* Posts by the spectacularly refined chap

721 posts • joined 27 Dec 2008

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Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Nonsense

So wrong and you don't even understand why.

I'm writing this on the laptop for which I had a new LCD installed a few weeks back after many years of prior use. It's still going strong. Why should it be replaced?

Fine. So what? Do you want us to be impressed by your resourcefulness or canniness? I'm not, I've followed the same approach. That doesn't make anyone who wants anything different wrong. Too many people here complain they can't dismantle things or replace parts, or don't have the portage they want in one thread, and then engage in techo-masturbation over a device that's 1mm thinner or half an ounce lighter in another. They work largely work against each other so a choice has to be made. Make whatever choice you want - I don't care. I do object to the selfish attitude - "It isn't what I want, so no-one else should be allowed to buy one either."

A fairly comparable situation came up over the last few months with my mother and myself. We were both looking for new desktops, both decided in favour of SFF systems. Both expect a system to last 5-10 years. My own would fit what I suspect many here would go for - made out of standard off the shelf components I can easily replace any component whenever I like. Cost about £250, not overly powerful but good enough and hell, I can replace the ITX board with a new one in 2 or 3 years for another £100.

My Mum's not going to do that. At most her system may get a memory upgrade during its life. She also wanted a name brand - you can argue about that but it is what she wanted. Cost of her new HP - about £450. To be fair you can dismantle it but the components are generally non-standard so forget any notion of a mid life update - upgrading memory or SSD, or replacing the ODD are about your limit. Yes, it was £200 more expensive but it's a lot more powerful - I suggested that spec for her bearing in mind it would have to last a decent period without upgrades. I knew about the limited scope for replacement parts before I suggested it, but it doesn't change the fact that it's the right machine for her. Why should she be forced to buy something less suitable based on your preferences?

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Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: First of all

It's the same for GP's, all on different systems. Centralise IT at least and half these problems will go away, surely?

GPs will be on one of four clinical systems. EMIS has over half the market. Add SystmOne and you are over 90%. The other two are fighting over the scraps. Regardless, that's hardly "all different systems" and yes, they all interoperate to a greater or lesser extent.

Having seen this at health authority and at national level I concluded most of the problems are cultural rather than technological, in particular the obsession with confidentiality.

GPs can't directly see the spine entries for their own patients, they can't even look up their NHS numbers for themselves but are instead dependant on the health authority or primary care support services.

Even then, up until around the millennium NHS numbers were not national at all but allocated independently by each local health authority. Move between authorities and you'd get a new NHS number. Even now, with "national" NHS numbers and at the level of national administration, those within NHS England can't see the records of NHS Scotland and vice versa and so on.

All this adds up to a lot of scope for data mismatches and duplicate accounts: it is a wonder systems like GP2GP (which transfers computer records between practices) work at all.

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'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: FAT is still used widely

"32 Gb USB key"

These days we generally call that a 4GB USB key. Very few people measire in bits...

Apart from the entire comms industry. With all these mock stories of paper tape and 8" floppies it's easy to forget that the real mark of a noob is to assume that a byte must somehow invariably be eight bits long.

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Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

the spectacularly refined chap

If we are that much more productive - how come we dont get fridays off?

Your hours have gone down. Slowly, over generations so you don't necessarily notice. I recall reading something about the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway c.1900 who were regarded as a model employer because of the sheer generosity of their terms. Working hours for clerical staff: 8-6 Mon-Sat. A very generous three days paid leave and the option of another three unpaid allowing an entire week off.

That was a long time ago, but look at similar terms even the postwar period and they will still surprise you. You already have it easy. Nothing will ever be good enough for the chronic slacker.

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PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: P is for PayPoint

Be careful when being pedantic because there is always the risk of coming across as a self important knob if it is yourself in the wrong.

It is correct if deconstructed as a three clause sentence rather than two, i.e. They're names, sound similar, and they are both in the payments industry. Since that is the only correct way to parse that sentence it's you that can't read, not the poster that can't write.

