* Posts by Terry Barnes

491 posts • joined 21 Jul 2008

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Brace yourself, planet Earth, says Nokia CEO – our phones ARE coming back from mid-2016

Terry Barnes
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Re: Meh.

"(When you start up the phone, you have to sync it to a Microsoft Hotmail account, or create one if you don't already have one. )"

Erm, remind me what you have to do when setting up an Android or Apple phone?

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UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists

Terry Barnes
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Re: How about an app for safe cyclists?

How does that work though? I have two miles or so of city cycling before I'm out onto dedicated cycle infrastructure on my way home from work. The cycle lane is on the left. There are at least twenty possible left turns that drivers can make across me in those two miles. I'd be trying to move in and out of the motorised traffic (and across a bus lane) almost constantly.

Add to this that some drivers get pretty enraged when they see a cyclist in 'their' lane riding beside a cycle lane, I can't see how it could work.

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Terry Barnes
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Well, I'd kind of hope it is rare, because there would be even more deaths - but the investigation into the spate of deaths in London showed that primarily, that was what was happening.

Where I live my main problem is that the cycle lane is to the left of the bus lane, which itself is to the left of the lane for other vehicles. Drivers seem to check for buses when turning left, but not bikes. The traffic at commute time is barely managing walking pace, whereas two lanes away I'm riding at about 20MPH in my own lane. Lots of people fail to indicate left so I have to presume that every car is about to ride in front of me.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: 100M£ John Brown

"Maybe not pedestrians, but cyclists under and overtaking all the cars sticking to posted 20mph limits maybe need to get a clue that the law applies to them too."

Actually in that particular case it doesn't. Speed limits apply specifically to motor vehicles only, there are no speed limits for cyclists, pedestrians, horses or horse-drawn vehicles.

That's a different issue from whether riding too fast is a good idea or not, but legally there's no obligation to keep to a speed limit.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: 100M£ @ Terry Barnes

I think you need to stop shouting.

You seem to have missed the point about the cycle lane. The specific lane, that's there, for bikes to use. How am I cutting anyone off by being at the front of the queue in the lane that's there, for me?

How am I tempting fate - I believe I explained that I position myself so that I can be seen, and I confirm it by making eye contact with the driver.

I have no idea how you expect me to get behind a truck that has pulled up alongside me. Do you think I should try and ride backwards, past the nine or ten cyclists queued behind me and then try and force my way into the gap between the back of the truck and the vehicle behind it?

Perhaps a bit less shouting and bit more thinking might help you? Maybe try getting some exercise?

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Terry Barnes
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Re: 100M£

You don't understand how the deaths are happening. A cyclist stops at a red light in the cycle lane. A lorry pulls alongside them. The lights change. The cyclist goes forward, the lorry turns left and the cyclist is crushed between the lorry and the railings.

My approach to avoiding this situation is to go past the stop line, far enough forward of the lorry that I'm in the driver's line of sight. It's illegal but it's much safer. Advance stop boxes for cyclists are an attempt to formalise this behaviour.

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Oz battery bossmen: Fingers will be burned in the Tesla goldrush

Terry Barnes
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I think the real usage scenario for these things is slightly different to what most people predict.

These will be bought in huge numbers by energy companies. They'll charge them during quiet periods and they'll use the stored energy at periods of high demand to supplement grid power. The restriction on instantaneous power output is less of an issue in that model.

The reason power companies will do this is to avoid using their most expensive and dirtiest plants to cover demand peaks. This kit lets them run a much smoother output profile, regardless of the peaks and troughs of demand.

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Intel has ambitions to turn modems into virtual servers and reinvent broadband

Terry Barnes
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Re: What is being modulated & demodulated, exactly?

Though I always think of FDM as an analogue voice multiplexing technique, xDSL does genuinely use FDM. The available bandwidth of the copper pair is divided up into channels by frequency and data is modulated to occupy as many of these channels as can reliably exist on a given pair.

The higher frequency channels have the highest attenuation and as line distance increases more and more channels become unusable. The 'upto' figure beloved of ISPs refers to a situation where line length is short enough that all the channels available in a given channel plan are available.

So, er, yes. There really is modulation and demodulation going on and that process is to move data in and out of FDM channels. I doubt though that measuring the level of a sine wave at 84.08khz will be much helping in troubleshooting your home Internet connection.

