* Posts by Malcolm Weir

313 posts • joined 23 May 2007

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Les unsporting gits! French spies BUGGED Concorde passengers

Malcolm Weir

Re: Simple to check?

"One of the Concordes"? Most of them are.

The Smithsonian annex at Dulles Airport has one of the French ones... but I believe that none of the aircraft were left in a flyable state, i.e. parts were deliberately removed after their final flight (in the case of the BA aircraft, partly because they couldn't keep all seven aircraft in flyable condition anyway). It would therefore prove nothing if you didn't find anything...

Other French Concordes are at the museums at Le Bourget, Orly and Shinsheim in Germany.

So, counting the one at Toulouse and the one at CDG, that's all the French ones (after they scrapped one in 1994, FFS).

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US plans to apply export controls to 0-days put out for comment

Malcolm Weir

Re: The article and comments are misleading

@Don Ames/w1guu

It appears, you're right in some areas, not so right in others. For instance, while the actual text of the Wassenaar Agreement is interesting, it is of only peripheral relevance to US law, which is only concerned with the actual Federal Regulations. So an enabling regulation can be substantially broader than required.

But, yes, the EAR Part 734.7 (and possibly 734.8) have bearing on the matter, but the effect of them is awful: anyone wanting to avoid the export controls *has* to publish everything, including the "proof of concept" attack code, if they want to notify the hypothetical Chinese router manufacturer. This is possibly an even worse situation, because they cannot limit disclosure to the known good guys. So if I discover an attack vector, I *have* to hand it off to the bad guys, too... which is possibly a Bad Idea.

And the fact that the 40+ countries agreed on making intrusion software "dual use" doesn't mean much, because the people at the table deciding these things are typically NOT representative of the broadest constituency. In other words, the Mil/industrial base gets a disproportionately loud voice, and the open source community is disproportionately under-represented.

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Malcolm Weir

Re: We have this sort of ...

@All names Taken: the Scottish thing is not at all contradictory, no matter what how might appear, because the votes were about different things. In the in/out vote, although much of the rhetoric was anti-Westminster-political-parties, the actual question boiled down quite simply and the other ties with the rest of the UK (i.e. the social, cultural, etc ones) won out. In the General Election, no-one cared about anything except the anti-Westminster-party stuff (aka "they're all equally horrible"), so the SNP won big precisely because they are not a traditional part of the London political system, and are not likely to be dominated by Whips calling for a vote for tax cuts for everyone living within the M25!

Interestingly, if Cameron's "Let's leave the EU" thing works, to me that pretty much guarantees that Scotland will leave the UK to rejoin the EU. Yes, Salmond called it a "once in a generation" vote, but a generation of _what_? It's not impossible that he met a generation of rats, because sometimes it's easy to confuse a rodent with a politician!

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Malcolm Weir

I think @theordore is right: as I read it, if I publish something on the web showing an attack vector, that is (or could be) "intrusion software to identify vulnerabilities of computers and network-capable devices".

Therefore I would now need a license to do that.... which I almost certainly wouldn't get, because I can't specify who the intended recipient is, and I certainly couldn't prevent "transfer (in country)" of the information even if I could (i.e. I couldn't prevent Hans in Germany telling Pierre in France).

Of course, if the attack vector involved, say, a foreign-made communications device -- say, a router made in China -- then I could apply for, and if manufacturer cared, I probably would receive a license to tell them the problem. Chances are, though, that the manufacturer wouldn't care, so wouldn't agree to the license terms (i.e. don't tell Pierre), so no license and the vulnerability would continue unpatched.

Even more problematic: if that Chinese router used, say, open source software, I couldn't tell anyone about the vulnerability because the open source process of providing the patch would disclose the existence and nature of the original problem.

And even if the device was US built and I could tell them about the vulnerability, they would have to be very, very careful describing the reason for the patch that resolves it, because they cannot publicly disclose the precise nature of the problem. So you'd get release notes that say things as profound as "Fixed vulnerability. Enjoy!"

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

Malcolm Weir

Re: Two Things

@Wolfetone: no, for the FAA to issue the directive it means that Boeing has identified the issue. The FAA, not being complete idiots, don't wait until something goes wrong before they issue AD's.

Boeing: Hey, if you X, Y, and Z the wings fall off an the plane plummets to the ground

FAA: Well, that hasn't happened yet, so we'll just hold this on file until it does. Thanks all the same.

