* Posts by the spectacularly refined chap

583 posts • joined 27 Dec 2008

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UK data watchdog: Massive fines won't keep data safe

the spectacularly refined chap
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The directors take great pains to remove their liability for misdeeds. They act in broad: one step removed. Pinning the blame on them would be like trying to pin the tail on a runaway donkey.

There are established mechanisms to deal with that: for example you can use the Health and Safety at Work Act as a template in that regard. Directors are personally (and criminally) liable for any breaches of the act within their company. They can't wriggle out of it and transfer the responsibility on to someone else, in fact attempting to do so is itself evidence of guilt.

However, it doesn't matter what they do, in any company of a few thousand people there is always going to be plenty of stuff going on that the directors are completely unaware of: if two junior staff decide by themselves to develop a "more efficient" way of work that is unsafe management do not necessarily hear about it until it is too late. Their only effective defence in such a case is to point to procedures they have in place: for example that safe working practices have been determined and staff have been trained in their use, that relevant equipment is provided and in appropriate condition, that regular health and safety audits are carried out, and there is a well defined whistle-blowing mechanism to raise issues that still crop up. If you can show all this the courts take a reasonable view - you did everything practical to ensure the workplace was safe but shit happens, therefore no guilt attaches to you as a result of this accident.

There is no reason in principle data protection could not be similar. I'm not entirely convinced about criminal liability - calling for that to me always sounds like vindictiveness after the event, and putting too much control at the very top is also putting that control into the hands of non-specialists - but I'll leave that to one side. I think (hope) this is the point the ICO are trying to make - the fact there is a breach should not necessarily lead to a sanction. If there was gross negligence and sloppy practices then sure, fine them and fine heavily. If on the other hand you can point to solid procedures in place to protect data and that they are subject to regular review to keep them current, but still have a breach falling in to the "shit happens" category, perhaps that should be viewed as an opportunity for review as to how defences can be improved in future.

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Psst. Want a cheap cloud, VM? Google has one. But there's a catch

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Unpredictable response times at best, never ending jobs at worst?

Not sure how many customers are willing to go for that schema. I can imagine only a few uses (one-off data migrations or conversions, test runs and what else?) where this makes sense, but perhaps I'm not experienced enough.

I can see plenty, so many in fact that there's a special term for it. Not some newfangled buzzword from a marketroid but a real term that actually means something - good old fashioned batch processing.

I'll admit that I'm struggling to see applications here that would fit well but that is more a reflection of our infrastructure than the merits of the offering - anything here is either not substantial enough to justify configuring a VM for or the amount of data that needs uploading is out of proportion to the CPU time requirement. However, we do most of our processing in house, very little cloud which is essentially directly customer-facing stuff. If that wasn't the case and our data was already cloud based then something like this would be very attractive for many tasks.

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Ofcom: Oi, BT! Don't be greedy – feed dark fibre to your rivals

the spectacularly refined chap
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How does this affect investment decisions?

Consider BT are installing fibre in a duct and need X fibres to meet current and imminent demand. A beancounter looks at the job and decides that X+Y fibres should be installed, weighing the cost of installing that spare capacity and the cost of capital used against the potential profit raised by selling services using that fibre and the probability of that fibre actually being needed. If you are selling fully managed service the potential profit is nice and juicy, providing an incentive to make Y reasonably large in the first instance.

You then change the equation to make those potential future profits smaller - instead of fat profits on service you get much smaller amounts renting out bare fibre. The return on investment calculation shifts in favour of not installing so much spare capacity to begin with. In the long term that doesn't benefit anybody.

I'm not a massive fan of BT but equally I don't have a massive axe to grind about them - I'm simply looking at this from an economic standpoint. BT are a telecommunications company that makes money from selling service. They are not in the business of renting out bare fibre for chump change.

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Right Dabbsy my old son, you can cram this job right up your BLEEEARRGH

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: I blame the parents...

I mean, come on, who'd give their child a christian name that no-one can spell correctly, never mind Starbucks personnel.

I totted up all the Claires, Clares and (occasionally) Clairs I knew a few years back and arrived at a figure of 38 different women. Allowing for a few missed off and more I've become acquainted with since it's probably in excess of 50 by now. I don't have a hope in hell of remembering which spelling it is for which. I dated one of them for six years, lived with her for four, still don't know what her name was.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Redundancy?

Of course if you decided to make yourself redundant then you'd be obliged to hold a consultation with yourself. Which would be somewhat awkward I'd imagine.

This may be tongue in cheek but it is the legal reality. If you ever set up a limited company you have to have an AGM every year with all the directors there and all shareholders invited. For a single person company that gives you a roll call of one. However the AGM still has to be held and minutes still have to be taken. Certain business operations can only be done following a vote at the AGM.

OTOH it does provide an excuse to spend a fortune on crap snack food. You justify it to the missus with your director's hat on, in that you have to provide nice nibbles for the shareholders at the AGM.

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RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

Bloody hell! 76 years with no downtime - that's amazing!

