* Posts by Bob H

581 posts • joined 20 Sep 2007


Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

Bob H

Re: 'None of the actors can be taken at face value

Embedding things in the PCB is really, really hard and the PCBs are made in a different facility to the assembly. Firstly it would be really hard to embed something in the substrate and require a completely different process at the facility it was made in. Then It would be totally random where those boards were inserted and they would possibly have to bypass the normal quality checks on arrival. They could only be targeted if multiple people along the supply chain were involved in the conspiracy and being coordinated.

Raspberry Pi supremo Eben Upton talks to The Reg about Pi PoE woes

Bob H

Re: Works on my switch

Yes, it was a coil in his shed which was then converted for domestic use. It coupled so efficiently with the transmitter that they noticed the drain and changes in demand that lead them to investigate local properties.

Bob H

Over priced

The PoE HaT is massively over priced, instead of re-inventing the wheel they should have just purchased one of the existing PoE modules that are freely available on the market and left headers for that on the Pi (or built a cheap Hat for them).

I think this smells like an engineer designing in-house because they can, not looking at the market and finding the best value for the customer. "NIH"?

Micron-Intel 3D XPoint split: It's not you, it's m... nah, it is totally you

Bob H


If they had been able to match DDR3 in performance and released it to other SoC vendors then there was a chance to make big inroads with embedded devices like STBs and tablets because they would quite quickly adapt to a unified memory architecture and their storage needs are relatively small. A TV manufacturer would easily buy +1m 1GB RAM sets and they don't have to be the fastest tech on the market.

Microsoft Azure Europe embraced the other GDPR: Generally Down, Possibly Recovering

Bob H


Our business has a large part of our capacity in AWS but we have it spread across two availability zones with 100% resilience, two identical and parallel systems designed to balance and scale to the demand. If one goes out then a geographically distinct zone will take over with customers hardly noticing.

We can't easily expand to different cloud providers because some of the technology we use gets complicated at that level. But as our business expands we are further looking at to what extent we have eggs in baskets and what would happen if the whole of AWS went down (which probably won't happen, normally it will just be a geographical issue).

UK's first transatlantic F-35 delivery flight delayed by weather

Bob H

Hang on a minute

But... But... Airwolf did it in a few minutes without a refuel?

If you have cash to burn, racks to fill, problems to brute-force, Nvidia has an HGX-2 for you

Bob H

When was the last time you saw a dolphin?

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Go away, kid, you bother me: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla kick W3C nerds to the curb

Bob H

Several responses, none of which actually address the question... What is the *technical* difference between the proposals?!

Elon Musk finally admits Tesla is building its own custom AI chips

Bob H

Re: Overstretch

I expect they are probably buying something like Imagine's Power AI coprocessor tech and fabricating their own automotive grade chipset.

UK, you Cray. Boffins flex ARM in 'first-of-its-kind' bonkers HPC rig

Bob H

It has a tiny cache, a nightmare for any complex routines to be programmed.

It'll be Intel's Cavium ThunderX CPUs.

Location boffins demo satellite-free navigation

Bob H

Re: Possible yes, but probably not sensible

With then demo I saw a few years ago they didn't need to know the position of the transmitter but it helped. If they didn't know the location they just needed a few accurate references (e.g. starting GPS coordinates) and they could then use those to locate the alternative transmitters, when the GPS signal was lost they had enough information about the 'signals of opportunity' to carry on with some accuracy.

Bob H

Re: Possible yes, but probably not sensible

WiFi might give you a location but it is never accurate. SOO can be used for accurate positioning in areas that GPS can't. I've seen a demo a few years ago by a UK military research company where the researcher was able to show continuous location tracking inside and outside a building. It spotted a single GPS satellite as he passed a window and otherwise used local terrestrial masts for its references.

I was amazed at the time, glad to see someone a few years later doing it again (*cough* its not new *cough*) but I'd really like to see someone commercialise the concept.

'Strategic' submarine cable to connect islands where locals just emerged from stone age

Bob H

Re: "US$150m - a decent chunk of India's budget"

I was thinking that myself, the cost of a 1Gbps link is probably well over $2m per year, sure it will take a long time to amortise $2m into $150m but when you consider the military value and the potential improvement in healthcare or just GDP it will pay for itself.

I think the article is rather unfair to the locals, there are probably parts of rural Britain which weren't much better before the 70s, Margate for example.

Zuckerberg to spend $3bn+ to rid world of all disease by 2100 (Starting with Facebook, right?)

Bob H

My first thought when I saw this? How much did the launch event cost and couldn't that money have been spent saving someone's life? I don't remember the Gates Foundations having big press launches for his initiatives other than when he wants to raise public awareness on an issue, not to announce he's spending money.

