* Posts by Steve Todd

2335 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Former ZX Spectrum reboot project man departs

Steve Todd
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It was called the Timex Sinclair 2068 in North America

and it wasn't a great success there, but yes, it was available in Canada.

There were many different clones and variants on the Spectrum, to the point that modern emulations/simulations tend to ask you which version you'd like them to behave like (as they have varying degrees of incompatibility).

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'Suspicious' BGP event routed big traffic sites through Russia

Steve Todd
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What on Earth for?

He’s doing enough damage to the US all by himself.

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La La La, I can't hear you: FCC responds to net neut concerns

Steve Todd
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Re: Doesn't it just beg the question though... @MH

What makes you think it has never happened?

There are plenty of examples of US ISPs blocking services because they compete with their own offerings. This ranges from things as simple as SIP telephone services through to video on demand. Don't forget that the FCC has something like 80,000 complaints on file regarding NN.

The whole point of these NN rules is to prevent the problems that we currently have from spiralling.

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Steve Todd
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Either you are a troll

Or you don’t understand net neutrality at all.

It has nothing to do with censorship. Simply put, it requires internet providers to treat all traffic on an equal basis, nomater what the source. They can prioritise TYPES of traffic in order to preserve network performance, but they can’t make a deal with, say, Netflix, and throttle or block content from other providers. This type of deal is anti-competitive and anti-consumer.

Now, in what way does that impact freedom of speech?

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EE drops packets but retains UK network champ's title

Steve Todd
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In so much as the fact that you can send more data per unit time, then yes, fibre is faster. Any given bit does not sped less time in transit (in fact the speed of light is slower in glass), but you can encode much more in the shorter wavelength and across multiple frequencies.

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Drone collisions with airliners may not be fatal, US study suggests

Steve Todd
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250kts assumes

that the drone will be stationary on collision and allows no safety margin. Probably better simulated at 300kts, and against multiple parts of the air frame and engines.

I'm not saying that the UK study hasn't over cooked it, but the US version seems a bit on the light side.

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The sun rose, you woke up, and Qualcomm sued Apple three times

Steve Todd
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Re: "Card metaphor for activities in a computing device"

Or the Apple Newton from the late 90’s, ten years before the patent.

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What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies?

Steve Todd
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Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

Why would you need to recharge from a domestic plug? Even current EVs don't do that. If it's at home on your driveway then a 32A 240V charger then you should be able to add 200+ miles on an overnight charge.

At a an on-route charging point you can charge a local battery at a constant rate and dump the charge into a vehicle on demand. Allowing the time to drive up, connect, charge, disconnect and drive off you should be fine with a 2-3 MW supply from an industrial feed. That's assuming you ever charge at that speed in the real world. I suspect 5-10 mins would be quick enough for most people.

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Steve Todd
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Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. @katrinab

Where did you get that math from? A current Tesla Model S will get you between 280 and 320 miles from 100 kWh. 500 miles should need between 150 and 180 kWh.

There's also no way you'd use 240V for charging at those power levels (though a suspect a 1 minute charge to be a pipe dream).

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Steve Todd
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Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted. - @DainB

You're ignoring the conversion inefficiencies of the IC engine. You may have 440 kWh of potential energy in a 50 litre tank, but it has taken another 80 to get it there, and you'll be lucky to get much more than 130 kWh of energy out of it. 520 kWh of potential in to get 130 kWh delivered to the road isn't a good ratio.

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Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1

Steve Todd
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Why exactly do you need 8K on a home TV?

Full sized cinema screens are using 4K quite happily. You'll struggle to see the difference (other than for changes like HDR) between 2K and 4K on anything smaller than about 50" screens, and even then you'll need to be closer than normal.

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Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

Steve Todd
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Me thinks you don't know how a Prius works

It has a planetary gear box with an input shaft from the IC engine, two input/output shafts connected to motor/generator units and an output shaft connected to the wheels.

At low speeds, and with enough battery power in reserve, the MGs turn the wheels only. At higher speeds the ratio of power added or removed by each MG is used to control the speed of the vehicle (providing a CVT style transmission). When the IC engine is needed the MGs spin it up (along with keeping the wheels moving) before it is fired, thus removing the need for a starter motor and giving a smooth transition from pure electric to IC.

There is no point at which both the IC and the electric motors aren't connected to the wheels, but the IC is only running part of the time.

As for equivalent car type transmissions, the Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera is probably the closest.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Advantages

>Single generator is a single point of failure. Which defeats the purpose of multiengine.

They only need to RUN a single generator. A smaller, lighter backup generator could be fitted that is started in case the primary fails. While it is cycling up the batteries can take the load. It should still be a lighter system than having two or more full power engines.

