* Posts by bazza

939 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

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'Super-secure' BlackPhone pwned by super-silly txt msg bug

bazza
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Whoops!

Looking at JSON schemas it seems that it is quite possible to be strict with the definition of messages (i.e. constrain values to permitted ranges, constrain array sizes, mandate the presence of various fields, etc). Get that kind of thing right and it can be very difficult to mis-process incoming data, well formatted or not. Though that does depend on getting the schema right, and having the right tools and libraries to turn that into reliable and robust code.

I wonder if they used one of those?

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Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

bazza
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A lot of the world economic problems are because too many people and countries have made promises they can't keep... The economic downturn is just a complicated monetary way for one bunch of guys to tell another bunch of guys, "I don't believe you anymore". Quantative Easing, aka printing money, is just a way of conning the few remaining believers but that's not going to work forever. It all gets counted up eventually, and for a lot of places the number starts of with a minus sign.

As for Uber? Well, they're quite good at creaming off the top whilst encouraging it's drivers to play fast and loose with local licensing laws, insurance, etc and not reminding it's users why cab licensing was brought in in the first place.

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bazza
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Re: Economy

@Ossi,

"This is found simply by multiplying the number of people by how much each person produces..."

What each person "produces" is the difference between what they add and how much of that which is thrown away never to be used again. If they're digging stuff up out of the ground or growing it, they're maybe a net producer. I say maybe; you can't eat gold or diamonds, they're just pretty.

Everyone else is a net consumer. For example, the car factory worker consumes iron ore, oil, copper, crops, etc. in order to make a car. The manufacturer's accountant measures how "productive" the worker has been, but then again he's not counting what happens after the car leaves the factory gates. When that car is disposed of that worker's productivity doesn't (from a civilisational point of view) count for anything.

"Those resources you're worried about are not leaving the planet. They're still here. We're using up the energy, sure, but we already have replacements for that."

They're not leaving the planet but the laws of entropy mean that there has to be an energy input to get them back into a usable condition.

Energy is everything. We are using up the energy, but we merely have ideas as to how to replace the supply. We haven't actually built the 10s of thousands of nuclear reactors or developed the fusion reactors that are actually needed to allow the world economy to survive as is (never mind grow) when the last drop of oil is used up.

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bazza
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Economy

"But economics is not a zero sum game, the economy is not limited as to size in any fixed sense."

If we're talking fundamentals, the size of the world economy is the difference between all the stuff we've ever mined, harvested or extracted and all the stuff we've thrown away, burnt, lost, worn out, rusted, blown up or eaten. Even a good old fashioned honest hard day's work requires a food input (though some of us, me included, have a few of those stored up around our waistlines).

Everything else such as money (and printing more or less of it), growth, profit and loss are simply humanity's way of divvying that up among ourselves.

And forget environmentalism. Unnecessary consumption/disposal/wastage is simply a good way of making us all poorer. The trouble being that that is apparent only in macro economics. It's not something that many people think about when they're chucking something out.

So you're nearly right. The economy is limited by the resources available to us on this planet. One day, no matter how careful we are here with our resources on earth, we'll have to go off and mine some asteroids, etc.

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Samsung's first Tizen smartphone is HERE ... by which we mean India

bazza
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Re: Tizen's dead...

@Dave 126,

"Thing is, Blackberry's QNX is a better fit for devices like smartwatches and wirelessly-controlled light bulbs. Android or Tizen could run a car's 'Infotainment Centre', but is reliable enough to run the car itself. Samsung, with their diverse product portfolio, could get more use out of QNX than BB have."

Hmm, well one surmises that you don't work in the auto industry. Whilst Android or Tizen might be capable of running an infotainment centre, what the auto industry is actually choosing is BlackBerry's QNX instead. Even Apple's CarPlay is nothing but an app that runs on top of QNX.

@Andy Prough,

"Yeah, cause who wouldn't want a TV and a washer-dryer running BB10?? Can you imagine all the thumb-swipe options Blackberry can pack into a freezer or a toaster-oven?"

