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* Posts by ilmari

64 posts • joined 18 Oct 2012

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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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ilmari

I too find it hard to believe he meant it any other way than <technological progress> makes <old inflexiblecompanies and industries> die. And I don't even vote for his party.

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Something ate Google's 8.8.8.8 at about eight in Asia's evening

ilmari

Mandatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1361/

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

ilmari

Even with ludicrous fuel tanks, the chances of being able to rendezvous or intercept a target not targeted before launch is unlikely.

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Was Nokia's Elop history's worst CEO?

ilmari

Re: Do not write off the low-cost Series 40 featurephone platform

Part of why Nokia failed, was that they did not realize quickly enough that calls are no longer the primary purpose of phones, and that call quality and battery life arent that important either.

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

ilmari

1) Bundle win8 with classic shell

2) Call it Windows 9

3) Profit!

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Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

ilmari

XP is the only named one that was not a dud, and every second windows is a dud. For that reason, using same methodology as technical stock analysts, a named version in the good slot in the sequence is asking for trouble.

Bob

Millenium Edition

XP

Vista

Threshold

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Apple iPhone 6: Looking good, slim. AW... your battery died

ilmari

Re: Crap Battery

I bet you nonzero amount of currency that the real reason is novelty wearing off, and you doing less power intensive tasks on it. Or no longer blocking antenna with hand, or your operator boositng coverage.

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ilmari

Re: Battery Life

Roughly first half of the noughties, Nokia did the opposite with the battery meter: full bars until 50%, and then vaguely linear dropoff from there to 1 bar, which was whatever threshold their engineers felt the algorithm could reliably predict there'd be enough power left for orderly shutdown.

This "show full until half" was a neat trick, in a day when users' metric was "check out my new phone, got it 5 days ago, on my first charge, and it still has 5 of 5 battery bars!"

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Apple iPhone 6 Plus: GORGEOUS FAT pixel density - but it's WASTED

ilmari

Re: Obviously

Linux fanboy checking in here

The problem with real world is that conditions are random. The problem with background apps is that they perform random crap, through the random quality network environment, and everyone has different set of crapware installed.

Real world example: At home, on my desk, where even IRDA to celltower would work, standby life without background apps would be on the order of weeks.

Out at sea on an island, with closest tower being a solar/windpowered byuoy, standby time is on the order of hours.

There's already massive power use within the fairly wide "full signal" indicated range, let alone when operating with less than perfect signal indicated...

The only purpose of the batttery life ratings is to compare with other ratings. (and hope they use same methodology across models).

As a sidenote, and as someone who doesnt use apple, I have to say I'm rather envious that iphone brightness goes as low as it goes, and that the volume can go low too. Most devices these day feel like getting stabbed in the eye at lowest brightness, and bleeding eardrums at one step above muted..

Then again, I see other people discussîng max screen brightness and volume, as if they actually want even more , to me, ludicrously high levels... Again, shows that one person's real world can be quite different from another's.

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Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around

ilmari

Re: What?

Mostly, li-ion fires can be divided into 2 causes: impurities introduced during manufacturing, and bad battery management systems.

Unfortunately, batteries seem to be poorly understood by most electrical engineers, so the amount of flawed battery management systems out there is rather huge.

Still, the 'rules' are pretty simple: Don't go below 2.80V, don't go above 4.20V. Ever. Not even for a millisecond.

Our clever cost-aware EE will then think "I've got 3 in series, so that means I need to stay between 9V and 12.6V. This is wrong, he needs to monitor all 3 cells individually. There will never be cells matched exactly enough, and stay matched throughout their service life.

So, each cell must be monitored individually. On discharging, the device must shut off when the weakest cell reaches the minimum allowable voltage, or sooner. On charging, the charging current must be reduced when the fullest cell reaches maximum permissible voltage. Preferably you have a circuit that can bleed off some charge from the fullest cells, so that all cells can be charged full.

The EE that reads the datasheet closely enough, will notice that samples if cells are put through overdischarge and overcharge testing, wherd they are taken outside of the permissible voltage range, and demonstratedly don't explode, smoke, or emit excessive heat. He will then make the assumption that the limits are more of a guideline for best cycle life, and the worst that will happen is that the battery dies a bit sooner, and the customer needs to buy a new battery or device sooner.

While it's true thay li-ion cells must withstand such tests without failure, they only need to do it once. That is, one test is performed once, and the specific cell in question is never used again.

