* Posts by SImon Hobson

1955 posts • joined 9 Sep 2006

Watch an oblivious Tesla Model 3 smash into an overturned truck on a highway 'while under Autopilot'

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Re: It is autopilot but not autonomous

Oops, correction - it's the THIRD post in the comments.

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The responsibility is clearly with the drivers

Technically yes, but as I've already explained in another post, when you reduce stimulation, then driver alertness will reduce. As the first poster pointed out, another car driver spotted the obstacle a reasonable distance before and took avoiding action. But that driver would have had situational awareness already - not taken time to acquire it when the "oh sh*t" moment happened.

So yes, there is a big problem with these advanced cruise controls - it is inevitable (basic human factors) that even the best driver will be less aware and alert when the car is cruising along under "autopilot". It's not the "fault" of the driver, it's basic human factors than make this inevitable - the only thing under driver control is how much effort (yes, positive effort) he puts into keeping alert, and then you get into a question of "if you are expending that much mental effort, why now just drive the darn thing yourself ?"

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Re: This is a driver assist not an autopilot !

Ah, but the TCAS worked - it's warnings just weren't followed.

Bear in mind that at the time of this crash, TCAS was fairly new and it would appear that there was some confusion on the part of one crew as to whether to follow the TCAS or ATC. These days it's very clear - you follow TCAS and then tell ATC what you've done.

As an aside, the reason TCAS uses climb/descend for Resolution Advisories is that vertical position is (or certainly was back then) a lot more precise than horizontal position. These days with extensive use of GPS and Mode-S, fully equipped aircraft know where they are to high accuracy and transmit this via Mode-S broadcasts. Other aircraft can pick these up and do the maths to gain accurate situational awareness.

But back then, position was largely a case of "the signal came that that direction" which is not very precise and "the signal was X strength" which is also very imprecise as received signal strength depends on both the transmitted power, and the orientation of both transmitting and receiving antennae. But with a properly calibrated pressure sensor, (relative) vertical position is fairly accurate - you don't need to know your height above ground or MSL (changes in atmospheric pressure change the relation between pressure and height), only the difference between yourself and the other aircraft.

SImon Hobson Silver badge

Re: It is autopilot but not autonomous

See the very first post on this. The driver would not have been very alert as most of the stimulus that keeps a driver alert and aware of his surroundings have been removed - that's the whole point of the high end adaptive cruise control. It makes no difference who says what or what it is called - this cruise control is designed and marketed as a way of letting the car take over a lot of the work and decision making, and that does mean that the driver is less involved in the task than he would be without it.

So you are cruising along, enjoying the scenery as you don't need to concentrate on the driving - the car is doing that for you. Then "what ?", "err ?", "oh sh*t !" - and the driver simply does NOT have the time to assess the situation, work out where the other vehicles are on the road, consider available exit strategies, pick one, and execute it. It's easy to sit in comfort, knowing what's going to happen, and watch a video - and say "what an idiot, all he needed to do was ..."

In the time available to him, getting the brakes on hard enough to emit smoke was pretty good going.

As an aside, one of the biggest problems in commercial aviation (well apart from most of it being on the ground at the moment) is crew alertness. Short haul flights probably not too bad, but on long haul it's largely a case of take off, wheels up, engage flight management - then sit back for a few hours, a few radio calls with ATC, perhaps a few course changes into the FMC, and wait till you arrive at your destination. There have been a number of occasions when flight crew have, lets remain polite, become distracted from the job of flying the aircraft - I recall one where the crew claimed to have been discussing rostering and failed to hear ATC calling them repeatedly as they over-flew their destination can carried on for a while, before turning round and flying back to where they were supposed to have landed.

AIUI, with the best of the management systems these days, the pilot can line up on the runway then the management systems can take off, fly the route, and land at the other end with the pilot only required to brake and then taxi off. I doubt that it's done very often, but you think of the challenge of staying alert for hours on end with that level of automation.

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Re: I get that the cameras may not have picked out the truck...

once you've learned how big something (like, say, a fully grown cow...) looks at a given distance

Sorry, couldn't resist


UK.gov dangles £400k over makers of IoT Things: Go on, let's see how you'd make a security cert scheme

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Re: What about our networks?

You are correct, but I can't see that changing any time - at all, not just soon.

ISPs don't care - as long as the router they ship to you "free" is a) cheap to them, and b) allows you to reach WhatsTwitFaceBorge then they are OK.

