* Posts by ilmari

200 posts • joined 18 Oct 2012

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Games-mart Steam halts Bitcoin payments

ilmari

Re: $20 per transaction fee

I remember back in the day when some nerds were trying to explain the usefulness of bitcoin, they argued speed of transaction and cost of transactions as superior to regular banking. At the time I thought the argument was dubious at best, as bank transactions were on the order of minutes, and transactions usually included with other services anyway, costing nothing extra.

"But bitcoin isn't vulnerable to the whims of governments and central bankers!" - well sure, but is the whims of the collective speculative investor hivebrain any better?

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Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

ilmari

I think the biggest issue is the sheer number of passwords required. The average person probably struggles to remember more than 2 "difficult" passwords. Add to that, that every little thing wants you to make a user account and password, so you end up with hundreds.

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Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

ilmari

Re: Tesla semi?

The batteries should accept charge at the same rate as the stated acceleration, so 100 to 0 in 20 seconds. That seems like very aggressive braking under normal circumstances.

Likewise, if it can maintain a specific speed going up a hill, it can maintain the same speed going down the hill without the use of friction braking.

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Two drones, two crashes in two months: MoD still won't say why

ilmari

Laser altimeter is the kind of thing a hobbyist would use, since hobbyist radars make ofcom/FCC/etc annoyed. GPS and barometric sensors aren't that good for approaching the ground at a ensured survivable rate.

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IETF mulls adding geoblock info to 'Bradbury's code'

ilmari

So is this serious, or will it be as widely used as the evil bit on IP level?

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

ilmari

Re: planet is surrounded by spy satellites

I once found a submarine on Google Earth. It was just outside Tokyo bay. Always takes me awhile to find it again though.

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ilmari

The spy satellites are more concerned with photographing military targets. Even so, had they been tasked with photographing the ocean, you would've needed quite some luck to have taken a picture of the right area before the debris got scattered out blending in with all the other debris floating around.. Not to mention the manpower needed to sift through all those photos. There was a crowd sources effort to look through satellite photos, which turned up empty.

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Essentially invisible: Android big-daddy Andy Rubin's hypetastic mobe 'flops in first month'

ilmari

Was out shopping for a new phone for my elderly father. At some point he had wandered off into the shop of the third largest operator.

When I informed the shopkeeper that yes, that's exactly the phone for him (a Doro), we can't really buy it since we do need to use the competing operator for coverage concerbs.

The shopkeeper cheerfully said he's happy to sell the phone even if we put competitor's SIM in it.

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Ah, good ol' Windows update cycles... Wait, before anything else, check your hardware

ilmari

Re: Bah!

Now I understand why some 3D printers have SD card slot for storing the print while it's printing!

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ilmari

Re: I'm confused

64-bit mode removes some old backwards compatibility, and many new features are only available in 64-bit mode.

It's slowly moving towards being two entirely different CPUs, with 32-bit mode being left as it was, and 64-bit getting all the new features.

Anyone remember typing "go64" on a Commodore 128? :-)

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ilmari

Re: "platform of built-in solutions to optimize your Windows 10 investment"

On mine it "upgrades" the synaptics touchpad drivers to a version which turns the touchpad on and off rapidly. The blinking notification onscreen (at around 20 on/off cycles per second) is annoying enough, it also makes it harder to click things so I can roll back to the working version.

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Mad scientist zaps himself to determine the power of electric eel shocks

ilmari

The 46mA is actually impressively strong. It's in the potential death territory (but not certain death, far from it), if the shock went across a heart instead if through an arm.

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Google to relieve HTC of its phones biz – report

ilmari

Re: Competing with their own customers

I wonder if it's google saying "If you guys won't do it right and be responsible about security and updates, then we'll just do it ourselves."

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Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

ilmari

These tariffs are available elsewhere in Europe. Suppliers offer different "day-ahead market price + margin" tariffs, for example.

It works as long as a minority uses those tariffs, and as long as demand isn't too flexible (everyone choosing to use all their power at 3am to charge Tesla powerwall when it's cheapest).

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Nest cracks out cheaper spin of its thermostat

ilmari

Re: Not applicable in any place I lived...

There are battery powered electronic versions of that valve, including ones with wireless control through a central "router", and the facepalm quality mobile apps. I know one manufacturer already deprecated their first gen versions of this, leaving expensive systems vulnerable. I'm looking at you, Danfoss.

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ilmari

Re: Savings?

If you took an average sized UK dwelling, and installed good insulation, and subjected it to the mild UK climate, you'd only need the waste heat from the kettle to keep warm.

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ilmari

Re: Still not happening

Which requires that someone is constantly present and awake to monitor the temperatures, so that when the family returns from work/school the water pipes haven't frozen over.

