* Posts by ilmari

112 posts • joined 18 Oct 2012

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Facebook tips India and Pakistan into NUCLEAR WAR of words

ilmari

Re: Rock and a hard place

Venn diagrams were made for this. Be sure to include a.bunch of random crackpot territorial claims too.

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Russia delays ISS crew mission over Progress launch safety fears

ilmari

I admit I haven't followed thus extremely closely, but this is the first mention I've seen of an explosion?

And, of course, they're not putting cosmonauts in a Progress capsule, but Progress has alot in common with the Soyuz capsule that cosmonauts fly in.

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Boffins brew 'Stop Light' that turns photons in fibre into memory

ilmari

So this more convenient form of optical memory than bouncing a laser beam via the reflectors left on the moon by apollo. That, btw, has been used as datastorage before.

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Shields up! Shields up! ASTRONAUTS flying to MARS will arrive BRAIN DAMAGED, boffins claim

ilmari

Plastic better than aluminium? Oh, by mass maybe?

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NASA spies weird glow from Pluto's FRIGID pole

ilmari

I bet if Pluto hadn't been demoted to backwater dwarfplanet they'd be able to get proper broadband.

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Calamity cargo capsule DOOMED: Space station pod in fireball re-entry

ilmari

Re: Hang on...

Lithobraking is my new favourite word. I've been doing it alot since Kerbal Spaceprogram 1.0 was released.

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'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

ilmari

Aw, I thought it was android apps on Windows Desktop.. But now I of course realize that even if it was on PC it would be behind the unusable TIFKAM.

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Brit boffins BLOW UP Li-On batteries and film the MELTING COPPER

ilmari

Re: Cool

When overcharged or overdischarged, the li-ion cell starts dissolving its copper, and producing metallic lithium. When the dissolved copper precipitates again, there's no telling where it ends up. If a shunt forms, it might cause localized heating and set off thermal runaway. As for metallic lithium, needless to say, it's highly volatile. The damage is accumulating.

RC Hobby people get relatively frequent battery fires, a consequence of running batteries without protection circuitry, and running batteries hard, making their base temperature already high, before builtin or evolved defects come into play.

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SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

ilmari

Re: "Change in plan for vertical-landing Falcon 9 rocket stage"

Falcon 9 flying as planned and as expected for maximum payload to GTO. A change in plan would have been if first stage tried to re-enter atmosphere in a controlled manner somewhere halfway to Africa.

As for space race breakthrough, is the author talking about this being Turkmenistan's first satellite?

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Hi, Fi: Google JOWL-SLAPS mobile bigguns with $20/mo wireless service

ilmari

Nexus6 only because of the voice/sms over wifi, I think. The rest could be done for any cellphone with Google-operator SIM card.

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

ilmari

Re: "Landed Fine"

In the 60s, the rockets fell/tumbled out of control and crashed into the ocean each and every time, well, except for the times they blew up on the pad. This still happens today, and rocket debris washes up on shores in south america. SpaceX is doing something new trying to do a powered softlanding.

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Google research bods hope to LICK BATTERY life limits – report

ilmari

Re: Another vapour-ware

Actually, your almost 3000mAh AA is made by some "computer wizard" with label editing "skills", changing 2000 to 3000 because "everyone else is doing it".

In the Li-on space, typical capacities for the classic 18650 size cell have gone from less than 1800mAh to today's 3100-3400 mAh for the premium cells from premium manufacturers, a doubling in capacity.

One thing that annoys me is how media frequently reports on "breakthroughs" in making a battery that charges in 5 minutes. Such Li-Ion batteries already exist, the capacity penalty you take for quick charge isn't even that big (Compared to supercapacitor capacities). Dumping that much power in 5 minutes requires some nice fat cables and chunky charge electronics, though. Your average usb cable would turn into a glowing white noodle in seconds.

