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* Posts by Steve Todd

1693 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Apple fanbois eat static as Beeb, Sky web stream vids go titsup on iOS

Steve Todd
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Re: At the risk of being downvoted

Who wrote the clients exactly? (Hint: not Apple, these are downloaded apps)

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MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Steve Todd
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Re: Fukushima

Err, they did. I just wasn't built on the scale of the event that did hit them.

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Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER

Steve Todd
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Re: Forget pixel count/density

Don't forget about the recent controversy over high frame rate films like The Hobbit. Old fashion film may be shot at 24 fps, but they show each frame twice giving 48 fps. HFR film runs at a full 48 fps, and has people complaining that it looks unnatural.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Forget pixel count/density

What has been shown is that most people see completely smooth movement above about 70 fps, which is why monitors are set to that. 300fps would be as much a waste as 500 DPI.

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AMD demos 'Berlin' Opteron, world's first heterogeneous system architecture server chip

Steve Todd
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Re: computational density...

You've forgotten about ripple effects with carry. An integer add of 1 can ripple all the way up to the MSB, and there's an extra delay as the signal cascades up each bit. The maximum clock speed for a 32 bit add is, from this, twice the maximum for a 64 bit (FPGA designers sometimes save space by doing the work on smaller hardware multiple times, but at a higher clock).

You can bypass this with more complex circuitry, but back to my point of space requirements.

I can't help with your prejudices against phrases that are common when talking about this kind of thing.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Crossed fingers, but...

Eh? I'm not following your logic. It seems to be similar to that used by old mainframe users when the microprocessor came out ("but if it breaks how will you repair it?"). More and more gets integrated onto the CPU because (1) there is now space for it, (2) it makes little difference to the price and (3) the propagation delays inherent in going off-chip kill performance.

As to whether you need 8, 16, 32, 64 or whatever size of register, that's down to the performance wall in clock speeds. You can't (easily) make the chip go any faster, but you can make it do more in one clock cycle by making the processor wider. You keep doing that until diminishing returns set in and the extra width ceases to be useful. 64 bit integer and (possibly) 128 bit floating point. Once you have hit those limits you can only multiply the number of compute cores, which HSA is one variant of.

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Steve Todd
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Re: computational density...

It's not always faster to build wider ALUs, there is a propagation delay for the carry bits from one binary digit to the next for example. There are clever tricks that can be used to reduce/minimise that delay, but they cost silicon real estate. With GPU computation you have many cores, so you want to keep them as small as possible, so what you end up with is a compromise between size and performance.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS

Steve Todd
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Re: Lizard People?

You know that these systems let you register the prints from more than just one finger right?

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MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling

Steve Todd
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Re: I wouldn't want to set one foot on American soil either...

They do find it rather harder to enforce thee laws in some locations though.

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Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders

Steve Todd
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Re: 1.07billion in lost profits??

How much profit has Samsung made selling smart phones over the last few years? It doesn't take a big percentage moving from Samsung to Apple for that figure to be valid.

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Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style

Steve Todd
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Re: Biased at all?

What evidence do you have that this type of sensor is any more secure? The techniques used to bypass TouchID were developed first for this type of scanner. Fingerprints aren't a very secure authentication method. They're better than a 4 digit pin, which is why the way that Apple uses them makes some kind of sense, but hooking them to a cash payment system?

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Steve Todd
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Biased at all?

The fingerprint scanner is something that other sites are saying that a Samsung got badly wrong. It needs to be used two handed, requires you to drag your finger across it and is sensitive to the angle of your finger. On paper it sounds good, the actual implementation is definitely lacking.

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Apple to flush '£37bn' down the bog if it doesn't flog cheapo slabtops

Steve Todd
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Re: ARM vs x86?

OS X is actually fairly easy to port (it started life on PowerPC, migrated to x86, was cut down to make iOS etc), but the prediction is complete crap. Current A series CPUs are something like 1/3-1/4 of the computing power of Core i5 series CPUs. The laws of diminishing returns also cut in, so the chances of Apple being able to repeatedly double CPU performance in the near to medium future are slim.

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How Brit computer maker beat IBM's S/360 - and Soviet spies

Steve Todd
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Re: Sorry: Not impressed with aircraft industry rants

Untrue, lots of people were asking the question. The US were working on their own supersonic design, the Russians pinched much of the Concorde data for themselves etc, but the introduction of the 747 by Boeing changed the economics of flying and that was mid-way through the design process.

The second factor was in the rapid improvement in telecoms, there was much less need for passenger travel at those speeds.

Those two together are what killed it, not that the idea at the time it was proposed was bad.

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Steve Todd
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Re: English Electric Lightning

There was a story of a pilot from one of the Arabic countries who came across to evaluate the Lightning. There was no two seat version so he had to read the manual and be given a pilot briefing. He was told "don't use reheat during your takeoff run", but chose to ignore that. He reached 20,000 feet before he managed to get the landing gear up.

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Steve Todd
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Re: 3.142

Actually it's not a difficult argument to say that the most successful processor the world has ever known is a British design (ARM CPUs ship in billions of devices per year).