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Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Actions == consequences

I don't believe the Aussies get a veto on where we send him to, if and when we eventually deport him somewhere.

That was my understanding too based on commentary by qualified legal counsel on previous events. Specifically, he would have been safer in Sweden against supposed extradition to the US. If extradited to Sweden a condition would automatically be attached preventing subsequent re-extradition without explicit UK consent. Over here he can be extradited without fourth party involvement.

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For now, GNU GPL is an enforceable contract, says US federal judge

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Technical Point @frank ly

The price is THE SOURCE CODE OF YOUR MODIFICATION(s). FREE FOR ALL. Under the GPL.

I suggest you read the license, because this comes across as ill-informed zealotry rather than an informed considered position. You do not have to give everyone access to your source code - the only requirement is you have to give the source to the people you distribute the software to and are unable to restrict them from further redistribution - you have no obligations whatsoever to third parties.

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IBM wheels out bleedin' big 15TB tape drive

the spectacularly refined chap

Cuts != losses. Declining revenues != losses. LOOK at the figures, e.g. https://www.ibm.com/investor/events/earnings/1q17.html A PROFIT of $2.3bn in the first quarter. It is the same across the board.

What do you do there? The lady or the post boy?

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the spectacularly refined chap

Yes, over those twenty quarters the losses are very consistent. As in:

  • Made shit loads of profit
  • Made shit loads of profit
  • Made shit loads of profit
  • Made shit loads of profit
etc etc.

So you don't really care about the drive? Of course not - you'd much rather miss the point of an entire series of articles and bash on about something you know nothing about.

Yes, the drive itself is mildly interesting if you want that sort of thing, but personally I'd still tend to stick with LTO for those things not on D2D.

As a side point - when did ordered lists disappear from the allowed HTML syntax?

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Email client lib blown apart by CC: list of death

the spectacularly refined chap

If it's C then things are not always that straightforward. No exception handling complicates how to indicate problems massively, particularly if the target domain of the result covers all values of the return type, and the function simply can't throw an error if its preconditions are satisfied. Constantly checking prerequisites introduces a lot of red tape which obscures the proper operation risking more bugs, and breaks a central principal of design by contract.

Put another way, in C for well written code this often becomes 1) check preconditions 2) call function via needlessly cumbersome invocation 3) function does it's own checks which can't fail due to the checks already done 4) caller now checks result which is also a waste of time because of those same initial checks.

Now for badly written code: what makes you think they'll bother with 4) after skipping step 1)?

By all means drop a few assert()s in there to catch problems in debug trim, they are nowhere near as intrusive and can greatly help self documentation. But adjusting things at the API level and repeatedly testing the same thing wastes time and space and risks introducing more problems by obscuring correct operation.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Paper yes...

Once had a user who'd run out of the special (and expensive) laser printer acetates and decided to use some designed more for writing on with pens. One destroyed cartridge.

I call either bollocks or ineptness. The film only enters the fuser unit after it has passed the drum so no, it won't melt there. The other possibility is loose toner by failing to adhere on the uncoated film. That will take perhaps 10-20 pages of dodgy printing to work itself. So, I could understand a gummed up fuser or rear rollers, but no, never a cartridge.

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Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: RICO act

You are interpreting that incorrectly. Substitute "within" for "over" if you prefer - it doesn't change the meaning one iota. Two acts in six months would fulfill the over ten years criterion even if the entity concerned has only existed for one of those ten years.

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Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: TV Ads

No, by definition +10dB is a tenfold increase. For a doubling:

10 log10 2 = ???

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: So this patent dates from 1999 and is therefor 18 years old.

Before the patent system got out of control algorithms were the only element of software was patentable. RSA and GIF compression come immediately to mind. In both cases, yes, it was the actual algorithm that was patented.

