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Comment Re:Does this happen in countries where telecom is. (Score 2, Interesting) 358

There are phone scams elsewhere but it seems not to the same extent. In the UK we no longer have a nationalised phone service but the regulatory environment seems to be more successful in keeping the worst excesses under control.

I sometimes get calls from automated systems but they show up as International on the caller ID. I believe that the regulations for automated call systems are stricter and enforcement harsher here so they only operate from outside the UK jurisdiction. We also get free caller-id if you know how to sign up for it.

Calls to mobiles are charged entirely to the caller here and mobile numbers have a standard prefix anyway so we do not have two of the elements of the problem.

I did get some random cold calls on my mobile a while ago claiming to be from my mobile phone company and trying to sell me a new contract. The problem with that was that my phone is pay-as-you-go so there is no contract to expire. I think they were just calling all numbers that were first registered 18 months earlier because that is the usual first contract duration.

The problem that gets the most coverage here is reverse charged SMS messages where people say they did not request the messages. That seems to have died down a bit now; I believe that was as a result of the regulator making the mobile phone companies get their act together in responding to complaints.

Comment does exist (Score 1) 286

There is a page at so clearly the domain exists. It resolves to an IP address and there is a web server listening there. The page does say that the name and the .org and .net versions "are not available for registration" but that could be considered to apply to all names that are already registered. Note that this differs from the reserved TLDs. These domains are reserved for use in documentation so that you can be sure that your examples never refer to something with some other meaning.

If you look up the registration data for then you can discover that it is registered by IANA. Apparently the registration will expire 13-aug-2011 but I suspect that it will be renewed in time!

Comment STFW - "network mapping tool" (Score 1) 528

A network has lots of things sending each other their addresses at various levels. Get a tool that gathers and analyses that data, a web search will turn up tools of various levels of sophistication. The documentation you create should be "how to use the network management tools". You will never have time to keep low level documentation up to date so automate that level and focus on making sure your successor has pointers on how to use the tools effectively.

Comment The European Union does not fund US research group (Score 1) 376

The simple reason why these funds are going to a research group in an EU member state is that they come out of the EU budget. It is not the job of the European Union to make up for the research funding deficiencies of the United States of America. On the contrary, one of the goals of EU research funding is for the EU to not be dependent on non-EU countries for technology or at least to be strong enough to be an equal partner in collaborative ventures.

As for reinventing the wheel, these funds are going to an academic research group to do research on problems that have not yet been solved.

It is not only normal for other research groups to explore other approaches to solving the problems or to explore other problems in the same overall area, it is essential for progress that there are different groups looking at different ideas. Even if EU funding could go to a US research group it would not be sensible to channel all operating system research funding to the same group.

Comment Re:Licensing - Exactly right where I worked (Score 1) 239

The licensing issue is what killed the possibility of using Gopher for an externally visible service where I was working at the time.

The real problem was that it would have meant asking the boss to do something; licenses require the involvement of a suitable corporate officer actually making a decision. Just putting up a web server on the machine that was hosting our FTP server to serve the content already approved for release in a nicer way took a little technical work and the absence of a decision from above.

The license may have been for the Gopher server code but there was no way we could have justified spending the time to do our own implementation.

We experimented with Gopher internally very briefly but the organisational obstacles killed it very quickly.

Comment Apple II in UK was more business than home (Score 1) 109

My memory of the machines of the era was that the Apple II was too expensive in the UK to be widely used as a home computer. Even the BBC Micro was a bit on the expensive side and most UK home users of the time had one of the Sinclair machines that were much cheaper.

The company I worked for had an Apple II bought specifically to run Visicalc. As far as I remember, this was the main driver for sales of Apple II in the UK until the arrival of the IBM PC and Lotus 1-2-3.

Comment I watched the BBC programme about the ship (Score 1) 501

In the TV programme, they showed documents that indicated that a ship was taking supplies to an English general who was engaged in a campaign to deny the Spanish access to deep water harbours in Northern France. The ship that sank near Alderney in the channel islands matches the description of the ship that failed to arrive. The recovered guns also had "F W" engraved on them indicating a link to Francis Walsingham, the man often described as Queen Elizabeth's "spymaster". There was no "Royal Navy" at the time but there are records.

Other artefacts recovered from the wreck are also useful in confirming the date. The musket recovered from the wreck was also a very significant find.

The TV program also mentioned that the muzzle velocity of the cannon, although impressive for its day, was known not to be a record at the time. One of the archaeologists mentioned that some of the cannon from the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, were larger and had a greater muzzle velocity.

The recovered guns were cast as a single piece (and for the replica they added appropriate impurities to get the same grade of iron that would have been available in Elizabethan times). Earlier guns had been made from strips of metal bound together with hoops.

The point emphasized a lot in the TV programme was that the ship had a uniform main armament and the need to raise two more cannon to see if they matched the one already recovered was to validate that hypothesis. With a uniform armament, there was no rooting around in the shot locker with a set of callipers looking for shot of the right size, the shot were all the same size. They also emphasized the tactic of firing a barrage from a set of smaller guns rather than individual shot from larger single guns. That is much easier if you do not have to worry about which shot and which powder charge go with which gun.

It was suggested that this allowed a change to the tactics of naval warfare. Up to that time the usual approach had been to come alongside the enemy and essentially fight a land battle on board ship. The uniform armament of moderate sized reasonably powerful guns apparently made it possible to stand off and fight ship to ship rather than hand to hand.

Comment If you know my real name... (Score 1) 474

If you know my real name you can find out quite a few things about me as a result of things I have done for work without resorting to LinkedIn (where I do have an account). Publishing papers puts your name on the net and so do various other activities that have to be done with a real name.

I publish things I do not mind being public forever and will probably add more to my LinkedIn profile soon.

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