* Posts by David_H

132 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Apr 2010


Jimbo Welshes on pledge to stop fundraising


"movement strategy"

Hopefully it involves the use of a toilet!

More than half of punters reckon they can't get superfast broadband


You can get fibre in the country ...

... just the same as you can in the town or city; if you can sign up enough people to get a commercial company interested. The only problem is that it's bloody hard work! It took me over 2 years to get 1/3rd of the population signed up in my Parish and 2 other adjacent ones. But that meant that a commercial company could see the benefit and installed 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-premises to the 5 villages. And we get charged around the same, £45, for 100Mb (traffic shaped from full stream) as we did for <1Mbps with BT. (The full 1Gbps comes in at around £75pcm). Most of us have transferred out landline numbers to VOIP so that we can ditch BT completely!

So how to use that bandwidth. From my experience... Browsing is still limited by the far end ability to serve content, downloading is very fast, multi-player gaming is very responsive, Skype etc. (for talking to children at Uni) is limited by their terrible speeds, catch-up TV works as expected, remote access to my work PC over VPN is exactly the same as sitting at my work desk. I originally had 200Mbps, but I've moved down to 100Mbps and I've not noticed any difference (except with very large downloads).

Now I'm trying to get mobile phone coverage for our patch of (not very) rural Northamptonshire! (Without everyone having to buy a £70 Femtocell.)

NHS IT bod sends test email to 850k users – and then responses are sent 'reply all'


Very slow at the best of times

As we have limited mobile signal at work, my wife, who works at an isolated doctor's site, used to occasionally send me an email to get milk on the way home, or more importantly pick up a child.

The mails from the NHS are always delayed by an hour or two, but the worst we have seen is 9 days - 7 within the NHS servers and then 2 when my companies system threw a wobbly (presumably as the email was so old). For important and time critical communication they have to revert to printing the email and faxing an image!

Happy ending for Kettering as soapy veteran replaces Mean Girl Lindsay


Re: Optional

And you can smell it from the A14 :-)

(Obvious use of the nose icon!)

BT will HATE us for this one weird 5G trick


Re: Lampposts etc

If only! Ours are concrete posts complete with concrete cancer. The Parish Council don't want them, a majority of the parishioners don't want them, but because a few, vocal people want them, we will have to replace them at around £1200 (fitted) each.

Boy, 12, gets €100k bill from Google after confusing Adwords with Adsense


"Our dodgy translation tech quotes"

Don't rely on it! Is that what kid did?

Got a great IoT story to tell? You have until Friday to let us know


Old IOT systems

@Chris G

18 years ago I worked for a very small company; CPSL, Leicestershire, UK and we had our offices linked up with every bit of IOT we could think of at the time.

I could use a button keyfob to unlock the door. I would get a personalised verbal greeting, the lights (if required) would turn on up to my office and the voice system would tell me of any calendar items I had for that day (using the speakers along my route). By the time I reached my office, my PC would have booted up (usually!), and if required my curtains would have opened.

Remote control via SMS was clunky, but we could receive photo's from the camera's in the rooms if we used a PC. Heating, coffee machine, etc. were all controlled via PC and the light fittings would report their efficiency. We even had a system for dimming the lights via voice control (very Star Trek).

Could we sell it to anyone? Not a chance! It was way to early in the curve, and I'm sure that the current equipment is still not mature enough (especially when it comes to security).

The only systems I can remember selling were 'walking' lights in the skirting boards of hotel corridors to show the routes appropriate emergency exits, wireless connected fluorescent lights in underground carparks that would tell the maintenance people when a light was about to fail, and a system for automatically monitoring the well being of cats and dogs via fresh urine chemistry (think shower trays, not catheters).

DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs


Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

"ANPR camera at every petrol station. No current record, no petrol (and maybe the drive-off barriers come up for good measure)."

Asked my MP this a few years ago - no TAX, MOT or Insurance - no fuel.

