* Posts by Keith Tayler

6 posts • joined 27 Aug 2018

I'm not Boeing anywhere near that: Coder whizz heads off jumbo-sized maintenance snafu

Keith Tayler


About 25 years ago there was a TV documentary series on the development of the Boeing 777. In Episode 3 (link below) Pratt and Whitney had designed an engine for it and Boeing’s Director of Engineering, Ronald Ostrowski and others, didn’t want to test the engine on a Flying Engine Bed, i.e., a powered aeroplane with the test engine attached. They reasoned that the data from the ground engine testbed and computer models would be sufficient and they could skip the usual FEB testing, thereby saving Boeing ten million dollars and time. Boeing’s John Cashman, Chief Pilot, disagreed and managed to get Boeing to agree to a FEB and the test engine was attached to a 747. On the third flight the test engine surged on take-off, a problem that was not detected by the ground engine testbed. A surge is not a very serious problem on one engine, but if two engines had been tested on a 777 body and both engines had surged, as was quite likely, it would have led to some loss of power at completely the wrong time.

The whole series is an interesting insight into aeroplane development. Episode 4 covers the computer systems and should have been titled ‘Nobody knew how difficult it would be’. Of course, everybody should have known how difficult it would be.


Free online tax filing? Yeah, that'll soon be illegal thanks to rare US Congressional unity

Keith Tayler

Keith Tayler

You are correct - Smith and Marx agreed on more than they disputed. One of the 'differences' was that Smith believe that the division of labour (technology) and capitalism would reduce most of humanity to deskilled idiots unless the state intervened to prevent it. Marx believed this dystopia could be avoided - after capitalism failure and revolution - by communism. So either way they still agreed that capitalism would end badly.

Artificial Intelligence: You know it isn't real, yeah?

Keith Tayler

Re: the error is in call it "AI" !!!

I totally agree but it is seemly impossible to get academics, business, governments, media and the world from using "AI". Today's so-called AI is not what McCarthy was describing with term in 1956. It is, as you say, Machine Learning and we should expect this "learning" to be very lumpy. We should also take a look at the rise of statistics and probability theory in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the difficulties ML is generating, including the hype and myth, were first generated over a century ago. ML has automated these analytical methods which of course adds another turn of the screw.

Hopefully the second wave of AI hype is beginning to subside and we can sensibly investigate the potential and limitations of the technology. I do have my doubts about this as there is too much invested in the myth of AI.

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found

Keith Tayler

If there were drones there must be radar plots of them. Gatwick, like all major airports, is bathed in microwaves which can identify birds kilometers from the runway. Surely we should say, if there are no radar plots there are no drones.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Keith Tayler

Keith Tayler

A Swedish company is responsible. Let us hope it makes the Swedish government think again about making a cashless economy within two years.

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Keith Tayler

Keith Tayler

I made the same request last June and as yet have heard nothing. It has not surprised me as I have never managed to get a reasonable response from FB. For years I have complained about scam ads, "news" feeds and no timeline feeds but have been brushed off by an algorithm. However, it is always worth complaining because it all forms part of 'my' data which might be useful in the future.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020