131 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008
Re: UFO/ Doesn't explain the purple wigs worn by the female staff on Moonbase.
Yes, but the female crewmembers had something underneath
>Excuse me, but doesn't spending £6bn on 2 aircraft carriers count as new weapons? Also they spend more on aircraft than IT or weapons. But what is a fighter plane?<
I imagine that aircraft carriers, and fighter planes, would be more accurately thought of as weapon delivery systems rather than weapons in their own right.
>The car gives nobody anything by way of science or inspiration.<
No, but it's pure PR - and good PR, too. If SpaceX had just lifted a block of concrete to orbit then the launch might have been given a few seconds of coverage on the news because it's a new rocket. But because of the car & everything else associate with it ('Life On Mars' on the stereo, HHGTTG & a towel in the glovebox, etc) everyone's talking about it - even those with absolutely no interest in space technology
Re: Missile Defense = "Hitting a bullet with a bullet."
>Instead of attempting to "hit a bullet with a bullet", they should sneak up from behind thus making the relative closing speed much closer to zero (as opposed to "Plaid" x 2). It would make the interception very nearly trivial, plus they could immediately try again if they missed the first time.<
You'd never catch it. Think how much faster the interceptor would need to be to get close enough to finally match the speed - you wouldn't normally be launching at the same time & from the same location. And the location of your anti-missile defences would have to be a long way away from the target as well in order to catch up with it before it reaches its target...
Re: but the target made it easier by sending back tracking data.
>So really, all we need is for everyone to install transponders on their ICBMs.
It is just the considerate thing to do.<
Yep. Except that the missile they failed to intercept wasn't an ICBM - it was a much slower, lower-altitude aircraft-launched missile. An ICBM travels outside the atmosphere, at far higher speeds, and typically delivers several different warheads to different locations. It would be orders of magnitude harder to destroy one of those.
Re: Kim Jong-un
>So what you suggest hasn't worked for 50 years, but you push that FAILED narrative anyway, against a POTUS you don't like, though the POTUS's you DID like failed utterly. You have a bit of a logic gap. Diplomacy has and will fail unless applied by China and Russia. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Trump.<
Well the US hasn't really tried diplomacy with NK have they? Just increasing levels of sanctions & threatening behaviour toward them, even with the 'peaceful' presidents. It's perfectly understandable that they've wanted to develop a deterrent against being attacked.
Now that you have Trump, though, the threatening language is becoming very stupid indeed. It certainly can't help, can it?
Re: El Reg is more influential than you would think
The Freemasons attitudes & actions are incompatible with public service
I can quite believe this
We have an Echo in the lounge, & every now & again - even if the room is silent, so it can't have misheard a command - it will spring into life & give a weather report, play music or answer some question it wasn't asked! Only happens once every few day, so it's more amusing than annoying. Unless it starts doing it during the early hours, of course...
>Let me correct you. My other half has been in the thick of the unholy mess for some years now, and the current structure of the NHS is almost entirely the work of one Tony Blair and his ministerial sycophants, in a series of changes from 2008 through 2012,<
You do realise that the Tories took over in 2010? And one of the first things they did (after promising not to) was to start a top-down reorganisation of the entire setup?
I used to work in the NHS, and I still do bits of consultancy for them.
Re: RE: "but where does the money come form"
>Thats easy: instant dismissal for all managers who should have sorted out security but didn't. And their bosses for slack supervision. The NHS is top-heavy with useless management anyway, so the savings made by sacking them will more than pay for replacing outdated PCs.<
I'm afraid that just shows that you don't really understand the issues here.
Re: @Ledswinger "Its an excellent idea......"
>My business has 2 revenue streams - software reselling and consultancy. On software, I make between 10% and 15%. Consulting is 100% (it's only my time). A turnover tax would hit the software side disproportionately - I'd just stop reselling software.
Net result - less tax for government, less profit for me, more software sales going direct, customers get poorer advice. Everyone loses.<
Not true. The customers would still need that software, so would buy it from somewhere else & the tax would still be paid. You might just find that advising people on what software to buy becomes part of your consultancy, if you're not prepared to resell it yourself.
>Go read JinC's comment above. He's already nailed this political garbage. You know as well as I do that no party dare touch the NHS in the way you suggest and this is an over-used piece of claptrap that Labour drag out at every opportunity. And as JimC says, it inhibits everybody from trying to improve the situation the NHS has got into.<
No, YOU are wrong. There are many documented cases of in-house NHS services being barred from tendering for services in favour of private companies - and even cases where the internal bid came in cheaper, but was still rejected.
