* Posts by Derek Kingscote

57 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jun 2009


AI, extinction, nuclear war, pandemics ... That's expert open letter bingo

Derek Kingscote
Big Brother

AI and general AI

All you need to know is:

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that...

2001 A Space Odyssey


Have we reached that point already?

Samsung is planning to reverse-engineer the human brain on to a chip

Derek Kingscote

What you need...

What you need are a bunch of updated Transputers [remember them?]

If you're a youngster, wikipedia is your friend.

Old hands will probably share their experiences

Mark it in your diaries: 14 October 2025 is the end of Windows 10

Derek Kingscote

Windows 10 - only 5 years left

Nobody needs any more than XP and Office 2003

Upgrades serve nobody's purpose. How many services/project have had to do unnecessary re-work just because their Windows flavour changed ? And at vast cost!

I get the occasional call from "Microsoft Support".

I love telling them I'm on Windows 95 ;-)

A mate of mine used to delight in saying : if you're prepared to have something three years old, you can have the very best there is at a much reduced cost!

UK's 'minimum viable product' for Brexit transit software will not be ready until December, leaving no time for testing

Derek Kingscote

Too Late

It's Friday 6 November

There are 33 working days before Brexit [nothing happens over Christmas]

What paperwork is needed for export and import? OK it might be forms on screens but if the exporter creates the form does the driver need access to show anyone making a query; and what about customs. [chances are there won't be a standard format!]

And similarly, if you are importing, who creates the import form on a screen, how does the driver access it and if there are tariffs, how do these get generated and paid?

33 working days!

That's all I'm saying

UK cautiously gives Huawei the nod for 5G network gear sales

Derek Kingscote

They Don't Know What They Are Doing!

Although they Chinese own it, all of the staff operating it will be British and probably wouldn't obey orders to turn the plant off in times of tensions with China to make a political point.

That assumes that there no remote control to turn it on or off.

Nest and Hive work autonomously and have remote control.

Building remote control in at the design stage would be a trivial task, so don't think Huawei wouldn't do it.

Also think: if these things have GPS and individual serial numbers and a small amount of intelligence then they will know when their kit is close to the American embassy/GCHQ/name your vulnerable site and message back to China. Is the traffic at the edge encrypted or in clear? This kit will be handling massive amounts of data, so we can't tell what is "standard" data traffic and what is control data. The control data or tapped traffic won't be visible because of dilution. And it doesn't _have_ to go back to China, it could just as easily go to a location under Chinese control with high security, so it may be in a business shed near you.

Who is doing the thinking about this?

This is a one way ticket and once you've lost control, you'll never get it back.

They say Huawei are about two years ahead of everybody else. I say we could easily wait two years!

European nations told to sort out 'digital tax' on tech giants by end of year

Derek Kingscote

Tax the Turnover

Don't tax the profits - the accountants are too sharp!

Make it a legal requirement that if you do business in the UK you must state your UK annual turnover.

Tax on the basis of the turnover. Profits may go anywhere, but the turnover in the UK you can't get out of.

Low turnover is bad for the share price.

Could do it a sliding scale, but the biggest companies will have the highest turnover.

Doesn't matter if they don't make a profit, you tax them on the turnover.

Means companies will pay their fair share

Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

Derek Kingscote

It's Sport

When they ring me, I regard it as sport; and I can have some fun at their expense.

Most recently during the course of the call I told one "Microsoft support" caller that I was running Windows 95.

That elicited a "Bloody hell"

such joy !

Kill Google AMP before it kills the web

Derek Kingscote

Break them up Now!

These megalithic companies are now eligible for breakup under anti-trust law.

They are (for all practical purposes) monopolies and stifle or buy up competitors and give their "customers" no choice.

Do what we say and give us all your data so we can abuse and manipulate you and all your friends.

That's why I'm not on Facebook; Google; use Android nor Twitter. And I'm not an Apple fan.

Just sensible.

Extension to blue light services' Airwave network is on the cards

Derek Kingscote

4G? Don't hold your breath

Airwave is an encrypted service with over the air re-keying (changing the encryption key)

This is a trunked service, is both secure and resilient and it allows multiple agencies integrated communications through a nationwide network. It is a secure digital, encrypted network and can be used for voice and data transmission. The radios have a large number of talkgroups (closed groups where you can talk to others in your own talkgroup) and they need programming to give you the Talkgroups you need.

The radios are nothing like mobile phones, they are on for extended shifts and current mobile phones don't achieve that kind of battery life. They are in permanent listen mode and operate on press to talk (like a walkie talkie). They also have an emergency button.

So it will all need custom design. The radios are ruggedised and a search for TETRA handsets will give an idea of how they look and function.

It might be possible to use 4G as the radio network bearer, but they would need to replicate how this currently works (trunking and talkgroups) and everything else has to be redesigned or replaced. Costs= astronomical, say personal radios are say £700; vehicle radios ~ £2000. The radios are personal issue so a force or division of 2000 people = £1,400,000; say they have 300 vehicles = £600,000 total = £2million. (I have no real idea of the current costs)

Also every control room has to be upgraded. Those rooms that are using proprietary hardware can only go to their supplier for the kit they need (or completely change it out). Those that are using off the shelf kit, the interface and software will need changing.

