* Posts by david willis

78 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Jun 2009


Space nukes: The unbelievably bad idea that's exactly that ... unbelievable

david willis

Re: Star wars?

I thought "Star Wars" project was an elaborate hoax, designed to start a very expensive arms race with the then CCCP looking at lasers, particle beams, high performance computers and high energy physics. In many ways it was a very effective project announcement, it helped lead to the downfall of the CCCP, but also got sued by Lucasfilm for trade mark infringement.

Infineon to offer recyclable circuit boards that dissolve in water

david willis

Tea or Coffee Incidents ?

I'll say no more..

Ripoff Vuitton handbag smaller than a grain of salt fetches $63,750 at auction

david willis


Do you recon apple will produce an airtag for it?

EU's Cyber Resilience Act contains a poison pill for open source developers

david willis

A car analogy

You go out and buy a car from a major manufacturer, you pay £30-60k for it, depending on model (assume a family saloon if such a thing still exists). It WILL be tested by the manufacturer, it will be road safe, it will last 3 years before it needs an MOT and it will be supported for three years (maybe longer) if it has faults.It doesn't mean to say it won't break down, but you are offloading your risk to the supplier at a price.

Alternatively you might want to build your own car ! - it will most likely be substantially cheaper, you can source your parts from almost anywhere. However it will still need to meet basic rules of the road to be safe, and there is a cost to meeting these rules. It must not spin off the motorway at the first corner and kill 5 people on the other side of the crash barrier.

Same goes for software - buy from supplier and have support


Build it yourself, get it tested and be responsible for the risk.

Do we need a testing and review system for open source ? - funded at cost by those wanting to use their build ?

NASA tests bot built to slither across, and beneath, alien worlds' ice

david willis

Re: Well done.



Microsoft can't stop injecting Copilot AI into every corner of its app empire

david willis

AI integration


1. The AI's do not integrate, do not talk to each other correctly, create a million and one individual problems they all disagree on... Good new's?, average board meeting, public service ?

2. The Ai do integrate, they do talk to each other correctly, the identify a million and one problems, and they all agree on the way of dealing with it .. Bad news ? Skynet ?

david willis

Re: AI whatever

Im sure somebody will find a way to get an AI to do that laborious task..

Revealed: Perfect timings for creation of exemplary full English breakfast

david willis

Stealing my recepies

Gits that’s how I do it..

Just missing black pudding n a fried slice.ll

Creaky systems 'cost lives': Health secretary Matt Hancock pledges to solve NHS IT woes

david willis

NHS tech

There is an awful lot of hard work going on to implement new technology into healthcare, large amounts of money being invested to pay for that technology. The real challenge is that the legacy process and procedures within the NHS do not necessarily lend themselves to be implemented in IT solutions. Attempts to change the process or procedure has historically led to resistance that has either led to failure or compromise of IT systems. Add to this complex procurement, dodgy suppliers and local IT infrastructures that simply do not meet modern standards and you have the perfect environment for systems that simply do not work in the way people would like.

UK.gov to tech industry: Hands up who can help cut teachers' admin

david willis

look at the job

stop looking at tech to fix all the problems. look at the jobs that have to be done, the validly of the jobs, how they link into other jobs. Get rid of the stupid jobs and look at ways to change processes to improve workflow, then look at tech that can support this workflow. SSADM.. bit of an old method I know.. but maybe teachers can make it work?

'Plane Hacker' Roberts: I put a network sniffer on my truck to see what it was sharing. Holy crap!

david willis

Sleepwalking Into Disaster

I guess the only way people will start taking cybersecurity seriously is when somebody does slam a full passenger airliner into the ground.

My guess is they will not have been trying to crash it, in the same way it is unlikely somebody planned wannacry to take out the NHS.

It will most likely be collateral damage caused by some other well meaning piece off software - think of the problems being caused by Stuxnet variants.

That doesn't mean to say that there are not people who would crash the NHS or an airliner.

The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

david willis

Re: The elegant and slimmer fix

I have to admit I’ve been waiting for the single slim block of aluminium, that is not tarnished by holes, keyboard or screen. With its illuminated Apple logo, which isn’t bright enough to be used as a lamp, meaning the whole thingis just an expensive paperweight. It seems Apple have almost managed to achieve with the 2017 MacBook Pro.

