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* Posts by John Robson

770 posts • joined 19 May 2008

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Ofcom will not probe lesbian lizard snog in new Dr Who series

John Robson
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So no CPR on Casualty until the "correct" gender of nurse can be found?

She hadn't yet passed out, but this was basically the "PR" bit of CPR...

Although there are many male nurses my experience suggests that they are outnumbered by their female colleagues. So women need to be doubly sure not to require CPR on TV now...

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Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

John Robson
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" I certainly wouldn't wear an expensive watch for exercise."

Iff it can do standalone navigation (as per OSMand for example) then I would -more convenient than a Garmin or similar. For that matter the BT4 would pick up a cadence sensor and the watch does HR itself. It would be a nice device. I'd get one...

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

John Robson
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Re: "Sometimes wish I never gone up at all"

"At least this time it's not feet vs. meter."

Gaaaah

Metre - a metre is a distance, a meter is used to measure something.

Stupid USians - the order of letters in a word is important.

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NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess

John Robson
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Key expiry

Surely this would be a useful feature to add to keys (and enable by default)?

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Totes AMAZEBALLS! Side boob, binge-watch and clickbait added to Oxford Dictionary

John Robson
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More importanly

It's just two words, both of which are already in the dictionary.

Combining their usage doesn't add more information than was already present.

I eagerly await other combinations of words being added, and of course each and every one of Shakespeare's plays, sonnets etc. should be first.

That should keep them busy for a while.

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Boffins brew TCP tuned to perform on lossy links like Wi-Fi networks

John Robson
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Re: @Suricou Raven (was: @ Brian Scott (was: Broadcast?)_

Very useful to allow it - OK, it's on a limited subnet, but when many things need to listen to the same data - it's useful.

Particularly if that data is out of date as fast as is it created - say in an audio distribution network.

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HTTP-Yes! Google boosts SSL-encrypted sites in search results

John Robson
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Re: When I can self sign, and provide my CA by side channel (e.g. DNSSEC)

"Encouraging the use of self-signed certificates is never going to happen. On a public facing website, their use only encourages users to blindly click through security warnings. Their only appropriate place would be where you have control over all the client devices so you can install your own certificate authority."

Hello - there is a really big clue in the title of my post, let me just quote it for you:

"and provide my own CA by side channel"

There would be no security warning, and rather than trusting some Iranian cert authority I've never heard of I'd be asking you to trust, for instance, the DNS root cert - which feels alot safer to me.

The root cert signs the country cert which signs my domain cert which signs my "SSL CA" record.

The SSL CA is then trusted within that domain, so I can use it to authenticate my website, and the encryption comes for free.

I can update my CA on a daily basis if I'm paranoid, or more likely an annual basis

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John Robson
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When I can self sign, and provide my CA by side channel (e.g. DNSSEC)

Then I'll go HTTPS more freely, but at the moment I don't feel the need to pay people

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Microsoft fixes all those shaky GoPro vids nobody wants to watch

John Robson
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Wow...

This, alongside that new map stitching, is a real "value add" service, which would be well provided with on a server... (cloud if you must)

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TracBeam sues Apple over location

John Robson
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Trollface

Re: A US patent doesn't seem to be worth the paper it's printed on anymore

"I think you'll find somebody has already patented that idea, as long as it's printed using a computer."

So I can patent it by adding "or mobile device" at the end?

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Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

John Robson
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Re: We are all going to love...

"...it when the driver engages the regenerative braking and the stop lights come on every time the "throttle" is released. Still, it should stop tailgating :-)"

Tesla lights do this as well (on the S, not the roadster) since to slow down that hard on a normal car you'd have to hit the brakes. At a measured 40kW of regen braking it's actually quite significant. It's a good idea to have the brake lights come on when you start slowing down fast, whether you're heating up bits of disposable material or refilling the "tank" whilst you do it.

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John Robson
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How long is the battery warranty

Was 100k miles too hard to guarantee - 99,360 miles is all we can offer, those extra 640 miles really do the damage...

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Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD

John Robson
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Re: Simpler Solution?

