* Posts by Agincourt and Crecy!

40 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Dec 2013

Self-driving cars safer in sunlight, twilight another story

Agincourt and Crecy!


Regardless of how efficient the hardware is, the question of how the Trolley Problem is addressed in programming autonomous operating remains.

Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings

Agincourt and Crecy!

I was working for a major UK High Street bank who had an online share dealing offering for their customers. I was one of the lucky team tasked with keeping this up and running. We replaced some aging hardware with shiny new HP PA-RISC N Class servers and I set up MC Serviceguard to pair them as a HA cluster with lots of resiliency. All good for the first couple of months.

Then the day came we got an alter that one of the N classes had gone down and this was quickly followed by the second one. The shouting from the sharedealing arm of the bank got very loud very quickly and I set off out of the office block to the data halls to see what was going on. As I approached the racks, there were barriers round several floor tiles that were up and there were bundles of cables hanging out of the holes. The head of the data centre management team popped out of one of the holes holding more cables and he looked at me, at first with puzzlement and then with increasing horror. He was removing redundant cables from the racks where the old servers had been racked but had traced the wrong cables back to the core switches and pulled all the new live system cabling.

Police ignored the laws of datacenter climate control

Agincourt and Crecy!

A p*** poor choice of site

I worked for a local authority who had converted an old school into a site for IT and finance. They were looking for a secure room to site a couple of finance servers related to the collection of cash from all the parking ticket machines across the authority and decided that the best option was an old boys toilet. There were no windows and the walls were all tiled. It was also quite humid as there was a drain in the floor and intially there was no air conditioning. After several overheating issues, the decision was taken to install air con and things were OK for a while. Nobody really needed to go into the server room/boys toilet, backups were automated to a robot in the rack and the tapes were cycled one a week.

There was a sudden outage one day and I was sent to investigate. When I opened up the room, it was all nice and cool, the servers were both dead and there was a large pool of water in the room. both severs were wet inside the cases and had cut out when they short circuited. The root cause was the air con and the humidity. As the air con ran, the humid air in the room started to condense and then freeze on the aircon unit. Eventually this had built up to the point where the fans were affected and stopped working. The heat then increased in the room, the ice melted and once the fans were able to spin again they did, spraying the water from the melting ice across the room and onto both servers.

There was a rapid re-evaluation of the site and the servers were moved somehwere less humid. Once they had been suitably dried out, we were able to boot them both and were amazed to see there had been no lasting damage.

Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash

Agincourt and Crecy!

Sodium Ion batteries safer?

I have to say I was curious about the claim that sodium ion batteries would be safer than lithium ion batteries.

Sodium and lithium are both alkali metals along with potassium, rubidium, caesium and francium. As you go down that group starting with Li, through Na, K, Rb and Cs, the metals get progressively more reactive. Nobody has seen francium in the wild, it has quite a short half life of just 22 minutes. Alkali metals are characterised by having just one electron in their outer shell. Atoms like to have 8 so alkali metals give up the electron easily, halogens with 7 electrons in the outer shell pick them up very easily.

The bigger the atom, the more that outer shell is shielded from the nucleus by other electron shells. For lithium with just 1 inner shell that means the nucleus keeps a hold on that electron making it a bit harder to remove, therefore less reactive. At the other end, Fluorine has just the 1 inner shell meaning it is very good at ripping electrons away from other atoms. In other words, the halogens on the right of the periodic table get less reactive as you go down the group while the alkali metals on the left get more reactive.

This increaing reactivity and decreasing electronegativity is a feature of the increasing ease of getting that one outer electron off the atom, the bigger the atom, the easier it is to oxidise (oxidation is the loss of an electron). Li has an electronegativity of 0.98, Na is 0.93.

In a fire, water makes lithium relase hydrogen and burn, it makes sodium release hydrogen and burn it just does it faster.

Heart attack victim 'saved' by defibrillator delivery drone*

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Good for the old man

Figures from BHF research show that 60% of the population would simply walk past. A large number might get their phones out and start livestreaming the person's last moments on Facebook Live, but most people would simply walk past.

It's the thing that leads to Schrödinger's corpse. You pass a body in a shop doorway covered by a sleeping bag. You have no idea if they are dead or alive and you won't go and check, so the person just lies there until someone calls the police to move them on. The Police will open the box and find out if its someone who needs moving on or if its another person who died a cold and lonely death huddled in a shop doorway as the world walked by oblivious.