Perhaps not on a fridge, but perhaps on a phone. Samsung are clearly looking for a new phone OS. BB10 is pretty good, you should give it a try sometime. Anyway, if you were a far east Asian Android phone manufacturer getting stiffed by both Google and the cheap Chinese outfits and you were looking for a way out that retained backward compatibility, acquiring BB10 is about the only bet out there.

Anyway, it seems that BlackBerry are denying rumours of take over negotiations, so perhaps it's not going to happen. But here's a list of some of the things they'd be getting if they did buy BlackBerry:

1) An OS to call their own

2) Paratek antennas; signal reception on Z30 and Passport is way better than anything else

3) Best available mobile security

4) The leading mobile device management system

5) A hundred million BBM users

6) Strangely good loudspeakers

7) A strong foothold in the auto industry

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bazza
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Tizen's dead...

...looks like Samsung are going to buy BlackBerry.

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Amazon's new EC2 compute instances run on SECRET INTEL CHIPS

bazza
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Re: Pedant Alert

It's not so bad from an operating system point of view. These sorts of instructions are of little use to the OS. All it needs to do really is to include whatever extra registers there are in the context switching.

Applications aren't too bad either; AVX is best used with something like Intel's IPP/MKL libraries; the right sort of auto update will install the relevant dlls, etc. Intel write those libraries specifically so that app developers don't have to think too hard about the problem. Ok, so the libraries aren't free, but using them in one's app allows you to get the maximum performance with the minimum fuss; a good way of standing out from the crowd. And if one is dead set on writing ones own routines from scratch, using Intel's compilers is a good way of getting compiler support as soon as the silicon goes on sale.

Chip manufacturers generally are well aware that if they don't provide good software support for their new silicon they'd lose out in the market place. It's up to software devs to make early use of that support to maximise the value of their own products.

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bazza
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Pedant Alert

AVX2 is 256 bits wide, not 256 bytes.

That is unless Intel have done something amazingly customised for Amazon, but they'd have had to charge $quillions for it.

AVX2 actually pretty good. It finally has an instruction set on a par with (though still not quite as good as) Altivec found in the sort of PowerPC processor in an iMac G4. It illustrates just how much Intel have depended on ramping core speed and memory subsystem performance. That takes 100s of millions of transistors for all those caches, decoders and pipelines; expensive. They've neglected the more elegant but easier side of CPU design - the instruction set.

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BLAST-OFF! BOAT FREE launch at last. Orion heads for SPAAAAACE

bazza
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Happy

Re: Shortly after takeoff

"But they're still waiting for the small lemon-soaked paper napkins"

So whilst we're on that topic, just why was this particular universe created?!

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Google Chrome on Windows 'completely unusable', gripe users

bazza
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Re: discontinuing certain compilation optimisations and heartbleed

SSE3 is pretty old hat now, you'd have to have a PC about 10 years old to be lacking it. And even then a CPU core is still a pretty mighty computational beast. I shouldn't think that running SSL/TLS algorithms with only x86/x87 op codes isn't going to be as slow as Chrome appears to be for various users.

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bazza
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Re: @bazza Irony

Perhaps, but that real work doesn't seem to involve making Android work properly, or ensuring that one of the most important tools (Chrome) used to entice punters to their ad display stream (imaginatively called Google's "Services") works on one of the most common platforms out there.

Without those basics in place and working properly, what other real work is there in Google?!

It's almost as if they're becoming a bit Apple-esque; there's no point making things properly anymore, punters will just use it or buy it anyway. Why waste the money getting rid of the bugs that clearly aren't putting off the billions of people who give them money (even if only indirectly) every single day of the year?

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bazza
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Thumb Up

Re: Heading to Firefox territory...

"Only takes so long before X browser ( indeed any type of app ) has more and more bolt ons made and the original source tree is expanded and expanded with stuff is was never originally designed to have attached. The compiled software just gets slower and more bogged down. Witness Firefox, lightning fast and the best browser when it first arrived, these days it's tired and need to go on a serious diet.

I still prefer Chrome over the others, never had an serious problems and indeed found it to be to usually the best browser for getting nasty bloated web apps working properly, where IE or FF would collapse. I think Google need to stop tinkering and leave it alone."