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Malcolm Weir

@Alan Brown...

Well, quite. And the "Gasp, Horror!" notion that if the GCU's happened during final approach DISASTER would happen...

... although if the GCU's packed up on final, the avionics would still work (battery and RAT deployment), and the chaps flying the thing would take emergency action which would appear, to the untrained eye, exactly the same as the non-emergency action: they'd fly the thing onto the runway which was neatly lined up in front of them (because they are on final).

To be honest, the worst phase of flight for the GCU's to fail would likely be cruise, because the air conditioning would pack up (it's electric in the 787), so the SOP would be to lose altitude to 10,000ft or thereabouts so the passengers can breath once the oxygen generators pack up. Since you're obviously operating on 240 minute ETOPS, then by definition you may be up to 4 hours from a landing field. But one would expect a certain amount of dialog between the crew and the maintenance base during those four hours...

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Malcolm Weir

"And presumably also turning the 787 into a brick with no power for its fly-by-wire systems, lighting, climate control or in-flight movies."

The fly-by-wire systems will be fine, because the RAT will pop out and produce power. The pilots will then, presumably, try to cycle the GCU's one at a time, and all will become well again.

It's a problem, but not a massive one.

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Evil Wi-Fi kills iPhones, iPods in range – 'No iOS Zone' SSL bug revealed

Malcolm Weir

@Henry Wertz 1: Mostly true... but T-Mobile has NOT increased it's per GB charges. Probably doesn't count as a mobile phone company, though, because it does stupid things like provide no-cost international data roaming.

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Comcast 'flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable'

Malcolm Weir

Re: Interesting...

@Mark 85: corporations don't usually bow to public pressure, but they do bow to regulatory roadblocks, which can (and sometimes do) respond to the public.

In this case, added to the public pressure are all the municipalities which regulate cable companies AND the production companies, none of whom liked the idea of a monolithic cable company with 60% of the market deciding which channels were carried, what rates were charged, and what bundles existed (phone, cable and ISP...)

The muttering was that the FCC wasn't/isn't going to let this one slide through. If the FCC imposes too many restrictions, the deal wouldn't make sense, so they would have to lobby to get Congress to overrule the FCC, which costs a lot. So better to drop the deal now than to pay lots of money and still maybe not get the deal they want/need for this to make sense.

Of course, the other part of it is that Comcast and TWC are currently spending LOADS of money to try to persuade Congress to reverse the FCC on the Net Neutrality rules, and perhaps they just figured that weren't going to win both, so better to focus on the one they really care about.

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Samsung's PCIe flash card: Slim, speedy, and just nibbling power

Malcolm Weir

You totally misunderstand the NGFF/M.2 spec. The spec defines multiple form factors, but does not require that any platform support all M.2 form factors.

You also seem to believe that any one is of the opinion that a 1TB (not 1Tb) device _couldn't_ be produced using a 2280 form form factor. Of course it can: Samsung could use their V-NAND stuff, as the article stated. And they will. Just not today.

And the reason for that is because of a thing call "customers". Regardless of your views, must customers for ultralight notebook computers aren't clamoring for larger SSDs (yet), mainly because of cost: although the cost-per-GB is falling, doubling the storage capacity results in at least a 1.5x increase in cost (and if you're on the bleeding edge, usually that's 2.5x or more...).

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Malcolm Weir

No. Just as you can't tell whether a mini PCIe sized storage device is true PCIe or mSATA without reference to the datasheet.

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Malcolm Weir

Is that really the physical limit in this form factor using current technology? I find that hard to believe. Why do we have to wait for 3D V-NAND to see a, (more useful), 1 Tb version?

The 2280 "M.2" size is 22mm x 80mm x 4mm, or 7040 cubic mm. A standard 2.5" SSD is 100mm x 70mm x 7mm, or 49,000 cubic mm. So the storage density of this thing is roughly equivalent to that of a 5-6TB 2.5in SSD (allowing for the different connectors).

So I wouldn't whine too much.

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

Malcolm Weir

Re: Simple fix for southbridge bandwidth limitation

" time to make the x86 an SoC.

Yeah... they could call it something exotic,like Atom Z2460 or....

Oh, wait. That was from 2012.

Latest x86 SoC is the Xeon-D. CPU + 10GigE, what's not to like?

