* Posts by John Jennings

238 posts • joined 14 Apr 2011


UK government shakes magic money tree, finds $500m to buy a stake in struggling satellite firm OneWeb

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: It Could Be Made to Work ???

I think this was discussed in an earlier post.

It can work fine - provided they have approriate transmitters.... They dont even need 4 atomic clocks, really, if there are enough of them, with some basestations to provide synchronization..

The gps sats we use today are so expensive because they have a decade design life, are in high orbit, and have to work - there are only 24 operational - but they have a wide area effect each (usually 8 or so can be seen). In LEO, there may be up to 80 in orbit and active for GPS duties at any one time- that improves accuracy round skyscrapers etc - and high latitudes (above 60 degrees, GPS starts to drop efefctiveness) - where traditional gps doesnt work

Signal strength in LEO could also be useful for blocking Chinese russian or US gps analogues (if tensions are ongoing in a particular theatre) - and the shear number provides resilience against anti satellite shenanigans....

WHo knows for sure what the future requirements could be?

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Just what we need

The horse is the backup. One of my first cars was a montego... couldnt pull its own weight up a hill...

Euro police forces infiltrated encrypted phone biz – and now 'criminal' EncroChat users are being rounded up

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Lies, damned lies and official statements?

At 1000,eu for the device, followed by 3,000 eu per year subscription, you have to have a fairly big budget for privacy.

The product was hardly being marketed as a 'mainstream' solution.

Chances are that all (or almost) all the phones were for criminal purposes. Whether or not every single one had messages linking connecting an owner to a chargeable crime is another matter. Perhaps its easier to go for the low hanging fruit?

Germany is helping the UK develop its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, says ambassador

John Jennings Bronze badge

I think Belgium

Basically exterminated most of the Congo - the levels of genocide are not comparable.

Belgium was likely responsible for more deaths in Africa than every other colonial power - including the Roman empire.

The Spanish in South America, or the colonialists in the USA would only be larger - and they were mostly disease.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: a few more points

Um couple of bits, with respect

the traditional GPS system used by the US is almost 1.5 tons in high orbit - designed for long life and really expensive per shot.

The oneweb orbits at LEO, and has a much shorter life - true, but, there are potentially a lot more of them. There are 23 GPS sattelites operational or in reserve - Oneweb has 68 operational today - with proposals for a further 80 of them to be GPS enabled. That is a lot of redundancy.

even in LEO, you would get at least 20+ satellites in coverage at any time - it would work better (most like), round towerblocks/skyscrapers etc.

onewebs plans were for 1000 satellites - but had licenses for 48,000

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: You are perhaps assuming that its going to be GPS in the traditional sense?

Fair points - and thanks for the clarification re China.

Fact is, though (and cutting through all the political discussion and rants), that having a bunch of sattelites up (with the right radios!) could likely be used, in conjunction with base stations to cover the key areas of interest - at least for military tech. Coupled with the rural broadband, it might even prove to be be a useful asset.

LEO isnt ideal for a number of reasons mentioned before for navigation - but its not the end of the world if there are enough satellites up there and ground stations down here- I believe oneweb had an ultimate license for 48000 devices - though initial plans were for 1000, and there are only 68 operational ones at the moment.

Thinking about it, even the Ku band radios might be useful in LEO for jamming and anti-jamming high jinx.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: You are perhaps assuming that its going to be GPS in the traditional sense?

Yes, they dont have clocks.

The GPS does not need to be global for the UKs purposes. It needs to be accurate where its interests are, and last I checked, that was a few islands in the Atlantic, and perhaps the Middle East.

The Chinese nor Indian systems are not accurate outside their areas of interest - they are not global, while the satellites are covering everywhere. They make sure that enough satellites are overhead in their country at any time - they do not garentee coverage elsewhere in the world. I believe that india only plans to have 8 satellites - to cover an entire continent and 1000 miles round it.


Actually, GPS isnt particularly useful in the far north (above 70 degrees) or south because of satellite inclination- GLONASS is the only cm accurate one there.

For the UK, satellites could be sychned from ground stations simmilar to the french DORIS system works - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DORIS_(geodesy)

This can be used to calculate position data from a relay satelitte - accurate to 10 CM. The UK likely has enough ground station spread to be able to do similar with a relatively small constellation of LEO satellites.

The main issue would be the radio bands used - I dont know if existing birds could be configured to talk on the appropriate frequencies.... meaning only useful for military...

