* Posts by Buzzword

913 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

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Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics

Buzzword

Time to short Intel?

I can't see Intel's high profit margins surviving with this pattern. As pointed out in other stories today, buyers are shifting from quality (faster chips) to quantity (cheaper chips). CPUs are becoming a commodity. We see this both in the server market, where Google/Amazon/Facebook's vast data centres rely on huge numbers of cheap commodity chips, and in the consumer market, where buyers are snapping up cheap new ARM tablets and clinging on to their old Intel laptops for as long as possible.

Developers are complicit in this: they are coding for low-spec computers, rather than the old habit of coding for tomorrow's desktops and forcing the user to upgrade. A website designed for iPad users will run very smoothly on even a four year-old PC. The need to upgrade is weaker than it has ever been in the past three decades.

Faced with cheap ARM chips entering the server market, and ARM-powered Chromebooks in the consumer market, how can Intel's high margins possibly survive?

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Intel: Our new mobile chip SoCs it to its predecessor

Buzzword

Re: HDMI stick potential

Doesn't need to run Windows. Having x86 opens up a lot of Linux variants; there are fewer options on ARM.

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Buzzword

HDMI stick potential

Sounds like a good candidate for one of those HDMI sticks (à la Chromecast) that are popping up everywhere. Given that the current crop of Android dongles are primarily let down by the OS, I look forward to seeing x86 dongles with a choice of OS.

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Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA

Buzzword

Re: I've a 300 baud acoustic coupler in the cupboard.

No, that's just security-through-obscurity. It'll work for a short while, until they figure out what you've done, then it's worse than useless because it's still giving you the illusion of security while in fact being wide open.

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Buzzword

Re: Use once pads

But if you can securely exchange the name of the DVD, then you could just exchange a password; or even the whole thing.

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Buzzword

What about borders?

I get the part about securing your private key on a thumb drive. But what happens when you need to cross a border, yet you need to bring your private key with you so that you can continue to communicate securely when you're in another country? How do you smuggle your private key across the border?

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Reg hack battles Margaret Thatcher's ghost to bring broadband to the Highlands

Buzzword

Dial-up?

If it's just for checking his emails, isn't dial-up a suitable option?

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Apple erects measures to stop app-happy kids splurging parents' dosh

Buzzword

They do it on purpose

A lot of psychology goes into game design. They know that people don't like spending money too often, so they make you buy one large bag of Smurfberries instead of several smaller purchases of the actual things you need. They know that people seek out value for money, which is why the jumbo bag of Smurfberries costs $9.99 for 1,350 berries, while the smaller bag costs $0.99 for 100 berries. They use awkward numbers like 1,350 to prevent you from making comparisons too easily. There's the old slot-machine favourite, "insert 50p to keep playing" after your character dies. The developers get realtime feedback on how many players are paying or quitting at each point in the game, so they can fine-tune the experience and squeeze the maximum cash from you.

More excellent insights can be found in the article "The Top F2P [Free-to-Play] Monetization Tricks":

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20130626/194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks.php

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'Abel, put that camera down right now! Abel, you're fired. Out!'

Buzzword

QOTW?

I still haven't fully grasped the point of the QOTW articles. Smells like click-bait. My mother always said, if you have nothing to say, then don't say anything.....

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Leaked photos of iPhone 5C parts portend ugly Google legal battle

Buzzword

Windows

Even Windows 3.x had those four colours.....

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Asus will bung 'Nexus 7 2' fondle-droids on Blighty's shelves this month

Buzzword

LTE / 4G

What about the LTE / 4G version?

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Web ad giant (Google) pops Adwords into Maps for iOS and Android

Buzzword

iOS app?

Yet another reason why I'm glad I stuck to iOS 5. No messing around with my Google Maps!

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Steelie Neelie finds phone calls are cheaper in Latvia than in Luxembourg

Buzzword

"Suppliers charge what the market can afford"

Only monopolists or oligopolists can get away with that.

Look at e.g. the oil market. Buyers in the UK can afford a higher price for oil, yet miraculously we pay the same price (excl. tax) for oil as the Latvians. That's because oil is fungible and is traded in a competitive, market. Phone minutes/texts/data are fungible too, so the market should be just as competitive.

One way to ensure a competitive market would be to allow users to change network instantly, e.g. via a setting in their phones. Within no time at all the price of minutes, texts, and data would tumble to just above cost price.

