* Posts by Tom7

185 posts • joined 3 Aug 2010

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Huawei's just changed the way you'll use Android

Tom7

My Elephone has a similar setup, and it sounds like the reviewer would even prefer it. It has the fingerprint sensor on the back, then a touch button at the bottom of the screen. Tap to be back, double tap for home and hold for the task switcher. It does indeed work well.

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Train your self-driving car AI in Grand Theft Auto V – what could possibly go wrong?

Tom7

Wait, what?

It's a great fit because it runs on a different platform from all your AI tools? At the very least, if the connection is platform transparent then it doesn't matter what platform the game runs on. It doesn't make it a "great fit."

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Huawei Mate 9: The Note you've been waiting for?

Tom7

Re: Competition

Well, so go buy a phone that costs £650 and let the little ones find some other way of breaking it. I can afford three broken and replaced phones to break even with your purchase cost.

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Tom7

Re: Competition

Specifics? I've really still yet to fault it. I'm probably not the most demanding smartphone user - I use it for web browsing, email, Facebook, Skype and, you know, making phone calls - but I can't see a lot wrong with it. OTA updates also seem pretty regular and do make significant improvements (which I guess is another way of saying it shipped before the software was ready, but I'm not complaining).

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Tom7

Competition

TBH I'm having trouble seeing how this is hundreds of pounds better than the cheap competition.

I've recently bought an Elephone P9000. It kicks the Huawei into the gutter for value. Alright, the screen's 0.4" smaller on the diagonal and it won't hit quite the same benchmark numbers. And... I'm struggling to think of anything else where it doesn't match up. It's a gorgeous 1920x1080, 400+ppi, display. The camera is 13MP, with laser focus and two-tone flash. The bezel is perhaps a mm larger than the Huawei. The body is a single piece of aluminium. It's Android 6.0, but the beta of 7.0 was available to download a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't have waterproofing or a stylus, but neither does the Huawei. It *does* support wireless charging, which the Huawei doesn't..

The speakers are pretty rotten to listen to. But you can own one tomorrow if you throw £185 at Amazon.

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South Australia blacked out by bad bespoke software, not wind farms

Tom7

Low voltage ride-through is not something you can just arbitrarily reconfigure to happen as often as you want; it usually involves dumping a significant proportion of the turbine's output power into a resistor - and they have a limited capacity to get hot before they melt.

Wind generators are generally unhelpful in this regard. Because of the way their inverters work, they need the grid to be operating at rated voltage to export power. Any voltage dip is amplified by wind generators as their contribution to the grid also dips.

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British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

Tom7

As others have pointed out elsewhere, this is the problem with having a government full of remainers implement brexit. They see the referendum as a xenophobic, isolationist outcome and feel bound to abide by it - when that's not the basis the campaign was fought on and, when asked, not the outcome those voting leave say they wanted (on the whole). So they end up proposing what amounts to a sick caricature of what the leavers actually wanted.

When UKIP thinks you've gone too far in your immigration policy, you need to sit down and take a long, hard look at yourself.

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'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

Tom7

I suspect that having a liking for something is more important than having a "gift" for it. I remember hearing concert pianist interviewed some years ago. I don't recall the exact words, but the interview went something like this:

Interviewer: "Do you feel privileged to be so gifted at something so unique?"

Pianist: "I'm not gifted."

I: "But look at what you've achieved. You're one of the best pianists ever. You must have a gift for it."

P: "No. Anyone could do what I do. All you need is the willingness to practice the piano for ten hours of every day of your life."

Not many people have the willingness to put that sort of time into *anything*, and so not many people are that good at anything. Some people start something and really, really like it, and that gives them the impetus to keep going and work at it.

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Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak... don't talk back

Tom7

Re: I find what people hate about Ubuntu weird

Forgot to add the footnote:

[1] Except that typing `calc` brings up LibreOffice Calc and not the desktop calculator. Perhaps it's just me, but I find this one of the most annoying things about any desktop I've seen in the last five years (though I managed to avoid Win8.x).

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Tom7

I find what people hate about Ubuntu weird

Because Unity is one of the better interfaces I've come across. I say that as a fairly die-hard command-line/Emacs user: With Unity, you never have to touch the mouse. I mean, using the keyboard is actually faster than using the mouse for almost every task. Every application you want to start, just hit the super key and start typing its name. Four letters in, you're almost guaranteed to have the right one[1]. Same for menu commands; hit Alt and start typing. You'll get what you want.

