* Posts by voice of unreason

17 posts • joined 9 Jun 2011

HALF of air passengers leave phones on ... yet STILL no DEATH PLUNGE

voice of unreason

GSM versus 3G

Since you obviously know what you are talking about, this is more a comment towards others. There is a HUGE difference between GSM and 3G.

Power limit for GSM is 33 dBM = 2W, or 1W as of ten years ago.For 3G is 24dBm = 0.25W. So, a 3G phone radiates one-quarter as much.

But that is NOT the source of the bumblebee. It can't be, @ GHz transmit frequency. Bumblebee is the power amp switching on and off at the slot rate. Which is one reason why we moved away from that technology. The point is, you get exactly the same problem on any (non radiating) poorly power shielded power supply. Laptop, personal media player whatever.etc. So, "flight mode" is meaningless. If your electronic device radiates, it's the power supply. It either does or doesn't, and either way the official advice to put it into flight mode isn't credible.

voice of unreason

Re: Only a matter of time

Yes, perfectly workable and sensible. Inmarsat Aero now has a femtocell solution. Used aboard several airlines. That way one can make calls, with back haul over satellite.

Ironic.....the best way to prevent dangerous emission of RF power is to provide the system to make calls on your mobile.

voice of unreason

Re: Only a matter of time

No, a phone without a base station transmits at ZERO power. It LISTENS for the cell search, it obviously couldn't transmit into the correct slot without knowing every 10 ms what the transmit plan and timing is....

But, as people said before, planes flying relatively low ( a few 1000m but rarely cruise altitude) can lock onto ground cells. E.g. The pentagon- bound plane on 9/11. High power ( which will realistically not cause enough emc to be an issue).

But multiple fast handover could mess up the ground networks.

You've got 600k+ customers on 4G... but look behind you, EE

voice of unreason

Re: Battery drain

Because what you just described is what mobile comms used to look like 20 years ago.

Nowadays, the power breakdown is roughly:

Screen 50 %

Application processor, which uses all that data hence power draw proportional to data rate 30%

Receiver processing (very complex maths) proportional to receive data rate 15 %

Transmit RF power 5%

The design of the receiver algorithms, means that a modern mobe , except at cell edge, is transmitting probably 50 mW on average (200 mW max, would be 0.5 W power draw)

Near cell edge, most of the power is still searching for acquisition, and cell handover

10x power boost for Freeview as London analogue signal cut

voice of unreason

But they've already lost their audience?

When they switched over to digital in our area, the TV is now essentially unwatchable for me. For most people slight fuzziness on analogue is perfectly watchable. But one blocking-artefact per ten minutes is highly irritating. One dropped frame per minute spoils my enjoyment to the point where I don't bother to watch the channel. Not can't, don't.

Instead, now I watch iPlayer (only). The quality is no worse than broadcast, and in fact miles better for anything except the Beeb, but at least I get to choose exactly what I want. ITV or Channel 4, with all their adverts - gone. Not interested at that level of quality.

Maybe I'm weird, but I'm not so sure....... For my parents and all their friends (in their 70's / 80's), this re-tune stuff is beyond them. In their day, the TV repair-man re-tuned the telly. Sure, their son can visit & tune the telly every couple of months. But as far as Mum is concerned, "it's broken again in a month". So, she's not interested in the "value proposition" of TV any more. She listens to Radio 4 FM, and is quite happy. Not as good as the old days of course, with two whole TV channels (in the evening), but really not such a hardship.

Yeah, I'm aware of Virgin - went round to someone's house and saw it. Didn't want to hurt their feelings, because they pay as much in 3 months as my TV license is for a whole year. But it was SHIT. No drop-outs, but the compression is laughable. You can't seriously watch a play, let alone a football match when everyone is made out of Lego. It was like one of those conversations where your friend has just shelled out £12K to have solar panels put on the roof, to save themselves £300 leccy a year, and you have to bite your tongue.