The other option is to have enough battery capacity to allow flight to an emergency landing site (you don't need anything like full power for that).

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Steve Todd
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Re: Advantages

They can use a smaller generator and run it continuously at it's most efficient speed. Extra power needed for take off can be stored in batteries and replenished while in flight, and you need run only a single generator rather than two or more engines in order to qualify for multi-engine operations requirements.

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Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price

Steve Todd
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Re: Founders Edition

Erm, that's only when using the word as a verb. There's a separate definition when using it as a noun (as in this case).

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Apple: Sure, we banned VPN iOS apps in China, but, um, er, art!

Steve Todd
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VPN is built in to iOS

(look under settings->general->VPN)

Have Apple disabled that also?

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Tesla buys robot maker. Hang on, isn't that your sci-fi bogeyman, Elon?

Steve Todd
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Stop

There's a slight difference

between a robot production line, and AIs bent on taking over the world. It's the latter that Elon is worried about. Automated production lines are something the company has been working on for a long time.

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Seldom used 'i' mangled by baffling autocorrect bug in Apple's iOS 11

Steve Todd
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?

iOS 11.0.3. The lower case i seems to be just fine here.

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Pixel-style display woes on your shiny new X? Perfectly normal, says Apple

Steve Todd
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Its not burn in, and they have to try really hard to see it

Read the thread pointed to in the article. The reports are of a non-uniform black (changing from black to grey in a relatively smooth transition, top to bottom or bottom to top), for which you need to turn the brightness right down and view it in a darkened room for the effect to be visible.

Nothing like the Google problems, which can be seen in normal light and is obviously where the menu bar was displayed. Perfect? No, but not in the same ballpark.

Colour transition off axis was something they pointed out even before release (proudly, they claim to have reduced it below normal for OLED), so its not like that should have been a surprise for anyone either.

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Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man

Steve Todd
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Bunk

Your info that the Model S uses as much CO2 in its lifetime is pure bunk. See https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/hybrid-electric/news/amp27039/tesla-battery-emissions-study-fake-news/

You’ll also be hard pushed to find a situation on normal roads which is similar to driving around the Nuremberg ring. Normal driving is about pulling away from lights, accelerating past problems etc. You don’t need the power for more than a few seconds at a time. With electric it’s there instantly and in great globs, no need for the engine or turbocharger to spool up.

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Tesla share crash amid Republican bid to kill off electric car tax break

Steve Todd
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Not just building cars

If you hadn’t noticed then they’ve been spending a lot of money building out the charger infrastructure, factories to mass produce battery packs (cutting their cost dramatically), plus the R&D to produce additional models and cut the entry level price. There has been a lot of capital investment, which is why their balance sheet it still red.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Not On My Dime, Mr. Musk!

Firstly check out the mix of power generation in the US currently. Coal is falling dramatically. As the mix improves, so does your EVs impact. If you buy an IC based car then it never gets any better. Even if your power source is mostly coal then it's been calculated that EVs have less impact than IC.

Secondly large scale, fixed plant can work more efficiently and clean up its emissions better than a mobile IC engine.

Thirdly the emissions created to power an EV are not dumped in the middle of cities or urban areas.

No form of transport is completely green, but EVs are substantially better than IC.

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Steve Todd
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You want to check how much the oil companies get in tax breaks?

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Steve Todd
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Re: Not On My Dime, Mr. Musk!

The American tax payer wants to suffer from more hurricanes, floods, breathing problems etc?

$35K is an outlandish price for a new car over there? There's no market for used vehicles?

The object was to kick-start sales of a newer, cleaner technology (it won't sell without the infrastructure, and the infrastructure won't get built without the demand. Catch 22 without some kind of push from the government). Once things reach critical mass then you can withdraw the subsidies and it will be self-sustaining. At that point EVs will drop below the cost of IC and you'll be wondering why anyone wouldn't buy them.

Your (or to be more precise, your fellow citizens) money is being used for precisely the kind of reason you expect it to be used: To make your country a better place to live. You want to complain about that?

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Steve Todd
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Re: No surprise

What killed the early EVs was the cost of electricity back then. They were much more expensive to run (gasoline was a waste product and cheap to buy) and the electricity infrastructure was much more limited. Charge time was, for the most part, unimportant as they charged in their owners garages over night.

Henry Ford’s wife owned an EV. Even then they were recognised as cleaner, quieter and more reliable than gas powered vehicles.

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Funnily enough, when Qualcomm's licensees stop sending in their royalty checks, profits start going south

Steve Todd
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Re: Ah, the precious IP

You need to learn the difference between a normal and a design patent. Then you need to learn about the meaning of the acronym FRAND.

