* Posts by Charles Manning

2998 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

Chip rumor-gasm: Intel to buy Altera! Samsung to buy AMD! ... or not

Charles Manning
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Buy or shed? Gotta keep with the latest Wall St fashion

When companies are performing well, they just ignore the Wall St talking heads, but as soon as there are problems, the companies must start doing whatever is deemed to be the right thing to be dooing, otherwise the shareholders give them hell and want boards fired etc.

That's much of what drove dot-bomb. Even companies with savvy boards were driven to buying up crazy start ups because that was what everyone did back then.

Now everyone is being forced to buy up other companies. Does Altera make sense for Intel? Maybe.

Even though Altera SoCFPGAs are ARM based and not x86 based and have little in common with Intel, an injection of Intel process savvy could really help the FPGA people make faster devices that use less power. (The current Altera board I'm working on eats about 8W and gets HOT.)

Intel has lost effective market share - their Atoms are crap and being killed off by ARM. Intel need to find some new business to get some growth and maybe they can do that in the FPGA/Embedded space.

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50 BILLION devices: The future that Juniper Networks wants to tap

Charles Manning
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Numbers, numbers

The 50bn is probably a reasonable number if you count every appliance etc that will be reachable via the internet, but they don't need huge extra bandwidth.

Most of these inflated numbers seem to be made on the premise that if we now have 1bn devices, then 50bn devices will need 50x as much data.

A lightbulb needs a single packet to turn on/off. Maybe ten packets a day. It does not get boored and download kitty pics or post reg comments.

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Dutch Transport Inspectorate raid Uber's Amsterdam office

Charles Manning
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Insurance and all that...

This is all going to go pear shaped when there is a serious crash involving an Ubermobile and the driver does not have adequarte insurance.

Most insurance companies would have issues with people using private vehicles for business purposes and even want you to declare you're carpooling (due to the percieved increased risk of carrying mre passengers).

Providing public transport is a few steps above that, which is why taxis end up paying massive premiums.

So when an Ubercrash happens there's going to be some massive fallout - vehicles not covered, houses being conviscated...

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Israeli boffins hack air gap, fire missiles on compromised kit

Charles Manning
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Re: But wait...

Yes, the victim must be compromised after that the data can be transferred in various ways...

In this case, they used heat to send data via the victim's temperature sensors. You could also use all sorts of other methods.

A BT keybopard for instance.... If the host was to disconnect/reconnect a BT keyboard and the victim was listening for traffic - that would work as would pretty much any form of sensor.

Even LEDs can be used as sensors. A little known thing about LEDs is that they are also light sensitive and LEDs driven by microcontrollers can also be used as light receivers.

But, hey, once you've compromised a compter, just assume all bets are off.

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$250K: That's what Lenovo earned to RAT YOU OUT with Superfish

Charles Manning
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Re: Suckerfish

oooh... shiny thing over there... lol... Did someone say something about Lenovo? I forgot already.

Nobody remembers anything any more. It won't hurt them for more than a week - if that.

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Half a billion wearables... and guess whose kit has to support all that data, asks Cisco

Charles Manning
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Wearables doesn't need much data

The primary comms technologies for wearables are ANT and Bluetooth Smart/LE.

Both these are designed around the idea of very low amounts of data sent in short bursts. This is done to save power. These devices spend almost all of the time sleeping. They wake up, send data and go back to sleep all within a few milliseconds.

That does not generate exabytes of data and never can. The constraint is in the batteries and the comms these devices use.

Of course all this data implies someone is later downloading reports and pretty graphs etc. But as we really can only do one or two things at a time, that does not increase data. All the time we spend looking at our heart rate charts is time we are not watching kitty videos.

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They've finally solved it: Schrödinger's cat is both ALIVE AND DEAD

Charles Manning
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Re: OR, OR...

or put the box on the freeway and the wave function will become planar pretty smartly.

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Smartphones don’t dumb you down, they DUMB you UP

Charles Manning
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Re: WTF

" Free LANCE eh?"

I see what you did there. In a rant against the cock joke, you managed to slip one in.

Well done sir!

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Charles Manning
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Re: GPS maps are not the same

" when the road didn't change for 100 years"

Nope, the roads changed almost daily - like they still do in rural Africa.

