* Posts by Tridac

136 posts • joined 30 Oct 2011

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Intel to finally scatter remaining ashes of Itanium to the wind in 2021: Final call for doomed server CPU line

Tridac

From usenet recently, comp.arch newsgroup, a different and slightly more cynical take on Itanium, or Itanic, as it was known:-

In article <d80eb54f-8835-41fa-84ae-0393b61e1dac@googlegroups.com>,

Quadibloc <jsavard@ecn.ab.ca> wrote:

>Even if the performance problems of the Itanium architecture could be fixed, so

>as to make it something almost rivaling the Mill, Intel right now is rather too

>busy looking over its shoulder at AMD to worry about that.

Fix IA-64? There's nothing to fix.

IA-64 was a wild success that achieved it's top 2 goals before Merced

hit the market:

1) It got HP access to Intel's fabs, making PA-RISC CPUs much more

competitive for 2 years.

2) It got several mid-level managers in HP Servers promoted to outside

positions.

IA-64 started in HP Labs as PA-WideWord (called PA-WW). This was basically

the final IA-64, with the added fun benefit of fixed data cache latency

with no interlocks. (Don't laugh).

Once interlocks were added, the result was pretty much IA-64: rotating

registers, the register stack, speculation with Not-A-Thing bits, predication,

fixed bundles, etc. All the details weren't finalized, yet.

And PA-WW wasn't going anywhere inside HP.

So, midlevel managers at HP knew about PA-WW, and with evil genius

they sold this to Intel as IA64: a solution to Intel's 64-bit problem, and

as a solution for HP to have access to Intel's fab's to make PA-RISC

CPUs run faster. HP had success moving to new architectures with emulation support, so they knew they could move PA-RISC and x86 to IA-64, with a penalty of course, but it would work. And they had the detailed HP Labs data showing how fast PA-WW was going to be.

Once Intel bit, IA-64 became a train that could not be stopped inside HP.

And Intel's internal politics worked similarly: this was a way for a

down-and-out design group in Intel to show up the x86 guys.

Technically, inside HP, IA-64 was viewed as just the next thing to do:

Not much better, but not worse. And it had the "potential" to be much better.

And some folks liked the idea of working on something other people would

use (HP servers made good money, but were not popular in universities).

So there was no strong pushback. And there definitely were interesting

technical challenges that sucked folks in: VLIW, speculation, etc.

And IA-64 had the mantra "the compiler can handle this", which lots of

people suspected was not true, but which is hard to prove. IA-64 is the

proof the world needed that in-order was dead (performancewise).

And, within 3 years (and before Merced shipped), all the mid-level HP managers

involved had been promoted to positions outside HP. It's a skill to

get out before your chickens come home to roost. And PA-RISC CPUs

hit new MHz targets, doubling in speed in 2 years, on Intel fabs.

So IA-64 was clearly successful.

Oh, you mean as a computer to actually buy? Oh, that's different.

And PA-RISC CPUs got even faster on an IBM SOI fab, doubling in speed in

another 2 years, making access to the Intel fabs unnecessary.

IA-64 was foisted onto the world so some managers could be

big-wigs for a while and get promotions.

I can hear the light! Boffins beam audio into ears with freakin' lasers

Tridac

Re: Hearing light? That's nothing

That was in the 60's, but different source...

Core blimey... When is an AMD CPU core not a CPU core? It's now up to a jury of 12 to decide

Tridac

Re: Is it a jury of twelve?

No, diining philosophers, where ony one gets to use both tools at once..

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

Tridac

Re: Lisa was more minicomputer than PC

>> The Lisa team came from DEC where they had been building minicomputers so Lisa had the capabilities of a minicomputer of the time,

Nice fantasy, but not even close. A pastiche of the real thing, more like it :-)...

