* Posts by Steve Todd

2355 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Japan's Robo-Bartenders point to a golden future

Steve Todd
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Re: I hope that was an oversized glass

+1 for the Radio 4 quiz show reference

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Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

Steve Todd
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Re: *Ducks* @wallmeerkat

I didn’t say never, and it’s recoverable back to the prior version.

You can pretty much guarantee that any OS update will cause problems for some users. The trick is in how gracefully the system can recover if it does hit issues (iOS isn’t pain free here, but it’s not rocket science to put into recovery mode and restore things).

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Steve Todd
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Re: *Ducks* @bigfoot780

You need to do a little research. Automatic updates in iOS is something you can easily turn on or off. It also tends not to brick hardware that it updates (older hardware may run slowly, but it still will run), and it is possible to downgrade to older versions.

The issue here is that Windows auto updated to version 10, without being asked and without the possibilty of reverting to Windows 7. In doing so it bricked the machine.

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Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'

Steve Todd
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Re: difficult to find a PC that will be cable of doing over 100Mbps.

My thought also. 1Gb/sec Ethernet works out to be 80-100MB/sec file transfers. A half decent SSD equipped home PC these days can read and write at better than 200MB/sec.

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Vodafone boasts 200Mbps with 4G mini mast in Cornish trial

Steve Todd
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By the look of things

They are using a full 4G base station as the backhaul. It’s more like a range extender for 4G rather than a full base station.

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MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Steve Todd
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Re: Orbit / Broadcast Longevity

I'm not sure about his conversion factor either. I make it closer to 60,000 AAA cells. Source: http://www.allaboutbatteries.com/Energy-tables.html

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Long haul flights on a one-aisle plane? Airbus thinks you’re up for it

Steve Todd
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Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

Neither Luton nor Leeds have the infrastructure to handle an A380. There are only something like 13 airports in the UK rated for it, Manchester being one. Stanstead and Birmingham are on the list though.

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UK data watchdog whacks £300k fine on biz that made 9 million nuisance calls

Steve Todd
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And the amount they will actually pay?

Probably zero, as the directors leave to form another (remarkably similar) company and this one goes broke.

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Wanna design a chip that talks to silly-fast GDDR6? You'll have to talk to Rambus, too

Steve Todd
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Re: Not really a patent troll

In this case they are licensing a design for GDDR6 usage, to which I say good luck to them.

In the past they were involved in the worst sort of patent trolling, where they were involved in the design of DDR memory standards and failed to disclose patents that the proposed standard infringed, and then after it was ratified they demanded royalties from all manufacturers.

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Death notice: Moore’s Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018

Steve Todd
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FAIL

You do know that Moore’s law says nothing about speed?

It says that the number of transistors that can be fitted on a silicon chip of a given size will double every 18 months.

Speed improvements slowed or stopped a while back, replaced by improved parallelism. We now have 16 core, 32 thread desktop CPUs. Design changes can fix most of the weaknesses that allow Spectre and Meltdown, but it will take them a while to filter through to live systems. In the mean time the reduction in speed does not mean Moore’s law has ended.

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President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

Steve Todd
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That’s just one example

Look at US steel production. The US government slapped a large duty on the import of steel back in 2002. Result: US steel production went down, it increased user costs and unemployment went up in associated industries. It was estimated to have cost 200,000 jobs.

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Apple iPhone X: Two weeks in the life of an anxious user

Steve Todd
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Re: "Like I say, there’s no user guide to tell you what all the icons means."

Alistair, how hard is it to type:

“iphone x user guide”

into google, click on the first link that it provides (https://support.apple.com/en-gb/iphone-x), scroll down to where it says “Learn more” and click on the “iPhone User Guide” link (which gets you to http://help.apple.com/iphone/11/)?

It’s even item number 3 returned if you click on Support and then search using the same phrase on the Apple web site.

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What do Cali, New York, Hawaii, Maine and 18 other US states have in common? Fighting the FCC on net neutrality

Steve Todd
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Re: Net Neutrality is not Net Regulation

“I thought that is was the other way around, that NN would prevent high bandwidth users being charged more”

Nope. Nothing in NN prevents an ISP charging based on available bandwidth and/or data usage. What it prevents is charging differently depending on where the data comes from, or blocking access to services. It even allows throttling of data like bit torrent, providing that it is done to preserve network integrity and it is applied in an even handed manor (e.g. you can throttle streamed video if capacity is getting tight, but you must throttle ALL streamed video, not just that from a competitor).

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Steve Todd
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Re: Net Neutrality is not Net Regulation

“Which prevents them from providing a better service”

Utter tripe. They have carefully maneuvered things so there is little to no competition in the market, put up as many barriers as they can find to stop new entrants and are making money hand-over-fist milking their aging infrastructure. Nothing about NN prevents them from charging the user more for a better service. What they can’t do is charge different rates for the type of data rather than the quantity used, nor can they charge the provider of said data to service their users.

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Steve Todd
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Re: And the daily letters are: FUD

The only thing they did was to throttle torrents? Did you RTFA? They blocked them and Google Pay to start with. There are other examples of them blocking (SIP internet phones), or throttling services that compete with their own offerings (video on demand).

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Airbus warns it could quit A380 production

Steve Todd
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Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

No, they can’t. Firstly Boeing have discontinued the 747 and now don’t make anything remotely close to the capacity of the A380. Secondly retraining their pilots and maintenance staff to whatever they replace them with would be hugely expensive.

Adding to that, Emirates is not the only customer, it’s just the largest.

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It gets worse: Microsoft’s Spectre-fixer wrecks some AMD PCs

Steve Todd
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They made Athon CPUs until about 2010

The Athlon II was released in late 2009, so they are well capable of running Windows 10. MS are skimping on testing again.

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Samsung topples Intel as semiconductor top dog, but lead 'literally built on sand'

Steve Todd
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Re: "All Samsung need to do now" @Pascal

Erm, Samsung HAVE a 10nm process that actually works and yields at an acceptable level (something that Intel have spectacularly failed at, their 10nm process is over 2 years late and still isn't ready for volume production).

As for the other part of the equation, that rather depends on how you look at things. They've been an ARM shop for quite some time (with the Exynos line), which has comprehensively beaten Intel in the mobile category. They can't whip up a competitive x86 design overnight, but they could start fabbing AMD designs for them in fairly short order.

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UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Steve Todd
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Re: The turn of the millenium called...

>I can only see 9G/Mo for £18 om Giffgaff - what am I missing?

Giffgaf have gone down hill. They do an “always on” plan for £20, but throttle you back to about 380k beyond 9GB of usage.

If Three works in your area you can have 30GB of teathered or mobile data for £20,

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Steve Todd
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Re: The turn of the millenium called...

I think your mistake there is using BT ADSL. Pretty much any LLU ISP will give you a better deal. Even if you can’t get LLU you should be able to get a wholesale BT product from someone else for less.

As for EE, look for special offers (which they pretty much have to give in order to compete) and move package.

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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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