When a bit of road gets too boggy, someone makes a bit of a detour around it and that becomes the new road. Miss that and your up to your windows in mud. After a while, detours got their own detours...

I don't live there any more but I did drive those parts for some 12 years or so - much of the skill in driving those areas was being able to spot these little detours and making a quick assessment if they were better or worse than the road.

No doubt many English roads were similar in the 1800s.

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Flash chips for flash cars: SanDisk dives under your bonnet

Charles Manning
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Not really under the bonnet

More likely under the dashboard which is a far more benign environment for electronics.

Of course none of this file system stuff is actually used in anything that is actually involved in controlling the engine, brakes or such - it is only used in the "soft" stuff like infotainment. These days top-end vehicles might have over 150 micros in them, but most of those will be running small bodies of code of 5000 lines or less.

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Kim Dotcom flails desperately, launches chat service

Charles Manning
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His last web effort

Getting NZers to sign up and pledge to vote (preferably for his party).

432 starry-eyed people pledged. Dotbomb predicted tens of thousands.

His predictions are likely way off this time too.

Online comms is very crowded. Having to deal with both Skype and Google is already too many.

You can't realistically add more players unless they inter-operate like phones do,

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What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

Charles Manning
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The analogy is entirely broken

The oil price has not plummeted because fracking oil has come online. It has fallen because OPEC has fallen down. The fracking is just coincidental.

OPEC colluded to keep oil prices up and supply down, but these cartels rely on full cooperation between the players. This means they all have quotas to keep to. Then somewhere along the path someone wants to sell more than their quota so steps outside the lines. They sell more, then the agreement is off and the cartel breaks down.

If anything, this threatens fracking.If there's plentiful main well oil on the market there is no point bringing relatively expensive fracked oil to market.

To bend that back into the original analogy.... We're still all using mainframes, but mainframe prices were held high by IBM, ICL, CDC and others colluding to keep supply down and prices up. Then one day IBM decided to sell more computers at hallf the price... The fledgeling PC market gets wiped out because it is cheaper to use mainframes.

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Three expat Brits explain their move to Australia

Charles Manning
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Rule #1, don't live like a refugee

If you want to go somewhere, then go. Forget about the comparisons, they are just pointless.

If you are thinking milk/bread would be cheaper (*) back home every time you go to the supermarket, then you're going to have a hard time of it.

Life is not a spreadsheet where you can weigh up the cost of a BMW vs being able to go to the beach.

Footnote (*): They are not cheaper. They are subsidised. That means you just pay for them somewhere else. Australia has the second lowest agricultural and food subsidies with NZ being the lowest.

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Festive post-pub noshtastic neckfiller: HEARTY HOG MAW

Charles Manning
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For the purist there is no problem finding a pig stomach.

A purist would be killing their own pig. Keep the tomach.

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Dotcom 'saved' Xmas for Xbox – but no one can save Sony's titsup PlayStation Network

Charles Manning
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Dotcom bah!

Given dotcom's ability to fabricate "evidence" etc, I would not be at all surprised if he orchestrated the whole episode to try drum up brownie points.

3000 freebies to whomever takes him from our shores.

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Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Charles Manning
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Indeed. We get the same crap about "poverty" here in NZ too.

Having grown up in rural Africa, this notion of Western poverty riles me no end.

I'd love to load a bunch of beneficiaries on a plane and send them to live in Africa for a week. Or, perhaps, to give them the full experience, send them by small ship in steerage.

The worst off 10% of people in UK, NZ etc still live easier lives - with more material wealth ans social support - than 90% of the people in the rest of the world.

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Skinny Ubuntu Linux 'Snapped' up by fat Microsoft cloud

Charles Manning
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Slimmed down... bah!

If you want a small Linux build then build something with buildroot.

It is easy to build a whole system (kernel + rootfs) that's less than 5M.

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No wristjob, please, we're Apple fans: Just 10% would buy the Apple Watch

Charles Manning
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If Apple sold blood

they'd line up for transfusions.

There are at many fanbois out there that will buy anything new from Apple, no matter on how stupid it looks or how well it functions.

More than 10%? Perhaps.

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Let's vote on breaking up Google, say MEPs with NO power to do any such thing

Charles Manning
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Let's looking at breaking up EU

If big isn't good for business, then maybe it isn't good for political entities either.

