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* Posts by John Robson

799 posts • joined 19 May 2008

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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NHS delivers swift kick to Microsoft's wallet over fee demands

John Robson
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Why not pass legislation

requiring continued security updates for all software in use by some (sane) number of users in this country.

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

John Robson
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Price/speed/capacity/power

Still waiting for a low power, OK speed (mostly sequential), insane capacity and drop dead low price storage.

If ReRAM is as good as it sounds then great - but a big fat slow SSD will do the job quite happily - at an appropriate price point obviously.

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We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

John Robson
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These things always come in at the top of the market.

Where was ABS introduced? Electric windows? virtually anything else you now consider standard.

Probably in the Merc S Class...

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Aereo has to pay TV show creators? Yes. This isn't rocket science

John Robson
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Even without the 1 antenna -> 1 Subscriber model...

How is this different to people putting their own aerial up.

Can I use my DVR at home? Yes (ignore the fact that I don't have a TV license for the moment)

Can I use a PC as a DVR at home? Yes

Can I then watch something off that PC/DVR at home? Yes

Can I stream something from my PC/DVR to a smart TV at home? Yes

Can I take that PC/DVR to my parents house and watch things I recorded earlier?

- I assume this is equivalent (legally) to carrying a VHS cassette...

Interestingly: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/2498/regulation/19/made isn't clear on the issue. Time shifting is legal, but space shifting may or may not be.

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Samsung peddles tyred Smart Bike concept

John Robson
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Magnetic "connection"

Either that magnet is so strong that the phone will break when I try to remove it, or it's weak enough that the first time I stray off a velodrome it will jump off and smash under the wheels of the following truck.

rear view is easily accomplished by high tech things called "mirrors", lights are easily powered by a hub dynamo, and many will aurtomatically turn on when weather conditions suggest it would be useful (it's not a requirement to have lights/reflectors on a bike until sunset in the UK, even if the weather is really dark - it is a good idea though!)

Ride logging is easily accomplished using a £30 logger (or any smartphone/tablet)

What I would like to have is a box which takes:

- GPS signal from the sky

- 2*external HD camera connections

- ANT/Bluetooth (probably two versions for HR or cadence sensors)

- Simple relay based cadence sensor (wired)

- External power - preferably dynamo driven, USB is acceptable

- SD card for video/gps logging

This would activate when power was applied, and shutdown when power went away (leaving enough in the supercap to keep date/last location for GPS quickstart and enough to flush data to the card)

Record in 5 minute segments, with no dropped frame, GPS/HR/cadence data applied as subtitles or an associated XML file (or both - the format isn't that far off, and SD card space is cheap)

When running out of room delete the oldest data.

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Crucial MX100 256GB SSD: Cut-throat competition in flash land

John Robson
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NAS pricing

That's almost cheap enough to get a pile to run as a NAS.

After all, at home I want large amounts of data avaialble quickly, but low iops and sequential reads only need to saturate a 100Mb/s ethernet link (maybe 2).

Just give me my big, slow, power supping, ssd already?

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Google reaches into own silicon brain to slash electricity bill

John Robson
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Re: All good stuff

Unless you produce yourowm power...

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California gives green light to test self-driving cars on public roads

John Robson
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They already are safer

700,000 miles, rear ended once. That's no accidents driving an average distance every year until you are 87.

Bring them on.

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E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

John Robson
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2nd hand vapours?

Less bad than smoke, I'll agree, but it certainly isn't "just water"

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Google Glass teardown puts rock-bottom price on hardware

John Robson
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Pharmaceuticals

Also cost a few pence per tablet, once you've made the first one at a cost of several billion $currency.

The unit cost is one part of retail - r&d is also only one part in this area. Support, ongoing software changes, server infrastructure (the NSA doesn't pay for it all)

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SpaceX wins court injunction to block US Air Force buying Russian rockets

John Robson
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Was the contract date known...

before that third launch? Was it meant to be afterthe third launch?

Answers to those questions rather change the grounds of the injunction...

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It's here, the 4TB FLASH drive: SanDisk rips sheet from the Optimus MAX

John Robson
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So close...

Where is my limited rewrite, slow, HUGE CAPACITY flash drive.

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Google's self-driving car breakthrough: Stop sign no longer a problem

John Robson
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Re: 700,000 miles

With an average car in the UK doing about 10k miles, and assuming ~1 car per driver, the average person will accumulate 700,000 miles at about their 87th birthday...

As I've said elsewhere I much prefer the failure modes of these cars to those with a nut behind the wheel...

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John Robson
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Re: 4 way stop sign

They would know who arrived first and proceed appropriately.

They would *know* who arrived first to tiny fractions of a second.

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John Robson
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The failure mode can be "slow down amd work out what to do" rather then "Oh, I didn't bother looking"

That's a big plus right there...

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El Reg posse prepares for quid-a-day nosh challenge

John Robson
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Re: Bargains galore!

Doesn't quite follow the spirit of the challenge though does it.

Only a few people can do that - and in the places where £5 would be considered luxury - they don't have supermarkets literally throwing food away...

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Have you heard the one about Goldilocks and the Micron hardwares?

John Robson
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I want my slow, soft wearing flash...

I want a BIG, slow SSD and am willing to take poor rewrite lifetime (assuming reads aren't limited) for it.

Warm archiving in datacentres, and at home would be so much nicer - I have alot of DVDs archived to disk, but that's alot of spinning rust - when a big, slow SSD would do well...

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Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run

John Robson
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Re: Aw, come on guys...

The science is easy, it's the engineering that's tough.

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Mad Raspberry Pi boffins ripped out its BRAINS and SHRANK them for your pleasure

John Robson
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Direct wire to screen etc.

Now - who has the psion 5 patents again?

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Greenpeace reveals WORLD'S FILTHIEST CLOUDS – and the cleanest may shock you

John Robson
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Nuclear = Red?

And here is me thinking that a data centre is likely to have a fairly predictable load, probably verging on absolutely static, since the compute resources are being used as nuch as possible.

Even when service usage drops in the middle of the night (erm, when is that on earth?) background tasks can be used to keep the utilization high....

Isn't that virtually a shoe in for a nuke power source?

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Amazon sets FIRE to your living room in bid to shake up TV streaming

John Robson
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Local DLNA?

Ethernet?

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