* Posts by the spectacularly refined chap

495 posts • joined 27 Dec 2008

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Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Costs

Someone's making the wrong comparison. You need to look at the cost of replacing the disc versus the value of the data on the disc. I suspect the disc is tiny in value, compared to that of the data it holds.

No, that is the wrong comparison. If you have data that you can't afford to lose on one device (or even one array) that is your problem - if you have a backup of the data on a drive the value of the data on the dead one is meaningless.

However, that still isn't the point they are making. It is being taken as read that the data must be protected and in that sense your point is the very opening premise of the study. They are not arguing over whether data should be protected but the most cost effective way of assuring that.

Having said that I'm still not convinced the comparison is valid. I'll admit my experience is at the lower end of the scale, only going up to a few tens of terabytes but in my experience the cost of the drives is usually around half of even the capital cost of the array. You have semi-fixed costs such as computer smarts and software on top but the extra costs per unit are not inconsiderable, i.e. physical enclosures, controllers and power supplies, which inevitably scale with the number of drives.

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ICANN orders re-evaluation of dot-gay

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: dot-inc

What about companies that match names AND are in the same country but are allowed by the USPTO because they're in different industries?

Don't confuse trademarks with legal company names - most jurisdictions have restrictions in place that guarantee uniqueness. It's particularly noticeable when people with a common name name their companies after themselves - the approach usually used is to disambiguate with the town or occasionally sector, so the first John Smith gets John Smith Ltd, the next couple get e.g. John Smith (Manchester) Ltd and John Smith (Leeds) Ltd.

The rules for ltd.uk require the full form is used for the domain registration and set out unambiguous procedures for how they are to be converted into technically acceptable domain names without the spaces, brackets etc.

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Developers, developers, developers! But WILL they support Windows 10?

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Real programmers ...

The web script kiddies seem to forget that there a lot of software isn't targeted at a phone or a tablet but meets some industrial functional need.

No surprise there. Too often it seems that there is a sizable contingent of 14 year olds with 15 years of commercial experience here.

Whether it is Windows or Unix/Linux there are thousands of industrial applications that just work day in, day out. They just don't fit the social media meme that attracts attention today. Instead most of them do their job and make real money unlike most of the toy apps featured in the press.

Exactly. When a product may be on the market for a decade or more and need support for another 15 years after that as a minimum you take a very different perspective on these things: we have little interest in building entirely new software for devices that haven't been on sale for the last five years. Long term stability of the underlying platform is far more important than the latest shiny user-visible toys.

If you want to support developers to support your platform then support them. Look at the Unix world - if you understood the 1992 version of POSIX you'll need a bit of updating by now for e.g. threads or wide character support, but code written back then will still work with at worst minor fettling for the most part.

This is precisely where Microsoft continue to get it hopelessly wrong - entire new frameworks and paradigms are introduced every three or four years, far too frequently to keep up if you are doing actual work as opposed to playing with the latest shiny. The old stuff is left to bitrot or has the new cruft tacked on, such as how MFC was infested with the .NET stuff.

But at the end of the day, yes, of course we will have to consider Windows 10 at some point, whether that means the bare minimum to keep the old stuff working, a significant upgrade to the bare-bones Java software or simply saying, no, we're not going to cover that. A entirely new branch supporting all the fancy new features is probably the one option most likely to be quickly ruled out for pre-existing stuff, even if not for new stuff going forward.

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UK Scouts database 'flaws' raise concerns

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: "Compass is not a publicly accessible system"

Somebody probably pointing metasploit at it right now.

So it isn't publicly accessible then. Entrance to our offices is protected by swipe card and/or getting past the receptionist if she buzzes you in. That's enough for us to generally consider the place not publicly accessible, the fact that anyone on the street outside can physically wander up as far as the front door does not alter that.

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Your anonymous code contributions probably aren't: boffins

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: students

I found that laying one printout next to the other was an adequate technique!

Though, it is true that the spaces and tabs were a giveaway, when the indentation was, shall we say, merely decorative.

Those things are easily altered. I can't help but think back to my own time at Uni - the University of Manchester - where all code went into John Latham's ARCADE system that detected any plagiarism. This is over 20 years old now.

He did explain how it worked a couple of times and although he never used those terms it seemed to perform a lexical analysis first and then consider the resulting token stream. Comments, white space, variable names etc were thrown out straight away as trivially easy to alter. Instead it simply looked at a sequence "identifier, multiply, constant, terminator..." that is much more difficult to alter in a non-trivial manner since it is intrinsically linked to how the program works.

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VMware wins cool reception for two-CPU eval software

the spectacularly refined chap
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Sure, it doesn't let you play with VMware's latest toys, but it's free and does what you need it to do for a home lab.

No, it does what you need a home lab to do - there are a whole host of reasons and different requirements. Any form of virtualisation would have been fairly useless when going for my CCNA/CCNP a few years back. However, a program such as this is clearly aimed at people wanting to play with VMware specifically, not simply as a precursor to setting up something else.

"I know KVM/Xen/whatever" has only limited traction when the description for that job you are going for discusses VMware specifically as the first item in the list of requirements.

