* Posts by Grahame 2

68 posts • joined 14 Jul 2009

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Net neutrality foes outspent backers by over three to one – and that's just so far

Grahame 2

Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

While I support the idea of Net Neutrality in principle, I don’t believe it can be achieved with this kind of regulation. The problem is still basically last mile monopoly. It has clearly been shown in the article that these monopolies are able and quite prepared to spend huge sums on ensuring regulatory capture in their favour. (That this is possible and frequent is part of a much bigger problem with our political systems)

I think that the system in the UK where the incumbent was required to provide wholesale access to its last mile infrastructure, within a regulated price structure, while not being perfect has proved much more workable.

By allowing competition and more importantly customer choice, if telco X decides to go rent-seeking by hobbling its service it is likely to lose customers to rivals offering a superior service.

In many areas this has been surpassed by rival last mile infrastructure being built, but without that initial lowering of the barrier to entry, and the ability to provide ‘off-net’ coverage, those rival infrastructures would likely have never been built.

Real competition is the key.

Monopoly & Regulation (captured) vs. Competition

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Plod foils drone drug drop down under

Grahame 2

Quadcopter Stealth

Maybe the sound subtle sound of a megaphone shoved into a nest of angry bees gave the game away?!

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Delhi police forget passwords to corruption portal, ignore 600 crimes

Grahame 2

Re: Technical problem my a*$e

I think this is a case of the 'circular filing cabinet' being upgraded for the digital age.

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Bitcoin ban row latest: 'Unstable, loved by criminals' Yup, that's the US dollar – Colorado rep

Grahame 2

Wild West

I remember watching firms when I was a kid. They were set in the wild west, and there would be a bank/stagecoach/train loaded with dollars, then some guys in black hats would turn up an steal the dollars.

Later some dude(s) in a white hat(s) would come along and sort it all out.

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NHS England tells MPs: 'The state isn't doing dastardly things with GP medical records'

Grahame 2

Even redacted that much could still be re-identified if details of a few previous addresses where included. Include data such as time off work / hospital stays, more pieces of the jigsaw fall into place, the list goes on.

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Grahame 2

Re: Fine then.

decimal point error, oops

500,000 / 43,000,000 = ~a fine of 1p per record (maximum)

I suspect this data is worth much more than that to insurers.

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Grahame 2

Fine then.

"He said if scattered pieces of such data could be assembled, like a jigsaw, to identify a specific individual, for example, then the firm responsible would face a fine of up to £500,000 from the Information Commissioner's Office."

Half a million cap on the fine, and no possibility of a custodial sentence. Compared to the value this data set has, half a million pound fine could simply be put down as the cost of doing business.

Once that data set has been re-identified and distrubuted, the damage is done.

500k puts the value of each record at arround 10p, I think the data is worth a bit more than that!

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Netflix coughs up to cruise on Comcast

Grahame 2

Re: Insufficent bandwidth splash page

Indeed, but I was thinking of making it more aggressive. At the point of being denied your viewing due to insufficient bandwidth a pages to say, "Hey your ISP is crap, why not move to one of these..", but I guess that does the trick if people care to look.

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Grahame 2

Re: It's all about balance of payments

Internet connectivity between participants is done several ways.

The most costly per megabit is to use a tier-1 transit provider. This method is great for getting access to "the whole internet'. It is relatively expensive because that transit provider has to build and maintain global infrastructure. Tier-1s may offer reductions in charges for a number of reasons, balancing flows that are of interest to their other customers and regional distribution models are typical.

The second is mutual peering, and is much cheaper. This is where two organizations agree to connect for their mutual benefit. This may be by directly connecting their networks or go via an Internet exchange point, such as the LINX, AMS-IX etc. Bandwidth on exchange points can be orders of magnitude cheaper than global tier-1 transit.

The third option is co-location, this is where a content provider places equipment in or near the subscriber provider's network.

Historically ISPs and content providers have worked together to keep their customer's cash flowing in and reduce their infrastructure costs, but as ISPs become content providers they have an interest in throwing up barriers to the competition. This is not a problem if there is a truly competitive market and subscribers can vote with the wallets, but in a monopoly situation consumer choice ends up being restricted.

