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* Posts by Steve Todd

1865 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Is it an iPad? Is it a MacBook Air? No, it's a Surface Pro 3

Steve Todd
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@H4rm0ny - "It's the same price as a MacBook Air with equivalent screen size"

Except it isn't. The entry level Surface 4 does cost the same as the entry level 13" Air, providing you ignore the fact that you're only getting an i3 and 64GB of SSD, plus the fact you need to spend another £110 for the keyboard. You're spending £110 more for a slower, lower capacity device that is an inferior laptop.

Yes, there are use cases where people want a pen, and others where they want to be able to run full Windows software on a tablet, but this isn't a mass market requirement and it doesn't fair well against dedicated devices.

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Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER

Steve Todd
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Re: If Samsung can do it then surely Apple can...

If all they are trying to do is replace your watch and add a bit of basic connectivity to your mobile then you're probably right. The devil is in the detail. We don't yet know what else it will do, and if that will make it worth purchasing by a significant number of users.

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Steve Todd
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Re: its production line isn't

They contract out production to companies like Foxconn, who have enormous factory towns in China. This is exactly like the rest of the industry, and chances are they are already making smart watches for Samsung, Motorola etc., so it's unlikely to be a production issue. Software or components I could accept as a reason for delay, but production capacity? They can buy as much of that as they want.

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Steve Todd
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Could they not lock him up

For crimes against journalism? There's plenty of evidence of that.

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

Steve Todd
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Re: @jason 7

You didn't actually answer my question, as I asked about the price difference between a 120GB and a 256GB drive. You gave me the lowest possible difference between a 120 and a 240GB drive. Not the same thing, and definitely not a £20 upgrade from anyone.

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Steve Todd
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Re: @jason 7

Comparing apples with apples, the Crucial M500 (which is an old model and is on sale apparently to clear stock) is £50 for a 120GB unit and £84 for a 240GB on the Crucial site. If you want a 256GB drive you need the M550, which is £108. PCIe drives are more expensive again.

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Steve Todd
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@jason 7

Really? You'll have to tell me where you can find even SATA SSDs where the price difference between 120 and 256GB is only £20. These drives are PCIe BTW, much faster than SATA, and yes they are replaceable.

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UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco

Steve Todd
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Re: The government's big problem

That sort of iterative development works if you have your own in-house teams with good and regular liaison with the end-users. The government insists on contracting the work out on a per project basis, and no company is going to bid on a project without knowing what they are expected to produce and how much effort it will take (and adding a good deal of padding knowing the governments history on this).

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Steve Todd
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The government's big problem

Is an inability to create a proper spec for anything, and a compulsive need to mess about changing such specs that have been created after development starts. If they could sort those two out then they actually might stand a chance.

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EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore

Steve Todd
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If EE falls back to 3G

Their network performance is less than impressive. Their 4G performance has also fallen back due to the number of users sharing available bandwidth. Definitely not a competitive offering as a whole at the moment.

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Top money men face up to 2 YEARS in slammer for neglecting to spot crim-cash activity

Steve Todd
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Re: @Steve Todd

If a court fined you a month's salary (before tax) for something your kids did then you'd regard it as a slap on the wrist?

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Steve Todd
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Firstly since when is a $1.9Bn fine a "slap on the wrist"? It's a heck of a spanking for any company.

Secondly this was under US AML rules, not the UK. It's there legal system and punishments that apply in this case (as it was related to the transfer of funds between the Mexican and US subsidiaries).

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Steve Todd
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Not news to anyone in the financial industry

Where they are required to take regular refresher courses on Anti Money Laundering (AML) and go through a complicated process (Know Your Customer) before taking on new accounts. It also makes them nervous about certain types of activity (which have to be reported to the authorities) and they may close the accounts of individuals or companies that they are twitchy about as a defensive move.

The result is that people who are acting in good faith may end up with their accounts closed because the bank doesn't want to take the risk that they are laundering money, so it's not always a good thing.

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Cargo truck crammed with garbage explodes IN SPAAAAACE

Steve Todd
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Re: The big problem up there

You're assuming that the junk is all in circular orbits. If, as is more likely, the orbit is elliptical then relative velocities can be much higher than that.