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Saudi govt pauses flogging dad-of-3 for Facebook posts – after docs intervene

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Absolute Monarchy vs Dictatorship

The government of Saudi Arabia is classified as an Absolute Monarchy, where the monarch has an absolute monopoly on power. A Dictatorship on the other hand is a form of government where political authority is monopolized by a single person. See the difference?

In order to be a dictatorship there has to be a dictator, i.e. a single figure calling all the shots. There isn't because there are two distinct power bases - government and religion. Let us not forget that the constitution is defined as the Qur'an and Sharia is the basis of law. Those are not subject to the whim of some despot. Saudi is certainly not some golden nirvana where everyone is free, I never said it was. But it is not a dictatorship.

You are not "spectacularly refined", sir. You are an ass.

Is your argument so weak that you need to resort to childish insults? You think it is right to commence military action against a foreign nation to impose your values on that population when they tell you that no, they are quite happy with current arrangements. Inevitably kill a whole load of innocent civilians in the process? What is the difference now that they are subject to the whim of your will as opposed to the previous guys?

If you really believe in democracy (as opposed to using it as a politically acceptable cover for what is basically thuggish behaviour as the West has so often engaged in the past) there is a single inescapable truth: it is not our war to fight. If the Saudis want change let them achieve it for themselves, and in the direction they want rather than what we think best. You do not force it upon them and tell them to be grateful. That argument is far worse than being an ass, it is outright dangerous and a threat to the liberty of people everywhere.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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The sooner the western world removes our reliance on oil, the sooner we could stop pussyfooting around and do something concrete about these dictatorships.

But the Saudi justice system does have a great degree of domestic popular support - don't make the mistake of ignoring the cultural differences. This is a different culture in an entirely different environment, facing different issues and based on a different religion and different values: it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the Saudis view things differently.

In attacking the Saudi government as a "dictatorship" (it isn't) and advocating intervention to "do something concrete" (presumably military action) you fall into the trap of faux democracy, i.e. not that the people can have any government they like, but that they can have any government that we approve of. That is a fundamentally undemocratic sham.

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Amazon's tax deal in Luxembourg BROKE the LAW, says EU

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: No. PR is the special olympics of electoral systems - you get elected just for turning up.

How dare you use the phrase "special olympics" as a derogatory term with the implication that paralympians get medals just for turning up.

Why would Paralympians turn up at the Special Olympics?

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Silicon Valley WAGE-FIX: Tech firms mull new deal to kill staff lawsuit

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: No settlement, EVER....

Giving 10% of annual revenue to said employees is ridiculous.

Of course it is. It the usual knee jerk extremist measure often espoused by certain sections here. It has nothing to do with any sense of justice at all.

These are huge multinational companies and this is a fairly peripheral issue when assessed against their sheer scale. It is an inevitability that companies of that size will be found wanting from time to time. Putting such huge penalties on matters of this scale does not benefit anyone in the long term.

So these companies colluded to not actively head hunt each others employees? Outrageous! Find them 10% of turnover! There was an industrial accident causing some limited and localised environmental damage? Disgusting! 10% of turnover! Two employees made a misleading sales pitch without management knowledge or involvement? Despicable! 10% of turnover! There was a balls up in accountancy and incorrect financial data was published? You get the idea.

These affected employees then end up with nothing - no payout and no job because the companies have collapsed. And no, they can't find find work elsewhere because every other company of any size has collapsed too. How are they benefited exactly? This is precisely what you are advocating, simply because you have let bloody minded vindictiveness cloud any sense of justice or proportion.

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No, the Linux leap second bug WON'T crash the web

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Time delay

Airline systems worldwide use GMT (aka UTC or Zulu) time as a standard reference time.

GMT and UTC are two distinct time zones...

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Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

the spectacularly refined chap
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In the mean time, rouble regained 30% against dollar, raising from 67 to 52. The prophesies of doom continued unabated on both sides.

Never heard of the dead cat bounce? There are always brief resurgences in crises such as this, both people hoping to exploit short term term volatility and looking to unroll previous short positions. This article is considering what will happen in the medium to long term - next year or next decade - based on long term factors that are unlikely to change at the drop of a hat.

You counter that by looking merely at the last week whilst simultaneously ignoring the rest of the preceding month.

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Frustration with Elite:Dangerous boils over into 'Refund Quest'

the spectacularly refined chap
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Ah, the joys of First World Problems (c)

But a bait-and-switch goes back centuries and exists the world over.

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Careful - your helmet might get squashed by a VOLVO

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: What a stupid fucking idea....

GET SOME FUCKING LIGHTS

The fucking lights are there and there. They are substantially brighter than the legal minimum. If you can't see them then you shouldn't be on the road. Yes, I have had this very conversation before.

Remember, it is your job to make sure the road ahead is clear. Sure, the cyclist should have lights on but even if he doesn't case law is clear that you are still at fault if you hit him.

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'Critical' security bugs dating back to 1987 found in X Window

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: No worries...

I'm always wary of stories of how much some people claim to be involved with computers in the early to mid 80's, most of these stories are BS...

