70 posts • joined Friday 20th March 2009 08:23 GMT
Use a router
Even a cheap home router can be set to not pass FTP traffic. When access is needed then log in to the router to enable the traffic then disable it afterwards. For older kit where updates are no longer readily available or where taking the device offline would cause too much disruption using a router to filter the traffic is a cheap fix (much less than £100 per device to be secured)
The publisher demands $$ for each ebook sold
The publisher will allow Amazon (or Apple or any other eBook store) to sell eBooks in exchange for a fee for each eBook sold. If Amazon sells the eBook to the public for less that it costs them from the publisher then they will make a loss on the book. (This is usually done to advertise other products and overall Amazon will make a profit.)
The incremental cost of a eBook is effectively zero but there are fixed costs in the production of a eBook and the author and publisher expect to make money otherwise there is no point in writing.
For people just writing for their own pleasure there are outlets such as Storiesonline.net but most of the stories there are not as well polished as the better commercial stories.
The big firms are also disliked by many of their customers
Anyone who has been burned by new releases of Oracle software not supporting all the features of previous versions or by bugs that take ages to fix (if they ever are) or by prices that are excessive is unlikely to be a fan of Oracle. When a reasonably priced alternative becomes available then they are likely to want to ditch Oracle as soon as practical. (SAP probably has the same problems but I never used SAP but I was an Oracle DBA and systems admin for years.)
For a new company, there is probably NO reason to use Oracle or SAP. Below the multithousand employee level, much cheaper products from other companies are likely to be adequate and with far lower staff overhead requirements. (For an example of their high prices - the list price for Oracle standard edition database running on a six core Xeon CPU is $52500 to buy and $11550 per year in maintenance and this is only for the database - no applications. )
Red Giant phase
In the last stages of a low mass star (like the sun), it will become a red giant before it collapses into a white dwarf. During this phase there will be a lot of solar atmosphere out to a distance similiar to earths orbit.
For asteroids inside this gas cloud, there will be friction leading to a loss of kinetic energy. This might be sufficient to cause them to lose enough energy to spiral in to the star.
Amazon and Google NEED special hardware
With the size of their data centres, power efficiency is critical. The use of tailored hardware with lower power drain makes a BIG difference in the power bill and the amount of equipment that can be in a single data centre when the centres are as large as Google's. Also Google's equipment is designed to be capable of operating at higher than normal server room temperatures to reduce the cooling equipment power drain.
(By the use of these measures Google manages a power overhead of about 12% versus the industry average of 100%.)
Bombs get the plods attention
Use an explosive and half the police in the county turn up. Use a fake GSM base station and by the time that the police realise what was done and send someone to investigate, months could have elapsed.
(Drive into neighbourhood, activate fake base station, send OFF commands, deactivate base station, drive away. Probable time under 10 minutes - chance of detection near zero.)
Still caused by greed
The management were too interested in profit to see the risks. If they had kept to 80% loans then they would not have gone bust - it was the 90% and higher loan to value mortgages that caused the problem. Of course if they had stayed with 80% LTV they would not have made as much profit in the good years and would have had smaller pay packets.
Old data can be VERY important
Seismology records from early oil exploration when reprocessed with modern computers can lead to the discovery of additional oil reserves or hidden earthquake fault lines.
With current LTO 6 tape prices of about $93/tape and a 2.5TB capacity, the cost per TB per year would amount to around $50. (Assumptions - tape replacement cycle 5 years, cost of automated tape library less than $125/tape, tape library replaced with the tapes (no trade in value), cost of automated stager to newer tape less than $15 per tape copied to new media.)
For a large database of 100PB, this amounts to $500,000 per year which is probably lost in the noise of any organisation large enough to have a 100PB archive.
The cost of separating the wanted old data from the dross is probably so much higher than the cost of keeping it all that the best approach will often be to keep all the data.
On a much smaller scale - where I used to work, the fact that I was a confirmed cynic and digital pack rat saved the company a lot of money when a private backup copy that I had kept of an old project turned out to be the only one left when a modification was needed. Getting rid of old data can be an expensive mistake.
Rough calculation on RAW storage costs
For a production to be considered 4k according to the Digital Cinema Initiatives consortium, digital camera shots should be in 7680x4320 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution for details). Assuming high dynamic range sensors, more than 8 bits are needed per pixel so for ease of storage 16 bits/pixel is likely to be used. This requires just over 66 million bytes/frame. At 60 frames/sec this works out to slightly over 14 terabytes per camera hour. As multiple camera are used in production and multiple takes for many scenes, it is probably reasonable to assume in the order of 50 camera hours of footage kept for each production for a total of slightly over 712 terabytes. As the cost of production is so high, at least 3 copies of the footage need to be kept which increases the storage requirement to about 2150 terabytes. At current disk storage costs of about £50 per terabyte this amounts to about £100K and an ongoing cost of about £40K per year copying the data to newer disks as disks have a limited lifespan.
