* Posts by bazza

1950 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

China decrees in-flight cellphone calls are safe

bazza
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Am not convinced...

If a single Lightsquared base station can interfere with GPS receivers over a wide area, why wouldn't 400+ mobile phones flying in close formation interfere with the GPS on top of the plane?

I'm not convinced that they've got a way of discovering whether a plane crashed because of interference or straightforward equipment failure. Are we about to see a string of inexplicable plane crashes? They will happen, but if they're rare will anyone bother to find out why? I suspect not.

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bazza
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@Daryl

Boooooooooooooo!

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World's first Win 8 malware 'bootkit' to debut next week

bazza
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@You're missing the point

All OSes, even Windows, are getting better from a security point of view. A lack of secure boot is the chink in that armour. As time passes that lack is going to become glaringly obvious because it will be exploited more and more. If the industry doesn't address that problem then OSes will always be exposed. MS seem to recognise that and are suggesting that certain features of an existing standard are actually used to help. There is nothing else viable at this point in time to help.

However, whilst it is worth recognising that MS's plan will bring about security improvements, it is worth revisiting recent history. Essentially secure boot relies on some keys being kept private and securely stored deep inside every PC sold. But when you examine previous comparable systems (DVD, Blu ray, PS3, Wii, X box to name but a few) the private key has always leaked out one way or other. Along with needing thorough technical measures (e.g. a TPM), secure boot will rely completely on all the manufacturers being able to protect the key from theft, compromise, carelessness, etc. We are kidding ourselves if we think that the magic numbers will remain secure forever. And if the private key does leak then an enormous security hole will have been blown straight through the whole scheme.

I don't think that there's anything MS can do about that - they're just doing the best they can by their customers within the limits of the technology available to them. I'm sure that the hardware manufacturers will want to protect their Linux sales by putting in some way of allowing non-secure boot (though if bootkits were a real threat the open OSes will then necessarily be "less secure" then Windows). But if we are ever going to really solve that problem we are going to have to sort out the key distribution problem to eliminate the need for a single shared private key.

Anyone got any good ideas?

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Hackers port iPhone 4S' Siri to rival devices

bazza
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Test to perform

So does this mean that if you ask Siri "Can I use Siri on Android or Blackberry" it will now answer with "yes".

I may go into an Apple shop and try that out. It would be especially amusing if someone did just that, but used an Android phone to do so...

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US anti-hacking law turns computer users into criminals

bazza
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@chris 228

Yeah right. US prosecutors are well known for their sense of reality, reasonableness and balanced opinions. Any system that pays its prosecutors through an incentive schemes where pay is based on successful convictions is always going to encourage them to look for easy wins.

Similarly the European arrest warrant system is being heavily abused. The measure was intended for serious cases only (terrorism, etc), but so far has resulted in only very petty cases indeed. For example, the recent case where the Portugese authorities had a British woman arrested on charges that actually related to her former boyfriend from years ago and his possession of forged currency. How does that even make sense?

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bazza
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In case you think it doesn't apply to us Brits...

...think again. With the current state of the extradition arrangements between the UK and the US the federal authorities could get you with no due process in this country.

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bazza
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Rest easy...

...El Reg is British, so blouses of all sorts are most welcome.

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Mozilla promises more speed with Firefox 9 beta

bazza
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FAIL

Firefox needs to be careful...

...especially over plugins. Sooner or later they're going to break Flash (probably by mistake). As soon as they do that most people will defect immediately.

Also, they don't seem to realise that most people out there don't give a stuff for the technical advancements, etc. etc. All that most people want is a browser that just works OK in the same old way. People who use software get used to how it works and don't want it to change. Hasn't Mozilla seen the fuss over, for example, Microsoft's ribbon interface? Developers are practically the last people on earth who should be allowed to make UI design changes.

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Nokia's Windows comeback: Great but what's next?

bazza
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Seen it...

...And is on my seriously-considering-it list when my current contract runs out.

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Fujitsu readies 23 petaflops Sparc FX10 super beast

bazza
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Neutrinos

Either The Reg swapped my posting order round, or my broadband got routed via a CERN neutrino SuperC datalink...

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bazza
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Happy

I wants one

And I wants it really really badly. And I've not even read the whole article yet.

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bazza
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Happy

Read the article now

And I still want one.

That's an awful lot of double precision performance.

