* Posts by TV nerd

20 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Mar 2019

Capgemini to keep the legacy lights on at HMRC for £245.5M

TV nerd

The issue with HMRC is that it exists to employ civil servants while providing a begrudging 'service' to taxpayers.

The IT people implement systems that require humans to intervene in many areas where the IT should be doing the job.

The DSS is even worse. To get money paid back outside of a regular payment requires a team to 25 to manually print out the refund details, hand enter these details into a spreadsheet to generate a reference number and then retype (with the new reference number) into a payment system where a report is printed and the manually authorised. This process keeps 25 people employed - a simple script could replace that team, but never will because they might have to get rid of the team. You could not make it up.

Fancy building a replacement for Post Office's disastrous Horizon system?

TV nerd

Horizon was NT3.5 using ISDN calls to synchronise data.

It was designed ten years before your system ...

Also, it had to cost a lot less than yours on a per-store basis.

TV nerd

£75M is for the work the post office is not doing themselves ...

It will likely cost hundreds of millions - remember the Post Office is a publicly owned business !

TV nerd

Re: <ancient> hardware.

2966 is hardly 'ancient' ! Try a 1904S ?

Also a bit tricky to fit a 2966 OCP/SAC/SMAC and some FDS200's in the post office itself.

Perhaps awkward to explain the power usage too ...

The OPER is fine for the job - they took far more 'handling' than any sub-postmaster could provide :-)

Fujitsu to shutter operations in Republic of Ireland

TV nerd

The Post Office decided to prosecute when they knew there were problems in the system. Indeed, the Pist Office knew before the system was ever deployed that there were serious bugs - but decided to deploy anyway. This is all in the enquiry evidence.

ICL played no part in decisions to prosecute.

The now Fujitsu staff are rightly sick of being vilified by morons who have not bothered to understand who did what.

TV nerd

Re: Tony Blair Knew

Blair met with Fujitsu’s President- the result of which was that the PO took Horizon. It’s all in the enquiry evidence.

TV nerd

No, Ed Davey is part of the problem and he needs to be dealt with.

TV nerd

It was a PFI contract. ICL had spent a fortune developing the system to Benefits Agency requirements only for them to withdraw - the Post Office was forced by the government to take Horizon anyway.


Because Blair could not have a massive PFI failure at a time when PFI contracts were seen as the magic beans that would cure all problems.

TV nerd

The Horizon project was ICL’s.

Classic example of a project where the client and requirement changed before deployment, yet the Blair government forced the Post Office to deploy anyway.

Most of the ICL people are blameless - but the lawyers, Post Office senior staff and civil servants, government (Ed Davey, etc) are as guilty as hell.

(Remember the subpostmasters are not Post Office employees, and are the victims)

Post Office threatened to sue Fujitsu over missing audit data

TV nerd

Re: Somewhat elementary?

The messages were secured by a cryptographic signature. They do not need to be encrypted to be robust. The signatures prevent messages from being amended.

Computer Science courses should teach this far better …

TV nerd

Re: Somewhat elementary?

You miss the fact that the branches were “offline” and the transaction record there was “replicated” to a mirrored set of servers in a data centre.

There was no ICL VME as part of Horizon (ICL’s 2900 series having been end-of-life in the 1980s).

There were links from the Post Office data centres to ICL VME systems at the Benefits Agency data centres - but these systems were not ever part of Horizon.

Escher’s Riposte system handled the replication process over point to point links (normally ISDN).

Your points a) and b) are simply incorrect.

Boris Johnson's mad hydrogen for homes bubble bursts

TV nerd

Re: Electricity for heat pumps

When there’s no wind and no sunshine, where will the electricity come from? France won’t export it when it needs all production for itself. Further, about 5 times the grid capacity would be needed if all homes were heated by heat pumps - which are not efficient on, er, very cold days which is when there’s no sun and no wind.

Net zero will kill people through lack of heating and lack of food.

FreeBSD can now boot in 25 milliseconds

TV nerd

Re: VM vs Process

VME's idea of a VM was a little more involved as far as I remember it. In particular the lower half of the address spaces was "per-VM". Each VM could also be run with its own set of system/application libraries. Hardware assisted security features helped prevent cross-VM interactions.

VM's could also host emulations as finally happened with George and to a lesser extent unix.

I guess my take is that the combination of the "micro VM" and "containers" gets linux systems to where VME was in, er, 1973?

You might want to consider the cost of not upgrading legacy tech, UK's Department for Work and Pensions told

TV nerd

Re: Fingers crossed

Well there might have been a 6809 running some microcode. But that’s not how the 2966 rolled now is it?

It is ridiculous to suggest that VME/B is virtualised - for one thing, VME moved on a bit since you had a course on 2966 … no one has used VME/B since VME/K was killed in the early 80s. Oh, and the “x86” virtualisation is really Xeon hosted (in other words IA64) and utilises specialised microcode in the Xeons to get VME to work well on the micros. In simple terms, it’s a bit more than instruction set emulation.

The DWP systems were written in the standard Range COBOL and used the usual IDMS / TPMS TP combo.

There have been solutions to migrating these programs/systems without rewriting them for over 25 years.

The reason VME is still doing the pension job is simply due to DWP self interest …

Why? If the systems are rewritten, they will need less people to administer them. The union and management don’t like that …

It’s the DWP that is broken, not VME.

Thatcher-era ICL mainframe fingered for failure to pay out over £1bn in UK pensions

TV nerd

VME isn’t the problem …

This is not an ICL or VME problem - it’s a problem of the civil service unions resisting any and all automation.

I have too many stories to tell …

Btw, VME had been in central government for over a decade before the NICs system entered service. Oh, and the system didn’t run batch from tape either - it uses on online database. It was the first online system that the DSS could use and had terminals in all office.

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

TV nerd


So tell, how is the method of recording Covid deaths in the U.K. comparable to any other country?

Hint: Germany was recording way less compared to the U.K. simply because did how they fill their forms in …

TV nerd


Which of your posts were truth?

They seem mostly to be political statements from an extreme left point of view …

UK spends £36m on 18 little 'bullet-proof' boats to protect Royal Navy assets

TV nerd

Re: Feh.

My grandfather spent part of the war driving these things as a RNR Commander.

He was even asked to take to the lifeboats on day when a U boat surfaced in front of him … so losing his boat!

Patent battle over Facebook Live and 'walkie talkie' tech rattles through High Court in London

TV nerd


There is no such thing as a “EU Patent”.

The EPO is nothing to do with the EU.

The referenced article concerning the use of the English courts by German entities to bring actions is to do with limitations in the German legal system. It is nothing to do with the EU ...

Brexit text-it wrecks it: Vote Leave fined £40k for spamming 200k msgs ahead of EU referendum

TV nerd

Not the whole story ...

Well they can’t prove they had consent if they followed the rules and deleted all the data after they had ceased having a use under the original purpose.

This is the ICO playing politics rather than upholding the law. I expect there will be an appeal where this fine will be removed and the ICO pays costs - but the media won’t be covering this I expect.

See Guido’s write up for a more complete view ...