Re: Maybe I missed it...
I obviously didn't make it that far down the page.
1740 posts • joined 22 May 2007
I obviously didn't make it that far down the page.
Is there a list of the patents involved?
I personally think BT are just playing the game here (and trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted), but I would like to see details of the patents to confirm.
Only my own opinion, but I can highly recommend giffgaff for the most part.
+ Great value: I have seen no other PAYG "bundles" which come close to matching giffgaff. You can match it on a SIM-only 30-day contract, but this doesn't give the same flexibility.
+ Flexibility: If I am skint one month, I can easily not buy a goodybag, use PAYG credit only, switch my data off on my phone and spend only a quid or 2 over a month, or until I have the money. Similarly if I am out of the country for most of the month, I don't have to buy the goodybag.
+ Payback: If you know your stuff and help out on the forums, you get paid for it. I generally get back most of what I have spent on goodybags over the month for a very small amount of work.
+ Community support: If you have an issue (which is not account related), the community will help you very quickly.
- Account-related support: Giffgaff don't have call centres. The only way to get account related support is by an online ticket system. It can take days to get a response. I have found the forums good at speeding this along, but it is a major headache.
- Reliability: There have been more major outages on giffgaff since I have been with them than I have ever known from a mobile network.
So, you pay your money and take your choice. I am currently trying to decide whether to stay with them due to a degradation in signal quality at my home. It's been getting steadily worse for the past couple of years, starting with mobile internet dropping to Edge, then GPRS.This was not a major issue as I can use my Wifi at home, but now more than half the voice calls I make or receive from home have such bad audio quality I have to hang up and use the landline. This is an O2 network issue (SWMBO is on O2 and has the same trouble), but it means I can't use my mobile for voice calls at home (admittedly, this is now it's secondary purpose...)
"When it becomes more difficult to be law abiding than a freetard then something is wrong with the system."
I completely agree with this one.
Just look at what happens when a PC game, for instance, is crippled by a DRM system. People crack it, cracked copies appear on torrents et al. People who have paid money for the game start getting the cracks, and people who were going to buy the game download it because it is easier.
The same thing happens with DVDs. My brother is religious, and refuses to just pirate material. But often, when he buys a DVD he downloads a copy from the internet, too. It is easier to handle, being just stored on his PC (from which he plays all his content), and it doesn't have all the mandatory viewing at the beginning telling him not to pirate stuff. Think about this: He buys the DVD, but still downloads a "pirate" copy because it's better (less hassle) than the DVD!
This is a broken system.
I agree that there needs to be some kind of "open" standards-based DRM system.
I do not like it. I wish that Hollywood etc. would trust their customers enough to do without it.
They will not. Not yet, anyway. This means we need some way to get rid of the proprietary DRM lock-in.
Flash was bad, but at least it was fairly cross-platform. Most systems had an implementation. It may have been crap (on Linux, for example), but at least it existed.
Silverlight is worse. Not surprising, really, when it's a Microsoft product, but everyone seems to be moving over to it, locking out a huge number of devices. AFAIK, only Windows, MacOS and Symbian(?!) are supported. So, no iPhone, no Android, and definitely no Linux.
Moving on, it is clear that if we must have DRM, we need an "open" standard DRM. A system which can be implemented on anything. It doesn't need to be FOSS, but it needs to be able to interoperate with FOSS, or anything else.
With this in mind, my concern is that web standards are not the right place for it, IMHO. But then again, I disagreed with adoption of H264 as the "standard" HTML5 video format.
I have given this some thought in the past, and I believe that graphics card drivers would be the best place to implement this (one way or another). Come up with an open specification which allows data to be passed to the video card, encrypted, and allow them to decrypt and display. This would be relatively trivial for them to implement (in software for older cards, hardware for new models) and would keep everything secure. It could even be made interoperable with HDCP, so a GFX card hooked up to a HDTV would just stream the content, and the TV does the work. Do the decoding at the furthest point along the line possible. This keeps content providers happy (their content is as protected as possible), and consumers happy (because they can play their content).
