* Posts by JetSetJim

1044 posts • joined 4 Jul 2009

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Ofcom punts network-sniffing Android app

JetSetJim
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Holmes

Re: Are they joking?

From my tests, if you can see a couple of wifi APs the Google location resolution is down to around 20m accuracy - without firing up the GPS chip at all.

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JetSetJim
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Re: So why download an app whose it's main purpose is to gather data?

Link to app

In fairness, the apps description clearly states what data it collects. As to why - I suspect so they can say more than "a data connection was good here" and instead say "a data session that consumed xMbits of data on a streaming bearer was good here".

Users possibly downloaded it to see their network's status in their area, and were then annoyed by the popup that says "it needs permission for x,y,z and a,b,c", and were then disappointed by the lack of map.

Seriously, how many times does the wheel need reinventing - there are a plethora of apps that do this already, in a variety of different ways. It would be easier for Ofcom to mandate "operators must achieve a specified coverage, quality and capacity across Z% of the country", with suitable definitions for coverage (minimum received power), quality (minimum received signal quality) and capacity (maximum number of call blocks/drops, or some such) and then require the operator prove it to within a certain geographic resolution based on actual traffic data (and not the somewhat flexible radio propagation modelling).

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What a time to be alive: Nissan reveals self-driving chair

JetSetJim
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Facepalm

Limited

But if the "buffer" overflows, no-one will know how to queue for the next available chair...

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Oh Snap! How intelligent people make themselves stupid for Snapchat

JetSetJim
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Windows

Re: I've read the article

From the article, it seems to be some form of camera "app". I think I have one on my phone already, so I'll pass.

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BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

JetSetJim
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Re: License Fee

Unfortunately that probably breaks their contractual obligations with geolocked copyright licenses. They need to start amending their standard licensing terms to be able to transmit their licensed content to anyone with a demonstrably valid(*) TV license.

(*) for some metric of "demonstrably valid" which will no doubt change over time. The first caveat will no doubt be "you can purchase a TV license if you are a permanent UK resident", or some such

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JetSetJim
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Re: Just stop using Flash!

Ahem:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/html5

Work in progress.... Not complete coverage of the schedule/catalog, plus not all devices/OSes/Browsers

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Silicon Valley’s top exorcist rushed off his feet as Demons infest California

JetSetJim
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Holmes

Better in Latin

The 1977 film Count Dracula. Van Helsing is having a bit of a barney with Drac and starts intoning in Latin. Drac rejoins with "Ah yes, it always sounds so much more impressive in Latin".

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I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

JetSetJim
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Mushroom

Already trialled

The Jeep Cherokee was an early trial, and 2nd phase trials were on the Tesla

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Microsoft deletes Windows 10 nagware from Windows 7 and 8

JetSetJim
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Joke

re: condemned

Condemned by Amnesty International, too

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Wi-Fi Alliance publishes LTE/WiFi coexistence test plan

JetSetJim
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Re: Crazy

> Search how cellular channel reuse works.

Then read up on how LTE works and discover it has nothing to do with cellular channel reuse as all frequencies in a band are available to use by all cells in an LTE network.

I've not read the test spec yet, but have been to various industry gigs describing the aims. In a nutshell, the aim of LTE-U is a way of fairly sharing frequencies with wifi. Under vanilla wifi, if the frequency is busy, wifi will back off. Under vanilla LTE, it will greedily grab the channels - thus stick them both in the same band and LTE throttles wifi. LTE-U offers a way for them to share & co-exist and the debate up til now has been a mechanism for that fairness. Seems like these tests define what the results of that mechanism should be.

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JetSetJim
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> The test plan itself is a 51-page thicket of densely technical procedures. If you can find something of interest in it, let us know.

And who said investigative journalism was dead

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Speaking in Tech: Nope, sorry waiter. I won't pay with that card reader

JetSetJim
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Re: This has to be the funniest comment thread on El Reg

> Would you demand the same of your TV stations?

Yes - they're called subtitles in the video medium, quite useful for the deaf, or even if you don't want the noise to distract from other things if you're not paying 100% attention to the program. Oddly they are widely available.