I think you've hit several nails well and truly on the head there. The effort to turn a browser into an app execution environment is really screwing up the whole basic idea of a browser. At the same time the user experience of web apps is awful; they're the worst ever for stupid things (unmovable 'dialog' boxes, no such thing as two apps in view at the same time, etc), and they're slow and often buggy as hell.

Windows 8's Metro environment is arguably akin to a polished up web app look and feel (one app in view at any one time, big clunky unmoveable things, a restricted GUI widget set, etc). That's not done so great. What makes anyone think that a web apps are ever going to be as good as that, let alone better? One of the better web apps I've seen it the web view dished up by modern Exchange servers. It's OK at best, but it's certainly no where near as nice to use as Outlook.

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bazza
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FAIL

Irony

"It is well known that Google makes little use of Windows internally. In 2010 it was reported that Google was forbidding internal use of Windows. “We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” said an unnamed employee."

Yeah, because Android is well known to be the most secure OS. Ever.

Bollocks.

It's a slightly crazy notion. For better or worse a very large fraction of Google's customers use Windows one way or another. Google not using the Windows means that there's a good chance they'll screw up and not notice before they annoy a large number of customers. Their own staff are a valuable beta testing resource, yet they're not using them for this purpose on one of the largest platforms out there.

Oh, it seems that that's just happened.

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EVERYTHING needs crypto says Internet Architecture Board

bazza
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Re: Encryption is not the whole answer

DO NOT USE ASN.1 for new protocols please, unless you are having a competition to see how many CVE's you can get for your software ("look Ma, we beat LDAP... !" :-).

Hmmm, I think the LDAP guys screwed up by inventing their own encoding format (Generic String Encoding Rules) instead of using the existing ITU standard encoding rules. If there's been problems, well perhaps that's not surprising.

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

bazza
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Yellow's just the thing

The equivalent for the bullet train tracks in Japan is also painted yellow.

It has a nickname "Doctor Shinkansen", which or more explanatory than NMT... They run it over the entire bullet train network every day.

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Apple on the art of the deal: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement'

bazza
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Sapphire will happen

Sapphire-screened mobiles will happen sooner or later. Apple has gone about it in a way where the risk wasn't entirely theirs, tried to do it on the cheap as usual, and has ended up setting back the whole idea by many years. Some one else will likely get there first now.

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Google gives Microsoft office an awkward hug with new plugin

bazza
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Re: Integrated Desktop and the Cloud? Oooh!

File server is indeed what they mean. Not such a revolutionary idea. But never under estimate the power of new jargon to 'invent' new technology...

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The Imitation Game: Bringing Alan Turing's classified life to light

bazza
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Re: Really?

Please at least read something (perhaps the Wikipedia article) on the matter before commenting.

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Forget eyeballs and radar! Brits tackle GPS JAMMERS with WWII technology

bazza
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Re: Backup? We don't need no steenkin' backup!

@Gray,

Quite right.

WW2 Technology? Bloody Lazy Journalists (inc The Register)

I'm slightly irritated by the description as being "WW 2 Technology" that seems to have attached itself to eLORAN. It's anything but WW2 technology. Such a description is similar to saying that digital TV is based on the technology of Logie Baird.

If it comes to that, GPS can also be described as having been based on WW2 technology; it's just yet another way of determining position by measuring distances USING A RADIO SIGNAL from transmitters whose positions are known. That's a perfect description of eLORAN, LORAN-C, GEE, X-GERAT, Y-GERAT, OBOE, JAY, or any other radio based navigation system. With GPS the only conceptual difference is that the transmitters are in space. Even the idea of putting up a satellite to broadcast a radio signal also originated in WW2 in the mind of an RAF officer call Arthur C. Clarke. [Okay, so he thought about geo-stationary satellites, but he set the theme for all the ideas that followed.]

Drop the Bias, El Reg, and Think

The Register, no doubt spurred on by that retired and possibly out-of-date navigator Lewis Page, seems to be biased against eLORAN. That may be because LP thinks that it is inaccuracte.

However it seems to have had no difficulty in achieving 5m accuracy in limited trials (see this). Without differential corrections it seems to get to 6.8m (see this presentation, page 37. Also the nature of eLORAN is such that the more tranmitters you build the more accurate it becomes (unlike LORAN-C), lessening the need for differential eLORAN. A widespread deployment would be useful for almost all purposes, with differential eLORAN put in only where it mattered.

