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* Posts by Mike Pellatt

352 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

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ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

Mike Pellatt

Notice I said Sinclair rather than ZX experience, I was more thinking of the QL.

To say nothing of the black watch and the IC12. And the calculator. Those are what I remember Sinclair for.

Travesties, all of them. As I've said before, Chief Dick Sinclair created the IC12 (rated 12W peak, hence the name) by taking a Plessey 10W peak rated IC amp and, errr, sticking a heatsink on it. That was his level of understanding of semiconductor thermal management. And how I learnt all about it the hard way, repeatedly blowing them up....

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The Solar System's oldest minerals reveal the Sun's violent past

Mike Pellatt

While we're all being pedantic...

The mineral contains small pockets of inert gases preserved from the chemical reactions from when the Sun’s energetic protons smashed into the calcium and aluminium atoms in the crystals

I didn't think energetic protons smashing into atoms and bringing about a change of atomic number or some other nuclear reaction fell into the definition of "chemical reactions".

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Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

Mike Pellatt

Re: Let's get one thing straight. Right here. Right now.

Otherwise, how do you tell legit residents from those lying through their teeth?

Well, in this case, quite obvs, it was done by skin colour. And that is what was so utterly, utterly disgusting about it.

I don't know, today, just what documentary proof might be demanded in 50 years by some Government to determine my citizenship rights. It could well turn out that I'm missing some bit they consider vital then.

But, my skin is The Right Colour, so I guarantee it wouldn't be an issue.

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Mike Pellatt

Re: "If there are no ID cards no one can demand them,"

What you read about stolen identities and frauds in US, for example, or the Windrush story, are unheard of in countries with an ID system.

My bullshit-o-meter hit the endstop with that claim of "identity theft unheard of in countries with an ID system."

So I did a bit of googling. It seems France, well-known for its ID cards, does indeed have an identity theft issue. As does, unsurprisingly, every country in the Known Universe.

Here is but one academic study for your digestion to back this assertion up.

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Brit spending watchdog brands GP Primary Support Care a 'complete mess'

Mike Pellatt

everyone has their own view and even the users sometimes don't know what they actually want/need or their individual needs differ

"T-Government" (Transformational Government - yes, really) which was going to be the successor to E-Government was going to fix all that.

What people needed would be defined by the IT spec, not the other way round. Yes, really. I remember sitting through this crap whilst a minister talked about it.

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Mike Pellatt

Why does this keep happening time and time again?!?

Because there are no/insufficient people capable of framing contracts properly and then managing them within uk.gov.

AKA client-side capability. The cost of which is clearly never properly factored into this sort of thing.

DafT are just the same. It's the root cause of the current rail fiasco - and first became blindingly obvious after Virgin's successful challenge of the ECML franchise award. Which, of course, is still to be re-tendered.

Then, of course, there's the Home Office. G4S tagging fiasco. Probation service fiasco. etc. etc.

And the G4S Olympics security fiasco.

Let's not mention DWP and the WCA.

All, every single one, symptomatic of ineffective client-side contract management. And the constant forgetting of the maxim that the Government can (maybe) transfer (some) financial risk, but the risk of service delivery failure can never be transferred. After all, that's the job of the government.....

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UK's Huawei handler dials back support for Chinese giant's kit in critical infrastructure

Mike Pellatt

Re: Security risks are still just risks

Or ask RBS too. Except their Head of Risk was quite explicit about the risks Fred the Shred was exposing the bank to....

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Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach

Mike Pellatt

Re: good question

Yeah. Amey. West Berks Council.

You'd think people would have learnt and wouldn't outsource to them. They have form going back well over a decade. And some of us <cough> saw this coming

https://www.european-services-strategy.org.uk/outsourcing-ppp-library/contract-and-privatisation-failures/west-berkshire-terminates-strategic-partnershi

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UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

Mike Pellatt

DartCharge. Still crazy, sorry, alpha after all these years.

We're now over 3.5 years since free-flowing (sic) charging was introduced at the Dartford Crossing.

Also known as DartCharge.

The payment service for this is still in alpha. Yes, alpha. A live service. Nearly 4 years after it went live.

You really, really, really couldn't make it up, could you ?? And these clowns think they can get a technological solution to managing tariffs without turning Kent into one sodding great lorry park ?? I don't think so.

https://www.dartford-crossing-charge.service.gov.uk/Home/Choose

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Mike Pellatt

Re: [Sniff][Sniff]

That's exactly what the GTR franchise was set-up for, too.

I don't expect Failing Grayling's investigation to point that out, though.

