* Posts by Schultz

1180 posts • joined 22 Oct 2007

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Watt the USB-C logo?

Schultz
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Re: Who buys chargers?

Well, it might help you to decide whether you want to charge your phone with the tablet charger, the tablet with the power supply of the little fan that looked so cute in the store,...

I have a good number of chargers in different locations and usually plug whatever device in my hand into the nearest charger. My understanding is that this behavior might be quite dangerous with the new USB standard.

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Email proves UK boffins axed from EU research in Brexit aftermath

Schultz
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" Moedas regards funding as a privilege"

No, the situation us much simpler: Research groups in the UK remain eligible for EU funding, but they don't have a legal right to get funded. Just like all those other research groups throughout the EU who happen to not get included in a EU funded project.

UK researcher used to be among the first choice partners for EU projects (everybody likes a reliable British partner). Now they dropped a few places - you just don't know if they'll be along to do their share of the work. A lot of eastern-EU countries had that problem all along (uncertainties due to political instability), so welcome I the club of Romania, Bulgaria, etc.

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Boffins shrink light-twister to silicon scale, multiply bandwidth 10x

Schultz
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How does polarity pertain to chirality of spiral light?

Simple: Spiral light == circularly polarized light.

There is no separate chiral/spiral property of light and you have been suckered by the use of fancy new language to describe boring old concepts (TM).

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Schultz
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Boffin

Vaporware

There are some problems with the "10-fold increased bandwidth". Fortunately, the boffins were not required to transmit 10x more data to publish their paper, but a bit of pixie-dust did the job all-right. Let me explain why this is vaporware (you'll need some patience to go through the following explanation).

Physics tells us that there are three spatial dimensions (for simplicity, let's call them x,y, and z). One dimension will be the propagation direction of the light beam (usually we'd call that the z axis) and we can now freely choose any polarization state and position in the x and y axis.

Any polarization state sounds like a big amount of freedom, doesn't it? Hey let's use it to transfer data! That's the underlying concept of the orbital angular momentum = increased bandwith community. Unfortunately, there are only two spatial dimensions, so the sum of two polarization states (with respective amplitude and phase properties) are sufficient to describe any possible polarization. Commonly, physicists would describe that 'any polarization' state as a sum of x- and y- polarized light, or (perfectly equivalent) as a sum of right-handed and left-handed circularly polarized light. The circularly polarized description is better, it describes the same physics but it allows us to talk about angular momentum and that does sound great! Back to that great freedom of 'any polarization' . The laws of physics boil it down to only two distinct polarization states and that is surely a bit disappointing (where is my factor 10!?).

Now a smart kid might argue that we should relax a little and look beyond x and y: why not use some +-45 (= pi/4) degree angles between x and y as a third and fourth polarization state? Bandwidth, here we come! Unfortunately, those +-45 degree photons have a big propensity to be observed as either 0 degrees (x-axis) polarized photons or 90 degrees (y-axis) polarized photons. So we'll have to collect many photons to tell the difference between our four polarization states and that will slow us down sufficiently to destroy all the extra information we wanted to send along.

How about using the light phase to transmit data? The phase of a photon can take any value between 0 and 360 degrees, so all we have to do is encode information in there. Unfortunately, the phase is only a meaningful concept if we can relate it to a common time frame. If I wait for 1/4 of the period of the light wave (some 3.3 femtoseconds for micrometer wavelength light in your glass fiber), then the phase will be shifted by 90 degrees. We have no detectors that could directly detect such tiny time/phase-shifts of an electromagnetic wave. The only practical way to determine such shifts is to overlap two beams of light and observe their interference (two identical beams will destruct one another if their phase is shifted by 180 degrees). But if we need to send two beams to make use of the phase information, then we might as well use the second beam to transmit data independently. It turns out that the maximum amount of information that can be transferred does not change if we use simple interferometric tricks.

