* Posts by Mage

7760 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Is China dumping smartphones on world+dog?

Mage Silver badge


Interesting comparison.

I was reading earlier in the year how before WWI UK coal mining was uneconomical, and again before WWII. The wars made it strategically important.

You have to wonder if without economic coal and iron ore mining in UK, was steel production doomed anyway apart from carbon taxes?

IoT's sub-GHz 802.11ah Wi-Fi will be dead on arrival, warn analysts

Mage Silver badge


Only available in USA, I think, It's Mobile Licensed in Europe. (Was GSM and migrating to 3G and 4G).

Europe has a narrow channel 864 MHz approx (there are 2MHz guard bands either side, it used to be in gap between TV and GSM-R, now its a guard band between TX and RX on two mobile bands).

864-868 MHz is for Short Range Devices in Europe as alternate to 433MHz SDR. Again USA uses a different channel to 433MHz.

International standards on for USA are a bad idea, as the gear is made in China and sold everywhere. This stupid.

Long range can only sensibly used at very low data rate, or point to point or both.

Official: WD buys SanDisk

Mage Silver badge

More consolidation?

Will Toshiba join WD? They are a small player in small HDDs, or were.

OMG Captain Skywalker, here comes AMD's new Merlin Falcon doing Warp 9 to the Tardis

Mage Silver badge
Thumb Up


So why not in all in one PC/Monitors, smart TVs, mini-PCI case media boxes, transportable workstations disguised as a laptop etc?

Microsoft's top lawyer: I have a cunning plan ... to rescue sunk safe harbor agreement

Mage Silver badge

Internet faces 'digital dark ages' if nothing is done

Total FUD.

It inconveniences rapacious megacorps and foolish SMEs out sourcing.

At present level of world politics, privacy, spying and commercial exploitation:

* Should be illegal for ANY one anywhere to send or store other people's personal data outside the country of person, without clear informed consent.

* Servers and regional HQ should be in same country

* Outsourcing of HR, Payroll etc outside the country were the employee works should be illegal

* No selling or transfer of personal details to 3rd parties for benefit of third party.

* No automatic opt in to anything.

It's complicated when website has server only in one country and then person in random 3rd country signs up. In that case they shouldn't keep any personal data. If it's online shop, it should be like buying stuff in a local shop, with cash. Don't keep the details once it's shipped. Don't keep the credit card details at all once paid. Makes all those mega credit card thefts impossible.

Loyalty cards on physical shops are an issue. People do not realise this is to personally track them and often to supply info to 3rd parties. Only anonymous "loyalty" cards should be allowed!

Millions of people forget to cancel Apple Music subscription

Mage Silver badge

"automatically subscribed"

This should be illegal use of credit card details.

For ANYTHING you should have to "opt in", not by default be in and have to opt out. Misuse of personal info.

CIA boss uses AOL email – and I hacked it, claims stoner teen

Mage Silver badge

Re: You think thats bad..

" ... data on a memory card found on greedbay."

Until someone figures how to fit a high voltage generator on one. I'm sure I can't on a micro-SD, but I think the full size card is feasible.

Terror, terror everywhere: Call the filter police, there's a madman (or two) in town

Mage Silver badge

The problem

Insisting that stuff is categorised as vaguely "bad" and commercial communications channels should block it is morally bankrupt, the worst aspects of Orwell's 1984, Stalinism, Facism and worse than NK or China eventually. NK and China in contrast to the USA and UK have a clearer definition of what they don't allow.

Mage Silver badge

Communications service providers have a critical role


If stuff is deemed illegal:

1) Court process to prove it

2) Attempt to prosecute originators / take down source.

Anything else is contrary to human rights, natural law, civil rights and doesn't even work.

The ISP or "Communications service providers" are simply the data equivalent (virtual and physical) of water pipes or power cables.

Neutrino exploit kit attacks hit thousands of Magento shops

Mage Silver badge


I've had Magento hacked. It seems ugly to set up the directories securely on some hosting.

I seen other serious vulnerabilities listed.