Maybe you laugh - but that's almost all of the population that ITV just lost. The young watch the internet, the old revert to the radio because digital TV is unusable. Remind me, how is ITV's share price doing these days? I just can't understand why ITV let them do it. Group think at its finest.

Xeroxiraptor: Boffins to print 3D robot dinosaur

voice of unreason

Re: Re: Re: Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

I wish, but not correct.

The computer models *CAN* be made as complex as required, but they are WRONG. I will say that again. There is something wrong with the models. A "crappy" CGI documentary, I don't know, but the bottom line was that Jurassic Park had as much money thrown at it as God, and but is still clearly *WRONG*. Very, very good for CGI, and astonishing for animals that haven't lived for 65 million years.

But if you want to see muscle pressure on nearby muscles, go and look at a Bernini or a Michelangelo (male). That's what muscles look like. Ain't no computer model that comes CLOSE.

voice of unreason

Re: Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

I'm sorry, I THINK that what both this and the previous post just said is "Why do I need to do the experiment, when we've already modelled it on the computer"

Welcome back, ancient Greek dude. You natural philosophers zoned out there for a while after the Enlightenment in the 18th Century. With your four elements and humours 'n' stuff derived from pure reason as to how the universe must work. How right you were. Messy experiments are for children, not people who already understand the universe....

Cutting the sarcasm, the reason is that the one thing which never fails to jar when watching CGI is just how unnatural animal movements are. And crucially how it has NOT IMPROVED in ten years. Not one iota. There will be howls of protest, but sorry, no, the emperor has no clothes, and CGI movement is bad. The articulation is fine, but any idiot can see that the muscles and tendons are simply not modelled - there is never any tension or gravity.

The conclusion is that this stuff is HARD, not that animators are stupid, but there is a major gap here - CGI is a minimum of 20 years away from solving this. I personally don't know what the problem is. It is "apparently" clear that this is THE big money problem in CGI, and that the amount of processing for a FE model of a decent muscle is way, way less than radiosity for hair, or polygon count for a landscape, and yet we are where we are. Visibly and embarassingly so.

Patients to access NHS records via web by 2015

voice of unreason
Thumb Up

No decision about me without me?

Have you een the time taken to log into the spine lately? It's fine for a webpage to take 10 seconds to lead. But a GP has ten minutes to see you, and of that, 5 minutes is to listen. 3 minutes to type. 1 minute to decide. 1 minute to tell you. 1 minute to get the old lady out the door before she manages to get her THIRD medical condition into one consultation. That's....oh. So, anoif 230 million people (healthy) are obsessively checking their medical records online, and the records take 30 seconds to load, what it actually means is that the ill people get no diagnosis, and they get sick and die. No decision about me, until the hypochondriacs have finished DDOS'ing. Oh, and by the way, I do NOT want to know the 23 things that might have been wrong with me, and after careful consideration by a professional turned out not to be. All I want, is that the professional gets as much time as they can, to make a careful judgement and do their best. Because really that's all any human being ever does.

Gov websites' value not at all clear despite trimming

voice of unreason

There is a point......

The value of the centralising approach is not that it saves money on the website. But it becomes much easier to spot what things government doesn't need to be doing at all, or could be done by a couple of blokes in a shed.

The DVLA: considered as a department, it's you-know a department or sumfink. Obviously delivers an important service, have to register cars etc, etc. But as a government sub-website?

Now it becomes obvious that its functions are:

1) Receives V5's and car-tax payment. Sends out info on car owners to police and other entitled parties [Hang on a sec, why sends out? Why not just a queryable DB?].

2) Checks entitlement / banning for vehicle licenses - e.g. 2 year renewable for people with sight problems

3) Err...no that's it. It doesn't manage penalty points, it doesn't run the driving license tests (Driving Standards Agency). It isn't involved with MOTs

Anyone who has experience with #2 knows just how bad their record of performance is. Like Berlusconi, they had to change the law to protect themselves (Disability Discrimination Act). Against their own internal targets, they currently have a 10% achievement rate. (yes, you read that right.......)