The main problem is that automatic-transcription services are not hugely accurate, and human-dependent services are pricey for the podcast market.

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We live in a world where a 'Hamdog' burger hybrid is patented

JetSetJim
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Re: Huh?

This may well spawn their advertising campaign for them, but the folks at Cadburys may want to have words

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JetSetJim
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Oz patents

> Janine Allis told me that it was impossible to patent.

Hmm - obviously not impossible to patent, but certainly impossible to defend it - more likely she misspoke. Perhaps Janine was not aware that the wheel was also patented in Australia, leading me to believe that the Oz patent examiners either have a healthy sense of humour, or are as useless (if not more so) than the US ones (and others, no doubt).

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Reg Programming Compo: 22 countries, 137 entries and... wow – loads of Python

JetSetJim
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Re: Fortran 90 "weird?" I don't think so.

Special prizes for entries in Malbolge

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Apple seeks patent for paper bag - you read that right, a paper bag

JetSetJim
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Re: alternatively

> Given this is a design patent...

This is *NOT* a design patent - it has "Kind code" A1, which is a "proper" patent. Design patents have Kind Code "S". Source

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JetSetJim
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@mksteve

Ta - an interesting read, and certainly more innovative than the Apple one

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JetSetJim
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I agree with you entirely, but the problem is there doesn't seem to be any packaging improvements in the patent:

a) made of 60% recycled paper - no biggy there, lots of bags are

b) has SBS paper too - again, this just adds shiny, and isn't novel, there are providers of SBS paper from recycled sources out there

c) has a "knitted paper fibre handle", which allegedly makes it more flexible. You can buy socks made of the stuff, so it's not new either. And I've seen plenty of bags with handles made of paper, so this smacks of an obvious increment

d) the top edge is folded over a cardboard insert for durability - seen that in plenty of existing bags

e) it has inserts at the bottom to aid structural strength - possibly about the only thing I've not seen in real life. I don't really follow the paper-bag industry (such as it is), but isn't this equivalent to double-bagging?

Can't find the "diamond O sack" - only an Urban Dictionary entry for "bravery"

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Is Tesla telling us the truth over autopilot spat?

JetSetJim
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@bazza

> How about proving that the car doesn't stop when it shouldn't?!

Give them a complete list of these scenarios and the test conditions then. I suspect that's why that wasn't in their list, as I'm sure it would be all too easy to miss a few dozen and then Thatcham would have egg on face. They should at least mention it, though, and I bet their fine print in whatever report they produced would do so.

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End all the 'up to' broadband speed bull. Release proper data – LGA

JetSetJim
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Street-stats

Interesting site - I'd been wondering when someone would come up with something like that. Interestingly their testing methodology is run with an HTTP Post file transfer, which would run over TCP, which has a warm up time, so may well under represent what you might possibly be able to get with a UDP connection (admittedly with the possibility of errors).

It would be nice if house move websites allowed for an actual test result to be included in the sales brochure, rather than linking to the BT checker which abuses the "up to" terminology

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Infected Android phones could flood America's 911 with DDoS attacks

JetSetJim
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>The real problem here is why would it be so difficult to block on device number (IMEI), especially unknown or unregistered device numbers, in an emergency like that, from a telco's point of view? Surely they are doing that all day long from stolen phones or faked IMEI, no?

Checking IMEI slows things down as it's an in-sequence check performed between UE and an EIR. In the case of checking it's stolen or not, that needs to go to the separate register of stolen devices, and even so - why would you be wanting to block a registered stolen phone from dialling the emergency services?

Networks have an obligation to connect all emergency calls, even from phones registered to another network.

The problem here is that a relatively small number of devices can untraceably be used to jam the emergency call centres - although you would need to distribute these phones in quite wide geographic areas to ensure either the cellular network is jammed with the attempts (limited call capacity per cell) and that you hit the target number of emergency call centres.

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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

JetSetJim
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Re: Are your WiFi devices built using old valve tech? (if they are, send he circuit diagram, KTHX!)

