* Posts by AlbertH

504 posts • joined 18 Jul 2012


Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended


Re: 300 MW

300 MW for a few minutes is insignificant. Australia does have some measure of power distribution between states, so the problem of consistent power generation is distributed somewhat. Their stupid moves towards solar and wind generation have made giant UPS efforts like these necessary.

Pretty soon they'll realise that their insane "green" generation schemes aren't going to work. They'll find that their commerce is crippled by the intermittency that they'll suffer (the Californians have just realised this and are about to do something about it by commissioning the construction of several nukes!).

A paper has recently been presented to the UK government, laying out the utter stupidity of their "green" power proposals, and amply demonstrating that this government has little time in which to dither around "deciding" what to do.

Unless significant amounts of generation capacity is added to the grid very soon, the UK will have rolling power cuts (that's why your "Smart Meter" has a remotely controllable contactor inside it). The closure of most of the old nuke stations has precipitated this collapse in power infrastructure, and no number of worthless bird mincing windmills and solar arrays are going to make up the energy shortfall.

The UK doesn't have the engineering capacity or a sufficiently educated populace to deal with the problem any more. The UK government will have to hire in expensive "talent" from elsewhere. It really is a shambles!


The battery systems simply don't have sufficient capacity to do much useful work. They are a solution for your desktop PC, so that you have time to back up your work before the battery dies.

They're truly useless for anything large scale, are incredibly expensive, are ridiculously inefficient and tend to burst into flames (this is NOT the first of these storage arrays to self-immolate!).


Re: Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Fun how people understand the purpose behind Dinorwig, but seem to have problems with a high-tech version.

It's actually a very low-tech, terribly inefficient way of trying to stabilise a power grid that is fundamentally unstable because of the insane adoption of solar and wind generation. The battery plant doesn't have sufficient capacity to make a significant difference, and is outrageously expensive.

Conversely, the pumped storage power stations actually work - particularly where there is spare off-peak generating capacity provided by nukes. They're also very cheap and very efficient when compared to these stupid, giant UPS efforts!

The only viable forms of generation for the future are nukes (both uranium and thorium cycles), hydro, tidal (to a small extent) and pumped storage to handle demand peaks. Nothing else comes at all close to the cleanliness, efficiency and stability of such a generation system. We have to overcome the uneducated stupidities of the "greenies", and get some governments on this planet with some real foresight and intelligence (probably a vain hope....)

Rackspace literally decimates workforce: One in ten staffers let go this week


Re: Leveraged buyouts should be illegal

Nope - Maplin's error was to try to be "Tandy". They loaded up their shops with rubbish that nobody wanted to buy (especially since you could get better gear at lower prices from Richer Sounds and Novatech). They virtually stopped their original core business of selling electronic components to hobbyists, and the few parts that they continued to stock were ridiculously overpriced. They completely lost the plot when they were taken over by some "private equity" company....

BOFH: Here in my car I feel safest of all. I can listen to you ... It keeps me stable for days


Re: Box Tickers Anonymous United .......

Look closely at the M$ Windoze EULA. It contains some interesting clauses in the license blindness area. Some of them - if noticed - would prevent many companies and other organisations from signing up to those terms.

Googler demolishes one of Apple's monopoly defenses – that web apps are just as good as native iOS software


Re: "Safari's lack of compatibility with web standards... "

How does that differ from Microsoft's many attempts to dictate web standards to "suit" their entirely non-standard, incompatible web browsers Internet Exploder and Edge? MS have been playing this game since the Netscape days, ensuring that IIS wouldn't render properly on non-MS browsers.

Granted that Apple's business tactics are pretty shabby (and their insanely expensive SDKs are deliberately designed to prevent third party software development), but isn't this just more of the same?

UK government resists pressure to hold statutory inquiry into Post Office Horizon scandal


Re: It's not just an IT scandal

The civil service procurement is massively and inexcusably corrupt

It always has been. Labour governments tend to be worse troughers than the Conservatives, but this present lot seem to be taking the biscuit!


Re: Statutory inquiry

You mean "Lessons must be learned" - the "result" of every "Government Enquiry".


Re: Statutory inquiry

I've yet to see a properly calibrated fixed speed camera. Also the imbecilic coppers who hand-hold their speed guns rather than use the provided tripods mean that NO speed camera convictions are "safe".