For all of this, there will be tenders and contracts, plus a changeover of the live and working service.

Where are the Emergency Services going to magic up that kind of money?

Investigatory Powers Bill: Spooks willingly entering the light?

Derek Kingscote
Big Brother


Weren't they spying on Harold Wilson?

This gives them carte blanche to spy on all the politicians too.

No secret trysts for any of them. [Major; Currie et al.]

To be honest, I'm not too worried, they'll be overwhelmed in fairly short order, and they won't be able to build additional capacity fast enough. And how many people will they need to eyeball this stuff [ok some of it may be automated -but they still have to validate it.] and within 30 - 40 days.

If you are trying to find a needle in a haystack, the last this you do is to build a bigger haystack!

As the terrorists say : we only have to be lucky once, the Authorities have to be lucky all the time.


GCHQ's exploding doughnut threatens to ooze into innocent field

Derek Kingscote
Big Brother

Pure lack of foresight

Anyone who has any experience of relocations knows that you always need a space that is at least 20% bigger than you think.

The head honchos and project managers never look forward.

The Doughnut has a total floor area of 140,000 square metres and this extension is 4,500square metres, so chances are that this won't be big enough either. Watch this space!

Might as well watch them, since they're watching you!


Microsoft vacates moral high ground for the data slurpers' cesspit

Derek Kingscote
Big Brother

This is Priceless

How many clueless politicians clicked for a "free" upgrade to WinTen.

How much political "intrigue" is being slurped?

All the talk here is about WinTen. What about the Office suite? And e-mail?

Is all that stuff being slurped too?

Two things with this - will Crapita "offer" the politicos a service to go and reset all the vacuum holes on all their machines- for a suitable fee, of course. [and they'll never get them all!]

A bigger worry concerns how and where this stuff is slurped to. Is it possible to hack any WinTen machine and send the slurped data to :

a) Somewhere else or

b) Microsoft and somewhere else?

[so to Microsoft, it all looks normal, and the user is oblivious to the fact that any rogue organization is reading their secrets/Love Letters/Porn habits/Official Secrets Act stuff/ Arms Trading details/ name your own dodgy stuff here... ]

Microsoft say this'll be the last upgrade ever. They're right!

This will create the final push to make Linux available on every desktop and the applications too, leaving Microsoft and their thieving charging model fading into the distance.

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

Derek Kingscote

DT to take over BT

Can't see HMG allowing that. All GCHQ/home office/government/Army-Navy Air Force traffic delivered over a network owned by a foreign power; I don't think so!

Will GCHQ/Home Office/HMG be able to perform anonymous surveillance if DT are in control?

However with TTIP, who knows who will own what.

UK.gov biz dept: Youth apprentice? Get a degree while you're hired

Derek Kingscote

Cost of a UK University Degree : £133,240 over 29 years

I am fed up with the "you don't have to pay until you graduate" mantra

This calculation is from Hargreaves Lansdown :

How to fund a university education

By Deputy editor Tim Bennett Aug 07, 2012


See last 3 lines on costs here :

The cost of going to university is rocketing. From September, students in England will face paying average annual tuition fees of £8,385, says Alexandra Goss in The Sunday Times. Three-quarters of universities are levying the maximum £9,000 for at least one course, while a third will charge it for all degrees, according to the Office for Fair Access. That's well over twice the average paid in 2011-2012. Taking living costs into account, this year's average student could graduate with £53,400 in debt. So what's the best way to pay for all this?

Most students won't be able to just write a cheque, so many will be forced to take out a student loan instead. But watch out. Financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown has looked at the interest payable on a student loan, based on borrowing the £9,000 of tuition fees every year, plus £5,000 of maintenance costs. If a student lands a £40,000 a year job, they'll end up paying back £133,240 over 29 years, including interest of £89,750 (this assumes average inflation of 3% a year plus salary growth of 2% above the retail price index).

When will the commentators wake up to what's going on?

Just wait until the current cohort graduate with massive debts and debts that will be running away with no prospect of these graduates ever catching up. They'll soon be bleating.

I've been warning of this for some time; but no-one seems interested.

'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Derek Kingscote

This is Insane

The service providers could say how many individual IP addresses are re-connected every day. Each IP address might have 5 devices connected through it - PC; laptop tablets; etc.

Some people log on and off 27 times a day [and 27 different IP addresses.] Then there are the mobile devices, wait until we have intelligent fridges and ovens; the Nest thermostat is half way there.

They will be buried under data, and the ISPs will be fighting to not to collect this anyway. If you have internet passports or ID cards, then that has to be authenticated - the ISPs will have to sign up to that with the authentication happening before you can connect to anything.

Another case of Government of Insanity.

Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012

Derek Kingscote

Tax the Turnover

The only way to collect tax is to tax the turnover by a percentage - say 10%

Make all companies declare their turnover, and then we know how much tax is due.

