* Posts by aberglas

217 posts • joined 22 Apr 2014

Page:

NBN dragging Telstra down, carrier wants 5G to haul it up again

aberglas

The NBN was gold for Telstra

They paid through the nose for all that copper and ducting just before it became obsolete. (Not because it stopped working, but because Mobile data replaced the need for it.)

The growth in mobile phones has finished. Everybody already has a phone with lots of data.

4/5G will enable Telstra to move many people from the NBN to Mobile. (Most households do not need terabytes of data.) But then the party will be over. Optus and even Vodafone are clipping at the heals of Telstra -- no easy monopoly for Mobile.

This has happened before -- cars, TVs, plumbing. A huge growth when the technology became available, then a flattening of the demand. Now that people (almost) have all the data they need, this game is out of its growth phase.

I see a long future for Telstra. But not one of spectacular growth.

0
0

nbn™ scoreboard: miracle needed to hit FY 18 construction targets

aberglas

Mobile will kill the NBN

Can already get mobile data for $1/Gig. When that halves again, many if not most houses will simply drop the NBN for mobile. Sure, mobile will never deliver terabytes. But for the average household that just wants a bit of internet TV it should be fine. (More towers means less congestion.)

OTOH, ADSL worked OK for most (but certainly not all) households -- 1.5 megabits is enough for TV once Windows Update is tamed.

That is the design flaw in the NBN. It never made sense.

0
5

Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

aberglas

Linux is under threat

Linux just copied the Unix APIs. It was AT&T/SCO's intellectual property. If Android fails, *nix will be next. The only reason those APIs are worth anything is because they are a standard interface. (Most of them are pretty poor design.)

Copyrighting APIs is copyrighting interfaces. Bad public policy. But public policy is not what the law is about.

2
3

Probe: How IBM ousts older staff, replaces them with young blood

aberglas

Young programmers are much more productive than older ones

They can write many more lines of code per day.

(Personally, I pride myself in how little code I write each day. On really good days, it is negative.)

6
1

Privacy folk raise alarm over schools snooping on kids' online habits

aberglas

Re: More likely scenario

Beat me to it.

And the internet is not nearly as dangerous as is made out. Even if, heaven forbid, kids say politically incorrect things from time to time. We should expect them to act reasonably. (And thump them when they do not!)

3
0

US Army warns of the potential dangers of swarming toy drones on US soldiers

aberglas

Fixed wing drones

Drones does not necessarily mean slow, weak quadcopters. Small fixed wing devices would be better, faster, smaller, carry a bigger payload further. Say 100km/hr for 50 km. Give them a gun or just explosive.

And yes, the bad guys are thinking about this too. Also things like smart cluster bombs. No motor at all, just glide to target.

A B52 can be shot down. And the bad guys don't have them. But a swarm of drones is a different world.

That said, we already have fire and forget anti tank missiles.

The future is not what it used to be.

13
0

Euro Commission gives tech firms an hour to take down terror content

aberglas

Consult Xi Jinping Thought

He has some excellent ideas about the need control the internet in order to prevent incorrect thinking. And the Chinese are building excellent technology to find, filter and target purveyors of such things.

In this post 9/11 era we simply cannot expect to have the reckless freedoms that we are used to.

Our great leader Mr Trump recently supported Xi in his efforts to become Emperor of China, but why stop there?

This is actually more a push from Health and Safety than anything else. Traditionally we accepted the fact that bad things sometimes happen, a price we pay for freedom. But now we seek total safety, and freedom is a small price to pay.

0
0

RIP HPKP: Google abandons public key pinning

aberglas

How will secruity software proxy TLS?

Many corporate tools work by issuing all their clients with an internal trusted root cert. This then enables them to proxy TLS and do deep inspection of the packets by simply providing their own site based certificates.

Will CT prevent this trick from working? Is that the point? Or does it just mean that the Loggers also need to be proxied?

(The real solution is not to rely on PKI at all, but to use Secure Remote Password. Also kills phishing dead. Passwords should never be sent to servers, just a proof of possession.)

0
0

The phone OS that muggers wouldn't touch is back from the dead

aberglas

Javascript will kill it

The idea of a simple, cheap phone is appealing, and 500K should be more than enough for a phone and a bit of browsing. But sadly, the latter is not what it used to be.