Now you should be ready for the big question. If the simple physics just gives us a factor 2 through polarization and nothing from the phase, how do those boffins magically increase the information bandwidth of light? (They do so on paper at least.) And the answer is simple again: They spatially displace the beam along the x and y axis. Imagine you send beams to different spots -- you could use a separate detector at each target spot and, with 100 detectors, you could increase the information 100-fold! Sounds magical? Not really, it sounds a bit trivial. (Aren't those boring telecoms already using fiber bundles to send multiplexed data?) But that's just because the idea was badly presented.

Let me try again. Imagine we use some interference tricks to control the direction of the light beams. I am sure you have heard about light diffraction, holographic gratings, and other magical tricks. No need to understand them, it's just some interference tool to control the direction of light waves and a few dollars can get you yours! Use this holographic magic to control the x/y spatial direction of the propagating light and you can start aiming at your 100 detectors. Now stop talking about space, that's a bit boring. We use light-waves, and space can be perfectly described as the Fourier domain of an interference mask. Even better, let's describe the interference in terms of circularly polarized states and angular momentum. Remember, I told you the circularly polarized description sounds better! So now we use orbital angular momentum to multiplex the bandwidth of information transmission. That does sound quite nice, doesn't it? Sprinkle some math describing the light interference onto paper and, voila, you get a tenfold increase in bandwidth, together with a science paper and lots of attention.

To be fair, the authors never talk about a tenfold increase in information bandwidth in their paper. So maybe we should assume that the general press (including TheRegister) mis-interpreted the word "potential in the manuscript. Or maybe nobody bothered to read the article, after all there is a press release, which is "able to carry 10 times or more the amount of information than that of conventional l̶a̶s̶e̶r̶s̶ " scientific publications.

It's not the first time I wrote about OAM information transfer magic in the comments. Hello, Richard Chirgwin, are you reading this? It's almost as much fun as the information teleportation magic. But now I ask TheRegister to cease and desist that nonsense for at least 2 weeks, or else I'll spam your comment section with 100 pages from the Messiah. The real Messiah.

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Fork YOU! Sure, take the code. Then what?

Schultz
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Bodhi, which came out yesterday ...

Funny, I remember playing with Bodhi a good number of years ago. In the end, Bodhi took a bit too much disk space on the 1st generation disk-less netbook, so the kids get to play with Puppy Linux instead.

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The very latest on the DNC email conspiracy. Which conspiracy? All of them, of course!

Schultz
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I got to take the side of Mrs. Schultz in this one ...

I know her to be completely honest. Same as my other 12532658 relatives out there!

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Iraqi government finally bans debunked bomb-finding dowsing rods

Schultz
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But they did work!

Comprehensive testing showed that the devices correctly identified random samples of explosives and nonexplosives some 50% of the time.

That's better than nothing, innit?

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European privacy body slams shut backdoors everywhere

Schultz
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Trollface

Decryption, ... monitoring, ... of communications should be prohibited.

Let's keep the fingers crossed that this makes it into the laws.

So should we expect separate software releases for the EU market anytime soon? Just as in the times of the Cryptowars (90s), only this time around the EU gets the real encryption and the Anglo-Saxons get the back-doored version. Surely the EU market is large enough to justify a separate version of MS Windows and Android and those companies wouldn't want to be seen violating the laws of the land.

Truly interesting times coming up!

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Brit Science Minister to probe Brexit bias against UK-based scientists

Schultz
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Boffin

"EU rules still apply until we've actually left."

Indeed, and the EU rules require a convincing proposal and budget before multiyear research projects are funded. Nobody wants to waste money on projects that will be unsuccessful because they were cancelled halfway through. Even if this is not topic of the daily headlines, the EU tries very hard not to waste money. It's kind of obvious that research sites that cannot guarantee a stable research environment for the coming years will take a hit in funding. The other EU countries contributing to the EU research budget would be righteously pissed if the EU threw their limited resources into projects without a future.

