* Posts by Caver_Dave

169 posts • joined 11 Jul 2018


NHS COVID-19 app's first weekend: With fundamental testing flaw ironed out, bugs remaining are relatively trivial


Re: Police told not to download Covid app

All 3 of the Police families within 50M of me have had Covid, but no one else in the village.

All of my "friends in the force" from other counties have had Covid.

Is there any point the Police Officers having the app?

Alphabet promises to no longer bung tens of millions of dollars to alleged sex pest execs who quit mid-probe


Re: How about

Hi Yank Lurker,

In the UK we call it crazy paving not psycho path

Former BT CEO to lead task force that will advise UK.gov on diversifying the nation's telecoms supply chain


Re: seen it

You mean like this https://www.windriver.com/products/cloud-platform/vran for the first line of your spec. before you lost it in the second line?

Multiple large customers around the world...

Ethernet failure on Swiss business jet prompted emergency descent, say aviation safety bods


Re: FCS is not new.

You don't need an infinite bucket.

You can get certifiable (i.e. all the certification artefacts are already packaged and can be bought) network and compute systems as COTS (common off the shelf) products, if you go to the correct supplier.

As the aircraft manufacturer, it is then up to you to include this in the aircraft certification.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns


Another work around...

Make the plane out of rubber.

Then if it crashes it will just bounce.

Call it the Boing 737

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

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Re: Power!

Cables of any sort!

Dodgy RJ45 cables are my pet hate and I always cut them in half, otherwise someone will always drag them out of the bin!

India flies Mach 6 scramjet for 20 whole seconds


Re: Amazing.

Remember that the UK gives India huge amounts of money to help with basic sanitation, while India spends all this money on Scramjets and space missions. And yet the UK doesn't have the money for its own space program.

China launches and lands its first re-usable spacecraft


US submarine commander - "but that's top secret. How did you know about it?"

"I read the Russian translation of the service manual." James Bond - "Never say never again"

How many years ago, but still valid today?

Brexit border-line issues: Would you want to still be 'testing' software designed to stop Kent becoming a massive lorry park come 31 December?


How hard is it really?

DHL, UPS, Parcel Force, (FFS even) Amazon, can happily send, track and deliver across borders and continents (so taxes, tariffs, etc.) with relatively little friction. There's one working model you can copy. For another try the system the Scandinavians use. The lists of required documentation for each country is published by the countries (of blocs) online. So you have a rough outline of what you have to support already.

If it took a competent program team (of 5 or 6) more than a week to design the databases, cloud infrastructure ('cus it has to be cloud now!), web and AP design and programming API (for those people who want to interface with their existing warehousing systems) then I would be surprised. Then about a month to program and unit test, and then a month to beta test.

If they had started when they came back from Christmas then it would have been ready before lock-down.

However, this is government IT and their usual consultants have to get their snouts in the trough, (to the order of 100's of millions) and take many months to get nowhere.

It's not rocket science - I know, because that's part of my job!

IBM ordered to pay £22k to whistleblower and told by judges: Teach your managers what discrimination means


Re: You want Equality? You get Equality.

I object to the use of the term troglodyte in this context.


Worried about the Andromeda galaxy crashing into our Milky Way in four billion years? Too bad, it's quite possibly already happening


Re: Friday challenge:

I tried "halo gas band". The bod thought that I'd got a new weapon for my first person shooter game.

I'm not trying "gas band" on my wife who plays in a Brass Band, as she may be offended (for the next month or so!)

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles


Local 'languages'

Genuine question - what is the difference between a dialect and a language?

I grew up near the town of Rowell (Rothwell) where the local 'language' was limited to there and the neighbouring town of Desborough. I say language as many English words were replaced by different words or phrases and there were significant grammatical differences.

During the last century the local BBC Radio Northampton actually produced serious series about it as well as generally p155 taking when someone rang in and 'accidentally' dropped in a little Rowell into the conversation.

New teachers in the schools would take weeks to learn what the kids were talking about and we were even advised to take elocution lessons before we went on to the higher education establishments in the relative metropolis of Leicester, only 20 miles away.

Anon only because the above contains PII

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over


Re: The elevator did it

I once worked with someone whose MSc project was making music from executing code in a similar manner. He might have been brilliant, but did that really demonstrate his coding skill?

UK utility Thames Water splashes cash as host of IT consultancies appointed to handle £100m worth of deals


Re: Leaks

As a youth (1980's) I worked for a guy who was called in by Anglian Water to find leaks when they couldn't and he travelled all over their vast area.

