* Posts by hoofie

42 posts • joined 14 Jun 2017

Report details how Airbus pilots saved the day when all three flight computers failed on landing


Computer Control ?

Personally I'm surprised that Reverse Thrust could only be commanded by the computer and not via the throttle pedestal or am I missing something ?

Yes you REALLY don't want to engage the buckets in flight but Aircraft have managed for many decades with manual reversers

In space, no one can hear cyber security professionals scream


You can easily communicate to/from a low earth orbit Amateur Radio satellite with a 30 quid handheld radio. Telemetry is piss-easy to download with modern SDR radio dongles. I've sent data packets up the ISS on 10W from the West Coast of Australia and had them re-transmitted down to the East Coast.

That's of course Amateur Stuff which is designed to be accessible.

Last year an Amateur operator found an old "Military" satellite that turned out to be alive. Reverse Engineering a signal/data stream is easier with modern computers and technology - the cost/effort to getting the raw signal is a lot lower than it was 20 years ago.

Brit says sorry after waving around nonce patent and leaning on sites to cough up


Legal Opinon

May I refer him and his learned friends to the advice given in the commonly cited precedent of Pressdram vs Arkell ?

Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!


Re: "The power lead approached the PC..."

When I lived in Saudi Arabia in the 90s it was common in Housing compounds to have both 110 and 240V sockets dotted everywhere about the house. US style for 110V, European style for 240V [or 220V can't remember]

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War


You utter twat.

Go and read the Hansard reports from the time. Michael Foot, a Labour Leader who was unfairly maligned by the press, explicitly supported Military Action.

Unlike many of the communist morons in his party at the time, Foot had seen in WW2 what would happen when you didn't defend your own people and what dictators could do.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT


Re: Luxury

In about 1990 or so, I was privy to seeing a military-grade RS232 encryption device with its case open. All compartmentalised with gold chips, EMP protection etc.It was used for serial comms across phone lines between some government departments.

And voila - the encryption key was loaded via paper tape. Apparently the reason was the key could be instantly destroyed.

New IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says hybrid cloud will be bigger than mainframes, services, middleware


A joke locally

Here in my local market IBM is a joke.

Their 5 years gigs are coming to an end so they are being kicked out and replaced with a more nimble Tier 2 player. All of their extravagant promises have never been fulfilled with a procession of people being steadily replaced by India-based employees with a stunning level of ignorance of the product and business. Remember - the really good Indian Developers/Specialists have already left for the US/UK/Australia/NZ. I should know; I've employed many of them.

If we go back 5 plus years the local IBM was a very different place - I worked alongside some quality people then at customers who were a pleasure to deal with. Needless to say all have since left IBM, mostly not by choice.

At a Federal level they are still a big player but their recent performance has not exactly been stellar but scale is what matters at that level not quality.

Hapless AWS engineer spilled passwords, keys, confidential internal training info, customer messages on public GitHub


Engineer ?

Engineer eh ? I'll bet 100 quid the closest the person involved ever got to Engineering was taking a bus ride over a bridge.

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


Re: Those moneychangers...

The Aircraft Carriers are not there "to protect Europe". They are there to provide the UK with a blue water naval strike capability.

We already have assets to protect UK airspace and waters.

I hate to burden you with this but there already large militaries in place in Europe. The French, Dutch, Poles and Germans have capable military forces - although the latter would be hard-pressed to defend a Bratwurst stall and seems to base it's entire defence on the Poles taking the hit first and the French rushing to the rescue.

A fine host for a Raspberry Pi: The Register rakes a talon over the NexDock 2


Re: Well

I've got about 5 PI's running in various modes - one is a telescope controller, one runs as a APRS gateway for Amateur Radio and one acts as an SSTV receiver for ISS piccies and others.

The first 2 are headless, the last one sits in a case with a PI touchscreen display.

I really don't see the need for this - all you need is an old keyboard, monitor and mouse at a pinch.

Totally Subcontracted Business: TSB to outsource entire IT estate to IBM for a cool $1bn after 2019 meltdown


Virtual Bank

So basically it's moving towards a Virtual Bank - hire in all services you need and just stick a name over the top.

Outsourcing your ENTIRE banking IT landscape to IBM and just "supervise" - what could possibly go wrong ?

Is anyone organising a bulk order for popcorn ? We are just at the opening titles of this saga and it will run and run.

