* Posts by Bob H

425 posts • joined 20 Sep 2007

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El Reg touches down at the ESA's Spanish outpost, sniffs around

Bob H

When is the 170GB ISO data torrent going to appear? ;-)

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Giant Facebook SOLAR LASER DRONE to FEED interwebs into YOUR FACE

Bob H

Re: Interruptions?

Mesh networking between them and multiple resilient ground links with a satellite backup?

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Bob H

Re: I so torn

They specifically say the lasers are used for interconnection between the drones at 10Gbps, so they are backhaul not the primary link. I think the implications I have seen are that user links would be radio wireless.

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Bob H

Re: I so torn

Is there much in the way of cloud above 40,000 ft? Probably very managable, also remembering that the estimated 3bn people who don't have internet access are generally located around the central belt of the earth and in many of those countries the weather is quite consistent.

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

Bob H

Re: I wish politicians would learn...

@Mahatma Coat

I'd also imagine it put much greater strain on their optical fibre links to the US!

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Wanted: beta testers for El Reg’s Android app

Bob H

Newsblur

Or just use RSS feeds and NewsBlur.com like I do...

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So what exactly sits behind Google’s Nearline storage service?

Bob H

You could deal with RAID and resilience by writing it in parallel to RAID-0 with extra CRC and then Blu-ray. The RAID-0 gives you the speed you need to complete the medium retrieval times and the Blu-ray gives you (more) assurance that you can recover the data in a failure.

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OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

Bob H

Given that the MotoX (3rd Gen) is being released tomorrow and if the leaks are to be believed I think that might be the winner for me, main reason? Dual SIM on Android 5.1.1

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Sydney adopts 'world's first' e-ink parking signs

Bob H

Re: Fantastic!

The article says they are "equipped with mobile broadband", I'm a little surprised at this, I would have thought that zigbee/z-wave or similar would have been lower power or even better some kind of MW carrier because the data requirement is low and the update periods are probably very long.

Who knows, perhaps they update them via SMS!?

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IT in Iran: Servers sold on the grey market, and the rule of FOSS

Bob H

@Bloakey1

Indeed, I worked for a few years with an Iranian and we still see each other at conferences once a year. Lovely bloke, very philosophical.

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Help! Our Virgin Media TiVo boxes are stuck in a loop! Help! Our Virgin..

Bob H

Re: SOP for VM

You can't split satellite antenna signals, each tuner (so two for most PVRs and one for a general receiver) needs an individual connection to the LNB. If you're in adjoining properties all you need is another cable down from the LNB on the front of the dish. I understand that most satellite installers fitting PVRs these days don't bother with dual output LNBs and just fit a quad as standard, so there are generally two spare outputs available for future use (or sharing with the neighbors). I'd also put an earth strap on the cable as well, just in case.

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Microsoft open-sources Sora software-defined radio

Bob H

BladeRF

Would be nice if Sora supported the BladeRF, given the presence of the Zinq FPGA that should help.

It would make it much more affordable.

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BT's Openreach plots G.fast end-user trials

Bob H

I've seen BT skip cabinets that were entirely used by businesses, there must be some interesting threshold that preserves the BT Net fibre business by skipping these cabinets.

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Bob H

I used to be on a cabinet which wasn't upgraded to FTTC despite all the others in the area being so, I swear it was because all the properties it served were businesses and it would have killed the local BT Net fibre business.

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GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

Bob H

Re: Finnish Americans don't get irony either

Are you sure he didn't pay for it?

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Bob H

Re: Does not compute!

He probably uses it because:

1) Volume - The quantity of general mail he gets and the amount of spam he might get be vast, so he needs something that can handle the GBs of email smoothly. His inbox size could be huge and difficult to not only maintain but search. Bet he doesn't "Inbox Zero" at the end of the day.

2) Conversation View - Yes I know that Thunderbird or other tools do provide conversation view but Thunderbird is increasingly less performant especially on larger mail boxes (in my experience).

3) Spam - This is the controversial part of the mix because it is the bit that failed, but good spam filters are rare.

