95 posts • joined 25 Jun 2009
It's for photos and videos
What we use it for, is for sending/receiving videos and pictures (especially now I have a grandson). The danger with iMessage is that you accidentally move away from wifi and it goes as an expensive MMS (not included with bundled SMS) - doubly a problem if you are abroad. The advantage over Skype is that Skype requires the other person to be logged on to Skype and to accept the inbound picture.
The other area it worked well in was in forwarding on a picture - it didn't need to re-upload it, saving data volumes.
However, now it's been bought by Facebook, I will be deleting my account and taking up with Telegram which is pretty much a drop in replacement with the added bonus of encryption options.
Actually my family's main use of WhatsApp is sending videos/pictures around instead of MMS - too many networks charge extra for these, when it should really just come out of the data bundle. But it's only marginal - slightly easier than emailing them, or sharing with dropbox.
Advantage over Skype is that I can send the picture when convenient to me, and it is received at the other end when convenient for them. With Skype, it wants to have a real time confirmation to send/receive the picture.
Looking at Telegram now to replace WhatsApp.
Re: Caching will only get you so far
Actually, recently switched to EE (because of the appalling Vodafone 3G coverage) and drove down the A1 from Harrogate to London streaming 6Music catchup on the iPlayer radio app on my phone. No problems.
Don't have DAB in the car. Not sure why I would want to?
Makes me think, rather than having a dedicated service like this Rara cloud service, why not just go for a in car system which offers internet and allows people to access what they like? As 4G rolls out, it will offer better service and coverage than 3G (or DAB, come to that), and more to the point, the IP backend connectivity will be more future proof than a DAB service which will just end up with a legacy installed base when we want to move to something better.
Concentrate the money on providing decent nationwide IP connectivity, and then you can dispose of these new "obsolescent" broadcast technologies that they are desperately trying to get people to adopt.
Analogue radio + IP looks like a much better way forward than trying to drag people kicking and screaming to DAB when they can't prise the Trannies out of their clenched fingers.
Meh, bog standard USB ports (you know, the sort that comes on PCs), are the real standard. You plug your cable into the charger that outputs to a standard USB port (and not one of these B, C, micro or whatever interfaces) and you are laughing.
The last thing I want is a proliferation of chargers that end up in a non-standard male connector. If all chargers had a female USB A socket on, then there would be less waste of charger bricks, and it would be a lot easier when you go abroad.
At the moment I can plug a lightning connector into the charger that came with the old Dock connector for my iPhone 3G, or into the charger that came with my wife's nook, the USB output of my Duracell battery charger (to run from AA batteries), the USB output that came with my car charger, or the USB output of my BioLite stove (and charge off twigs and wood). I can also plug the uUSB cable for the Nook into the USB output of my iPhone charger.
There is a standard connector, and it is USB A - it is what is on the other end of all the sync data cables. This allows you to dispose of the requirement for multiple differing switched mode power supplies.
The interesting 4g...
...for rural areas will come when the 8/900MHz LTE starts rolling out. This will have far better penetration of buildings, so better for covering large areas.
Less important in urban areas as bottleneck more likely to be number of handsets per cell than strength of signal
Compared to what?
I've heard of companies which aim to ditch the bottom 5% of employees. The problem comes if the bottom 5% of your employees are better than the best you can attract to new positions!
This also assumes that there is no benefit to being familiar with the company practices and culture. Mind you, at companies like these, I can see why that might be the case.
Gchq has 3 disclosed locations?
That must mean that GCHQ Scarborough must be über secret then. Just as well there are no road signs in case you miss the turning. Oh wait,
http://goo.gl/maps/gSj7d - don't go to Streetview
Re: @itzman solar comment
As solar is often used locally and generated locally, it doesn't appear on the gridwatch stats - it can only be determined in arrears when people report their generation stats.
There is ~1.5GWp installed on domestic and business premises according to https://www.renewablesandchp.ofgem.gov.uk
This is electricity that won't go anywhere near the metering that is reported on by NETA (source for data on gridwatch). It is produced onsite and used onsite (or in near vicinity).
My panels produced 20KWh today in North Yorkshire. Whilst that is insignificant, multiplied by the 400,000 installations, it begins to add up. With a demand today of ~30GW, solar is probably in the region of 3% or so, which isn't including the output of the solar farms, who won't be running on FIT.
So should be worth mentioning, and there are an awful lot of roofs left in the country. Why don't all warehouses cover their roofs with them?
I'm not slacking off...
My code's compiling!
Of course there was someone in...
Their spacesuit has a hole in it.