The reason for this is that every deviation outside the safe range inflicts accumulating damage to the cell. Accumulating meaning that while a 'small' deviation from the safe range might not cause problems the first time, it could cause issues the 10th time or the 200th time it happens.

At one extreme voltage, the copper inside the cell starts dissolving. If this process reverses, you get conductive copper in random places, potentially causing short circuits, or a string of thin copper might carry current, cause heating, and ignite the cell.

At the other end, the battery evolves metallic lithiun, which is the equivalent of the petrol in your car turning into nitroglycerine. Ungood.

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ilmari

Re: Scientists...pah

Ghus is kinda similar results to similar research in LiFePo4 cells, where it was found that extremely fast charging can reduce the wear and tear on the cell.

Fascinating stuff!

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ilmari

Re: Green Prince of Darkness

High cycle life.

High power density / fast charge

High energy density

Cheap.

Pick any two features.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

ilmari

Re: How do these thing save money?

UK could have saved a bit by not adding on requirement for energy use display.

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ilmari

Re: Irrelevant

Most people have absolutely no idea of how much energy different devices use.

Not that having a real time display will help, short higgh power use vs 24/7 low level use isnt something most people can work out in their head either.

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Good luck with Project Wing, Google. This drone moonshot is NEVER going to happen

ilmari

Re: Basic intrusion

So you prefer the current delivery sustem where large trucjks driving around aimlessly back into your garden for an 11-point turn when they realize they were going the wrong way?

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Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit

ilmari

Win8 remains, as the update isn't automatic. It's hidden in the store, and kinda buggy. 8.0 to 8.1 upgrade is more troublesome than win7 to win8 upgrade kb some cases...

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Hardkernel nixes RPi clone project

ilmari

On the face of it, rpi loojs like a hard sell. Severely aged SoC, where the cpu is more of a companion thing rather than the main phrpose of the chip, etc etc..

However, what rpi has got is volume and community. While allwinner chips might be 10 times faster, you'll spend a lifetime getting software support up to the same level as on the pi.

For this reason, rpi boards continue to outsell allwinner-based boards, and will probably do so until sunxi has the same level of maturity and ease of use as raspberry pi.

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ilmari

There were/are factories making straight copies of raspberry pi. These were contacting the smaller distributors, offering the much cheaper rpi.

I imagine broadcom hit the killswitch when this started getting known.

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Intel unleashed octo-core speed demon for the power-crazed crowd

ilmari

Re: I'm currently sporting a reasonably old i7 2600k

I need a faster cpu for kerbal spsce program, so I can build bigger spaceships. Unfortunately, haswell-e wont help run KSP's single threaded physics engine any faster.

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Leak: Intel readies next round of NUC

ilmari

NUC has never been that easy to find, and the pricing was kinda mad..

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

ilmari

8.2V shutdown threshold is very wasteful, the battery will have delivered far less than half its stored energy at 8.2. At 5.4V, that woukd be closer to 95%.

And as others have said earlier, 6xAA battery holder, or even 6xAAA, would be far more cost effective.

Carbon-zinc, zinc chloride (Super) Heavy Duty batteries are only useful in the case where the wage cost of replacing them is near zero. Or in the case where the batteries last years anyway, though you run an increased risk of leakage.. Which again you'd want free workers for the cleanup.

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No more turning over a USB thing, then turning it over again to plug it in: Reversible socket ready for lift off

ilmari

They should have made it round. Rectangular still requires aligning angles on 3 axes, though now on the one axis you've got 2 correct angles instead of just one.

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Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'

ilmari

Re: Good luck to 'em but...

Yep, you can see the nerd mentality. The first reply is usually 'did yiu try ssh into it via usb networking', second is 'send it in'. round-trip of 4 days including time spent in mail, that was impressive.

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Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum

ilmari

Emergency calls

emergency calls, and calls in general, are surely already prioritized over data?

Though one wonders what the point is for many people to call about the same emergency, congests the call centre and prevents them handling other emergencies elsewhere.

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Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

ilmari

Is this yet another plot to make browsers and websurf even slower and more bloated than it already is? :(

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Hey Intel – that new Pro 2500 SSD looks awfully familiar

ilmari

Consistency

Would be interesting to see what performance consistency is like. That's more important metric today, when all SSDs are "more than fast" in every aspect, the main differentiating factor in perdormance becomes the worst case performance..