(Above calculations assume that the cameras have a single sensor with RGB filtering as in domestic cameras - if they use 3 sensors (1 per colour) then the above requirements are tripled.)
The cost of the active storage is much higher because of the bandwidth requirements, but the active storage can be reused for the next production.
Cheap basic switches needed
To drive 10GbE adoption, cheap basic switches are needed - the 10GbE equivalent of the 8 port 1GbE switches that can be picked up for under £50. For small outfits, managed switches are unwanted extra expense. (How many full featured managed switches are used as dumb switches throughout IT.)
To kickstart 10GbE, 8 port switches should be under £1000 and the NICs should be under £100 (10GBASE-T) with the switch ports being able 10 handle 10GbE and 1GbE (autoswitching). If and when these prices become available then 10GbE will be used as a matter of course.
(There are far more small companies than large ones and for a company on one site with fewer than 50 employees (>>90%) managed switches are not needed.)
Sacrifice some weight
As a workaround for the moment why do Boeing not use a NiMH (or even lead-acid) battery stack in the cargo bay cabled to the position occupied by the Lithium battery. It would increase the weight of the plane by a couple of hundred pounds and possibly reduce the number of cargo containers that could be carried by 1 but would allow the planes to continue flying while a permanent fix was being designed and implemented.
DO NOT BUY - Unavoidable limited life
An analysis by Ifixit has shown that the Surface Pro is effectively unrepairable. It has 2 fans inside and when one of them fails the unit is no longer usable.
Even an Ipad with a failed battery can still be used tethered to a power supply but a Surface Pro with a failed fan is a useless lump.
Fans have a limited life - they must be replaceable in any sane computer design.
The keyboard on the teletype ASR 33 must rate highly amongst the "Worst keyboards of all time list" . Forget RSI - it was more like torn ligaments from the force needed to operate the keys. It was so bad that I much preferred the membrane keyboard on the ZX-81 or the dead flesh keyboard of the Spectrum.
Boot from a CD on a diskless system
If you need a secure setup then keep the data on an external disk or usb stick that is only accessed by a diskless isolated computer that boots from a Linux Live CD. If that data has to be sent to another party then it is encrypted and the encrypted copy put onto a USB stick that is taken to an internet connected computer to be sent. It does not matter if the connected computer is compromised as it never sees unencrypted data. For receiving data, the same procedure is followed in reverse. Malware that is put onto the USB stick by the connected computer does not matter as it would just be ignored by the Linux OS (no autorun on most Live CDs).
(The diskless system must complete booting before the data disk is connected to ensure that there can be no persistent malware to upset the Linux OS.)
If this is done then only physical access, concealed camera or RF sniffing will reveal the data.
(For the diskless computer go to a shop that you have not used before and buy a display model - the chance of it having malware targeted at you and able to get round a Linux OS is effectively zero.)
Re: Crapware Payload
Any user of Oracle products is used to their practices. There are times that they make CA seem good.
Heat shield technology is old. Anyone can get details of the Apollo and earlier spacecraft with their ablative heat shields. It is also not difficult to test a heat shield - put one in front of a suitably sized rocket exhaust. Reusable heat shields (as on the shuttle) are more difficult but are not needed for a missile.
Re: twitter.fr vs Twitter Inc
What the french courts could do is sieze the twitter.fr domain name (this IS in french jurisdiction) and possibly force French ISPs to redirect twitter.anything to a null placeholder.
Compressed air tank ?
Using an air tank that can be compressed (rather than helium) would allow for a larger weight change with less chance of losing expensive helium.
Re: Nice work
All that is needed is a one way hash of the internal card number, the PIN and the current time - even MD5 would suffice. Without knowing the internal card number or the PIN there is only 1 chance in 999999 of getting the right value. Note the card does NOT need to know the correct PIN so there will be no indication to an attacker that the wrong PIN has been entered.
Having once been a customer of Comet and having had to deal with their so called Customer Service - this closure is long overdue.
Re: Key Question Remains Unanswered
Orphan applications are a major reason for not upgrading. Many organisations have bits of software for which the sources are no longer available or which rely on features that are no longer supported. (In some cases the software came from a now defunct company, in other cases the employees that developed the application have left.)
If the functions performed by these bits of software are important then the organisation has to decide which is better, running an old system or paying out for the software to be re-written to run on a new system. In many cases the decision will be to avoid the expenditure on a re-write unless it becomes unavoidable.
(In some cases with the legal tangles with copyrights and software patents, rewriting an application that came from a defunct company could be a legal minefield.)