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

In which case hiring to improve the linux networking stack is a good call...

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

John Robson
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Re: At last

"Real Scientists, when they get the same result with their null control as with the DUT, look for flaws in the measurement instruments."

Yes - but they didn't get the same result, they got some thrust, but much less than with the test thruster.

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

John Robson
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Re: "a tool Microsoft uses to hide its source code from being copied"

I'll grant you merge issues - but the user/machine separation is handled just find in *nix world.

/etc contains the machine defaults

Your home dir contains your preferences, which may override the machine defaults

Parameters set at run time override both...

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PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

John Robson
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Re: Post PC

Reasonable assumption, it was mostly prose - although as is pointed out in the article/linked review with Wacom inputs for a tablet they're moving rather well into the graphical space as well. I've not used a tablet-ised Photoshop, then again I rarely use more than the most basic of features in the GIMP either, so I'm relying on reviews rather heavily here.

I believe I made specific mention that video editing was an exception - but that's more to do with sheer computational grunt than anything else. Yes the lifetime of workstations and "mobile workstations" will be measured in decades, if not more (unless pulling in remote CPU becomes feasible - and that feels a long way off, and running secondary++ monitors becomes the norm). Of course the Surface tries to accommodate this by being a full bown OS and docking in to a monitor at your home/office - so a high powered tablet of that kind could replace them. You might even be able to dock onto more CPU???

What's the difference between an iPad running Pages and a mac running Pages?

The OSX version has a few more formatting features to choose from, but it's the same(ish) keyboard into basically the same software. The iPad has a smaller* screen, but doesn't have lumps taken up with menu bars and docks etc. it's still perfectly capable of holding a decent amount of content on screen in a visible fashion.

*Although not that much smaller than the portable end of the laptop/notebook range.

Frankly I think the point is that peripherals are king (assuming that software exists to do what you want).

The advantage a tablet has therefore, is that most of the time you don't need the peripherals at all, but they can be there when you want them - and for *most* people (i.e. non el-reg readership) that's a fairly rare event.

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John Robson
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Re: Post PC

My wife did it. Her second book was written on an iPad. She's not particularly technical, so the "just works" element is very attractive.

No I don't expect you to use the soft keyboard, any more than I expect you to click on the onscreen keyboard on a PC. She used a BT keyboard, and with Apple selling some rather nice models it's an excellent combination. An "origami" case protects the keyboard in a bag and provides a convenient prop for the iPad (with case) in and orientation.

Tablets are perfectly good devices, and deserve well chosen accessories, just as your PC does.

Oh, and I don't expect a hunt and peck user to type a full manuscript, so an onscreen semi alphabetic keyboard puts the keys in an order they recognise.

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John Robson
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Post PC

For most people (i.e. the non el-reg readership) I *still* think that a tablet outdoes a laptop, and a desktop.

Simple to use, no moving the mouse to move an arrow on screen, decent battery and screen. Pair a keyboard, or for true "hunt-and-peck" users simply install an alphabetic or semi-alphabetic keyboard on screen.

Email, web browsing, writing a book, all things that are easily achievable on a tablet. Video editing might want more grunt, but that's as niche as compiling large software packages.

I've stopped with smartphones now. If/When I upgrade my Nexus7 (1st gen) I might get something with 3G capability, but my feature phone shares it's 3G connection by bluetooth, so it's hardly a deal breaker. My mobile operator will do me a data SIM for the same cost as the data bit of my existing contract, so that's not a change either way. I don't buy into the phone upgrade every 18 months lark either.

I like the 7" device size - it just slips in a pocket nicely.

Tablet + feature phone (so it actually makes calls and the battery lasts me all week) is an attractive combination. Add a bluetooth keyboard and I've suddenly got everything I need with me - miniHDMI out would be nice for a second (or replicated) screen

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Tesla and Panasonic to build NOT-SO-SECRET GigaFactory in US

John Robson
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Re: Rather a reversal of roles

Or maybe.... local control

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Cold storage, Facebook style? Flash FPGA controller to knock your SoCs off, vows upstart

John Robson
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Re: YASSPTH

Promising the earth is much easier when you are promising cheap flash with low rewrite cycles.

