* Posts by bazza

1926 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

The Node Ahead: JavaScript leaps from browser into future

bazza
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@David Dawson, This is still funny

"Logically prove to me that the best course of action is always the hardest and I'll donate my organs to charity here and now."

Can't be done. You only discover the need for efficiency when the biggest cost becomes power consumption. Power consumption growth tends to have a nasty way of becoming unsustainable and unexpandable as things grow. For example, what if your next round of upgrades is going to mean laying in a £20M power cable to run an extra £1M of servers? So it's something you will have to discover for yourself. Of course, if a business doesn't grow to such sizes then power consumption may never become the biggest issue and the pressure to do things the hard way never builds. Facebook, Google and Twitter all did grow massively, and power is certainly their biggest issue. Google now build their own power stations and sell to electricity consumers when the world is asleep and not doing so many searches!

"Your examples aren't particularly compelling. Facebook did indeed compile PHP. but most of the PHP execution time is in C modules anyway, so they are optimising whats left. True, this emotionally feels imperfect, but at 500 million users, it seems to be holding its own...."

So if PHP is mostly executing in C libraries, why did the feel the need to compile it in the first place? Whatever inefficiencies they had resided in their source code, not in the library routines they were using. They've saved a little bit by elimintating the run time interpreter, but those inefficiencies are still there in the source code. It is holding together, but at what cost to their prfit margin? Their server farm costs must be tens of millions a year, and even a small saving would likely easily pay for a re-write in a more run time efficient language.

"Given 2 theoretical architectures, one scala/ immutable message based, and the other C++ using shared memory with mutexes, semaphore and what not."

Who said anything about shared memory and mutexes? I've been using OS IPC primitives such as pipes for message passing between threads for twenty years. In modern unixes, this sort of pipe:

#include "unistd.h"

int pipe (int filedes[2]);

and Windows

CreatePipe();

People need to read library references more. Fast, very scalable (on unixes and windows they're effectively interchangeable with sockets), very easy, quite well suited to modern CPU architectures that use high speed serial links between CPU cores. This is message passing done at the lowest possible level with the least possible impediment to performance.

The idea in one form or another has been around since 1978 and clever people have been programming that way for many decades now:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicating_sequential_processes

Ah, the happy days of Transputers!

"The correct architectural/ algorithmic decision here will totally rule which solution wins, not the language per se."

Yes, designing for scalability is often important, and message passing between threads and processes is a good way to scale. Most people run away from that sort of architecture to begin with, but are forced in to it sooner or later. But that doesn't dictate language choice. What does dictate language choice is the presures on the bussiness. Up scaling eventually means power consumption becomes the single most costly thing, so C++ or something like it starts looking attractive (if painful). Not up scaling gives one the luxury to indulge using in an easier language. Scala and Node.JS might make using the right sort of architecture easier, but they can't be as runtime efficient as a compiled native application with minimal runtime environment between app and cpu.

"Some things need hyper efficient code that keeps the power usage down; but then, why not use C? or assembly? Heck, use C and GPU/ CUDA or something else to make your system scream? Why the obsession with C++?"

One consequence of message passing in C++ is that really you don't need C++. I tend to use C, and consider threads to be "opaque objects" (I'm not using shared or global memory) with "public interfaces" (I talk to them only through their pipes / sockets). All good object orientated paradigms.

GPUs and CUDA/OpenCL are moderately interesting, but modern GPUs are too powerful. They're fine if you need only one or two because then that's one PC and you can keep them busy. As soon as you need more than can fit in a single PC you're in trouble, because you can't keep them fed by sending data over a LAN; you need something more exotic.

In the branch of the large scale embedded systems world I occupy PowerPC (of all things) is still just about the best thing because of the GFLOPS / cubic foot that you can achieve. Intel aren't far behind and may be on a par with PowerPC now. As I said earlier GPUs aren't bad but you can't efficiently bolt together more than two of them. They're OK if your application is such that you can send them a small amount of data and let them chew on it for a lengthy period of time because then you can match the interconnect performance to the compute power of a GPU. In my domain the interconnect performance is as important as the compute power, and PowerPC (8641D) is very good at interconnect.

Interestingly enough I'm beginning to hear of data centre operators making enquiries about this sort of kit because of the size/power/performance ratios that can be achieved.

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bazza
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WTF?

It's not a fallacy

It's not a fallacy. The only website operator who says that is the one whose site isn't sufficiently popular to force the business owners to properly confront the issues of scaling up. Your comments suggest they you've not yet reached that stage.

Sometimes difficult is best. Lets look at some case history:

Facebook reached a business terminating scale-out problem. They just couldn't make their site any bigger because they'd reached the practical limits of PHP, the platform on which they'd based their site. Solution? Write a compiler to turn PHP in to a compiled, not interpretted language. That can only be described as a massive bodge at best.

Twitter had a similar problem. They reached the limits of what Ruby could do, and plumped for SCALA (a Java-ish thing) instead. That's a little more intelligent than Facebook's solution, but it's still a kludge.

In both cases their early days were driven by the need to make rapid and effective changes to the workings of the website. This was important because to grow the business they had to make quick improvements, otherwise the websites would have perished at the outset. PHP, Ruby, etc. are quite suitable for that. But none of that early development ever factored in the possibility that their websites might grow to world dominating sizes. BIIIIIIG mistake. Just think how much better off they would have been if they had tackled the scale problem at an earlier stage. As it is it's effectively too late for both of them to re-implement properly.

A good example is Google (who really do know about scaling problems). They apparently have a performance metric of searches-per-Watt, because that is the prime cost driver of their business. Just imagine how much money they might save if they could improve that ratio by just a few percent! And indeed, Google's search infrastructure and website code is said to be very, very different to that of any other website's. I gather that Amazon's site has also made use of C++.

As they grow all website based business will ultimately run in to power and size problems. It's not unusual for $0.5M of server kit to cost $1.0M to run per annum. Keep doubling that every year to keep up with growth in the business and it won't be too long before the owners wished they'd spent a couple of million on good C++ engineers a few years back. C/C++ might be hard to implement in, but you do end up with the ultimate in runtime efficiency if it's done properly. Do the workload in the fewest possible CPU clock cycles and you use the least amount of power possible.

It is difficult though. Identifying the point in time in the evolution of a business when it is right to tackle the scale up problem properly is a risky thing. And the rate at which a business (e.g. Facebook) can grow means that the optimum window of opportunity is probably only a couple of months wide. Miss it, and the consequences could prove very limiting indeed.