What, you mean such as claiming to have installed Mosaic in 1989, a full four years before it was released? Your dates are well off. Home computers were commonplace by 1987 although admittedly it's before the PC became the default option - its four or five years after the Spectrum/BBC/C64 and around the time the Amiga and ST were beginning to gain traction. An yes, AutoCAD certainly did exist and when I first encountered it only three years later it was even fairly mature for 2D at least. Of course draughting boards were still around - they still are. An architect friend of mine still does most work on paper for the simple reason that the effort needed to redraw existing plans electronically negates any advantage of computerisation when modifying an existing building.

If no one you know used one for work at that point that says something about the people you know, not the state of the technology. Computers were around and in common use significantly earlier than you claim.

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US govt tells ICANN: No accountability, no keys to the internet

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Is ICANN even needed ?

IPv6 has so many addresses that assigning a 2^64 address space to each country (over 4000000000 times the size of the total IPv4 address space) would barely touch the total. These assignments would be permanent. If new countries are formed then a new 2^64 address space would be allocated to the new country.

An IPv6 subnet is generally a /64, at least when point to point links are discounted. You would have to jump through hoops to use anything smaller with ethernet. My home network currently uses four times the address space you propose allocating an entire country.

You wouldn't be a politician by any chance, would you? The way you advocate public policies based on what is clearly complete ignorance of current practice or any technical considerations certainly seems very familiar.

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Jacking up firearms fees will cost SMEs £3.5 MILLION. Thanks, Plod

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: No sympathy

Since what the plods currently get to charge for processing a firearms certificate is much less than what it actually **costs** them to process it, the public is subsidising gun-owners. Who generally tend to be people like the landed gentry and others who are far better-off than most of us.

So perhaps it's no bad thing that they should actually have to pay enough so that we don't have to feather-bed them?

You're missing the central point - who is the licensing regime designed to benefit? It isn't for the gun owner for whom it is an administrative burden and adds significant costs, not just in terms of the licence application but associated costs for e.g. secure storage as mandated by law and inspected as part of the approvals process. Focusing on one small element (the toffs) and extrapolating an entire emotive argument from that single misrepresentation adds no credibility at all.

There are many reasons to own a gun, the various forms of leisure pursuit amongst them but also occupational reasons as highlighted in the article such as vets. If you accept some people need guns but equally don't want any undesirable miscreant to have one when they are unable to demonstrate any lawful use you need a system of licensing. Those licences exist to protect the public rather than benefit the individual gun owner and the system works - if somebody ambushes you in the street and demands your wallet when you consider your options the possibility that they might be packing heat doesn't register if you have any sense of rationality.

So the licensing system becomes not a matter of individual entitlement but a public policy for public protection. The entire purpose of the police is the protection of the public. They don't charge you several thousand pounds for investigation if you happen to be burgled, even though that is first and foremost for your own benefit. Why then should they expect to recover their costs if you want to own a gun, for an administrative process that primarily protects the wider community?

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UK computing museum starts reboot of 65-year-old EDSAC

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: "EDSAC ran at 500kHz"

"EDSAC ran at 500kHz"

Are you sure about that? Seems improbably high to me.

Yes, it really was that fast in terms of clock speed at least: the comparison with most later machines isn't really valid, since EDSAC was a serial machine working one bit at a time rather than in entire words. As a result each instruction took several hundred clocks to execute.

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Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts

the spectacularly refined chap
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I'd be happy if the other companies would use the ducts they're entitled to

The housing estate I live on is a little over 30 years old now and has under-pavement ducts from when it was originally built. However some deal was done at that point that gave BT 10 years exclusive use over them so when VM's precursor was installing cable around the neighbourhood they saw the covenant was about to expire and understandably said "No, we won't dig up your pavements, we'll be back in a couple of years to cable you up."

Of course, they never did and VM have absolutely zero interest in installing now: it seems they are far more interested in milking their existing network than extending it even given existing undertakings to do so. The result is that our street and the one next to it are the only ones within half a mile that can't get cable. Even going out to a one or two mile radius to the best of my knowledge it's only us and a couple of minor country roads with next to no housing on them.

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What should America turn to for web advice? That's right: GOV.UK – says ex-Obama IT guru

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: This is the example an "ex-Obama IT guru" recommends for the US?

Brilliant? She produced this – a genuine example to follow.?

legislation.gov.uk is certainly one of the more information-rich government sites but given it's importance I'd say it is still short of the context that could reasonably be expected of it. I appreciate that you do not want to surround official documents that have the force of law with too much editorialising, but if you ever try to refer to legislation for the kind of issue I raised above you quickly see the shortcomings.

Locating the primary legislation that introduces for example a given tax or benefit is generally easy enough - even if the tax or benefit is not mentioned in the title of the act determining the correct one is usually a matter of a quick Google or even looking at Wikipedia. However, the acts are generally very pithy and lacking in a lot of low level detail. Towards the end of each act you'll see a paragraph starting "Regulations may:" followed by a long list of things that can be set in secondary legislation. It's in those where a lot of the fine print actually resides. In some cases it might be a mundane matter such as specifying which form needs to be completed but in others it might set a rate or tax or set a income threshold that is described but not set in the primary legislation.

