* Posts by anothercynic

974 posts • joined 4 Dec 2014


Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: @ Lufthansa refund

The only thing is you have to *call* them to make the booking... Unless something has changed in the last month (since I spoke to them on the phone). For added inducement, they also offered 50 EUR in a voucher you could apply to the booking as well if the original flight was effectively booked before the crap hit the fan, but the flight date was around the time Germany shut its borders down and LH had to cancel a load of flights.

I have another month to dig up my old ticket and book mine...

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: El Reg, a little reporting accuracy??

They've been flying the Maxes to airports with flaps extended (just enough to disable MCAS). This flight is one of the first post-grounding with MCAS active and monitoring.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Boeing in a serious bind?

Not going to happen. That much I can tell you now. The US government has way too much invested in them.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: contradictory

They're not contradictory... The first is a classic example of 'British understatement' ;-)

Whilst MCAS was the primary problem, there were other little issues in the way MCAS behaved that were unexpected... like the extended trimming of the stabilisers. MCAS was meant to only trim stabilisers up to a certain number of degrees and only at a certain altitude or more. But if you switched MCAS off and then started it again, it would 'forget' that it had already trimmed to its maximum, and would trim more the next time. And some more the next time after that. And some more... the cumulative effect of the trims was... well... fatal, especially when you're in the middle of a takeoff from a hot-and-high airport like Addis. Then there was the fact that the AoA disagree warning light wouldn't indicate if the 'optional' warning software hadn't been ordered, and guess what... 80% of Max customers hadn't ordered the option (because it was optional).

This is why the whole MCAS debacle is taking a *lot* longer... they identified the issues, but now have to test, test, test some more and see what other bugs reveal themselves in the shakedowns. There are other things that have revealed themselves to be shortcomings in the original design (like wiring paths that could cause short circuits that in turn could cause uncommanded trimming etc), so Boeing's also having to address those.

These are all things that were definitely *not* in the manual and were discovered only during extensive testing whilst trying to fix the original AoA problem. EASA appears to want to see a form of synthetic airspeed à la B787, but Boeing is dead-set against that!

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Except plenty more.

Actually, if Norwegian had had its Max planes as per order book, they would've been less in a pickle finance wise than they are now. They had wanted to launch several routes based on the extended flight envelopes the Max aircraft offered, and were effectively forced to kill them. Along with that, the other claim in their lawsuit, the 787 engine problems, which also affected (and still affects) airlines like ANZ, Virgin Atlantic and BA, compounded the loss of fuel-efficient aircraft that their financial model was working with. Virgin had to bring back several of their A340-600s (which are more fuel efficient than the -300, but not nearly as efficient as the 787-8/9) from the desert, Norwegian had to lease some airframes in addition to paying the leases of grounded 787s.

So yes, I can see why Norwegian said "enough now. We want our money back", especially given Boeing and the FAA were very optimistic about a swift return to the air (hence Boeing continuing to manufacture Maxes until their runways, taxiways and employee parking lots were bursting at the seams). The additional aftereffect of Boeing's OTT optimism was that Spirit Aerosystems (a former Boeing unit in Wichita, Kansas), who build the fuselage, were asked to continue at full tilt until they were brought to a screeching halt instead of tapering off manufacture and delivery of the fuselages whilst there was insecurity about the time frame of the return. This has led to some severe cashflow problems and many job losses there. :-/

Details of Beijing's new Hong Kong security law signal end to more than two decades of autonomy

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

Precisely. The promises of this government (or any future governments made up with the same bunch of people) are not worth the paper they are printed on as far as this is concerned.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

It *claims* to have... whether that *is* the case or whether La Patel (bless her) will throw down a bunch of stumbling blocks in their path is another guess...

Remember when we warned in February Apple will crack down on long-life HTTPS certs? It's happening: Chrome, Firefox ready to join in, too

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: That kinda sucks...

No. Browsers check for the issue date and often will complain that a certificate has been issued for a date in the future. Now if the CAs were to issue you with a bundle and automatically renew (and not charge you for) the certificates over a period of time, then fine.

Besides, this only applies for certificates issued *from* 01/09/2020, *not* the ones before. So if you can still get a four-year cert on 31/08/2020, that'll be grandfathered in and you'll be safe from the certificate madness until 2024. :-)

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

anothercynic Silver badge

Well, that's debatable. Germany has *not* dealt well with its own brushes of colonialism in Africa and elsewhere, whereas with the Nazi period they've been pretty good.