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the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Personal opinion

Second issue: Vagueness for maximum litigation options - Most of the patents out there, especially around software and design, are so vague that it covers a broad spectrum of existing products.

That would be easily tackled if there was political will by a adopting an "all or nothing" approach to patent claims. It seems most dubious patents begin with something specific and then the claims generalise it into anything tangentially related. If those extended claims include anything for which prior art can be shown rule the entire patent invalid.

You might end up with specific, focused patents that actually describe the purported invention as as result.

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Solaris admins! Look out – working remote root exploit leaked in Shadow Brokers dump

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Solaris?

I can't say I'm remotely surprised. These days if you're running Solaris, especially on workstations, it's likely something quite specialised, and the OS often gets viewed as a for the life of the machine thing. Sun's historic licensing policies tended to reinforce that view, yes they opened it up considerably towards the end of their days but the attitude tends to stick.

Sun and now Oracle hardware is good stuff, and if the system is running some oddball or bespoke control app it could well stay in use for a long time.

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Huawei's just changed the way you'll use Android

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: The button I miss and want

is the forward one. I use it all the time on my Win computers, and sorely miss it on my phones. It is such a pain to back up, realize you shouldn't have, and be forced to re-enter all that data again to get back to where you just were...

Android/Chrome: bring up the browser menu, i.e. scroll up if needed to make the address bar visible, press the three vertical dots. The forward button the leftmost icon on that mini toolbar above the textual menu items.

No, you weren't being thick, it isn't done in a particularly discoverable way.

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Intel swallows Tesla-hating self-driving car biz Mobileye for $15bn

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: A.I. is hard...

Or that odd thumping noise, indicating a tire is about to go BANG.

No, computers have the edge there - it's the less easily controlled outside world that is problematic. I've lost count of the times I've been watching Formula 1 and hearing a pit message "Come in this lap, you have a puncture" - the team can see it on telemetry long before even professional racing drivers can feel it.

F1 cars have large amounts of sensors onboard of course, but try plugging one of those OBD plugs in to your car with the proper software on your laptop. You'll be surprised how many sensors are already installed on modern cars.

I doubt you could follow 100+ dials even if they were fitted to your dash. No such problem for a computer.

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Co-op Bank up for sale while customers still feel effects of its creaking IT

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Shame if they go

In this context I would assume Federation of Small Businesses rather than the Russian secret police.

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Crack in black: Matte iPhones losing paint at alarming rate, gripe fans

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: New AppleCare Support Tier: Go away complainy-pants

They're not. AFAIK nothing is locked any more. My current phone was not locked, ever. My previous phone was locked, and after a year Sprint unlocked it for the low, low price of asking for it to be unlocked.

Not true universally. I did a brief stint as tech support with T-Mob USA. Their handsets were always locked. They would unlock on request provided the device was paid for in full. Outstanding credit on it - no dice.

I would assume most other carriers are at least as strict, T-Mob tended to be kinder to the customer than average in that sort of thing at least.

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NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

the spectacularly refined chap

The catch is that the air pressure on the surface of Mars is only around 600 Pa. That's near water's Triple Point of 273K & 611Pa. And since the surface temperature of Mars right now is well below 273K, and that the surface temperature has mostly gone UP over history...

Be wary of extrapolating averages into universal facts. The average pressure on Mars is indeed too low to support liquid water, however there are a number of deep land lows where the pressure is substantially higher, well over 1000Pa in places. Similarly, the temperature is a little low on average, but we know that the temperature e.g. at noon on the equator is warm enough to be quite comfortable even in a t-shirt and shorts. These are well established facts derived from actual measurements, not theory. On your own premises they are enough to dismiss your concrete assertion of "no possibility of liquid water being on Mars".

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We don't want to alarm you, but PostScript makes your printer an attack vector

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Mac display

Still trying to figure out why you mention the display?