John Jennings Bronze badge

You are perhaps assuming that its going to be GPS in the traditional sense?

The US military has already demonstrated taking GPS offline for its allies if it doesnt approve of some country messing with bombs somewhere it doesnt approve of.

The UK would likely still use GPS as a first point of call.

It might well be possible to repurpose the birds up there at the moment for a centimetre accurate GPS analog, with appropriate basestation timing/clocks, and some clever software. remember that Galleleo went offline when the local atomic clocks (to several sattelites) went squiffy. I would doubt that the oneweb birds have 4 atomic clocks onboard with the accuracy required .

LEO is a lot cheaper to send birds up to than the orbits traditional GPS and analogues work at. Galleleo weights about 1000 KG fueled up if the sattelites are more relay than actual GPS sattelites. I think oneweb birds are around 200KG each?

Galleleo, GPS and all the others receive on a specific frequency (around 400 MHz) which is used for SAR work. Its how EPRBS and PLBs work. THis chanel is internationally agreed. I doubt if existing oneweb can even receiver on this channel- so that would be out. Military could likely still use it.

India bans 59 apps it says have privacy, national security problems. In a massive coincidence, they’re all Chinese

John Jennings Bronze badge


Having 3 daughters, I can confirm that this app is truly the spawn of satan.

They do their bit to clog up the internet, and 3/4G bandwidth.

Come glide with me: Virgin Galactic gives Unity some fresh air, looks forward to rocket-powered flight

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Behnken is not a NASA astronaut


John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Behnken is not a NASA astronaut

He is a NASA astronaut - employed by Space X.

He has flown several times for NASA.

Once you are a NASA astronaut, you are always an astronaut - we refer to Buz Aldrin as an astronaut - not a former astronaut.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Arianespace - long term plan?

Falcon 9 is a medium rocket - LEO with apparently 16000 KG, while Ariane 5 is 21000 KG.

Ariane has done flights to GEO, and Geo transfer orbit - Falcon

Falcon 9 can now do a comparable weight - but only when the rocket is expended - which would drive up the cost...

Very few falcon 9's make it to GTO/GEO and be recovered- less than 5 tonnes (metric) seem to be the max i can do. Ariane can do around 10 tons GTO

Falcon Heavy can launch much more mass to LEO and still do recovery (in theory) - but has had only a few outings.

Falcon heavy has only 1 commercial (and 1 military) launch of sattelites to GTO to date, so metrics are hard on it at the moment.

At the moment, there is a market for Ariane 5.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: The one true way...

If you have to pay for it, you are either not doing it right - or sharing :)

Russia returns to space tourism and offers a first citizen spacewalk

John Jennings Bronze badge


I believe it is mandatory - it was for the last ones - guts of a year I read somewhere. Perhaps longer for the spacewalk.

NASA will require the same, it seems, after giving the training contract to Virgin.

John Jennings Bronze badge

I guess

Roscosmanos have a few seats available now ....

US govt: Julian Assange tried to recruit hacker to steal hush-hush dirt and we should know – the hacker was an informant

John Jennings Bronze badge

I guess they needed something else, when the Swedish setup collapsed.

Speaking to hackers as a journo would be fine - If the hacker claims to be able to get some docs, and the journo says 'show me' or 'prove it' should that also be fine?

Sabu and co were infiltrated - with prejudice. We already know that the FBI threatened to take the guys kids, and surely any confession or stichup by them would be shaky at best?

It appears that some of lulsec comitted to grabbing files, and found it harder than they thought - again they were trying, not Assange...

Bit like the accusations against Manning - she did the hacking, and gave the stuff to wikkileaks.

Assange might have been a self promoter, and maybe a bit of a knob, but there doesnt appear to be a strong case against him as a spy...

It does make for more headlines on the case, though. 90% of people reading the news will think he was satans bumfluff for this, which is what they (feds) are after with this.

Laws on police facial recognition aren't tough enough, UK data watchdog barrister tells Court of Appeal

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you would be surprised...

...How much they do understand the technology.

It is easy to slam them for being older - but they are generally sharp as nails.

Their judgement will be based upon how the law is written and how the technology interfaces with that- not the technology its self. It is the barristers job to make those arguments cogent to anyone.

Also, note that one of the panel is the head honcho of the investigatory powers tribunal - this is real secret squirrel stuff - and it will be a challenge to affect the spooks interest in this stuff...

China's internet watchdog freezes 10 too-trashy online video services before they undermine socialism

John Jennings Bronze badge

Block it

My kids are on fecking TicTok all the time.

