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Comment: Re:Return of the old (Score 1) 109

by ledow (#49493879) Attached to: UK Company Wants To Deliver Parcels Through Underground Tunnels

First point - granted. But if no private company has picked it up in the meantime, it's probably because it's just not profitable.

Last train driver strike, the signallers went out on strike too in sympathy. It's not as simple, once things are unionised.

My sorting office is my local branch. Which is 2 miles away (20 was hyperbole for effect), has no parking, has a local glut of traffic wardens even on weekends (precisely because there's no parking) and is only open between 11am and 4pm Mon-Fri and 9-11am Saturday. Guess when the world and their brother decide to collect their parcels, needing to have their ID checked, etc. forming more than a 2-hour queue?

Your options (according to the little note they pop through) are delivery to another address (same restrictions), redelivery to the same address at the same times (and a maximum of twice before they give up), or collection at the times above. That's it.

And that's if they are post-office parcels and not ParcelForce - who have similar but different restrictions and locations - or some random third-party courier (who are generally even worse and one of them is 8 miles from me and charge for redelivery!).

And I guarantee that you've heard of the town I live in, inside the M25, serviced by several underground stations (also between 1-2 miles from me) and lines.

Amazon lockers? Last time I used one, it was in a petrol station late at night with no security and nobody around. Sod that for anything of value.

AmazonCollect? The last time I went to a newsagent that was supposed to be part of that, they knew nothing about it and didn't have my parcel and the other time I used it, that newsagent refused to accept my parcel for Amazon Return that Amazon themselves (on the phone) had said I could do from that newsagent.

By comparison, I'd rather pay just about anything to get someone to come to my house of an evening with the parcel or - better - ring first.

In the last year or so, though, I've been at a workplace that is manned 24/7 and allows staff to have personal parcels delivered there. Solves no end of problems, but no thanks to Amazon, the Post Office or any delivery company. And we still get hassle because some things companies will refuse to deliver to business premises!

Comment: Re:Freight on the underground (Score 1) 109

by ledow (#49491999) Attached to: UK Company Wants To Deliver Parcels Through Underground Tunnels

There was for a while. The post office had their own lines.

But it's so prohibitively expensive and you still have to do vehicle/hand delivery to/from both ends anyway, that it was abandoned.

London gave up this idea nearly a decade ago and for the last two decades, it was expensive and unviable and they knew it (unions stuck their noses in).

Trains just aren't practical when you have to get the parcels to the track, load them on, pay for the track and train, move the train against other train schedules, arrive at another station, unload the parcels, load them onto vehicles or delivery guys, who then have to go and take them to their destination.

London is only 30 miles in radius and that's Greater London (not all of which is serviced by underground). The central city? It's also viable to walk across it delivering parcels as you go, but mopeds seem to be the most popular method of delivery. Outside the core, vans can carry more, only need to be loaded once, can make the same journey in a handful of minutes, and deliver parcels as they go.

Some great ideas worked back when we didn't have ubiquitous transport. They're not such great ideas now.

Comment: Re:Return of the old (Score 2) 109

by ledow (#49491991) Attached to: UK Company Wants To Deliver Parcels Through Underground Tunnels

How much does a DVD cost to post using the Royal Mail?

Not that much more and they'll send it from London to Scotland on your behalf too. These guys pick up from local warehouses and deliver in their home street and surrounding roads.

I don't argue that it's probably not much more than a minimum-wage job but all the drivers I spoke to were more than happy with it - flexible hours, paid by how many you can take and successfully (and reliably) deliver, can do it after work, with the kids on the school run, throughout the day, etc.

How much does my local paper-delivery boy get per house her delivers to? Probably a damn pittance. But he can do a road on foot in ten minutes and make a wage worth him getting up at 4am for.

Comment: IBM nipples. (Score 1) 19

by ledow (#49491799) Attached to: MIT Researchers Develop Wireless Trackpad For Your Thumbnail

Gimme an IBM / Lenovo Thinkpad "nipple" mouse, that's Bluetooth. You could literally just stick it in your pocket or push it back on the machine when you're done with it and it would miniscule. Bluetooth chips are tiny now. Stick a sticky pad or other anchor of some kind on the bottom (or even a soft ring to go on your finger that tucks away).

If you could stick it on the side of your first finger, you could thumb it to control it like a mini-joystick with a click-down action for mouse-clicks.