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Atmel stoops to an 'all-time low' in Internet of Things battle

Malcolm Weir

Re: Doesn't it need

Possibly... although the actual alarm indication may be Someone Else's problem, but a weekly or monthly comms test may simply mean you need to change the battery every year. You know, like with smoke detectors...

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Hey, Apple! We can land a probe on a comet, but we can't have a 12.9in iPad 'until mid-2015'?

Malcolm Weir

@jof62

DOA? It's landed, it's sending data, and the thing has plenty of work it can do even if the 64 hour battery is all the power it gets.

So by any stretch of the imagination it has "A", and it is not "D", which leaves "O", and that's accurate: it is ON a comet.

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Welcome to the fast-moving world of flash connectors

Malcolm Weir

I find this article technically incoherent. And sometimes dead wrong.

For example, the assertion that mSATA is not electrically compatible with mPCIe is just wrong. They can be. Not every implementation is, but the two sets of signals can co-exist on the same connector, so that seems to suggest (to me) that they are electrically compatible, but not interoperable. Or something.

Also, Fibre Channel is not the same as SCSI FCP. This would be an OK generalization to make, exceot that the earlier bit about iSCSI suggests the author at least understands the difference between a command protocol and the transport protocol, although for the rest of the article he forgets it!

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Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

Malcolm Weir

Re: Blown up not blew up

That's simply not true. The Range Safety Officer is there to ensure that the vehicle does not deviate from the approved track far enough to risk damage to people or property. In particular, if the vehicle becomes uncontrollable, the RSO will terminate the flight so that it will falls within the range's designated volume (airspace and floorplan).

Following a catastrophic event, the RSO may well try to terminate the flight, but the emphasis here is on the word _following_. The reason terminating a flight that is already exploding is that no-one wants (e.g.) the second stage to ignite and go barreling off to see what it can see [Yeah, I know, massively unlikely, but not impossible].

So this isn't semantics: from the looks of things, Antares blew up. The RSO may have aborted the flight, too, but if you watch the video closely, that would have been while the vehicle was moving backwards...

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Malcolm Weir

Re: Blown up not blew up

In my humble opinion, that did not look like the Range Safety guy hit the big red Flight Termination Button.

Three reasons:

1) terminating a flight so soon is likely to achieve exactly what happened -- the vehicle falls back on the expensive launch infrastructure, causing lots of damage. Waiting another 10 seconds or so would have put the vehicle over water.

2) The time from ignition to explosion was about 6 seconds. That's very little time to identify an anomaly, conclude that the anomaly was sufficiently serious that the flight was no a risk, and abort it.

3) The range safety officer is a NASA guy. If NASA blew the thing up, I reckon Orbital would have said something about it, just to share the misery.

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Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness

Malcolm Weir

Re: Lawyers

While it is true that BGA packages are supplied with the solder attached, it is a blatant falsehood to claim that there's "nothing the user can do" (which in this case, "the user" means "Apple").

The principal thing that Apple could have done is...

WRITE "DON'T USE LEAD-FREE SOLDER" on the Purchase Order contract!

Simples!

Yes, you need to fill in more paperwork, but the major issue becomes that you need to manage some kind of disposal program, and pay for it. Which costs money, which is why (presumably) Apple made the calculated decision to use the technically inferior lead-free solder.

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Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

Malcolm Weir

Would it help to point out that the instruction set in MLF's smartphone[1] was designed by a woman[2]?

[1] Probably

[2] Although she wasn't one at the time

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Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

Malcolm Weir

Re: UK.gov investing in the future of IT. IT people up in arms...

I was going to just upvote Phil Endecott, but decided that the point was so apt it deserved applause.

The real places where innovation has spawned are those where the smart, industrious, creative, inventive individuals _already are_. For instance, one individual we know as engaged in "graduate study in computer science at Stanford University on a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation"... and there's a reason that the world's most successful CPU manufacturer is based in a swamp in East Anglia!

(When I say "we know", I mean we all know. Google him!).

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

Malcolm Weir

It's not operable without ammunition, which isn't included in the deal, and by the way, your tin foil hat is slipping.

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Malcolm Weir

Re: Golan Heights

This is an ex-Syrian Panzer...

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Malcolm Weir

Re: So you are entering into a $2.5 million dollar deal to buy a tank...

There is a paper trail. It says what you'd expect:

Allen: "How much for the tank?"

Them: "2.5 mil"

Allen: "Done. Where do we send the dosh?"