It would not keep die-hard FOSS nuts happy, but nothing will in this situation other than abandoning DRM, which isn't going to happen soon.
It would not keep "pirates" happy, but who cares about
On a side note, I agree with others here that having the Pirate Parties join this fight only weakens the case. It's like the South Park episode where they were arguing over the flag (S4 E7 - Chef Goes Nanners).
Actually, used as they should be licensing your patented innovations IS an "effective way to share technology and build on each other’s work" while still being rewarded for the work you have done.
It is when the technology should not have been patented, or when a company refuses to license it, that the main problems occur.
Yeah, I take your point. It does have use cases.
I don't get this point. Yes, you can set up rsync (in fact you could do so without IPv6, just using port forwarding on your router).
Where I could see this being most useful is for a group of friends. Each agrees to store copies of each others' files. Set up the sync and, as with bittorrent, you don't need to upload the files to every machine, they share the data around. Or as a small business with several offices, the files are synced and upload duty shared around.
Similarly, if you want to share a file with a group, you just add it and let the client do the rest.
Obviously, there would need to be some form of protection if you had sensitive data (I certainly wouldn't trust my friends with some data I hold, just because it is too important to take any risks), but it could basically (like the article states) create a distributed dropbox. Incredibly useful, whether you are on IPv6 or not.
"Raspberry Pi users have made the new software work under Raspbian, which makes the tiny computer an even more tempting home-brew storage manager."
While I am a big fan of the Pi and have several projects on the go using it, storage is it's weak point IMHO. I cannot imagine it being even remotely useful as a home NAS. The networking is only 100Mbit, and the only storage it can support is either USB or the onboard SD card slot. USB storage doesn't cut it, and I wouldn't have a NAS without gigabit ethernet. The only use case I could see is a portable NAS/media player combo, which would be nice.
As I said, I love the Pi, but it is not a "one size fits all" solution. Play to it's strengths and it's amazing. Fail to recognise it's weaknesses and you will end up disappointed.
"And the galaxy is so efficient, that the star formation is likely to be all done and dusted in the equivalent of a few moments in a galactic lifetime.
In just a few tens of millions of years[A few billion years ago], the gas will be[was] used up and the galaxy will mature[d] into a massive elliptical galaxy."
Since it is 6 billion light years away, this has all finished, shirley?
"So what's it like for gaming? I've no idea, but I think we can guess."
You could easily have done better than guess!!
You have the tablet. You are reviewing it. Yet you can't be arsed to try a couple of games? It wouldn't have taken very long!
@Dodgy Geezer: While your points have some grounding, I do have some issues.
"We already use far more energy per head than our parents, and our children will use even more - and that is not a bad thing. It is part of the way human societies better themselves."
Not exactly. DOING more is how we better ourselves. This normally uses more energy. However, it does not always have to. More efficient technologies come along allowing us to do more with the same energy or less. So with no increase in energy use we can still have advancement.
"The Greens have now been defeated in this latest fight. But they will come back again over some other technology. They are anxious to achieve zero growth and stop all human development. Being on their side is not something I would be proud of..."
This is the hard-line, extremist green view. I consider myself a moderate green. I want the world to move forward, but that does not mean we have to "destroy the planet" in the process. We can generate electricity from clean sources. The current generation of renewables is not up to the job (specifically wind and solar), but we can use cleaner gas-fired stations and, in particular, nuclear as a stop gap, as well as the more advanced renewables like hydro. We can use more efficient appliances to reduce our energy needs without lowering our quality of life. We can continue to research additional clean energy sources. All of these would be for the ultimate advancement of mankind, while also being green.
"Maybe, but if we can get it onto BMW's"
Haven't you heard? (B-b-b-bird bird bird... sorry, couldn't help the Family Guy reference)
Audi drivers are the new BMW drivers.
"I was just criticizing what the article's author suggested, of it being a path towards not subsidizing handsets."
TBH I think they have pretty much stopped subsidising handsets anyway. Having compared many operator contracts and SIM-only plans, I have always found that it is the same or cheaper to buy the phone outright and use a SIM only plan. In fact, buying the phone on some credit cards can sometimes work out cheaper!