As to segregated networks, there are some real practical problems there. As it happens, SWMBO just got an Echo Dot - no I didn't buy it, I don't want it in the house, but SWMBO says otherwise and one of our daughters got it for her birthday present. I setup another SSID to connect it to with client segregation turned on - but then I also need to put SWMBO's phone onto a specific IP address and configure the network to allow the phone and the Dot to talk to each other. I'd use VLANs as well but none of my switches are VLAN capable and I'm not keen to spend on that right now - but if I did then that would complicate things even more as there'd be no ability for the config program to find the devices it needs to configure (usually based on being in the same broadcast domain). Of course, VLANs on a wired network would mean that you can't just randomly plug any cable into any socket where it fits - yes, that's the level of many people, if the plug fits then it must be the right connection (even if it's an RJ11 phone connector into an RJ45 network socket).

Now, I can do this as I've been in the IT business for <cough> decades. Your average user will not be able to even grasp the concepts. And automation really really will not cope with it.

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

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Re: Unhearing government

ha ha, yes I recall that sort of conversation where I explain that they've called me, so I'm either me or someone able to answer my mobile phone - so a very small set of people - but they could be absolutely anyone from anywhere in the world, so no, I am not going to tell them anything whatsoever until they prove who they are. Ah, but if we prove who we are, we could be telling someone else that you bank with us. I still don't care.

On that occasion, I think it was implied that the call was urgent, so I called the bank back using the number on the back of my card - only to find out (eventually) that it was just trying to sell me something I didn't want. I made an official complaint - the result of which was that the bank put a note on my account to say I didn't want marketing calls.

I did once get a call (from the same bank) that was genuine and urgent - fraud on one of my cards. Bu they still didn't get it. When I refused to identify myself, the person suggested I phone back and started giving me a number - I interrupted and pointed out that there was no way on earth I'd use any number given to me by some random caller who couldn't prove who they were. So again, called them back using the number of the back of the card, and took a while to get through to the right department and find that it was a genuine call.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

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Re: not the terminal, the punch card

40 characters, you upper class wimps.

On my first computer* I had to make do with 24 characters, and I was glad of it. It also had only 1k bytes of (static) RAM.

Oh the joy when I upgraded to an ITT 2020 (licensed British version of the Apple ][) with disk drives, lots of memory (I also had a 64k memory card), and ... COLOUR !

Oh that seems a distant time as I sit here with my GHz clocked processor, 8Gbytes RAM (max for the machine), and 12G of swap in use. Even my phone eclipses those early computers.

* Ohio Superboard II, 1MHz 6502, room for 8k max of memory unless you added the expansion board. I think it was 24 characters, but that's a lot of decades ago now.

Railway cables overpowered errant drone's compass and flung it back to terra firma

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Re: Relocating office...

all CRTs where flickering like hell whenever a train passed

Pa, that's nowt. Try welding current being passed through the frame of a steel portal building.

"A few" years ago, our offices were being expanded - the factory & warehouse kept moving along into new extensions, then office were extended into the newly vacated bits. The contractors decided on "belt and braces" so welded all the joints as well as bolting them. Cue 'kin big welding transformer with welding earth cable just clamped to the nearest bit of framework while the welder goes round all the joints. The magnetic field has "very interesting" effects on the CRT screen the other side of the wall - "wobbling" the picture right off the screen !

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

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Anyone care to chip in with a reason why the Navy wouldn't have cleared the area of non-essential personnel?

They did clear the area.

As the tale started, my first thoughts were "I remember that test range, used to stay at the caravan site part way down the loch". I was a bit too young to really get what was going on, but I do recall actually being there when they fired - and my father and older brothers getting excited at seeing the white line whizzing off down the loch. I also recall the PA announcements as they tried to persuade all the camp site users to clear the beach on the headland that jutted out into the loch - presumably "just in case" the guidance went wrong and the torpedo decided it fancied a bit of sub bathing (joke, this was Scotland in Summer !)

Having said that, I used to have a friend who worked at Eskmeals up on the Cumbrian coast. Even though they put out notices, some of the local fishermen were "of a strong opinion" and weren't going to let the authorities tell them when or where they could fish. Apparently, it was not unknown to drop a warning shot in close proximity to try and persuade them to leave.

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up

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Re: Labels people, and read them!

