* Posts by welshie

24 posts • joined 25 Jan 2011

Amazon guarantees bitterly contested Ohio wind farm project


Batteries and renewables

Any data centres will have battery storage, which normally is just enough to run the systems until backup generators are up to speed, or in some cases, where all data is replicated offsite, long enough to shut down or migrate processes to another site.

Increase the size of those batteries, get the local renewables to charge those batteries. Use the batteries as a buffer, and any surplus generation (or battery state of charge greater than required for generator failover) can go straight into the data centre power, reducing the draw on the grid.

By all means, have on-site generator backup running on some heat source or other, because the bigger the data centre, the more there is to lose if any power source goes down.

Net result is data centre has cheaper than normal grid power, is more self-sufficient. Choice of fuels for the on-site backup generator is down to economics and local availabilty of the fuel.

The URL of sandwich: Microsoft Office blogs redirect snafu foils users


Nowhere near as bad as the SNAFU with NT4

Back in the days of NT4, when it only shipped with IE2, to visit microsoft.com to download a more up to date browser or service packs (no Windows Update back then), you had to use a web browser.

IE2 didn't support http/1.1. www.microsoft.com didn't support http/1.0 (at all, it redirected to an error page)

Still, I guess that taught a generation of Windows support techies how to slipstream an install CD or PXE install rather than rely on retail installs.

Ad 'urgently' seeks company to build national e-ID system


Might it be the proposed EU citizens registration for the UK?

4 million is an rough estimate of non-British-but-otherwise-EU citizens that may be living perfectly legally in the UK that might end up having to apply for residency permits depending on how the Brexit negotiations go. It seems that the politicians pushing for Brexit have just realised that there are no accurate numbers, and to get accurate numbers will require some sort of census or audit.

The number of people involved in doing this task will probably be more than there are EU civil servants.

Giffgaff 'roam like at home' package means £1/min calls in Jersey


Giffgaff was a MVNO in Jersey

Last time I was in Jersey (July 2016), Giffgaff appeared on my phone as a MVNO - it looked no different than being in the UK, and was charged at the same rates. The handset didn't think it was roaming.

Is this all a storm in a teacup, and only applies if the handset roams onto JT instead of picking up the MVNO?

Of course, it's possible that Giffgaff no longer appears as MVNO in Jersey.

Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield


Re: Get a life...

knots or nautical miles per hour are not Imperial, US Customary or Metric measurements.

They are something else entirely.

A nautical mile is (approximately) one arc-minute of the Earth, measured along any north/south meridian, or 1852 metres. A useful measurement if you are dealing with charts with lat/long grid lines.

These days, it's rounded to the nearest metre, and is exactly 1852 metres.

Yet another Brit mobe tower borg: Three and EE ink network-sharing deal


different frequencies

Where two (or more) operators share the same mast, this does not mean the same coverage footprint, the lower frequencies have greater coverage than the higher frequencies, so it depends on what frequency bands the operators have on their licence.

Virgin Media spanked by ad watchdog over 'in your neighbourhood' fibs


"in your area" billboards outside their franchise areas

The way that the cable franchise areas were originally set up led to large chunks not actually being allocated to a cable operator. Big digs and lots of civils work in the early 1990s meant they multitude of little cable companies could never pay back the expenditure, they slowly got merged into what became Virgin Media, who have had no major new network build-outs in their areas for about 16 years now.

If you are outside the old franchise areas, forget it. They're not coming, even if they erect enormous billboard adverts saying they are here.

I used to live in a franchise area, but they refused installation because my flat was more than five metres from the street junction. Now I live a hundred or so metres outside the old franchise area (as the crow flies, but no cable in the street). Again, no chance.

I knew this, but I still found time to waste the 25 minutes time of their salespeople replying to an addressed (to the property) flyer, and suggested they should only send such stuff out in streets that they have actually cabled.