What's got me worried about recent releases is Snaps. The great idea of distributing every application with all of its dependencies. Remember DLL Hell? Yeah, that. It can only be so long before they realise that snaps take up a *lot* of disk space and hit on the brilliant idea of a central repository of every version of every shared object used by every application. Remember Windows SXS? Yeah, that.

I'd like to know, for how many people was conflicting dependencies on Ubuntu actually a problem? I've never seen it - but perhaps I'm not quite keen enough at following the bleeding edge.

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Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

Tom7

"...even as evidence to the contrary starts to accumulate."

Do you mean the stock market growth post-referendum? Or the jobs growth? Or consumer confidence? Or retail sales? Or manufacturing sector sentiment? Or services sector sentiment? Or commercial property sales? Which accumulating evidence are we talking about here, exactly?

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New UK trade deals would not compensate for loss of single market membership

Tom7

Re: @Tom7

So point to some pre-vote predictions about the economy that turned out to be right. Come on, they're experts. There must be some, right?

You don't quite seem to understand. You don't assess whether someone's prediction was right by checking whether they've got letters after their name. You check whether their prediction was right by comparing what they predicted to what's actually happened. This isn't hard, unless you've got your head shoved so far up your arse that all you can do is give a muffled whine, "But they're experts!"

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Tom7

Re: "Amirite...?"

You tell me. Did they predict the FTSE100 would go up, or down? And is it now lower? Or higher?

When it became clear that the FTSE100 was very quickly going up, did they predict the FTSE250 would go up, or down? And is it now lower? Or higher?

Did they predict that unemployment would rise, or fall? And did it rise? Or fall?

Did they predict that retail sales would go up, or down? And did they go up? Or down?

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Tom7

Re: We've heard enough from experts

And to all the down-voters: That's the internet equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, "Lalalalalalalalalalala. Don't want to hear the good news!"

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Tom7

We've heard enough from experts

These are the same economists who said the vote would cause a ~9,600 increase in unemployment in July, right? Oh wait, unemployment fell by 8,400.

These are the same economists who said the vote would cause a slump in retail spending in July, right? Oh, wait, retail sales rose by 1.4% in July (bonus challenge: spot brexit in this graph).

These are the same economists who said the vote would send the FTSE100 through the floor, right? Wait, what, the FTSE100's up? Oh, no, don't look at that, it's not a good indicator. Look at the FTSE250 instead. What, that's up too? Shit, better issue a new doom-and-gloom report on trade.

I'm getting pretty sick of this BS. What's the point in issuing a report that essentially says, "Hey, look, if we make all the worst-case assumptions, things look pretty bad!"? So far all bar one of the expert economic predictions have proved exactly wrong (the exception is the value of the pound - as an exporter, I'm not complaining). The only person who's been consistently right turns out to be Michael Gove: The "experts" know bugger-all.

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Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

Tom7

What a horrible waste of time and money

AFAICT, the basis of this action is that the country's entry to the European Union happened through the European Communities Act 1972, and triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty without an act of parliament would be using prerogative powers to override that legislation. Since the prerogative powers are generally subject to legislation, as the sovereign-in-parliament is sovereign, not the sovereign, then using them to override legislation in this way would be unlawful.

But. The Lisbon treaty was added to UK law by the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008. So doesn't that legislation incorporate the Lisbon treaty into UK law, giving the government the right to trigger article 50 when it wants?

I'd be interested to hear informed opinion counter to this position; as far as I can tell, existing legislation enables the government to trigger article 50 without a new authorisation from parliament.

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New Reg mobile site - feedback here!

Tom7

Re: RSS Feed Links

Though it seems to have reverted. Was I part of some A/B testing?

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Tom7

Re: RSS Feed Links

Nice to see this fixed recently.

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Tom7

RSS Feed Links

One problem that hasn't been fixed is that the links in the RSS feed still land you at the desktop site (I'm using Feedly on Android). The procedure should be:

* Default to mobile site for mobile devices/browsers

* Give a link to the desktop site

* And a cookie to make the selection permanent

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Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Tom7

Re: YMMV

You have.... about 16 hours 33 minutes. Get cracking.

