* Posts by theblackhand

425 posts • joined 1 Oct 2009

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The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

theblackhand
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The Black Hand's Law

Not every law is real and some are just made up on the spot....

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JavaScript CPU cache snooper tells crooks EVERYTHING you do online

theblackhand
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Re: cat /proc/cpuinfo

It looks like the issue is caused by Intel's use of inclusive caches, so 80% of desktops are Intel:

From "The Spy in the Sandbox – Practical Cache Attacks in Javascript"

"The Intel cache micro-architecture is inclusive – all elements in the L1 cache must also exist in the L2 and L3 caches. Conversely, if a memory element is evicted from the L3 cache, it is also immediately evicted from the L2 and L1 cache. It should be noted that the AMD cache

micro-architecture is exclusive, and thus the attacks described in this report are not immediately applicable to that platform."

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theblackhand
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Re: And Another Thing

Re:VM's

But isn't the attack based on correlating web browser activity with the L3 CPU cache timings?

If the L3 CPU cache information can be inferred from a user process (from what I understand, you issue an instruction to evict a L3 cache line and read it as it is reloaded and infer what is happening based on timing memory accesses), virtualisation may make the attack more difficult due to additional activity but wouldn't defeat the attack.

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Post Office denies IT blunders led to criminal charges against posties

theblackhand
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Re: Have Royal Mail learnt nothing?

Doh!

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theblackhand
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Have Royal Mail learnt nothing?

They should have got a respected US author to write the preliminary report and then got a German writer for the final report. The final report will show that the sub-postmasters were guilty as they had a clear documentation trail that they provided to the investigators.

When the preliminary writer questions the findings of the final report, Royal Mail mumble something about laws preventing the release of the preliminary report and wait for the whole thing to blow over. No one will remember this following the success of the Qatar World Cup....

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Need speed? Then PCIe it is – server power without the politics

theblackhand
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Re: Going to be slow regardless

On a similar note:

Latency Numbers Every Programmer Should Know

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~rcs/research/interactive_latency.html

Some of the details are a little out (i.e main memory access is now lower than 100ns - mid-70's looks more accurate) and memory access across QPI links is around 300ns (+- 20ns).

Main issue with QPI scaling (and any switch based scaling) is that latency quickly jumps as you chain switches to add more cores/PCIe lanes

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‘Digital by default’ agricultural payments halted: Farmers start smirking

theblackhand
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Re: WHY?

You'll never fail to complete a £10 million project, better make it £100 million.

You'll still save the taxpayer £77 million....

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Hackers prove security still a myth on Windows PCs, bag $320,000

theblackhand
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Adobe

While both Adobe Reader and Flash are common, surely they provide to little challenge to include in a hacking competition?

Maybe use PC's without Adobe products and the teams can use PC's with Adobe products to quickly discover 2-3 flaws as a warm up? Keeps the costs down for the competition and maybe stops the constant dribble of Abode patches....

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Fanbois: We paid $2000 for full satisfaction but now we have SPREADING STAINS

theblackhand
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Staingate?

Can't Apple just suggest turning on the browser parental controls to stop the cause of this issue?

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Nvidia tears wraps off GeForce Titan X (again) and $10,000 GPU brain for DIY self-driving cars

theblackhand
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Re: hmmm

- suspect there will be some memory magic and you won't be able to use the full 12GB, based on the lesser Maxwell's you should get around 10.5GB full speed. Still lots...

- heat is likely related to die size. It is a very big die (harder to cool when everything is busy) and hard to produce flawless dies (due to the number of dies from each wafer) so likely to suffer some leakage.

- Memory bandwidth is bus width x speed - they haven't changed from the GTX Titan Black and based on size/heat, a larger bus would have been a step to far on 28nm process.

- Linpack I can't guess at. Sufficient? :)

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Patch Flash now: Google Project Zero, Intel and pals school Adobe on security 101

theblackhand
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Pint

Re: Ah... patch Flash you say? Hahaha.