Leaked footage shows British F-35B falling off HMS Queen Elizabeth and pilot's death-defying ejection

Agincourt and Crecy!

Ah, Izal Bog Roll.

Izal, didn't so much wipe off as spread round. The smooth side was proof that you can in fact polish a turd.

Ofcom measured UK's 5G radiation and found that, no, it won't give you cancer

Agincourt and Crecy!
Black Helicopters

The clear and present danger.

Nobody is addressing the real risks here.

This technology will give the muppets even better access to websites peddling this tripe. It allows the misinformation to be spread more widely amongst the credulous idiots.

S20 Ultra 5G: Samsung unfurls Galaxy flagship with bonkers 108MP cam, 6.9-inch display

Agincourt and Crecy!
Thumb Up

Re: It may not be a full resolution image...

> I'm not convinced by mirrorless - I still like a proper eyepiece, and electronic viewfinders don't quite do it for me except with video.

I used a Canon EOS 5D MkII for many years and was sent an EOS RP with the 28-105 L RF lens to try out. The viewfinder is excellent, very bright and I can adjust it for my eyesight really simply meaning I’m not struggling to look through it with glasses on. The diopter adjustment on the 5D didn’t quite do it.

I’ve swapped over to the RP pretty much full time now. It’s lighter, faster and I can use all my L glass with it. I was a mirrorless sceptic and still use my OM2 SP bought back in the 80s for film. Mirrorless does feel like the way forward for DSLR photography.

Having trouble finding a job in your 40s? Study shows some bosses like job applicants... up until they see dates of birth

Agincourt and Crecy!

Clueless agencies.

I had one recruitment tell me it wasn’t worth putting my CV forward as older workers found it harder to pick up the skills new graduates have.

I pointed him to the section of my CV that describes my part time role as a lecturer in a university teaching those new cutting edge technical skills to the next batch of new graduates.

I then asked what was it that led him to the view that I might be able to teach something I wouldn’t be able to learn.

What we have in recruitment is the hopelessly unqualified matching words on a CV with a list they’ve been given by a droid in HR and applying unconscious bias.

Wham, bam, thank you scram button: Now we have to go all MacGyver on the server room

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Dont have your machine room at the top of a building

ClF3 is very nasty stuff but it does have a much nastier relative, dioxygen difluoride O2F2, also known as FOOF, that stuff will even cause ice to ignite.

YouTube's radicalizing Alt-right trolls and Facebook's recruiting new language boffins

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: "ANY thoughtless radical loons are a pointless scourge, of course."

I identify as left wing and I don’t want to silence you. I would rather you keep on posting your opinion. You have just been proved wrong on the left wing wanting to silence you.

I certainly would never espouse violence as a way of disagreeing with you. It seems to be the ultimate in ad hominem attacks and as we are all aware when someone is losing an argument then ad hominem fallacies start to appear. It’s a lot like watching a playground argument develop.

If you have a point I cannot refute then I would defer as opposed to commit violence as a response. If violence is the answer it has to have been a bloody stupid question. Again your blanket assertion is incorrect.

Blanket statements and single cherry picked cases to support those statements really don’t work.

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Radicalization

The difficulty is that in allowing controversial ideas to be published, you then have the adherents to those ideas creating a filter bubble that allows them to seek out more and more pages supporting those idea? They create their own little echo chambers blocking and deleting countervailing views and sharing the more toxic contents as they go. The YouTube algorithm is not specifically targeting people with hate speech, it simply looks at what you viewed, what others viewed and shows you what others viewed. That seems to take you rapidly down a rabbit hole. My feed is full of dodgy restorations of junk that all seems to relate to me looking for a service guide for a Tilley Lamp.

The ability to block countervailing views is a big issue. You cannot challenge if you cannot comment, but if you cannot block you risk being overwhelmed by offensive trolls when you do challenge.

Uncle Sam is asking Americans if they could refrain from slapping guns on their drones

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

Macedonian Goat Bagpipes.


Apple is a filthy AWS, Azure, Google reseller, gripe punters: iPhone giant accused of hiding iCloud's real backend

Agincourt and Crecy!

Not sure it works like that...

