* Posts by Steve Todd

2256 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Apple's zippy silicon leaves Android rivals choking on dust

Steve Todd
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There are two different kinds of ARM licence

The majority of companies that use an ARM processor take an off-the-shelf ARM design, combine it with components from ARM or 3rd parties to form their SoC and hand the results to a fab company (TSMC, Samsung etc) to build. A small number of companies (Apple, Qualcomm and nVidia for example) have Architecture licences, which allows them to come up with their own CPU designs that execute ARM code. The resulting designs can be faster and/or more power efficient than the stock ARM cores.

The silicon design company (PA RISC IIRC) was bought many years ago, well before the first of their internal ARM designs. The designers may be pre Apple, but their work has all been done on Apple's time.

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IBM. Sigh. Revenues. Sigh. Down. Sigh. For the 20th quarter in a row

Steve Todd
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Power8 slower than x86?

That very much depends on what kind of workload you throw at it. See https://www.hpcwire.com/2015/06/09/ibm-power8-outperforms-x86-on-stac-benchmarks/

The Power CPU has vastly more memory bandwidth, so it may be slower at headline FP numbers but it can chew its way through more data. It's also got much better fault tolerance and recovery. It isn't the no-brainier you seem to think over which you should chose.

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ZX Spectrum reboot project's Great Ormond Street charity cash questions

Steve Todd
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Re: Think this is bad? Just wait till someone brings out the QL version..

Surprisingly there are about 80. Not a great piece of hardware, but they did manage to attract a reasonable number of developers.

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Steve Todd
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Re: I must have missed. .

They don't have licences. The deal with the original game developers was that they would forego licence payments if a portion of the profits were paid to charity, Great Ormond St being the one that RCL nominated.

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Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Steve Todd
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Re: One of the factors I'd be interested in

The batteries are actually highly recyclable. See http://www.greenprogress.com/environment_article.php?id=1762

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Boeing-backed US upstart reckons it'll be building electric airliners

Steve Todd
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The important word here is Hybrid

A small turboprop can burn 70 gallons of jet fuel per hour. Commercial aircraft tend to need two of them. A single generator, with a battery to handle surge demands and as backup, driving two electric motors, may make a fair bit of sense. Considering you need much less power in a cruise then even more so.

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Three to lawyer up unless Ofcom intervenes in spectrum market

Steve Todd
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There's a balance

More towers cost (lots) more money. Building more, smaller towers helps in dense urban areas, not so much in rural. Then there's the NIMBYs to consider.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Steve Todd
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Re: Same Old Tricks?

Given that Huawei want £150 for a wireless router that handles the LTE cat 6 spec, and you also get AGPS/GLONAS in the iPad (which can also double as a wireless router) then $130 doesn't seem wildly unreasonable.

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Windows Server ported to Qualcomm's ARM server chip. Repeat, Windows Server ported to ARM server chip

Steve Todd
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Re: So .NET is not part of Windows Server

The only reason that .NET on Linux is cut down is that it's living on top of a different OS environment that is incompatible with a lot of the library code. There's no reason they can't compile the full stack if Windows is the host (though they will need a new JIT compiler).

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Steve Todd
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Re: Hyper-V?

As that would mean that the CPUs were executing native x86 code, that would be a No. Hyper-V is a virtual machine manager, not an emulator.

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Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component

Steve Todd
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Re: That doesn't sound ridiculous

13 people, on full time at about £700 per day, for 18 months, to replace ONE chip in an existing design doesn't sound rediculus to you? Where do you work?

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81's 99 in 17: Still a lotta love for the TI‑99/4A – TI's forgotten classic

Steve Todd
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Re: Interesting machine, but hamstrung by TI marketing

Sorry AC, your nerd mode failed. It had a full TMS9900 @3MHz. TI had intended to use the TMS9995, but had problems with it. They did use the 9995 in the TI 99/2 and TI 99/8, but they never got beyond the prototype stage.

BTW, both chips were NMOS, so had the same hideous power requirements. The 9900 (and I presume the 9995) needed a complex 4 phase clock, which might be where you got the 12MHz number from.

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Steve Todd
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Interesting machine, but hamstrung by TI marketing

Yes, it had a 16 bit CPU, but they only gave it 256 bytes of 16 bit memory. All the rest was a nasty 8->16 bit multiplexed cludge. TI marketing didn't want it to compete with their lucrative mini computer market, so they deliberately made sure it couldn't.

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Bring it BACK... with MODs! Psion 5 storms great tech revival poll

Steve Todd
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Re: Bit pricey and it'll be a few more months until it's out but...

@Paul - you seem sadly missguided about the power of an Atom X7-Z87xx, they are nowhere near Core i5/i7 in performance. Clock for clock the Core i5-5250U from over a year ago is about 95% faster, and that's only 2 core 4 threads.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Bit pricey and it'll be a few more months until it's out but...