Tridac

Re: Workstations

You can't compare Lisa with things like SGI, Sun, HP or any of the other workstation vendors. It's like comparing a Trabant to a Mercedes. They both look shiny and new, but the difference is under hood. Quality costs money, both in develpment, manufacture and support. You bought a higher end machine and you could be pretty sure there would be no bait & switch, it would work as per spec and have uptimes of years. Old engineering saying: Cost, reliabilty or performance, pick any two :-)...

Tridac

Re: SGI

No, 68020 on all Sun 3's bar the 3/80, which was 68030. Had memory management capability, though sun used their own gate array device. Restore old Sun machines for fun and from memory, a Sun 3/60 was around $20K. Engineers hat on, insides of Mac were always cheapskate consumer quality, whereas Sun of that time were fully modular, VME bus with loads of peripheral options. More in the Dec Microvax mini class, but much, much faster. SunOs (bdsd derived unix) was a far better os than any pc or mac offering, but was aimed at a different market; technical workstation, industry, academia etc. Of course, SGI were the graphics leaders for years and a even a low end Indy Webforce, IRIX 6.5 box is till pretty impressive for a desktop workstation even if the sw is dated. I ran an Apple II in the early 80's, 6502 hardware and software dev for embedded work. Videx 80 col card, keyboard enhancer, wirewapped printer card, forget what else. Also developed a 128K memory board using the then new 64kx1 devices. Hacked 3.3 dos to turn it into a 128k ssd. Great machine for it's time...

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports

Tridac

How about all drones above a defined size have a transponder for identification, just like rest of the world of aviation.. Standard avionics tech and could be made lightweight, cheap and mass produced in China, whatever. Using current standard protocols, could be seen on the screen in airports. Of course, that wouldn't stop the bad guys though...

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90

Tridac

Re: Fun IT facts about HAL's song

Another trick is to put a-d converters onto the high and low bytes of the address bus and feed that into the X & Y inputs of a scope. Same with the 8 bit data bus and use that to intensity mod the z axis. A fair bit of hw, but interesting patterns on the screen. Useful for debugging before the whole world + dog had proper logic analysers...

HP Ink should cough up $1.5m for bricking printers using unofficial cartridges – lawsuit

Tridac

Ditto. Needed an replacement for the old LJ4 and bought an LJ5000N. Big, clunky, double sided, a4 and a3 etc, great for schematic cad, network, low page count and all for less than 100 ukp on Feabay with shipping. That was 11 years ago and have just replaced the toner cart for 20 ukp, original hp, same source. The pro models are designed for 10's thousands of pages a month and wondering if it will ever break. In comparison, inkjets are rubbish, clog up and expensive...

IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on

Tridac

"If everybody did that, the honest answer for that IPv7 would probably be IPv4 with the addition of an extra 2 coulons to the address space, leaving everything else the fuck alone."

That's the most sensible comment in this thread, and is an engineering solution that solves the problem at hand. No added BS just for the sake of goldplating things. Trouble is, protocols are designed by committees, with each member wanting an input.

There's also the serious security issue when every device on the net must have unique worldwide identifier, rather than being behind nat, which again was an engineering solution designed to solve a particular problem. IPV6 is disabled in everything here, and even removed from kernel rebuild options...

You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods

Tridac

Re: Ahhh SystemD

Agreed, Solaris svcadm and svcs etc are an example of how it should be done. A layered approach maintaining what was already there, while adding functionality for management purposes. Keeps all the old text based log files and uses xml scripts (human readable and editable) for higher level functions. Afaics, systemd is a power grab by red hat and an ego trip for it's primary developer. Dumped bloatware Linux in favour of FreeBSD and others after Suse 11.4, though that was bad enough with Gnome 3...

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Tridac

The Earth Moves

Over 4 pages of replies, must be a major fix for MS then :-/. Never used much here, but PFE in the old days, then NP++, which has a the essential rectangular cut and paste. On PDP & VAX, EDT for 5 or 6 years. On several unix variants, still using NEDIT, does every thing this programmer needs from an editor and can be built from source in minutes...

Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti

Tridac

shake in Djibouti ?, no, "Sheik Djibouti"...

Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

Tridac

You want lightweight ?. FreeBSD + Slim + Mate. Takes around an hour to install and configure everything. ZFS, jails, no systemd, no bloatware Gnome 3 etc...

Microsoft Lean's in: Slimmed-down Windows 10 OS option spotted

Tridac

Re: The funny thing is that...

Win 2K was pretty good, very few bsod's and stable in a controlled environment. Used that for years after it's sell by date. It just worked, as did NT4 before it, providing you had the service packs installed. Only upgraded because some app versions would not run under it, but isn't that the only reason why we install new os versions anyway ?. A deadly embrace between the os and app vendors, with MS in control and no way for either to escape. Still, the windows monopoly becomes more and more eroded by the year, with ms desperately trying to stem the rising tide of open source...

Tridac

Re: Beast mode

If you want that, you need to start with one of the server versions. server 2003 ~ Xp, 2008 ~ windows 7 etc. Much better tools for stripping out unwanted stuff, defining roles and locking down. Have been running a stripped down server 2003 machine for years here. All it has to do is run a few apps and provide stuff like a file manager and current task list and i'm happy. Finally dumped Office this week as well, in favour of Libre Office, which is almost instant loading. All serious s/ware dev is done on FreeBSD, Linux pre systemd, or Solaris, but still need a Windows for some legacy software. Apart from initial service packs and a few updates, it's not been changed for years as well. An OS should just run tasks, manage memory, io, networking, screen etc and otherwise keep out of the way. Can't believe how bloated windows has become, but Linux is going the same way. I know this solution wouldn't work at corporate level, but can work fine elsewhere. Cheap, effective and gets the job done...

Oi, drag this creaking, 217-year-old UK census into the data-driven age

Tridac

Re: Anonymised linking == Deanonymisation

Link the data from the various data sets *after* anonymisation ?...

TalkTalk sees red after chucking £75m on restructuring bonfire

Tridac

Couldn't happen to a nicer company...

SCO vs. IBM case over who owns Linux comes back to life. Again

Tridac

Re: Just in time for Halloween ...

"Someone sell 'em systemd"

+100, definately comment of the week :-)...

Man facing $17.5m HPE fraud case has contempt sentence cut by Court of Appeal

Tridac

Re: This used to be how commerce worked isn't it?

Once again, someone else was better at getting the deal done than HP, just like the Autonomy case. Not too smart these days at HP, it seems. Greedy for the business blinds oversight, then butt hurt when someone else takes all the profit. You couldn't make it up...

Open-source world resurrects Oracle-free Solaris project OmniOS

Tridac

Thanks for that, never heard of the some of those. Would be good to have a Solaris like OS available for Sparc, to make use of all the cheap but good Sun hardware, espcially if it has zones and zfs. There's quite a bit of work going on with Debian Sparc, though you have put up with systemd. However, i'm getting good results with FreeBSD Sparc. Seems rock solid, though it's not fully supported and you have to build packages. Running Xvnc at the server, with a client on X86 windows / Linux for X login and gui. Still trying to build mate etc, but so many dependencies...

Tridac

Sounds great, but is there a Sparc version ?...

Virgin Media to close flagship Oxford St store in August

Tridac

I’ve been with VM since NTL first came to Oxford with dialup, over 16 years ago and in general, it just works. Speedtest at 50-70Mb/s consistently. Don’t use the wifi or tv though so can’t comment on that. However, when I wanted a fixed ip address for a server / work, I called VM and after negotiating a deep tree of menus, still couldn’t get a real person to talk to. Called BT and a real person answered the phone in seconds, so they got the business. That just works as well with similar speedtest results. May be different now, but it seemed like VM just weren’t serious about business internet at the time…

Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

Tridac

Re: Am I missing something?