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Did cosmic radiation nuke $25 satellite swarm? 100 snoozing Sprites face fiery death

ilmari

I wonder if their computer system had redundancy...

You woukd think they would, as even the amateur high altitude balloon people have used , well essentially triply redundant arduino arrays, and have been able to detect and report back the number of times their cpus have been affected by radiation.. iirc around half dozen 'events' at balloon altitudes..

You would think the amsat community designed their previous sats sanely too, as some of them are still up there and working..

But then, are thess people just some random dudes that threw together a kickstarter and ignored the experiences of amateur satellite operators that came before them, or did they indeed have best practice design and got hit by too much radiation for their redundancy to cope with?

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Display tech based on EYEBALLS could reduce teens' mobe-fiddling

ilmari

Brightness doesn't go low enough on most devices. Turning them on in a dark place is still similar to looking into the end of a lightsabre when switching it on...

Also, I feel the ambient light sensors dont quite work as intended when they're on fhe front of the devices. Either I myself place the sensor in shadow, or they pick up something bright behind me, or pick up dark behind me, and completely ignore what is, from my point of view, the background against which the display's brightness should match.

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Picture this: Data-wrangling boffins say they have made JPEGs OBSOLETE

ilmari

Jpeg2000 never caught on either. By the time usable software appeared, bandwidth and storage capacities had increased to the point for the majority of use cases it didn't make much difference whether images uncompressed, jpeg or jpeg2000 compressed.

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Drone expert: Amazon's hypetastic delivery scheme a pie in the sky

ilmari

Re: Not DRONES just Radio Controlled Pests...

Considering 30 minutes from clicking and receiving goods, I assumed they'd all be electric rather than internal combustion engine.

Although, on another note, the challenges involved in making a ICE powered multicopter are kinda interesting, and as a side-effect you'd probably end up with a more aerodynamically efficient, and a more aerobatically capable vehicle :-) Sort of like a multirotored helicopter, instead of multipropellered flattened airplane standing on its tail.

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JESUS battery HEALS itself - might make electric cars more practical

ilmari

LiFePo4 chemistry batteries seem to be rated for 3000-5000 cycles today.. But then you need double amount of them compared to LiCo, LiMNi and similar..

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Firefox OS update adds performance, polish to Mozilla's webby mobes

ilmari

Let's see...

... if manufacturers do any better with firefox os, or if they leave it rotting on ancient versions like with android devices..

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Brew me up, bro: 11-year-old plans to make BEER IN SPACE

ilmari

I thought the top vs bottom fermenting stuff was mostly related to so called "top fermenting" varieties fermenting vigorously enough that the Co2 produced stirs the liquid enough to toss the little critters around and form foam at the top..

As for flocculation, perhaps a German HefeWeizen or Belgian Wit will taste better in space, because the yeast will NOT accumulate at the bottom, so you don't have to shake the bottle in order to knock the yeast loose (and lose some carbonation while doing so).

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So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

ilmari

Finns nod for yes and shake for no.

If you offer or posess alcohol, any and all responses or gestures mean "Good Sir, please , a sampling of your beverage, or I shall ensure your next liquid intake is intravenous.".

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ZTE Open: This dirt-cheap smartphone is a swing and a miss

ilmari

I bought one, mostly because I wondered how the hell any browser in the year 2013 can run usably on less than a gigabyte or two of ram and dual cores. Well, the answer was that it doesn't.

My 2009 Nokia N900 with its 2010 gecko-based browser and 600MHz cpu loads websites (those that still work on 3 year old browsers) faster than the Zte Open..

Try load theregister in landscape mode on ZTE Open. You get notice about cookies splattered on the bottom half of the screen, and attempts to tap "I agree" just opens whatever link is underneath the "I agree" button. Usually some ad.

I couldn't agree more about the keyboard. Comparing it with the N900 again (it might be unfair to compare with 2009 $600 phone), its unpredictive onscreen keyboard on 3.5" RESISTIVE screen is more usable than the ZTE Open keyboard... that's quite an achievement..

I wanted a simple device just for web browsing in bed after laptop and tablet become too heavy to hold up over my head, and thought that even if firefox os has no apps, atleast it has a browser that should be good.. Too many websites don't work in it, and there's no way to disable the broken "mobile" websites, atleast firefox for android has such an option, and even an extension that makes it default..