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Hooker in Dudley man's car 'just helping to buy tomatoes'

Buzzword

Re: This law

No, the law exists to keep prostitutes off the streets and in licenced "massage parlours". Local residents are generally opposed to seeing ladies of the night hawking their flesh on the streets. Probably because they lower house prices.

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Psssst: If you wanna be rich, make the next privacy Robocop app

Buzzword

Re: No shit, Sherlock!

Even with Javascript decryption, you'd have to trust the site providing it. Who's to say that the JS decryption code isn't secretly sending your keystrokes back to Gmail.com? For that matter, you can't trust the browser makers either - and if the spooks can corrupt Microsoft, Google, and Apple, then most likely they can corrupt the Mozilla foundation too. Technical solutions aren't the answer - only legal solutions.

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Forget Snowden: What have we learned about the NSA?

Buzzword

How are they using the data?

Like many, I wasn't that surprised by the revelations that US spooks had access to Gmail, Facebook, Amazon, etc. What I'd really like to know is how they are using that data. Is it just the anti-terrorist branch that has access, or is it the IRS, the child support agency (if they have one), and every local police officer? Are the NSA passing on industrial secrets to big companies?

Also, is information gleaned in this way admissible in court? Can the NSA point to your PDF e-book of "How to Make Bombs and Injure People" and use that as evidence that you're a terrorist?

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Voyager 1 'close' to breaking through to DEEP SPACE - boffins

Buzzword

Mandatory XKCD comic

Voyager has left the solar system again?!

http://xkcd.com/1189/

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Boffin's claim: I have found how to get girls into tech

Buzzword

What happens when lies meet real world?

When our lovely ladies enter the world of IT work, they'll be mightily disappointed to discover that the media lied to them. Still, it makes a nice change from the medias usual lies about photoshopped models.

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Vodafone coughs up £6.5bn for Kabel Deutschland

Buzzword

Quads aren't for everyone

"The assumption was that the public would want combined billing from one communications supplier"

In a world where one family = one house, maybe. But London is home to some two million flat-sharers. Nobody wants to split the phone bill with the Brazilian guy who spends all night on the phone to his girlfriend back in Rio.

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Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

Buzzword

Large files

What if we encrypt all our messages, and pad them out to 100 MB too? That's small enough to keep our own messages, but big enough to cause a storage headache for the NSA & friends.

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Microsoft's canceled 'Project Brazil' took aim at Amazon, eBay

Buzzword

Ubuntu got there first

This sounds suspiciously like Ubuntu's desktop search reaching into Amazon.

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Nokia Lumia 925: The best Windows Phone yet

Buzzword

Bought one last week. It's a great phone, with a lovely screen, but marred by a mediocre OS.

There's no notification center. Multi-tasking is limited. The browser doesn't have a "forward" button (this sounds like a tiny detail, but in practice it's quite irritating). The status bar doesn't show the battery percentage, just a small icon. The status bar disappears most of the time (this is touted as a feature, but there's no way to disable it). You can't scroll through Youtube videos; you can only jump forward or backward 30 seconds at a time.

My biggest gripe is that the default font is massive. Using e.g. the Facebook app, you actually see less information on this phone's 4.5" screen than on an old iPhone's 3.5" screen. The email client has the same problem.

The lack of apps isn't so much of an issue: the important ones are there, and for most of the rest I can use the browser. Overall though WP8 doesn't stand up to iOS, at least for me. It's a shame as I'm quite the fan of MS otherwise.

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IT mercenaries and buy-to-let landlords are my HEROES - here's why

Buzzword

Re: Tax?

But if you do own the rental property outright, and you're in the 40% tax bracket, then you're treated rather harshly for tax purposes.

Let's assume you own your house outright and rent it out, while working in another city where you rent from a landlord. Assume that both houses cost the same in rent. Your rental income only covers 60% of your rental cost because the rest goes on tax.

The only way to avoid this is to take out a mortgage on the first property and use it to buy a home in the city where you work. The current tax system actually encourages you to load up on debt so as to minimise your tax bill. A cynic might suggest that that is a deliberate feature, not a bug.

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CRINGE! Home Office wants to know whether your boss BEATS YOU

Buzzword

Imagine if this strategy was rolled out across government. The police could survey members of the public, asking if they have committed any crimes recently. Makes sense, since we can always trust the bad 'uns to incriminate themselves.

