* Posts by Commswonk

1706 posts • joined 3 Sep 2015

BT union wants pay dispute talks with telco's largest shareholders


Re: Unheard of

An AC wrote: this is not 1950s America!

With two "centers" and one "prioritization" in the article someone clearly thinks that it is at least America, if not necessarily the 1950s.


CityFibre loses appeal against Openreach discounts for ISPs


Spelling; see me!

Given that CityFibre - being a British Company - spells "fibre" the "English English" way it would have been nice if the article had done the same rather than use "fiber" four times.

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe


Re: With carbon copy mentioned right at the start...

Obligatory Dilbert: https://dilbert.com/strip/1993-03-03

Toyota, Subaru recall EVs because tires might literally fall off


Re: Obligatory pedantry

Heading off any pedantry of my pedantry

That's what you think...

Whatever is the root cause of this problem it couldn't affect UK models because they (we!) have tyres, not tires.

Yodel becomes the latest victim of a cyber 'incident'


Re: Our Customer Service team are currently unavailable

Does that mean the problem has been fixed?

No, it means they cannot use the English language properly; "team" is singular, so the sentence should read

Our Customer Service team is currently unavailable

UK police to spend tens of millions on legacy comms network kit


...so whats wrong with what they're using at present?

I will take that to mean "what's wrong with TETRA / Airwave".

The data capability of TETRA is rather less than modest, and this was seen as a potential problem 16 years ago when I retired from "emergency communications". How much of a limitation it has been in practice is something on which others may be able to comment.

On paper TETRA can handle video but again the capability is modest and bandwidth hungry; quite how necessary video really is I'm not sure. Even static images can be a problem; again there is a bandwidth requirement to send them. The original TETRA equipment had no camera capability (and that might still be the case) but the screens on the mobile terminals (mobile here including hand - portable) were so small as to make viewing a still picture of a known suspect (etc) sent out by a Control Room close to pointless.

TETRA was a quantum leap in police (etc) communications capability, but that did not stop the users (or at least their high - level representatives) from proclaiming its shortcomings as show - stoppers.


Oh how I wish I'd have brought shares in Motorola, they're lapping it up!

Quite. It's hardly Motorola's fault if there is not really a competitive market in TETRA equipment and networks.

The Home Office is likely to find the same in trying to find 3 potential suppliers of mobile terminals. IIRC many years ago (when TETRA was very new) there were 4 then; Motorola (surprise!) Cleartone (for vehicle equipment only) Sepura and Nokia. Again IIRC Nokia soon dropped out leaving (by simple arithmetic) just 3. Then Cleartone decided to do likewise and their (singular) product (the CM5000 if memory serves) was taken over by... let me think... Motorola.

With Sepura now being owned by Hytera it might no longer be acceptable for secure and sensitive communications to have overlords in the Middle Kingdom; if it has fallen out of favour that leaves just 1; Motorola.

Not Motorola's fault; just a function of the way the cookie crumbles.

This latest Home Office plan (if it can be said to be a plan) is IMHO unlikely to achieve the intended result.

NASA's modified Boeing 747 SP SOFIA to be grounded for good


I'm puzzled...

...by virtue of the fact that the Boeing 747 lands after each flight...

As opposed to doing what, exactly?

Plans for Dutch datacenter to warm thousands of homes


I cannot resist...

From the article: ...a datacenter in Hokkaido in Japan is using snow to cool its IT infrastructure then taking the resultant meltwater, now heated to 33°C (91.4°F), and using it to cultivate eels.

Time to update a certain phrasebook:

My data centre is full of eels.

Finnish govt websites knocked down as Ukraine President addresses MPs


@ David 132: One has to hope that the Russian kleptocracy puts aside just enough of the Russian oil to immolate Putin in the grounds of the Reichstag Kremlin.

That's all well and good but it is very far from certain that his replacement would be any warmer towards adjacent democracies than Putin is. If Putin is toppled it is more than likely that it will not be for attacking Ukraine but for failing to succeed.

European Right to Repair resolution headed for vote


Re: (Yet) another regulation the UK will need to abide by

And that would be a bad thing how exactly?

South Yorkshire to test fiber broadband through water pipes


Re: I would just want to be sure...

I don't want any more sewage on my internet than is there already!

