* Posts by John Robson

934 posts • joined 19 May 2008

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Android lands on Microsoft's money-machine island fortress

John Robson
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No camera?

I naively assumed that would be one thing they'd want to keep - security cameras (front and rear translated to screen level and overhead) at an ATM are quite useful - keep the pictures with the transaction logs...

Otherwise long overdue.

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Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

John Robson
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Re: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee........

No - the record holder will be an astronaut - pretty much all of them beat 15 minutes...

Orbit is merely the act of falling, but missing the planet. So the longest ISS resident probably holds the record. Gravity is about 90% of earth surface normal up there, they are not strictly weightless, it's just that everything is falling at the same rate, so there is no apparent weight.

Interestingly of course if there weren't people and fans moving the air around then eventually everything would settly against either the "top" or the "bottom" surfaces of the ISS - because the orbit of the shell is about it's CoM, any thing (dust, paper whatever) will fall towards the "floor", anything that starts higher will "fall" towards the ceiling. Anything on that centre line will be disturbed by brownium motion and then take one of the above paths...

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Help! We need to pick a platform for our desert adventure

John Robson
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Have to agree with the above comments...

There are better solutions. One of which is to get space at the other end of your "bit of string" so that the content filter isn't bandwidth limited.

Then a local HTTP caching server with a decent DNS caching server (if you want to be mean then add a half second delay to "other" DNS traffic, to degrade it's performance and improve the apparent performance of the local DNS solution - there is no way you can override the hosts file on the local machine anyway)

Of course with so much stuff being HTTPS nowadays you might find that the caching isn't as effective as you'd like...

Run something over the weak connection to ensure decent utilisation - Something like VoIPbox (which is available on titchy (replaceable) hardware) could improve the observed performance of the network, particularly if you have a good amount of "small packet" traffic. The underlying software is available on it's own, but the productised version probably has support advantages.

Heck, you could even go the whole hog and use the same vendor for a few things; CACHEbox will handle squid - potentially doing so at both ends, the remote end with a content filter (and maybe not even doing any actual caching?), the local one then doesn't need the constant filter updates; DNSbox does very well as a caching server... There are other vendors, offering similar packages...

Then you just need a firewall - and there are plenty of options there, many of which have a much nicer interface than raw iptables (which is what *I* use, but I wouldn't foist it on others...)

OK - I've just put 5 boxes in, to two locations. But they are relatively cheap, commodity hardware, with phone support and a company to post replacement boxes out (and collect the dead unit). Total space is less than 5U, possibly much less. Nice web interfaces, easy config backup/restore...

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Got iOS 8.3 installed? Pssh, you are SO last week… version 8.4 is out

John Robson
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But the developers want to see what their apps need to handle in the next release, so that they can release updated software at the same time as the OS upgrade.

This isn't beta testing, this is using a beta to test your own software...

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Scummy transients FOUND ON MARS by NASA rover

John Robson
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Re: Mars9?

Looks like an abstract reference to me - albeit very clumsily translated.

Alternatives - it's the version of mars that causes any other planet to become mars?

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

John Robson
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Re: DAB...

Yers, of course I'm looking at it through today's perspective...

In my corner...

I still have stacks of minidiscs up in the loft, as well as a minidisc car stereo, HiFi unit and USB PC drive. I still think they are a very good media - mostly due to the protection they offer the actual media inside.

Of course SD cards are hard to beat nowadays, although they are a bit fiddly...

I can't recall why I didn't go in for DAB early - there was something about it that turned me off. My comments above are what I *now* see (with the benefit of hindsight).

I also can't recall what my internet speeds were at the time - must go digging in history.

Late 90's apparently - althopugh the tech was a bit older: I had always-on dialup (and had had for a while). Offices/universities had 10+Mb connections regularly. In 1998 the ADSL standard was ratified, and BT were offering the stingray in 2000 at the latest (ThinkBroadband were talking about it then).

So very early adopters were inside the dial-up period, although some would have had ISDN for 128k ;)

It's amazing how fast the world has changed...

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John Robson
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Re: DAB...

@1980s_coder

1 - Yes, but |'m waiting until that is the case before I buy anything so speculative. We know that muxes are always squeezed to get quantity of channels over quality, I see no reason why that will change any time soon.

2 - If I'm recording it then why wouldn't I just stream it later from home?

3 - Admirable, but see my answer to 1

Where FM is dire then yes, DAB (if available) should be an improvement - but a decent FM aerial might also do the job (difficult in a car and or a portable device)

As for the freeview idea - see my answer to 1...

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John Robson
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DAB...

Nope - still no DAB sets here...

I suppose if I replace the car then one might appear as a result of that, as it has for my parents.