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Tom7

Some stuff to like in here, but some of it is plain stupid.

You want eventually something like the Euro, but not much more political union. Meanwhile, European governments are pushing towards tighter political union in order to deal with the problems caused by the Euro. Y'see, currency unions don't work very well without corresponding fiscal unions, and since one of the big jobs of governments is still taxing and spending, for the Euro to work then major portions of government policy have to be decided at the European, not national, level. Hmmm.

You see the EU as "a defence against local knee-jerk narrow-mindedness at Westminster." Well, at least it's _honestly_ anti-democratic. You're saying, in about as many words, that you prefer to be ruled by unelected bureaucrats than by an elected government. Why not abolish parliament and bring back the personal rule?

"Why not push more of the enterprise and creativity (and probity and humour, even!) of the UK into EU institutions and make it work better for everyone?" Because we tried that; look at exactly what Cameron won. If this whole exercise has shown us anything, it is that the EU is unreformable because those who run it don't want change.

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Labor's broadband policy decides 39% fibre is healthy NBN diet

Tom7

AFAICT, the costing amounts to, "FTTP will cost about the same as FTTN, assuming that FTTP costs are considerably less than what they actually are." 'Fantasy economics' seems about right.

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Tom7

Re: selective use of facts

Yep. For instance, he quotes 'REF's current "real" spot price' for wind energy as £101/MWHr. This might be true, but is heavily cherry-picked. The monthly average for May was more like £65/MWHr and the monthly average hasn't topped £100 since May 2013, generally hovering around £75 +/- £10 since then. It's still above the wholesale electricity price, but then the wholesale price is subsidised.

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Brits who live in 'smart cities' don't really know or care

Tom7

Soooooo.......

What are smart cities?

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'Toxic' WIPO catches flak as US congressmen call for Gurry's head

Tom7

"Rouge countries," eh?

Typical "red under the bed" politics from congress, then.

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Canonical accused of violating GPL with ZFS-in-Ubuntu 16.04 plan

Tom7

Re: @HCV - I don't quite get your point

Spot on. The problem is that the Linux kernel folks view compiling a kernel module as "creating a derivative work" of the Linux kernel. It is a fairly fine line - the GNU folks have always regarded linking a library into a piece of software as creating a derivative work of that library and I believe have won this point in court, though I can't point to the case off the top of my head. This is why there is also the LGPL, which allows creating this sort of derivative work without forcing the (L)GPL onto the derivative.

The kernel has no such exception for linking, so the question becomes, when does loading a kernel module cross the line into linking a dynamic library? There are arguments both ways here.

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Boffins' 5D laser-based storage tech could keep terabytes forever

Tom7

What's not to like?

Well, I don't see any numbers for read or write speeds...

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GCHQ Christmas Card asks YOU the questions

Tom7

Re: Very cryptic

And attempting to load the image through the link in the article grinds to a halt part-way through. Maybe the first challenge is to get the image to load?

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Wikimedia sweeps shill accounts after stunt doubles, waterparks scammed

Tom7

Useless

The English Wikipedia currently averages about 10,000 new accounts *every day*. What good is having a clear-out every two years where you purge 400 of them?

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Samsung smart fridge leaves Gmail logins open to attack

Tom7

Oh, come on!

This is BORING! Can we have an interesting security vulnerability now, please? Who on earth looked at this and thought, "Oh, we don't need to verify server certificates! It's not like the rest of the world does it!"

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Canadians taking to spying on their spies

Tom7

Good, but don't hold out hope

The internet is an echo chamber that tends to sound progressive, libertarian and left-wing; too often the electoral reality comes as a profound shock to the twittering classes, who thought they had the event sewn up.

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Wikiland turns to Shapps and says ‘those emails you wanted, we deleted them, sorry’

Tom7

Surely acting in a partisan manner during a general election is acting in a partisan manner during a general election, whether the opposition won or not? The only relief to be felt that Shapps didn't lose his seat should be because he's probably a bit less determined for vengeance.

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Microsoft Edge web browser: A well-presented mea culpa

Tom7

Or, in other words...

It's fast but lacks any features you'll need for anything beyond reading text websites. But we're hopeful that Microsoft will do the right thing and fix the problems and fill in the features.

Just like they did with IE.