Like Coca-Cola, who have a design patent on the shape of their bottle, Apple didn’t want other companies producing phones that looked too close to theirs (just like Coca-Cola don’t want other companies selling cola in bottles that can be mistaken for Coke). It’s not a wildly unreasonable position, and it didn’t stop anyone else making smart phones.

FRAND is a legal commitment made by companies who contribute their IP to a standard like LTE. It means that they promise to licence their tech to anyone on a Fair, Reasonable And Non-Descriminatory basis. Anyone should be able to use it at fixed and published rates. Qualcomm did this for LTE. Apple have rather a lot of their IP in FRAND patent pools (like LTE and h264 as for-instances), so it’s not something they don’t know anything about or have no involvement with. Qualcomm have been found guilty of breaching FRAND rules in more than one jurisdiction, and stand accused in many others.

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Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

Steve Todd
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Blame Samsung

The rumour is that they are the only supplier of OLED panels for the iPhone X, and they are charging 3 - 4x as much for them compared to the IPS panels in the iPhone 8/8 plus. The replacement cost is bound to be higher because of this.

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New Optane disks appear on web shops' lists

Steve Todd
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Re: Still not competitive with flash storage @joerg

You have an overly pessimistic view of flash, and an overlay optimist view of 3D Xpoint. The quoted Samsung drive can handle 1.2TB of writes PER DAY for 3 years before it hits its specification, and a fair bit longer than that before it fails. Conversely the current version of Optane (3D Xpoint) is only good for about 100GB/day on a 32GB Drive. Scaling this up to 480GB drives you still only get roughly comparable endurance as the Samsung.

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Steve Todd
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Still not competitive with flash storage

480GB of PCIe memory for the same price as a Samsung 960 Pro 2TB PCIe, and I seriously doubt it will be 4x as fast.

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Sick burn, yo: Google's latest Pixel 2 XL suffers old-skool screen singe

Steve Todd
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Re: What did you expect? @ibmalome

Not that big a difference. Yes, the eye is less sensitive to other frequencies, but only by a factor of 5 in the worst case (for blue spectrum light). Assuming a pure blue image we’re still only talking about 0.015 watts of light for a 700 nit display. At a 10% efficiency that’s still only 0.15 watts of power needed. We’re a long way short of significant heating here.

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Steve Todd
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Re: What did you expect?

That's based on the invalid assumption that a display needs to be as bright as the sun to be visible in sunlight. You need 700 nits (Cd/M^2) to be visible properly in sunlight (source: https://mytechdecisions.com/video/understanding-brightness-in-outdoor-displays/ ), which converts to 0.00010248901903367w/cm^2 (source: http://online.unitconverterpro.com/conversion-tables/convert-alpha/factors.php?cat=luminance&unit=13&val=700). That's 0.0030746705710101w for a 30cm^2 panel. Even assuming a rather low efficiency we should be under 1w.

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Steve Todd
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Do Ars Technica, The Verge and 9 to 5 Google, all of whome have review units and report the same problem, not count also?

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Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX

Steve Todd
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SpaceX are working on a bigger engine also

The Raptor has a target thrust of 380,000 pounds at sea level, which while not as large as the BE-4, fits better with their strategy of not deep throttling the engines for landings.

It doesn't look like they are sitting on their thumbs.

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Super Cali's futuristic robo-cars in focus – even though watchdogs say they're something quite atrocious

Steve Todd
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Re: Who wants this?

I think you’ll find you’re in the minority. Most folks just want to commute to work or get from A to B with their family and/or shopping. Just looking at the cars they buy tells you this.

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RAM, bam, awww ... man! Boffins defeat Rowhammer protections

Steve Todd
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Re: Why the emphasis on software mitigations?

@bazza - "AFAIK there's no real hardware fix for this"

Nonsense. The fix is already implemented by Xeon CPUs with pTRR compliant memory at no speed penalty, or by simply doubling the refresh speed at a 2-4% cost.

The issue is the memory controller logic on the CPU. Adding some extra logic at the CPU or RAM side of the equation can spot the potential for rowhammer and increase the refresh rate accordingly.

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Smartphone SatNavs to get centimetre-perfect GNSS receivers in 2018

Steve Todd
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Re: I seem to recall the GPS sats have a dither error parttern

You're thinking of the SA (selective availability) code. This was a deliberate random wobble introduced into the civilian (C/A) signal, while military receivers used the more accurate P signal. SA was disabled in 2000 by presidential order, and the latest block III satellites aren't capable of transmitting it.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Not quite

No, GPS can get away with only 3 satellites for a fix, but can’t give you altitude with just the 3. Four or more are needed for a full 3D fix.

http://www.gpsnuts.com/mygps/gps/technical/ed.htm

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Steve Todd
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Re: Utter bollocks

Receiving a second set of data on a different frequency band solves that one. This chip uses precisely that method to help gain accuracy. GALILEO uses up to three bands, a better encoding scheme and a few other tricks to get down to 1cm resolution.