Incidently, LORAN-C is almost certainly something that Lewis Page has used and been irritated by. It would certainly irritate me. However I wonder if he's ever actually ever used an eLORAN receiver? By all accounts it's no different to using plain old vanilla GPS. In fact the whole essence of eLORAN is to make it as simple to use as GPS.

I find that lack of imagination inside El Reg surprising. As Gray says above it is cheap and effective, and it uses is a digital radio system (for its data channel) of a sort that normally gets a bunch of technologists like The Register excited. They like GPS, WiFi, Freeview, DVB-S, Bluetooth: what's not to like about eLORAN?

(They'd also like Digital Radio Mondiale [DRM - an unfortunate acronym] too if they'd ever heard of it. DRM is what DAB should have been).

I think the reason why they don't like it is because they have no imagination as to what eLORAN could become. So how about they try this on for size? It would be pretty simple to build a chip scale eLORAN receiver in the same way we currently build chip scale GPS receivers. If we had one of those, you could put on in every mobile phone, sat nav, train, mobile phone base station. That is, everything that uses GPS could be capable of also using eLORAN with a minimum of additional hardware. Also a chip scale eLORAN receiver would probably use a lot less power than a GPS receiver (there's less maths to do). Surely that's something to like?

Come on El Reg, Give it Some Backing

I think that it's quite interesting that it's the authorities in the maritime world that are pushing eLORAN. No doubt that's why Lewis Page gets hot under the collar about it. However the likes of the GLA, US Coast Guard, Trinity House, etc. all have centuries long cultures of ensuring that the navigational aids they provide to mariners are there, are working, and are working well. It's no surprise that they feel that GPS dependency is a dangerous thing.

I'm sure that Lewis Page (I don't know him) was an able and dutiful navigator, but that's a rarity in the maritime world these days; some ships can't even miss a wreck despite radio warning, guard ships, bouys and lights. If the commercial maritime world is hell bent on being automated all the way to the harbour entrance then the maritime authorities will ineviablty make sure that the technology behind it is backed up.

However there's plenty of other users of GPS who would be mortified if their GPS stopped working, not least every single smartphone user. The Register should be expressing an air of gratitude towards the likes of the GLA for giving us all the prospect of a decent backup that we could all use in a way wholly compatible with today's technology.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to any organisation with an interest in eLORAN or navigation.

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bazza
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Re: Sextant

"A lot of WW-II bombers had a special dome on top so the navigator could take sextant sightings. B-17, B24, Lancaster, etc. Sextants do work in aircraft."

They do work, just not very well. Y-Gerat, X-Gerat, OBOE, GEE, LORAN all got developed by both sides in WW2 because it was realised that navigating by the stars was a sure way to missing a bombing target.

The Germans knew this from the outset, and it took a long time for R.V. Jones (one of the best brains Britain had in WW2) to be given the resources to find out how the Germans were doing it. Typically the RAF insisted that its crews could achieve good accuracy by navigating by the stars, and it took them a long time to acknowledge that they were missing their targets by many, many miles.

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bazza
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Re: Sextant

LORAN's predecessor was originally designed for use by aircraft.

The difficult thing for aircraft is knowing their 2D position. The last dimension, height, they already knew from the altimeter.

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'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'

bazza
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Marmite

"There are also many things, everyday products in the West that are simply not available in Armenia at any price, like peanut butter and Marmite."

No Marmite? Well, that's it then.

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Apple's new iPADS have begun the WAR that will OVERTURN the NETWORK WORLD

bazza
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Re: Very worrying!

Very worrying. Bye bye consumer choice. You can choose a network so long as it's one Apple will let you use. You cannot "change SIM" unless Apple let you do it. Rubbish idea.

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Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE

bazza
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Misleading Language

"This should be an academic curiosity because SSL 3.0 was deprecated very nearly 15 years ago"

Seems that the word 'deprecated' has been widely misunderstood by browser and server writers for 15 years. How much other stuff has been 'deprecated' that is actually still out there, still in use, still burnt in to code and still vulnerable? My guess: **** loads.