Received letter from then Transport Minister saying that "we could not expect non-Police Officers to maintain law, or stand in the firing line of angry customers" and a note from my MP saying that "the economy could not stand 1% of people suddenly not being able to get to work" (and some mutterings about foreign plates)

Lindsay Lohan ‘happy’ to turn on Kettering


Re: If you turn on Kettering

Yes they have gas :-) but not a lot else these days :-(

It was a thriving market town until the Council turned the market square into 'The Restaurant Sector', and the High Street died due to the loss of market day foot-fall. It's mainly charity and empty shops now, with most of the chains in large out-of-town sites, just off the A14.

At least there is still Wicksteed Park.

Kettrin and the surrounding areas gained quite unique accents during the height of the Shoe Industry as workers condensed their utterances to fit into the gaps between machine noises. Rowl (Rothwell) was probably the most impenetrable, with even the fledgling BBC Radio Northampton taking the p1ss!

Maine town plans to become 'Gigabit Island'


Low number of residents

In the UK I had to get around 500 premises signed up to get a Gigabit scheme implemented across 4 rural communities. Although our cost is around the £40 mark for a 50Mbit symmetrical slice or around £75 if you want to use the whole of the Gigabit pipe to your house.

The more 'little' more people just get on and 'do it', the more pressure on the regulators to listen and make it easier and cheaper.

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd



The Common Market was a good idea. In general just about everything else from the EU and predecessors is bad for the UK. Political Correctness is stopping us from having a proper debate.

My local MP was an MEP for 10 years, so he should know it inside out. http://www.heatonharris.com/news/10-brexit-myths-debunked

A (long) article on how and why the EU is broken


and from that:

"As Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford puts it – in the essential book Is the EU Doomed? – ‘the EU has turned into an embarrassment … a symbol of austerity and conflict’ and despite ‘obtaining ever more powers at the expense of national parliaments and governments’ when the 2008 crash hit ‘proved unable to cope’."

Wi-Fi hack disables Mitsubishi Outlander's theft alarm – white hats


Re: I run an Outlander PHEV

I own one as well.

My wife could not make a good case for actually needing any of the Wi-Fi functions, so they stayed disabled.

I bought her a new coat so that she doesn't need to turn the car heating on in the winter. Sorted!

Very happy with the car. 26 mile trips on battery only (in the summer, as lights, wipers and wet roads mean I can only get 24 miles on the charge.) Silently pulling the caravan off muddy fields with the 4WD gets many looks of admiration. Enough room to carry 2.4m lengths of wood in the car. Only downside is that it's too long to fit in the garage unless I take my racking down (not going to happen!)

Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Thumb Down

Slow burner

The small company I was with in the early 90's developed a smart house. We couldn't sell the ideas to anyone. I don't see the modern stuff being much better, just better advertised. (OK, we had to use SMS for wireless access and this and other 'enabler technologies' have moved on, but not the general control systems.)

I don't trust the security of any of the modern IOT/smart devices, so I've refused a free smart meter for my electricity!

Broadband bods Gigaclear bag £24m for rural hi-speed internet


Early adopter

I was an early enough adopter to meet Matthew at our planning stage and he seemed as sound as a pound.

As with many companies with 'stratospheric' growth, there have been 'growing pains'.

In our case, our 5 village installation is over a year late in completion, whereas other recent villages have been finished within 6 weeks.

Although they are a little more pricey that BT or other traditional suppliers for the broadband, the service has been second to none (I'm taking a 200Mbps slice of the 1Gbps offering). When I add on the saving from getting rid of BT line rental and going to IP phone, I think that it is value for money.

Happy customer (worth the wait)

Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019


Re: "Dodgy software" vice DO-178

@YAG that's well out of date.

In the very early days the US Air Force could take the regulators to a room and dissuade them from the requirements ("remember who has the missiles" type conversations, allegedly).

But even then, enlightened projects wrote to DO178 B/C

Now days everything that is written bespoke is DO178 B/C, and I know for sure that COTS suppliers are also having to go this way (and ARINC653, etc.)

