* Posts by Kristian Walsh

1028 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

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Maserati Ghibli S: Who cares what Joe Walsh thinks?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Is this a new El Reg measurment?

I always thought the "Wiseguy" was the standard measurement of boot capacity...

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Kristian Walsh
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Engine origins.

The V6 diesel is made by Italian company VM Motori, not Ferrari. VM is part of Maserati parent company, FIAT Chrysler Automobiles.

The petrol engine is indeed made by Ferrari in Modena, built on a modified Chrysler V6 engine-block.

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Kristian Walsh
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Cadence, Re: Joe Walsh thinks?

Actually, just try to sing the "one fifty-five" version to the cadence of the original. The transition from "ONE" to "fif-" isn't easy, especially if you're singing loudly: and even sung clearly, it's a bit clunky.

The hard F and the stressed "i" in "fifty" place emphasis on the word, but to follow the cadence of the other lines in the verse, whatever syllable is at that position must be unstressed. The "ay" in "eighty" is easier to get to from the closing "n" of "one", and can also be sung unstressed.

But that's probably too much analysis: As you correctly point out, Joe was wasted for most of this period, so writing such a stumbling-block line into his own set wouldn't have been a great idea.

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Ha! Win 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 pops out of the Microsoft oven

Kristian Walsh
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Re: it runs GUI apps written for Microsoft's new Universal App Platform (UAP)

For more complex systems "Clients and servers" is not the correct terminology: what you call a "server" in one instance can also be a "client" for another type of request. There's no client or server connection either, just messages. This isn't a "new for IoT" thing, it's a fundamental concept in distributed control systems. All of the equipment controls in your car work the same way: you push the "A/C on" button; a message is emitted indicating that this control has been depressed; the A/C controller sees the message, activates the compressor; an A/C compressor status-change message is emitted; the cabin controls panel sees this message and lights or extinguishes the indicator lamp appropriately. Everything is asynchronous and distributed, and concerns are separated - you can use that A/C control switch with any type of A/C compressor, so long as both use the pre-agreed messages: the microcontroller in the switch panel has no idea how the A/C compressor is turned on or off, and this is good: it doesn't need to know. Knowing creates a pointless dependency which means both components must change if either does.

At a basic level, the messages exchanged between devices will have to conform to an agreed format and protocol. The code to implement that protocol will be common to both. Even if the protocol is open and published, it's better to use the same implementation of it at as many endpoints as you can. (Here's the place where everyone who's used any kind of CSV-based message interchange nods and winces...)

It's possible to use different code to do the same thing on client or server, but it's not a decision people are willing to repeat in my experience.

Your garage door example is too simplistic to illustrate the point. Instead, consider a house with motion detectors, and lighting controllers. Normally, local intelligence ensures that lighting comes on (and stays on) while you're in a room. A phone app can receive that motion and light-state data as well as issue commands to control the lights. A timed lighting sequence (for security lighting or just a wakeup lamp) could be managed either from the phone, or via another device within the home, but the intelligence to operate a timed sequence of lighting will be common code that uses and generates messages. The light switches might not even be of the same type, but as long as the messages are agreed, the common controller code can be used on any of them, with only a very small amount needing to know how the device is switched.

If you still don't see what I'm talking about, have a look at how existing IoT protocols like DDS and MQTT work. These are what the "intelligence" part of your application are talking to, not GPIO lines and network sockets.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: it runs GUI apps written for Microsoft's new Universal App Platform (UAP)

No strange ideas, just experience of writing real systems. What you're describing is the interfacing layer. If there is any intelligence at all on the "Thing" device, then that code will not be the totality of the application, and it will easily be contained in one small module. (If it isn't contained, then the software design is broken, because when your hardware revs, you'll end up needing to re-write and re-qualify high-level logic that should not have been affected by a hardware change)

The only case where interfacing is the majority of the code is when you're making a dumb sensor/actuator. But if you're doing that, you're not talking about "Internet of Things"; you're talking about centralised command-and-control. IoT is not that. It is about distributing the intelligence to manage remote functions at the edge of the networks.

The intelligence that runs in the system does not need to know that a falling edge on GPIO pin 4 causes a lamp to light; it just needs to know that there's a visual indicator available for a given condition - the code will still work regardless of whether that "indicator" is an LED (wall-mounted control panel), or a toast notification (phone), or a broadcast event message.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: it runs GUI apps written for Microsoft's new Universal App Platform (UAP)

Okay, I'd describe that as "task specific", not "hardware specific", but the point still stands. The bulk of any automation task is not the automation itself, but rather the interfacing with whatever is in charge of the automation. In the simplest case, you the user are in charge, and the device needs to present a user interface to you, and respond to those commands. Most of the software is in co-ordinating the requests and responses and making sure everything is working correctly. The direct control is a very small part.