Re: Crimes need investigation
The vast majority of crimes have a maximum term after which they can no longer be prosecuted - a few serious crimes like murder do not have a time limit set by the statute of limitations. As the crimes were minor - unauthorized use of a computer and invasion of privacy - one wonders why the police even bothered to spend more than one or two mandays on the case. If they had caught the person, it would have not have been surprising for the sentence to only be probation or community service. (About the same as for putting graffiti onto a wall.)
Climategate did do a good jobs of exposing a large number of flaws in the AGW arguments and if a trial had occurred then there would have been a good chance that a jury would have found NOT GUILTY irrespective of any evidence. (Especially if the defence lawyer pointed out how much the AGW theorists have cost the average person in higher fuel bills)
What would be lovely to have would be a ruling under the EU recycling directive that mandated that all IT (and phone) equipment batteries had to be user replaceable for the equipment to be saleable in the EU.
Just imagine the howls from Apple if users were able to open their devices.
Redirect facebook to 127.0.0.1
If you want to stop Facebook dead in its tracks - edit the hosts file (needs root access on linux or android, admin user on windows) and add lines like
(do this for all facebook web addresses that you want to block)
This will prevent any application on the device connecting to facebook.
In one of my jobs I had an Excel spreadsheet that was a container for a VBA application. It took a series of files in one directory and encrypted them using the command line version of PGP. How would such an application run with this security product.
A lot of commercial applications access things in other machines (e.g. a payroll application on a PC will access the main payroll files on a server). Unless a huge amount of rules get written to cope with each exception then the product will be unusable. Note also that some applications will only access some files very rarely (eg at year end or when an exception flag is triggered) so having a learning mode in the VM will not suffice.
If a cheap (£119 on ebay - inc P&P) ZTPAD android tablet can include ethernet (using a passive dongle included in the price) then there is no good reason for Apple to not include it in their much more expensive kit.
(The ZTPAD specs Hardware CPU: Cortex A9 processor, RAM: 1GB, Storage: 8GB NAND Flash (6GB available to use), Display: 10" LCD, 1024x600 pixels, Capacitive MultiTouch Touchscreen, Built In Camera, GPS, Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, HDMI out, USB port, Micro SD slot, Ethernet via included passive dongle.
Software: Android 4.0 Mobile Operating System with Android Marketplace
Battery: Li-on rechargeable battery (4~5 hours battery life)
The ZTPAD ethernet uses a micro-USB type connector on the tablet and the passive dongle is just a very short cable with the micro-USB plug on one end and a RJ45 socket at the other)
Obviously Apple are too stupid to use a map
Or they made the mistake of asking Siri.
Flash DOES have minimum size limits
Just like previous non-volatile memory systems ferrite core and plated wire, there is a minimum size limit for the cells in flash memory. (In this case as smaller cells have an unacceptably low write endurance.)
The competitor designs for NVRAM (eg phase change) do not reach their minimum size point until much smaller than the minimum size for a usable flash memory. When their production cost ($/GB) reduces below the cost of flash memory then the industry will move to the newer technology.
Users will still see SSDs with the same external interface (SATA 2) so at the user level the change will be invisible except for longer lifetimes from the newer SSDs.
As the newer technologies do not need wear leveling or write amplification minimisation, the complex flash controllers such as Sandforce will no longer be needed and much simpler controllers can be used.
It is firms like Sandforce and Indilinx that will suffer a revenue hit with the new technology, most of the flash ecosystem will be unaffected.
Gamma ray burst ?
A gamma ray burst from the far side of the Milky Way could have done the job. As a GRB only lasts seconds, if it hit the day side of the earth it could have been completely missed by human observers.
(A nearby GRB would have been lethal but from the far side of the galaxy and with the dust and gas in the way the biological effects would have been minor.)
If the GPU has direct memory access to each VM then there is a gaping security hole - a corruption in one VM (software error or malware) could result in the corruption of other VMs. If the GPU does not have direct memory access then the performance is going to be crippled by the need for software to move the data in and out.
For Nvidia to have a bunch of Kepler chips with only 192 working cores instead of 1536 suggests that their yield problems are very bad (only 1/8th of the cores working).
Not that high power
A standard dual circuit 3 phase 4 conductor 400kV line as used in the main transmission lines in the UK can carry 1kA per conductor for a total power of over 6.7GW. The China link is high voltage but not very high power given the voltage.
The high voltage is probably to reduce the amount of aluminum (or copper) needed for the line (doubling the voltage halves the amount of conductor needed).
MLC can be used as SLC fairly easily
For 2 bit per cell MLC there are 4 voltage levels which correspond to bit values of 00,01,10,11.