Low turnover is bad for the share price

Would need a lower limit e.g. turnover <£3m then lower tax rate

Problem with existing system reminds me of the old adage:

ask a mathematician what 2 + 2 = and he will say precisely 4

ask an engineer and he will say 4 plus or minus 1%

ask an accountant and he will say "what do you want it to be?"

Turnover tax gets everyone whether they make a profit or not

[and face it, there are many ways to engineer a loss!]

Apple's new iPADS have begun the WAR that will OVERTURN the NETWORK WORLD

Derek Kingscote

Most of us live in the real world.

I have a lot of problems with this. All the talk is about SIMcards.

The fundamental item that is not being discussed is the numbering. Who owns the telephone number? I go into an Apple store to buy a new phone; where do they get their number from? That has to be tied to a SIM. Any normal SIM has a number on it, so the software SIM has to have a number; who controls that? The SIM is usually specific to the network.

So the telephone number is tied to the SIM; the SIM/Phone combo has to register on the network; the network database registers where you are all the time. Call and data traffic has to be billed for against your number.

Apple or anyone else has to manage all that; phone faulty under warranty? Number/SIM/Network has to be managed. Changing Service provider you need a PAC code – they need to manage you leaving or you joining.

Will they really want the overhead when in reality it'll be hassle all the way- hassle for you, hassle for them.

Anyphone: Already got a SIM? Push it in, turn phone on. Go.

If all your numbers are on the SIM it's pain free.

Apple: Already got a SIM? We'll need to migrate your number off that SIM onto our soft SIM and register that soft SIM with your network provider.

If all your numbers are on the SIM we'll need to manage that.

[or more likely: sorry, you'll have to re-enter them all yourself]

With softSIM any chance of that going wrong? Phone screws up or is hacked?

Hopping networks won't work – billing/inter-network charging; where is the phone registration database. E.g you're with O2, and you're running on EE rails, can't do that without registering your phone on EE. How will an incoming O2 call find you on the EE network?

Most of us live in the real world.

Supercomputers: The Next Generation – Cray puts burst buffer tech, Intel Haswell inside

Derek Kingscote

Just Wait

You can have one on your desk in 40 years

Reason :

In 1975 the 80 MHz Cray-1 was announced and delivered 80 MFLOPS.

Wikipedia has an interesting history of the early Cray machines.

eg The new machine was the first Cray design to use integrated circuits (ICs). Although ICs had been available since the 1960s, it was only in the early 1970s that they reached the performance necessary for high-speed applications. The Cray-1 used only four different IC types, an ECL dual 5-4 NOR gate (one 5-input, and one 4-input, each with differential output),[3] another slower MECL 10K 5-4 NOR gate used for address fanout, a 16×4-bit high speed (6 ns) static RAM (SRAM) used for registers and a 1,024×1-bit 50 ns SRAM used for the main memory.[4] These integrated circuits were supplied by Fairchild Semiconductor and Motorola. In all, the Cray-1 contained about 200,000 gates.

Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces

Derek Kingscote

Re : Do they know what it's actually for?

Yes they do

If you watch the programme it will tell you.

They used it to forecast solar eclipses amongst other things

also gears didn't reappear until the middle ages

They were bloody clever

Watch the programme

Derek Kingscote

There was a Programme on this

There was a programme on this and it's on youtube


features specially built 3d X-ray machine and 50 angle light to obtain layer and text detail not available in plain sight.

A completely fascinating programme that has had 3 or 4 runs on BBC4. IMHO it is worth committing the time to watch this from end to end

This goes a long way to understanding how this was constructed and how it works

Recommended viewing

MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

Derek Kingscote

Sauce for the Goose

Of course if phones can be hacked, how long before all the data is trawled by some bent person and secret affairs go public

Liz Truss had an 18 month affair with then culture spokesman Mark Field

Edwina Curry & John Major - who knew

Many others

Plus ANPR cams tracking them

There's nowhere to hide

Don't forget to put LOL at the end of your email

Satya Nadella: Microsoft's new man presses all the old buttons in LONG memo

Derek Kingscote

Invent this

We will re-invent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet

Put XP on it and Office 2003

Hey presto - Productivity and Empowerment for all

Samsung's 'OS of Everything' Tizen still has little to offer

Derek Kingscote

IOS & Android - Your greatest strength is your biggest weakness!

IOS & Android - Your greatest strength is your biggest weakness!

If you want current proof - see Tesco [HSBC market analyst David McCarthy said: 'Tesco looks like it is experiencing more than one million fewer customer visits per week on a like-for-like basis']

Suggestions are that Tesco is past its sell by date.

Remember when Apple itself was a basket case?

Revealed: GCHQ's beyond top secret Middle Eastern internet spy base

Derek Kingscote


Luke 11

There was a great article in the Guardian last Thursday by Eben Moglen


I didn't see the article the previous Tuesday [which is the first part of this link] and the paper is now recycled.

The Thursday article starts below the picture of one of four server rooms at the Facebook data centre in North Carolina.

