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Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 2) 592

The Russians claim they are opposing ISIL (or whatever we want to call them) but actually spend more energy attacking the other opposition to Assad.
The Turks claim they are opposing ISIL but have a different agenda: Support the Ethnic Turks in the border area, fight the Kurds, Assad and any Shia muslims who get involved. ISIL are Sunni fanatics (as are Al Q), Turkey is mostly Sunni.

I'd guess that the downed plane did not enter Turkish airspace, it was definitely bombing the ethnic Turks in the border area.
If Russia actually restricted their attacks to ISIL, Turkey would still be looking to attack the Kurds whenever they could.

The Russians only have one ally in the area - Assad. If they dropped him then they would lose face, other potential allies would not take them seriously.
The US are allied with Saudi Arabia and have been since Eisenhower. The Saudis have done very well out of this alliance, so have - to a certain extent - the US. The problem now is that the Al Q / ISIL strain of Sunni Islam is the Wahabi strain which comes straight from the Saudi ruling house - those two organisations are practicing what the Saudis preach. Acceptance of that conflict of interest would mean the end of the US / Saudi alliance. That would leave the US out on a limb - it would take a lot to get them together with Iran and that is the main regional alternative.

Comment Re:I've been saying this (Score 2) 113

I am in Europe and have a 50Mb line. Measuring on large downloads where the provider has the capacity - Youtube for example - I have seen over 4MB a second. No false advertising there. It is some time since I last checked the speed simply because I hardly ever download anything large enough for 4 Megabyte/Sec to make a significant difference.

Comment Re:I block all flash ads (Score 1) 307

Well, I don't have Flash installed at all - which keeps me off Chrome - and if an ad-site gets to be too annoying in some way, it gets an entry in my "hosts" file.
Oh, and I go through my cookies occasionally making those from all recognisable ad-sites expire at the end of the session. Maybe I should use private-mode more.

Comment Re:This is why we like C (Score 4, Interesting) 234

I have actually seen something similar to this before, also involving an Air Traffic Control.

They were having some problem in handling "Large Messages", I am not sure of the exact details / circumstances - I was only peripherally involved. Anyway, the programmer wrote these to a file, then they were processed asynchronously and deleted. This minor change was tested - as usual at the site - by someone shooting an hour's production traffic through the test system and checking for unexpected aborts or other abnormalities. All was fine, the spooling file was 1% full.
The patch went online. 4 days later (it was a Sunday morning and it was snowing) the file hit some limit and refused to accept new messages. At that moment things went "Keystone Cops".

  • All department heads were informed, except programming. Given that only one the patch had been applied in the previous week, not very helpful. Headless chickens ran around trying to find a solution.
  • Standard practice in this type of situation was to switch to the backup/standby system. Since ATC data is very short lived, the backup system had an empty database which would then be populated dynamically. All "Station Chiefs" had to approve this step. One refused because he could not see any problem. Finally someone managed to make him understand what the problem was, then it was "oh yes, we are seeing that as well". His was the smallest station of course.
  • Standard procedure was also to switch to manual control - rather than automated - and cancel short-haul flights. The railways could take up the slack. This was done.

The switch was duly made and everything was working again.
It turned out that the deletion of the processed records had a bug. One hour of live data left the file 1% full. 100 hours . . . do the math. It took 5 or 10 minutes for the programmer to fix the problem, he could have done it live on the Sunday if anyone had bothered to tell him what was going on.

One of the lessons from that is also relevant here - one hour of live data left the file 1% full. I'd bet that they were testing that the new feature worked, not looking for hidden side-effects.

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