Plus you have people like Richard Branson buying up everything he can, & suing the NHS if he then doesn't win a tender operation.
When you introduce profit-making motives to any public organisation you will inevitably find that either service levels drop or costs increase (or both!) in order to keep the private provider in business.
Re:Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year
>I wish I had the willpower to do a proper rant about the new GCSE grading system. It's complete BS. Terrible idea. I don't even really know why, I just really, really don't like it. My main problem with it is that it seems entirely unnecessary. Every new Education Secretary thinks they know a new /revolutionary idea/ that I know first hand just makes it harder for students to know what the fuck is going on, and honestly? Students are pretty disorientated as it is, even without the system changing like pan's labyrinth.<
What's so hard about the higher number being the better result? Seems pretty intuitive to me. And it has the bonus that if you want an overall summary of a pupil's exam results, you just need to add them all together and have a single number - which incorporates both the number of subjects taken and their final grade.
Re: Isn't C supposed to be average?
"In my view exam scores shouldn't be set to deliver a normal distribution across each year's cohort."
In my view, however, that's exactly how it should work. As a population we are NOT getting more intelligent on an annual basis. And as the article describes, teaching isn't improving either. So the only explanation for consistent grade rises year after year is that the subject is getting easier.
At the school 2 of my kids went to they were allowed - even encouraged - to keep resubmitting their coursework multiple times in order to address the comments the teacher had made, and improve their marks. Followed to a logical conclusion there was no excuse for any pupil not to get an A* in every subject. The consequence of which is, employers/colleges have no way to differentiate between the new applicants based on academic ability.
You don't get that in an exam, which makes it a better test of a child's real ability. And while I accept that some don't thrive under exam pressure, they probably wouldn't do under pressure at work either for the same reason. And in order to prevent distortion of results by the exams being judged to be harder/easier than normal this year, you work out the grades based on the fact that the top X% get the top grade, the next Y% get the second-best grade, and so on.
There are very few things that the tory government has done that I approve of, but this is one example.
Re: Time for some clever industrial design.
>Obviously the challenges of getting anything to work in that sort of environment are horrific. But someone is going to have to think up the machines that can work there, otherwise how will they ever get it dismantled? I think we need some sort of international organisation that has lots of big and rugged machines that can cope with any environment, permanently at the ready to go to the rescue after some major emergency. Best locate it somewhere neutral, ideally near the equator. Nice tropical island somewhere?<
I think such an organisation would be much more focussed on saving lives, & not worry very much about cleaning up afterwards.
Re: Basic accountancy problem
>So perhaps we ought to just give up on taxing company profit, and slightly raise VAT & payroll taxes to compensate?<
So you want to move the tax burden even further from the corporates onto our own shoulders? That doesn't sound like a very good idea...
Re: Just ONE astronaut?
>Just one guy, though? I don't think they've really thought this through enough.<
I don't have any more insight to their plans than you do, but what you're failing to consider is that AI/autonomous flight is far, far more advanced now than it was during the Apollo days. The spacecraft could probably do a better job of docking with each other, etc, than a human pilot could.
Having worked there myself for a while, as an Operations Manager, I too am surprised that anyone stays with them. I left because I couldn't live with myself in relation to the company's attitude toward customers - the system reimaging the customer servers to an 'as new' state happened all the time, and it's only then that most customers realised that backups weren't part of the service...
I've never seen another company with a worse staff turnover problem. While it meant promotion could be quite quick for some, lack of experience was always an issue (they only pay well for certain VERY technical roles). The shift patterns for the 24/7 areas were unbearable. There was little or no training on their unique infrastructure. And management were very good at shifting blame onto those lower down the ladder, even if the reasons were very tenuous.
I gained some useful experience of managing a very large infrastructure (20,000 physical & 40,000 virtual servers when I was there), but it's not a place I regret leaving...
Re: '34 years of development - Windows 10 is the result'
>Until the balance suddenly tips, and people actually see Linux for what it is, a decent OS.<
In order to succeed on the desktop, Linux has to lose what its supporters evangelise over so much - choice. When there are so many distros and so many GUIs to choose from, that all do things in slightly different ways, you're not going to get the standardisation that business requires to make their users productive (standard training courses or manuals, etc).