University duo thought it would be cool to sneak bad code into Linux as an experiment. Of course, it absolutely backfired


Re: Place your bets...

This research project would have fallen outside that scope

That suggests that the IRB at the University is simply not fit for purpose.

UK terror law reviewer calls for expanded police powers to imprison people who refuse to hand over passwords


Re: Clarify something for me.

They're going to have serious problems with the huge, encrypted, deliberately obsfuscated binary blobs that make up some "operating systems" - Windows for one, and iOS for another....

OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg – all services unavailable


Re: Who knew data centres were tinder boxes?

All the truly significant data centres I look after have Halon installations - there's no real substitute. We tried a CO2 flooding system, but its fire suppression properties were significantly worse than Halon.

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?


Re: Halt and Catch Fire

We used to set fire to the tractor-fed printer paper by repeatedly printing a line of 79 spaces, and no line feed. The print head would repeatedly race across the paper at the same line, and the friction would eventually ignite the paper!

It was a great sprinkler test!


Re: My code (or any code I have been involved in) has set fire to certain products

We used to have great fun with the version of the TRS80 that had a PROM blower built in. If you felt malicious, a line of BASIC would "poke" the system RAM with the PROM writing voltage, with ensuing smoke and dead machine.

The number of those TRS80s that got destroyed by evil kids - who soon learned the one-line BASIC incantation to destroy those machines - was huge. It was usually preceded with a for / next loop to give the miscreant time to get away from the shop!

The wastepaper basket is on the other side of the office – that must be why they put all these slots in the computer


Re: The human mind is a frightening thing

In a similar situation, with a hot computer full of waste paper, pocket lint and all manner of other detritus, the smouldering junk was poured into the file drawer of the (l)user's desk. The rather satisfying though small conflagration that ensued resulted in the building being evacuated, the destruction of several year's worth of "irreplaceable" records, a wrecked computer, a melted keyboard and the dismissal of the dingbat who'd filled the computer and every desk drawer with flammable cr@p. The many hoarded bottles of Snopake™ thinner added to the flames, by exploding quite spectacularly!

You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right? Trust... but verify


Re: You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right?


Stands for Must Consult Someone Experienced

I thought it was "Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Expert"

150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'


Re: FFS. You cannot blame everything on brexit.

Brexit is just the start of the collapse of the whole EU project. When it was a trading organisation (the EEC that the UK joined in the '70s), it actually helped the economies of its members. During the '90s, it morphed into a grand socialistic project, invented its own "currency" (which is backed by nothing!), and started to accumulate ever more members by signing up the ex-eastern bloc countries, all of whom were broke.....

The Germans and the French have just realised that they're the only ones putting money into the EU project, and most of it is going to prop up the failed economies of the Mediterranean countries. Those economies probably wouldn't have failed if they hadn't been forced in the Euro, but that's another issue...

The bookmakers are taking bets on the next country to leave. The "smart money" seems to be split roughly evenly between Ireland and the Netherlands. Ireland have realised that they're no longer getting the "development grants" (aka "bribes") and are now expected to pay into the limitless European Pit. The Netherlands just want out - they're fed up with being dictated to by Brussels (they fought wars to avoid that a few hundred years ago!).

My banker friends in the City of London tell me that the EU will be lucky to survive as it is into 2023. Many of the smaller countries will leave, and there will be the usual emnity between France and Germany, with each blaming the other for it all going wrong!


Re: Technical issue?


Problem In Chair, Not In Computer

UK network Three hikes pay-as-you-go rates by 400% to push punters to buy 'bundles'


Re: Time for a complaint to Ofcom

It's really frustrating - they should not charge for SMS - it doesn't cost them anything at all to convey (it's an otherwise wasted part of the phone to base handshaking protocol).

The UK has always been the second most expensive place in the world to make a phonecall or convey data (I'll leave it a an exercise for the reader to identify the most expensive). There's no reason for this except sheer profiteering.

A reasonable way of charging would be a monthly "connection" charge of (maybe) £5 - 10. There should be no charges for calls, SMS or data. These cost the companies virtually nothing to connect and convey.

I think that it's time for one network in the UK to change their charging model, and charge realistically. The rest of the phone companies would fall into line very quickly, as they'd rapidly lose all their business if they didn't.