If you use a common framework, you can develop an test this I/O and management layer on a more developer-friendly platform like a desktop PC, with a high degree of confidence that the deployed result will be functionally identical to the what you see. Once the functional correctness has been established, you can move the focus of testing onto the target hardware to address performance issues (That's not to say you don't look at the target all along, just that the focus of testing moves towards the target as you approach completion).

The other big advantage is in component re-use - it may not be sensible to run your garage controller on your phone or tablet, but it does make sense to run a control and observation application on such a device. That application will need the same protocol support as those controllers, and because the software that implements those controllers runs on Windows10, the monitoring app can use it too. (Actually, if you've been careful, you'll have written those modules against the Portable Class Library core of .NET, which is available on just about any platform, including OSX and Linux)

Note that none of this is specific to the OS being "Windows" (.NET actually): the same principles would be true of iOS or Android or even Linux (if you put the effort into ensuring your distributions on each device are comparable) — but only if those platforms were to offer the same deployment target on single-board-computers, phones, tablets and desktops.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: What is this?

Looking at the "APIs we don't support" list, it seems to be most of Windows Phone, except for those features to do with running a phone, so no calendar, no contacts manager, no notifications centre or air interface/carrier/SIM management.

Of the APIs that aren't phone-specific, only BackgroundMediaPlayer would be missed, but this may be a work in progress.

The UI framework does appear to be mostly present, albeit with some missing controls (no "flyout" windows for some reason...)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: it runs GUI apps written for Microsoft's new Universal App Platform (UAP)

No, they're not "very hardware specific", unless your only exposure to software has been in database-driven applications.

If you're doing it properly, you separate the hardware specific parts of your application into their own module (or assembly or library, take your pick - the term isn't as important as the principle) with a defined API, and you make the rest, the 95% that has no need to know anything about the specific hardware, from components that will run on any kind of hardware. If your board changes, you've just got to change that 5% of code that dealt directly with the old board's hardware.

Same principle as any other piece of software development, really.

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Apple Watch fanbois suffer PAINFUL RASH after sweaty wristjob action

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Anyone want to take a trip Outside the Asylum?

Pretty neat idea, those...

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Kristian Walsh
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Anyone want to take a trip Outside the Asylum?

"It seemed to me," said Wonko the Sane, "that any civilization that had so far lost it's head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane." — Douglas Adams, "So Long and thanks for all the Fish"

Were Douglas Adams still alive, I wonder what he would make of detailed instructions on wearing a watch, especially from a company that he admired so much (although there was a lot more to admire about the Apple that DNA knew than today's company)

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Volkswagen Passat GT 2.0-litre TDI SCR 190 PS 6spd DSG

Kristian Walsh
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Re: "Very sensible"

It was once the case long ago, but these days, the VW Passat and Audi A4 do not share the same platform - for a start, the A4 has its engine mounted in a different orientation to the Passat. The Audi larger-car platform is known as "MLB" ("Modularer Längsbaukasten" for "modular, longitudinal(engined) parts-kit") for this reason.

The A3 and faux-SUV models do use the same MQB transverse-engined modules as their equivalent Volkswagen models, though.

Agree with everything else you've said though. At that price, I'd want a lot more than "competence".

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Kristian Walsh
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Size comparison is wrong.

The Volkswagen Passat is the size of the BMW 3-Series model, not the larger 5-Series... If that makes the Passat look even more expensive, it's more a reflection of how far down the price range BMW has moved in the last decade, rather than VW trying to be aspirational. (The entry levels of the 3-series range make a fine advertisement for a Ford Mondeo)

I would never buy a Passat however. If I needed a dull, large, family-sized car, and really didn't care about the badge, a Skoda Superb costs far less than this price, and unlike a Volkswagen it'll still be working properly when the loan is paid off.

Kudos to the author for starting at the Lancia Fulvia and Alfa Sud, and ending up at a Volkswagen Passat, though. Usually the mid-life crisis runs the other way...

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Microsoft discontinues Media Center with Windows 10

Kristian Walsh
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Internal competition too...