However, although regulations, statutory instruments and so on are also up on the site locating them is frequently difficult and simple title searches are often not revealing. Since any regulations will themselves detail which piece(s) of legislation they are enabled by it would be a fairly simple matter to add another index to the site so that for each act you see another section along the lines of "These are the regulations in force enabled by this act:... and these are the former regulations that have since been repealed:..."

That wouldn't be a huge amount of work but at a stroke it would make the site a lot more usable. This isn't just for resolving problems or dispute - I would argue that that site in particular needs to be easy to navigate given its importance for political debate, and indeed since ignorance of the law is no excuse everyone is effectively expected to be fully aware of it.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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"the message was so full of lengthy legalese that many people couldn't understand it and so were kicked off the program"

Which was probably the point.

Personally that's my main criticism of the gov.uk site - the detailed legalese isn't there, all you have is executive summaries that simply don't allow you to make any definite determinations of your own. Before they started to centralise everything if you had an issue with e.g. your tax you went to the HMRC site. There you could find the usual public information leaflets for the issue in question but critically they also linked directly to the appropriate legislation and regulations as well as the technical and procedural manuals used by the staff administering whatever it is.

If you had any kind of issue you could easily look up the exact rules, not just for the common stuff affecting most people but also the niche provisions covering particular circumstances or professions that affect tiny numbers of people. You could then see if it had been handled correctly or not and in the event of error you have some authoritative ammo to take to them to get the issue sorted out.

Gov.uk is completely hopeless for that kind of detailed study, so you either need to take what you are told at face value or you have a lot more work finding out what the precise rules are.

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Lights OUT for Philae BUT slumbering probot could phone home again as comet nears Sun

the spectacularly refined chap
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It's a shame it didn't have a small nuclear battery on board like the Mars rovers.

It's the perennial ignorant refrain whenever a probe like this dies. Philae has already done 80% of everything asked of it: it has to be considered a success. RTGs are are not magical silver bullets but bring their own issues. Do you really think no one on the project even briefly considered one before opting against it? Of course not, it's just they know enough to be able to properly evaluate the pros and cons:

RTGs kick out a lot of heat. Do you really want that heat constantly heating the same area of a body believed to be mostly ice?

RTGs are hugely expensive. If the budget had extended to including one then it would also have extended to including a second unmodified lander. Which would get more science done? If you evaluate the risks and determine that it can probably be powered by solar cells why go to that expense in the first place? The solar power gamble didn't pay off in this instance but that doesn't make it a bad decision.

Only a comparatively small number of isotopes are useful and they are all synthesised and in short supply. No one is making Pu-238, the isotope of choice, anymore and stockpiles of it are rapidly depleting. Even the US lacks all it needs for its Europa mission - they were hoping to source the extra from Russian stockpiles, but that is especially problematic now with the tensions over Ukraine.

Put it another way: which outer solar system mission would you rather was abandoned completely so that this mission might be able to get a small amount of additional science done? If you can't answer that the demand for an RTG is not based in reality.

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Samsung: Every breath you take, every step you make, we'll be watching

the spectacularly refined chap
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Go screw yourself

This is the company that made my "smart" TV that tries to call home at least once an hour even when used for broadcast TV or as a monitor and oddly enough is unable to access any website when access to Samsung is blocked. And indeed advertise their equipment as being DLNA conformant despite requiring their (Windows only) proprietrary server software. Why is that exactly, and why is it not fraud?

It's also the company who can retrieve images of the last few pages from your printer without you even knowing about it as reported a couple of years ago.

I'm sorry, Sammy, I don't trust you and I will always avoid your products in future because you refuse to recognise that I am the customer, once I've bought it it's mine and I decide what goes on with my equipment.

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Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: This seems as good an approach as any

First, people will abuse the system and, for example, disguise torrent traffic as video or SIP streams (or simply encrypt everything so you can't tell what's what)

That's trivially easy to guard against, indeed in many ways it's easier than deep packet inspection. You can get a very good idea of what protocol a given connection is using by simply looking at the size and frequency (both up and down) of the packets flowing back and forth. My employer pays for MPLS now but before that I was using Plusnet at home, and that used precisely this technique for traffic shaping purposes for this very goal - i.e. prioritise the real time stuff. Encryption doesn't alter that one jot - you can tell the difference between an SSH terminal connection and SSH tunneling a mile off, even though you have no idea what data is actually being transferred.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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This seems as good an approach as any

I'll admit I've never really jumped on the net neutrality bandwagon myself, it has always struck me as people wanting things for themselves with no thought to how it impacts the infrastructure. If net neutrality is applied exactly as many advocates have long pleaded you end up with one of either two scenarios - either you accept that applications with stringent real-time requirements (VoIP, gaming, even remote terminals) are not to work in an acceptable manner or the network is so massively over-engineered that everything works but you pay ten times your current tariff.

This does at least allow for traffic management based on sound engineering reasons - prioritise the real-time stuff and allow the bulk transfers going on in the background to proceed as capacity permits.

