* Posts by Mage

4723 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Mozilla officially kills Firefox OS for smartphones in favour of 'Connected Devices'

Mage
Silver badge

This is a distraction!

What about making Firefox, Thunderbird better and a Calendar/Scheduling etc stuff?

P.S. BUGS and FUNCTIONALITY. Stop messing up the GUI!

17
0

'Dodgy Type-C USB cable fried my laptop!'

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Oh, for a sensible cable...

Shaver 2 pin plugs are not USA blades. They are for a power limited transformer isolated sockets. They are based either on Europlug or old UK 5A plug (not the same).

The Blade spacing and shape of Kindle charger with CE mark is USA only. Quite different and narrower spacing than any European plug. There ARE travel adaptor chargers with interchangeable pins. The offending charger isn't a travel type, it's USA flat blade only. It's true that all most shaver outlets have a 110V outlet that will take USA plug. Shaver outlets are NOT the same as as Euro or UK to 2 pin adaptor (of any kind), they are isolated and power limited with a transformer.

0
0
Mage
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Who the hell...

I even use "disposable" €5 DMM if I'm suspicious of a PSU. Or an old mechanical AVO if it might have more than 250V (I've seen the €5 DMM die with blue flash on the 750V range with 450V DC).

Certainly I'd make a custom jig with a host and slave socket and switchable load as well as switchable signal source and "eye" test data error meter. You can't test cable performance for data with out an expensive test meter as it will either work or not on "real" gear without knowing margin. The power aspect needs measure of voltage drop vs load (a DMM might not reveal the real story) while wiggle cable and plug.

Doesn't sound like proper lab testing.

9
0
Mage
Silver badge

Cheap stuff

But I have bought < €5 HDMI cables, USB, regular, micro and mini USB that are perfectly fine. Expensive ones that were rubbish (One expensive USB cable didn't use twisted pair for data, seemed to be made out of four core Alarm wire cable with no screen.)

Price of cables seems to have no connection to quality. See Monster and Maplin own brand cables pricing.

19
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: Oh, for a sensible cable...

The Amazon that has a 110-240V charger (for Kindle) with a CE mark but USA pair of blade connectors?

How on earth does ANYTHING with a USA mains plug (only, not interchangeable like some clever travel PSUs) get a CE mark, even if it internally can work on UK electricity?

Oh, it fails massively on EMI (RF interference) when actually charging anything. Perhaps the FCC / CE tests for RFI/EMI were done with no load?

10
1

Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

Mage
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

"A more effective backup for GPS is desperately needed."

No, GPS (or ANY satellite system for any purpose) ought to be the backup for a terrestrial system. What about Solar Flares (well maybe the GPS is too low an orbit?), jamming or someone shooting them down?

5
1
Mage
Silver badge

Re: Hmm...

There is a serious design flaw in how SFN terrestrial (DAB or DTT, though DTT SFNs tend to be smaller or non-existent) network and Mobile is designed or implemented that it needs satellite at all, except as a backup!

5
0

Did you know ... Stephen Fry has founded a tech startup?

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Owl or Sky?

I've a nice bridge. It's connected to the Internet. Maybe SF would like to invest in it?

4
0

They're alive! Galileo sats 9 and 10 sending valid signals

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Clock Sovereignity

But do we care about DAB? A system that increases Listener power consumption by x5 to x20 compared to FM, less than FM quality and can even be worse distortion than a good AM signal. Needs 700 fill in transmitters in UK to give FM coverage too.

DAB also for local / community radio is more expensive and gives too much coverage. Local stations can't use a SFN mux either.

Some DTT SFN and Mobile bases may also stupidly use GPS to save a bit of money (£8000) at install time years ago (yes it's about £1100 now but was more then).

8
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: but GPS is much, much more accurate

It can be jammed or spoofed, so perhaps now more use as a civilian tool?

3
0
Mage
Silver badge
Mushroom

Some folks might criticize cost, but ...

This is good. Do we want Sat nav that depends on good will of Russian and American presidents/military? (Putin & Trump or Clinton? Or maybe even Palin in 5 years! Well, probably not Palin or Trump).

I think cruise missiles (Russian or USA) can use inertial navigation and maps, as can ICBMs. I think a cruise missile can carry a nuke?

7
1

NOTHING trumps extra pizza on IT projects. Not even more people

Mage
Silver badge

Big teams

It's true that as a team gets bigger the quality drops. Also adding people to speed delivery after project started, slows it.