NeXT from which MacOS is derived used Display PostScript under the window system so that would have been vulnerable. I'm no expert on Macs but I believe that got reworked and switched to PDF for a superficially similar role in OS X. No, that wouldn't be vulnerable - PDF doesn't have the same generality as PostScript, and lacks decision making and flow control constructs, you just get the basic drawing operators.

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H0LiCOW! Hubble's constant update paves way for 'new physics'

the spectacularly refined chap

No, it's actually true in both senses. The current value keeps getting revised but that Nobel prize mentioned at the bottom was for establishing it isn't a constant at all, but getting larger over time.

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Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Why don't I just mosey on down and rob the bank @ x 7

On a per-capita population basis this is the same order of magnitude as similar UK benefits costs which total around £80bn a year.

I don't know where you have got your figures from but they are well off. £80bn doesn't even cover pension costs. https://fullfact.org/economy/welfare-budget/ breaks down the figures and arrives at a total of £217bn.

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2016 just got a tiny bit longer. Gee, thanks, time lords

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: There have been 27 of them since 1971

Well, there are a couple of ordinary analogue clocks here. I'm going to have to adjust those manually.

But being serious...

That's perfectly serious for me. I make a point of keeping my wristwatch within one second of the correct time so there is never any debate about if something is late etc. It's easy enough to maintain in practice since it naturally gains at a known rate of ~200ms per week. I do need to specifically account for leap seconds though.

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MH370 hunters call for new search of extra 25,000km2

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Congratulations!

No, they are just data. Data is a plural.

Do I get a prize?

No, it's a mass not a plural noun. "Four data" is meaningless - you have to have some units in there.

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Samsung, the Angel of Death: Exploding Note 7 phones will be bricked

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Personal safety and a dangerous precident

The whole thing is just ridiculous, why would you keep the device with such a staggeringly dangerous potential defect?

It doesn't matter: it is still the individual's choice. It is not for you, me, Samsung or anyone else to take that choice away from the owner. If I sell you my car only to decide a few days later I really shouldn't have done so and want it back, but don't worry, I'll give you your money back, you are free to accept the deal. You are also entitled to say "I'll sell it back for ten times what I paid" or more firmly a simple "No, it's mine now." That is the right over property that comes with ownership. The fact that the product is faulty does not diminish that right.

I don't have an affected handset - personally I fail to see why anyone would spend so much on a bloody phone - but if I did this would simply make me dig my heels in the ground. I decide what happens to my property. If you vandalise it (what other term is there?) I will sue. Not for the purchase price of the device but the cost of an acceptable, functionally comparable replacement. If that costs thousands (or indeed has to be specially developed for me) I'll send you a bill. If that's a bit rich for you don't engage in criminality in the first place.

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PoisonTap fools your PC into thinking the whole internet lives in an rPi

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: This is exactly how things are designed to work

"regarding Linux you are wrong, wrong and wrong"

Only up to a point. As you say it's DHCP rather than the desktop cruft but the final point of convenience vs security is the significant one. Ignore at least one of those wrongs.

I stand by every word of what I wrote. The kernel itself will enumerate the device and generate a notification. It will not activate the interface by itself and won't spawn DHCP requests.

If you have userland code running with admin privileges that does that and malconfigures the system for you automatically that is where the problem lies: this stuff doesn't happen by magic, and yes those notifications are generally intercepted by the desktop environment in the name of convenience.

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the spectacularly refined chap

Re: This is exactly how things are designed to work

I really fail to understand how this is news: this is how things are designed to work, and this is how they have always worked:

It isn't though. NT would never have been vulnerable. Linux itself (or any other Unix) still isn't, rather it is the desktop cruft too often layered on top that gets caught out. All those things dumbed-down systems do to "help" such as auto-configuring everything in sight, automounting any filesystem you come across and so on - often they are exactly what you want, sometimes they get in the way, and sometimes they increase the attack surface.

It's the old usability vs convenience thing. Yes, it's that old chestnut.