Extracts below:

Edward Snowden has revealed problems for which we need solutions. The vast surveillance-industrial state that has grown up since 2001 could not have been constructed without government contractors and the data-mining industry.

In this context, we must remember that privacy is about our social environment, not about isolated transactions we individually make with others. When we decide to give away our personal information, we are also undermining the privacy of other people.

Many people take money from you by concealing this distinction. They offer you free email service, for example. In return, they want you to let them read all the mail. Their stated purpose is advertising to you. It's just a transaction between two parties. Or, they offer you free web hosting for your social communications, and then they watch everybody looking at everything.

This is convenient, for them, but fraudulent. If you accept this supposedly bilateral offer, to provide email service to you for free as long as it can all be read, then everybody who corresponds with you is subjected to this bargain. If your family contains somebody who receives mail at Gmail, then Google gets a copy of all correspondence in your family. If another member of your family receives mail at Yahoo, then Yahoo receives a copy of all the correspondence in your family as well.

The same will be true if you decide to live your social life on a website where the creep who runs it monitors every social interaction, keeping a copy of everything said, and also watching everybody watch everybody else. If you bring new "friends" to the service, you are attracting them to the creepy inspection, forcing them to undergo it with you.

If you have a Facebook account, Facebook is surveilling every single moment you spend there. Moreover, much more importantly, every web page you touch that has a Facebook "like" button on it which, whether you click the button or not, will report your reading of that page to Facebook.

If the newspaper you read every day has Facebook "like" buttons or similar services' buttons on those pages, then Facebook or the other service watches you read the newspaper: it knows which stories you read and how long you spent on them.

Every time you tweet a URL, Twitter is shortening the URL for you. But it is also arranging that anybody who clicks on that URL will be monitored by Twitter as they read. You are not only helping people know what's on the web, but also helping Twitter read over everybody's shoulder everything you recommend.

This isn't transactional, this is ecological. This is an environmental destruction of other people's freedom to read. Your activity is designed to help them find things they want to read. Twitter's activity is to disguise the surveillance of the resulting reading from everybody.

Commercial surveillance then attracts government attention, with two results that Snowden has documented for us: complicity and outright thievery.

The article is quite long so you probably won't bother to read it.

If you have a Google or Yahoo email account, use Twitter or Facebook are you happy with what they do with your data?

EE boffin: 5G will be the LAST WORD in mobe tech – literally

Derek Kingscote

Powerline & Mission Critical 4G system based on SIP

Suppose your electricity transformer sub-station serves 1000 people [in reality it's probably a lot more], spread over 3 phases, that's 300+ per phase. All of those 300+ are on the same cable and earth, what use is 500Mbit/sec to each street? There's a main road junction at the bottom of our street; how will you give 500Mbit/sec up our road and 500Mbit/sec along the main road at the bottom of the street and 500Mbit/sec to all the roads off the main road?

You can't beat physics.


4G and SIP

An application on the phone could easily allow an officer to see a directory, add people to custom groups for raids etc., and probably easily roam between forces transparently.

The last thing you do is to allow "an officer" to "add people to custom groups for raids etc."

This would result in chaos and anarchy. This has to be managed centrally, and the radios locked down.

How would the Police Control Room control anybody under your scenario? and what about all the other functions e.g. recording voice calls; recording radio traffic; logging systems; time stamping calls; emergency button function; encryption and over the air rekeying; integration with other systems such as mapping [eg tracking a moving car in real time and displaying it on a map, where the rate of update is dependent on vehicle speed]; centralised voice mail system with a mailbox for each radio.

I could go on...

There are many things that are possible, but not all are practical.

Derek Kingscote

Re Also, your math is wrong...

Mea culpa. It was late – it should, of course read £1.2Million and £100Million

Even on lower techs with 8 cells, one channel was always for emergency use and if 2 calls came in, on same cell, all other calls were dropped. Nothing new here.

So are you saying that if all 8 channels on GSM are busy and you call 999, one call gets booted off – or do you get "no network" signal?

Electric cables can be used to backhaul data. This is seen with home plug tech, turning your house electrics into a LAN.

How you gonna manage all that data, also you have to get across power distribution transformers – all that lossy inductance at RF and capacitance which will look like a short circuit. In the old days on Long Distance copper cables even the spacing of the ink bands identifying the pairs was important.

This is not at issue in a home network.

With IP, you can program whatever you like, as most is software based. Device to device is not actually an issue either..

TETRA handsets are not like ordinary phones with a SIM card. They are programmed with the all the various talkgroups they need. When the handset connects with the network it has to match up with the TETRA network, the TETRA talkgroups available to it, the security keys, and subsequently the SICCS system. The Network for UK emergency services is run by Airwave, and there are charges for using the Airwave network. As an end user organisation you don't have overall control, so end to end IP is not an option. TETRA handset to handset calls are certainly not a problem, except that when you do this, you are not available to the control room, and you are not listening to your home talkgroup, so in the event of a 'shout' you won't hear it, so you are useless to the control room.