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NASA tells Voyager 2 to save its strength

bazza
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Not commonplace yet

I still think that any manned space flight is very impressive. I think even you would be impressed if you were strapped to the top of rocket with the fuse lit and the sky beckoning!

Terry Pratchett in one of his book pointed out just how weird we are. Boredom - we're the only species to have it so bad that walking on the moon became not worth the TV air time after just two landings.

NASA have been stunningly successful in their unmanned program. Pretty much all of their deep space probes have sent back amazing results. And in the case of Voyager, it still is.

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Compact Disc death foretold for 2012

bazza
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@as2003 It is convenient only if...

...you have a broadband connection. A considerable number of people who buy music on CD don't have broadband.

I'm fairly sure that current CD sales will not translate into the same number of digital downloads. The CD market might not be dominant, but it is still money worth having if you're in the music business. Though I can see them becoming something you can get only by mail order.

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Are we in the middle of a PATENT BUBBLE?

bazza
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@AC 14:48 , Quite right

"Seriously; this would destroy the value of many American and European companies, leaving those who manufacture products, rather than those who design and invent them, with all the profit."

Quite right. Without the financial incentive provided by patents, no one would bother to make anything new because there'd be no substantive reward. And then we'd end up in a society quite like that of the old Soviet Union. Dull, drab, and nothing getting better than it already is.

Private investment has driven the technology of the world for the past 200, 300 years. Take away the incentive, and you're then reliant on government to drive things forward. How likely is that to be a good thing?

Your point about the evaluation of patents being at fault hits the nail on the head.

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The Great Smartphone OS Shoot-out

bazza
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Not always the case

3 uk do a skype client for Blackberries (and many other phones too) which works over the 3g network, and is *free* to use within the uk. They've done a good job of integrating it with BB notification system too, and it also goes to voicemail.

If you really want skype it's a very, very good combination. It decided things for me - always on free skype anywhere everywhere.

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UN set to dump GMT for tech-friendly Atomic Time

bazza
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And it isn't even hard to fix

The astronomers have had to deal with the various world timescales for years. The International Astronomical Union has a library for the Standards of Fundamental Astronomy, and there's some good routines in there to convert between utc, tai, ut1, etc. taking proper account of known leap seconds. Only trouble is that it needs updating every time there's a new leap second.

It really would be trivial to adopt that library, add it to ntp or whatever and have every networked computer system automatically updated with a current leap second table as and when necessary.

Putting off leap seconds and having leap minutes instead just makes the problem bigger, though rarer. How does that make things better?

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Americans' right to hang fake balls on trucks left dangling

bazza
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Only in America...

'nuff said.

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LightSquared pulls out all the stops to get FCC approval

bazza
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@Lance 3

The original designation of Lightsquared's band as being for satcoms is largely irrelevant. The satcom mobile phones themselves would likely have caused similar problems for GPS as Lightsquared's base stations. Ever heard a GSM mobile phone interferring with a set of loudspeakers? That's the sort of problem I'm on about. The problem would have been more proximate to the satcom mobile phones (they'd not have been as powerful as a basestation), but at the same time more widespread because everyone would have been carrying one.

The GPS industry got away with it because the original owners of Lightsquared's band couldn't make it commercially successful, so the phones weren't widespread so no one noticed the problem. But the potential for a problem has been there all along ever since the band allocations were made decades ago.

Also, we can't have a valuable piece of spectrum going unused just because the GPS industry can't be bothered to actually build their kit right. If you feel ripped off, complain to them, not Lightsquared.

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bazza
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@AC

"What I would really like to see happen is the FCC go after the GPS makers for breaching their licence, but I'm too cynical to actually believe that is ever going to happen"

AFAIK You don't need a spectrum license as such to make a gps receiver. It is a receiver, not a transmitter. However, the stock FCC compliance statement that all the manufacturers have been putting on their GPS saying that it works turns out to be something they're not complying with afterall. They could be sued for misleading their customers.

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BlackBerry nicks iPhone's UK smartphone crown

bazza
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@Gordon10

"You seriously believe that chavs care for the technical solution of how their walled garden messaging works?"

Well, I find it very hard to believe that BB, the functional tool of the hard nosed businessman, was some how deemed 'cool'. Some kid somewhere must have worked out that BBM was cheaper to run on their limited pocket money and stingy allowances on pay-as-you-go SIMs than SMS or anything similar from anyone else. I doubt very much that that kid looked at *why* it was cheaper; the fact that it *was* cheaper is probably why BBM has become popular with kids in the UK.

