheets close gap with Excel while macOS users treated to new icons

Peter2 Silver badge

We have to stick to the 32 bit version because if we don't the program that everybody uses daily which generates the letters for them won't work.

It's also why we aren't using LibreOffice. Doing so an generating everything manually would cost more than the software licenses.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: The smartphone is not the problem...

I think the Smartphone is the main problem for the camera manufacturers.

Personally, I like photography and prefer carrying around a decent camera to a smartphone for better photos. However, undeniably the smartphone is "good enough" for most users which relegates "real" cameras to an increasingly high end niche. This scares people away from using them; many kids today have never actually owned or even handled a real camera and wouldn't consider buying one.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: This is why we can't have nice things.

I'm not. It's in fashion to have animals portrayed as people in animated films and stupid people (of which there are a lot) can't separate fiction and fantasy.

Personally i'd be quite happy with keeping some cute looking, but vicious (and non lethal!) animals around just to demonstrate the meaning behind the term "once bitten, twice shy". Removing the things that bite just perpetuates the problem of ignorant students that believe that wild animals are actually just like them.

Internet Society, remember your embarrassing .org flub? The actual internet society would like to talk about it

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Is this an “American thing”?

That's only because most tech companies are American due to them having huge amounts of venture capital thrown at them, most of which is lost. I personally think that British companies are just as bad.

It's an aristocracy thing. Having destroyed the old bad aristocracy people who are exactly as bad are replacing them.

It's almost as if excessive amounts of money and power corrupt.

Laws on police facial recognition aren't tough enough, UK data watchdog barrister tells Court of Appeal

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: There's several issues with sitting judges today

A point which historians are (or should be) quite grateful for.

Have you ever read the notes of a court case several hundred years ago? If not, then should you ever have cause to do any amateur history research then you'll find the court records perfectly comprehensible because such "common knowledge" is defined within the case so even if you don't know things that were common knowledge at the time of the trial the documents still make sense hundreds of years later.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Not surprised

The Judge doesn't need to understand the complexities. The Judge is not there to understand complexities or decide if something is "fair".

The Judge is there to look at a set of laws that say "IF", "ELSE" and parse those rules.

The prosecution makes an argument that the IF statement should apply, the defense makes an argument that it should not apply.

Expert witnesses are called in to establish things so that people don't have to understand a specialist subject area that requires 20 years of training & experience.

Witnesses are merely there to establish that something did, or did not happen.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: There's several issues with sitting judges today

Nope, not quite.

Despite the barrister's efforts, the Master of the Rolls remained "in some confusion" about the legal submissions as he told the barrister: "Your Item 2 is not part of this appeal.

When you appeal, you get permission to appeal on the basis of point A not being considered.

The chap bringing the appeal is bringing up a point B, and he's being told by the judge that he can appeal point A, but point B is an irrelevance and is not up for discussion because it's been settled by another court.

In computer terms, the law is a program. The Judge is the processor tasked with deciding if the IF statements match, and then following the THEN login to the punishment part. In this case, the IF statement conditions don't match.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Facy dress

Did you mean "do they still have a dress code that hasn't been updated for over quarter of a millennia and not updating the dress code became a tradition itself"?

The civil courts don't have a dress code.

The criminal courts still have their original dress code.

The High Court might do depending on how they feel.

The Supreme Court which has been around for less time than much of our equipment doesn't.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Body language

I have been "stop and searched". Actually, technically the officer said "Excuse me sir, could I have a look inside your bag?" inside a no alcohol zone that was being enforced, probably to check that our gate guards were actually enforcing the license conditions of hiring the place.

I was actually one of the event organisers, and the bag contained a bunch of high vis jackets and radios for the other committee members. The chap looked into it, realised it was nothing he cared about and then produced a stop and search pad and started writing out a thing that he was probably supposed to give me, I just asked if we were done, he said yep just need to give you... I wished him a good day and walked off.

Not sure if he bothered finishing writing out the stop and search ticket I was probably supposed to take (thereby potentially doing my part towards skewing the statistics) but it's not as if I wanted it for anything. But anyway, my point is that if i'd have hid the bag behind my back and told him that he couldn't look in it and screamed "fuck da police" to look tough to my mates then yes, he'd have nicked me because I would have created a situation requiring him to.