The other point you missed out on are items being boosted into orbit. They have to travel through the debris fields at speeds far removed from orbital velocity at that altitude.

So while the relative velocities are unlikely to be 7km/sec they are still fast enough for tiny things to do a lot of damage.

Edit: and as mentioned above, if the orbits are at 90 degrees to each other then you still get the full 7km/sec.

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Steve Todd
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The big problem up there

Is all the junk that HASN'T been de-orbited and burned up in the upper atmosphere. Even small junk moving at about 7km/s can cause serious damage and there's lots of discussion over how to clean the junk up to reduce the risk to working hardware and people up there.

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FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'

Steve Todd
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Kind of missing the point

The commentards above seem to have failed to have spotted the fact that it was Samsung who was claiming that it has "an entirely new appearance". It doesn't matter if other, non apple, handsets look the same, that was the point.

As an aside, it looks like they've tried to make it thinner than the connectors would really allow. The case has to bulge out for the USB port and the headphone socket has an odd edge to it as it cuts into the chamfer.

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Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users LOCKED OUT

Steve Todd
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I like the 1Password approach

1) let the user keep their master copy on one of multiple cloud services

2) encrypt the h*ll out of this.

3) keep local copies (also encrypted), and try to synchronise with the master copy when used

That way you're never without access, even though in some circumstances it may not quite be up to date.

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Intel admits: Broadwell Core M chip looking a bit thin, no fans found at all

Steve Todd
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Re: Thickness

Or there's the MacBook Air, which tapers from 17mm to 11mm thick.

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AMD's first 64-bit ARM cores star in ... Heatless in Seattle*

Steve Todd
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Re: How much?

It's a reference system. Not something folks in user land will purchase, but rather an example for OEMs to work from while they develop their own products. On that basis the cost is trivial.

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Amazon smacks back at Hachette in e-book pricing battle: We're doing it for the readers

Steve Todd
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Amazon want their cake and to eat it

They want the fixed profit margin of the agency model that Apple was proposing, but they want to be able to dictate pricing and profit split.

If they want to cut their own margin in order to compete, just like shops all over the world do, then they are free to do that. If they can negotiate a discount based on volume then that's also common practice, but wanting to bake their profit margin into the deal seems to be taking the P.

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Apple, Intel, Google told to stop being tightwads and pay out MORE in wage-fix settlement

Steve Todd
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Re: A US Judge has smited an attempt

Shouldn't the correct verb be smote? Past participle.

Thus it should read "A US Judge smote an attempt"

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Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay

Steve Todd
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Why did Jasper

Feel the need to talk down the value of something being auctioned for charity? That's poor form and reflects badly on him IMHO.

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Who will kill power companies? TESLA, says Morgan Stanley

Steve Todd
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Re: Net energy gain?

Yes and no. Refineries are optimised to extract certain fractions of the oil. Petrol is one of the more valuable fractions at the moment, so they target that in particular (and there are processes that they can use to convert other fractions to petrol). So, if it wasn't used for cars (or at least as much of it, it will take years to phase oil driven cars out completely) then the refineries would target other fractions and convert any waste petrol to what is most in demand.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Why Li-ion?

A depleted pack still has lots of utility in a home situation. Consider a Tesla S 60 pack, when it's down to 80% of capacity it can still store enough power to run the average home for nearly 5 days (48kWh with the average domestic power usage being 3500kWh/year). The original owner gets a nice big trade-in value on the cost of a new pack. The domestic owner gets a cheap pack, that is comparatively small and light (so it doesn't take up too much space or require reinforced floors). It's not hard to see the value in the proposition.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Why Li-ion?

You can tell that without knowing what the value of the recycled lithium is compared to the resale price of a depleted battery for domestic storage? That's clever.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Why Li-ion?

Lots of Li out there, but why recycle them (which costs money but is still worthwhile) when they are still usable?

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Steve Todd
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Re: Why Li-ion?

Tesla are talking about using depleted vehicle power packs, batteries that are down to 80% of rated capacity. You don't need deep charge/discharge for home backup, so you can get years more use out of them for very little extra cost. THATS why Li-ion.