But the reason it was cheaper is because of the way RIM have implemented push.

Incidentally, does the notion behind a BB PIN remind anyone else of Compuserve's xxxxx.yyyy style addresses? RIM might need to take care if they ever open up BBM to incoming messages from the internet; it would represent an easy spamming opportunity.

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bazza
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It seems that some disgruntled down voting fanbois can't stand the fact that you are happy with your choice. Have yourself a rebalancing thumbs up.

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bazza
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@cloudgazer, re:BBM advantage

I think that 'destroy' is too strong a word. 'Erode' would be more like it.

RIM's way of doing push is very good, being well optimised for minimising network traffic and maximising battery life. Blackberry is popular amongst cash starved chavs who have recognised that those characteristics save them money and hassle.

It is going to be very difficult for Apple or anyone else to surpass Blackberry push on purely technical grounds. That may translate into an inability to attract customers who demonstrably already do care about bills and batteries. Though Apple's reality distortion field does cause some very strange purchasing decisions...

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Apple admits iPhone battery suckage, promises fix

bazza
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@davidp1

Carrying a spare battery is a lot more sensible than carrying a charger... And if battery life is a problem then it's even more sensible to select a phone with good stamina.

It seems that iPhones have reached the point where they won't last long enough for quite a large fraction of their normally enthusiastic user base. It doesn't matter how shiny a phone is; people *can't* use it if it goes flat on them. And there's nothing like unavoidable loss of service to put people off what is actually a quite expensive device.

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As iPhone 4S battery suckage spreads, fixes appear

bazza
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Switch to Android

And indeed you are not alone. Many have switched, and there is certainly more app development activity in the Android space.

Personally speaking I find Android's terrible update mechanism (in fact, what update mechanism?) very off putting. Coupling that with the continual stream of reports of flaws and security mistakes in Android plus a not very good web browser makes it a non-option as far as I'm concerned.

Being a self confessed techno geek I like the architecture of QNX. It's much better than shoe-horning unix in to a mobile as Apple and Google have done. I don't think that MS have done anything particularly revolutionary in their kernel either. It will be interesting to see if RIM can build on QNX's cleverness to deliver an obviously better product (better battery usage, smoother app experience, etc). For example the playbook, whilst currently somewhat flawed, does a fantastic job of web browsing and multitasking. RIM will certainly be hoping so, but I fear that Apple and Google have shown that mere technical superiority is not a market factor.

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bazza
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@Peter 66, Apple Long Term Support

"Can we admit that Apple have supported their products longer then any other manufacturer have supported an Android phone?"

Absolutely! Though of course there are tales of Apple withholding new features from older phones "because they're not powerful enough". Shame for Apple that the hackers generally get them going on older phones anyway. And then there's the things that most Apple upgrades seem to break...

So Apple are definitely along the right road when it comes to updates; updates yes, but still trying to force people to buy new handsets.

Android is terrible for updates and, if any kind of common sense prevails, will end up costing Google dearly.

MS and RIM seem to have updates well under control. In the case of MS it could become a significant reason to give a Win Phone a go. It might not be perfect (though initial reactions seem positive), but a couple of meaningful upgrades in the handsets' lifetimes seems a real possibility. Service packs and updates have kept Win XP viable for ages; why not the same in the mobile market?

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bazza
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Sounds like it's a lemon

It's incredible how Apple get away with such crap software. We've all come to expect that the first iteration of an iSomething will be rubbish, and some how the market thinks that's alright.

But Blackberry has their first outage in years lasting a couple of days and people are reaching for their lawyers.

Either Apple customers are complete mugs who care not about service reliability and a Blackberry outage is such a rare event that it warrants extraordinary attention. Or no one takes iAnything seriously so long as it's shiny but otherwise rely upon Blackberry's services like their lives/businesses depend on it.

In short, what gives?

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French nuke biz slapped in mystery cyberattack

bazza
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@Completely Hatstand

"as *SERIOUSLY* expensive as a terrorist attributed meltdown?"

The problem is that company shareholders and accountants are rubbish at understanding risk, consequences and costs. Risks with extreme consequences but which are very unlikely to happen are often ignored. Why spend money mitigating something that is unlikely?