In order for corporates to adopt it you'll also want compatibility with (or at least a close alternative to) Active Directory and Group Policy. Bake those into the OS and it might stand a chance; without it, support costs go through the roof.
Re: @Voland "Because you can"
>On election day, you have more than 20+ items.<
I think we're talking mainly about UK elections, which aren't done in such a confusing way as in the US. You just have one sheet of paper (maybe 2 if there's both a local and general election on the same day) and you mark an 'X' next to your preferred candidate's name.
Re: "Because you can"
>Actually in Germany we have paper ballots, they are counted by volunteers. Polling stations close at 18:00, and most polling places finish counting at about 18:30-19:00. In time for the 20:00 news there's already a "preliminary official end result".<
Do you have a relatively small number of polling stations in Germany that people have to travel to? Or are they counted in the polling station itself? In a typical constituency of the UK it would take more time than that just to get the ballot boxes from the individual stations to the counting location.
>If it's a retro console they are planning on building then there are already plug into a TV joysticks that come with loads of Atari games on them (not sure of the legality of them though) so why it would be years in the making I can't understand.<
It's always possible that they're just going to repackage the same tech under the official Atari brand name.
Re: So many flaws
>We need to make fairer (the USA, less than 13% of world population, consume 75% resources) and better use of this planet rather than trying to colonise a totally unsuitable one, with an elite of less than 0.0001%, probably more likely 0.0000001% of people.<
There's no reason to believe that these people will be the 'elite'; they'd be giving up very comfortable conditions on Earth for a lifetime of hardship, after all. But the point you're missing is that Musk is talking about protection against an extinction-level event; massive asteroid impact, global nuclear war, or whatever. No matter how nice you make Earth before such an event, it doesn't help; the only chance of survival is simply not being there.
But that does assume that the Mars colony reaches a point where they're no longer reliant on resupply from Earth, of course...
>The BBC has gone so much downhill that it might as well get the coup de grace.
Most of its good stuff isn't made in-house anyway.<
I'd agree that the news/political analysis is far from what it used to be. But the only reason that so much of its content is outsourced these days is because the government forces them to. Probably a few MPs who have shares in TV production companies...
Re: Not sure what they used...
>The Z80 wouldn't have been released in time for this mission and certainly wasn't rad-hard.<
Interestingly there WAS a radiation-hardened version of the Z80 available at one time; I remember a magazine article claiming that a few had accidentally found their way into ZX81s!
Re: O2 many issues
>I think would it have been cheaper to equip the carriers with catapults and conventional aircraft than to flush money down the crapper on the shoddy F35's.<
From the outset, yes you're probably right. But existing catapults rely on steam generators. The US carriers are nuclear powered, so generating steam is easy. The UK carriers aren't, so would need separate steam generation facilities - and there's no room.
They were built with the 'capability' of being retro-fitted with electric catapults, but that technology's not been developed yet...
We'd probably have been better off retaining the Harriers until the new catapults are available, instead of selling them to the yanks for £1
>"At least with the IRA,... they were not anxious to kill a lot of people,"
That's not what it seemed like at the time. MI5 weren't involved in day-to-day murder investigations so she might not have noticed.<
To be fair to them, although they were pretty brutal in Ireland they did give warnings for *most* (not all!) of their mainland bombings, meaning the buildings could usually be evacuated. Looking back at it now it seems almost civilised, in terrorist terms at least.
And that is NOT to say I condone their actions, or those of any other groups.
Re: £10bn isn’t as much as it sounds either.
>And let's not forget that Labor under Bliar handed out about £15Bn to contractors ("pumped into NHS IT" is misleading BS) to get systems better. IIRC the big win was Xray and MI machines going fully digital. Useful certainly, but worth £15Bn?<
I don't agree with a lot of what Blair did, but when Labour came to power last time & invested in the NHS waiting times for operations dropped from 20 months to 18 weeks. Targets to be treated within A&E were introduced, and were consistently met by all hospitals. Since the cuts, the tories have lowered those target figures significantly and STILL every hospital in the country is missing them.
The tories simply don't believe in the NHS - they see it as an expense, rather than an investment in the health of the population.
Re: Money is the solution
>Why not compare the NHS to the German, French or Norwegian systems instead of picking the most morally bankrupt system you could think of? The NHS isn't that good when you compare like with like...<
Well one good reason is that Jeremy Hunt has spent an awful lot of time lately meeting with US Healthcare Insurers. Coincidence?