So this new thing might be a straight forward lurch towards better efficiency for those not prepared to learn a proper performance engineering language like C++. It's use of Javascript condemns it to consuming CPU cycles that more rigid languages like C/C++ don't hide from you. As other commentators have said this is just some young kids reinventing the wheel and hiding the underlying complexity and its oh-so-important inefficiencies from the unknowing and unthinking developer.

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bazza
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PHP will not be your bottleneck?

Really? Ask Facebook about that one...

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bazza
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Old hat indeed

What's scary is that script kiddies of today will one day become old farts like us, and there will be a whole new generation making exactly the same mistakes yet again. The benefit of being an old fart is that at least we can say we invented these things, and everyone else merely got round to reading the bloody text book.

University educators really need to get a grip on what it is they teach. They churn out hoards of young programmers ill-equipped to deal with the real world of power consumption, scale and performance. Until the lecturers recognise that, it'll keep happening.

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bazza
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@ Mark Pawelek

You're a fine example of why websites that grow start costing too much to run.

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Apple shareholders nix disclosure of Jobs succession plan

bazza
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Tasteless...

...But probably realistic.

I wonder if they will start share buy backs, or maybe a dividend payout from one of the largest corporate cash piles in the world.

Apple's business strategy has had the effect of inflating the share price very quickly. I wonder if that has been a deliberate move on Jobs' part? I've often thought that they could have done things differently so as to build a more sustainable business. I can't see how a closed propriatry ecosystem that expensive can survive an influx of cheaper more open alternatives (though Google are making a mess of it and MS are way behind still). But that would have taken longer, time that perhaps he hasn't got. Not necessarily the best thing for the shareholder but understandable perhaps from his personal point of view.

Good or bad, he still deserves our best wishes.

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Oracle: 'Eight Android files are decompiled Oracle code'

bazza
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Reap what you sow

All this was completely unnecessary. I suspect that Google only built Dalvik to try to create a closed app market place so that they collect more revenue. I doubt that any claimed technical benefits are worthwhile from an end users point of view. It's just another virtual machine on an ARM not terribly different from any other.

If they'd just done a normal Java setup, just like everyone else has ever done (apart from Apple), or a just allow native apps, then none of this would have occured. Instead there is this legal question mark hanging over Android. Just imagine the consequences to Android and all those who have bet on it if the US courts put some sort of sales blocks on it? If this court case starts swinging Oracle's way, what are the manufacturers supposed to do?

If Google ultimately lose it will make them look quite careless. Android updates are a joke. Being found to have copied large chunks of someone else's work would be ridiculous. Android's anarchy will ultimately cost end users.

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Windows Phone update wallops Omnia 7

bazza
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Nearly got it right

Well, it seems MS nearly got it right. Not too bad for a first attempt. Apple can't get updates right everytime and they make the hardware their updates are installing on.

Given that MS's entire strategy rests on being able to reliably update handsets they had better find out why this one didn't go perfectly. I suppose they can take comfort from the fact that only one of the handset types seems to have been affected. But the next update had better go just right otherwise it will start looking like a bad idea...

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Microsoft gives Kinect SDK to 'academics, enthusiasts'

bazza
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Not comparable to Sony

Hacking of the Kinect USB protocol can not really be compared to the current row surrounding jailbreaking PS3s. The former can result only in more sales of the Kinects. The latter could result in less sales of PS3 games (though even that is not a given).

MS were pretty quick to state that they didn't mind people sniffing the USB protocol. They must have been pretty pleased in fact. Such enthusiasm could only mean that they had a market success on their hands! The free positive publicity must have been welcome too.

It will be interesting to see if the SDK has more in it than the kits that already been brewed. It would be impressive if it turns out that MS base their SDK on one of the home brewed ones!!

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Cobol cabal will take over THE WORLD Australia

bazza
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Sound advice

Before an educational institution picks a language to teach it should look at the contractors rates that programmers can get.

Java? Two a penny.

C#? Buy one get one free.

Javascript? You want paying???

COBOL. Loads'o'money.

Ada? Name your price.

I'm amazed that anyone wants to use Fortran these days other than the super computing crowd, and aren't they're all academics (= doing it for free???) anyway?

But it's more than just programming languages. How many universities teach semiconductor engineering? Virtually none. I know of a guy who was lucky enough to learn it, and now works freelance for 6 weeks a year before resuming his perpetual cruise round the world on his luxury yacht. A lifestyle superior to that of many a banker, businessman, etc. Yet how many school career advisers would ever suggest that to a pupil as a line of work likely to be profitable?

There will always be pretty good money for engineers and developers who can do the hard and necessary stuff like semiconductors, complicated embedded work, formally developed applications (e.g. air traffic control systems), etc. Learning fashionable things like Javascript, php, perl, etc. just places graduates slap bang in the middle of a pool of millions of others all round the world who know the same thing, and there's precious little reward for them as a result. Websites won't make a train run. Java won't make an aeroplane fly. Perl won't make car ECUs work. Javascript won't make a bank's accounts add up*. The reason old programmers who know how to do these things can get well paid is because there is very little salary competition coming from graduates. The educationalists find it easier and cheaper to teach kids easy and simple things, leaving companies to do the hard training themselves. Now if you can get yourself in to one of those slots as a graduate you can be made for life.

* Before any javascript fans go flying off the handle, I invite them to think about what's involved in getting a bank's sums correct. Humorous jokes at bankers' expense always welcome.

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Steve Jobs unveils 30% subs model for ... everything

bazza
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Anti trust investigation?

One can be but moments away somewhere or other in the world.

Charging a percentage is a bit dum, smacks of profiteering, and is surely designed to allow Apple to corner the market for itself. I would be mightly surprised if Apple charged themselves 30% for their own content distribution.

If they had set a flat rate then it would be easier to believe that they're merely out to recover costs + plus a small margin.

Having said that, my previous experience with on line subscribing to a newspaper's home brewed paid content was deeply unsatisfactory. It smacked of a bunch of amateurs not caring that they had your money but were failing to deliver on their contractural promises. Apple will probably do a much better job than that.

But I doubt that Apple appreciate just how popular Amazon's Kindle is becoming. Everyone I know has one / is going to get one. I know one person with an iPad. The content providers will soon start noticing and wondering whether Amazon are going to screw them as much as Apple are. With colour e-readers (capable of full video too!) just round the corner I think that iSomethings are going to start looking mighty expensive and rubbish for written content.

On the topic of Kindles, their success just goes to show how important getting the content provision right is. Sony have had an e-reader out for ages, didn't do so well because there was no substantial source for books. Amazon got it right; everyone knows that Amazon sells books, so it was no surprise to anyone that they could sell e-reader books too. Sony should have got in to bed with Amazon years ago. Too late now!