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National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

Mike Pellatt

@'s water music: "Perhaps May's genius was to take the famously 'not fit for purpose' department and redefine its incompetence as a performance target."

Oh, you deserve 1000 upvotes for that one. Superb.

And then she claimed that her civil servants were being over-zealous for, errrrr, implementing the hostile environment that was her policy. And anyway, it was all the fault of the Windrush people for not having the documents that they errr, didn't need at the time or for decades afterwards. Kafka must be so impressed.

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Mike Pellatt

Genius statement

"The solution is to fix their appalling decision-making," Patel says. "There's no technological solution to that."

Also known as "You can't fix stupid"

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Have to use SMB 1.0? Windows 10 April 2018 Update says NO

Mike Pellatt
Coat

Re: Fix it, don't disable it

I don't think it was "fecked up by design" - i.e. the original intention in the design being to feck it up.

"The design was fecked-up" is perhaps what you meant.

Then again, that's pretty standard for any networking protocol designed at the same time, when security was, well, not considered at all. SMTP probably stands out most of all :-) (although that does of course predate SMB by some considerable margin)

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US-China trade war is back on: White House repeats threat to tax Middle Kingdom imports

Mike Pellatt
Coat

Someone who wants to make a deal more than you do....

Like us Brits were told the EU had more to lose than us and would accede to all our demands, then.

Looks like that's turning out well.

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Epyc fail? We can defeat AMD's virtual machine encryption, say boffins

Mike Pellatt

Re: Yes, hardware.

Perhaps one of the reasons why meltdown impacted all the major chips in very similar fashion, no?

Indeed not. It's because the meltdown vuln and similar is an inevitable result of the execution-time optimisations common across the x86 arch (and likely also to show up in any CISC execution-time optimisation in some form or another - were there any other CISC arch left around.....)

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UK.gov's use of black box algorithms to decide stuff needs watching

Mike Pellatt

UK.gov deciding stuff needs watching

There, FTFY.

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UK chancellor puts finger in air, promises 15 million full fibre connections by 2025

Mike Pellatt

Market conditions

Because 100% Business Rates Relief for Fibre Infrastructure for 5 years from 1 April 2017 is creating just the right market conditions for encouraging long-term investment with a 20+-year payback, isn't it ?

Idiot.

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Zuckerberg gets a night off: Much-hyped Euro grilling was all smoke, absolutely no heat

Mike Pellatt

Re: Well isn't that just great

.....as we saw for example with roaming charges and more recently with environmental legislation.

To say nothing of getting Microsoft to cough up the necessary docs to properly interoperate with AD. Which neither the US government nor the UK government managed to achieve.

Not that that gov.UK could be arsed to do anything about it

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Mike Pellatt

(The EU) is run by a civil service, with a toothless and loud parliament.

Whereas the UK is....

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I got 257 problems, and they're all open source: Report shines light on Wild West of software

Mike Pellatt

Re: False positive problem with Black Duck

So their quality of code analysis and interpretation clearly matches that carried out by SCO before launching their "Linux stole all our code" farce.

Quelle surprise. No technical capability whatsoever there.....

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Capita cost-cutting on NHS England contract 'put patients at risk' – spending watchdog

Mike Pellatt

Re: Hate for Capita

Only way things will improve is if the public sector .... starts to police contract awards effectively.

But, as someone up there somewhere said, the set of skills needed to be effective on the client side of a contract of this nature, and the set of skills needed to effectively manage the job in-house have a pretty massive overlap.

Add into that, as I keep banging on, you can transfer financial risk (at least in the short term) from the public sector to the private sector, but the risk of service failure will always fall to the public sector. Along with the concomitant costs....

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Measure for measure: Why network surveys don't count what counts

Mike Pellatt

It's not "terrible coverage" that you're suffering from. It's the Laws of Physics, Jim.

In this case, radio propagation. The idea that coverage can be achieved in every single cubic centimetre of a city is Total Bollocks (tm) (1). With far fewer massive solid objects to reflect the waves and cause multipathing, you could perhaps get closer to that in rural areas. But there, of course, there aren't enough base stations and the issues become signal strength and line of sight rather than multipathing.

(1) Ob. Peter Cochrane - unless we'd put fibre into every home with NTEs that were also pico-cells.

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Microsoft's most popular SQL Server product of all time runs on Linux

Mike Pellatt

Re: Funny error messages

My favourite, from 80's Unix, obvs.

$ make "Maggie resign"

Don't know how to make Maggie resign

Stop.