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Grahame 2

I think Netflix would love to do that, but the major ISPs want Netflix to pay them major coin for the privilege. :(

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Grahame 2

Insufficent bandwidth splash page

I would be monitoring bandwidth by provider, and implement a form of session admission control.

If a provider gets congested, I would look at my database of alternative carriers in the area and serve up a splash page advising the customer that their provider has insufficient capacity for Netflix that would both protect existing streams and provide adverts for rival ISPs in the customer's area with click through to start the migration process.

Of course the US market may not have sufficient competition to support this, in which case we have a monopoly / cartel situation, and the network providers have their customers and the OTT providers by the short and curlies.

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Ill communication delays NHS England's GP data grab for six months

Grahame 2

Re: Usual government arrogance

"but it'll be very naughty and against the law for anyone we give it to to misuse it"

But not so naughty that anyone will ever go to jail for misusing it :(

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Free space optics gets shiny new snake-oil paint job

Grahame 2

FSO / Millimetre wave vs. microwave

FSO and millimetre wave are interesting in that while they have the same latency as microwave, they offer much higher bandwidth. The trade off is that they don’t propagate as far as microwave before they need repeating, having a tower every 10km vs 30-40km.

Systems offering a combination of millimetre wave and laser are now available, they have the advantage that while they are both affected by atmospheric conditions, millimetre wave is badly affected by moisture (rain, fog) and laser is less affected by moisture, but is affected by scintillation (heat haze), since these conditions rarely occur together hybrid systems provide a much more reliable signal.

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Ross Ulbricht: 'Oi! Give me back my $34m in Silk Road Bitcoin booty'

Grahame 2

Re: What ACTUALLY "remains to be seen".

"What actually remains to be seen is what the taxman thinks about Ulbricht having these Bitcoins which, even before the value recently ballooned, were worth a substantial sum"

Indeed, it was the taxman that really cooked Al Capone's goose.

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Grahame 2

Asset forfeiture

If asset foreiture works the same in the US as it does in the UK (PoCA), now 'The Assumption' has been made that Ulbricht led a 'Criminal Lifestyle', anything and everything in Ulbricht's possesion is subject to seizure.

Even if they fail to convict him of a crime, under the forefiture laws the burden now rests on Ulbricht to prove with documentation how the items and funds were aquired by legal means with the appropriate taxes paid in full.

This could be interesting from a Bitcoin perspective, because you need to prove where they came from to avoid forfeiture. I suspect this will be at legal method of choice for dealing with Bitcoins.

Once a court has granted a forefiture order unless you can either strike out 'The Assumption' by proving you are not a criminal (being found innocent of the charges helps, but may not be enough) and that everything seized can be accounted for legally, then sorry it belongs to the state now.

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ZX Spectrum REVIVED as Bluetooth keyboard

Grahame 2

Re: For our next trick... a ZX81 keyboard!

Oh yes!...

and while we are at it can we have a 16KB USB memory module a little larger than a pack a cigs that crashes the machine after hours of finger punishing code input, just because you gave it a funny look?

Nostalgia, it's just not as good as it used to be.

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Fees shakeup: Freephone numbers will actually BE free – Ofcom

Grahame 2

0330 / 0333

I had to arrange for a customer service/helpdesk number for a company I previously worked for, I knew most of the customers used mobiles, so I specifically avoided 0845/0800 numbers due the the take-the-piss rates charged by the mobile companies.

We needed a non-geographic number so we could switch call center in case of a business continuity event (i.e. building on fire etc..,) 0330 numbers are charged at normal call rate from landlines and mobiles and are included in bundled minutes, so seemed the natural choice.

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Industry group blames 'outdated' kit for stock-market tech disasters

Grahame 2

Re: If I recall correctly

"I don't remember exactly how, but essentially putting in massive buy and sell orders that you have no intention of fulfilling is a way to identify areas of weakness that can be exploited for quick profits."

The jargon term for this is flash orders (orders that only exist for milliseconds well away from the spread) , the intention being to either overwhelm the trading systems of other participants with data volume, or confuse their algorithms into thinking the markets is behaving differently than reality. In many jurisdictions flash orders are deemed a form of market manipulation and therefore banned.

