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* Posts by An ominous cow heard

39 posts • joined 22 Apr 2010

UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

An ominous cow heard

Re: "we haven't worked out what to do with the nuclear waste"

"it’s a storage system that is more than 100% efficient.

That line, on its own, should ring every alarm bell in existence..."

Indeed it should, in general. Which is why I put it in, for the amusement of the smarter reader.

It's justified in the rest of the text, feel free to go read it.

It's Mackay (who iirc is a Cambridge physics professor of some repute) playing with words. Basically he's saying that courtesy of the tides, you can put (say) 2GWh of electricity in and get more than 2GWh of electricity out, by adding some tidal energy too. The detail is in the linked doc.

He's not proposing zero point energy extraction or perpetual motion or similar.

Have a read; here's the link again:

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/Lagoons.pdf

phy.cam.uk: that'll be the Physics dept at Cambridge Uni.

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Tesla's TOP SECRET gigafactories: Lithium to power world's vehicles? Let's do the sums

An ominous cow heard

Re: "we are unlikely to run out of oil any time soon"

As Mr Worstall points out, the extraction has to make economic sense.

If it costs more in energy to get a barrel of oil out of the ground than the energy that barrel of oil will provide, the price in dollars is irrelevant, oil (for energy) stays in the ground. Look up EROEI (energy return on energy invested).

Oil as a petrochemical feedstock starts to get unaffordable too around that point.Which might be inconvenient.

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An ominous cow heard

Re: Synthetic LPG

"Electricity Grid, Charger Electronics and the Battery recharging all lose significant percentage of Energy."

Not really.

Grid losses < 10% (ref Mackay [1]), and most of that is in the low voltage end of things rather than the long distance distribution network.

Charger Electronics? Who cares, the total is negligible (if you mean wall wart class stuff) (ref Mackay again). If you mean something bigger, modern switched mode power supplies routinely achieve efficiencies over 90%.

Battery recharging ? You have a point there. But if the electricity is (or should be) 'free' because the supply exceeds the demand and the grid is therefore paying generators to switch off (courtesy of high inputs from wind etc), who cares about efficiency?

[1] http://www.withouthotair.com/ (not perfect, but a good place to start)

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Reply-all email lightning storm STRIKES TWICE at Cisco

An ominous cow heard

Re: 30 comments in and no one has asked

"Start, System Manager, <organisation>, Global Settings, Message Delivery, Properties, Defaults,

Recipient Limits, "Maximum (recipients)"

That'll be " IT departments have got worse since then." won't it.

Or in Cisco's case, got non existent?

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Screw you, Brits, says Google: We are ABOVE UK privacy law

An ominous cow heard

Re: F**K Google

"when a bunch of Bailiffs and cops turn up to impound their equipment and seal their offices."

I look forward to seeing coverage of that on Google News and Youtube.

(One of the UK daytime TV bailiffy type series once showed some chaps turning up at Fujitsu with a warrant to seize kit to the value of a non-trivial debt the courts had found proven. Unfortunately I didn't see how it ended.)

Meanwhile, anyone know any good online adbrokers?

No, you're right, it's a contradiction in terms.

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What's the most secure desktop operating system?

An ominous cow heard

Re: VMS?

You're trolling.

Any competent VMS sysadmin knows how to do a "conversational boot" to break into a system, given physical access, and they don't need a docset (on paper or on CD or on the web) to do so.

It's *very* disruptive ("boot" is a hint).

"privileges were seriously annoying to achieve."

Exactly. It's secure. Not perfectly secure, but better than its alleged successors.

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Surprise! Intel smartphone trounces ARM in power trials

An ominous cow heard

Re: All well and good...

"Intel does not enter a market unless it sees a profitable future in it .."

Maybe so, but the future is hard for even Intel to predict, whereas Intel's historical track record outside their x86 comfort zone speaks for itself - a lengthy list of failures, including those I just listed in my reply to Ken Hagan.