And you never had the situation where a client changes it's IP every minute because it constantly jumped between the two DHCP servers which were active at the same time but serving different parts of the same scope

They won't unless something is seriously wrong. A standards compliant DHCP client will NOT switch servers (and hence IP pool) unless it's "home" server is offline. As the lease runs down, the client will unicast a renewal request to the server from which it got it's lease - the other server will not get a look in as it won't even see the packet. If your lease times are reasonably long (IIRC, Windows defaults to something like 8 days) then most clients will simply renew their lease at boot-up in the morning and then do nothing during the rest of the day. Some "not very sticky" clients may switch pool at this point - by simply broadcasting for any lease, rather than requesting their previous lease.

Windows clients go further, and are very very sticky about their leases - which is itself a PITA at times.

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

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Re: Vintage internet humour

If only I could upvote you more than once for that link

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Re: Don't forget...

No, I think it was the other way around. Standard USB plugs would fit in the sockets, but Apple's cables wouldn't fit into standard sockets. If I could be bothered, I'd pull out the box of random bits and look into this - I know I still have at least one Apple USB extension lead.

I think Apple's stated reason was to prevent keyboard problems from people using cheap and inferior USB cables that didn't transmit the power adequately. Hmm, don't they still use the same arguments for using "standard but not quite standard" stuff and charging extra for cables.

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Re: floppy and no slots

Hang on a minute, you are criticising the iMac for being limited - because you were in an IBM shop with that "used by no-one outside of IBM" token ring stuff that used incredibly thick cables, very bulky connectors*, and required eye-wateringly expensive switches to connect anything to it.

* Though to be fair, I've long looked at those and thought (usually after being presented with yet another broken something) ... if only others considered durability and robustness as a positive feature.

Also, yes I'm aware of the superiority of token ring in many ways. But the market spoke, and like V2000 vs Betamax vs VHS chose the technically inferior option.

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Re: Wot about the eMac?

The eMac came along later - after the original iMac, and the multi-coloured ones. Crystal white and 17" flat screen CRT - it's not long since my mum stopped using hers, I need to pick it up sometime.

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Re: No comments about the one obvious failing so far...

Yup, that hocky puck mouse was a complete failure.

I recall that you could buy clip-on bits of plastic that turned them into useable shaped mice. Or just buy a useable mouse.

But if you bought one of the clip-on adapters, it didn't cure the problem of them using a lightweight ball that just slid around once there was any dirt whatsoever on the rollers. It wasn't the first Apple mouse to suffer from that, and not the first for there to be an aftermarket in replacement balls that worked.

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Re: The full-blown Apple formula

SCSI had never been anything but problematic on the Mac

Have an upvote, because what you post is fairly spot on according to my fuzzy memory - except for the SCSI bit.

My memories are that generally SCSI was reliable and (for the day) very fast. There were issues around the time of the PowerPC introduction when the new SCSI subsystem software was buggy, but other than that I found it fairly reliable. The ability to daisy chain hard drives, scanners, printers, tape drives, and anything else you could actually afford to buy was great - at a time when PC users were messing around with crap like parallel port ZIP drives and the like (completely non-daisy-chainable).

Biggest issues were around the proliferation of SCSI standards and connectors, and just p**s-poor cables.

One complete and utter PITA I had was user inflicted - i.e. I should have said no. A (long standing and valuable IIRC) customer came along and wanted a SCSI cable for his portable. As I recall, the Apple portables used yet another cable with a more compact connector than the D25 used on the desktops until then. The other end of this cable had the wrong connector - I can't recall whether it had the 50 pin Amphenol or a D25 socket - and he wanted me to cut the wrong one off and fit the other type. Silly me accepted the challenge - and found rather more cores in the cable than expected, all of which needed to be ringed out and connected to the right pins in the new connector. I managed it though, and the customer was happy.

Apple-Google COVID-19 virus contact-tracing API to bar location-tracking access

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Re: Makes a change

That's been explained a number of times already.

Using bluetooth to find other devices - as is needed to hook up to your scales for example - is one way of identifying location. Build up a large enough database of IDs, and proximity to another devices is enough to locate you fairly closely. As with doing the same thing via WiFi SSIDs or base station MACs, you can be as careful as you want, it only needs one "I've nothing to hide" id10t to populate that database.

And THAT is why finding your scales means granting location permissions to an app.

Browse mode: We're not goofing off on the Sidebar of Shame and online shopping sites, says UK's Ministry of Defence

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Re: Indeed

Some of them still have fuel in their reactors

That would be normal and the sensible way to handle them - whether naval or civilian power.