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BlackBerry OS 6 – Red Star Rising

bazza
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Torch bearer

Got myself a Torch, and I like it very much. The push messaging is very good indeed, as is the battery life. I went for one from 3 because you get Skype for free too then! The in / out holster thing is very good, the browser is pretty good, I like the choice of touch screen and physical keyboard. I even like the fact that I can download the software dev kit for free and write 'n' run my own apps (not that I've done that yet).

I don't like the fact that you have to buy an app to lock the screen orientation. Pulling out the keyboard locks it in portrait, and often that's what I want. You have to buy an app to allow you to put the phone number of an SMS sender in to an existing contact. It will allow you to create a new contact, but not add to an existing contact - grrr! The camera is OK, but not as good as the one in my old SE C905. I wish the memory card slot was external. I wish that more apps were touch screen aware - Google maps doesn't do pinch zoom (there's soft buttons instead that aren't too bad to use), Opera seems totally unaware of the touch screen and isn't anywhere near as good as the in built browser which I find odd given previous experiences with Opera. The GPS is very good, and the Blackberry maps are certainly alright.

I got the Torch because I couldn't wait for a BB based on QNX. I've looked at QNX as an embedded OS before, and I really like its truly odd architecture. Linus and Tanenbaum might have a thing or two to say about it! I wanted a QNX based BB just for the OS.

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Sony tweets 'secret' key at heart of PS3 jailbreak case

bazza
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the clue is in the name

The public key can be public, and security is assured so long as the private key is truly private.

I don't know about the hack but I imagine that sony haven't been careful enough (a software mistake by the looks of it) in keeping the private key private.

The private and public keys are related, its just that to work out one from the other is terribly hard. But if the method to do so were common public knowledge then one could claim that knowlege of one 'automatically' bestows knowledge of the other. If that method was quick then the crypto scheme is broken and crap and could not reasonably claimed to be a copyright device. But how good does the crypto scheme have to be before it can be claimed to be a copyright device? I bet the dcma doesn't say and even if it did that would not be able to sensibly take into account technical advances. As usual lawyers and judges will be making arbitary decisions about technical 'evidence' with few qualifications to do so.

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Norway to probe Sony's PS3 Linux 'downgrade'

bazza
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not necessarily

Europe's a lot better than the US about having strong consumer protection laws. It's the norm that contractual terms and conditions cannot override national law, even if you've signed up to them. If the Norwegians have a law saying that such practises are unreasonable I see no reason why Sony would win. And if they lose, they'll probably have to pay up or back down. And most legal codes, perhaps even in the US, say that you can do anything you like (such as running Linux) to property that you own.

And as for people caring about OtherOS, you're clearly ignorant of the not entirely surprising widespread use throughout academia of PS3s to get significant computing power on the cheap. Did the academic experience pass you by thus causing you to be unaware of this?

Plenty of other commentators have previously pointed out that Sony's current woes have largely been brought about as a direct result of them taking away OtherOS.

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Apple to 'boot boxed software from retail boutiques'

bazza
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Shareholders?

So it would seem! Though I'm not sure the shareholders would agree. Oh wait, they don't get dividends out of Apple anyway...

Seems to me that the Apple share marketplace has some similarities to a Ponzi scheme. It's the guys holding the shares at the time of a crash who lose out. The set up would appear to be completely dependent on share holder confidence; dent that (e.g. Jobs gets a sniffle) and the price might crash. Would Apple be able to respond with buy back schemes or dividend payouts quickly enough to stop a major crash taking place?

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bazza
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WTF?

Download and app?

Download an app? Oh great. A five minute installation job turns in to an hours long download job, IF you happen to have broadband. Want to install it again? Oh, just wait a few hours for hundreds of megabytes of pointless bloat wend their slow and weary way once more down an overburdened ADSL line. Buy a Mac, it just works. Eventually. If you've got the patience to wait for the damn download. Don't bother if you're on a dial up link.

There must surely be a commercially significant portion of the customer base for whom app downloading just isn't going to work. Very few customers will have a broadband connection fast enough to make installing a large application over the wire as quick as installing from disk.

If cutting costs / increasing profits means losing the pointless posh boxes, why not maximise that return by retaining those bandwidth poor customers? In-store distribution could be made massively cheaper if the store just burnt a DVD on demand from their local server. Most of the licensing problems have already been solved. DVD-Rs are very cheap. It wouldn't need extra staff if planned correctly.

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BlackBerry beats iPhone to top UK smartphone

bazza
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Actually

Angry Birds: N

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bazza
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@Bugs R Us

You need to take a look at the Blackberry Torch 9800.

Touch screen, pinch zoom: Y

Angry Birds: Y

Maps: Y & Y (Blackberry Maps, and Google Maps).

Facebook: Y

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ARM Holdings eager for PC and server expansion

bazza
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re: Server yes but Windows Server

>Not convinced by running Windows on it. I can run a web server on ARM

>with Linux and Apache very well now. If I need W2003 server IIS,

>SQL-Server and Exchange then I'm probably talking about a fairly heavy machine -

I think that MS have a private, unvoiced calculation that ARM based machines will in due course become heavy enough to do all that kind of thing. Consider that there are currently 2 core multi-GHz ARMs available right now, and plenty of manufactureres talking about quad core 2GHz. That's pretty meaty already. 64bit will come in time, but there's not really as much need for it in the ARM world as there was in the inefficient x86 world. ARM aren't gunning for a single big machine that can run all your IIS, SQL Server, etc. They're aiming for you to be able to have a separete machine for all those services and still come in massively more efficient than a single x86 server running the lot.

Putting consumer Windows on to ARM gives MS a head start on putting Windows server on as well (same kernel, libraries, etc). You really can do Linux and Apache right now on ARM, and all it takes is for some data centre operator to say "We tried it and liked it, look at our much reduced electricity bill" for the whole world to see the light and follow suit. Microsoft can't afford to be left without an offering when that day comes round. And it almost certainly will come round, probably sooner than anyone is really expecting.

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bazza
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Not sure about that

MS can't afford to miss this particular bandwagon. As it stands the ARM cart is already moving at quite a lick, kicking up dust, and MS after many years of ignoring the cart's imminent departure are now hanging on to the back desparately trying to climb in where Android, Linux and iOS are already sat. As things stand I think that Google and Apple have made some serious implementation miskates (Google -> anarchy, Apple -> too expensive and restrictive), which does leave MS some room to get a toe hold.