I don't need my main storage to be fast, I need it to be able to chuck me data a reasonable rate, but most of it is load and leave - if I can buy a couple (one at my house, one at a family member living on a different tectonic plate) for a reasonable price/GB then I'm in.

10TB SATA backup disk for a few hundred quid?

That'll do nicely for all my home data archiving. How often do I delete photos/videos of family?

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Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away

John Robson
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Re: "Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days"

Of which no instances were found in the APP^H^H^HPlay Store.

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You, Verizon. What's with the download throttle? Explain yourself – FCC boss

John Robson
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Surely the...

..."for those on our unlimited" is merely for the convenience of those not on that tarrif, who won't be using much data anyway...

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VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis

John Robson
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Re: sounds absolutely stupid

At what point does 50 commodity boxes become more effective than one monolithic RAIDed, multiply redundant hunk of a machine.

So they use redundant boxes, not individual components. I can't really see that as a bad thing. A few shelves of Mac Minis, needs a network switch and some cabling, a power distribution system, and a tray of USB keys. Pop the Mini on your desk, configure it into the cluster, power it down and pop it on a shelf.

I can see plenty of use for this kind of resilience in a system. Wasn't Google reporting that consumer drivers were actually basically as good as enterprise drives, and they were using them, since with a globally multiply resilient architecture you design the thing expecting regular failures.

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SOULLESS machine-intelligence ROBOT cars to hit Blighty in 2015

John Robson
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I like driving, I'd happily trade that for safer roads though.

For 'fun' driving please refer to your nearest track

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John Robson
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Minister for silliness?

"Science minister Greg Clark added: “Britain is brilliantly placed to lead the world in driverless technology. It combines our strengths in cars, satellites, big data and urban design; with huge potential benefits for future jobs and for the consumer.”"

Strength in cars - erm where are all our manufacturers? Even JLR is now indian

Strengths in urban design - really? Because our cities are so much nice places than Copenhagen etc.

We didn't even make the top ten cities from the torygraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/propertypicturegalleries/9477990/The-worlds-10-best-cities-to-live-in.html?frame=2311083

We do have strengths, but urban design and cars aren't really them...

Having said that - bring on the driverless car - where can I trade my car in for one?

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'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece

John Robson
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Re: Remind me again why we "need" this BS?

"There are two problems with the washing machine scenario:

1. You have to have already loaded your washing into the machine.

2. It's not a good idea to leave damp washing in the machine for a long time. It can start to smell fusty."

1. You'd only set it when you had loaded the machine (exactly as per current timer)

2. Hence the rinse and spin at 7:20

It's a marginal case, dependant on a whole pile of development, and probably free electricity for people who allow such scheduling.

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John Robson
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Re: Remind me again why we "need" this BS?

I can see use cases for things like washing machines/tumble dryers - I can set them to "run at some point before 7, then do a quick rinse and spin at 7:20" so I can put things on the line when I get up in the morning. Then they can negotiate a time with the power company, so that across the country we have a controlled load throughout the night (and low cost power) - but there is an awful lot of development to make that happen. And even that could be a case of my washing machine making a request: "I want a cheap 2Kw for 30 mins as late as possible before 7. When do I run?" query.

I can see the "did I turn my oven/hair curlers off" "did I lock my door" being useful, but both of those can be done internally (maybe via SNMP) or over a VPN - with mains plugs/sockets having mains networking available (Does mains networking require the live wire, or is access to neutral sufficient?)

I can almost see "mains network" light switches being vaguely useful (in a staircase circuit with the physical switch, maybe a motorised dimmer where appropriate) - but really even the IR light switches never really caught on, and despite the "multi control" aspect of smartphones it's still easier to just go and hit the switch.

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4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles

John Robson
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Re: Cut or compress

"In order to axe all of the repeats, it would be necessary to produce many times the current amount of new programmes."