'And let's face it, what average Reg reader knows what "Bell-state" is?'
There is only one bell-state. "Ready for action".
Paris: She knows.
"They were more concerned about creating the lock-in than they were about giving the customer the goodies that make them buy-in to the lock-in voluntarily."
Right there is the key.
To get something to work which people aren't bothered about, you must make things they are bothered about which, coincidentally, need them to use the thing they aren't bothered about.
Had the operators had some foresight, they could have easily concocted a standard to allow people to buy in app stores and have the cost billed through them. That would have been a great money spinner for them.
I think it's a lot like the UK government ID cards. Although we are here on a tech forum where most just thought it was a bad idea from the beginning, most non-techies I know thought it was a reasonably good idea but didn't see much benefit. The government could have made it a lot more attractive. Adding the ability to store payment cards, loyalty cards, memberships etc. on it would have swayed many, for example. Incorporating an electronic cash system would have brought more into the fold. Hell, even I would have been tempted with that lot. But instead, they plodded along with the core idea, and it failed to gain any real interest from the public.
"OK, provided that the rate of deterioration is set to match what Libraries find in practice"
I beg to differ.
The only reason a library should pay for a new book when it deteriorates is because it costs the publisher to print a new copy. OK, it doesn't cost as much as the library pays, but it does cost.
For eBooks, the "deterioration" should be built into the royalties. Instead of "pay the full price after x thousand loans", spread that cost into the per-loan royalty and it's sorted. The only thing which would be affected is the publishers figures.
"Why are so many resources devoted to browser development? ... The overwhelming majority of users... just want to see a web page."
They want to see it fast. They don't want to wait 30s, or even 10s, for it to load (even if it is just a picture of a cat).
They want to see it correctly. They don't want to be unable to see the cat because their browser doesn't support this or that.
That is why there is so much work going on. They have to keep up to the newer technologies as they appear, while improving efficiency of existing components.
"Best manager I ever had only did a single thing get the rest of the company to leave me the hell alone and speak to her instead."
That's what my current manager does, for the most part.
I'm sure he does more than I can see, but he is fantastic in a crisis. We had a serious problem in the systems I look after, resulting in a good week's work to get everything working again. I had nobody hassling me for that time. He asked me for updates regularly, drafted in help for me, and kept everyone off my back. Basically, he let me do my job and provided me everything I needed to get it done quickly and smoothly. Without that, it would have taken me a good month.
"As for the Peter Principle, I've yet to see that institutionalised across an entire organisation. Individual cases, certainly, but it is far more instructive to think of managerial promotions as being random."
In my own (admittedly limited) experience, I have found that those who normally get promoted to middle management are either;
a) ambitious and power hungry (at least to some degree) and want to rise to the top, whatever is involved, or
b) those who can't do their job, but current management sees some management potential in them, making promotion easier than firing them.
I have seen a prevalence of these two types. I have, of course, seen some press-ganged into a management position, almost against their will, but these seem much rarer than the above two cases (which, again in my experience, seem to be roughly equal).
"I think I have been reading a different El Reg than the one you are talking about. I'm sure the overriding bias from the Reg was IP law was totally fucked"
I think it depends on your starting position. In all, I believe el Reg has maintained a fairly balanced view on the matter, but this upsets people on both extremes.
To the "pirate" who thinks they should get everything free, the opinion that any IP law is required at all goes against their standpoint, so el Reg is siding with the big, nasty corporations who want to force them to pay for stuff.
To big corps and their supporters who want this IP system, because it benefits them, the suggestion that IP law needs reform shows that el Reg is siding with the pirates and wants them to give everything away for free.
In reality, this publication has regularly stated that, while we need IP law to protect those who innovate or create, the current system is completely screwed and needs reform.
"Apparently the older you get the harder is to differentiate speech from background music."
If this is true, I'm royally screwed. I have had a lot of trouble with that from my early teens.
Strangely, I can pick out a particular instrument from an orchestra no problem. But if someone tries to speak to me, directly in my ear, while listening to said orchestra, I need it repeating 3-4 times before I understand.
