The Anonymous Widower

Class 755 Trains Are Now Running Between Ipswich And Cambridge

According to this article on the East Anglia Daily Times, the new Stadler Class 755 trains are now running between Ipswich and Cambridge stations.

The article also makes these points.

  • The Class 153 trains  will be retired at the end of this week.
  • More Class 755 trains wll come into service in the coming weeks.

There is a software problem that restricts full operation, which should be fixed in a couple of weeks, which is described like this.

A new piece of software is due to be installed within a few weeks – but until then passengers heading east from Elmswell and west from Kennett are being taken by bus to the next station.

Both Elmswell and Kennett are simpler stations, with short platforms.

This Google Map shows Elmswell station.

And this Google Map shows Kennett station.

I wonder, if with these stations, selective door opening is needed the on one platform and the layout doesn’t fit the original software.

When you write software to work in a large number of situations, it’s difficult to make sure you cover everything.

Greater Anglian’s solution of a bus to get around the problem is not an ideal solution, but it should work, until the software is fixed.

 

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Will Business Trust Ultra-Marxist Labour?

This is a paragraph from an article in today’s copy of the Times, which is entitled Labour’s Big Call Has BT Hanging By A Wire.

Only two weeks ago Mr Jansen, 52, had dismissed the threat of Labour nationalisation, saying that BT was “not on the list” and taking comfort from comments from John McDonnell over the summer and made personally. Labour’s shadow chancellor had said in an interview in July that there were “no tricks up my sleeve” and that the “limit of our ambition” was taking the power networks, Royal Mail, rail and water companies into state ownership.

It appears John MacDonnell has either changed his mind, or was doing something rather devious.

Will business at any level from the smallest corner shop to the largest FTSE 500 company ever trust what this ultra-Marxist Labour party says?

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Business, Computing, Finance, World | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Nationalised British Broadband

Labour’s plans to nationalise broadband and provide it free to homes and small business is a cracker!

Advantages For Labour

It would have one big advantage for Labour!

It’s a great way of listening in to all their political opponents. They only have to ask the Chinese how to do it!

How for instance, would another political party, with a radical agenda organise?

But!

Consider these points.

  • Mobile phone traffic uses the same Internet backbone as broadband.
  • Internet tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google wouldn’t pay up without a fight
  • Everybody’s pension fund would suffer, as BT is often there and shares would be replaced by junk bonds.
  • Virgin Media and other broadband suppliers would be nationalised as well or could become worthless.
  • A lot of American Internet companies would go running to the US President and just as Trump has applied tariffs willy-nilly in his trade war with China, a future President wouldn’t take it lying down.
  • The high-tech industry has already said they don’t like it.

The biggest problem is that Internet usage will grow exponentially with 5G broadband and all the connected devices, like

  • Driverless cars.
  • Automated warehouses and delivery systems.
  • Connected smart household and other appliances.
  • Connected massive screens, which every business, school or home will have.
  • Every child watching content on mobile devices.
  • Collectinbg operating data from cars, trucks and trains to make them more reliable.
  • Automated care assistance for the ill, frail and elderly.

Can any government afford the cost of continual upgrading of capacity, which will not be like anything seen before?

It certainly, is a cracker!

And if it is implemented, it will blow up in the ultra-Marxists’ faces.

 

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , , | 5 Comments

Ultrasound On A Chip

The latest episode of BBC Click is a must-watch.

One section is about a new ultrasound device from Butterfly Network.

Their product called Butterfly iQ; is an ultrasound sensor on a chip, that converts a smart phone into a full function medical ultrasound machine.

But as an engineer, who knows a bit about this sort of technology, I doubt that all the applications are medical ones.

Typical hospital ultrasound machines cost tens of thousands of pounds, but the price of the sensor on the Butterfly Network web site is in the order of a couple of grand. Software is probably extra, but even so, Southampton Hospital has bought four and one is in their paediatric ambulance.

I have one big question.

Is the device open source? This would enable, an imaginative programmer, as I once was, to convert the device, so that it is able to perform an important application.

I would be very disappointing if it wasn’t!

To get a snapshot of the power of ultrasound, read the Wikipedia entry for ultrasound.

A Video

I found this on the Internet.

As you can see, it’s not very big.

Conclusion

This is an amazing development and it will revolutionise so much of healthcare and other fields.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

The Chilling Power Of Drones And Software

This article on the BBC is entitled Saudi Oil Attacks: Images Show Detail Of Damage.

Read this article and then say, that drones can’t be used to create death ad destruction or merely havoc, like flight disruption at a major airport.

Consider.

