* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Uncle Sam's boffins stumble upon battery storage holy grail

Tom 13

Re: Ageing fossil and nuclear plants are going off-line

Yes you did because the way I reply to quotes is copying a snippet from them for the title.

But that is the sort of bold faced lie I've come to expect from econazi like you.

Tom 13

@Ivan 4

Yes and no. IF the storage capacity for the system were such that it could hold enough power for more than the expected down time for the system you could do it. Even a system that only covered the overnight/calm period and excluded a parked weather system would make it acceptable for most use. BUT

That assumes you can get enough generation to displace fossil fuels in the first place. El Reg has run the calculations here repeatedly to the dismay of the green weenies. It simply isn't possible. Cover the whole UK in solar cells or windmills and at best you still get 50% of the demand covered.

Tom 13

Re: Ageing fossil and nuclear plants are going off-line

I read that same line of crap from econazis posing as my friends back in the 1970s. Last time I checked our aging fossil fuel reserves were higher now than they were back then and most of those nukes are still online. Of course at the time I was about 12 and didn't recognize them for the econazis they were and neither had my parents.

Tom 13

Re: This is less of a thing in the US

According to the most recent statistics even in the US 25% of the price of gasoline is down to taxes. Even that is treating the cost of crude as a pure cost and not taxed.


Tom 13

Re: how is the government going to backfill the loss in income

Yep. They're already starting to whine just from the loss of revenue due to hybrids.

Tom 13

Re: is a moron, who deserves to be parted from their money.

Just like the ones investing in this round of DARPA announcements.

Tom 13

@MD Rackham

I expect the other guys will too. They'll either be in those yellow hazmat suits or suffering from some very nasty burns/rashes. I was no good in chemistry but one thing I do remember is no matter how you try to vary the ingredients, battery juice is necessarily nasty stuff.

Tom 13

Re: I think you can only have one holy grail.

But choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, a false one will take it from you.


Tom 13

Re: If you read the statement they are making specific claims

Yes, and they're even coy about the specific claims. I didn't see any specifics about how large those tanks need to be.

Tom 13


The only way I've been able to imagine a system that works is one where you don't own the hot swap batteries the hot swap company does. You have a service subscription to them based on your usage. Whenever you swing into a station, they give you a fresh pack, recharge the old ones, and do the inspection for old check. Then they pull the near EOL ones and replace them. It also "solves" the problem of disposing of the old one because now the company instead of the end user is responsible for it. I used scare quotes because obviously it doesn't solve the problem of how to process the thousands of batteries that would be going through such a system if even 50% of cars were electric.

Tom 13

Re: I doubt that total breakthroughs are.

Total breakthroughs are ALWAYS possible and rarely foreseen because if they could be easily foreseen somebody would already have done it.

Of course that doesn't actually help the green weenies any because hope is not a plan and while such breakthroughs are possible, they can't be predicted or juiced by throwing more funding at them.

Tom 13

Re: calculate how much space and electrical power you'll need

No problem. You won't actually store the batteries at the swap point for long. Every five minutes you'll launch an Amazon drone to carry a load of car batteries to the charging station in Alaska where the heat dissipation won't be an issue.

Tom 13

Re: @uncle sjohie

Well, if you're going to make the sort of unicorn fart powered car assumptions the greens make, adding in a public plug at every car parking spot interval is small potatoes. I've even seen the first two Tesla power stations at my local grocery store just last week. I can't wait for the public to finally see through these boondoggles.

Machismo is ruining the tech industry for all of us. Equally

Tom 13

Re: Nothing special about Tech...

It's geekdom writ large and geeks just aren't good at interpersonal stuff. If they were, they wouldn't be geeks. What the feminazi's who complain about it don't get is that you can't kill that culture without also killing the goods it produces, or at least the combination of quality and quantity we currently produce.

Third of US banks OK with passwords even social networks reject

Tom 13

Re: them is still my mother's "maiden"

Maybe you Canucks are a bit more lax than the US with birth certificates, but mother's maiden name is actually still fairly difficult to find. Even knowing where my mother was married I can't find the newspaper announcement on the internet. Too much flack in the way. Oddly enough, I've never thought of it as similar to "Smith" in terms of providing anonymity but apparently some of our cousins across the pond do a very, very good job of protecting me.

Tom 13

Re: READ-ONLY Bank-Account?

Anyone who thinks outgoing payments from a bank can be capped at $50-100/month is too stupid to be allowed near source code. Not even sure they qualify as sufficiently intelligent to be a PHB.

Tom 13

@Paul Kinsler

Up vote for doing the maths.