When first shut down, a reactor has fuel in it that's "quite active" with a lot of short-halflife highly active elements in it - intermediate fission products. Handling fuel in this state is hazardous.

But, leave it a while, and the most highly active stuff will have decayed - fundamentally something cannot be both long lived and highly active. The longer you leave it, the less active whatever is left will be.

Similarly, once you've removed the fuel, what's left behind will be radioactive as well - and that will decay in the same way, anything highly active will decay quickly. So you leave it a while.

For this reason, at one point the plan for things like the old Magnox reactors was to simply build a house sized block of concrete around the core (having removed everything else) and leave it for perhaps a century. You could post some guards in case someone wants to graffiti it, but really it's inert and poses no danger. After perhaps 100 years, there's nothing particularly active, and you could just cut a hole in the side, walk in, and carry out the old graphite moderator blocks by hand. Simple, safe, planned, no long term waste problem. But instead, ill-informed protestors don't want that simple and safe approach - they insist that things must be done while the graphite is still "hot", thus (at least in part) creating the nuclear waste problem they complain about.

But if you think about it, the longer you leave the reactor in the submarine, safe in it's steel and lead box, the less hazardous it will be to deal with when you do finally do it.

I've never had the opportunity to try it, but I bet you could wind up some "greens" by pointing out that some windmill towers are made with recycled and slightly radioactive steel from nuclear plants.

Analogy. If you've been cooking, the pots are a lot easier to handle if you let them cool down before trying to clean them.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

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Re: A decent keyboard is a decent investment

once you get used to how stiff the domes are in it

Ah, that reminds me of a customer repair job I had maaaany years ago - back when the standard (ADB) Apple keyboards were "reassuringly expensive". I forget the details now, but I recall one of the rubber bits that lifted the keys back up had been lost - but fear not, a look at Apple's spares list showed that the rubber bits were available in packs of 10 for very little. No problem, added them to my next spares order - they didn't arrive. Did this several times, and eventually got in touch to ask (I paraphrase in polite terms here) "excuse me Apple service, might you please give a reason why these parts haven't arrived ?".

The answer came back that Apple UK don't sell them. They are in the parts book, but Apple UK don't sell them - WTF ? Of course, because we are in the UK, we were only allowed to get our parts from Apple UK. And their suggestion when I asked "so what do I tell the customer then ?" was - sell them a new keyboard, around £130 in 1980s money IIRC instead of a sub £1 part.

I improvised with a piece cut from a large elastic band and a bit of superglue ! It made the key 'kin stiff (so swapped with the rubber bit from an infrequently used key), but after allowing for my time it saved the customer a good amount.

I also did a trade in replacing the microswitch in the original ADB mice :-)

Airbus and Rolls-Royce hit eject on hybrid-electric airliner testbed after E-Fan X project fails to get off the ground

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Re: Electric planes?

... reduce necessary onboard power, along with associated weight etc, for the critical take-off phase of flight

I have an idea for that, somewhat tongue in cheek ...

You have a socket at the end of the runway, and a cable about the length of the runway. You plug in the plane, it takes off using (in addition to it's own power) power from the grid for that energy sapping "accelerate a couple of hundred tons of stuff up to flying speed" bit, then the plug pulls out and the cable is wound back in ready for the next plane.

Actually I'm not alone in having had a similar energy saving idea some years ago, but I think all the manufacturers rejected it on the basis that they couldn't get elastic bands big enough.

OK, I'll get my coat.

SImon Hobson Silver badge

A small 50-100Hp turbine with an integrated brushless type generator

It wouldn't have to be that big as part of a hybrid with energy storage.

For cruising, the power requirements for most cars would be lower than that - and keeping to a lower output genny while using stored energy (batteries and/or supercaps) for higher requirements would reduce the need for throttling back the genny. That's one of the big issues with gas turbines - they work best at fixed (or only slowly changing) power outputs. Configuring the system such that it ran almost all the time at a set power level would mean it could be carefully optimised (efficiency, emissions) for that.

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party

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Re: Another thing...

What puzzles me is that the whole strategy of the UK appears to be geared towards protecting the NHS

That's only because, as others have pointed out, there are a lot of "not too bright" people around - who can't understand complicated concepts. The strategy is to contain the outbreak to the level where the NHS can cope* - because if it blows up past that, then the death rate will rise dramatically as those needing care cannot get it. Flattening the sombrero as our blond one put it.

