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* Posts by Vic

3258 posts • joined 7 Dec 2007

Plucky Playmonaut parties as LOHAN hits Kickstarter goal

Vic
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Re: Anyone else having problems with the "Response Needed" email?

We're still working through the first replies. Bear with us...

Righto!

Vic.

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Re: Anyone else having problems with the "Response Needed" email?

We've had a rack of replies this morning to the "surveys" as they call them.

OK, I've got one done by logging in to the website & doing it through there. That's the account that got the email.

The other account hasn't received an email, nor is it flagged as needing to fill in a survey on the site - have you sent them all out yet?

Ta!

Vic.

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Anyone else having problems with the "Response Needed" email?

I got one email (I'm expecting two) asking for my delivery address - but the link in it is 404.

Is this just a temporary issue, or is the system borked?

Vic.

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someone thoughtfully left a nice round 50 to reach the target.

I added 1p to one of my pledges in the hope of getting it to say "£30,000.01". But it didn't :-(

Vic.

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THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

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just about to take out £3000 finance on a TV at 29.9%APR

That's nothing. Look at the 4-figure APRs quoted on loans advertised on the telly.

*Someone* must be taking them out, just to afford all that advertising...

Vic.

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Re: subprime lending

The only way to get rid of them was to chop them up into pieces and mix it all together (which does lower absolute risk, but didn't make them lowest risk)

It doesn't lower the total risk of the whole package - just the risk of an individual loan (whilst raising the risk of those mixed up with it).

Unfortunately, these packages were used merely to *obfuscate* the risk, and were therefore sold on as lower risk than they really were...

Vic.

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Re: The Mission of Banks is to Cause Debt!

Banks create debt at the jump because the currency we used is based on debt.

Except it isn't - not really.

There's a common belief that Debt is an Asset. And that is why the crashes happen. Debt is, in fact, an expectation of an asset. The value depends entirely on the probability of that debt being realised...

So we have banks lending to people with no hope whatsoever of paying back the loan. If you believe that Debt = Asset, the bank now has an asset worth what it paid, as well as an ongoing revenue stream from sevicing the debt. All good, right?

But if you now look at the expectation, the bank's asset is entirely worthless[1], and the ongoing revenue stream merely increases the book value of the asset without increasing the near-zero probability of that asset ever being realised.

And this is why the banking crash happened - banks threw their money down the toilet whilst paying salesmen to do so. Someone should have paid more attention in Statistics classes. Debt is not synonymous with Asset, so getting customers to take on debt does *not* mean your assets increase. The macho-sounding "Ninja Loan" is a good example of this...

I have no idea how to tell the bankers of the world that they don't understand money. But someone needs to.

Vic.

[1] In the event of a secured loan, such as a mortgage, the value might not decrease to zero, as there is the sale value of the security. But if the loan is secured against, say, a house in a housing bubble, that value doesn't match the debt - and the more reposessions that occur, the more that disparity dominates :-(

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Vic
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Re: It's all down to the stupid....

And the boss couldn't threaten to dismiss them?

What, and create the opportunity for "PHB in gives-a-shit security shocker" tabloid headlines?

That's not going to happen...

Vic.

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Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

Vic
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Re: Finally

And for Gods sake use Android

They can't use Android. It has a GPLv2 Linux kernel in it.

Section 7 of the GPL v2 specifically states :-

For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

So Microsoft can only redistribute that kernel if they license any patents they might hold to all Linux users - and that is the end of their patent FUD against Linux. That's not going to happen...

Vic.

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Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

Vic
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Re: Power

DC step down difficult?

For power transmission, yes.

Potential divider..two resistors..might have to be physically large to handle the high voltage. Not difficult.

OK, try delivering 250V/100A (that's the fuse in my house). Deliver it from a 400kV source (National Grid high-voltage circuits). Now look at how much power you will dissipate in your potential divider to deliver the 25kW I'm asking for...

Vic.

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Re: NSA couldn't possibly have spliced the undersea cables ...

maybe it is true and I don't know my electronics well enough

Errr - yes. Sorry...

IIRC, there is a very good reason DC isn't used to carry power long distances: It loses a lot of power en route due to the resistance of the material.

That's nothing to do with it being DC - it's to do with the current flowing in the conductor.

For a fixed-resistance conductor (which it isn't, really, but this will show the effect), the instantaneous power drop over that conductor is i^2R - so doubling the current quaduples the power loss. This is true of AC or DC flow. To counteract this loss, the supply voltage is very high, to reduce the current (for any given load, the power delivery is the product of the voltage and the current, so doubling the voltage halves the current requirement, leading to a quarter of the losses).

The reason AC is usually used is that it is very easy to convert from a high-voltage supply to a more manageable, lower-voltage one with a simple transformer. It has been this way for a very long time, which is why AC is so popular for distribution. DC is much harder to deal with unless you're prepared to accept *massive* losses (which we're not). Modern electronics make it possible, but this is a comparatively recent development compared to the history of power distribution.

I think this is a fairly basic error and makes me wonder about the rest of the article

Yeah, it's not an error...

Vic.

