* Posts by Charles 9

4155 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

So: Will we get net neutrality? El Reg decodes FCC boss Tom Wheeler

Charles 9
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Re: eat this

Grant County, WA is a testbed community. It only has high-speed broadband because iFiber Communications chose to use that area to deploy an experimental fiber network. Most likely, they're trying something that may not pan out in a denser area; otherwise, they could've easily gone just a little bit west and deployed in the Seattle metropolitan area which happens to include tech-oriented Redmond.

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SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

Charles 9
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Re: In another 10 years

Maybe not with SD in its current physical dimensions, but perhaps some successor specification, thicker and perhaps a little larger to accommodate 3D Flash and slightly larger chips.

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Charles 9
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"It's a bad idea to use one of these cards by itself for storage."

Most savvy users realize this. The SD card is meant as a transport medium, not a storage medium, though one exception is phones and tablets, where Micro SD becomes a storage medium for noncritical or backup data.

In any event, the idea is the SD card is only used as a temporary hold for a recording/shooting session. In my case, when I get back to "base," one of the first things I do is take out the card and insert it into my laptop's SD slot, whereupon I offload the contents to a more-permanent storage device. I organize simply by dumping each session into a folder with the date on it. Once it's done and verified, I can slap the card back in the camera, wipe it, and be ready for the next session. And just in case one wears out, I keep a second one as a fallback. By the time it wears out, I'll have already bought a replacement.

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Charles 9
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Re: Waterproof...

I say with 3D flash on the cards, there's a likelihood of SDXC hitting the 2TB capacity limit in a few years. At which point SD will need to figure out which letter to use next for the next capacity specification. And let's hope this time they settle for a less-encumbered filesystem (though for lack of ubiquitous alternatives, my money for now's on NTFS--any other format and Windows will need a filesystem driver).

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Samsung’s SUPER-speedy SSD is a real power-sipper

Charles 9
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Re: Surely about the same power usage as the previous gen?

Based on the stats and the article, it's somewhere in between "more performance for the same power consumption" and "the same performance for less power consumption". It has somewhat better performance than before while also using less power than its predecessor.

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Charles 9
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Re: Use of words

No, they got it right. They're saying it would take the reading of a total of 450MB of sequential data for the device to consume 1W of power and 250MB for writing. Meaning it's probably able to selectively power storage chips up and down as needed. A random operation would require more chips to be online at a time, reducing the power efficiency somewhat, but perhaps you get the picture now.

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Charles 9
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Re: And again !!!

It's not like Samsung isn't prepping something for phone applications. I believe that's where their 3D Flash efforts will end up. It may not be uber-fast, but it will be compact.

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By the power of Xbox, WE HAVE THE POWER! - Leakers publish One's SDK

Charles 9
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Re: Numpty Scrub

"When I bought my current 760GTX 18odd months ago it was over £300, now they retail for £200 (for the 4GB version). Since the AC I originally trolled replied to mentioned "the next 8 years" of the PS4 pwning the XBox One because of a better GPU, I'm pretty sure that less than 8 years will be required to be able to build a gaming PC using a 980GTX (or equivalent) for $400; $100 for the GPU, $200 for the CPU, mobo, RAM and case, and $100 for the Windows license."

But by then the PS4 will ALSO cost much less. PS3's started at $500 and are now around $200 depending on the model. Similarly, a PS4 will always undercut the PC, meaning my statement still stands. A $400 budget today would reduce to $200 in four years time, and even today a $200 budget is tricky just to get a decent mobo/CPU/RAM combo, let alone the video card (and I've checked).

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Charles 9
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"At the very outside surely it would be possible to have the thing boot into "developer mode" or similar where online services are restricted, but you can run whatever code you like with the proviso that this is unsupported and you're on your own if you break it. Hell, even then it wouldn't be so hard to keep a "restore to factory settings" partition hidden away somewhere so you can at least put it back the way it came out of the box if you _do_ balls it up somehow."

As the OtherOS fiasco showed, give a hacker just an inch, they'll use that inch to wedge the gates wide open. ANY form of "offline mode" will be exploited, hacked, and so on to MAKE it online-capable again. And given that someone was willing to employ over $200K worth of hardware to attack the Trusted Platform Module, all it would take is ONE person with that kind of hardware and time on his hands to ruin the parade for everyone. So the only way to keep the walled garden relatively tight is to construct is solid, with no portals whatsoever.