Boeing will cough up $2.5bn+ to settle US fraud charge over 737 Max safety


Just one more reason to avoid Ryanair

Ryanair were already risky - their turnround times and operational protocols are not exactly safe. Now they've bought these deathtraps, I will be flying with almost anyone else!


The board of Boeing and the heads of the FAA should be made to log 100 hours each flying on the "fixed" MAX before allowing it back into service.

Nope. They should all be scrapped and the full purchase price and damages should be paid to every airline that bought them.


Re: The software isn't the main problem

Not quite - the software isn't the problem (though it really didn't help). The problem is the fundamental imbalance in the aircraft due to the re-positioned hardware. The original 737s were beautifully balanced and very stable. These new abominations take a wonderful old design and completely screw around with almost every physical parameter, and then try to compensate for this fundamental instability with a nasty software kludge.

Several American pilots I know have left the company as they refuse to fly these deathtraps. Others have "gone sick" with "Covid" to avoid flying them......

Boeing should be forced to scrap every last one of these deadly aircraft, and return to building safe, stable, reliable aircraft like they used to!

BOFH: Switch off the building? Great idea, Boss


Re: Cattle prod?

Taking lunch outside a very large coal-fuelled power station, sitting in the company car with my assistant, munching through some indifferent sandwiches, we noticed two people get out of a car parked nearer to the building than us. They were walking past one of the huge oil-filled transformers, when there was a cataclysmic BANG!

The transformer and the two pedestrians no longer existed.

Our car was wrecked by flying debris, but my assistant and I were largely unhurt. The Board of Trade inquiry was one of the more unpleasant experiences of my life.....

Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty


Re: xorg.conf

A variant of the TRS80 had a built-in EPROM blower. The address range over which the blower would work could be changed in software..... It was fun to point the EPROM blower at either the RAM or the system ROM - either would result in clouds of expensive smoke and a totally destroyed machine! Of course it could be done from TRS80 BASIC, so a trip to Tandy could result in a couple of smoking machines a few seconds after you'd left the shop!


Re: Site services...

Just remember....

Two prongs don't make a write!

After Dutch bloke claims he hacked Trump's Twitter by guessing password, web biz says there's 'no evidence'


Re: WTF?


Good passwords are easy!

Samsung to introduce automatic call blocking on Android 11-capable flagships


Re: Does anyone enjoy stringing them along?

My favourite is to tell them "hang on, there's someone at the door", after having agreed that I was in an accident recently. I normally play a talk radio station to them, so they know that the line is still open. I've had them "hold" for as long as 20 minutes!

Wind and quite a bit of fog shroud Boris Johnson's energy vision for the UK


Re: Or

I was in Dinorwig in the 60s, as it was being built. It was a spectacular achievement, and should have pointed the way to future power provision. However, successive technically illiterate governments have ensured that the UK will always be short of power and will always be a net importer of electricity until they finally tell the greens to shut up and get some nukes built - quick!

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: Hmm. 65 000 000 people. 1 000 000 col limit*

"and get any result you want!"

So it is good for statistics then?

.....especially "Government Statistics"

If the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition doesn't make you a fan, we don't know what will


Re: Too small

But Spotify is fine if you like low quality, bland popular music.....


Windows to become emulation layer atop Linux kernel, predicts Eric Raymond


Re: Am I the only one?

(Even though, Microsoft have successfully shoved a ton of unchecked code into the kernel,

No they didn't. I can assure you that their code contributions have been scrupulously checked (I did some of the checking myself), and nothing gets into the kernel without comprehensive peer review.


Re: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

replacing the NT Kernel with the Linux Kernel would cost a lot in development and make no extra revenue.

Having just done some of that recently myself, it's surprisingly simple. The development costs will be relatively trivial, and Win 10 will just become an application layer on top of a Linux OS. It will be largely browser-based (because most of the code already exists - see "Edge" on Linux!).


Re: Sadly... this is the beginning of the end

MS aren’t about to walk away from their decades of Windows (kernel, services, etc) and try and do it all over again on Linux.

They will. It'll be just like the transition from OS9 to OSX - different underneath but with similar shiny on top. The user experience will be mostly the same, except that their machines will be more stable, more secure, and a lot quicker (the NT kernel is a horrible, slow, tangled mess, similar to the obscenely convoluted OS9).

Apple jumped to BSD when they could no longer support the convoluted mess of kludges that made up OS9. It really hurt them, and MS will feel similar pain when they bite the bullet and finally accept the inevitable. There will be many job losses at Redmond.