So "protect the NHS" really means "don't be part of the problem that overwhelming the NHS would cause" - but that's not as catchy !

Baby, I swear it's déjà vu: TalkTalk customers unable to opt out of ISP's ad-jacking DNS – just like six years ago

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It's their network though

But it's your information and your computer they are impairing the operation of. Not only the CMA applies here, there's also the other one about interception of information (whatever it's called these days).

Australia to make Google and Facebook disclose ranking algorithms and pay for local content

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Still free as in beer

And that is the problem - how does anyone else compete with "free" ? You might invent the best mousetrap that's ever existed, but if your only option is to give it away for free then you aren't going to make much profit on it. So it is with Google - they have such an entrenched and dominant position that they can cross subsidise any new venture and literally buy their way into a dominant position.

They are the Standard Oil and IBM of today.

ICANN delays .org sell off after California's attorney general intervenes at last minute, tears non-profit a new one over sale

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From its founding to the present, ICANN has been formally organized as a nonprofit corporation "for charitable and public purposes" under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law Source (Wikipedia). I imagine that gives the authorities in California significant powers to monitor the conduct of ICANN and take action if they think it is breaking the rules. Whether this sale would break any rules is a different question - but just an investigation would (I imagine) put a brake on things.

But the obvious thing to ask (as has been mentioned above) is whether the sale is "proper" given the purchaser is clearly a shady business - no "above board" business would go to such lengths to hide the details.

Meanwhile, the response form ICAAN't will probably be "la, la, la, la, la ..." with it's collective fingers in it's collective ears.

Oh Hell. Remember the glory days of Demon Internet? Well, now would be a good time to pick a new email address

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Re: "Another bemoaned the hammering of yet another nail in the coffin of Blighty's ISP past"

Don't forget that back then, there were few ways of getting online to the internet - lots of walled gardens that tried to pretend the big bad internet didn't exist, and if it did then you really didn't want to go there - but few offerings for real, raw internet. From memory, most of the alternatives meant being a university student or staff and being sufficiently in the good books of the tech people there for them to let you have access via them. Ah, the magic of dialling up with my (by then) 9600bps "screaming fast" modem and waiting for the kick to their mail servers to spew the mail to you by SMTP - this was BP (Before Pop) days.

They really were pioneering days back then, and you had to have both patience and a bit of technical nouse.

I remember they used to have graphs of subscribers. If you knew their early history, then you could look at the graph and for each of the flat spots followed by a further climb, you could say "that was when they did ...". As I remember it, they wrote a lot of the software they used - they had to because a lot of it hadn't been invented at the time.

Kids of today, don't know they're born.

Icon because, when many a time I'd like to have bought one for the guys at Demon.

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals

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Re: maybe traded e-i-e-i-o for plain old I/O?

Or the dyslexic version ...

Old McDonald had a farm, EIOIE

French pensioner ejected from fighter jet after accidentally grabbing bang seat* handle

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Re: Double ejection

AIUI the occupant doesn't land in the seat. After the seat ejects, the occupant is released from it - with the occupant dangling under the canopy, and the seat dangling some distance below on a cord. Not only does this avoid the seat falling at high speed - it means it lands in the vicinity of the occupant, giving access to the emergency pack stored in it.

Ofcom waves DAB radio licences under local broadcasters' noses as FM switchoff debate smoulders again

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Re: Puppy drowning in mud.

You won't believe how expensive it is to get on a DAB mux

Pity there's no plans to allow micro-networks running cheap open-source encoders. Oh, so there are, or at least were.

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so most sets made in the last 10 years should support it ...

Funny, I was thinking that just a minute ago. One of the things I need DAB for is to get the cricket (Test Match Special - though it won't be the same without Blowers) on 5L SX, considering that I don't have anything with LW on it any more to listen on R4. I do recall using the ADF in the plane once tuned to it's lowest setting of 200kHz (near enough to 198) to listen to TMS :-)

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Re: The government needs to commit to DAB+ first, and not cheap out on the bit rate

so most sets made in the last 10 years should support it

You'd think so, but just like analogue TV, I think you'll find DAB only sets were still being sold well into that period. Round here (in Winter Hill territory where we had our digital switchover fairly early on) they were still selling analogue only TVs when we had no analogue TV to watch. Cue people buying TVs that were on sale, only to find they had to go back and buy a separate box to make it work.