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Steve Todd
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No mention of the ICL1900? Surely that was contemporary to the S/360 (announced in September 1964) and was our most successful competitor to it.

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Steve Todd
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Re: Of course its true!

Apple and Microsoft have a cross-licensing deal. They're covered.

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Mad Raspberry Pi boffins ripped out its BRAINS and SHRANK them for your pleasure

Steve Todd
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Re: An old dog

I'm looking with interest at the ALTERA Cyclone V SE at the moment. A twin core ARM Cortex A9 @800MHz combined with an FPGA on one chip. More IOs than you can shake a stick at and lots of logic resources. You can get a complete dev board, including 1GB of RAM connected to the A9s and 64MB to the FPGA, 85K of logic elements, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, 24 bit audio in/out, 2 USB host and a USB slave port, a micro SD slot, two 40 pin IO ports and a built-in USB JTAG programmer for less than £170

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Nominet bins Optical Express' appeal against 'It ruined my life' website

Steve Todd
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Re: thank you for this article

As with any medical procedure there is a risk. It's also not perfect like they would have you believe. Saying that I had my eyes laser treated when it reached the point that if I couldn't remember where my glasses were I was in trouble (about -3.5 diopters short sighted, with an astigmatism). I still use glasses for reading (age makes it harder to focus on near objects) but I'm good to drive without them and my distance vision is fine. In my case it was a good choice, YMMV.

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Why won't you DIE? IBM's S/360 and its legacy at 50

Steve Todd
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Re: Virtualisation @Peter Gathercole

As usual Wikipedia isn't a comprehensive source. See for example http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q2w3JSFD7l4C&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=ibm+360/168+virtual+memory&source=bl&ots=i3OQQExn_i&sig=MTqFlizLAFWINMmVkqgr_OhdbsY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZvtCU-mbHMmd0QX6vIHgAw&ved=0CFEQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=ibm%20360%2F168%20virtual%20memory&f=false

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Steve Todd
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Re: Virtualisation

The 360/168 had a proper MMU and thus supported virtual memory. I interviewed at Bradford university, where they had a 360/168 that they were doing all sorts of things that IBM hadn't contemplated with (like using conventional glass teletypes hooked to minicomputers so they could emulate the page based - and more expensive - IBM terminals).

I didn't get to use an IBM mainframe in anger until the 3090/600 was available (where DEC told the company that they'd need a 96 VAX cluster and IBM said that one 3090/600J would do the same task). At the time we were using VM/TSO and SQL/DS, and were hitting 16MB memory size limits.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Virtualisation

The 360/168 had it, but it was a rare beast.

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Samsung's thumb-achingly ENORMO Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Steve Todd
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The Exynos has two chips?

No, it doesn't. It has four pairs of cores on one chip, each pair being an A7 and an A15. Depending on CPU load a task should be handed off between cores and the other core switched to standby.

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Too late, Blighty! Samsung boffins claim breakthrough graphene manufacturing success

Steve Todd
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Re: The real difference @lambda_delta

No, Xerox didn't invent the mouse either. It was invented way back in 1964. They refined it in 1972 and Apple developed a version of that which could be mass produced for low cost, so in both cases it was the evolution of an existing product.

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Dimwit hackers use security camera DVRs as SUPER-SLOW Bitcoin-mining rig

Steve Todd
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Re: Using someone else's hardware and electricity?

It's not a simple race, there's a statistical chance that you'll be first to guess the correct hash. That small chance combined with the fact that the network costs the hacker nothing to run means some income.

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Steve Todd
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Using someone else's hardware and electricity?

And lots of them, it makes some kind of sense. You're not going to make a lot of money, but some for nothing isn't a bad deal.

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New Sammy patent trial: Apple seeks $40 PER 'infringing' handset

Steve Todd
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Data detectors is an old patent, dating back to the 1990s when it was used in MacOS. Contrary to belief around here, sticking something on a mobile device doesn't mean that it isn't subject to the original patent. The only bit that is patentable is how you adapt it to work on mobile, and as far as I can see this required no adapting.

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Steve Todd
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Re: make Apple's request look ridiculously extravagant?

But it's about what Motorola were asking Apple for, and is over patents that aren't FRAND or required to build a smart phone.

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Selfies are OVER: Welcome to the age of 'Sleeveface'

Steve Todd
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Re: Big endian vs little endian

@VinceH, don't worry, I'm sure it's unlikely to become a habit :-)

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Steve Todd
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Big endian vs little endian

Was about the order of complete bytes (highest vs lowest byte first if a multi-byte word). You've reversed the order of the bits. "J" = 0x4A hex, or 0b1001010. "j" = 0x6A hex, or 0b1101010

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Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Steve Todd
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Another single stop solution

Is the Marantz MCR510 network streamer plus a decent set of shelf stander speakers. That gives you TOS optical playback, Internet radio, Spotify et al, DLNA and AirPlay. As it sells for £250 you can get a pretty damned good set of speakers from the £600 the Sonos costs and still have change.

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Steve Todd
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Weird cabling

Either tap the HDMI audio channel directly (device -> sound bar -> TV) or take the digital out provided by most modern TV sets and play that.

