* Posts by Chz

167 posts • joined 15 Jul 2010

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The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit

Chz

Re: Never trusted SystemD

Systemd started as a noble project to revise what is, I'm afraid, the utter shambles that is Linux system startup. And for that, it should be praised.

The fact that along the way it's suffered one of the worse cases of mission creep ever recorded in the annals of history shouldn't take that away from it. But yes, now that it's pretty much its own OS these sorts of things were bound to happen.

A year after Logitech screwed over Harmony users, it, um, screws over Harmony users: Device API killed off

Chz

Re: Went off of Logitech...

*joins the abandoned Squeezebox owners club*

Logitech consistently make good hardware. Then they either make abhorrent software for it, or once the software works, they kill the product entirely.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

Chz

Re: Why?

" Small domestic machines heat the water and generate pressure 'ad-hoc' and so can fluctuate. Industrial espresso machines have individual boilers for steam generating the pressure to push the water to the coffee, and for the water itself, so that both are always at the optimal temperature / pressure."

While you're not incorrect, it's largely irrelevant if you're only making one or two coffees in a home system. The thermoblock and coil have more than enough thermal mass for that amount of work. You just can't serve up 8 straight at a party is all. Never mind the point of diminishing returns with all artisan gear - once you hit the £200-250 range for a basic DeLonghi Magnifica, everything past that costs quite a lot more for very little in return.

There's also the downside to having a decent machine - the beans get expensive. A cheap machine makes them all taste like muck, but once you're grinding fresh and using reasonable temps/pressure it's hard not to buy the expensive ones.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Chz

Re: iddqd

And, of course, IDSPISPOPD.

I actually played Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles of Putrid Debris. It was kind of enjoyable, if only for the sound effects. I can't manage to dig up the USENET thread about it, but it was genius.

Qualcomm lifts lid on 7nm Arm-based octo-core Snapdragon 855 chip for next year's expensive 5G Androids

Chz

Interesting that they've gone with one higher clocked Big core, and three that are barely much slower. Huawei went with 2/2 and clocked the slower ones a fair bit less. Will be good to see the real world upshot of it, or whether there's even a noticeable difference to the Kirin chip.

Huawei MateBook Pro X: PC makers look out, the phone guys are here

Chz
Stop

Port Pedantry

" It includes two USB-C ports, one of which supports Thunderbolt, but still remembers to include a legacy USB 3.0 port."

USB 3.0 is a deprecated standard. There is USB 3.1(Gen 1 - previously known as USB 3.0) and USB3.1(Gen 2). I'd let that slide, except that is not what you meant. Even I think it's being too pedantic to bitch about 3.0 vs 3.1 Gen 1 because everyone knows what you mean. I'm pointing it out because I'm already posting about the bigger mistake in the picture here.

It has a USB-A port, as well as its two USB-C ports. USB 1, 2, 3, 3.1 are not physical port standards. It is perfectly possible (see most phones) to have a USB-C port that only provides the USB 2.0 protocol over it. No excuse for a publication like The Reg to get that incorrect. And naughty on Huawei, who should know better, for also calling it a USB 3.0 port.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Chz

Re: Trident

It's *one* reason, not a primary one. The Americans are fully aware that a nuclear deterrent that requires GPS is worthless. US doctrine assumes GPS in peacetime, but not in a hot war. To use Trident as an example, an SSBN will occasionally get a GPS fix to verify its own location. But it doesn't have to, and does so rarely. In wartime, it may *attempt* a GPS fix - because who doesn't like to triple-verify things like that - but a launch can take place without it. To-the-metre location is not required for a successful D5 launch. You get a decent rough estimate of launch location and the stellar navigation can handle the rest. I mean - seriously - they were launching nukes from submarines for *decades* before GPS was around. It helps with accuracy, but given that they quote D5's CEP at under 100m, it can be out an order of magnitude and make little difference to the end effect. (Unless it's a first strike at hardened targets - but then GPS would be available)

To sum - GPS is optional and nice to have, but not at all required for the nuclear deterrent. There are plenty of *conventional* weapons that are near-useless without it though.

