* Posts by Mage

4929 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party

Mage
Silver badge
Happy

Sycophantic Coverage

The Big UK & Irish Newspapers are sickening with their daily promotion of Game of thrones / Apple / Disney releases etc.

Apple most get more free sycophantic coverage than any other commercial operation on the planet, though this week a few papers mentioned that the Model 6 actually is poorer for phone calls than all other leading phones, especially in your left hand. No doubt they will make up for it with totally uncritical coverage of the iPhone 7.

Keep up the good work, Mr Vulture.

7
0

Intel Basis fans burned again: Refund checks for scalding smartwatches bounce

Mage
Silver badge
Pirate

Western Union?

I thought that was for marooned kids on holiday, broke students and scammers.

Why on earth are Intel using them? They are very expensive too.

9
0

Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Traditional EV

Sealed or not, there is really no fire risk on Lead Acid powered vehicles such as a traditional milk float. The sulphuric acid is dangerous but easily and quickly diluted with water. The biggest danger is the sheer mass of each battery pack.

0
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: energy density is much lower

Well, partly. Also the contents of lithium packs are more reactive than almost any other kind of cell and the outer package less robust because it's lighter. NiMH can achieve close to same order of Energy per unit volume, but is very much heavier and less reactive.

Lead Acid is very much heavier and once the sulphuric acid runs out they have no energy, in that sense the liquid types are "safer" than the gel types, which still can start a fire in a short circuit when ruptured. Sulphuric acid is bad on your skin and terrible in your eyes, but it's not very concentrated and easily diluted with water. Water can be really bad on ruptured lithium cells.

4
0

Kaspersky Ireland R&D haus

Mage
Silver badge

Western Britain

That's what those of us outside the pale call it.

So it makes sense I suppose.

0
0

Nokia's 4.9G races Ericsson's almost-5G, yet the finishing line is a mirage

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Labelling for Sales

Yes, it's mostly nonsense.

1
0

EMC/Dell deal respectfully caps the minicomputer age

Mage
Silver badge

Massachusetts

A saner lot than the nut cases, sociopaths and meglomaniacs in San José and Silicon Valley/California generally.

12
1

Star Trek film theory: 50 years, 13 films, odds good, evens bad? Horta puckey!

Mage
Silver badge

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind showed that more cerebral SciFi had a market"

Barely SF and certainly not cerebral. Just popular UFO tropes.

8
1

Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving

Mage
Silver badge

that really gave Star Trek muscle was, in a word: science.

Oh come off it.

It was fun, but Science? No. Definitely not. Though far closer to SF than ST-TNG or Star Wars.

ST TNG was even less scientific.

13
16

Spoof an Ethernet adapter on USB, and you can sniff credentials from locked laptops

Mage
Silver badge
Coat

Re: No, signed devices would be the fix

USB *IS* the problem, and since it's inherent, it can't be fixed, only mitigated by a dialogue for yes / no and temporary / permanent for each "device" the USB dongle/mouse/keyboard/PSU/etc found/handed at show/bought/arrived as free sample etc. The automatic installation of USB devices has to stop.

4
0

GE runs off $1.4bn, hands it to two 3D printing firms

Mage
Silver badge

Better than Plastic

The plastic printers, at least cheap ones, seem to be toys.

There was a BBC R4 prog yesterday (Mon 5th Sept 2016?) and basically 3D printing started 30 years ago. It still hyped the idea it would replace mass production and big corporates with small local businesses. Maybe for prototype and niche products, but I can't see it for mass market, where marketing and cost saving / speed etc of traditional stamping / forging / moulded / formed parts is always going to beat 3D printing. The Metal printing though increase range of niche low volume and maybe mould making?

0
0

iPhone outsells Galaxy

Mage
Silver badge

Meh

Both are too expensive.

1
0

Google plots cop detection for auto autos

Mage
Silver badge
Flame

Re: Patent Algorithims

Maths, Algorithms and software ought to be FORBIDDEN from patents, and many aspects from copyright. This is not a new problem.