Institute of Directors: Make broadband speeds 1000x faster than today's puny 2020 target


Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

In rural Northamptonshire I have a 1Gbps broadband connection from Gigaclear. I have it throttled to 200Mbps at the moment and even with 5 of us streaming I can't really justify not moving down to a 100Mbps service.

However, these fibres have a life of at least 50 years and who knows what we will be requiring then?

If we find in 20 years that we need 10Gbps, then we'll just get the fibre company to upgrade their cabinets and we'll update our modems, the fibre infrastructure will handle almost any speed.

There's no point in aiming low now!

Hate your broadband ISP? Simply tell your city to build one – that'll get the telcos' attention


Do it yourself....

BT twice refused to update us under the Northants CC funding scheme despite 3 years of campaigning (including talking to the BT Area Manager on multiple occasions) by myself on behalf of the local cluster of villages.

In the end we had to get 30% of the premises in the 4 villages to sign up to secure the services of a commercial company and now have a symmetrical 1000Mbps service from Gigaclear.

Most people take the (bandwidth limited to 55Mbps, but otherwise unfettered) symmetrical '50Mbps' service + IP telephone and pay about the same as before with BT.

It was a lot of hard work - mostly talking to people to allay fears over change and educate them on the options - over a year or so. But boy, has it been worth it!

If a commercial company can install the entire FTTP infrastructure from scratch, why can’t BT with government funding even achieve FTTC?

It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls


Pop charts

Long ago I looked after the terminals used to gather the UK record charts (while they were still independently compiled). The barcode wands were regularly returned dented from being used as drum sticks, the integrated keyboards (Epson PX4's) often smelt of spilt Coca-Cola and dope, but the worst was one that "had just stopped working."

Brown a sticky, with an ooze of semi-liquid coming from the air vents. For some reason (!) I was suspicious and rang the shop. The answer machine message said "closed due to the flood from the sewer!"

Bloke called Rod struck by lightning for second time


Are you supposed to report being hit?

I got hit coming out of a cave once (caves emit streams of negative ions). It hit the aluminium ladder clipped to my belt and ran down the wetsuit seam and over the rubber boot to ground. It was hammering with rain and the route it took would have been very wet. However, it burn through the seam and into my leg a little and I was deaf in the ear on that side for a few months.

Less than a year later I was unplugging my parents TV aerial when it was hit, so it was only an indirect hit on me this time. I was crouched down at the time and suffered torn leg muscles as they all spasmed at the same time.

I never reported it to the authorities - I didn't know that I should - should I ?

Between the first and second times I was studying electronics and I was particularly efficient at letting the smoke out of CMOS logic chips :-(

BTW I've also broken at least one of most types of bones in the body, including my neck twice. My wife does call me "Disaster Area" for some reason!

Anonymous because I don't want the insurance to find out how lucky I am!

Milking cow shot dead by police 'while trying to escape'


Re: coming from ireland,

And in most of the rest of the sane world!

I expect most of the coppers had only ever seen a cow on the television before.

Disclaimer: 40 years ago the kids in my village always got 10p for helping move the Bull Beef cattle through the village - it was a fairly common occurrence. Mind you we also did the stubble burning as well, and burning our own firebreaks as none of us were old enough to drive on the road and use a plough for it!

David Cameron 'guarantees' action on mobe not-spots. Honest


It has to happen...

... because they (all sides I believe) are planning to turn off the TETRA network used by the emergency services and go over to 4G coverage.

I can just image the talk in the den of the educated criminals. "There's no mobile coverage in this village, so we can do as much damage as we like and hide when the Rozzers eventually turn up. They won't be able to talk to each other as there's no phone coverage, so they won't be able to search properly, or talk to base to get the helicopter, and we'll be able to slip away undiscovered. Perhaps we can light a few fires as well and injure a few people with impunity. All we have to do is cut the dangly telephone wire out of the village."

New EU security strategy: Sod cyber terrorism, BAN ENCRYPTION



When you're facing down the barrel are you going to ask if it's deactivated?

It's just as potent deactivated as not!

However, don't shoot the messenger, t'internet isn't the problem here, it's the crims!