It's a continuously operating radar site which is distinct and more easily achieved than maintaining operations of any equipment on that site.

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Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

the spectacularly refined chap
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Back of an envelope calculations

Late last year I replaced the battery in the UPS powering this workstation and I started wondering based on that. I'm not going to go through all the figures but to get to 10kWh using those cells would cost ~$2750 even assuming no bulk discount, and top name (Yuasa) batteries from a proper distributor. They'd have a five year life and 200-300 charge cycles so replace them twice as often and double the comparative price to $5500. Add the circutry needed to generate a mains approximation and we're somewhere in the same ballpark as that Tesla unit. You probably could get cheaper using a more sensibly sized battery to begin with but I'm not going to start optimising there, we'll simply leave this unit and lead acid batteries as being roughly comparable on the metrics used so far.

OTOH lead acid cells have quite incredibe power density - that single cell in my UPS can deliver 300W. A bank of 120 to store 10kWh would be capable of delivering 36kW on the same basis. Sure, you'd drain it in minutes at that load but if you need the 8kW shower, the 3kW kettle and 2kW oven all on at the same time for a short period the ability is there. And no, all those batteries wouldn't be absolutely huge, again in rough terms roughly a yard square and seven or eight inches deep - call it the size of a radiator.

This battery seems more of a desperate attempt to find new markets for Tesla's battery tech to cross-subsidise the cars. Sure, it's a nicely packaged solution but it can't cope with real requirements. Proven 1850's tech can for around the same money.

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VOTERS! This Election: Vote #Smart, Vote #Digital

the spectacularly refined chap
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Lottie Dexter

How can you sum up the government's acheivements without mentioning her? Getting an expert of such world renown to head up a stunning success like the Year of Code was a stroke of genius.

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Boffins turns landfill WinPhones into microscopes

the spectacularly refined chap
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Utter garbage...

..not the El Reg reporting of this, but the claims made in the first instance.

So you add this lens to a cheap camera phone and it functions identically to a $20,000 microscope. Adding a single lens does not add:

  • illumination
  • a precision focuser
  • variable magnification
  • trinocular viewing
and so on. All absolutely necessary for a practical instrument, all add appreciably to the price, and none of them are catered for here.

Even the test chosen seems hand-picked to sound impressive while being nothing of the sort. Viewing prepared slides at ~100x is among the easiest jobs you can ask a microscope to do - you don't have the depth of field issues affecting the stereos at even lower magnifications and you don't need the same correction for aberations as at higher power on slides. Picking this one test is akin to that scene in Top Gear - "At 40MPH this £7,000 city car easily overtakes that £250,000 supercar travelling at 30MPH" - the test is so far removed from the advanced capabilities you are paying for as to make the comparison meaningless.

Somewhere in here there may be some small development of merit, but so many layers of bullshit have been piled on top of it - whether by the original authors or the university press department - that you ultimately end up throwing out the whole lot as nonsense.

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Surgery-bot can be hacked to HACK YOU TO PIECES

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: a doctor writes

Downvoted for incorrect use of 'acronym' - that's an initialism.

You don't know until you've heard it. ECSS -> "Ex" is far less contrived than the likes of SCSI -> "Scuzzy".

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Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

the spectacularly refined chap
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However, what "non-IT" people don't realise is that just holding it ON the RFID reader does nothing. It has to be moving in order to induce the current to power the radio circuit inside it.

Err, no, in the same way that you don't need to be juggling your laptop charger in order for the transformer to work. The magnetic field is constantly varying anyway, you dont need to add movement on top of that which is generally too slow to generate meaningful power at any rate.

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MIT shows off machine-learning script to make CREEPY HEADS

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: guff

Lord knows, none of you twerps bashing these researchers - or, for that matter, Richard - would want to do any of what we in the computer science world call "research". If you had, you might have discovered that "probabilistic programming" is a term of art that's been in widespread CS use for at least a decade.

A simple search of the CACM archives or ACM Digital Library would have told you that. All you self-professed experts are ACM members, right? You might want to skim, say, Gordon et al, "Probabilistic Programming", Proceedings FOSE 2014.

Did you even read the comments before slagging them off? If you had you would have seen my point:

I recall skip lists for example were described as probabilistic when first presented

So that'll be CACM back in 1990 then. Your point is what, exactly?

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: guff

but that has now been given a trendy techster name by some kids, who think they invented something new.

I think that is very much the case. It isn't as if the term is intrisically new - I recall skip lists for example were described as probabilistic when first presented a quarter of a century ago. This is what these guys have to overcome - in that case the description made perfect sense and usefully and succintly described the behaviour of the data structure. Yes, I know we only have a press release but it sounds very much as if this is a new "trendy" handle for a not so novel approach.

Running through what we have been told here and inferring what it actually means sans cute fluff, it seems we have a combination of Monte Carlo techniques defining a set of initial seed values and a feedback mechanism to improve the values for a subsequent round of iteration. That doesn't sound too far removed from the nondeterministic techniques LISP programmers in particular have been using for decades.