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Steve Todd
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Re: @Steve Todd 3

Your average EV uses about 300Wh/mile. 12,000 miles per year would need 3,600kWh, FAR less than the 13,000kWh of chemical energy that your car chews through to travel that distance. At current prices you'd need a car that manages about 195MPG to match the cost in fuel.

Most of the charging can happen over night, on off peak power when the grid has a surplus. With no change to the current infrastructure something like 1/3 of cars could be powered by electricity and you'd have no problems.

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Steve Todd
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Re: @Steve Todd 2

Since your average car, when running at its most efficient speed, throws 70% of the energy away as heat through the exhaust then it still looks like a bargain. You're between 30% and 100% more efficient before charging and transmission losses, so you're going to start off more efficient no matter what.

You're also skipping the issues of pollution and emissions. You seem to think that I'm in favour of EVs on the grounds of climate change. I'm much more in favour of them as a way of reducing pollution.

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Steve Todd
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Re: @Steve Todd & Paul Crawford

Firstly the waste heat is good for light industrial and agricultural use (IIRC the Drax power station uses waste heat and carbon dioxide to run nearby greenhouses that grow tomatoes), so need not be pumped long distances.

Secondly you can use the waste heat in secondary generators. Combined cycle gas systems, that use the heat from the primary gas turbine to generate steam for secondary steam turbines can hit 60% efficiency, and that's even without CHP schemes on the system.

You can alway build a large, fixed plant that is more efficient than many small, mobile plants. That's a fact of engineering life. At the same time the emissions aren't in the middle of cities where they are bad for the population and can be more easily cleaned or captured.

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Steve Todd
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Re: The only renewable I detect is the smell of BS

Tesla plans to use older power packs that have fallen below 80% of their rated capacity for just this use. You were saying?

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Steve Todd
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Re: Net energy gaiin?

Batteries currently make little sense from an energy efficiency point of view. Burning fossil fuel in a power station, sending the electricity over miles of wire (at a loss), using it to make batteries (another loss) and then to charge them up (yet another loss) and then using them to move a car is probably quite wasteful. You're probably better off burning the fossil fuel in the car.

Erm, no. A modern CHP power plant can run at 80%+ efficiency, IC engines in vehicles rarely run above 30%, and much of the time below that. Even allowing for losses in transmission and charging electric vehicles are more energy efficient by a significant margin. Depending on the mix of generators in your grid they are also less polluting, and improve as you improve your mix (unlike IC vehicles that only ever get worse).

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BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

Steve Todd
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Re: Insufficient data

It's more likely something you'd implement in an ASIC or FPGA, at which point it's probably going to be at or near real time.

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Cut price Android on steroids: OnePlus One – should we look gift horse in the gob?

Steve Todd
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Re: Buy one? Really?

To be fair you can buy one, providing you know someone who already has one or you win one of their competitions.

Hardly an easy thing to get though.

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China: Microsoft, don't shy away from our probe

Steve Todd
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Re: Just leave now...

You're allowed to invent a mousetrap so good that you end up with most of the market.

What you can't then do is use your position to force stores to ONLY stock your trap, or to use the cash you made to subsidise your efforts in other markets (say selling bear traps below cost price).

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

Steve Todd
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Re: "a tool Microsoft uses to hide its source code from being copied" @Def

Microsoft certainly are saying that.

In DOT.NET they brought back an improved version of the INI file in the form of the .CONFIG file. It's an XML file, normally with the same name as the EXE it relates to. You can use them to store public and private configuration data just like the registry, but with less chance of a clash.

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Nokia Networks: Don't hate us, broadcasters – we're testing LTE for TV

Steve Todd
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TV on a mobile device

Has always been a bit of a niche market, and one that punters will pay little or nothing for. That's why DVB-H died a death, the carriers thought they could charge a premium for it.

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Fiat Panda Cross: 'Interesting-looking' Multipla spawn hits UK

Steve Todd
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Re: My god it's ugly @Goldmember

Firstly I didn't say that NO-ONE needed it, just the number of people who ACTUALLY need it is far more limited than you seem to think.

