* Posts by Mage

7760 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007


Mage Silver badge


ESA maybe has a faint sense of humour. Perhaps some other people have less. It's probably better than a pastel coloured bare wall.

Deluded Aussie geeks hail Turnbull's elevation to prime minister

Mage Silver badge

Wireless the Future?

It's only really good at Broadcast. It's wonderful at broadcast. But any conceivable wireless tech would need EVERY street lamp to be a basestation even to compete with DOCSIS on coax. Even that wouldn't come close to FTTP in performance and would guzzle a huge lot more power.

Wireless is complementary to FTTP. Not ever going to replace it. Nor can fibre replace Wireless used for broadcast, especially in a disaster scenario.

THIS is MASSIVE! Less-Masslessness neutrino boffins bag Physics Nobel

Mage Silver badge

Dark matter?

Is it really Bertie Bot's all flavour Neutrinos?

Ubuntu 15.10: More kitten than beast – but beware the claws

Mage Silver badge

Re: Yeah - no ...

Mate rather than Cinnamon too, on Mint.

Why are linux desktops copying all that's worst in Apple, Android, MS and Web GUIs?

They should study NN/g articles on UX and GUIs,

Or maybe go back to copying NT4 and Win98 GUI, but with less shiny bits.

Things on web sites or GUIs that are not obvious till you mouse hover is a FAIL!

Skeumorphic is over the top and distracting, but clicky things that look like buttons or traditional hyperlinks should be mandatory. Like this web page. Really IT DOESN'T HURT aesthetics or CPU performance to add two bright lines and two dark lines on every button!

What is money? A rabid free marketeer puts his foot in lots of notes

Mage Silver badge

Re: Discipline

Well, it wasn't instant. It takes time to suck the value out of an economy, or for the effects to ripple through. I don't see how the French asset stripping (railway rolling stock) and punitive reparations wasn't the root of it. Obviously other stupidities compounded it. Today global interactions are faster. After WWII there was a different approach.

Certainly Germany / Austria / USA involved more than one issue. It's supposed to have started in USA 1929, but people seem to have many reasons / explanations as to why it happened.

Monetarists claim caused by the banking crisis that caused 1/3 of all banks to vanish, starting with failure of the "New York Bank of the United States" Why did these banks fail? Was any factor bad debts in Europe? Was the Gold Standard the reason the Feds didn't intervene?

Was the "free market" believers (esp Austrians) position really that intervention was evil and the "depression" would be good for the market?

Or were the debts that caused the initial banks in USA to fail purely domestic? (nearly 1000 USA banks failed in first 18 months?).

Certainly 2008 in Ireland was a mix of unsustainable property speculation, the Anglo Irish Bank, a Ponzi scheme getting nod from Regulator and thus other banks copying their unsustainable lending, I don't know how much USA Sub prime debt reselling was involved. Irish Nationwide was worst offender after Anglo Irish. It seems incredible that the Irish Government at first was only going to guarantee the Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide, that would have destroyed all the "better" banks. As it was it should have been the other way round, rather than including them.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Discipline

French reparation etc imposed on Germans after WWI was real cause of German banking / Currency collapse and then this caused the US depression. The US President Wilson knew the French were wrong, but was able to intervene.

Mage Silver badge

Re: cash is not the only money

Bitcoin isn't money or cash. It's tulips. It's used too for transactions, but IBAN does that better with a chance of getting it back if there is fraud. Unlike cash, IBAN (or plastic debit card) isn't anonymous, but I suspect some flaw will be found in Bitcoin to allow tracing of buyer and seller. But really Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme / speculation system. It also unlike IBAN or plastic card doesn't scale. Even with hardly anyone using it it barely works (in terms of latency).

Gold is only an exchange token ultimately, just like bank notes, if it's working, when it doesn't work it's a tulip and gets hoarded. Hoarding money is bad.

Mage Silver badge

Money: 2nd Oldest thing.

As soon as you have agriculture, you have villages and towns. Trading between farmers. You then have specialisation (potters, bakers, millers, fletchers, butchers, weavers, cordwainers, whatever and later smiths. The weaver, (or prostitute) may not want to be paid in goat and what would the change be? So money and then writing and book keepers are invented as soon as you have villages and towns. No surprise the oldest surviving clay tablets are accounts. Unlike later papyrus, parchment or paper the air dried tablets become preserved when the town is inevitably burn down (by bandits, stupidity/accident or due to insurance?)

Thanks for another good article, Tim.

Siege of Shoreditch was like Stalingrad, but with Froot Loops Bloopers

Mage Silver badge


Unfortunately a daft article in a leading UK paper appears to have been intended to be serious.