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What is the REAL value of your precious, precious data?

the spectacularly refined chap
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The value can be in the retention

Information is not like other commodities in that you can transfer it while still retaining it yourself, i.e. if I tell you my name I myself still know what my name is. For data that is available at no cost (i.e. it requires no effort to collect or collate) then a traditional model argues that its value is little more than the cost of physically transferring it.

However, that ignores the value of exclusivity - not the value of me having that data but the value to me (even if only perceived) of you not having it. I may have good reasons for wanting you not to know something even in a commerical context. I might look up a 1970s sexploitation film on Amazon one evening but not want similar titles recommended to me the next day in the office. I may not want constant bombardment from hundreds of salesmen each time I am the market to buy some high-profit item. I may not want to harm my negotiating position when purchasing said item because the seller knows I need it immediately. I may oppose the information transfer for the very reason the business wants it: I do not want to be manipulated for that organisation's advantage and my own cost.

These are rational arguments against giving information to all and sundry and show the assymetry in the transfer. The organisation is gaining information which is all this article considers, but on the other hand I am not losing information but privacy. It doesn't really matter want the real cost of that turns out to be: the mere perception of value translates directly to real value because I will rationally refuse to sell something for less than I think it worth.

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Google pulls plug on YouTube for older iPads, iPhones, smart TVs

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Roll Your Own

There's still a lot to be said for a dumb TV and an external media centre PC. If you've got something capable of running Linux (Raspberry Pi, perhaps) then it should have quite a long life, and if it runs out of processing grunt, you can keep the TV and upgrade the media centre hardware.

Yes, there's a lot to be said for it but equally it isn't a universal solution. TV + media player isn't that bad, but it gets out of proportion when true dumb panels get recommended and you end up with a separate panel, TV tuner, amplifier, media player etc with half a dozen plugs, half a dozen things to turn on and off, and half a dozen remotes.

A lot of people want a simple, integrated device that does the lot. Even if you are willing to put up with that rigamarole for the main set in the living room it may be completely impractical for the secondary sets in the kitchen or bedroom. Smart TV are not a bad idea in themselves, the problem is lack of ongoing support. Since many of them run a general purpose OS anyway (e.g. but not exclusively Linux) allowing the user community in would allow the software to be kept up to date.

Oh wait, that might deter the three year replacement cycle the TV manufacturers seem hell bent on getting us all to adopt...

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The data centre design that lets you cool down – and save electrons

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Fitted racks

Are we talking wooden frames with metal inserts for traditional cage nuts, or pure timber?

Commercial rack strip, e.g. like this.

I would have thought that the weight of a piece of equipment or laden shelf which only attaches at the front would cause undue stress on the frame.

It's easy to underestimate the strength of timber based on a simple understanding that metal is stronger. It's less clear when you consider a piece of 3x2 and a 1" steel box section simply because of that much greater cross section. Those racks would probably struggle if you filled an entire rack with UPSes and their batteries but that goes for the commercial steel units too. We certainly didn't have any problems in practice.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Fitted racks

Whack a roof on the top and a door at each end and you have a rudimentary room into which cold air is introduced. The hot output from the backs of the cabinets then goes into a separate area and can be pulled out by the extractor.

This always sounds like a retro-fit to me and it is unconsciously premised on commercial, off-the-shelf racks. It's the obvious solution until you see somewhere that does it differently. My last-but one employer used wooden racks custom built and fitted for the specific room by a local joiners. The racks did run from floor to ceiling, overhead ducts for power, air and data built in overhead (both along and between racks) and doors on each end of the cold aisles were an integral part of the racks rather than tacked on as an afterthought.

When you first went in there your initial thought was "This has been done on the cheap", which I suppose is inevitable when the primary construction materials was 3x2 and unused bays screened off with hardboard quarter-rack blanking panels. After a while though you learned to love them - they did the job, cables were easy to route and the hot aisles were very open permitting easy access to all the connections on the rear. Oh, and you had rear rack strip at both 600mm and 1000mm positions - why can't more racks be like that?

Depending on you defintions that was either a large server room or small data centre, 40 racks and two cold aisles. The cost of all that joinery was significantly less than 40 off-the-shelf racks despite all the additional infrastructure as part of the package. From "cheap" your attitude shifted to "Why doesn't everyone do this?" and I became convinced that in that area at least following the herd is not the best idea.

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Trading Standards pokes Amazon over 'libellous' review

the spectacularly refined chap
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a) shouldn't the action be against the reviewer?

Not under British libel law where anyone in the chain relaying the message can be pursued. If there is a libellous comment about you printed in a newspaper you can theoretically go after the newspaper, the printers, the distributors, even individual newsagents.

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Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Can I draw a GIANT cock and balls on it?

Of course you can't. In my case you'd need at least an A3 screen to draw them actual size, let alone exaggerate them.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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In alphabet-based languages it's basically pointless, the majority of people can type faster and more conveniently even on the ridiculous on-screen keyboards of phones and tablets.