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Charles 9
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Re: All you need to know is just one click away

OK...now pull all that off from scratch...on a $400 budget.

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Charles 9
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Re: Microsoft already has the console specific keys as they are generated during manufacturing.

Either way. Point is the private key never leaves the console (and more than likely never leaves the blackbox unit it's stored--it's basically like execute-only memory).

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Charles 9
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Point remains. It's still well-known, even if it's proprietary, compared to say a reverse-spun DVD or the like. This virtual hard drive format is probably an encrypted version of the Virtual Hard Disk used in Virtual PC.

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Charles 9
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EXCEPT for the proprietary formats. At lest Win8 uses well-known filesystems like NTFS. Credits to milos all those virtual hard drives are encrypted with an internal private key, though. Pretty sure one of the first things the console does when it goes online is to pass along its public key to Microsoft so as to facilitate secure downloads.

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Hey, bacteria: Resistance is FUTILE – boffins grow new super-antibiotic

Charles 9
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I wish to elaborate some of the details overlooked in the writeup:

THE GOOD:

The antibiotic works in a novel way by bonding not to proteins but to lipids: namely, two lipids vital to building bacterial cell walls. This is the mechanism that makes it so resistance-resistant, as cell walls are much more complex things. Trying to evolve around it is much more likely to result in side effects resulting in evolutionary dead ends. So a bacterium that tries to work around it is pretty likely to die in the attempt. Furthermore, this represents a potential new branch of antibiotic research, meaning this may well be only the beginning. It is also a vindication of the technique used to culture the substance: one that requires the specific envorinmental conditions present in soil as opposed to a culture.

THE BAD:

This only works on Gram-positive bacteria. The outer membrane that makes Gram-negative bacteria not accept the violet Gram stain also allows it to repel teixobactin. While staph is Gram-positive, E.coli and salmonella are Gram-negative.

THE UGLY:

While this new novel substance seems safe to mammallian cells, human tests are still some time off. Furthermore, there is still no guarantee some mutation down the road can't beat the odds and produce a teixobactin-immune cell wall that is still viable. There is also the question of whether or not this can be defended by other bacterial defenses such as biofilms (which have become notable as being able to survive exposure to concentrated bleach and even gasses).

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Charles 9
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Re: @Vic (was: The storage is there, as advertised.)

Plus, in the context I was describing (~1990), computers were expected to have VGA-compatible video hardware installed to be practical (either to use Windows 3 or for games). This pretty much means the video hardware is safely assumed to be present, which means the BIOS mapped the video memory and made the stuff above 0xA0000 reserved. Until the publication of the DPMI and the arrival of protected-mode DOS extenders in the early 90's, there was no practical way around the limitation. Thus all the HIMEM juggling I distinctly remember back then. How many of us remember trying to load up a DOS game and getting rejected with a "Not enough memory" error? How many remember all those READMEs and addenda that noted you may need to juggle with your system settings to get software to work?

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Charles 9
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Re: The storage is there, as advertised.

"Most likely, the people pushing this lawsuit, including their lawyers, are too young to remember floppy disks, let alone personal computers where "mass storage" consisted entirely of floppy disks, with no hard drive at all."

IIRC, floppy disks weren't considered "mass storage," as in storage of large amounts (a mass) of data, and the title didn't catch on until the first hard disk capable of holding several floppies worth of data at once.

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Charles 9
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Re: Would a car buyer complain about the space the engine takes up?

Then how about this? The interior of the car has 10 m^3, but the seats and dash occupy 4-5 m^3 of it. At some point, this smacks of "half the truth, twice the lie." That's why court testimony and such always demands "the whole truth." Why shouldn't we demand the same of advertisements? And while we're at it, demand that all testimonials espouse typical rather than atypical results.

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Charles 9
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Re: Yeah, yeah, whatever!

That wasn't Apple's fault. Toshiba stopped manufacturing the drives. Anyway, flash capacity is catching up. 128GB MicroSDs are now available (and can be used in SDXC-ready devices like the S4, S5, etc.) and 256GB should show up this year.