Learn yourself hireable: Top tips for improving your tech appeal


Or the automated filters that just look for keywords!

GLOWING TAMPONS hold the key to ending pollution


Errr... Just discovered?

It has been the detector of choice for hydrologists studying the flows of cave water for years. We drop the optical brighteners in a stream in a cave and have tampons at all the possible outlets. We replace the 'sensors' at regular periods to find out which is the outflow and how long it took for the water to flow through (an indication of how much of the route has air spaces). - so many puns!

Honda CR-V: SUV-lite that’s also light on the pocket


Old CRV driver

I've been seriously looking at these to replace my old '07 CRV with 120K miles (and many of those towing a very large 6-berth caravan with 4 adults and child seat!) It's never missed a beat, which is why I've kept it so long.

However, this trend towards lighter cars with smaller engines is a real pain for people who have to tow. I'm not sure that even the technologically advanced 1.6 is going to pull as well as the old 2.3.

I once managed 49mpg on a 300+mile trip, but 42 was the average and only 24mpg when 5-up and towing (and this huge drop was why I always thought that the 2.3 was a little underpowered.)

Oh, and the older model had part time 4WD, which made it great for towing off a wet field (without tearing up the turf) or up a very steep incline (done a hill start towing on a 1in4 a few times!)

I don't need 4WD all the time, but with everything else on the market getting so light, I'm probably going to go for a nice, heavy Discovery for safety, and only 30mpg :-(

I'm not posting anonymously as I'm not the caravan you get stuck behind - I always travel at the maximum I'm allowed, due to the stability the old CRV gives.

Future imperfect: A UK broadband retrospective


Re: Code Powers

You still have to get a permit from the County Council. Our FTTP is held up because our supplier has to share a permit with another utility so that the roads are only dug up once - and the utility is just slightly warmer than glacial (in its speed and what it supplies!)


Re: About time councils put their foot down

You're talking universal entitlement.

There is no such thing for any of the utilities:

Most people have on-grid electricity

All towns and most of the countryside have mains water and sewerage

Most towns and some of the countryside has mains gas

The largest profit centres have descent broadband

Of course your local mileage may vary.

97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom


Property prices

They do - there are many reports out there showing a significant decrease in property values if the broadband is crap.

The most asked question by potential house buyers is about schools - the second is about broadband!


Re: Eh?

1Gbps is available if you can club together and buy it.

I've just lead this project for 4 villages in rural Northamptonshire and a private company (Gigaclear) are just starting to lay the fibre to the premises. The base package is 50Mbps completely unrestricted, symmetrical, with phone at £44 p/m. A full 1Gbps symmetrical package costs about twice that.

Yes, I spent over a year trying to persuade BT (at regional manager level) to provide super fast broadband and the council twice offered them intervention money to do it, but they were just not interested. BT's projected costs for FTTC were over 3 times the other companies FTTP!

It's been a balls-ache getting enough people to sign up to make the numbers, but it's going to be worth it!

Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life


100 hours?

I charge my Samsung Galaxy 3S every second Friday, when it gets down to about 15% life left. 14 days rather than 4!

How? I use it as a phone and SMS device, and turn off all the other power hungry crud.

OK - I'm an atypical user for someone who frequents this site, but how much of the other stuff do you really need?

Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?


And the other way round

In a couple of months our local villages will be getting 1Gbps optical broadband (sub limited to provide differentiated packages). The shaping works at 55Mbps shaped for the 50Mbps service, 110Mbps shaped for the 100Mbps service, etc.

As it's all optical and the shaping is at quoted service + 10% levels we should always get more than what we are paying for. The small company (Gigaclear) supplying it was recently made to change all it's advertising material to say "up to" as OFCOM can't understand the technology at all and argued that the company might not be able to supply what it claims.

Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks


Re: Degrade the networks?

Nice idea, but no good if you are in a non-spot for all the carriers - which is a surprisingly large area of the county


Solution - NOT!

If you live in a NOT-SPOT you can always buy a Vodafone Sure Signal for £100.