"Why someone decided for Flash to be an integral component of a website to upload files boggles the mind. Seeing how we are the customer in this case I requested for them to provide us with an alternative solution."

Can I put money on the alternative requiring Java?

Pessimistic? No, my glass is completely empty. Your round?

Because it's Friday....

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Hurry shipmates - the black hats have hacked our fire control system

theblackhand
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Re: Why is this not a reality TV show ?

The success of reality TV shows is inversely proportional to the intelligence of the contestants.

i.e. I'm a celebrity, make me eat animal genitals (or whatever it is called....)

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Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

theblackhand
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Mushroom

For some reason this came to mind

Baby got an atom bomb,

A mother funking atom bomb,

Twenty two megatons,

You've never seen so much fun.

(apologies to purists that don't like my PC version...)

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Pathetic PC sales just cost us a BILLION dollars, cries Intel

theblackhand
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Re: The term "Wintel" comes to mind...

Any suggestions what that OS might be? Intel has the desktop OS market pretty much sewn up (Windows/OS X/Linux).

Intel's problem is that everyone has been moving to ARM-powered mobile devices and no longer need the laptops/desktops to communicate.

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theblackhand
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Re: Anyone remember upgrade chips?

Back in the day, upgrading PC's or building PC's was a significant part of the market.

These days, systems being upgraded (i.e RAM/CPU/disk/GPU) accounts for a fraction of 1% and most of the revenue from that is at the higher end of the performance spectrum.

It's now more profitable to design systems that can be easily assembled rather than those that can be upgraded piece by piece.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

theblackhand
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Reading order

I would recommend starting with either The Witches Trilogy or Death Trilogy as they provide a gentle introduction to Discworld life.

Avoid starting with the Colour of Magic unless you really enjoy classical fantasy books - once you've read some of the other Discworld books coming back to the Rincewind series makes more sense when the pace of the books slows.

Alternatively, far wiser people have created the following reading order:

http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg

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The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

theblackhand
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Re: EU Tax Law

It's workable as long as all members have similar tax rates - as soon as some members have a significantly lower corporation tax AND the ability to easily alter where an item is purchased (i.e. websites) this changes.

Now that the EU playing field has changed, we just need the politicians responsible to come up with a solution. There are many possible solutions (i.e. I believe there has been a significant shift to a consumer based economy so increasing the VAT on "non-essential" items and lowering income/corporation taxes would remove some of the advantages of the web giants over local business and tax consumers in a way that was difficult to avoid).

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theblackhand
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Re: Too Simplistic

Re: Why should Amazon be treated any differently than Tesco?

The major difference between Tesco and Amazon is that Tesco relies on brick's and mortar locations versus Amazon being able to easily move revenue/profits between locations.

The problem isn't so much moving the profits between countries, the problem is moving all profits to the country with the lowest tax rate in the EU - Luxembourg benefits while other economies suffer.

The Google tax will probably fail (either not raise any additional money or be challenged in court and fail) by which time the EU will probably have addressed this in some way (i.e. by setting a minimum tax rate across EU members and maybe a cross-border tax that favours physical companies over virtual ones).

There is also the question of whether consumers want the big companies taxed - the companies pay less tax and their goods become cheaper because of it. However, it damages local businesses (who struggle to compete on price and range) which in turn damages local communities (less jobs and less money in the local economy). Does the economy benefit from this in the medium to long term?

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Mandarin Oriental coughs to credit card breach

theblackhand
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Translation

"A lot of people these days accept the fact that their data on-line is not safe and will be subjected to theft at some point."

Or:

A lot of people hope that when they entrust their financial details to a third party, the third party will take adequate care to avoid being in breach of local civil/criminal laws. Unfortunately we have failed to achieve this on this occasion - and on a more positive note, luckily we haven't been caught for anything else yet. Hopefully you weren't too severely inconvenienced by our failings and will remain a customer.