The missing person was probably done by triangulation.

Derek Kingscote

Who is this guy?

Microcells present special problems, namely control and handover, and how will the network keep on top of where you are all the time?

With so many cells and limited range for a cell, RF power levels will [necessarily] be very low – will this even work indoors?

If the networks are overloaded or destroyed; –ok destroyed you can do nothing in the short term until the networks bring their events kit in [the additional kit they install for special events like Glasto; Silverstone; Cheltenham Races] but if they are truly overloaded in a disaster they have the authority to switch the network off and only users with priority class have access.


Have you any idea how the police configure and run their TETRA networks? If they are on 4G and the network's down they will be affected too. Will this release 12 enable them to set up multiple talk groups; programme the radios depending on the function/area the officer is covering; will they be able to do over the air rekeying for security? How will that integrate in the control room with their SICCS system? How will the emergency button work? Can higher priority kick lower priority calls off the network e.g. emergency button has been pressed and will the channel be kept open for the audio to get through. Device to device is problematic because the control can't get hold of you if they need you.

They may, in future, use 4G on a completely stand alone network as they have at the moment, but the upgrade cost are enormous. It is quite a few years since I was involved but over 10 years ago the SICCS [integrates absolutely everything in the control room] was about £500k and the radios [which are personal issue] were about £700. Ours was a fairly small force, but saying that 1000 officers have to have new radios, where is that £700k coming from. £700k + £500k = £1.2Bn, and I haven't even covered the cars with their GPS and tracking the vehicle in real time on the mapping system. If you ever get the chance to look round an operational police control room do take it. They are not in the dark ages any more.

[The Fire control set up was a complete farce. The number of firemen and vehicles are a fraction of anything that controls working police officers. We specified off the shelf hardware for most of our kit. The SICCS screens were delivered on standard PCs and running off servers. Not bespoke hardware and overspecced mapping. But I digress]

There are 43 Forces in the UK so it'll be in the order of £100Bn for the total roll-out costs.

He says :"this will involve a mix of running fibre – either by digging up the ground or through existing power ducts." Most power cables are in the ground with a yellow tape over them saying Danger, Electric Cable.

I appreciate he's employed by EE and has to push their technology but it's a bit early for 5G vapourware.

The rest of us live in the real world!

Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Derek Kingscote


This is the one of the original chorded keyboards :


He wants to implement bluetooth so anyone with the requisite expertise should get in touch with him and help everybody.


Thanks a lot, Facebook: Microsoft turns Office 365 into social network

Derek Kingscote

Me Too!

Microsoft - the outfit that thought the internet was irrelevant!

This is just "Me Too" and they are way behind the curve. Facebook and Twitter are high maintenance. [i.e. they waste a hellava lot of time] The last thing any productive individual needs is another high maintenance "tool".

Facebookers and Twitterers are, most likely, using smartphones and tablets for access [just go to anywhere where people congregate and see how many people have their heads down looking at a diminutive screen].

If this don't run on a tablet it's nowhere [and that means working with Apple and/or Google - how ironic ! ]; people are not going to run up a PC just for this.

Some other important factors are deployment, [inc backups], training and support, who is going to deliver and manage that? Facebook and Twitter are user [mis]managed.

How are you going to control this ?

Will Microsoft be producing regular updates and patches ?

Will you _ever_ have a life?

Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream

Derek Kingscote

Thinking Ahead for Once

They are preparing for a post-Microsoft world !

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Derek Kingscote
Big Brother

It's worse than you think!

It's worse than you think!

Databases of the telephone book and the electoral register are commercially available, so it's a [relatively] trivial task to run every phone number they have hoovered up and reverse engineer from that, who that number relates to, where the address is and who lives there. The postcode will give them the likely socioeconomic group you [and all your contacts] are in.

Targeted marketing doesn't get any better than this.

Of course GCHQ and the NSA will want the reverse engineered data. They'll be _very_ interested in who you associate with, and you won't be able to lie when you get the 5.0am visit!

Oh, and they probably hoovered up all your data before you got off, so it's too late now!

Who knew that Big Brother would be reincarnated as Mark Zuckerberg ?

No need to worry, just trot off now and get on with the rest of your [spied on] life!


3CX PBX for Windows: Everything you ever wanted from a phone system

Derek Kingscote

Power Fail

What about bypass

i..e. make a 999 call when the power fails

Also if you have remote sites using IP telephony on your server, when they dial 999 the BT EISEC system will show where the call is breaking out to PSTN, NOT the remote location.

for EISEC see www.sinet.bt.com/278v2p1.pdf‎

what's the costs of the electricity for all the POE routers and the transformers to power the phones. i.e cost of electricity for standard router vs additional cost of electricity for POE - I've never had a satisfactory answer for that

even big conventional PBXs run off a 13amp socket and transform down to 48V with hefty battery backup and bypass lines

TWO can play this 64-bit mobile game, says Samsung, crossly

Derek Kingscote

Step Change

Chance for Samsung to step change, leave Android behind and migrate to Tizen

Modular smartphones floated by Dutch designer chap

Derek Kingscote


How many of these modules could find their way into other embedded kit e.g washing machines; microwave ovens; TVs; TV remotes; Skype cameras/speakers? Car media players/reversing cameras and screens; Journey video cameras; media players;

You name it and build your own!