MS didn't really kill the netbook. ARM netbooks currently mean Linux, and despite many improvements Linux does not offer the same complete user experience (drivers, software, etc. Plus Linux is terribly fragmented) that Windows and OSX do. Intel netbooks running Linux don't make sense (why not put an ARM in if you're going to run Linux?), and Intel's Atom is just too power hungry and slow to make the Windows experience worthwhile. MS and Intel do work very closely, but I think that Intel have badly cocked up with Atom and MS are paying a price for their over reliance on them.

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Drive-by exploit slurps sensitive data from Android phones

bazza
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Agreed

It would be good if Andoid did have an updater and vendors operated under an SLA such as that.

Unfortunately I don't see how Google can put the genie back in the lamp now that Android is out there and becoming pervasive. If they were going to try and place an updater on the device they would suddenly run in to the problem of Google having to be totally familiar with the hardware of each and every handset. I don't think that's going to happen. And I don't see how anyone could ever force the vendors (i.e. the networks, not the manufacturers) to stick to an SLA when they're not ultimately in control of the update cycle either.

It is clear Google did little or no thinking at all about the adoption and evolution of Android. They did think about it's usage - they want us to give all our data to them and their cloud so that they can make money charging for the service and apps, and showing us adverts. Unfortunately for them the full commercial potential of that is not going to be realised if Android gains a reputation as being a dodgy place to put all your really valuable data. For example, internet banking is great, but it's a scary enough thing to do even with OS updates, virus checkers, https, firewalls, etc. in place. Now imagine doing internet banking knowing that whatever protection measures are in place are probably buggy and aren't getting fixed? Who would do that?

Reputation is everything. Google will be keen for Android to have a good security reputation. Security researchers are keen to have a reputation for being able to find security problems. If Android starts looking easy to find problems with then expect security researchers to bundle in for the feast. The bug list will grow, and Android starts looking crap. The firey gaze of security researchers and hackers is a truly powerful force. They've put MS through the mill, and maybe MS are emerging stronger for it. There's no reason why Android won't be similary grilled, especially as anyone can see the source code (though in a way I suspect that the hacking tools developed to probe closed source systems like Windows are a more efficient way of attacking open systems like Linux than reading the Linux source code...)

Google also has to get serious about fixing bugs in older versions so that old handsets can be fixed. People are buying these expensive things on 2 year contracts; how pleased are they when six months in they're told that their roms are at the end of the line and that their expensive device is now dangerous to use in the intended way because all their data will get stolen? These things are not PCs, they can't have a bit more memory and a new disk thrown in like a desktop or laptop can. Bug fixing in only the latest version simply cuts off the millions of users who can't upgrade to shiny new hardware yet. How can Google fix that? Assuming the hardware remains too expensive to be disposable, they can't. Not at present, not without taking overall control of the firmware that actually ends up in the roms of peoples' handsets.

Which is exactly what Apple have done, and Microsoft too. MS might benefit significantly - Android has shown that there can be an Apple alternative, and MS might (might?) start looking like a safer alternative to Android. In a way it almost doesn't matter how buggy iOS and WP7 are at the moment; they have the potential to become less buggy (iOS less so than WP7 because Apple are also a hardware vendor and want you to upgrade). Android doesn't.

MS's ARM move could prove a smart thing. No matter what anyone thinks about MS they have come on leaps and bounds in addressing security problems, and are definitely better at it than Apple, Adobe, etc. They can leverage all those years of bug fixes with their Windows port to ARM, slap on the WP7 GUI on top instead of Windows desktop, and if they're lucky get instant step up in the mobile market place.

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Passenger cleared after TSA checkpoint stare-down

bazza
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re: There's really no problem here

Indeed. Given that your credit card company, your bank, the airline, whichever website you booked it through, probably the whole of your Facebook landscape if you're that way inclined, your company if it's a works trip, the rental car company, the hotel you stay in, Skype if you use it, definitely your mobile phone company, the duty free shops either end, any advertisers on websites that you browsed whilst waiting in the lounge, probably Google, Hotmail, etc, your spouse/mistress (delete as appropriate), and maybe all the people all of them are friends with or do business with already know where and when you're going and probably why, what's the big deal with telling which ever government has the thankless task of trying to keep everyone alive, safe and well that you're an ordinary citizen who'd just like to get from A to B with a minimum of fuss?

Having said that, a minimum of fuss would include less officiousness from everyone in a uniform. The single best ever border crossing experience I've ever had was, amazingly, going through the non US channel at Dulles Washington DC. Witty, pleased to see me, a friendly chat and best of luck. Maybe they'd just got laid.

Let me see now, got it here somewhere, gathering dust at the back of my LP collection...scratch, scratch...

>While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,

no not that one, wait a minute, wait a minute,

>Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,

Hmm, maybe that one, but how about this?

>Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,

Yes that's beginning to sound about right,

>As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

Well if that's what floats your boat sport, carry on, but how about this?

>God Bless America

Yes, yes, carry on,

>Land that I love.

Well who doesn't, eh?

>Stand beside her, and guide her

Yes, it's all very well asking for devine assistance and all that, but that doesn't in anyone's prayer book absolve one of some personal responsibility towards one's fellow men, what, old chap?

>Through the night with a light from above.

>From the mountains, to the prairies,

>To the oceans, white with foam

Yes alright old chap, we all know it's a jolly big place. Quite like New England myself

>God bless America, My home sweet home

>God bless America, My home sweet home.

That's the ticket, by jove I think he's got it!

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Apple plotting point-of-sale putsch?

bazza
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london underground

Plus of course there's the problem of the proposed nfc implementation not being quick enough

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/23/oyster_london_nfc/

Not sure that the japanese system is rudimentary - seems to work very well indeed. Admittedly it isn't universal across all shops in the country but seems to be available for a lot of rapid purchase situations - buses, trains, coffees, etc. But whatever Apple comes up with it's not going to work in Japan unless it follows their standards.

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Apple tightens screws on hardware hackers

bazza
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WTF?

Legendary reliability?

Legendary reliability? I hope you're being ironic with that statement.

A mate of mine, and plenty of others too, make good money out of fixing old MACs and selling them on eBay. Often or not he sees the same faults occurring time and time again; crap cheap components mostly. The trend at the moment seems to be display panels failing, which aren't especially economic to repair.

It illustrates the power of the Cult of Apple quite nicely; people spend a lot of money on a fruit theme something or other, and don't appear to mind when it breaks prematurely. Apart from my cousin who was rightly incandescent when her iPad stopped working after 3 months.

Compare that to PCs; I can't remember the last time I saw a PC just fail because of old age (normally dust, user miss-use, the occassional dead hard drive or PSU). And even when they do break they're awfully cheap to repair.