If media reported on car tyres like they report on battery tech, every week there'd be a sensational post reporting on a new innovation, a new tyre that is rounder and not square. Every month there'd be reports of amazingly low friction tyres promising to save 75% energy, the boffins are calling it "railway". A couple of times a year there'd be reports on "out of the box" thinking derived "innovations", pht wings on the car, "inventing" the "aeroplane", and tyres are only used a short portion of the travel. Stick legs on the vehicle so it walks, no tyres needed at all, and no road infrastructure either, all problems solved forever!

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Strange radio telescope signals came from microwave ovens

ilmari

I'm kinda surprised anyone at all cares about a burst in the 2.4GHz band, surely there will always be someone with random gadgets near telescopes?

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GitHub jammed by injected JavaScript, servers whacked by DDoS

ilmari

Do websites that use baidu as ad provider share any responsibility for this?

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Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ that'll add BILLIONS to bills

ilmari

Re: short term benefit

I tried one of those too, but it was like watching a rsa key fob tick.

And yes, it had no clue about power factor, so it thought laptop power brick eats double what it really does, and idling wallwarts were overestimated by a factor 10 or so..

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Voda UK CEO says one thing about not-spots, Minister of Fun says another

ilmari

Re: Its about time 2G was dropped from coverage maps / statistics.

What good are fines, if operators aren't allowed to build coverage anyway?

How about maps of "We've set aside money to improve coverage here, but unfortunately we haven't received permission to do so"/"blocked by nimbys"

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

ilmari

Re: Poor Oisin

JC in anger management therapy? Now that's a tv show I'd watch, especially if it includes segments such as "staying calm driving behind pensioners in caravans".

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

ilmari

I don't think any other country equated smart meters with remote control, everyone else is doing "advanced meter".

One directive I don't see mentioned on thereg though, is the one requiring damages and refunds for power outages. It has caused a building boom in Sweden and Finland atleast, with grid operators hurrying to bury electric cables underground so they don't need to pay out so much compensation for outages during storms.

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

ilmari

Re: Capacitors - caveat observer!

Also, grounding yourself seems like the last thing you'd want to do.

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

ilmari

Intel's graphics is the most popular graphics choice for PCs, makes sense to integrate it in their mainstream offer.

AMD moving to 16nm wont make you happy, by that time Intel will be measuring node size in atoms rather than nm. Both companies make CPUs that are "good enough", anyway.

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ilmari

Re: Mobile and Communications segment saw its revenues plummet by 85.3 per cent.

I have a atom android tablet, and I must say the performance isn't as bad as I thought Atom would be. With performance I also mean batterylife. My Haswell-Y, however, is a bit disappointing.

Intel's kit previously had a price disadvantage, but now that that's fixed (temporarily?), intel is.looking useful.

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Intel slaps Iris Pro GPUs into Core i7 silicon to woo desktop gamers

ilmari

Iris Pro is the top end Intel graphics. It comes with 128M L4 cache, absent from other intel cpus.

Currently not available as a socketed processor. This is the news, socketed iris pro.

Disappointingly only at 65W TDP, I bet lots of people, regardless if they use the graphics or not, would have loved to have a "full" i7 with L4 cache. Oh well.

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Google Chrome suffers brain freeze on Android Ice Cream Sandwich

ilmari

On my asus transformer from about the same time era, chrome (and to a lesser extent firefox) spends much of its time writing to the slow emmc. I believe the N7 was also plagued by an extremely slow emmc with around 1-4 WIOPS performance?

This issue is something that has persisted with browsers for a longer time, across platforms. firefox was notoriously slow on Linux, due to the way it wrote cache and browsing history with sqlite. This issue is amplified further on flash based storage, where each tiny write triggers a 8 megabyte read-modify-write cycle. sqlite, being a database ish thing, is paranoid about dataloss, and makes sure the data is on physical storage after each step, with the end result that appending a new url to browser history, to a storage medium where every write request regardless whether it's 50 bytes or 8 megabytes takes on the order of 1 second to complete, you're looking at several seconds just to add to browsing history, let alone disk cache for images etc...