For rather less money I feed the TV via TOS optical into a HiFi DAC, through a Marantz amp and out of a pair of floor standing speakers. The result is only stereo, but is head and shoulders above any TV speakers.

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Apple vows to add racially diverse EMOJIS after MILEY CYRUS TWITTER outrage

Steve Todd
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They already do

Orange, red and grey faces. It does smack of political correctness gone mad.

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Miserly investors toss $11m at storage upstart Amplidata

Steve Todd
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But how much did they ask for?

If they only wanted $11m for what they have planned then that's fine. There's no point in comparing other companies VC funding because of this (VCs don't just toss large sacks of cash at companies and hope, they ask how much they are looking for, what they want it for and does it look like it will pay for that.)

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Apple to switch HUMAN iPhone-juicer-fiddlers with ROBOTS – report

Steve Todd
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Re: The magic word here is

Your prototype (which you tested the heck out of) should match your production devices to a close degree. Computers and robots allow you to make the same mistake very quickly, but once you have the design sorted they are pretty good at making copies of that design. Motor manufacturers have known this for some time. All the welding in a modern car tends to be done by robots for this reason.

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Steve Todd
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The magic word here is

Digitimes, take anything written by them with a large grain of salt. Any article that quotes them without a large disclaimer is courting public ridicule.

There is another reason why Apple might want to use robots BTW, they produce more consistent and reliable products. Batteries less liable to problems sounds like a good move.

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Reg tries out Google's Chromecast: Yep, we even tested smut sites

Steve Todd
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Re: harks back to the days of cheap printers with overpriced ink

The Apple TV does allow mirroring of your desktop or tablet display. If you're running OS X Mavericks then you can use it to extend your desktop also. It's a more flexible solution that works with more software, but then it's more expensive and is tied in to the Apple ecosystem. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Way better than Virgin Media TiVo for BBC iPlayer

It works just fine here. Must be down to your local cable segment and how heavily used it is.

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So. Farewell then Steelie Neelie: You were WORSE than USELESS

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Really?

A tiny bit of googling shows who precisely is spraying random words

https://signup.netflix.com/openconnect

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Steve Todd
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Re: One wonders if Mr Orlowski understands some of the points he's ranting about too

In which case you want them to charge more for anyone using an HTTPS connection? When companies like Netflix offer, for free, the hardware to cache their video inside of an ISP's private network but the ISP wants to charge them for the privilege then who is at fault?

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

Steve Todd
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Re: You can get the fakes at clubs

Some of the fakes are pretty good. You'd need to look at things like the alignment of the front and rear designs, or the quality of the embossed motto on the rim to spot them. The BBC made a program covering the range of quality involved.

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Pegatron goes on hiring spree as iPhone 6 release date approaches

Steve Todd
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Time for a quick bit of math

Apple are currently shifting about 50 million iPhones per quarter.

If we assume that only 1 in 5 of those sales are of the 5c (which is likely overly pessimistic), that's 10 million per quarter. That makes 3 million equivalent to about 1 month's supply, or about what they should have in transit or in channel stock at any given time. I doubt that this is overstock at all.

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Crap turnover, sucky margins: TV is a 'terrible business' – Steve Jobs

Steve Todd
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Re: Hmm, this would be the same WSJ journo who said she had no inside access?

If you read his words he was generally quite careful not to rule out something completely. He'd say why Apple wouldn't/shouldn't get involved in a market/technology as it currently stood. When the technology/pricing improved the reasons for NOT doing it were removed. If you find a CEO of a company who won't change his mind based on changing circumstances then I recommend that you have nothing whatsoever to do with that company.

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Steve Todd
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Hmm, this would be the same WSJ journo who said she had no inside access?

From what I hear her book is pasted together from shockingly flimsy theories and suppositions, with precious little relationship to reality. IF Apple ever get around to making a TV it will be because they have worked out a proposition that they think buyer will be prepared to pay a premium for, just like the iPhone. Even with the current batch of flat screen sets there is a huge range of prices within which they could slot (people don't just buy the cheapest model, no matter what the haters would have you believe). Also the word of Jobs was never cast in stone. He'd say something (like they weren't interested in flash based iPods), and at some later point when they had got thing to the point they were happy with, suddenly they would about face.

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Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

Steve Todd
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What is more interesting

Is just how badly Windows 8 is selling compared to Windows 7. Look at the curve when Win7 was launched. By this time in its life it was on about 3 times as many machines as 8 is. It even makes Vista look good.

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iOS 8 screencaps leak: Text editor, dictaphone and 'tips' on the way

Steve Todd
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While I can see Chinese companies might have access to the hardware

I doubt they will have access to the software from a company like Apple, especially 6 months out from the expected release date.

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Fanbois SQUEAL as DNS snafu knocks out iTunes website

Steve Todd
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Re: Oh come on

Twitter posts are now a measure of importance? How many twitter posts was this?

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Steve Todd
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Oh come on

A 1/2 hour outage for some users isn't a major incident. Mr Hamill is scraping the bottom of the barrel if that's the best he can do.

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