You must be yolking: English pub to launch eggstravagent Yorkshire pudding

david willis

Yorkshire pudding - sweet or savoury

I’m from Yorkshire. The pudding can be served sweet or savoury. Hot or cold. Warm with strawberry jam and whipped cream is just as nice as hot with beef and gravy (obviously not on the same plate at the same time).


I do feel however that chocolate cake filled with cream egg filling, topped with cream eggs served in a Yorkshire pudding may be a bit “dry”... perhaps add some vanilla ice cream and some of the Cadbury’s mini eggs (for texture).. it might just work Grommit.

Smart cities? Tell it like it is, they're surveillance cities

david willis

There is Money to be made?

With all the follow people, identify people technology deployed surely somebody will need to cover the costs of the tech and this will fall back on giving external companies access to the data. So here is a thought. Have you ever been annoyed by the targeted adverts that pop up curtesy of cookies, you know .. you've browsed amazon, and the next thing you are getting popups for similar stuff for sale?, imagine the intelligent city, your face is known, your eating habits are known, you are going to lunch and bingo the sign next to you lights up with an advert from whoever pays the most money to point you at food source x/y.. maybe not a bad thing?.. but could it get worse ?

Sonos will deny updates to those who snub rewritten privacy terms

david willis

Dear Sir / Madam,

I note you wish to change the terms and conditions of use of my procured SONOS equipment.

Please note that I object to my information being processed in the manner laid out by yourselves in your new privacy policy.

(By object I refer you to the European Data Protection Regulation due into action in May 2018), as a registered data processor in the UK (ZA207909) you are required to record my objection and justify your use of information, this information includes Person Identifiable Information which is being processed without my explicit consent.

Note your response may be forwarded to the Information Commissioners Office for their comment. If they judge that your processing is inappropriate they may make comment.

I would refer you to the monetary penalties section of the GDPR, up to 4% of global turnover or 20M euros (whichever is the larger) for penalties should you be in breach of this legislation.

You privacy policy is imposing a change in the contract between customer and supplier.

One that I as the customer do not believe appropriate.

As this is a unilateral change in contract and something I would not have agreed to when I originally procured my SONOS equipment, could I suggest you either make your processing optional (ask my consent and allow me an opt out) or alternatively arrange refund for the equipment I currently own and deletion of my information from your databases in line with the “right to be forgotten” as outlined by the GDPR.

WannaCry prompts promise of extra cash towards NHS security

david willis


Sounds like a lot of money? To be split between 27 organisations (the major trauma centres)

As for the other 206 secondary care NHS organisations, Acutes with A&E's, Mental Health Trusts, AMBULANCE TRUSTS... they will have to bid for part of the £50M allocated to the ENTIRE NHS to be released over the next 2.5 years, when in reality they will all have to meet strict standards by April 2018.

Rock and a hard place? -

Healthcare tops UK data breach chart – but it's not what you're thinking

david willis

Reported Incidents

Remember the NHS has a statutory requirement to report incidents.

Apple joins one wireless power group, the other one responds with so-happy forced grin

david willis

But what have apple ever done for us ?

(following the hidden monty python message)

"the iPad",

Well aside from the iPad? What have Apple ever done for us?

"The MacBook Pro", "The iMac", "The iWatch..

Admitted.. admitted.. but aside from...

CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

david willis

Microbot Push

Do they do a version that can turn a key ?

I'm sure the new US president would be interested in a way to cut costs in the US Military whilst maintaining control over the nuclear arsenal. Four of these in each missile bunker would be a massive cost saving.

Obviously device security might be an issue.

Uh-oh. LG to use AI to push home appliances to 'another dimension'

david willis


So the red dwarf talkie toaster comes yet closer... memo to self.. buy baseball bat..(not the talking version)

Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

david willis

Context please

Let's start here with the digital millennium act, designed to stop you copying video cassettes and computer games.

The issue with IOT (regardless of scale) is the act allows security by obscurity. It has bugger all effect on the bad guys that WANT to exploit and hurts those that are just curios.