Is the world ready for a Raspberry Pi-powered Lego Babbage Engine?

Mage Silver badge


even a 4 bit adder would be a huge amount of technic.

But interesting. In theory a 6502 can be made from cogs, pegs and levers and program run from Lego sheets with dots to indicate punched holes.

A babbage machine like lego toy with Ada and Charles minifigs is at least a tribute. A working lego mechanical computer might fill a room.

Ofcom: Ahem, about that 28GHz spectrum. Let's talk fees

Mage Silver badge

Words nearly fail me.

Who is running Ofcom?

Amazon blocks lab-only key-stealing neighbour attack

Mage Silver badge


Forget the word Cloud, even Co-location.

This is shared hosting. Real Co-location is your own physical server in a provider's data centre.

Any shared hosting, no matter what you are allowed to run (even if only PHP + SQL) has security risks compared with real co-location of your own server.

Bezos battery-box bomb beef brouhaha begins as UK watchdog hauls Amazon to court

Mage Silver badge

Re: Oxygen

Lithium packs / cells, even the single use coin type can explode/burn without extra air, to an extent. It's stored chemical energy. It's like claiming explosives need air. They don't, or they would be very slow an pretty useless.

THESE ARE THE VOYAGES of the space probe Discovery

Mage Silver badge

What the heck ... make all of them

Allegedly the decision of Grundig boss when shown prototypes of new radios and had to pick one, in 1950s.

I mean USA, under 12% of world's population, rich, world's leading super power consuming nearly 75% of many resources and they can only do ONE cheap quick project?

Microsoft sabotages own Lumia smartmobe flagship launch

Mage Silver badge

Re: Any bets ...

Second time?

I think more than that. Or else once. Which phone was the first windows CE PDA with a phone built in. People made smart phones (with various OS, not just CE and Symbian) long before they were called smart phones and MS had CE in phones long before they messed up Danger/Sidekick.

It's only the second time they bought a phone division.

MYSTERY PARTICLE BLASTS from Ceres strike NASA probe Dawn

Mage Silver badge

A giant ancient starship?

Intriguing internal moistness

emitting particles

Tear teardown down, roars Apple: iFixit app yanked from store

Mage Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Don't get it

Yes. Also often there is a non-disclosure contract. I've even signed such with Trolltech for software and created them for others to sign.

Once it's on retail sale, then iFixIt can do what they like. I think the issue was they didn't just go out an buy them so NDA applied.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Information wants to be free!

" Apple logo was based on the symbolic apple from Genesis "

Nice idea, but wrong.

It was because they were Beatles fans. Beatles had Apple Corp

There is no symbolic apple in Genesis. It's comparatively recent idea to describe it as an apple, (Abraham is in Genesis and that at least is drawing on nearly 4000 year old oral tradition maybe written 3,500 years ago (biblical inscriptions have been found on jewellery that old).

Relax Schrems, EU-US Safe Harbour ruling coming soon

Mage Silver badge

I fell of my chair laughing!

"“The US does not and has not engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of anyone, including ordinary European citizens."

Yes you do.

So apparently does GCHQ.

Do you agree with our fee hike? Press 1 to answer Yes; or 2 for Yes

Mage Silver badge

Shakes head

If you had the stuff about ICANN in a book, a fantasy, people would find the magic fireballs more plausible.

BlackBerry's tactical capitulation to Google buys time – and possibly a future

Mage Silver badge

Priv: last phone?

Even if RIM / Blackberry has a future, will they produce another phone ever or rebadge an HTC or Chinese phone with keyboard?

Sadly most people are not interested in security and privacy, even companies that should know better.

Now you can be tracked online by your email addy. Thanks, Google!

Mage Silver badge

Shirley Illegal?

At least in EU and many other countries.

There must be INFORMED consent ...

"So if you buy a bike and give the store your email address, and the store gives that information to Google, the internet billboard giant can find the Google account associated with that address and tag you as a cyclist."

Vodafone left the lonely singleton as Liberty deal kiboshed

Mage Silver badge


It was Vodafone chasing after Liberty for just the UK cable (maybe Irish too). Liberty Global said "Buy everything everywhere or nothing". So it was never going to happen. Liberty was happy to listen to Vodafone till they got fed up and went away.

Will IT support please come to the ward immediately. Weeeee have a tricky problem

Mage Silver badge

Pharmacutical Company.

Mouse piss rots motherboards badly.

Dead mouse inside PC case, there was one ISA slot rear cover missing.

I wondered why such a company had mice and what it died of. We were there swapping Token Ring cards for Ethernet cards and installing them.

US eco watchdog's shock warning: Fresh engine pollution cheatware tests coming

Mage Silver badge

Re: LINPACK: Drive Size

RAM etc inherently is powers of 2. Incorrectly calls 1024 Kilo and 1024 x 1024 Mega.