It was all cash in hand and off the books, as he was a dowser!

He used to tell them how deep the pipe was, its diameter and construction, which way the water was flowing and the type of leak. Basically everything they needed to know and without having to break the surface.

I remember him telling the AW manager who used to call him in, that a particular broken clay sewerage pipe would pollute a pond 60 feet higher and 400 yards away and being roundly laughed at. AW decided not to apply any urgency to the fix and nearly 3 weeks later the pollution started! (He could 'feel' the type of soil and rocks and knew that capillary action (although he didn't know the name) would have a significant effect.)

ICON : ironic, as there is no scientific reason for dowsing to work - except that it does in the hands of one of the very few people who still 'knows' how. (Not me - I could follow an underground structure, but not know the difference between a dry mole drain and a large mains water pipe!)

Brit telcos deliberately killed Phones 4u, claim admins in £1bn UK High Court sueball

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Re: Eye-opening claim

I had a different, but similar, experience last week. I ordered a robot, due to claims on the manufacturing companies website and the resellers, that it did exactly what I wanted. When it arrived, it didn't perform the advertised function. I took a copy of the websites before I started the refund process. Within hours both websites were changed and the companies called me a liar. I sent the website images to them and the money is now back in my bank!

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?


Re: Close call

If I didn't use a very dangerous command multiple times a day, then I would look it up every time I wanted to use it. If nothing else, it might suggest a less dangerous version to use.

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar


Re: Great idea

I went to Twycross Zoo on Saturday. Full of people with Leicester accents (bear in mind that Leicester is supposed to still be a locked down Red zone) pushing and jostling and completely ignoring the social distancing rules. And then to get out you had to go through the inbound kiosk lines!

Perhaps I need to get a Victorian hooped skirt and add electric fence wire to the hoops!

The reluctant log trawler: The buck stops with the back-end


Re: email around

At one company the Head Office IT Manager put out an email announcing that it had been a month since she had been on a security course and now everything "was locked down as tightly as Gnat's chuff". Except that she and I knew that someone else must have sent it. ;-)

Coat, because I had to let my whole team go from that company, and when I returned from doing this, my manager told me to get my coat as I was also made redundant. Funnily enough all the computers had been removed from our desks, just in case!

NASA trusted 'traditional' Boeing to program its Starliner without close supervision... It failed to dock due to bugs


Re: History repeats...

I work with DERs (company representatives and FAA).

The FAA tend to do a good job with what resources they have. Unfortunately they seem to be constantly running with about 1/2 the staff they would need to provide comprehensive oversight. Thus, company DERs are often given far too much rein on the quality side, whilst they still receive the corporate pressure.

And the US government still has the FAA hands tied when it comes to space qualification.

Things can't go on like this. You need to get fit for the sake of your health. I'm going to write you a prescription for... an e-bike


Well built?

Are the bikes well built (not the riders)? As the cobbles and pot-holes have to be felt to be believed!

Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...


Re: Not on the plans

My brother runs a team that fix gas mains leaks. He says that they often find large electrical cables where there are none on the plans - and some do not show up on the sensors! Working on the leaks they are in full fire suits, breathing apparatus and using hand tools only, so they tend not to damage cables.

He tells a great story of when a back-hoe driver was trying to dig under a 6' high pressure gas main (enough for about 5,000 homes). Obviously, he shouldn't have been digging there and he lifted the main slightly, cracking the top surface. The pressure was so high that sand bags thrown onto the leak were flying 70-80' in the air. In the end my brother got almost everyone from the building site to surround the leak and all of them (>20) throw sand bags at the same time! Sand bags were tied to the bucket of the back hoe and this was then placed on top of the convulsing pile to seal the leak enough to allow repairs to start. (Emptying the pipe would take days and half of the large town would have been without gas in the middle of winter as so it was worked on 'live'.)

I'm glad I'm an office boy!

Icon: as my brother sees this far too often.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets


Re: Once caught

Tomasz Schafernaker, a BBC weather presenter, recently admitted on TV that he thought sheep and lambs were different species until his mid 30's. And this guy managed to get a degree in Meteorology!

Colt Technology UK nixes winding-up order threat from Italian VoIP reseller over £3.8m disputed debt


Re: "Yeah, he's a good bloke" after a round of golf.