Stupid dances, in stupid places.

US starts sniffing around UK spaceports – though none capable of vertical launches actually exist right now

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China issues

Its gonna have a bigger issue if it continues to divert water and start scrapes in the Himalayas with India.

We could see satellite/Satellite action over this.



Ex-barrister reckons he has a privacy-preserving solution to Britain's smut ban plans

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Mind of a teenager

Having worked in building a solution for safe internet access in schools for years, I can assure you that they don't even need Admin access to access all the 8008's they want.

I have seen kids take a python teaching IDE, and build a viewer app from Open source resources, and get access to all sorts of tat from that.

They then share it with their mates, and a thousand copies and tweaked versions pop up on school computers in a couple of weeks.

Virgin Galactic inks deal with NASA to train astro-tourists looking to buy a seat to the International Space Station

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: all good news, really

The balloon habitat - built by Bigelow - is still up there - used for monitoring and storage now, I think.

Its called BEAM, and been very successful.

It is now planned to stay up as long as the ISS does.

I believe that they passed on NASAs tender for a larger module fir ISS- not enough in it for them at 500M, but have offered to assist on Artemis.

CERN puts two new atom-smashers on its shopping list. One to make Higgs Bosons, then a next-gen model six times more energetic than the LHC

John Jennings Bronze badge

Cool tech

I so want a bright muon beam generator, with the tuned energy recovery linac

I am sure I can find a shark somewhere, to do this right!

No Wiggle room: Two weeks after angry bike shop customers report mystery orders on their accounts, firm confirms payment cards delinked

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Delivered to?

the Fedarales are likely a little more busy in the US at the moment - more interested in 'direct acquisitions' during the last 3 weeks, than some small time cyberheist.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: There is no breach

The issue here is that they stored the CVV number, as well as the core card details.


I havent used the site, but it looks like they have tried to offer 'one click' ordering, similar to Amazon.

I dont know it they prompted to store the details

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: NHSX devs apparently superior to Google devs

AFAIK this is not how radio/bluetooth works, but it might be possible to measure distance as follows:

Send a bluetooth signal - if its direct LOS then it should get a hit within, say 30m. THere will be a signal strength.

Handshare with remote devices

Trigger that device to turn on its wifi and send a ping on wifi - or have it do do a peer ping on its main radio ...

Send back bluetooth signal strength.

listen for response strength on wifi or GPRS

With a different frequency of radio, with a different absorbtion profile - it may be possible to identify what is between the two targets, and their range.

if you also get a ping, and a signal strength, I think it would be possible to get a differential on the signal strengths. It would be bloody hard maths, I think.... I dont think you can get a peer GPRS signal sent in software - though I could be wrong.

If you dont get a Bluetooth ping then its academic - its greater than 2 m range.

Just a thought.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: "we discovered a technical barrier that every other country [...] is also now hitting."

The french wouldnt let on if their app didnt work....

Hey NYPD, when you're done tear-gassing and running over protesters, can you tell us about your spy gear?

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Liar, she hit a traffic light

Horses have been used for many years for crowd control - not charging. It would be insane to pull horses. Why not take cars away from them because sometime people get knocked down.

Its really useful in many situations.

You can see from the video that ALL the horses are at the trot - until one bolts and you can see the missiles inboud.

A trot slow enough for a mob to dissipate - as it was doing.

I understand in this case a brick struck ONE horse in the face - causing it to bolt - the police officer had clearly lost control.

The incumbent President of the United States of America ran now-banned Facebook ads loaded with Nazi references

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Briatain a nuclear power?

US making the Trident system, I doubt about that. When your nuclear deterrence is made by somebody else, you can't be 100% sure that you've got ANY control on it.

Fixed it for ya

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets

John Jennings Bronze badge

Boeing recieved 4.82 billion in grants and contracts to design and build the Starliner. They charge 90m per seat on top of that- but have yet to acctually complete a mission.

SpaceX recieved 3.4 billion in precontracts to develop Dragon, and charge 55M per seat.

Roscosmos charge 89 M per seat with no upfront grant.

evin the OIG - Office of Inspector General - found that the home grown solutions were more expensive.

BTW, to put it in todays costs - appollo cost around 152 Billion, in todays money.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: The Crew Dragon has a payload capacity of 6000Kg

Payload mass per launch is important, but its not the only criteria - if it were, the ISS would have burned up years ago.

Being able to launch smaller packages more often and reliability has its place- otherwise we would not be interested in Rocket Lab et al.