It's like waiting in your pants in your hotel room for the trouser delivery service to provide replacement pair after splitting the seat. You ain't going anywhere. It sucks to be David Bannister.
The rise and fall of sea level
There was an interesting article in New Scientist <http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829151.900-where-melting-ice-means-retreating-seas.html> which detailed the effect due to local gravity from the ice mass.
Basically, the large mass of ice attracts water to it, so the water piles up against the ice sheet flanks. If the ice melts, this mass is removed, and so this attractive force disappears, and the water slumps back. Thus, around the melted ice cap, the sea level can actually fall.
As we are talking about water, this change in level will happen very rapidly. People have been aware of land rebounding from under the weight of icecaps (still happening today from the last ice age), but that happens on a much longer time scale.
Of course, the water that leaves the areas around the ice caps has to go somewhere, so other areas will experience much greater sea level rises than suggested by the change in mean sea level. It also makes a difference which ice cap melts first...
As with so much of this area, it is far more complex than you would initially expect.
Re: When I were a lad.
If your school had a proxy server when you "were a lad", then you clearly still are!
Eee, youngsters today, thinking that schools had access to t'web. I remember the joys of ascii porn being passed around on fanfold paper round back of t'bikesheds.
You were lucky! We had to get our porn on punchcards, line them up and then project light through them onto t' darkened walls of coal celler where we 'ad our lessons...
I'm impressed! Throwing ancient computer hardware from a moving plane at thousands of feet and they land within feet of each other! And that includes one which has its parachute deployed, thus varying its descent rate! I'm truly impressed at their ballistics skills.
Far too important…
Always makes me laugh when someone phones up:
"Would you like to save money on your broadband?"
"Don't be silly, it's far too important to piss about with cut price services. Last thing I want is a cheap service. What I want is a decent service. I'll stick with what I have"
Re: Sort of agree
"my son can't buy anything without entering my pin, even for inapp stuff."
Why on earth would you be giving your son your PIN to enter? Surely that defeats the point? And I would have thought you would want to prevent inappropriate stuff anyway, as it is, like, inappropriate.....
Re: Some of the stuff I find handy...
"* When ordering a Dell PowerEdge server, don't forget to buy the Enterprise DRAC and get it wired up. Provides a Web interface for the status of the machine, virtual media (yes, another way to install the OS without needing PXE boot) and, most importantly, a VNC terminal session to the main hardware (right from power up, BIOS, grub and the OS!)."
Actually, since we are talking Linux here, the iDRAC express (the standard one) will allow you to set it up so that it gives you BIOS, Grub and the OS via the serial console. A pig to set up, but once done allows you full access to the hardware without having to pay the extra for the Enterprise licence....
Won't work for Windows though...
More like 2G to 4G
Following the OFCOM spectrum auction, I think 4G will have a much bigger impact than people are expecting. O2 has taken on a commitment to give 98% indoor coverage by 2017. Never mind the increased speeds, the increased coverage is looking much more interesting.
The biggest problem with 3G is its non-availability over so much of the country more than a decade after the 3G auction. 4G looks like it might finally give a decent communications network.
Re: Silver Linings
They should have read their old article about Peter Cochrane http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/22/peter_cochrane_profile/
who suggested BT should be mining their copper decades ago....
Re: Uh, JaitcH (was: Americans use such self-explanetory language ... once you learn the vocabulary)
"twenty foot walls around their grounds"
Surely that's more of an easy hurdling course? Not really an obstacle as such....
I would have thought that one twenty-foot wall would have been more of a protection
Re: @AC: The only reason anyone is angry at Bob...
I was going to reply to this comment, but unfortunately my outsourced Chinese posting avatar is currently undergoing breathing difficulties due to the smog. Normal service will be resumed when circumstances permit. Thank you for your understanding.
1920x10280? That's one heck of a tall screen!
Re: 20th Century connectivity
Silly me, I thought this was about *mobile* connectivity!
I don't give a toss about where the majority of people live - I live in one place but travel all around, and I suspect that they do to. I want to have decent coverage when I am out and about, and it might me on motorways or train lines passing through areas where no-one lives, but lots of people pass through.
Or it might be on a walk in the country around a reservoir (again, minimal resident population, but on New Years Day, the world and their dog seemed to be there as well).
The biggest disservice Ofcom ever did was to block roaming deals in the UK. If I go to France, my phone picks up whatever network seems to be the strongest. My wife was therefore commenting about how good the 3G coverage was in rural France compared to the pitiful state in the UK nigh on 13 years after the auction. She was unaware that her phone had been switching between networks to give the best coverage.
