* Posts by Henry Hallan

82 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Oct 2014


Battery electric vehicles lose their spark in Europe as hybrids steal the show

Henry Hallan

Re: New cars are expensive

If you can charge at home, your budget for car payments will be offset by a reduction in fuel bills. How much impact that makes depends on your mileage, but the high-mileage cars are the ones we want to go electric first.

For my commute the monthly car payment would have been (I paid cash) less than my monthly payments for diesel. It was a no-brainer to replace my ancient Ford Focus with a new EV.

Henry Hallan

This. This here.

If our lords and masters want EV adoption, they need to provide cheap AC charging in the places where people park overnight.

Overnight AC charging is better for the grid (low demand, at a time when there is surplus capacity) better for the batteries (because slow) and cheaper (because AC chargers are cheap and don't require enormous infrastructure.)

All this idea of more and faster DC chargers is distraction. EVs should be charged while their owners sleep and the grid is idle.

I have owned an EV for years, but I wouldn't own one if I couldn't plug in overnight.

Deepfake CFO tricks Hong Kong biz out of $25 million

Henry Hallan

Re: Corporate Culture

The company I work for (and, incidentally, one of the nicest employers I've ever worked for in 40+ years of mostly contracting) has an explicit "speak up culture" that should catch this sort of thing.

We also have a system of security emails and other communication designed to educate people in how to spot phishing and the like.

I suspect this is one case where doing the right thing is good business sense

Henry Hallan

Corporate Culture

One thing that will affect an organisation's resilience to this kind of fraud will be the corporate culture. If bullying by C-Suite types (or management in general) is common then this sort of thing is much less likely to be challenged

Windows 12 fan fiction shows how Microsoft might ladle AI into the OS

Henry Hallan

Re: Good guys

They have. It is called Linux.

To get the "do not slurp" button you need to download a .ISO from someone like Debian or Ubuntu, copy it to storage and boot from it.

Your "do not slurp" options will then appear...

Boffins demo self-eating rocket engine in Scotland

Henry Hallan

I don't know if our resident vulture watched the YouTube video all the way through - but it finishes with the rocket exploding

How the tech toy century has troubled Santa's sack

Henry Hallan
Thumb Up

Re: The creative maker ... has never had it so good

The Arduino chips are programmed in C, but PIC devices are in assembler. If you really want to go low level, gadgets like PAL/GAL devices are still available.

The larger SMD packages (I use 2512 resistors, for example) are really no harder to solder than through-wire components - but they give significantly better RF performance. As I approach my 6th decade, my hands and eyes seem to still be managing

The last assembler I used was Blackfin - and I was paid to do it.

Henry Hallan

Re: The creative maker ... has never had it so good

I disagree. The maker movement is active and growing and feeding into the amateur radio community. Yes, you can build using modules, or you can combine software with Pi or Arduino, or even construct with discrete components.

Thanks to Internet, webpages, YouTube and social media, constructor knowledge and knowledgeable advice is easy to access, and projects on GitHub and the like allow makers to cooperate on things far outside the scope of one hobbyist.

We literally have never had it so good

Danish techies claim they can predict your next move (and your last)

Henry Hallan

Given that the whole shape of my life was altered by the old schoolfriend of one of my lodgers visiting and deciding that she should be married to me, it's hard to imagine what predictor would suggest that.

Maybe it could have predicted her choices - I don't know - but I can't imagine how it would have predicted the effect on me

(Get my coat because, well, I pulled. :-) )

'Return to Office' declared dead

Henry Hallan

The sort of manager responsible for this sort of directive often doesn't realize that they employ people at all: they think they employ "resources" - interchangeable units rather like coffee-powered photocopiers.

Then they're surprised when productivity falls off.

Think of it as economic Darwinism

IT sent the intern to sort out the nasty VP who was too important to bother with backups

Henry Hallan

There is always an escape. We are employees (or contractors) not slaves.

Self-important bosses deserve to be abandoned by talented people everywhere

Car industry pleads for delay to post-Brexit tariffs on EVs

Henry Hallan

Re: I'll be sticking with petrol (or diesel) for my next car.

The battery on mine is the same as the Leaf. And yes, I know Leaf owners who have had individual battery modules replaced.

Henry Hallan

Re: I'll be sticking with petrol (or diesel) for my next car.

Agreed. There should be cheap (=domestic night rate) AC charging everywhere cars are left overnight. That is the missing piece. Get onto your politicians, your local council, your landlord if you have one. That is the blocker for the EV adoption that the governments want.