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Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW

Charles Manning
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Re: Intel never really got the "new embedded"

"Early embedded chips were just old desktop devices with narrower buse".

Sorry, I've been developing embedded systems for 30 years and I must disagree. If anything it is the other way around. Some embedded CPUs were used to make the first desktops.

Sure there have been some x86s put into embedded service, but they've never been more than single-digit-percent players.

Intel have dabbled in the embedded market often, but then dumped the industry - leaving them high and dry.

The part that really stumps Intel is how to make money from embedded and other low margin parts. The Intel corporate DNA is constructed around the concept of spending hundreds of millions to develop a new desktop/server chip, then sell them for hundreds of dollars each. This is a very high margin business.

Embedded systems and phones are a low margin business. 8-core ARM-based smartphone SoCs (eg. Allwinner) sell for about $10. You need to sell millions to break even, then millions more to be profitable.

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

Charles Manning
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Darwin? A joke surely?

Perhaps Darwin has influenced people - but only indirectly.

I bet less than one in ten who talk about Darwin have ever read his writing. At best, most people have just read the overview in Wikipedia.

While Darwin has some interesting things to say, the book is heavy going. I've been reading it slowly over the last year. Not exactly a thriller.

As much as the bible is full of craziness, at least the people who use it as their guiding book tend to actually read it.

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Texas boffins put radio waves in a spin

Charles Manning
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Waveguide?

Ummm... down a waveguide?

A waveguide is essentially a pipe for RF to "flow" down.

A cellphone that has to be connected back to a tower by a pipe is going to look strange.

Perhaps Apple will be able to turn it into a "must have" cool feature for fanbois.

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GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

Charles Manning
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Re: The solution is always...

If the answer isn't "we need more toys and funding", then refine the question....

Even though physiciast are on the quest for truth, they are still human and are desirous of an ego-rub, nice houses etc.

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Ericsson boss sticks a pin in Google’s loony Loon bubble

Charles Manning
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Re: Not a panacea

"Network can help develop rural economies..." said by a person that' probably never been to a third world country and understands the obstacles.

I've lived in some of the more remote areas of rural South Africa - which is many rungs up the ladder from other third world nations. My sister still runs health clinics there, paying for everything herself.

Programs like providing tractors to help plough fields fail, because nobody can service tractors, fix stuff,... Within a year ot two all the tractors are buggered. Lots of money spent and the only accomplishment is a bunch of rich donors feeling good that they did "something".

When you don't have even the basics like water covered, fancy stuff like twitter access is pretty low down on the list of useful tech.

Where's the BOFHery going to come from? If you can afford to send them a BOFH etc, then it would make a lot more sense to send them a few rolls of PVC pipe instead so they can get water going.

Really, really, basic stuff changes these people's lives, not fancy shiny stuff.

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Cheap blow-up baby incubator bags James Dyson award

Charles Manning
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Re: Good and bad

"increasing overpopulation in "third world" nations [BAD]"

By any of your measures, third worlders are far less of a problem than first worlders.

First worlders consume more, pollute more, fight more than third worlders.

If anyone should be denied healthcare and fertility treatment it should be the first worlders.

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Charles Manning
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Re: Good and bad

Beyond the basics, you don't need much funding to make a difference.

When the numbers have too many zeros on the end, the beuracrats smell the gravy and productivity dies.

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UN: Fossil fuels should be TERMINATED 86 years from now

Charles Manning
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Needs

Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

Pre industrialisation, most people lived in the bottom bit - even struggling to get into the bottom bit. Until 50 years ago, famine was rife. Now it is fairly close to nonexistant, except for disturbances caused by local conflicts.

The same for disease. Sure Ebola is making a lot of news, but that's not even 0.1% of what the 1918 flu pandemic was.

Booming industry has brought us this wealth, and that is largely driven by low-cost energy.

As people get more wealthy, and use more energy, their aspirations improve. One of the things they want is a cleaner environment. Wealthy societies can spend more on clean ups.

USA and UK uses more energy (including oil) than ever before, yet the rivers and air are cleaner now than 50 years ago.

London air is now far cleaner than it was in the 1960s and the streets cleaner than they were in 1900.

The clean up is happening without the UN telling people what to do.

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Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

Charles Manning
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When all else fails, find a scapegoat.

What horseshit.

A team of US engineers designed the craft and are responsible for the ongoing servicing of the program.