If you were to point out that Germany committed not just a Jewish genocide, but an Ovaherero/Nama one too nearly 50 years earlier under the Kaiser, most Germans would be very puzzled by what you're talking about. The Ovaherero on the other hand would not be, neither would be anyone with German colonial history knowledge.

The good news is that the BLM movement has *finally* forced Belgium of all places to acknowledge that they hadn't treated their colonies well, and promised changes/reparations. Germany? Not so much. But at least the dialogue is now beginning.

Fintech biz Wirecard folds into insolvency like two pair against a flush. Good luck accessing your chip stack

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Pockit

WorldPay is not the same as Wirecard. I'm sure you mean the latter.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Map view

Actually, having looked at Google Streetview, that building looks just like another faceless office block in a faceless business park near the Messestadt, so yes, this is a perfectly acceptable place for an HQ. Remember that this is the parent company, and as such doesn't really need a massive campus for 120,000 employees or whatever the number may be. Given the parent once was InfoGenie, and given that much of the work is done by other subsidiaries... this is not unusual. According to Google Maps, Wirecard sits in multiple of the buildings, Wincor Nixdorf (a Siemens company) has the rest, so it's pretty much like Microsoft or Oracle on the Thames Valley Park in Reading. It's really not unusual. If it was a residential address, I'd be more suspicious.

anothercynic Silver badge

Specifically, Bavaria... Munich will draw and quarter them.

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

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Behnken is not a NASA astronaut

Sorry, but he is. Once an astronaut, always an astronaut.

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

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: NHSX devs apparently superior to Google devs

Yes, Low Power Bluetooth exists. It's called BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). But, once a phone is turned off, it. is. turned. off. No Bluetooth traffic, nada. OFF.

That said, 'Find my iPhone' is a pretty smart thing... But it relies on the device actually being reachable. An iPad with WiFi only that's out of reach of WiFi networks is hard to find.

Ex-director cops community service after 5,000-file deletion spree on company Dropbox

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Scummy company practices cause data loss

She resigned as director from Company A, so had nothing to do with Company A anymore. Company B likely took over Company A's assets in the manner you described, but they didn't, as you point out, remove the woman's access. That in itself is stupid.

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Entirely legal

The OP referred to the Cadburys Somerdale chocolate factory in Keynsham, which Kraft promised would remain open after the merger, only to shut it down and close it permanently days after the merger closed. The production of its products was moved to Poland, and it caused not only a huge uproar in the Bristol-Bath area, but also nationwide. Bournville is the only one still producing chocolate products (it's where their R&D lab is). Mondelez also have a plant in Banbury (produces Kenco coffee).

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Entirely legal

You are incorrect where Cadbury's is concerned (well, ownership/licensorship anyway).

Cadbury was sold to KRAFT (and now is owned via a merger/reorg/demerger by Mondelez). Hershey's is owned by the Hersheys Trust Company. Never have the two had a relationship other than Hershey's making Cadburys under licence.

You are correct in saying that Cadburys was rubbish in the US, and now is rubbish elsewhere too... But then again, I have *always* found Cadburys to be rubbish compared to brands that do *not* use palm/vegetable oil as part of the 'fats' portion in chocolate. There was a massive row in the European courts over that (which Cadburys won in the end).

ZFS co-creator boots 'slave' out of OpenZFS codebase, says 'casual use' of term is 'unnecessary reference to a painful experience'

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Slavery is still happening

I suspect the OP you replied to refers to the fact that the money the British government borrowed to recompense slave owners for their loss after the legislation made slavery illegal, was not fully repaid to the lenders until 2015, and hence the view that until that debt was discharged, slavery was not officially 'dead'.

Overload: A one-way ticket to a madman's situation

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Brings back memories

That sounds awfully familiar... I used DoubleSpace (and later DriveSpace) to squeeze that 80MB drive to around 120...

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Out of Office...

It was you and a mate, wasn't it? ;-)

As UK Parliament heads back to in-person voting, select committees are told they can continue working via Zoom

anothercynic Silver badge

Well, yes. Hong Kong on the other hand actually made you wear a bracelet (or anklet) that is waterproof and can show you are in the approximate zone you're expected to be in. And for those with no address in Hong Kong, a hotel/dormitory space was provided for you. Food was brought to you, your rubbish was removed by people in bunny suits (haz mat PPE in case you didn't know), you were entertained and kept safe. Temperature checks were done, random checks were done. Again, in Hong Kong this was probably easier given that the place is full of high-rise buildings with limited exit opportunities, but even in London this could've been done. But... the government didn't.