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What do you mean WHY is Sony PS4 so pricey in Oz?

Buzzword

Re: Landfill devices

Not a fanboi. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also commands a premium in Australia; but the budget Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500 is actually cheaper in Australia ($189 at Kogan) than in the US ($249 at Best Buy).

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Buzzword

Landfill devices

Yup. Apple charge over the odds for the iPhone down under, but there's no "Australia tax" on unloved landfill Android devices. They've worked out that Australians are willing (and able) to pay more for premium products.

Thanks to your higher wages you still end up better off. Whinging Aussies....

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Patch Tuesday: And EVERY version of IE needs fixing AGAIN

Buzzword

Reboot required

These patches wouldn't be half as annoying if Windows could update files that are currently in use. Mac OS X achieves this, most of the time. Having to close my dozens of applications with their carefully-positioned windows is a significant pain point.

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Curtain drops on Apple Store ahead of WWDC: What lies behind?

Buzzword

On the absence of leaks

Presumably there is no new hardware to leak, since the iPhone 5 isn't really due a refresh until autumn.

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Signatures no good at protecting databases, says Juniper

Buzzword

Really?

Is SQL injection really still a problem? Any half-baked coder knows to use parameterized queries. What's more, their proposed solution sounds ridiculously complex.

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Google whips the sheet off new Gmail interface

Buzzword

If You Have Gmail You Must Have This!

Looks like these new features eliminate the need for that heavily-advertised insane $5-a-month email filtering service.

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Hey, you, dev. What do you mean, storage is BORING?

Buzzword

Cloud

But cloud computing is making storage invisible. As storage (and computing power) become commodities, the interesting action moves higher up the stack.

Then again I'm a developer, so I would say that....

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Facebook teens' kimonos - basically never closed

Buzzword

Re: "get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details"

There's a big difference between sharing your personal details such as name, home town, school, date of birth; versus posting inane updates like "I'm eating a ham sandwich". It's only the latter that annoy.

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Cameron's Tech City: Desks? Yes. Cash? Yes. Coders? Nope

Buzzword

Re: EC1 ~ £600pd, E1 ~ £??? @Buzzword

You're assuming that the supply of skilled workers is fixed - when in fact we have a highly flexible labour force and we can import workers from the rest of Europe. If salaries in Shoreditch aren't enough even to attract an unemployed Spaniard or Greek, then they're definitely not paying enough.

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Buzzword

There's no such thing as a lack of skilled workers. There's only a shortage at a given price. In other words they just aren't paying enough. Shoreditch's start-ups have to compete for talent, and they're up against the City's well-paid financial sector next door. I've never heard a City bank complain of a shortage of developers.

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London Olympics site to become digital mega-hub

Buzzword

Re: Pardon my cynicism but...

Indeed. The recently-opened Shard provides 575,000 sq ft of office space in zone 1; this "technodome" will provide just 300,000 sq ft in zone 3.

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Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Buzzword

No new roads?

But not all work time is of equal value. Your businessman might be worth £50 an hour on average, but the work he can do in the train or the driverless car isn't the same work that he can do in the office. In my experience the work you can do on the train is of much lower value, e.g. sorting your inbox, adding animations to your Powerpoint presentation, or dashing off quick emails like "I'll get back to you when I'm back in the office".

Putting these numbers into the mythical cost/benefit spreadsheet would still give HS2 a lower benefit than assuming no work at all is done on the train; but a higher benefit than assuming that all work is equal.

There is of course a uniquely British disease of saying that what we've got is good enough, and that rather than build more we should just charge people more to use it. This applies to trains, airports, housing, water, energy, etc. I'd be glad to have HS2 just to prove that we're capable of pulling our collective finger out.

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McAfee all-in-one security suite covers PCs, tablets, and smartphones

Buzzword

Re: Ooh, I can safely store my credit card and passport scans on it!

I did once use an online copy of my passport, displayed on my smartphone, as proof of ID to rent a car. I don't think it was standard procedure though :)

(it was in my "sent mail" box, having recently been sent to a recruitment agent)

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Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

Buzzword
Headmaster

Re: A4

Pedantry alert: A4 measures 210 by 297mm, or 8.3" by 11.7", so the diagonal is 14.3". The 13.3" screen will fit A4 as long as there is at least a 1cm margin on all four sides.