It depends on project size as to when any coding should start. A larger project needs a small design team, which might spend weeks or months not writing code, but designing APIs / module communication etc before detail implementation with full team starts. Then you can't change anything unless it's wrong spec, in which case you have to scrape schedule and reset to design phase.

0
0

Smart toys spring dumb vulns. Again. This time: Cuddly bears, watches

Mage
Silver badge

Toys

German style wooden railways

Blocks

Micromachines

Meccanno

Lego

Playdoh

Plasticine

Windup toys

pull back toys.

Dumb cuddlies

Articulated play figures / dolls

Nothing that uses charger, batteries, solar panels or electronics, except Electronics breadboard kits.

No so called "educational learning electronics" / "toy laptops etc" / vtech.

Toys with electronics or batteries have mostly been unsafe or badly made. Many are a fire risk if you put NiMH batteries in!

1
1

Intel, Qualcomm set up their WiGig 802.11ad devices on blind dates

Mage
Silver badge

Range?

Pretty nearly Line Of Sight. At least with a light based network connection, if the LED room lamp / "air point" is shining on your shiny thing you know it might work. Your hand or a cubical wall can shield 60GHz.

I'm certainly not wanting to pay extra. How much extra are we all going to pay in chip costs and Qualcomm royalties if idiots make this nearly pointless tech standard in phones, tablets and laptops?

2
0

Safe Harbor ripped and replaced with Privacy Shield in last-minute US-Europe deal

Mage
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

There may still be some individual sticking points

Hmm, the Americans promise to give Europeans more rights than they give Americans in USA?

Either they are lying, or Americans will want this sort of privacy too.

8
0

Sure, encrypt your email – while your shiny IoT toothbrush spies on you

Mage
Silver badge

Re: The problem is that cloud services ... IPv6

With IPv6?

IP4 vs IP6 makes no difference! Actually unless you are expert, the IPv6 is worse!

1
0

Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Shadow emergency recovery BIOS in eprom was such a good idea.

I had a bricked 486 once, I had a same model working MOBO and its 28 pin Flash BIOS IC worked in bricked mobo, so I booted the Flash R/W utility floppy, saved the contents, and WHILE the PC running, carefully levered out the 28 pin DIL IC and pushed in the one that made the mobo dead.

Then wrote the file I saved. The process worked.

I think the original game boy can use the same ICs so I considered making an adaptor with two sockets, one ZIF and a CE change-over switch. I suppose this was 1998 or 1999? I never did. I suppose the only socketed chip now is the CPU, and I'd guess maybe even that is soldered in on some laptops (and all in one PCs) that are made super thin with glued in batteries, like a tablet. There was a scope conversion for gameboy I nearly bought, but I have a real scope and "audio" ones via laptop and decent sound cards / USB boxes.

3
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: This is like BIOS flashing by Unix commands

Yes, though I'm surprised it's not mounted RO by default. Why even does it need to remain mounted after boot is complete, rather than mounting it only if something needs changed?

So, some stupidity by user*, but I wonder why it's implemented like this anyway.

(*I'd wonder what else such a use of "rm" might remove on some systems. Pretty much EVERYTHING appears as a file in UNIX like systems.

5
0
Mage
Silver badge

Old Linux Steam Client ...

I'm not a linux guru, though using and installing it since 1999 and flavours of UNIX since 1985 ... Is there a way to make "rm" command safer?

I don't remember any accidents with it, though I have used it. There is always a first time -_-

1
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: So, exactly...

Don't wipe ALL of the OS, you CAN wipe all of the disk. A new partition or format (via boot from CD/DVD/USB stick) will not erase these files, as they only appear when the OS is running: "... it is not a file on the hard drive, just a set of special files that represent efi variables."

9
0
Mage
Silver badge
Boffin

Not on the HDD

Just like TTY looks like a file on your HDD, my understanding is that these "files" are not actually files on the HDD, but in the Mobo's flash memory. Hence by default it would be safer if they were mounted on RO mode. I believe it's possible for example to have a device driver that mounts the 64 bytes RAM of a RTC chip (as used in 386, 484, old pentiums etc) on any mount point in the filesystem.