Part of the design process is qualification and testing of the components that went into the product and making sure they were fit for purpose.

If they designed in a defective component, then failed to respond when the component was found to be defective, then that was their fault.

Likewise, NASA is, as the name says, an Administration. They are filled with Administrators. Part of the administrators' reponsibilities is to ensure that the projects are audited and run well so that public money is not wasted.

All we're seeing here is a bunch of defective administrators and engineers looking for a scapegoat.

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Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report

Charles Manning
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NSA were amateurs under GWB.

" The NSA and other acronyms were "allowed" to mature if you will, "

Perhaps. But the NSA of the Bush era was limited by the technology of the day. That has always been the case.

In the Obama years surveillance tech has got to be many times more powerful and plentiful. It is not Obama's fault that tech improved, but it is his responsibility to understand the implications. You can't blame GWB for stuff that increased by a factor of 10 since the end of his watch.

The Utah Data Centre, and indeed the whole Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative were developed under Obama. Sure, bush approved the later, but when Obama took over this was still young enough to have been redirected or reduced.

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Charles Manning
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Perhaps it is rather trying to give a frame of reference for the timescale.

A bit like "a whale the size of three London buses" and other Reg units.

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Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

Charles Manning
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Re: much better light quality?

"LED source is simply too long a wavelength to have the decent mix of phosphors."

Did you steal a physicists scrabble board?

LEDs can produce a wider range of wavelengths than the human eye can see. All the way from UV to IR.

"mix of phosphors"??? WTF does that mean.

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Charles Manning
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Re: LED Bulb price

You're right, but not the way you think. The cost of LED lights are killing it for Sammy.

They were predicting a lucrative LED lightbulb business. The prices have dropped so low, so fast, that it has become a race to the bottom. Even the dirty cheap units work pretty well.

Samsung has become a premium brand and are wasting their brand and energy chasing the LED lightbulb market.

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HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist

Charles Manning
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Re: Bah!

An X-class was never a combat sub. It could not fight. It just had two charges which it could sneak in and plant. No defensive weapons.

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Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET

Charles Manning
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Blaming the music industry is pointless

Things have changed.

There was a time (60s, 70s, maybe even the 80s) when being up to date and trendy with music was fashionable and the yoofs would spend all their money on records and looking cool. Every street had at least one garage where some wannabe boy-band was making crap sound they call music. The music industry made a lot of money.

Music is no longer fashionable.

Fashions come and fashions go. Music has gone, just like bell bottoms and stovepipe jeans and various haircuts. We don't blame the hair industry fro the demise of the duck tail, so why blame the music industry for the demise of music.

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Charles Manning
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Re: saturation...

Saturation is certainly an effect: once everyone has a few hundred songs of the genre they prefer, the buying will slow down.

The other thing is crapness. How much good new stuff has come out recently? Stuff worth clicking on and buying.

Top twenties etc was part of the 70s and 80s. Nobody does that any more.

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The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?

Charles Manning
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It's not just computers

Funification detatches people from the reality of just about everything from science to arts.

Chemistry is more than just fizz, bang and stink.

Consider what would be a typical classroom interaction today:

Kid: Miss, I've finished my macaroni collage. Do you think 'll be an artist?

Miss: Well done Johnny, you'll be a fine artist.

...

A more thruthful session would go something like:

Kid: Miss, Ive finished my macaroni collage. Do you think 'll be an artist?

Miss: Ok Johnny, compare it to what Pete and Suzy have done. If you're going to be a real artist you will have to learn to accept critisism and competition. The hard part of being an artist is selling enough to keep you solvent. You will need to find other ways to earn a living. Go join Betty who's over in the corner practicing flipping plasticine burgers.

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Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE

Charles Manning
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re: "The origin of sex goes back a lot further than fish."

Certainly, but that was not one-on-one penentrative sex, it was more akin to plants dumping their pollen and hoping some of it ends up where it is needed.

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Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST

Charles Manning
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Yawn, nothing new

Microsoft already released their watch. A decade ago. It was crap.

As for the watch in the picture. It is clearly a photoshop job. Seattle does not do cloudy and sunny, it does rain.

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Damage control (noun): When Microsoft's CEO kickstarts diversity plan after women pay gaffe

Charles Manning
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Real affirmative action would not look at school ties, geneder, race etc.