Giga is 1000,000,000 not 1024 x 1024 x 1024.

Drive sizes are correct.

BlackBerry emits Android mobe as biz goes down the Priv

Mage Silver badge


Reminds me of the old original Psion, the one with small LCD and big keyboard with sliding cover.


I had one at the time (about 1984 or 1985) for something hardware related.

If you got Netflix for Miss Marple, you're out of luck (and a bit odd)

Mage Silver badge

Re: Elysium

maybe, but what is the point of streaming services with no long tail, and removal of content they did have.

Perhaps you see, real quality VOD needs a huge number of distributed servers at various nodes of each ISP or it doesn't scale. This problem (solved by Netflix insisting major ISPs install their servers) was identified over 15 years ago for IPTV / VOD. Storage costs thus go up linearly with the number of customers, as the number of servers has to rise as they get more customers.

So only the current popular stuff. Netflix and all the other streaming services only replace physical video libraries in the high street, ultimately they can't replace DVD sales or BD sales. Apart from the fact than nearly 90% of people don't have bandwidth for even decent DVD quality. What too if the kids, the teens and mum and dad (or sharing students) want to watch different content?

So for a long time to come, streaming, physical disks and broadcast are complementary. Netflix and similar really most appeals to the regular video library customer.

PEAK FONDLESLAB: Fewer people will use tablets next year – claim

Mage Silver badge


Restricted compatibility via USB, no SD slot, 40% over priced. How did they manage to get 42% of the market?

NASA rover coders at Intel's Wind River biz axed – sources

Mage Silver badge

Agism and fools


Global productivity explodes as Facebook's service takes a dive

Mage Silver badge

Facebook, do I care?


I made an effort with a fake ID to do this facebook thing. But obviously I'm not an addict as they sent me emails today informing me that they unpublished two pages due to lacking updates for a month.

I've websites I don't pay for either that haven't been updated for about 14 years, working perfectly.

I tend to only put content on my own hosting, that I actually pay for, though it's not expensive.

Official: North America COMPLETELY OUT of new IPv4 addresses

Mage Silver badge

If you understood the ways in which these organizations actually used the address

Yes, I do. Badly, wastefully, insecurely and stupidly. For between sites they should only be using VPNs with 1 public IP per site.

I changed a small college from over 600 public IPs to 5. With a decent edge router it could have been one.

Mage Silver badge

Class A address holders

Very many USA institutions and businesses have crazy big allocations. when they only need dozens of public IP.

In reality the USA IP 4s are nowhere near exhausted.

The ONLY really good thing about IP6 is that we won't run out. It's a terrible design, that's why adoption is so slow.

We saw the future: Apart from the bath apps it looks like the past

Mage Silver badge

One born every minute

No-one is actually forced to buy this tat?

I wonder do the LED lights really last 20,000hrs including the power supply capacitors? I doubt it.

Ofcom triples licence fees for mobile operators to £200m

Mage Silver badge


The licences should be nominal cost and for a single infrastructure company that resells to Retail Operators. This will more than double efficiency because the spectrum is so limited.

Income from the VAT of the end users.

Taxing spectrum and splitting limited spectrum between companies is just greed and stupidity.

PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

Mage Silver badge

We should support Slater

With money.

Yes there are spurious Trademarks, Design Patents/Registered Designs, Patents and Copyrights. But this isn't one of them.

Stupidity. PETA are increasingly looking like raving lunatics.

Thanks for the memory: XPoint put under the analyst microscope

Mage Silver badge


It sounds suspiciously like the HP memistor though. But it like Video 2000 (wonderful piezo head wiggling to reduce tape guardbands) must be nearly impossible to make or HP would have been selling it already. I guess in 2017-2018 we know if this is more vapour ware.

NIST's quantum boffins have TELEPORTED stuff over a HUNDRED KILOMETRES

Mage Silver badge

Re: hmm

You can't actually send information at all, whatsover, purely by having two separated particles at each end that are quantum entangled. It may be the effect of reshuffling the pack is instant, but you have no way at the receiver of knowing, thus no method to send a signal. This is about sending photons (a little slower than light speed as it's in a fibre). It's about security, not speed.

Mage Silver badge

Re: And after

No. It's not that Quantum Teleportation, Quantum entanglement is like two identical packs of randomly shuffled cards, you don't know the state till you look. You can't actually send information that way. This does nothing whatsoever for speed (still light speed) or bandwidth. It's about encryption and security, knowing if the message has been tampered with.

You call THAT safe? Top EU legal bod says data sent to US is anything but

Mage Silver badge

Re: The threat to commerce is overblown

MS is currently fighting the USA over data in Ireland!

