* Posts by John Smith 19

12951 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient

John Smith 19
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"We've already got a huge fully functional, self-sustaining fission reactor 150m km away "

You might like to look up the difference between fission and fusion.

In fact concentrator solar arrays can hit 43%.

The problem is not the array.

It's getting a big enough array to orbit, and getting the power back.

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John Smith 19
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IT Angle

From the abstract: "a stochastic perturbation method combined with human choice. "

I'm guessing that means a) There's a lot of parameters to twiddle (Not < 10, 100s or 1000s). b) "Success" criteria are complex (it's one of those n-dimensional optimization problems).

c)Prioritizing them is a massive PITA d) This algo (and its UI) implement a "Method of Experiments" process to identify what parameters would give the biggest data take from a shot and e) Then use human judgement to evaluate the result so the operator decides which is "better."

It would seem that building hardware that can run on an 8 min turnaround cycle is at least as important to this as the SW.

A few notes on other fusion systems and fission reactors.

PWR don't run at 1000F they run at around 593F. They run at about 200Atm to stop the water boiling until then. Their efficiency is around 25-30%. Modern high pressure coal/gas/oil boilers can hit 932F, about 35%+. PWR's are only dominant because the USN paid essentially all the development costs for Westinghouse. As power plants they make great submarine drives.

The USN did fund a fusion project directed by the late Dr Bussard (he of interstellar ramjet fame). It was progressing well. His lectures on youtube are interesting for why people don't think tokamaks are very good. I think they are still in business and still making slow progress, more due to lack of funding and the need to improve their modelling SW (their design is not exactly off the shelf).

Both MIT with ARC and a British company text of link plan to use High Temperature Superconductor tapes of Rare Earth Barium Copper at around 20K (which is high temperature to people who are used to liquid He at 4K) with innovative engineering of the tokamak to deliver a net power generating fusion system costing less than $300m to develop. Both plan much higher magnetic fields than ITER, and hence can be much much smaller.

Yes physicists have thought about getting the heat out. Current plans call for a blanket of molten Lithium to absorb the neutrons from the Deuterium Tritium fusion reaction to breed more Tritium without a fission reactor and the run it through an HX to drive a steam turbine at the same conditions as a conventional fired power plant. The wall materials are difficult as they have to take space ship reentry temperature and high radiation fluxes and be repairable/replaceable by remote control. Something like the nose of the space Shuttle (RCC) seems to be a candidate.

And as for a free idea....

Laser fusion systems turn the laser energy into "Extreme Ultra Violet," or (as everyone who isn't trying to sell a wafer fab exposure tool calls it) soft X-rays.in the 250eV range. The EUV tools use 20Kw lasers to hit a liquid metal target to get < 100W of actual exposure energy (IIRC more like 10W), which is not much when you're trying to expose a 300mm dia wafer.

A more direct route would be to use a "Smith Purcell" generator. This uses electrons launched across a diffraction grating of alternating conducting and insulating ridges. There appear to be conflicting theories of how the process works at the quantum level (so plenty of opportunity to optimize it), the grating frequency would be in the nanometre range and the electron beam (ideally a wide wave front) needs to be as close to the grating (roughly) as the grating frequency, IE about 6-7nm period for emissions at right angles to the grating, which needs a near atomically smooth plane. Coupling improves exponentially with distance, so closer is better, without hitting the grating.

The upside is that electron emission is a very efficient process and can be quite fine tuned to a specific emission energy, making acceleration to the level needed to drive the grating quite efficient also, if you can form a layer

I'm guessing there's 2-3 PhD's and a shed load of degrees to be earned building a machine that could make this work.

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'SambaCry' malware scum return with a Windows encore

John Smith 19
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Terminator

"CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN " is being held in reserve.

For what Simon Peggs character in MI3 called "The Anti-God"

of malware.

I'll leave others to think about what that could mean.

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John Smith 19
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"Qt..so the creators..stick with familiar environments, save..the pain of learning..Windows APIs,"

And who hasn't done that?