Have you reinstalled Windows yet? No, I just want to PRINT THIS DAMN PAGE


Wait. No. That's can't be happening

The printer driver has detected that the inkjet head is still succesfully squirting ink, and the cartridge should only hold one thimble full, not a bucket load that the device's owner has hooked onto the side via a series of tubes. The printer will now go into a bit of a decline and sulk in a corner, intentionally delaying printouts until the user acknowledges that the impossible has indeed happened.

Happy 20th birthday, Windows NT 3.1: Microsoft's server outrider


Server component still has security bugs from before then

So NT 3.1 was a Netware killer? Not quite. It was positioned to steal market from another of Microsoft's products, er. OS/2 Lan Manager.

For what it was, OS/2 Lan Manager was reasonably good, had some sort of security model, with file system permissions and acccess control lists, which is pretty much what Windows NT stuck with until Active Directory came along, and it was only then that the Netware market share started falling.

The Server, and Workstation service in Windows NT was a direct port of the OS/2 Lan Manager code, and took all the bugs with it. To this day, there's a security bug that I raised with Microsoft for OS/2 Lan Manager in 1991, that still isn't fixed in the latest Windows server product. Microsoft's solution to this seems to have been to hide the exploitable functionality from the GUI and documentation, but it's still all there.

Home Office boffins slip out passport-scanning Android app


makes you wonder why have the chip

If the chip only contains stuff that can be optically read from the passport, and if it needs to be optically read for data that is needed to retrieve data from the chip, what's the point in the chip, other than supposedly to spot when the optical data and the chip data doesn't match? I take it that the data on the chip is in someway officially signed to prevent someone tampering with it or faking it.

Ten ancestors of the netbook


HP Omnibook

No mention of the HP Omnibook 600C? This was a neat little machine that could run windows, and as a pointing device had a pop-out little mouse-on-a-stick thing that sprung out of the right hand side of the machine. Interesting form factor.

Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today



The reason why many modern web sites don't work too well on ancient web browsers is http/1.1.

The original NCSA Mosaic did http 1.0, from a day when there were enough IPv4 addresses to go around to give each web site its own IPv4 address. Forward just a few more years and it was obvious that wasn't going to be sustainable use of a finite resource, so along game http/1.1 which allowed virtual web servers to run on a single network address. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon, for it was a good idea.

However, there was a time when Windows NT 4.0 came with a version of Internet Explorer that only did http/1.0 yet Microsoft.com didn't have a default web site on their web server IP address (which would make it available to older web browsers), so you couldn't access their web server with their web browser to be able to download updates.

Honk if the car in front is connected


Re: I see some potential in this...

Surely it would be best if the road could tell your car what the speed limit was and the car tried its best to prevent you from getting pulled over by the rozzers for speeding / getting flashed by a gatso, with all the insurance hikes that will incur.

Hell, why not make it a standard fit, and you could only temporarily disable it by parking, turning the engine off, and tapping out morse code on the reverse lights, or by engaging your blue flashing lights.

If you want faster ground transportation than is legal on the roads, take the train, or go and drive on a racing track.

Keyboard, you're not my type


I have to touch type

...because the symbols on this laptop keyboard have worn out through many weeks of use, and the cheap plastic keys are already pitted and gouged. The symbols seem to be as flimsy as transfers in an Airfix kit.

Can't beat the old buckling spring IBM Model M for sturdy build quality. These days, people are unwilling to spend money on proper build quality, especially when a laptop that the proprietary keyboard design it attaches to becomes obsolete in a few years, yet the old model M goes on, 23 years on. Dell clicky keyboards, circa 1999 were okay.

UK is first class for train Wi-Fi in Europe


The suggestion about wifi on trains making HS2 unnecessary is bogus. Passenger numbers on trains are rising, the network is running over capacity for much of the time. There are only so many carriages full of wifi swilling, pasty eating, self-loading freight that can fit down a railway track in a given time.