So, I'm not worried about connecting when I am round at my mate's house, as I will use his wifi. Similarly, in cities you will quite likely find a wifi hotspot. But when out and about, I would quite like to be able to google something, or download the podcast on the tourist information board, or follow the virtual museum exhibits.
Megaphone, 'cos there's no coverage out here....
There's Android smartphones, and Android "phones"
As has been observed many a time, there are Androids and Androids.
Not all Android phones are being purchased as smartphones, but sometimes more as a high end feature phone.
No doubt at some point featurephones will go completely, to be replaced by Android handsets. However, there will be a world of difference between the most basic, several releases old cheapo phone, and the latest Samsung Galaxy Leather bound portfolio, or whatever comes after the Note....
The different users will have radically different usage patterns, with some content to remain with whatever ships with their phone, others subsisting solely on free apps, and yet others prepared to pay for quality apps for their phone and provide an income to developers.
This type of differentiation is going to be far more relevant than the latest iPhone/WinPhone/Android breakdowns.
Fascinating, well written piece....
Re: I obsessively read Battle..
The Allied Powers won.
Re: Hurrican Sandy caused by global warming?
Hurricanes are caused by warmth.
This has been the most expensive US election ever.
There has been blanket politicking throughout US.
Politicians spout hot air.
Hurricane Sandy hit at the peak of the electioneering.
The election is over, and there is no hurricane.
Where's my 8ml?
AC, I think you'll find that should be 568ml. I'll have a topup, please, barman.
Why are IT readers complaining about hex?
I can't believe that an IT savvy readership are complaining about a nice hexadecimal system like ounces! As any fule kno, hexadecimal is extremely easy to halve, and halve again. There was a reason that dope dealers ran in fractions of an ounce (not to mention the handy fact that a half p coin was 1/16 oz, 1p was 1/8, and 2p was 1/4).
Everyone assumes that the old 12 pennies to a shilling doesn't make any sense as we have 10 fingers, so why count in 12s? Of course, 10 fingers requires two hands meaning it is difficult to hold things at the same time. Whereas 12s makes perfect sense when you look at your finger knuckles (12) whilst being able to use your thumb as the the pointer. And all on one hand. Oh, and easily divisible by 2,3 and 4.
Lets do away with all this decimal malarky, and move over to hex....
Oh, and if you want metric, mine's a 568ml glass, thanks.
Re: never really understood
Originally this was banned by Ofcom - it has always seemed daft that I can roam in Europe, thus getting excellent 3G coverage, but back in Blighty I am forced to the coverage pattern that my supplier has. Roaming in Europe now just costs an extra £3 a day when I have cause to use it.
I asked a Vodafone bod about it at a networks show, and was told that Ofcom had deemed that roaming in the UK was not in the customer's interest (not sure how that works either). It led to the situation where it was great to have a Manx Telecom sim card, as this was able to use Cellnet (as was) network at no extra cost, but could roam if needed.
Einstein showed that the issue was around particles with mass having difficulty accelerating to the speed of light.
Slipstick Libby developed the inertialess drive, which turned the ship inertialess, thereby instantaneously travelling away at the speed of light. Acceleration becomes much easier without mass...
Heinlein had it right - don't try to accelerate to light speed, look at removing the effect of mass....
Mind you, the Long Earth suggests that all you need is a do-it-yourself box powered by a potato to reach the next planet....
Re: ' the iPhone and iPad were the greatest innovations of the last 10 years'
(One other nitpick - the original iPhone did have a camera)
My daughter had an LG Prada phone. It scored massively on the style front. It was less than brilliant on the usability front. It worked well enough for the time, but was definitely a phone on a par with the others around at the time. It felt like a feature phone which happened to have buttons that were invisible.
When the original iPhone was announced, it felt like something completely different from all other phones that were around at the time. It's primary competitors at the time were probably Handspring and Palm. At any rate, it was enough for me to move away from SonyEricsson feature phones - previously I would never have even considered a smartphone. I had used a Nokia Communicator for work, and found the experience less than inspiring.
The technology was not important to me at the time. The usability of the whole was.
It is true that there wasn't an app store. However, although I had been able to buy java apps for the feature phones, I would never have considered doing even that. I am in a very different place now to back then.
Re: It's a numbers game
More to the point, are Three really players in the Forth coding market?
I'd be surprised if they came in the top three - or even fourth....
They are issuing a dividend.
Re: what I do...
Only problem with that Duracell device, is that they don't have the voltage on the data pins, and so won't charge an iPhone (in spite of being advertised initially to do that). As mentioned elsewhere, iPhones query the charging device to work out if they can pull high loads through it.