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Re: I doubt they splice

I find it veeeeeeeerrrrrrry difficult to believe anything you said.

You shouldn't - he's right.

Any splice will cause some amount of reflection. A sufficiently sensitive OTDR will pick that up.

We used to make cleavers with <2 degrees end-angle, and a properly calibrated unit would leave just 3 small marks on the face (the cleave point and the wave reflection points). Our OTDRs could see them with ease...

Vic.

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Re: @RC dan1980

neither would she circumvent 10KVdc at the bottom of an ocean

Well, if you were trying to do something like this, it wouldn't be the James Bond-style working in water in a Newt Suit with a pair of side cutters; you'd do this in a dry room on board a sub. If you'd really prepared properly, you'd be doing it in a normobaric room.

To say that breaking into a subsea fibre cable is "impossible" is simply wrong - it *could* be done. When I was at York, we created a number of tools that would have made this a viable strategy. But it remains both difficult and expensive - and there are several cheaper and easier ways to achieve pretty much the same result.

And that is why I'd be surprised if the cable was tapped under the sea - because I expect it to be tapped on land instead.

Vic.

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Re: No need to splice fibres to evesdrop

What you do instead is bend the fibre to tap it.

That's probably not going to be sufficient to get usable data out; you'd likely have to shave off the cladding.

This is not impossible - it's part of the construction of a WDM - but it's bloody difficult in a live system.

For my money, an undersea tap is unlikely - it's so much easier to tap at the shore. But that doesn't make it an impossibility.

Vic.

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Damien Hirst, eat your heart out - these guys chop up TAXIS

Vic
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Re: Not that much that is new in the world

I have been in at least three bars and restaurants in California that had half a Cadillac, Yellow cab or other car chopped in half and glued to the wall.

We've got this at a car-repair place in Southampton.

The number plate spacing used to be less subtle, but they were told to change it...

Vic.

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What about a Sinclair C5: would be about as useful chopped up as it was when new!

I saw a very sweet C5 the other weekend down at Dunsfold.

It had a gas turbine in the back...

Vic.

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Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought

Vic
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Re: Some continuity required??

Whats going on over there???

I don't know how much it's changed since I left, but back then it was a simple case of beancounteritis.

Sony traditionally traded on its reputation of producing *excellence*. It was always more expensive, but you didn't mind paying the extra because you knew you were buying quality.

Then the beancounters came in and reduced the BOMs everywhere to "maximise" profit. The quality fell. There can be only one outcome form there on in...

Vic.

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Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

Vic
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Re: World domination?

Ran topless pics of barely 16yr olds?

To be fair - at the time, that was both legal and acceptable to society as a whole.

With hindsight, it probably shouldn't have been - but we can't really hold Murdoch to account for society's screw-ups 40 years ago.

In every other respect, though, you're absolutely right - he can fuck right off.

Vic.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Vic
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Re: Progress marches on.

Soon I will have an old CRT telly because I am too cheap to buy a 4K telly!

I have a CRT telly because it does black levels better...

Vic.

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Re: Alternative name for Blu-Ray 4K...

Gamma Ray would cause immense confusion with the excellent Pale Ale from Beavertown Brewery.

That is an excellent brew - highly recommended here as well :-)

Vic.

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Re: But with 8k on the way...

If you're thinking seriously about buying a 4K screen now then you're either rich, or an early adopter (actually the rich bit isn't optional).

...In which case, you should be spending your cash on the LOHAN Kickstarter project.

Less than £1300 to go!

Vic.

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Re: You have to train your eyes???

" ... when I go back to a Full HD panel the first thing I notice is the pixel grid in the display, and it bothers me.”

Sounds suspiciously like the kind of crap you hear from certain elements in the hi-fi industry about 24-bit audio vs. 16-bit audio

Maximum visual acuity for a human is somewhere in the region of 0.02 degrees. At 8ft, that means you can't see better than about 30dpi, even if you've got excellent vision.

A full-HD 40" display gives you about 55dpi - so any artefacts you can see in that situation are caused bt the video encoding, not by the display. Upgrading to 4K or more of itself will not give you a visibly better picture, because your eyes simply don't have the resolution.

So if someone tells you how much better 4K is, he's either got a *very* big screen, or is sitting closer than I would like to. Or - and this is key - has a better video encoding chain (better codec, higher bandwidth, etc.)

I liked 4K - I was very close to a very large display - but I won't be buying one whilst I can buy something with lower resolution for less money.

Vic.

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Apple's Cook: We have never allowed g-men access to Apple servers

Vic
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We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

Given the strength of the Patriot Act et al., I don't believe him.

Vic.

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LOHAN tin-rattles to a whopping £27,000 on Kickstarter

Vic
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Woohoo!

£30K is pledged.

Well done, one and all...

Vic.

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Re: Less than £1800 to go...

Go for it - free the tankard for someone with less economic might.

See, this is why alcohol and broadband internet access don't mix.

I've personally funded all of eBay, now I'm up for 3 goodies from LOHAN. Please don't tell my missus...

Vic.

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Re: Less than £1800 to go...