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot

Chz

Re: Reboots

On the plus side, a reboot would (I assume) involve someone from today going back to the 1980s. I think there's plenty of material to be mined from that. Maybe with a few references to the original thrown in there. Even more fun if they set it in the UK!

Nvidia just can't grab a break. Revenues up, profit nearly doubles... and stock down 20%

Chz

Re: Oh please

"So in your little world, who decides what research is worthy of having access to computer time? Historically that was academics, now you seem to be saying the fattest pocketbook (i.e. whoever can pay NVIDIA enough to get attention) dictates what can or cannot be simulated or investigated."

Academia has always got discounts, and still does. What in the hell are you talking about? Universities have still always shelled out a LOT of money for that kit, even with the discounts. Do you really think money doesn't talk in academia? That's crazy.

And yes, it had ALWAYS been the case that researchers with the right friends can call up IBM, Nvidia, you name it and get this stuff for cost. Below cost, if it's headline-grabbing enough. It's purest fantasy to even suggest that academics actually get to decide research priorities when there's massive expenses involved.

Chz

Re: Oh please

"Yeah, I think they care immensely. Especially when they're doing months or years of calculations and need a stable base to run it on, a predictable and consistent interface to do so, to squeeze every inch out of their hardware, and to do so without unrelated gaming/media functions or driver bugs rearing their head."

Then they shouldn't use gaming cards and gaming drivers, maybe? Teslas and Quadros exist for a reason. If you're too cheap for them, then them's the breaks. Oh the horror, people charge more for enterprise-class hardware and software, never would have thought it.

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges

Chz

Re: Hostage situations...

There are some exceptions (someone mentioned the Dutch police), but it is generally true that once the decision has been made to apply deadly force, then the officers are instructed to do exactly that. The problem is with how liberally the decision to apply that force is taken in the United States.

Their northern neighbours need to fill out a small notebook worth of forms every time they so much as draw their firearm. This is to enforce the rule that you do not draw your firearm unless you fully intend to use it. And any situation that requires the use of deadly force should generate a lot of paperwork. This rolls back now to the issue of "shoot to wound" - abandoning such notions is to protect the officer. We have to assume that a trained officer of the law (well, outside of the US) will not draw their weapon unless it is needed, and if it is needed they must go for the shot that provides the greatest chance to disable, or indeed kill the threat. Shoot for the torso. It makes sense.

Chz

Re:Army vs Police training

"There is a massive difference between ARMY training and police training in all of the civilized world. ARMY training is how to kill first, do it more efficiently and it always presumes the other side combatant. It is to kill. Civilian police training is always to DEFUSE."

That's not even the case everywhere outside of the US. British forces are considered to be the best in the world at military police actions, precisely because of the lessons learned in Northern Ireland. They are most definitely trained to defuse a situation before shooting, when the opportunity presents itself. Canadian soldiers are most likely to find themselves on UN Peacekeeping duties and train in much the same way. I suspect it's also the case in many of the smaller European countries that play an active role in UN operations.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro: If you can stomach the nagware and price, it may be Droid of the Year

Chz

Getting there - Samsung had better watch out

So they're where Samsung was a few years ago - fantastic hardware, meh software. The software side has been a long, slow battle for Samsung, so it's going to be interesting to see how Huawei gets on.

A few comments on the company's efforts, as I own an Honor 8:

Patches have been... patchy. They've put out what is probably their final Oreo update, but it is more than 2 years after the phone's release. So +1 there. -1 for how long Oreo took in the first place (I think it was August it was released), but that's been common from most manufacturers for phones that launched on Marshmallow. I can see their beta channel, and they've consistently produced monthly patch updates. But as to who they're releasing these to, it's a total mystery. You'll get an OTA update every 4-5 months.