I still don't have a problem with no net neutrality if that is done in a responsible manner - after all, if you want a better service for some or all of your traffic and are willing to pay for it why shouldn't you be offered it - but I'll admit I can't see a neat dividing line between what you as a subscriber would wish to pay extra for and what may effectively be demanded of e.g. Netflix or another service potentially competing with the ISP's own offerings. So, no, it's not perfect, but it's probably the best of a bad job for the time being.

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ICANN creates 'UN Security Council for the internet', installs itself as a permanent member

the spectacularly refined chap
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Play with your own toys

"Everyone should listen what what this standards body says. It composed of me and my mates and you should do what we say."

As if the rest of the industry and the world at large are supposed to swallow that. The bodies themselves are not particularly relevant. From the technical arena, why ICANN and not the IETF or even W3C? From the business world I doubt the WEF would be in the top ten names I'd pick. As for CGI.br? Sorry, If I have to click through to find out who the hell you claim you are I'd say you lack the influence automatically.

This isn't an attempt to solve the world's or even the Internet's problems - it is a power grab. A genuine consortium begins with an open invite to discuss an issue, a remit and charter are agreed among the interested parties and then and only then are board members chosen by e.g. an elections process.

Instead this is released in one go - this is what we're doing, we are the Internet's new governors, you're welcome to join us provided we remain in charge even though none of us are the most appropriate body for each role.

But then again I suppose it is one way to get consensus quickly, a resounding, united "Fuck off".

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The late 2014 Apple Mac Mini: The best (and worst) of both worlds

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: To think Apple once marketed the Mini as a server machine (do they still do that)?

Your Mac Mini has a better GPU than the Pro?

Who gives a fuck? If it even has a screen attached that is generally an indication it isn't a true server but somebody's workstation with a few server apps on it.

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Trickle-down economics WORKS: SpaceShipTwo is a PRIME EXAMPLE

the spectacularly refined chap
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It's generally assumed the shuttlecock technology will never be any good for orbital flight where the energy levels are so much higher. For example simply lifting a 1 tonne mass to 100km requires (if I've got my sums right) giving it 1GJ of energy. To put it into orbit at that altitude requires moving it sideways at 7.8km/s. That means giving it another 61GJ.

Ooops, I forgot to halve that. The second figure is of course 30GJ. The point still stands, it's over an order of magnitude more energy.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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That shuttlecock tale may be the invention that makes this technology work. Although I don't know if it's good enough for orbital speeds, or if it's possible to carry enough fuel to slow down in orbit enough that you can drop into the atmosphere at safe speed. After all, aeorbraking requires a huge heavy coating of ceramic, to cope with re-entry heating. So it may turn out more efficient to carry a less heavy amount of fuel, and do without the heat shield.

It's generally assumed the shuttlecock technology will never be any good for orbital flight where the energy levels are so much higher. For example simply lifting a 1 tonne mass to 100km requires (if I've got my sums right) giving it 1GJ of energy. To put it into orbit at that altitude requires moving it sideways at 7.8km/s. That means giving it another 61GJ.

However, there are alternatives between the two, you don't need a Shuttle-style heat shield. Apollo or Soyuz style ablative heat shields are a lot simpler, cheaper and more robust but are essentially single use. A fully reusable heat shield a la the shuttle can still be a lot simpler and cheaper than that which was actually used: people were saying the design was madness even during development. That was because of the competing demands made of the shuttle, in particular the mix of manned spaceflight and heavy lift that in hindsight is utter folly. Remember just how heavy we are talking about for a moment - Hubble is the size of a double decker bus. That size and weight meant re-entry had to be slowed right down - from 2-3 minutes for Apollo to 10-15 for the shuttle. It was the need of a shield good for that greater duration that caused all the problems. In other words, the usual totally unrealistic constraint that design by committee imposes.

Returning to the wider point comparing the approaches of Musk and Branson you do need an entrepreneurial approach and yes businesses need to make money in order to survive long term, without which the undertaking lasts either as long as the eccentric or his money. Without long term plans that end with profitability you get another Blackburn Rovers. Just how many millions did Jack Walker squander? Sure, that money made a brief impact, but what good has it done in the long term? Money without a route to viability is just that: whatever money you put in. Money with a plan for long term profits can create something that lasts far longer than the original creator.

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Tinder swipes left on CEO Sean Rad, journalists swipe right

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: "... used his initials "B" and "D" to form the shape of a penis and balls."

I was wondering that. The only thing I could come up with is by switching to lowercase, i.e "db". I can't see any other way - you can't produce conventional ASCII art in a text message after all.

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Eye laser surgery campaigner burned by Facebook takedown

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Surprised nobody's mentioned

the fact that facebook is clearly saying that she's an IP thief. Now, I KNOW that it's not actually theft under UK law, BUT, surely given our very wide ranging and litigant friendly defamation laws, she could legitimately claim ZuckCo is tarring her with a very bad brush

Probably not. Even under our laws on defamation you need to show reputational damage. If I say to you "You are a murderer" you can't sue me. It is only when I tell someone else "Martin-73 is a murderer" you have any claim. Presumably her notification was sent to her personally rather than the world at large. If she then tells the world about it herself she is responsible for that damage rather than Facebook.