Them: "Here".

Allen: "Done".

Them: "All your stuff, including the tank, will be shipped to this marshalling yard".

(days go by...)

(Everything but the tank gets delivered).

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

Malcolm Weir

Re: You'll Get The Respect You Deserve

"Don Jefe",

Based on your comment, I suspect you get little respect, because you sure as stit don't deserve any.

What you've done is turn the tables on the victims: don't want to be raped? Learn self defense and carry a machine pistol! Woot! Simples!

That is pretty vile.

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Malcolm Weir

Re: Another solution

If people would stay in hermetically-sealed boxes, they wouldn't get into touch-related trouble, full stop.

Zoopy obviously sees no value in alcohol as a "social lubricant". Equally obviously, he's wrong: alcohol has value, sometimes a LOT of value in helping to promote interaction between people who might otherwise not have communicated.

So what Zoopy probably meant to convey instead of the simplistic and extremist position given was that (in Zoopy's opinion) the value of having alcohol is outweighed by the poor behavior exhibited by some people who have it. Which is a fine, if trite, observation, even if it is one that most adults seem to reject: some sales people drive company cars poorly, so by Zoopy's thinking, we should discourage the use of company cars...

Focus, Zoopy: the problem is poor behavior.

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Cracking copyright law: How a simian selfie stunt could make a monkey out of Wikipedia

Malcolm Weir

There's a bogus claim that doesn't appear to fit with the facts of the case.

The issues of originality are basically:

(i) specialities of angle of shot, light and shade, exposure and effects achieved with filters, developing techniques and so on; (ii) the creation of the scene to be photographed; (iii) being in the right place at the right time.

Slater didn't set up the shot, the lighting, etc. Slater didn't create the scene to be photographed. And finally Slater wasn't in the right place at the right time: he wasn't actually there at all.

Of course, if he'd set up the shot with a "photo trap" type system, then his absence wouldn't matter, but what even he agrees happened was that he just left the equipment while he wandered off, and the monkey did the rest; critically, he didn't arrange for the monkey to be able to get the camera, he just left the thing alone while he did something else.

Now, had he been smart about this, he'd have ONLY released images that he had post-processed in some way (thereby adding his creativity), but that of course reduces the "authenticity" (and thus the value) of the shot.

The fundamental flaw here is that by promoting the shot as a selfie, he's explicitly admitting that he didn't take the shot. Given he didn't take the shot, it's a desperate stretch to claim that Berne automatically gives him copyright; he wasn't the creator.

Sure, you could argue that he was instrumental in creating the shot, because he set up the camera and collected the results. But under that thinking, you'd have to grant a copyright involvement to the FedEx driver who delivered the camera to you...

Slater doesn’t fulfill every single criterion – but then he doesn’t have to. He has to meet enough. As Tierney explains:

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Container-friendly Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 hits general availability

Malcolm Weir

Yes.

Whether it works (for you, for any value of "you") or not is a slightly larger question.

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Marc Andreessen: Edward Snowden is a 'textbook traitor'

Malcolm Weir

OK, I'll bite:

If everyone knew what the NSA was doing, how can anyone accuse Snowden of treason?

On the other hand, if what the NSA was doing was massively (TS//SI//TK//NOFORN) secret, then one might be able to credible accuse Snowden of treachery, but one might also raise the question of why the NSA expended the effort to circumvent the rubber stamp FISA court...

Even Dianne Feinstein has objected to the behavior of the intelligence agencies, which confirms that their are objections to be levelled. Whether or not those objections justify the actions Snowden took is another matter.

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Malcolm Weir

@45RPM... I've watched the "wars" over the years, and I have to say that in my analysis, there is very little "pro Windows" or "pro Android" sentiment in the abstract. Instead, there is a strong anti-Apple one, and the reasons usually boil down to the same simple concept: if you don't want to go "the Apple way" (e.g. use a different graphics card), the Apple universe abandons/blocks/attacks you. So people who want choice (in desktops, laptops and phones) look at Apple as a one-size-fits-all dictatorship, and are repelled towards "something else" (actually, "anything else"). Where this becomes obvious is that you cannot honestly compare iOS with Android, because you cannot isolate iOS from the handset; instead, you should compare an iPhone with (e.g.) a Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, HTC One, or whatever. Likewise, you can't really compare MacOS with Windows 8 or ChromeOS, but rather the entire platform including the hardware -- and you may find a Dell a better experience than an HP, even with the same software.