That argument might hold up if your S3 backup happened to be in the same availability zone as your iCloud backup and they are the only copies. It is far more likely that your iCloud backup is going to be sharded across multiple availability zones in AWS or even across S3, Azure and Google. You might lose your own S3 copy if there was an S3 outage but chances are your iCloud backup is going to be available because of multiple cloud providers backing up the service.

Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned

Agincourt and Crecy!

All sounds very plausible...

The square flash cubes that rotated were called Magicubes. They didn’t use an electric current to fire, there was a spring under each bulb and the camera could push the spring up with a little lever released with the shutter. Once the spring was pushed up it released and struck a small igniter in the bulb. This acted like a cap in a cap gun and ignited due to the shock and this in turn ignited the metal in the bulb.

I can’t see how the radar would cause the ignition with this type of flash bulb.

Eggheads have found a positive link between the number of racist tweets and the number of racist hate crimes in US cities

Agincourt and Crecy!

We certainly don’t need to fall into the post hoc ergo proper hoc fallacy but the correlation does tell us something. The rise in racist comments alongside the rise in racist attacks are likely effects of a rise in racist attitudes.

Now that rise can likely be attributed to a number of causes, but headlines in the press, divisive speeches by politicians and government sponsored adverts telling those with a less than pink complexion to “go home” are among the likely causes.

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Days like today are when I'm thankful

"I'm thankful my stupid company made me carry two phones.

364 days a year it's a slight annoyance, today it saved my arse."

Weren't we told that people with 2 phones were either drug dealers or terrorists a while ago? Beware the big rubber glove!


Agincourt and Crecy!


Quite simply Normal for Norfolk

Guilty: NSA bloke who took home exploits at the heart of Kaspersky antivirus slurp row

Agincourt and Crecy!

Who’s actually to blame?

It doesn’t matter what IS he was running at home. It doesn’t matter what AV he was running and what it did with the malware.

The big question is why an agency like the NSA wasn’t running any form of data leak protection software or preventing anyone sticking a USB key into a company device to copy sensitive information onto it.

Hardly inspires confidence in their “security” abilities.

Virgin Media customers complain of outages across UK

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Virgin on the ridiculous.....

"Isn't that a Nun having intimate intercourse with a clown......."

There's an error there. The Nun having started having intimate intercourse with the clown would no longer fulfil the basic criteria required of a virgin.

Wine 2.0 lands: It's not Soylent for booze but more Windows apps on Linux and Mac OS

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: "get a guernsey"?

@Mike Moyle

"Well, there's me, silly American, assuming that it was one of those rhyming slang things that you folks seem to like so much"

Stop it! Rhyming slang is something Londoners use, not everyone in Britain.

I can't see why y'all keep generalising.

Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Locked in?

Not a site, but a hotel I stayed in when on a course in Reading. I finished the course on the Thursday and wanted to get round the M25 and onto the M1 north before the big rush to work started; I had a long drive back to Tyneside and had something booked I wanted to be back for. I arranged to pay my bill on Thursday night and then leave at 5:30 am Friday.

I arrived at the hotel reception at 5:30 am and found the whole place locked up. I pressed the bell for the night porter and nothing. While I considered my options I lit a cigarette (yes it was while smoking was still allowed in hotels). The next thing to happen was the fire alarm went off, I hastily stubbed the cigarette. The night porter arrived in his underpants and string vest looking like he just woke up. He looked at me as if I was from another planet. I explained I had checked out and that I was waiting to leave at which point he opened the doors muttering something about kettles in rooms.

I went out to my car and set off as everyone in the hotel was coming out of the fire exits. As I drove away from the hotel I saw 3 fire engines, the police and an ambulance all heading in the opposite direction and turn into the car park.

I did miss the worst of the traffic that morning.

Cycling paramedics in epic rush to save patient who ate stale sandwich

Agincourt and Crecy!

Those were the days

I used to be a Paramedic and nothing surprises me any more.

The drunk dad who called 999 on a bank holiday because his son had been stung by a wasp. The son was fine and very apologetic.

The couple who called saying the husband had chest pain and wanted to be taken to a specific A&E close to their home, nothing on his ECG so we took him to the nearest A&E to where they called us from, 10 miles further away from their home address and costing them much more for the taxi home they thought they would avoid by getting a lift to the A&E near their house.

Every one of these were wasting time and potentially risking the life of someone really ill. Would I charge for an ambulance to prevent time wasters? Not a chance, too many vulnerable people would simply not call when they needed to out of fear of the cost. Charging is a stupid idea that ranks with the idiots making stupid calls.