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Crypto collision used to hijack Windows Update goes mainstream

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Why not implement a dual-hash (or multiple-hash) system?

Already been done. For example from NetBSD's pkgsrc system for third party software:

SHA1 (postgresql-9.1.11.tar.bz2) = b9ee975498705647aae77dae91869bfc6bb079ff

RMD160 (postgresql-9.1.11.tar.bz2) = 2a3849a3e8b8f8fbbe2a35ee422a0be4a67e6dae

Size (postgresql-9.1.11.tar.bz2) = 15861805 bytes

(No MD5 there, but some of the packages use it). You've got three different metrics all of which have to match for the file to be validated. Even now MD5 + file size is still effectively secure since you'll need to add a few kilobytes but can't say in advance precisely how much. Two secure checksums and the size should be secure for the next few years at least.

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Watchdog bites hotel booking site: Over 3k card details slurped

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: SQL Injection!!!

The reason I thought it had to be really clever was because I just couldn't imagine that anybody would be stupid enough to take user entered data and make it part of a command that is sent to the server in textual form.

When you put it like that it sounds obvious and it's the kind of thing you would do automatically when programming in a mature, compiled language - validate and convert to internal form on input and do whatever conversions are necessary on output. However is gets a lot less clear with a lot of the web languages, which invariably seem to be designed to make it easy to cobble something together rather than aid solid, dependable coding. For example, user input is stashed in variables before your script even runs, variables are dynamically typed and you often need the same data in multiple formats. It is often less than clear what is potentially troublesome.

That alters the vulnerable area from something small and well-defined to something much larger and raggedy. Simple mantras such as "quote all strings, job done" don't cover all the bases. Other quantities such as integers may well need handling differently, however in a dynamically typed language what you just know is an int may well in fact be a crafted string unless safeguards are put in place to guard against that.

So the mantra becomes "quote all strings, half the job done". You've still got a lot of work to do the find and weed out the rest of the vulnerabilities. All of a sudden doing the job properly doesn't look quite so trivial.

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Apple Watch buyers will feel 'different' after being 'serviced' in spring 2015

the spectacularly refined chap
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If you look at the price of gold over the past three years you'll find it was over $1800 on this date 2011 which is more than 50% higher than today's $1167. That isn't to say it's going to drop under $700 in a few years time but it may since that's where it started before the "great recession".

I take it you missed the underlying causes of the financial crash then? That everyone had forgotten all about the risk side of the risk/rewards equation and were looking for much higher returns than you could get with boring old gold. That want caused the price to drop: it didn't work out too well in the end, did it?

On the contrary, fast forward a couple of years and gold has risen to record highs. Again, not because of a massive increase in underlying value, but simply because everyone was shitting themselves looking for safe places to invest. Over the long term the story of gold is a very consistent one - it keeps track of inflation but nothing more. There's short term volatility along the way but it always returns to trend. That isn't considering as far back as 2007, it's going back to Roman times.

So yes, it's always possible some short term spike could make the scrap value of the gold briefly worth more in real terms than the initial value of the gold, electronics, workmanship and profit factored into the price of a new watch but it will only ever be a highly unusual and short-term occurrence rather than long term trend. If you buy new shiny now on the basis you can used if for a few years and once it's broken it magically becomes an investment then you are a foolish rather than canny investor.

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FIFTEEN whole dollars on offer for cranky Pentium 4 buyers

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Stanford MIPS ???

That is, they ran slower.

Which confirms the original point - the design of the instruction set is not an abstract decision, it has real world consequences. That is true whether instruction decoding takes place in silicon or in software. It's better to eliminate that overhead with an ISA that doesn't require such complex decoding.

That is, they ran slower.

So, in illustration of your point you use the Intel processor that was slower than its predecessor on that same installed software base. Even the Pentium before it failed to shine on legacy code that was not Pentium-optimised because of earliest issues of that long pipeline, i.e. the ver issue raised in my initial post.

The simpified die design did not, at expected, allow the MIPS machine to clock faster than CISC machines

Clock speed was never a claimed improvement of RISC, rather the optimised metric was instructions per clock. Clock speed is only partly down to architectural design, a lot of it is the process used.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Stanford MIPS ???

"This design eliminated a number of useful instructions such as multiply and divide ... the chips could run at much higher clock rates."

Is Wikipedia the best you can quote? Especially when it is wrong? For reference I cite this instruction set summary, specifically page 59 (page 5 of the PDF). Do you notice how multiply instructions are included?

In practice, the advanced compiler design, much higher clock rates and cheaper silicon didn't translate into a fundamental advantage in end-user speed.

Err.. no. You have also bypassed the greatest single argument of the RISC/CISC debate: the argument for RISC isn't that compilers are smart, but that they are dumb, and indeed still are as the Niagara example demonstrated. Give me a single example of a C language statement that will be compiled down to an XLAT instruction. If you can't what is is still doing there except for backwards compatibility?

And yes it was that much faster in real world conditions. MIPS wasn't appreciably faster than 386 in terms of clock speed, the difference was a simple 1 clock/1 instruction rule as opposed to an average of 7 or 8 clocks per instruction on 386. The Programmer's Reference Manual is still out there if you want to look that up.