Fast charging is not the answer: it wears the battery, it loads the grid at a time when it is already loaded, and the chargers are expensive. Overnight AC charging is the answer, and it needs to be ubiquitous if EVs are going to be widely adopted.

Henry Hallan

Re: I'll be sticking with petrol (or diesel) for my next car.

The point is that a module failure is not a replacement battery. It is a replacement module. The battery on my EV is 96 modules. The overall battery costs about 8000 euros, so an individual module ought to cost 80. In real life, motor parts don't work like that, but it's certainnly not thousands.

The overall battery doesn't fail, it fades away. The range goes down. If my car has 75% of the range at 100,000 miles, that is not "conked out," it's just less range. If it has 25% of the range at 500,000 miles, that will also not be "conked out," either. And, if your local battery recycler won't pay you for the battery, find another one. Lithium is valuable and is going to get more valuable as time goes by. You don't pay to have lead-acid batteries taken away, do you?

I am not sure exactly of your anti-pollution measures in your power stations, but it's a lot easier to fit a scrubber to a power station than to a Kia diesel. But a quick Google talks about a 74% reduction in NOx emissions from Britain's energy sector: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/emissions-of-air-pollutants/emissions-of-air-pollutants-in-the-uk-nitrogen-oxides-nox

Henry Hallan

Re: I'll be sticking with petrol (or diesel) for my next car.

Do you have a source for that efficiency of a petrol engine?

Consider this: burning a litre of petrol gives about 9.5kWh of thermal energy -- source https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fuels-higher-calorific-values-d_169.html

So my EV was built with a 40kWh battery that gives about 200 miles range: 5 miles per kWh. If your car can get 40% of the 9.5kWh out of a litre of petrol, and is not harder to push down the road than my EV, then it should get at least 19 miles per litre -- more if my EV is less than 100% efficient -- or 85 1/2 miles per gallon. Does it?

Henry Hallan

Re: Sacrifice all to the God

If you want to see a really compromised supply chain, take a look at where your fossil fuels come from.

The world has suffered decades of oil wars. Time for a change.

Henry Hallan

Re: I'll be sticking with petrol (or diesel) for my next car.

There are a couple of standard pieces of anti-EV FUD in there.

The first is "batteries conk out." EV batteries are modular and, if a battery module fails, it can be replaced for hundreds rather than thousands. Compare your fossil-powered engine, where the failure of a piston ring will necessitate lots of labour to rebuild the engine, or a complete new engine for a similar price to a complete new EV battery pack.

The failure mode that is happening with EV batteries is wear: which means their capacity and so range reduces. So your EV which previously did 200 miles now only does 190 miles (about what has happened to mine after 50,000 miles and 5 years of driving.) But even when it has been driven 100s of 1000s of miles and is reduced to 100 miles range, it is still useful to someone. When your diesel Kia has a worn-out engine it will be scrap value.

The second piece of FUD is "move the emissions from my tail pipe to a gas fired power station." Firstly the gas-fired power station extracts far more work from a given amount of fuel than your car ever will, because there are no requirements for a power-to-weight ratio in a fixed power station. Secondly the emissions that are giving little Timmy next door his asthma attacks are best moved to the power station, where scrubbers can remove the nitrogen oxides from the exhaust in a way your car never can -- that power-to-weight ratio again.

But the last point is the big one. If you buy a brand new diesel car, it will spend the next few decades being powered by diesel. If you buy a brand new EV the fuel used will change according to the fuel mix used for the grid. So, even if it is fossil-powered today, who is to say it will still be fossil-powered in 20 years?

There are real problems with widespread EV adoption -- lack of affordable overnight charging is the biggest one -- but most of what you've read about EVs is FUD. Check it first!

US senator victim-blames Microsoft for Chinese hack

Henry Hallan

For it to be "victim blaming" the victim ought to be blameless.

Microsoft have a decades-long history of poor security. They are hardly the blameless victim here.

Shouldn't customers have an expectation that their data will be secured?

Typo watch: 'Millions of emails' for US military sent to .ml addresses in error

Henry Hallan
Black Helicopters

I seriously doubt Uncle Sam can invade a country for $9.95


Henry Hallan

The obvious and most likely cheapest fix is for the US DoD to register those domains with the Mali name authority.

Then they can set up a server and intercept/bounce/whatever the typoed mails.

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111

Henry Hallan

Re: Why the down vote?

Sorry, no.

Yes, the amplification is done optically, typically using a laser to provide the "pump" energy for the amplification -- but the laser is still powered electrically, via long wires.

Since the induction that makes major solar storms so destructive involves distortion of the Earth's magnetic field, it affects anything on or near the Earth's surface: including overhead and buried cables, and cables at the bottom of the ocean.