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Shhh! Shazam is always listening – even when it's been switched 'off'

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Pedantically...

A speaker is a mic. Just as a mic is a speaker.

That is one of those things that strike me as having been seen on Doctor Who, MacGyver or whatever with no real idea of the practicalities. Seriously, you are not going to get any useable signal out of a moving coil speaker used as a mic even if the surrounding circuitry could theoretically read it. And as for getting any sound at all from a condenser mic, forget it completely.

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New MH370 handshake and wing debris analysis suggests rapid descent

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Conspiracy ..

It never ceases to amaze me how one dumb twat on the Internet can read a few articles, have little enough background in the area even to get the usage of basic terms right, and still arrive the truth that has up until that point eluded an entire team of experts burdened by actually looking at evidence, spending years and millions on the problem, and performing tests on the hypotheses they come up with.

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Intel's new chip targets industrial IoT

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: 4K video on an IoT thinggy???!

Because no one anywhere has wanted to create e.g. an advertising billboard or public information display. I don't know why people have so much tunnel vision about IoT and embedded. It is as if the entire sector is washing machine controllers and nothing else.

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the spectacularly refined chap

Re: unique needs of the IoT market.

ARM based IOT board like the Raspberry Pi - £30

And at least a couple of orders too expensive for the lowest cost embedded devices - musical cards and the like.

Cheapest board with an Atom on board - well over £100.

And completely insignificant on a £100,000 piece of plant.

The embedded and IoT market is far more diverse than you could possibly imagine. Some need performance levels that run rings around even well specified workstations. Assuming the Pi is a magical one size fits all solution simply demonstrates your ignorance.

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Student software finds new Minor Planet found way out beyond Pluto

the spectacularly refined chap

The rock may therefore struggle to shed the minor planet classification, which means it will have to make do with an unlovely number instead of a jaunty name.

Minor planets are still eligible for naming after the orbit is well-plotted enough for the body to be formally numbered. However the onus is on the discoverer to suggest a name for approval, and given the numbers now being discovered this isn't done for most such objects.

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OK Google, Alexa, why can't I choose my own safe, er, wake word?

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Slartibartfast Hovercraft

One thing that comes to mind is that when most people use their phones, they hold them in front of their chests, below their faces, to see the screen. So the phone's front-facing camera could match the face and eyes of the person to determine that they are looking at the phone, as well as using the phone's positioning sensor to determine that it's being held in a particular position, before responding to whatever the person is saying.

What's wrong with a dedicated (hardware) button and push-to-talk? Would seem very natural (think walkie talkies) and without the background power drain of constantly listening out to everything? I can see accessibility issues along the lines that chap raised here the other day, but alternative arrangements can be made for those cases.

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Yahoo! tries!, fails! to! shoot! down! email! backdoor! claim!

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: a system that would allow keyword searches of Yahoo! users' incoming mails – does not exist

It was located outside of their data center, they only opened up a direct port to their database so that said system could access them.

That was my immediate thought as well, albeit I was thinking of piping it through an NSA system rather than allowing direct access, without referring back it seemed to fit was was described better. I was surprised Thomson didn't pick it up given the scrutiny to the rest of the wording.

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'My REPLACEMENT Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blew up on plane'

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Possibiities

Personally my first thoughts are a variation of #1, he didn't bother to get the phone replaced, they are lying, but not to cause mischief, but to doubly cover their own backs lest any allegation of negligence is pointed at them for taking the phone on the aircraft knowing it to be potentially risky. This is backed up in my mind by the wife's follow up comments that it was "doing what the other one was doing".

So he's had two phones and they have both caught fire? That is either incredibly unlucky or altogether too convenient.

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The web is past peak innovation: It's all negative returns from here

the spectacularly refined chap

Clocks allow for precision, which is pretty important in fast jobs with little margin for error.

No, as the OP was at pains to distinguish, a timer allows for precision. No need for a clock...