It turned out, firstly, that you could get the same clock speed on silicon that did include "multiply and divide"

Which MIPS did.

that you could implement in silicon the compiler techniques that Stanford MIPS pionered to work around the limitiations of their simplified-instruction, deeply-pipelined design.

Do you actually have any clue about what you are talking about here? MIPS was a five stage pipeline. How is that deeper than 20+ stages? You've used a clearly incorrect reference to "debunk" one example and in the process shown yourself to be pig-ignorant of the entire discipline.

Once again: reality does not change according to what you want to be true. Next time try coming up with some valid arguments.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Inefficient ???

Answer : because its NOT "exceedingly inefficient" by any reasonable measure.

No, the real answer is much simpler than that: Intel's chequebook. Look at how many companies adopt the latest generations of semiconductor fab - there used to be a dozen or more at the cutting edge, now it is essentially Intel and everyone else is at least a generation behind. No-one else can afford to roll out a number of $10 billion dollar plants. All that manufacturing tech is going on one thing: redressing the huge disadvantage that the x86 architecture brings.

This is old news: consider what is now almost 30 years ago, Stanford MIPS and the Intel 386 were released in the same year. On the one hand you had the dominant commercial player with the deepest pockets, on the other you had a small university research team. Guess which of them produced the processor ten times faster than the other? If x86 is so efficient how is that even possible?

Of course things have moved on since then, Intel have gone down the route of ever longer pipelines, ever smarter branch prediction and ever larger caches. A lot of that silicon area isn't being used in a particularly desirable way, it's simply engineering their way out of a corner. If you have a pipeline 20-odd stages long that isn't good, it's insanity - as the pipeline gets longer the number of difficult corner cases that need to be addressed (branch prediction misses, values of operands that are unknown etc) increases exponentially. Fixing them all requires yet more silicon and yet more engineering, resources that given a more efficient architecture could be used to greater effect elsewhere.

Again, that isn't news. Cast your mind back now only ten years. The engineers at Sun looked at how pipelines, branch prediction and caches were steadily becoming more and more complex and they asked themselves if that was really a sensible approach. They decided not and went for a much simpler design with a large number of threads and a large number of cores. At the time of its release the result, Niagara, was the world's fastest microprocessor bar none. Again, from a design team with a small fraction of Intel's resources. Why can't Intel tell a similar story?

Intel have some of the best VLSI engineers out there. Year after year they manage to make processors that perform reasonably well essentially by throwing money at the problem, both the design budget and investment in first-rate manufacturing facilities. That does not make the design itself efficient: give them a clean slate and the same level of resources and just imagine what they could come up with.

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ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Hey stupid.

Sad that it caused the delay. Scary that they're letting the same level of stupid that exists on our highways out on to the open ocean.

Or it could just be that a private company has unilaterally declared thousands of square miles of open ocean a no go zone. Captain of vessel in the area looks at said zone and observes that not crossing it will ruin his schedule. He realises that he has every right to be there so essentially says "Fuck you".

It is not stupid to refuse to completely alter your plans based on someone else's request. Companies have a tendency to dress up this kind of thing to make it appear that what is essentially a polite word has some kind of legal authority backing it up.

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Reg hacks see the woods or the trees In the Forest of the Night

the spectacularly refined chap
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We all know what caused Tunguska, and it wasn't a coronal mass ejection

Actually, that was fair enough. People who have actually studied it are not willing to say they know what it was, only offer a probable explanation.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: This is getting a bit samey now

There are plenty of us who think this series is by and large tedious, over-sentimental, and selling short the classic series we knew and loved.

You mean like it has been ever since the reboot? It's simply following the same trajectory established by Russell T Davies - a classic British sci fi show transformed into mumbo-jumbo space opera and lacking any logical consistency. That isn't news.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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This is getting a bit samey now

OK, so you three don't like the new Doctor Who. Boo hoo. You don't need to keep telling us about it every week.

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Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Pretty nasty

Firstly, I don't see how it is illegal to "white room" copy an existing part, like the very popular FTD232, if the chinese or whoever have replicated the function without copying the silicon, then, isn't that what AMD did to Intel, legitimately? This chip is the new "MAX232" - of course it will be replicated.

Reverse engineering is dicey but there's certainly no problem producing a compatible part which is what the MCU based part referenced above is. The difficulty is then claiming it to be an FTDI part. That is what you are doing if you program it with FTDI's VID.

I can understand they don't want their efforts in making and maintaining the drivers to benefit their competitors, but they're protecting a carcass, there's no more meat on the USB-UART thing, best move on, and btw everyone's coming round to this open-source thing these days.

This is nonsense and self-contradictory with the above - on the one hand you are claiming it is the new standard, on the other you are claiming it is obsolete and not worth defending. This is a large market - much larger than you probably appreciate. Discrete USB→RS232 adapters probably account for less than 10% of the total market, the rest is integrated.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending FTDI here, they seem to be on very shaky ground if it is in fact deliberate as everyone is assuming. However, it is worth remembering that there is no confirmation from FTDI anywhere I have seen and if this is an "inadvertent" side effect of operating their own chips they're on much more solid ground.