If for example the voltage levels are in the same order then the lowest voltage corresponds to 00 and the highest voltage corresponds to 11. If the only values that are written to the array are 00 and 11 (lowest and highest voltages) then only 1 bit is being stored per cell. When the cell starts to wear out then on reading values 01 or 10 may be read instead of 00 or 11. This can be used to warn the controller that this block is starting to wear out and the data needs to be refreshed or copied to another block. Because there is a large margin between the valid states, the data is still readable when the cell starts to degrade without resorting to performance degrading ECC.
All that is needed for a controller to be able to use MLC memory as SLC is for the correspondance of voltage levels to bit values to be known (so that it only writes the highest and lowest values).
(If 01 is read then the data is 0, if 10 is read then the data is 1 in the above example.)
Visual Studio ?
The metro interface looks like it will be real fun for anyone trying to use a development environment like Microsoft's own Visual Studio.
What a load of rubbish - make WinME and Vista seem superb.
Add the lawyers
Put all the Lawyers on top of the pile first
Vodka is a more likely explanation
Russians have one of the highest alcohol consumptions per capita in the world. Someone making a mistake while drunk is a far more likely cause.
See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8343090/Russias-alcohol-and-tobacco-consumption-by-numbers.html for details of Russia's alcohol problem.
Idiots ignoring basic design rules
The problem with these systems is the idiots that connect them to the internet . Used as designed (NO INTERNET CONNECTION) PLCs with built in passwords are not a problem. (Earlier PLCs did not even have accounts and passwords as they were designed to be used only on well secured networks with no idiot users.)
If a connection has to be made (to satisfy some hare brained management decision) then it should be by a single - well hardened - Linux system to mitigate as far as possible the ill effects.
Use a gas intermediate coolant
The best way to avoid the sodium to water heat exchanger problems is not to have one. The primary coolant loop (through the reactor) is sodium. The secondary coolant loop that goes from the primary loop to the steam generator does NOT need to be sodium, it is possible to use an inert gas instead (eg argon). If this is done then the steam generating heat exchanger does not need to try to cope with a reactive pair of chemicals (sodium and water).
(Two coolant loops are used as the primary coolant loop through the reactor becomes radioactive over time and must not be allowed to contact the water/steam in the heat exchanger if a leak occurs.)
The critical bit of the design is that the reactor will be hundreds of feet underground - if there is a coolant circulation failure sufficient to cause a meltdown all the radioactive components are well away from the biosphere.
Also sodium cooled reactors are not as vunerable to overheating as water cooled reactors due to the large difference between the operating temperature (around 600C) and the boiling point of sodium (883C).
In the sodium cooled fast breeder reactor from which this design derives, thermal convection of the sodium is sufficient to maintain the reactor at a safe level even if the coolant pumps fail.
PSU efficiency can by very high - cheaply
A very simple design works well for smaller LED lamps. A mains rated capacitor in series with a bridge rectifier which feeds the LEDs. (For the UK 240v 50Hz mains, a 0.33 microfarad capacitor gives a current around 20 to 25 ma depending on the number of LEDs.)
This design is currently used in a number of the low wattage bulbs available on the UK market.
A dropper capacitor does not dissipate significient power and the poor power factor (high reactive component) does not matter for low power devices.
Plasma TV anyone
Hardly new tech - been used in plasma TVs for years.
A huge part of the electrical demand in US desert areas is air conditioning during the daytime. This demand drops considerably during the night. The solar generation matches this load profile quite well. The conventional generation is still needed but the daytime peak requirement will not be as high as before.
Given how (and where) they get used there is no point in even paying £20 for a set.
Both this review and the previous in ear headphone review should be redone with a maximum budget of £20 and an instruction to the reviewer that at least half the models should be under £15.
Cost and enviromental disruption
Cost - overhead cables use a free insulator (air) which also provides good cooling.
Underground cables need thick (expensive) insulation and because of the impaired cooling compared to overhead cables (with their bare conductors) need to have a greater conductor crosssection than overhead cables.
The civil engineering works needed for high power underground cables are far more extensive than for overground cables of the same capacity.
To replace a double circuit overhead line (3 conductors per side plus a single earthed wire) requires a set of trenches and access ways occupying a 17 metre wide corridor (or bigger) with wider sections where the jointing bays are. This causes far more environmental damage than a overhead line.
The reason for the spacing is to allow for heat removal, maintenance and to ensure that the failure of one circuit does not cause the failure of the other circuit.
Low power circuits (up to a few MW) do not have the same cooling problems so simple buried cables are suitable (but still cost far more than overhead cables).
For further details see the paper by the National Grid
The biggest problem with Freeview (and Freesat) is that the text service is pathetic compared to the Teletext on the analogue service. A large number of the pages are not available and the ones that are tend to be dumbed down so that they fit in a much smaller display area.
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