IMHO the greater risk is the leak of internet shit (of which there is plenty) into a clean water supply.


Ukraine's nuclear plants: Chernobyl off diesel power, explosions explained


Re: If not radiation.....

Then what else explains the orange glow everywhere around me this morning??

You are (channeling?) Donald Trump and I claim my £5.

Russia's naval exercise near Ireland unlikely to involve cable-tapping shenanigans


RRH Portreath in Cornwall?

Good point!

Dear Cornwall County Council,

Please nicely can we have our runway at St Mawgan back?


The RAF.

Joking aside I would have thought that St Mawgan would be a good location for Typhoons to be based; a much shorter route for patrolling around Ireland than anywhere else on the UK mainland.

Aldergrove would be even better, although that might be too busy with civil air traffic for the Quick Reaction Alert role. That said, a few minutes delay in getting off the ground would be less than waiting for a couple of aircraft to fly across from Cornwall or wherever, and would give a much greater loitering time over the Atlantic.


Couple of sources for you.

Many thanks for posting those; very informative indeed.

Perhaps a previous (UK) government was a bit too quick to cancel some of the planned Typhoon deliveries... along with stopping pilot training with some only just short of qualifying.

Ah well; that's politicians for you.


Ireland have already asked the RAF to patrol Irish airscpace for them. ... They also don't have primary radar, so when the Russians fly military aircraft around their coastline with their transponders off, it's a serious danger to commercial aviation. So the RAF have agreed to intercept the Russians doing that, as we'd probably being doing anyway - just we can use Irish airspace to make it easier.

Have you got a source for that; I'm not actually doubting you but I'd like to see it somewhere else!

Assuming it to be correct, it might be something of a headache for the RAF; AFAIK there is no Air Defence Radar providing coverage to the west of the UK south of RRH Benbecula, and all the airfields from which Air Interceptors (i.e. Typhoons) operate are on the eastern side of the UK, unless of course they have been quietly basing aircraft at RNAS Prestwick (HMS Gannet) or RAF Valley in North Wales, or even the rather underused airport at Blackpool, which was once RAF Squires Gate.

Heart attack victim 'saved' by defibrillator delivery drone*


Re: Cheap home AED in Australia.

...but how many strokes or MIs do you expect in the same household?

I hope I don't have to reply on you for any first aid. I cannot for the life of me imagine what good a defibrillator will do for a casualty who has suffered a stroke. Please do tell...

See earlier posts about MIs.


Re: Know the defibrillator's box code!

How was it an obvious MI?

In a sense it doesn't matter. A defibrillator will not administer a shock to a heart that is generating a normal pulse; neither will it give a shock if it cannot detect a "shockable rhythm" in the casualty.

When fibrillating the heart muscles stop working with their correct rhythm and sequence leaving a residual rather chaotic series of small ineffective "trembles" and if the defibrillator cannot detect the basis of a working rhythm then it will advise that chest compressions should be continued in the hope that the external pumping will restore enough of a normal rhythm for a shock to be worthwhile.


Re: Know the defibrillator's box code!

The Ambulance arrived 18 minutes later, the defibrillator, over an hour later - no-one knew the code to get into the storage box!

Isn't that something that the 999 operator is supposed to give you?

Yes, but... Actually the Ambulance Dispatcher, not the "999 operator", but this only works when the 999 call is made from beside the defibrillator enclosure, so that the caller can give the correct (previously agreed) description of the location, which IIRC is also displayed. Without that the dispatcher has no idea which code to give the caller.

On Christmas night, a computer logs a call to say his user has stopped working…


Re: All I want for Crimbo

All I want for Crimbo is my silver badge back.

Moi aussi; I suspect that it vanished during a spell of inactivity on my part, although as far as I can see there is no warning about this in the "instructions".

Ah well... worse things happen at sea.

FoI response points to network updates for ambulance outage on England's south coast


From the Article:

Unison southeast regional organiser Joshua Cooper told the BBC: "Ambulance and control room staff are working tirelessly to respond to every emergency call they receive and doing all they can to keep patients safe. Lengthy delays are causing much distress to NHS staff. Staff are already at breaking point after months of 'winter-style' pressures." (My bold)

While I don't doubt that Unison's statement is true, I cannot help but feel that it was rather ill considered; I suspect that the stress felt by people awaiting ambulance attendance and their families was somewhat greater.