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Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'

the spectacularly refined chap
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Microsoft's new business plan:

It's their old business plan: leverage their dominant position from one generation of technology to ensure dominance of the next. In this case use a small chunk of that nice cash pile on infrastructure running bought in and cloned technologies, and flog the assembled stack for as much as they can get away with.

I don't think MS would give two hoots about Windows if they thought they could extract as much money with Linux, and without that pesky matter of development. This route is even more attractive: they even get to back both horses at minimal cost, and without needing to actually develop something that kind-of works.

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ISPs handbagged: BLOCK knock-off sites, rules beak

the spectacularly refined chap
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Still a little harsh

I'm not going to leap to the defence of the knock off sites but why on Earth should the ISPs get landed with the bill? They have no contractual relationship with the sites in question, the existence of these sites is not aided or abetted by them in any way, yet they have to stump up the costs of the blocking, an action initiated by the trademark holders for their own benefit.

Is this remotely scalable? If it is a question of a dozen or so sites you might argue it is simply an expense of being in the industry, but if every other trademark holder starts along this road, and hundreds of thousands of sites are blocked on equally valid grounds the collective burden becomes significant. The only rational way to proceed is surely that if you want the block for your benefit and you take it to court then you pay for it.

Or put another way, why should the ISP's customers in turn pay extra for having their Internet access diminished?

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Google AXES AndroidScript app used by 20,000 STEM coders WITHOUT WARNING

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Android named apps

There is a little more to it than that - the name "Androidscript" could easily create the impression that is is an officially supported Android component as opposed to a third party application. Protecting one's brand against that kind of confusion (deliberate or otherwise) is exactly what trademarks are for.

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Oracle to DBAs: your certification is about to become worthless paper

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Bah!

The reality is that both best practice and functionality have changed substantially in the last 10 years and someone trained in any 10 year old technology would almost certainly be giving the wrong advice in many cases.

These are not general certificates but ones for specific versions of specific software. As such you can't put them in the same basket as things like the Cisco certs that study a particular area as opposed to specific products, yet alone versions. In the former case yes, you can legitimately argue that knowledge has to evolve in order for expertise in that area to remain current. In the latter case the way the cert is tied to a specific product and release fundamentally makes it a fixed rather than moving target.

Put another way, what new developments have there been recently in Oracle 7, 8 or 9 that are significant enough to invalidate previous qualifications in them? What's happening with version 11 isn't relevant, it isn't what those certs measure.

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Air-slurping solar battery will slice energy costs – boffins

the spectacularly refined chap
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Where's the copy editor?

...due to light being converted to electrons inside the device...

Come on... yes, I know what you mean but couldn't you have found a way of saying that which doesn't induce wincing?

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What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!

the spectacularly refined chap
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Don't come telling me how "superior" command lines are - they aren't; what they are is "different".

But reality does not change to suit the preferences of the observer. Keyboard commands are demonstrably faster. Imagine that we are both typing away in a document and the time comes to save it. I go for Ctrl-S whereas you reach for the mouse to click the save button on the toolbar. I've issued my command and the document has been saved before your hand has come to rest on the mouse, yet alone you've steered the pointer to the correct button.

Sure, you don't need to know every command, but even the most frequent 5-10 save a lot of time by themselves - cut, copy, paste, save, close, print. Those tend to be the same across many applications. In any event the claims about the apps you run are clearly bull - you do have apps you used frequently. Is it less than six months since you last accessed a web site? If it is that claim is a lie - even if you used a different browser each time you would rapidly run out of web browsers within the once in a blue moon time frame.

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Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Boastful bravado

It has improved greatly since then but everything about it shouts "excessive yet deficient". 32 cores sharing 64 MB of L3 is just 2 MB of L3 per core. Appears to be at least a 3 Hop if not 4 Hop design from a core in Socket A to a core in Socket B. That results in NUMA behavior and latency. 2 TB Ram per socket which is 64 GB per core vs 170 GB per core on a 2 socket S824 - that's important when heavy virtualization is used.

You proceed from a false assumption - this isn't x86 commodity hardware. If you think about it in those terms you're going to come to completely inaccurate conclusions. Virtualisation? Diversified app loads? If that's the road you are taking you'd be a mug to take this when x86 can do the same thing for 20% of the cost. No, this is big iron for big jobs - centralised processing of things that can't be split over a number of machines, yet alone run on a small percentage of a machine in a VM.

In that context the cache is more than fine: the cores are going to be largely working from the same data set, but even if they are on different tasks a simple division of the cache among the cores is not enlightening given the law of diminishing returns and the radically different cache utilisation of a diversified load.

I did work at what was then Sun up until about six years ago, albeit on firmware, and I can tell you that those specs will not have been plucked from thin air. They do an awful lot of research when arriving at the headline features, not market research to keep the box tickers like you happy, but proper scrutiny of the loads their customers are actually placing on the hardware and where the real bottlenecks are. If you compare this to x86 running x86 style loads it'll work fine but lets face it, it's hardly going to be cost effective. Instead you specify something like this for loads that would bring x86 to its knees, in which case there is simply no comparison to be made.

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