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Kotkin on who made Trump and Brexit: Look in the mirror, it's you

Schultz
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"lazy economics ... allow migration to give us economic growth"

Your comment nicely illustrates the fundamental problem that the article itself ignores: It's hard to recognize cause and effect in a complicated economy (and with thousands of bank's analysts being payed to obscure the picture for financial gain). Did migration lead to economic growth? Some would agree and others would dispute it. Did free trade and the common rules of the EU create wealth? Is the working class better off than 30 years ago -- on an absolute scale, or compared to their peers? Would 80 million people in the UK create endless gridlock or would it create more wealthy population centers like London?

Democracy is a process of trial and error. It is (hopefully) self correcting because the majority can always change the rules if they get fed up. We now had some decades trying increased migration and trade in the EU and it did pay off nicely. Looks like now it's time for a few experiments in the opposite direction. The UK is leading the way and the rest of the world is watching to see how that goes.

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5 years, 2,300 data breaches. What'll police do with our Internet Connection Records?

Schultz
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Go

situation where "insufficient evidence to charge" - becomes "convicted - just in case".

You make that sound like such a bad thing, even though that little situational change would make all the difference and we could live in a world where rainbow colored unicorns could freely and safely roam the streets.

Wait, did I say rainbow colored unicorns? I mean straight white unicorns. High time we start looking into those suspicious deviant unicorns!

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fMRI bugs could upend years of research

Schultz
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Boffin

"Cargo cult science is a bit harsh for most."

Is it really too harsh? A whole research field went astray for 15 years, huge amounts of money were burned, scientific careers were made and unmade -- and nobody validated the experimental approach? Those scientists had 15 years of praise, now they deserve their five minutes of shame.

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Schultz
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Boffin

Cargo Cult Science

Cargo Cult Science is a term coined by Physicist Richard Feynman to describe the lot of scientists that go through the motions of producing science, but they are not really contributing anything. It's usually caused by scientists who don't quite understand the underpinnings of their field (i.e. statistics). If you didn't yet read the book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!", then go get it, it's a delight.

Unfortunately it's not easy to identify cargo cult science -- in this example it apparently too 15 years. So don't get your hopes up for saving the corresponding scientific funds.

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Man killed in gruesome Tesla autopilot crash was saved by his car's software weeks earlier

Schultz
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Yes but ... this process will make autopilots safer

The cause of the accident will be investigated and the sensors or software will be updated to ensure this type of accident will not occur again. Ultimately, this will make autopilots safer drivers than humans -- because humans are not very prone to learning from other people's mistakes.

We humans are vain and may not like to hear the truth, but on average we are lousy drivers. And I am not talking about that annoying lady that cut you off last week, I am talking about you when you [switched lane without looking | almost hit that bike | drove after that late night beer | ...].

I know you guys like to drive your cars, so bring on the shitstorm. But consider the statistics : "You have a one in four chance of being in some kind of auto accident within any five year period of time. You have a 30% chance of being in a serious car crash in your life. You have one chance in 98 of dying in an auto accident in your lifetime."

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400 million Foxit users need to catch up with patched-up reader

Schultz
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I second the Sumatra PDF recommendation

Sumatra is light and fast and it works. The completely dysfunctional ribbon interface broke Foxit for me. And that dysfunctional interface eats up a good part of your screen real estate if you run it on a laptop.

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Vodafone hints at relocation from UK

Schultz
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Holmes

"keep in mind the UK has a trade deficit of 25 BEELLION quid ... free money"

I don't think you fully understood how the economy works. Great Britain can run a trade deficit and print money to make up for it -- as long as the trade partners trust the British economy and expect to be payed back (eventually). Britain gets something now and promises to give back something in the future.

If the trust breaks down, the trade partners will try to get rid of their £s and the exchange rate drops. You can now argue whether this will be good or bad for Britain. It will certainly be painful for some businesses and it means that some 64 million Brits are significantly poorer. This matters, because your iPhones, socks, and cars come from abroad.

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My plan to heal this BROKEN, BREXITED BRITAIN

Schultz
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"And that's what is wrong with the EU ... like some tin god playing with people like rats in a lab."