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Jeez, AT&T. Billing a pensioner $24,000 for dialup is pretty low

Terry Barnes
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"If you're out there Mr Dorff (and haven't been frightened off the interwebs by that nasty brain eating corporate dinosaur): YOU CAN GET DIALUP ABSOLUTELY FREE. "

If he's a pensioner using AOL dialup to get on the Internet, what do you think the odds are, roughly speaking, that he's a regular in the comments section of The Register?

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Microsoft to offer special Surface 3 for schools

Terry Barnes
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@Dave

I think the hardware could be better - it tends to be mainstream stuff that's been adapted. That's clearly a good thing in terms of cost and supportability but you always get the sense that it's made to fit the need rather than designed from the ground up. Kids have big switches and joysticks and trackpads and the like depending on need but nothing I've seen really escapes the rectangle screen one foot from the face paradigm. I get that it's difficult though - everyone with these kinds of needs is unique and there's really not any one thing that will suit all people - but perhaps a suite of potential solutions that can be picked from and changed over time?

There's a lot of great stuff going on with Microsoft's Kinect and I think that movement tracking is going to be key - more so for the challenges of life in general rather than specifically education but I think a fair amount of functionality is transferable. As he gets older (he's in reception year at school currently) I'm fascinated to see what might be possible with a network of Kinect like things around the house to turn lights on and off, open doors, move his hoist, all that stuff. Sometimes a touch screen might be ideal, sometimes it might be good to just say a command and move his arm or head or use his gaze. Time will tell!

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Terry Barnes
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Like my quadriplegic son, do you mean? In terms of schooling we tend to refer to that as Special Educational Needs (SEN) - he's cognitively bright as a button but having limited arm and hand control makes traditional learning tools and techniques difficult to access.

I could see him using one of these - he currently uses a touchscreen windows laptop at school and an iPad at home, but running accessibility software. With the right package the Surface could be adequate for his needs and easier to transport to and from school each day along with all his other kit.

But that's not really what you meant is it? You just thought you'd try for a cheap laugh at the expense of disabled kids.

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WW2 German Enigma machine auctioned for record-breaking price

Terry Barnes
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Re: You're thinking of Lorenz

"clever as they were I don't think the Bombe has ever been accused of being the basis of modern computing."

Not the Bombe, Turing's work. His work to determine if a problem was solvable and thus computable is the basis of computer science. The use of the principle of explosion in the logic of the Bombe is pretty fundamental.

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EE springs Wi-Fi phone calls on not-spot sufferers, Tube riders

Terry Barnes
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Re: But will they pay for access?

EE will still have to pay a termination fee to the called party's telco, so I'm not sure why it would be any cheaper. The WiFi is bypassing the portion of the call that they don't have to pay anyone for anyway.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: "You won’t be able to use it abroad"

""Must protect our roaming income.""

Isn't it more likely that whatever gateway and hand-off protocol has been setup between the networks won't work if the WiFi part is in another country? I can't see how you'd be able to hand off from WiFi and back onto cellular if you're roaming - the foreign network would have no idea what was going on.

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Mobile 4G spectrum investors actually spent $12.4m on walkie-talkie frequencies – US SEC

Terry Barnes
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Re: Peter2

It's perfectly possible to run a high speed data network at these frequencies - Vodafone's 4G network in the UK runs in an 800Mhz band, for example.

The issue is around the regulation and permissions of the band, not its technical suitability.

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Power, internet access knackered in London after exploding kit burps fire into capital's streets

Terry Barnes
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Pictures on the BBC website show emergency services folk congregating by the entrance to the Kingsway tram subway. Isn't it more likely that a fire is in there?

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How a hack on Prince Philip's Prestel account led to UK computer law

Terry Barnes
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Re: It was dail-up in more senses than the link....

"The original description of the system that I read used a telephone dial to interact with the system rather than a touch-tone keypad."

That's not possible. The breaks in the line that resulted would cause a modem to drop carrier. There would also be no facility for the * or # keys and there's no facility in a telephone exchange for those loop interruptions at the local exchange to be translated to something meaningful at the distant end - just noisy clicks over the carrier that serve no purpose. Loop disconnect signalling ceases to be useful once the distant line is answered.