Bringing it back to computing, old ww2 / 50's books on analog computers, fire control radar etc, often use balistics and time of flight equations as an example....

Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop

Tridac

I still have an Indy Webforce in store, but not sure if it would still boot, nor if the psu caps are still ok. The monitor was given away years ago, but a TFT would work fine. Had Photoshop, Illustrator, a good flight sim, web and video apps etc, out of the box + of course, the Indy Webcam. Years ahead of it's time and beautiful artsy desktop, but too expensive for most. They really were the king of colour graphics at the time...

BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Tridac

Re: Electrical Interlocks

...Or the generator crankshaft or coupling gets sheared off with the shock load. Seen examples of that...

Tridac

Re: A data or application problem most likely

2) 480 volts. BS: There's no way that any UPS i've ever seen could operate or be wired so that could happen. The only possible thing that might have happened is that grid power was restored out of phase with the UPS inverter output, which could cause a big bang. However, UPS's are specifically designed to deal with that, with state change inhibited and the UPS phase adjusted until it's in sync with the grid input. No UPS could work without that logic.

UPS systems are usually either true online, or switched. With true online, the UPS inverter always supplies the load, with the grid input powering the inverter and float charging the batteries. With switched, the grid normally supplies the load directly and the batteries are idle, on float charge. For the latter, when the grid goes down, the inverter starts up from batteries to power the load, which is switched over from grid input, to UPS inverter, within a few cycles at most. All these things have smart microprocessor control, which continually samples mains quality and has lockout delays to ensure that brief transients don't cause an unnecessary switchover, Also, delays to ensure that grid power is clean and stable before re connecting to the load.

We've now had several stories abouty this, none of which seem real and ignoring the giant elephant in the room, which is that their disaster recover failed completely. The tech to do this has been around for decades, so how could it go so badly wrong, in a company of that stature ?...

BA Article Deleted ???...

Tridac

Thanks, couldn't find any links to it this morning from any of the pages. Can take my tinfoil hat off now :-)...

Tridac

BA Article Deleted ???...

Am I missing something, or has the BA IT meltdown article and comments been deleted ?. If so, why ?...

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Tridac

Re: It doesn't have to be connected to t'internet

Opening an email doesn't run anything if scripting is disabled and if you click on an attachment without being sure who it's from then it's your own fault :-). For linfrastructure and large arganisations, secure setup can be handled via initial machine provisioning and automated, with application software settings locked down. The OS config should be bare bones, with all but needed services disabled by default. Perimeter firewalls should have all but needed ports blocked by default, ideally with separate hardware firewalls between each internal subnet. Wouldn't surprise me to hear that they have smb shares across the global internet with no vpn, but that's a worse case scenario.

Even Win Xp is fine in a properly configured and protected environment, but the whole system must be configured to design out the vulnerabilities. Assume that any network can be broken, given enough resources. Think systems engineering...

Tridac

Re: Using Windows?

Ok, so what is the main culprit, or is that just a bollocks response as well ?...

Tridac

Re: It doesn't have to be connected to t'internet

One of the simplest, things to do on machines is to disable autoruns on all drives, a primary access method for malware. Teach users to delete any emails that they don't recognise, disable script and stick to plain text emails only.

The stupidity anmd cluelessness of this amazes me. All critical infrastructure should be on private networks with no direct access to the internet. Where access is needed, it should be via a single point, with firewalls and mail and attachment scanners that actually work. Those resposible for all this must be asleep at the wheel, unbelievable...

Brit ISP TalkTalk scraps line rental charges

Tridac

The guys that started Pipex must be ashamed to have ever been asociated with them. I wouldn't touch them with yours and that's being mild about it...

HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

Tridac

Re: The odd thing is

That's not the only problem. Installed a later version of Google earth at one stage, with the installer forgetting to tell me that Chrome, whatever was being installed. After uninstalling it and deleting every related file, spent half an afternoon trawling through the registry deleting all keys related Google. If I didn't ask for it, I don't want it on the system. It's the only way to keep systems uncluttered and secure...