Being a malware writer, eh? It's just work, work, work.

I think we all feel your pain.

That is if most of us didn't wish you would just die in screaming agony for all the chaos you cause.

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Cloud-stitching startup pitches NVMe FPGAs for SSDs

John Smith 19
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"Plus the sort of people who can program a finite state machine probably "

That's the thing about FSM's.

You don't program them.You implement them. In hardware. That's where you get the speed from.

Of course you can implement an FSM interpreter that navigates through a state table.

Which is what YACC or Bison are.

Mine's the one with the old digital design text with the chapter on "Mealy-Moore" systems.

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John Smith 19
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Gosh, CISC processors too slow for low level HW access so design RISC processor in FPGA

What is it about modern HW designers?

"I can't do it without a fully Turing complete processor in the chip. I might get into problems I can't solve."

Handy hint. Most low level protocols can be handled through Finite State Machines. The issues are error handling (which should be infrequent enough you can escalate to a higher level of processing) and the number of states, but state compression tools and design approaches have existed for decades.

Not really seeing the benefits here that scream "I need this in my life, NOW."

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NASA lights humongous rocket that goes nowhere ... until 2019

John Smith 19
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"(Saturn V or Atlas V?) The Block 2 SLS is targeting a 120,000kg payload."

Indeed. That's the Saturn V.

Atlas II (as the repurposed ICBM was called) was much smaller, and still used the pressure stabilized steel tanks developed by Karel Bosart.

Nothing will get within sniffing range of the Saturn V until FH actually flies, hopefully later this year.

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John Smith 19
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"And they're surprisingly low pressure, fuel goes up to 45 bar, oxidiser only up to 30 bar."

What you've missed is that each of those pairs of turbo pumps operates in series.

What you've listed is the output pressure from the Low Pressure Fuel & Oxdizer TP's.

The "High Pressure" TP's are driven by the flow from the Preburner and are more like 7000psi (around 470bar) (to feed the Preburner) feeding the Main Combustion Chamber operating with a back pressure around 2-3000psi.

Given that studies of engine costs suggest that development costs scale as the cube of maximum chamber pressure this may explain why SSME was such an expensive engine (it's also pretty big and uses liquid Hydrogen, neither of which help).

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John Smith 19
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"I'll put my money on a Skylon."

If only a few more companies would.

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John Smith 19
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IT Angle

Due to timing the controller uses 2 MC68k processors on the same chip.

Which were only mfg for NASA for this task.

So probably run out of chips.

The RS25 was one of the jewels of the Shuttle programme. There were a fair few mods that could have made it both higher T/W and more reliable. Using it in expendable mode is deeply stupid. Hopefully this time round they will use actual off the shelf chips.

Since it will operate no further than LEO they don't really need to be space rated either.

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Strong and stable, my arse. UK wobbles when coping with ransomware

John Smith 19
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You do wonder about the British response

Because until you've had an infection you don't really know how you'll cope. The question calls for a judgement call which on how it will be handled and on the day the team may just pull it together and stomp all over it.

Likewise 5 times in 1 year sounds very bad.

But does that mean "log shows another attempted entry. That's 5 this year" or "S**t have the ERP files have been hit again?"

I'd like to hope IRL it means the first time caused a fair bit of chaos but that was a wake up to get their s**t together, with the other 4 being easily fended off.

Attention British IT staff.

Yes, ransomware is a thing. Good standard procedures (listed earlier in the thread) will cut down your risks a lot.

If you are not using them, why not?

If you think "It can't happen to us, we're too small" think again.

On the internet everyone is the same size (to malware) and everyone is the same distance away. Infecting you is really no bother to them. They can infect a few dozen more while you're still deciding if you have been infected.

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Disgraced Entatech founder Jason Tsai tossed in the clink for contempt of court

John Smith 19
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Playing the old "deadly" Ernest Saunders defense.

The only known Alzheimer* case to ever recover.

Note the very smooth way he shifted straight into "criminal thinking" mode

How can I get out of the country?

How can I move my assets and who to?