The hardware is fairly bulletproof. The H8 is a double-glass phone and I've dropped mine repeatedly (partly because the back surface is some sort of zero-friction prototype) and banged it up but good. No cracks. Performance is much the same as on Day One. Some of that is specific to my H8, but it does sum up Huawei hardware in general.

The software. Step one is to turn off the power-saving option for everything and only re-enable it for apps that you know are a bit thuggish in the background. Step two is to install launcher of your choice. Neither is difficult, and it makes life a lot easier on you. Once you've done that, there are some Huawei quirks (control panel especially, as noted) but it's over all quite usable and if you use the Google Launcher, you'd think it was a fairly stock Android 95% of the time.

As someone's already said, if you want a Kirin 980 for a lot less, just wait for the Honor (Magic 2, I think?) launch. Though the camera will certainly not be quite as nice.

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

Chz

Re: I've had no problem with BT

When I moved to BT in 2010, they were the only option other than (*hack* *spit*) Virgin for a fast service. I could bemoan the price of Infinity 2, but I've had the full 76Mbps from day one, Inf2 is unthrottled, and outages have been quite rare. I've zero doubts that Zen would provide better customer service, but I haven't needed customer service and so I stay where I am.

I think it would be a bit different were I to switch today. The VDSL2 modem is now built into the HomeHub, which would make running my own OpenWRT router slightly more complex. I'm sure it's still doable, but just more annoying to actually have to deal with the HH instead of having it in a box in a locked filing cabinet in the basement where it belongs.

Huawei Mate 20 series: China's best phone, but a pricey proposition

Chz

Re: nope. not ever again...

Maybe someone can explain how these companies do their firmware updates to us?

There's an app out there called "Firmware Finder" that supports most Huawei (and Honor, natch) phones. Fire it up, and you can see that every month, like clockwork, there's an internal build with the latest Google security patches. Some lucky users even get to try them! But for the vast majority, these builds are never pushed out over the air. This even applies to my Honor 8, which is now past its second birthday.

So why are these never released? I don't accept that the standard 10-50MB Google security patches are going to break anything. Besides which, for a while FF would allow you to actually *install* these firmware updates, so I know for a fact that they're stable and bug-free. I can understand major version upgrades do take quite some time to sort out, but the security patches shouldn't be withheld like that.

FWIW, when Huawei saw what FF was doing they cut it off (you can still see them, just can't install them now). And now I'm in firmware no man's land on a firmware version that's not supposed to exist and so I can't get any updates at all any more.

Does Google make hardware just so nobody buys it?

Chz

Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

Yes, but you do have to hand it to them - outside of the engineered in slurpage, ChromeOS is really quite excellent. It's a huge boon for the majority who couldn't give two figs about who's spying on them. I wouldn't (yet) recommend it as a primary device, but as a secondary one I think it's quite superior to all the other options for a portable device.

With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

Chz

Only a problem for crew...

"All of which leaves NASA with zero options for resupplying the ISS with crew and supplies until the Russians work out what went wrong on Thursday."

They could send a remote-controlled Soyuz up with some supplies if they don't want to leave the ISS empty. AIUI, the problem is that the current return pod on the ISS has a "use before" date on it. Normally they'd send a Progress up for resupply, but no reason they can't use a Soyuz capsule (outside of cost and smaller cargo capacity) with no crew.

Obviously, they'd prefer to finish their investigation first. But if it came to risking an unmanned flight or abandoning the ISS, I think it's quite reasonable.

Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei

Chz

Re: 6 gigabytes

From personal experience, 3 is minimum to see no lag in switching apps, 4 is better. 6 is definitely OTT, I think it will be quite some time before that's necessary. But even a Nexus 5 running stock Android was a bit slow on 2GB when it came to app switching. (This is not the same as its in-app slowness of being damned old)

Chz

Re: Four cameras?

Five cameras, if you count the front. And with a headphone jack, unlike the Huawei P20 and its "five cameras, no headphone jack" nonsense.