Forget tractors for a minute and look at DD-WRT. It has been permitted by the hardware manufacturer to hack a routers firmware and produce something that may be better than their home made software. Good stuff?, bad stuff?.. It depends, the bad guys could equally produce something nasty, which without some kind of certification might break your home network.. Hey ho..

Now look at Tractors;

“Vehicle software will be subject to contamination from the repair or modification efforts of individual vehicle owners, the vast majority of whom do not have the programming or technical competence in the full range of applicable federal regulations and industry standards,”

Vast majority - agreed..

But by refusing to accept people looking at your software all you are doing is trying to achieve security by obscurity. It's exactly the same as the home routers. Your software may be (pick your expletive), but there's a chance that somebody else's could be worse.

The issue here is that if you do have the skills and the time and he energy to try and make things work you'll get your ass sued off by somebody using legislation designed to protect video games and VCR tapes.

There is no easy answer to this, but discussion on how we secure the IOT is important. Research to show that there is a problem is desperately needed. A piece of legislation that allows ANY manufacturer to refuse you permission to look under the bonnet is dangerous.

What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

david willis

Depends if the Americans buy it.

Possibly the most likely candidate ?


New MacBook Pro beckons fanbois to become strip pokers

david willis

A very unfortunate analogy ?

OK, I'm a huge Apple fan, too much kit and use a MacBook Pro as my work computer. I appreciate the CPU performance increase, however overall I am disappointed. The touchbar is an interesting idea, but does strike me as a "square steering wheel".

What is more interesting is that the analogy is much more worrying when you wiki the vehicle with the "square steering wheel", "The key factor that British Leyland can now be seen to have missed is that a much more useful and popular form of car, the hatchback, was emerging in Europe" -

I guess my message - Apple you have some of the prettiest, most reliable, ergonomic, powerful and EXPENSIVE IT kit out there. But where is the innovation?, where are the regular power boosts?, where is the 64Gb of ram ?, where is the new interface?, where is the excitement? -


Good luck securing 'things' when users assume 'stuff just works'

david willis

"Nice to Have"

The problem is that most end users either do not understand the risk, or do not care about the risks, as obviously "the security types are shroud waving again".

Even if users are provided with standards, if the standard involves effort (sliding the bolt on the door) there is no guarantee that the standard will be followed.

Student software finds new Minor Planet found way out beyond Pluto

david willis


Didn't Douglas Adams prophesise a planet outside the orbit of Pluto called "Rupert" ?

Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

david willis

Just Like Home?.

"Kepler has discovered hundreds, if not thousands of planets, and maybe someday we'll find one that's just like home."

Hopefully thats a home that is less violent, less polluted and doesn't have another Donald Trump?

You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

david willis

At a slightly different level -- but

One National IT system I worked on. Where for ease a telnet server written into the source code along with the user authentication credentials. Needless to say a simple change that involved FTP'ing data to the server shared the credentials with 1200 other people who had read access to the change request. A simple request to change the password meant that the whole system had to be amended and recompiled.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was paid more than $28,000 a day in 2015

david willis

Cook is set to get enough money to build a robot army and take on North Korea

Whoop.. Bring on the Apple Robot Army...

HSBC online customers still in the cold after hours-long lockout

david willis

Re: There might be an app :- But

Yes I noticed browser weirdness last night. I couldn't get on to the website from my iMac using Safari or Chrome, but did get on several times using Safari on my iPad. Then that stopped working. The app seemed hit and miss last night too. Haven't tried the app this morning.

david willis

There might be an app :- But

The website is STILL broken..

Rebels defeat the Empire (again) by giving BB-8 an API

david willis

Its not just an API.

V2 could do with a camera in the little floating head :-)

BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army

david willis

Rail Guns..

I remember playing with smaller versions of this thing at high school in the early 80's (It was an all boys school. With that much testosterone rail guns and the local all girls high school were appropriate distractions) - Ours would put a 3inch nail through a couple of telephone directories (it was a wooden plank with a load of solenoids on it). We had the same projectile stability issues (cept with us the nail would get stuck in the solenoids). Advantages - potentially rate of fire, but most important (in the case of ours) - no wear on the barrel mechanism - most gun barrels in releasing all that powder and spinning the projectile get really hot and distort, or just simply wear out. Our railgun got warm (when it didn't jam) but suffered no other wear. And yes you could fire anything metal that would fit in the solenoid. Watching the video it would appear that the hypersonic railgun projuces a massive amount of heat to move a large (and unstable) mass - although I wouldnt want to be on the receiving end of the mass I would be interested in see what kind of wear occurs in the barrel. TBF the idea of a much smaller mass ( a needle gun) is a much more sensible idea - however such a weapon (with say fracturing flechettes) would no doubt get banned as an inhumane weapon.


david willis

Re: Obvious Joke??