M$ have finally woken up to the fact that their OS is just a poor client for a Unix-based world. Just like Apple, they'll keep their app layer looking like Windows, but everything beneath will actually work properly for the first time.

I was concerned when MS were allowed to contribute to the Linux kernel, but when the code was scrupulously analysed and found to be clean, most of us welcomed the donations.

It's a strange world, and it's getting stranger all the time!


Re: Sadly... this is the beginning of the end

I don't think they would actually replace Windows with Linux unless Windows started to lose money of hand over fist.

They haven't made money from Windows for years. Their core businesses are "Office" and "Office 365" - software as a service was seen as the approach that would rake in zillions, but "365" is anything but successful.


Re: Edge using chromium

Yes, it probably doesn't require hardly any work at all. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have an internal Linux build the whole time.

Microsoft have finally woken up to the truth of their situation. Windows is just a poor, proprietary client for a Unix / Linux world, and has been for years.

Ancient telly borked broadband for entire Welsh village


Re: More to the point

I had a similar problem with a neighbour back in the 1950s. We had a neighbour whose TV was against the party wall, and because of his partial deafness, he invariably turned it up beyond 11 during the evening. No amount of imprecations from my Father or Mother would persuade him to move the set away from the party wall, so my Dad and his friend built TIT1 - Television Interrupting Tackle Version I. This was an RF oscillator that worked at (roughly) the same frequency as the local BBC Band 1 transmitter, and would beat with it, causing patterning on the picture and occasional loss of sound as the frequency of the valved oscillator drifted about. The apparatus was installed in a cupboard in my bedroom, in quite close proximity to next-door's TV aerial. Experiments had shown that the range of the thing was around 30 feet, so the other neighbours were unaffected.

ITV then started, with their Band III signal, necessitating the construction of TIT2, which was a valved multivibrator that produced harmonics throughout Bands I and III! It had similar range to the first version, and was installed in the same cupboard. The havoc this wrought to next door's TV reception was amazing. As the volume of the TV was increased during the evening, the equipment was switched on, and the TV next door would be switched off after a few minutes!

The neighbour complained to the GPO (responsible for interference problems in those days), and the visiting engineer suppressed the motors in my train set! He also had the sense to suggest to the neighbour that his TV would work better with his set-top aerial if it was relocated to the bay window, some distance from the party wall!!


Re: 18 months?

Still, why they didn't do a spectrum scan as part of initial and basic fault diagnosis is anyone's guess.

Simple - because they're clueless. It took them three years to identify a joint that became waterlogged in wet weather in Lincolnshire. They cited the "Electricity At Work Act" and said that "with the voltages involved, it wasn't safe to work in the rain".!!! In the end, I located the faulty joint for them, with a 30 second application of a Time Domain Reflectometer. The next time it wasn't raining, they opened the pit I'd identified, and re-jointed the cable. The whole village then got >20Mbs instead of the 50kbs they'd been getting on sunny days!

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers


Re: Hackintosh

While Apple does charge a premium, it's nothing like that. If you compare similarly specc'd machines from Dell, etc. you'll see comparable prices.

Err..... No. My £1100 Lenovo in a titanium case makes any Apple thing look like a tawdry toy, and outperforms any Mactop at any price.


Now us bassists, well we're still wedded to our hernia inducing valve or solid state amps since the lightweight class D stuff can't reproduce low frequencies very well.

Cobblers. The Class D amplifiers and wireless audio links I've been building lately for a couple of bass players have a flat response down to below 15Hz. The heavy part of their bass amp systems are the loudspeakers and loudspeaker cabinets. The poor response of modern bass amplifier systems is down to poor cabinet design (usually in a misguided attempt to reduce weight).


The lifespan of a Mac is a good 5 years even for professionals. There will be Intel Macs running this legacy x86 software in 2026.

Are you mad? The lifespan of a Mac is until the newer, shinier version comes out. Apple depend on the high turnover rate of their hardware. Much of it is appallingly built - at the lowest possible price - and glued together to make repair largely impossible. Apple don't want to support their users - they never really have. They just sell "aspirationally priced" junk to the gullible.