Prestel didn't use MF4 signalling either - it wasn't possible to drive it from a phone. The MF4 signalling is inband and would have obscured the data carrier, causing a disconnect.

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BT Home Hub SIP backdoor blunder blamed for VoIP fraud

Terry Barnes
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Different types of LAN have different things connected to them.

A home router is insecure in a business environment would probably be a better way to describe it. Business kit - like perhaps a PBX or an FTP server or a payments portal - requires such a level of sophistication in setting up things like firewall rules that someone who doesn't do it for a living can only get it wrong.

The home kit has a fairly simple set of pre-defined rules set up that will work in most cases for most people, with some minor configuration possible by the user. The business kit is endlessly configurable to meet the needs of the business and services using it.

I might use a £10 padlock to secure the little shed in my garden with a few tools in it. I wouldn't use the same lock to secure my business premises. Equally my business premise security wouldn't be affordable at home. Products are secure or not depending on the context in which they're used.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Really?

just what are the advantages of business broadband access to the internet over domestic access to the internet if you are on a best speed possible tariff?

Usually things like a fixed rather than dynamic IP address, more subnets available and faster repair times.

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Drug drone not high enough: Brit lags' copter snared on prison wire

Terry Barnes
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Re: Smart Phones?

I don't think there are many apps to fly drones available for feature phones.

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Becoming Steve Jobs biography: ‘Much of it was chutzpah and self delusion’

Terry Barnes
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Re: Flawed - like all of us

"Pity Gates didn't invest a few billion wiping disease from his virus infested OS."

People have a choice of which OS to use. Getting a disease - not so much.

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Treat us like the utilities we believe ourselves to be, say UK operators

Terry Barnes
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Re: I don't understand.

"Most rural cell sites I know of are stuck on to existing TV and radio sites."

There are far, far more cell sites than there are transmitters for public broadcasting.

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My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

Terry Barnes
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Re: @Terry Barnes -- Not a problem solved

"That statement pretty much indicates you don't work in computing. Dude! There are these things called "bugs"..."

25 years and counting. I've not found a problem yet where the answer to when it can be done is "never". A project may need every processor cycle on earth, all the RAM in the galaxy and a million programmers, but never is a very, very long time.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: @Terry Barnes (again) --Not a problem solved

"Ah, yes, that ol' chestnut "sufficient resources". The one thing that our Corporate Overlords will do everything in their power to not provide, because...well, providing "sufficient resources" is bad for business, as it doesn't increase Shareholder Value™.

You really aren't from around here, are you?"

Not finishing or launching a project because of penny-pinching is even worse for shareholder value. Why would any leader deliberately not provide the resources required - man or machine - to get the job done?

You write a business case and it gets approved or not. The time to penny pinch is before the approval not after - if you can't afford the project don't start it. Elon Musk doesn't strike me as a leader who starves his teams of whatever it is they need to get something out of the door.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: @AC w.r.t AF447

"But what I am absolutely certain of is that having an autonomous system throw back the controls to humans under "difficult" conditions is a recipe for disaster. And equally for cars the conditions that are unlikely to be handled well, such as an unexpected conflict of sensors while approaching a junction, blind bend, etc, will leave the human operator with bugger-all time to come to terms with being in control, let alone to apprise the situation and react accordingly."

I believe drivers are taught a manoeuvre known as the "emergency stop" to deal with such incidents. An advantage a car has over a flying thing is that such a thing is even possible. Why would a self-driving car not just implement an emergency stop in such situations?

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Terry Barnes
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Re: @Crisp

"all a crim has to do is step out in front of your (ignorant) AI car and it will very nicely stop so you can be robbed or kidnapped. "

Your argument being that a human would just mow them down and kill them?

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"Aircraft and Power stations are hardly consumer products. If you are expecting future autonomous vehicle software to be designed using the same technologies (and budgets) as Airbus and Boeing, you are misguided."

VW spent $17Bn on R&D last year. Toyota and Ford aren't far behind. Toyota's revenue was $26Bn. I think they can afford to do this properly.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"Yet in these very pages day after day we have bug after bug surfacing, sometimes years old."

In real-time safety critical systems developed and maintained by certified teams? Not so much. Airplanes and nuclear power stations tend not to get BSODs, for obvious reasons and by design.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"What happens when an autonomous car is approaching an accident and only has a choice between mounting the pavement and possibly killing many pedestrians, or going into the accident and killing the driver?"