This goes to show that Hong Kong took the threat of COVID-19 seriously (especially since they have past experience with SARS), and this government didn't (regardless of the spin they put on it now). To make things even more 'fun' for the government, research released today (it's a pre-print, it's being peer-reviewed as we speak) shows that the UK had 1300+ 'patient zero' cases (as in 1300+ *unique* genome strains) that entered the UK unrestricted and not properly contact-traced between late February and mid-March (the peak was mid-March). There was *no* checking at the border, no contact tracing, no tagging, no swabbing, no testing of *anyone* entering the UK then.

anothercynic Silver badge

There's a distinct problem with whataboutery in this country that stems from this view that somehow we are special. We're not. Other countries have suffered the same fate. The difference is how governments have responded, and ours has been... well... woefully behind the curve, or worse, has left a large number of small businesses without any support whatsoever.

anothercynic Silver badge

Airport quarantine is arguably a good arrangement, *if* you shut the damn air travel down to the point where it's manageable. With Heathrow, two terminals are still operating at a basic level. There's a great article by a journalist who lives in Hong Kong, describing how Hong Kong dealt with their quarantine (granted, Hong Kong is not quite the UK, but it is similar to Greater London). The immigration process there (even for residents) was a *very* long-winded affair, and it was well-managed by the airport authorities. The Hong Kongers would grumble but submit to it, Brits on the other hand, like many Americans, would likely be kicking up a fuss, calling up the gutter rags to complain and demand recompense (and quite frankly I'd be telling them to get in the sea). If the government had been clear and strict about ports of entry from the start in the same sense as Hong Kong (and other countries) did, I suspect we'd be way out of our lockdown by now. But we're not, because the government completely cocked that up with too little too late action.

anothercynic Silver badge

You know, as much as you might have a point about the Daily Mail, getting into a virtual dick-swinging match like you are right now is not doing your argument any favours either.

anothercynic Silver badge

Although Sweden's architect of the 'no lockdown' policy says that he believes it was the wrong thing to do. Swedish people tend to use common sense a lot more than us Brits do anyway... they practiced social distancing, we can't be arsed until we're legally forced to (see Cheltenham Festival for starters, then all the beaches in the sunny weather).

If you look at countries with no good health system on one of the poorest continents (Africa), Ethiopia used a hybrid model of NZ and SK to keep their Covid cases in check. Were they wrong? Nope. They've managed better than some other first-world countries (like us and the US), because when they noticed the trends in the Far East, they started closing their borders down early (Addis is a big aviation hub, so it made sense for them to start scanning, testing and restricting people travelling through Addis early).

Yet the UK left its transit point (LHR) wiiiiiiiiiide open. No quarantine. No scanning or testing. Oh. Right. There was no capacity because there was no will.

I was getting messages from airlines and airports I've used in the past by early- to mid-March, telling me that things would change (with information on how). The only glaring silent one was... Heathrow. They only got into the act after the government officially locked the country down.

So there's much to be said about the policies of the country and its government.

Ex-Dell distributor in Lebanon ignored ban on suing US tech giant. Now four directors have been sentenced to prison in the UK

anothercynic Silver badge

Depends on whether any of the Lebanese directors intend to set foot in the UK anytime soon for a spot of shopping on Oxford Street (or the Kings Road in Kensington).

anothercynic Silver badge

Not necessarily. If your Lebanese lawyers cleared that and made it clear that any trouble would be resolved in London, and you happily signed the contract that stated that, you are bound to that agreement and accept British jurisdiction. That's how it goes.

anothercynic Silver badge

Only if it actually involves DELL HQ. Apparently it involves the UK arm of Dellzilla, and as such, jurisdiction is the UK.

Dude, where's my laser?

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not unbelievable

Sounds all too familiar, I'm afraid to say...

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Well there's the problem

Brilliant. It's only when *they* become inconvenienced do they respond.

As for the original poster, well, the guy who lodged the appeal was a developer advocate. It wasn't his job to lodge the appeal. His job is to make sure relationships between developers and Google remain well and good.

'VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue'... XML co-author Tim Bray quits AWS after Amazon fires COVID-19 whistleblowers

anothercynic Silver badge

Interesting views here...

Good for Tim, first off. If you have a conscience and it no longer jives with what happens at your job and it's bugging you, you have two choices: change your conscience or change your job. He's chosen the latter.