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VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code

ilmari

So obviously in this case they actually detected test conditions by some method (front wheels moving, rear wheels stationary, obd connected?), and switched engine to lower emissions...

I wonder what the outcome would've been if they instead had heavily optimized the engine to run the cleanest at exactly the test regime conditions, but provide increased power and higher emissions when the driver pushes the throttle and deviates from the teat conditions?

It would on one hand be a sort if cheat, but on the other hand one could argue that it would be reasonable for the test, that the authorities designed, to reflect the most common expected use, and that it made sense to optimize the engine for these conditions...

I myself tend to use the style which BMW (iirc) found to be most efficient, pedal to the floor, shift up before 2000rpm until in highest gear.

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Batteries that don't burn at the drop of a Galaxy Note 7? We're listening

ilmari

Re: Lithium batteries are last century's technology

There are phones with large batteries available. Hardly anyone buys them. Thus, battery capacity stays low on most other models. What's the point making phone with big battery when everyone is fine with 8hour life?

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Core-blimey! Intel's Core i9 18-core monster – the numbers

ilmari

Software video encoding typically produces superior quality for a set bitrate, whereas GPU video encoding is quick and dirty.

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Repairable-by-design Fairphone runs out of spare parts

ilmari

2 year life

According to the article, FP1 was still sold in 2015. It is now 2017, and the device is unsupported. If someone had bought it on a 2 year contract from an operator in late 2015, it might've entered unsupported status before the customer had even paid it off! Not to mention statutory warranty periods..

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The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

ilmari

Why not? It works like autopilot on a ship or on an airplane, The only other autopilots I can come to think of.

Airplane autopilots will happily fly into other airplanes, with the collision alert sounds blaring, or halfway into a mountain before giving up the controls and telling pilot to do something in the last second.

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Wikibon drops bomb, says Intel's Optane could be a flop...tane

ilmari

Re: Wrong comparison

They already do, pretty much. Their sleep states would give around 2-4 weeks battery life, It's just that they power up constantly to check farcebook, twitters, instagrams, snapchats, whatsapps, Skype, telegram, google+, gmail, oemaccount, google play, weather widgets, location, etc...

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Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs

ilmari

Don't forget the last gpu cryptomining fad propped up AMD's sales for a year, drove up prices and killed availability.

I haven't been following very closely, last time only AMD GPUs were useful, are both brands useful this time around?

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In touching tribute to Samsung Note 7, fidget spinners burst in flames

ilmari

Re: Hmmm

There is no metallic lithium in Li-Ion batteries - normally.

It is possible to generate metallic lithium by overcharging. This makes the battery quite volatile for future use.

Another trick you can do is over discharge, which causes the copper to dissolve. On charging it back up again, the dissolved copper precipitates in random places, and may or may not cause a short. Slower version of Russian roulette.

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UK Parliament hack: Really, a brute-force attack? Really?

ilmari

Out of interest, how much would it cost to set up 2FA for a single user on a single server (raspberry pi) with mentioned Rsaid?

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Brazilian whacks Intel over 'exploding' Atom smartphone chips

ilmari

So... We know that Intel CPUs will throttle down at around 100C... So the question is, did the atom CPU fail to throttle and to into thermal runaway, or did the manufacturer fail to keep the battery protected from the 100C CPU?

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Internet hygiene still stinks despite botnet and ransomware flood

ilmari

Considering the scarcity of public IP addresses and increasing numbers of NAT boxes everywhere, it's rather impressive that so much is still open to public internet.

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Cloud VMs without sane firewalls is nutty, right? Digital Ocean agrees

ilmari

This article puzzles me.

Is it common these days to expect a server, dedicated, vps or VM to have preinstalled firewall? Or is it expected that there would be a separate firewall in front if it all?

If anything, I would've thought the expectation would he firewall and nat-free so you can have bidirectional communication with clients from the internet...

Could someone enlighten me please...

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WannaCrypt: Pwnage is a fact of life but cleanup could and should be way easier

ilmari

The problem with formally proving a system is that by the time you've completed it, the specification turns out to be wrong and has changed 27 times over 7 different corporate/government regimes.

Anyhow, I've often had arguments that have gone a bit like:

"Hey what are you doing here, that results in undefined behaviour"

- "It's okay, I tested it and X happened every time"

"It's still undefined, it could change any time in the future"

- "What why, surely they wouldn't make backwards incompatible changes to the OS?"

"Undefined is undefined, they could make the compiler generate code that erases the hard drive and they'd still technically be standards compliant"

- "You mean I have to actually read specs and learn, not just try random stuff until something works?!"

"Yes"

- "Being a developer sucks!"

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8 out of 10 cats fear statistics – AI doesn't have this problem

ilmari

I have to admit failure here, I simply can not comprehend the dice example, how 6 and 6 would be any less, or any more likely to come up than 6 and 5, or any other combination?