The range of sensing inputs are so much greater that it would stand a far better chance of stopping before it got to the accident - these cars can, for example, see much farther ahead, they can see round corners before a human eye could, and they're tracking the movement of every vehicle around them.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"The reason why computers aren't as adaptable as human brains is the human brain cheats. It doesn't process every bit of information, it does not evaluate every possibility, it takes short cuts and uses steriotypes to get to a conclusion quickly"

And that's why it's often wrong. Wrong enough that 100 people die on US roads every single day.

I'd understand some of these arguments if humans were provably perfect, or near to it, but we're not. Limited sensory input, slow operation of the 'observe, assess, plan, act' cycle (the basis of a safe system of driving) and an unconscious decision making bias that is exacerbated by tiredness and mood. Travelling at motor vehicle speeds is something relatively new in human experience and we've not evolved adequate sensory and decision making systems to be very good at it.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"but the fact is that people are lazy and will always try to save costs where ever possible."

I think the ownership model changes when self driving vehicles become commonplace. Why would you need to own one? I know there are some specific use cases where having access to a specific vehicle is important - my son for example is a wheelchair user and has lots of kit to carry around with him and it's far easier to just leave most of that kit in the car.

In the main though, why own something that gets used for a tiny portion of the day? I trhink a lot of the legla questions about using these things get solved in a lease model too - even if you lease something to be permanently available to you, having it owned and maintained by the manufacturer gets rid of all the problems you list.

As for duff kit and dirty sensors - I'd pretty much expect these vehicles to refuse to depart if they don't have a defined minimum set of kit available, and I'd expect them to take themselves off to be fixed or call for service when things do go awry.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"Whenever I hear "it's just an engineering problem" I draw my own conclusions concerning the speaker"

I think it's pretty widely used to mean that a problem isn't impossible - the laws of physics don't preclude the thing under discussion being done, the science that underpins any solution is known and that applying sufficient resources will thus solve it.

Once it's known that something is possible, the discussion moves to how engineering principles should be applied to arrive at a solution. If I was addressing a group of engineers in a business context it would be shorthand as well for telling them that budget and resource issues are taken care off - go do your thing.

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Terry Barnes
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"I can't wait to see a self-drive car in a rush hour at a big intersection or roundabout..."

Your wait is over;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEsvQOHreg4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrmorE5W1tM

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Not a problem solved

"a self drive car cannot possibly arrive at the correct solution every time."

That's a bold claim.

It's far more likely to do it reliably and regularly than a human. It will take statistically proven decisions, and it will do that from a much broader array of sensing inputs than a human could.

I struggle with seeing how people who work in computing could see this as unsolvable. It's simply an engineering problem - the right inputs processed at the right time, matched against a statistically driven decision tree. How is any of that impossible?

An large number of possible input variables just needs more resources than a small number - it doesn't make the problem unsolvable.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: Am I the only one...

" I know driving standards are pretty poor, but I still don't trust a 'puter to do it instead of a human."

Almost every accident is down to human error. Some are down to our inherent sensory limitations.

Self driving vehicles can operate on a co-operative basis with other vehicles, taking input from a much broader range of sensing devices, networked between vehicles. They'll make reliable decisions based on statistically proven outcomes and won't get tired or cranky or drunk.

More people die on the roads every month in the US than were killed in 9/11 - in 2012, 33.5k people died in road accidents. I'll take the computer every time.

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Sit back and let someone else manage your telephony

Terry Barnes
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Re: Necessary?

"Nature of voice needing low latency, and with modern PBX systems having all sorts of extra features I'm skeptical that cloud hosted telephony is suitable for anyone other than sub 30 user environments."

Typically the cloud just operates on the control/signalling plane and the end-to-end speech is direct IP between endpoints - the calls don't go in and out of the cloud centre.

The big advantage is that I don't need to tie up capital budget on my phone system. That said, the benefit of dumping the PBX is partly offset by the cost of needing SBCs, though I can lease those if need be.

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Tell us, do you enjoy the thought of BT-EE's sweaty fourplay?

Terry Barnes
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Re: platitudes

"Three guesses where the bloke at Ofcom who let BT keep hold of it went to work next, a year or two later?"