Since all my entertainment streams into the house over an IP connection I probably count anyway, but that's disingenuous. More interesting is the number of non-DAB radios that cannot easily be replaced (so those in cars which aren't in a nice replaceable housing for instance).

Since there is no compelling reason to change from FM - it's not as if it sounds better, and there are already more stations than I can shake a stick at, many of them are good local services - why do I want to spend silly money on a power hungry radio?

I checked for SWMBO's last birthday, and couldn't find one that sounded decent for a sane price, so I went with an older IP radio, and that sounds great. Has an aux in for the iPod dock as well...

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Atmel stoops to an 'all-time low' in Internet of Things battle

John Robson
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Re: Doesn't it need

But at least the comms test could *tell* you that the battery needs changing...

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John Robson
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Doesn't it need

to do regular comms tests?

Else "There's a fire" will fall on deaf antenna, since the comms world has moved on in a decade...

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Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

John Robson
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Re: @cyke1 Hope they win.

Maybe they have already applied an appropriate discount?

"And I'm sorry, cellular providers pay the property owners to lease the small plot of land their towers take up. The same rules of engagement should apply to the wireless network that's accessible from inside my house. I'm already paying an obscene amount for their services, at the very least they should off set it should I decide to OPT IN. I should not have to opt out to have my network unhijacked."

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

John Robson
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Re: If you need to be seen, sidelights.

Whyever not - if a road has streetlights then it is perfectly possible to see down it. In fact about the only thing that prevents me seeing a decent way along a streetlit road is the number of idiots with dazzlingly bright lights.

If you don't start a lighting war then there is no need for anyone else to continue it - and the people who are going to sleep don't get their rooms illuminated by annoying moving lights...

Amazingly the moon provides a good amount of light as well, depends on the phase obviously, but it's quite possible to travel without any other light source.

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Hawk like an Egyptian: Google is HOPPING MAD over fake SSL certs

John Robson
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Re: revoked cert

Yes, I *can* come up with a better solution.

I have suggested it here on a number of occasions, and it's generally not badly received...

SSL certs should be pulled down as a DNS record, with the DNS record secured by DNSSEC.

DNSSEC already has lookaside validation, and if the root cert was compromised then the whole world would be shouting about it...

I suggest that each browser company runs their own lookaside validation server as a default lookaside option in their browser (since you explicitly trust them anyway) and allows you to use others if you want to.

This also provides a nice way to distribute SSH host certs etc...

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First figures in and it doesn't look good for new internet dot-words

John Robson
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Re: Even more URL's

What aplan - a ".yesterday" domain, for celebrity has beens...

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Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

John Robson
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And how long will the "old" coins be valid?

'cos they're still fakeable while they are...

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The storage is alive? Flash lives longer than expected – report

John Robson
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Re: Advance warning?

They should be able to tell you how many blocks they've reallocated though.

And an increase in that number is taken as an early warning...

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Watchdog slaps American Apparel's youthful naked arse

John Robson
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Re: "Must not appear again in its current form"

No insulting chocolate teapots please:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-29126161

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Musk: 'Tesla's electric Model S cars will be less crap soon. I PROMISE'

John Robson
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Stopping on a journey

Is highly recommended. It allows your brain to rest, and your kids to go to the loo.

I take a fairly regular 300 mile journey, and that gets split in two, with over an hour in the gap - because we take lunch/dinner as part of the journey.

Far more relaxing, much nicer for the kids and I'm properly alert for the second half of the journey.

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Pi(e) Day of the Century is upon us! Time to celebrate 3/14/15 in style, surely?

John Robson
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Dates?

Why does it strip leading zeros and the century indicator.

That's no good. Besides Tau day is where it is at - the USians still celebrate on the wrong day of course...

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

John Robson
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Why not run with what's already out there?

TV programming to accompany the RasPi would have been a good way to go I'd have thought, maybe a BBC modular component to plug into the GPIO with sane protective resistors etc already in place?

At least the company has some history with doing this kind of thing, although that was in a VERY different environment...

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Look, no handsets: How to do telephony without a phone

John Robson
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What is that handset in the picture?

Boss man wants to know...

Aha - google image search to the rescue...

http://www.nativeunion.com/us/curve-bluetooth.html/

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Vodafone: Can't make calls on our network? Use Wi-Fi

John Robson
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And of course you can't use it if you buy their data+sms package.

Not that they will tell you this when you buy it, nor when you talk to customer services (twice)

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Chewier than a slice of Pi: MIPS Creator CI20 development board

John Robson
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Re: Media Center

"The Pi could do with a proper soft power button to be properly useful as a media centre"

Then make one. I'm sure you could detect a button push and trigger shutdown.