I wonder if Apple truly believe their own legend? I imagine not, and suspect that they take their large sale revenue down to the bank with a little bit of a cackle.

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COBOL drinks from cloudy fountain of youth

bazza
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Pint

I like COBOL

But only because old farts can still get paid high salaries today for programming in a 50 year old language. It means that there's hope for us C/C++ dinosaurs who are looking to retire in twenty years or so!

Can we have an old fart logo please?

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W3C tackles HTML5 confusion with, um, more confusion

bazza
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Not for me

I think I'm going to leave my browser turned down to HTML4.

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Will Windows on ARM sink Windows Phone 7?

bazza
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What about Android / iOS?

Maybe. But with Android and iOS getting such a large market share and with people putting more important data (bank details in the NFC?) on to their precious and increasingly powerful fondle slabs, they're going to be the juicy targets for hackers. There's already an Android botnet doing the rounds in China. And I think it will come as a nasty shock to the Android and iOS communities.

On the other hand Big Windows has been subject to the firey gaze of the hackers for years, and MS have been comparatively good at getting problems fixed and closing off the holes. And for WinPhone7 they've also said that they're issuing updates direct to handsets, not manufacturers or networks. They're much better at that than Apple and Google.

Apple don't bother fixing problems.

Google might fix problems, but the patches cannot be deployed to handsets unless manufacturers and networks are bothered to push them out. Guess what - they're not. Any flaw in Android will persist in large numbers of handsets around the world for years, and that surely has to be the juiciest of all incentives for attackers.

So which of those are going to be the easy targets? Which platform will see discovered problems sorted quickest? Probably not iOS or Android.

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Intel: Microsoft's ARM-on-Windows deal no threat

bazza
Silver badge
Pint

Anonimity not needed?

Surely someone stating such a self-evident truth need not hide behind an AC mask. Not an intel employee are we? But I do wholeheartedly agree with you. Marvell's ARM range, derived from Intel's XScale, is just one of many very nice looking ARM offerings.

Just goes to show how dangerous short-termism driven by shareholder and stock market pressure is. Intel sold XScale to Marvell at a time when Intel were being hammered quite hard by AMD. Intel needed a quick boost to prop up their share price (and executive's bonuses?) and selling XScale fitted the bill. To justify the move they invented this new strategy - Atom being the result - without paying any attention to certain fundemental physical truths:

1) ARM's better code density is always unfailingly going to translate in to lower power and smaller memory sizes;

2) a single ARM core (excluding on chip peripherals) hovers around about a count of 32,000 transistors, and an X86 must be many times that so is alway going to draw more power;

3) Intel's silicon processes are never going to be sufficiently far ahead of the competition to make up for those deficiencies of X86. At least not for very long anyway;

4) No matter what Microsoft were saying, Microsoft's exclusive loyalty to Intel could not be guaranteed. Same goes for Apple if it comes to that;

5) Demand for raw computing power from consumers was never going to keep growing; most desktops were and still are woefully under employed as it is;

6) A lot of data centre workloads are actually about IO performance, not computational power (e.g. Google's supposed use of Via's processors)

7) More tenuously - the need for computing power in the client machine would decline as cloud type services took off, supported by ever increasing internet bandwidths (supplied perhaps by Intel's own WiMax???).

They may indeed have been an element of corporate pride influencing their decision; X86 has been phenomanlly successful. But past success is no indicator of future performance, so the saying goes. Intel haven't developed a new sucessful chip type for many years now. Itanium has been a disaster; AMD did x64, which Intel had to copy; i960 wasn't too popular; anyone remember i860? Have they lost their mojo?

Intel could have used some cold hearted soul searching deep thinking back then and might have realised the 6 or 7 points I outline above. Even if someone in Intel did do that thinking it might have been very hard for that person to get a fair hearing.

I have to say that Acorn (now ARM) did do a phenomally good job all the way back in the 80s. I bet those few engineers had only the wildest dreams about where their architecture might end up, none of which are surely as impressive as today's reality!

Pint - someone deseves a toast for their stunning successes so far

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bazza
Silver badge

Not necessary for MS's strategy

I respectfully submit that such a hybrid is not necessary for MS's strategy.

Firstly, a .NET app wouldn't even need recompilation; the CLR environment for ARM would be perfectly capable of running a .NET app as the CLR environment for x86.

Secondly, ARM (ignoring thumb mode) tends to be a 32bit little endian processor. x86 is 32 bit little endian. If I were to have to recompile source code written for the x86 on another platform, retaining the same bit width and endianness removes 95% of the difficulty (assuming that MS offer the same APIs). It's no where near as hard a job as Apple had when they moved from PowerPC (which they used as big endian) to x86 (little endian). From what I remember reading in the dim and distant past, ARM deliberately chose 32bit little endian in anticipation of MS making this move.

Thirdly, get just a few key apps ported and the rest of the world will follow suit. I would suggest that those key apps might be Office, a browser plus Flash plugin, and maybe something like iTunes. Well, they've already shown Office running and printing. I bet that IE already works, and Firefox would be a doddle (already running on ARM on a number of linux boxes). Adobe are familiar with Flash on ARM already, so that doesn't look like a difficult port. iTunes might be the interesting one; iTunes would make the product more commercially attractive, but that product would likely be aimed fairly and squarely at Apple's own iPad. So would Apple make the port? But then again if a Windows/ARM was a direct competitor, would iTunes really be necessary?

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bazza
Silver badge

Yep!

And then the fragmentation that plagues linux today can carry on for ever and ever and ever.

Ubuntu have their own ARM strategy. I can't see that lasting for very long if MS create a different ARM hardware ecosystem with its own boot mechanisms, memory layouts, etc. I just hope that MS don't try and make an ARM ecosystem and lock it down to Window only.

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bazza
Silver badge

Maybe, but...

...I think a lot hinges on how well MS support people in recompiling their apps. Getting Visual Studio to build binaries for one or the other would be a jolly good first step. Indeed I reckon that they must already have an internal version doing just that, otherwise how else would they have done their demos?

I don't think that an x86 emulation layer is a good idea; it'll either be dead slow, or if harware accelerated it wouldn't be low power (it would be an x86, so what'd be the point!).

Devs are hard pressed, which is why it'll be interesting to see just how much support the build tools start including for ARM. If MS start putting out cheap tools targetting ARM and x86 in the next few months, then the dev community could start drawing some comforting conclusions about MS's seriousness in helping. That's similar to what Apple did with their tools - capable of building binaries for both PowerPC and x86 from the same source code. MS have an easier job - x86 and ARM are both 32bit little endian. MS said that the driver for the Epson printer they used in the demo was recompiled by Epson with minimal effort, so the omens are good.