Vanity much? If it was true altruism they wouldn't need a PR launch.

Raving mad: Glow sticks are secret weapon in Facebook's 2.1Gbps laser internet drones

Bob H

Re: Down, but up?

The lasers are directional and one way, so each drone will have both a send laser and a receive sensor. The question is, can a drone have more than one receive and send function to provide mesh functionality.

Internet exchange Linx cuts peering prices by 40% after rip-off claims

Bob H

Re: per month per Mbps to 28 euro cents

People think that the public IXPs are important but the majority of most large ISP's traffic doesn't pass through IXPs. Most traffic is routed through private peering to people like Google, YouTube, Netflix and the CDN providers. Sure BT has 350GB of LINX peering, but I can bet that their total traffic volume is much higher than that.

This is also why I find the Netflix rant strange, they only have 80GB of LINX peering because most of their connectivity is private peering and the rest of Netflix content is delivered by on-net appliances within the ISPs themselves (providing 100's of GB of capacity).

OpenCellular: Facebook tests its open templates on base stations

Bob H

Re: Yuck

Agreed, femtocells and other cellular nodes are already competitive commodity products in the business. The problem is that operators struggle to manage deployments of the available tools. What is facebook offering that isn't already in the market?

Huawei: Our fake phone camera pic shame

Bob H

Re: Corrections and Clarifications Column

As someone spotted elsewhere the copyright notice in the EXIF says 2015, knowing the timescales of phone development I am not sure that 2015 is even the right answer. But perhaps the photographer forgot to change his template?

Boffins map Netflix's Open Connect CDN

Bob H

They moved their processing, not their Open Connect delivery network.

Netflix picks fight with internet exchange industry

Bob H

It seems a strange argument from Netflix, the majority of their traffic doesn't even pass through the IXPs. Any ISP who has a decent number of Netflix users will be using a Netflix CDN appliance inside their network. You might argue that this is necessary because of the limitations of the IXP system, but in reality for any larger ISP most of their traffic is through private peering to Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix and the various CDN providers. Public internet exchanges are just there for the sizeable minority of more unusual routes.


Meet the 1,000 core chip that can be powered by an AA battery

Bob H

Reminds me of the Epiphany-IV 64-core Microprocessor by Adapteva, sure it has less cores but the architecture seems similar. The problem with the Adapteva and I imagine a similar problem for this 1000 core design, the on-core memory is tiny and so it is difficult to fit useful workloads in to them. So you spend loads of time on an external CPU with a bigger core scheduling the tasks to the tiny cores. The architecture is really hard to programme for.


Who shot JR (that great Dallas broadband)?

Bob H

Re: Get the facts!

I think one of the questions with Google is: what do they do at the edges? How do they decide when to stop laying fibre? Most importantly: who gets left behind?

Our CompSci exam was full of 'typos', admits Scottish exam board

Bob H

Re: By design?

@Tom 7

Indeed, twice been down the road of hearing from a tame person on the other side that it's a stitch up and we have no chance. Once my MD put in a bid below cost just to ensure that it caused problems for someone down the line.

O2 chief techie: Light up dark fibre and unleash the small cell army

Bob H

Spare wavelengths.

It's not just about dark fibre, there is lots of under-utilised fibre which could be exploited. I worked for one company where we found that we had just a 2Mb E1 going to one site and we wondered what else we could use it for.

Lets look at what other wavelengths could be better utilised around the country and put them on the market.

England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Bob H

Re: Nuclear

We also need to explore more innovation in nuclear instead of relying on designs from the era of the atomic bomb. I like the Thorium designs and I don't think they've been given nearly enough investment. The Indians and Chinese are starting to invest in Thorium reactors and I think it would be really good if we didn't get left behind.

African IP address body exec half-apologizes for 'Whites are taking over' race-row email

Bob H

Re: Email privacy

Busted... so make a quick half-apology.

You don't need no STEEENKING GPU, says Intel

Bob H

Re: Or no doubt..

At $450 this chip costs as much as a decent GPU and I haven't seen a GPU that can do 15 HD AVC transcodes yet. Certainly there is nothing from the GPU market that can do this at such a low TDP.

Bob H

Re: Bloody 'Ell

This chip really suits IPTV providers, streaming companies and broadcasters. Previously you bought an appliance that cost tens of thousands of pounds to do transcodes using ASIC chips, they provided excellent quality but the cost hurt. Many encoder and transcoder companies have been moving to software and cloud solutions in recent years which has hit the video ASIC market. With chips like this providing over a dozen transcodes in a 45W TDP for $450 I can see it being very attractive in my line of work.

The VDI business is interesting, but look beyond that to the encoding space and there will be people jumping on this chipset when it hits the street.

Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

Bob H

Re: Predicting Problems

It was a misalignment, so some of the mirrors that reflect light were off-point and no one noticed until it was too late.

Inside Project Loon – Google's megaplan to build a global internet

Bob H

Sorry Google, Facebook has it right with Aquila. Your balloons are just hot air.

Smartmobes in spaaace: NASA deploys Android nanosats

Bob H

I always wonder why Android needs to go in to devices like this? What value does it add compared to Debian or something similar?

The mantra of "Android all the things" seems wrong to me.

El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse spared chickpea ordeal

Bob H

Re: Sorry to hear the project is on hold


In the article it wasn't particularly clear as to why you had suspended operations, perhaps you could look at the text to make that clearer?

ExoMars works! 2 Mbit/s link established and camera snapping

Bob H

Re: Astounding !


There are a variety of different DSL bandwidths/profiles depending on the customer need. There is however a 2Mbps/2Mbps profile which is called SDSL (and there is also SHDSL).

Also ADSL2+ Annex M allows for uplinks up to 3.3Mbit/sec, <sarcasm>but what would someone want with that much bandwidth is beyond me.</sarcasm>

South Korea to upgrade national stereo defence system for US$16m

Bob H

Re: What is the point of this?

2.6% of defectors were apparently in military service at the time of their departure from the North.




Your broadband speeds are up by 6Mbps, boasts UK watchdog Ofcom

Bob H

Further proof that measuring success by "average" numbers isn't relevant, it is all about the distribution.

Bristol boffins blast 1.59 Gbps down ONE 20 MHz channel

Bob H

Re: “5G breakthrough”

There is plenty of spectrum, it just needs operators to use it better. They need to invest more in femtocells and other small cell architectures to off-load capacity at a local level.

In my view 5G is technology m*sturbation, operators need to work harder with what they have.

Ofcom wants to crack down on pisspoor BT Openreach biz lines

Bob H

Until BT has competition they don't really try.

Bob H

Re: The whole thing is a crock of s**t for everyone

OpenReach doesn't have a KPI which includes reliability at any sort of fine level. As long as the bit of copper works when someone from OpenReach tests it then Schrödinger's cable is alive. We need OpenReach to be accountable for uptime as well.

Bob H

I believe I've seen BT deliberately not upgrading cabinets to FTTC because they are primarily business customers and they know they'll loose BTNet fibre business. That is one of the bigger crimes here.

Swede builds steam-powered Raspberry Pi. Nowhere to plug in micro-USB, then?

Bob H

Re: Loop much?

A sterling engine?

Bob H

Re: Voltage Drop

Bigger capacitor?

Dropbox slips 500PB into its Magic Pocket, not spread over AWS

Bob H

I believe it relates to how much data is "lost" through bit-rot or other data loss factors, rather than just being unavailable.

Bob H

Re: In house

I read a posting by some company who had some hosted hardware in NY, I can't remember who it was but I think I found it through El Reg though.

Interestingly their argument was that if you could justify the headcount to manage hardware and you had predictable capacity then outsourcing your servers doesn't necessarily make sense. Every argument I have seen about going cloud either boils down to two things: scaling/flexibility and/or administration overhead. Whenever I hear the administration overhead argument it is put forward by software people because, understandably, software people don't want to care about hardware.

But simply put, the costs of hardware and hosting can be cheaper than the cloud if you have the right economies of scale. But people should be doing more diligence than just saying "put it all in the cloud!" because they might not be doing the best for their business.

Google cloud wobbles as workers patch wrong routers

Bob H

'Disaster recovery' is an over used phrase, in my view DR is like insurance: it shouldn't be needed but you have it just in case. If your day-to-day processes need DR then you are doing it wrong. You should have good processes with appropriate monitoring and roll-back, in this case they didn't seem to have that.

Bob H

Re: it took them 45 minutes...

I remember when things went off-air at a previous job it was standard procedure to yell "Nigel!!!!" in to the racks. It was probably him who had broken something.

Institute of Directors: Make broadband speeds 1000x faster than today's puny 2020 target

Bob H

Re: Gigabit broadband please!

Multiple 4k programmes? How many 65in TVs do you have anyway?

Bob H

Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

The hydraulic pipes are already full of fibre, but the core route doesn't cover as much of London as people expect because it really focused on key buildings.

Hands on with Xiaomi's Mi 5: Great smartphone, but when do we get it?

Bob H

Re: Great smartphone agreed but

I loved the irony of talking about the 'okay' camera just below a terrible shot of the phone.

Bob H

Re: That looks a lot like a Samsung phone...

Yes, I love the price vs spec (dual SIM in particular) but the fact that it looks like a Samsung clone makes me more reticent.

Bob H

Re: Dual SIM

Take a look at the Lenovo K3 Note which is about £150 from DX.com.


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