Fortunately I don't yet have one of these new fangled machines. I did once send back a bricked Mobo. There was a flaw in the "CMOS /BIOS Setup" such that if you didn't exit (save or not) from the setup pages and simply hit the power button or unnplugged it (or had a power cut) it would brick the mobo. This is a quite different sort of flaw. UEFI sounds to me like a poorly thought out boot mechanism that is more vulnerable. I liked Mobos that had a physical jumper for flash RW vs RO as even on regular older non-UEFI, I've seen re-write utilities of flash via Windows on some DELL PCs. I didn't see one with a 2nd jumper for enable write to settings too. But if I was designing a system I'd have two jumpers. All security bets are off anyway with local access. Why not make it that remote access to BIOS (of any type) to change settings or re-write contents needs changing a physical switch. If people want it can be left always closed, or a cable to a panel keyswitch / button etc to avoid need to open box.

12
0

Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Mage
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: This is not...

Payments on a Phone. Is it secure and private anyway? I agree, It may be your phone, but it's Google's payment system. c.f. Pay TV access, gas, electricity and water meters?

2
1

Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Goodbye FTDI

Impossible for most people to know if they are buying a counterfeit chip. This is unreasonable behaviour by FTDI.

4
6

Most of the world still dependent on cash

Mage
Silver badge

IBAN

It can work over mobile phone.

Anonymous is a separate issue, the problem is it makes it hard to pay bills via third party or get money back on faulty or undelivered goods. It's most attractive for purchase direct of illegal goods and money laundering.

Why has USA not adopted IBAN? It's better than Paypal and FAR better than Western Union or similar. Also better than credit cards or debit cards for safe payment.

1
0

Cloud growth? Take a number, Microsoft. Two engines have stalled

Mage
Silver badge

SQL Server, Systems Server, Systems Center products

So not actually "Cloud" (i.e. subscription hosting / Azure MS 365) at all!

Idiots.

9
3

Intel and Micron's XPoint: Is it PCM? We think it is

Mage
Silver badge

Duck

Sounds like a better duck?

0
1

I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Mage
Silver badge

Nice review of Robots in fiction ...

The Three laws are a Mcguffin, a plot device to explore how they can be broken.

Iain M. Banks is self indulgent fantasy.

None of the examples are real attempts to propose what AI might be or do. They are irrelevant to AI research and development, which in reality has hardly advanced since Alan Turning mused about it. Even the Turing Test wasn't a serious proposal for a real AI test, but a bit of a thought experiment.

We still aren't too sure exactly what natural intelligence is, though we think that corvids (crows) are inexplicably smarter than some primates. There seems to be little or not correlation between brain size and self awareness, ability for language, creativity, problem solving, art, and tool creation and use, all things thought to indicate intelligence.

"AI" in broadest sense has only made progress by having a very narrow definition of it, and heavily relies on a human expert, human programmers and a database to initialise the system. It shows none of the sort of characteristics seen in children, corvids or other animals.

10
7

31 nations sign data-sharing pact to tax multinationals

Mage
Silver badge

Expand it now!

Caribbean countries, Singapore etc.

I'm not so worried about USA today, as its tax laws are a different problem to this one.

0
0

Senate marks Data Privacy Day with passage of critical bill for Safe Harbor

Mage
Silver badge
Devil

extend US privacy rights to Europeans.

Pull the other one.

Compared to Europeans in Europe, the Americans in USA have very little in the way of Privacy rights. USA rights do not meet European standards.

It's true of course that some aspects of UK and Irish practices don't meet EU standards, but way above USA.

24
0

AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

Mage
Silver badge

Actually ...

This article is written by a buzz word fan with no real knowledge of AI, or some one trying to get funding for so called AI research. The examples are nonsense.

8
9
Mage
Silver badge

but simply to be automated in an intelligent way

1) That's a rubbish definition

2) No robot carpet cleaner or grass cutter meets it.

A lego mindstorms RSX 1.0 can do the same as "robo vac" and has no A.I. at all.

5
1

Back to the Future's DeLorean is coming back to the future

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea

It was fibre glass with a glued on stainless steel skin!

Came off easily, dented easily ... Not particularly heavy.

2
0
Mage
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: A couple points ...

Even at the time critics said:

Too low power an engine

bad handling

Stainless Steel skin shakes off the fibre glass body.

Questions about safety of gull wing doors (other gull wings since can open if car on roof)

He was a con man and the car was just styled to look distinctive, it's rubbish really.

7
0

Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

Mage
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Very Impressive

But like World beating chess playing computers, it's only AI if you redefine AI. It's clever programming by humans. Not AI.

15
7

'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

Mage
Silver badge

Re: 80386 vs 80286

The 386 allowed more RAM. But the real advantage for PCs / MS was being able to to run DOS apps etc at same time. The 286 could only sensibly run a real OS.