Even though trivial routines such as sprintf() have been advised against for eternity (snprintf() being the advised, improved alternative), there must be tons of software out there that uses the older version. Ok, so that's fine if it works, but's it also means that it's potentually vulnerable to, for example, a buffer overflow problem.

And no-one is looking at the software's source code because it's old, established (and therefore boring) and blessed with an aura of correctness gained through age and not through analysis and testing.

So isn't it about time that things that have been deprecated actually got removed? If OSes actually got rid of the dangerous old shit like the SSL run time libraries and the dodgy old functions like sprintf() then after a period of chaos we would all be better off.

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Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes

bazza
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Re: Maybe not quite as pointless as it seems...

Nope, it's not going to happen.

It costs vast amounts of money to develop a chip set for anything these days. Samsung et al would take a look at the BBC's proposal, then:

* work out how many $billion it'll cost to do a spin of their chipset just for the UK,

* work out the likely returns on their investment from the market (60million people at most),

* work out the market detriment in the rest of the world (more expensive silicon, pointless power consumption where DAB isn't supported, etc).

Then they'll tell the BBC to bugger off.

Not even Apple did an iPhone for a specific country (I'm thinking of the CDMA2000 variant iPhones for the USA) until a long time after they had established the market. No one is going to do bespoke hardware of such high cost for a market as piddly as the UK especially when the tech is not exactly very popular in the UK anyway.

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Android's Cyanogenmod open to MitM attacks

bazza
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Re: Another week...

"...another epic fail by the amateurs in F/OSS-land. When will people learn?"

Copying dodgy code isn't restricted just to F/OSS-land. There's lazy programmers all over who are on a time and money budget.

Cyanogenmod (and any other similarly maintained community backed equivalent) is probably the best model for Android. There is at least a good prospect of a bug like this being fixed and made widely deployable. Unlike most of the manufacturers' own spins of Android.

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Rebellion sees Chromium reverse plans to dump EXT filesystem

bazza
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@Dan55,

"Actually it is. Try using a Mac with FAT..."

Actually, trying to use a Mac with its own native HFS seems to require the occassional miracle to get it to boot. They seem to be quite capable of trashing their own filesystem without any external assistance whatsoever...

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bazza
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Re: Why on earth is this news?

"Why would an OS designed to work on devices with presumably USB connections or similar to external devices really need EXTx support? You generally don't use EXTn on them anyway."

Indeed, and it's worth asking why no one does. A USB drive is expected to be a universal, plug it in anywhere and it works type of thing. The reason why an ext formatted USB drive breaks that is because the Linux/Android/*nix community hasn't really ever got round to doing a proper driver for ext (or whatever) for Windows.

Oh I know there's a selection of them out there, commercial and open source. The open source ones all seem to be version 0.5, with no word as to whether one should ever dare use them in read/write mode. Clearly if that doesn't work properly then promoting it seems hardly worthwhile.

The community should get serious about ext file system drivers for Windows (i.e. finished them to the point where they were acceptably trustworthy). The community (well, Google, Redhat and the other big players) could then promote them so that in the conciousness of all "Android/Linux = Oh yeah, I Have To Install That". Then they could ditch FAT altogether and save a bunch patent royalty cash owed to MS. At least one of those big players is a major online advertising outfit that regularly seeks to influence and inform the public.

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Vulture takes BlackBerry's Passport through customs

bazza
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Yes, it was a good review. Orlowski has clearly actually spent some time actually using it.

To contrast read the review of the Passport on The Inquirer, particularly the bit where they mark it down merely because the "software still feels unfamilar". Well duh, if it's different it will be unfamiliar, but that does not make it worse.

A reviewer does actually have to become familiar with a device before they can pronounce upon it's worth. And so thanks go to Orlowski for taking the time.

Oddly enough the review makes me more inclined to upgrade to a Z30 (got a Z10 at the mo), but I am torn between the two. Ultimately I don't suppose BB care which one I go for, just so long as it's one of the two.

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First gigabit-over-COPPER chipset lands

bazza
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Re: Wrong solution?

@DougS,

"Presumably the telco either provides power along with the fiber cable to the DPU (similar to how cable companies supply power along with their fiber) or utility power is used. I don't see why power should present a problem."

