* Posts by Ferry Michael

32 publicly visible posts • joined 31 May 2015

And now for something completely different: Python 3.12

Ferry Michael

But Jython and IronPython are really ex-Pythons not that Python 2.7 is deceased.

What happens when What3Words gets lost in translation?

Ferry Michael

But why would you speak it? If you phone 999 the AML system will send your lat/long automatically. If you use google maps, you will drop a pin - which is just lat/long.

If spoken, you still need to spell out a random number of letters, because the words are too ambiguous.

Lat/long with a simple description still gives reasonable chance of correction with a 1 digit error. W3W loses all info with a 1 character error.

Lat/long will still be around in a year. Judging by W3W accounts they shouldn't have had their most recent rounds of crowdfunding to keep them afloat, but still sinking.

Ferry Michael

Re: A new game

Wrong accent - I assume you meant https://what3words.com/shot.tree.words or https://what3words.com/waft.tree.words

Ferry Michael

Re: Was that sheep (singular) or sheep (plural)?

I thought it was in Warrington when you said that. It must be your accent. https://what3words.com/ship.ship.ship

Or did you mean Singapore: https://what3words.com/ship.sheep.ship

Oh sheet sheet sheet https://what3words.com/sheet.sheet.sheet

You could be absolutely anywhere

I hope you are not stuck somewhere that is steep steep steep https://what3words.com/steep.steep.steep

You could get quite mixed up with those similar sounding words

Ferry Michael

Re: Mountain rescue

With a single digit error in a lat/long together with a rough description of the location, e.g. Cumbria an error in a high order digit can be corrected, and error in a low order digit still gives a rough idea. With W3W the smallest error results in total loss of information.

But most importantly lat/long are used automatically all the time without problems. e.g. pin on a google map. AML in any emergency phone call, the mountain rescue system where you click on a link in a text to pass your location to a mountain rescue website.

W3W has been shown to have lots of similar sounding words in close proximity due to their algorithm using a much smaller dictionary in some areas.

Oh, and have you seen their accounts?

Ferry Michael

Re: Existing to make money

If you look at W3W Company Accounts you will find that the company does not make money and never will. It will make money for a few company directors at the expense of of "investors" and crowd funders.

I expect they will finally go out of business some time next year.

Ferry Michael

If you call 999 directly the AML feature in your phone will transfer lat/long directly to emergency services. If you are in contact Mountain Rescue they will send you a text that sends you to a web page that will automatically receive your lat/long.

W3W uses word combinations that will not be intelligible if spoken under stress or with any kind of accent.

Ferry Michael

When W3W tried to promote themselves by giving the location of the end of the queue to process to the queen lying in state 3 out of the first 10 locations were incorrect because the locations were passed on incorrectly. When that was ridiculed they had to take extra steps to get the W3W location encodings passed correctlly.

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

Ferry Michael

Under pressure you just dial 999. AML sorts out sending accurate lat/long.

W3W is highly ambiguous with its use of similar sounding words, plurals, compound words etc.

W3W is not designed or intended for emergency use.

And based on the amount of money they burn on advertising vs their revenue, they will not exist in a few years time.

Ferry Michael

Re: Multiple redundancy

The reserved capacity for emergency calls was true for landlines too.

I remember the bug report for telephone voting on "New Faces" TV programme when that turned out not to be the case due to a configuration error on an exchange where the overload threshold was not detected.

Ferry Michael

Re: How about 112 and Advanced Mobile Location?

What3Words aka LotsOfLetters - encoding of lat/long into W3W doesn't solve anything. The actual lat/long will be sent as part of the AML emergency call. The W3W is almost unintelligible judging by 30% error rate on giving the end of the queue for the late queen, and all the problems with similar sounding words, accents, plurals etc. The workaround of spelling out with phonetics just makes it a "lot of random letters" instead of 3 words

Comms watchdog to probe errors that left Brits unable to make emergency calls

Ferry Michael

Re: Ensure uninterrupted access?

People make most of their calls on mobiles.