I was once sat next to a senior civil servant on a plane. Cue the usual chit-chat on non-work related matters. I had mentioned an interest in farming so he asked how I would propose to avoid possible food shortages in the run up to Brexit (it was a while ago!)

I joking said "rip up all the golf courses and return them to prime agricultural land". He did not say another word for the next 3 hours!

(Yes, I know its not all prime agricultural land - e.g. links. But it was intended as a joke.)

Golf lubricates far too much business (public and private) in my view.

BoJo looks to jumpstart UK economy with £6k taxpayer-funded incentive for Brits to buy electric cars – report


Re: Buy more cars - drive them less

Doctor Syntax

My car has regenerative braking and so charges the battery when I am going downhill.

It also has a petrol engine for when I do longer journeys.

Most days the commute is about 10% of the battery range.

That would seem to fulfil your criteria.

Mine is an old Mitsubishi Outlander and new, better car are available now.

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road


Time budgets

I work in the certifiable, hard-realtime world now, but years ago had to write some echo cancellation and noise reduction code for a mobile phone producer.

It was probably the best defined project I have ever worked on and consisted of source sound files, an algorithm and the expected output.

The customer had working simulations in MathLab (or similar) and had auto-converted that to C code, but this was still far too slow for their time budget and spent variable times computing the answers.

My job was to take the algorithms and convert to assembler, in a manner so that all possible routes through the code took exactly the same number of clock cycles.

As you can imagine the algorithms were complex, but I managed it with just one nop statement, and that was in a rarely used branch. The executable was about 30% the size of the C code produced executable and always took 50% of the time of the fastest path through the C code.

That really was worth 2 weeks of my time for the customer.

The two most important decisions at the start of a project in my mind are always algorithm and language, whether that be a little bit of scripting for a web page, or a deeply embedded PID controller.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year


Re: pascal was simply useless.

Used Pascal in HE and then Turbo Pascal on Z80 CP/M based laptops and handhelds for many commercial systems in the late 1980's and most of the 1990's.

For some of the systems I did, look up the Epson PX4 (F1 timing systems, Gallup pop chart, Tie Rack and most Pharmacists ordering systems), PX8 and HX20 (even had a voice interface!)

Also Epson EHT (touch screen handheld used to load balance Concord luggage, although that application was in C on DOS!)

[ICON: as there was only me and John Franklin of Epson who knew the ROM disassemblies inside out.]

Paying Arizona: Google sued by state for location data revenues after tracking state's citizens via mobiles

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UK Government

UK Government Coronavirus press conference slides (23 May 2020)

Includes Google mobility data, before and during the outbreak.

Ahh... caring, sharing Google

Apple, Google begin to spread pro-privacy, batt-friendly coronavirus contact-tracing API for phone apps


Re: Has no-one thought of the children?

The WHO has many studies that show that children are almost immune to the illness and very unlikely to infect anyone even if they do catch it.

Child to child transmission is almost zero

Child to adult transmission is almost zero

The above two reasons is why schools are open in many countries

Adult to child transmission is very low

In the UK 1% of all over 90's have already died from it

30% of all those who have died from it were over-weight and had Type II Diabetes

Death from Covid-19 is very age and illness related.

The figures are all published, but they don't make Tabloid headlines and don't keep Union reps in the faces of employers.

Unless you are a pensioner with underlying health conditions, the most dangerous part of your working day will still be the travel to and from!

Windows invokes Sgrîn Las Marwolaeth upon Newport


Re: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Name dropper!

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up


Re: marketing

Because they are to F'in noisy!

DBA locked in police-guarded COVID-19-quarantine hotel for the last week shares his story with The Register


Re: And this is why the Aussies are on top of it

Two flies in the ointment:

1) There are a couple of clusters of unexplained Coronavirus outbreaks in the UK in December and many more in January (two choral societies in Manchester for instance) - all linked to people travelling back from Wuhan. The illness already had a foot hold well before the WHO announced the problems.

2) Some people in the UK refuse to do as they are told! The self isolation of travellers has been generally ignored if you look at the clusters of illnesses that surround many of them, and the general public seem to be even worse!

So we really cannot learn from the lessons of China - where people do as they are told (often forcibly) - see fly no. 2 above.

But we have learnt from Italy, as our Health Service was not overwhelmed like theirs was.

We can learn from those countries that still impose quarantine, such as Australia. We only did it for the first flights from Wuhan, but now we have to enforce it - see fly no.2 above.