You have a blog that is little noticed, toiling away in obscurity. Then something controversial is posted, raising a hoo ha. The world and their dog read the post after it is mentioned on /.
You breeze past the reader limit and are suddenly turned into a publisher and subject to regulation and sanction...
Still waiting for 2.5G
Out by me, we're still waiting for Edge networks (which was only a software upgrade for the base station), never mind anything requiring hardware upgrades....
Au contraire, mon capitaine
Actually, I beg to disagree. Allofmp3.com was doing very well by charging small amounts based upon the size of the files you were downloading. I took the opportunity to get mp3s of a load of albums I have on vinyl. From my point of view, it was far more convenient paying reasonable amounts than to go through the effort of creating the mp3s myself.
As far as the copyright infringement issue goes (it isn't theft), the artist has already been recompensed for the intellectual property rights, and I was paying for the convenience of someone else converting analogue to digital for me.
The problem with legal downloads is that the rights holders have inflated ideas about the value of the content. With content on plastic discs, the likes of Amazon will discount them when they wish to shift old stock. However, the download cost remains high. And you can't sell it on ebay when you are done with it.
Pricing at the Allofmp3 end of the scale might well get people to increase their legal downloads. It it was £1 for a downloaded album, rather than a track, we might well see a lot more sold. Me, I go for the physical disk anyway...
you forgot about photons
According to your description above, light shouldn't be able to travel at the speed of light, as photons have momentum, and momentum=mv.
Yet photons travel at the speed of light. The explanation is that there are two concepts of mass - resting mass and relativistic mass. Relativistic mass is the mass of a body that is moving. Photons have a resting mass of 0 but a relativistic mass when travelling at light-speed.
Using E=mc^2 the relativistic mass of a moving photon is E/c^2 so directly related to the energy of the photon. So it is probable that neutrinos have a resting mass of zero, and a relativistic mass related to their energy.
Actually, none of the experiments are measuring the velocity of the neutrinos. They are measuring the time they take to travel between two locations and deriving the velocity from those measurements. If the neutrinos take a shortcut via brane space (or any other dimension you care to mention), they can arrive faster than light without actually travelling at >light speed.
Remember that marathon runner who took a short cut? He didn't run faster than the other competitors, just got the finishing line before them.
Scientifically just as interesting, but not rewriting relativity
Resilience through redundancy
Since the human race has now gone in for massive redundancy (to the tune of >7bn units), it is indeed far better equipped to survive such an event... MRAIH (Massively Redundant Array of Insignificant Humans). However, it is worth noting that the planet earth still represents a potential SPOF, and it would be a sensible move to investigate possible alternate data centre provision. There are recent concerns about the aircon system, with some consultants warning of potential thermal shutdowns.
There are two BTs
There is a world of difference between BT Wholesale and BT Retail. If you are on an exchange which has not been unbundled (as I am), it doesn't make any difference which ISP you use, they all use the same wires and basic service - that provided by BT Wholesale.
The contention is no longer on the wires. Providers will make their own decisions about how much they will pay for the pipe from the BT Core network to their network where you get your internet service. BT will sell the ISP a pipe which connects all the ISPs ADSL customers to their own network. The ISP will decide how many users this pipe can support, and this will be the basis of their contention.
Good ISPs (I'm with Zen) will have plenty of provisioned bandwidth. Cheaper ISPs will try to cram more users onto this central pipe. If they all want to use it at once, there is contention. I don't see slowdowns at any time, but then Zen is largely a business ISP, so will have different usage profiles to the likes of TalkTalk...
As so many have commented, you get what you pay for. How much broadband do you think you will get for <£10/month?
Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors
LFTR technology has been around from the 50s, but had the "disadvantage" that they can't be used to make bombs, so were not developed. Produces far less waste and far more efficient than Uranium fission. Thorium is widely available, unlike Uranium. Thorium has 1 million times the energy density of hydrogen/carbon bonds, and can be run in small reactors.
Recently the Chinese announced that they would be looking to develop LFTR as a commercial energy source. I think that the government should be pushing investment into developing this technology.
A good intro can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LeM-Dyuk6g
Smile will be on his face
If he already has them installed, then he will be the one laughing, as he gets the existing rates (plus RPI) for the next 25 years....
There are numerous installers available, some of whom have been doing this for 10+ years, some of whom have entered the market more recently, and are more akin to the dodgier end of double glazing salesmen.
In answer to your point 2, the ROI on my system is probably around 8-9 years, not counting the savings I make on my power. This is not counting the opportunity cost of not using the capital for something else. In my case, I did it on the offset mortgage, so not my capital.