The ONLY way they'd get universal adoption of DAB+ capable sets would be to do what the French did to get universal adoption of SCART - make it illegal to sell a set without it. Even then, it would need a couple of decades (or more) before most old sets (e.g. the ones with four wheels attached) were suitably upgraded.

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Re: Complete the migration to DAB+ before faffing with FM

The good news though, is that some DAB radio manufacturers do seem to have learned from their previous mistakes and have evolved. ... I was able to firmware-upgrade an approx. 10yr old PURE radio to enable DAB+ ...

it depend son how the system was built.

In the early days they would have had silicon to do the bulk of the "number crunching" for the simple reason that processors with the horsepower to do it would have been a) expensive and b) power hungry. However, roll forward a decade or two, and what once could only realistically be done in hardware, is now just a background task to a modern small processor.

Hardware carefully built to do the old DAB can't be upgraded - but if it's a later model and it's been done in software, then within reason it can be. And brownie points to manufacturers that are prepared to offer updates for something sold more than 5 minutes ago.

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Re: The death of FM has been greatly exagerated...

Talking of apocalypse ...

This https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-35020049

Leads to this https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/blogs/lancaster-power-cuts-blog.pdf

And the frank and honest post-mortem report https://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/living-without-electricity which contains this priceless note :

"Most of the local participants at the workshop said that they had listened to The Bay as their key news feed. It is perhaps ironic that, in a society with huge commitment to digital infrastructure, the most reliable source of news was a commercial station using technology that would have been familiar to the engineers on the 1960s Radio Caroline pirate radio ship."

Bose shouts down claims that it borked noise cancellation firmware to sell more headphones

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Re: Any old headphones

Better, a set of custom mold earplugs ...

Do you have any suggestions how to find somewhere that can make them ?

I have a pair of Sure e2c in-ear phones and while really good, the available tips (either the soft rubber ones, or the squishy foam ones) aren't as good as they could be - in terms of comfort and performance over a period of time. I've tried asking around but got no-where. The last time I asked was when having a hearing check - but they only make ear moulds and send them off to the hearing aid manufacturer to make the tips so no help for anything else.

SImon Hobson Silver badge

To be fair, that's not Bose's problem.

Android doesn't allow an app to search for wireless devices without location being on. That's because one commonly used technique involves looking to see the MAC addresses of nearby devices and consulting a database to see where they are. Yes Google, looking at you there - not that you're alone in abusing that, b'stards.

Something something DANE cook: Microsoft pledges to wrap its email systems in secure anti-snooping protocol

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Re: Let me see if I understand this...

DANE is a new one on me to be honest, but I like the idea.

As I understand it, and see the explanation below by KalF, it's not replacing the existing PKI. That still exists and has the same weaknesses explained in the article - namely that ANY root CA can issue a cert for ANY name. So a state actor can approach one of the CAs using their "you do what we say, tell no-one, otherwise we make life problematic for you" laws and obtain a CA for any name. They can then use that certificate to impersonate the target site (whether web or mail or ...) and the client simply checks the cert, sees that it has the appropriate chain of trust back to a root CA cert it knows about, and trusts it.

What DANE is adding is the ability to put in your DNS a record that basically says "if contacting foo.example.org, expect a certificate with these characteristics". With that in place, when teh client connects to the server, it does the TLS handshake as before, but now the certificate it sees from the fake server doesn't match what's in the secure DNS - instead of seeing a trust chain back to GoodCA, it sees a trust chain back to BadCA. The client can now identify that the "valid" certificate is not in fact the correct one for the server, refuse to connect, and you've blocked the MITM attack.

And the beauty of this is that for clients or servers not supporting DANE, it makes no difference. If there's no DANE DNS record (i.e. it's not configured for the server) then the client simply doesn't check that, and if the client doesn't support DANE then it just never looks for the record in the first place. Wow, a security upgrade that doesn't break anything - what's not to like !

BT reopens £90m UK High Court case over 1970s VAT 'overpayments'

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Re: Hang on ... *who* paid the VAT ?

What happens is that business bills customer, adding VAT. At the end of the quarter, company adds up all the VAT on those invoices and pays it over to HMRC. If the customer doesn't pay the invoice, company is entitled to recover the VAT it's paid over to HMRC but not received from the customer that didn't pay.