They're still extracting the P. Trying to compare an Atom based machine to Core i5/i7s based only on the clock speed and number of cores is a joke. Prices starting at 400 euros for what is basically an updated netbook is another.

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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

Steve Todd
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Re: I want one

Go to Indigogo and search for Gemini. Not a site that has the best reputation though.

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Finally proof that Apple copies Samsung: iPhone 7 Plus halts, catches fire like a Galaxy Note 7

Steve Todd
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Re: Mechanical damage

Not so good when it comes to waterproofing though. Fixed vs exchangeable is a design decision with trade offs in both directions. Pick whichever set of compromises suits you best.

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BT and Virgin Media claim 'broadband' tax will cost £1.3bn

Steve Todd
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Translating that

It's going to cost them an extra 173 million per year (spread between the two of them) on top of the already fairly generous tax breaks they already get.

Not a huge amount of sympathy, and the amount they've already bumped line rental by should cover it.

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SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

Steve Todd
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Why does El Reg insist

On giving the wrong reason for the failure? It failed because of creases in the pressure vessels that caused problems when they deliberately used supercooled helium, not because the helium was too cold. The long term fix is in the design and manufacture of the COPVs, not changing the helium temperature.

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Cheer up, pal: UK mobe networks are now 8% less crap, tests show

Steve Todd
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Odd

I'm looking at an EE Speedtest result at this moment. Signal strength of 3 bars (not great) but I'm still getting 53.61Mbps down, 10.09Mbps up. I can't say I've seen a difference with them lately.

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Next Superdome CPU chips amble into HPE

Steve Todd
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The fact that Itanium relied on a smart compiler

to statically do instruction scheduling, that x86 figured out how to do dynamically in hardware didn't help. Newer generations of processor thus required a recompile to work at full speed on later CPUs.

It was always too little, too late, and not enough better than the much cheaper x86/x64 ranges to draw much attention.

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Grumpy Trump trumped, now he's got the hump: Muslim ban beaten back by appeals court

Steve Todd
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Re: 8USC1182

You CAN, but may not be banned from entry if you've ever committed acts of genocide. US emigration are a weird lot.

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Supermicro sockets it to Skylake rivals

Steve Todd
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This is the Xeon version

Server based Xeons are normally a generation behind the desktop CPUs, but have more cores, ECC memory support and everything enabled.

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AMD's had a horrible 2016: Never mind, it lost slightly less than half a billion this time

Steve Todd
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Don't forget

That the top-end Ryzen is 8 cores, 16 threads. This is competing against i7s with 4 cores/ 8 threads. Depending on your workload you should be able to get a fair bit more than 50% extra performance out of one.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Just get some easy names

Don't forget that Intel randomly disable features based on SKU, so an i7 may or may not have vPro active for example. They have gone out of their way to make it hard to identify the performance based on part number.

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SpaceX shuffles deck, EchoStar launch bumped

Steve Todd
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Miss-characterisation of the fault

The helium was deliberately supercooled in order to increase the amount of fuel that could be loaded. Because it was so cold, any oxygen that found its way between the tank wrapping and the tank (specifically into buckles) formed into ice. That ice was dangerous and caused the explosion.

The supercooled helium was by design, and wasn't the cause of the buckling.

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Tesla sues ex-manager 'for stealing 100GBs of Autopilot secrets'

Steve Todd
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Re: Three engineers on the Autopilot team handed in their notice...

Of the 12 approached, 3 were tempted by the offer from a startup and of those 1 changed their mind. Doesn't seem like too bad a level of loyalty to me.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Didn't Elon make all the Tesla stuff

That was the electric drivetrain, not the autopilot software.

Even if the autopilot was covered, a patent describes the method of doing something, it doesn't include all the data and software required.

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Modular dud drags LG to first loss in six years

Steve Todd
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All electric Bolt?

It's all electric already, with the claimed 238 mile range. They might be contracted to make the battery packs for Chevrolet, which should make them a fair bit of cash.

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Fujitsu strikes are OFF – it's not the 1970s after all

Steve Todd
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Re: dispute over pay centred on the gender gap that exists in the organisation

That would be because women are being paid less to do the same work. Fewer women working in an IT type environment than men is (sadly) the norm and not something Unions normally complain about.

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Mozillans call for new moz://a logo to actually work in browsers

Steve Todd
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Re: The request is stupid

The URL is stupid because it specifies an invalid protocol that all other browsers reject. Dancing monkeys will not be seen.

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Japan tries to launch satellite on rocket the size of a telegraph pole

Steve Todd
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Re: Good Effort

You seem to forget that, having had nuclear weapons used on them, the Japanese have an absolute horror of them. Without the declared threat (which the Japanese people wouldn't stand for) atom bombs aren't any use defensively, so why would they bother, especially given that the rocket isn't any use in lofting anything but the smallest battlefield weapons?