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Dyson celebrates 'shock' EU Court win over flawed energy tests

ilmari

Re: Petty?

It gets more complicated than that. I used to think suck per watt would be the thing to measure (and do you want to measure volume per time, or static pressure?)

With less suck, but with a rotating brush, you get surprisingly good results, and better results at removing dog hair than a traditional powerful suck.

On the other hand, that gives terrible results on getting sand out of a carpet. Except if it's a very smooth and non-porous mat.

So you'd probably want to include a range of different dirts on different surfaces, spread onto and into the surfaces using various methods, weigh before and after result, and consider energy and time used, and the amount of particles exhausted or thrown up into the air.

Maybe suck per watt would be easier.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

ilmari

I used to enjoy playing around with lossy media such as CDs tapes and usenet, throwing more and more parity at it, and sometimes deliberately abuse the media to introduce more losses, just to see how much could be wrecked and still have a human viewable picture or audio left...

With that said, it would be interesting to see what a modified CD drive would be able to pull from a disc cracked and carefully put together again. Modified, because you'd want it to ignore luxuries like adressing and error correction/reporting and just get a raw bits (or probabilities of a bit or no bit) back..

I imagine it would be impossible to get the tracks aligned again, so it would in best case be randomly jumping to different track and getting stuck like a grammphone skipping tracks...

I wonder how well the metal layer is bonded to the rest of the disc, if a crack and would severely distort it on the rest of the disc too.

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You only need 60 bytes to hose Linux's rpcbind

ilmari

I remember around 2002 or so Redhat 6.1 ... 6.2 came with portmapper by default on 111, probably the most common reason why machines got taken over back theb.

Funny how little things have changed in 15 years.

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Base specs leak for Windows 10 Cloud – Microsoft's wannabe ChromeOS assassin

ilmari

What's noteworthy to me is how the hardware specs are higher than those of most "normal" Windows 10 laptops people buy.

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Exploding femtocells: No need for a full recall, says Vodafone

ilmari

Re: Fixed for pennies

Actually, from the article I get the impression that what the device had was exactly the above: A MOV.

The thing is, they get more and more sensitive over time, and WILL become fully conductive during normal voltage, eventually.

In a properly designed device you make sure that the resulting fire or explosion doesn't spread, and that there's a fuse that disconnects it when the short circuit does happen.

That's what the "Protection OK" light on a surge protector is for, once the MOV shorts and causes the fuse to blow, the light no longer gets power and goes out.

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Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

ilmari

As for Office365, does anyone else experience every single desktop getting logged out and forgetting their credentials?

Anyone else experienced having every account in a company scrambled, licenses randomly reassigned between accounts?

Happens about quarterly. Luckily small business with around 20 users, and luckily I'm not the one that has to sort out the mess when suddenly nobody's excel will run.

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Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips

ilmari

Just got a brand new Kaby Lake windows 7 laptop 2 weeks ago. Timing sucks.

I needed the newest Siemens TIA portal software for work. It supported Windows 7 and 8, 64-bit only. My trusty engineering laptop ran 32-bit windows.

Call to supplier and I get a Windows 7 pro kaby lake laptop the next day, because skylake and kaby is all they have. Well, they only had one model with Win7 license anyway.

A week later, and Siemens finally gets head out of ass and releases Windows 8.1 and 10 compatibility (well, atleast until creator's update comes and kills it).

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Stop us if you've heard this: Cisco Aironet has hard-coded passwords

ilmari

I wonder if it's a bit like how caterpillar has the same key for all vehicles, so that you don't have to spend time on finding the right one.

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

ilmari

Re: The Reg

It took me 3 attempts to upvote this because of that same banner jumping text up and down. The posts after your post fit a few accidental up votes. Oops.

Often it loads covering the article headline and the first few rows of text, and stays like that for quite a bit. Sometimes I get to close it and click "ad covered content", but usually itnjimps to where it's supposed to be if I try to X it...

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‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

ilmari

"AI" is whatever would have seemed like magic last year.

Once it actually works it stops being "AI" and gets called something else. Pattern matching algorithm, massive statistical database, whatever.

As for support call centres, if things just worked in the first place we wouldn't need so much of them. The cheaper it gets to provide call centres, the worse the products/services will be.

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Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

ilmari

Re: Milking It

As someone working in a so far robot-free plant, situated next door to a fanuc shop, that was interesting news and I will certainly demand manuals if those fanucs try to get in.

If you know, what robot manufacturer UA the friendliest for maintenance technicians armed with a netbook, pieces of string and duct tape?