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Charles 9
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Re: The storage is there, as advertised.

"The only problem is that the average user has zero clue how the system works. The OS takes up storage space. These things don't exist in a vacuum. Remember swapping boot/program/data floppies on single floppy MS-DOS systems with only 256K bytes of RAM?"

MY early PC days were all about fighting with HIMEM and XMS drivers to stuff as much necessary cruft (like CD drivers and MSCDEX) out of the base 640K so as to be able to run those games with tight memory requirements (this was back in 1990, before Microsoft opened up DPMI allowing third-party extenders to remove this obstacle).

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Charles 9
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"And besides, you can buy up tp 20GB of storage on iCloud for $0.99 a month.... That's 99 CENTS!!"

That's PER MONTH, not ONCE. Furthermore, this necessitates paying for Internet access to reach the iCloud, not to mention submitting all the data you upload to it to Apple's scrutiny.

Sorry, but I prefer my storage to be always available and removable...while still able to charge the phone (so forget USB On-The-Go, which disables using the port for charging). That leaves only two viable candidates, and of the two, only a local SD card slot doesn't require additional accessories apart from the card itself.

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Charles 9
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Re: The storage is there, as advertised.

They could only get away with it because the Amiga's floppy controller was much more programmable. I also recall custom formats had a problem down the road when it came to reliability.

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Charles 9
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Re: CRT screen sizes and viewing area

Yeah, but sometimes that backfires. A natural response to your slogan would be, "But where's the beef?"

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Charles 9
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Still there, especially at the cheap end of the laptop spectrum.

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Charles 9
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I suspect it's more to do with Australia's advertising laws which place a little more emphasis on telling "the whole truth". Australia can smack down and fine a firm whose ads cross the line into "deceptive".

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Charles 9
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The counter would be, "You're doing it wrong."

Apps installed by the user SHOULD go into the user space, NOT the OS space (which should be reserved for system apps and their updates).

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Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Charles 9
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Re: Big time fail for Telcos?

"Monopolies live in their own world where they expect customers to pay whatever they want to charge. Seems that they have forgot about how a customer sees it."

Thing is, when the monopoly is in a highly-active industry (like in mobile communications—you want to tell the boss you're no longer on call and get laid off and become unhirable?), it's not just a monoply but a captive market. You have what everyone needs but no one else can provide. Like refreshments at a closed venue. You can try to go without, but sooner or later hunger or thirst gets the better of most people, so venues can charge a mint and no one can complain.

The big IF for the cellcos is if mobile communications at this stage of the game really is a captive market or is the world at large ready to find some other way to communicate, especially in a highly-mobile, frequently-wireless society. One thing the cellcos have on their side is a high barrier of entry for alternatives, given the inherently-limited nature of radio spectrum.

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Charles 9
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Re: Reason for M&A have nothing to do with cost savings

"I'm intrigued by this idea. Where do you think that the customers that a fragmented industry "can't keep" go?"

Never forget. There's always "AWAY." An unsustainable market can simply disappear, much as buggy whips and other obsolete tech. It can be a crash, or more likely a long death spiral as macroeconomic effects reduce cell phone tech back to an elite niche. LTE's already being deployed, so the costs are sunk. It's sink-or-swim time. So put it this way, if it's between going to the big telcos and simply disappearing, which would you prefer?

You see, this is the endgame for capitalism. Sooner or later, you end up with a winner.

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Charles 9
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Re: Reason for M&A have nothing to do with cost savings

But being unable to raise rates (due to the price war) means they can't plunk down for that much-needed infrastructure. There's a risk of everything hitting the wall: too expensive to keep customers, yet not expensive enough to get the revenues you need to invest in improving yourself. When an industry hits this kind of wall, M&A is the only way out.

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Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Charles 9
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Re: In the UK

Not a football (kind irrelevant). A hot potato. And it's like that in the US, too. It's one reason Medicare and Medicaid are regarded as third rails (as in touch it and kiss your career goodbye). It doesn't help that seniors are historically the most active voting bloc (and growing).