Or you just don't have so many channels - repeats are the kind of thing that work well on demand, and if you actually look at the amount of programming produced there is plenty of time to broadcast it on just a couple of channels. Yes it would require time shifting equipment, but most people have that already, we don't need itv, itv+1, itv+2, itv+3 - how many do they have nowadays?

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Facebook: Want to stay in touch? Then it's Messenger or NOTHING

John Robson
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The messenger app is actually quite good.

I wish they'd release it as a pure Jabber client (which is how I access FB most of the time) - but the floating heads system actually works. Having the "draw over other apps" option means you don't need to stop what you're doing either.

Not got the FB app, nor do I use their website. It's a convenient, and widely used, Jabber service though.

Actually if anyone else released said Jabber client... Then Google Chat (or whatever they call it this week) could go as well. The only remaining issue is that neither service attempts redelivery if you were offline when the message was sent, and other people expect that behaviour.

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Android busted for carrying Fake ID: OS doesn't check who really made that 'Adobe' plugin

John Robson
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Re: Patch cycle

Mine updated a while ago. Took all of 5 minutes.

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We're BFFs AGAIN, say AT&T and Netflix after penning peering pact

John Robson
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Isn't peering....

normally a bit more symmetric than this is ilkely to be?

This seems more like pumping than peering, not that that's a bad thing - but I can't help but think that the word peering isn't quite right.

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Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

John Robson
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Re: A Physicist and a Chemist

Apologies for proffering nutrition to an under-bridge dweller...

Science degrees all require some training in analysing data, like say the data showing not particularity strong short term correlation between emissions and temperature.

Not entirely convinced that degrees in politics/history/cornflakes/mining provide the same analytical thinking training...

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Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

John Robson
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Re: Realism

"And it should be obvious that an independent Scottish postal service is bound to cost more, simply because there's a greater proportion of remote locations than for the UK as a whole. I'm sure the same must be true for telephone and broadband services as well."

Does that mean that the cost in England and Wales will come down?

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BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

John Robson
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Did you want 700 mile range or are you plugging it in every day?

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

John Robson
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HD TV...

Main TV in our house is 1080p, and it does have a BluRay player connected over HDMI.

Of course most content is DVD, or MP4 over DLNA even through the DVD player.

But that's definitely the "second" source - the Primary source is a NowTV box - 720p output.

Can I tell the difference - yes. 720p -> 1080p is a step. But for the convenience I'll take 720p any day of the week.

Why would I be looking to replace my TV, I already rarely use the resolution it's capable of - let alone buying another TV which I'd never use the full resolution of.

If/when it dies then I'll look at what is on the market, but there would have to be something VERY special to make me change before then.

I'd rather like a multiHDMI monitor with decent speakers. That would attract a premium spend from me, rather than "SMART" apps which I know will never see an update, and which I'll likely never use.

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Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

John Robson
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Re: ISP level caches are surely one of the first things

Not impossible to cache encrypted traffic, you just need to know the keys (which a netflix controlled cache would do)

There is no copyright trouble for a cache that doesn't make available stuff that wasn't available anyway on the network (at least not in the US, DMCA safe harbour regs took up a not insignificant amount of my employment a few years back)

I put quite alot of effort into designing such things for a previous employer - because ISP level caching is just so damned stupidly obvious - at least it is if you've worked with ISPs in the past (as had my previous employer).

Particularly for things like netflix, which are likely to have short time high value items (just released shows etc)

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John Robson
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ISP level caches are surely one of the first things

you design when building a CDN.

OK the very core gets a good run first, but ISP level caches are ridiculously obvious. Most ISPs will *buy* a decent cache...

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Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London

John Robson
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Amazingly it does seem that the concept of a wallet

is going to be untenable.

That's the future, at least the pickpockets will have to target you several times to clean you out...

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iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms

John Robson
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Re: Ipad only a content consumption device

Is that why my wife wrote her last book on an iPad?

(Oh, and that's an iPad2, which isn't getting replaced any time soon)

If getting a contract to write a book, and then fulfilling it isn't enough to count as content creation then heaven help us.