A lightbulb moment comes too late to save a mainframe engineer's blushes


Re: Warning Lights

In the BBC, up to at least the 1980s, we used butterfly fuses...

Ah the nostalgia... those fuses were used on anything operating from the - 50 Volt Station Battery...

Too many years ago I worked in the (then) BH Ext in London, more or less overlooking Duchess Street. What I was doing at the time is long forgotten but on one occasion I was working on something on a temporary feed from one of those fuse panels, and in simple terms things weren't performing as they should.

Switch off; check supply voltage; nothing wrong there. Switch on again; problem still present. Check voltage with equipment connected... aha! That's a bit low.

Some comedian (longer in the tooth than I was) has replaced the fusible link with a resistor, rendering the "fuse" somewhat useless.

For the uninitiated the fuse wire (or resistor, as the case may be) was actually invisible as the butterfly's wings concealed it when the wire (or resistor) was soldered in.

Oh happy, innocent days... mostly anyway.

Wondering what to do with those empty offices? How about a data centre?


...the physics of power delivery and cooling don't give a rat's fat patoot about their ideals.

Ditto the physics of maximum floor loading.

Ofcom announces plan to protect endangered species – the Great British phone box


Re: Digital?

Could installation of a robust mobile be cost-effective?

Hardly; if a phone box is too little used to be worth retaining when connected by line how would it become worth retaining if converted to a "robust mobile"?

Some of the boxes that are likely to be decommissioned haven't been used at all in the last 12 or even 24 months.

And before anyone asks I do not and never have worked for BT.

UK schools slap a hold on facial scanning of children amid fierce criticism


Re: David Swanston should have spoken to the ICO

It would be interesting to see the letter that "97 per cent of parents, carers and children had consented to the use of facial scanning".

Indeed it would, and the concept of consent is meaningless if that consent is not properly informed. IANAL but given that a "child" cannot sign a contract (for example) I am far from convinced that a child can consent to the use of a photograph without being fully aware of the attendant risks. Having said that I am equally unconvinced that a parent would have sufficient knowledge or be provided with enough other information for their consent to be any more "informed" than their child's agreement.

Given the fact that some people - often (I understand) children - seem to be perfectly happy to post wholly inappropriate photographs of themselves to anyone who asks, it would seem to be clear that on balance the wider population has simply no idea of the risks associated with "personal information" being given away for less than convincing reasons.

Golden Rule of Data: Where data exists there will be attempts to misappropriate it and once that has happened there is simply no knowing how, when, where or for what reason it will be misused. But it almost certainly will be.

UK watchdog launches full probe of Motorola Solutions' cop-comms deals on Emergency Services Network


Offering price reductions without a corresponding reduction in scope is the same as saying you were overpriced to begin with.

Well yes... perhaps; it all depends on the starting point. When TETRA / Airwave rolled out there will have been a significant part of the cost allocated to amortising the costs of site acquisition and mast / building construction. It seems unlikely that the payments allocated to paying off those costs would be based on a assumption that the contract would be extended at all, never mind for as long as it has been so far.

I don't know for sure either way, but Motorola should have been able to reduce the annual charges paid by the Taxpayer because all the initial expenditure had been covered, with "just" maintenance costs chargeable thereafter.

On the face of it Motorola ought to be been able to offer a reduction some years ago, even allowing for the fact that some of the electronics might have to be replaced, but I strongly suspect that they didn't.

Would the "corporate you" if you thought you could get away with it?

Every Little Helps: Former Tesco boss Dave Lewis to advise UK govt on supply chains


Re: Here is an idea.

Same when toilet roll ran out after brexit,

Er... correlation is not causation. IIRC bog rolls vanished off the shelves in late March / early April when lockdown happened. Ditto dried pasta...


Re: 6 P's

For those who don't know what the 6 P's are "Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance". Something that those who promoted Brexit seem to have completely ignored/forgotten.

Um... IIRC (and it is if) there were no cries of "we'll finish up with a shortage of HGV drivers if we leave" from the pro - Remain camp.

One possible reason for this might be that the current shortage has got something between little and bugger all to do with leaving the EU...