Tridac

Re: Its not just the firmware...

Upgraded to Windows 10...

"Upgraded" ?. Shirley some mistake :-)...

Tridac

Re: Another Option

Not a bad plan at all, since the upfront cost of most inkjets is kept low to get the sale, then profit on the supplies. With engineer hat on though, most of them are cheap plastic rubbish these days, but something has to give if the retail is 100 ukp or less. You cannot build a quality engineered product for that sort of price.

I stopped using inkjets years ago, as they are expensive to run and tend to clog up if infrequently used. Rarely need colour, but recently inherited a Dell 1355 colour laser / all in one and the colour prints are pretty good. Judging byt the weight, plenty of metal in it as well, though the external plastic bits look a bit fragile.. Everyday printer here is an old Laserjet 5000N with network card. Low page count and 80 ukp delivered from Ebay with a nearly full cartridge. Rock solid printer if you have the space. Don't have the duplex unit, though could probably find that for < 25 ukp. Does A3 / A4 and is industrial quality, from an age when HP really did make quality kit, unlike the box shipping rubbish of today...

Electrical box fault blamed for GS2 data centre outage

Tridac

Completely unacceptable that such a large data center should go down on a quarter second interrupton. Battery UPS first line, followed by generators with sump heaters that should be online in less than a minute. Of course, battery based ups for that sort of power cost serious money to buy and maintain, but there's no excuse for skimping for a major data center. A single hv feed as well. What were they thinking.

Oh yes, what exactly is "on-site diesel rotary uninterruptible power supply devices" ?. Are they running 24x7, or what ?...

FBI overpaid $999,900 to crack San Bernardino iPhone 5c password

Tridac

Re: Built in Obsolescence

Yes, but ssd's have their own internal processor responsible (amongst other things) for the wear levelling algorithm, which is proprietary to the manufacturer. An SSD in a heavily loaded server is probably good for billions of write cycles before the capacity is noticably degraded. If the flash in the Apple phone is standalone, then Apple system software must be responsible for the wear leveling code, which may or may not be world class. Rather, just enough to get the job done for the life of the phone.

As for chip removal, standard run of the mill industry stuff for decades, even for ball grid array devices. The chips are designed to withstand solder reflow temperatures and are very unlikey to be damaged if the temperature and exposure time is controlled and within limits.

Of course, the other way to do it is to probe the board directly without removing the flash, though you may have to disconnect / cut tracks to other parts of the circuit in the process. Again, run of the mill stuff for the ATE business for years...

Chris

VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

Tridac

Re: It seem to me

Fetish ?. Far worse that that. More like a fundamentalist religion with the worshippers very sensitive about any kind of criticism or (gasp) questioning the scientific basis for it all. 1960's Club of Rome stuff all over again. You don't have to be paranoid either. Just read UN Agenda 21 to see what the real deal is all about...

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

Tridac

Re: Uh, not sure if I follow:

As a developer, the interface to any software system is the definition of it’s functionality and getting that right can make fthe difference between a product’s success or failure. As such, it’s often the major part of the design effort and copyright should be available should the developers need it for commercial reasons. If you don’t like the license terms, fine, go away and develop your own equivalent, but without using any of the copyrighted work. As a general and ethical principle, seems sensible to me and the “fair use” argument really doesn’t stand up when what was taken was effectively the design definition for the product.

I guess we just have to disagree about this and I’m not up to date with the legalities either, hence the general principles. That fact that this spat involves two of the most aggressively profit motivated companies doesn’t make it any easier to sort out either. However, design ip is a valuable commodity these days and there should be legal protections available for those who have invested time and effort and make a living from it. None of that stops it being given away for free though…

Tridac

As a developer, though in the embedded area, I look at this w/regard to the overall process of development. To build a system of code or library, you start with a definition of the required functionality. You then design an interface that satisfies the requirements, then write the underlying code. That happens on a micro level every time we design and write a new function / arguments and is thus part of the code. The interface is as much part of the design and creative effort as the code itself, often even more so and if copyright is to mean anything, then the whole work, including the interface spec, should be included.