My personal experience with the police is that they are just human beings trying to do a job and if you let them do their job they will let you get on with your life without any trouble whatsoever.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Body language

"acting suspiciously" is grounds for an officer deciding to stop and search, but not grounds for an arrest.

Simply because to get arrested you have to be arrested for an arrestable offense, and looking suspicious is not an offense.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Body language

I think it sort of depends.

If your wearing a police uniform and your out and about and you see somebody that sees you, then snaps their head around to their friend and says something, and the pair then quickly stuff things in their pockets, turn around and start walking in different directions I think it's probably going to ring alarm bells for the cop because it's going to look as if they've seen you and are then trying to split up to avoid you, which probably has a reason. Some of those reasons may be innocuous, but may indicate that they are doing something dodgy.

But that's the behavior and body language that's kicked off alarm bells, and not actually the appearance of the person, so shown a static image how could the AI tell that there was an issue?

Big Tech on the hook for billions in back taxes after US Supreme Court rejects Altera stock options case hearing

Peter2 Silver badge

My view is that there should be a "taking the piss act 2020".

Upon conviction by a jury for "taking the piss" by exploiting rules in what a jury feels is an unfair manner a company may be taxed an amount of revenue from 1% to 100% of it's turnover for up to ten years.

Sentencing guidelines: A company should end up paying at least 50% more tax as a result than they would otherwise have paid by following the rules. 100% taxes should only be applied to a "shell company" so judged by a jury.

/end problem. At the moment there is no real downside to not paying tax by employing an army of accountants. If you increase the penalty for playing games well beyond the benefits of playing those games then the problem would fairly immediately cease in order to avoid punitive taxation. If it bankrupts companies or forces them into being noncompetitive? Too fucking bad. It's not as if they hadn't done that themselves for years to companies that had been paying tax.

Far too many of our laws were written on the basis of fair play making assumptions that people running these companies are gentlemen and would never be dishonourable enough to engage in these games because doing so would tarnish their personal honour, ruining their personal reputation and leaving them a social pariah. This was undoubtedly effective two hundred years ago, probably still effective one hundred years ago questionably effective 50 years ago and utterly ineffective today.

UK police's face recognition tech breaks human rights laws. Outlaw it, civil rights group urges Court of Appeal

Peter2 Silver badge

What is a human right? Interesting question really, isn't it?

Large scale protests these days appear to always get infiltrated by extremist provocateurs who use that event as cover for throwing bricks, petrol bombs etc at the police until they can't ignore it anymore and have to start getting heavy handed. At this point the provocateurs leg it through the crowd so that the (uninvolved) crowd takes the receiving effect of the heavy handed efforts, while the offenders then rinse and repeat at another location.

Hypothetically, if the police wanted to stop and search provocateurs on sight to enable what would otherwise be a peaceful protest to proceed, who's civil rights take precedence?

1) The people with a right to peaceful protest who don't want people trying to get people who are peacefully taking part in a protest march endangered by provocateurs, or;

2) The provocateurs right to turn otherwise peaceful protests into riots?

The objections to the technology are mostly that it doesn't work, and if it did work shouldn't be used to identify who is actually at a protest.

If the rights were balanced by allowing the police to scan for their normal rouges gallery and nick them to keep peaceful protests peaceful, but didn't attempt to identify people and didn't retain the footage, I can't see too many objections personally.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: What's a "Human Right"?

It does.

In fact, the American Bill of Rights largely copied the 1689 Bill of Rights.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... but not your H-1B geeks, L-1 staffers nor J-1 students

Peter2 Silver badge

Because this year, the USA is alone in the world running an attempt to see what happens when Covid 19 is allowed to spread unchecked, in a country where this happens if you get a survivable case of Covid19

From the perspective of the pleb worker, living in a country where you have a higher chance of getting Covid19 is bad. Running a chance of being financially ruined if you do survive it is worse. Canada has both a lower chance of getting Covid19 due to their lockdown, and a functional healthcare system which doesn't bankrupt you for using it.

Hence, this year taunting a Canadian with "are you packing your bags to go back to Canada" doesn't really work.

Paging technology providers: £3m is on the table to replace archaic NHS comms network

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Specification Snowball

And in the meantime, the existing equipment can remain in use as it works just fine.