Still divided on whether teachers, parents or politicians are to blame


Re: Vested interests

But did you know how to do "Linking ideas across paragraphs using adverbials of time"? (Yr 5 English)

No; WTF does it mean?

Commswonk (year 70 +)

BT Wholesale wants the channel to give SMBs a nudge before copper sunset in 2025


Re: Dear Mr OpenReach...

there's still a staggering number of small businesses in the UK who are still using legacy lines

And what about residential subscribers, the (vast?) majority of whom will have no idea what is coming down the line? AFAIK BT has not started to generate any widespread publicity to advise domestic customers of the changes that are ahead.

I hope I am wrong but it could all get very messy when BT actually set about converting the country, presumeably exchange area by exchange area. I would expect most customers will require a measure of direct support from BT / Openreach personnel; do they have sufficient boots on the ground to provide a prompt and effective support service to those who need it?

Have they carried out a trial in any area to find out exactly what is likely to be required when the rollout proper gets going? Or - heaven help us - has the determination of the degree of support required been based on a purely desk - top exercise?

demonwarcat wrote: BT's Smarthub 2 has a POTS socket. Interesting... back in 2005 when we dragged Commswonk Towers into the 21st century our (ADSL) hub had a POTS socket; when we migrated to VDSL the replacement hub didn't. When I replaced the hub with a Smarthub (in the hope of improving wifi coverage... successfully) it came without a POTS socket either, which doesn't look much like future - proofing it.

I am of the opinion that everything could go terribly wrong terribly quickly. 2025 is not that far off, considering the total number of subscribers to be managed.

As stated above... I hope I am wrong.

G7 countries outgun UK in worldwide broadband speed test


Re: Gigabit Broadband?

Maybe I am missing something but for most users having something at the 50Mb to 70Mb that FTTC delivers is surely enough.

Careful; in some places opinions like that are seen as heresy. Somebody somewhere will be heating up the tar and collecting feathers...

FWIW I agree with you...

Cloud is fundamentally more profitable than on-prem, says Oracle's Safra Catz as revenue misses mark for investors


Re: Moving money

Once you have them by the balls, hearts & minds follow quickly.

I don't know whom I should attribute it to...

Theodore Roosevelt.

Not too bright, are you? Your laptop, I mean... Not you


Re: Ah, a first time user

@ disgruntled yank: you might have tried slapping the screen on left-hand side to accomplish the carriage return.

You mean like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etIQiQIxHNs

Samsung: We will remotely brick smart TVs looted from our warehouse


a small truck carrying boxes of mango's overturned.

Boxes of mango's what, exactly?

You have failed to tell us what their property was.

Smoking smartphone sparks emergency evacuation of Alaska Airlines jet, two taken to hospital


I like drinking beer: would you like the end product of that forced upon you?

There are, I understand, some people who will pay good money for that sort of thing.

For the avoidance of doubt I am not one of them...

Chinese auto-maker accused of altering data after fatal autonomous car accident


Re: Accused of altering data

In any case, I'm looking forward to hearing about this investigation.

Which I'm sure will be every bit as transparent as investigations into events at or involving Wuhan...

Allegedly. :)

British teachers' pensions set to be released from Capita's grasp after nearly 30 years


Not american, it will be the newly formed company of a Thieving MP's significant other.

FFS not Dido Harding again

Anyone but her, perlease...

Without a trace: Baroness Dido Harding to step down as chair of NHS Improvement


Re: Lost her sugar daddy

...not only did the video show he broke the rule with his lady friend...

Quite; he should have checked whether or not his brief as Health Secretary included penetration testing, which it clearly didn't.


Re: Lost her sugar daddy

Harding lost the person who had endlessly promoted her towards her level of incompetence.

I think that should have read well beyond her level of incompetence.

Paperless office? 2.8 trillion pages printed in 2020, down by 14% or 450 billion sheets


Re: One crash = more paper

And of course, backup everything.

By printing off two copies...

After staring over the precipice once before, Kent County Council considers £500m in outsourcing again


Oh No, Not This One Again...

So, the desire for finding the elusive "efficiencies" through the magic of outsourcing might be tempting to some.

I would like the opportunity to ask each and every person who is hoping for "efficiency savings" from an outsourcing (or any other) proposal What is your intended method of determining efficiencies, be they relative or absolute?