Is there a decent open source eShop package that:

a) Is secure

b) Easy to update / upgrade

c) not monsterous to add 1000s of items with thumbnails and related documents

d) Handles 1000s of parts of similar type as single entry with buttons/checkboxes/drop down list to select attribute of part (colour, size, rating etc).

Connected kettles boil over, spill Wi-Fi passwords over London

Mage Silver badge

Which has more stupidity?

The companies selling or the people buying

Job alert: Is this the toughest sysadmin role on Earth? And are you badass enough to do it?

Mage Silver badge


I nearly applied for an Ascension Is. job once with the theory of the massive savings toward a house. But I chickened out. Baaa.

Mage Silver badge

Re: User Friendly

It's a repeat. I read that whole strip ages ago. He stopped writing it I think. I'd nearly be more tempted to a book copy than Dilbert. Though I guess the format would work OK on a Kobo or Kindle mono eInk eReader

So those Canadians are ALSO citizens of USA?

Amazon Echo: We put Jeff Bezos' always-on microphone-speaker in a Reg family home

Mage Silver badge

You can turn on the radio ...

No you can't. Internet streaming might be a copy of what a broadcast station is sending. It uses traffic on your cap, 4 people in 4 rooms uses x4 data. Local stations may or may not be on it. Quality may be higher or lower, certainly limited by the Amazon Echo speaker.

Internet also has no QOS for voice, music, video. That's why use my own ISP's VOIP as it's internal to their network and has QOS and security.

Till USA laws are changed this is illegal usage of data in Europe. Rightly so.

It's an interesting idea. I'd want to have glowing red Orb on the box and call it Hal. Pity you can't choose its activation "name"

Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Mage Silver badge

some pretty good products

I think they did Word and Excel for Windows (originally quite well). Ironic they were first released on Mac as Windows didn't really work properly till Win3.0 (or probably 3.1). While NT 3.5 was first version of NT (1993) and based a lot on OS/2 and VMS, it unlike MS Basic for CP/M and MS SQL 6.x was actually developed by MS and pretty good. They downgraded it in 1996 by including "features" inspired by Win95, which was hardly more than all the 32bit and media extensions for Win 3.11 for Workgroups rolled up and slapped under a new shell (desktop). The win9x desktop was a good idea, (though not original) but the File Explorer part is still limited and buggy compared to xcopy or win 3.x File manager.

No change in US law, no data transfer deals – German state DPA

Mage Silver badge

Global USA Megacorps

They will just offshore all their data to Iceland, Ireland, Iberia, Italy etc

After all they already offshored manufacturing to China and Customer Support to Mexico (Spanish) and India (English)?

It's not going to make any difference to USA Megacorps. It may affect some USA based IT staff.

Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC's plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

Mage Silver badge

Re: They can be retuned...

Not to any aviation frequency.

There are FAR easier starting points if you want to use outside ISM bands. With 1W to 1kW instead of 10mW to 100mW.

You'd need different aerials too.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Software vs Firmware

I had a Mac with the OS in a ROM.

"A PC's operating system is software. A mobile phone's OS is firmware."

A bit misleading.

A PC BIOS is Firmware, yet users ought to be able to easily upgrade it. It should be for security write protected by a physical jumper. It used to be.

My older laptop had four BIOS upgrades and one Graphics firmware upgrade. These were supplied with instructions for any end user to apply. It's always had the same copy of the OS, though with "patches" applied.

My Netbook has choice of Flash memory on a PCB or a CF card adaptor. The original "flash memory" has XP and the CF card has now Linux on it.

My Kobo and Kindle both have had firmware upgrades. In one case simply manually applied via USB storage, Third party patched versions are available. Any differentiation between "firmware" and "software" is a bit arbitrary.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Software vs Firmware

It's trivial to buy or make transmitter/receivers outside the ISM (WiFi) bands. As a spectrum regulator THEY, not firmware providers, are supposed to police use of spectrum.

They need to forget this foolishness.

How many routers are made IN the USA?

What percentage of routers are sold in USA?

Are they worried about illegal use of Ch 12 & 13 (allowed in Europe and not USA)? Very little hardware can work much outside the WiFi bands, if at all. The aerial limits bandwidth. I don't know of any router that can use 1.9GHz or 2.1GHz instead of 2.4GHz.