The patents for the Superhet Radio (RCA) and later FM should have been invalid. Just mathematics and the patent holders were not the the first people to implement them. The AM Superhetrodyne patent held back radio development for nearly 10 years because RCA was so big.

Edison also was a menace (read up on his Moving Pictures Protection racket. Eventually the US Government struck down some of the patents and forbade him from threatening other companies), very many of his patents were other people's ideas, stolen, or prior art and also should not have been allowed anyway.

NCC/Eveready Dry cell (1896?) was stolen Scandinavian tech, by a UK Chemist in New York, and shouldn't have been allowed as a patent anyway as it was only a obvious development of Volta's 1799 discovery, and being done by many people (a paste instead of liquid electrolyte so as to have a portable cell and thus carbon filament flashlights.)

4
1

It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

Mage
Silver badge

Dr Kate Devlin

Devlin sounds like she has some sort of agenda?

7
0
Mage
Silver badge

Humankind is still considering whether we could create sex robots

I thought they have been around for ages, though expensive and they can't walk. However, do they need to do more than lie down or sit up?

AI is a different story, but really that would be a disadvantage, even if it was possible. Simulated responses and actions are enough.

1
0

QANTAS' air safety spiel warns not to try finding lost phones

Mage
Silver badge

Old PC motherboards

In the 1980s some PC used Lithium Thionyl Chloride batteries for the clock. I remember buying them in 1980s for parameter RAM for an Industrial Controller I was developing, no Flash memory then. The NiCd packs didn't have long enough life and also self discharge was 100s of times more than the static RAM standby current.

I wonder are they still made? Thionyl Chloride

One of the ingredients of super glue isn't much fun either. Methyl Isocyanate, I've noticed it lately as an ingredient and wondered. A spill of "Superglue" can set damp cotton on fire.

0
0
Mage
Silver badge
Happy

Lithium

Even primary Lithium coin cells like CR2032 can be persuaded to explode / burn*. Batteries that are cycled many times or charged too quickly can get a build up of metallic Lithium, which burns nicely in water. I've wondered are the PP3 / E block/ 6F23 etc batteries made with lithium chemistry safe for appliances made to take layer cell or alkaline types, like how many toys are unsafe with NiMH or NiCd rechargeable because of their lower impedance means a short can cause a fire due to hot wire and plastic.

At least Lithium batteries aren't as bad as Chlorine Trifluride

So there are two aspects to any battery system, the cell contents and ability to supply enough current to use shorted wiring as a ignition source to plastic, paper, cloth etc.

[* Short out ONE AA NiMH to set the plastic of wire on fire. Short out a stack of 20 off CR2032 to see them self destruct. Obviously the 1.5mA to 2mA current limit quoted may be a safety limit rather than the limit of what can be supplied.]

0
0

Second 'dimmer switch' star spotted

Mage
Silver badge
Alien

watching the early business of planet formation

If you are nearly immortal, as it takes about a million years for much of a change?

More a snapshot of a particular early stage?

1
0

4G hits 1.9Gbps

Mage
Silver badge

I can hit 107Mbit/sec outside my house

Maybe the neighbours are all on WiFi and it's not near major road and you have near LOS and people in the area are using other providers. Just three people there streaming HD video will take it under 20Mbps. That's a meaningless report simply aiding the Mobile industry who are mis-selling Mobile as an alternate to real broadband and undercutting price by subsidising data with voice call charges.

0
0
Mage
Silver badge
Flame

It's nonsense

You can have any speed you like ...

Just aggregate loads of 20MHz channels, when in the real world due to "competition" the channels are split between operators and rarely 20MHz. Cell concept needs a minimum of 3 channels per mast (120 degree sectors) and ideally 9 channels to stop the masts beyond the next one interfering.

Also up the QAM to infeasible levels only suitable for cable that needs perfect signals with no interference.

We were at the limits of bits per Hz spectrum for real world over 15 years ago.

This is NOTHING to do with 5G or Huawei kit, just a promo. The 5G is about integration of different infrastructures and to a secondary extend channel aggregation between bands.

There is no free lunch. No-one can repeal the laws of Thermodynamics, which is basis of Shannon-Nyquist law.