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NHS blows £5 MILLION on delayed Care.data

Tom7

Editorial failure

Thats "£5 MEEEELLION," surely.

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Samsung gets KINKY with new Galaxy in 50 SHADES OF GREY

Tom7

It looks like a fork

In fact, it's the Galaxy Fork.

With built-in calorific analysis, it can determine how much weight you're putting on as you eat it. The built-in accelerometer lets it count mouthfuls, giving you a breakdown of calories per mouthful and how this changes through the mean, and also to estimate lifetime fatigue damage on your crockery. An optional NFC device allows it to individually identify your plates (when the appropriate labels are applied), and the data gathered is uploaded to Samsung's Plate cloudy big data analysis system, giving you estimates of when you should replace each piece of crockery to avoid accidental in-dining breakage experiences.

Behind the scenes, of course, Samsung will be selling your crockery damage data to plate manufacturers, allowing them both to optimise plate lifetime and to target advertising to those whose plates are more worn.

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Spent the weekend watching Game of Thrones? You're a FAT LONELY SADDO

Tom7

Just one remark

I AM NOT SAD.

Mine's the size 25 with the empty address book in the pocket.

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

Tom7

The BBC is really starting to piss me off. I'm here spending a year in Australia. I'm a license fee payer back home, but the ONLY (well, only legal...) way I can get BBC content is through the four BBC Worldwide channels that are available in Australia, and the only way they're available in Australia is through a Foxtel subscription at $75 per month, more than three times the license fee.

I figure I'm a license fee payer, I should be able to access iPlayer content anywhere. But heck, I'd happily bung 'em another tenner a month for iPlayer access from overseas. $75/month, though? Forget it.

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A budget phablet, what a curious thing: Reg puts claws to the Lumia 1320

Tom7

Phablet transportation

I have a Galaxy Note 3, which with a 5.7" screen is not so very different to the 6" nokia. It goes in my trouser pocket just fine, somewhat to my surprise. But then the Galaxy S4 has a 5" display - the phablets are really not that much bigger.

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Look, pal, it’s YOUR password so it’s YOUR fault that it's gone AWOL

Tom7

Re: Website policy stupidity

Haha. My bank sends out a one-time-code-generating fob to use when logging in to internet banking. Each time you login, you put your PIN into the fob and it spits back a login code. It's great.

But... somehow they IMPROVE on the security of this scheme by also asking what the make and model of my first car is.

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Tom7

Re: That's a nice mobile phone scam you've got there

I once managed to get my landlady to pay for a course I was taking. The school called me to chase payment, which was in installments by direct debit. I knew I had my bank account details written down on a piece of paper somewhere on my desk, so I scouted about until I found a bank account number on my desk. Unfortunately, my landlady had an account at the same bank and what I'd found were her details.

I rattled these off to the school, who passed them on to the bank, who dutifully started transferring money out of her account, despite the name on the account being 100% wrong.

It was only three months (and three payments) later that my landlady noticed these payments on her account statement. She queried it with the bank, who queried it with the school, who queried it with me. Both the bank and I had very red faces.

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Tom7

Website policy stupidity

My electricity provider's website is the worst. I have to log in to it once every three months to pay my electricity bill. Its password rules are arcane and impenetrable, and inevitably wind up with me having a password that is impossible to remember when you only use it every three months.

I usually deal with this situation by typing random rubbish in as a password, then hitting the "I forgot my password" button next time I need to log in. But they've cunningly found a way of thwarting this method. When I signed up, I had to also choose a "memorable word." Seriously. Pick a word that's memorable, that you won't have forgotten in three months time when you come to log in next.

The end result is, of course, that I don't log in, I call them and pay over the phone. I wonder how many people ever manage to pay their bill through the website.

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Honey, the satnav app says you're to leave at 6am... Yup. I'll have that coffee off you

Tom7

Late to the game

AFAICT, Google Now does all this already, but it can also do it for trains, underground and buses if that's how you usually get places.

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Awkward? Elop now answers to ex-junior Nadella as Microsoft closes Nokia buyout

Tom7
Devil

Let's see:

  • Elop went in to Nokia from Microsoft.
  • The ex-Microsoft CEO pushed them on to Windows Phone.
  • The push to Windows Phone basically ended any chance of Nokia turning around their phone sales.
  • A year or so later, Microsoft comes in to 'rescue' the failing Nokia devices section.