I was speaking to some telco guys here in the UK recently, and it seems power is a minor problem with FTTC.

Whilst there is indeed a fibre running from the exchange to the cabinet and the VDSL runs over the last few meters of copper to the house, the plain old telephone system still goes via copper all the way from the exchange to the house. The reason being that the telco has to provide an emergency phone service.

To do that with the POTS also going over fibre to the exchange the cabinet would have to have a reliable emergency power supply. Apparently they don't get because they're plumbed into the mains locally.

However with the POTS being copper all the way it is powered in the normal way, i.e. powered entirely from the exchange. The idea is that if the mains goes off the cabinet shuts down but the POTS still runs. A side effect is that BT cannot rip out all that copper cabling from under the streets and sell it on as scrap.

So it would seem probable that in the UK at least that the DPUs would be in the FTTC cabinet powered by a local grid connection rather than by a power connection run from the exchange.

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bazza
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Re: Wrong solution?

@P. Lee,

"If they could do it over telephone wire then great, but if you're going to lay new cables, why not fibre? Are you going to put in new node kit and not go fibre?"

Ah, it doesn't mean replacing any existing cabling if a network like Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) has already been rolled out. With FTTC there's a fibre laid from the exchange to a cabinet at the end of a street of houses, with the existing copper used for the last few yards to the houses.

BT are rolling out FTTC in quite a large way in the UK. This new technology would allow them to upgrade from, say 40Mbps to 1Gbps by doing nothing more than changing the equipment in the cabinets and homes. That's a relatively cheap thing to do. It would be on a par with FTTH's performance but at a fraction of the installation costs.

And yes, if there's not even FTTC in the area then the economics are different, but it's still cheaper to go the FTTC route than the full FTTH. It's easier to lay a single fibre to a cabinet than to lay one into every subsciber's home; much less manpower required.

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BlackBerry slowly pulls out of power dive into toilet

bazza
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Re: 10 million iPhone 6s sold and counting...

@psychonat,

" doesnt work with hosted exchange until recently, still a pain in the arse with exchange, maybe thats changed"

I use a Z10 with a rented Exchange server, works like a dream. Seems to get notifications quicker than Outlook connected to the same server.

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Ello, 'ello, what's all this then? We take a spin on the new social network driving everyone loopy

bazza
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Re: @beep54 So What?

@Hud Dunlap,

"Facebook wasn't VC funded"

Er, then who were Accel Partners?

Everyone investing in a start up is looking for an exit at some point, even the original founders. VCs are just another source of money and expertise, both useful things to a wannabe Zuck.

For what it's worth, a subscription based social network has a great deal of potential to be ad free because there's an actual revenue stream. Increased subscriptions is an easier way to drive profits. A free-to-use social network is inevitably going to be stuffed full of ads: someone has got to pay for the electricity bill.

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Good grief! Have you SEEN BlackBerry's SQUARE smartphone?

bazza
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Re: Well I WANT ONE

Yes, it does. The article states as much.

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bazza
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Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

It's a real physical keyboard, with proper shaped, physical keys that move just as they should when you press them. Just like BlackBerry are famed for.

It also a touch pad. And for a mobile device it's large. I'm assuming the screen is also touch enabled just like their other devices.

That's probably counts as being clever, or possibly cunning. It's also an improvement on the little track button that old blackberries used to have.

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Netscape plugins about to stop working in Chrome for Mac

bazza
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Presumably on Mac Chrome does the same thing with plugins as it does on Windows. That is the plugins are run in a separate process to the main browser and communicates via Inter Process Comms.

In which case the browser could be 64bit and the plugins could remain as 32 bit (IPC really doesn't care about it at all AFAIK). The plugins wrapper and the browser are merely sharing data through shared memory, pipes, semaphores, etc. So long as the 64bit browser and 32bit plugin wrapper have the same understanding of the data conveyed between them (which should be very easy) then it would all work just fine.

So killing off '32 bit plugins' is more of a political statement than a technological necessity. Except that on Windows (and I presume Macs also) the plugins wrapper is merely the chrome executable itself spawned with appropriate command line options. They'd have to calve off the plugin wrapper portion of their code into a separate executable to pull the trick I've outlined. It's that extra work that is what they've judged is probably not worth their while doing.