"Sky are okay, but they're only estimating 40Mbps where I am so they're already off to a worse start."
If you are talking about Sky Fibre, that is because 40Mbps is the max they offer.
You need to take Sky Fibre Pro for 80Mbps. I did, and as a heavy user I have encountered no throttling or caps.
A small tip, though. They charge you for installation of Pro (as an existing customer, at least). The don't charge you for plain fibre. However, you can get Fibre and, as soon as it is installed, upgrade to Pro.
"Spend 24 hours a day downloading torrents? You're the equivalent of demanding they fill your tanker with cola."
Nope. You are using what you have paid for.
The difference here is the point of "with your meal". This would mean that it is valid only for one meal, while you consume that meal. Strictly, as soon as you have finished the last mouthful, your contract is completed and you are entitled to no more. In addition, it is a quite obvious assumption (and probably stated, too) that it is for your own consumption during that meal. Therefore you could not fill up a few bottles to take away, you must consume it with the meal.
When you pay for unlimited broadband, you are paying for a 24x7 service. I see no reason why you should not be allowed to download at the full speed of your connection 24x7. You are not abusing the service, you are using it. If you place limits on it beyond that, by definition it is no longer unlimited.
"Should GCHQ want to recruit people who 'forget' their passwords?"
Everyone forgets their password from time to time. Or locks out their account. Or....
Just because a person is one of the best cryptanalysts in the world doesn't mean they don't have a memory like a sieve.
However, for an intelligence agency to be storing passwords in plain text is inexcusable. Even on a peripheral system. It doesn't matter whether they are sending out plain-text password reminders, as such. It is that they are storing them insecurely. Which is bad. Very bad.
"So for your whole life you've supported a party that believes in electoral reform that they expect to mean regular coalition governments... The party that believes coalition government is a good thing goes into coalition."
You beat me to it. The Lib Dems had no choice but to go into coalition (or abandon all hope of saying they support PR, which means regular coalitions). They had very little option but to go into it with the Tories, as any other would have both been very complicated (using every party in Parliament to oppose the Tories) and against the apparent wishes of the electorate (who basically voted Labour out).
On top of this, they have done real good for the country. They have tempered the Tory government, and pushed through beneficial changes (such as the rise in personal allowance).
The only real policy mistake I believe they have made was breaking their promise on tuition fees. This was a firm commitment to vote against any rise, and they just tossed that down the toilet. Apart from that, the main damage to the party is just in the association with the Conservatives and their policies. It is a perception held by many, and that will have the most damaging consequences. However, this is because the
proles electorate are stupid have not thought it through.
"And the noise."
That was my main problem when I bought a pair of DL380G4s to replace a couple of home servers based on desktop hardware. One of the old desktops had blown it's PSU while I was on holiday (which happened to be my mail server, causing great distress to my other half), which prompted the move to real server hardware.
When I got them home (and installed in my new rack), I found the noise level... unacceptable. Or rather, SWMBO found the noise level unacceptable. I wasn't really too surprised, as they would drown out the noise from our vacuum cleaner from the next room. I did, however, find a fix.
The first part was to retire one to the duty of parts repository, and keep any non-essential services on a desktop-based server. The second was involved a soldering iron, some heatshrink sleeving, some resistors and every fan in the system (8, I think). Then, after a few days of careful monitoring in mid summer, I determined that the heat levels were acceptable so long as I left the window latched open.
I'm actually in the process of heading the other way, now. All my external services are hosted elsewhere, and I am in the middle of consolidating all my systems into one desktop based server. At least it's now in a rack mount enclosure, with custom dual PSUs and two UPSs. The spare hardware, well... It will probably join all my other spare hardware in the cupboard, ready to fire into life when something else goes wrong.
As a side note, I'm not looking forward to the other half noticing the drop in our leccy bill when I switch off the 380. She noticed the rather large increase when it was installed, but didn't figure out what was causing it. I'm pretty sure she will go mad when she realises how much juice that thing was drinking...
"I am also a little wary of a wireless network that can supply enough energy to charge a phone using me as a medium"
It's not using you as a medium. It is using, mostly, air as the medium.