The main requirement for HS2 is to rebuild capacity into the network, much of which was taken away in the Beeching Years, because it wasn't just branch lines that were cut, the main lines, such as the Great Central Railway, along whose route HS2 is due to follow in part.

And so, if you're (re-)building a brand new railway track, as an engineer, you'd at least try to build it to modern standards, and capable of high speeds.

Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK


Re: metricating the auto world

The UK is the only country that drives on the left, for which the motor manufacturers have to fit speedometers that read in mph. They'd love not to have to have different models for UK than they do for Ireland/Malta/Cyprus/Kenya/South Africa/Australia/New Zealand... and so on.

BT invites telcos to sign up to FTTP trials


asymmetric speeds?

Fibre to the premises, with upstream bandwidth less than downstream bandwidth? Either they have some seriously weird network infrastructure, or they're offering as wholesale a product that is already artificially limited. What if the resellers want a proper symmetric service, as FTTP should achieve.

UK.gov holds summit to stop satnav-driven smash-ups

Thumb Up

Foreign lorries

So, a foreign trucker is driving his load to a destination in the back of beyond. He has no local knowledge, and relies on eyesight and sat-nav. Sees a road sign showing maximum width, height or length marked only in feet and inches. Doesn't mentally compute that 6'8" is narrower than his lorry, which he only knows in metres, and is only recorded in metres on the dimensions plate in the cab.

There's a lot to be said for having metric measurements on such road signs. Maximum weight was metricated on UK road signs decades ago, but they left the height/width/length ones as imperial only for far too long. Make them dual units to cater for the luddites who still don't know what a metre is after over four decades.

Do that, and make the signed vehicle restictions (speed,length,width,height etc) freely available in a standard data format for anyone to implement in satnavs, and you've got a simple win.

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


accidental roaming

So the French networks are coming closer to England? I wonder how much more accidental roaming will happen near Folkestone ("Welcome to France" SMS), which already happens in places where there's coverage blackspots on the UK networks, yet plenty of signal bleeding across the channel from France.

What would be sensible would be for networking sharing of the tunnel network between all UK and French operators, so that while on the tunnel, nobody is roaming, though I imagine a lot of OFCOM and ARCEP red tape.

Apple land-grabs fuel cells for mobiles


Toshiba prior art?

Didn't Toshiba do this for many portable computing devices already?




Ditto, the T850 in Terminator movies.

UK punters happy to pay £3 to top up e-wallets


Can someone explain to me why having a contactless payment card built into my mobile phone is any better than having a contactless payment card in my wallet?

Now can someone explain to me why I would want all the aggro of having to keep topping it up?

Now can someone explain to me why I would want to be charged for the priviledge?

BT bitchslapped for misleading 'Join now' Infinity ad


Virgin Media's offering isn't fibre either

Virgin Media's regular offering is no more fibre-optic than BT Infinity. It's fibre-to-the-cabinet.

In a similar manner, pretty much all ADSL could be classed as fibre-optic since the traffic goes over fibre-optic cables to the exchange.

To be honest, it doesn't really matter how the bandwidth is delivered - copper, fibre, radio, carrier pidgeon, so long as it's reliable and consistent, and of sufficient capacity and sufficiently low latency.

Telstra hauls in wholesale IPv6


CPE routers

And once again, the CPE routers for general consumers (ie, the cheap ones that ISPs bundle free with service) still aren't capable of IPv6. So, well done to Telstra on getting a dual stack backbone, but until proper working IPv6 'just works' right down to end-users' equipment, we're still playing a waiting game.

(Yes, I do have IPv6 at home, but that's only via a tunnel, yoghurt pots and bits of string)

China plans city 'twice the size of Wales'



Actually, it's probabably that the Chinese working in metric, which the Telegraph converted into the Newspaper Journalist System of Measures - you know, the one that uses Celsius for temperatures below the freezing point of water, but then Fahrenheit when it starts getting hot, because of course, they Newspaper Journalists know the best way of representing The Truth to their readership.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021