So you end up in a no-win situation. Something has to be done, but too much is sunk into the status quo to let anything be changed much. And since medicine is an existential business (because we values our lives more than anything), it's also too emotional a topic to discuss rationally. Anyone who tries gets a loved one thrown into the mix. That's how it was with the ACA debate ("The Enemy is going to leave your Grandma to DIE!" is not far from actual ads plastered during the debate). A system everyone can live with simply does not exist. We'd have an easier time trying to find an absolute universal truth.

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Charles 9
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Re: A different model …

But if the NDA covers up a criminal act and you reveal this to law enforcement, you cannot be held liable for breaking the NDA (indeed, using the NDA to cover up the idea you didn't blab could get you a rap for aiding and abetting). Remember, no one is above the law. Furthermore, some rights are inaliable and cannot be taken away by any instrument except the government itself. I'm pretty sure one of them one of them is the redressing of grievances: particularly if said grievance is an illegal act (and acts of medical malpractice, which can result in permanent or even fatal injuries, can easily cross into criminal negligence).

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Charles 9
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Re: Kick the can down the road ...

"The Republicans are engaged in an internal power struggle reminiscent of the Night of the Long Knives. The ACA is a prime target."

There's a big stumbling block, though: the Democratic president with the power to veto any legislation they pass up to him. Odds are anything that de-powers the ACA will turn even a must-pass bill into a must-veto, and the Republicans don't have enough hands to override his veto.

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Charles 9
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Re: A different model....

But can anyone argue that the arbitration clause is unenforceable due to the idea a non-government contract cannot take fundamental rights (like the right to sue for damages) away?

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Charles 9
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Re: A different model....

A lot of the "just because" is due to the risk of medical malpractice suits. Thus the term "defensive medicine." How does Kaiser work around that problem, which can often result by accident?

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Charles 9
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Re: France

"If so then the "something wrong with them" that you mention is almost entirely hypochondria."

What about the other way around? I thought one of the reasons some medical establishments suggest seeing a doctor on a periodic basis regardless of symptoms was to find those dangerous conditions that are best caught in the asymptomatic phase (because by the time symptoms actually appear, it may be much harder to treat--or even too late).

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Charles 9
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Re: Let me explain ...

But that's also part of the problem. Big Pharma is only interested in repeat business, so they'll never research CURES...only treatment regimens that cost a fortune AND have to be bought every so often or you DIE. When was the last time a long-term solution like a permanent vaccine was developed?

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Charles 9
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Re: So remind me again

Sports injuries are one reason why top-class athletes get paid well. Athletes run the risk of overexerting and injuring themselves: both acutely (torn ACL) and chronically (concussions). Once they're too beat up to continue, what they earned in their career may be needed to help maintain themselves in later years. As for injuries during their career, that's usually paid by their team as an investment in returns at ticket booths and media contracts.

When it comes to non-athletes, one should consider that physical therapy in the like can result in a return for the government by returning an injured person back into the workforce (thus the tax rolls) and so on, not to mention knock-on effect if the individual is a breadwinner.

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Charles 9
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Re: So remind me again

Because anorexia and emaciation (among other things) have problems of their own separate from obesity. Furthermore, one would think the obese would purchase and consume more goods, thus they DO pay more in associated taxes.

For some reason, Americans are VERY averse to specifically taxing vices. If foods were taxed based on its value to a healthy person, this could at least allow for some degree of correction, both in terms of reconsideration and in terms of increased revenues to handle increased catastrophic care.

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Charles 9
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I have one critical question about the Singapore scenario. Could what they do be realistically possible in a country that isn't a tiny little speck in Southeast Asia? Can geography snag this plan? Or perhaps cultural makeup or history (this is one thing that snags the Americans; the Red Scare has made many older Americans afraid of the S-word, and the can-do self-sufficient attitude from WW2 preceding didn't help matters. There are people who would willingly tell an infirm person, "Go somewhere and DIE" and do so with a clear moral conscience.

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Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9

All you had to do was say, "Yes, it is pride."

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FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless

Charles 9
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Key words being "UP TO". I'll believe it when their claims say "starting at" instead.

Remember, once upon a time, 4G was supposed to be "starting at 100Mbit/sec" for mobile applications. The only tech capable of doing that at the time was LTE Advanced, which was still a few years out (and even now isn't quite ready--infrastructure-wise, it's a smallish investment vs. LTE itself, but there's the matter of the phones).