I will accept that if you happen to be in between the charge and the device it would be using you as a medium, it's only in the same way the your phone is using your head as a medium if the base station is on the opposite side to the phone.
"Apart from having to deal with BT, any reasons why I shouldn't go with them?"
Nope, but that's enough reason for me!
"I would rather pay for my broadband separately"
I don't really know why. I was (and still am for a few days) with Be, and was delighted when I could get a landline with them. It simplified fault finding no end. The landline provider couldn't just fob you off on the ISP, and vice versa, because they were the same.
I would strongly advise against. I have had several conversations with them over problems with my parents' broadband & phone. I would not touch them with a barge pole. They are arrogant, rude liars. Their philosophy seems to be "the customer is always wrong". They are (I can barely believe I am saying this) worse than BT.
YMMV. This is only from my own, personal experience, but it is a very bad experience.
I've been with Be since I moved into my own place a in 2008. Above all else, the support kept me there, plus the ability to have multiple static IPs and the speed advantage I gained.
When I moved in with my girlfriend a few years ago, I stuck with Be even though it meant getting a second line (as she refused to get rid of hers, with Sky as it happens).
Since then, I have actually found Sky to be a great (consumer) service, both from reliability and speed aspects and on the support front. It has impressed me enough that I have just cancelled my Be line and migrated to Sky Fibre.
I know some will not be happy with this announcement, but from my own, single experience I have to say that Sky are my second favourite ISP, behind Be only in the technical aspects.
I don't know about legally, but:
- ARM design their cores and license them out to fund more design. There is a continual process.
- MPEG-LA is just a group of companies, really, with licensing deals (I know, far too simplified). Other companies hold the patents, MPEG-LA just makes licensing them all easier.
- Google bought Moto, which are still (IIRC) a separate company and do make things using them.
- Troll Inc just buy patents then try to license them out. They do no development or production of their own, and exist purely to suck money away from others.
"The problem with that is it stops small time inventors being able to earn a living from real inventions too. Just because you like inventing things, doesn't mean you would be the right person to take it forward as a product."
I thought about this too.
For me, there would be 1 simple way of solving this problem; all patents must be held by an individual. No companies may own a patent: They may license it, but not own it.
There would be a host of problems stemming from this, too, ranging from transfer of the license through to what happens when it is the companies effort (i.e. you are employed and gain a patent on something you do at work), but none of these are insurmountable.
"You start producing the item and then sue and you're not a NPE anymore"
Shows how much you know!
Let's say I came up with a fairly simple, but non-obvious and innovative, enhancement for, say, a car engine. It is not something which can easily be retrofitted. I have developed the idea and patented it, but I don't have the money to produce the new engine myself.
I go to a few car companies with this enhancement idea. Some are interested, but they don't license the idea, they just steal and use it.
I am a non-producing entity, and have no way of producing it. Should I have to post the billions in a bond just to be able to sue them for stealing the idea?
The obvious way around this is to exclude the original patent applicant, but what if I had taken my invention and rolled it into a company?
The problem is making sure the legislation doesn't remove rights from those it is intended to protect (i.e. innovators).
"If there was some explainable means to and end, then fine!"
There is. Read the article.
OK, it was probably started with "I wonder what would happen if we linked 2 brains together" (possibly followed by "that'd be so cool! Now get another round in") , but the research shows that joining 2 brains may have some purpose.
Personally, I hate the idea of experimenting on animals. I think it is cruel. However, it is a necessary evil in my view. Without it we would not be able to do half of what we do today. I hope, some day, we no longer need to, but for now it's the best option available to us.
More power for more performance I think for Atom.
I think this very much depends on the application.
I would suspect that for many applications you are right, but for many you are wrong. Added to which, most server applications (which this article is talking about) scale well across threads. Therefore, if we took an Atom dual core processor (the most Intel do at the moment, I think) compared to a multi-core ARM SOC, I think you would be able to get similar performance for much lower power and cost.