I'd bet a closer look at his business shows a long history of some very creative accounting.

These guys do have one weakness (they've got plenty of flaws as human beings already). They absolutely believe there is no situation they cannot talk their way out of because people will believe them (It's quite simple. They think all humans are gullible, trusting and stupid. If anything that's their real "cognitive dysfunction").

Logically the smart move was to stay in Taiwan and live with what he got away with but I'd bet he came back because he's absolutely convinced he can talk the liquidators into letting him keep most of his assets.

It's really quite satisfying to put one of these Aholes in jail, even if it's for a (relatively) short time.

*Strictly speaking presenting with symptoms of an Alzheimer like nature which turned out to be caused by something else (the worry about going to jail for a long time for being part of a large scale share price fixing club, which he was, perhaps?)

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OnePlus cash equals 5: Rebel flagship joins upmarket Android crew

John Smith 19
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No microSD port?

No way.

One day I'll see a phone that manages to do all the obvious, simple, boring things right.

This is not it.

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Fan of FBI cosplay? Enjoy freaking out your neighbors? Have we got the eBay auction for you

John Smith 19
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Re: FBI cosplay? Had me thinking of J Edgar Hoover for a moment.

Now, now.

Pix, or it didn't happen.

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ALIS in Blunderland: Lockheed says F-35 Block 3F software to be done by year's end

John Smith 19
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" C/C++ lets you make errors faster (even with a 158 page style guide).

Ooops.

The coding standard is in fact only 140 pages long

It also turns out that quite a lot of the Flight Control System, ECM and EW and weapons system stuff is being written by Blighty's very own BAe.

I'm sure British readers hearts will be swelling with national pride at that thought.

I'll leave the C/C++ devs in the house to decide if they'd be comfortable with these sorts of rules, although I would expect that modern IDE's can be configured to enforce most of the simpler ones directly.

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John Smith 19
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"at least 75% of them can be solved by simply turning the F35 off and on again."

Unfortunately quite a lot of those will need you to do that while flying.

This may be quite tricky.

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John Smith 19
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that could cause death, severe injury or illness. Isn't that a plus for a warplane?

Not when it's the pilots it isn't.

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John Smith 19
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Coffee/keyboard

"F-35 software development will be finished by the end of this year, "

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Final task description, maybe.

Now this.

"Meanwhile, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation told a US Congress committee earlier this year that the aircraft won't be ready before 2019, mentioning 158 "Category 1" software flaws that could cause death, severe injury or illness unless fixed."

158 Cat 1. IE It fails people and planes start falling out the sky (assuming none of them are in the software controlling takeoff of course).

It's true what they say C/C++ lets you make errors faster (even with a 158 page style guide).

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Astroboffins discover that half of the Milky Way's matter comes from other galaxies

John Smith 19
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It's one of those "I'm surprised this has not been tried sooner"

Obviously people have known that if the only way to make higher elements was fusion then we are all the remnants of supernovae explosions.

The (potential) surprise is how far away some of those explosions were. As a layman if I'd thought about it at all I'd have expected them to be within our own stellar "neighbourhood," definitely within out own galaxy due to needing to exceed galactic escape velocity otherwise.

Which apparently quite a lot of matter could.

The next challenge will be to see if you can prove the origin of those atoms, which I think will be difficult. Still an interesting idea.

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Reminder: Spies, cops don't need to crack WhatsApp. They'll just hack your smartphone

John Smith 19
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Gimp

"WhatsApp isn't a secure messaging app... -->Facebook<-- bought it for 19 billion."

So Rudd was not complaining that the terrorists messages before he attacked couldn't be read.

She was complaining the Home Office could not be read them?

What an obedient little sock puppet she is.

Much like her predecessor.

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John Smith 19
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"Toss in court approved and we're good to go. In theory. "

Yes.

The difference between the theoretical control and deployment, and the actual, is what makes most people pretty nervous.

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iRobot just banked a fat profit. And it knows how to make more: By selling maps of your homes

John Smith 19
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Headmaster

I..get a kick when FB users refer to themselves as customers,..in reality they're.. the product

They are users, not customers.