Is an x86 "SoC that isn't an SoC" in their comfort zone?

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HP itching to flog flaccid biz units: Are Autonomy, PSG in firing line?

An ominous cow heard

Re: For sale: "Still have good selection of management types."

Should read "Still have the usual selection of corporate management types."

Surely the good ones are long gone?

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FCC urges rethink of aircraft personal-electronics blackout

An ominous cow heard

Re: "Air France 447 was never resolved"

In the case of AF447, a selection of allegedly very improbable things happened on the same flight at roughly the same time. Some of them were so improbable that the regulators and airframe builders considered they could be ignored (e.g. the chance of flying through rough weather rather than round it was considered negligible, not waking up the Captain when things started getting rough:negligible, identical failures of two out of three pitot tubes:negligible, iirc). Which is a shame for the friends and family involved.

Negligible doesn't mean won't ever happen.

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PLT chair: UK Radio Society is 'living in a dream world'

An ominous cow heard

Re: So I can now legally import and sell GPS jammers, etc?

"using ethernet devices that have cables conneted that do not conform to the cable standards are at fault because of the cables."

Have you ever bought a device supplied with an ethernet cable with a lump on it near the end of the cable? I have.

Have you ever bought a device with a power block with a lump on it near the device power socket? You probably have.

That lump is a choke, an RF interference suppression device, included so that when the device is connected to its power source, the innards of the device do not end up radiating RF down its power lead/aerial. The vendors do this because if they didn't, they'd fail to meet the relevant emissions regulations.

If powerline devices had these chokes on them, they might meet the regulations too. But they wouldn't sell many, because they wouldn't work, because they wouldn't be able to transmit (or receive).

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Lytro light field camera

An ominous cow heard

Re: Mmmm shiny.

"The original science is fine."

Is it though?

I happily agree a great deal of it is fine (I did a physics degree and have had a subsequent passing interest in sensors and signal processing).

But then (based on recollection from last time I looked at this) some of the papers start talking about the *phase* of light in this picture.

If these folk expect light sensitive devices to be able to work meaningfully with phase in situations using normal (not coherent e.g. laser) light then either I've missed something fundamental or they ARE pulling the wool over people's eyes.

For comparison, working with phase in "sound field" exercises is relatively trivial.

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Shuttleworth remixes Ubuntu... for biz users

An ominous cow heard

"when you're in a large(r) business/enterprise environment Exchange is pretty much it"

People used to say things like that about ProFS or All-in-1 once upon a time (look them up). They were silly people. Things can change.

Exchange may be pretty much it this week. Things may not be the same a few years from now, especially the way MS are looking really rather clueless at the moment. At least for now they still have their supporters in the IT department and elsewhere. But that too may not last forever

"It's actually easier to sync my calendar to my mobile and manage it there."

Exactly. So someone will notice this and start something using the same methods so the corporates can do proper calendaring with or without Exchange.

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CSC confirms $1.5bn NHS IT write-off

An ominous cow heard

Negative bonus as a result ?

The Board will do just fine, thank you, as they generally do when they foul up.

Those who lose out (and there will usually be some who will lose their jobs) will not be those who are responsible for this particular foul up.

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Intel pays peanuts to settle NY antitrust suit

An ominous cow heard

The SEC vs Dell case made it perfectly clear what was going on (Intel to Dell: "if you start using AMD you lose our 'joint marketing' millions"), and the biggest disappointment (although not biggest surprise) is that it's Dell not Intel that came off worst. It should have been Intel that got done for abuse of monopoly (aka blackmail) *as well as* Dell getting done for fraudulent accounting.

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Psst, kid... Wanna learn how to hack?

An ominous cow heard
Thumb Up

Elektor

It's still around. Have a look. You may be pleasantly surprised.

www.elektor.com

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Eurozone crisis: We're all dooomed! Here's why

An ominous cow heard

strangers over whom the people have no control

"my home country being turned into a Soviet-style satellite, ruled by strangers over whom the people have no control."