It depends a lot on the context. If you want to bash out plain English prose then a physical keyboard is fastest. However, I did keep my Newton MP2000 in use long after it was obsolete specifically as a notetaking device - it was the only device I've ever come accross that could replace a notepad and pencil and improve on it. In many situations not being a distraction is more important than sheer speed.

First would be in a meeting - cursive handwriting recognition in particular is far less intrusive than keyboard clatter or constant tap-tap-tap on an on screen keyboard.

More important for me though was the absolute focus it allowed on the task in hand. The Newton's notetaking app had four basic input modes that you could toggle between with a single tap - immediate and deferred handwriting recognition, freehand sketching and "smart draw" that automatically recognised and cleaned up lines, rectangles, circles etc.

You could jot down anything quickly in deferrred mode (only recognising after you had recorded your thoughts) and instantly switch to the other modes to draw a diagram or jot down an equation without losing your train of thought. You could edit as for any electronic document - scribble something out to erase it or select and drag to move it.

This featured in all the main notetaking modes including critically (for me) the outliner. You have a topic to break down, write down the headline subject. Break that down into principle sub-tasks as branches and then break down each of those in turn. If you miss out a step or need to re-order two points then no problem.

This made an incredibly natural tool for top-down stepwise refinement in that you could focus exclusively on the task at hand and expand it and re-arrange it as much as you liked without having to constantly re-write things. That facility was worth more than the cost of the device by itself.

Admittedly, we are talking about something slightly beyond basic handwriting recognition there, but the opportunities exist for a very rich and yet also very natural experience, that can only enhance your working processes rather than distract from them.

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Why are enterprises being irresistibly drawn towards SSDs?

the spectacularly refined chap
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Show me the code to retrieve this information from the controller of a standard SATA or SAS drive.

What, you mean like bad144 included as standard on this very (NetBSD) system? Call yourself a data storage expert? It is one of the things in our routine monitoring.

READ THE CERN PAPER AND UNDERSTAND IT, then try to find a solution.

I've read both papers you cite. Neither support you. You can quote the specific sentence or paragraph if you like but I'll tell you now: it isn't there. You made a very specific claim about a head to head comparison between RAID and a single disk. Neither makes such comparisions because that is not the goal of either paper. Both are concerned with the system as a whole rather than the specific characteristics of the array - indeed the CERN paper ackowledges that the errors they recorded where primarily attributable to memory, i.e. before it even got to disk.

It is not enough to show that data corruption exists. It is not enough to show that the most widely used error detection and correction systems are not bulletproof. Rebecca has kept a laser focus on the original claim: each time you have introduced irrelevances and distractions that bring in factors that affect the legitimacy of your claim neither one way or the other. Neither deals with RAID1 at all.

Although neither paper addresses your point the NEC paper supports the argument to the contrary:

"Disk drives commonly experience errors that are recoverable via the ECC..."

"At some point, data becomes unreadable leading to “read failures,”..."

"RAID can also catch and address errors flagged by hard drives..."

The silent corruption case not reported by the drive is restricted a small fraction of cases. It doesn't tackle that head on but does hint at the reduced magnitude of the problem:

"However, there is a set of disk errors not caught by the hard drive..."

Please do comment back, I'm enjoying watching how you can dance on the head of a pin for so long withotu admitting the mistake.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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I know, and I didn't make the original claim, Rebecca did. I simply took her argument and pointed out that even changing 99% to 99.9999999999% still did not produce the result she wanted to, thereby reducing her argument to absurdity.

Your original position is clear enough - RAID1 increases the scope for corruption. You have twice as much data to go wrong, which copy is read is essentially random so if data is constantly read and written back without checks the scope for corruption across both disks is increased. This is all fine and I would agree with it.

Rebecca's point is that checks are made in the form of the CRC attached to each and every sector. For any read that results in an error (detected or not) there is a good chance that it will indeed be detected at the CRC checking stage - that is the 99% figure being bandied about. The remaining 1% are the cases that either slip through CRC checking or occur subsequently to it.

In the 99% cases the error is reported to the RAID controller (hardware or software) so the data is retrieved from the mirror. No data loss results thanks to the presence of that mirror. It is only the other 1% of cases that go undetected that can spread corruption from one disk to the other. This is what happens when an error occurs: it says nothing of the probability of an error occuring in the first instance.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Even if it was 99.9999999999%, then statistically you would experience 110 corrupted bytes in every terabyte of data you move. Doesn't that worry you at all? When you rebuilt the imaginary disk array you speak about above, you'll have no redundancy, (unless you're running RAID 6, and even then you could only hope to IDENTIFY the error, not correct it).

You are using the wrong set of figures in your calculations. If 99% of errors are eliminated you can do nothing to extrapolate the number of errors remaining without reference to the starting error rate - here you assume that all reads even from a good disk are errors. Use the same set of figures consistently and the position becomes a lot more difficult to justify.

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Nvidia's GTX 900 cards lock out open-source Linux devs yet again

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Terminology issue?

To you it's a side issue, to the noveau people it's the entirety of the issue.