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That 8TB Seagate MONSTER? It's HERE... (You'll have to squint, 'cos there are no specs)

bazza
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Re: Now you can lose 8TB of data in one shot instead of just 4!

I've had nothing but grief with WD drives over the past few years, with several drives dying within 12 months. Currently with Seagates, nothing gone wrong as yet.

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Galileo can't do the fandango: Two Euro GPS nav sats sent into WRONG ORBIT

bazza
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Re: So they are rushing the schedule?

They've booked some Ariane 5s to launch lots of the remaining satellites each time. Ariane 5's reliability is very good so they're not going to be taking too much of a risk of launch wastage.

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Five Totally Believable Things Car Makers Must Do To Thwart Hackers

bazza
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Accident investigation

Understanding why an accident has occurred is going to become a whole lot more difficult. The police and their expert investigators are pretty good at diagnosing mechanical causes of accidents. They're not going to stand a chance when it comes to investigating a hack attack on a car. A good hack attack would leave no log entries anyway.

The manufacturers aren't going to want accidents investigated properly in case they are held liable for a poor design that is easy to hack in the first place. They're not interested now, and I doubt their attitude will change. [true example: A friend's car set off its own airbags whilst driving down the motorway. Despite that she was able to keep control and get off the road. Complaints to the manufacturer went utterly unanswered. Had she lost control and been killed, consider the scene that the police would find: a crashed car, airbags deployed, and a corpse. Nothing would have pointed to the true timeline of events, and it would likely have been blamed on driver error. No one knows how many times this has happened]

Which all means that drivers are going to find it very difficult to persuade either the authorities or the manufacturers or the insurers that the cause of a crash was some external hack. The driver will likely get the blame, especially if they are killed in the accident. The only way to get something done would be if hack attacks happen too many times to be ignored. By which time it will be too late for a lot of people.

Laughable Features

On the whole I think we'd be better off without such levels of comms and automation in cars. The one that makes me laugh the most is "remote shutdown and tracking of a stolen vehicle". It's going to be easier to nick the cars in the first place via the inevitable flaws in the software. And all the thief needs is a 3G jammer to stop you tracking and stopping the car.

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Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD

bazza
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Re: Simpler Solution?

@Nextweek,

"Perhaps its from a philosophical point of view, that the GPL is their preferred license."

Perhaps, perhaps not. They are a money making profit machine, so they'd be quite motivated to use whatever it takes to maximise that. However they have open sourced quite a lot of the things they've done, which is certainly to their credit, so who knows!

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bazza
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Re: Simpler Solution?

@John Robson,

"maybe if they used BSD then the memory *would* be a bottleneck, and a slower one than the linux networking bottleneck."

All right, suppose that BSD was crap at things like memory, scheduling, I/O, etc. If so, how does it manage to overcome all that to deliver better network performance than Linux? A network stack is a pretty thorough work out for pretty much everything the OS has to offer.

Short answer - FreeBSD is not slow at those other things.

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bazza
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Re: Simpler Solution?

@DougS,

"FreeBSD may have superior network performance, but Linux has superior performance in most other metrics that matter for a kernel."

Maybe, but they've seemingly identified network performance as their bottleneck. Hence their saying they want to improve on that. Other kernel performance metrics (memory allocation, context switch times, etc, etc) are clearly irrelevant to their system performance, so FreeBSD as-is would bring them a performance benefit (assuming they've not got dependencies on the specifics of Linux).

It's not surprising that their bottleneck is network performance. As soon as you start handling vast amounts of data the system I/O performance is king and almost nothing else matters in comparison.

For instance one of the biggest problems GPUs have in super computers is that they're not directly addressable node to node. To get data from one GPU to another in a different node it has to go via a PCIe bus to a CPU/memory, back across the PCIe bus to some sort of NIC, across some sort of interconnect (Myrinet, whatever), from the destination NIC across another PCIe bus into another CPU/memory and finally across that PCIe bus again one last time to the destination GPU. Great compute performance, terrible I/O, resulting in sustained performance not being anything like as good as peak performance (though of course that's very application dependent).