I live in Grimsargh..

Its a small village between Longridge and Preston..

Now say it like a pirate would, then tell me us Northerners don't have a sense of humour..

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

david willis

The market changes - but what happens to the service

Ok, BT & AT&T didn't create the phone networks for the betterment of society. They did it to make money.

The internet doesn't magically occur. In most cases the internet is BT or AT&T renting some of the space on their comms network.

This network is the meat and veg of any meal

When BT or AT&T were forcing you to buy their overpriced access equipment it was to them just gravy.

Now the Gravy is a the main part of the meal, how will we fund the meat and veg?

As far as the networks go nearly everyone will go to the cheapest provider (daft not to - but never underestimate people), unless they are in an area of dodgy comms where they will go for the only provider (daft not to).

So everyone will want cheap meat n veg. Now cost of supply means cheap eventually becomes none as it is too expensive to provide service

Then what becomes of the gravy, what point is there in an information consumption and presentation device made by any manufacture when there is no information to consume or present?

Maybe its just a move by the dessert (Apple) to monopolise the entire meal?

The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

david willis

The Police and the Law.

Taking Photographs in a public space - until recently people were getting accosted and arrested for this.

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. ... The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home..If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." President James Madison

Apple hires medical techies, raises spectre of iStuff slurping data direct from your bloodstream

david willis


Theoretically its not a bad idea.

Wristwatches maintain skin contact (depending on how tight the stap is and avoiding people like Derren Brown) they are next to a good pulse point, and good bloodflow (as long as your arm is attatched).

Having heart rate, Blood Pressure, blood sugar levels etc available on your watch (along with the time), certainly beats trying to stream a move to a 1" screen, trying to look cool and hip ( a la Dick Tracy) whist shouting at your hand, or trying to use that bloody calculator function that needs a "your fingers are too fat" stylus, but even then you won't be able to read the result. (yes I had one of the latter... a LONG time ago)

Here's what YOU WON'T be able to do with your PlayStation 4

david willis


i wonder how many people from Sony's music and movies division were involved in the development of this thing.

Years ago developement would have involved asking the customer what they wanted - yes I would like to play games, but yes I would like to stream stuff from my DNLA server (cos I have a crappy 2Mb internet link and live in the sticks).

Obviously people want to play games and everything else can be controlled by Sony through its stores, services and servers. Although Apple do try and get you to download music from their store, at least you can (at the moment) drag and drop your existing MP3s into iTunes to play on your i device.

Steve Jobs AIRBRUSHED from history by APPLE months before his death

david willis

Mac Pro

Anyone notice how it resembles the new mac pro..

OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

david willis

Bad payers

Many years ago I was visited by an agent offering the servioes of factoring. This is where a company collects all your invoices for you, but you only receive a percentage of the invoice (a high percentage). As part of her sales speil she gave us an idea of teh worst payers in britain. From her list (going by turnover) - BT with a multi billion pound turnover had literally thousands of outstanding CCJs, through non payment of bills.

Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

david willis

What goes around..

1. Serves your right for buying a cheap weather station

2. Thank you for declairing me "middle aged" for owning a weather station (tho one immune to power cuts :-P )

3. So YOU have noticed the sky+ box 5 minutes pretending not to do anything too... It worries me.. The warrenty ran out a number of years ago (terminated by me pulling out and replacing the HDD) - but that LOOOOONG pause before power up.. very disconcerting.

First burger made of TEST-TUBE MEAT to be eaten on August 5

david willis

The space merchants

Artificial meat... Not a bad idea, now for the traditionalist sci fi fans - Frederick Phol, the space merchants, vat grown chicken little, fed to thousands of people every day.. And the catch? ... Read the book:-D

Leap Motion Controller: Hands up for PC air gestures. That's the spirit

david willis

Re: Final Update

Ok fusion doesn kill leap, it just steals it on start.