This concept plays nicely into Apple's marketing, because they have figured out how to project an idea of excellence, even when the idea isn't really supportable. Yes, they frequently do produce products that are top class, but very very rarely so exceptional that they're in a class of their own (one example where they did was with Final Cut Pro before version X; FCP X has of course destroyed any technical lead that they had). If you can convince people that Apple are genuinely "the innovators" while "the other guys" are not, then they'll perceive controversy where there really isn't one. So by Apple's marketing, the absence of choice is a virtue, not a drawback.

So speaking personally, one of my objection to iPhones is not the fact of the walled garden, but the fact of the singular garden.

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Apple vows to squash iMessage SMS-KILLER

Malcolm Weir

I'm sure all those who, in the thread about the lawsuit on this particular issue, stridently insisted that the problem didn't exist will now issue gracious retractions of their comments, and apologies if appropriate!

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iPhone-stroker-turned-fandroid sues Apple over iMessage text-slurpery

Malcolm Weir

Re: I don't care..

Sauce for the goose....

How much money did Apple win for bogusly pretending they inventing rounded corners? This is about 0.5% of that.

Seems much more reasonable in that context.

(Of course, neither are reasonable in any real-world context, but never mind...)

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Malcolm Weir

@hypernovasoftware: your comment is even more ridiculous.

The problem is not whether iMessage works on anything else, BUT HOW DO YOU CONVINCE iMESSAGE FROM TRYING ANYWAY!

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Malcolm Weir

@jonnieboyrace: yes, that's what's supposed to happen. Now go and read the suit, and learn that it isn't.

Have a day.

Meanwhile, the "correct" solution is easy to describe (it's just like email: try for X days, then return to sender as undeliverable, with the added wrinkle that in the event of a return-to-sender notification, it would be appropriate to "revert" the delivery mechanism back to SMS, which after all "just works").

We all know that Apple doesn't _want_ to make it as easy for non-iThings to interoperate with iThings. Sure, they may tolerate it, but in Apple's world it's much better to be pure iThing.

I am surprised that they didn't suggest, as an alternative to getting all her friends to upgrade their iStuff to the newest iSoft, that she "upgrades" her (undeniably superior) Galaxy S5 to an iThing. It's just as daft.

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Russia to suspend US GPS stations in tit-for-tat spat

Malcolm Weir

Re: Why do they need permission?

The "broadcast a correction signal" is generally known as DGPS. But in addition to that, there is GPS data (the ephemeris data) that can benefit from ground stations, although this is pretty adequately handled by existing stations.

The real use of the ground systems is for WAAS-type systems, which uses separate geostationary satellites (originally leased Inmarsat birds, now a mix).

Why people want the ground/WAAS setup is so that GPS can be used for precision air navigation. The US doesn't want aircraft to use a GLONASS system in Russia and a GPS one in the US, so they want to block GLONASS from the US simply so that they have the technical argument to support a GPS-monopoly on (civil) air navigation. The alternative is to have to equip and certify aircraft with two systems, and hope that (e.g.) a Russian jet approaching JFK is using the right set of signals.

By the way, GPS was never relevant to ICBMs; tactical nukes like knowing where the launch point is, but ICBMs (and cruise missiles) never bothered with an external radio-based navigation system. ICBMs use stars to align themselves in the drift phase, and cruise use terrain maps.

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Hey, Samsung: Why so shy about your 960GB flash drive's endurance?

Malcolm Weir

Re: Beyond a joke.

And you shouldn't be worried, because that sort of usage is perfectly suited to that technology.

However, if you were running a data center, perhaps instead of 1GB per day or so, you were writing a few dozen short transactions a second; each transaction might represent an update of (say) 200 bytes of data, which requires a rewrite of one or two 512 byte sectors, which require a rewrite of 1 or 2 1MB erasure blocks. Sure, clever caching and optimization can reduce the number of sectors and erasure blocks that get written, but you would be fortunate (in a normal "random" workload) to do much better than a 10-to-1 improvement (so for every 10 erasure blocks that you might have to rewrite, you actually only need to rewrite 1).

So in that sort of application, you may only be writing 200 bytes x 64 transactions per second (i.e. 12,800 bytes per second, or 1.1GB/day but the drive's flash is not seeing that; what it sees is(2 erasure blocks x 1MB per block x 64 transactions / 10 cached advantage) per second.