Even if router hardware CAN work outside ISM bands on transmit, in theory, it's up to FCC to prosecute people doing that without a licence.

What next, Smart phones that can only have FCC approved applications?

An Internet of Things music thingy? What, you’ve already got one?

Mage Silver badge

more than 10 feet from the TV.

I have a 30ft HDMI cable, made by cutting a poundshop 0.5m cable and splicing 2 x Cat5e cables. The high speed part is just really Cat5e spec twisted pairs. Admittedly I use it for a remote Media Centre.

You can buy a wireless HDMI extender (works on anything) or longer HDMI cables than 10ft ready made. You must have a huge screen / larger than average lounge. Most people are less than 8ft.

A wireless HDMI extender* far better value than this £119 gizmo or Chromecast (which needs a phone/tablet/laptop to control it and tells Google what you are doing, did they ever fix the 25 / 50 bug on it yet?)

[* Not to be confused with MS or other Wireless HDMI Display adaptors, which need a driver and are actually a display device, a true wireless HDMI extender works on any pair of HDMI ports instead of a cable.]

Mage Silver badge

Chromecast: Over priced spyware. Just plug phone's HMDI into TV. You need a phone or laptop to control it anyway.


Similar sound quality to a 1965 pocket transistor, unless you plug in external speakers. This is useless unless it has analogue out for a HiFi.

£60 a year? Too expensive to pay for music you don't get to keep. I'll stick to Broadcast (free) and CDs ripped to my phone's SD card and my media server. What if the Internet conection goes down?

At that price it ought to have a screen and work without a telly. I paid less than than for my Archos and for my smart phone. £119 HW (+ £60 p.a.) for an HDMI dongle is a joke!

Shocker: Net anarchist builds sneaky 220v USB stick that fries laptops

Mage Silver badge

Re: WTF?

Disable automatic installation of USB keyboards and NICs by group policy and you're set.

Ha Ha ... how many users can do that?

Does it even work?

Mage Silver badge

Re: WTF?

Heck, a USB charger can infect a phone or a USB mouse infect a laptop.

EVEN if EVERY aspect of evil should never have been invented autorun is disabled, a USB storage device can have a stealth HID mode too. You can't easily disable HID USB on Windows.

Plug and Pray. The very spec of USB is a fail on so many levels!

1) Should have had no auto-install. At least a confirmation prompt.

2) Should have had same connector both ends and a peer to peer mode

3) should have been isolated (ethernet can be and MIDI is)

4) should have used reversible connector.

The original idea was actually for mice, keyboards, joysticks etc only to replace PC DIN connectors and Apple serial bus for slow peripherals, hence the stupid asymmetrical nature, and the original really slow speed and low power. I think perhaps Apple was mainly responsible? Perhaps they were only an early adopter of someone else's stupidity.

Note original Win95 did have stupid autorun, but no USB support at launch.

Network uPNP is another stupid idea. Who thought it was a good idea that network gadgets could automatically load drivers into your Windows computer. Or that network shares could use the stupid autorun "invented" for CDs?

Mage Silver badge

Re: USB Opto-Isolators

There are commercial USB isolators. You can even isolate the +5V and 0V too!

This would destroy the isolator, but the original USB host port might be fine.

Weight, what? The perfect kilogram is nearly in Planck's grasp

Mage Silver badge

Re: Heavy science

We do know the length of a Planck.

Could we thus call the Planck Interval, the thickness?

They do claim: "there is no reason to believe that exactly one unit of Planck time has any special physical significance"


"There is currently no proven physical significance of the Planck length; it is, however, a topic of theoretical research. Since the Planck length is so many orders of magnitude smaller than any current instrument could possibly measure, there is no way of examining it directly."

Possibly nothing smaller can be measured, no matter how good instruments get, unless someone invents an Heisenberg Compensator.

Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

Mage Silver badge

Surely ...

The Ad blocking would really hurt folk like Google. Most of it makes very little income for advertisers compared with costs. Especially for anyone not "global megacorp" or at least large national company.