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Euro ministers ditch plan to ban roaming charges

theblackhand
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Re: what a rip-off

Re:Larry F54

Voice a "just" a streaming data service to a single destination at a time (apoloiges to any voice guys I upset...).

i.e. a mobile call from UK to France at full rate is likely to be equivalent to listening to streaming audio from a French website at 13Kbps. In all liklihood, the voice call will use less data and cost much more than if you choose to use a VoIP service to replace the voice call.

Just because there is a flat fee for Internet doesn't mean that all the different parts along the line don't get paid. For voice traffic, there has been a long history of service accounting, so it is charged accordingly.

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Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

theblackhand
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Re: If a packet gets delayed or dropped because of congestion...

ISP's do have standards for how much traffic they carry, and it is generally higher than 50%.

Most of these standards do not apply to residential services where over-subscription (i.e. DSL or cable) is a commonly used method of keeping costs down for end users.

i.e. the ballpark for Internet connectivity outside of London is around £1000/Mbps per annum for uncontended symmetric access or around £12/Mbps per annum for a business Internet connection (asymetric traffic rates). The ballpark for New York is US$12,000/annum for 1Gbps (up/down) over fibre via a lower tier ISP versus around US$12/Mbps for cable (asymetric traffic rates),

Some of the difference is in the service level (i.e. DSL is generally a technician on-site within 3 days and service credit after 14 days of outage versus 4 hour response and typical service restoration within 24 hours although that changes to 3 days in some cases) and contact, but some of the cost is also providing a high-quality circuit between the ISP's point-of-presence and the customer, in addition to peering/Internation bandwidth etc.

For the US sites I have knowledge of, the issue is generally a lack of options outside of large cities - some of our remote users in the US have a choice of multiple packages from a single provider with nothing above 8Mbps DSL and it hasn't changed in the last 10+ years. For businesses we will pay to dig in if the incumbant telco's offerings are awful...

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theblackhand
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Re: I wasn't under the impression that they were being argued for/against

My understanding of the Netflix vs Comcast/AT&T/Verizon issues are that the links between Netflix and the ISP's are oversubscribed. I don't believe the NN legislation provides a way to address this other than Netflix and the ISP argue for a while and eventually agree costs to provide an upgrade and yes, ISP's do play silly buggers with upgrade pricing.

The fix is to allow more competition at the provider level, ideally by unbundling end-user services from the copper/fibre so that the businesses/homes get more choice. I'm not sure the NN legislation will provide this.

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Tinder Plus charges oldies MORE to ogle young hotties' pics

theblackhand
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Re: Dating apps really hate the over 30s

"I can't imagine any self-respecting over-30 to want to pay hundreds of pounds a year for a hot-or-not swipe app..."

You may find that over-30's with no self respect IS the target market....

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Just want a simple, low-power GPU for your smart-gumble? Try using your Imagination

theblackhand
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Re: WTF??

Re: How the heck does a watch need a 60 fps 720p display?

Exactly - it should be a 100 fps display to accurately show hundredths of a second.

Sure they could make displays that show even more fps, but that would just be silly...

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Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

theblackhand
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Re: Nuts! It is Not Big Tech.

And central banks are keeping interest rates low to let existing debt devalue, allowing everyone who ended up with overvalued assets (predominately houses - either those with mortgages or the banks that ended up with houses through defaults) to let the debts devalue and be repaid or written off when they are at a level that doesn't cause major knock-on effects.

Sure, it hurts those who are saving, but the alternatives aren't necessarilly any better for those with savings as letting the banks fail would take out some of those with savings as collateral damage.

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

theblackhand
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Re: Legality

I suspect the legality of this is a grey area - governments involved in Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States) or the various extensions (including European countries) have been monitoring international traffic since the 1940's and most (all?) governments have had the ability to monitor local communications providers for law enforcement and security purposes. The grey area is if this monitoring is done (largely) in secret, exactly what is acceptable, where is the oversight and is it sufficient to balance the public's needs (i.e. the elected government) with the watcher's abilities (i.e. the security agencies)?