Well, if the rats get to vote on who can ply god this year, have a decent social safety net and are otherwise happy rats, I don't quite see what's wrong with the EU.

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Schultz
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"So you're saying we will pay through the nose for brexit?"

No, you'll be paying through your financial institutions in L̶o̶n̶d̶o̶n̶ Frankfurt.

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Schultz
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"Perusing the european press sites shows a union falling apart"

It might go the other way ... everybody suddenly sees the benefits of being part of the EU now that GB shows what it means to quit. German news definitely don't show increased euro-scepticism, but finally start to explain what the EU actually does and how GB will be affected by leaving.

I expect everybody to sit back and watch the British experiment.

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Down and out in the Middle Kingdom: Beijing is sinking

Schultz
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Boffin

"delicious example of the challenge of science writing in non-metric America"

The Register should offer their services for proper unit conversion. Obviously neither metric nor imperial units will do for a christian publication: If god wanted humans to measure in feet, he'd have given us more than two to do it.

The linguine, a naturally regrowing resource that comes in convenient packs of 118, needs to be publicized as convenient god-given measurement unit. Beyond the single linguine unit, the linguine pack lp (118 linguine end-to-end), the linguine width lw and the linguine thickness lt should be used to describe especially large or small objects.

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

Schultz
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The thing that happened ...

is that a democratic country had a democratic election on a clearly defined topic. I am not happy about the result, but I think the election result and those who voted deserve respect.

Now there'll be the British experiment outside of the EU. It'll be interesting to see how a major European country will do on its own without oodles of oil money (the Norwegian way), oodles of banking money (the Swiss way), or a fishing-based economy (the Iceland way). Everybody in the EU will break out the popcorn to watch. And no, you British folks cannot have a handful, you don't belong anymore.

Now, concerning that Wembley goal, let's just clarify once and for all that is was a tragic referee error. You'd have deserved to win that game fair and square, how sad that it didn't turn out that way....

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Utah sheriffs blow $10,000 on smut-sniffing Labrador

Schultz
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Inefficient

They should not use Earl to search for USB porn, that's just slow and inefficient. Everybody gets their stuff from the Internets nowadays, so just start at the Telco and follow the data trail.

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Tinder bans under-18s: Moral panic averted

Schultz
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Boffin

Pendant Alert / "Sex isn't something that is required for life to continue"

"Sex isn't something that is required for life to continue"

PEDANT ALERT!

I think you'll find it is*, the human race would die out if noone had sex.

You just outed yourself as a horrible r̶a̶c̶i̶s̶t̶ speciist. Sex is only required if your definition of life excludes bacteria, amoeba, fungi, many kinds of plants, archea, protea, ... Speak for yourself only!

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Cold space gas? Sure, supermassive black holes can eat that. Nom, nom, nom

Schultz
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Mushroom

Rain?

If a liquid comes to hit you with a speed of about a million kilometres per hour, do you still call it rain? Sounds more like a wet dream for DARPA.

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Bing web searches may reveal you have cancer (so, er, don't use Bing?)

Schultz
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Boffin

Statistically challenged

"get an accurate diagnosis between 6 and 32 per cent of the time, with an error rate of 0.00001 per cent."

So if 6-32% of diagnoses were accurate, it follows that 94-68% of diagnoses were inaccurate. Interesting how this suddenly boils down to an error rate of 0.00001%. Some magic is going on here.

And how come they give a range (6-32%) for the accuracy? Did they split their cases based on some magic mystery factor to find that magic group 1 had a 32% accurate diagnosis while magic group 3217 had only a 6% accurate diagnosis?

I am well aware that 70% of all statistics are made up on the spot, but the numbers should still make sense!

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Schultz
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Boffin

mabl4367: "Generators are already at about 80% efficiency."

I hope you talk about wind energy generators. Modern power plants seem to be in the 30-45% range: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=107&t=3

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Schultz
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Steve Crook: "without subsidy, onshore wind will never be cost competitive with gas"

Do you own a hat? I can supply some nice hot gochujang sauce to make it go down easier.