Mage Silver badge

Re: It's always been useless

Yes, even the dogs in the street have always known it.

Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage

Mage Silver badge

Other IM systems are nearly extinct or purely internal?


Tencent might be as big as Facebook.

They do have QQ International, an English version client of QQ

It does all that Skype does and more and better. QQ even lets you open multiple copies of client with different identities at the same time!

QQ Replaces Skype

However I can't get it to run on Linux, either the Chinese Native interface, nor the English version on Wine. But I've seen it running on Android (in English) and Windows Phone, though those versions lack many features in the Windows desktop version. You can even turn off the adverts.

Skype seems to have a tendency to use 90% + CPU on some netbooks/notebooks, though this may be related to camera, Ironically the MS Linux Skype version is fine on same machine and has no adverts!

Mage Silver badge

Re: The old days of Skype

The original selling point of 3G when it was only 240Kbps, no HSPA or Data plans was video chat. But it was too expensive so it sort of died off.

Mage Silver badge

Have a backup solution...

Email, IRC etc for text & files

QQ for voice, video, text, images and files. Though only seems to work on Windows, Android and Win Mobile

It's 2015 and a text file can hack your Apple Watch. IS THIS THE FUTURE YOU WANTED?

Mage Silver badge

Sounds like previous version was garbage.

Also why those sort of core features not in original version?

So the impression is low quality rushed software with too much effort into appearance. Thus the current version will also be full of bugs and exploits. You don't patch in or test in quality, it's designed in then carefully implemented. Sounds like they need a careful redo from scratch.

Indianapolis man paints his ball every day – for FORTY YEARS

Mage Silver badge

Re: Darwin Awards Equivalant

It's not fatal, so not Darwin related

Orange juices internet of things

Mage Silver badge


Long range, low power so very slow. Even if the gadgets only do 1:1000 duty cycle what if a city of 100,000 has 10 per person?

So how many Things at what speed? Is is scalable at all beyond traffic lights?

Dialog Semiconductor gobbles Atmel for $4.6bn, with 'synergies' on the way

Mage Silver badge

They didn't seem familar to me as a UK company

"On 10 February 2011, Dialog semiconductor announced that it had completed a transaction to acquire SiTel Semiconductor"

They indeed are not very British

Dialog Semiconductor originated from the European operations of International Microelectronic Products, Inc. – a Silicon Valley company founded in 1981. Then 1989 Dialog Semiconductor formed as part of Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (part of Daimler-Benz).

According to Wikipedia, which doesn't entirely make sense.

September 2009 – Relocates to new Swindon facility (from Germany?), hence the "UK" connection.

December 2012 – New Design Centers in Livorno, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey

July 2013 – Acquires iWatt Inc.

They seem to have an Edinburgh centre since 2007.

I guess the Ardunio folks will be nervous for a while.

My parents don't know I'm in SEO. They think I play piano in a brothel

Mage Silver badge

Oh dear.

Content, Content, Content. Lots of it, relevant with quality and more each day.

Otherwise folk are just annoyed when they land.

I'm increasingly of the opinion that most SEO is snake oil. Certainly most spam selling it is.

Hello? HELLO? Major Skype outage hits folk WORLDWIDE

Mage Silver badge

Re: That's Skype, the P2P network

I use QQ now on Windows, I'm more comfortable being spied on by China than NSA and GCHQ as I'm not Chinese. Sadly doesn't work on Linux (ironically Skype works better on Linux than Windows!). There is always email and IRC if it's just text chat rather than voice or video. QQ video has better features too.

You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

Mage Silver badge

Worstal does sort of believe in a minimum wage.


Worstall does sort of believe in a minimum wage.

But not one that will interfere (much) with the market, so difference between that and a "living" wage has to be made up by welfare payments. Welfare payments have to ultimately come from Taxation. Any other Governmental income will be minuscule?

You need means testing.

Obviously this sort of scheme also ultimately applies using same means testing to actually unemployed, no matter if traditionally, or due to a Robot Apocalypse. While most people made unemployed (or their children) by Robotics/Automation find other activities, perhaps the underlying trend will be upwards.

Royalty income from Copyright for people deciding to be creative (IMO less likely to be replaced by AI than most AI enthusiasts think) is important. So the push by Google and friends to have only their Intellectual Property count has to be squashed.

It's important to see the big picture.

EDIT: PS: to Tim Worstall

Keep doing these good thoughtful articles. It didn't seem long at all. Even if we don't all agree with all of it. What's the point anyway of posting stuff everyone agrees with, that would be stuff like "rain is wet"?

I like your engaging comments in the comments.

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