For example, Tepco had to be strong armed by the Japanese government to install pressure release valves at Fukushima. Turns out that they need those. Without them Japan would be looking at the ruins of four exploded reactor cores instead of four minor meltdowns.

Tepco are in real trouble anyway. They were pressed by various engineers and inspectors to shutdown the old reactors at Fukushima years ago. Had they done so they would be looking at a minor loss of electricity sales instead of complete corporate extinction.

In comparison, connecting vital corporate systems to the Internet seems much more likely to result in complete corporate disaster. So why do it?

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HP Project Moonshot hurls ARM servers into the heavens

bazza
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@All Names Taken

Well done HP indeed. I think that the power consumption figures quoted in the article will certainly attract a lot of interest. There would appear to be a lot of real world applications out there (web serving) that would benefit handsomely.

I'm beginning to wonder whether HP have rediscovered their R&D mojo. Their enthusiasm for ARM could really pay off big time. They are also putting a lot of effort into memristor memory technologies from which they could easily end up owning what is currently the whole DRAM, HDD and FLASH markets. These are two very big bets indeed, and the payoffs would be truly monumental.

All the other tech companies out there should really be paying attention. HP are technologically very close to stealing large fractions of their businesses from underneath their noses. Some of them need to get on the ARM bandwagon very quickly. For others I think it is too late - Hynix have already done some sort of deal with HP.

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Applied Micro leaps ahead in ARM server race

bazza
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Mini ITX servers as you describe would be great. Hopefully the power consumption advantages will drive the ARM genre on quickly, so we may not have to wait too long :)

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bazza
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OS porting

You raise a fascinating point about the whole HP ecosystem. I suppose we have to consider the possibility that in the long run HP will port VMS to ARM. Now that really would be a strange event in history indeed!

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bazza
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@Mage

"Intel can use their design expertise and fabrication to make an ARM that Texas, Samsung or Qualcomm can't compete with."

Yes they could easily do that. But that would mean that Intel are just another supplier in amongst a whole host of others. Intel's wafer baking expertise would mark them out though.

However, I'm pretty sure that Intel are desperate for the world to stay with x86 for servers, because then they'd keep the whole thing to themselves. At the moment they have only AMD to contend with. In the ARM market there's hundreds of other companies to compete against, and it would be difficult to dominate them all.

The moment Intel start fabbing ARMs will signify that they've finally admitted that x86 is a crappy, out of date architecture. That would really make them wince, especially as it would be an admission to their shareholders that the game is up, the big days are over.

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Safe as Windows: Smartphones' security nightmare

bazza
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Interesting comparison

The networks really want to be able to skin handsets so as to emphasise their brand. Google in effect said "Do whatever you want, here is the source code". But Microsoft seems to have said "This is what it's going to look like and you can't change it". That allows MS to push updates direct to users.

The networks and handset manufacturers may not thank MS for this; no skinning by the networks, less sales of handsets as updates from MS keep older ones going. But end users will benefit.

RIM and Apple do their own thing anyway, though I agree with Stallman concerning Apple's walled garden.

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bazza
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Couldn't agree more

The lack of updates is going to mark Android out as the one to avoid. Bugs will always come to light and get fixed but unlike Google, RIM, Apple and MS can get fixes out to end users.

So how many people will continue to be willing to invest in expensive but difficult to update hardware? Potentially not many. So Android will have to become disposable, therefore cheap, therefore low spec...

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ARM specs out first 64-bit RISC chips

bazza
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ARM have to hurry?

"Intel has a lot of time to make Atom a better chip, and AMD still has time to do whatever it is going to do. ARM needs to move faster – or AMD will."

Intel haven't moved very fast as yet. If this doesn't chivvy them up a bit I don't know what will. It's almost as if Intel's strategy has been to wait for ARM to pose a serious threat and then pull out all the stops on a proper low power development.

That seems awfully risky. Intel have to make huge improvements all round because ARM's performance / Watt is beginning to look seriously good. AMCC are talking about 3GHz quad core ARM64 in the middle of next year! There's no word as yet on power consumption, but if it conforms to the norms of what ARMs seem to achieve then it's going to be a very cool running chip indeed. Whereas Intel have to pull off a large step change in their chips' power figures and get it right first time.

Look at it another way. ARM64 fails, ARM and Intel survive as they currently are. ARM64 succeeds, Intel lose out, ARM win big time. Intel won't be threatening ARM in the mobile market anytime soon. They way I see it Intel are probably in it for survival at the moment.