Psst.. Wanna Android all-in-one PC? We have the chip tech, says Intel

Derek Kingscote

Raspberry Pi

This thing is proposed to have HDMI in.

Perfect for a RasPi

Media Server; Libre Office; Youtube, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter etc

As was recently asked in a magazine :

"is there anything a RasPi can't do?"

Pity they don't do a 10inch version

Microsoft will start Pooping themselves real soon now!!!

UK micro pioneer Chris Shelton: The mind behind the Nascom 1

Derek Kingscote

Ah The Memories

Just had to go and dig out my Issue 1 of Personal Computer World featuring the Nascom 1 on the cover.

Imagine my surprise to find a Nascom 1 programming Manual alongside. I must have sent off for this - it is very comprehensive .

The Nascom 1 was too expensive for me - this was early 1978 and eventually when Sinclair brought out his ZX80, I said to SWMBO when they are £100 I will buy one. The ZX81 hit that pricemark and many happy hours programming late into the night followed!

I was a regular subscription reader of PCW and it was fun until the focus shifted to business machines and the software was costing more than the hardware. Flicking through these early PCWs there were some evocative names : the Exidy Sorcerer, Altair, Research Machines 380Z. PCW August 78 featured an Apple II review. That machine was a stupendous £1250 for a 16k machine only. Complete cost including TV and cassette player was £1520 +VAT.

Explains why homebrew and kit machines were so popular and I am sure a lot of readers on here cut their teeth on such systems.

Fun looking back through the very early PCWs - brought back some memories.

Microsoft warns of post-April zero day hack bonanza on Windows XP

Derek Kingscote

It was fun while it lasted

Ironic isn't it? When Netbooks were flying out the door with Linux, suddenly Microsoft realised that it could be the end of the line for them so did a quick and dirty deal for flogging XP for Netbooks.

Now they say they are stopping support, how many Netbooks are capable of running Win7? Don't talk about Windows 8 it's unusable.

www.microsoft.com/Windows8 states : Windows 8 has everything you need, right from the Start.‎ [except it doesn't have a start button]

Don't talk about the money either. On the Microsoft store the OS is £100 - OK may be less on the high street, but with CDs, the cost of the initial effort is spread across hundreds of thousands of disks, but each extra disks cost only a penny.

Same goes for Office.

Fact is, Microsoft is scared. This is a company that said the internet was irrelevant. They got left behind. Linux on Netbooks – they only just got that back by playing hardball with suppliers. Suddenly tablets are very powerful, the genie is out of the bottle and they are not in control. The others have got that sewn up for now. I haven't seen one review that says Win8 is really really good. Their tablet ? Hmmm…

Tablets – a bit of Text; a bit of Spreadsheet; a bit of Mail; a bit of browsing; a lot of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube; then why do you need a full blown PC with a full blown OS? Put your tablet in a docking station with keyboard, mouse and big screen and you're away. Oh and thousands and thousands of Apps – like Where's my car? Star Maps, Mapping, you name it.

I'm not working full time these days, so I don't know what businesses are doing, but it's a fair bet that a lot of stuff is browser based and it's only the managers that need the full monty to write reports to send upstairs.

For the business user a lot of mission critical stuff was running on NT and XP. Microsoft said Vista is coming, business said OK we'll see. Vista was a turkey so Microsoft said Windows 7 is coming. Business said OK we'll see – we heard all about Vista so we're not going to do anything soon and our mission critical stuff is plodding on nicely. Business didn't move. Then Microsoft said Windows 8 is coming. Business said OK we'll see. Windows 8 is a) unusable and b) how the hell are we gonna migrate our mission critical stuff onto that?!. Then Microsoft said if you don't migrate, we'll break the thing that runs your mission critical stuff.

Business doesn't trust you.

Unless Windows 9 delivers, like really delivers, you could see the biggest, fastest business collapse in history.

It was fun while it lasted.

Upstart's 'FLASH KILLER' chips pack a terabyte per tiny layer

Derek Kingscote


Who was it that said every chip costs $1 apiece eventually

RBS collapse details revealed: Arrow points to defective part

Derek Kingscote


Where the software is and where the staff are is irrelevant.

Experience and competence are essential.

The head honchos at all companies are paid inflated salaries because you have to have "World Class People" to run the business.

All board members should only ever be bonussed on the customer experience and NOTHING ELSE!

They think they are running the company, but it is everyone below them that are doing it.

When I was working I always said, I'd settle for annual salary increase on the same basis as the chairman in either cash or percentage terms.

This is a massive fail. Hester and the person responsible for the Banks IT should fall on their swords.

Customer Experience = No bonus for any of the board this year!