Being able to have a problem solved within 10 minutes is clearly more efficient than having it take all day. Being able to solve the same problem for £1 is clearly more efficient than a solution that costs £100. What you are highly unlikely to achieve is a solution costing £1 that only takes 10 minutes to apply. And yet time after time managers convince themselves that the latter is possible, and doubtless potential bidders will whisper all sorts of assurances about how they can actually do it.

Then - via some mysterious process - any penalty clause in the draft contract will somehow not appear in the signed version.

This is the data watchdog! Surrender your Matt Hancock smoochy-kiss pics right now!


Tell Me The Old, Old Story

Government Minister exposed; let's shoot the messenger!

How many Brits have deleted life-saving track and trace app from their phones? No idea, junior minister tells MPs


Re: Technology to the rescue

...and any time you add the word technology in place, it must be good - right

Has anyone else noticed how television advertisements simply have to have the word "technology" in them now? Even some brand of shampoo has some sort of "technology" as part of its formulation.

It makes my bullshit - detecting technology (a soggy mass of cells located between my ears) go into overdrive, followed by the sound of grinding teeth...



@Pseudononymous coward

Like many people, I never installed it in the first place.

It would have required at least a single quantum of faith in the Government.

In my case (and that of Mrs Commswonk) it would also have required me (us) to get a smartphone.

Treaty of Roam finally in ashes: O2 cracks, joins rivals, adds data roaming charges for heavy users in EU


Re: Hardly a surprise

The business users won't care about this, their company pays,

I think the above ought to read

The business users won't care about this, their company's customers pay...

Doggy DNA database adopted by Gloucestershire cops to bring crims to heel


Re: Aren't Pet Microchips enough?

From the article: It's an alternative to microchipping...

No it isn't; microchipping is a legal requirement. Having your dog's DNA on record might well be a useful (if expensive) enhancement but it cannot be considered an alternative.

Mind the gap(ing mouth): London's Underground to get ubiquitous mobile phone coverage


Re: Thanks I hate it

...getting any sort of radio to work in those tunnels is an engineering nightmare.

IMO that is an overstatement; leaky feeders have been used to provide underground / tunnel radio communications for years; the engineering isn't really a nightmare, but the associated costs most assuredly are, not least because the area (volume?) that an individual cell can cover is quite modest in comparison with that covered by a cell with a tower - mounted aerial.

Why did automakers stall while the PC supply chain coped with a surge? Because Big Tech got priority access


My fucking car's heating controls are touch screen (2014 Insignia), I do not understand how anyone thought it was a good idea...

Mine (also an Insignia) is 2017 and the situation is no better; probably worse if the truth be told. There are simply too many things that cannot be done without diverting one's concentration away from where it's supposed to be to somewhere else completely. Even changing the fan speed via the buttons in front of the gear change requires a diversion away from where one is supposed to be looking.

An open invitation to have an accident IMHO...

And don't get me started on the cost of repairs if (when?) anything goes wrong; I became aware (painfully) of this syndrome 2 cars ago; even a diagnosis costs in excess of £70.

Mrs Commswonk has berated me several times for buying cars with this problem; it was, of course, a different story when her Toyota Aygo required a "diagnosis" at about the same price. Ditto the actual "fix".

I got a bit of malicious satisfaction from that. :)

Ah yes; schadenfreude

Google employee helped UK government switch from disastrous COVID-19 strategy, according to Dominic Cummings


But No Mention of...

Cummings painted an alarming picture of how a combination of groupthink and poor data led the UK authorities to stick with a response to the spread of the virus, characterised by a flawed plan to acquire herd immunity.

From what I have heard today I cannot recall hearing the names Whitty or Vallance being mentioned.

Where were they while all this was going on? Were they providing input to government or not? Was it clear and unambiguous, and if so what was it, or was it so dressed up in Civil Service wooliness that what they were saying was wholly unclear?

It just seems odd that while various politicians have been identified from what Cummings has said the "scientific community" might well have not been in the room... ever.

Big red buttons and very bad language: A primer for life in the IT world


Re: Red Button

What I noticed in this photograph was the big red button on the panel... and the proximity that Mr Bean was to it

Fear not; from the photo it appears as though his hands have been tied behind his back to discourage their being placed anywhere they shouldn't be.

And I mean anywhere...


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