Sites relying on Adverts would no doubt host the ads as part of their own content, and then you can't block them. From security and performance aspect, that is preferable.

I don't believe I've ever clicked on an ad and can't remember buying anything from an advert since I stopped buying magazines, other than on Amazon or eBay. Even then, I would have had a requirement and search the adverts. Now I look at ebay, Amazon, specific suppliers, I search using Golden Pages / Google etc if I can't find what I want.

El Reg keeps pushing Apple's buttons – its new Magic Keyboard

Mage Silver badge

solved the problem by removing the batteries altogether in favor of a rechargeable one.


Only a portable phone / tablet needs wireless keyboard. The Rechargeable pack will have 9 month to 36 month life (it's a distribution curve, average is maybe over 2 year). Even wireless charging needs a wire somewhere between USB or Mains and charging gizmo.

Is streaming pirate video legal? Europe's highest court will take a look

Mage Silver badge

Re: We are still addressing the wrong problem

enforce laws made in the 1930s before you could easily tape music ...

The laws are earlier. Home disc cutters existed in 1930s. Companies could copy books since 15th C. and records from 1890s. The USA violated copyright on very many UK bestsellers in 19th C.

Copyright is a sensible thing. The way USA corporations want to work it isn't sensible.

Ignore the consumers, chase the copiers, the commercial pirates. That's what they did for 100 years before the Internet.

The Police if finding a market stall or shop selling counterfeit goods DO NOT search out the customers. They close down the seller.

Ignore the consumers.

Mage Silver badge

It's nothing to do with Pi

Or any other SW / HW combo

There are TWO kinds of "Piracy"

1) Encrypted Content to User

If you sell or supply stuff to enable consumption of subscription content, then the supplier is enabling theft of service. Often this is done by "card sharing". The user is guilty of criminal theft of service. The Cable and Satellite companies rarely want that law applied, as it's fixed maximum penalty and they get nothing, instead they sue via civil court. No limit.

2) Clear Content to User

Someone removes the Encryption (or gets a copy from insider in studio or cinema) and distributes a clear version. Two kinds of copyright violation. Any theft of service might not exist, or is only by the supplier.

Obviously they should be going after the suppliers, (card sharing servers, initial Torrent seeds / uploader / Insider in studio or cinema etc). The final users are small fry. The hardware and SW they have might be entirely legitmate. Even in the card sharing case.

Internet of Things SoC devs: Never touched ARM? Oh go on then

Mage Silver badge

Cortex M0

Used in lots of stuff nothing to do with IoT.

From about 50c final product. Most SoC makers make Chips, not gadgets, clue in name. Some gadgets may be IoT, others might be Microwave ovens, Dishwashers, cookers, WashingMachines, AirCon with NO internet connection at all. ARM Cortex M0 is 32 bit price competition for Atmel and Microchip PIC 8 bit cpus. Same price, but better programming and library support.

Dinosaur love hug: Dell's $64bn death pledge to EMC

Mage Silver badge

Amazon, Google, MS

Who do they buy their HW from?

Ultimately Cloud is marketing speak for renting someone else's datacentre. There are real computers with real storage. So who is supplying them?

I have one thing to say to MacBook users at EMC: Whoops

Mage Silver badge

EMC guys who transitioned away from using Dell laptops to various MacBooks

Apple may phase out OS X in favour of ARM based iOS anyway ...

Look how much control Apple has over their new Keyboard/pen/Tablet (iOS) vs MAC OS X users?

Look at % of revenue and profit from Apple ARM vs Apple intel Products?

Note I was saying this LONG before Apple's KeyTab MaxiPad came out.

UK Broadband suffers £37.5m loss after big Relish investment

Mage Silver badge

Three, better known Hong Kong

Three have never made profit in Ireland, outsource everything, mis-advertise. Mis-represented their bid for Irish national Broadband Scheme (they won and the closest they got to supplying Broadband was satellite). Also was in breech of licence conditions till they won NBS (not enough coverage). Yet ONLY concern of Regulators of O2/Telefonica Ireland & later UK take overs was "competition" and thus price.