Ever since flash storage started appearing, programmers stopped caring about how they write stuff to disk, because "no moving parts, it's instant so I don't have to care". SSDs only started working like that, through the use of large Arm cores and massively complicated firmwares (that still today occasionally mess up), around the era of Intel M-25 and ocz vertex. Today if you're not careful, you'll get an emmc that still behaves as poorly as the one in N7.

Probably the only company that pays any attention to the issue is Motorola, with the use of f2fs, a filesystem which tries to make life easier for the emmc, boosting performance.

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SanDisk launches 200GB microSD card

ilmari

Re: Too Small?

Am I the only one who never swaps sd cards?

I put in a card in my phone, and it stays there until it is obsolete or upgraded to the next faster, bigger, affordable version.. The old one's data copied over and never used again.

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Lenovo CTO: Hey, look around – we're not the only ones with a crapware infection

ilmari

Re: MS Might Share Some Blame

I recently discovered the hard way, that restore usb media created in windows refuses to work on empty harddrives, ir if the partition table is corrupt. In other words, if HD is screwed, you're screwed.

However, to my delight, I discovered hidden deep on Microsoft's website a tool which creates Win8 install media battery downloading from ms. You have to pick 32/64 bit, language, and edition correctly, and the resulting usb key will install W8 on a PC with the correct W8 key in bios.

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AMD's new Carrizo: The x86 notebook processor that thinks it's a GPU

ilmari

Re: Interesting

Bye bye per cpumodel benhmarks is already a relity for low power intel CPUs. They're primarily limited by TDP, as in actual power use and not overheating, and the PC maker decides if they want to limit CPU to 4.5W or 11W, or anywhere in between. Add ontop of this efficiency variation from cpu to cpu too.

Also for desktop CPUs, overclockers were buying many haswell i7 from different places, hoping to get one from a "good" batch known to overclock well, and returning if batch lottery didn't play out well. All of the CPUs meet (and exceed) the performance promised by intel, but some exceed it with huge margin.

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UK.gov can't get farmers onto its Verify service – even to claim subsidies

ilmari

Re: From the Whitehall Home for the Hard of Thinking

(Not in UK)

Re farmers using technology that works.. Couldn't agree more. As part time tech support person, the most complex networks/LANs I've encountered with farmers. Recently one told me "I really regret not signing up the cow for fibre optic internet when I had the chance".

He has fibre to his own house, and a point to point 54Mbps wifi link to the building with the cows some 200m away. There's a "visitor/casual" wifi and lan, and a "infrastructure" LAN, plus home lan+wifi. The infrastructure part of the network is where the milking robot, feed silo management, and god knows what sits. This is, of course, available to him on his smartphone and PC realtime. If a cow gets in an argument with the robot, his phone buzzeds and he can look at the situation and have the robot shoo the cow or bribe it with treats or whatever.

.. But it'd work much better if it wasnt behind a 54Mbps bottleneck.

As for government services? Dump all the paperwork and receipts with specialists that can decode and speak governmentese..

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Google boffins PROVE security warnings don't ... LOOK! A funny cat!

ilmari

I totally ignore SSL warnings for some sites. Example: I don't care if 4chan connection is secure, wether cat photos leak to third parties or not makes no difference to me. And, if I was posting something more sensitive and less legal than cat photos, SSL is still useless, as it's permanently broken and insecure.

Did their survey take into account these "User's level of safety isn't changed by the use or nonuse of a proper SSL connection"?

.

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Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace

ilmari

As a C guy wrangled into automation, I can onky concur with what people have said before. When I first encountered it, it was a bit like finding a tribe of cavemen in central park.

Siemens came out with a new version if the software I have to use. Haven't tried it yet, but I heard it now takes less than a day to convince it to jnstall on windows other than XP SP1 32bit. The actual install, obce it starts, still takes 6 hours, as the installer consists mostly of a wrapper around a few thousand .bat scripts. Woe if you accept the install directory proposed by the installer, because the installer can't actually install properly if destination directory contains spaces or any other "funny" chars.