I can't imagine many 999 calls from VoiP at home. The use of AML in mobiles to provide location information in 999 calls will probably be a better option when landline numbers are not tied to a physical location.

And from my experience of switching to FTTP on JohnLewis/Plusnet it is very difficult to keep a landline number and transition to VoIP. Their support staff did not even know how it could be done.

Ferry Michael

Re: Ensure uninterrupted access?

There were a handful of major outages in the 18 months I worked on System X in the 1980s that resulted in loss off 999 calls. Some were hardware failures.

One was a configuration error related to overload management, where 999 calls were impacted by a general overload. A bug report was raised related to the "New Faces" television programme. The overload caused by telephone voting for the programme knocked out 999 calls.

UK government proposes legislation to regulate umbrella companies

Ferry Michael

Re: Drunks in charge of the brewery

The current government introduced the double taxation penalty where a business to business contract has been operating, but HMRC decide that it is an employer/employee relationship.

That has triggered the movement from outside IR35, to Inside IR35 Employment Law evasion by clients

Ferry Michael

Re: Government creates red tape to fix IR35 mess of its own creation.

This government introduced the change in liability for incorrect decisions from the worker to the client. As part of that they introduced the double taxation mechanism where taxes are applied twice in this situation.

It is that action from this government that that has pressurised end clients into Inside IR35 blacket assessments. That has driven the rise in Fake Employers(Umbrellas).

In my case an end client asserted 6 hour each way travel to client site using 5 modes of transport was a commute, even though it clearly did not meet any legal understanding of "commute".

In my view many or even most inside IR35 assessments should just be considered an evasion of employment law. Tax and employment regulation need to be aligned. This government has repeatedly delayed addressing this, despite many promises to do so.

End clients should not be able to say:

* our IR35 assessment says you are an employee, not an independent business

* you are not our employee and we have no wish for you to be an employee

* lets agree a business to business contract between ourselves

* can you find a FAKE EMPLOYER (umbrella) who has no involvement in our relationship and will give you none of the benefits of employment to satisfy tax law, so we can protect ourselves

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)

Ferry Michael

Re: Here here

I think you underestimate large CCTV systems with 5000+ cameras. The last system I worked on would use a dual 6 Core Xeon - 24 threads to display 40+ HD video streams with 2 high end video cards. Video recorders with up to 600TB storage - 180 * 4TB hard drives and 10G Ethernet. Then there are the alarm databases, integrated mapping. I've had video recorders and management PCs hitting Windows non-paged memory limits with tuned network drivers. Also used to hit graphics card and PCI Express bandwidth limits.

UK taxman is supposed to know how IR35 reforms work but still lost appeal against TV presenter Kaye Adams

Ferry Michael

Re: Stop going after the small fish.

If the Umbrella Company is your employer they are legally required to provide you with a workstation that meets Health & Safety regulations. These are requirements in law, not guidelines. I don't see how an Umbrella Company can genuinely act as an employer. Similarly when the end client is dealing with the Umbrella Company, work related discussions are unlikely to involve any officer or representative of the Umbrella Company.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

Ferry Michael

Re: And yet... cleanup: kill all the children

Child processes are great.

I once added an explanatory comment near the end of a shell script:

# Kill all the children

Ferry Michael

Re: master and slave or controlled/controlling

I once had to work on some software where master/slave was used in a different context to the software I was working on so the original developer decided to use different terminology to avoid confusion. He chose "controlled" and "controlling" instead. The code was full of:

if instance == CONTROLLING


do controlling things


do other things

When debugging it was no surprise when half of these conditionals were inverted.

To make matters worse, the information was held in two different variables.

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

Ferry Michael

Re: Isn't THIS why we've got to teach 2nd-graders how to "code", rather than how to think?

Like many others you are mixing up FRAgile and Agile development. With Agile ONLY tested software is DONE. Agile does not mean "do it quickly." - it means only working on a manageable number of things. and understanding how long things "actually" take to develop.