And splitting cells? That's a MAJOR infrastructure investment at a time when cellcos are trying to avoid it, having just done the LTE rollout. Good luck convincing them to perform ANOTHER rollout that may not pay off because some new innovation may come along that require even more infrastructure. At this pointk, cellco purses are tight.

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Charles 9
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Re: “help get around the technological and practical obstacles”

"Millimeter waves are good at seeing through clothes and walls though......"

At centimeter-range. I don't know what happens when you extend the range to kilometers...

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Charles 9
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Re: "Regulators want to sell as much spectrum..."

Except some of the allocations aren't sold but reserved. For example, the US can't use the 1800Mhz bands (LTE band 3 among other things) because it was claimed decades prior...by the military. So there's no way to clear up the space without putting down big-time bucks to test and deploy replacement tech in a time when military budgets are under increasing scrutiny.

PS. The carriers are not stupid. They don't want to be under the government's eye, so none of them will accept no less than a complete sale. So it becomes an impasse.

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US watchdog boss pencils in net neutrality February showdown – report

Charles 9
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I'd have thought that would be countered with, "We know some federal judges.."

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Charles 9
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Re: A nice way of putting it..

Because it was the only way for those places to get wired at all. If they hadn't agreed to those terms, the lack of cable would've been deal-breakers to get people to move out there. When the only way you can stay alive is to make a deal with the devil...

Also, don't forget that the US is a BIG country. No big country I know has managed to get universal high-speed access down because geography raises the costs. Laying down high-speed line from New York to Los Angeles, across two mountains, and any number of rivers including the Mississippi, isn't going to be cheap.

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Magic streaming beans? Sure, have my cow - music biz

Charles 9
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Metered billing simply means data gets budgeted, plus the limits are getting stretched due to consumer demand. In any event, downloading an album only occurs ONCE usually.

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German minister photo fingerprint 'theft' seemed far too EASY, wail securobods

Charles 9
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Re: Hey dude, hand me the finger cutter......

So in other words, "Goodbye. Game Over. Better Luck Next Life"? Because some people really ARE that bad. There's also the matter of information overload, since just about every site under the Sun demands a unique account with them, and SOP is to use a different password with each one. A password manager can be subverted or you just forget the password to the password manager.

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Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons

Charles 9
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Re: In Asimov's I Robot books...

As I recall, the cities in those books has also megasized in to arcologies, too. In these kinds of self-contained environments, every trip was essentially short-distance.

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Online armour: Duncan Campbell's tech chief on anonymity 101

Charles 9
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Re: I disagree.

"Here's the real crux, security is not sexy to the general populace, it's a matter of need, but it's implementation is largely done by people with knowledge. Look at something as common as TLS and the now defunct SSL. To a general user, this just "works", but have you actually ever setup a CA and pushed that out to more than 1 or systems? It's an effort."

More than that. It's a matter of TRUST. SSL and TLS both depend on certificates, which in the general use case have to rely on Certificate Authorities. Which means essentially Alice and Bob have to trust Trent. Thing is, sometimes Trent is really Mallory (or more often Gene), so you're back into DTA mode.

Making SSL/TLS "just work" requires a level of trust that in today's world could be considered ill-placed. And people are getting sick and tired of all the hoop-jumping. Go back to the front door. A burglar can just kick the door down, but trying to guard against it is too much hassle for the ordinary person to deal with. Yet people complain about break-ins at the same time, which means customers are demanding the impossible: something that's too easy to break and yet too tough to go through everyday.

Or in a nutshell, "Not Enough is Too Much."

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MasterCard adds fingerprint scanner to credit cards for spending sans the PIN

Charles 9
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You'd be surprised. Not far from where I live, someone got bumped off in broad daylight in a C-store in full view of the camera over 89 cents. As I recall, the case is still open.

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Armouring up online: Duncan Campbell's chief techie talks crypto with El Reg

Charles 9
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"If you _know_ you've got no security, then you're naturally careful about what you store. If you believe you're secure, then you feel confident storing material that otherwise you might not."

Like I said, if you have NO CHOICE but to store it, then you're basically SOL either way. In which case, it's best to have the security blanket than drive yourself insane with paranoia. Remember, this is as much about psychology as it is security (that's why ease of use and security can be on opposite ends of the same scale).

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