Just not bothered to try and accurately add it up. 2 wifi ap's, 1 femto cell, 2 dependent switches, 3 dect phones, 1 nas. All on low numbers of watts over the night, so I just rolled that up and rounded gratuitously and probably didn't state units well. Even if I used 1kWh in the entire night for all that, that's 15p

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JetSetJim
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Re: Downvoted pv panels

> the gravy train pulled out at the beginning of the year

it was at least two years ago when the FIT dropped from lucrative to marginal

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JetSetJim
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Re: Downvoted pv panels

Yes, you can get them cheap, but the feed in tariff doesn't seem economic any more.

http://info.cat.org.uk/solarcalculator/

The couple of times I've put info in here I get a payback time of longer than the expected lifespan of the array. What a waste of money

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JetSetJim
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Windows

Re: It won;t help

> In the case of electricity the programs always show the controller with her hand on the switch to turn on the pumped storage facility it Dinorwic to cope with the surge created by switching kettles on at the end of a popular TV program.

Simple solution there - cease all broadcast tv and make it on demand only (it's probably the end-result of TV services anyway). To prevent any surges in power at the end of a popular show (e.g. Deadenders) if an episode is made available at a scheduled time, rate limit incoming connection requests so that the end times of the unwashed masses watching the show are smeared out.

Live streaming events will probably not be solved this way, though...

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JetSetJim
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Re: It is to laugh.

>Hmm, I'd love to see my supplier do that.

Mine is EDF

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JetSetJim
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> But isn't the "fail" part there you, for failing to do anything about information given to you?

Failing to? There's nothing that I can realistically do that will reduce my bill by any non-trivial amount:

a) all my lighting is LED, and I still switch it off when I leave the room (hopefully not contributing to deterioration of lifetime of the LEDs)

b) perhaps I can save a little turning off a few standby devices, but they're usually in the low numbers of W per hour anyway

c) the main users of it in my house is the heating and hot water, which is driven by a heatpump and is already rather efficient and timed, combined with uber-insulation there is not much I can do there apart from shivering when I turn the room thermostats down (all living rooms individually controlled)

d) I could conceivably turn off my wifi at night - but the only way to do that for me means my phones stop working. Arguable whether I need them, I suppose, but I don't think I'd use more than 1-2 kW in the whole night on those appliances.

e) will not turn off fridge-freezer! All other appliances are at least A** rated (except a naughty tumble drier, which is a B I think). Not going to use them any less, and running a night-time cycle is impractical and will keep me awake with the noise

Agreed, mileage may vary for different users with different appliances and usage patterns - I am in the fortunate position to have built my house recently, and it's very efficient overall. But I'd still contend that a "Smart meter" doesn't really tell you all that much that will help you save all that much money - particularly when compared to the cost of making and installing that smart meter.

Personally, I think the energy industry would be better served by offering a service to analyse your usage and suggest ways of improving your consumption/reducing waste - in theory what the EPC/SAP stuff could do but doesn't very well. For example, tweak your heating settings, which is probably what would give me the biggest benefit if I'd left them on the default.

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JetSetJim
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FAIL

> The UK’s controversial smart meter programme will only succeed in saving consumers cash if people are made aware of the benefits, says mouthpiece

They've been bleating about this for ages, but I've yet to actually see anyone mention what the benefits (to me) are. Letting me know that my house is consuming xWatts at time T is not a benefit - it's just another readout I can do very little about.

Remote meter reading is about the only thing that could credibly be touted as a benefit - but even that is a bit marginal seeing as my supplier will let me upload a photo of the meter as a reading - all through their "app" (all very trendy).

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Really – 80% FTTP in UK by 2026? Woah, ambitious!

JetSetJim
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Re: Building regs need to be changed as well!

> provide space in the home for 19" cabinet

Is this sarcasm? Not sure of the need for this in a small terraced house, and it would probably be accounted for in larger mansions - I'd instead encourage architecture university courses to update their design rules to adequately provision houses for their expected occupancy and use.

For example, from the ingress point of the broadband provision (fibre or copper), send the data-portion to a corner of the loft where a 4/8/16 port switch can be located, then Cat-6/7 to any relevant room (e.g. to where any TV is assumed to go, but you could well further future proof by running it to every plug socket). This will also require power to the loft, which is not that usual for new builds unless the purchaser requests it as an extra - equally not that difficult to retrofit as you can spur a low ampage socket off the lighting circuit.