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Multifunction printer p0wnage just getting worse, researcher finds

bazza
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Pint

Very good indeed.

As per title!

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

bazza
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You need to read more Feynman. If a theory / law / hypothesis doesn't fit correctly measured physical results then it doesn't matter how complete or satisfying that theory is, it's wrong.

NASA's chaps would be well aware of the career limiting ridicule that would ensue if they reported a result as unexpected and 'ridiculous' as this without very careful checking. They've already done a control experiment and got another unexpected result. The very fact that they've published this at all implies that an awful lot of work has gone into checking their experimental set up, and they still can't explain it away.

And anyway, measuring force is such a trivial thing to do with very good accuracy there's hardly anything to check.

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bazza
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Re: I'm wainting with baited breath...

@Dave 126

""We did X and observed Y. We were surprised by Y. Can anyone help us confirm that we didn't overlook unknown factor(s) Z? Thank you!"

Indeed, and in fact it's pretty rare that a theoretician has successfully predicted a result that has been confirmed experimentally. In particle physics it's happened, I think, only twice. Normally an experimenter demonstrates beyond doubt that something weird is happening, and the theoreticians spend the next few years thinking up an explanation and then even longer dreaming up reasons why they hadn't thought of it first.

For entertainment go and ask a theoretical physicist to explain the Mpemba Effect, and don't let them bluff their way out of the challenge.

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bazza
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Re: Brass?

Yep, it's a steam punk star drive alright.

Plus if they do actually do a superconducting version there ought to be a lot of mist floating around as well. That'd drive the SPF (Steam Punk Factor) off the top of the scale.

If they are going to super cool it they might as well just add a few steam nozzles and noise valves just to convince everyone that something is causing it to work. As humans we're just not ready to believe that something can sit there working without flame / smoke / ear splitting noise / deep visceral rumbling / significant humming / a lot of sparks and stuff. Ion drives (which we all know do actually work) produce nothing more convincing than a slight blue glow, which is barely enough to believe in at all.

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Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins

bazza
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Re: And have you met Mr XTP?

@Harry Kiri,

"FEC is a waste of time, bw and cost if you have a great SNR.

FEC can be a waste of time and doesnt fix things if the SNR is higher than expected."

I suggest you learn something about communications theory. You can never, ever, eliminate noise generated bit errors in a system by increasing SNR. And that clever chap Mandlebrot showed us that it doesn't really make sense to talk about an average bit error rate either.

No matter how good your SNR is you have to have a way of dealing with error. Parity checking with retransmission is one way, FEC is another, etc. Even then you're only improving the chances of correct operation, not guaranteeing it.

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

bazza
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Re: Compiler and runtime(s) also guaranteed defect free?

They could use Greenhill's compiler, that's very good and is formally developed. It's the foundation of their INTEGRITY operating system (see this Wikipedia entry, which as a customer I think is also very good. Not cheap, but is value for money, if you see what I mean.

I suppose this new microkernel is a direct competitor to the kernel inside INTEGRITY, though of course there's more to a complete and usable OS than just the kernel.

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SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud

bazza
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”All of this misses one point, the decision of who to use is not just a price based one. As far as features are concerned, AWS is a still light years ahead of the others. ”

However one of the most fundamental points of marketing is that cleverness and 'quality' doesn't sell. Look at iPhone; didn't have multi tasking, didn't even have copy and paste, fairly rubbish power hungry OS, put it in a nice case with a large screen and sell by the millions. Android is still a pretty low quality piece of software with many disastrous flaws, sells by the bucket load. BlackBerry's BB10 is a fantastic OS, well thought out design that actually allows you to do many things easily, quite complicated ideas, no one bought it. VHS vs Betamax; VHS won because it was cheap and no one cared for Betamax's quality. Itanium was quite a good chip, no one cared.

History shows us that if your customers need to be geniuses to see why your offering is better than anyone else's then you customer base is at best 5% of the overall market. The other 95% are either too lazy or stupid to work out what the best solution is for themselves and will resort to judgements on price and trivial differentials such as looks, feel, etc. AWS may well be light years ahead of anyone else's cloud, most of the market won't care or understand why.

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