Long wires are vulnerable.

Henry Hallan

Re: Why the down vote?

Long distance fibre relies on repeaters, which are powered by copper powerlines that run alongside the fibre itself. Those copper powerlines are long wires.

Also, there are a lot of exchanges that are served by fibre but still use copper for the "last mile" connection. Again, long wires.

Fibre itself is not affected, but the infrastructure is. Replacing every 10km repeater on a transatlantic fibre is essentially the same as re-laying the thing. And, if the relay cabinet on your street corner is fried by its power lines, the signalling technology is irrelevant.

Hopefully, those of us wih HF radios, UPS and generators will have the good sense to unplug the antennas.

Henry Hallan

Re: Satellites are a good idea if:

Any major solar event that knocks out satellites is also likely to kill anything connected to a long wire -- which means POTS phones and exchanges.

(Icon for the other event that has a similar result.)

FOSS could be an unintended victim of EU crusade to make software more secure

Henry Hallan

Re: About Time

No, they will not drop FOSS, because of the costs involved in developing all software in-house.

Instead the sort of commercial user you are describing will get their FOSS from someone who can offer that legal throat, most likely along with a support contract. Companies like Red Hat and Canonical are already offering these services.

The effect of legislation like this will increase the market share of Red Hat, for example, but will also encourage Red Hat to audit and fix the software they offer.

In a world where software is ubiquitous, the improvement in quality will be a good thing.

Henry Hallan
Thumb Up

About Time

The problem isn't with companies using FOSS. The problem is with companies using FOSS without examining and auditing the code, and without pushing fixes back to the community.

The result is a mess, as we have seen time and time again. Someone in their spare time put together some useful gadget (for example, a logger) and many companies with vast development budgets (compared to the original author, anyway) took the code uncritically and baked it into, well, pretty much everything.

Legislation like this will (hopefully) force the people developing software that powers the things we own to examine and audit FOSS code, and (hopefully) the FOSS licenses will force them to push back bugfixes.

So that means

1) the commercial users of FOSS will be forced to pull their weight

2) the code the poor user gets will be less hopelessly insecure

Honestly, I cannot see why this is anything other than a good thing.

Unix is dead. Long live Unix!

Henry Hallan

Re: BSD?

So BSD is not Unix because nobody's paid for the copyrighted name?

What a weird hill to die on.

Some greybeards here remember the original attempts to trademark "Unix" and sneered at it back then. From the looks of the comments, a few of them are still here.

You don't seem to be convincing them.

*wishing there was a popcorn icon*

Henry Hallan


Wait? Are FreeBSD and all the other FOSS-supported BSDs dead?

Nope, looks like they're still there.

That means Linux is still the new kid on the block, I guess.

Forget the climate: Steep prices the biggest reason EV sales aren't higher

Henry Hallan



Henry Hallan


I'm going to say nuclear, which really does work 24/7

And 500,000 on an island as small as this is not "a few."

Henry Hallan


On this island, which is still quite small, we are a long, long way from half a million EVs charging every night.

Go to your own grid data, work out the difference between peak and night load, and divide by the normal size of an AC charger (in Ireland 7kW.)

If you get a number less than, say, 20% of the total number of cars in your country, let me know

Henry Hallan


Like most EV owners, I charge at night when the grid is not loaded. Here in Ireland the night load is about half the day load leaving capacity spare for about 500,000 chargers. (This is a small island.) The "overloaded grid FUD is, well, FUD.

Hydrogen is the way Big Oil is trying to escape the inevitable collapse of the forecourt model of vehicle fuelling. It might make sense for commercial and aviation transport but for household EV use the solution is cheap AC home charging for every household - even where street parking is the only option.

Public charging at places like motorway service stations will still be needed, but only occasionally - I haven't used public charging in years

With Mastodon, decentralization strikes back

Henry Hallan

Re: Standards

The issue for me is interoperability - something that is good for humans but not desired by corporations. Like it or not, social media has become a public service, and it is time it was regulated like one.

ActivityPub could form the basis of that regulation and introduce true competition in the social media domain

Henry Hallan

Re: Standards

The methods of coercion vary but they are there.

Taking mobile phones (the subject of the last two decades of my day-job) the coercion is imposed on the operators. So, in order to be permitted to run a mobile phone network, you must use equipment that is verified against certain standards - in most of the world, 3GPP.

If you live in the USA, the 3GPP requirement comes from the FCC. If you live in the UK, it is OFCOM. And so on.