Stephen Carter was NTL's MD before he was Ofcom's CEO and went on from that role to be a minister in the government. He now works for Alcatel-Lucent.

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UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

Terry Barnes
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Re: It used to be possible

How so? There was no DC path between telephones, even on the same exchange.

You could blow a whistle down a phone for a same exchange call, but on a call between exchanges the amplitude of any signal was limited - even in analogue days.

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

Terry Barnes
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I don't know that you need to keep the POTS trunks - you just need public domain SIP trunks.

Don't try and run this over a domestic broadband connection though - you'll need an uncontended service with some kind of throughput guarantee - an SDSL or EFM based product.

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Thought Apple was kidding about diversity? Here's 50 MEEELLION reasons you're wrong

Terry Barnes
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"Positive discrimination is still discrimination"

No, it's not. It's a step taken to reduce discrimination.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: @45rpm

"A lot of people don't like the LGBT community not because of their sexual preference but because they use their current advantage in the workforce to screw over everyone else, and complain about discrimination at the same time."

It certainly seems like you don't.

Swap LGBT for black and sexual preference for colour, and then think about how bigoted your statement is.

If a minority group had an advantage - guess what - they wouldn't be a minority. That's kind of how it works. Stop whining because someone tipped the scales ever so slightly away from being completely in your favour, in all cases, all the time.

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BT inks deal with Williams F1 for go-faster cloudy goodness

Terry Barnes
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I'd like to see IBM always prefixed with 'former typewriter manufactuer'.

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Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

Terry Barnes
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"f say a hospital signs up to a deal for 1 gig broadband, then that's what they should get, instead the telco will give them a congested line with ridiculous contention rates that shares 1 gig bandwidth across 50/100 customers, sure it is "capable" of 1 gig but it will NEVER see that in real life. Instead of admitting that they are oversubscribing their lines they will wail that it's all net neutralitys fault, the FCC is forcing them to slow the packets."

If you do that the first problem will be that your broadband bill will increase by 50, maybe 100 times. Is your intention really to fix the problem by making broadband unaffordable?

My second point would be that it destroys the case for packet switching. If bandwidth is always guaranteed and uncontended end to end, circuit switching is far more efficient. The sharing of network resources is one of the main principles behind packet switching and an IP network. You're arguing to replace the public Internet with B-ISDN.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: I wasn't under the impression that they were being argued for/against

"No, of course you weren't. Except that's effectively what Comcast and Verizon are charging Netflix for: QoS from Netflix to the Comcast servers."

They'll just achieve the same end with a private line between the Netflix servers and Comcast routers. Anything that gets outlawed on a public network will just move to a private one - nothing will change.

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Terry Barnes
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Re: He seems to have failed to understand

" If VOIP packets get priority then ALL VOIP packets are treated equal, no matter where they came from."

Even if the network is congested and one of the calls is an emergency call?

And wouldn't giving VOIP priority at all provide me with an incentive to game the system by marking my packets as being VOIP, regardless of the real content?

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Terry Barnes
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"Surely then it's for the hospital to pay for a better connection?"

No, in the definition of net neutrality most activists are using, that would be illegal. They can pay for a faster access service, but if that connection hits the public Internet, the packets have to take their chances with the rest.

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Google to tame Android's Wild Wild West to please suits

Terry Barnes
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Re: Androids and iPhones are great for big businesses...

" "What's this? You visited your grandmother in the hospital for 10 minutes when you said you were traveling to a customer's office? Terminated!""

Good luck with that in court. The Data Protection Act makes that kind of thing illegal. Has the employee given their informed consent to have their device used to track their movements?

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Royal Mail's Colossus move gets ex-WREN's stamp of approval

Terry Barnes
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They worked on separate projects. Turing had no involvement with the work Flowers did on Colossus.

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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Terry Barnes
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Re: So far ...

Core network investment should be ongoing, unremarkable, part of the business's normal Opex. I'd not expect it to be remarked on separately unless this investment is expected to materially change the average cost of serving a user.

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Samsung snub sends Qualcomm into a spin over Snapdragon 810

Terry Barnes
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Re: Think of it another way...

"co-operation between manufacturers to save on R&D costs by sharing engines and components (see Peugeot/Citroen"

That's not co-operation between manufacturers. They're two arms of the same company.

Component sharing between manufacturers in the car industry is widespread - including engines.

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