It would also be nice if a wifi-plan could be produced at design time to minimise the APs you might need to get decent coverage in your house.

Internal BT-specified wiring is a bit redundant now, as you can either get an IP phone, or just DECT from the main socket.

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JetSetJim
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Re: Some weird adapter?

>Running fiber into every home just makes things cost more, because you will still have "some weird adapter" in every house to turn it back into copper.

Some weird adapter in the house like a router? That's what I use - quite handy, and didn't cost more at all.

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JetSetJim
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>Openreach have been supplying cable with copper and fibre cores for some years now for use in new developments. I think the mandate isn't so much the need for a weird adaptor but to simply require those fibre cores to be connected between street cabinet and premises on largescale developments (ie. any development that requires the installation of new street cabinets).

As you say - only valid for developments where new cabs are being installed. These are not all that common except on the massive developments anyway - my last house was on a development of ~30 houses - no new cab for that, and only DSL (admittedly decent DSL, though). Then I built my own house, completed last year. BT (a) couldn't even organise the engineers to turn up to install the new line even with many months notice and the nearest terminator on a pole being a mere 20m from our front door, and (b) would have been hobbled by the local poles only having copper termination points. At no point did they mention the option of supplying combined fibre/copper, and it was not documented in their "developer guides" that they publish.

Fortunately Gigaclear were deploying in the area and now I have shiny-fibre and no BT infrastructure. Cheaper running costs, and a higher bitrate. The only niggle I might have is that there are more unplanned outages than I've ever had on BT infrastructure (2 significant ones in a year, both reportedly due to non Gigaclear infrastructure falling over - which possibly highlights a lack of investment in redundancy of backbone links)

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JetSetJim
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Re: What about the 20%?

Gigaclear specialises in fibre-ing up rural communities. Admittedly they need a certain uptake to make money, but it's nowhere near "dense urban" in my village of <600. If they get sufficient uptake, though, they do run the fibre past every property there. So I happily enjoy 100mbps in both directions...

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JetSetJim
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Re: The same goes for Solar Panels (PV arrays)

Hmm - if the govmt/utility companies pay for it, maybe, but would rather not have to add £10-20K cost to the roof when building a house, particularly if it's in shade.

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JetSetJim
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Holmes

Start by mandating that all new-builds must be provided FTTP, even if the local exchange isn't fibred up, and connect that fibre point up to the copper backhaul with some weird adaptor. Then mandate a threshold where the exchange is required to be upgraded to fibre backhaul. That will start things rolling.

Then all you need is some policy that triggers the upgrade of an exchange and connected houses to fibre - whether the rural folk (with their current zippy 1mbps) will bleat loudest and therefore get it faster, or the urban folk (citing economic benefits), who knows, and who cares - as long as it all gets done.

The only spanner in the works is the crap management/organisation at BT & Openreach.

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Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party

JetSetJim
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Facepalm

Re: Have you stopped beating your wife?

> land them in tabloid territory

err - doesn't the big red banner saying "The Register" at the top remind you of tabloids anyway?

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What the hex is up with Jupiter's North Pole?

JetSetJim
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Re: Slow downloads?

But it is fibre to its closest exchange(*), therefore it is "fibre enabled", and you can get a proper BT "superfast" contract.

(*) I was sorely tempted to d/l the exchange location list, then look up each altitude and work out which exchange actually was at the highest altitude (thus possibly being closest to Jupiter, if we ignore the earth's curvature, season, time of day and relative orbital position as having an impact, which they will) and then check it had fibre running through it, but that seems like far too much work to show that BT's shite "fibre" service means that fibre doesn't get anywhere near your property and most tech folks know that.

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'Power equipment failure' borks EE's data services across England

JetSetJim
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EE fine here in Newbury

4G:

DL 31Mbps, UL: 4.76 Mbps

3G:

DL: 11.5Mbps, UL 1.9Mbps

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Cooky crumbles: Apple mulls yanking profits out of Europe and into US

JetSetJim
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Re: It's not about fair, it's about the law

> Ireland and Apple entered into an agreement - which you may disagree with, and now it is being upended.