I spent many years running my own mail server, dealing with spam filters, I've moved to a hosted solution mainly because I can't be bothered with the hassle any more. My IMAP host isn't google which means it is relatively slow and has terrible webmail, but at least I don't have to worry anymore.

Anyone have any suggestions of good value hosted IMAP providers with decent webmail (e.g. Horde IMP not just Squirrel Mail) and configurable spam filters?

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China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

Bob H

Re: america to china on train

One day someone will realise that nuclear powered cargo ships are a sensible idea for these long-haul roots and actually get it sorted. There was once an attempt at it but the whole thing was rather poorly implemented.

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TfL to splash £400m on networking deal, despite GDS opposition

Bob H

Re: GDS think hardware networks are old fashioned

Infrastructure organisation (TfL) that fails to recognise that digital networking is actually a significant part of their business. Oh the irony.

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Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

Bob H

I've sat on dozens of standards committees for different subjects over the years and almost always the deployment has been a target but it has never stopped roll-out of the previous, well defined, generation. I don't understand why the standardisation of 5G has any effect on 4G roll-out?

I think 5G is just a distraction and shouldn't be used by operators as an excuse for slow roll outs, especially when we are seeing so many software defined base-stations now!

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Bob H

Re: Dual ThinkLights - already had them for 4+ years

4kg? That isn't a laptop it is a paving slab!

I think the T???s-series are the apex because they are actually portable.

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BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

Bob H

The landline carries the ADSL we need but the issue is why do we have to pay for the PSTN termination on the end, when all we want is the DSLAM. Yes there is a public safety issue but I have sometimes purchased several DSL lines for a company and you resent paying for the PSTN component you don't use.

There is a obligation on Openreach to supply PSTN with every last-mile circuit, even if the customer doesn't want it and this is clearly costing consumers. If that obligation was removed Openreach would save money because they wouldn't have to maintain termination and interconnect capacity. I have seen one ISP who offers a "no call" discounted line rental but most ISPs acknowledges they would like to drop that obligation.

I think FTTH ONTs provide backup for hours hours or so, so that should cover 99% of outages but here is a letter from BT to Ofcom on the subject:

http://www.btplc.com/thegroup/regulatoryandpublicaffairs/consultativeresponses/ofcom/2011/batterybackup/bbu_response_060911.pdf

I get power outages a couple of times a year but my mobile phone works and even if I have poor coverage. 999 will work because of cross network sharing of emergency services. And for those who are complaining about not getting any broadband or DSL service? That isn't the point of this article so quit your whining and turn off the stuck record.

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10 things you need to avoid SNAFUs in your data centre

Bob H

Re: Carry a test meter

I dealt with the kit install at a trade show for my previous employer for several years and each year the electrician was different, one year I actually told the stand build company to send the sparky away and that if I ever saw him again they'd never get the contract again. Apparently the liberal use of multi-way adaptors is a substitute for a decent distribution unit. Fortunately there was a lighting contractor on-site as well and I asked him if he had spare power distribution blocks (he had) and between myself and the lighting guy we made it safe(r). The original cables and adaptors were actually warm to the touch, something I hadn't seen to that degree before and never want to see again!

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Bob H

Re: Arse!

I was once baby sitting a vendor who was doing an install at a client site, as I new I was just supposed to be supervising the vendor I got VERY drunk the night before. The vendor turned up and they had put a UK BS1363 plug instead of a IEC60309 (Caravan) connector! The vendors engineer said she wasn't allowed to change the power connector so the day was a washout, I called my boss, told him and he said "get it done". Fortunately I know what I am doing with electrics but unfortunately I had a royal hangover. Not a problem, I'm just wiring a plug aren't I? It all went well until I was about to flip the breaker and the vendor engineer said to me: "You're pretty hungover, are you sure you wired that right?". My confidence was immediately dealt a blow, but I was too hungover to de-construct the connector again to check, so I just plugged it in and decided to let the breakers deal with the consequences! Luckily I am apparently a good engineer even when hungover and it all worked fine.