The big differences between when these systems were first put in place and now is how people communicate (both frequency and type of calls) - monitoring phone calls before mobile phones got the monitoring down to a group of people at a single location - but phone calls went from unusual (and therefore possibly suspicious) to common for local communication to common for national communication to the current day where International calls are common. Mobile phones and the ability to monitor mobile phone calls gave governments the ability to both monitor and track an individual. Now with most Internet services being based in International locations, suddenly everything is a "legitimate" target....

Almost all of what I mentioned above has been publicly disclosed in some way or another by mainstream media (think high profile criminal cases where Police uses mobile information or IRA cases from the 80's involving phone taps) - the real difference with the information provided by Snowden is that it has the authority of an insider and the details for how it is done.

Although I have to admit that the stealing of the encryption keys versus decryption using algorithmic weaknesses or brute force is impressive - I can imagine Q asking "should we build another enormous data centre or should we just get Bond to steal the keys?"

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Expired router cache sends Google Cloud Engine TITSUP

theblackhand
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Re: Remind me again @Lee D

It's horses for courses....

If you have an environment that provides a suitable high availability environment for your companies requirements at present, then cloud may not look so great.

If on the other hand you are the average Silicon roundabout company* where you interact with your customers via Internet services (email/web services/file transfer) and your Internet connection is whatever DSL/cable line you can get for under £50/month, cloud services provide a significant increase in availability.

* Note: all comments based on recent media coverage. Journalists only tell the truth don't they?

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Game of Moans: Sky coughs to BORKED set top box BALLS-UP

theblackhand
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Re: WOW!

The Greek financial problems are easy - defer the IMF repayments to allow the Greeks to get a concession and the EU to get paid without any toys being thrown out of the pram. Just spend a few weeks "negotiating" so that it looks like all sides worked hard to achieve the deal.

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Qualcomm, ARM: We thought we had such HOT MODELS...

theblackhand
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Disagree with comparision of ARM and Qualcomm

Qualcomms challenges are arguably of their own making (struggling to deliver a 64-bit SoC that matches the power/performance of previous generation so delivering a reference design instead and an umbrella licencing deal that allowed them to charge a significant mark up on their patent portfolio that has failed a legal challenge). If they can resolve their SoC issues, they will remain a strong player but they will need to get by with less revenue because the Chinese defeat of the umbrella licencing terms will flow through to all of their markets.

For ARM, I still see a bright future based on the 64-bit reference platform they have delivered - it appears to continue to deliver incremental increases in power and performance and they have room to continue to develop it. With that in mind, they will continue to have a market in the portable/low-end computing space and as they deliver reference designs with more CPU power the market will continue to grow. The growth will come at the expense of the other CPU manufacturers (Intel/AMD) and as long as their licencing terms are considered fair (i.e. allowing mix and match of design components, allowing modifications of designs via a licencing agreement and keeping licence costs reasonable) I can't see them being challenged. If their licencing/pricing structure changes, then there is the potential for MIPS to compete, but the software development inertia would need a fairly substantial change.

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Samsung, LG wash dirty laundry in two separate court cases

theblackhand
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Re: If only Apple vs Samsung was as entertaining.

Sigh.... I'm sorry I said bad things about your favourite toy and I won't say bad things about them again....

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theblackhand
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If only Apple vs Samsung was as entertaining.

Am I the only one who thinks resorting to physical violence is a (significant) step up from patent disputes where lawyers get rich and the cases appear to hinge upon arguing points that seem to ignore where a patent is actually valid or not?

i.e.

Apple: Knock knock

Samsung: Who's there?

Apple: Goons

Samsung: Goons who?

Apple: Hired goons.... (followed by the sound of a door being smashed and various electronic products being smashed)

Much more entertaining than having lawyers argue about whether some such design thingy is unique and it results in less money going to lawyers.