XBox One does media playback, but also has Cable/Satellite TV integration, and a games console is a more natural inhabitant of the shelf under/near the TV than a "PC" would ever be...

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Burger me! Microsoft's chainsaw rampage through sacred cow herd

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Great article, but ...

I would prefer the more economical "[...] spinning in his grave – were he dead, that is", but yes, indeed.

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ONE BEELLION Windows 10 devices?! OH REALLY

Kristian Walsh
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Apple gets most of its customers to be on the latest OS release simply by not charging for it. Microsoft's policy of charging for major releases was why previous Windows releases didn't make headway until they accounted for the majority of PC sales.

10 will be a freebie for existing 7 users, which should help its adoption rate, even without a surge in device sales.

I'm still not sure about a billion, but 6~700 million is easily reached, and that number of real, active users is enough to make any platform worthwhile - that's about the size of iOS's active user base. Android may be bigger, but it's nowhere near as homogenous a target from a developer perspective as Windows 10 or iOS would be.

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This is Spartan? No, it's Microsoft Edge, Son of Internet Explorer

Kristian Walsh
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Re: sly??

It wouldn't run on 8.1 if it uses UI controls that are unavailable on 8.1, which it does.

And I'd take your $20 if there was ever any hope of you paying up...

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Just more marketing drivel from MSFT

Yes, IE 11 is very standards-compliant. Unfortunately being standards-compliant can be scuppered by idiots who write stuff like this:

div.i-am-a-css-god {

-webkit-super-css3-attribute: wow;

-moz-super-css3-attribute: wow;

}

There are lots of stylesheets around that don't have the non-prefixed CSS attributes in them, and the very worst offenders only have the "webkit" prefixes, especially on mobile sites.

These days, the people who bitch about IE are the ones who haven't used it since IE8, if they ever did at all. "Internet Explorer is crap" is a shibboleth - it lets know-nothings appear knowledgeable to other know-nothings, but it's not true today. (Compare with the 1990s version: "Macs are toys")

Don't get me wrong: before IE9, IE was a basket-case, and was a royal pain in the hole. However, now it's no more or less trouble than Chrome or Safari... once you write to the actual standard, not the vendor-specific extensions...

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'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Alternatively...

(can't edit comments because of moderation... grrr)

MS open-sourced this project recently, which converts... Java into C# http://juniversal.org

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Alternatively...

I'm talking about source code, not executables. Hosting non native executable binaries is a pain, as both you and the article quite rightly point out... And simply hosting the Android binary means you're never going to do better than Android's non-stellar runtime performance.

Porting their source will also allow Android devs to target the much more significant Windows x86 desktop market, as both Windows 10 Phone and Desktop use the same API. (As does 8.1, but the ui controls don't adapt as well between small and big screen, and 8.1 "metro" apps can't run in a window on 8.1 desktop, but can on 10).

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Kristian Walsh
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Alternatively...

C#'s origins were "Visual J++ with enough changed so Sun can't sue", and despite C# moving on dramatically since then, the core of the language remains very similar to Java. This makes Android source-code feasible to cross-compile into C#, although it's going to be a non-trivial task.

In short, if MS offers any kind of "Android support" on Windows (there is no Phone/Desktop split anymore after 10 - it's the same API), I suspect we may be looking at an automated porting toolset, rather than an on-device emulator...

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Fondleslab deaths grounded ALL of American Airlines' 737s

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Now an intelligent design

The software is already written: Delta Airlines gives its pilots Surface tablets running the same software from Jeppesen. Airlines would one hardware supplier because they can get better discounts by buying 10,000+ tablets from one maker than by splitting it into 4000 and 7000...

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MONSTROUS iPhone sales are CANNIBALIZING iPads, gabbles Apple CEO

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Buy "almost new", sell older

Yep. That was exactly my point.

If my own pleasure in owning and using something is irrational, what is a rational reason to own something?

Well, anything you actually need. A hammer is a rational purchase if you need to drive nails into something, and you don't have a hammer. But buying a carbon-fibre-handled molybdenum-alloy-headed designer hammer for six times the cost of a regular one is probably not a rational decision: both will drive nails equally well.

I'm not saying irrational purchase are bad, just that we should be a little more honest with ourselves when we're doing it.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Buy "almost new", sell older

It's your money, and I don't care what you spend it on (I think iPads are fine, but they just don't meet my needs). However, you should know that that line of reasoning is unsound...