And look at it another way again. Itanium must surely be a dead end now. Intel can't possible afford to waste engineers on Itanium when the ARM threat has to be addressed. Very soon no one is going to be at all interested in Itanium servers unless Intel can somehow make them low power too, and I don't think we've even begun to hear the merest peep about that on any roadmaps.

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HP hooks up with Calxeda to form server ARMy

bazza
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Quite right

But it is highly likely that MS have realised this and that is why there is all sorts of ARM-ish noises coming from them. Of course Linux is already there really but has to cope with the wide variety of ARM SOCs. But if MS can standardise ARM machines in a way similar to PCs currently are then that would help Linux too.

Watch out, Intel.

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Apple gets patent for ‘unlock gesture’

bazza
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Unhappy

Oh that it were that simple

I applaud the sentiment, but I fear it won't work that way. All they need to do is get a court ordered import ban, and that's it. The state will then do the dirty work :(

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Anonymous shuts down hidden child abuse hub

bazza
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No, the police didn't do a good job there at all. But only the legal system can put these people behind bars. And putting them behind bars is necessary. Publishing a list of usernames may embarrass those that stupidly used their real names, but it won't send them to jail.

The police certainly need technical improvement. Sitting on the outside moaning (and in the case of Anonymous making their job harder) won't help any children at all.

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bazza
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Important point missed though

I too think that getting rid of such servers is no bad thing. But the article goes on to say:

"or making it difficult to argue that evidence has not been corrupted by hackers."

There's a very real danger that none of the users of the servers that Anonymous compromised can be successfully prosecuted now (depending on jurisdiction I suppose). This would mean that they'd be free to disappear into the background and carry on their disgusting practices, only more carefully than before. How's that going to help children?

It is supremely arrogant of Anonymous to think that they're the only people who can do this, the only ones who can "save the world", whereas they are probably making things worse in the long run. If they want to make things better they should get proper jobs, perhaps in law enforcement.

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Leaked Nokia WinMobes ready for midrange scrum

bazza
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Fragmentation?

"With so few users, Windows Phone hasn't had the chance to fragment or sprawl just yet."

Aren't you missing the point of Microsoft's entire strategy? They're allowing some diversity in spec, quality, etc. whilst ensuring that there's a level playing field for all when it comes to software, thus deliberately preventing fragmentation.

Android is rapidly moving to the point where software Devs have to account for 4 or 5 actively used versions of Android on dozens of different hardware specs. Maintaining their software across all of that so as to maximise sales is a big job.

In contrast, whilst there might be fewer Windows phones they're all the same from the software Dev's point of view. So the Devs win on maintenance costs, which may well amount to higher software sales at the end of the day.

The old maxim "Write once run many" has real commercial clout if you're a software Dev, and Android is surely going far away from that.

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Deep inside ARM's new Intel killer

bazza
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Because

They're not especially slow or low performing. They tend to be well matched to the things that people actually want to do. That's why they've been so successful in smartphones in particular.

What interests me and many others is whether that right-sized characterstic translates over to the datacenter. Your average Intel chip is doing a hell of a lot of things. But to make economic sense it has to, it's burning through 100+ Watts. So could you do the same amount of work with a few ARM chips? If the answer is yes then you use them, because you'd likely save a lot of power. Even if it took 10 ARMs that'd still be OK - that'd be about 20 to 30 Watts, saving 70 Watts. 10 ARMs would be 10 cores at 1+ GHz - not bad really when you think about it.

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bazza
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@fearnothing

The Core series was nothing more than a couple of Pentium 3's stuck on to the same package with a miserable excuse for a front side bus to join them together. Hardly any work was involved at all, and it was seen at the time as something of a desparate measure.

The fact that it took them 'two years' to accomplish that is not very impressive at all, frankly. In that timescale *the* Skunk Works team were quite capable of delivering entirely new types of aircraft such as the F117a prototype, the U2 (the A12/SR71 took a little longer, but not much).

However, Core was a marketing success which as is so often demonstrated far more important than technological success. Intel were able to exploit the fact that most customers would open the spec, note "dual core" and look no further. However, with power consumption becomming ever more important the customers are likely to take specs more seriously.