[The person responsible for the Banks IT or may not be Ron Teerlink. He is Chief Administrative Officer of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. He joined the RBS Group in April 2008 as Chief Executive of Business Services, becoming the Group Chief Administrative Officer in February 2009. At the same time he was re-appointed to the Managing Board of ABN AMRO to oversee the integration programme. Ron started his career with ABN Bank in 1986 as an IT/Systems analyst and held various functional positions before becoming Chief Operating Officer of the Wholesale Clients Business in 2002. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Group Shared Services in 2004 and joined ABN AMRO’s Managing Board in January 2006, where he was responsible for Services and Market Infrastructure. Ron holds a Masters degree in Economics from Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit.]

Anyway, Teerlink is the only board member that has any IT experience listed.

Successful remnant of Motorola acquires successful remains of Psion

Derek Kingscote

Psion Linux netBook Repost from 2009

I remember going to a trade show, ooh must be 5 years ago (maybe more) [8 years now] , and a saw a new Psion netBook running linux. It was the same underlying machine as a netBook pro I think.

And it was linux from the ground up. It had a white case because it was a demo unit; wonder where it went. Suspect it never got to market due to M$ licensing of Windoze CE restricting the use of any competing OS.

Taking on the point of Open Office and a suitable browser and the ability to send a PDF direct to your printer, if one of these linux machines had mobile telephony functionality, video resolution & the requisite connectivity and MP3 player driving bluetooth earphones it would probably clean up.

There was a guy somewhere who had considered gutting a Psion netBook and installing a single board ARM processor a new higher res screen and running linux. Dunno what happened with that. Anyone know?

Could the netBook now be resurrected with RasPi Innards - a great student project methinks

Lament for Psion, great products, clever keyboards but lost through the netBook pro WinCE

Microsoft kills again!

Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Derek Kingscote


Of course this is outrageous!

How the hell are the ISPs & Telcos, Services: iOS/itunes; twitter, facebook google bing android youtube and 1001 other sites going to capture all this stuff in real time and index it so it is easy to search.

One question: when I visit El Reg, the spooks can see that ok - I click a story and something appears in the URL bar at the top. I've come to the Register site and they have connected me from the Register to their story. Can the spooks see that, or does it all look like the Register whatever I visit?

Sorry Reg, you'll have to capture all this data too !

I know ... we'll completely build a parallel internet with loads of storage - that would do it!

Oh hang on - we might have a problem with recursion? I couldn't possibly say, you'd have to check for recursion!

Shouldn't be too difficult to build a networked sniffing server with removable storage to snivel across all in and out lines; then when they ask for the data - give them the disks with the raw data as it is and say this is the start and finish dates but I've no idea what's on here, I've no idea what format it's in, hell I've no idea even if it's plain text that you can search [you've seen the Google search results bar haven't you]. Don't come back to me with follow-up questions cos this is all I've got! Best of luck!

How do I get on the suppliers list cos this will be a nice little gravy train, guaranteed payment, permanent employment and never deliver any meaningful results. And I'll get compensation when the contract's abandoned [just exactly how many gov't IT projects have run the full distance and delivered the specified requirements???]

Derek Kingscote

Bring it On

They should implement this forthwith and capture all the contents too.

Would have made Leveson a whole lot more interesting!

Notice how no one appearing has been skewered yet.

The guy on the left is rummaging through my pockets just to find the non-electronic stuff - hope he doesn't find my one-time code pad !

Waterstones stores surrender to Amazonian invaders

Derek Kingscote

Re This will not end well

With more and more stuff issued on Kindle, we will wind up with Tescoisation. The supermarkets only list the top 20 books. Other than self publishing, the likelihood is that the number of books published will decline. And a consequent decline in bookshops.

The great thing about bookshops is that they allow browsing across all subjects as you wander through the store – this is difficult to do online [until we get 3D headsets to wander through a virtual bookstore]

Our local library service is not allowed to provide e-books on Kindle, other e-readers do not have this problem.

Personally, I avoid, where possible, any service where you are locked in, so I would avoid the Kindle out of principle

Gore, Bush, and Berners-Lee rock into 'net Hall of Fame

Derek Kingscote

Remedy Required

On the assumption that the "Inductees Alphabetically" list is complete

One or two serious omissions here methinks...

Licklider and Clark should be there as visionaries Licklider is mentioned in the "A Brief History of the Internet"

In August 1962, Licklider and Welden Clark published the paper "On-Line Man Computer Communication", one of the first descriptions of a networked future.

Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, a married couple who worked as computer operations staff members at Stanford University, later joined by Richard Troiano founded Cisco Systems in 1984

and perhaps most important

1978 -- Dennis C. Hayes and partner Dale Heatherington, working on Hayes’ dining room table, developed the first personal-computer modem and formed a company.

Us oldies will now get all nostalgic thinking of the MF dialling tones; the b'doing b'doing and hiss of handshakes and data.

and the AT command set ...

Remedy required forthwith !

Home Office 'technologically clueless' on web super-snoop law

Derek Kingscote

Of Course They're Cluless

First of all, apologies, this is a long post

Of course they’re clueless. They are mostly arts graduates!