Since flash order costs the exchange money in terms of having to build infrastructure able to handle this huge volume of orders that will never match, hence no commission for the exchange, most have introduced punitive charges of excessive volumes of unmatched trades. This mostly killed this behavior off before the regulators for involved.

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Grahame 2

Re: Better Idea

"Over that time, markets have evolved dramatically through the processing power of today’s technology – with execution times measured in milliseconds and microseconds – as well as widespread retail investor participation in the markets, decimalisation, the exponential growth of daily trading volume, and the for-profit status of the securities exchanges."

Most people raging against HFT have a picture of electronic trading that is somewhat unrelated with reality.

The speed of transaction has been driven up by many factors that have little do with people making money from micro price movements. Admittedly HFT has seen a lot of purely parasitic trading in the past, however through regulation and exchanges changing their pricing structures to discourage huge volumes of un-matched trades being blasted through their infrastructure, this activity has declined sharply.

The move away from open out-cry exchanges (loud wide-boys in loud jackets trading by shouting and hand signals) to electronic trading had allowed more transactions to be completed per trading day. This has allowed decimalization of the market, so before when shares or instruments could only be trading in large lots, typically 100,000 of whatever you were trading.

Trades can now be performed for any volume and matched against a counter-party directly as a partial fill. This has been made possible by the speed and accuracy of electronic systems.

By removing the need to have chains of brokers to aggregate investor traders in lots, this makes it practical to facilitate direct market participation by small and retail investors.

Before if I wanted to invest in something, I would by unlikely to afford a standard lot (100,000) of whatever, so I would go to a broker, they would look at their house book, if they had the shares in their inventory they would sell me a number of shares at a price that results in a profit for them, otherwise they would buy a lot on the market and sell me the required quantity, they would of course change a premium on their purchase price to cover their commission and risk (they would be left holding the remaining shares).

Also instead of a few national exchanges there now a multitude of exchanges, MTFs and ECNs (all really the same thing at a basic level, but there are different regulatory rules).

These private exchanges need liquidity for attract customers, so they bring in traders called Market Makers, these folks are obliged to provide a bid/ask price within a certain spread for all the instruments they are contracted to 'make the market' for, an exchange will have multiple market makers all competing against each other for trader business so the real time competition between market makers has. dramatically reduced bid/ask spreads.

Most of the the responsibility for the credit crunch was down to misrepresentation of their credit risk by banks, and had nothing to do with electronic trading, high frequency or otherwise. Of course HFT is not generally understood, so it makes a good scape goat.

Banks begrudgingly accept it is there and they have no choice. HFT has already resulted in significant removal of middle men from the trading business, and threatens the banks oligopoly by allowing greater market participation.

Politicians always need something to blame other than themselves, so rather than admit to massive regulatory failure in credit markets, they would rather blame something few people understand.

In my view the benefits of high performance electronic trading out weight the downsides.

I await your down-votes.

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Grahame 2

Re: Better Idea

Front running and flash orders are already illegal.

HFT covers many strategies. I agree some seem to offer little benefit other than to the trader employing them, such as momentum trading where instruments are traded rapidly to take advantage of a moving price. However the gains today are a lot smaller than people think, often not covering the infrastructure costs required to execute them.

However many other HFT strategies, such as rapid hedging and inter-venue trading have been shown to reduce risk and improve prices.

Electronic trading is here to stay, I agree it needs to be regulated, but let’s not throw the baby about with the bath water.

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Grahame 2

Re: Fixed it for you

"as well as widespread retail investor participation in the markets, decimalisation decriminalization, the exponential growth of daily trading volume"

Are you saying trading in small volumes should be illegal, that if you can't afford 10,000 or 100,000 shares you have no business trading directly on the market, and should be forced to go through a small number of brokers?

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Why not build a cluster out of WORKSTATIONS?

Grahame 2

Office render farm

A friend at a games company many moons back once told me they had an idea, why not give everyone in the office a high(ish) powered workstation and distribute the render farm through the office using unused cycles. That way everyone gets a decent workstation and they build the render farm for cheap.

They deployed said solution, one problem though, heat. Lots of heat, more than the feeble office aircon could handle, resulting in a lot of sweaty meat bags.

