* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

UK digi strategy on ice post Brexit results - sources

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Re: All is not lost yet

At the time of this post, the odds favour Boris. His constituency voted remain.

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Re: but...

Good news: there will be no money to replace EU subsidies because we will be spending an extra £50million per day on the NHS. The NHS budget for England (not UK) in 2013-14 was £110billion (£300million per day). If we kick out all the foreign doctors and nurses the payroll reduction with the 16% increase in funding might be enough to balance the loss of value of the pound!

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Could be worse

Imagine what would happen if governments spent more time doing things than actually preparing PowerPoints.

Free Candy Crush for all MPs!

'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared

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Before you rule out Boris ...

You might get 'no talking to the media before your death penalty' Priti Patel. There were threats about making her home secretary - I assume to scare us into putting up with Theresa May.

The only good thing I can say about the Brexit leadership is that if we lock them in a room until they agree on an exit strategy then we can imprison the survivor for murder.

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Re: Well I thought!!!!

London voted remain. Although NI as a whole voted remain, the map is a bit patchy, and I would prefer to leave interpreting it to someone who understands why.

So post Brexit, England and Wales are the new UK without London, Scotland or Gibraltar. Northern Ireland is split in two.

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Re: What it is the EU?

Most of these are EU institutions. Can you spot the one ones that aren't and the duplicates without checking Wikipedia?

European Parliament, European Council, Council of the European Union, European Commission, European Court of Human Rights, Court of Justice of the European Union, General Court, European Union Civil Service Tribunal, European Economic Area, European Free Trade Association, European Central Bank and Court of Auditors.

I voted remain, and since Friday morning I have done a large number of Europe related searches to understand how much damage the Brexits have landed us in. The stereotype Brexit does not know how to search the web, but I assume Cove, Johnson and Farage are busy looking for someone who can search the web for an EU exit plan because clearly they never had one.

Technology shares slide with Brexit vote, except ARM

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Re: *facepalm*

If all the foreign doctors get shipped back where they came from then I am sure the Brexit government can find British homeopathists and alternative healers to spend money on.

Disco, Pogs, and the Microsoft Surface 3

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Re: saying "M$" ...

Because ₳₱₱₺€ have more money?

Brexit government pledge sought to keep EU-backed UK science alive

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Re: brexit government?

The referendum result is not legally binding on the government. The start date is when someone invokes article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. That will not be David Cameron. He does not want to be blamed by 48% for pressing the button, or by 52% for not pressing it. He wants to be out by October, and let some other fool suffer the consequences.

Anyone know who can initiate article 50? Does it require a vote in the house of commons who are currently 70% remain. Perhaps an early general election would change that, but that requires a vote of no confidence in the government, by the government. Imagine a bunch of Brexit candidates being asked to comment on the current and impending financial headlines. They would flee in terror from an early general election.

The most obvious outcome of this referendum is some dithering followed by another referendum.

Time to re-file your patents and trademarks, Britain

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Re: 'EU' -> 'UK' -> 'K'

Think of a name for after London votes to become a separate city state so it can apply for membership of the EU.

Objective-C can fly the COOP, says subversive at Microsoft Research

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After a few seconds of thinking:

old plan: update field in a structure.

new plan 1: call existing method that updates field and sets authentication code.

new plan 2: provide alternative accessor that does not check authentication code.

new plan 3: provide alternative alternative authentication code that always passes.

Perhaps using valgrind to find and fix memory corruption bugs would be more sensible.

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

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Re: Maplin

Try looking for the old guy.

I suffered from the RF connector conspiracy last year. The PFYs took one glance at where I was searching and hid, but the old guy was made of sterner stuff and asked if I needed help. He understood what I was asking for, and picked out the right adapter in seconds. He clearly knew his stuff and understood my shock at finding a competent sales assistant in Maplins.

These days my only reason for going there is if disaster strikes shortly before a deadline. They do not even have the pretty SciFi artwork on the catalogue cover any more.

US Senate strikes down open-access FBI hacking warrant by just one honest vote

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Re: So ...

I thought the plan was to legalise the current practice of taking all of Google's data for free without a warrant by intercepting communications at ISP level.

Zuck covers up mic and webcam because sharing isn't always good

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Re: Old joke

Years ago I did a quick web searches to identify a cameras that worked with Linux before purchase. Now, they just work until I tape them over.