I can accept that, but if that is all it is about it is no longer concerning writing a driver for the card as claimed but wanting to go further than that. Would the objection still hold if it was on a flash chip on the circuit board? What is the substantive difference? The code is running on the GPU in either case. If that is the case then this strikes me as principle for the sake of it. If you want to hold a certain view that is your right, but Nvidia are under no obligation to pander to it, especially if doing so puts them at a disadvantage.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Terminology issue?

What I don't understand is why you need a modified firmware in the first place. Surely the firmware itself (for the GPU, as opposed to the driver running on the host) is a blob to be uploaded. Is the interface not documented or need something else doing to it? If so what and why? I'll admit I don't follow computer graphics in any detail, I find it tedious in the extreme, but there may be some point I'm missing here.

The simple case is interoperability: getting the GPU to work under Linux which surely requires no firmware mods. You may not like binary blobs on principle but that is a side issue.

If the actual goal is access to the firmware for tinkering's sake that is a slightly different point: if you want to alter want the card does beyond its original configuration that is going further than the manufacturer reasonably has any obligation to support: the internals may reveal trade secrets that are the result of expensive R&D and they are under no obligation to release that data. In these days of FPGAs the firmware often is the design of even the hardware in a very real sense.

At least, that is the way I am seeing it here, I'm happy to be corrected if I have misinterpreted something. If this is an interoperability thing that is one thing but it is something else to demand details of the innards of the design itself out of a sense of idealism for the free software cause. You don't buy a copy of MS Office and then bitch you didn't get the source code, on the face of it it appears that is what is being demanded here.

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'We STRONGLY DISAGREE' that we done WRONG, says Google

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: There's a lot of bad to be said of Google

But if I search something I even rarely see their sites being pushed forward prominently.

You do see it but it appears so natural you don't necessarily think about it. A few days ago I put "iphone" into Google to illustrate a comment on another Google story - the one where they were claiming they weren't subject to EU jurisidiction since they weren't in the EU market. I specifically noted the adverts and shopping links tailored to the British market. Interestingly when I do that right now I get none of that - despite their public comments it has all disappeared, obviously someone is shitting themselves and has pulled the plugs while they figure out what they can get away with.

However, that's not the point I came here to make. My point is that those shopping results are themselves a distortion. I didn't ask for them explicitly nor were they part of the natural page rankings. Google saw a query for a high-margin commercial product and decided to include additional content over and above serving my request. Not as a result of the search algorithm, not labelled as adverts, but included as the result of commercial deals between Google and resellers. I don't have a massive problem with it myself but it isn't what I asked for and would take business away from sites I may have gone to specifically to compare where I might buy one.

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

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Just a thought:

The sea state was 3ft waves, I seriously doubt a barge this big was moving up and down at all. It weighs over 4500 tons IIRC.

Aircraft carrier "ball" lights that guide the planes down have explicit compensation for heave - up and down motion. They can weigh 100,000 tonnes+. Yes, they're big and heavy but the water they are sat in is even bigger and heavier...

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Chrome version 42 will pour your Java coffee down the drain: Plugin blocked by default

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: "Enterprise ready"

Ho hum. I generally use Chrome (long story, can't be othered to bore you why) but I have to connect to rather a lot of devices that insist on using Java. There are lots of top end stuff that uses Java in a browser for configuration and although some offer a much more powerful command line interface as well, sometimes they don't and sometimes I can't be arsed to remember and just want to click on stuff.

This is the elephant in the room and it isn't possible to just wish it away. It's all very well saying "Oh, but you shouldn't be using this because of x, and z..." but if you need it then you need it and the discussion about whether you should be using it stops there. I've got several older devices here much like you describe, embedded web servers with Java applets, none of which are signed. It's getting increasingly difficult to support them, not because of any technical factors but because of the ego of some development team somewhere deciding that they know what I need better than I do.

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Dev gives HBO free math tips to nail Game of Thrones pirate leakers

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: I've always thought of:

The point is that MPEG video compression is lossy, so watermarks either have to play by MPEG's rules or risk being degraded beyond usability.

There are better ways than tiny changes - large but subtle changes will pass through even heavy compression unhindered. Consider four different versions of the famous "Lena" test image I've prepared here (Safe for work, the naughty bits are cropped out). You can look at any of them in isolation and they appear quite natural. It is only when they are compared closely side by side that you can see the brighness curves of each have been subtly altered. Assuming that the image isn't compressed to the point that it would be unwatchable the differences between them will still be readily discernible. Apply that kind of filtering consistently to all the frames in a given shot and you would never know it has been done, but equally it is very difficult to get rid of without manually applying a different set of manipulations to each and every shot.

I would think something like that is a far better options than randomly inserting and deleting frames which sounds simple but I suspect would cause problems in the general case with the audio - maintaining lip sync wouln't be a problem between scenes but the musical score often extends between scenes and has to still match up very definitely with the on screen action.