The installer itself is distributed in half a dozen .zip files. Not split inti individual components, you have to recreate the proper directory structure and unzip each i ti the correct directory.

Their "cheap" stuff is actually less bad, with

both linux and windiws versions, and $150 piece of hardware with inputs and outputs, ethernet port and built in webserver that apparently does something useful. But, despite being able to run a webserver, you're still limited to the equivalent of 400 lines of code (let's say python level of density).

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Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

ilmari

Re: It is Elite from 1984, only even more so.

They coukd do like EA/Maxis did offline singleplayer mode (which is apparentky different from online singleplayer), where they basically just freeze comnodity prices and availability, makkng them static.

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ilmari

I thought it was pretty clear to everyone now, that kickstarters are high risk investments, a bit like venture capital, with the exception that if things turn out well, you get minimal return on investment (i.e. just a trinket or gizmo, or tshirt), and if it turns out bad, you lose all your money and get nothing.

(i participated in tge kickstarter, but never downloaded any if the alphas, betas, and didn't download the game. Didn't like where it was gokng, saw no point in downloading it. Not complaining though, it was always a risk frontdev would make a different game)

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Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

ilmari

Re: Not pirates - just because you don't carry along a CD player anymore...

Initially this levy was set up to "compensate" lost revenues when people were using this newfangled gizmo called tape recorder, ti record radio broadcasts for later and feared repeated playback.

This was later extended to casettes, vhs and beta casettes, writable CDs and DVDs, harddrives in PVRs, eexternal harddrives (but not internal hd when bought separately, and nit empty external hd cases), etc.

It's still known as "casette levy" in Finland.

(Typos, because i don't have a real keyboard)

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ilmari

I was under the impression it would now bypass the local mpaa maffia, and end up with less money for maffia and more for artists. It prbably wont work out that well though.

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IBM Research wants laptop batteries to retire and slum it

ilmari

Liithium-Ion polymer batteries are in the form of a soft pouch, often surrounded by a hard case for extra protection, though devices with non-removable batteries use the device casing itself for that.

"Regular" Lithium-Ion batteries are cylindrical metal cans, where instead of the polymer keeping the components pushed against eachother, the metal container exerts mechanical pressure on its contents.

Cylindrical cells are the most common type used for laptops, with the 18650 size being the most common. (18mm by 65mm). Yiur typical laptop battery has somewhere between 2-9 of these cells, in various parallell and series arrangements. A battery management, protection, and sometimes, "tell laptop this is genuine expensive battery"-chip complete the battery pack, which is then encased in hard plastic.

When a laptop battery fails, it's usually because one set cells in series arrangement has died. The entire pack is limited by its weakest participant. I recently disassembled a dead 6 cell battery. It was arranged as 2P3S, that is, 2 cells in parallell, 3 of these pairs in series. 1 pair was totally dead, had leaked, and its mechanical protection had severed its internal connections. Must've been running hot! Anither pair had so-so performance, and one pair had excellent performance.

Now, laptop battery recycling already takes place in China. Enterpresing people obtain dead laptop batteries, crack them open to harvest the cells that still function a little bit, and reuse them to make "new" laptop batteries. Thesd are sold on ebay, at significantly lower price compared to official genuine packs. The plastic casing, labels and holograms cost cents to make, and are not reused.

The cells nit reused for laptop packs, are given a new shrinkwrap, a fantasy capacity label, sometimes a circuit board is added, and then sold on. There's a significant market with e-cig users and fancy flashlight users, for cylindrical li-ion cells. It's remarkable that such a market exists, considering that no reputable manufacturer willingly or knowingly sell "bare" li-ion cells, thry always require the cells to be either built into a device, or buolt into a battery pack, and measures in place to prevent charging by anything except the designated charger. As such, one can consider all "lose" cells for sale a bit dubious.

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ilmari

Re: Lithium?

Unless your laptop has a 386 or 486 in it, it's almost certainly Li-Ion. The only recent exception to this is OLPC, which had several different options.