In this case, the argument was over when BT was entitled to declare an unpaid invoice to be written off - basically a question of when can business decide it's never going to be paid and just write off the debt. It sounds like BT wanted to write off some debts, but HMRC said "you can't do that until <condition>" - meaning that BT could not recover the VAT it had paid over to HMRC. And they've been arguing over this question of when can the debt be considered written off ... for a lot of years.

TL;DR This is VAT that BT handed over to HMRC but which their customers didn't pay to BT

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

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Re: That $11,000 valve story

No, that's R&R

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Re: That $11,000 valve story

That will be $10 for making the item, another $10 for packing it and shipping it from China, $80 for profit, $900 to go against R&D for it. And ...



The other $10k for insurance for when someone (or their next of kin) claims it was defective and sues you for $gazzilions.

I'd like to say that was just a joke, but from what I see/read it looks a lot like it has a firm basis in reality.

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Re: Simple solution

That would eliminate patent trolls overnight

And also kill pretty well any small business - i.e. a lot of those actually innovating and trying to protect their work from being simply stolen by bigger businesses. For a lot of these, they simply do not have the ability to go from initial idea, through development, and get a commercial product on the market. Once they've had the idea, developed it to the point where they have something patentable - they then need to negotiate with a larger outfit to incorporate that into products.

As pointed out, ARM doesn't make it's own processors. That they licence the tech to others doesn't mean they wouldn't get caught by a "make it or lose it" rule. If you think ahead, as pointed out by another commenter here, all a troll need do is pick on a tiny minnow and "persuade" them to take a licence - then BINGO!, the troll has a licensee and so the "ARM defence" works for them too. A small minnow couldn't afford to take on a troll and win (I've read estimates that it costs around $250,000 to defend AND WIN a patent infringement case in the US) - their only choice would be to take a licence or fold.

BT's Wi-Fi Disc ads banned because there's no evidence the things work

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Re: Standby for downvotes!

When I asked to hear it I was told their equipment didn't allow them to do this - Sorry

Missed a trick there ..

The answer to that is "so you won't be able to use it in court then, and hence you have no evidence of the contract". I bet if you'd used that, then a recording would have miraculously been available !

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Re: Use a second wifi hotspot

ISP I work for flicks dozens of powerline kits a week. They work excellently in 99% of homes.

You selfish ****s. Yes, they do work - very well in most situations. But it's the equivalent of someone wanting to listen to their radio from the bottom of the garden - instead of taking a radio down there, they turn the one in the house up to 11 so they can hear it. Works great for them, but screws anyone else who wants to hear anything. Too much of this "works for me, don't give a sh*t about anyone else" mentality around.

So unless you have no neighbours nearer than 1/4 mile away, just don't do it.

SImon Hobson Silver badge

Re: Use a second wifi hotspot

Buy a powerline kit

Noooooooo, just noooooooooooooooo


SImon Hobson Silver badge

Re: What is best for a house on three levels?

As the others say, by far, by a very long way as in "all the other options aren't even in the same county, let alone the same game park", is one or more access points connected by cable back to the router. And turn off the WiFi in the router !

Plusnet use the same router hardware as BT - just a different colour and with different firmware. My experience is that the wireless is utter crap - just generally unreliable, "works" if you get connected, but often get no connection.

I now have a single AP (Unifi AC LR)* in the attic and get full strength, reliable connections anywhere in the house - and at the other end of a reasonably sized garden. 2 storey house, 1940's build with solid brick walls. Since I put it in, wireless has "just worked" and I can't recall any complaints from family or friends with it.

* Disclaimer: I got this as a freeby from Ubiquiti. They had a problem with their first production run, and offered them to people who were active on their forums at the time. TBH I would have bought one (or the AC Pro) anyway having installed a lot of the AC Pro units, and before that, a lot of the Unifi Pro units for clients at work.

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Re: Standby for downvotes!

Ha, we hit this at work a few years ago.

Through various acquisitions, Vodamoan had ended up as the supplier of our leased line internet service - had started as Norweb Telecom, then Yourcomm, then someone else who's name I don't recall, then CLueless and Witless, and then Vodamoan. At each acquisition, knowledge was lost and service got worse. Anyway, Vodamoan told us that they were getting rid of that part of the legacy network - and no we can't transfer the public IPs to any other service with them (we had a /24 block running public hosting).