This is only my own gut feeling, I have no numbers to back it up. Where I work we had enough trouble upgrading our MES from a couple of old (>10 years, although they are still running perfectly) Alpha's to Itaniums, and are now being blocked by the bean counters from consolidating most of our boxes into a new vitualised environment. We move slowly here, if ARM servers take off we may get to them 10 years or so later...
Our beloved BOFH appears to have gone AWOL.
Can we expect a new story any time soon? There's been nothing since November and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms!
"my USB camera and microphone cost about £3 and theoretically would work"
Not as well, though.
The camera module connects to the CSI2 connector on the Pi, which allows images/video to go straight into the GPU, be processed, then spat out to either the display or into userland. With your USB webcam, even forgetting the terrible inefficiencies of USB, to get the same functionality you need a userland programme to pull data from the webcam and put it into the GPU (whether to display it or to process it).
"or there is no Wine at all"
Ah, wait, you didn't mention beer. Is my beer safe? Do we need emulation for beer to exist?
"Is it possible to run GNU/Linux software on Android by installing libraries?"
On a rooted device, you can set up a chroot environment with, say, Debian installed. Use a terminal emulator and, hey presto, you've got a Debian shell.
Add to that the Android X-Server app, and you've got linux GUI apps, too. Looks very odd (and hard to read without tweaking) seeing LXDE running on your mobile.
"I might want to watch ITV, Sky, or all those other channels that don't insist on charging me the poll tax"
Still watching TV.
Although the BBC would like you to believe that the license fee is theirs, it is a tax on watching (live broadcast) TV. You wanna watch TV, pay the govt for the privilege. Nothing to do with the BBC, except that the government pays for them.
"Rather than try and stifle debate, we need to be having a really good, proper scientific debate where data is properly released in full (yep, a reference to a certain Anglian university), analysed by lots of different people and the results discussed sensibly. Then, we can implement the changes necessary, not to try and stop it necessarily, but to adjust with it."
And you see this happening?
I completely agree that this is what is needed. In fact, I don't doubt that such debates happen. The problem is that the debate has become so polarised it is virtually religious. The "hippies" and "deniers" take such extreme views that the other side are heretics who should be burned.
I did like the comment about offline storage. I actually considered a disk library project a while ago along similar lines.
My plan was to pack 4 3.5" disks into a "module". This module would be a RAID-5 set, but would be used like a tape in a tape library. Files would be written to it, and their location recorded in an online database (as in on a hard drive in the machine, not as in a server on the internet). Need a file, it's looked up in the DB, you are prompted for the module number. Insert it and you've got your data.
Using today's prices (quickly gleaned from ebuyer), the storage itself using 4x3TB / module @ £100ea would give, in RAID-5, 9TB for £400. For 1PB, you would need 112 modules, leading to approx 45k. Add in a grand (over estimating) for a server to deal with it and you have your PB of storage, offline but redundant.
Not many can say they have left as big a mark on the computing world. I wish him all the best and hope the "family reasons" aren't anything serious.
On a side note, I think that his response to the conspiracy theories is a classic:
"while I frequently think Linus is an asshole... I am departing quite genuinely for family reasons"
I'll raise a glass to him tonight. Cheer Alan!
"I'd argue that those who were posted about had an expectation of privacy"
Exactly. If the explicit photos are taken in a private setting by their partner, there is a reasonable expectation* that those pictures will be viewed only by the partner. To then make those images public is a breach of privacy (as well as showing the person who published them to be a dick).
Imagine how horrified you would be if you allowed your partner to take photos of you, you broke up and then found they had posted them on the web for all to see.
The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.
I have to agree, here.
Everywhere could easily run their own databases for medical records. What is needed is a standard format for exchange of this data between NHS institutions.
So if your GP refers you to the hospital, they can send the data on in a manner which will integrate with the hospital's own systems. Similarll, A&E departments could be given (logged and controlled) powers to access a patient's medical records, with that access being funnelled to the appropriate GP's database.
This requires much less development (and money) than a centralised system, and should be more secure. At the very least if a breach did occur, it would be for a single database instead of the whole thing.
Interesting ways to explain it.
I still reckon Georgie boy made a cock up, but the second 2 explanations make some sense.