Still there is a problem in that the maths are only a minor input into the real problem. We all know the most standard rule for passwords these days: x character or more long, at least one each of upper, lower, number, special character. The problem is people. They want something they can remember, which usually reduces it to dictionary words with numbers and specials tossed in or morphed into l33t spe@k. So you're now at significantly less than 92^n instances you need to check. Then we get to the really interesting thing they found in a recent study. Given that rule, most people select EXACTLY one upper, lower, and special. And that drastically reduces the size of dictionary hackers use for their attacks.

As the guy creating most of our email accounts I've gotten use to creating complex passwords from simple phrases (eg: B1t!nGtH3H@nDtHaTfE3d$; our email system doesn't allow dictionary words of 4 or more characters). And I have to say the most annoying websites are the ones that cut down your list of special characters and limit your word length. For the life of me I can't set one for our conferencing system and I can't memorize the ones they generate for you.

Tom 13

Re: I wonder if banks more apt to code their own security system

Same as elsewhere, the larger the bank the more likely they are to be rolling their own. I know my credit union farms theirs out. They're too small to do it on their own and at one point the people at the bank couldn't reset your password if you got locked out or forgot it.

Also, there's no way FarceBook or Twatter are using COTS for their websites. It simply wouldn't handle the volume.

Ad-blockers are a Mafia-style 'protection racket' – UK's Minister of Fun

Tom 13

Re: Paying

Well I see two freetards don't like people telling the truth about them.

Full disclosure: Even though I've started using AdBlock Plus (filters disabled), I white listed El Reg because the people working here still deserve to be paid.

Tom 13

Re: I don't recall many viruses being distributed then neither.

Then you should check yourself into a medical facility for failing memory. Viruses were as prevalent then as now. Likewise their virulence went from merely annoying to truly nasty (Jersualem). At least most of them these day don't actually kill your hardware (CIH).

Tom 13

Re: Paying

Problem is, it's a double-edged sword. The business needs to at least net out as much from a pay service without ads as they get from one with them. I expect there are too few takers at the prices they could effectively offer for the service. They'd have to set up the payment service, secure it, secure your account, and ensure ONLY you were using your account. Not a web developer but they might have to stand up two websites.

I'd like to see a micro-payments system take off. But it's a chicken and egg problem. Nobody will subscribe to a micro-payment system if there isn't enough content, and you can't get enough content without a large enough base of subscribers.

Tom 13

Re: I just do not see the benefit of the govt expressing any opinion on this matter.

The government thanks you for informing us of this. A crack team of government psychologists has been dispatched to help you overcome this disability and advance our efforts at improving STEM uptake.

Thank-you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Hackers rely on weak passwords when brute-forcing PoS terminals

Tom 13


But if you ask them they'll tell you they do: it's a conspiracy to stop them from doing their jobs.

Obligatory Dilbert: http://dilbert.com/strip/2007-11-16

Tom 13

Re: The sad thing is that the file still works well.

Yes and no.

Look at the percentages on those tries. Now think about what they would have been back in 2000 and what they would have hit. Yeah, much bigger piece of the pie because back then computer security was still pretty much a joke outside of the NSA and banks. Even in 2005 one of the Jr Sys Admins where I worked use to bitterly complain that he'd take security seriously AFTER they changed the Admin DB password for all of the over the wire backup software installed for one division to something other than a blank.

Facepalm because it hurts so much to think about the fact that for all things suck now, they were even worse back then.

UK biz fails to report two thirds of cyber attacks, says survey

Tom 13

Re: Would a link....

Yes. Somebody could use the link to compromise their systems. We wouldn't want that now would we?

But that okay. We have this nice secure Windows NT 4.0 box for you that is certified secure by NIST.

Tom 13

Nope, they failed to report two-thirds of the attacks detected. Red Team has not reported on how many attacks they failed to notice. While two-thirds MIGHT be the right answer, chances are it's higher.

Meanwhile, Blue Team has not reported on either on the opposite side of the pond.

Zynga CEO resigns – again – after terrible results

Tom 13

Re: people will likely be being spread around too thin,

Probably not as much as you think.

Back when I was on Facebook, it was mostly to play games and Zynga constituted most of them. They probably have two underlying engines with a bunch of skins. So on the purely functional level, Farmville played pretty much like their Cafe game and CityVille probably used the same engine but left out a lot of the walking around. MafiaWars was an obviously different engine, and a much simpler one. So all you need to do is maintain the current engines and update skins. I think the biggest problem they have in attracting players is they haven't paid attention to the game engines and they've gone to shit (as I detail below). But the more fundamental problem they have is that they DO need to make money, and most people won't part with a few bucks/quid a month to do so. I had actually finally gotten myself sufficiently financially stable that I was starting to pay them that money when their engines went to hell. So I quit. They might be able to get me back if they fixed their game engines, but there's zero chance of that happening. And yes, since I check in whenever I visit my mother, I will know if they fix the game engine.