Even with that said - the astronauts havent landed back yet on Dragon. They have completed the first two parts - liftoff and docking - many risks happen on the way back down, as we know from Colombia and Salutz 11. Lets hope that they stay safe - its a dangerous business.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Kalashnikov = 'Cheap'?

not so much - most in the world are Chinese knockoffs. The design was near perfect for amnufacture, and the Russinas licensed it to anyone.

John Jennings Bronze badge

Tbh some of this is lost in translation.

The soyuz and progress (the cargo variant) spaceships have together successfully launched more than 300 flights - with only 2 with fatalities in 60 years.

Any cost of development has been amoritised over this number.

While the US was charged 90M per rocket - that was not the cost of the rocket launch. NASA did subsidize Roscosmanos for many years.

The base cost of the SpaceX seat is likely more expensive at cost than the either Progress or Soyuz.

The cost of recovering a booster is likely touch and go economically over the cost of a mission. We have seen Space X not recover some rockets where the payload was going somewhere inconvenient. Remember that the recovery costs weitght in fuel to return - reducing the effectiveness of the booster.

I think I would still rather fly in a soyuz than a spaceX ship, given the choice.

Remember that backdoor in Juniper gear? Congress sure does – even if networking biz wishes it would all go away

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Sneeky

Pity that was the room where the kettle was - behind the door marked with 'beware of the leopard'*

*Spurious Douglas Adams reference

US Air Force wants to pit AI-powered drone against its dogfighting hotshots in battle of the skies next year

John Jennings Bronze badge

harder than you think

It is difficult to make something to regularly withstand much more than 10G - fuel pumps, wiring and stopping the wings falling off. A load of 50G would not be a constant thing - dynamically changing etc.

it likely could be done - just saying that its a completely different airplane. I dont think it would be possible to compare a human controlled jet fighter, and a specifically designed drone . It certainly wouldnt be a done deal for a pilot to beat a drone - today.

Japan to test self-destructing satellite to shrink space junk with string and an inanimate carbon blob

John Jennings Bronze badge

err no

A satellite is whizzing round at a considerable speed - its basically falling to earth all the time and missing, the energy (and thus fuel) required to perfectly synchronise a 'catcher' with a cubesat and return it would be massive.

As to the elements being lost - 15000 tons of micrometeors strike the earth - every year. We are not going to run out of metal by sending a few KG into space. Given that each launch of each flight of microsattelite likely costs the guts of a ton in metal to send up (obviously not on reusable rockets) - then there is more sent up than is put in orbit. Reusable tech makes sense for the rockets themselves - not so much for the payloads.

California emits fine-print of its GDPR-ish digital privacy law, complete with Google and Facebook-sized holes

John Jennings Bronze badge

Good start, could do better

Looking at the new GDPR light, it does appear that the next ballot is necessary.

We were waiting for the new guidance - its light on detail where we wanted to see clarity, but its better than nothing. It seems that California is taking an evolutionary approach - which is not ideal. We are taking the approach that what flies in the sunshine state will be applied to all us states - I hope that other companies do the same, but the evolutionary changes means that we have to do this again, and again.

We dont use personal data much on our sites - just enough to be a PITA.

With any new body that the next legislation creates, I would be nervous. It is likely to be funded based upon fines - and its easier to clobber smaller organisations that it is to go after the giants. The ICO discovered this in the UK, when it couldn't impose fines on British Airways,because basically it couldn't afford the legal fees.

The longest card game in the world: Microsoft Solitaire is 30

John Jennings Bronze badge

Amstrad 2386

Great machine, back in the day, with an Achilles heal

I sold almost 300 individual orders for (perhaps 500 machines) of those boxes in a small independent SOHO store- every one with a factory replaced HD. the 386 DX CPU was powerful at the time - for a grand (I think) it was far and above every other machine out there for the price.

I remember that the cmos battery was 4 AA batteries that lived under the screen - they had to be changed while the machine was running AFAIK.

I think they successfully sued segate on the HD - but it was too late for Amstrad to recover its lead in the PC market.

If you don't LARP, you'll cry: Armed fun police swoop to disarm knight-errant spotted patrolling Welsh parkland

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: WTF ?!!

I think that 'real' plate would protect you against a 9 MM round (perhaps not a AP round, but certainly a hollow point).

Beanbags would bounce - as would plastic and rubber

Plate was meant to be worn with a quilted body suit underneath, along with a leather overshirt.