20 years later: Are we still using those bloody pagers?

How do you run a military court over Zoom? With 28 bullet points and a ceremonial laptop flunkey, of course!

Peter2 Silver badge

And don't forget the other point which is preventing justice being delivered by "I have the biggest and most violent mob, and might makes right so we're doing whatever we want".

Something that it appears going to have to relearn.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Do we have any details...

I think the fact they are using Zoom, rather than an in-house (or even in-Government) developed system speaks volumes.

Not really. The military requirement has generally been for very, very secure voice traffic via radio and satellite. That requirement has been met and solutions they needed delivered.

I would lay good money on the fact that at the beginning of this year almost everybody would have turned around and said "why would we want that?" to mass scale video conferencing because there was no real need anywhere before a major pandemic turned up.

Faced with a sudden unanticipated need they've just picked up a usable off the shelf system which works now, rather than developing something from scratch which might be ready in a few years time. I don't see the problem personally, i'm sure that a proprietary solution will be developed in a few years time at an eye watering cost and deployed after the point that anybody wants to use it.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Lazy

Yes, this exactly.

Instead of coming up with a complex and expensive software solution that will be cancelled in 20 years time with 10 billion spent on it they've just stuck a laptop running with Zoom on where somebody would normally be physically sitting in the court room and then carried on precisely as normal.

Where somebody should walk around the courtroom and introduce themselves they've instead had their laptop carried around to do the job.

Where somebody should leave the room, their laptops are carried out of the room. When an usher ought to go and get the person from the room, they've replaced that with a telephone call saying "connect again, we're going to carry your laptop back in".

To be honest, as a "let's get it done" solution i'd give them 10/10 and suggest that it be rolled out to the magistrates court which is currently only hearing desperately important cases. In person.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

Peter2 Silver badge

I know law is confusing for BNP types, but the laws take effect after they have passed. So if somebody had been granted british citizenship and moved to the UK in 1950 then they were a legal immigrant in 1950, and changes to the law since then that apply to new immigrants don't affect previous immigrants.

Peter2 Silver badge

No, "Windrushers", which is to say commonwealth citizens from the colonies who took up the opportunity to move to the UK created in the 1948 immigration act which granted British Citizenship to anybody living in the colonies were always legal immigrants.

What they had was difficulty proving that, because the Home Office is unfit for purpose and decided to destroy all of their records of whom was on the ships.

Peter2 Silver badge

I can't see why the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees would care, to be frank. If they were refugees who applied for asylum then they'd be legal immigrants. For people to be "illegal immigrants" then by definition they'd have had to have immigrated illegally, wouldn't they?

My personal view is that if you walked around the average room and asked if people support "illegal immigrants" being deported then most people would say "yes" as the term itself says that they are in the country illegally and most people support upholding our laws on most subjects including immigration.

If you newspeak it to "undocumented migrant" and ask the same question then it's not so obvious that the people concerned are in the country illegally and less people are going to willing to say "yes", which makes it easier for the extreme left wing to whip up outrage that illegal immigrants are being deported. (because a large majority of people when told "illegal immigrants are being deported" say "good" instead of getting upset about it.)

Peter2 Silver badge

The phrase "illegal alien" needs to be changed to "unauthorized entry" or "person-not-allowed-to-be-in-this-country".

Already done. "Illegal immigrant" was newspeaked to "undocumented migrant" ages ago.

Whose side you on, Nominet? Registry floods .co.uk owners with begging emails to renew unwanted .uk domains

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Tempting...

“enforcement authority” means the OFT, every local weights and measures authority in Great Britain (within the meaning of section 69 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985(1)) and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland;

I think that the "local weights and measures authority" is a former trading name of "Trading Standards", so they'd certainly do.

Which? also claims that:-

"A claim can also be made if you have suffered alarm, distress or physical inconvenience or discomfort as a result of the trader's actions."

In which case you put the case into a civil court, and you get the money if a single magistrate decides that on the balance of probabilities you are right. (balance of probabilities means the magistrate is at least 51% sure your argument is right, which is a much better option than "beyond reasonable doubt", used in the magistrates or crown courts where they have to be >95% sure.)