There were rumours that Microsoft put pressure on OEMs to select standards compliant UVC cameras. If this is true, then a big thank you to Microsoft for doing something constructive.

'Nobody cares about your heart-rate'

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So many targets

Michael Sentonas may not be able to see the value in hacking a treadmill now, but wait till he comes back from holiday to find the treadmill has been running full speed, the thermostat set to maximum and the fridge/freezer locked in defrost mode. There are plenty of people petty enough to send a swat team to your door for beating them at an online game. I am sure there are more who would give you you a huge electricity bill if all their cloud data disappeared because “You can't stop 100 per cent of breach attempts. There will always be situations where there's a silent failure, or where there's no malware used at all”.

I will let other commentards point at the other gaping holes in "embedded systems are too dumb for security so delegate that to someone else's big computer at the far end of the internet selected because it had the lowest rent"

Apple faces Beijing blackout for iPhone 6

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Re: Look to Samsung

Do you have any evidence Samsung suffered from losing a chip fab contract with Apple? I found some speculation that they might, but the journalist only gave 50/50 odds on that speculation, and he believed Samsung could find other work for their fabs. I saw some speculation that Samsung would delay opening one of their new fabs, but with hindsight, we see it started production in good time. Samsung also invested $3.5billion in a fab in Texas, and $14billion in a new fab in Korea. Hardly the actions of a company worried about lack of orders.

Apple may make a vast amount of money, but they do not make that many phones. Samsung sell far more than Apple, and a wide range of other kit too. Apple are notorious for demanding low prices from sub-contractors. Loss of a supply contract with Apple probably boosted Samsung's profits. The best way to suffer from losing an Apple contract is if you do an exclusive deal like GT Advanced Technologies. (Apple used to buy displays from Samsung. When they stopped, quality problems with iPhone displays hit the news, followed by Apple doing a deal with GT to make Sapphire glass).

This patent spat in Beijing is a storm in a teacup compared to Apple vs Samsung, but it couldn't happen to a more deserving company. (Unicode has a square with rounded corners: ▢. Is there a reason for lack of a similar rectangle?)

BOFH: Follow the paper trail

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Re: "black A4 photocopy paper"

There was a proposal to save money (and the environment) by missing out the bleach stage of recycling paper, then fill ink jet printer cartridges with bleach. I think the results would have been boring black and white reports transformed with pretty colours and the price per gram of bleach competing with iridium.

SpaceX winning streak meets explosive end

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I rather expected Falcon 9 to use gimbaled engines for thrust vectoring. I did not find utterly conclusive evidence with a quick web search. I did find the kestrel engine (Falcon 1 upper stage) used gimbals. As Falcon 9 upper stage has only one Merlin 1D engine, it cannot steer by reducing thrust from the engines on one side. One of the new features of the Merlin 1D is 70%-100% thrust control, so Falcon 9s that flew with Merlin 1C and earlier needed some kind of vectored thrust that could not be done by selecting different power outputs to each engine on stage one. Wikipedia lists some other methods for thrust vectoring. We can rule out some of them because the parts would be visible. Also you can buy a thrust vector control actuator designed for Merlin 1 engines here. I do not know if these parts were selected by SpaceX, or exactly where they would go.

The three engines used for landing are also among the nine used for lift-off. If one of the three is not working properly for landing then it quite possible that two of the six not used for landing are broken too. I was surprised to find that the software did not look for other working engines to land safely. Stage one is programmed to continue with 8 if one fails on the way up (This has happened, but getting to the right orbit used too much fuel from stage 2 to complete the mission safely, so customer cancelled the rest of the flight.)

Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage has 30% bigger fuel tank than v1.0. The extra capacity is for experimental landing at sea. The extra fuel and liquid oxygen costs about $60,000, and a complete launch costs about $60,000,000. I do not have separate figures for the price of an empty satge 1, the cost of launching it and the cost of sailing it back home. No-one has an accurate figure for the price of testing and preparing a recovered stage 1 for a second flight, but hopefully SpaceX will find out this year.

Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

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I think one of the problems with patents in Europe is that they are not nearly expensive enough. Having to repeat the same actions in every country in Europe is one of the few benefits of the current system. Perhaps you would like to post a few of your patent numbers so the rest of us commentards can tell you how much we think you should have paid to get them granted.

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Re: Few problems with this....

By itself, 325979 patent grants in 2015 is sufficient evidence that the US patent system is a barrier to innovation.