Comment: Re:0.6? Are you serious? (Score 2) 212

by ledow (#49491793) Attached to: GNU Hurd 0.6 Released

If the problem is solved, then move the development focus elsewhere. And I thought that FSF didn't actually like the idea of GPL2-only things?

However, the FSF development focuses are odd and abandoned.

For years a Skype-replacement was asked for. Apart from game-server-oriented once like Mumble, I can't see a viable OS alternative that works cross-platform, with video, etc. We could say that Jabber's use by Google Chat was the replacement but - again - why are we then continuing on the others?

For years, a Flash replacement was asked for. Last I checked, Gnash could do some things but nowhere near all.

Coreboot was asked for, but it's a REALLY niche project and whether that supports UEFI etc. I don't know.

Google Earth replacements, Matlab replacements, OpenDWG library (odd choice, I think), Oracle Forms replacements, all suffer the same problems.

And "automatic transcribing" is just silly and shouldn't be a priority at all.

The FSF's priorities are basically ignored and people work on what they enjoy working on. That's great and all, but HURD has been a long-time coming and can just barely run something approaching a Linux distribution. Given that it's replacing a kernel only - and userspace can be things like Debian software etc. - that seems an awful long time. Don't even get me started on filesystem or hardware support for Hurd.

Sometimes you just have to say "Oh well", and cut off the project. The people working on it would be much more useful on other projects that may well end up on machines worldwide rather than niche toy projects that have taken decades to get close to fruition. Not all of them would move, of course, but at least some of that talent could re-focus to other projects that are of greater utility.

Comment: Re:15 years ago (Score 1) 109

by ledow (#49491747) Attached to: UK Company Wants To Deliver Parcels Through Underground Tunnels

On this note, I have always wondered why new-towns aren't like this.

Every time you run a road, stick a tunnel underneath, or beside it. Or one tunnel each side.

You have to run, presumably, at least sewers, electricity, gas, water, street lighting, traffic control, telephone, Internet etc. already so why not build it all in and put a tunnel through it too.

Done properly, you'd never have to dig up a road to get to the services you require and all maintenance can take place underneath the road.

Sure, it adds to the cost initially but it MUST save on cost within just a year or two.

And you instantly know that if you are on or near that road, it's trivial to hook in to any known service.

If we ever "started over", and I were in charge, I would enforce it. You build a road, path or other highway designated as public? Then you have to put in a large service tunnel, all the utilities (or capacity for them without disturbing the road) for the entire length of anything classed as "public highway" (i.e. a serviced street of any size).

Then your Internet connections are as redundant and routeable as your transport links, telecoms network, power distribution, etc. And just as you could "go around the block" if there was one particular road out, you could re-route all the other utilities (maybe not every time, because of capacity etc. but the majority of time surely?). And you'd not have to dig up a road except to MAINTAIN that road. Not every utility, service, pipe, duct or cable that might happen to be under it. And if you built the service tunnel properly and laid rail in it, there's nothing stopping you running a piggy-back service on your service routes to take the occasional train of parcels or whatever with you.

The Romans knew the road system was their best weapon - everywhere they went, they built roads, every time the road was too small to cope with traffic, they expanded it. No more different to how ants lay down scent and route to places. Why should we be having multiple, different, overlapping service networks at all? Stick them all together and then you know you can always put a box by the side of the road, don't have to dig up the countryside just to run a bit of power (if you do HAVE to, you certainly also need all the other services and a road that way too anyway!). And in the same way that roads join industrial, commercial, and residential, you can site your ugly equipment away from people's houses but still service those same houses.

I never got why we ever had one cable crossing over a street or not following the existing road network.

Comment: Re:Return of the old (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by ledow (#49491705) Attached to: UK Company Wants To Deliver Parcels Through Underground Tunnels

And I have to say, the most relevant line on Wikipedia is this:

"Royal Mail had earlier stated that using the railway was five times more expensive than using road transport for the same task. The Communication Workers Union claimed the actual figure was closer to three times more expensive but argued that this was the result of a deliberate policy of running the railway down and using it at only one-third of its capacity"

If even the unions are saying it's three times more expensive, there's a problem.

And, to be honest, I really don't want my post subject to both postal AND train-driver strikes, thanks very much. They already have had several months off for the past few years just by striking over pay while they earn more than I can ever hope to earn.

The beauty of Amazon was that they hired random people to deliver Amazon parcels in their cars late at night and thus avoided the whole Post Office "We tried to deliver your parcel at 9am but, strangely, you weren't home.... you can collect it from the post office 20 miles from you or your workplace at any time between 9-5 Mon-Fri".