So, we have a "department" that employees 7000 people, costs £500M a year, that....runs a database and billing department. A big database - but it doesn't cost £500M a year.....should be similar to a large bank. And guess what - that database looks remarkably like TV licensing - where do you live? do you own a car (yes/no)? Do you own a telly (yes/no)? Please pay this bill wot we sent you, once a year......

And THAT's why .gov.uk is a good thing. Because once it becomes obvious that's all they do, the DVLA are HISTORY - not a moment too soon.

Earth escapes obliteration by comet

voice of unreason

Because NASA are being unreasonably scary, and don't do numbers very well?

But NASA said that the gravitational influence was less then "my subcompact automobile on the earth". Wait a f*ing moment. That comet was about a cubic km, and 22 million miles away, masses around 10^9 tonnes.

Inverse-square, he's about right if he means "the gravitational pull effect of my 1-ton car 700 miles away". But tides are what are relevant, and they are inverse-cube, not inverse-square.

So actually, what he could have said in moron-approved units is:

"less than the effect of the weight of Berlusconi sticking up two fingers from Italy"

"less than a sugar-cube across the state of Texas"

"the weight of a single atom in the doughnut on your desk"

I mean, talk about scare stories...cars in America are BIG, even the subcompacts

It's time to end the Windows Wait

voice of unreason

Price is relevant? Really?

Mmm - price is relevant for your needs? Really, really - think about this instead of parroting "disk is cheaper than SSD". Tape is cheaper than disk, but for most people, so what?

Yes it is, but for most people, not for what they want to do:

Even 128 GB SSD is ~£100, and makes more difference than any other processor or memory enhancement you can make. If you are price-constrained, buy the cheapest CPU & mobo you can, and have SSD.

"But my pictures / video take loads more than 128GB". Yes, but not on every mouse-click. Have an external 2 TB drive for very little money. Connect it wireless if you feel like & stash it on a shelf. That way, you save 30 seconds on every boot, 2 seconds on every mouse-click. And lose maybe 10 seconds once every hour when you want to watch a movie on the big drive, or the photo collection.

Sure, store 2 TB of data. But don't suffer a speed penalty that hobbles every other system, for a photo collection you look at twice a day!

How to pipe live telly into your pocket with 4G

voice of unreason


No, that isn't how the SFN works. I do understand the beam-forming point you are making - or its generalisation of signalled precoding matrices in a strong multi-path environment.

But this isn't beam-formed - indeed, it couldn't be, because it is broadcast with loads of receivers. It is more simple in OFDM, as long as all the transmitters are synchronised within the guard-time (cyclic prefix), the signal just looks like multipath with oomph from several transmitters behind it.

The SFN gain they are talking about isn't a beam-forming gain, it is not losing any signal-to-noise to adjacent cell interference.

Hackers commandeer US government satellites

voice of unreason

I did rtfa

Did you read the post?

1) mr president, we have confirmed launches seen by2 NASA birds and 3 usgs birds. We got both ir, vis and sar imagery. Something knocked out the only 2 dod birds over the area right now. It's ten minutes until the next three come over, and by then we will still have enough time, but it will be cutting it fine. What do you want to do,given we have 5 positive confirms in 3 bands?

2) I really haven't the faintest what they are up to, and neither do you or anyone else. But I think whatever it is, is complete, successful and in place.

voice of unreason

Missing it...very bad indeed...

The point isn't that they got control of the spacecraft. It's the timing that is very not funny

Two minutes the first time, nine minutes the second.

Ever see a day-zero hack that took two minutes to be in & out, and successful first time?

So, the first time, they already knew they could do it, had a procedure mapped as a command-script, and successfully proved-out the attack in the wild. That's bad enough - tells us that the real problem didn't come over the IP. The entire spacecraft and ops manuals etc were already compromised before the first bit hit the SAS modem. You can't read a spacecraft ops manual, or even guess the protocol on an open line, in two minutes. The spacecraft computer doesn't run Windows you know, and it doesn't communicate via TCP/IP to ground.

It also tells us that even with full post-analysis, US DoD were unable to prevent the second intrusion.