Whirlybird-driving infosec boss fined after ranty Blackpool Airport air traffic control antics


Re: fined £1,600 plus £870 in legal costs

The costs involved be small potatoes to him BUT he is now suspended, cannot fly and will have fun and games getting his licence back. The CAA are not known for their largesse.

Tragedy: CES squeeze forces frequent flier hotshots into economy hell


Ultimate Upgrade

I once scored a promo flight on Concorde from the Middle East to London - cost me a couple of hundred quid extra on the normal BA Economy Ticket in 1992.

When I was checking in I met someone I knew. She had a standby ticket for the normal BA flight which was leaving at the same time and was promptly handed a Concorde Ticket instead since the normal flight was full. #jammybastard

And then there were two: HMS Prince of Wales joins Royal Navy


Re: And All Who Sail In Her

The problem with nuclear propulsion was cost, complexity and manning requirements. Since they are using F35 there is no need for steam for catapults [the US are going down the route of electromagnetic catapults].

Cost was probably the biggest issue - whilst they are eye-wateringly expensive as they stand, if we had gone down the nuclear route there would only have been one. Two carriers offer much more flexibility than a single hull [ask the French...]

It's hard enough getting Nuclear qualified engineering staff for the underwater brethren - add two Nuclear carriers on top of that and it's a no-go. Also some friendly ports [e.g. New Zealand] aren't so friendly if nuclear boats are asking to come alongside.

From that what I gather the whole nuclear propulsion question was seriously considered - the UK has the technology to do it - but was ruled out early on as just not a good choice.

The US supercarriers are impressive but apparently envious glances are being stolen from across the pond at the non-nuclear option plus the very high levels of automation on the QE class carriers means the manning requirements are much, much lower than the US - the latter is especially relevant as the US Navy tends to train a sailor for one job only whereas the RN has always worked on the basis of multi-skilling the crew e.g. a steward or chef would also be first-aid trained and act as a medic or damage control crew member.

It's really great to see the Senior Service sailing the world's oceans again with a proper maritime strike force - suitable for putting the frighteners on uppity foreign types, annoying the French [which I'd suggest has ALWAYS been the purpose of the RN] and delivering exceptional cocktail parties.

Irish eyes aren't smiling after govt blows €1m on mega-printer too big for parliament's doors



When you reply to the tender you will indicate your proposed cost, conditions of sales, tender terms etc.

Even if you include delivery and installation you will have a lovely set of exclusions that makes sure it's the CUSTOMERS responsibility to have somewhere to put it, suitable utilities services, air conditioning, suitable floors etc.

As a vendor you cannot carry the can for the customer being completely unable to organise a pissup in a brewery.

Den Automation raised millions to 'reinvent' the light switch. Now it's lights out for startup


I worked on Clipsal C-BUS Home Automation stuff years ago. Yes it's old and expensive and requires different wiring from a normal house.

What is DOESN'T NEED THOUGH is a server on the internet to work. Each device is programmed individually to talk to each other.

Royal Bank of Scotland IT contractor ban sparks murmurs of legal action


Re: Poor well paid tax-dodgers

"They choose not to pay proper tax" - you are a moron and I claim my 5 quid.


Re: Just the start

Imagine if you moved from London to Newcastle. New job, new house, new schools etc etc.

Change that from London to Australia and it's the same really, just a question of distance.

Except that the weather is a damn sight better.

Don't look too closely at what is seeping out of the big Dutch pipe


Re: Test bed

Sometime in the early 2000's I think. We pulled a server from a hosting company somewhere in London after they had repeatedly dropped the ball etc.

On getting the server back to the office [we jumped in a taxi to their site, unplugged it and legged it out the door] a cursory examination showed it was full of ripped DVD's of films etc. Interesting as it all it did was host a rather large website.

Now I know for a fact none of us did it [why ?] - turned out the "Admin" staff at the facility has used it for storage. That was quite useful as we were in dispute about the remaining bill.When presented with displays of the files, who created them according to the logs and dark threats of suing them [the organisation I worked for was 90% lawyers] they suddenly decided not to pursue payment.

There were so f***ing hopeless they couldn't even cover their tracks properly.

Conspiracy loons claim victory in Brighton and Hove as council rejects plans to build 5G masts


Re: Many microwave ovens leak microwaves

You are thinking of Cosmic Radiation which does have enough energy to cause random errors in Modern electronics. That's been known about for decades and is countered by "Radiation Hardening"

You also have to be outside the atmosphere to be at severe risk but there is an increased risk to aircraft cabin crew, passengers who travel constantly at high altitudes.