Linux devs open up universal Ubuntu Snap packages to other distros

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What is the advantage of snap over static linking?

Decades ago, static linking included only the parts of each library that an application used, and as it was not limited to position independent code, the compiler could pick a more efficient sequence of instructions. Also, when a flaw was found in a library, each application that was statically linked to it had to recompiled against the updated library instead of just updating a shared library that applications linked to at run time.

Now we have snap, developers can combine all the disadvantages of static and shared linking. Why bother?

Explicit Intel 'Beach' pics 'leaked': All eyeballs on Optane SSD roadmap

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Intel product names ...

Are intended to cause confusion. You are supposed to read an excellent review with impressive benchmarks, then when you try to buy something it must be almost impossible to match a product with a review. Enough people buy expensive when they wanted fast to make it worth the effort. It almost made sense a decade ago, but now that cheapest is fast enough I do not see the point.

I spy with my little fibre, ten million or so galaxies

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How it works

The instrument starts with a big mirror, like a normal telescope, but instead of putting a CCD in the focal plane, there is a large number of ends of fibre optic cable. Point the big mirror at patch of sky, and move it to counter the rotation of the earth, then each optical fibre gets the light from a different galaxy. Presumably the other ends of the fibres are lined up pointing at a diffraction grating to split the light into colours, and the result goes to a CCD so you get a complete spectrum of a bunch of galaxies in the same patch of sky in one go. Every time you pick a different patch of sky all the fibres have to be moved, and that appears to be the tricky bit.

Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

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Re: marketing people's valuations...

The purpose of the valuations is to sell adverts, not products.

Now Google backs everyone's favorite trade pact: The TPP

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Re: Can we even officially read it yet?

The vast majority of internet users have voted. Mostly by not changing their default search engine, and a few by selecting a different search engine.

I would like to say "Don't blame me, I voted for the other guy", but I suspect the other guy read his copy and didn't even bother to tell us what to think.

Eds off their meds: Does this headline REALLY need to be so astronomically long it can be measured in parsecs?

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Re: Spotting the sensible articles

The Register maintains a list of articles not worth bothering with here.

PC market sinking even faster than first thought, thanks to Windows 10

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Re: You could say

Intel could not produce a chip that competed with ARMs on power, performance and price at the same time. Without that, people could not move their legacy software from PC to phone. Both sides of Wintel have broken monopolies so neither can help the other to the extent that they used to.

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Re: Knew it!

The headline is that the PC market is shrinking. MSFT is mostly a software company, going through a transition to compete with free. Requiring a 8GHz 64 core CPU and 4 graphics cards was not going to drive another hardware refresh and repurchase of software licenses. PCs have been fast enough for years, and people were going to stick with what the have even if the next version of Word had to do real time VR rendering of clippy swimming through a burning aquarium while you type.

MSFT's future revenue will be your choice of ads or a rental fee to block the irritating and disruptive adverts. Shrinking PC yearly sales does not matter if the installed base keeps growing from longer PC life times. What will matter is the rate at which desktop tasks become phone tasks and if Office for Android becomes a popular product.

Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image. Repeat. Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image

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Re: Just another good example...

The down votes will all be for thinking Linux User = Eadon.

Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

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"I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That's a very small thing that's happening now."

Perhaps Highway Patrol Lt John Vincent would like to tell us about some of the other things that are happening now. Is taking a car a very small thing or a small thing. How about a house? is that medium sized yet?

Scots denied Saltire emoji

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Re: our national animal, the unicorn

A wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.

Mars One puts 100 Red Planet corpses colonists through fresh tests

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Re: Venus

The good news: about 50km up, you get 1 atmosphere pressure, a reasonable temperature and a good radiation shield. A breathable atmosphere would be a lifting gas, so you could but a habitat inside the bulk of an airship.

The bad news is sulphuric acid rain and a shortage of raw materials unless you can do remote mining at over 400 centigrade.

Venus is not an easy destination, but a properly planned and funded mission is far more sane than expecting four reality TV personalities surviving a trip to Mars in anything we could launch in under a decade.

NASA has put some thought into a manned mission to venus.

Unicode serves up bacon emoji

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Re: Unicode has lots or letters on their side

≀≀ ∬ ⌇⌇ (a post must contain letters)

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Re: Emojis are so ephemeral

There are a couple of better choices. Chinese has plenty of pictograms, with the bonus that if people use them, they might be able to read a few words of Chinese. Chinese letters are often simplified for writing with a brush to the point that they are too abstract to guess. Egyptian hieroglyphs are much more recognisable, but fewer people have ancient language fonts installed than Chinese.