Actually device will work under fusion, but requires re-installation of all drivers/software on the cliant VM.

The windows drivers seem a little better than the mac ones..

Touchless screen - mac - needs development - as said by all the reviewers. with a mouse you don't think where it is when controlling the screen, what you are looking for is the cursor on the screen. With leap you are trying to do touch, but you essentially need to think "I'm not touching, its like a mouse" forget where my hands are, just watch the cursor (interesting arm motions, possible quite good from an excersise point of view) - this is kind of counter intuitive.

Touchless Screen - Win 7 - needs even more development.

Final thoughts - quite a way to go. fully understand why they delayed release. need to re-work the touchless screen software.

david willis

Re: Delivered

Ok its landed, installed and working.

Opinions - unfortunately completely agree with the reviewer - its a gimmick.

Issues -

1. it don't like daylight - so curtains closed to use it.

2. you want it to work like a mouse / touch less screen? - ahh theres an app for that - and yup it doesn't come with that function out of the box - I'll tell you later about the app, but the reviews are not good!

3. 241Mb software install on a mac - and all you get is some snoop ware and a calibration/test software. WTF! (at least you can switch off the snoop ware ?)

4. Every help screen is a video - which it downloaded - very pretty I'm sure - not helpful if your internet connection isn't great

5. It does not like usb hubs

6. VMware fusion kills it stone dead.

So very shiny.. form over function.. not impressed.

david willis

On the Truck

Much like everybody else, mine is on the truck waiting for delivery today.

I think most of the review comments will turn out to be fair, and to be fair if I passed you a copy of RDP for ipad and asked you to use it to access your computer desktop and work soley from the ipad you would soon get board.

Simple fact the UI of both OS-X & Win 7 is designed for keyboard and mouse. Use them with a touch/proximity and they just show how limited your basic UI is.

Question - whats it like with WIN8 ? - does it even work?

Comments about touch surfaces are useful to most. I already have the apple magic mouse and use the surface regularly for multi gesture control. Fact the surface isn't big enough. Next fact, I'm thinking from a surgeons perspective, when with gloves on and blood on hands he/she wants to see a bit more detail on the theatre computer screen with regards a referance x-ray/CT/ultrasound will leap help? At the moment he/she does it using a touch screen, it works!, the screen is also getting progressivly destroyed by the cleaning chemicals used. Would leap resolve the latter problem without compromising the level of control?

I'm not 100% sure leap is the answer, but its certainly a relatively cheap starting point.

How Alan Turing wanted to base EDSAC's memory on BOOZE

david willis

A vulture challange????

Come on guys, you've been trying to get paris into space, how about prooving that Gin is good for memory..

You could even try differant brands of gin!,

For the love of God your jornalists and you haven't realies the potential for the tax deductable after experiment party!!

- PS if you do try and compare with mercury delay pipes, make sure those pipes are clearly marked, locked down, shackled, painted a distatesful colour. Just to prevent over enthusiasic consumption at the after experiment party. Note mercury is not a good drink, even with tonic..

Quantum boffins send data ACROSS TIME AND SPACE

david willis
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Quantum stuff seems to get cooler every time you rea something. The concept that two quantum particals can exist at the same induced excited state seperately and over distance is the basis of many sci-fi communications systems. Now they can do this over time too. James Blish did a short story called beep, where all intersteller quantum communication ended in an annoying beep. Then somebody discovered the beep was the concatination of EVERY communication ever made using the system over ALL the time the system has, is and will be used...

The software industry: So efficient, we invented shelfware

david willis
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Nicely Said.. and from an NHS perspective

IG puts people to sleep (no disprespect to hard working IG teams everywhere)

Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability - thats IT's problem.

And "nurses are getting drowned in paperwork"..

Maybe we can make it work, but EVERYBODY would have to want it to work!

Oi, Apple, stick to phones, forget about TV - Time Warner CEO

david willis

Resistance is futile..

Ok with how many billion in the bank? - maybe apple should just go out and become a content producer, much like that other famed device manufacturer... erm.. erm... SONY..