  • Automation is such, that drones can now be launched on a fire-and-forget basis.
  • You can’t jam an autonomous drone!
  • There is nothing to stop a top quality programmer creating evil software.
  • Much of the software, used for evil purposes, is probably also used to write business, research, engineering, scientific, educational and other types of software.
  • The genie is well and truly out of the bottle!

14/09/2019 will become a notorious date in history.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Digital Twin’ To Support More Robust Timetable Planning

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

When I saw the title of this post, I was surprised that it was a newsworthy story.

I have been doing scheduling of people, machines and other resources since the late 1960s and creating print outs and graphs to help people to manage businesses from the early 1970s.

In so many cases, I’ve found digital models have given a great insight into the interactions between factors affecting the system.

So I would have expected train companies to all have a digital twin from at least 1980, especially as I know BT and other phone companies had digital models of their networks by that time.

If they don’t have a digital model of their network, how do train companies plan their timetables?

By trial and error!

Or do they start with marketing ideas like four trains per hour and then fit the timetable together like a jigsaw?

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Does Anybody Know Of An On-Line Bank Account, Where You Can Annotate The Statement?

I have looked at several on-line bank accounts and none offers me a feature I want.

I check my statement every morning, as this is one of the best ways to guard against fraud.

  • If there is an unexpected transaction, you spot it early.
  • If banks used AI to classify your access, then it might be possible for them to flag-up possible illegal access.

So what feature is missing?

Imagine if against each line in the statement, there was the ability to add extra data.

Two fields come to mind.

  • A comment.
  • A costcode, such as Gas, Electricity, StatePension etc.

You could also add fields of your own, like say CustomerNumber, SupplierNumber or InvoiceNumber.

The bank statement would show the extra data, when you displayed or printed the statement.

I would use it every day!

But it would also allow you to total values against against any cosde field between two dates.

If you used standard costcodes and other fields, the bank could even calculate your accounts.

I first talked about such a system with an accountant in the 1970s, where you would have entered the cost code on a cheque or bank deposit.

Banks! bGrrrr! \They haven’t changed their mindset since the 1870s! Or should that be the 1570s?

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Finance | | 1 Comment

How The Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks To A Software Developer

The title of this post is the same as this article on IEEE Spectrm.

It is the best article, I’ve read on the disaster and I agree with nearly every word the writer has written, except perhaps some of his spelling.

Like the author, I am a software developer and I have had over a thousand hours in command of light aircraft, although I don’t fly now!

I have this feeling that this affair, will go down in history as one of the worst business disasters of all time!

I certainly won’t fly in any 737 again! Or at least not for a long time!

August 2, 2019 Posted by | Business, Computing, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing Says It Could Halt Production Of 737 Max After Grounding

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Guardian.

This is the first paragraph.

Boeing said it could halt production of the 737 Max jet on Wednesday as it reported the company’s largest ever quarterly loss following two fatal accidents involving the plane.

To my mind, this is a self-inflicted problem caused by trying to stretch a 1960s design too far past the end of its design life.

Boeing realised that they needed a new larger plane and developed the fuel-efficient Class 787 Dreamliner to replace 747s, 767s and 777s.

It was total management failure to not planning to replace the 737 with a smaller plane based on Dreamliner technology.

Will Boeing Solve The 737 MAX Problem?

Compare it with the Class 710 train, that also had software problems that delayed the launch.

  • The Class 710 train is a totally new train, with masses of new features, liked by operators, staff and passengers.
  • The Train Management and Control System of the Class 710 train was very challenging to design and program.
  • If a train fails, it only comes to an embarrassing stop.

On the other hand, the following can be said about the 737 MAX..

  • The 737 MAX is an update of a 1960s design.
  • The mathematics of the 737 MAX must be challenging.
  • The computer system hasn’t been properly designed, programmed and tested.
  • If a plane fails, it’s a lot more than an embarrassing stop.

Boeing seem to have made a tragic mistake for airlines, passengers and them,selves.

Engineers will probably solve the software problem,but will that be enough to save the plane?

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

PC Sales On The Up!

It has just been said on BBC Radio 5’s Wakr Up To Money, that PC sales are on the up and this is boosting Microsoft’s revenues.

So I sent them this message.

The new all-in-one PCs are tempting me to replace my aging laptop.

It was read out.

My PC will have a 27 inch screen and a wireless keyboard and mouse. It will fit my oval dining rom table perfectly.

The only thing more I need, is a bigger screen.

In 2010, I wrote this post called The Communication Wall.

We’re getting there!

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Computing | , , | 2 Comments