But the SECOND time it took them NINE minutes. What were they doing for all that time, four times longer than it actually takes? What can you ONLY do with nine minutes of US DoD observation-time. We have to assume that A) It was used to make clandestine images of a location & resolution that a Chinese sat can't manage. I doubt it, and not worth the risk for a factor of two or three in resolution.

B) They uploaded a trojan to the sat. Which is now capable of spoofing any & all image-data from that spacecraft. Now, obviously you can't blind the US by blinding one or two sats out of hundreds, because there is the data from all the others, but you can INSERT soemthing. Like, say a nuclear launch from Moscow, causing a retaliation. When there is only a few minutes to respond, and 90% of US sats are currently out-of-range on the other side of the Earth to confirm for another 70 minutes

I'd be way happier if the second attack was the same length as the first, proving to themselves that the US couldn't close the hole. Or there was just a whole series of them, which is basically the equivalent of the U2 over-flying the USSR just to wiggle two fingers it can't be shot down. But one short, one longer, on each satellite, and then nothing, suggests that whatever it is, the goal is now successfully complete.

It's kind of not very funny at all. Because if anyone can suggest a better reason / attack that explains that timing, I do actually want to hear it....

Faster-than-light back with surprising CERN discovery

voice of unreason
Thumb Up

I can think of some reasons.....

I can think of loads of possible reasons, none of which violate relativity, interesting as they are:

1) How did they measure the distance between the endpoints, and exchange time? The only method that could be remotely accurate enough, is GPS. Which fundamentally clocks photons to orbit & back. So, what they are basically saying, is that the photon-exchanged space-time separation that they measure is actually ~20 cm too short.

A) The GPS constellation was never designed for that type of measurement. Differential distances of a few mm, yes. Over that distance, no.

B) GPS was designed to compensate for General Rel, and the time-lag of the radio through the air (differential of two frequencies). But never the ABSOLUTE time-value. How could it? Light doesn't travel through air at the same speed as light in a vacuum

2) Neutrinos travel faster than light. Maybe (if they put the effort in to remove all systematics, which I doubt is possible). But that doesn't tell us that special rel is dead, it would tell us that photons travel slower than "the speed of light"."The speed of light", is properly just the meaningless conversion factor between space & time. So if photons don't travel at the speed of light, that is very radical, and very interesting about Quantum Electrodynamics. But not special rel.

3) Lots of things travel faster than light actually. See, for example tunnelling electrons. But INFORMATION can't. The "trick", usually, is that some physical effect causes us to preferentially detect the leading-edge of a spread-out wave. That can either be a detector effect. Or, in the case of tunnelling electrons, the probability of transmission is 0.01%, but those electrons that do make it through are "instantaneous". After a lot of numerical magic, it turns out that if one treats them as information channels, and modulate information onto them, the average speed of information is slower than light.

Probably the most likely, because the cross-section of neutrino detection is so fantastically small. Measuring the timing of the peak, when the detected distribution is 10^-15 of the actual flow, is a mugs game in terms of detector dynamics to be honest. The assumptions one would have to make about how symmetric the distribution is....

4) Detector dynamics. What exactly do we know about the timing of neutrino reactions? Any non-prompt or nonlinear processes? Remember, what we detect is the light given off when the neutrino interacts - not the arrival of the neutrino itself. And how big is that detector? 12 meters, just and they would like to tell us about the accuracy arrival time to within 20cm?

'Leccy price hike: Greens to blame as well as energy biz

voice of unreason

@Apocalypse later

Errr - really, really missing the point.

Yes, I would buy a computer now, even though I know the same capability is worth half as much in two years time.

But I really, really don't write into forums, saying "hey, this computer hardware is really reliable, it will last for 25 years. My £500 computer is worth it, because it only costs me £20 a year". That's loony talk. My £500 computer is junk in 5 years, not because it breaks, but because I'm going to BUY A NEW ONE. It may well be worth it, at £100 / year, but that's another story

Your £5K solar installation is junk in 10 years, BECAUSE YOUR ROOF AREA IS WORTH SOMETHING. You'll get more feediin tariff in 10 years by buying new solar panels. So when you do the trade-off, those £5K solar panels only generate for 10 years.