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Enterprise storage: A history of paper, rust and flash silicon

ilmari

Nand archival

I'd advise against using "cold" nand for archiving, the data does fade, especially on TLC.

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Finns, roamers, Nokia: So long, and thanks for all the phones

ilmari

Apps

As for apps, most of them are garbage. Ignoring games, Filter out all the "website as an app" (including youtube, netflix and everything else that only exists because the browser and/or website sucks too much), reference/book/cityguide/wallpaper crud, soundboards and other gimmicks, and you're left with a pretty small number of apps on any app store.

As for my own "killer apps", it would be openvpn, a scientific/graphing calculator (or gnuplot), some spreadsheet thing.

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What Surface RT flop? Nokia said to be readying WinRT slab for September

ilmari

Both "Microsoft" and "Windows" brands are burdens.

Despite the majority of the world's PCs running windows doesn't mean people love windows, or microsoft. They put up with it. When they've got non-microsoft-windows choices in tablet area, they'll go for something they don't yet hate.

I wonder what would've happened if Microsoft had called xbox "Microsoft Windows Vista Game machine"...

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Silent Circle shutters email service

ilmari

With SSL you're at the mercy of the certificate authorities, who are slaves to their governments and to money. The only app that doublechecks stuff is the Chrome browser, which has hardcoded the expected certificate chain for google services.Not that that helps, as google is subject to government spying anyways.

As for everything else, a compromised, rogue or court controlled certificate authority can issue certs that appear (and technically are) entirely legit, but enable man in the middle eavesdropping. If the data at any point flows through a node on the internet located in a hostile country (hostile towards free speech and privacy that is), it will be compromised. Considering the majority of traffic on the internet at some point goes through the US, UK and EU, basically everything you send can be intercepted.

The big problem with encryption is in the key exchange.

PGP where you physically exchange keys with eachother is a little bit better, but you can't trust the software and operating system, and you can't trust the hardware, they've all been exposed to hostile governments at some point in the supply chain.

For all the bad rap China gets for it's great firewall and censorship, they're starting to look benigner and refreshingly honest, because atleast they let people know there indeed exist such policies.

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Canonical: Last change to Ubuntu Edge phone price – we promise

ilmari

$700 is roughly in between top-end android phones and below iphones (when effects of downpayment plans baked into subscription prices are removed) . If the hw specs match the pricing, they'll probably sell a few.

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UK gov's smart meter dream unplugged: A 'colossal waste of cash'

ilmari

Re: Bring them on....

(Disclaimer: I don't live in UK)

Yeah, biggest fun with getting a smart meter for me was that it has a blinking led, which is easy to interface with an arduino to log and plot power use. It was much harder to read the old spinning disc type meter.

As a result, when the inhabitants can see how much power the dish washer, washing machine and tumble dryer use, we've been much better at running them at night when the electricity is cheaper. The old myths about fridge and freezer being energy bandits have also been proven wrong.

As for the other issues, people here are mostly concerned about the smart meters' alarming tendency to spontaneously explode and charr the wallpaper. On the other hand, people are enthusiastic hoping they get a meter that just silently fails. It typically takes 2 or 3 months before the distribution company notices the meter is dead, so you get 2-3 months free power :)

It doubles as thunderstorm comfort, if you forget to unplug your computer when leaving the house, and you get a lightning strike somewhere within 3km of the 10km long aerial wire feeding your house, when weeeping over the charred remains of your computer, you can comfort yourself with that the meter probably also died, and you can enjoy free power for a few weeks :)

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Nearly-transparent screen adds solar charge to phones

ilmari

Re: A couple of enhancement ideas ...

I would think the amount of power generated indoors is too little to even power a notification led, which means it would make no difference if you keep it screen up or screen down on a desk. Unless your desk is outdoors, that is.

Also makes me wonder why you'd point the screen at the sun, will just make the screen contents invisible and fingerprints+scratches very visible..

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

ilmari

The idea of ISPs charging us for various value added services was tried before, and the walled garden systems thankfully died with MSN and Compuserve.

In general though, a working micropayments system would be nice. Paypal and CCs don't work well for micropayments. Cellphone operators tried to do it, and we ended up with a million random companies accepting a grunt or a "no" on the phone, or a "please stop sending me this crap!" in an sms as signing a contract to pay them 10p per day for nothing.

Today most ISPs are too incompetent to send out correct bills for the simple fixed monthly fees they charge, or then they mess i up intentionally, so they can motivate hiring more people to answer phones, people who click a button to "fix the bill" quickly, to dilute the number of real unresolved issues people call to complain about, and thus their statistics look nicer.