It would look at the individual and would correct for personal circumstances.

If you're a white male, raised by alcoholic trailer trash parents then surely you're more deserving of affirmative action than a black female raised by professional parents who nurtured you academically?

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Charles Manning
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Most ceilings in Western societies are self-imposed.

Dear AC, you seem to have hit the "I'll blame my lack of progress and gumption on toffs" ceiling.

We all have some obstacles. Some of us just give up at the first chance we get, then blame everyone else. "The little man just can't get ahead", blaah, blaah, blaah.

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Greedy datagrabs, crap security will KILL the Internet of Thingies

Charles Manning
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Pointlessness

That's what will really kill IoT.

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Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

Charles Manning
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Re: Moving the goals?

Or perhaps...

Your volume might go up according to the cube of your height, but your surface area goes up according to the square of your height.

If we say a fattie (or which I am one) has an average of F cm of fat under the skin, then the fat will be approx constant x F x height squared.

So maybe square is a fair measure?

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Antarctic ice at ALL TIME RECORD HIGH: We have more to learn, says boffin

Charles Manning
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"Done properly"... bollocks!

The Alkaselzer tab would have filled the bottle with almost pure CO2.

If he had done it prooperly he'd have put 400ppm CO2 in the bottle.

If you want to, repeat the experiment by blowing into the bottle. That would put approx 1% CO2 in the bottle.

That would have put the two lines so close together that other variables (eg. direction of the light) would have far bigger impact.

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How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

Charles Manning
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Re: According to the patent lobby...

I wrote some of the software that MS claimed was infringing. It was not, and MS finally backed down after a fight.

By my calculations, MS would have made somewhere between $50M and $100M out of my efforts.

When one of the phone vendors wanted me to investigate something, they offered no payment. I was feeling a bit grumpy that day and suggested they'd paid MS for the use of the software so perhaps they should ask MS for tech support too.

You can't get too twisted up about this because you'd just end up a bag of ulcers.

According to one of the lawyers I dealt with, MS has a huge patent portfolio that is well orgaised and indexed. They have people going through the patents and trying to see how these might be applied. Anything that looks like it might be close to infringing is thrown on the pile. This is a huge revenue stream for MS, so it pays to spend a few million per year organising it into a profitable money spinner.

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Man brings knife to a gun fight and WINS

Charles Manning
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Re: You Have Twenty Seconds To Comply

Nothing special about police dogs. They are just considered property like police cars etc.

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Internet of Things? Hold my beer, I got this: ARM crafts OS to rule them all

Charles Manning
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mbed is not new

Been around for at least a year or two.

The cloudy bit might be new though.

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Internet of Stuff: Chip rivals try to stop Cortex-M7 from flexing ARM’s muscle

Charles Manning
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The whole "article" is just cut&paste out of variouse press releases. The Quark stuff directly from Intel, the 8051 directly from Silicon Labs.

Only ARM covers all the bases from Coretex M0 (with devices starting at 28c that run for a year or more on a coin cell) to multicore application running Linux/whatever.

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Charles Manning
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Re: IPv6 ?

"Will this force usage of IPv6 soon?"

No.

When people speak of the IoT theny don't really mean that these devices are connected directly to the internet via IP.

What they mean is that these would be accessible via the internet. ie. you might have a "home controller" on the actual internet, but that uses Bluetooth etc to comunicate with the hundred or thousands of devices in your house (if you believe the hype).

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Charles Manning
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Re: Atmel

Atmel is an umbrella corporation. The ARM people have nothing to do with the AVR people.

The AVR people made their own top-end CPU a long time ago (AVR32). It was something amazing, but didn't pull in the customers.

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

Charles Manning
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It certainly is not as bad as Heartbleed

If you're running Ubuntu etc then the bash problem is already fixed.

The biggest problem with heartbleed is that there are a lot of embedded infrastructure devices (routers etc) that were vulnerable to heartbleed, but are very difficult - if not practically impossible - to fix.

Now in theory the same could apply here: the routers etc could, in theory, be running bash. However almost one of the embedded systems use bash for scripting. They almost all use busybox etc. That means they do not have this problem.

bahs is on servers, and some desktops. Those should all be on good patch streams, either due to being auto updated or through BOFHery.

So all this "Bigger than Heartbleed" crap is just a media beat-up.

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