Yep, much of Europe is just a playground for the banksters now.

Austerity for the 99%.

Megabonuses for the 1%

e.g. £40M/yr each for the top table at Barclays:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363790/Barclays-bosses-47m-head-pay-bonuses-Bob-Diamond-says-greed-good.html

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HP hooks up with Calxeda to form server ARMy

An ominous cow heard

Maybe you should get some experience in reading and logic, Matt.

You say you have "RHEL, AIX and hp-ux" virtualised.

Does that sound like the behaviour of a Wintel-dependent IT department?

Just because your IT department is not Wintel-dependent doesn't mean there isn't a huge quantity that is Wintel-dependent.

Don't forget also that, if appropriate, you can have >2GB of physical memory without a >2GB logical address space, just like Xeons used to.

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IBM gets fat on Oracle-HP Itanium spat

An ominous cow heard
Boffin

"Intel .. Itanium .. fab systems"

"The only reason for Intel not killing Itanium is that they (apparently) use Itanium systems in their fab control systems."

Yes and no.

When I last checked, what was important to the automated fab systems at Intel wasn't IA64, it was VMS, because that's what the fab applications (commercial and home grown) use.

If VMS was available on something other than IA64 (e.g. AMD64 or Intel copy), it would be just as relevant to Intel's business operations (probably more so ) than it is on IA64.

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Windows 8: Microsoft’s high-stakes .NET tablet gamble

An ominous cow heard
Thumb Up

have you thought about platform independent development?

Y'know, using things like Qt, from that nice Elop chap's company?

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4G networks can screw up cable TV

An ominous cow heard
Headmaster

"standards need to be introduced (and enforced)"

The important bit is *enforced*.

The standards (the CE EMC standards) are here today but there are significant vested interests who prefer not to see them enforced (importers of cheap Chinese junk, BT Vision, powerline networking in general, the list goes on).

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Clive Sinclair unveils 'X-1' battery pedalo bubble-bike

An ominous cow heard
Headmaster

Long before the digital stuff

Long before the digital stuff (calculators, watch, MK14, etc) hit the market, Sinclair was selling a range of radio and hi-fi stuff. I still have a handy little IC12 amplifier in the cupboard (needs a new PSU).

http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/audio/amps.htm

I wonder how many people realise that the current well known electronics test equipment outfit Thurlby Thandar also had its origins in the Sinclair empire.

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Stuxnet worm slithers into China, heralds alien invasion

An ominous cow heard
Pint

*Most* of the f-secure FAQ is a good read

(c) 2010. Submitted 3:30 pm ish, Saturday.

*Most* of the f-secure FAQ is a good read.

Their ignorance of the field of process automation shows, however, when they fail to spot the real significance of myrtus.

Any insider with a clue would know that this almost certainly originated as a reference to "my RTUs", where an RTU is a "Remote Terminal Unit", which in this context is a remote device which the PLC program uses for IO which isn't directly attached to the PLC itself.

Now it may of course be that there is a play on words going on here, and that the significance is *both* the biblical one and the industrial automation one. But for a self-proclaimed expert (and a recently arrived one at that) on the subject to not spot the industrial automation connection just makes them look ever so slightly silly. In their defence, obviously f-secure are not the only ones that have failed to spot this, and the rest of their FAQ gets a good mark for effort.

Symantec's writeups on the subject are quite good too (that's not a sentence I *ever* expected to be saying).

But the best I've seen to date comes from Herr Langner, in particular the level of detail in the entry at Oct 1st, 11:00, shows Herr Langner's team (unlike f-secure and many others) has some credibility wrt process control.

http://www.langner.com/en/

F-secure, if you choose to update your FAQ after reading this, please do it nicely.