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Sink your teeth into OCZ's ARC 100 SSD sizzler with tasty home-grown chips

ilmari

Re: The trouble with OCZ

This is wise also when it comes to usb drives and sd cards.

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SPLASHDOWN! Orion lands safely in the Pacific Ocean

ilmari

Re: Sorry, I can't get excited about NASA's 'new' 1960's Mercury/Gemini/Apollo Space Program v2.0

In terms of actual rocket science, they're keeping the actual good bits of the space shuttle, the SRBs and the space shuttle main engines.

As they don't need to fly any single-orbit missions anymore, they don't need huge wings anymore. The buge wjngs of the shuttle were needed so that on a single orbit polar mission, the shuttle could use its wings to compensate for the earth rotating underneath it, so it could return in a single orbit to its launch site. The air force wanted that, but no missions were actually flown.

Without wings, they can place the orbiter ontop of the rocket, and not have piece of foam and ice smash into it on take off.

The first SRBs to fly will actually be reused from the shuttle, and have flown before. They don't plan to reuse them anymore. If it doesn't pay off, don't do it.

The space shuttle main engines are phenomenal still today, their fuel efficiency is 1.7 times better than that of Saturn V.

Of course, politicians will probably cancel the SLS, which is the most useful bit of all the associated projects...

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One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

ilmari

Have a 1920x1080 IPS windows machine wirh detacheable screen myself. I find myself using it more than my android tablet these days, after google killed 1080p youtube on android.

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UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

ilmari

(I live outside UK)

I remember when men from "the mobile phone company" came survey the local geography. As this is quite a small town, word of the strangers quickly got around, and soon there was quite a crowd, some with their moose hunting rifles "just in case".

When the strangers explained that they were looking for a good site to erect a mobile phone mast, everyone was quick to put their knives and rifles away, shake the hands if the strangers, "I have a hill not far from here you shoukd come look at" - "My hill is the tallest hill in town, it would obviously be mich better", and so on.

Eventually they placed it on my neighbour's hill, not because neighbour had a taller hill, or wanted less money, but because it had easier access.

Anyway, what never quire became clear, was which company was building the mast. There were 3 operators, and stories about whose mast it was varied monthly. Eventually, years later, I found that it was none of them. A small regional ISP had branched out into mast building. They had a line of fibre going i a straight line through the region, and towers placed at intervals along the fibre. To both sides of the fibre gateway, they placed towers that they linked with microwave links. Space in the masts and capacity on their backbone was rented out to any operator.

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Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'

ilmari

Re r&d costs, are they saying it takes more effort to make winpho work on different SoCs and with different hardware?

I could sort of believe that, Qualcomm and others happily write android drivers for you. Not so sure about windows drivers..

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ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander

ilmari

Well, Nasa pioneered skip aerobraking. Kerbals and ESA use skip lithobraking :)

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Beyond the genome: YOU'VE BEEN DECODED, again

ilmari

I'm not a biologist, but the article's mentikn if decoded genome seems weird. In a compsci analogy, i thought the HGP was about reading out the 1s and 0s, into one long string, in the correct order. Except DNA is ternary. I was also under the impression that we know sequences create different yproteins. So perhaps we could say it's it's the equivalent of ibstructions to write values into registers on a computer. What we don't know, is how execution flow is controlled.

So basically we have the program code in executabke form, and we know opcodes that do things like 'write value to register x', but we don't know what each register does, and execution flow, conditionals, etc, are all part of the black box manipulated through registers?

So one big reverse engineering problem, made worse by the original author having poor coding style, nk sense of structure, and winner of obfuscated c contest. Oh, and we dont know how the cpu and its peripherals work either.

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Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

ilmari

This board seems much the same as every other ARM based board that isnt Raspberry Pi: Much better hw for less or same price, but awful software support.

On paper, with somewhere around 8 times the compute performance, twice the ram, and vastly superior bulk IO, one would be could crazy to buy raspberry pi. However, not having to build your own operating system makes rpi win.