Clearly, make hadn't been told about the Community Charge :-)

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Sir Clive Sinclair dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle

Mike Pellatt

Re: I don't have a crystal ball but...

Yes.

When I read "....has descended into a horrible, stinking mess that sullies the Spectrum legacy" I couldn't help but think "more than it did to itself back in the day"

Black watch, anyone ?? Just for starters.

IC12 ? Take a Plessey IC amp, stick a heatsink on it, and uprate it from 5W to 12W. Quality engineering, that was.

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Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Mike Pellatt

Re: The most amazing engineering

Indeed. I used to be a Surrey County Councillor.

We had to pause at every full council meeting as the 11am flight went over County Hall in Kingston.

No-one ever complained

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IETF: GDPR compliance means caring about what's in your logfiles

Mike Pellatt

Re: What rolls downstairs, alone or in pairs ?

Have 100 upvotes for Ren & Stimpy

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Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Mike Pellatt

Re: My Dad...

My Dad (RIP) was worse on a touchscreen than a kbd/mouse, unfortunately.

He appeared utterly incapable of just tapping the screen without touching it for ages and sliding his finger across, thus generating an entirely different gesture from the one intended.

Also, I couldn't remote in with teamviewer to clear the mess up/show him what he needed to do. Still, on the upside, he was doing he banking online until he reached 95 years old or so. Was even persuaded to give up the paper statements.

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O2 wolfs down entire 4G spectrum as pals fiddle with their shiny 5G band

Mike Pellatt

Re: All money raised from the auction to be paid to HM Treasury.

Can you say "UK Gov doesn't do hypothecation" ??

I knew you could.

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Brit MPs chide UK.gov: You're acting like EU data adequacy prep is easy

Mike Pellatt

"Ceasing to be a member" is easy. "Defining what that means" is something else entirely.

Oh, come on. Have you been on a desert island for the last 2 years? We know exactly what it means.

"Brexit means Brexit"

Easy peasy.

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Rant launches Eric Raymond's next project: open-source the UPS

Mike Pellatt

Re: server based UPS

DEC-10 KI10 processor, even better. Absolutely massive transformer in each 38" rack (each processor was 2 of them plus a 3rd for console, DECTapes, paper tape reader/punch, hundreds of blinkenlights) full wave rectification, even bigger caps for smoothing. 8VDC or so fed to series stabilisers down to 5VDC for the TTL along each row. The series stabiliser power transistors were in their own airflow up the end of the row.

Aircon and humidifier failures totally swamped any power issues (if any, this was South Kensington :-) )

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Mike Pellatt

fairly reliable system.....As long as you can get fuel for the damn thing

And as long as you don't end up running the system in an environment filled with dust (that wasn't in the design spec), you lose access to it, and the air filters get blocked.

See 9/11.

TBF, you did say "fairly reliable". That was an extreme event.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

Mike Pellatt

Re: Sad Really...

But woe betide you if you have an address that's hard to find (esp by the cowboys they use for Prime delivery)

Told them at least 10 times how to find us. One guy who did a superb job finding us all by himself then spent 10 minutes talking to Amazon Control Central and told me our place was now on their geolocation and there would be no further difficulties.

Hahahaha

So bad, I default to delivery to the nearest pickup point (a 5 mile drive away) as it's easier on my blood pressure. No use for anything other than small items, of course.

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Mike Pellatt

2335 outlets ??

Apart from the repeated leveraged buyouts, the increasingly LQT, and the painful greetings on entering the store, whilst I studiously avoided eye contact, that's your problem right there.

Over 2000 stores ?? How could that ever, ever be justifiable for the stuff they sell ? According to Wikipedia, even Currys only has 295 superstores and 73 high street stores.

Oh, hang on, Wikipedia says only 218 stores. Still crazy high if you compare to Currys.

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‘Dead weight’ Dell would destroy VMware’s value, says big investor

Mike Pellatt

Re: Meh

I'm not really sure why they'd pursue this strategy (turning public again)

Cashing in, (or rather, out) obvs.

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Buffer overflow in Unix mailer Exim imperils 400,000 email servers

Mike Pellatt

Re: There are alternatives...

Depends on your use case. If you need to do some serious conditional processing based on headers, postfix just doesn't deliver (sic). As an exim guy needing to do this in an existing postfix installation, I tried, believe me. I really did try. Swapping MTAs in a live environment is not for the faint-hearted.

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IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

Mike Pellatt

Re: Museum piece

PDP/8 ??

Had 3 or 4 of those hooked up to our Dec10 at Imperial. And a few PDP/11s too.