Have the PSU run through a normally open relay and it will power itself down as well. You might want a reasonable time lag on that relay so that the pi can boot before the watchdog timer expires...

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United Nations: For pity's sake don't use your iPhone in your car

John Robson
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Re: Driving with a handset

"Funny how on El Reg. the general commentariat tendency to rabid libertarianism goes completely out the window into manic social-engineer authoritarianism - making things "more illegal" that are already illegal and when it comes to other people doing things that annoy them."

No - it makes things "less illegal" - or at least subject to lower penalties...

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Broadband routers: SOHOpeless and vendors don't care

John Robson
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Re: Actually, a router is a router, and "modems" no longer really exists...

My "Router" doesn't have any IP routing capabilities. It is purely a media transformation device (VDSL <-> Ethernet).

My server, which is connected via ethernet, does the PPPoE negotiation with the exchange and gets a public IP address itself. I doubt if the modem has an IP address, although I suspect it might respond to something in the 192.168 range if directed at it (since nothing downstream would accept that IP address it's a reasonably intercept) But what could I configure on it - it's a dumb link negotiator and media translator.

Genuine question - what can you configure on a BT OpenReach VDSL "modem".

Hmm - quite some: https://huaweihg612hacking.wordpress.com/about/

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John Robson
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Re: I honestly don't know what to do about this?

"I use a Sky router modem, because as far as I know I have to"

This is the problem - ISPs don't "support" anything other than their own router.

I convinced the BT engineer to leave me an openreach modem for my VDSL line, and subsequently have swapped out the ISP provided router with a debian installation doing PPPoE itself.

That's beyond most people, but we used to have the concept of having a modem and a router as separate devices, and that is a possible solution.

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Ford to save you from BIKE FITNESS HORROR

John Robson
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Re: Electric bike prices do seem rather high.

"600 is somewhat more realistic, at least thats less than my annual fuel bill for the car (I only fill the tank once a month)"

So you pay no insurance, VED, servicing, MOT costs?

I assume your vehicle is already fully depreciated.

If you rag the battery too often it will need replacing at some point, but hopefully battery tech can have stepped up a generation each time you do (and you can always stay one generation "old")

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John Robson
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Re: "there is no derailleur....so the prototypes are fixies"

"Power sapping"

Do you have experience with this?

Because it's just not supported by any of the people I know who run belts - both Gates Carbon and other similar belts.

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John Robson
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Re: "there is no derailleur....so the prototypes are fixies"

It's almost as if Ford haven't been around for the last 100+ years. Derailleurs are new kids on the block (sorry) when it comes to gearing on a bike.

With anything from 2 speed automatic to 14 speed manual gearboxes, or 350% CVT hubs available that belt isn't a bad idea. Although getting the correct belt pretension each time you get the bike out would be a bit of a pain.

Why not have it fold like any other mixed mode cycle - the brompton, for instance, folds the chain into the middle of the package, so there's no need to be concerned about it - well certainly no more than the wet road soup that drips off the tyres...

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Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

John Robson
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Want, even without the insane performance.

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How many Androids does it take to change a light bulb?

John Robson
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Re: I can't turn the lights on because my phone battery's gone flat.

Torch - just use the camera flash on your pho... oh

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

John Robson
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Re: argh!

Not necessarily - it might be that they'll do the electronics later, or are doing it in a different class.

In this class you learn how to control the stuff you are learning how to build over there - that's not a bad idea, the proof of your electronics is instantly available - you can see where both classes are heading...

Not everyone has to specialise in everything...

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

John Robson
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Re: Content and Style

Change tracking by use of diff?

Or is that just too complicated?

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Google Talk is dead, long live, er, Google Talk: Chat will survive app zap, flaps G+ chap

John Robson
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XMPP support...

Because letting people choose software to interact with your services is too hard?

How do I get friends onto IRC?

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

John Robson
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This is why cert authorities are broken.

200+ certs on my machine.

Let's get DNSSEC based certificate delivery -trust the root, have browser manufacturers offer a DLV service for *when* the root (or a country TLD) is suspected compromised.

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

John Robson
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Any skills learnt

will be outdated by the time the exam is taken.

Any chance of learning the underlying theories was lost when politricks got involved. They couldn't tell a reference from a pointer.

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Sony's super-frumpy SmartEyeglass goggles are $840 Google Glasses

John Robson
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Apple's design people need to think

They've omitted the left hand glasses arm, which wouldn't have obscured anything else in the image, but left in the right hand arm, which runs across the main point of the inv^H^H^H patent.

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Fight back against illegal GCHQ spying with PAPERWORK!

John Robson
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So they want...

...me to highlight myself to the likes of the NSA/GCHQ etc.

I can only presume that those records will be looked at a little bit more closely before they are reported on and (possibly) deleted (although not from backups), wouldn't it be a shame if there was a dB failure and we had to recover from tape?