I'm told bitcoins aren't that useful for microtransactions either..

It's somewhat amusing that it's 2013 and still no successful microtransaction system. Is it because there's no demand, difficult to do, or a chicken and the egg problem?

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Video services chug half of US net capacity

ilmari

Availability

Couldn't agree more on the availability comment. What's the point of having netflix or other services, when all they have is movies you've already seen... on VHS.

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Reg boffins: Help us answer this Big Blue RAID data recovery poser

ilmari

I didnn't attempt to read the paper, the quoted bits were enough to put me off.

Speaking of bits, I do remember some sysadmin stating a couple of years ago, that rebuilding a degraded raid5 error is essentially poinless, and the best course of action is to restore from your backup onto a fresh array.

The argument was, that if you look at the expected bit error rates of a harddrive, and compare it to the size of your array, you'll discover you're statistically likely to encounter atleast one flipped bit during raid rebuild, and end up with corrupted data, in one file, somewhere.

As I'm a mere caveman studying the entrails of a wooly mammoth, I must admit I'm just speculating when I propose the theory, as told to me by the mammoth's internals, that perhaps these researchers are presenting error correction codes, and placement strategies for these codes, that would push the probability of single bit errors up into the realm of "wont happen" for another decade or so?

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Boffins build ant-sized battery, claim it's tough enough to start a car

ilmari

Re: So..

Current comercially available technology is roughly on the order of a D sized lithium-ion battery being able to start a petrol car engine. That's not capacity or energy though, it's power. The Energy in a Li-ion like that is about the same as in the much smaller (by dimensions and weight) battery in your phone.

As for 3D electrodes, Edison invented a similar thing for the Edison battery. If I've understood (and remembered) correctly, he made thin sheets of material, which he then shredded coated onto thin sheets, which were shredded and coated onto sheets, repeated until he arrived at a sheet with a total surface area several orders of magnitude larger than the dimensions as measured by a ruler :)

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'Charge memory' boffins: Hungover Li-Ion batts tell fat whoppers

ilmari

Oh dear god, please no

Now everyone will be blaming memory effect for everything

... "I installed 50 background apps, but only 49 of them use gps and 3g, and I'm not sure about the 50th, what's a bitcoin miner do? Anyway, now my battery doesn't last anymore??? Can't be the apps, must be memory effect!!"

... "I left my phone empty in a drawer for a month after I droppped phone in beer, and now battery life sucks. I opened up the phone and attached the battery to a car battery charger for a week, but that didn't help, so I borrowed a medical defibrillator and gave the battery repeated shocks, but memory effect is just getting worse and worse, halp!"

In all seriousness though, if you take someone very familiar with typical Li-Ion batteries such as LiCoO2 and similar, which we have in phones and computers, and tell them LiFePo4 is "just like" LiCoO2 but explosion-proof and lower voltage. it takes just one charge cycle for them to discover that LiFePo4 behaves nothing like traditional LiCoO2. When I first got a LiFePo4 batterypack I immediately noticed that charge behaviour was quite different. I couldn't find much litterature on the subject, except vague nonsense about "forming charge", and a somewhat competent looking research paper that used xray microscopy to compare slowcharged batteries to fastcharged batteries (where fast was on the order of 10 minutes), the findings being that fast charge caused less wear and tear.

Anyway, the point being that there's only one laptop ever (OLPC), and no phones at all, that have used a LiFePo4 battery. Considering how different LiFePo4 is from what's actually used in laptops and phones, this memory effect is entirely irrelevant for the normal user, even if the discovered effect wa s bigger than 1/1000th..

1/1000th is ldudicrously small anyways, considering battery meters in phones andsuch often are off by 20 percent or more... That also means it's nearly impossible for regular users to draw any meaningful conclusions from how they charge and use their devices, as there's no accurate measurement of drain and charge level, and the zero-point often jumps around from cycle to cycle.. Zero-point being the charge level at which the phone considers itself empty..

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Review: Intel Next Unit of Computing barebones desktop PC

ilmari

Unboxing?

Come on, where's the unboxing video?1

The new unboxing experience (*puke*) sounds like more important news than the actual contents in the box, which was fairly uninteresting.. :)

Imagine if intel shipped this strapped to a pallet, they'd beat HP's record :)

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