Something like James Bond is the classic example for that sort of situation - the score may start gently as he makes his getaway on e.g. skis. When the bad guys start shooting at him the music responds instantly. It does so again when he skis over a cliff edge. There's a final flourish just as the parachute opens. If you do anything that alters the timing of the on screen action you ruin the dramatic effect for the reviewer, or you create problems later for the team dubbing it into Foreign.

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Learn yourself hireable: Top tips for improving your tech appeal

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Just contribute to a project

Same (or better) result, fraction of the cost and a "live CV" you can point at - "I am the guy who wrote this". You also learn stuff in the process - how things work, compliance practices, coding practices, testing practices, integration practices, etc.

Be careful there. I've sat on both sides of the interview table at various points and it tends to replace experience rather than qualifications. I've said before that I'll accept a completed, working 10,000 line program I can inspect (i.e. open source) in place of a couple of years but that is as primary author which shows the full range of skills not shown by qualifications - i.e. planning, design, documentation, motivation, testing and bug fixing etc. Those are all things you need when building any project of any complexity but not something shown even by a degree - it's quite possible to graduate never having written a program exceeding 1,000 lines.

The problem with contributing to an existing projects is that you don't necessarily demonstrate those skills, and indeed you can very easily end up riding on the coat tails of others and vastly overestimating your own contribution. I know a few years ago we had a candidate who claimed to be a key member of the GIMP team. Great, that's something we can assess. Sadly it turned out that over 18 months his contribution amounted to around 30 messages on the mailing lists. Half a dozen were asking user-style questions, another dozen answering the same kind of questions, the rest were mainly opinion and preference type stuff rather than actual concrete engineering stuff. He had a couple of contributions - one about thirty lines, the other about eighty if memory serves.

He seemed stunned when we summarised his contribution in those terms - rather than being some crowning glory it looks very threadbare - but no, he couldn't turn up anything of substance that we had somehow missed. I've no doubt he was genuinely surprised but I can see exactly how it can happen - spend a couple of hours a day reading the mailing lists and seeing a hive of activity seemingly all around you it's very easy to become caught up in the activity of the community as whole. You're not aware of how little you have contributed yourself.

So no, he didn't get the job. That wasn't the only reason but it certainly didn't do him any favours.

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Bulgarian Bill Gates blagger busted, banged up, again: report

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: I get that its a crime

Do you think he holds all his net worth in cash? And in a current account?

I'm sure he's never left thinking he has to be careful because there's only $20 available on his cash card but equally he wouldn't be where he is if he left six figure amounts lying around wherever anyone could swipe it.

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Dot Hill ready for Internet of Things data ingest malarkey

the spectacularly refined chap
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Dot Hill? Not another one of these newfangled gTLDs! How many more....

I must admit I thought that at first as well. However the truth is even more ominous. I don't know what that photo accompanying the article is supposed to represent but it sure as hell isn't something nice. It reminds me of that scene at the end of the first Star Trek movie which could have put a minor dampener on one's day. We know this one's true, however: I saw a photo of it on El Reg.

So what is it the Reg staffers are trying to hide from us? Are the carbon units about to be wiped out?

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Iridium sat comms module comp goes completely TITSUP

the spectacularly refined chap
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Onboard Radio Gear Assessed for Space Mission.

Yes, I've already entered but I had a moment of inspiration.

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The Perez Peregrination: Invicta and the move to Dell

the spectacularly refined chap
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Doesn't rule out stock options...

Not being publicly traded doesn't rule them out entirely, it just makes them a hell of a lot more difficult to value and monetise.

There are other options as well of course. As small slice of the pie from his division could be lucrative and potentially much more motivating since he isn't bouyed up or weighed down by the rest of the company.

Or there could be non-financial factor. Perhaps he really, really, didn't like that bitch working as his PA. Or the brand of cola in the vending machines at Cisco. Or the way the sun shined in his eyes in the mid afternoon when he was sat at his desk. Or Dell offered him something he felt he could get his teeth into.

Yes, I'm getting silly now, but it doesn't necessarily have to be about lining his own pockets. It could well be, but likely we'll never get to the bottom of it - that obscurity is one of the benefits of being privately run.

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A MILLION Chrome users' data was sent to ONE dodgy IP address

the spectacularly refined chap
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This is the problem I have with auto-updates generally

They always assume the provider is somehow in a privileged position.

Rule 1 of computer security: everyone and everything is untrustworthy by default.

Rule 1a: But you can trust us. Because we're xxxx and we'll never do you any harm. We'll never add an upgrade that soaks your Internet connectivity as if it was free and limitless (Microsoft), install payware that you neither need, want, or might interact badly with other software (Adobe/Oracle), repeatedly clobber the Kerberos setup that you entered into our own software expressly to improve security (Mozilla Foundation), or tell you to install Trusteer Rapport - presumed malware by default - "to improve security" without giving any real idea of what it actually does (any bank you care to mention).

Yes, there comes a point where you do have to take things on trust but it should always be at the behest of the operator who is free to block anything they wish if they are not convinced it is beneficial. If you want to call that insecure go ahead: I'll simply point you to all those organisations with "secure" password policies that mean 80% of users have their password written on a piece of paper under their keyboard.