2012: buy an iPad for £399

2015: sell same for £160

That's £239 spent on owning the device for three years. However, those 2015 Pounds are not as valuable as the 2012 Pounds you bought it with: like for like, you really only got back £147 of your £399, not £160 (calculator here for UK inflation: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html ). Your cost is therefore £252.

If your other option at the time would have cost you £299, but those are now worth only £80, it is actually that one that is "cheaper to own". (a cost over three years of only £220, or £212.50 if inflation is counted).

The "high retained value" myth is repeated over and over again, especially in big-ticket items like new car sales, but there is no such thing as a free lunch: you are paying more, all the way through the lifetime of the product. It just looks like you're not because inflation and lost opportunity aren't obvious.

Please don't take any of this as a criticism of your choice of device. As I said, I think iPads are okay. It's just that they're a bit too expensive for what they offer (to me), and an apparently higher retained value does not make them "cheaper in the long run" - expensive is always expensive.

Basically - the only valid reasons to buy something are because you like it or you need it, and accept that you paid more for an irrational reason (your own pleasure in owning or using the product). No mass-produced good is ever an "investment".

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C++ Daddy Bjarne Stroustrup outlines directions for v17

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Whatever.

I've never seen anything a Japanese speaker can write that I couldn't write in English more easily.

Or, to elaborate: 正直なところ、私は日本語を話す方法を知っていません。私はオンライン翻訳ツールを使用してこのテキストを生成するいた。

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Will anyone really understand the language?

In C, everyone knows the core language and standard library (well, they think they do...), but everyone goes about every data structure problem in their own, unique way. You get landed with maintaining that code, you need to learn the peculiarities of this one guy's hybrid linked-list/b-tree data structures and his unique take on string storage.

In C++ everyone knows the core language, and a subsection of the standard library, but at least they know that there is stuff in there that they do not know, and may have to learn in future if needed. However, everyone's "unique subset" is still a subset of an agreed whole. Once you're forced to learn that subset to maintain someone's code, it can be of use in other tasks. ( Like replacing someone's unique take on a particular type of container with a proven and maintainable version from the standard library)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Direction number one

"a lot of the modern stuff like functional programming constructs heavily depend on late evaluation and runtime type checking"

Actually not even this is true - runtime type-checking is not essential - it only makes the task easier for the compiler/runtime authors, but if you look at a typical dynamic/late program using functional patterns, you'll see that in most cases the type of data being worked on is actually known, or can be defined, just by looking at the code.

The type-agnostic statement of "An object with a field called X which I treat as an integer, and a method Y that I pass a Timestamp to" is another way of saying " class FooInterface { public: int X; void Y(Timestamp& t) }; ". If the compiler can do that intermediate step for you, then you can be just as expressive in a statically-typed language, while retaining the other advantages of static typing.

This is the approach that Microsoft took with C# - it looks like you're writing "late-binding" code, but the compiler is generating specific template instantiations and interfaces behind your back to make things work. It's quite surprising to see how seldom you actually have to resort to real late binding.

C# is an example of a language that, like C++, and unlike Java, has evolved steadily over the years to adapt to the needs of developers - what started out as a bad copy of Java is now a very nice language for developing applications, with some very nice syntactical features, like the "async" keyword.

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The Apple Watch: THROBBING STRAP-ON with a knurled knob

Kristian Walsh
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"E-flat string? Certainly sir -- now, is your haptic recessed or prominent?"

This text:

"When on, Apple Watch will play a prominent haptic to pre-announce certain events"

... is complete and utter garbage. For a start, what is "a haptic"? Haptic is an adjective, and not exactly a well-known one either, but as a message that's supposed to explain a function, it is utterly meaningless unless you know what the function does already.

Apple used to have a department called "Instructional Products", one of whose tasks was to review and correct the sub-literate jargon that developers put in their apps and turn it into English. Obviously, using plain language doesn't convey the necessary mystique anymore (" ... will tap your wrist..." would have been much clearer about what's happening). Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if IP went the same way as the groups that did third-party integration testing... (i.e., out the door, P45/pink-slip in hand).

... and I'd love to see how you'll get that a translation of that text into Portuguese to fit on the display.

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Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

Kristian Walsh
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PowerShell commands output structured data, not text. In the absence of a consumer, the data is converted to text, but if you pipe it, then the consumer receives objects. In the example in the article, the "where" command filters its input objects by examining their "name" attribute.