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SPITTLE SPATTER as America weighs into FCC net neut shoutgasm

theblackhand
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Re: American internet users will win!!

But if either (1) or (2) happen, won't it result in re-drafting a new bill?

More time will pass, with more uncertainity and almost certainly more significant changes in how Americans get their Internet access.

Disclosure:

I'm against net neutrality as it rolls up a lot of different issues (poor residential Internet services in many locations, lack of competition in many locations causing xDSL/cable services to be over-priced, disputes between how ISP's/content providers interconnect and how large ISP/content providers deliver services). I expect an regulation to only address part of it (most likely interconnects and fairness of delivery of traffic because they are easy to address by regulations AND are very likely to date quickly as the Internet continues to change.

I'd prefer no net neutrality and regulations to encourage ISP's to provide minimum levels of service (within the limits of current technology) to prevent communities being left behind, provide caps for the cost of services (to prevent communities being priced out of faster services) AND (most importantly) remove any restrictions on regional competition between providers. The caps should be high enough to allow current ISP's to operate as they are but provide an incentive for new players to enter local markets.

Being a telco/ISP is hard, so there needs to be rewards for the significant investment involved to encourage new players to enter - being given a monopoly on services in a region should not be one of the possible rewards. Note that these changes would require 2-3 years before the market improved for the consumer.

For interconnects, companies need to pay for the connectivity. Most of the time it will be the content providers that need to improve their connectivity (sorry Netflix....)

For QoS within an ISP providing better service for the ISP's own traffic versus a competitiors, I have no issue with this as long as there are sufficient players in the market to allow customers to move between providers.

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Samsung snub sends Qualcomm into a spin over Snapdragon 810

theblackhand
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Re: Hmmmm

I understand the 810 is 64-bit - but it is using ARM designed Cortex cores versus other Snapdragon processors using Qualcomm's customised Krait cores.

The thing that differentiated Qualcomm in the past was their ability to produce custom ARM7A cores that competed with Apple on both CPU performance and power usage - the 810 loses that advantage even before any supposed manufacturing issues resulting in poor power performance.

The 820 is supposed to be the 64-bit Krait (or successor to Krait).

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theblackhand
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Hmmmm

What could be wrong with the 810? Why is it using a Cortex core instread of a Krait core? Samsung can get Cortex cores into Exynos so why go elsewhere...

Maybe the Snapdragon 820 will be better - or will it take even longer before Qualcomm has their own in-house 64-bit core?

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UK official LOSES Mark Duggan shooting discs IN THE POST

theblackhand
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Re: And still using DISCS IN THE POST

"Royal Mail Special Delivery is specifically mentioned as a permissible transmission channel for everything up to Top Secret"

Or, to translate for Police and associated staff:

Royal Mail Special Delivery is specifically mentioned as a permissible transmission channel for everything up to Top Secret. To use this service, shred all information and send an empty envelope to the recipient. In the off chance this is not "lost" by Royal Mail or consciencous Police staff, when the recipient recieves the empty envelope and contacts you advise them the contents have been stolen.

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Apple patch shields Macs from Thunderstrike

theblackhand
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Re: Is this an issue for any PC using EFI

Only EFI signed with Apple keys will be vulnerable to this particular exploit, but the principle applies to all EFI devices - if someone can get signing keys for other EFI's then the same issue could occur.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

theblackhand
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Re: Frikkin' shark movies on SyFy

I enjoyed Sharknado as well - it may have had something to do with drinking and doing shots every time something truly dire happened.

Three of us finished a bottle in the last 10-15 minutes alone....

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Will fondleslab's fickle finger of fate help Windows 10?

theblackhand
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Re: Will the fickle finger of fondleslab fate help Windows 10?

If they deliver tablets that are similar to higher spec Android devices at a similar cost and provide MS tools (i.e. Office) as part of the bundle, they could manage to get market share.

Instead MS will deliver a budget tablet at the same price as a high spec Android device with a premium product priced against iOS devices with Office as an additional cost.