Product is what FB advertisers buy from FB.

Which is the data on habits of the users and access to them on their pages.

"Product" is exactly the correct word for them.

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John Smith 19
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Joke

I have a proposal for a new business model (which I generously won't patent)

1) Make stuff people like to buy.

2)Don't have it collect personal data on them or their belongings

3)Don't send it to a remote server farm

4)Don't sell it to WTF pays you the most.

I like to think of it as the (none of your f**king) business model.

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Revealed: 779 cases of data misuse across 34 British police forces

John Smith 19
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OMG. It seems some of these forces actually have audit trails to track who runs queries.

And occasionally someone actually checks them for unauthorized activity.

Who'd have thought it?

I am of course joking. All sensitive data should be protected my multiple layers of control.

Starting with "Don't collect it in the first place."

BTW I don't think any ex UK plod who's been arrested for corruption has ever written an autobiography where they admit it.

Ever.

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An 'AI' that can diagnose schizophrenia from a brain scan – here's how it works (or doesn't)

John Smith 19
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Seems pretty low res.

27 000 is 30^3. Not exactly down to the neuron level, is it?

This is indeed "machine learning" in a very limited, highly mathematical way.

"Artificially Intelligent?" I don't think so.

Apart from false positives (or negatives) we also have the question of wheather the same results are part of other metal illnesses or disorders (illnesses are treatable, disorders have to be managed), of which there are a lot.

So it's a start, but there's a long way to go.

BTW all joking aside in most cases of schizophrenia the "split" is between the patients idea of reality and actual reality, often with the symptom of hearing voices.

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Creepy tech tycoons Zuck and Musk clash over AI doomsday

John Smith 19
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Re: That would be like hiring a Nobel Prize winner to mop your floor.

"You mean like this man?"

What an astonishing life, and what astonishing achievements.

He sounds like he should be as famous as the Tuskegee airmen.

Sadly I fear it's not the sort of story Hollywood will make a film of.

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John Smith 19
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" An algorithm..interlocking policies..insurance company uses to deny a melanoma-screening test, "

Indeed.

In fact insurance companies were one of the big users of "decision tables," to let them code the rules into software and let staff experts understand the rules they were going to use.

Very few people use DT's, probably because very few courses teach them. They are simple, allow non IT specialists to understand and review code logic and can be made Turing complete. Art Lew of the University of Hawaii probably did the most to develop them by improving optimizing techniques for them.

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

Re: When Zuck talks about AI. He's talking about reducing staffing costs.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

If he can get his sticky little mitts on more of your data than creepy Eric Schmidt that's a bonus for him.

He's as much a data fetishist as any member of the Home Office cabal, hence icon.

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John Smith 19
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"letting algorithms decide the fate of people's lives in the fields of healthcare "

You're a few decades too late.

Google. Ryadah Intensive Program.

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

"the personal assistants.. two decades of advancement..as frustrating as Microsoft Clippy. ...."

This is not AI, it's data whoring sh*t.

True.

But your timeline is off. People called Lotus Agenda a PIM, in the 80's.

Although it was written with input from people on the AI side at Stanford I don't think they specifically called it AI.

Icon because I always thought there should have been an option to turn "Clippy" into "Gimpy."

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For one night only: Net neutrality punch-up between Big Cable, Big Web this September

John Smith 19
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What will an oligopoly feel like with the end of net neutrality.

I don't know.

But the US is going to find out.

On the internet (being) big business is always better than being small and being biggest is best of all.

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Crap gift card security helps crims spend your birthday pressie cash

John Smith 19
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Got to onder how much has been stolen in the 2 years it took the company to get its act together

OTOH that still leave the other 50% of the industry that seems to have done jack s**t.

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SK Telecom makes light of random numbers for IoT applications

John Smith 19
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Cheaper than the cheapest QRNG sounds like a lot of wiggle room.

Less than several $1000US ?