Tom 13

Something to do with a miserable lack of creativity?

Worse: a miserable lack of playability.

Yes, Facebook killing the notification system hurt them, mostly because they didn't adapt to the new environment. So the "Get 3 Friends to help you expand your storage shed" task from when I played it four years ago is still there and now IMPOSSIBLE to complete. But worse is they haven't been paying attention to the way the cruft they've added to the game makes things entirely within the game difficult to accomplish. I went home to visit my mother last weekend and she still plays it (retired with little better to do, I figure it at least keeps here a little more active than sleeping on the couch with the tv on) so I tried to help her out some. Three of the most basic tasks in the game are plowing your plot of land, sowing seeds, and harvesting the grown crops. While you can us farm machines to get blocks of squares, I fell into the habit of doing each plot with a click, especially on quick growing crops. Because of jitter with the position of the mouse do to other animations on screen, I usually had to close the browser about half way through and start again. Using the machines didn't really improve the process. The jitter just wouldn't go away.

I'm not saying the lack of creativity is helping, it's just that with such poor execution on basics if they actually had anyone with any creativity the talent would be wasted.

'Boss, I've got a bug fix: Nuke the whole thing from orbit, rewrite it all'

Tom 13

Re: Stop parroting what you were taught in you programming classes

I understand where the terror of seeing a GoTo comes from. Way back in the dark ages when I dabbled in some programming, BASIC was the language of choice and Line Numbers were the only way to go. Pick the wrong combination of starting numbers and line increments and pair it with bad planning and you could be in a world of hurt. You'd either user colons to concatenate commands, run out of line numbers, or use a GoTo to jump to a new section of code. In point of fact, my first class taught us to write our program from 10 with increments of 10, use GoTo (or GoSubs when they became available) and put the functions in the 10,000 range with a jump of 5,000 for the next function. Done badly, it IS impossible to debug. Hence the terror.

But I agree the terror is now overdone. No one uses line numbers anymore, or at least line numbers in the limiting way they were used back then. So the really ugly problems that use to exist back then have gone away.

Tom 13

Re: It was using an O(n**2) sort!

Well at least that's better than the random sort. This one is known to finish but in an unknown time. It was submitted on a test where the question was: provide an example of a sorting algorithm that is know to finish. Since it didn't set any time requirements one student provided the following solution:

Check list to see if it is in sort order.

Select a random item in the list. Check it against the next item in the list. If they aren't in order flip them.

Return to checking to see if in order.

California methane well leak filled a Rose Bowl a day

Tom 13

Re: Rose bowl is not a reasonable unit

Quite, Quite. I'd like to illustrate the point more poignantly for you, but as a 'Merkin I'm simply insufficiently familiar with your third rate footballer stadiums to make the appropriate comparison.

More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

Tom 13

Re: @Lost all faith Same here

Advertising can be completely irrelevant. I'll admit I love the Outback* ads they run on this side of the pond. But I never eat there. I have a mild allergic reaction to something in their spices. My lips go numb about halfway through the meal and I usually wind up with a stomach ache later. Mind you, I did LOVE the flavor when I tried it, but it doesn't agree with me. So no matter how much I like their ads, I never go there.

*US steak chain just for clarity. Yes, I tried the chicken too, same effect. Why, because my friends love to go there. But after the chicken I gave up.

Tom 13

Re: Isn't that what eventually did in Computer Shopper

Nope. I actually use to buy it FOR the ads. Their content was crap.

What did them (and pretty much all the rest of the print PC mags) in was the internet. You had tech savvy people who understood it, it cut costs for everybody, you could do direct comparisons, and you could save a week by ordering on line.

I suppose I should note one of the useful features of the ads back then was they frequently listed prices for key items.

Tom 13

Re: Very different from magazines

And the print ads never scrolled over on top of the article you were reading while you were trying to do so.

Tom 13


You left off the one that finally pushed me over the edge:

d) never obscures the content I actually came to read/watch

Tom 13


I concur about the intrusiveness of the current crop of ads. I've tolerated it until today because I've figured it was the cost of getting free content. Websites have to make money somehow. But some of the ads have become SO intrusive I just loaded a blocker. And yes, I have the self-playing videos as well. It's MY data stream damn it! You can f*cking well ASK my permission before playing.

Official: Toshiba pulls out of European consumer PC market

Tom 13

Re: Is it me or do PC makers suck right now

Yes they do.