Re: Neoliberalism SUCKS

"it's ALWAYS ON rather than on demand"

Yeah unlike 4G and Wifi which is always er....um...on.

"5G is an order of magnitude (i.e. TEN times) higher frequency than 3/4G and WiFi and my microwave oven."


Loathed Aussie mining magnate Clive Palmer punts libel sueball at YouTube comedian


Re: Good on ya Aussie

Yet he still won an election that was Labor's for the taking. Dutton got back in despite huge efforts by that paragon of electoral fairness Getup! to unseat him. His vote went UP not down.

If there is one thing the last election showed, Australians do not like being lectured by progressives.

Orford Ness: Military secrets and unique wildlife on the remote Suffolk coast


Re: You got one bit wrong

From what I've read of it Chevaline was a major technical achievement but also a huge industrial undertaking. We had to invent technologies the UK had never dealt with before.

Royal Navy seeks missile-moving robots for dockyard drudgery


Re: mousetrap

Fibreglass cannons? What will we do if the French Fleet hove into view outside Portsmouth Harbour ?

There once was a biz called Bitbucket, that told Mercurial to suck it. Now devs are dejected, their code soon ejected


Re: Git

Bastard - I had finally eliminated that from my memory

US soldier cleared of taking armoured vehicle out for joyride – because he's insane, court says


Re: How things have changed

Shades of the old joke about the RAF pilot stopped at Customs at a German Airport years later

Customs:"Have you ever visited Germany before?"

Retired Pilot:"Err...Yes...."

Now you see them... IBM made over 800 UK jobs vanish in 2018 despite improving fortunes


Re: Who's left?

>> I even had my salary cut during a probation period because the firm said it was to compensate my employer while I was learning to use their proprietary software, which I didn't even see during my employment.

I'm struggling to understand how that would be legal in the UK ?

World recoils in horror as smartphone maker accused of helping government snoops read encrypted texts, track device whereabouts


Nope I'm lost

I can't quite make out the target of this article : Huawei ? The US Government ? Uganda ? The WSJ ? The Red Sea Pedestrians ? All of Them ?

I get a feeling the author is trying to be clever in their writing but I think they made it a bit too opaque - sorry.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision


Command Failure

From what I've read of it the ultimate problem was a poisonous command atmosphere, lack of training and shortage of personnel.

It's a warship being navigated - it literally is not rocket science, navies have been doing it around the world for centuries.

The US military hammers down any individuality in it's Officers and Men - Ratings are trained for one task alone and not encouraged to think out of the box. It's stunning that the bridge on a US Navy Warship could be so dis-functional - but it was.

Need a Ferranti Pegasus board in your life? Brit computing history could be yours for four figures


Re: On it own it's just scrap.

Having been to a few HamFests, it's amazing the utter tat and junk people will try to flog off. Fair enough if it's something that's actually useful like test gear or microwave components [pre-amps, converters etc not things to heat pies in] but a lot of it is busted old tat.

UK code breakers drop Bombe, Enigma and Typex simulators onto the web for all to try


Re: Explain like I'm five ..

The technology was also kept in the UK - evidence of this is the great strides the UK made in computing in the 1950s.

However the WW2 work was kept hyper secret for decades which included the technology used as we didn't want others [mainly the Russians] to know that the capability existed.

Computing was greatly boosted in the US by the torrents of money pouring into the various weapon programs in the US in the 1950s and also the space program in the 1960s - something that did not happen in war-exhausted and financially buggered Britan. When the Goverment basically pays for all your R&D it's piss-easy to then bring out commeral products.

At the end of WW2 the US emerged as a financial and military superpower with it's economy and industry firing on all cylinders - whereas the UK was bomb-damaged and almost bankrupt.

'They took away our Cup-a-Soup!' Share your tales of bleak breakout areas with us


Re: A fridge!!!

Dust? Dust! I used to dream of dust.. [continue in a recursive loop]


Re: From my cold, dead hands!

Someone has the same story on PPRUNE about RAF provided Officer accomodation. On moving in the person concerned found they had wall to wall carpeting - bonus ! When it was determined their lowly status didn't permit this [Wing Commanders only and above etc.] someone came round and trimmed the carpets back....

Prodigy dancer and vocalist Keith Flint found dead aged 49


Re: Keith Vaz, it's on you now

The little washing-machine salesman scamp that he is.


No Drugs

Can't say I ever took any drugs apart from a puff of weed now and then and I can't say I was a huge punk fan [more of a New Romantics thing for me] but Prodigy were utterly f***ing brilliant.