I've heard of (and read about) horror stories at Amazon, and also of exceptionally positive experiences. Whether that's a (in)compatibility with the internal culture (bro culture/dick culture/whatever) is another question. Those working in warehouses take the jobs because they need them, not necessarily because that's what they enjoy (but again, we can't paint everyone with the same broad brush), and there will always be an element of human society that takes pleasure in being cruel to others (see the Stanford Prison Experiment if you want to know more) whilst claiming to only be doing their job, and it wouldn't surprise me if that's what is broadly happening in those environments. As for good experiences, compared to some other jobs out in the world, corporate/engineering jobs can be fun and challenging, and you can to a degree ignore what's happening around you or elsewhere in the business. But even in engineering you'll find complete asshats and nice people, and in some instances, the former can make your life hell despite you enjoying what you do.

You'll find this anywhere. It's just that Amazon is one of those places that are huge, touch many people's lives, and hence end up in the press. Google has similar issues, Microsoft has similar issues, software engineering companies and hardware engineering companies have similar issues.

It is good when someone relatively senior (like a VP, although 'vice' anything and 'president' anything is liberally sprinkled across the world of software in the US) stands up and says "Enough is enough, I'm done with this" and walks out. Will Amazon listen? Your guess is as good as mine... I'd venture to guess his job is being filled as we speak by promoting someone. Things go on as before.

Those arguing that political activism doesn't belong at work are right to a degree. Social activism on the other hand should be there, especially when your employer has a vast influence over a vast number of consumers across the planet. That's what defines social and corporate responsibility.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: You can buy books online from other sites.

In case you hadn't noticed, Amazon is not a bookseller and hasn't been for a *long* time. Amazon is a process company, and the processes happen to include *anything* that can be sold to a consumer, be is electronics, groceries, books...

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not a Who Me?

Agreed. That's an On Call candidate! :-)

Geoboffins reckon extreme rainfall might help some volcanoes pop off

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: The magma's several km deep

Aaaaaand... micdrop. Boom. :-)

20 years deep into a '2-year' mission: How ESA keeps Cluster flying

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: "It's a very strong design,"

I second Pascal's post. This is what science is. :-)

SE's baaaack: Apple flings out iPhone SE 2020, priced at £419

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

To be fair, Apple has a 3.5mm-to-Lightning jack, so you can get around the problem, but with BT and BLE being the tech du jour, I'm ok to use wireless headphones. :-)

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

Compared to any other Apple iPhones it is a decent price. Remember that iPhone owners tend to not want to switch to Android (or any of the... *ahem* "tainted" *ahem* Chinese brands) after they've wedded themselves to the cult of Apple. I know of several well-known figures online who bemoaned the fact that Apple yanked the first SE off the market in 2018 because they liked having a small cut-price model rather than the all-singing-all-dancing-even-slicing-your-toast kind of phones Apple's espoused. Several have already cheered the re-appearance of the new SE (but are disappointed by the lack of a headphone jack). :-)

If this phone had made its appearance in November last year at the same time as the 11, I would've pounced on it. Instead, I bit the bullet to replace my 6s with an 8 for around £450 (plus some accessories).

anothercynic Silver badge

Only took Apple 2 years...

... To realise that not everyone wants to spaff a month's salary (or half for the better well-off) on a phone. £419 for a 64GB model is decent. A little less than the current iPhone 8 but with nicer hardware (to a point). It's a decent trade-off. I'd buy it if I was in the market for one.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Infectious period

No, the article is correct in that a recent report1 by scientists at the University of Auckland (NZ) that showed that the IgG and IgM antibodies only become detectable days after *symptoms* start showing, but that you may be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus (and continue to infect people) for several days *after* the day of infection and *before* becoming symptomatic. The appropriate graph's accompanying notes do point out that people have different responses to infection and as such may develop symptoms quicker or slower (which is why the incubation period is given as 1-14 days with a median of 5). Given a median of 5 (before onset of symptoms), plus at least 48 hours before that, gives you 7 days, but in some cases (for the extreme right of the curve), 14 days of backtracking makes sense. I'd rather tell too many people they should get tested (or go into isolation) than too few and cause another infection bloom, if you follow my meaning.

1 COVID-19-Testing-Landscape-Final.pdf (26-29 March)

anothercynic Silver badge

The concept is great but...

... It depends on other things to be done too.

Take South Korea. South Korea has done (and continues to do) massive amounts of testing. Only if you test the population will you be able to define whether someone's been infectious and needs to release their handset data. Given that our glorious government has a) not tested enough, b) claims to but is failing to test in massive quantities, and c) cannot be trusted to do massive testing, the concept will fail at this point.

Also, testing is not foolproof. Biozek's test claims 85-100% sensitivity and 96-98% specificity for the IgM and IgG antibodies. Other tests have 90% sensitivity and specificity. So, this means that either way, if you test positive, there is a 10-15% chance that you're actually *not* positive (which in the grand scheme of things is generally ok), and more importantly/worryingly, vice versa, a negative test still gives you a 10-15% chance of actually carrying infection while you believe you're not infected.