... never say never ...

See: Historic gas prices, note the factor 5 price decrease in the last ten years, and extrapolate at will.

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Norway might insist on zero-emission vehicles by 2025

Schultz
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No problem

With the current trajectory of fuel efficiency in diesel and petrol cars, you can buy a zero-emission diesel SUV way before the deadline. The European emission test will presumably allow a 30 km downhill test-run with plugged-in phone and laptop batteries to help the starter engine deal with the flatter parts of the test track.

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Dell finds liquid cooling tech on eBay, now wants you to buy it

Schultz
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Hey, what could possibly go wrong with ...

350 psi water pressure in one long long water tube coming down from the ceiling and running through the length of your data center. Just don't ever touch those tubes.

I assume you could always remove a defective processor from underneath the cooler block and glue another one in place (no, don't touch the water tubes!).

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Rats revive phones-and-cancer scares

Schultz
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Boffin

Pay us to do the study again correctly ...

Which is a perfectly reasonable scientific approach. Explore an exotic hypothesis with a small amount of resources and invest some more money only if the preliminary results are interesting. This approach helps to remove 95% insignificant hypotheses (plus a few false negatives) before serious money is being wasted.

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$10bn Oracle v Google copyright jury verdict: Google wins, Java APIs in Android are Fair Use

Schultz
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Oracle feels deeply that it ̶h̶a̶s̶ ̶b̶e̶e̶n̶ ̶w̶r̶o̶n̶g̶e̶d̶ should get all you monies

greenbacks, cash, dough, bucks, cash, pesos, ...

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Euro Patent Office prez's brake line cut – aka how to tell you're not popular

Schultz
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Thumb Up

Bullet proof bicycle already patented.

Gotta love the quoted patent from 1997: "However, peace officers are now using a new form of transportation, the bicycle, which has greatly enhanced their ability to perform their duties."

(1) Lawyers discover that the police discover a new form of transportation.

(3) Make money.

(did I miss something?)

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CIA says it 'accidentally' nuked torture report hard drive

Schultz
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Newspeak

It all depends on the meaning of 'accidentally'. And anyways, from a space-time perspective the information is still there, it's just laterally displaced along the time axis.

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New solar cell breaks efficiency records, turns 34% of light into 'leccy

Schultz
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Re: Watts per Dollar is the only efficiency that actually matters

No, installation and service cost come into the equation and low-efficiency cells are just not worth the effort to install. There are several factors determining the economic success of a given construction. Including a prism and effectively running two devices won't really help the design discussed here, but having a concentrator (= lens) may eventually create a compelling product.

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Schultz
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Panasonic already claimed 37%

According to the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Panasonic already delivered 37% conversion efficiency with a non-concentrator cell in 2015.Maybe something else is new(s)?

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Linus Torvalds releases Linux 4.6

Schultz
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Boffin

Driving me mad ...

when those Pi users drive around just for the hell of it. They should stop polluting and focus on the drivers.

("Raspberry Pi users may appreciate new drives ..." - and the Tips and corrections doesn't do anything in my browser)

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A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Schultz
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Time out

Humans should just take a short time out to let the debris come back down. It works, after all that's how our planet got formed. A couple of centuries should do.

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FBI director claims that videoing police is causing crime uptick

Schultz
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But he knows that the crime rate increased...

because one officer told him 'I was so pissed with the Ferguson thing that I walked on, pretending that I didn't see the burglary'. So there is at least one extra crime.

(and no, this is not comparable to hat other time last year when the officer was so pissed that he drove his cruiser in the wall.)

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Congress calls for change to NSA spying law

Schultz
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Joke

Simple solution, move the NSA out of the States

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

So why don't they create a new or move the existing NSA in a territory that is not a US state? I heard Puerto Rico is looking for somebody to rent the place. Win-win, isn't it?