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Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader

Buzzword

Private companies DO do this

Want to rent a flat in London? Letting agencies regularly ask for 3-6 months of bank statements as proof of income. Recruitment agencies also ask for scans of passports. To rent a car using just a debit card (not a credit card), at least one major car rental company asks for not only a driving licence, but also a passport and a proof of address such as a utility bill or a bank statement.

There's nothing particularly unusual in Apple wanting to check the identity of their customers.

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How smart does your desk phone need to be?

Buzzword
Megaphone

Just give us voice quality

There are only two features that I demand from a modern phone, over and above it's 1950s equivalent:

- Caller ID

- HD voice

Amazingly, many companies still don't bother sending out the true caller ID; at best you get the ID of the reception desk. In this day and age it's inexcusable.

As for voice quality: In the last two companies I worked for, the phones themselves were perfectly capable of supporting HD voice, but the option hadn't been activated at the switchboard / server level. Why manufacturers don't enable it by default is beyond me. They're deliberately making their own products look bad.

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The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Buzzword
Go

Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

Here's the full list of Microsoft's trademarks: http://members.microsoft.com/library/toolbar/3.0/trademarks/en-us.mspx

Personally I quite like the name "Digital Anvil" for a slab-based OS.

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Nokia teases world+dog with snap of new 4G Lumia 928

Buzzword

14th May event?

There is a Nokia event scheduled for 14th May in London. It wouldn't make sense to announce a Verizon-compatible phone in the UK, so there must presumably be more to it.

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Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 WinPro 8 tablet

Buzzword

Price: Quantity vs Quality

The problem is the price. For £2,000 you can give your engineers one Toughbook, or you can buy eight netbooks. Unless they're particularly clumsy, or working in inhospitable environments, they're unlikely to chew through eight netbooks in a four year period.

Most Toughbook users only ever use them inside their vans or site offices; they aren't pressing buttons in heavy rain. For those people, a cheap netbook is a better value proposition than a Toughbook. (Obviously if you do need to press buttons in the rain, then stick with the Toughie.)

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Java still vulnerable despite recent patches

Buzzword

Android?

Since Android's Dalvik VM is based on Java, does it also suffer from these kinds of vulnerabilities?

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Ten Windows 8 Ultrabooks

Buzzword

Still only 4GB ?!

What's with laptop makers only providing 4 GB of memory in this day and age? Many of them don't even offer an upgrade option. 4 was standard some years ago; I'd expect at least 8 today, even in a laptop.

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Notebook makers turn to Android in face of Windows woes

Buzzword

Metro

Just kill Metro and bring back the Start menu. There, that's everything fixed for Microsoft.

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Hardware hacker unifies 15 retro consoles in format frenzy

Buzzword

3,500 hours?

When you say 3,500 hours, do you mean that he started the project last November and he spent the odd spare hour here or there working on it? Or do you mean 3,500 hours of solid work, which is near enough two years of full-time employment?

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IT salaries: Why you are a clapped-out Ferrari

Buzzword

What's next?

This leaves two questions:

1) What fast-growing industry would you recommend to school-leavers today?

2) What should those of us left in IT do to protect our wages?

As for #1, it seems obvious that youngsters should steer clear of IT if they want a (financially) rewarding career.

But #2 is less clear. Is now the time to take a permie position in a government department, safe in the knowledge that your wage will never fall? Or should we branch out, learn lots of skills, and try to find ways to use them all in our day jobs so as to keep our CVs looking good? Or just progress up to management and spend all day shouting at the poor folk who were too foolish to ignore #1 ?

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Google asks Blighty to slave over its Maps for FREE

Buzzword

Tube lines

As yet there is no option to edit public transport lines. This is a shame, as their tube map is particularly shoddy. In most places they've just drawn a straight line between two stations, even in the above-ground areas where you can see the tracks in satellite view.

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WTF is... H.265 aka HEVC?

Buzzword

Freeview

For the UK consumer, the timeline looks like this:

1996: H.262 (MPEG2)

1998: ONdigital, which became ITV Digital

2002: Freeview, from the ashes of ITV Digital

2003: H.264 (MPEG4)

2009: Freeview HD

2013: H.265

Given the current track record of taking six years from tech spec to product launch, can we pencil in the launch of Freeview 4K or Freeview HD+ in 2019 ?

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