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How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

Steve Todd
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Re: It's all about the data stupid

Apple were involved in setting the Nano SIM standard, but weren't the only participant. IIRC the solution chosen didn't match Apple's initial suggestion. Oh, and the Micro SIM dates back to 2003, before the first iPhone, so no Apple didn't push that one through either.

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Steve Todd
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Re: It's all about the data stupid

Failed your homework there. It's not Apple's Nano SIM, it's part of the GSM standard and there are a number of Android phones that use it also (the Nexus 6 for example).

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Customer: BT admitted it had 'mis-sold' me fibre broadband

Steve Todd
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Erm...

"After being told contradictory information by BT customer services, it transpired he was not eligible for fibre broadband because the cable only went to the cabinet - and not to his home."

Yes, that's the way that BT Infinity works, they have an optic link from the exchange to the cabinet, then VSDL over copper from the cabinet to your home. Nothing said there precludes BT from providing him with a faster connection.

The problem is that if you're more than about 800m from the cabinet then VDSL slows down to similar speeds to ADSL2+, so it's only useful for short runs. This is OK for urban environments, less so for rural.

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Elon's SpaceX gets permission to blow up another satellite or two

Steve Todd
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Re: Weather likely not permitting

Scheduled launch time is 13:22 EST, sounds like it's quite possible given the above forecast.

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Soz fanbois, Apple DIDN'T invent the smartphone after all

Steve Todd
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Re: Apple? Invent?

While Apple have come up with few brand new ideas, what they have invented are lots of smaller parts/software that goes into making existing ideas better. It's the combination of those, plus the way they are integrated into the whole, that makes their devices popular with the public.

To use your analogy, just because BMW didn't invent the car doesn't mean that they can't do very well selling quality cars engineered with their own ideas added to the upper end of the market.

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Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

Steve Todd
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Re: Auto-parking not working is a bad sign...

When it comes to cornering, centre of gravity is important. The battery pack of the Tesla is under the floor, and CofG is low because of this. It corners like it's on rails.

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My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Steve Todd
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Stop

Re: If I could prepare proper meals every day I would

@Lotaresco - you missed the bit about him having health issues that meant he was physically incapable of work? Why do you think that would have no impact on his ability to cook also?

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Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on

Steve Todd
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Re: Errm...

The key word is Currently. It shouldn't be hard for the makers of GPS receiver chips to add the Galileo service (it's mainly a software charge)

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Steve Todd
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Re: Does this mean

No, they expect that when you DO buy a new phone that it will support the new service along with GPS and GLONAS. The result is a faster position lock and better chance of location in difficult situations (like in a city).

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Steve Todd
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Erm, wrong

Like GPS it doesn't get anything back from the receivers. The satellites simply transmit the time and their location. The receiver calculates the differences in time of the received signals and does the math.

Mobile phones often use AGPS, which uses the mobile network to help get the initial fix, but then you can be tracked by your mobile signal so I'd be far more worried about that.

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Reschedule the holiday party, Patch Tuesday is here and it's a big one

Steve Todd
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Re: About a decade ago

Apple doesn't DRM its music. The worst that can happen is that it will replace the music with a 256kbps AAC version. iThing owners haven't needed a PC of any variety since about iOS8. As to the quality of the Windows version of iTunes, I can't comment as I haven't used it for many years now.

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Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

Steve Todd
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Stop

You want a pilot to risk his/her life

In peace time? You don't think they might be prepared to risk more during war? Weather is a big and powerful thing. It can rip the wings off airliners, make taxiing impossible never mind landing. You don't fly in bad weather if you don't have to.

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It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

Steve Todd
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Re: Price gouging?

Actually the pound was trading in the mid 1.50's range at the beginning of the year. It fell with the announcement of the Brexit poll. We're down over 20% on the year, and a lot of companies who hedged their exchange rates are going to have to start putting up prices next year as the hedges expire.

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Inventor of McDonald's iconic Big Mac dies

Steve Todd
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Re: Guilt complex

American lawyers would take that as an admission of guilt, and sue for a billion or more. CEOs have to take that kind of thing into account.

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Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales

Steve Todd
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Re: The used market is an opportunity to profit?

There are also opportunities selling official parts, certifying referb and repair companies etc.

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Kids' Hour of Code turns into a giant corporate infomercial for kids

Steve Todd
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Re: Minecraft as a way to force Win 10 in education

@Rob 44: Erm, isn't that an enditement of Microsoft programming?

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Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

Steve Todd
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Stop

When was the last time

That a business presentation needed 10 or more hours of power, more than 1TB of data and a hard wired network connection? Worst case you need a video cable, and maybe a VGA adapter in the unlikely event your client is really behind the times.

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