Some years ago, if you were some kind of "creative" ("Dude, you're a barrista!" was remarkably apposite), there might have been some justification for buying Apple gear and buying into their "walled garden", but that time passed many years ago. The musicians, animators and visual effects designers that I know wouldn't dream of buying "Apple Crap" these days. The guys working on video all use Linux of various flavours, and so do the musicians (the Linux DAW offerings blow away anything that "runs" on Windoze or Mac these days).

Apple haven't realised that there's little or no market for incompatible, over-priced rubbish these days. They even change their connectors from year to year in an effort to make their poor users buy new peripherals whenever they buy new shinier stuff. Granted there's a huge proportion of the population who are taken in by the shiny nonsense (see the numbers that buy those dreadful, unusable iPhones), but even they are starting to question Apple's approach to try to sell the gullible ever more junk.

Apple might (on paper) be a rich company, but they're heading for a spectacular collapse when they render all their older equipment obsolete at a stroke!

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad


Re: How to spot a lie

This project is 3 days contractual, and it will have taken 3 months real time.

Bill them for ALL the time, including the waiting. That'll focus their minds!


Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

Not strictly true. Forwarding an email in its entirity without permission could possibly be pursued as being a breach of copyright. (You own the copyright to any email you wrote yourself).

I had this very debate with our legal eagles. After several expensive bouts of fruitless litigation, they were forced to conceded that once the email has reached the recipient, it becomes the recipient's property to do with as (s)he wishes. In the same way that if you buy a record or CD then decide to use it as a discus, that's your business.


Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

in some circumstances you could probably be sued for unauthorised forwarding of someone else's email on the same basis.

Err... nope. If you send me an email, it effectively becomes my property. You can request that I don't make the contents public, but that's as far as it goes when you've pressed "send". Megan Sparkles is going to be in for a lot of expense and a lot of frustration in court!

UK.gov admits it has not performed legally required data protection checks for COVID-19 tracing system


Re: what charges...

If you're stupid enough to believe the "figures" invented by the "woke" BBC, you really shouldn't post here.

It's interesting to note that there have been virtually zero recorded 'flu deaths since January. It's easier to tick the "Covid" box, rather than do the job properly. It's thought that there may have been around 7200 actual Covid deaths in the UK. Almost all of those are amongst obese asians. That's the unmentionable "elephant in the room"


Re: But of course

NHS funding has increased by almost 4% in real terms every year for the past 70 years.

Unfortunately, Brown and Blair invented the wheeze of "creating" bureaucratic "jobs" in the NHS to get people off the dole. The rate of increase in bureaucracy has eaten up every year's increase in NHS stipend.

There are three layers of unnecessary pen-pushing oxygen thieves in the NHS. If this waste of money was removed - it's easy to do: Just ask them to explain their "jobs", and when they can't, sack them. The huge amount of money saved could be put to clinical use and to pay for more medical staff. The "lockdown" has amply demonstrated that the NHS functions perfectly well without the useless bureaucrats.


Re: But of course

Boris & Co can only be convicted of ignorance and stupidity. They made the mistake of listening to "Professor Doom" Ferguson again, and basing their policy decisions on the nonsense provided by him and Imperial.

As an aside: I've run Ferguson's "model" many times and it gives virtually random results. Imperial's suggested "fix" for this is to "average the results"!

"Track & Trace" is a nonsense - nobody will ever provide truly accurate details of their movements and contacts with other people. It's just a fact of data collection - try getting someone to describe what they did yesterday, minute by minute, and they (normally) just can't do it accurately!

Sick of AI engines scraping your pics for facial recognition? Here's a way to Fawkes them right up


Re: Randomized poisoning

Yes it can. It's going to be a nightmare for government agencies if its use becomes widespread - they'll end up having to store gigantic numbers of images if each of us registers (say) 10 images of "us" on line, and >90% of them will be worthless. Worse yet, they won't know which 90% will be defective, rendering their entire database completely useless. Another government IT project that will never work!

IT Angle


It never worked properly (colour me surprised!)

Only EU can help us, pleads Slack as it slings competition complaint against Microsoft Teams


Perhaps we have....

What we need is a good open source and free version for anybody to use.

Google Duo is pretty good as a video telephone application, and handles poor internet connections (like from mobile phones) more gracefully than all the others. It also seems to manage to compress the video data very effectively, so that it uses about half the bandwidth of Skype whilst maintaining the same (or better) video quality.

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now


Re: Reply to Linus Torvalds

That's a comment that makes me wish I could give a hundred upticks!



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021