All it will take is some large-ish datacenter operator to fit out with ARM based hardware and give it a go. Not that straightforward, granted, but LAMP is LAMP be it on x86, ARM, etc, and MS are busily putting all sorts on to ARM so it's getting easier. It is quite likely that that datacenter operator would achieve a major power saving. And that is a major cost saving. And that is a major profit increase. And that *will* get noticed by others, because their shareholders will start complaining. And that will get Intel into big trouble, because they can't respond without tossing x86 in the trash bin and starting again.

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bazza
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Tiny market

"...Linux-running..."

Without passing judegement on Linux per se, my guess is that the perceived market demand for such a thing is simply way too small to interest any large manufacturer.

But market perceptions have a nasty habbit of being wrong. Remember IBM's estimate that there would only ever be a need for 5 or 6 computers in the whole of the US? What a mistaka to maka!

I'm hoping that whatever MS are upto with ARM will result in an open ARM platform just like the x86 platform is at the moment. MS bought an ARM foundry license, (a *lot* of wonga) so it seems they're hell bent on building an ARM platform of some sort.

Microsoft, and latterly Linux, benefitted enourmously from IBM's architectural openness that spawned the whole PC ecosystem. MS have some form in this area too. The PC'97 -> PC2001 series were sort of along the lines of an architectural spec that served to standardise PC hardware. That definitely served MS's commercial purpose - they could sell more Windows licenses as a result. It also helped other things like Linux too for the same reasons. Maybe, just maybe, MS have decided to try pull the same trick with an architecture based on ARM.

MS commercial interests to do so is that they could spawn a whole new major round of platform evolution just like IBM did back in the 1980s with the first PC. I think that their purchase of an ARM foundry license is evidence that they're aiming to create a whole new ecosystem, from server -> desktop -> mobile.

Whomsoever successfully pushes ARM into the server market stands to make a shed load of money. Those datacentre operators are desparate to reduce their electricity bills, and they'll spend big on hardware to do so. Energy costs, as well all know very well indeed, are king.

I wouldn't mind betting that MS have worked out that by defining the hardware they'll be in a good position to sell a very large number of software licenses too. The implication is a substantial replacement of the PC computing world as we know it, not just annual incremental sales. All that MS and the hardware vendors have ever sold they get to sell again, in ARM form.

Of course, if Intel actually stumped up a decent low power chip that would mean the world would just continue with incremental license purchases rather than complete replacement. That wouldn't make MS anything like as much money. Essentially I'm arguing that Intel's failure to produce a proper low power chip is an enourmous once in a lifetime commercial opportunity for MS.

It's a very large market to aim for, it must surely be tempting for them to go for it. And if it makes their mobile strategy work too, so much the better. And where there's servers, there'll be desktops and laptops, and also Linux devs who'll inevitably work out how to penguinise it.

Anyway, assuming that I'm foretelling with accuracy, your quest might be successfully pursued merely by sitting tight and waiting for it to happen, perhaps sooner rather than later. The only loser would be Intel, and they won't be happy at all.

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bazza
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Because

Intel can't buy ARM. Just like Apple can't, nor Qualcomm, TI, Marvell, or anyone else. The competition regulators all over the world would have a monumental fit (or at least they ought to).

If any of the mobile players succeeded in taking control of ARM they would gain a de facto monopoly position, or at least the strong impression of one. An actual monopoly would clearly not be good for any end user whatsoever.

I would argue that the richness and diversity of the mobile market is traceble solely to the way in which ARM have licensed their CPU designs with an even and fair hand to all device manufacturers. They (perhaps accidently?) created a level playing field in which many manufacturers could thrive.

ARM survive because they themselves don't actually make anything, or sell anything directly to the public, so they're not really operating a monopoly either. And by being obviously modest about their licensing fees they cannot be accused of exploiting their dominant position either.

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bazza
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Poor old Intel

ARM have moved the goal posts once again. Intel are going to have to do something pretty amazing to make x86 anything like relevant in the mobile space, something they've completely failed to do over the past few years.

I don't think that there is any physically feasible way for Intel to make x86 compete with ARM in terms of performance/Watt. x86 is just too inefficient in its use of transistors. If there was a way you might imagine that Intel would have found it by now, but they haven't. And afterall, Intel have always been masters of silicon processing first, architectural geniuses* second. I can't see their current strategy paying off.