> And if Ireland was 'guilty' too, why don't they get a 'fine'?

I seem to recall reading that the €13bn is not a fine, merely an unpaid tax bill.

As to the agreement, I believe the entire argument from the EU side of things is that EU members commit to not entering into company-specific tax agreements, therefore Ireland were technically breaking an agreement with the EU by making this agreement with Apple.

For me, the whole mess is down to global tax legislation enabling "tax efficient planning" which means that Apple can hang onto a huge pile of cash and wait for the correct timings to actually declare it as a profit that can be then spent.

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JetSetJim
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Mushroom

Re: Taxes

Ours would no doubt throw it away on badly specified IT contracts, though, given half the chance

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Rolls-Royce reckons robot cargo ships are the future of the seas

JetSetJim
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Re: "I suspect that robotic ships would be less likely to run down errant sailboats"

>Yup, the Law of the Sea. Steam gives way to sail.

Not when "steam" is a ruddy great container ship that takes 2 miles to stop (or whatever). In those scenarios, sail is expected to evade contact or get turned into scrap

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Waze to go, Google: New dial-a-ride Uber, Lyft rival 'won't vet drivers'... What could go wrong?

JetSetJim
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Headmaster

Re: What a shame.

...And google maps even update with Waze updates, on occasion - e.g. an accident will have a little "reported by Waze user" note attached to the icon when tapped on. Doesn't seem to happen to everything - but maybe when there's some official notification the Waze tag is disappeared.

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EU verdict: Apple received €13bn in illegal tax benefits from Ireland

JetSetJim
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Trollface

Re: Of course, Ireland has already protested

> And what LR units do we have for that?

It's approximately a "Republic of Ireland annual healthcare budget"?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Health_Service_Executive

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Microsoft redfaced after Bing translation cockup enrages Saudis

JetSetJim
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Holmes

They must have gained a certain amount of market from the Win10/Edge combo being rammed down folks throats - all those opportunities to change the default browser/search provider...

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Update your iPhones, iPads right now – govt spy tools exploit vulns

JetSetJim
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Black Helicopters

Re: Phone Security

Blackberry has always allowed Legal Intercept into its consumer service - they weren't allowed to sell in India until they caved to the govmt

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I fart in your general direction! Comet 67P lets rip on Europe's Rosetta probe

JetSetJim
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Pint

Beer

...for the sub head. That is all

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Unlimited mobile data in America – where's the catch? There's always a catch

JetSetJim
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Headmaster

Re: How much?

If you're septic and getting screwed, I hope you don't pass on the infection. Personally, I've always been sceptical about US pricing

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JetSetJim
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Re: How much?

As bad as EE? I pay £10 for 1GB/mo. SIM only, admittedly, and I paid full whack for the actual phone I'm using rather than the buy-back-via-monthly-contract option.

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Baltimore cops: We flew high-res camera planes to film your every move

JetSetJim
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Black Helicopters

Re: Don't worry...

When I read the article it reminded me of Bob Shaw's excellent idea of "Slow Glass" where light would take a lot longer to go through it. Some govmt org then seeded the continent with little pellets of it so if there was ever a crime you just had to find a pellet nearby and wait for the imagery to come through to see who did it.

Who needs privacy?

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Watch the world's biggest 'flying bum' go arse over tit in a crash

JetSetJim
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Re: Martha Gwyn ?

Quick google didn't take you to wiki?

"Named the Martha Gwyn after the company chairman's wife"

Admittedly, the source for this is the Daily Fail, but I'm not going to link to that rag, but the Chairman of Hybrid AirVehicles is Philip Gwyn (according to their wiki, and I'm too lazy to check further)

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Julian AssangeTM to meet investigators in London

JetSetJim
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Headmaster

Re: British Soil

It isn't and never has been Ecuadorian soil - it merely has protected status under diplomatic law, which the UK Govmt is obliged to protect, and under which it is only allowed to enter with permission from the ambassador

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