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Chinese boffins: We're testing an 'impossible' EM Drive IN SPAAAACE

ilmari

What I would want to know is:

Assuming a 1 ton satellite with 10kW of solar panels,

In low earth orbit, how much thrust do you need to easily and clearly distinguish the produced thrust from perturbations from earth's non-spherical gravity, air resistance and solar wind?

How much in geostationary?

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Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'

ilmari

Re: Two things

One thing to keep in mind regarding ticking time bomb, the issue is said to be insufficient space for the battery to expand. As Samsung has been limiting the state of charge the battery can operate at, we can assume that the swelling is bigger either near full or near empty, or both.

So, what happens when you put what is essentially a balloon in a low pressure environment such as an aircraft cabin? Does it get bigger or smaller?

I think I finally understood why the note got banned on air travel.

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Bluetooth: Remember us? Internet of Things before it was a Thing?

ilmari

My bluetooth ear defenders have enough range when talking to my phone, that it can go through one set of aluminium box, brick wall and steel door, and a further 10 meters in open air before it starts breaking up, reminding me I forgot to take the phone with me.

Probably the biggest problem with bluetooth is the previously mentioned terrible user interfaces, and also the proliferation of terrible bluetooth radios. The latter is starting to happen with wifi too, where you may find a specific wifi client just isn't able to hold a reliable connection to a specific wifi AP, no matter the range. The difference is that usually your crappy wifi radios are inside cheap laptops and cheap APs. Not so with bluetooth, where you can have the shittiest bluetooth radio in the most expensive laptops.

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More than half of punters reckon they can't get superfast broadband

ilmari

Re: Why 60Mb?

Don't forget that kids (and I extend that to "tweens" too) these days don't just watch one HD stream, they might have 4 live streams going at the same time while watching YouTube and Netflix. Plus a few forgotten muted tabs with videos/streams going.

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Samsung are amateurs – NASA shows how you really do a battery fire

ilmari

Re: How much water?

It's futile to put out a single burning cell. However, if you manage to cool down everything else close to the one that is burning, you can potentially prevent a chain reaction and prevent the other 89 cells from going off.

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ilmari

BMS

Just goes to show the importance of the Battery Management System..

Thermal runaway refers to the condition where the battery will not cool down anymore by disconnecting it and throwing it in the freezer. In lay men's terms, it has caught fire, which will inevitably result in venting with flame (explosion).

How do you reach thermal runaway? Heat any part of it to 130C (some lower, some higher). So just slap temperature sensors on it and cut it off at 70C? Not so fast. It's enough if a small part of it reaches critical temperature.

Many fires are the result of impurities introduced during manufacture. A small dust speck of metal inside will heat up as current passes through it, and make a small part of the battery much hotter than the rest.

The low end and high end if the li-ion voltage range does funny things inside the battery cell. The lithium-ions can develop into metallic lithium, which is not reversible, and cause much the same issues as with impurities during manufacture, with the additional bonus of possibly puncturing the separator, causing an internal short circuit.

The copper used to collect current can dissolve into the electrolyte, and later when it becomes solid again during use, it will appear in random spots in the battery, again acting as a spot heat source and agaib possibly puncturing the separator.

All this is accumulative damage, a BMS squeezing too much capacity out of a battery cell can gradually make the battery too unstable for use, which results in boom. Most likely during charge, because that's when we see the highest sustained currents normally. There's nothing preventing it from happening during use though, so just because a suspect battery charges without incident, don't relax.

A properly tuned BMS will be causing just enough damage over time, so that the usable capacity of the battery will have degraded enough that the user stops using it, before the battery's stability has degraded enough to explode under previously safe conditions.

In other words, li-ion is a ticking time bomb, but manufacturers try tune it to explode way after your device is obsolete.

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Internet of Things botnets: You ain’t seen nothing yet

ilmari

Re: Bleedin obvious advice

Since UPNP doesn't work through ISP side NATs, many cheap consumer cameras just connect through random vendor's "cloud" instead. Compromise that machine and you gain access to all the devices ever sold by that, and related,manufacturer. The nat and firewall of any router won't help.

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Don't panic, but a 'computer error' cut the brakes on a San Francisco bus this week

ilmari

Re: Whaaat?

My fuess is that They probably made it behave much like a vehicle powered by a diesel engine and automatic transmission, rightmost pedal to accelerate, let go and it freewheels, left pedal for braking.

So in order to get regenerative braking while still having the pedals behave the same way, they needed electronics on the brake, to first do regenerative braking, and switch over to friction braking at some point.

In other industries, like forklift trucks that are available with different power options, they just don't bother with that, and make lifting the right most pedal equal maximum regenerative braking effort, and then retain mechanical linkage to the brakes from the left pedal. It takes some time for drivers to adjust, and the mechanical brake is almost never needed. And no, the motors can't overpower the brake.

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