Re: Spawn Of Satan
>Much as I dislike May the alternatives are all politicians too, they are also more likely to steal the money and assets I have accrued over my working lifetime so I can pay my way when I retire. I'll happily pay more tax on my income, pretty average, but being penalised for saving rather than pissing everything away is not something I can vote for.<
You've just described tory policy - not any of the alternatives. Are you aware of that?
Re: “the most ambitious programme of investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen”
Let's not forget that the tories plan to implement the Naylor Report - which will force the NHS to sell off many of its buildings & land.
Re: The long-term cost no one talks about..
>Although it will hit the deficit I think paying off these PFI's will actually save money in the long run.<
Rather than paying them off I think we should find legal recourse to come out of what are plainly very unfair contracts. Their original investment has already been paid off many times over - time to stop them fleecing us
>Labour plans to increase the annual NHS England budget by £11bn a year. Given three health think tanks reckon it needs £30bn extra in five years' time to stand still given the healthcare inflation problem (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/127abc06-4a19-11e7-a7b8-5e01acd01516) the same funding shortfall largely applies.<
They also plan to get rid of the far-more-expensive privatised services & bring them in-house again, freeing up more money. The extra funding for social care will also reduce current levels of bed-blocking, which is a major expense
>So you're incorrect. It's an independent deterrent until the US refuse to cooperate on maintenance. At which point the missiles have a ten year rated lifespan, and we usually have 2 or 3 boats loaded at any one time. So we could probably maintain a credible reduced deterrent for 6 months to a couple of years.
So not enough to get a replacement solution in place, but long enough that the US can't cut us off at the knees halfway through a crisis.<
And that maintainance is only a contractual obligation. I'd be VERY surprised if the Navy didn't have people with the required skills available to do the work if needed.
>Even if it were possible to launch, it wouldn't get far - our American cousins are required to provide guidance once it breaks the surface. It's only an independent deterrent to the extent we choose when and where to park it....and the US doesn't get to launch them without our approval.<
There is a HUGE amount of misinformation out there about our deterrent, and your comment is part of it!
1. We do NOT need US permission/codes to launch; it would probably be impossible to get that at time of war anyway! If the sub commander believes the UK government has been 'compromised' then he opens his sealed orders and acts accordingly
2. NO external guidance is required whatsoever. Trident uses an inertial guidance system. The missile is launched towards its target using the most accurate data available at the time. Once the missile reaches an appropriate altitude it takes sightings of several stars and makes any course corrections that might be necessary.
It would be wonderful if posting this meant that I'd never have to correct someone on it againb, but experience proves that that won't be the case...
>The reply will be a quick conversion of most of the UK to a glass lake. 16 missiles versus 1600. Not a pretty math.<
Which is why Trident can carry multiple independently-targeted warheads per missile; up to 12 each I believe, although 8 is the norm. Of course the Russians also have similar capability and more missiles, but it's overkill. What we have is enough to inflict huge damage on them, which is a sufficient deterrent to make a first strike unthinkable (except for the current crop of Tories, it appears...)
Re: Rick Dickinson
>So will it run OLD games with no colour clash?<
No. As it says on the website.
>Everyone is talking about the breach. What about the numbers? Why are the 25,000 shotguns in London? How many have shortened barrels and live in the back of Ford Transits?<
I'm finding it hard to decide whether this is a poor attempt at a joke, or you really don't understand what's being discussed...
>By law here in GrumpenLand, guns have to be kept in seriously heavy safes. How is that in the UK? Asking because if firearms can be extracted without opening a safe, the chances for targeted break ins are even higher.<
The actual requirement for security isn't stipulated nationally, but is down to your local Chief Constable. Some forces insist on VERY stringent measures, with thick steel cases that have to be firmly fixed to the structure of the building using tamperproof bolts etc, anti-pick locks, lock & ammo stored separately, and various other measures. Some will accept a wooden case with a simple lock. Remember also that there's a distinction between a firearm and a shotgun; the rules on shotguns are usually more lax.
Re: Why does the US care if people own bits of the Moon?
Russia returned samples from the moon robotically, although after Apollo 11 got there.
As for NASA's rocks, we have some of them in the UK (held by PPARC) which regularly go out on loan to schools etc. I'd be very surprised if they still have 100% of what they started with!