Anyway, as we worked through the process of shifting services off that line, one thing we did was get VDSL lines in for several other businesses in the park who we'd split our connection with - and the boss decided to go with Vodamoan due to a deal they were offering in return for all the disruption they were causing us. Vodamoan were just getting back into the DSL market back then.

We (the techies) weren't aware of the "you can only use our kit" rule until we asked for the PPPoE details for connecting customers' existing equipment to the new lines - you know, the sort of "proper" router that sensible customers use, with proper firewalls, proper port/address forwarding, VPN support, etc, etc. Initially Vodamoan just referred us to the contract terms - until we made enough noise with the account manager and they relented (no public change of policy, just allowed us to have the details). Oh yes, and they had a wonderful policy that you cannot (for any amount of money) have a static IP on the PPPoE connection - if you want a static IP, then you have to pay them for a /27 which is then routed via the dynamic IP. Another cost that didn't crawl out of the woodwork until we were into the "switch customers over" phase.

This wasn't the end of it though - between them and OpenRetch, they really screwed up several of the installs. When I say screwed up, it was something like a year before I was made redundant and Vodamoan still hadn't got one of the lines working. By contrast (for what resilience we could achieve) we took a line with another provider, the same OpenRetch problem occurred, but the other provider got it sorted in a couple of weeks - had to cancel and re-order the line (due to a numbering problem with their provider), and then cancel and re-order the VDSL service, but they got it sorted where Vodamoan still seemed unable to grasp that there was a problem to be sorted !

The problem BTW is that the building has cables coming in from two green boxes - some go to some units, others go to other units. So for a new line install, it's a bit of pot luck whether you get the right cabinet based on an address search when OpenRetch are doing the route planning. Not too bad for a phone line as the OpenRetch engineer could manage a re-provision via the correct green box - giving dial tone. But thanks to OfCon rules, he couldn't do anything with the VDSL service which was now provisioned on an inactive line in the wrong green box. It had to go back to the provider to order a "cease and re-provide", invoking another couple of weeks waiting time for the VDSL order to reach the top of the queue - unless you know that OpenRetch could do an expedited provide in these cases without charging for it, and guess what Vodamoan apparently didn't know !

BT Openreach prepares to declare UK MBORCed* as all new phone line installations halted over coronavirus

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Re: Optional - Really :-)

A connection isn't just the bit of damp string from the nearest pole to your house.

Your connection fee is nominally paying a share of the cost of getting all those pairs to the green box down the road, and from there to the top of the nearest pole, etc, etc. So cutting out the last few feet of wire and a socket on the end of it isn't all that much of a saving.

Captain Caveman rides to the rescue, solves a prickly PowerPoint problem with a magical solution

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Re: Called by the head of the dealing floor

Ha, to some people our "quaint" A-series sizes are oddball. OK it was a lot of years ago now, but I remember having to call from home in the evening to get around the timezone differences when I was trying to get a piece of software to default to A4. I got a question along the lines of "what is A4, is it some sort of company specific size ?".

Yep, this US software support person had never even heard of A4 !

Of course, it's one thing if the printer has a display to tell you what's wrong. A lot fo the smaller ones (like the LJ1320) have no display - just a multi-purpose indicator on a multi-purpose button. If the problem is the above mentioned "load letter" problem, the light flashes and pressing the button will make it continue (IIRC). But at other times, the light can also flash, but pressing the button will trigger printing of the test/demo page. Sometimes there are a lot of notes/jottings lying around with half an LJ1320 demo page on the back.

Icon sums up my feelings on some of these printer UI designs.

IBM veep partly blamed Sopra Steria for collapse of £155m Co-Op Insurance Agile project

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Re: Nice attitude IBM...

That's just how I read it - it's all the customer's fault for expecting the system to work as described. Saying that you intend to push "defects" back to a later release is just selling vapourware.

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

SImon Hobson Silver badge

Re: The cleaner did it.

Ah, many years ago we had a customer keeping some records on an Apple II system. They were suffering from corrupted floppy disks, but of course we could never find any problem with the hardware. So we surmised that it might be mains power quality issues as they ran some heavy duty spot welders in the factory. They tried moving the equipment to the office, but the problems still persisted.

Eventually we found the problem. The Apple literature of the time had pictures of an Apple II, with two floppy drives sat side by side on top, and then the monitor sat on top of those. Some will be ahead of me here ...

The Apple monitor had magnetic shielding in the bottom to allow this. The customer wasn't using an Apple monitor. Once they move the floppy drives away from the monitor, the problem disappeared.


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