Peter2 Silver badge


Though it's mostly been superseded by the The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which has more useful things in it.

The chap cited in the article who said he'd had 42 emails. Regulation 12 of that act says that:-

A trader is guilty of an offence if he engages in a commercial practice set out in any of paragraphs 1 to 10, 12 to 27 and 29 to 31 of Schedule 1.

SCHEDULE 1 Commercial practices which are in all circumstances considered unfair

26. Making persistent and unwanted solicitations by telephone, fax, e-mail or other remote media except in circumstances and to the extent justified to enforce a contractual obligation.

If you took it to a magistrates court then if you won then they'd get a potential maximum fine of level 4 on the standard scale, which is £2500. Or 6 months inside if the case was then handed over to a judge to do the sentencing at a fully blown court instead of a panel of magistrates.

Couple wrongly arrested over Gatwick Airport drone debacle score £200k payout from cops

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: I have to admit...

The certain knowledge that their life would be absolutely destroyed by the police and criminal justice system as an example to other people is obviously enough to put off even the stupid.

And that before allowing for the fact that even if you accept that the scary sort of lunatics make up maybe one in ten thousand people when you shut down an airport then you've probably got a large enough sample size that those people might take to throwing bricks through your windows, sticking nails in your car tyres etc.

UK.gov announces review – not proper inquiry – into Fujitsu and Post Office's Horizon IT scandal

Peter2 Silver badge

Sorry, how are the people at fault who clad the building with panels the building code said were safe?

Because IIRC the manufacturer was American, and their fire code said the stuff was for "single floor properties only" and it was marketed and sold on that basis where fire spreading to multiple floors wouldn't be a serious issue since the properties it would have been used on were tiny, and would have had easy access to being covered with lots of water from fire engines. They produced better stuff for multi floor properties.

IIRC they were horrified that it'd been used as it had because they knew that use would be lethal, and they withdrew that product to ensure that nobody would ever be able to use it like that again. Blatantly, somebody that bought it knew that it wasn't safe by US standards, which people never tire of telling us are more lax than our safety standards.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: 3.

"when you know what you're doing is wrong".

This is where you come to the junction of several things.

Hypothetically, imagine that the system of fire testing (ie, set fire to an example and see if it does what it's supposed to do) is considered bad because of the carbon emissions, wasteful of otherwise usable resources etc etc etc and is expensive and so gets reduced to burning a single panel rather than a large mockup. This happens without much of a protest by anybody because arguing against that would get you unpersoned by a twitter hatemob who can follow the "CO2 bad" summary, but is incapable of nuance like "we need to do that for safety purposes".

Things that then pass the requirements with a single panel pass, and are declared safe. They then make it to deployment instead of being weeded out by testing. Because they are crap, they are cheap. Because they are cheap and pass the new requirements on paper, they get widely deployed.

Therefore with nobody actually deliberately being evil or individually doing knowingly doing anything wrong you end up with an entire system that works perfectly, and yet achieves absolutely nothing whatsoever of any actual use because previously safe buildings that limited fire spread to one room end up retrofitted with cladding to reduce carbon emissions which then turns the previously safe building into a funeral pyre.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions", not with people deliberately doing things that they know are wrong.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: 3.

Yes, and no.

Post WW2 the Labour government nationalised pretty much everything in an industry that had a union successfully combining well run (competing) profitable companies into loss making disasters that then went splat.

As a result in 1976 the UK was literally bankrupt and had to go with a begging bowl to the IMF who demanded serious cuts to public expenditure for the loan.

In return, the Labour government expanded their program of nationalisations, creating British Shipbuilders in 1977 and British Aerospace in 1977 and rows split the Labour party with unions taking the view that union owned monopolies that could strike for better pay bringing the only source of services to a halt were the way forward for the country, and everybody else in the country who didn't agree.

The "everybody else in the country that didn't agree" voted in Thatcher to deal with the resulting mess in 1979, who took pretty much the only option available of "make them all private companies, allow competition, and let them sink or swim"

The post office role was pruned back to just dealing with the post by splitting off their telecommunications arm as BT, which was then summarily thrown into the open market.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: 3.

The "under instruction from the government" part is an interesting issue.