Is that a fair summary? It's getting hard to see Elop as anything other than a Trojan horse.

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You'd better get out before the sync 'n' share bubble POPS

Tom7

Turning a product into a feature?

How about turning a feature into a product?

Somehow that use case scenario, preparing a document on a desktop and presenting it on a tablet, seems familiar. Where have I seen it before??? Oh, yes, it's what we've been doing for thirty years AT LEAST with network shares.

The concept is not new. If IT departments have a problem, it is one of their own making. Users have been asking for years for their network shares to be bigger and reliably accessible. IT departments have stonewalled because it's too expensive. Now Dropbox and its ilk have given the lie to that. Drop box is better for users than a corporate network share in almost every way: You're likely to have a bigger quota on Dropbox than your corporate IT system gives you; Dropbox can be accessed securely from anywhere, over a WiFi or 3G/LTE network, not just corporate wired Ethernet; Dropbox gives you offline access that works, unlike the "feature" of Windows offline files; and it's free to use. If Microsoft had built its apps to work even vaguely acceptably with intermittent network connectivity, or IT departments had built out network shares that actually worked for users, Dropbox would be dead and buried, at least in the business world.

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Samsung's thumb-achingly ENORMO Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Tom7

Yep. There is this weird feeling around that maybe 10" screens are too big for us to carry around. Unlike, say, the A4 notebooks/printouts we all carried around before that.

The real problem with a 10", 12" or 14" screen is that, so far, they weigh too much. The 10" ones are getting into the realms of reality, but manufacturers can never resist the temptation to bung in a bigger battery and boost the run time between charges. So, as with so many other things in society at present, we await a better battery technology.

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Tom7

Phones getting bigger?

Not sure on that. Actually I think as tablets become more common, phones will revert to things to make calls on.

My other half had a Galaxy S3 phone, then added a Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. The tab fits nicely in her hand bag without weighting it all down too much. So now she's got rid of the S3 and uses an old Galaxy Europa as a phone. So long as it makes calls and acts as a WiFi hotspot, she then uses the tab for anything where you'd want a reasonable screen.

Let's face it, the 4.7- or 5-inch screens on phones were always a pretty nasty compromise, developed because phones were gaining the sort of processor and memory you'd see in a netbook and so needed a screen to match. Once you have a 10" or 12" screen that you carry about with you, your phone can go back to being a radio with some basic functions.

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Lycamobile launches 'unlimited' 4G for £12 a month. Great. Now where can I get a signal?

Tom7

25GB is not bad, IMO

I used 3 mobile for home internet for a couple of months recently. The 25GB cap was never a problem. We're not super-heavy users, but do make fair use of Skype, iPlayer etc.

And it only cost £5 per month on top of my existing mobile contract (£3 for unlimited data, £2 to add tethering).

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Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Tom7

Wait, what?

Lambda Expressions are something that enables multi-core programming, eh? I guess they make the syntax of multi-core programming a bit cleaner, but don't they have another one or two uses somewhere down the line?

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NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

Tom7

Re: re Lionel Baden

Well, supposing the country is the UK, a quick Google search fetches up the number of 132 million phone calls made every day here. Suppose they all last for an average of 10 minutes (not everyone can match my mother's phone habits, after all), and it's stored as 8kHz 16-bit PCM (8kHz is what the POTS is designed to carry, being sufficient for human voice) then over 30 days you're collecting 1.32x10^8 x 10 x 60 x 8x10^3 x (16/2) x 30 = 1.52x10^14 bytes required to store it all for 30 days. 152TB. It's not peanuts, exactly, but surely the NSA can manage better than this?

And before someone leaps in, yes, MP3 or Vorbis or whatever could reduce that a bit, but bear in mind that they work by throwing away frequencies that aren't interesting, and you've already thrown away 80% of the audible frequency range by encoding it as 8kHz PCM; you're not going to get the same compression ratios that you managed with your CD collection.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Tom7

Re: @Psyx What if it was ditched and sunk intact?

People have been trying to improve radar by bouncing it off the upper atmosphere for 60-ish years now. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but generally it's line of sight, and that's what you kinda trust it to do. Low-budget south east Asian countries don't have such luxuries.

No, but that southern search arc is largely within the coverage area of Jindalee.

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