Really annoys me to see these nonsense press releases. Even if every lamp post was base station no-one is even going to see consistent 100Mbps, that would only be like universal WiFi. Note that even WiFi speeds are nonsense as they quoted for ONE connected user, perfect signal BOTH ways and no co-channel interference and MIMO in the CLIENT, not just base.

Don't even get me started on nonsenses such as "White Space" or "Spectrum Sharing",

0
0

YouTube breaks Sony Bravias

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Dumb display

A Smart TV almost was twice the price as a basic TV when I was buying yet it had less video connectors and the "smart" in any smart TV is not worth the extra compared to a cheap tablet / laptop / phone with along HDMI cable.

Actual real monitors are meant to be used perhaps 0.3m away and have much finer pitch pixels to be any use. Screens for TVs are used at a distance of 1.5m to 3m depending on size. TV screens to be most useful want to be 16:9 and 1920 x 1080 and more than 36" for a normal room. Monitor screens ought to be nearly twice the pixel density X and Y as a TV, even if the low for computers resolution of 1920 x1080, that's four times as many pixels per square inch, minimum, that's more expensive to make.

0
0

HDMI hooks up with USB-C in cables that reverse, one way

Mage
Silver badge

Re: If you're worried about an evil device disguised as a charger,

"Public" charging points

After market USB chargers of no-name in high street supermarkets etc.

The problem is USB HID and gadgets where you can't turn USB off on a port, or even worse, gadgets with "debug mode" enabled and then it's trivial to remotely root the gadget.

Micro USB was a wasted opportunity compared to mini-USB. So is USB C.

Actually the only thing worse than USB as a concept is Bluetooth.

I can think of many things that could have been done better at USB 1.0 time. However they were only thinking of joysticks, mice and keyboards, replacing 5 pin port and analogue joystick. No peer to peer communication, no User control of HID, not reversible and stupid limits even then for speed and power, should have had more options from day one, been reverse-able connector (easy) and switchable full / half duplex (four wires for data, double speed in half duplex mode for block read or block write)

2
2
Mage
Silver badge
Devil

Problem.

The phone will have a SINGLE USB C connector and nothing else. Saves money.

You'll need a break out box to add power, audio to analogue amp, USB HDD etc.

Really the 2.5mm or 3.5mm power jack (properly made) makes more sense than USB, because USB can be exploited by Evil on a PSU and then you need a hub to connect anything else.

Ditching 3.5mm audio jack is so stupid. I'm not going to even list the multiple reasons.

A separate HDMI connector is no more a need for a "dongle" than USB C to HDMI!

My Sony Xperia lacks the coax power plug, but at least a €2 USB hub allows power + perpherials.

The separate HDMI and Audio jacks are good too.

It seems phones are being increasingly designed to suit Manufacturers and not users.

6
0

IPv4 wealth redistributed

Mage
Silver badge

IP6?

The IP6 wasn't designed for the real world, easy limiting / blocking traffic, privacy or security. Just to be big and fancy.

It's been fudged a bit regarding original MAC scheme, but it's flawed in so many ways. They need to think about it again, it's a stupid system given long term need of IP4 (many gadgets can't be updated or never will be). No important Website can turn off IP4 till almost no-one is using IP4, there are better ways of extending address space.

The world is a lot more than Servers and Corporate IT.

Even if my ISP supported it, many gadgets don't and it's a horror for anyone other than Network specialist to setup, I mean more so than IP firewall/NAT/Security Router & home WiFi, which is bad enough.

Well, Google would love that IoT (or more sensible WiFi gadgets that don't need Internet Cloud / 3rd Party) only uses IP6 as home users would NEVER figure how to block unwanted exploits from Security forces, criminals and Cloudy Exploitive Commercial companies.

2
4

Intel bags FAA pass to fly 100-strong drone armadas over US soil

Mage
Silver badge

Oh dear

I suppose if I don't look up I won't be spammed by aerial adverts.

When I'm World Emperor I will ban all adverts except in Retail and Trade directories. We have the Internet and Google / Amazon / eBay / Alibaba etc are already enough to find any product you want.