And on the morality. If we're doing "those are the rules, quick buck", don't whinge and say it's "illegal" or some such bullshit when the feed-in tariffs are withdrawn and they change the contract unilaterally. Sort of like paying into Equitable Life all your life, and then finding they tell you there's no money left when it comes time to giving you your own money. Happens all the time mate.

Don't feel bad, much better people than you have lost a lot more money, with long time-scale Ponzi schemes. And they didn't even know, for a fact, that their actions were responsible for people coming to harm, so I figure you pretty low down on the compensation bandwagon of "bad decisions in life that I took"

voice of unreason

The real cost of solar

Nailing colours to the mast:

1) I believe that climate change is real, man-made & caused by CO2 emissions. I think this is a bad thing, and should be changed

2) The best way to reduce CO2 emissions is technological progress. At the moment, the alternative technical solutions are bad, creating more problems than they solve.

3) In particular, any "energy source" that is not cost-effective is telling you something very direct and specific. It tells you that the resources it uses are more than it saves. Somewhere in the production or maintenance-chain, it emits MORE CO2 than burning fossil.

4) Yes, I know that costs depend on volume manufacture - I'm not stupid.

To the topic.

When it comes to buying, or subsidising solar - it is environmental vandalism to emit MORE CO2, just to look as if you are doing something. You CANNOT quote a 25-year payback on an inefficient technology, when it will save more in CO2 to wait until the efficiency doubles in ten years.

Suppose you have a calculation problem that will take 10 years to calculate with today's best hardware. Do you A) Buy today's best hardware and wait for 10 years for the calculation to finish. B) Wait 18 months, buy the best hardware then and wait 5 years C) Errr... that wasn't so hard, was it. Moore's law for solar is less than 10 years in cost-performance, so it is just plain wrong to quote costs on anything longer than 10-year payback. Any business case is done with Net Present Value, which requires an assumed capital depreciation. Did you think that people depreciate capital over three, five years or at most ten on a balance sheet, even when its something with a 20-year guarantee 'cos they're all idiots and you know better?

Now to the morality angle. You think this is theoretical? Manufacturing YOUR solar panel is killing human beings by poisoning their water supply. Today, in China.No excuses that you didn't know. Bother to Google, take ten minutes. Big solar panel manufacturer WuXi Metec. Now Google WuXi pollution. Zhejiang Sopray Solar. Google Zhejiang pollution. "The farmlands look white; waters look milky-white and are extremely smelly. The southwest night wind covers all nearby areas with a strong odor and prevents people from sleeping. The villagers are all in bad health. Many have cancer—lung cancer.”

That's the money that we pay for the solar panels, that causes that, directly. Mobile phones too, but guess what - $100 of parts causes roughly 1/50th the pollution of $5k solar panels. That's the way the world is, where we're not looking. A meter of silicon uses a LOT of HF, nitric acid, ammonia, caustic alkali, POCL3.

Just don't claim ignorance to the man at the pearly gates, because he ain't gonna be listening. Before you bought those solar panels, you Googled the chemical processes, right? Does the internet make it so hard to do a bit of checking nowadays? Really? Not even worth an hour of your time to find out the exact quantities of hydrofluoric acid etch it takes to make your £5K purchase - and what that does to the lungs, flesh and testicles of the people paid $10 a day to do the work? From the technical websites, not the websites of the companies doing the selling (which includes the government "information" sites which are actually just selling themselves). Hmm. Maybe not so interested in the environment after all.

If we want to make a real difference to the world - learn some engineering & design a better solar panel, and better chemical processes. One with good enough energy effiiciency, that fewer people spew their guts out from slow poisoning of processing chemicals than coal-miners die underground far from their families. That's the real choice we have in life, not spending 10% our neighbours incomes buying voodoo trinkets to decorate the roof.

Green Tech - I'm all for it. Let's start now.

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