Secondly I was brought up and learned to drive in the North East, on the old Durham/York border. About the first thing I did after passing my test was to drive a route across the North Yorkshire Moors, in thick fog, in a Hillman Imp with a vicious clutch (I'd been volunteered as pit crew for my parents who wanted to do the Like Wake Walk). My route to work used to include driving down a 1 in 4 bank, across a humped back bridge, a right turn and up another 1 in 4. I could manage that in the middle of winter, when it was iced up and I was driving a front wheel drive Talbot. The secret is momentum and smooth driving (there were, I'll admit, many drivers who didn't understand that).

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Steve Todd
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Re: My god it's ugly

In over 30 years of driving I've never needed 4WD, and have only once driven in to floodwater deep enough to cause a car problems (and in that case pushing it back out and waiting an hour or so to dry out was all that was needed). The Top Gear team managed to drive normal 2WD cars across Africa for gods sake. There are few people that really need 4WD.

Grunt is another way of describing torque, and less than 900cc of petrol engine isn't going to have very much of that. There are other, perfectly normal looking, 4WD cars that are favourites in rural areas (Subaru's range for example)

There's always going to be someone who thinks that a given vehicle is ideal for their needs, but I suggest that this one won't have a big following.

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Steve Todd
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My god it's ugly

And for the best part pointless too. Most people will never take a car off road, and if they do they'll want more grunt than this can deliver.

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Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms

Steve Todd
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They don't seem to have addressed the point

That the frequency used is only license free in the US, if you try to use it over in Europe you are likely to have the police and/or regulators visiting.

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Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro

Steve Todd
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Re: Still too expensive

Where can we find these similarly spec'd Windows machines? You can find machines for half the price with lower specs, but when they are comparable the price difference isn't much.

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Microsoft bakes a bigger Pi to cook Windows slabs

Steve Todd
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Far too expensive

It's competing on specs with quad core ARM dev boards in the $100-200 range and is MORE expensive than the similarly spec'd Asus Pad 7 (reviewed here) which comes with a battery, screen and case for only £130.

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Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

Steve Todd
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Re: Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

Or the's a series of books by S M Stirling that starts with "Marching Through Georgia" where history has diverged at the time of the American Revolution, at which point the British supporters are given the Dutch Cape in Africa as a consolation prize. You end up with a bunch of rabid right wing slave holders owning all of the land up to the Rusian border by the start if the Second World War.

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Steve Todd
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Re: Ok...

The Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera works that kind of way. You have an (approximately) 200HP (150kW) electric motor with a 1.4l petrol engine for backup power when the battery runs low. The main trick is that you rarely sustain demand for the full 200HP, so you don't need to be able to generate the full amount continuously from the petrol engine (which is mostly used coupled to an electric generator to feed the electric motor).

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Steve Todd
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Re: But why?

EU emissions rules. Motor manufacturers have to hit EU targets, so that by 2020 their average emissions are down to 95g/km. It's not going to be possible for them to make exotic V12 engined models any more, they are being forced in the direction of hybrids and pure electric because of this.

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Steve Todd
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Since the Tesla S P85

Comes in at less than £70k, accelerates faster (60 in 4.2 seconds) and is better equipped then, other than people who need the extra range that petrol gives you or like to fling their cars around tight corners, the Porsche looks like a bad choice.

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The END of the FONDLESLAB KINGS? Apple and Samsung have reason to FEAR

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Re: @20legend

A no-name with a 9.8" full HD screen for less than 100 quid? You can still flog iPad 1's used for £100 so that's what you'd need to be able to beat in order for the no-name to be cheaper.

Yes, you can buy cheaper devices, but they will be cr*p in comparison, worse to use and won't save you money in the long run.

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Steve Todd
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@20legend

You'll find that the second hand value of Apple kit is considerably better than most other companies. As the spec is quite high to start with they are normally usable for longer and, factoring in sale when you want to replace it, they end up costing you less.

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Steve Todd
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That's the issue with being an early adopter and is pretty much the case with any product you care to mention. The first few iterations change quite rapidly, after which things slow down.

The iPad 2 will be getting iOS 8. The problem with the original iPad was that it was short of RAM, which is the reason it's not updatable.

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