Price should NOT be the sole criterion of having a licence for such a rare, limited and important thing as Mobile Licence. Vital National Infrastructure.

ALL mobile spectrum should be operated by a single company and everyone else be MVNOs. Also PROPER quality based regulation, not just "price".

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Whitman slams EMC/Dell deal

Mage Silver badge


Also wasn't HP the driving force behind the loony Itanium design.

I like R&D, but HP spun out their optical, semiconductor chips, test gear etc years ago. They have zero resemblance to the test gear company Hewlet and Packard founded.

Researcher messes up Wi-Fi with an rPi and bargain buy radio stick

Mage Silver badge

Bluetooth vs WiFi

The BT hopping is only in the 2.4Ghz ISM band (11 chs USA, 13 Chs in Europe). Old 11Mbps WiFi used one channel. 54M bps uses 3 to 4 channels. The fastest modes use all the channels. So it's possible to degrade BT, except there is the inverse square law, most BT applications are 10cm to 100cm distance link.

A transmitter amp would be illegal in EU and USA. But certainly without an amp, WiFi in the same premises will crawl. Add another posher stick and you can jam the other 5.8Ghz WiFi band.

Jammers are illegal in most countries, even if done with an off the shelf stick.

LOHAN chews the fat with US TV station over Spaceport's FAA-ilure

Mage Silver badge

Disused Spaceports

There is one in Kenya.

Woomera in Australia might re-open, (I don't know what for).

The French used to have one in Algeria but they decided current European Space port in 1960, and though in South America, it's now done over 50% of satellites still in orbit and the Russians are now even renting a pad, as the Russian Baikanour Cosmodrome is now inconveniently in a foreign country (Kazakhstan)

Dell buys out EMC in mega-super-duper $67 BEEELLLION deal

Mage Silver badge

Re: If i was in charge of Dell

create new Technology and patents?

Making patents is easy. Esp. in USA.

Creating new tech that actually makes money is really really hard. Apple is very successful, yet ALL their products technology previously existed from other companies. They created a better experience, did better marketing with stuff that matches the marketing perception. It's no use being brilliant at marketing junk, even with innovation in it in the long term (Sinclair, Amstrad, though Amstrad stuff was much better made than Sinclair, but they were let down by their plastic cased PC, was it HDD issues? ).

We are at the commodity, the 1990s VCR & HiFi phase of computers, tablets, phones etc. All Dell can really do is do what they do better than competitors. They aren't the kind of company that's going to invent a new kind of storage (IBM maybe, but where is HP's memristor?). Perhaps they could develop a new Linux Distro with a better WINE to replace Win10. But I was involved with Dell's attempt to sell Linux based systems in 1999, and I'm sceptical that they can do that. OTH, who knows, perhaps MS will be distributing Linux to access their Cloud services. They did once own and sell Xenix and do have their own Linux flavour for Azure switches.

Dell do product development with other people's proven technology. I can't see them doing "blue sky Research".

Mage Silver badge


Sometimes it's not about growth but defending your position. I hope it works out better than Autonomy or the Maginot line.

Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

Mage Silver badge

Re: customising weather to combat sea level change?

Also interestingly the amount of snow falling in Antarctica is quite low.

Neuroboffins use supercomputer to partially build DIGITAL RAT BRAIN

Mage Silver badge

Moore's Law

A) It's not a law

C) It's an observation

B) It used to be 18 months

D) It's about number of transistors, not CPU power

E) It's not really been true for 10+ years

Mage Silver badge

A section of rat brain

I'd bet it's absolutely nothing like ANY biological brain, as they don't yet exactly know how a brain works. They only know what some biological components do.

TRANSISTOR-GATE-GATE: Apple admits some iPhone 6Ses crappier than others

Mage Silver badge

Re: I don't think the vast majority of people would even notice

Longevity of owner.

Lithium batteries and cells explode if you have them on float charge as is possible with Lead Acid or NiMH. Interesting too that the higher capacity NiMH have life reduced if on NiCd style float charge, they should only have enough to cancel the self discharge, but they don't explode, except if you "turbo charge" when it's charged!