Working back from the death rates (although they are a little skewed by the Care Homes) and WHO figures for the number of asymptomatic or mild illnesses, we get figures of 5-10% of the population have been infected. Now is the time for the next stage, but yes, we will see the numbers of infected bounce back up again, but if people follow the rules, this should be well within the limit of the NHS.

Remember this is an illness of age:

2 deaths in under 10's - both with pre-existing conditions

27 deaths in under 25's - most with pre-existing conditions

1% of all over 90's dead from this virus.

In my view school children could be back, if there are sufficient young teachers available, so parents can get back to work - except for those children where they live with the most vulnerable. This half school year can be generally be written off - not because the teachers have not tried to provide remote work for the children, but because so many children (with their parents blessing) have not done any of the work. These will all have to be "brought back up to speed" in September to the detriment of the rest of the classes :-( I have many reports of this from teacher friends, where those who do not bother much in class, have not returned any work since they have been at home!

Sorry rambling - I'll get my coat!

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style


Re: Experienced tester.

Many years ago I had the absolute pleasure of working with two testers Cheryl and Caroline. Outside of the office they were great company and we all (developers and testers) got on like a house on fire. Inside the office they had PMT ratcheted up about 1000%, which was absolutely brilliant for the job!

The bug report I found the most amusing/terrifying went along the lines of :

System - some employee pay and benefits system

Problem - cannot enter minus one for number of children of employee

Rational - Employee has divorced and their partner now has sole custody

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


Re: Photo

If you try hard enough, you may still be able to find it working somewhere.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills


Will this still work?

I had a call to go down to Silverstone one day from an F1 team who was using some of my lap timing kit; they wondered if the timing beam (a little metal box on a normal camera tripod) would still work after a "little prang".

I found the box and parts of the tripod embedded quite deeply into the side pod of the car and some of the data cable dangling on the floor.

The box was fine, once I had replaced the data connector, but the tripod and cable had to be replaced.

[icon : I designed and sold all sorts of electronics, computing and telecoms kit to most of the F1 teams, some NASCAR (via Nigel Mansell) and other high-end formula around the world, and did the first in car telemetry in the late 1980's and early 1990's]

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much


Re: Paris...

I used to supply electronic timing and in-car telemetry to F1 teams (1990's). Occasionally, I would have to go on-site for a test session. Oh, the glamour - NOT! Just one example: drive overnight from the UK to Monza, spend all daylight hours and quite a few more at the circuit, struggle into a nearby hotel (rinse and repeat 3 times), then drive overnight back to the UK.

ZX Spectrum prototype ROM is now available for download courtesy of boffins at the UK's Centre for Computing History



I used to have a book called "The Complete Spectrum ROM Disassembly" and I only threw it out a few years ago. (Now it's online).

I found it very informative and it really helped me learn the assembler language.

Zoom's end-to-end encryption isn't actually end-to-end at all. Good thing the PM isn't using it for Cabinet calls. Oh, for f...


Re: Webex....

Good enough for European leaders, good enough for National leaders, but not good enough for Parish Councils.

We were told last week (via our county association) that we could not use any electronics alternatives for meetings!

World's smallest violin to be played for opportunistic sellers banned from eBay and Amazon for price gouging


Re:Carol V

Having worked briefly with her before she was famous, I can attest to Carol having a wicked sense of humour, and if she had done the above it would not have been a mistake.

However, is seem to remember Judith Hann holding calculators.


Need to put reserves on

We are newbies to eBay selling.

My wife recently sold a pram and all its possible accessories. We had asked £50 (original prices over £360), the lady that came round to collect actually gave us £10 as she was embarrassed to have the winning bid of £5! (It cost us more than that in deep cleaning everything.)

[ICON] I'm glad my wife's self-isolation has finished and she is going back to the NHS front-line today as she has contracted the eBay bug and would sell the coat off my back!

UK enters almost-lockdown: Brits urged to keep calm and carry on – as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house


Re: Medics

A significant part of my Wilderness First Aid and Casualty Care training over the years has been about when not to bother.

My daughter has just qualified as a UK doctor and they are worried about the percentage they lose as bureaucracy use that is a valid metric without any form of context. (It's one of the metrics provided to prospective patients when they chose where to have treatment.)

[ICON] My only white coat is used for stock judging, not for medical use!