If you've ever had to write a lot of shell-script on Linux, I'm sure you'll appreciate how useful this could be.. especially as many really useful Linux tools provide such machine-unfriendly output.

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Apple Watch RIPPED APART, its GUTS EXPOSED to hungry Vultures

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Rolex

Most Rolex customers won't want a Patek. You need to know a little bit about watches to have heard of Patek Philippe, but very few people buying a new Rolex are doing so to initiate discussions about the art of watchmaking with their social circle.

Like the Rolex, Apple is pitching Watch as a status symbol - the only purpose of owning one is to show you're rich enough to own one (or that you're an iOS developer who's been railroaded into buying one by Apple's policies on app development for the thing). This month's British Vogue featured an insert catalogue for the thing, beside the ads for the £5,000 handbags, £10,000 dresses and £150,000 diamond rings.

One thing about showing off, though: the Apple Watch uses the same innards for every variant, with no difference in function or quality between the cheapest and dearest -only the casework is the differentiator. However, I'm sure someone has already started a small workshop electroplating the cheaper steel models (or the design-knockoff models) with enough gold to pass as the expensive ones.

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>Ring, ring< Hey Wall St. Yeah, it's Google. Yeah, bad news again, fellas

Kristian Walsh
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You've described roughly how the European Exchange Rate Mechanism used to operate - you price a thing (in your example a share; in the ERM, it was a national currency) within a band and defend that valuation with buy-backs and sell-offs.

While this sounds fine in principle, the weakness is in where you set the upper and lower thresholds. Unfortunately, a company's (or government's) estimation of their value is often wildly at odds with reality. Famously, in the early 1990s, the British insisted that the UK Pound should never be worth less than 2.70 Deutschmarks, a valuation whose only justification could have been "who won the bloody War anyway?", as balance of trade, inflation, employment and other real measures at the time said that the real value should be much, much lower (and the German Bundesbank, which as the largest ERM partner, would be obliged to defend the Pound as well, agreed)

By 1992, currency speculators, most prominently George Soros, decided to call the British Government's bluff. The result was known as "Black Wednesday": after a chaotic week of ever-increasing interest rate moves, the UK finally admitted defeat, withdrew from the ERM and de-valued the Pound to a value supported by reality.

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Google pulls plug on YouTube for older iPads, iPhones, smart TVs

Kristian Walsh
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Re: "Written in C"

I think you're missing the point. This isn't a language issue, it's the removal of support for the protocol that the clients use. This in turn exposes problems in how certain older devices receive updates, or don't.

Many of the client software makers could update their client software so that it talks to the new API, and it still wouldn't matter if that client was implemented using HTML or C or INTERCAL (although currently, System-on-chip support is admittedly somewhat limited for the more advanced features of INTERCAL).

The problem for the older iOS users is that it's not possible to publish apps into Apple's App Store that target an OS earlier than iOS6, so even though the fix is primarily a software one, it is impossible to deploy it to those users who need it on Apple's older platforms. (Jailbreaking is not an option for the majority of these users)

The problem for the TV owners is that many manufacturers still have an approach to software updates that can be summarised as: "support ends when the boxes leave the factory".

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Google guru: Android doesn't have malware, it has Potentially Harmful Applications™ instead

Kristian Walsh
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Re: When people start arguing terminology like this

A former employer of mine that sold AV software was threatened with a lawsuit by a spyware pusher because its AV scanner, reasonably enough, labelled that company's software as spyware.

You'd think they'd be told to go to hell, but no:

The spyware publisher's argument was that their software wasn't spyware, it was a way of providing the user with ads that might be of interest to them... and in order to determine what would be of interest, this software had to record search terms and browsing history. And, they continued, because this was all in the EULA, which the user had clicked through (in order to install Flash/Firefox/Acrobat/UnRAR or something else that they bundled themselves with), it was consented to, and so could not be spyware...

And thus, the term "Potentially Unwanted Program" was born...

I suppose Google has to be careful about clearly condemning companies that gather large amounts of a user's personal data under assumed consent, but it is not in any way in the customer's interests to allow these things to persist on Android. Yes, Google does a legal version of the same thing, but at least customers know who Google is, and have some limited form of redress against it if they find that it's stepped over a line. Not so with the shadier spyware pushers...

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The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Kristian Walsh
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Re: No requirement for TRANSPORT security at all

It certainly would cause overhead at the Netflix side, where they may be encrypting tens of thousands of streams simultaneously;

Er, yes, that was my point. Client load is of no concern to Netflix as they don't have to buy the client hardware (it can be of concern for cable/satellite VOD services however, as the set-top-box is another operator cost) - only the server-side cost is relevant to a service like theirs.