Random unsolicited adverts are so exploitive and Victorian. Ban Door to Door sales, spam email, mail fliers too.

Some manufacturers / retailers would save up to 15% .

8
0

'Power equipment failure' borks EE's data services across England

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Virgin Mobile out too

Actually there should be NO competition at physical RF, everyone should be an MVNO as that would double or triple capacity, because spectrum is such a limited resource.

You'd need a MUCH better regulator than Ofcom with serious teeth.

Then make 100% Geographic coverage at a minimum data rate / voice quality at typical indoors downstairs.

It's not like making baked beans, handsets or cars in terms of competition.

Similar applies to Electric Grid (but not Generation), Gas network, water network, sewage network, fibre to home, letter delivery, rubbish collection etc as you only want to have ONE of these for efficiency.

By all means have as many retailers you like.

It needs seriously good regulation to work, which SHOULD have been put in place before BT was privatised. Ofcom is useless as they don't care about any interference unless it affects big licence fee commercial operators. They only care about a level playing field between big commercial operators, not critical infrastructure, protecting broadcast from SMPSUs, Electronic Ballasts and "power line" ethernet (really illegal transmitters). They do not care about the consumer.

FCC is pretty broken too or "Lightsquared Fiasco" would not have happened.

Comreg copies all Ofcom's and FCC's worst ideas and only exists to raise revenue.

All three want to abolish broadcast, Ofcom and Comreg bizarrely want to abolish FM and AM even though the spectrum is no use for anything else (DAB licences and DAB benefits National broadcasters and blocks out of area / out of state, so politics?).

1
0

Childcare app bods wipe users' data – then discover backups had been borked for a year

Mage
Silver badge

#Cloudfail

Sounds like a typical and inevitable Cloud scenario?

7
0

Latest Intel, AMD chips will only run Windows 10 ... and Linux, BSD, OS X

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Does this mean...

Yes, years ago I made a slipstream disk for XP with SATA drivers, as the SATA drivers don't come on floppies (and you can't swap the CD / DVD). In the olden days the SCSI RAID controller drivers came on floppies, so you could add the driver at install.

If there are drivers that work on windows version < 10, someone will figure out how to install.

3
0
Mage
Silver badge
Windows

Re: Bloat

The ONLY value to windows for maybe the last 10 years is to be able to run ancient stuff without a copy of an ancient OS in a VM.

Windows is pointless without good backward compatibility.

10
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: Opportunity to get rid of 32bit silicon?

Alpha 64 had first 64 bit Windows, NT 4.0!

Some stuff is actually LESS efficient on 64 only code.

5
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: Not compatible?

Weasel speak:

"Windows 10 is your only supported option" != "Only Windows 10 version of windows works / compatible"

i.e. the only option MS will "support" is Windows 10.

Well, in nearly 20 years of doing Windows stuff, the only MS support was Technet or more expensive MSDN. Pretty poor after Server 2003, because, well, Ribbon, Aero, etc are stupid.

Migrated to Linux.

Any new hardware ongoing will be Linux, Android or BSD or something Chinese, certainly not Win 10.

25
0

Paint your wagon (with electric circuits) but leave my crotch alone

Mage
Silver badge

Heat & Electronics & fans

The vision switching electronics in BBC used to overheat (1970s). The window mounted aircon fitted to help would ice up In warm weather. So back of 19" rack bay would be opened and a big fan sat on a stool to help cool it.

3
0

Ditch tape and fly into the public cloud with us, beams bullish Actifio

Mage
Silver badge
Facepalm

Daft idea

For a start you'd need peered fibre to their data centre.

Public Cloud? Nothing more than Remote transfer via internet to a third party server with no real assurance on privacy, security or reliability.

People would be mad to do this. I suppose some bean counter may insist on it as a "cost saving". If it saves money then the service is a "loss leader" or inadequate.

Only slightly better than copying all your data to /dev/nul

Consumer cloud backup sold by some retail companies has been a disaster already.

Another one for #Cloudfail

5
1

SETI searchers: We still haven't found what we're looking for

Mage
Silver badge

Hah!