As far as point 3 goes, it is hard to tell. I think it would make the property easier to sell, and particularly now the FIT has dropped. The FIT can be transferred with the property, and so the value of it becomes negotiable. However, as it generates a clear income, the valuation is relatively straightforward similar to valuing any income stream as an asset value: how much do you need to invest to generate an income stream of x? In theory, you could also keep the FIT, but as you need to read the meter to be able to claim this, that gets awkward. Plus the new occupants could turn it off.
For point 4, I direct you to
which suggests a lifetime cycle analysis payback time of 2.5 years (vs a system lifetime of 25-30 years)
For point 5, try http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/apps4/pvest.php
For point 8 - not worth the government's while to renege on the FIT, and they would probably have to pay compensation as well as pass an act of parliament to do so. After all, the FIT money doesn't come from the Government purse anyway, but the compensation would.
Had to happen...
Once you are in the scheme, you are guaranteed payments based on that rate from that point on for 25 years. The money doesn't come from Government, but from a fund paid by a levy on all electricity consumers.
The FIT was originally established to allow the cost of Solar panels to be recouped over a period of 10-12 years. Over the last couple of years, the efficiency of panels have increased, and the costs of installation have come down. This means that panels that would have given you a 2KWp system would now give you a 2.5 or 3 KWp system for similar money. Competition has also reduced the price of installation. This has meant that it is now possible to recoup the costs in 8-10 years instead.
The reduction in FIT was always planned for, as it was hoped that the costs would come down through this scheme. The success of the scheme has meant that the FIT has come down faster than expected.
Stats about FIT installations can be found from:
As of today, there are a total of 92222 PV installations under the FIT, for a combined total of 327.381MW. This compares with totals of 94665 installations for all categories under FIT, generating 384.877MW in total.
The figures to the end of August give values of 61465 PV installations, for 172.040MW - a 50% increase in 2 months.
The problem was that the FIT had made PV installations into a no-brainer. At the new rates, it is still probably worth doing, but requires a bit more thought. If you leave it for another year or so, the likely improvements in PV panel capacities might well mean that the payback periods drop again, again improving the cost/benefit ratio. Expect the FIT to be reduced again at some point after that.
In the mean time, hopefully it is still worthwhile for housing associations to install PV systems across all their properties - this will mean that their tenants benefit from reduced energy costs, and the housing associations can plough the FITs back into their projects over time.
The most interesting thing is the idea that FITs are only available to properties which are rated C or above. If you are rated below that, then there are far better returns available from insulating your loft etc, so better to push people to grab the low hanging fruit first.
"maximum number of face turns needed"
I've solved the cube in far more than 20 moves - I suspect you mean the "minimum number of face turns to solve all possible starting positions of the cube"
Digging for sand
Peter Cochrane (ex CTO of BT) suggested funding the Fibre rollout across the country by mining the copper. As it would be part of a rollout, you wouldn't be dumping the copper on the market in one go. His argument was that it made far more sense to replace copper with sand, and I think worked out that it was cost effective at prices for copper north of £1k per tonne.
Interesting article from the Reg archives where he touches on it:
Is this a surprise?
I would guess that the fact that we have VAT of 20% and the US tends to quote prices exclusive of sales tax would explain this difference....
If you were purchasing as a business, the difference would appear to go the other way. Can't blame Mr Jobs for the antics of Mr Osborne....
Waste of bits....
It is possible to put all the content on a YouTube channel, advertise that link, and let people connect to it over the internet. You could even utilise that white space to provide a means of accessing the internet. Why waste the bandwidth broadcasting to all and sundry for a niche market? Chances are, you are going to limit the audience by broadcasting at the wrong time, and also limit the audience by providing no access to interested people who have moved away, but like to keep up.
These days, TVs are moving towards being internet connected with a means of accessing YouTube. Promote the channel, and keep the bandwidth for something more useful.
I'm finding that prices for the CD (including delivery) are often much cheaper than the mp3 download. Amazon at least try to ensure that their price for the physical product is matched by the download, but the Marketplace sellers will often beat both. Compare it to iTunes prices, and the physical price is much cheaper.
The situation is worse when you look at box set TV series - House season 2 - £10.67 from Amazon for plastic disks, £22 from iTunes for downloading it. On Seesaw, it was around £13 just to rent it...
For downloads, the content providers try to maintain the retail price - the physical product gets discounted to shift surplus copies. The content providers need to accept the actual value of their product. Of course, if they ever manage to move completely to digital products, they might hope to wipe out the second hand market which affects their ability to keep their prices racked up.
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