As for it being worth their time? Well, if MS's strategy starts succeeding then it probably will be worth their while. Office already seems to work, a browser is an inevitability; that, and some kind of media thingy, probably caters for a large portion of Joe Public's day to day computing needs already.

0
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Google pinpoints bugs that send texts to wrong people

bazza
Silver badge
FAIL

Bug fix? Yeah right

So Google have found a couple of bugs. Presuming Google actually fix those bugs, how long before the update rolls out to each and every Android phone / slab out there? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month?

Android's biggest problem is that such an update won't make it to the majority of users because the manufacturers and network operators won't / can't / don't want to push updates out. They'd far rather you bought another phone. Sounds like a rip off to me.

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Microsoft embraces ARM with Windows 8

bazza
Silver badge

About time too

About time too. Intel have been dragging their feet on properly low power implementations ever since they sold StrongARM/XSCALE to Marvell.

It will be interesting to see how Apple respond. Their only offering for a low power mobile computer kind of thing is the iPad. A closed, restricted, feature poor device; no USB, memory card slot, hideously expensive 3G add-on, etc..

A Win8/ARM offering could be all that the iPad is, but with lots of features, and an its-up-to-you-what-you-do-with-it attitude, and would probably be cheaper. Surely that would make Apple's controlling attitude look commercially unattractive.

So how could Apple respond? They would have to do the same thing - offer tablets with Mac OSX on it, not the crappy locked down iOS. But surely that would mean losing complete control over what users do with their hardware, wouldn't it? And that wouldn't not be a good thing for iTunes, surely? Besides, Apple have been neglecting OSX recently.

And Android would start looking a bit rubbish as well. What would a business user prefer; a Win8/ARM device fully integrated in to your existing corporate setup (Office, Win8, etc. etc), or a Linux derived device with no Linux apps (just weird Android apps) and a terrible OS software update mechanism? The former, I would imagine. I think Google have made a terrible mistake with Android; they don't control updates of devices that people already have. That makes it unattractive as a long lived computing platform because it is terribly vulnerable to security problems. This limits it to a disposable device market like mobile phones; got a problem with it, chuck it in the bin and buy the new one.

What would be even more interesting is if MS bolt WP7's user interface on top of Win8/ARM, and offer it as a phone OS. Then they could finally ditch the woefully crap WinCE...

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Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

bazza
Silver badge

Not such a good idea...

They're commercial, not government. They are used to produce information on how jammed up various routes have become. That ultimately turns in to traffic reports on the radio, live traffic data for your sat nav, etc. etc. That is USEFUL.

I know an engineer who actually worked on the traffic monitoring camera system (i.e. the blue cameras you see by the side of roads, on bridges, etc). It seems that the company had to jump through many many legal hoops to show that their network really did collect just a few digits from each number plate (not the whole thing), and disposed of it properly rather than storing it when the average speed had been calculated, and at no point had enough data to identify individual cars.

Labour's idea would require a significant change in the data protection laws to permit the cameras to 'see' the whole number plate, and significant technical modifications to the system to allow it to actually generate the vast data set needed for processing in order to deliver the information. And the prizes are probably shite anyway.

0
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Microsoft ARMs Windows for iPad assault (allegedly)

bazza
Silver badge

Possibly not splintered

The point of MS porting Win7 to ARM would be so that tablets and anything else based on it wouldn't have to use the godawful WinCE. Getting rid of WinCE would surely make the world a nicer place. Proper Windows on ARM would give MS an offering not dissimilar to Linux - one API, many platforms, go compile to suit.

Ballmer and Gate's claim that Linux is splintered is surely based on the fact that there are so many different distributions of Linux, all different, all slightly not compatible. I use Linux (mostly Ubuntu) but it's irritating that the Linux ecosystem is riven by stupid and pointless differences of opinion.

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bazza
Silver badge
Linux

not that big a leap

Errm, ever thought that Adobe may just re-compile it? Besides, Flash is already on ARM under Android. I don't think that Adobe would have much trouble doing the port beyond the problems they create for themselves anyway.

On the wider point, re-compilation stands a good chance of just working. ARM is generally (always???) little endian, so not many problems there. And I suppose MS's official answer would be that one should be writing in .NET, in which case you wouldn't even need to re-compile the app. Any apps written in any kind of interpretted language (Java, Python, Javascript. Will they port BASICA?!?!) would just continue working as normal.

So if the Win ARM market takes off I don't see why app developers wouldn't be able to just re-compile and make it available. That's pretty much what has happened during everyone else's platform migration phase. There is a dependency on the app developer, and not really much of one on MS (provided they get the libs and dev tools right). Having the source would mean that anyone could do the port, but then that'd likely be beyond a high percentage of Windows users anyway. HP had to work very hard to get developers to bother to recompile their HPUX apps for Itanium, but that was largely because no-one could raise any enthusiasm whatsoever for the soon-to-be-sunk and completely pointless dogs dinner of a chip that is Itanic. In fact I can't remember the last time The Reg did an article about Itanic!

I remember reading years and years ago why ARM went little endian, and the answer did have an MS angle to it. That might yet prove to be a wise choice, at least from a commercial point of view.

Judging by your chosen logo I'm guessing that your a Linux user. I use both. Linux of course is already available for ARM with all the software pretty much available and ready to roll. The LINARM pitch is clearly a massive threat to WINTEL in the server market, just because of the large power savings that are likely to be made. I think that more than anything has prompted MS to look afresh at ARM. It smacks of MS deciding that the WINTEL arrangement is suddenly no longer a sure fire winner. With WINARM Microsoft's commercial position may survive. I'm pretty sure that Intel are in trouble.

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bazza
Silver badge

Missing the point

>word comes a mere decade into a new millennium of a great and new

>Windows Embedded Standard may yet be born into loving ARMs

You're missing the point. Mobile devices have stopped being 'embedded' and are rapidly heading towards being general purpose computing platforms, just like a PC or MAC are today. Indeed it is only the artificial barriers raised by Google and especially St. Jobs that prevents them being almost general purpose platforms already.

MS were caught out by that - hence WinCE's continued existence - but are showing signs of having realised that and would seem to be addressing it. If they can move Win7 to ARM then I think they will have a very strong offering on mobiles, desktops and servers. What would you buy - a Win7 ARM device that lets you run anything you want, even Flash, or stick with an IOS device from Apple that will run only things that Steve Jobs approves of, and only then (most of the time) one at a time?

Would you buy a 200Watt+ server based on an intel chip, or a 20Watt server that does the same job but runs an ARM?