Raspberry Pi is in a strange position with regard to future direction. They're more or less stuck with the particular and peculiar Broadcom GPU. Powerhungry GPU designed for set top boxes, with a tiny CPU as coprocessor for displaying the tv guide.. By now there's so much effort put into modifying software to work with the nonstandard drivers and APIs, that switching to another SoC will be starting from scratch. Rpi foundation possibly only entity capable of it, if they can get their users enthusiastic about it.

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Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

ilmari

I wonder if Elon Musk has ever played kerbal space program

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

ilmari

Re: @b166er

Buying a drilling rig to just make one hole is very silly.

As someone living in the Nordics, where groubd source heatpumpd are now withib top-3 modt popular heat source for new or newly renovated houses, i csn tell you the hole doesnt cost that much.

Roughly speaking, changing to gshp is a 15kE investment, of which roughly 5k goes to the dude that comes over and parks drilling rig in your yard and naps for 2days as the machine works away.

Oil heating running costs on the order of 3-5kE annually, electric even more.

Wood fired central heating needs something on the order of 3-5ha of forest for comfort, and 2-4 weeks of work put into it, to harvest and process the "free" fuel.

Rules of thumb for renovations or new houses: 100cm of rock wool above and below, same or atleast 60cm on walls. Forced air ventilation with heat exchanger (or even a heat pump), and underfloor heating. Underfloor heating allows system temperature to be kept at around 40C instead of 60-80C as with radiators. Lower system temperature boosts overall efficiency considerably.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

ilmari

For me, Verified by Visa asks me for user/pass (static), and a one time password (always different, pick up new list of 200 at bank when I run out), my bank's favoured authentication scheme. Occasionally I also need to enter a code sent via sms. That feature was opt-in though.

For my friend who's with another bank, it asks for the digits displayed on some small plastic keyfob thing with the letters "RSA" on it. The digits seem to change every few minutes.

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Stop coding and clean up your UI, devs, it's World Usability Day

ilmari

Usability is different things to different people.

For the nongeek non nerd, you want a flat menu structurd, because hierarchies are confusing and scary, and the nongeek gives up, because the choices on screen are all interpreted as verbs/commands. i.e. "Why press file, i dont want to file, i want to print".

Additionally, on touchscreens, the touchscreen illiterate needs to be given buttons atleast the size of a thumbprint, because that's how they try to interface with it. Say 3x3 cm buttons. This also helps with the computer illiterate's typical eyeglass scantup, which gives them a reading distance that is further away than their arms can reach. The lack of tactile feedback makes the read first, then push button blind strategy unreliable at best. As there's typically no clear feedback whether a command has been accepted either, the user will try pressing harder and harder, or move to alternative approaches such as punching and stabbing, sometimes with implements..

Everyone who claims something is easy to use should be forced to spend a week with these users. :)

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The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

ilmari

Re: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

I cant wait until the day Steam games are all kn the cloud. I wouldnt have to worry about constantly upgrading the gaming rig, wouldnt have noise and heat problems in the gaming room, the gaming room could be repurposed.. And, best of all, I wouldnt need to get out of bed to play a game if it ran on, or was streamed to a phpbe, phablet or tablet device..

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Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all

ilmari

Around half the people I know of that have bought Win8 machines can't figure out the current authentication system, and thise that do manage to get past the first boot questions are shocked and surprised after the first patch-tuesday enforced boot. "Why do I need a password, this is *my* computer!". Of course they don't remember whatever random keyboard mashing they did a week/month ago to clear "strange questions about my facebook".

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Finnish PM: Apple has DESTROYED FINLAND

ilmari

Locally in Finland, Stubb has come under criticism for using twitter.

Doesn't matter if it's "aww, look at this cute kitten!", or "difficult negotiations again. please bring coffee", or "just ran marathon, excercise is good for you", mainstream media always interviews political analysts about the "statements by the prime minister" (tweets)

On one hand, "the social media pm" has brought unprecedented transparency into government.. On the other hand, people are quite confused as to why the prime minister declares to the world that the kitten "snuggles" is the cutest kitten ever...

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