Behold Schrödinger's Y2K, when software went all quantum

Ferry Michael

Coming back to the present day Y2K20

If you were a company called "Y2K Games" with a WWE games franchise and you brought out a version called "WWE 2K20" what could go wrong? https://www.thesixthaxis.com/2020/01/01/wwe-2k20-crash-2020-temporary-fix/

or your company is too young to remember Y2K:


or you are a major bank (who patched the problem to be a addressed later?):


'BMW, Airbus and Siemens' get the Brexit spending shakes

Ferry Michael

Re: "Keep calm and carry on"

Probably possible to cancel: https://www.open-britain.co.uk/full_text_of_lord_kerr_s_speech_article_50_the_facts

The European Court of Justice has also been requested to give a definitive ruling.

Mega-bites of code: Python snakes into 1st place for cyber-attacks

Ferry Michael

Re: typical

I think you have misunderstood this. It does not relate to poor programming in Python and inappropriate roles for the language. Python is used because it is appropriate with the availability of libraries that allow the rapid construction of tools that interact with web services

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Ferry Michael

Re: No surprise

.com domains will go in Brexit phase 2 when we realise that leaving the EU does not give us control so we need to exit the world stage.

Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

Ferry Michael

Re: tabs take fewer keystrokes

If you're an experienced user of vi you will know that you can put a number in from of your commands, so even inserting 64 spaces only requires "64i<space><ESC>" - 5 characters

Ransomware scum have already unleashed kill-switch-free WannaCry‬pt‪ variant

Ferry Michael

Re: Experts all giving advice how how to stay secure

Windows 10 STILL has SMBv1 needlessly enabled by default. Should either be disabled by default or removed all together. Wonder when someone will find another exploitable weakness. Staying secure means turning off protocols you don't need.

I have a dual boot laptop that has not booted to Windows since before March - I need to review what services it has enabled to make it a bit more secure before I connect it to the Internet to download latest patches.

Patching and anti-virus software take time to apply after a vulnerability has been discovered. That can be too late.

Action Fraud warns of fraudulent anti-fraud warnings posing as Action Fraud

Ferry Michael

I'd assume anything from Action Fraud was fraudulent

After the total silence from Action Fraud when contacted about a large value, large number of people and risk of harm to victime, I have to assume there is no crime serious enough for the real Action Fraud to respond to, and therefore any contact claiming to be from Action Fraud has to be fraudulent

Seagate unveils enlarged spy drive with support for 64 spycams

Ferry Michael

Sounds like a very tall rack. Assuming 60 drives in a 4U box, gives around 400TB per 4U after taking RAID into account. Putting these into a 42U rack without servers or other hardware only gets 4PB per rack.

Not sure where the numbers of supported cameras comes from. It will depend on drive cache and seek speeds as each camera can be expected to produce sequential writes to the disk, but to switch cameras the drive will need to seek to another part of the disk.

FAIL: Windows 10 bulk patch produces INFINITE CRASH LOOP

Ferry Michael

Windows 10 after 5 mouse clicks and a key press

Things can only get better than my first experience of Windows 10 yesterday. Took 5 mouse clicks and a key press to get to "Windows has encountered a problem and needs to restart". And I was only trying to shut it down.

Tried to shutdown a PC that had been left turned on, but shutdown halted as an unaved file was open;

cancelled shutdown; saved file; start menu had disappeared. Following up with ctrl-alt-del shutdown and Windows encountered problem.

What is tha shortest Windows 10 user experience before a problem?

The time on Microsoft Azure will be: Different by a second, everywhere

Ferry Michael

Re: Obvious


as I mentioned earlier and as explained in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, Windows does not have a full NTP implementation. The Windows Time Service is OK for a client PC, but it is not suitable for use in an NTP hierarchy with full NTP implementations at lower levels of the hierarchy. A full NTP implementation will adjust its clock frequency to bring itself in step with the higher strata time servers, and will monitor the stability of those servers. An SNTP implementation just jumps to match the higher strata server and does not adjust its own clock frequency. The Windows Timer Service is somewhere between the two protocols, but was only designed to be good enough for Kerberos.


In my last company we had to ship proper NTP software with our products, because the standard Windows software was not good enough for our needs.