Unless you're playing games at home, do you really need the horsepower of an i5 just for a bit of browsing, emailing and video watching? Or would something smaller and cheaper be acceptable?

Not that ARMs are particularly slow these days - Marvell, Qualcomm and TI devices in particular are looking pretty pokey - quad cores on the way dual cores already, multiple GHz already, power levels that Atom can only dream of.

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bazza
Silver badge

Errr

>WinCE was never intended to be used on ipad-like devices, just PDAs, phones etc.

So when is a PDA not a tablet? When you remove the keyboard? I've had WinCE based PDAs (not through choice) and they were universally crap. With or without a keyboard, they've been junk. I don't see how screen size (which afterall is the only difference between a PDA and a tablet) would make that piece of junk any better or worse.

WinCE really is a terrible operating system. It's nasty to develop for. Ever tried putting it on your own hardware? And it gets so many things so very badly wrong. Even simple things like Time-of-Day it can't get right, or even consistent, especially when considering alarms in other daylight savings zones. Admittedly other OSes have had some problems, but at least in their case it's bugs not the actual design that causes the problems.

If MS put half the effort they applied to Win7 into WinCE it would be much better. The new Win Phone7 does look nicer (very nice actually, I think), but it's still WinCE under the hood with all it's terrible, terrible nasties. They've a lot to do before WinCE becomes anything like halfway decent. Perhaps even MS have finally decided that WinCE is inevitably junk and that a port of Win7 is the only sensible thing to do?

>Real Windows won't be coming to cell phones etc any time soon.

What do you mean by 'real windows'? Sure, you're not going to get a full Win7 desktop on a phone, the screen is too small. But if they took the guts of Win7, stripped them down to only that which is necessary to support a phone GUI (i.e. kernel. some essential services, etc) then I think that MS would have the foundations of a very good and varied offering. Especially if they can point to commonality across mobile, desktop and server running on intel and arm.

Other commentators have said that this can only be good news for ARM. It certainly is! Who really needs the hulking great performance of an intel chip on their desktop? Gamers do, maybe a few scientists, but that's about it. It may be that everyone else is quite content with a quad core 1GHz ARM based desktop running Windows 7 consuming 5Watts. Server operators will likely be quite content with a low power CPU coupled to the same IO hardware running their software stack - likely to save them an absolute bundle in electricity bills.

It is indeed bad news for Intel. Atom hasn't taken off anything like as they'd hoped. They're still many Watts short of breaking in to the phone market. It's especially embarrassing for them considering that they voluntarily **SOLD** their ARM development line to Marvell at a low-ish price, who must surely be rubbing their hands in glee. Intel had the opportunity to define and lead a new PC standard based on ARM, but didn't. Sounds like MS are going to do it for them.

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Windows 7 really was some girl's idea, rules ASA

bazza
Silver badge

You're missing the point

Any UK internet connected computer capable of playing streamed flash, running iPlayer, etc. etc. requires a TV license. That would include an ancient old PC running Win95, any iPhone, Macs of many generations, even my Sony Ericsson C905 Symbian phone. There is nothing special about Win7 in that regard. And yes, the likes of Dixons, etc. are obliged to pass your name / address on anyway.

If you're worried about the extortionate rates of a license I suggest you take a look at TV from other countries and decide whether you'd prefer that instead. But if you're UK based you have got a license haven't you? You're not freeloading off the rest of us are you?

0
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Top secret payload fired into orbit aboard private rocket

bazza
Silver badge
Happy

Nope...

I Love French cheese a lot!

Perhaps the Martians should be relieved that Musk didn't launch a Stinking Bishop. I don't think that Wikipedia's entry describing this cheese as having a "distinctive odour" comes anywhere close to the olfactory reality:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinking_Bishop_cheese

Chili's have the Scoville scale. Why can't there something similar for a cheese's aroma, the basis being the number of miles of space vacuum required to bring the smell down to an undetectable level. I've been in the same room as some Camemberts that would surely rate somewhere near 1 Astronomical Units.

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bazza
Silver badge

On the space station? Really?

That's just what you want in a confined, sealed tin can of a space station hundreds of miles above the earth with no possibility of opening the windows to get some fresh air. A smelly, French cheese. A pongy, stinky, slimey, smell-that-goes-through-glass French cheese. Especially one that's been nicely warmed up on top of a large rocket. I would imagine that the smell of old socks is bad enough, but adding such an olfactary assault in to the already much over used air of the space station could be the very last straw. Some vital piece of equipment may just break, melt, or develop sentience and drop off seeking a fresher orbit of its own.

And another thing. When they send missions off to Mars the rocket men have to get rid of as much bacteria as possible from the probe to avoid contaminating the Martian environment. No one wants to look for life on Mars and then discover that we'd already introduced it. Hasn't Musk just rendered all those precautions pointless by bring such a collection of virulant and deadly bacteria within only a few tens of millions of miles of these hitherto pristine environments?

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Stealing credit card details via NFC is easy/pointless

bazza
Silver badge

No card necessary

The only practical advantage NFC can have over existing chip 'n' pin readers is that the 'card' need not actually be a card. It could be a mobile phone. Japan already uses mobiles for this purpose, and you can link it in to your mobile billing to keep it topped up. It is quite neat and handy, you're never short of loose change.

Of course, that does nothing to prevent skimming. However the phone could act as a management app for the NFC payments. You could get a listing of all transactions anytime anywhere, so you might be able to rapidly spot dodgy transactions. Also the phone could turn off the NFC part whilst, for example, your phone keypad is locked. That would do a pretty good job of preventing skimming. I think that some of (if not all) of these possiblities are already on Japanese mobiles.

Personally speaking I agree with yourself - cash is straight forward and the worse that can happen is losing it. I don't see why a card needs to be NFC. We're quite good at putting cards in slots at the moment, so why does that aspect of their use need to change? The only true benefit of NFC is that something other than a card, like a mobile, can do the job instead.

2
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Google speeds Chrome JavaScript engine with 'Crankshaft'

bazza
Silver badge

Really?

>It would sound like javascript is about to be on par with native code.

I don't think so. Java and .NET are no where near as quick as a properly written native C/C++ app, and I can't see that there's anything special about Javascript that makes its JIT compiler any better. My own benchmarking on some relatively modest maths loops has .NET being 80 times slower than a properly written C equivalent. Just because someone's Javascript app is udpating in the blink of an eye doesn't mean to say that it's as quick as a native app. Eye blinks are really quite slow.