Three problems with this:

. You may be on another network

. Why should you pay to fix Vodafone's problem

. You need good broadband to use for the backhaul

The other mobile conglomerate sells their offering for £450, but that's only a repeater and so no good if you are in a true NOT-SPOT

I did look at applying for Vodaphone Rural Open Sure Signal (a single booster for the whole village) but we are disallowed due to our lack of broadband speed!

Vodafone Sure Signal and other work-arounds for the mobile operators inadequate service should be free to those affected - OFCOM where are your teeth?

UK superfast broadband? Not in my backyard – MP


Commercial viability

I know from current personal experience that in my rural (and aged) area about 60% of households have computers and of them less than 40% will pay a reasonable amount (£43 for unlimited 50Mbps including telephone) for a reliable service. (The local academy places homework on their servers. It often takes some children 20-30 minutes to download Powerpoint format questions and then 2 hours to upload the answers. Try doing that with 3 or 4 pieces of homework and get up for school the next day!)

A company is willing to provide us with FTTP if we can get 30% of premises to sign up to 12 month contracts, but we languish at 24%. (The take up rate of households with children in education is almost 100%!)

It's very frustrating for the 1/4 of the village getting less than 500Kbps, but the economics don't stack up without more subscriptions.

RBS faces biggest ever fine for THAT huge IT meltdown – leak



Shouldn't it be paid to the victims rather than to the government?

Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how


Re: Thats it?

Just to back up one of the previous recommendations:

When the cost of diesel started to reach dizzy heights in the UK, I worked out that it was worth £5 on the wax car wash every time I filled the tank. (However, of course, not filling the tank, but putting just enough in for a few days travelling, would have saved even more on the economy!)

2.5l Diesel 2006 Honda CRV: 53mpg on a motorway run on my own, and 24mpg when towing the 26' caravan with the family! Those and the round town figure of 39mph suggests that Honda slightly under power their vehicles for fuel economy. And they do use CAN bus and a lot of the other tricks. I make sure the tyres are fully inflated, the brakes are not binding and I put the PTFE additive in the engine after each oil change (not until it had done 100,000 miles though otherwise it could seize up).

New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI

Big Brother

Not all can opt out

As a Parish Councillor my details have to appear on the Open Register, and I guess that it's the same for anyone else in public office. Up until now, I've not been bothered with too much junk mail (I am signed up to both the Mail Preference Service and the Royal Mail door-to-door opt out), but this has me slightly concerned that I'll suddenly be inundated. If there's too much junk mail as a result of this, I'll just stop being a public minded individual and stop being a Parish Councillor so that I can come off the Open Register.

Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart


Re: They have to dump power in Europe

Hawaii has such a problem with this that they are refusing to connect up any more houses with solar panels

10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire


Re: not round here

If BT won't provide super fast broadband, then you have the option of rolling your own with a willing commercial friend. We are looking at 1Gbps FTTP for our cluster of rural villages, with the digging (hopefully) starting in the autumn and all finished before Christmas.

Satellite 'net hype ignores realpolitik


Or you can roll your own!

At least in the UK; when BT have decided it might cost them a bit of their own money to connect you - so they won't - then you can get together and pay a company to do it.

We've gone with a respectable small company, who can install all the fibre (yes FTTP!) much cheaper than any alternative, and connect up our group of small rural parishes.

We will be able to get 50Mbps for a similar price to similar BT and Virgin offerings, but can go anywhere up to 1000Mbps (1Gbps) for private residences and 10Gbps for businesses. (The £4 1Gbps for the weekend deal will definitely be used every time we have anyone to stay!)

I've had to do a lot of running around the parishes to get people on board, but it's going to be worth it! The main objection I've heard is to the solution being a monopoly, whereas BT have to share (nicely?).

Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal


Julie / Heston

In the photograph he appears to be unzipping her top - is this where the 'Red Top' papers would start their story?

Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled


Nothing new - move on

Most parts of the world have in the past, or still are, using "cow cakes" for cooking. It's certainly not uncommon for them to be 'cut' with other sorts of 'cake'.