Perhaps one way in which Intel could have an orthogonal but effective strategy is to get in to screen technology in a big way. That's definitely an area where *big* power savings could be made, ARM might do a 20GFLOPS core that takes no power at all, but it's useless without a screen. Alright, so screens are not Intel's core business, not anywhere close, and there's a lot of competition in that field already. But they're wasting their cash right now so they might as well spend it on something that may bear fruit. It might also prove to be a company saver when Intel wake up one morning and discover that ARM have pinched the server market from under their noses too. With Microsoft porting Windows to ARM, and the LAMP stack already quite well established on ARM, I can't see Intel hanging on to servers for much longer.

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Dixons stores knock £150 off RIM PlayBook

bazza
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Happy

Actually...

Feeling crazy I went and bought one.

It's very good if you've already got a Blackberry. And quite a lot of people have got Blackberries.

The way messaging works if you bridge it to your Blackberry over bluetooth is quite impressive. Whatever you do on one is automatically mirrored on the other. All your contacts, email, blackberry messaging, wifi network details are magically shared. To achieve the same thing with iSomethings or Android involves a bandwidth hogging trip to a cloud. You can even see you phone's photographs on your playbook. There is the usual array of twitter and facebook clients too.

The browser is fab. Proper flash built in to so you get to see web pages as their designers intended. That goes a very long way to making up for the smallish app store. The OS does proper multitasking like it is a full desktop operating system. Impressive, and I'm sure I will find a use for that soon.

There are reports of people successfully putting the beta of the next OS on to playbooks. Amongst other things that gives you Android app compatibility, and hence *all* Android apps. Pay attention, that is going to make a playbook a very serious contender, especially for those who don't need built in 3g.

I've not found much evidence yet of things like magnetic compasses or full 6 axis accelerometers so sky viewing apps look to be off the cards for the moment.

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Toshiba demos monster hi-res tablet display

bazza
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Careful...

With a display like that if each pixel emitted just one photon each you'd be getting some serious facial heating going on...

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Gov: DAB must battle on, despite being old and rubbish

bazza
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Ha!

In this country DAB delivers a bit stream of 128kbps for an MPEG2 codec, limited by what the broadcasters choose to transmit. Comparing that to the UK's FM network, it's not as good as the sound quality that can be got from a good FM receiver with a reasonable signal strength. The coverage is poor in comparison to FM, and in patchy reception areas the quality drops to AM levels of awfulness or disappears entirely. DAB's only plus points is extra stations, if you can get them.

As for not having to tune or faffing with an aerial, what sort of prehistoric FM radio is it that your comparing DAB to? FM radios have had presets and RDS for a very long time now, and the FM transmitter network is very well designed for generally superb reception.

Having said that, I have got DAB in the car, and when I can get it I like R4Extra. I just wished they'd ditched DAB and gone to Digital Radio Mondiale instead.

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Devs still frozen out of Android ice cream source

bazza
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Desparate measures?

Google still desparately trying to fix their mobile strategy?

Android has got to count as the most naive piece of thinking ever. Did they really think that every handset manufacturer out there would pick up the Android source code and build it as is? Were they really convinced that all those send-the-user-to-Google things would remain in every Android handset? That's self believe bordering on being delusional.

Android was becoming a way for handset manufacturers to do a minumum of software engineering to get users to go to their own services, not Google's. Having realised this way too late Google are trying to put the genie back in the bottle but pissing off a large number of people on whom they rely in the process.

And they've still not solved the update problem either. Apple, MS and RIM are all in the position where end users are getting relevant updates pretty easily. Not so with Android. Most Android users are missing out on some pretty critical security updates as a result. That's going to drive it to the cheap end of the market where handsets are more 'disposable'.

And there's at least one stupid gimmick in Android 4. That face recogniser / smile to unlock thing sounds rubbish. Consider this: you've had a terrible day, the markets have crashed, your best friend died, you got soaked in the rain, the trains are cancelled, and all you want to do is phone the wife/husband and get the fire lit so that when you eventually get home you can at least drown the your sorrows in a warm comfy chair in front of some crackling logs with a bottle of whisky to help. And to make that call you have to look at your phone. In good lighting conditions. And smile. And it'll probably be as buggy as hell anyway.

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Apple iOS 5.0 downloads drive all-time UK net traffic high

bazza
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Cache?

Seems that Apple have completely lost contact with storage and network reality. iTunes won't cache, iDevices now seem to wipe their caches (previously stated as being suitable for persisitent on device storage). What's Apple got against harddisks and flash chips at the moment?

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