The voice calling processes provided by 3GPP are based on telephone numbers at the origin, and only IMEI at the destination. So the calling user equipment has no way to know the IMEI of the destination UE, and vice versa. That means neither end has enough information to exclude rival manufacturers.

In your country there will be some government body that grants licences to operators and it will impose standards like 3GPP.

In the same way standards are imposed on your electricity supplier for voltage, frequency etc. And there will also be standards for selling motor fuels.

There should also be standards for social media, and ActivityPub is the obvious candidate

Henry Hallan


The current situation where a social media account only works for one type of social media is ridiculous. Samsung mobiles can be used to call Apple mobiles, appliances can be used regardless of electricity supplier, and fossils fuel powered cars made by Ford are not limited to Ford petrol or diesel.

This is because the businesses that supply these products and services are forced by legislation to adhere to industry standards.

It's long past time for the same to happen to social media, and ActivityPub offers a suitable industry standard. With mandatory ActivityPub support, a Facebook user could follow a Twitter account, and so on. One social media account would be enough, and advertising could be inserted after the feeds were built into a timeline - for those who had not paid to be ad-free. Different users could choose their provider based on things like the algorithms used to build the timeline - real competition based on something else but FOMO

It's time we let our politicians know.

Brit MPs pour cold water on hydrogen as mass replacement for fossil fuels

Henry Hallan
IT Angle

"Granted, not all 'churches' take this line, and some I would really question whether they have any realistic understanding of what it means to 'love their neighbour' in the light of the example of the person they claim to follow, but there we go, human beings will twist anything to suit their own selfish agendas and to feed the fears that give them power over others."


Henry Hallan

I am fully aware of the rise of the modern-day robber baron. The purpose of your conspiracy theories is to deflect attention away from them. When one of those robber barons is elected leader it is because people are too distracted by what they are fed by churches, social media and the like to recognize the real enemy.

Climate change denial is exactly the same mechanism as denied the health effects of smoking for years, and for the same reasons. It's about the money.

The WEF blueprint is quite literally a plan for rescuing people when the effects of climate change have come. It's really about lifeboats. Their PR is terrible - unlike the robber barons - but that is all they are trying to do. The big failure of the Right is to offer any alternative beyond denialism.

And you won't scare me with insects in the food chain. I am a beekeeper!

Henry Hallan

Re: Call me crazy, but...

Not so. Because hydrogen is a gas the energy required to extract it from water includes the equivalent of heat of vaporization - and that is lost forever.

The only people who want a hydrogen economy are the ones who want the strange and outdated "forecourt model" to continue.

The scientists know it is very inefficient - and for once the Government is listening

Henry Hallan

The WEF tinfoil-hattery is about equivalent to passengers hearing the captain giving the order to abandon ship and concluding it's a plot to steal their luggage.

The ship really is sinking, whatever your comforting conspiracy theories say.

Shocker: EV charging infrastructure is seriously insecure

Henry Hallan

Re: Ubiquitous AC destination charging is the way to enable EVs.

If you Google around, you'll find the difference between daytime and nighttime electricity use in the UK is about 10GW. If home AC chargers draw 7kW then 13,000,000 cars could be plugged in at night before the daytime load is reached.

Nighttime AC charging won't need a grid update for a while yet.

There is a reason night rate electricity is cheap.

Henry Hallan

Re: Cracking gas pumps isn't rocket science either

As someone who actually owns an EV, the slow 8-hour charge (mine takes about 4-5) is the day-to-day reality. And that is fine.

The pattern of filling the car and rushing off doesn't apply to EVs. I get home or I get to work, I plug it in, and I ether sleep or work for hours. At work the electricity is free (to me) and at night I use a night-time tarriff similar to your UK "Economy 7." Fast charging is needed for long journeys, maybe, but I haven't used a public charger in years.

What is needed is not more DC chargers. What is needed is AC chargers everywhere that cars are parked for long periods: roadside; residential car-parks; workplaces; and so on. (And what is also needed is construction-and-use regulation mandating 21kW AC charging for all EVs to make it practical.) Many more AC than DC chargers are needed, but fortunately AC chargers are about 1/20th of the price of DC chargers.

They also use a very simple PWM charge control system that isn't vulnerable to software hacking: just a simple 12v square-wave to communicate available charger capacity.

This article is all about DC public chargers, which are expensive and over-complicated. Ubiquitous AC destination charging is the way to enable EVs. DC charging is a rare beast for motorway service stations.

I know most of you imagine the "filling station" model applying to EVs. I know the companies that own forecourts would like it to apply too. But EV owners know that it simply doesn't apply now -- any more than carrying hay and oats in the back of your vehicle applies today.