Much as it would be nice to detect Aliens, I did say this couldn't be them, though I didn't mention the passing mil-sat option.

4
0

Still got a floppy drive? Here's a solution for when 1.44MB isn't enough

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Embedded systems!

An ordinary 3.5" 720K DS drive works fine on a PCW, and the 3" PCW drive on a PC (though you need utillity SW for the CP/M FS), it's a dumb adaptor cable is all that is needed. Also 37 way 8" floppies work on 3" or 3.5" drive cable with a dumb cable adaptor.

There was a HDD for the PCW, but that didn't use the floppy cable.

0
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: 3.5Mb? Floppy?

CF cards use the old Compact Memory card I/O, (ROMs, EPROMS and Static Battery RAMs), which also could support other peripherals eventually inc IDE as it's a subset of the old PCMCIA (a CF to PCMCIA can be just a pair of connectors and wire). CF cards support at least two storage modes, one of which is parallel IDE. A USB (USB stack needed) or SD (can be simple) based Flash storage is serial I/O.

I'm a little baffled as to why I'd want this, unless it exactly looks like a floppy drive in SOFTWARE, with no driver needed, to BIOS and DOS. Plenty of things used to plug into a floppy connector and NOT work without an OS driver (Zip Drives, Tape drives, MO drives etc), usually for Windows, rarely for DOS, sometimes only Win NT, or Win95 and later.

5
0
Mage
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Embedded systems!

But does the BIOS and DOS see it as a floppy? Just because it uses a floppy interface and bay doesn't make that true.

Mine's the one with a 3.5" bay USB CF/SD/MMC/Firewire/USB €10 add on.

5
0

Want a Windows 10 update? Don't go to Microsoft ... please

Mage
Silver badge

Benefits MS

However does it benefit the user?

14
1

Robot cars probably won't happen, sniffs US transport chief

Mage
Silver badge

Horse and cart

Yet people HAVE been prosecuted for being incapable / drunk etc with horse and cart.

Planes have good auto pilots. Automated take off and landing was demonstrated more than 40 years ago I think. Pilots can't fly if they are drunk. A plane is in many ways less difficult than a car.

Prove the technology with trains, then planes, then ships. Then trams. Cars and trucks should be last, not first. Exactly what is the motivation?

6
4
Mage
Silver badge

Re: I'm not so pessimistic

So do trains first.

" I reckon once autonomous cars are shown to be substantially safer than a human driver"

I'd say "IF" rather than "once"

I've been programming since before PCs and I'm sceptical that they will ever be robust. They rely too much on Lidar (easily jammed) and databases as well as human programming.

Also how will the safety testing be achieved?

6
1

Nest developers become Oompa-Loompas in Google shake-up

Mage
Silver badge
Pirate

Prediction

If it doesn't deliver enough personal information and profit margin, they will shutter it, like so many other Google projects.

Google at heart are an Ad company, fuelled by personal information from their search, third parties hosting Google "trojans" such as analytics, fonts, javascript libraries, users using Android with data enabled, Chrome Browser, Chrome OS, Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Uber etc.

If Nest is a success, then they will hoover up other IoT like Petchute, door systems etc, not actually have Nest widen product portfolio. It's easier for them to buy in stuff (a lot of their stuff was bought in).

6
1

Tim Cook: EU lied about Apple taxes. Watch out Ireland, this is a coup!

Mage
Silver badge
Devil

Well, bears in the woods etc.

Very predictable response that rings a little hollow.

They may win the appeal on a technicality. However their greed is now clearly exposed. If Apple owes nothing in Ireland, that still leaves some issues:

The flagship products in terms of design are largely only cosmetically and software Apple US origin.

They use the same kinds of parts and same factories as products selling for a fraction and they have a four times bigger profit margin.

They consistently try and flout EU SOGA on their direct sales.

Their accounting and tax may be legal, but they are like a dragon sitting on all that cash. Taking cash out of the world economy is hurting it. They are parasites, though of a different less evil kind to Facebook and Google.

They don't spend very much on real R&D, their incremental Software Development and their Patent Applications preparation and costs come out of that budget. Most of their innovations (Multitouch GUI from fingerworks) are bought in. Remove style and cosmetic and stupid things and what is left?