Oracle? On my server? I must have been hacked! *Penny drops* Oh sh-

Chz

Re: 1200 baud down, 75 baud up

You had zeros? We had to use the letter "O".

Buried in the hype, one little detail: Amazon's Alexa-on-a-chip could steal smart home market

Chz

Re: I would refuse to buy ANYTHING with built in Alexa

"Some microwave ovens provide superb examples of very bad UI design."

Some? How about most?

I swear there's a secret cabal somewhere, dedicated to ensuring that microwave UIs get progressively worse over the years. The technology itself has barely changed in decades, and yet every time I get a new one it's more difficult to use than the one it replaced. They've come up with *one* good idea in that time (press the start button multiple times to add +1 minute), and destroyed that benefit with several steps back elsewhere.

I used to be able to punch a power level with a dedicated button (one keypress), then key in the time I want and press Go.

Now I have to press power, twist a knob to the power level I want, press power again, twist the stupid fucking knob (GODDAMNIT I HATE THAT KNOB) to the amount of time I want, hopefully not anything over 3 minutes so I don't have to sit there spinning the damned thing, and then press start. And if I want to add time, it's only in increments of a minute - which is easily the difference between lukewarm and charcoal for some foods.

Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter

Chz

I suppose it's better than by hand...

...but I really liked the anime series "Planates", which focused entirely on a orbital garbage collection crew on a knackered space station. 'Twould be cool to see it as reality.

Highly recommended, by the way.

First it was hashtags – now Amber Rudd gives us Brits knowledge on national ID cards

Chz

Re: Joined-up databases

I wish that, once a month/quarter, we could do an Upvote x 25 for posts like that.

Exactly my own concerns (*most* countries have ID cards, their simple existence is not an issue), but put much more eloquently than I could manage on my own.

Huawei first to preview its 7nm phone SoC – the HiSilicon Kirin 980

Chz

Mediatek's presence in the phone market is as a minor player, even if they're quite dominant in other markets. I think they power an outright majority of Android tablets, but that's not saying a lot given the state of them.

Three more data-leaking security holes found in Intel chips as designers swap security for speed

Chz

It's a problem for their lucrative datacentre business, for sure. But from what I've heard from people who should know, virtualisation and multi-threading have both been regarded as security risks since their inception. (OoO not so much, admittedly) Most business customers are simply happy with "good enough" security, and I'd say that if you roll your own systems then Intel's processors still are just that. The problem, as emphasised in the article, is what will become of cloud computing.

I'm not sure any of it is relevant in the consumer space, though. This sort of attack is wildly improbable in the wild. There are much easier ways to hack things than that.

The last phablet? 6.4in Samsung Galaxy Note 9 leaves you $1k lighter, needs 'water cooling'

Chz

Re: High performance tablet

Except it's not 845, it's last year's 835. For $650. They're mad.

LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears

Chz

Re: Still far too expensive

Also, the article claims "Leave that to one side and you've got a strong phone, checking in at £599, considerably below rivals from Huawei, HTC and Samsung."

I would consider Huawei's regular P20 to be suitably competitive and while it may have started at the same price, it's now available for £480 most places.

That being said, Xiaomi's Android One offerings clock in around £200 and are more than enough for most uses.

HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

Chz

It's 2018. The phone market has moved to sealed phones being the standard. Is there is a removable battery, as some phones still have, it would be pointed out as a USP.

Test Systems Better, IBM tells UK IT meltdown bank TSB

Chz

Re: IBM??

I'll back you up on that. Most of what people think of as IBM's fuck-ups are the result of an improper specification. Garbage in, garbage out. IBM feel it's not their job to tell you you've specced something wrong, just their job to attempt to deliver the impossible or terminally broken and get paid for it.

Chz

Re: Turning off OpenAM token validation!?

"About Actimize, whatever software they're running to detect fraud..."