The only thing you need to make a tablet a content creation device is a halfway decent keyboard.

Whereas a PC needs, Oh, a keyboard to be useful. erm, that'd be the same keyboard you use with the tablet then (yes we use the same keyboard on the PC (acquired since the book was published) as with the tablet - I have a spare sat near the PC for when the normal one is "out on business")

OK then, they need proper software. Erm... Apple sells it's word processing software for iOS and OSX?

Personally I think the PC is dead for most people. There are very few things you can't do with a tablet. Our list:

- iPod classic management ('though Apple could enable that)

- GPS dongle downloads (gpsbabel on android is close though)

- DVD backups/format shifting (and actually I suspect the android could do that, albeit slowly)

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PayPal post-checkout cash slurp a FEATURE not a BUG

John Robson
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So buried in an email you ignore...

is the fact that the merchant has taken more money than authorised.

I see the email coming in, I ignore it because it confirms a payment I just authorised.

a) Merchants should get the shipping charges right *before* sending you to paypal

b) paypal should have a DIFFERENT and scarily worded "Merchant has claimed more money than agreed" email that gets sent out in these cases.

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WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

John Robson
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Re: I'll give you my router

So pop your own router behind the "simple" modem.

Do your own stuff internally. VPN to your own data centre based server (even if that is virtual)

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Elon Musk GIVES UP ON SEX: He'll make do with a 'cheap' Tesla III instead

John Robson
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Re: Looking forward to it

Bah - £50k

Finger trouble, brain trouble - take your pick.

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John Robson
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"We were going to call it model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E," he claimed.

So Ford don't even HAVE a model E - they want to use it.

Who released their announcement first?

Maybe they should use their own initial? the Tesla (Model) T...

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John Robson
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Re: Looking forward to it

Entry level Model s is £50, so £<$ in this instance.

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Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?

John Robson
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Re: I agree

One missing:

Simulate null data.

So when the app asks to read SMS you can either deny it, or pass it an empty list.

When it asks to send you can either deny, or accept the message and then discard it.

When it asks for location you can tell it you're in Greeenwhich (or some other selected place) or tell it to sod off...

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'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website

John Robson
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When I was involved....

in building a CDN we had devices to go into ISP networks which would improve service for their customers without excessive cost in term of u8pstream bandwidth for the ISP.

Surely that is the way for disney/bbc/sky to "prioritise" their traffic?

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FAKE Google web SSL certificates tip-toe out from Indian authorities

John Robson
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DNSSEC

Then you can put your own root CA on as a TXT record, and sign your own certs.

You still have to trust the Root DNS certs, but they've demonstrated themselves pretty responsibly up to this point

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F1? No, it's Formula E as electric racing cars hit the track

John Robson
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Re: Are electric cars really usefull?

> Where does the energy come from?

Generally the sun, although nuclear fission (i.e. previous generation stars) is a good source as well. Interestingly of course the energy comes from large static engines which can have emissions monitored and or reduced by scrubbing tech - which would instantly retroactively apply to all vehicles on the road/track.

> Who has to deal with the pollution involved in production of both parts & energy?

This is different in what way to other fuels? Of course the death rate from digging up oil is quite high. The parts are fairly simple, the battery technology is kind of the point of this sort of endeavour.

> Can I do a 680 mile round-trip in one day? (Me, today, Sonoma to Solvang & back).

Yes you can, although probbaly not in one of these, but then you couldn't do that in an F1 car either.

> What is the cost of recycling once the various bits are b0rked?

Not too bad - the batterries will last a fair while (although obviously less in the performance oriented formula than in the real world). I think Tesla reckon on 8-10 years in the cars before they degrade to 80%

Then they can be grid level storage (UPS for your house) for a decade, and then some 98% of the materials are economically recovered.

> Bottom line: This technology hasn't really been thought out thoroughly.

New bottom line - you haven't grasped the point, or looked at the tech lifecycle.

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Journal that published Facebook emoto-furtle study: Proper boffins get CONSENT

John Robson
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Required:

http://m.xkcd.com/1390/

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