So Lithium cell charger has to disconnect if voltage too low or if cell charged. Unlink NiMH and Lead Acid, in a battery each cell must be separately tracked. This is why multi-cell packs (aka batteries) have a CPU built in. Note most single Lithium cells either have a temperature sensor built in, or if naked and soldered to main board there is one on the parent PCB.

HP creates laptop for SITH LORDS

Mage Silver badge

Makes a change?

So many come with preloaded Filth, Needing reformat and re-install.

I guess Tesco can put these beside the Starwars lunch boxes and see profits fall further.

4K catches fire with OTT streamers, while broadcasters burn

Mage Silver badge

Re: "a decent fibre network connection (around 15Mbps)"

More than half of them get less than average?

Actually it's very complicated as a few 100Mbps to 1Gbps can mean even though half of people get less than 5Mbps an "average" can be 15Mbps.

Packages on copper are misleading. Up to 22Mbps can be average of less than 3Mbps due to crosstalk, line quality and distance.

There are different kinds of "averages". The median user speed at peak time is more meaningful if the SD is also quoted. A graph with two lines is best. (% users vs speed buckets for peak time and off peak)

Also what if two or more people at a premises want different content?

UHD or even HD, never mind 2K on internet in reality needs a video server at each ISP node and fibre to the home otherwise only a tiny handful can watch it.

We don't even get the quality possible on SD or HD, because of Terrestrial spectrum constraints (too much going to Mobile) and cost on Cable and Satellite. Never mind the quality, look how many channels there are.

In a typical living room for average vision with decent content, 1920 x 1080 is OK up to about 50" to 60"

UHD needs minimum 120" to be worth while for average viewer. Pointless on 42"

Increasing frame rate to 96 fps (x4 cinema) would give more significant improvement at 60". Perhaps native at 90, 96 and 100 progressive would allow good quality interpolation from existing sources.

Interlace was a 1930s analog trick to half the transmission bandwidth by temporal compression (still at 25i looks similar resolution to 50p (50fps) still, the eye can't see detail as well on movement, which is drops to 1/2 vertical resolution.

Google and pals launch Accelerated Mobile Pages project

Mage Silver badge

Web compression

any text content (CSS, HTML, Javascipt) compresses well. Don't suitably configured servers and browsers already compress / decompress (helping mobile connections which is main bottle neck).

The other issue is websites with content (JS, HTML, CSS, cookies, and images) pulled from umpteen 3rd party domains, often with no relevance to real content, or stupid design decisions (some BBC.com content)

Mage Silver badge

Walled garden

An attempt to banish the Internet from Mobile and have Walled gardens curated by Google?

We have big screen fast phones

Tablets recognised as Mobile devices.

This is just stupid. Creating a two tier web. I design my pages such that content ONLY responds to browser window size. So a small desktop window gets identical content to a phone with a usable size and resolution screen. Anything else is re-inventing WAP or subverting the process of Web standards.


Mage Silver badge

Re: Commodore 64 artwork.

Almost certainly intended. At least primitive 8 bit consoles.

Samsung forgets Galaxy worries, surprises analysts with big numbers

Mage Silver badge

Not a one trick pony.

Unlike some American badge & Marketing companies, Samsung has a VERY wide portfolio of products in diverse markets. They OEM parts as well as making products for Industry as well as for Consumer. They could stop selling phones and tablets tomorrow and it wouldn't be a big deal. They also really make stuff and do real R&D with stuff that actually deserves patents.

This is no surprise.

Sysadmins can forget PC management skills, says Microsoft

Mage Silver badge

Re: The question is

You do need PC Management skills, even for a small business. Having passed four MCP exams just by considering the marketing angle (with only about a day study each) and met totally incompetent MCSEs, I think it doesn't matter. The MS certification only ever was of value for some job applications, rarely for the real world, where often even if using MS operating systems and applications there was always far better ways to do things.

Actually I'd now be wary of applying for any IT support job unless the company was migrating away from Office and Windows. I think MS has lost the plot. I'd be doubly wary if MCSE was an important qualification for them.

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