Which is 1.1TB per day, and if you put it in service today, it will fail sometime after July 25th 2015 (452 days from now).

That's not entirely horrible (a standard HD can be expected to die after about 4 times as long), but it's a poor choice for a data center.

All of which boils down to horses for courses...

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So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?

Malcolm Weir

Re: Or even ...

Ah, no: for some reason Francophone dogs don't go "woof-woof", but "arf-arf".

(Merci, Monsieur Herge).

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Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style

Malcolm Weir

Re: Wot? No wireless charging?

Here you go: http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones-accessories/EP-VG900BBUSTA

So, yeah, wireless charging!

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Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott

Malcolm Weir

Re: Speaking of the law...

Dear Petrea Mitchell...

The reason it hasn't "gotten" attention is that it's 100% completely irrelevant.

Had Eich been fired, it may have been. But he wasn't, he quit.

And had Eich been fired _for supporting Prop 8_ (although he wasn't fired at all), then it may have been relevant; but had he been fired (although he wasn't) for being an incompetent CEO in his handling of the Prop-8-support-issue it would not have been relevant.

Glad to help.

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Malcolm Weir

Re: No win.

Suits me.

I see no reason why churches should be tax exempt. I see no reason why churches should get special treatment.

Consider the current farcical situation at the US Supreme Court, where a bunch of employers are claiming to be exempted for aspects of the law because it allegedly violates their alleged religious beliefs (specifically, it requires them to provide insurance that covers contraception, etc.).

But consider the position of a sincere pacifist. Could be a sincere atheist, or perhaps a Quaker. Do they get to refrain from paying taxes that fund the military? If not, why not?

Religion can be great. Most churches could be wiped from the face of the earth with a net benefit to all mankind.

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Malcolm Weir

Re: No win.

Hmmm... one of the largest financial backers of Prop 8 ("no marriage for gays because gay is icky and everybody knows if you let gays marry next thing that'll happen is that we'll be forced to gay-marry someone!") was those whacky Mormons.

Also known as "LDS".

Now, should a church be sticking it's tax-advantaged nose into politics? Here's a hint: no.

You can spend all the money you like on political stuff, but you can't do it tax-free.

Naughty LDS. Perhaps we should strip their tax-free status?

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Malcolm Weir

Re: Freedom of speech goes both ways here

@LDS,

Let's grant your "there is no human right to marriage" thesis, for the sake of argument. However, there is a _legal_ right to marriage, as long as you meet certain criteria (like not already being married, being over a certain age, etc).

And once married, there are a vast number of privileges and advantages available which are not afforded to unmarried people. Despite your claim about money, consider who gets to make medical decisions for someone incapable of making them for themselves. Sure, there are ways to circumvent the problem, but why should one group have to jump through hoops because they are denied the ability to marry who they want?

Fun fact: Prop 8 (supported by Eich-the-useless-CEO) was a reaction to the previous "Knight Initiative" (Prop 22) which was passed in 2000 and struck down as unconstitutional in 2008. Prop 22 was passed on March 7, 2000; the Fox TV show "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?" aired on February 15th, and the "marriage" was annulled on April 5th. Obviously, people in California cared deeply about "traditional marriage".

Another fun fact: "traditional marriage" obviously includes arranged marriages and child marriages.

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USB reversible cables could become standard sooner than you think

Malcolm Weir

Re: The elusive brain cell discovered at last!

The idea that "small connectors are more prone to breakages" is, to say the least, debatable.

In experience, supported by design, anecdotal and experimental data, the micro B connectors are more reliable than the mini B ones. And I think everyone here will have come across a damaged A connector (often where the "tongue" has been broken).

And in non-USB connectors, I tend to find HDMI and Displayport better than DVI and VGA, just because of the issues with bent pins. Apple's "Magsafe" connector is small but rugged (not, in my view, worth all the hoopla that pro-Apple people associate with it, but it's neat). Etc.

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

Malcolm Weir

FYI... since the aircraft appears to be Swiss registered, and for the majority of the flight will not be in Chinese or Russian airspace, altitude would be specified in feet, not meters. And if you want to use MPH, that further suggests that feet are the appropriate unit. So what the aircraft will be doing is climbing to around 26,000ft (FL260) during the day, and descending to around 5,000ft at night.