Where do they pay any tax on their profits?

Really they are a cosmetic badge operation of Asian and generic HW with USA gloss. So why does Silicon Valley, Obama etc rush to defend them? A tiny proportion of their profit is spent in USA.

37
8

US spectrum auction falls short by, oh, you know, $66bn thanks to tightwad mobile giants

Mage
Silver badge

Cellular.

This is a stupid waste of TV spectrum that cripples future developments of Broadcast. Broadcast is complementary to Internet, the Internet can't replace it.

Really there should be no mobile / Internet etc below about 800 MHz as the cell size is too large and undefined.

The whole point of Mobile is NOT more range (hugely wasteful of spectrum and poor speed and capacity) but to add more masts. The most masts the lower the power and better the capacity.

The existing Mobile / Cell spectrum above 800MHz is poorly utilised.

This was regulator greed, as is Ofcom's and Comreg's proposals to sell off TV spectrum.

Poor TV content is no reason to penalise Broadcast forever.

8
0

Lenovo's tablet with a real pen, Acer's monster laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 watch

Mage
Silver badge

Yoga Book

1980 wants their keyboard back!

"There is some haptic feedback but it is still a flat hard surface and fatiguing to use. Still, many users will only do occasional typing and it is an innovative device."

Sounds like a ZX80 and similar, except without the clicky metal discs.

I have a hatred of even occasional typing on touch screen, even if so called "haptic".

16
1

FBI Director wants 'adult conversation' about backdooring encryption

Mage
Silver badge

Re: sympathetic towards these agencies and support the backdooring.

It would just be the death of any USA related products that use encryption outside the USA.

All USA commerce etc would be open season for other Governments and criminals and terrorists.

Either he's totally deluded about how security and encryption works or this is about something else, noise, a distraction.

If the FBI has a backdoor, then sooner rather than later every script kiddie in the world will have it too.

46
0

AT&T trash talks Google over Fiber fiasco: Leave ISP stuff to the experts

Mage
Silver badge

But ...

Google not only cares less, it thinks it should make the rules and own all your personal information.

3
8

BBC vans are coming for you

Mage
Silver badge

Re: Confusing

It's worse than that. Not all iPlayer content actually counts as material needing a TV licence!

0
0
Mage
Silver badge

Re: why do I have to tell ... my address?

Because it's the law. The government decided.

Here you in Ireland you don't, though they want to introduce it, including

It's NOT a BBC Licence, they just happen to get most (but not all) the revenue. In the old BPO days when the Posts & Telegraph folk controlled everything, the BBC only got 2/3rds. It's a Television receiving apparatus licence. There used to be a loop hole where if you lived some place with no TV signals except foreign satellite (before BSB), you could get an exemption.

In the 1980s my company removed tuners from TVs so they could be sold as monitors not requiring a licence, for home computers etc, though one licence covers a household.

I think S4C gets some of the money. Does C4 get any?

A similar arrangement exists in many countries, though often part of the money is set aside for locally made TV for any local channel.

People are paying £300 to £600 a year for pay TV and then watching 92% free content on it, yet complain about the TV licence? Baffling.

Governments can tax whatever they like.

You should see what percentage of Road Tax and Fuel tax goes on roads. Tolls and Road Tax are totally stupid taxes. Simply taxing fuel would be more efficient, fairer and save consumer money for same revenue raised.

Lots of taxes make no sense. Like Corporation tax. Tax the actual human beneficiaries.

9
1
Mage
Silver badge

Re: 66% discount

So called "colour blind" is different perception. Only people practically blind, who would be registered blind have monochrome vision. Read up on Rods and Cones.

I'm baffled why they have a separate monochrome licence at all actually, many countries don't.

2
0

Astronauts sequence DNA in space for the first time

Mage
Silver badge

why microgravity should affect DNA

It's probably NOT about real changes to DNA, but apparent changes due to some unexpected effect of microgravity on the minION tester. It's an interesting bit of kit. See Wikipedia minION and related articles.

Good news that the gadget gives same the result on ISS.

4
1

Forums