Intersil 6100, PDP/8 on a chip, used that to build a 100x100 pixel imaging device. Never did get it following the bubble chamber tracks (neutrino experiment from SLAC, more tracks than you could imagine. The HPD had fun with those)

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Oh dear, Capita: MPs put future UK.gov outsourcing in the spotlight

Mike Pellatt

Re: Keep Calm and Carillion

A properly-resourced client ?? Can't have that else we couldn't keep billing for non-existent tagged offenders or wait until the last minute for it to be found out that we can't actually deliver security for the Olympics (OK, they were G4S, not Crapita or Carillion, but the principle's the same)

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Mike Pellatt

Re: Commercial Confidentiality? This is public work.

Absolutely.

It's a total disgrace.

There's a list of FoI requests that our little rail travellers' association have put to DafT to which their first response is "We think that's commercially confidential, so we'll have to check with Southeastern before we answer it"

Basic stuff like "did the operator meet this or that condition of their contract, and if not what sanctions were imposed ?"

It's OUR money, and the service is critical to millions of people getting to and from work. But, hey, can't have transparency in providing that service, can we ?

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Next; tech; meltdown..? Mandatory; semicolons; in; JavaScript; mulled;

Mike Pellatt

ObColonsInProgramsReference (OK, it's not semicolons. But it still makes me giggle. And so true).

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Mike Pellatt

Re: ...programmers, aware that every additional character offers another chance to make an error...

Of course, the dream language of special characters that mean a lot is APL.

Yabut... invert a matrix with a single operator. That's class. (Not touched the language since 1974. Still remember that. Awesome.)

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Mike Pellatt

Re: Tabs v spaces

Yeah, well, that was because no-one uses punch cards any more.

Really, once they went the way of the dodo, the Proper Thing to do was absolutely to treat any amount of contiguous whitespace equally. I have that etched into my brain thanks to 'C', which is probably one of the reasons I grapple with Python.

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Uncle Sam's treatment of Huawei is world-class hypocrisy – consumers will pay the price

Mike Pellatt

Re: The US Government Is Racist and Untrustworthy

The US simply ignored the WTO rulings.

Not wishing to hijack this thread.... but...... can we put that up in 50ft flashing neon lights for those who think that the UK reverting to trading with everyone under WTO rules is a Good Idea ? Rules are useless if enforcement fails..

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Worcestershire's airborne electronics warfare wonderland

Mike Pellatt

Re: Book recommendation: Most secret war

And the TV series "The Secret War". narrated by William Woollard. It was that series, broadcast in early 1977, that spawned said book (1978). Available on DVD.

It was also this book and TV series that brought the story of Enigma, Colossus et al into broader public knowledge, notwithstanding Winterbotham's earlier book (1974). RV Jones was much more accurate, too (having been at the centre of it all)

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Brazil says it has bagged Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean for £84m

Mike Pellatt

She formed the operational base for the Olympic security operation and air exclusion zone enforcement, moored at Greenwich.

Took a visit whilst she was there. Apparently there was just a few inches under the keel at low tide.

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Mike Pellatt

Intel has been the Gold standard in processors.....

That was a joke, right ??

Going right back to the original 80386 which had a pretty serious Virtual 8086 mode bug (it broke the EMM emulators, needed a motherboard fix), onto the Famous FP bug - "it's not a problem, it only happens every few million instruction executions...."

All Intel have offered that's a "gold standard" is backwards compatibilty, and the only time they tried to drop that (at least in the hardware - Itanium), it didn't end well and let AMD in to define the 64-bit x86 architecture.

Although, to be fair, the Itanium issues were more about the the difficulties with VLIW architecture.

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One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics

Mike Pellatt

As a enthusiast then student of electronics in the 80's, I can tell you that there has never been a better time than now for a kid to get in to electronics.

As a enthusiast then student of electronics in the late 60's and 70's, I wholeheartedly agree. I in the 70's we still had GW Smith (Soho), HL Smith (Edgware Road) (got all my Denco coils for the superhet I built from them), Home Radio (Mitcham) and still loads of ex-WD 19 sets out there. But though the kit was easily available, the information, as you say, wasn't - the "maker movement" has changed all that, powered by the internet, without which it wouldn't have happened.

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National Cyber Security Centre boss: For the love of $DEITY, use 2FA on your emails, peeps

Mike Pellatt

Re: Not the point ....

(your mail) can be read any mail router or network it passes through.

Not if the communicating MTAs are both using enforced or opportunistic encryption. At that point it's primarily your data-at-rest within the MTAs where you're at risk if the content itself isn't encrypted.

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