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How d'ya make a JPMorgan banker cry? Ask him questions on Twitter

Grahame 2

Re: Not convinced

Lizards can't cry, but I hear crocodiles cry often.

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The 10 most INHUMAN bosses you'll encounter: A Reg reader's guide

Grahame 2

Re: 10 Types of bosses

Not sure if The Prince has claim to be the first, I have had a few bosses rather fond of a management guide written around 512BC by some Chinese dude called Sun Tzu.

They tended to be mainly type 5/9/10 bosses, so I guess they did not take a lot of it in.

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Do dishwashers really blunt knives

Grahame 2

IMO a blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. With a blunt knife you have to use more force and have less control. But I don't have kids to worry about.

I use a ceramic wheel sharpener with Global knives, the type you put a bit of water in and it works great.

I don't use a dishwasher on them, but when I wash them I NEVER let go of the handle, cos having that blade lurking hidden in the washing up would be stupid.

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Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

Grahame 2

I can keep a secret...

it's just the people I tell than can't!

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Want FREE BEER for the rest of your life?

Grahame 2

Farty?

Having once experienced the excessive fruity flatulence resulting of drinking some homebrew that had not quite finished fermenting, I would expect there to be somewhat of an anti-social side they failed to mention!

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Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption

Grahame 2

Bull Run & Edgehill - Civil War?

Interesting choice of code names. Bull Run, major early battle of American Civil War. Edgehill, major early battle of English Civil War.

I think that gives us some insight into whom our respective intellegence agency perceive as the enemy.

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Cameron eyes 'non legislative options' for more spook snoop powers

Grahame 2
Unhappy

Quite the opposite, if DPI is mandated on all connections, then the connection may only be as fast as the DPI equipment can capture, analyse and store the traffic data.

Since DPI equipment costs orders of magnitude more than switch/router or even IP filtering equipment (which would be used if the survellance were targeted on a small subsection rather than everybody).

The the cost of the DPI equipment will determine end user speed, trapping the UK in the slow lane.

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Hey, software snobs: Hardware love can set your code free

Grahame 2
Coat

"The most amazing achievement of the computer software industry is its continuing cancellation of the steady and staggering gains made by the computer hardware industry. "

— Henry Petroski

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Arista wants to DANZ for high freaky traders

Grahame 2

Re: Not there, James

Opps. IEEE 1588

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Grahame 2

Re: Not there, James

Indeed. You can use most enterprise switches as tap aggregators (by using VLANs (or QinQ VLANS) with MAC Learning disabled). Which is great of you don't need precision captures.

What makes these a bit special is the ability of the switch at add a timestamp shim to the packet so you can work our how many nanoseconds it spent in the switch. The hardware to do this is part of the switch ASIC and is required to support Precision Time Protocol (IEEE 1583).

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Ten 3D printers for this year's modellers

Grahame 2

Re: Printing in wax?

Or just skip the whole wax stage and use laser sintering.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_laser_sintering

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Cautious Brits less likely than US firms to puff on clouds - survey

Grahame 2

Re: UK businesses may have an unduly negative attitude

That sums up the general concern with outsourcing.

When you do something in house, your primary concern is value.

An outsource provider's primary concerns are margin and volume.

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Schmidt 'very proud' of Google's tiny tax bill: 'It's called capitalism'

Grahame 2
Headmaster

Re: VAT

Companies don't really pay tax, people do. Taxing companies is simply indirect way of taxing customers or shareholders.

What Adam Smith said about tax :-

The Four Cannons of Taxation.

Equality – Tax payments should be proportional to income

Certainty – Tax liabilities should be clear and certain

Convenience of payment – Taxes should be collected at a time and in a manner convenient for taxpayer

Economy of collection – Taxes should not be expensive to collect.

Corporation Tax does not fair too well on any of those.

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Fedora 'Spherical Cow' delayed by bugs, Secure Boot

Grahame 2
Happy

Spherical Cow

Brass Eye fans?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgnuxd0tiHk

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UK bungs £250m to factories stung by climate-change policy

Grahame 2
Trollface

If it moves tax it..

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

- Ronald Reagan

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So, just what is the ultimate bacon sarnie?