I've worked on the fraud detection system that Barclays uses for online and mobile banking. Without giving away too many details, I would call it "trusted and proven". If TSB's system can't handle the volume, they need some different software or to stop running it on a Raspberry Pi.

First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

Chz

Re: This underlines one more thing

I'd take a Singapore Airlines *anything* over any other airline's offering. I don't really care about the aircraft itself, I'm confident that if Singapore is flying it the experience will be less traumatic than on any other service.

Uber robo-ride's deadly crash: Self-driving car had emergency braking switched off by design

Chz

It was also noted that Uber used to have two people in the car - one for entering data, and one for emergencies. Then they decided to save money and merge the roles.

Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

Chz

The issue occasionally gets highlighted

I do remember an American show test driving an E30 M3 many, many moons ago and concluding that it was outright dangerous on the road because it could stop in under 130 feet from 60mph. Though this would be back in the days when your average North American car was a 2 ton barge, and it quite probably *was* dangerous to use that sort of braking power on a highway.

Though I still take issue with declaring it to be dangerous to have the *ability* to stop quickly when needed. The problem is drivers using that capability when they perhaps shouldn't. Motorcyclists die in hordes, but not usually via being rear-ended.

Huawei Honor 10: At £399, plenty of bang for buck – it's a pity about the snaps

Chz

"The problem is it makes the phone as slippery as a bar of soap."

When I got my Honor 8, I was dead certain that Huawei had somehow found a bin full of the PLA's research into frictionless materials. On almost any surface, with even the slightest divergence from the horizontal, it will eventually slide off and onto the floor.

On the plus side, despite being an all-glass design, it's handled being bashed about incredibly well.

Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

Chz

Re: "but that's more a reflection of doctrine than shipbuilding prowess."

"No, it was that German steel mills were more advanced than British ones."

The qualitative difference would be statistical noise. German metallurgy was more innovative, but BB plating was pretty much the same on either side. (both were using what you'd call Krupp Cemented - the RN had moved on from Harvey ages ago) The extra 2" of belt armour that the KM specified was a lot more than just statistical noise though.

Chz

Re: Dreadnaught class subs?

Armour was generally better on the German ships, but that's more a reflection of doctrine than shipbuilding prowess. The Germans knew they'd be outnumbered and survivability was key to fighting any battle with poor odds. The RN was always more about hulls and guns. No doubt the RN BBs had superior seakeeping - the Germans were really only expecting to putter about the North Sea for the most part and built accordingly. RN boats could be expected to be posted anywhere on Earth.

I think the RN was slightly smug about things before then. The Lizzies and Revenges are very sturdy boats and compare well to anyone else's. But before then, perhaps not-so-much. Even ignoring the battlecruisers.

Yay for Nvidia, GPU giant report decent first quarter results despite recent setbacks

Chz

At least with AMD resurgent, they haven't repeated their trick of having a greater net income than AMD had total revenue. There was one quarter a little while back where just the gaming division at Nvidia was very close to AMD's total revenue. They may pull some nasty tricks at times, but damn if they're not good at making money.

Collateral carnage as ZTE sanctions see Australia’s top telco dump mobe-maker

Chz

Re: Last laugh

Hardware? Sure, they can buy SoCs from plenty of Chinese companies.

I'm not sure how popular their phones are going to be outside of China without access to the Google Play Store.

Zookeepers charged after Kodiak bear rides shotgun to Dairy Queen

Chz

Re: Sense of humor

"It was about as dangerous as the neighbor's German Shepherd."

Pet Alsatians/German Shepherds top the list for dog attacks. I'm not sure if that was your point or not.

We put Huawei's P20 triple-lens snapper through its paces

Chz

I have to disagree. They're obviously not Google-good at updates, but updates for my Honor 8 have come in regularly every 3 months or so with the latest security patches. This is a phone that's over a year and a half old. If you're particularly keen, there is a beta firmware channel where they have an update for *every* monthly security bundle. I'm not sure why they can't be arsed to push that out to users.