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Bob H

I worked for a large European telco, we had a control system (PC) which managed some complex broadcast encoding and multiplex systems. The software was written by the vendor because the customer was huge but the vendor subsequently decided the software wasn't what they needed and they depreciated it. It took several years of using it before we found out, to the cost of the poor Ops Director (covering for the Ops Manager's holiday) who was doing some configuration changes, that if you made any changes on the last Friday of the month it would corrupt the database! Then if you reset the PC it would also reset the attached equipment until the control software was back up, but the database was corrupt so millions of people missed their Friday night TV while the Ops Manager rebuilt the database!

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This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Bob H

Is there any reason for the slow clock speed?

Any reason not to use SMD instead of through hole?

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Mellanox wants to prise OEMs loose from Broadcom

Bob H

Re: Meanwhile... I'm still waiting

There are some interestingly priced cards from Winyao in China but I can't find any reviews:

www.dx.com/p/winyao-e10g82599af-sfp-10g-dual-port-fiber-sever-network-card-adapter-green-340988#.VYfX6_lViko

http://www.dx.com/p/winyao-e10g82599sf-sfp-10g-dual-port-fiber-sever-network-card-adapter-intel-jl82599es-chipset-296496#.VYfYi_lViko

ZyXel has a 24 port gigabit switch with two 10GbE SFP ports for under £500:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008QBC0YY/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1434966242&sr=8-11

Bound to be lots of criticism for these, but it always takes someone to start pushing prices lower.

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The watts in a box that kept West London's lights on

Bob H

If you have a DR plan then you should know exactly what support you'll get before this happens. Most companies don't have a DR plan or have an out of date one which doesn't apply to their business any more.

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Gamers! Yes, gamers – they'll rescue our streaming Fire TV box, hopes Amazon

Bob H

Amazon website says not available in the UK due to geographic restrictions?

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Nice 4G-for-plods demo, Samsung. Good luck actually selling it

Bob H

Re: ...Replacing GSM-R

Makes me wonder if LTE band 31 at 450MHz might be available in the UK for it, it is only 2 x 2.5MHz, it could be traded. Get whoever wants the old frequencies to do the upgrade then the commercial incentive to get it done quickly and under budget would be there.

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Singapore to trial 10Gbps home broadband

Bob H

From the content provider side 8k is only being developed for public display use currently, although I am sure Samsung and Sony will try and sell it to consumers because they want muppets to buy a display they couldn't possibly appreciate with human eyes at reasonable viewing distances. 1080p140 is actually beautiful and more striking to me than 4Kp50, but the marketdroids haven't noticed and are focused on flogging 4K panels.

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Huawei announces tiny 10 KB IoT kernel

Bob H

Re: 10KB for the OS?

Linux might be viable when you can get 800DMIPS of CPU and 64MB of RAM for <$4, but I'll stick with micro-controllers and an RTOS for tiny, low cost, embedded designs for a while yet.

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Apple threw its TV out the window after years of research: report

Bob H

Apple have probably realised it is really, really difficult to build a TV and that American TV is nothing like the rest of the world. The consumer market and pricing model has killed many players and is a loss-leader for most big brands.

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Next-gen Freeview telly won't be another disruptive 4Ker

Bob H

Re: uhd? i dont want hd!

@Test Man,

The Freeview specification (DTG D-Book) does have a system called Network Change Notification Descriptor and it has been around for a few years, any decent product should support it.

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Bob H

Re: Why not a unified catch-up service?

If you don't have players then how do you know you're watching the BBC and how do they cross-promote shows. The brand managers of the channels won't let us watch anything if they can't control the outcome.

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Mobe network Three is the magic number for FreedomPop

Bob H

Seems okay for my mother, she currently is on PAYG and has data turned off (using wifi at home).

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Boffins set to reveal state of play on fully duplex comms - on the same FREQ

Bob H

Re: This concept is not new.

Comtech has their Double Talk technology:

http://www.comtechefdata.com/technologies/doubletalk

I'm always disappointed when someone says something is impossible when its already been done.

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Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

Bob H

Re: Back of an envelope calculations

I can't find the site, but this week I read a fantastic analysis of the Tesla solution which included life, cost and carbon impact. It compared existing battery techniques vs some other solutions. The most notable thing was that they said the cycling of Lead Acid vs Lithium effectively gave you double the life. The carbon impact was less but it wasn't ground breaking. The basic thing is that Lithium batteries can be cycled more deeply than Lead Acid, that depth of charge means you need fewer of them for a given demand, because of the better cycling performance you can also make them last longer. So, Lithium ion gives you twice the life, a fair bit more expensive, but a good carbon footprint.