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It's all got complicated: The costs of data recovery

the spectacularly refined chap
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Exactly - you can try to make a case for 'cloud' backup out of crap management, an ever changing line of incapable IT managers or any number of other excuses. But that won't change the fact that you're outsourcing a critical part of your infrastructure, and sooner or later it will come back to bite you.

Compare that with your following comments:

On the other hand, I have NEVER failed to provide a client with ONE BIT of their data when I have been responsible for their backup routine. Never.

So, if people outsource their backup provision to you they are being very responsible. If they outsource it to anyone else then they are being reckless? That doesn't appear to be a position with any great principle to it. What makes your own methodology so solid? Oh, apart from your own incompetence:

AND I've gone beyond my obligations too, when a tape wouldn't read, I didn't fob them off with "last week's copy", I retentioned the tape over and over, and cleaned the heads, I've even had old QIC-02 drives in bits before now, and gone as far as reading other client's tapes in my personal machines, anything to get their data back.

Good for you. Your backup methodology was flawed but you managed to recover the situation. That is good luck rather than good judgement. This would never have happened in any place I've ever been using tape: if Friday's full backup doesn't work no matter, you go back to Thursdays. Then you apply the incremental you took at close of play on Friday to recover to where you should have been. No amount of retensioning or swapping the tape between drives will recover the situation where an eighth of an inch patch of oxide has simply flaked off the tape never to be seen again. And yes, I have had that happen. You backup systems aren't bulletproof, you have simply been lucky.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Very, very few places, especially small and medium enterprises, actually need these ponsy overpriced 'cloud' backup services.

Small is precisely where cloud services work best, providing automatable off-site backup where there isn't a convenient existing off-site location to back up to. It's as things get larger it becomes less attractive as the costs and bandwidth requirements go up. Similarly at the high end of the scale there's no substitute for a properly managed archive, but disc but tape - even blurays are a little on the small side and need a lot of cataloguing and management if you are to actually find what you want in a library of thousands of discs. Consumer bluray drives are also completely unsuited to buring dozens of discs a day adding further cost. Archives need monitoring, verification and duplication and those administrative and management costs can easily end up dwarfing costs of anything else if not managed properly which is what you want to avoid if possible - the larger operators can't avoid it, but it doesn't make it the most attractive option at smaller volumes.

It's between those two extremes that things get a bit more problematic and it's where many operations will find themselves - in round terms we're probably talking between 100GB and 100TB. There's no such thing as a one size fits all solution so anything that pretends to be one is going to be inappropriate at least some of the time.

We I was last looking at this around six months ago we determined disk to disk backup on our own servers was the only game in town: we saw that there were two sites just over a kilometre apart with an existing gigabit microwave link between them. Both need fileservers although one uses tens times the data of the other. The servers are needed, the bandwidth was free, so filling them out with extra disks basically meant 25 bay rack enclosures instead of four or eight bay types, additional memory (ZFS likes its memory) and of course the disks themselves. The servers at each end are currently filed with 6x4TB drives giving 16TB of usable storage after RAID6 but with the spare bays and increases in drive capacity they could well be extended to 100TB or more come decommissioning.

We have all the benefits of one big storage array on each site: snapshots are taken literally every ten minutes giving a high degree of resiliance to things like Cryptolocker and the two servers rsync themselves together every couple of hours for site backup. Bit-level verification of data is done weekly. We haven't fully exploited the possibilities for dedupe except for VM images but the opportunities are there. We have fine-grain security control allowing different access controls and encryption dependign on the data. We got all of this for perhaps an additional £800 capital spend and 100W power at each end. Critically, all of this is completely automatic, it does not require an operator to do so much as stick a tape in the drive every day yet alone burn a dozen blurays.

So, yes, that fits us very well but no it wouldn't be for everyone for one reason or another. Your one-size-fits-all approach equally wouldn't suit us - it would be vastly more costly and less convenient for less capability. That brings me back to my first point - universal approaches are nothing of the sort because the underlying requirements vary so much.

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WIN a RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium sat comms unit

the spectacularly refined chap
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FRIG

Further Research on Instrumentation Gremlins.

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You want disruption? Try this: Uber office raided again, staff cuffed

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Benefit of the Guilds

Can't have a free market taking away municiple licence income and disrupting taxi cartells, can we?

It is hardly a money making exercise, indeed I know my own local council doesn't even cover its costs. It is a service for public safety. You might want a 5% discount on your taxi fare but personally I'd rather spend that money to ensure that someone I care for (girlfriend, wife or daughter) is as safe as possible when they need to get home late at night.

You don't. That says more about you than the merits of the licensing system.

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: @Terra

Knob head or bell end.

The original commenter would appear to have merged the two.

Nob end has plenty of precedent. It refers to a football fan from Preston.

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Man hauled before beak for using drone to film Premiership matches

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Not dangerous, Actually need *less* restriction and less paranoia

If you do an actual risk assesment instead of talking complete nonsense, there was no danger whatsoever to myself or anyone else. No laws were broken whatsoever, and if by remote chance the drone managed to get out of control I would have been impressed to see how it would have escaped the building to hunt someone down 3 miles away!