I think it comes down to the death of the screwdriver shops. While it may have looked fairly similar from a distance they kept the hardware vendors honest about performance. If you made an inferior MB, they'd toss you like a lit piece of TNT. Same thing applied to all the rest of the components. And if you fixed your problem on the next release, they'd pick you right back up again.

But we started expecting PCs to keep getting cheaper and more powerful at the same rate they did in the past. When I did that sort of work, the standard price for a finished PC with monitor was around $1200, a significant improvement over the $10K you would have paid when I first saw one. These days people expect to pick up good performers for $500. And they expect it to weigh no more than 3 pounds. So there's been a rush to the bottom in terms of quality. And consolidation because you can't make money on small quantity product runs. The result is a market that really sucks.

Tom 13

Re: Toshiba laptops

Too much depends on the specific model. I've seen good ones and I've seen bad ones.

Part of the problem at Toshiba is that they won't admit the bad ones are bad. One Christmas my dad bought my mom a new one on sale at the local office supplies store. They shipped it back to the factory 4 times to fix a problem with the laptop. The time of day would just randomly advance 1d4 + 5d6 hours. Toshiba never did fix it. I bought her a Lenovo for a replacement, no problems with that one.

Tom 13

Re: You couldn't nuke them if you wanted to.

Sound like you have (in)compentent (ab)users. Some of ours have found some very creative ways of breaking them.

Tom 13

Toshiba doesn’t have any senior executive DNA for PCs left in the business

The problem of the moment is, if you replace "Toshiba" in that sentence with the name of any other big computer name from the last decade, can you prove the statement is false?

No, I can't make that claim even for Dell, even with Michael back in charge.

Samsung starts cranking out 256GB mobile memory modules

Tom 13

@James 51

It's not the wait to synch that bothers me, it's all that clicking confirming I want to download all 60G I have in the cloud. Ooops, I only have 40G on the pod. Error! Error!

IRS: Er, those 100,000 tax records illegally accessed? Make that over 700,000

Tom 13

I expect part of the problem is that it is so much easier to crack these thing than people think. Let's assume your name really was Web Head. So I run an address look up on your name. Now I have, if not your address, at least the address of several people with the same name. I can also easily find your phone number. Now I can check farcebook, twatter, and a few other places to find likes and dislikes, maybe even the name of your favorite pet. If you're a prolific poster I can probably find the names of you favorite movies. Favorite color? Pish! What are the odds it isn't part of ROYGBIV? I mean really, how many people will put in chartreuse as their favorite color? (I would but I can't remember how to spell it and need to look it up, which makes it unworkable for me.)

Yeah, not half as hard as people think. And with 150 million filing returns, it's a target rich environment. You don't have to have a 50% success rate, even 2% will yield a lot of data.

Tom 13

Re: America's most-disliked public agency

Excellent point. On the hatred level, they're all in close competition. What the IRS does lead on by leaps and bounds is FEAR. Even more than the tin foil hat conspiracy theories about disappearing people, when the IRS comes for you it's guilty until you can prove yourself innocent, with the interest meter running the whole time. Nobody knows anybody who has been "disappeared". Everybody knows at least one person who has been screwed by the IRS.

Tom 13

Re: Gold? Fort Knox?

Trump's ego may think otherwise, but he ain't no JP Morgan.

Tom 13

Re: Feral Stupidity At Work Again

Five years ago, they should have given the agency a choice:

1) Fix your computer systems from top to bottom or

2) Go back to processing paper.

At this point #1 should be off the table.

Samsung off the hook as $120m Apple patent verdict tossed

Tom 13

Re: Strictly speaking, the District Court didn't decide. A panel of 12 jurors did.

Nope. This one is all on the judge. He ruled on what evidence Apple and Samsung could present to the 12 jurors.

Tom 13

Re: every time an obvious patent gets invalidate(d) the world gains a little sanity.

Yes, but not as much as it lost when it was issued.

Tom 13

Re: hold on..

And the word prediction algorithms too.

Tom 13

The new and improved SCO

Apple vs Samsung

Nearly a million retail jobs will be destroyed by the march of tech, warns trade body

Tom 13

Re: people are still needed to work along the delivery chain.

Where exactly?

The orders are taken online and processed by the computer. So no data input employees. The items will be stocked by robots, so no stock boys learning to keep to a schedule before they move onto bigger things. The items will be delivered by drones, so not even any delivery drivers.

The claims about the people need to program/fix these things are largely irrelevant. You needed someone to program when you had the data input employees and someone to fix the trucks for the delivery drivers. The only smallish gain you might get is in mechanics for the robots, but that could be robots too. And in any event you needed supervisors for the stock boys and they're now gone too.

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