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In Australia, protesting against Brendan Eich will be a CRIME

Malcolm Weir

In a lot of the Eich-should-be-allowed-to-be-a-CEO-bigot moaning, I see few people commenting on the unassailable fact:

Eich was a crap CEO.

Something controversial came up (both within and outside Mozilla). Eich failed to do anything vaguely effective towards managing the controversy.

Ergo Eich was an ineffective leader, and thus a crap CEO who should have been kicked out had he not left. Not because he is a bigot, but because he cannot manage the controversy.

There is a secondary side, too: the board that appointed Eich was a crap board, too. But that doesn't change the crapness of Eich.

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Malcolm Weir

Re: Background

@Coward:

As most sane people know, there is in fact zero evidence connecting same sex families with "problems". The attempt to push the thesis that "studies are now starting to arise" is utter bullwossname, and cannot be substantiated in any way, shape or form. The not-terminally-dumb know this because every time some anti-same-sex bigot tries to raise it in (say) a court challenge to the discriminate-against-LGBT laws, it gets thrown out.

So there are, in fact, no studies linking any kind of child rearing problem with same sex parenting. None, Zip. What there are are studies linking dysfunctional families with problems, but the overwhelming majority of dysfunctional families are opposite-sex, leading to the obvious conclusion...

Lastly, the "choice" statement is without doubt utterly vile bigotry. But being a vile bigot is a choice, not a condition.

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2

The gift of Grace: COBOL's odyssey from Vietnam to the Square Mile

Malcolm Weir

@volsano,

Aye... every time I've had to define a database table in SQL, I've thought fondly of COBOL's Data Division. Of course, if you don't care about internal representations, COBOL is overkill, but I've found that I'm usually wrong if I think I don't care!

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I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

Malcolm Weir

The strange thing in all this is a key data point is being overlooked:

Mozilla has/had five directors. One (apparently) had been planning to leave as soon as the new CEO was selected, leaving four. Two of those resigned as a result of Eich's appointment (granted, one may have been looking for a way out). But that's a significant data point: either 25% or 50% of Mozilla's (remaining) directors didn't want to be directors with him as CEO.

And I think this fracas shows they were right: the man was not a good choice, and failed at controlling the situation as it started to spiral out of control. There were many things he could have done (e.g. appoint an LGBT advisory panel to watch for places where his personal beliefs conflicted with the organization's)., but he failed. So he goes.

Of course, there is also some irony in the fact this week saw the Supreme Court reiterate that money=speech. And if one supports free speech (including giving money to hate groups), how can you not support free speech (including not giving business/money to an organization that hired someone you dislike)?

So who's fault is this? I won't blame Eich for being socially retarded, and I won't blame people for getting annoyed at a "community" organization appointing a social retard as the glorious leader. But I will blame the idiots on the board (that didn't resign in protest) for not understanding that they had picked a potentially controversial character and then failing to stand by their choice when they discovered the mistake.

By the way, one of the reasons anti-gay bigotry is so insidious is that it is indisputably a fact that it has absolutely no impact on anyone except the oppressed class (i.e. gay people). If you are straight (or gay and determinedly single) there is not a shred of difference that it can make to you whether the two similarly-gendered people at the next table/in the next flat/whatever are gay, straight, married, single, or whatever. It's exactly like the nineteenth century anti-Irish bigotry that existed: an Irish labourer and a Cornish labourer looked alike, could sound vaguely similar, and yet one was accepted ("salt of the earth") and the other wasn't.

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6

Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

Malcolm Weir

I once found myself trundling up the Stuart Highway about 200 miles from Alice at midnight.

As a break and to celebrate the vastness, we pulled over, cranked up the CD player and went dancing... in the middle of the road, in the middle of Australia, in the middle of the night.

Best part was the certainty that no-one would see my "dancing"...

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0

You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

Malcolm Weir

Mixed signals...

Looking at the TWIT's page, while the twat Singer claims that everything was taken on the freeway, it's also clear that at least some of his "gotchas!" are of people in stop-and-go traffic. If you are mostly stationary, only a self-absorbed loon (although for a "facebook exec" that's probably redundant) would equate the risks of texting with the risks if you happen to be doing 60.

Plus, of course, most of his pics seem to be of people looking at a screen. Could be reading a text, could be reading a map, could be choosing a playlist, could be trying to decide whether to answer that call on speakerphone, could be reading facebook updates.

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