The Pentium Pro didn't have the switching of 386, 486, Pentium I & II, so ran NT with DOS apps in NTVDM fine and WOW for 16 bit windows. But it ran Win95 or any mix of code bases slowly as it didn't have that rapid switch of the 386. Win95 killed the Pentium Pro. The multi chip PII in a plastic box and plug in card ran NT slower than Pentium Pro, but mixed bag of Win95 or Win98 stuff faster.

1
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: "DOS was a retrograde..."

Yes, the x86 was little more than a beefed up 8085 / Z80 with 64K segments. Intel had a translation tool so CP/M 86 was a REALLY fast port of CP/M. DOS was MS's bought in reverse engineered CP/M 86

Wang and others sold 286 PCs with Xenix or UNIX.

MS even owned and sold Xenix for 80286 for a while. I installed it once, in 1987, though I don't know if the pre-troll original SCO owned it by then.

The 8088 and 8086 weren't real 16 bit CPUs at all. You could only do the same things as on a Z80. Actually later Z80s had MMU and 512K RAM. (The Amstrad PCW was years later). There were 3 or 4 real 16 bit CPUs before IBM even did the PC, which wasn't meant to be a serious project. Hence the catalogue parts and bought in DOS. That's apart from multichip solutions that ran UNIX before 1980. The IBM PC was simply a big metal version of Apple II with only text display (graphics later!) and only 320K floppy. Compare Victor 2000 / ACT Sirus 1 (same rubbish CPU) that was a year later in USA, but released about same time in UK, as IBM PC only really was available in UK in late 1981.

So the ENTIRE IBM PC HW & SW, held back desktop computing for 5 to 10 years!

7
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: Windows/NT must be 20 years old at least.

1993. for NT 3.1 So 23 years old this summer.

Why is first NT, 3.1? Dunno really, but after MS & IBM fell out on OS/2, MS did have rights to MS OS/2 (with built in Lanmanager.). I saw this once with a class room of Win 3.11 workstations via cheapernet (thin BNC ethernet) in early 1990s

1
0
Mage
Silver badge
Mushroom

Embedded?

You, sir, are barking mad. Decent Embedded systems are even more secure and robust. They need to be with no user with a keyboard, mouse and screen to fix stuff, and maybe massive loss of equipment or life if it "crashes".

17
0

WTF? Been seeing a lot of recommendations for Mint Linux to newcomers, why?

Mage
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: WTF? Been seeing a lot of recommendations for Mint Linux to newcomers, why?

Samba server is fine on Linux, if you DON'T use nautilus or any other GUI to set it up!

Samba Clients on GUI to an ordinary NT server (or pre-Active Director Domain Controller) or Linux server are fine and have been for years.

0
0
Mage
Silver badge
Coat

Plus 1: Linux Mint + Mate

Mate with suitable adjustments seems to be closest to a decent pre-Kool-aid Ubuntu and pre Vista/Ribbon Redmond if you tweak it. (less effort than removing eye candy Aero stupidity on Vista or Fisher-Price Theme on XP to have a more NT4.0 / Win 2K / Win98 sane GUI)

Excellent on 4G CF card Aspire One Netbook (switch off the stupid slide show on Login screen!) and on a uber cored 8G RAM 2.4GHz desk top with 2T HDD. As I'm doing nothing needing 64bit, I'm using 32bit mate (the 32bit OS will host a 64bit VM on suitable CPU & Mobo). Unlike MS crippling of RAM on Windows since NT 4.0 Enterprise, it uses all 8G bytes RAM, I think NT 4.0 Enterprise was last 32bit window to allow more than 2.5G app and more than 4G OS space on 32bits?

Been using

UNIX since 1986, inc Xenix and Chromix

CP/M 1979 to 1991

MSDOS since 1981, also DRDOS and DR Multidos

Win Shell on DOS from 1990 till 1996 (WFWG 3.11) Used Win 95 & win 98 for games machine.

NT versions from 1994 (NT 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, NT 4 Enterprise Cluster, Win2K, XP, Vista (rubbish, Win 7 is a bug fix), Win 8.x. Seen 10, don't want! I have old laptops and PC with DOS 3.3, Win3.11, Win2K and XP for legacy uses and old HW I/O).

Used & maintained OS/2 for a while

Regular Linux user since 1999. (Redhat, Barak, Clarke Connect, Suse, Debian, Ubuntu, Mint).

Used Max OS9. OS X seems an expensive way to buy an eye candy version of BSD?