Or maybe they'll just do the modern "delete" of adding a column in the dB to say "deleted"

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Linux kernel set to get live patching in release 3.20

John Robson
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Re: Very clever stuff

Yes, because I never have a service that I just run on one machine, because any HA architecture would be pointlessly expensive.

OK - I'm open to whole pile of possible failure modes, but to remove one whole set of "scheduled maintenance" outages would actually remove all the outages I've had over the last 18 months (possibly longer, but I can't remember)

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Still using the Google Talk app? You've got ONE WEEK to move on

John Robson
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Re: Remember when you could load up all your IM accounts in one program?

Since it still runs Jabber you can.

I use PSI for all my comms protocols (except iMessages grr...)

At least on the mac the messages app handles them all, but elsewhere I just sacrifice iMessage - Oh well...

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Internet of Thieves: All that shiny home security gear is crap, warns HP

John Robson
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Re: Indeed

No - but not being accessible excpet via a VPN is pretty good start.

This is what I want - someone to make one of the control hubs that is just locally accessible, doesn't do cloudy stuff... Or at least that you have to actively enable cloudy stuff...

Just sits at home and I can control stuff from inside the house. If it's Pi based under the hood then great, but I don't really care all that much - just have it self contained.

I'll deal with communications from outside thank you...

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Calling a friend? Listen to an advert. You lucky, lucky thing

John Robson
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One benefit...

All those automated cold calls will start talking to an advert rather than waiting for the ringing to finish...

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Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

John Robson
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Re: "Broadcast is efficient"

"Recieve at the same time" is slightly skewed by the fact that at the moment much of it can *only* be recieved at that time. Despite the number of channels, and the number of hours TVs spend "off" there are a phenomenal number of them in the UK.

How much of the currently viewed content could be happily transmitted (transport agnostic statement) to PVRs overnight, for viewing as convenient the next day (say when the decrypt key for that content was broadcast/published - low bandwidth at "time of delivery").

Genuine question - haven't watched any broadcast TV in a long while - how much of it isn't prerecorded (even if recorded "as live").

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Get off Twitter – and onto Google if you want to find TWITS and tweets

John Robson
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Great Tweet...

I'm sorry, I'm confused...

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SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016

John Robson
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Re: @John Robson

Ah, you're replacing new disks.

I have a stack of <1TB disks - and of course the extra PC (and controller card) which is used to control them all.

I'd also expect a large WORM SSD to have much more than a 5 year lifetime.

So I'd be dropping a PC, and ~10 older drives in favour of a single SSD - which would be effectively zero power - connected to another machine which is always on.

I think the potential price of W(O|F)RM SSD media might surprise you as well.

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CHAINSAW HORROR advert earns GiffGaff a slap from regulator

John Robson
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Re: Errr

In my defence I did say that the ASA doesn't have as many as a snail.

Although I was also surprised that snails can have 14000 teeth - I shall revise my analogy.

As many teeth as a sponge ball.

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John Robson
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Errr

Isn't this a YouTube problem, not a GiffGaff one?

Not that the ASA has as many teeth as a snail, but still

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Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee calls for net neutrality in Europe

John Robson
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Re: But not all of my packets shoudl be treated equally....

QOS done reasonably shouldn't have too much of an affect.

On a large download jitter is not relevant, latency is not relevant (below a silly threshold which we can ignore). On VoIP both of those are much more important, but as has been said the actual bandwidth required is quite small, so the download will still take the lions share, it will just see a significant amount of jitter...

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John Robson
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Re: But not all of my packets shoudl be treated equally....

Mostly - but I reckon that VoIP >>> Torrent, even in the core.

Streaming audio/video comes inbetween somewhere, with buffering it's less critical than comms traffic

though.

The concept that the core network will never be congested is great, but all that means is that you are paying more for the service than you should be. Network infrastructure should be running near capacity in order to make itself worthwhile - that's just basic economics.

Hence the need for some management, although I am absolutely against the concept of discriminating between different sources of the same data type. Having my neighbour's VoIP traffic get priority over my patch download is fine - because the same will happen in reverse as well...

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John Robson
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But not all of my packets shoudl be treated equally....

I want my VoIP packets to be given an easier ride through the network than those halfway through my big download of the day.

Now saying that all VoIP packets should be treated equally, and all VoD packets should be treated equally is a different statement. It permits competition in each marketplace, and allows for the network to prioritise it's load according to the traffic type it sees.

I don't care if my latest patch download takes 61 or 62 minutes, but I do care if my VoIP call has a 1 second dropout...

I'm not sure that packet equality id quite what I want (always assuming that bandwidth is limited somewhere)

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