0
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Selling Apples to Japan: Complicated as a Nipponese typewriter

bazza
Silver badge

Psion 5

My brother lived in Tokyo for years, around about when the Psion 5 was shiny and new. So he got one, and a selection of third party tools that allowed him to handle Japanese text on it. It was terrific, apparently. He could travel round Japan with his Psion 5 and a mobile phone, do all his email, spreadsheeting and word processing in both Japanese and English and carry it all in his pockets [remember the 5's keyboard was pretty handy, and not really bettered yet for such small devices]. That's personally pretty valueable when you look at their trains in the rush hour. It's still pretty difficult / impossible to replicate that level of portability do today.

His Japanese colleagues looked on in envy. They had to lug around heavy laptops running Japanese versions of Windows, etc. The reason? Psion neven made a version of the 5 series that was natively Japanese. The Japanese part was through third party apps only. So it was impossible for someone who spoke only Japanese to use a Psion 5.

If Psion had done a Japanese version of the Psion 5 they would have sold millions of them in Japan, no trouble at all. Opportunity missed, definitely.

0
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How I invented Desktop Publishing

bazza
Silver badge

ASR-33

I saw that photo of the Teletype keyboard and immediately went on to ebay to see if there's one for sale. Alas, not one. Ah, the happy days of setting a print job running and then going to have dinner whilst the Teletype thundered away in the attic making the whole house shake. The little ding that gave inadequate warning of the tremendous thump of a truly proper carriage return can not be bettered, especially in conjunction with my mother's cooking. The huge piles of scrap paper tape spewed out when the puncher went wrong, and the fun the cat had trying to fight it's way out of it. Learning the mistake that was dropping the little chad hopper underneath the puncher when it was almost full. The smell of machine oil that would drift from the machine after you'd printed a few dozen pages. The tremendous 'clack' when you pressed a key, none of this soft touch malarky. The amusement of editting text files on a PC through a Teletype on a serial port using Edlin.

Do I need help? I think I need a Teletype!

1
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iOS 4.2 multi-tasking comes to the iPad

bazza
Silver badge

Brilliant indeed

To boast about bringing multitasking to the world when just about every other platform out there has been doing it one way or another for a decade or more is a bit crazy.

I can sort of understand Apple's point. At the moment willy nilly multi-tasking is a battery killer and it does take disciplined programming to make sure that your app doesn't burn electrons unnecessarily. Symbian foundered on the rock of trying to impose discipline on programmers. Apple are sort of constricting what programmers can do. Android, so far as I know, doesn't stop anyone doing anything really, and I bet that there's a lot of flat Android batteries out there by the end of the day.

So what's really needed is a platform that can do an arbitary amount of multitasking all day, every day on a single charge. Heck, what's wrong with two days on a single charge? No one can do that at the moment. But not long ago no one could do any of this at all in a hand-sized portable device. So we have progress. But who will be the first to get to the golden goal of running all day? Apple? Android? Windows Phone 7? Symbian (cough)?.

There's plenty of competition in the Android space, and battery life will always be a killer selling point. So that competition will likely drive the Android manufacturers down a fairly rapid development race towards even lower power consumption / higher battery capacities. So Android may get there first. But Android handsets are by and large made from off the shelf bits that anyone (ish) can buy, including Apple. So Apple can sit back looking pretty whilst everyone else does the R&D necessary to pull of a truly all-day handset, pick up the chips, and push out a comparable handset with all the attendant Apple blingishness. The WP7 phones can pick up on the components too.

So one day the question of whether to enable multi-tasking will be completely irrelevant. But not yet. Personally I consider a Symbian platform with well written apps (and I include the GUI in that) to be the best technical solution out there at the moment. It's a shame that no such thing actually exists, because if it did I think we'd already be at the point of having whole-day operation.

1
1

GSMA opens the way for Apple SIM

bazza
Silver badge

Completely correct

You are completely correct. No software only security mechanism, least of all one from Apple, has stood the test of time.

Hacking SIMs is not impossible, but the amount of effort and the cost of the equipment needed to do so almost certainly isn't worth it. No point spending £ks+ just to hack someone else's SIM so that you can get a few free calls against their account. That's why it hasn't happened.

But if the effort were suddenly no harder than downloading some clever app, every nefariously minded person out there will be able to do it at no cost. So it will happen a lot.

So will a network go along with this? It's a mighty big gamble. In effect they will be placing the security of their billing and revenue systems in the hands of someone else like Apple. Apple get that wrong, O2 (or whoever) and their customers will lose out. Where is the commercial incentive for Apple or any other manufacturer to get it right? Almost entirely non-existent.

And what happens if your phone goes flat, breaks or crashes? Apple phones have not exactly been famously immune from such problems, nor has Android, Symbian, or anything else. So when your phone stops working, how do you get your standby emergency old handset going with your phone number? At the moment you just put the SIM in and off you go. But with a software SIM, no doubt heavily locked away and not easily accessed at the best of times, you won't be able to do that.

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Exposed: leaked body scans published online

bazza
Silver badge
WTF?

Inevitable

User Requirement:

Must not be able to save pictures

Contractor response:

OK

Resulting Design Feature:

Quick, go and hide the save button deep in some engineering menu, don't tell anyone it's there.

User Verification Test:

Can't see a save button on the screen. I don't need to know what an engineering menu is.

User Acceptance:

Looks alright to me.

Honestly, how hard would it be to put a lock on the case of the machine, glue up all the USB ports and not fit an optical drive? At least doing that would force the pervs to take photos of the screen instead.

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The 99p mobile phone: What's the catch?

bazza
Silver badge

Best phone EVER

Nokia 6310i? Absolutely the best phone ever. By comparison everything since has been a terrible combination of rubbish phone and feeble, pathetic and pointless PDA. Especially the iPhone.

I still mourne mine.

My sixty-three ten i

At last began to die

No signal was found

Interred in the ground

For my Noki I sometimes still cry.

Seriously Nokia - just make the bloody thing again. You'd sell milions of them! Maybe a colour screen, but just that OK? Nothing else different. Same software, exactement le meme, savi?

3
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Adobe Flash foils MacBook Air battery life

bazza
Silver badge

Comparison?

Has anyone done a battery life comparison of stock OSX / Safari / flashblocker against Win7 / Firefox / Adblock bootcamped on to the new Air? (I ask that not even knowing if Win7 can be put on the new Air...)

Anyway Apple are beginning to go into the ad business. How are they going to ensure that animated catchy ads delivered Apple's way aren't going to drain the battery life just as much as Adobe's way does? I can't see creative types agreeing to re-implement their ads as compiled ObjC code, which is pretty much the only way to improve on some scripted interpretted thing. So it will have to be Flash-esque, so likely similarly wasteful. The difference will be that Apple probably won't let you turn their ads off...

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