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Post Office complaints: Write to M.BARRASS

An ominous cow heard
Flame

"Bridge Court is a BT building, not the Post Office"

Post Office Broadband is, as another contributor already speculated, provided for the P.O. as a "white label" service from BTwoolsale. Therefore any incompetence should come as no surprise at all, although customer-facing incompetence is probably down to the P.O. rather than BTw.

BT is of course the classic example of how privatisation automatically and inevitably cuts costs and improves quality. Isn't it.

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/3251-post-office-broadband-service-up-and-running.html

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Trojan-ridden warning system implicated in Spanair crash

An ominous cow heard
FAIL

crappy "forum" software hiding recent posts?

To anyone who like me normally only reads the most recent page of posts:

The "most recent page of posts" doesn't necessarily contain the most recent posts.

Because of this insanity, you may have missed out on some very relevant info on any multi-page topic e.g. here you may have missed the important posts from Brian Morrison, which El Reg's crappy forum software hides on the first page.

Because of this feature, readers wishing to reply to an "old" post and wanting their contribution to actually get read may prefer to ignore the "reply" button and instead just tack the post on at the end of the thread, quoting where necessary.

Thanking you.

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Google seeks UK privacy lobbyist

An ominous cow heard
Happy

I know somewhere they could look

They could look at Phorm's PR team, lobbyists, directors, etc. Surely the whole lot of them will be looking for other rewarding activities in a few days, once the most recent round of venture capital finance runs out yet again.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/07/phorm_shares/

That'll be 20% of first year comp as an agent's fee, please.

Glad to be of service.

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Flaw could expose 'millions' of home routers

An ominous cow heard
Paris Hilton

Didn't I read this last week?

And I could have sworn it was here. But search (here or at Google News) doesn't find it.

Anybody want next weekend's lottery numbers? Drop me a note on Monday and I'll let you know.

Where's the "confused" icon. Oh, I know...

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Phorm issues shares to raise cash

An ominous cow heard
Flame

A week later.

It's a week later. They had, according to the calculations, two weeks or so. Are they nearly bust yet or has the white knight arrived?

Are the techies (well, those that remain now that CTO Stratis Scleparis is long gone [1]) ready to relocate to (say) Cheltenham?

[1] Did you know that before he was CTO at Phorm, Stratis Scleparis was CTO at BT Retail, including at around the time of the denied trials... small world, isn't it.

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An ominous cow heard
Flame

"The ad peddler lost $100m in the last financial "

So they lost say $2M a week, roughly.

Using your skill and judgement, how long will £2M last them?

Answers on a postcard please to Stratis Scleparis, wherever he may be.

He used to be on LinkedIn.

He used to be BT Retail's CTO at the time of the denied trials.

He used to be Phorm's CTO after the trials.

Now he's invisible.

How odd.

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BT staff to down tools tomorrow

An ominous cow heard
FAIL

Meanwhile, ITV HD viewers missed a goal, apparently

No connection, obviously.

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iPad's brain not so unique

An ominous cow heard

"architecture of the processor ... is not actually that significant."

I assume whoever wrote that doesn't do software, or even overall system design?

You can get more work per instruction with ARM than with other modern CPUs; ARM has better code density (down to ARM architectural features like the Thumb instruction set, and various other code-density helpers such as instruction predication not found in most other embeddable CPUs).

More work per instruction means fewer Megabyte for a given workload, and also means a lower clock frequency for the same work rate (because more work per clock cycle) and therefore less mW for a given performance, and therefore lighter batteries for a given battery lifetime, and and and.

A handy set of features, one which Atom or anyone else will struggle to compete against (but the Wintel empire has the business clout to "encourage" their important customers to stay Wintel).

ARM also has handy little system-on-chip oriented features like the ARM on-chip bus (AMBA?), and lots more besides.

In summary there are lots of good reasons why ARM is the 32bit CPU of choice in pretty much all modern consumer electronics and why anyone wanting to play catchup is likely to have a hard time.