I further did my research and found I could build the Tesla system for the same or less. I might build it because I have an off-grid project, but it isn't a trivial build.

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Great, we all want 5G mobile broadband. Now just how are we gonna wire it all up?

Bob H

Re: Oh yeah...?

Even in London you get crap 3G, so I think the OP's comment is very valid. The network operators are spending billions on licenses and deployments of 4G but they can't even give us URBAN coverage that meets the potential of 3G let alone any future technologies.

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Bob H

Re: Sticks head above parapet...

Having experienced real 3G in Korea before 4G launched I can say we aren't even getting close to using the spectrum effectively. The coverage in the UK is sh*t, they seem to measure coverage by if you can make a phone call, but where I live you can just about do that and little more, it might as well be EDGE.

I wish networks would stop spending money on licenses for new technology and actually spend it on improving their existing networks.

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Low price, big power: Virtual Private Server picks for power nerds

Bob H

Yep, I've been using Bytemark on and off for years now. Their BigV.io system is quite impressive.

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Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

Bob H

Re: Inverter?

The announcement spurred me to look at off-grid for a house I am building in a region with good sun and poor electrical supply. I calculated that 10kWh would probably be enough and with 6.5h of sun per day on average I calculated I'll need about 1.6kW of solar panels (obviously you should get more to deal with winter but other provisions can be made).

I also looked at the output from my spreadsheet that I use to track my home energy usage in the UK. It seems I use 12-14kWh per day on average. Now according to my energy company that isn't bad for a three bed house but I know it could be better because I'm not that careful. But 10kWh is within reach and if we made more concessions it would be even better.

Now I just need to figure out if Tesla will sell one for DIY install!

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Industry infighting means mobile users face long delays on UK trains

Bob H

This is doubly twisted because National Rail has their own mobile phone spectrum for GSM-R.

Perhaps they should coordinate with the Police and their TETRA replacement issue. Bring the two budgets together and make a national, high availability, secondary LTE infrastructure.

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Hi, Fi: Google JOWL-SLAPS mobile bigguns with $20/mo wireless service

Bob H

If they come to the UK as the rumours suggest then I'll take it. I'm bored of all the roaming issues and coverage issues I get. The Nexus 6 is a bit big, so I hope they add support for my Nexus 5.

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El Reg offers you the chance to become a Master Investor – for free

Bob H

I was interested, then I read the mention of Farage. That man doesn't deserve the oxygen of publicity, in fact he doesn't deserve oxygen.

I'm out.

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Bob H

Re: @ dogged

@codejunky

Inviting Farage to anything more than his own demise doesn't make sense. A vile man from a vile party intent on manipulating people through fear and deception.

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Are you sure there are servers in this cold, dark basement?

Bob H

Re: The funniest I've seen...

I did a placement at a local TV station, they had failure on a piece of kit and a bike courier was ordered with a replacement card for a "support within x hours" delivery. They were cursing when he didn't turn up because it made doing the news difficult and they stopped cursing when they were called to say the motorbike courier had been in an accident.

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AMD opens kimono on chip futures a little more

Bob H

There is already a rumour going around about Samsung and AMD sittin' in a tree...

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Gigabit web streaming in 2016? Live tests say yes

Bob H

Re: History

I've noticed that when you do a Speedtest.net on Virgin in the UK it does the test against Virgin servers if you let it automatically pick the server. It picks a server just a 30min drive away from my house on the Virgin network.

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Bob H

As a former colleague once said when we were told our site was getting Gbit internet:

"I can't w*nk that fast."

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Bob H

Re: What about muh upstream?

When Comcast decides (and Liberty Global would also likely make such a move) to put 10/40Gbit/sec into production they'll probably change the economies of scale by market forces alone. Their agreements with Broadcom could mean that they build a 40G SDN without much concern and they could do it on the back of the RDK software development arrangement that they have with Cisco and Arris already.

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