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You can have: teacup without handle U+1F375

I was hoping for the laser hazard symbol. Poison, radiation, biohazard and high voltage are available, but not laser. The closest is sixteen pointed asterisk: ✺ U+273A

I thought I was going to get away with putting a teacup symbol in the title. It worked in preview, but got caught when I clicked submit. Anyone got a list of vulture friendly code points?

Software snafu let EU citizens get referendum vote, says Electoral Commission

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Re: If they saw "men who live as dogs" in the Graun ...

I just read the article. Not quite as terrifying as The Clangers, probably closer to Bagpuss. I didn't see the connection to the EU referendum.

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Re: Error?

Notice the priority is on counting, not on ensuring only eligible people can vote.

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Re: damn

"For practical purposes she has to invite someone who can get laws through parliament, especially tax laws."

Perhaps it would be better if the PM were someone who could not get laws through parliament, especially tax laws.

Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash

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Re: Disclaimer

Software comes with a 'warranty', but a more accurate word would be disclaimer. A typical warranty disclaims everything, unless such a broad disclaimer would make it invalid. There are limits on what can be disclaimed for a physical object, so software sometimes comes with half a promise to replace the media it is supplied on if it is defective. Consequential damage is explicitly disclaimed. Restitution (if there is the remotest possibility of it ever happening) is limited to the purchase price of the software. Fitness for purpose and fitness for merchantability are usually explicitly denied.

There could be an implied warranty from a name, for example 'Internet Explorer' could possibly imply the software might enable a user to explore the internet. 'Edge' provides no such implied warranty, and any implied warranty (that it is Edgy?) is almost certainly disclaimed.

IANAL, and I have not read a Microsoft license recently, but I would expect: Downloading something when explicitly told not to is not actionable because no warranty of fitness for purpose was ever given. A big phone bill and being shot at are consequential damages that are explicitly disclaimed. If the download failed, Microsoft might possibly be required to let them download again, but I wouldn't bet on it. Unless the contributors paid extra for a distributor license, Microsoft licenses typically say they are not transferable. This means the operating system that comes with a gift computer is not properly licensed, so Microsoft could sue the chinko project unlicensed use of software and copyright infringement.

Free software comes with a similar warranty, but a distributor license is available to anyone willing to abide by the conditions (sometimes preserving attribution, sometimes preserving the rights of the recipients).

Windows 10 market share jumps two per cent

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Re: "This doesn't mean the nagware is working:"

Desktop sales fall because there is no real need to replace anything under five years old and because people would rather replace with a laptop, phone or tablet. People who want Linux have been able to get a blank desktop or laptop for less than the cost of one with Windows for a few years.

The traditional PC distribution channel has always had good reasons not to distribute Linux: discounts for selling 100% with Windows pre-installed. Lack of crapware for Linux. Linux running on cheap hardware. No commission on AV and Microsoft Office (except for Dell, who would sell you MS Office with your Windowsless Desktop).

Pre-installed Linux sales come from outside the traditional channel, such as Raspberry Pi and phones. I do not see that changing until after the desktop market is thoroughly dead.

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The other columns

Analytics.gov give Microsoft 100% of the desktop market. The March, April, May figures for the others are:

Netmarketshare: 86.50, 83.64, 84.86

Statcounter: 85.91, 85.34, 84.61

So ABM have about 15% market share, and gain about .75% per month. As the figures are for desktops, not phones or servers we are looking at Apple, Linux, and a *BSD user, not Android, Openwrt, or the commercial Unixes. If Windows 10 can keep growing at this rate, Microsoft will be out of the desktop business in 10 years. In real life, Microsoft would need a sequence of spectacular fails to maintain this trend. Although I have confidence in their ability to screw up, they would need Stephen Elop back for such a consistent run of failure. On the other hand, ten years is far enough in the future for the desktop market fade into insignificance.

'UnaPhone' promises Android privacy by binning Google Play

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Re: So as all

The Unaphone would hide that one person uses two SIMs, but so would two dumb phones if they do not move around together while both are switched on.