Mines the one with Z80 handbook in pocket.

0
0

Stop the music! Booby-trapped song carjacked vehicles – security prof

Mage
Silver badge

Re: why? it's been understood since the 1980s,

Actually the 1970s, or maybe earlier.

0
0

If you can't buy bootleg gear online in New York, this may be why

Mage
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Possibly...

Some of the "real" stuff is poorer or as cheaply made as more generic labels and brands (legitimate ones). That's why the "counterfeiting" is popular and easy.

2
0

Two Corsair SSDs destroyed thanks to faulty PSU from Maplin

Mage
Silver badge

Maplin = Boys Toys

They also sell stuff not suitable for the local market in Ireland, despite having I think six stores. I get often same stuff at 1/5th price from china now.

I can't see what future they have c.f. Tandy/Radio Shack went down that route of selling cheap tools, toys and gadgets. They are gone.

0
0

Folk shun UK.gov's 'expensive' subsidised satellite broadband

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Satellite Broadband?

But even Scottish Islands are not "really far off locations".

Perhaps a very few people might need 100Mbps fixed wireless links, but fibre is cheap and easy and can go on the electricity poles, up water mains, inside sewers ...

No one anywhere in Europe needs Satellite. For 20Mbps + speed and >50G byte cap and low contention, fibre is cheaper.

This link showed (years old, about 2008) why even 10Mbps fixed wireless link will beat mobile, even "20Mbps" LTE. Even 100Mbps assumes a massive 20MHz channel, or 4 x 5MHz channels, only ONE user and less than 200m and/or perfect signal! At cell middle distance with and economic number of customers you have no g'tee you even connect. ALL mobile is connect on demand. Satellite the contention is customers over a vast area. It's a last resort for disasters, deserts, oil rigs, ships and jungles. Not the Highlands and Islands.

2
1
Mage
Silver badge
Flame

Satellite Broadband?

An oxymoron. Even with Ka Band now the caps and contention is terrible. One fibre fed street cabinet can have more capacity than the ENTIRE data via satellite for all of Europe!

Also the latency is terrible.

Satellite links spoof TCP/IP etc, so the modem and ground-station only support whatever VPN the provider has a proxy server for in the modem and ground-station.

It's not broadband, though apart from latency may be better than mobile, which is never broadband either.

9
2

How to save Wikipedia: Start paying editors ... or write for machines

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Catch 22

Make a few websites ...*

write the wiki article citing the sites (it really does happen, it's not just an XKCD cartoon).

The information may not actually be real

(* use Anoymisation of Whois data ...)

0
0
Mage
Silver badge

People kept using them hoping that the crashes would happen to somebody else ...

I thought this was going to be a stunning exposé of Windows 10 and MS Office.

Really Wikipedia has pretty much put many Encyclopedia compilers out of the business. MS claimed that's why they were shuttering Encarta, not that it was much good. Actually, very many encyclopedias 19th & 20th Century were not brilliant, Arthur Me, World of Knowledge, Crompton, Pears, Harmsworth etc.

2
0

Apple CEO visits EU regulator to discuss tax bill

Mage
Silver badge

Apple products support more than 1.4 million jobs across Europe

O’Reilly?

Doing what?

Actual employees?

0
0

Davos 2016: It's now all about technology, but what actually happened?

Mage
Silver badge

Fourth Industrial Revolution?

No. It's a gradual process that started in late 17th C. Accelerated in 1760s, Electrification and Electrical Communication accelerating since 1831, enabled by Volta's 1799 batteries. A huge acceleration in Victorian Age, which is really the birth of Electrical Age.

We are still in the overlapping Steam age, think how gas, coal, oil, waste, nuclear and even future fusion makes electricity? Large industrial solar plants may use mirrors and steam to make electricity too.

There is no 4th revolution, Automation is a gradual process that started with Jacquard Loom, then automated manufacturing in 1930s. From 1970s the micro-controller became increasingly dominant.

Web sales of physical goods is the Victoria Mail Order Catalogue with faster ordering (online) and only faster delivery from China etc, local delivery can be slower than Victorian Railways + Ferries (English Channel and Irish Sea).

10
0
Mage
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

... Davos was all about finance and politics

Still is. Don't anyone kid themselves. Technology is just as important today as in 1916, i.e. very, but only as a commodity to achieve the financial and political goals.

Nothing has changed, maybe press releases and commentators are simply using more tech buzz words to distract from real issues, or because it sounds good?

9
0

Forums