OTOH LEDs are quite complex to fabricate and yet mass production has brought their prices down hugely.

Like the idea.

Hate the application.

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Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

John Smith 19
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"on Twitter (it's free, just ask) you'll know that #F_AI_L is quite a popular thing."

I did not know this.

But then I haven't used Twitter.

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John Smith 19
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"So the convenient labour saving gadget was fine - you were just clapping wrong?

Exactly.

Just as the next time you complain you're feet hurt in those shoes its the fact that your feet are the wrong size for your shoes.

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John Smith 19
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Thumb Up

" Putting the AI in FAIL "

Nice.

So simple yet so obvious. I can't believe no one's spotted this before.

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Intel loves the maker community so much it just axed its Arduino, Curie hardware. Ouch

John Smith 19
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Group that came up with it is history

So is their products.

Intel don't waste much time airbrushing people (and things) out of the corporate history.

Something to keep in mind for all developers.

If it's not very close to the Intel mainstream how long will it last?

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Python autocomplete-in-the-cloud tool Kite pushes into projects, gets stabbed with a fork

John Smith 19
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"stop.. calling it "cloud" and started calling it "somebody else's computer"?

Well to be completely accurate you should call it "anonymous server farms in unknown jurisdictions"

Because that's what they are.

Might be in the US, might not be.

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John Smith 19
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Dubious business practices well predates Microsoft.

Quite true.

But how many people here even knew that National Cash Register predated IBM, or that their business practices were the reason Thomas Watson Snr did some time for anti trust violation?

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John Smith 19
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WTF?

BTW It's a Python devs tool written in Javascript?

IIRC Python has pretty good facilities for adding packages to the language already.

As for sending your IP to "anonymous server farms in unknown jurisdictions" the cloud that gets latency and security issues for free.

No doubt something that sounds a great idea at the end of a 25mbs pipe in SF, but less attractive elsewhere.

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The Reg chats to Ordnance Survey's chief data wrangler

John Smith 19
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Now let's see if all the people who can dig up a piece of road can talk to each other.

I think the UKG tried this about 20 years ago.

Who knows, maybe it will work this time.

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G Suite admins have just one button to secure their sites, but don't

John Smith 19
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Or just don't host your apps on a clod?

But I suspect what others have said. That Google have (quietly) changed the default to what it should have been all along.

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Science sugar daddy extends data-sharing policy to software

John Smith 19
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WTF?

"Matthew Woollard, director of the UK Data Archive and the UK Data Service, "

Who has ever heard of this guy, and this organization?

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Quad goals: Western Digital clambers aboard the 4bits/cell wagon

John Smith 19
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Go

We've come a long way since Intel's first 1024bit RAM in 1970

About 764 billion times bigger in fact.

It's also enormously faster and probably not far off the power consumption of that single chip.

Is there any other field that's progressed that much in that short a time span (even aircraft flight speed)?

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IBM's X-Force to slip digits into IoT networks and connected cars

John Smith 19
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Odd name.

I thought they'd just call them "The Black Team."

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Southern awarded yet another 'most moaned about rail firm' gong

John Smith 19
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People who've used Southern Trains

Know hos s**t they are.

I've had to use them a fer times on business in the UK and I've never found a buffet service. Ever.

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Devs shun smartwatch work, gaze longingly at web-only apps again

John Smith 19
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Holmes

"Hybrid framework developer says hybrid development more popular than it was."

Who saw that conclusion coming?

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Taxi app investor SoftBank said to be driving at multibillion-dollar stake in Uber

John Smith 19
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WTF?

"described this as the biggest investment in a taxi firm in Southeast Asia."

FTFY.

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Commvault shifts slowly uphill as it gears into hyperconverged drive

John Smith 19
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These guys seem to have been around forever

I'm thinking you need to have trended them for more like a decade to see the big picture.

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Hey, hipsters. Amazon has 'space' for 450 new R&D roles in Shoreditch

John Smith 19
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"the count of permanent employees to 24,000."

and the number of temps in their fulfillment warehouses to about 100 000?

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