Grahame 2

Re: First obvious step

That's one seriously deformed ferret.

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Samsung flogs 10 million Galaxy S IIIs in 7 weeks

Grahame 2

blue model

They probably would have sold faster if Samsung did not cock up the manufacture resulting in a delay of the dark blue model, launching only with the white model, a lot of people (like me) waited for dark blue one.

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Lazy password reuse opens Brits to crooks' penetration

Grahame 2
Thumb Up

email

I do the same, i have a trash password for stuff that does not matter that much (can't loose money or harm my employment / reputation). But its really important to have a unqiue email password, once someone can login to your email they can reset all your other passwords that use that email account.

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New electronic labels squeal to spare you from food poisoning

Grahame 2

Re: Just more unecessary junk packaging

Most of use a equiped with a bio-molecular analyser (sampling intake middle of face), what is wrong with smell-by-date?

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Forget internet fridges and Big Data. Where's my internet fish tank?

Grahame 2
Thumb Up

Re: Redundancy

I was given some very good advice regarding redundancy from a friend, he said same as you, to use two circulation/filter pumps in parrallel and use multiple but smaller heaters,rather than a single big one. that way if one gets stuck off, or worse, stuck on the tank does not freeze/cook.

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Grahame 2

Re: Project

Yep, that was the sort of building block I would be using. I intend to use as much stuff that has already been done as I can possibly get away with. Like using rrdtool for the graphs.

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Grahame 2
Stop

Re: Project

Having meationed relays and things, it is my intention that at least for phase-1 the system is purely monitoring, and will not control anything (I will leave that to timers and manual intervention). As I don't want to have my code hanging like a sword of Democleas over the innocent occupants of my aquarium.

Once I am happy it works and may think about giving it control.

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Grahame 2
Facepalm

Re: Fish nerd + tech head = fish head?

A horror story from a friend with a Roomba comes to mind. Not great for with pets.

Freshly laid steaming runny dog poo in middle of living room carpet + roomba 90min floor sweap = not the best thing to come home.

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Grahame 2
Boffin

Project

I have long been planning a aquarium (tropical marine, mainly invertebrates but with a few fish), but have wanted to do it well (large tank, good lights etc..) so this represents quite an investment of both time and money. The latter being why I have not started already!. However now I am in a position to kick it off.

Being of a somewhat geeky nature, remote alerting and graphs (oh hell yeah! lots of graphs!) are kind of an essential for me. But looking at the market for monitoring equipment, it is very expensive and rather limited. Like the article states, loads of clever monitoring but no good if its flashing away in obscurity on an LCD screen in a cupboard.

So I intend to roll my own, probably a embedded Linux box, with analog to digital hardware to connect probes (flow meters, pH, EC, DOC etc), and some relays to control pumps, lights etc.

There are a few of these sorts of projects already out there, but mainly to control hydroponics systems.

But given the number of potential contributors, I think this would make a good open source hardware/software project.

Hopefully next year I will have stopped talking about it have something to show.

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O2, Be Broadband axe Pirate Bay access

Grahame 2

DNS

Be had an issue with their DNS cache servers a while back, which meant a lot of people switched away from Be's internal service to OpenDNS or Google as has already been mentioned.

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Sheer weight of Brits' interest knackers new tax tool

Grahame 2

scaling

Of course something like this is going to attract a lot of attention just after launch, but it would be wasteful to scale a permanent platform for the initial load.

Of course the best option would be to able to dynamically assign hardware to services based on predicted and/or actual load,

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Home Sec: Web snoop law will snare PAEDOS, TERRORISTS

Grahame 2
Alert

No central database = network of mandated privately held databases accessible in real-time (net result, same damn thing)

Strong safeguards (today) = burdensome red tape (tomorrow)

Serious Crime = All crime is serious, otherwise it would be be crime, would it?

Paedos, Terrorists and major criminals = whatever floats ya boat to get it passed, we will widen the scope later.

This would all seem to be deeply cynical and paranoid, except when you take into account history on various other laws ( RIPA, Terrorism Act, POCA etc etc...)

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Mellanox VMA 6.0 juices high freaky trading

Grahame 2

OpenOnload works with Solarflare NICs, so its a mixture of the hardware and software.

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