Depending upon the period, the proteciton would run (roughtly) as follows....

Plate then

Mail (especially over the joints - sometimes a full hauberk),

then a leather or linen padded overshirt

The plate had an additional benefit of being curved - causing deflection in many cases.

A shield provided extra cover.

remember that these were effective at protecting the wearer against early firearms and crossbows/longbows at any range over 100 yards.

As for kinetic engergy, they could survive a hit from a spear on a charging horse.

The Bodkin was partially effective - more at restricting movement or weak points than direct injury. A knight on his feet was relatively safe - when they fell over, then there was a problem, as they often couldnt get up and a peon or an archer with a sledgehammer would finish the job.

Earlier laminar armours would also be quite effective - thats the sort of stuff Alexander the great likely wore - again massively padded with linen undergarments.

The problem would be the weight. Fully armoured (not weapons) would be over 50KG or 150 LBs. so real movement was out.

Metal armours were issued to machine gunners during WW1 (they couldnt move anyway). They were reasonably effective - even against rifles

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Note

A Celtic Nation - with a Calvinist twist? While Northern Irish, and proud of it, not sure if Scotland and Northern Ireland would get on for long......


You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Why bother?

Owwww the image - I cant get it out of my head!

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

John Jennings Bronze badge

Dont rely on Lizzie Dehnam!

She was on the select committee - the UK ICO - and quite frankly was appalling.

She wanted to be a 'critical friend' to the developers. Didn't raise the obvious issues about privacy, and didnt blink when the rights were being overridden (no opt out, request for the data held centrally, or deletion). Spent her whole time trying to justify why the ICO office should be responsible for the privacy oversight of the systems.

She cant be the 'critical friend' while being the auditor

She really should have been sacked on teh spot for that.

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: I sense an app in the making...

I would be very surprised if that could be done with the goolge API or (if it can) that it wouldnt break terms of service.

Meteorite's tiny secrets reveal Solar System's sodium-rich, alkaline liquid past – a clue to formation of life

John Jennings Bronze badge

sorry to be pedantic

the article says

Calcium, magnesium, and sodium were formed on the meteorite when it was in the Solar System's asteroid belt some 4.5 billion years ago.

this is extremely unlikely. The elemental salts would have been created, not the elements themselves.

Interesting though - keep it up!

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Irresponsible?

with less mass to each piece, wont its orbit just decay all the faster?

John Jennings Bronze badge

Honest question....

How does this increase the cost of sattelites in geostationary orbit (mentioned in the article)? Geo orbit is 36,000 KM up. Low earth orbit (LEO), I can understand. I would also be surprised if the rapid dissambley was anything other than a strike - why else would it disintegrate (wether it was natural or not).

Australian contact-tracing app sent no data to contact-tracers for at least ten days after hurried launch

John Jennings Bronze badge

I am sure Australia will get as far as the UK does in 'working with apple'


or the french


IE not very far

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

John Jennings Bronze badge

Ah Haynes commands... Remember them vaguely

ATDT 123456




or something - I cant remember the details

Ex-Imagination Technologies boss tells UK Foreign Affairs Committee: Britain needs to stop overseas asset stripping

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: And who will pay ?

Britain was built on Laissez fare.

See how successful it was and still is with everything from the development of steel to steam engine design to canals, from the building of textile industries to jet passenger planes and to advances in banking. Oh wait.... Some investors got stupendously rich, then stripped their industries internally - either directly by excess payouts to themselves with under investment in long term strategy or becoming distant from their business. That distance is only exacerbated by investment where the profit motive is to make returns on the capital - rather than long term development of the business.

We call the investment process the 'financial market' for a reason - it is a mechanism for investors whose product is shorter term financial return, rather than the long term health of the business. Destroying the business in the long term is of no consequence. Britain invented this in the 18th and 19th C, with the 'canal boom', the 'rail boom', etc.

in It does not take an international sale to destroy an internally developed industry, its a function of the financial market.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

John Jennings Bronze badge

Re: Covid jail "prank"

100? - think thousands - if you leave the phone in a factory canteen. Nice to have a couple of weeks quarentine as the weather gets better.

You dont have to even use a burner. You self report so you, could claim to have a sniffle and a temperature, and it appears that would be enough. Sit the phone by the door or the till of the canteen for half an hour and everyone going through is wiped out.

Or put a burner beside a rivals office/home or whatever and they get a call after the button has been pressed

It wouldnt even be illegal, currently, as far as I can see.



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