Encryption is an expensive process. It's an order of magnitude more CPU intensive than simply copying a file to a socket (a task that is optimised to avoid ever needing to copying the data). The way that TLS is implemented as a userspace library in many webservers makes the situation worse: now encryption incurs at least two memory copies on top of the raw computational overhead of scrambling the bits.

Here's a paper describing what changes Netflix made in FreeBSD to get HTTPS serving performance to an acceptable level https://people.freebsd.org/~rrs/asiabsd_2015_tls.pdf but even this optimised server is still about half of what their non-https content server can do.

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Kristian Walsh
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No requirement for TRANSPORT security at all

The conditions of that contract can be satisfied by pre-encrypting the content, and using no link encryption at all. And that's what Netflix has been doing, in practice.

TLS is fine for remote browsing, where network latency can hide CPU load, but when you're sending the huge volumes of steady traffic that Netflix (or similar) does, the TLS overhead on each connection becomes very significant. Encryption is CPU-bound, and content servers have historically been configured with fast I/O, and enough CPU to do authorization and to make sure all the DMA pipes are kept full.

That said, although Netflix does not currently use HTTPS for content transport, it has completed a programme of infrastructure improvements that will allow it to roll out HTTPS in the very near future. (Overview here: http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/04/it-wasnt-easy-but-netflix-will-soon-use-https-to-secure-video-streams/ )

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Microsoft to open first flagship Store beyond North America

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Keep on hating......

You have to be new here, or you just haven't been paying attention... the only thing that The Reg's hack team "hates" is self-importance and bullshit. Marketing efforts, no matter who they stem from, fit both categories. (And you haven't been reading the Apple articles if you think that this article constitutes 'hatred'; the well-deserved derision that's regularly poured on Apple's ludicrous, hyperbolic claims makes this article look like a gentle ribbing)

I continue to read The Reg precisely because it's the only one where every fanboy commenters accuse it of being biased against their pet manufacturer. Nobody writing for this site is suckling on Google's or Apple's or Microsoft's or FSF's teat.

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Microsoft absorbs open-source internal startup MS Open Technology

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Spawn...

It'll be a cold day in Hell before I forget their track record.

Yes, it's always wise to base today's decisions on data from 20 years ago.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go back to my study notes - I'm leaning how to do calendar calculations in COBOL. There's enormous demand for it, what with the big Y2K problems coming up...

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What's that THUD sound? It's your Lumia's best feature after unflashing Windows 10

Kristian Walsh
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Re: There never was meant to be an upgrade path from Nokia

Hard to see what part of the article you're addressing in that comment.

This is not a customer update; it's a developer preview release, and you're expected to understand the risks involved with installing software onto your phone that hasn't been signed off as fit for release. (As you bring up iOS, you might consider what iOS 8.0.1, an allegedly QA'd and released build, did to customer phones: nobody's perfect)

Don't know where you get the idea that there's no upgrade to 10 for Lumia devices: 10 is effectively the same kernel as 8, just with new applications. (Desktop and Phone "Windows" OSes already share a kernel - it was making this change that dead-ended the Windows Phone 7.x series). If the phone has the CPU power to service those new applications, then 10 will go onto the phone. Simple as that.

I would never, ever put a preview OS build onto my primary device, be it a phone or a PC. I've been looking at the desktop 10 builds with a VM, and I'm thinking of buying a SIM-free 6xx to put the 10 builds onto, though, for testing purposes.

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Bonking with Apple is no fun 'cos it's too hard to pay, say punters

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Existing Standards

Nothing to do with patents. It's mainly because the Japanese system relies on other banking, authentication and payment infrastructure that is unique to Japan. To transport such a system to Europe or the USA would require such major changes that you may as well start afresh. The air interface and terminal is a very small part of any contactless payment scheme.

As for the "threat" of Japanese action against NFC, have a look at the membership list of the NFC Forum, it's here: http://nfc-forum.org/about-us/our-members/ Not only are there lots of Japanese names there, but Sony was one of the three founder members of NFC (with Nokia and Philips/NXP)

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Kristian Walsh
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Apple would prefer you to think that it's their own, exclusive, invention, but ApplePay is just one implementation of the industry-standard EMV Contactless payment protocol.