"Fat of the Land" was a monster seller because it was just full of excellent music with an energy that was incredible.

RIP Keith - sounds like a good bloke who just decided he didn't want to be part of life anymore.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ 'backer'? Nope, you're now a creditor – and should probably act fast


Re: I can't stand this nostalgia junk recreating junk.

Angel Delight??? Take my money, take my money !!!

US Supremes urged by pretty much everyone in software dev to probe Oracle's 'disastrous' Java API copyright win


Don't make me laugh

Java pushed off the mobile environment ? Well yes because it was diabolically crap.

Oracle had the driving seat for this and completely blew it whilst Google came up the rail and shot into the distance. Oracle were too busy working out how much money they could squeeze out of it to see the bigger picture.

I'm seeing more and more projects and products move to OpenJDK just because they they don't want to have their balls gripped by Oracle and are worried that it's going to cost them a licence to use it. Docker is a case in point - I can pull an OpenJDK image but if I want Java 8 from Oracle I have to "checkout" and agree to all my details being supplied.

Crowdfunded lawyer suing Uber told he can't swerve taxi app giant's £1m legal bill


No doubt Her Majestys Customs and Revenue are watching on from the sidelines rather interested. Why spend all that money trying to nail Uber if some other muppet is trying to do it for you ?

I've got f-all sympathy for this chap - happy to rely on crowd-funding rather than his own money but doesn't like it when it all goes tits-up. I think he forgot that sometimes the Courts don't do what you want. He also deserves it solely for his Brexit work but that's an aside.

Note : Whilst Uber do offer a service [I use them myself as they are much better than thieving taxi drivers here in Australia who drive old shit-boxes] I am happy to see them cough up more money to the Treasury.

Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey



When I worked at a semiconductor plant many years ago, platinum targets were used in the sputtering machines to coat the silicon wafers in platinum which was used as a contact layer between the silicon and the aluminuim interconnects on the wafer surface. The targets then in 1986 were 5 figures in quid and the size of a paperback.

Anyway the sputter chamber [which use plasma to convert the platinum into a vapour which condenses on the silicon and was about 2x the size of an oven] ended up coated in platinum which needs to be carefully removed by technicians. It turned out said technicians were hiding the extremely thin platinum shavings in their bunny suits and then selling it to a dodgy scrap dealer in the town. This was scientific grade platinum which is much purer than bullion.

Also re the value of wafers in production. An engineer once put a wafer carrier with 25 wafers in a box in a centrifuge but didn't locate them properly. When it spun up the inevitable happened - tinkle tinkle [silicon wafers are EXTREMELY brittle as they are crystalline. The problem was this was test batch for a production line commisioning which meant rather a lot of machine time and efforts ended up in fragments. He was not popular...

Freedom! Diodes Inc saves Scottish fab from closure in £50m buyout


Worked there..

I worked there as a "Graduate Engineer" [well not quite - did it in the summer holidays etc] in 1986-88 or so when it was National Semiconductor. I worked first on the 4 inch Fabrication line and then later on in the shiny and new 6 inch Fabrication line.

The local ladies who worked on the fabrication lines were great but some of them were rather "down to earth" and liked the idea of fresh meat being thrown to them. Since everyone was wearing clean room gear [bunny suits etc] you learned to recognise people by the shape of their arses.

I lived in Gourock for a while and had some crazy evenings in the pubs there in Summer.

Very fond memories of a great time.

Glad to hear it's been thrown a lifeline.



Made at the IBM plant just down the hill a bit.

British Airways poised to shed 1,000 jobs to Capita


A shadow of their former self.

In the 1990's I used a to fly a lot between the UK and the Middle East and other points.

Believe me there was nothing better than climbing up the stairs, noting the big RR [Rolls Royce] symbol on the engine cowlings and the Union Jack coloured tail fin.

Onboard the staff were immaculate, the service good and efficient. Best of all - booze. Very welcome after 3 months in a dry country. The drinks trolley was being pushed up the aisle as soon as the wheels left the ground. "Gin and Tonic Sir ? Certainly, here's a handful of minatures to start with".

Finally you knew the pilot was almost certainly called Nigel and had already spent years piloting Her Majesty's finest Military Aircraft around Europe and other places before moving across to the civilian side.

Finally there was Concorde - a sublime experience that made Johnny Foreigner green with envy [especially the Yanks] and was the equivalent of a smack between the eyes with a picture of the Queen. The rot started when Concorde stopped - at that point they became just another bus company.


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