All that is fine so long as everyone is honest, plays by the rules and doesn’t try to steal your work, or part of it. Stuff like license agreements or permissions can be created to allow others to make use of an interface to add to or improve it, or even completly rewrite the underlying code. What appears to have happened here is that one of the richest companies on the planet has just stomped all over the gentlemanly way that such issues could be resolved with it’s size nines and then tried to bluff it out in court. It suggests contempt for other's rights and arrogance in that they think are big enough to get away with it. Sorry, but they deserve to loose, as such behaviour sets a bad example in terms of industry ethics...

Nest defends web CCTV Cam amid unstoppable 24/7 surveillance fears

Tridac

Sounds like an excuse to me, maybe they didn't "mean" it ?.. Can be proven one way or another just by hanging a scope on the video signal output and wave hand in front of the camera. That or use debug tools to see what's happening at process and network level. Personally, I wouldn't trust them an inch without verification. Nullius in verba and all that..

As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

Tridac

Re: Or worse...

Smart meters have high speed data logging capablity and can be programmed to take a reading every minute, for example, of instantaneous power and phase angle. They can tell the difference between a resistive and inductive load, when it was being used and for how long. So yes, quite a bit of data mining capability. You should look into the UK smart metering program. All the docs are online. Will allow dynamic charging rates, remote load shedding etc and much, much more...

Intel loses its ARM wrestling match, kicks out Atom mobe chips

Tridac

The fact that it was based on X86 says it all really. An ancient cpu arch that can trace it's roots back to the 1970's. It would have been put out of it's misery years ago, but for the monopoly postion held in the PC and server markets. Not a nice arch for hardware designers, nor for software engineers either, when compared to cleaner and more orthoganal architectures such as arm. Intel should have started a complete redesign with sharp pencil and clean sheet of paper years ago, but gee, so much locked in profit from X86...

Google reveals own security regime policy trusts no network, anywhere, ever

Tridac

Re: That's nice.

You have to remember that Google are primarily a *data* collection and sales company and after the various revelations, perhaps not too fussy how they aquire that data either. Nor where it ends up / who it is sold to. If you value your privacy, know what your are dealing with.

Sounds like a good idea though, but I wouldn't trust them an inch either...

Reprogrammble routers axed by TP-Link as FCC bans custom firmware

Tridac

Re: But it's my router, I've bought it

In fact, most of the open source firmware for these routers provides more functionality and not more power, or operation outside the specified bands...

Tridac

Re: But it's my router, I've bought it

Driving / using a car is not the same as modification eg: rechipping for more power :-). Poor example...

Tridac

Re: But it's my router, I've bought it

I call BS. The synthesisers on those devices aren't programmable anywhere near gsm at ~800Mhz. They run at 2.4Ghz and have narrow band tx and rx filters, which you would need to physically remove, even if the synth chips were programmable to 800MHz.. It's no probalem anyway, as there are dozens of brands that are reprogrammable, as well as old faithfulls like the Linksys WRT54. We have had two of those running Tomato firmware for several years with no issue..

.

Ad-blockers are a Mafia-style 'protection racket' – UK's Minister of Fun

Tridac

Re: That speech in full

No, the idea is that citizens should be encouraged to learn how to make their own choices, not have nanny state decide what's good for them...

'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

Tridac

Re: Unsigned....

Sigh. No, it won't have 101 iterations. It will keep counting down, past the initial 100 on it's way, until it wraps round. If it's a (signed) char, 8 bits, it will wrap forever, since the signed value, including the wrap around value, is always less than 200. Similar traps for the careless if you specify 16 or 32 bit int or long, but who in their right mind would code rubbish such as that ?...

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