Psst … Want to buy a used IBM Selectric? No questions asked

Henry Hallan

I did something similar to hook up an Amstrad CPC to an ASR33 teletype, back in the early 80s. The hardware interface consisted of a lead to connect the 20mA current loop connection to the cassette relay. After suitable delays were programmed in to account for the difference between relay close and relay open, we could get the relay to clatter away and be answered by the distant thunder of the printer in the attic.

The output was all-caps but it worked just fine.

Will this be one of the world's first RISC-V laptops?

Henry Hallan

Obvious Fake is Obvious

Look on the bottom row and observe the Windows key. A RISC-V laptop would not run Windows.

Someone photographed an old, worn generic laptop and put together an ambiguous press release. And you lot fell for it.

I would love for there to be a RISC-V laptop but that ain't it.

Cyber-spies target Microsoft Exchange to steal M&A info

Henry Hallan

Re: Hmm?

Insider information on M&A is valuable information to anyone, as it can be used to buy shares in the target company and profit from the buyout.

Which means it could be anyone.

Tech bro CEOs claim their crowns because they fix problems. Why shirk the biggest one?

Henry Hallan

"Data centres at cloud provider scale are the most efficient engines of computation at scale ever created: they have to be, to be competitive."

Hahahaha ... no.

The underlying hardware is not the most efficient: instead it is four decades of legacy in a power-hungry heap. There have been many attempts to introduce more effiicent hardware but all have failed. Why?

Because the running software is not the most efficient either. Nobody develops software for efficiency: they lash software together from free sources written in whatever language is most fashionable, and then run it on operating systems that also have four decades of legacy baggage.

Worse, cloud computing brings its own problems. Running code on your own computer allows security based on physical locks on the doors. Running code on someone else's computer requires security that is based on encryption of all data both at rest and in motion, massively increasing the computation required to communicate.

Lastly, a computer on a desk does not require much in the way of cooling, and the heat may actually be useful. A warehouse full of computers stacked floor-to-ceiling in closed cabinets requires far more cooling, since each one is surrounded by others all getting too hot, which means the heat must be transported out of the building -- requiring more power to move the heat around -- and, most likely, then thrown away.

Cloud computing may have many advantages -- it's not just the latest fashion -- but energy efficiency is not one of them.

Electric car makers ready to jump into battery recycling amid stuttering supply chains

Henry Hallan

Re: Shoudl have from the start

"You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so."

I've had a Renault Zoe for 3 years and have done more than 45,000km (28,000 miles) in that time. I see no noticeable battery wear. (The car came with an 8-year/160,000km warranty on the battery.)

Not sure where you are getting your FUD from, but it looks like "just a SCAM" to me.

Ireland signs up for plan to make Big Tech pay 15 per cent tax everywhere

Henry Hallan

Re: €750,000,000

Ireland now has a better USP for "big tech" than 3% less tax.

And the decisions that led to Ireland being the only anglophone nation in the EU were not taken by the Irish government.

I think it's less about seeing Ireland coming and more about spectacular own-goals.

Facebook far too consumed by greed to make itself less harmful to society, whistleblower tells Congress

Henry Hallan

Re: That's why Facebook bought Instagram

Facebook (and all the rest) could be broken up. Design an API (RSS + Oauth might be a start) and compel them to use it. Require them to allow following/commenting on each other's sites via syndicating.

The key is to remove the FOMO that ties people to these cesspools by forcing them to allow sharing.

Then let markets do the rest, just like capitalism requires.

It's the end of the world as we know it, and we should feel fine

Henry Hallan

Re: "the standards are settled"

...And Twits and Failbooks and Tics and all sorts.

We will not have arrived until there is an open standard for IM, filesharing, online meeting and blogging - and the SM companies are legally forced to use it.

Facebook: Let us tell you WhatsApp – we don't want to pay that €225m GDPR fine

Henry Hallan
Big Brother

Signal needs a SIM/phone, so I use Telegram with a tablet and a dumbphone hotspot.

And here in Ireland the Data Protection folks will all be working from home anyway

Russian Arm SoC now shipping in Russian PCs running Russian Linux

Henry Hallan

Re: ambition comes at a price on the desktop

I'm typing this on a Raspberry Pi 4, which is one of my daily drivers in this strange COVID/BYOD world -- and is probably comparable to the Russian offering (Linux, quad-core ARM64, 8G memory.) The other is a HP Elitebook provided by the client and running the inevitable Windows 10.

I use Teams on both -- one as native and the other as the web version on Chromium.

I can confirm that both experiences are equally unsatisfactory. The only real difference is that the RPi has an external webcam which can be positioned without tilting the screen.