Yet another case of more money than sense.

Sorry, but I couldn't resist the urge to use the "eat this" icon!

Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem



Err... "random sequence of 1 and -1 must have an offset" is the laymans simplification.

Emperical evidence is looking at a badly wired Ethernet link (i.e. one that is truly floating). Here the +1 and -1 charges should cancel if they are equal in number. (A day of general Ethernet traffic could be considered as a random sequence.) But you will find that the charge will float in one direction or the other over time, indicating a bias for +1 or -1 in the signal.

Or is this just too much of an over simplification?

Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'


We are the only people that care because ...

The readers of The Register are the only people who can actually understand how the Bombe works.

The management just walk in an say "Ah, that looks pretty!"


Re: A gap between policy and delivery

Disclaimer: I am trustee of a number of charities.

Trustees do not need to spend vast sums of money on consultants, they just need to have the conviction of their investigations, experience and gut feelings, and go for it. But that does require them to actually know about the organisation they are trustees for!

What we are seeing here are trustees who don't understand what is so special about the site, the museum collections, the human history, and the insight the volunteer's bring. Because they don't understand it they have no conviction of feeling, so they outsource that to consultants as an expensive insurance (if it goes tits-up, they can blame the consultants and escape Scott-free.)

Trustees have to ensure that a charity is run in the best interests of the charity (follow its mission statement if you will). That doesn't mean making lots of money, or hiving it all off to a few fat-cat employees - in fact by definition a charity shouldn't make a profit! And a charity can't just change its mission statement; for instance a dog's home suddenly changing to become a cat's home, or a site dedicated to the preservation of an important part of national history changing to become a theme park.

I often hear the term "professional management team". To me this just equates to people who have never worked on the shop floor, but instead went to the right school and have made a living lurching from disaster to disaster just before they are found out. They should never be allowed near any position of responsibility and certainly never near a charity! In one national charity that I’ve been involved in for over 30 years, (but I am not a trustee for), the CEO’s wage accounts for 1/8 of all spending and the head office staffing over 55% and yet the mission statement says “run by the members for the members”!


Google gobbles Wi-Fi thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 BEEELLION IN CASH



We had an automated office, with everything from voice controlled flourescent lighting, to DECT based control, to local radio networks linking lights, heating, curtains, music, video cameras, etc. all in the mid 1990's. Although in those days remote access was via IP or text messages on your phone. If you can find it on a way-back machine the company was CPSL (Creative Products and Systems Ltd, in Lutterworth UK) and the product range DSS (Distributed Smart System). The graphical user interface had all the knobs, LED's etc. that you would expect and was based on the earlier Signal Centre product (a fore runner of Lab View)

Who can claim any of this is new and patentable?

Boffins: On my command, unleash REMOTE CONTROL BULL SPERM



There seems to be an element of bull in this .....

Also worth mentioning that they are designed to swim a lot further than the human variety.

My coat's the one with a Young Farmers Mag in the pocket!

Inside IBM's vomit-inducing, noise-free future chip lab

Black Helicopters

At least they won't fall asleep at work!

My personal experience from trying to sleep in caves is that absolute silence makes sleeping impossible. There are mud lined passages where you can't even hear your own breathing at rest. It is very disconcerting and disorienting.

'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat


Re: @Don Jefe

And many farmers have degrees anyway! (Agricultural degrees and others)

Young Farmer's rallies often have competitions such a trebuchet construction and accuracy in use (in large fields!) Or pumped water, or pumped air, or catapault launch systems! Or making fighting vehicles al la "Scrap Heap Challenge"

It's a good job they are the salt of the earth!

"Get orf my land" takes on a whole new threat level when you know about this.

The micro YOU used in school: The story of the Research Machines 380Z


Great article

380Z was the second computer at school (a South West Technical Projects box preceeded it) and I still continued to use it when the BBC's came along. I preferred Z80 to 6502 assembler in class, and it was a 'proper' computer to use when I ran the computer room (aged 12-18) and I let in others to play Chuckie Egg on the BBC's.