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Luxe cable crimper

the spectacularly refined chap

I assume he's referring to Kevin's comment about plugs rather than mine about jacks. He seems refer to the two part plugs which are a lot easier to wire than the one piece types because you feed the wires into a guide which then goes into the plug - a lot less fiddly since it is externally accessible and you can see what you are doing.

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the spectacularly refined chap

I don't see much if any saving over regular punch down blocks either, and while the pairs don't need separating it subjectively appears that you end up with more untwisted wire in the completed cable.

No doubt they also cost at least three times the price and the crimper is £100+. Somehow I don't think I'll bother.

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Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

the spectacularly refined chap

I don't like advertising but I understand that businesses need to be able to promote their products and services, that running websites does cost money and website owners are entitled to some renumeration for their costs and efforts.

Personally I hold the site operators equally responsible here. The ultimate driver for many issues is simply the over-reliance on advertising by too many sites - it seems too many sites tack on ads as an afterthought when they realise they have no other business model.

Ultimately this doesn't scale, there are too many sites out there, advertising is only going to be a niche area of the economy, and therefore there simply isn't the money to go around. This is why you get so much online advertising, why so much of it is intrusive, and why so much is from undesirable sources: the funding gap needs to be filled by whatever means. This goes even for respectable sites - for example go to any of the Johnston Press local newspaper sites and you'll instantly see display ads for obvious scams not good but presumably they are the only people who will pay.

I suspect what is ultimately needed is a genuine micropayments model with wide levels of adoption. Unfortunately when that has been tried greed seems to take over. I may happily pay 5p or 10p to read an article of genuine interest but would be less happy to pay e.g. £5.99 a month for the vast majority of sites I only visit a couple of times a month.

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Jeff Bezos' thrusting cylinder makes Elon Musk's look minuscule

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: units

Forget units, they couldn't even settle on a consistent number format. The decimal separator switches from full stop to comma within the same paragraph.

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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

the spectacularly refined chap

Failing to? There's nothing that I can realistically do that will reduce my bill by any non-trivial amount...

c) the main users of it in my house is the heating and hot water, which is driven by a heatpump and is already rather efficient and timed...

I think this shows a lack of imagination and of familiarity than anything else. When I first moved in with my now wife in a tower block we cut our leccy bills by 20% doing nothing more than changing the heating to run 5:30-6:00 instead of 6:00-6:30 every morning. That was nothing more than old fashioned Economy 7. When widely roles out and differential pricing is widely adopted the possibilities escalate. So you don't want your washing machine running in the middle of the night? What about at lunchtime when you are not at home and electricity is dirt cheap thanks to low demand and high production thanks to all those solar panels?

The opportunities are there when the entire system - meters, network, tariffs and appliances - is in place to support it. Focussing simply on the meter by itself is missing the point.

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IBM lifts lid, unleashes Linux-based x86 killer on unsuspecting world

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Awesome

It's for when you print a document which is designed to be put in a ring binder which has tabbed dividers to allow sections to be found quickly. With the "blank" page, a new section is guaranteed to be forward facing.

I'd always understood it to be for selective printing - i.e. you have a 100 page document and need only chapter six at 50 pages - you can print and bind that separately without messing up the pagination. Also works if you need to break the document up into volumes because of limitations on binding capacity.

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Delta computer outage costs $100m

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: That's a nice round figure ...

That surprises you? That isn't being cynical, it is how the system is supposed to work. Businesses pay taxes on their profits: if they lose money as a result of incompetence the tax due goes down.

As for the actual amount claimed that won't directly affect the tax bill - it is not as if they claim any figure and the tax man takes it at face value without any evidence of expenses or lower sales.

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Windows 10 Anniversary on a Raspberry Pi: Another look at IoT Core

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: We should use neither

Prototyping - yes. One-off where cost does not matter for a hobbyist - yes. If you, however, want to do something seriously, you might as well admit that the Pi is "Hobbyist Hardware (TM)" and do it properly and use proper sensors attached to microcontrollers like Arduino with a proper "FAT" collector running on a more reliable piece of hardware.