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Engineer uses binary on voting bumpf to flag up Cali election flaws

Schultz
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FAIL

What's wrong with www._I_am_your_candidate_.com

I think a few more people might get tempted to look up what he is about. If I google 01100101, all I get is some 'free binary translator' and I doubt too many of his constituents will look him up on ElReg.

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Dyson hair dryer

Schultz
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Boffin

I'll assume it is 'supersonic' only,

so the neighbors won't wake up.

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Jaron Lanier: Big Tech is worse than Big Oil

Schultz
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Thumb Down

'Big Tech' being on the wrong side doesn't put the copyright industry on the right.

The copyright industry went so far beyond common sense with their efforts to protect their assets for eternity that even Google and MS look like heroes when picking up the fight with them. Let's hope their fight destroys enough of the current system to bring about something more reasonable

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Irish researchers sweep smartphones clear of super bugs

Schultz
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Facepalm

Antibacterial nonsense

You carry more bacterial cells than human cells in your body. Wash your hands before dinner and stop worrying about your phone. Oh, and while we are at it, when did you last put your keyboard through the dishwasher?

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UK authorities probe 'drone hitting plane at Heathrow'

Schultz
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WTF?

The average drone ...

looks more like this: http://goo.gl/Axq5Ku (Aliexpress link), runs without explosive fuels and is not a hardened steel construction. The statement "made of sturdier stuff, can carry liquid fuels and have rapidly-rotating rotors that could conceivably damage a plane" therefore sounds a bit of hyperbole. Still, those drone operators should follow the rules just like the model plane operators did in the past.

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US anti-encryption law is so 'braindead' it will outlaw file compression

Schultz
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Boffin

Bending the natural sciences to conform to political will ...

is hard to do. Even the Nazis didn't follow through with their aryan science. So calm down and let the politicians go through the motions of trying all those approached that don't work.

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Music's value gap? Follow the money trail back to Google

Schultz
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Simply broken

I have not purchased music (online or off) for years. I am quite selective in what I listen to and I am not willing to pay lots of money for legally sampling music online. I pretty much gave up hope that they'll ever create a system that will work for somebody like me. The only music I bought in the last >10 years was boring old CDs, directly from artists I already knew. I was excited for some 5 minutes when Pandora launched (and I found and bought some new music in the days), but they were quick to shut out the bigger part of the world and that was that.

There is a lot of money waiting to be spent worldwide, but the system is broken and apparently nobody can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.The artists and producers dream of the golden days when everybody replaced the payed-for LPs and tapes with an expensive CD collection. They forgot that, historically, even wizz kids like Mozart barely made a living.

Cry for me, Argentina, -- no, that's still copyrighted. Cry me a river -- oops not that one either. Just forget it then.

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Picture this: An exabyte of cat pix in the space of a sugar cube of DNA

Schultz
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An exabyte in the space of a sugarcube...

but for reading out you need a lot of supplies to run the polymerase chain reaction and those will not be reusable. Add up the total volume or supplies required for writing and reading data, it'll look a lot less efficient. (As in many orders of magnitude less efficient.)

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Lotto 'jackpot fix' code

Schultz
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It's the lottery ...

so the players get ripped off anyways. Some days of the week, somebody else did the ripping off, should I care? Add it to the arguments why the lotteries should be closed. See John Oliver explain the other reasons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PK-netuhHA.

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This year's H-1B visa lottery jammed full in just six days

Schultz
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Coat

Some of the jobs may just move overseas...

Let's face it, there will always be pressure to reduce the cost for lower skill jobs. If the US closes their door, jobs will move to other countries. India is a few time-zones away, but maybe it'll be an opportunity for Mexico or Canada to start operating the IT departments for US companies with those highly motivated immigrants.

You might not like it, but those kids from poor countries also want their slice of the pie and they are willing to move across the world to get it.

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Taking an artsy selfie in Stockholm? You might need to pay royalities

Schultz
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Trollface

Slippery slope, what exactly is art?

Please close your eyes now because if you look at the artwork below, you might owe me some money!

...../\

/\/\|.|/\

|........|/\

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