Comment: Re:Return of the old (Score 1) 109

by ledow (#49491683) Attached to: UK Company Wants To Deliver Parcels Through Underground Tunnels

Was going to say the same thing.

This isn't new. London, espcially Central London (as opposed to Greater London which is about 30 miles in radius), is crawling with tunnels dug for underground lines that were then abandoned, or repurposed - and some of them were operated by the Post Office for exactly this purpose.

Strange how the old gets reinvented as "new".

The problem you have is that London is only a tiny, tiny, tiny portion of what you have to deal with in the UK. And it's already well-catered for in transport, post offices, courier firms, etc. precisely because it's so dense.

Come even a couple of miles outside of central London though and you still need a hundred guys in vans driving around and dropping parcels over fences. There's no escaping it.

If the Post Office tunnels were so useful, they wouldn't have been abandoned - it's not like delivery of post to/from London has ever stopped since we introduced the first ever postage stamp.

Comment: Re:Hmmm .... (Score 5, Insightful) 113

You know that little screen they put in the back of the seats? Do you think they're stupid enough to cable that into the engine management?

The air-phones? Do you think they're stupid enough to just tie that into the cockpit comms?

When you're talking life-dependent systems (which pretty much no-one here will ever have to deal with and certify, which is why all your electronics ALL say that it's not to be used in life-support devices etc.) like airbag deployment and plane avionics, it's heavily regulated, heavily specified, heavily tested and heavily scrutinised. Rarely does a aircraft system specified on the "jumbo jet" level do anything more than exactly what it's designed to do. Plane crashes are caused by outside influences, human input overriding the computer and by DESIGN decisions, not software failure because someone forgot to renew the licence of two DHCP servers fought over who assigned IP's to the engines.

It's an entirely different class of system that you want to hope that you never have to deal with. That's WHY large planes cost HUNDREDS of millions of dollars and you have to train for decades to be allowed near the switches - even if you're servicing them.

And, no, VLAN's would never operate in a system like that and if they did they'd be proven-safe mathematically and, hell, even my cheap commodity switches only respond to management requests on the management VLAN and no other.

They is why the guy responding is so clear on this. It's just not done. Ever. If you change a cable, or a panel, or redesign a bit of hatchway, or push out a software upgrade for a commercial airliner, it takes hundreds of people checking it, re-certification of the end-result, testing and all sorts.

Comment: Sigh (Score 2) 113

At the very least, I'd expect a VLAN.

In actuality, I'd expect disparate, unconnected systems possibly even running in separated VLANs and subnets with IPS on the avionics controls JUST IN CASE.

Given that avionics are used to dealing with highly technological and highly critical systems, I think I could trust them to not mess it up. Especially if it in any way could even theoretically allow a possibility for an attacker to affect a flight path.

Airport security, the guy loading my luggage, or the guest wifi in the lounge? Yeah, separate problem with trust in question. But on-board wifi? I'd be damned if you could send a single packet from the wifi to the avionics even in theory.

Comment: Re:HTTP.SYS? (Score 5, Insightful) 118

by ledow (#49479141) Attached to: Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Found In Windows HTTP Stack

OSI layering model?

The kernel shouldn't be peering into packets for data. It should (just/only) deal with the TCP packet information (and in a strictly confined way so you don't get things like the age-old flag attacks on TCP packets) and route accordingly.

It shouldn't ever be peering down into the HTTP packet itself and acting upon it as the attack surface is SO MUCH larger on a complicated application protocol.

P.S. What happens if SPDY becomes a standard? How does Microsoft migrate to HTTP/2 etc.? We're talking a KERNEL upgrade for an ever-evolving protocol, and that's just stupid.

But it's a good way to obsolete old OS, no doubt. Sorry, but Server 2008 can't handle HTTP/2 so we're just abandoning it - unless of course you want to turn off kernel-level IIS and run some dog-slow configuration, etc.

Putting something into the kernel just because it could mean less context switches in a particular application is a poor excuse and just shows bad respect for kernel-space.

Having it on by default is suicide.

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 1) 118

by ledow (#49478259) Attached to: Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Found In Windows HTTP Stack

And the problem is - that's a well-documented problem with other web servers historically and quite simple bounds-checking at fault there.

Seriously,MS, audit your damn basics occasionally.

I always shudder when I think of the MS software operating on the frontline of a businesses Internet connection.

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