How many technically savvy people are there in govt? There are a few in the Lords on a range of different subjects and for that reason in my view the Lords should remain. They don’t have to pander to the electorate to get voted in – do we need a system like America where they have one house dominated by the Republicans and the other by the Democrats so nothing gets done? [There is a potential issue of corruption : consider the number of muppets paid by the health care lobbyists so that the health bill went through. Anyroad that’s a different can of wurms.]

To get back to my point, in 1994 I worked for BT, and they decided that they would have a single call logger to log all the internal BT telephone traffic. I warned them that they wouldn’t be able to do it because it there was too much data. After a lot of “yes it will”, “no it won’t” panto, they did try. Surprise, surprise there was too much data and they had to have two monster call loggers with a front-end processor before it sort-of worked. OK, OK, things have moved on a lot since 1994, but we were only talking about internal BT traffic.

Consider national telephone traffic now, they will be wanting to see everybody’s bills on a daily slice arrangement, rather than waiting for 3 months like the rest of us. How much data will that generate for analysis? How many people are they employing to do this? The previous lot also wanted records of all calls, even the ones that weren’t answered. There’s only one way they’ll get that and that is logging all the inter exchange signalling data. That’s the CTITT SS#7, known in the UK as C7 signalling.


Now this gives you everything you could ever want!, calling party number, called party number, time, date and the termination data i.e ringing, busy, number unobtainable, if the call was answered or not, and call duration etc.etc. but you would have to do that on every C7 link in the country and incoming and outgoing to the country.

Just imagine the data volumes. You have to get the calling party name and address and the called party name and address for every one of those calls. The previous govt wanted all that in real time. Ha!

Then you’ve got Mobile Phone traffic, mobile data and SMS traffic.

Then all the Facebook and Twitter traffic.

And all the me too social network sites etc.

And all the YouTube traffic.

And all the Instagram traffic.

And all the website traffic.

And all the ebay traffic.

And all the spam traffic.

And all the stuff we haven’t thought about yet traffic.

Most of this is all pretty pointless, but if they want to sift it they can.

But how do they know what they’re looking for?

Oh, and if there are blokes doing this monitoring they’re bound to get sidetracked with all the porn that “nobody” looks at!

In my last job I got way too much email to the extent that people complained that I didn’t respond to it. I did a little experiment, and I calculated that if I read everything that came into my mailbox, I would be reading a million words a year! [save your emails and document attachments into a single rolling Word document for a month and use the wordcount function, you’ll see!] I was never going to do that!

So capture, log and analyse it all. Best of luck with that!

After a day they’ll have too much data

After a week they’ll have way too much data

After a month no one will bother to even look at it!

Save your money in letting a contract. Just give me the money and you can have this advice instead : don’t bother!

Nokia on 'brink of failure', warns analyst

Derek Kingscote

Here's my Analysis

3 points here:

1 Microsoft strangles anything not microsoft

They did Symbian once before when Psion started using microsoft winCE

Interesting that people are praising Symbian Belle

2 There are phone buyers and phone renters

The phone buyers want something that looks cool

The phone renters are on a 18 or 24 month replacement cycle

How does Nokia and microsoft sit in those spaces

3 Apps, Apps, Apps

Are the app writers just protecting what they already have on the other platforms

Sad to say, but it looks terminal to me. How the mighty are fallen!

Although resurrection is possible - who'd have said that Apple would be a trillion

dollar company 15 years ago?

Derek Kingscote

Here's my Analysis

Here's my Analysis

3 points here:

1 Microsoft strangles anything not microsoft

They did Symbian once before when Psion started using microsoft winCE

Interesting that people are praising Symbian Belle

2 There are phone buyers and phone renters

The phone buyers want something that looks cool

The phone renters are on a 18 or 24 month replacement cycle

How does Nokia and microsoft sit in those spaces

3 Apps, Apps, Apps

Are the app writers just protecting what they already have on the other platforms

Sad to say, but it looks terminal to me. How the mighty are fallen!

Although resurrection is possible - who'd have said that Apple would be a trillion

dollar company 15 years ago?

Hello? You'll never guess where I am ... I'm under a ferry

Derek Kingscote

How did they do that?

What they haven't said is how they've done it.

The most likely method is by leaky feeder.

A leaky feeder consists of a coaxial cable run along tunnels which emits and receives radio waves, functioning as an extended antenna. The cable is "leaky" in that it has gaps or slots in its outer conductor to allow the radio signal to leak into or out of the cable along its entire length.

This system is also used for underground mobile communication in mass transit railways. In Hong Kong the leaky feeder aerial was incorporated in the specification of the capital project and installed during construction. This allows emergency services seamless mobile communication from the underground to the surface.

Aircraft also use a leaky feeder antennae system for the latest generation of IFE systems.

More details on leaky feeders here:


Tiny transistor stays where it's put

Derek Kingscote

Keep it Cold

"It also needs to be kept at -196°C to operate"

So, keep it cold or the smoking hairy golf ball is back !