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Re: "scrubs out and falsifies information that [..] would allow carriers to identify the handset"

At a guess, the identity in the SIM card is passed through, and the network can then route calls to the SIM. If you switch off the phone, move to a different cell, put in a different SIM and switch back on, then the phone may be able to hide that one phone uses multiple SIMs, and you may be able to hide that you are Batman as well as being Bruce Wayne.

In real life, if only dozen's of Unaphones get sold, then they know who you are. Just like enabling javascript means sites can near enough identify a computer from the list of installed fonts, but if you disable javascript, then you can be identified as one of the few (techies|weirdos) who disables javascript.

'Windows 10 nagware: You can't click X. Make a date OR ELSE'

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Re: I can understand not waning to support multiple OS

Easy solution: Order the customers to buy new supported computers. If they aren't locked in thoroughly enough to pay up on demand then they are not customers that Microsoft care about.

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From previous articles ...

First the (up|down|re)grade to 10 is scheduled, then you used to have some chance at cancelling it. If you successfully kill the process telling you what Microsoft have decided, it happens anyway when you are not watching.

(Warning: My last significant contact with Windows was in 1998, so get advice from someone else if you cannot switch to Linux.)

Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY

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Price of Windows 10?

My guess is the price will be "Watch the advert and answer a question about it to continue using the OS for free, or pay $10/month".

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"IF you carefully hand-pick all your components to be Linux compatible."

Certainly used to be true. Back when people used desktop computers, the big brands liked to order motherboards with a couple of power pins swapped over and power supplies to match. They could then charge triple for replacement power supplies and mother boards, and sell complete new computers to people who didn't know they had been tricked. The modern equivalent is to incorporate undocumented parts with odd interfaces or protocols. This makes updating to drivers challenging and forces purchase of a complete new laptop.

Buy from some no-name manufacturer. They do not have the resources to get odd components to work at all, so they go for generic standard chips with documentation that does not have an NDA requiring you sacrifice your first born if anyone reads it. These days, Distributors Own Brand is available with no installed OS - the secret code for 'we know you are going to install Linux, but someone would cancel marketing support incentives if we said "all the required drivers have been in the main line Linux kernel for years".'

If you are not that brave, just buy a Pi. The new ones run libreoffice fine.

Intel's new plan: A circle that starts in your hand and ends in the cloud

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We make our money on really expensive CPUs. They are fast. Far faster than any normal person needs at all, and only gamers can max them out for more than a couple of minutes at a time (and they spend money on graphics cards made by other people). We have tried making small CPUs, and can now get the performance per watt similar to our competitors, but we cannot sell them for the enormous prices we like. In fact, any cheap CPU we sell means we lost the opportunity to sell something more expensive.

Desktop sales fell as they were replaced by laptops, and we did not care because we own the laptop CPU market. Laptops are becoming phones, and someone else owns the phone CPU market. Our future is in data centres - the only place where people can aggregate work loads big enough to fully utilise our most profitable products. We need more and bigger data centres to maintain our revenue, so here is the plan:

1) Other people can earn a pittance by collecting underwear with IoT CPUs.

2) Send all the underwear to the cloud

3) We profit.

Disk death: Three-quarters of PCs will run SSDs by 2020

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I think it is in the article

Look at the first graph (revenue), along the bottom. The first four years are do not have an E, implying that the blue rectangles are actual correct numbers arrived at by having someone follow every single disk out of the factories to the customers and getting the bank records of the customers and the manufacturers to find out precisely how much money changed hands. The blue rectangles for years 2016E onwards are clearly marked as guEsses from Stifel.

The blobs with lines are all Gartner estimates, but each line came from a Gartner estimate published at a different date. This clearly shows the Gartner estimates are 'correct' for the date published, but no use when looking for future perfomance.On the other hand, Stifel do not have historical predictions on the graph at all.

The second graph (capacity) works precisely the same way, but the third is complete Gartner. If you predict HDDs revenue continues to fall (instead of Gartner's near constant prediction) and you go for modest increases in capacity (instead of Gartner's wild optimism) you get a vaguely falling cost/GB for HDDs (using Gartner predictions you should have a rapidly falling line instead of the level one on the graph).

I will leave my predictions for the future until later, just like Gartner would if they wanted to be accurate.

Helium... No. Do you think this is some kind of game? Toshiba intros 8TB desktop drive

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You don't - use an SSD

Nine crates of DVDs need 7TB. That is were a pair of 8TB drives would be handy at home, but for this use case, shingled would be acceptable.

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