A multi-protocol approach is the methology that has to be implemented for this all to work appropriately.

A chief technology officer in a time of COVID-19: Keep calm and make the most of the whole business suddenly realising how important IT is

anothercynic Silver badge

What AC says...

... I work for a tech company (nominally). Our services are still needed, but everything we do can be done online. Our senior leadership team are smart enough to look further than just their noses; they watched the trends in continental Europe and the Far East and surmised that it would only be a question of time that the UK would have to follow.

They started making arrangements weeks in advance for all non-essential teams to work from home where possible, arranged for equipment to be made available (and signed out) to those who didn't have such equipment at home, and also arranged for additional VPN capacity. Everyone was told to check that their VPN access worked.

And then... when the lockdown announcement came, it wasn't too big a surprise for all of us. We simply stayed home, logged into work from there and did our jobs. And things continue to tick over. Those in the organisation who have to perform emergency maintenance are given the right tools to avoid exposure to infection where possible. We haven't gotten to the point where we're testing that theory yet.

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Remote software updates

Thank you very much for such a detailed insight into what you folks do. It is fascinating and enlightening. :-)

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: A point of order seems to need clarifying.

Actually... It is a collective failure by the FAA and Boeing (and EASA subsequently). The FAA said "ok, we'll believe Boeing when they say 'we don't need to mention MCAS'" and EASA followed their lead. The Brazilian authorities on the other hand didn't and insisted that MCAS be mentioned.

Ethiopian is a more problematic case than LionAir because it happened shortly after takeoff at a much higher altitude above sea level (2355m). A minute after takeoff MCAS kicked in, which is a damn sight less than the 13 minutes that the LionAir crew had before theirs kicked in. I wouldn't want to have to resolve a software issue at that point (and Chesley Sullenberger also pointed this out when he attempted this in a simulator). Ethiopian policy to make a pilot with 200 flight hours an FO is something else, but arguably that airline is one of the safest in African airspace (along with Kenyan, SAA and Egyptair).

Boeing screwed the pooch, the aviation industry is broadly in agreement with that view. That this new issue comes to light is not really all that much of a surprise given that Airbus has made the same mistake (see https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/07/25/a350_power_cycle_software_bug_149_hours/), but then again this is the *second* of such issues with Boeing (see https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/01/787_software_bug_can_shut_down_planes_generators/ for the first). Boeing needs a lot of internal work to resolve the problem of ruling by accountant, whereas it *was* an engineering company first.

Just saying...

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: A point of order seems to need clarifying.

Sorry to point this out but Jake is right. Throwing an 'anonymous' strop doesn't particularly help your cause. And just in case you are wondering about my aviation expertise... you're welcome to look at past posts :-)

You're *very* welcome.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

anothercynic Silver badge


Loved it!

Vodafone: Yes, we slurp data on customers' network setups, but we do it for their own good

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Not surprised, probably all ISPs do this, even in the US if you use their router

This is what I do too... Makes the most sense. Things in your network just continue to work, the connection to t'Internet changes but nowt else...

Tech outfits sue Uncle Sam over 'unlawful' H-1B admission charges totaling $350m over six years

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Fees vs Costs

That was probably not an H1-B, but likely a B-1. H1-B is a limited work visa that binds you to the employer who applied for it on your behalf. The L1 visa is an unrestricted work visa (that allows you to change employers at will), the B-1 is a 'you're just here temporarily to do business' visa.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Avoiding Fees?

From what I remember from my time with H1-B stuff, you were required to apply for H1-B from outside the US, so if there is now a requirement to pay $4K, and they try to change status inside the country, I'd say that CBP is applying the rule correctly. JMO.

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Good, good.

55% of Scots voted to stay in because it meant Scotland stayed in the EU. After the referendum, everything changed because the Scots understand the benefits of the EU. The Northern Irish also understand the benefits of the EU (not least because it guarantees peace in N.I. thanks to the GFA). The Ingerlish don't, despite having been the recipients of much of what the EU has to offer, *especially* the agricultural sector with seasonal workers who are now, surprise surprise, hard to come by to actually harvest what's been grown! The Welsh... well... they also voted to leave for some reason.

anothercynic Silver badge

Re: Good, good.

Except why should they uproot their entire family (who have friends, other family, connections, history, work, careers, networks here) just to make a segment of society happy? That said, if I was given the option, yeah I would move, mostly because I don't have the strong network here (despite being a Brit) that others (non-Brit EU citizens) have.



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