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Trump accuses Facebook of bias, collusion with his least favourite newspapers

Steve Todd
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All evidence so far

Is that, when presented with all the facts and evidence in the world, if it doesn’t fit with his ideas or agenda it will get dismissed as “fake news”. Trump just doesn’t listen to anything that says he’s incorrect. Period.

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Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Steve Todd
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Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

@AC - You need to understand the difference between dispatch and dispatch on request.

Steam power has been used for centuries, but in that time no-one has solved the problem of the time it takes to build a head of steam (yes, there have been improvements, but it's still far from instant).

If you know some time in advance that it will be needed then you can prepare for the eventuality. If you need to deliver power on short notice then it is a poor solution. If you need to run the boilers on standby ready for when there is demand then it's a wasteful and inefficient solution.

Your steam train needed hours of work before it set off in order to prepare for a journey. Your coal based power plant throws away vast amounts of heat (have you never wondered what those large towers are next to one?), and it just dumps more heat when it's not generating power rather than converting it to electricity and then dumping it.

The idiocracy does indeed seem to have arrived.

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Steve Todd
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Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

Coal dispatchable on request? Pull the other one! It’s slow to fire up and better suited to base load. Gas, which makes up better than 45% of current capacity and is cheap to build, is much better at handling surges in demand. Coal stations are either closing down or are converting to the likes of biomas because they can’t meet current emissions standards.

Yes, we need addional capacity if we have a fully electric transport network, but that’s not going to happen anything like overnight and can be planned well in advance. It also will increase demand during what is currently off-peak, so won’t need as much extra as they are implying.

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Steve Todd
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The UK mostly powered by coal?

Given the fact that National Grid says coal stations are currently down to 3.8% of total capacity and falling then I think someone needs to update their numbers.

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Toshiba: The memory saga is nearly behind us! Apple: Not so fast

Steve Todd
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Re: Why is this so hard?

For Apple it's not the money, it's the terms of the deal that they're haggling over.

For Bain, they are also short of the money that they are supposed to be raising via financiers.

I'm assuming that both of the above are quite solvable, but WD will be doing their best to block things so the deal may take a while to complete.

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iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

Steve Todd
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Re: Passing is temporary

@Charlie, not so much, no. The Core i7 in the mid-2017 13" MBP produces a single-threaded Geekbench score of 4590. The A11 comes back with a score of 4204. Less than a 10% advantage in single threaded applications isn't something users will notice.

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Bill Gates says he'd do CTRL-ALT-DEL with one key if given the chance to go back through time

Steve Todd
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Since <CTL><ALT><DEL> forced a reboot

It was a good thing that it wasn’t a single key that could be hit by mistake. There are plenty of examples of early microcomputers with single reset buttons on the keyboard, and their users would regail you with tails of work lost for this reason.

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

Steve Todd
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Better DACs?

They have removed DACs completely from the equation. Your headphones are expected to provide their own DAC (be it via the Lightning port or Bluetooth)

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Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

Steve Todd
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Re: What about Gill the ARM ?

Erm, Gil the ARM was a Larry Niven character.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil_Hamilton

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Chinese smartphone cable-maker chucks sueball at Apple

Steve Todd
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Re: The saddest part of this story.

If you were an exporter then you'd know that the fewer Yuan it takes to buy a Pound the better (your customers can either buy your product for less, or you charge them the same in their local currency and make a bigger profit). Importers like it the other way.

The Chinese government have basically pegged the Yuan to the US Dollar. All you're seeing is the poor performance of the Pound on the international currency markets.

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What code is running on Apple's Secure Enclave security chip? Now we have a decryption key...

Steve Todd
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Re: Well you cannot make this secure

"There is a thing called Focussed Ion Beam microscope"

You expect them to attach 30+ wires somewhere in the middle of a billion+ transistor chip running at hundreds of megahertz, without effecting timings or state? You also expect the metal layers in the Enclave area to make that easy (there are typically 6 plus layers in a modern chip)

I think you overestimate the capabilities of these folks, especially given that YouTube video targeted a PIC32, which is fabbed on a 250 or 130nm process, more than an order of magnitude larger than the latest silicon processes.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Well you cannot make this secure

"So essentially every moderately advanced attacker can just read out the "security enclave" and emulate it to try out all the PINs."

So how exactly do they do that? There's limited communication between the "security enclave" and the main CPU. It has its own processor and storage. Your hacker may be able to see the source, but in order to be able to brute force the system they need to be able to snapshot the full state of the enclave and restore it on failure. The hardware doesn't support that.

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