The Pi is by no means perfect for industrial use but it does have its place if you apply a little common sense. At the start of the year I used one essentially as a high speed daughterboard in a telescope controller - extending the life of a fairly pricey university scope mount, mounted on its GPIO port and standoffs into the mounting holes, power fed in via the GPIO as opposed to the micro USB which I felt unsuitable. The economics were compelling, at a rough guess building a board from scratch would have been perhaps four months work, an expansion board for e.g. an ITX board perhaps two months. The Pi took three weeks including software and documentation. That's a game changer for unique or short run stuff.

Things still aren't perfect: I'd prefer a different power connector, proper engineering drawings (come on, you shouldn't need to work out panel cut outs yourself) and so on. However when you compare the Pi 2 or 3 to the original with sockets all over the place at different heights and lacking even mounting holes things are a lot better than they were.

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Quake-hit Italy: Open up Wi-Fi

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: That's daft

Disaster recovery people need real commercial two-way radio, satellite gear and Mobile operators should drop in microwave link or satellite fed base stations.

Who says it has to be either/or? More options give more flexibility and convenience. Voice communications is a poor substitute if you really need to send a photo for example, or the ability to consult online maps could clearly save time and potentially lives.

Put another way, why are you insisting rescue teams should have fewer tools at their disposal?

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Snakes on the phone!

the spectacularly refined chap

I'm just surprised they have field engineers at all. I did a few months as a general and then tech care representative and any fault reports seemed to result in diddly squat.

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Intel fabs to churn out 10nm ARM chips for LG smartphones next year

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: StrongARM?

OoO execution is what (in the Pentium Pro and successors) delivered the death-blow to the RISC architectures of the 1980s. x86 as an ISA hasn't been significant for performance for over 20 years now.

Oh look! Wheelchairs exist! Smash up my legs with a baseball bat!

You are confusing palliative measures that Intel have used to engineer themselves out of a corner with substantive benefits. Out of order execution is not a benefit but a cost that has to be paid to get performance out of the x86 architecture. It's the same across the board - for example modern x86 chips have dozens of hidden registers that can't be accessed by the instruction set. Ask yourself which can do a better job of register allocation - a compiler that can take its time and do the job once considering the code as a whole, or a few transistors that have to do the job each and every time, in a matter of nanoseconds, and considering only a handful of instructions on either side? The answer is obvious.

Similarly ever longer pipelines are not something to brag about - they are themselves evidence of a real problem. As the pipeline gets longer the number of problem cases increases exponentially, problems which consume silicon and time to address. That's silicon and time that can't be used elsewhere.

Those and similar features are not benefits in and of themselves, they are the price that has had to be paid to wring an acceptable level of performance out of x86. That price is not just financial, it consumes design effort and surface area that could easily be used more profitably elsewhere. Why have only 4-8 cores on a chip? Why not fifty or sixty? It's perfectly possible if you don't piss away area on things which from an engineering view are unnecessary with a smarter design at the outset.

Case in point: Sun's Niagara ten years ago. Designed with a fraction of Intel's resources, fabbed on a more primitive process, the result was the fastest processor bar none at the time. It offered a level of throughput and parallelism x86 could only dream off. The opening premise was to throw away a lot of that complexity you cite as a good thing and see what could be put in its place. Intel have the deepest pockets in the industry and can invest to get themselves out of sticky situations if need be: that does not mean it is a good idea to get into those situations in the first instance.

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Judges put FCC back in its box: No, you can't override state laws, not even for city broadband

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Beachrider

The Reg put this in the correct context, and made no mention of any technical parameters over frequencies, radiated power or anything else. It was you that misleadingly introduced those. Presumably after having read no further than the headline.

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