If there was no risk what was the point of the experiment? Why is it worth reporting here? The hazard is what leands notability. Since it is clearly there you acted recklessly and yes you broke the law. The staute book does not alter what it says according to the ego of the pilot.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: RC Drones.

Actually, with FPV flying in the UK, you must have a competent observer who maintains unaided visual line of site of the aircraft.

Air Navigation Order 2009 article 166:

(3) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: RC Drones.

How can they prove he didn't have a spotter who kept line of sight for him?

The pilot has to keep direct line of sight. You can have a helper (for example the flag marshall in pylon racing, who indicates when your craft has passed the furthest reach of the course) but you always have to maintain direct line of sight on your own behalf. Saying "I couldn't see it but my spotter could" is actually evidence of your guilt.

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Not dangerous, Actually need *less* restriction and less paranoia

I have flown a typical consumer drone into myself at speed to demonstrate how safe they are. The scratches were not any worse than falling into a thorny bush. These horror stories that they are going to knock people out or decapitate them are simply ridiculous and not remotely realistic.

It is not often a post here actually gets me angry but this has managed it. I've had an electric shock on a few occasions and always gotten away with it - usually just a tingle, once a jolt, but never any injuries. From this limited anecdote and using your logic we can conclude that the entire electrical safety code is superfluous and can be dispensed with.

Widespread use of drones may be fairly new, but model aircraft are not and they share most of the legislation. There is also a track record involving property damage, personal injury and occasional deaths - only every few years on average, but yes, they have happened and will continue to do so. This is why most official model flying sites demand insurance and a BMFA certificate showing competence on the the part of the pilot.

You ignore all this, break the existing law (which, surprise, surprise, doesn't allow you to fly into people) and endanger not just yourself but anyone in three mile radius of yourself - after all you could have been incapacitated by this stunt, leaving an out of control model on the loose endangering everyone in the neighbourhood.

This does not make the case for deregulation, quite the opposite. The established model flying community shit themselves when they hear of antics such as this. They have spent decades promoting responsibility and working with regulators to get the law to the the relatively encumbered form that it is today. That is always at risk whenever stories of mindless yobs pulling reckless stunts (like your own actions) receive attention.

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EU creative collection agencies want YouTube et al to pay their wages

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Organised crime is in the wrong business

Why is a collection agency needed?

YouTube could easily set up a system of paying authors automatically when their video is watched - or adding adverts around it and paying a share of the advertising revenue. Oh, they already do.

It isn't automatic - you have to approach Youtube, agree terms, supply bank account details etc. After which you have an agreement with Youtube. You have to then do the same thing with Dailymotion. Then with Vimeo. Then with 1,001 sites that you've never heard of, many of which are foreign and don't deal in English. Even if collectively those amount to a decent revenue stream individually they may literally amount to beer money over the course of a year. That means your negotiating position with each individual site is weakened. This is precisely why Youtube are able to throw their weight around with take it or leave it offers - take this money for your work, or receive nothing. Oh, and your work will still be on our site anyway...

No one wants to spend hours negotiating a contract that is worth the price of a pint a year. No one wants to pay for translation and legal advice on such a contract. No one wants the hassle of reviewing a thousand such contracts for quirks that subtly affect the tax treatment of each one. No one wants to hand over their bank account details to a thousand unfamiliar foreign websites. This is precisely where collective bargaining arrangements come in, which do serve both sides of the deal - the content creator has a single sizeable revenue stream that it is worth considering properly and the content buyer has an entity that they may meaningfully negotiate with.

I am not advocating compulsion to use this arrangements, but arguing that such arrangements have no value at all is straightforward ignorance of reality. If in your desire to stick it to the man you want to spend £10,000 on lawyers and accountants for £1,000 of revenue that is of course your right. People who are trying to make a living are likely to take a different view.

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Philae's either screening Rosetta's calls or isn't home

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: Not Good Writing:

It is correct: the article doesn't say the probe couldn't do any work, just that it couldn't do that work from solar cells.

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Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: RE: It's April 1st somewhere.

what's the sun done to deserve that? Send it back to it's masters ....

It's already engulfed SCO once if you follow the corporate shenagans for long enough. After the "old" SCO sold its Unix biz it renamed itself to Tarantella which was then bought up by Sun who themselves were then bought up by Oracle.

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Fujitsu SPARCs up liquid cooling for smartphones

the spectacularly refined chap
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The type of coolant is the secret recipe.

What, you mean water or meths?

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the spectacularly refined chap
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Re: difference between this and heat pipe ?

I have no idea how this particular item works. It's conceivably the same technology but with separate pipes rather than concentric.

Heat pipes have been around a lot longer and have far greater application than their comparatively recent use in desktop computers. Yes, there are always two paths between the heat souce and the radiator, one for the vapour and one for the liquid. How those are arranged physically is irrelevant: you are confusing the packaging of a specific implementation with the general principle.

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