Some one even upped their pledge and left a stray tankard available...

I'm toying with the idea of doing the same (i.e. add a T-shirt - no way I'm giving up the pint glass!)

Vic.

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Less than £1800 to go...

It's getting exciting.

I'm hoping this post will be out of date real soon...

Vic.

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Re: When are the tankards shipping please?

> I chipped in on day 2.

You haven't yet. No-one pays a penny unless the target is reached.

> No tankard yet.

The Kickstarter Page does say

Estimated delivery: Oct 2014

Vic.

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Re: Question

Btw, since I know who you are, and you have been so rude about our logo, I'm going to send you a t-shirt and some stickers. So there.

Your logo's really shit :-)

Vic.

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We thank the more than 560 backers who have so far chipped in

I suspect you'll have more like 400 unique contributors...

Vic.

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JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!

Vic
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Re: I wouldn't bet on that

Microsoft also thought that TIFKAM would be a game changer.

It is a game-changer.

This thing about games is that, when you're winning hands-down, changing the game doesn't always lead to such desirable results...

Vic.

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UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares

Vic
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Re: Politicians and Technology - water & oil

When are these politicians going to learn that they are not experts

They'll learn no such thing. They'll just tell the media that they knew it all along, South Today will make a big fuss about how hard $pol is working for all of us :-(

Vic.

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Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills

Vic
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Re: If they say yes...

The Scots don't hate the English, they hate the Tories.

We all hate the Tories...

Their biggest beef with the English is that they keep electing Tories.

It's that "least of three evils" thang. However much we hate the bastards...

Vic.

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Re: Scottish Politicians warn Telcos that Hefty Bills could lead to Nationalization of Telcos.

You're just going to take the assets of companies operating in Scotland?

That's likely to make it rather hard to get inward investment in the future...

Vic.

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

Vic
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Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

Since *nix doesn't offer the choice to be case insensitive

Most filesystems can be mounted case-insensitive. It's an option.

Vic.

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'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator

Vic
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Re: Not even that...

Step 6: Let them fix the fault, none the wiser that someone has tampered with the cable in the meantime

An OTDR would discover the second cut. An OTDR would be connected when the break was first discovered - if still connected, and if watched (or logging), there would be data to indicate the tampering.

But it's far more likely that the spooks just leant on someone to say it didn't happen...

Vic.

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As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

Vic
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Another one bites the dust...

Radio Shack was a useful shop 40 years ago...

Vic.

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Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom

Vic
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Re: They arn't getting anything extra

It's a little bit better than Julius Caesar is claimed to have used, because the dot-dash sequences are not all the same size

That much is irrelevant' symbol demarcation in Morse is by way of timing. So the symbols are already all separated in the stream.

IOW, there's less "security" in Morse than in a Caesar cypher. And that is by design.

Vic.

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Re: 470kHz?

its unusual to have an IF strip exposed to the 'ether'

It's actually surprisingly common - people buy cheap radios, not well-filtered ones...

Vic.

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New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone

Vic
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Re: Bytes?

Next time why not use the "tips and corrections" link bottom right of the article?

Does the frequency of this particular (rhetorical) question not indicate the unpopularity of a correction system by email?

You might like to consider a form...

Vic.

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Italy's High Court orders HP to refund punter for putting Windows on PC

Vic
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Re: I think the real issue here was the EULA thing

Powering down the machine results in the NTFS file system being left in a state that cannot be repartitioned

ntfs-3g (the detault in many distros) certainly has a fsck command, which will get you out of that.

It's one of the tools[1] I carry on my bootable USB stick :-)

Vic.

[1] Along with chntpw and nwipe

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FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist

Vic
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Re: The Good Stuff Is Encrypted, So Bite Me Surveillance State

It's only an offence if you refuse to comply with a court order

This is not true in the UK.

It is an offence not to comply with a Section 49 notice - which is emphatically not a court order.

Vic.

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James Bond's metal-toothed nemesis Richard Kiel dies at 74

Vic
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Re: The Longest Yard

this was re-made as Mean Machine in an British setting

The original was also known as "Mean Machine" in the UK (and possibly other territories).

Vic.

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It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

Vic
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Re: Indeed

a lot of commercial software running on Linux *is not* available from the repositories nor in a distro package

...Which is why the very first thing you do on receipt of such a patch is to *put* it in a package. It's not hard.

You then use yum or apt to upgrade the commercial app just as easily as if it were a distro package. All the metadat is stashed away in the usual manner, all the rollback options are immediately available. In short, it's a small amount of effort for a *vast* improvement in usability. It pays for itself very quickly...

Vic.

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Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch

Vic
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Re: That side-on picture of the phone looks just like...

most galaxies are more elliptical or sport nice spiral arms,

Are they fashionable?

Vic.

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Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT

Vic
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Re: iBonk surely

They should have called it AppleCart.

Are you trying to upset someone?

Vic.

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Hawking: Higgs boson in a BIG particle punisher could DESTROY UNIVERSE

Vic
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it was probably just me who misread this as 'marmalade virus'

It wasn't...

Vic.

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