Re: Paranoid Rant

Or the large numbers of twitchers descending on my local reservoir from all over the country because someone thought they saw a bird! This means that it is now closed and it was the main dog walk for the locals.


Re: And use food delivery services where you can.”

Where the hell do you live? My nearest shop is 4 miles away, and they complain that they can't buy anything from the wholesalers!

I normally self-isolate to a large extent because of multiple issues. I spend £100 - 150 a week on a weekly shopping delivery from the nearest superstore (8 miles) for my family and have done for all of this century! However, for the last 3 weeks we have not been able to get a delivery slot and the earliest delivery we could get is still 2 weeks away.

My Pharmacist wife is in isolation due to a virus (don't think it is that one, but as there is no testing for NHS staff we don't know for sure), but had to break this to travel to the superstore (see above as to why the local shop was not an option) to get a few basics, but came back almost empty handed.

Things may be OK in the large cities, but just outside a county town the situation is dire!

BT's Wi-Fi Disc ads banned because there's no evidence the things work


Re: thinking the discs were battery-powered instead of needing a mains electrical connection.

When ripping out the leaking water jet bath in my house just after we moved in, I found a trailing socket and plug for the water jets pump under the leaking bath! The socket was wired directly onto twin and earth back to the distribution board with a nail for a fuse!

After the electrician electrocuted himself 3 times trying to sort out the wiring, we gave up and had the whole lot replaced. Some of the lights were on bell wire!

[ICON] fire, as that was what we expected if we didn't replace the whole wiring


Re: "Only we guarantee Wi-Fi in every room"

300 baud acoustic coupler!

Now I do feel old!

Looming ventilator shortage amid pandemic sparks rise of open-source DIY medical kit. Good thinking – but safe?


Re: Apollo 13 anyone?

An air scrubber and a calibrated ventilator are two completely different beasts!

India's tech hub Bengaluru tells IT outfits to send workers home as part of COVID-crimping action

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Scammers still working

I had two calls from 'Microsoft' this morning. (I have a physical phone line due to being in a mobile not-spot!)

When I tell them to p1ss off they normally just put the phone down, but one of them left me with the parting shout "I will send Covid-19 down the phone line to infect you!"

Good to see they know as much about disease as they do about computers!

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean


Yes, at my last company the cleaners did not go into the lab areas (even after a fly infestation!)

Back to the late 1980's. A husband and wife translation team worked from home. The husband’s computer kept losing the Wordstar (I think) documents, but never when he was at the desk. I soon had him saving the work to floppy on a regular basis, but was despatched by my boss to see what was happening. I had a very boring morning watching this couple in their living room. The husband went to the shops at lunchtime and the wife looked to me and put her finger to her lips. She then proceeded to remove the plug from his monitor, plug it into the printer and print off a couple of documents, before replacing the plug in his monitor. Unlike her computer with a separate CPU box, his was integrated and of course her removing the plug removed the power to the CPU as well. I had set up the autoexec.bat (or whatever it was then) to run Wordstar when it was powered on, so the husband only saw a loss of the document. Once I had explained the issue to the wife, I left a fault sheet listing a power cable entanglement issue (i.e. something that was their fault and I would not be blamed for) and then left. I never had another call from them, other than a regular order for more printer ribbons.

Microsoft, Google, Slack, Zoom et al struggling to deal with a spike in remote tools thanks to coronavirus

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Remote working

I work from a Home Office, as do most of my colleagues around the world (including China where a home office is very rare). We write a certifiable operating system; so a job that would traditionally be penned in a "gofer farm."

We tend to use Zoom for project (text) chats and its video for conferences, or when we just want to see someone (e.g. talking with line manager or customers). Had a call yesterday afternoon (GMT) with 157 participants with only 3 reporting slight, transient breakup of sound.

We use Remote Desktop to talk to lab equipment (wherever it happens to be in the world).

It's great to get out for a walk around the village at lunchtime and catch up on what's going on (I'm also Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council) and if there was a shop or cafe it would be used. Working from home (normally) helps both local businesses and the community cohesion.

If two outcomes of this pandemic are that more people work from home and more people use video conferencing rather than travelling to meetings, then it will have a lasting positive legacy.

Broadband providers can now flog Openreach's new IP voice network in bid to ditch UK's copper phone lines by 2025


I have used a Vonage adaptor ever since I got a fibre provider into our local Parishes. So it's all IP for us, without changing the physical phones.

BTW my mobile coverage is also via my broadband and a Femtocell.



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