European customers have had contactless credit cards for over two years now, which, while not the same system (there's less intelligence in the cards), fill the same role as Apple's offering: speeding up low-value card purchases. These cards have the added advantage that you can use them when your phone battery is dead, or when you've lost your phone. There's a limit of around £20/€25/$30 on these transactions, but they're done with a simple tap of the credit card on the reader, much like a contactless subway/mass-transit card (although not as fast).

However, the USA is finally implementing EMV standards for credit card purchases, and it's very likely that merchants will go for terminals that do both Chip+PIN and Contactless. (In the USA, unlike many other countries, the merchant buys the card terminal outright - this is the reason for the delay in upgrading the country's payment infrastructure: the banks could not just swap out the rented terminals and make older systems obsolete like they did elsewhere).

ApplePay is never going to become a dominant player in a market where every credit-card will soon offer the same level of convenience: it'll just be a nice-to-have feature for iPhone users, not something that makes other buyers choose an iPhone (especially as both Android and Windows Phone will soon support contactless card payments too)

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Apple swears that NO FANBOI will queue for its new gumble

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Que?

Don't underestimate Ahrendts. She managed to drag Burberry back from a position of being despised by its customer base to become something that is selling well again. On the other hand, getting people to buy the Watch is going to be a serious challenge for her.

My take on the "no live displays" policy is that it's because the device's battery simply will not last a working day of being picked up and pawed by customers. If you come in at 3:30 pm and see a bench of devices that are all either completely dead, or just about to die, it really doesn't give you much confidence in the product, and it creates a bad-news story that customers will repeat ("I went to the Apple store after lunch yesterday - all the Watches were dead. Not so keen on it now")

Making an appointment is also a way of drawing the customer closer to purchasing, and being unable to make those appointments in-store is what shows this up as a sales trick. If a customer is in the shop, makes an appointment, and an assistant says "Sure, come back in 10 minutes and you can have a look at it", the customer is still in the "I just walked in for a look" mindset with little emotional investment in a purchase - out for a coffee or a look somewhere else, and then back to the Apple shop for a quick look-see.

But, if their appointment is only made online and is more than a day in the future, then the customer has invested much more into the product before they even open the door of the shop, and there is more obligation on that customer to buy, and "not be a time-waster" (you mightn't think this way, but playing on buyer insecurity is the main weapon of the premium goods seller)

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

@boltar

I was very careful to use the word "transmissions", rather than 'frequencies'.

You're entirely correct in what you say, but those inherent weaknesses regarding band choice are more than compensated for by the design of the signal coding and modulation.

My point was simply that the DAB coding scheme was designed to compensate for multipath reflection, FM was not. Taken as a whole, the chain of coding, modulation, transmission, reception, demodulation and decoding for delivery of a DAB programme is therefore less susceptable to interference than that of FM.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: If you have an old DAB,

The lack of dropouts on car FM is a testament to the receiver designers, not to any inherent suitability of the modulation scheme or frequency band to in-vehcile reception. DAB transmissions are less susceptible to doppler and multipath interference than FM.

I got a new car last year with a DAB-capable radio on board, and I was surprised to discover that we have a parallel DAB+ service here in Ireland already (although the coverage of DAB in general is tiny here). Because most channels are broadcast on both DAB and DAB+ it's easy easy to compare the effect of the different encodings on sound quality.

128k MP2 to 64k AAC is not an improvement in quality. The best I could say is that half-bitrate AAC is of "comparable" quality, but at the lower bit-rate I find the audio masking in AAC to be more noticeable than MP2's lack of dynamic range.

However, if you replaced 128kbit of MP2 with 128kbit of AAC you'd have a service that exceeds the quality of FM radio, as the original BBC DAB service at 224 kbit/sec also did.

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Microsoft update mayhem delays German basketball game, costs team dear

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: So it's got to the stage....

The argument still stands. In the absence of a big-screen and laptop, could the home team not have just dragged in a flip-chart or hastily got a marker and forty sheets of A4 (0-9 x 4 = two two-digit scores) to show the score?

I suspect, though, that the teams at the time sportingly agreed to wait for the scoreboard without realising that the 15-minute rule would then apply; only after they lost did someone at the losing club got sour and press for it...

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Tim Cook: I'll give just a THIRD of what Gates gave to charity last year

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: @Gordon 10

Tim Cook, the private citizen, has made a very generous gesture and should be applauded for it.

However, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, could do a lot more to meet the social responsibilities of the corporation he leads*. Things have improved since Jobs died, and the company reversed his policy of never giving to charitable causes, but for the size of the company, the amount of corporate citizenship spending is pretty shameful.

* Okay, you can argue that a corporation has no legal duty to fund charitable causes, but it's also true that if I see someone standing on a bridge rail about to jump off, I have no legal duty to stop and try to talk them out of it...

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Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

@Norphy Re: no Ethernet

I think you've misunderstood how media access works on ethernet switches. Every client gets its own private, dedicated link to the switch, and the switch dynamically connects these links together as required.

Any half-decent 1000 Mbit Switch used in an office environment can maintain several parallel Gigabit transfers: the aggregate traffic through even a cheap a 24-port 1Gbit/s switch can be well over 20 Gbit/s. To a user, this means that your file transfer from Server A does not starve someone else's transfer from server B.

By contrast, Wifi makes every client share the same medium (even in 802.11n Multiple-In/Multiple-out networks you will have multiple clients accessing the same contended medium). Packet collision is common, and the aggregate throughput of the network is limited to the capacity of the shared medium. If you start to generate lots of traffic, then other users on the same accesspoint will suffer.

But it's not just performance: Wired networking is also inherently more secure than wireless, and that's the bigger reason for corporate IT managers preferring it.

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Kristian Walsh
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Personally I hated the way the "full screen" feature has been implemented in OS X - the animation lasts far too long, and is distracting in itself, but the real sin was putting it on a global hotkey (ctrl-Command-F) that clashes with so many applications' special-case "Find" functions. (Yes, the app's hotkey overrides the default, but only if its window is focussed: if the app you were looking at doesn't have keyboard focus, something else that you weren't looking at takes over your screen)

If this annoyed you as much as it did me, do this:

Open System Preferences › Keyboard. Click the Shortcuts tab, Select "App Shortcuts" entry in left-hand list. Press [+] to add a new application shortcut.

Choose "All Applications", and "Enter Full Screen" as the menu title. Then use any hard-to-press combination of modifiers and keys as the shortcut, and press "Add"

This technique also works for wresting the easily-hit Command-M away from the evil hands of "Window › Minimize"

(I wonder, has anyone ever deliberately minimised a window this way in OS X? Minimizing in OS X is a user-experience disaster that only exists because Steve Jobs wanted to show off how OS X allowed affine transforms on windows; hold down Shift while you click, and you'll see the "Slow-mo" animation is still there)

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Drove a Ford 3 years ago with something similar

"One of the many reasons the English speaking think Europe is a bad idea (note the lack of national assignation)."

Apart from being ill-informed about both the presumption of innocence and jury trial under the Napoleonic legal systems, you're making another big sweep with that statement.

You don't have to travel far from England to find an English-speaking nation that has always been highly positive towards Europe, in the form of the Republic of Ireland. Even within the supposedly Euro-sceptic United Kingdom, Scotland and, to a lesser extent, that bit of England that was historically under the Danelaw (or "up North" in modern terms) tend to be pro-European. Only the South-East of England is home to strong anti-European views.

Further afield, Canada is quite a bit friendlier to the EU than the United States is, but neither are as suspicious of the EU as the average Southern English voter.

So, kindly don't label the rest of us with your own prejudices. Thanks.

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Kristian Walsh
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If it includes GPS, it'll know the difference between km/h zones and mph.

...except around the Northern Irish border, where the Republic's signage (km/h) and Northern Ireland's (mph) are so close to each other that they often share the same mounting poles.

As for reducing speed by cutting the fuel supply under software control, this isn't exactly new: it's how Cruise Control works on a car with electronic throttle control. All they're doing is limiting the user throttle input to that determined by the cruise set-speed (normally the pedal throttle setting overrides the value produced by the cruise-controller). Goods vehicles already have this system to limit them to 80 km/h or 100km/h (but there are many common ways to defeat it...)

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Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: No wonder Apple won't talk to El Reg

Woz made a lot of money from Apple: about a quarter of a billion dollars by the time he "left" in the early 1980s. He then proceeded to spend as much of it as possible, on the logical grounds that he wasn't going to be able to use it when he was dead, and on the admirable grounds that dumping an un-earned fortune onto his kids would, on balance, be a gross dereliction of his duty as a parent.

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Windows 10 apps to rule them all – phones, slabs and PCs: Microsoft pulls out 'universal' tool

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: The folly of a single user interface

(I meant "the ViewModel", of course. Great idea, confusing name... )

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