TL;DR - you're right...

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'Success'? Verify FAILED for 40% in self-assess tax trial

theblackhand
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Re: "Good luck with that March 2016 deadline"

Fund raising? The politicians could just submit expense claims for the ticket price...

New office equipment - check

Moat cleaning - check

Fake invoice for office supplies - check, although their is a query on whether billing for the time spent in prison is included or will be invoiced seperately

Rocket trip to the brave new world - check

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Ailing AMD battered by goodwill, inventory charges

theblackhand
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Re: They missed a trick

I'm not sure there was really any trick missed - the ARM market is well served by competent chip designers and it is a cut throat market where a poor chip design may result in a lot of unsold inventory. Look at nVidia's ARM products - as far as I am aware they have been losing money on them for 5-6 years trying to become an established player.

It may change with 64-bit ARM chips for servers, but I'm not convinced as adding IO performance to ARM chips to improve server performance will result in higher power usage and cost, Atom isn't that far away due to process advantages, and there are other potential competitors such as MIPS in the AP market.

Intel may have all the cards in the x86 market, but at least it tolerates AMD to avoid any monopoly issues that might cause the US government to intervene.

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Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

theblackhand
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Re: Most hated version of Windows

Not sure if you can count Windows ME.

It was so god awful that most people stuck with Win98 (or 95 in corporates) and jumped to NT4/2000.

Did MS even release it as an OS or just for coffee coasters?

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Want a cheap Office-er-riffic tablet? Microsoft Windows takes on Android

theblackhand
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Re: Linux? Re:Steven R

You do realise that saying product X is good makes product Y slower, less capable and crap on your doorstep when you're not looking?

After reading too many reviews about a certain phone, my now inferior phone even went so far as not caring if I was looking when it defecated on my doorstep.

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LIFELESS BEAGLE on MARS: A British TRIUMPH!

theblackhand
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Re: Curiosity

Re: USB

Don't be silly - of course it can't use a USB stick to download the images as Curiosity won't be returning to earth and Curiosity's arms don't have the ability to self-insert the USB stick.

On the other hand, if there was a friendly Martian to help then a lack of USB could be a huge oversight on Curiosity's part....

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MAINFRAMES are SO NOT DEAD: IBM's launched a new one

theblackhand
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Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

Hey youngster - stop playing on the mainframe lawn and go in play in the Android/iPhone park with the other pesky teenagers on TheReg....

Once you've read enough Gartner reports declaring everything you use "dead" and replaced by the latest flash in the pan, read up on various subtle forms of humour such as irony then you can come back for some more grouchiness...

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theblackhand
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Re: Can I just have the case?

Is that one of the water cooled racks?

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Boybanders ONE DIRECTION launch DoS attack on open-source bods

theblackhand
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Re: How is this a DoS Attack?

"And I also happen to run a massively popular One Direction fan site (don't ask), "

Let me guess - there was a recession, you needed the work, when you went to the interview the lift seemed to go an awfully long way down, it's very hot in the office, you always thought Beel-Zebub was an unusual name but it seems to suit your boss well...

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Windows 7 MARKED for DEATH by Microsoft as of NOW

theblackhand
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Re: Oh noes! We've only got 5 years!

It won't catch gov.uk by surprise - they already have people negotiating with MS on how to extend support for the organisations that haven't managed to start their Win7 migration programs by 2020.

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iPhone addiction will RUIN YOUR LIFE – if only that were true

theblackhand
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I did a test last Friday....

I met a journalist friend at his office for a drink - when I said we're off to the pub, there was visible shaking from those that still had work to complete and couldn't come to the pub immediately.

Maybe they should have wrote half-assed stories about "Beer/crisp/pork scratching addictions will RUIN YOUR LIFE". At least they would have got to the pub faster but not sure if the content would have been appreciated in a technical publication.

Is that sufficiently scientific or should I continue to repeat the experiment to gather more evidence? Am I eligible for a research grant?

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