Re: More USS Gravy Train than USS Enterprise
React. Impressive though the various Mars rovers have been, they have very limited range and analysis capabilities. Just look at the distance actually travelled by them on the surface, and how long it's taken them to do that; it's a surprisingly small distance. A human could probably do more in a few days, even on foot. With some kind of transport to take them to interesting-looking sites, much more.
Re: Was it really so short lived?
It was only MADE for 3 years, but sold so badly they were in UK shops for a lot longer...
Re: Windows ME was worse
There was a lot of software that either didn't work on ME, or needed a lot of messing about to get working. I remember Sage Line 100 being something I had to do a lot of work with at the time, as well as the Swan ERP system that was based on it.
Strangely it worked better on the NT-based kernels, although the users had to have local admin rights (same was true for a LOT of Windows software back then)
Re: why not just run Ubuntu and put Windows in the virtual machine?
>Battery life is around 6 to 7 hours. Which is about 2-3 hours more than Windows 10 because of better CPU management.<
That's an unusual experience; battery life in Linux / Win10 is most commonly the other way around
>Also, do a clean install of Windows on any OEM machine and I guarantee most of them won't even have networking unless you download the required drivers from the manufacturers website.<
That very much depends on how old your Windows installation media is, just as it would for Linux
>Id say out of the box, by default, Linux supports more common hardware. Especially network cards.<
It has a lot of generic drivers, which might *just about* work for particular hardware, but often it's not well optimised.
>Granted Wifi on Linux can be poor, but to be fair if you end up buying a laptop with poorly supported hardware your research failed not Linux.<
But aren't you arguing the opposite in Window's case?
>Finally, if you sir are struggling to spec a laptop to fit the requirements of a piece of software then you sir are not fit for this community.<
But should you really need to in 2017? Surely it should all just work.
Linux has its uses, and its devoted fans, but it has a long way to go before it can be properly manageable in a corporate desktop environment. The very flexibility/customisability that its fans love count heavily against it - and the same is true for non-techie home users too.
Re: "should have tested"
>they could have shot it off the bottom of a plane, using some gas, like an ejector seat, 1 fail in a 100 and its time to redesign<
Firstly, I think they'd be very happy with a success rate much, much lower than 99%...
Secondly, testing in Earth atmosphere at any speed, especially after not enduring the months of travel in vacuum, is hardly a comparable test.
Re: 2 years?
>I'm still not convinced that Brexit should take 2 years. We hold all the cards.<
The only way that we hold all the cards is if it's a game where the object is to get rid of them
It's not that easy...
At my own workplace I've had to recover from 2 ransomware attacks over the last few months. Both arrived as an email apparently from a trusted source that the users dealt with regularly, so had no reason to be suspicious of. I scanned the attachment later with 3 different AV packages, and none found a problem.
Very glad that my backups were working well at the time...
Re: Why don't I just mosey on down and rob the bank @ x 7
>There's a certain amount of truth in that, but I don't think you should be too complacent. The US has about the same, maybe slightly more doctors per capita than the UK. And in which developed country has the Red Cross recently described the state health service as suffering a "humanitarian crisis"? I live near one the hospitals particularly singled out for criticism, and my other half works in the NHS, and I know for a fact the situation is really, really bad. I'd rather become ill in the US than in Worcestershire.<
There is definitely a crisis in the NHS, brought about by the last 6 years of government deliberately running it into the ground in order that they can propose rescuing it by full privatisation. However, for the time being the health service is still free at the point of access. Did you know that the most common cause of bankruptcy in the states is medical bills? Even a heart attack can easily cost $1m.
Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.
>I'm not a biologist (or fan of zombie fiction). But it seems to me that zombies can only walk and there are a large number of inhabited islands on the planet.
Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel, I don't think we'd be troubled. Though having to become self-sufficient might be a bit of a shock to some.<
Ah, but it seems likely that zombies don't breath. Which means they could potentially walk across the seabed in order to get to other islands, etc. Maybe also infecting fish; you could be attacked by a zombie cod while fishing for food...
Re: Ah, Excel sorting
>Most spreadsheets (including Excel) allow you to modify the format of a column (/row/cell) to allow it to keep the leading zero. It's up to the user to pick the appropriate format themselves.<
But that's only temporary formatting. Try saving it as a CSV, ready to import into something else - then decide you need to edit a little more. When you open that CSV in Excel the leading zeros are all gone