"The Government" meaning a dozen ministers are therefore responsible for all of the civil servants. Figuring out how many there are is an interesting exercise. This site says Public sector employment totalled 5,442 thousand in September 2016. Which appears to be an appropriately Yes Ministery way of saying 5.4 million.

How much control do you suppose a cabinet of a dozen people has over 5.4 million people?

My personal take on it is "probably not enough".

Peter2 Silver badge

Yeah, but what's happening with Grenfell is rather obvious.

The fire service relied (and rely) on buildings being built to the fire code for their advice and procedures to be valid. Ergo, the problem is in approximate order:-

1) The people who clad the building in flammable plastic.

2) The people who demanded that be done instead of a safer alternative.

3) The system that allowed it to be done.

The system is allowed it to be done is devised and run by the civil service, and the people who demanded that it be done work for the civil service. The civil service are largely running the inquiry and always appear to protect their own. Therefore, neither 2 or 3 are likely to get blame attributed to them, which leaves the available option as being 1. If taken to court and the entire blame is put on 1, they will reasonably point out the role of 2 & 3 and they would be drawn in. Ergo, 1 has to be protected to protect 2 & 3 and so nothing happens.

Yes, my political education comes from "Yes Minister". Assuming things work something along the lines of how the civil service is depicted there though tends to be more accurate than assuming that they work as they are actually supposed to though!

Peter2 Silver badge

While i'm completely onboard with criminal prosecutions for people who knowing persecuted people who were innocent, presumably there needs to be some investigation into who knew what before criminal charges can be brought because at the moment nobody really knows who should be prosecuted?

Frenchman scores €50k compensation for suffering 'bore-out' at work after bosses gave him 'menial' tasks

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Sooo....

Is it somehow illegal in France to simply offer people 4x their yearly wage to resign or accept redundancy?

US Air Force wants to pit AI-powered drone against its dogfighting hotshots in battle of the skies next year

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Missiles are drones

If you were right then you'd be right, but your making the assumption that a ground attack aircraft is going to helpfully wander in at ~30,000 feet which gives a nice clear line of sight to the radar.

If the aircraft comes in at around ground level then the range is line of sight, which due to the curvature of the earth means that even mounted on top of a ten meter pole the radar has an effective range of ~16 miles. Less trees, buildings etc that may obstruct this.

And as noted, the fighter can throw it's missiles and leg it. By the time the missile reaches where the aircraft was at the time of launch then it's not going to be there anymore and if the radar doesn't have a lock then are the missiles going to be intelligent enough to go patrolling for the quickly departing fighter on their onboard radar given that they don't know which way it's gone?

And chances are that there will be some variant of an anti radar missile orbiting to blow the SAM radar to bits as soon as it turns on to make it more difficult for the SAM system.

It's not as one sided for the SAM system as you appear to expect.

Peter2 Silver badge

And yeah, the F-35 is an amazing aircraft in terms of what it can do, but to shoehorn it into every bloody role on the planet, is just hurting its' own cause.

The problem is that if you pick any one of those roles that the F35 can perform then existing specialised aircraft already performs them better. The F22 is better at long range stuff, as is the Eurofighter with a solid state radar upgrade and the new Meteor missile has twice the range. It gets destroyed in dogfighting by literally everything.

ground attack? eurofighter is better from a europeon pov (carries a heck of a lot more) and the A10 is better from a US perspective.

It's a rerun of the situation in the 1970's. If you read Colonel Burton's memiors from the Pentagon Wars (the book is better than the film, although the film is funny given it's a comedy) then there was a fighter program that was supposed to replace everything which ended up so expensive and loaded with hardware for every role that it was crap at all of them, and ended up being replaced by the existing set of aircraft.

The F35 is just a more modern example. The main difference of which is that it's actually made it to the production stage. The crap performance and insane price is about right though.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes: UK man gets 3 years for torching 4G phone mast over 5G fears

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Gullibility is no excuse.

Just point out that the first use of the SHF band was centimetric radar in WW2, which pumped out up to 30kw, which is thirty thousand watts of power. And this wasn't noticeably dangerous for people around them so how the heck is minuscule 5g levels of power supposed to be dangerous?

This tends to upset the trolls.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: He isn't all bad.

Never complain about downvotes. Unless your pointing out something constructive that people are wrong about it's just waving a red rag at a bull.


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