Full on OS upgrades are another story, of course. But most vendors have been really slow to get Oreo out the door unless the phone launched with it. The H8 is due in May, which again isn't bad for a phone that old I think. (Though admittedly it took them about that long to squeeze a Nougat update as well)

Huawei joins Android elite with pricey, nocturnal 40MP flagship

Chz

They've improved. My Honor 8 is up to the Feb. security patch and I can see that the March patch is in testing. We're supposed to get Oreo by May, which while it is slow isn't much slower than any other non-Google vendor for a phone that's over a year old.

I can always wish for more and faster updates, but by the (poor) standards of the general Android marketplace, they're not bad. Not great either, mind.

PwC: More redundos at HQ of UK 'leccy stuff shop Maplin

Chz

Re: Something about retailers ?????

I know it's dipping into coffee snobbery a bit (a bit?!), but the type of foam you get from one of those jugs is not the same as you'd get from a steam wand. It makes an okay cappuccino, but a dreadful flat white.

NAND chips are going to stay too pricey for flash to slit disk's throat...

Chz

Re: Cost per GB per IOP

And then you see what the Big Boys charge for an SSD optimised for >60% writes. We found it was cheaper to get the IOPs we needed with 24 spindles over 4 SSDs. We're about 80% writes.

Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

Chz

Re: Even the greatest minds have a few failures

I think Concorde already proved that there is a limit to how much people will pay for speed. Or at least a limit to how many of those people exist.

No it didn't. Concorde never turned an operating loss (the circumstances of it's birth and being sold to BA/AF for £1 not withstanding).

If that were true - and it's not, because as another poster pointed out Concorde very much did lose money earlier in its career - it still doesn't disprove the point. A hellishly expensive, high-tech engineering program that completely sated the world's market for supersonic passenger aircraft. All 14 of them. That is not a success, except in engineering terms.

Chz

Re: Even the greatest minds have a few failures

Side-tracking for a moment, I can't imagine how Hyperloop will ever be built. If high-speed rail struggles to justify its cost, how on earth is something even more expensive going to fare? I think Concorde already proved that there is a limit to how much people will pay for speed. Or at least a limit to how many of those people exist. In the HL presentation I saw, safety issues were basically handwaved away as trivial...

Samsung's Galaxy 9s debut, with not much other than new cameras

Chz

Re: Saturated

My middle-aged ears can still pick up well above 10kHz, it's just that sounds have to compete with my tinnitus in that range.

Amazon manages to find a mere sliver of profit – just $2bn – out of $61bn in end-of-year sales

Chz

To be honest, Amazon is already rarely the cheapest place to buy things. Okay, they're rarely *tremendously* more than the cheapest price elsewhere, but they've stopped the drive to undercut absolutely everyone, everywhere.

They keep their customers because of convenience and customer service. Which, poor as it is sometimes, is still worlds better than most of their competitors. I hate them for their tax wizardry and Victorian attitude to staff, but I'm still waiting for something else to come along and at least offer me comparable service (better would be expecting a bit much).

1980s sci-fi movies: The thrill of being not quite terrified on mum's floral sofa

Chz

Re: almost

"If the plot or characters are strong enough to motivate me to suspend disbelief then the FX quality isn't that important."

See also: Farscape. Though I kinda like the muppets, the effects in Farscape are really only a step up from "laughable". And yet it works.

HTC U11 Life: Google tries to tame the midmarket

Chz

The competition is more Xiaomi's Mi A1, which is also an Android One phone of a similar spec and half the price.

Inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 for PCs, mobes: Cortex-A75s, fat caches, vector math, security stuff, and more

Chz

A75 sounds nice and all...

...but I'm really interested to see how A55 pans out. It's the first update to the "slow" cores in quite a long while. Given that cheaper devices will undoubtedly be using all-A55 SoCs, the performance will set a new standard for what to expect.

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