[just an observer, not an ARM employee, or even a shareholder]

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Plucky Finn attempts to drive length of Finland in small digger

An ominous cow heard
Go

David Lynch?

D'ya think he's a David Lynch fan and has seen the Straight Story ? Not yer average David Lynch movie, this beautiful work is the true story of Alvin Straight, who drove across two US States on a ride-on lawnmower for a reconciliation with his brother.

If you haven't watched it, you need to.

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Net shakeup looms as IPv4 resources start running low

An ominous cow heard

Don't 3G phones already use IPv6?

"The allocation rate of IPv4 addresses continues to increase due to the growing number of devices that require IP addresses - mobile phones <snip>"

Don't want to be pedantic or owt, like, but isn't IPv6 support a requirement for 3G phones? Or is he saying they need an IPv4 address *as well* as an IPv6 address?

All enlightenment gratefully received. After all, it's been twenty years or so since I did my first "IPv6 is the future, IPv4 is dying" training course. Oddly enough, IPv6 still is the future.

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Satellite firm offers 4G network on back of 2G business model

An ominous cow heard

Handsets?

This may be a silly question but if this is a new approach to mobile networks in previously unused (for mobile) bands, won't it need new handsets too? Or is the RF side of a modern mobile handset sufficiently reconfigurable that no new handsets will be needed?

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Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad

An ominous cow heard
Gates Horns

iPad soon?

iPad soon?

O, da Psion?

I liked my Series 3.

I also liked (for only slightly different reasons) my Jornada 720 (if you don't know it, think of it as a netbook precursor).

On the other hand my iPaq was rubbish, and looking at the iPad it's not just the spelling that's close to iPaq, the usefulness (zero, for me) seems to be close too.

No iPad soon for me then. Maybe an HTC with Android later in the year, once the prices come down a bit.

Can we have a dinosaur icon please? Till then, Bill, obviously (in an ironic kind of way given that it was him that wrecked the J720 concept).

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Berlin Phil to appear on Bravia internet tellies, says Sony

An ominous cow heard
Pint

Hmmm

Are the Berlin Phil contracted to Sony as a record label ie is this deal exclusive ie if I want to watch the Berlin Phil do I have to have a Sony?

Or have the Phil seen sense and realised that they will make more money by having a non-exclusive deal with a wider addressable audience?

Interested potential punters want to know. Especially those with no interest in buying a Sony TV (despite the nice ads).

Zwei bier bitte.

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HP: last Itanium man standing

An ominous cow heard
Go

More than just a processor?

"last time I opened up a server and looked inside there was MORE IN THERE THAN JUST A PROCESSOR! "

Well, like, yeah!

But so what?

Intel's Hypertransport knockoff is now used on both Xeon and Itanium ranges, and the memory technology is fundamentally the same too.

So, what's the difference between a "system" based on IA64 and a system based on AMD64?

Answer: cosmetics, vendor politics, and, in the bigger picture, the OS. Quickpath and common memory technologies mean that there are no fundamental technology differences between AMD64 and IA64 systems, and sooner or later the sole remaining IA64 system builder will have to acknowledge that.

You could argue (they certainly will) that there is still a difference in ultra high end scalability and that IA64 is the only platform for huge-SMP huge-memory systems, but when AMD64 Proliants are already up to 48 processors and (half) a terabyte of memory, does much of the market really see that as a limitation? And who knows where AMD64 will be in 12 months time...

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Small and mobile ISPs may avoid new filesharing laws

An ominous cow heard

Small ISP = ?

Small ISP = anyone smaller than BT Retail, please?

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Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses

An ominous cow heard
Thumb Up

See also Skyhook Wireless

The only news here is that this is news.

Google Maps for Mobile listens for SSIDs [1] if your phone has WiFi. Does it also report SSIDs (or whatever) back to HQ, to keep their database up to date?

[1] It presumably isn't SSID alone, otherwise a lot of places would have SSIDs of Netgear or whatever, and that would not be helpful.

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