Cabling horrors unplugged: Reg readers reveal worst nightmares

Agincourt and Crecy!

Only one cable but....

A while ago I was a UNIX admin for a well known bank on the UK high street. We had a Share dealing system that used IBM ESS as its storage. From time to time there were off errors tat seemed to be storage related but we never got to the bottom of them. That is until the day I was in the data hall working on something else and noticed the consoles for the system spewing out lots of IO errors. Curious, I ambled over to the storage and found the cabinet open and a cable coming out from it. Closer examination revealed a 4 way 13 amp extension plugged into the PDU of the array and the offending cable was plugged into this extension. Following the cable led me to a cleaner, who had for many months been plugging his vacuum cleaner into the 4 way extension in order to vacuum the floor tiles! I was never wholly convinced that spiky vacuum noise was the root cause of our issues, but they did go away after we banned the cleaner from opening rack doors to plug his vacuum cleaner in.

Scotsman cools PC with IRN-BRU, dubs it the 'Aye Mac'

Agincourt and Crecy!

Meanwhile in Newcastle

The good folks of Tyneside are working on a Brown Ale cooled version they will be calling the Why Aye Mac.

'WOMAN FOUND ON MARS' – now obvious men are from Venus

Agincourt and Crecy!

It is simply...........


Bill Hicks: 25 years on from the cult comedian's big break

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: London gig

Goat Boy featured large in our password lists for a while.

I think we need a Satanic goat and Vanilla Ice Icon.

BT's Openreach plots G.fast end-user trials

Agincourt and Crecy!

Not the network that's the issue though......

Doesn't matter how fast the connection to your premises is or whether it is FTTP or FTTC. Until the hateful HomeHub 5 with it's endless drops and reboots is fixed, you will be stuck with a crap service.

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

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Traffic

But to get from O'Hanlon Crescent onto the Coast Road, said bovine would had to cross the parkland, a further road and then jump the barriers. However having jumped the barriers, the drop on the other side onto the Coast Road would have left the said bovine on a hatched area rather than the carriageway and given the height of the drop in a non too mobile state. I wouldn't expect to be walking if I jumped the barriers there.

What was wrong with the 20 squad cars positioning themselves on Malton Gardens between the field and the Coast Road, seems like they could have headed the cow off if they had done that. There is no on ramp to the Coast Road at Chicken Road/Malton Gardens/Station Road, only a very large drop.

BOFH: Getting to the brown, nutty heart of the water cooler matter

Agincourt and Crecy!


A few years back I was a Paramedic. We had a station cleaner with a "delicate stomach" and a thing about vomit. The slightest hint of diced carrot sent her retching to the toilet.

On afternoon shift I had vegetable soup and some very nice bread. The soup was warned in the microwave and served along with the bread in a vomit bowl. I sat down, dipped the bread in the soup and started eating.

It took some time to clear up afterwards and I now understand why it was called the "mess room"

Robot cars to hit Blighty in 2015

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: £10,m?

The guy had been awake all night and fell asleep while driving. That was his choice.

How many of us who work on call end up with no sleep and the have to go into the office the next day. Employers are expecting staff to turn up and also to cover out of hours. Sure there will be some who have a responsible approach, but many don't. Couple this with the macho act from many who do provide in call cover and I wonder how long it will be before some systems admin who has been up all night fixing a problem or who has spent 20 hours in the office kills someone or themselves while driving home.

"The bastard" is an easy target and has served the sentence set down by the law. How do we address someone who ends up doing the same because they are overtired because of their work? A good reason for having the Working Time Directive.

Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

Agincourt and Crecy!

Step back a moment, this is a political committee. I was always taught when looking at a paper then I needed to consider the perspective of the writer and the context of the paper. Peter Lilley is a non-executive director of Tethys Petroleum and is a shareholder of the same company. That must be taken into account as well as his background in physics and economics.

There is a body of knowledge and a body of researchers looking into this. The consensus among the majority of researchers is that there is evidence of climate change and that this is related to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increases. There is a definite change in weather patterns over recent years and while correlation and causation have to be treated with caution, understanding the underlying reason for this change in weather patterns will be critical for us moving forward.

Feel free to hypothesise about historical values before we started collecting data, go out and look for evidence to support the hypothesis and then come back and present your work for peer review. I'm sure the folks working on this would welcome the input and you never know you might come up with something that could prevent flooding like we saw this winter.

Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Agincourt and Crecy!

The Police, like all other emergency service drivers are not exempt from the law. In the event of an accident, they are subject to much higher levels of scrutiny than the public, I can attest to this having been at the receiving end of a Notice of Intended Prosecution following an RTC while driving an Ambulance.

If you watch any of the "in car documentaries" where the police are in pursuit of a vehicle, you are more likely to see the passenger providing the commentary, you will see the Ambulance attendant using the radio and you will see the fire service supervisor on a fire tender use the radio, not the driver. If a Police traffic car is single manned then they often have a PTT switch allowing messages to be sent, personal radios are never hand held and many have in the ear headsets. Drivers do not engage in long conversations, messages are short and to the point.

If any of these drivers are in an accident, they face a real chance of prosecution. The view taken by the CPS is that as we all received a higher standard of driver training and that a higher standard is therefore expected on the road; if an accident happens, then this higher standard is used as the yardstick for prosecution. What would be seen as a case of careless driving and potentially a caution for any other road user, would be prosecuted as the higher offence of dangerous driving for an emergency services driver.

I will pose you a question. If your house is being burgled and the offender is still there and has a knife, or if you are trapped upstairs with your house on fire or you are in your living room and your child has choked on a peanut, do you want the emergency service driver to be worrying at every stage about whether their next move will have them ending up in court facing the loss of their job or do you trust them to drive to the best of their ability making the maximum progression to come and help you ?

Agincourt and Crecy!

I was trained to drive to P1 level in the Ambulance Service. I am fully aware of my shortcomings as a driver and try to avoid mistakes. I don't claim to be perfect, but am aware of of hazards and drive in a way that is defensive. I do drive quickly when it is safe, but when it is not, then I do not. I try not to break speed limits, even on a quiet motorway at night; it may be within your capabilities when everything is OK, but when something goes wrong at speed, it goes wrong very quickly and while you may escape a blowout at 70, your chances decrease significantly at 90 and when you do hit something, the results are more serious by a large margin.

The difference with someone not trained to this standard is that you often find, they claim to be better drivers than they actually are, those who are trained to this standard accept they are still developing their skills and are regularly sent for refresher training.

Agincourt and Crecy!

Don't use it.

I have a slightly different perspective. I was a paramedic for some time before moving into IT.

I had the awful task of removing the body of a dead teenager killed by a distracted driver. It is over 20 years ago but I still remember the journey to A&E with him and then having to take him to the mortuary and place him in a body bag in a fridge.

I don't care if you use your phone and kill yourself. Just do it on a road where there is nobody else around. Don't involve other innocent road users

BSkyB broadband growth chopped in HALF

Agincourt and Crecy!

Bailed and bailed

As soon as O2 gave me the notice of what was happening I checked both BB and Mobile contracts. Both were due for renewal and both MAC and PAC were requested at the same time.

Been really happy with BT ever since and my FTTC product goes in next week.

On the mobile side, I went to Three and in the places I go I get unlimited data at up to 25Mbps and that's before their 4G rollout while my contract id a couple of pounds less than it was with O2.

I suppose I have to thank O2 for selling their BB product to Sky, I had dumped them for Freesat when my TV deal was increased in price for the umpteenth time and I find their sister company News International to be reprehensible (they just named a 15 year old arrested for murder using the loophole "he's not been charged yet").

I have never looked back since.

Rejoice, Russians! The annexation of Crimea is complete and legitimate – Google Maps proves it

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: GOOD! @Voland

It is only called Tartar sauce in American, in English it is Tartare Sauce. Then again, you'll probably start trying to change that in the same way you forced us all to spell sulphur............

Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Agincourt and Crecy!

Re: Area?

Which is largely the reason I suggested it. Barns and allotments *could* both have an agricultural meaning as well as a meaning in mensuration.

There are oodles of barns in the area of an allotment, hence annoying for bean counters who would need to account for each and every one, hence my comment on annoying bean counters.


Agincourt and Crecy!


Why not measure it in something agricultural(ish).

I propose we go for barns.

That should sort out the bean counters.

Google and Apple in DRAG RACE: It's fanboi Mercs VS fandroid Audis

Agincourt and Crecy!

Self driving Audi?

Just how close will that be able to get to your back bumper. Will auto flash be enabled for the headlights?