Browsing modern web pages means executing ever larger globs of JavaScript, that, even when "compiled", requires a lot of grunt to operate. And all the features of HTML5 aint going to fit in any small device anyway.

So yes, it would be possible to build a simple, cheap, low powered device. But it won't support modern JavaScript websites. So will be useless in practice.

3
4

Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins

aberglas

Isn't that what Dark Energy is?

That the expansion of the universe is speeding up, rather than slowing down due to gravity. So one would expect measurements based on the background radiation to be slower than measurements based on existing stars?

0
0

Fun fact: US Customs slaps eyeglass taxes on optical networking gear

aberglas

Tax on Glasses?

Is that why medical things are so expensive in the USA. They even put extra taxes on medical eye glasses??

22
0

nbn™ scoreboard: our new way to look at Australia's national broadband network

aberglas

How many premises got Better service?

I.e. how many people did not already have passable broadband with ADSL or cable and would have been prepared to switch if they had not been forced to?

People without any or very poor preexisting broadband. That is what counts.

0
0

Australian Senate vote-counting-ware contract a complete shambles

aberglas

The senate system is an unauditable mess

I have scruitineered for the lower house, and it is clear and simple.

But nobody understands the senate system. It needs to be simple enough that, like the reps, it can be counted by hand in front of scrutineers.

We do not want the US style system here, where we have to trust our democracy to whoever programs and controls the computers.

This is not unimportant.

5
0

Two things will survive a nuclear holocaust: Cockroaches and crafty URLs like ғасеьоок.com

aberglas

I'll not need non-ascii

Since it has become an important tenant of font design to make "I" almost exactly the same shape as "l".

1
0

Nebula spotted with more super-sized bodies than a gym on Jan 2nd

aberglas

Tarantula nebula amazing

It is just visible to the naked eye, easily with binoculars, on a dark night. And yet 160,000 light years away! That is much, much further than the Orion nebula at 1300 light years. The power must be amazing.

It also amazes me that we can see even one light year. That is a long way. If space was even the tiniest bit opaque we would see nothing beyond the solar system.

0
0

nbn™tries to ease peak hour crunch with cheaper bundles

aberglas

12 Mbps for $22 per month.?

Where can I buy these? iinet sells "Basic" for $70/mo. Bit of a surcharge.

Sure there is more to an ISP than the NBN, but it is also the case that the "last mile" (i.e. NBN) is the most expensive?

If 12 Mbs was priced at a substantial discount to 25Mbs, then many if not most people would sign up to it. 12 Mbs is enough to drive 8 ordinary DVD quality televisions provided Windows Update can be tamed. More than enough for most.

(Yes. 1.5mbs per TV. I know, I have a crappy ADSL line and use Gargoyle to throttle the TV to 1.5 mbs and it works fine.)

0
1

Opportunity rover survives Martian winter for eighth time

aberglas

Will Opportunity outlive Curiosity?

When Curiosity's nuclear battery runs out.

0
0

Expert gives Congress solution to vote machine cyber-security fears: Keep a paper backup

aberglas

Re: open votes please! UK Election Official

That story about the UK, if true, is appalling.

In Australia, ballot boxes are only sealed in the pollling both, with scruitineers present to confirm they are empty. And scruitineers are present when the seals are broken to count the votes.

It takes about an hour to manually count the votes at a booth in front of scruitineers.

As to the New York lever machines, I think there were plenty of stories of election officials routing those. They are no better than computers, being an unauditable, black box.

0
0

Hardly anyone uses Australia's My Health Record service

aberglas

Issue is lack of data

Having unified data can be very important when dealing with multiple providers. The current system of faxing data is a mess and lead to errors.

However, all the data collected from GPs etc needs to go there automatically for it to be useful. All GPs have IT systems, just not interconnected (except by fax machines).

There are privacy nuts who have made this very difficult to build. ASIO, the AFP and the NSA already could know everything about you, that is a lost battle. But having unified records is essential.

NEHTA spent a large amount of money designing something that was never going to be built. What was needed was a simple system that works.

1
0

You live in the right galaxy: Milky Way to eat Small Magellanic Cloud even sooner

aberglas

Amazing to see the SMC (and LMC)

With the naked eye, you can see them easily in a dark sky. 200,000 light years away. That is a long, long way.

I have never understood how this is possible. Space must be really, really, really empty to be able to see clearly that far. One spec of dust per cubic giga metre would be enough to obscure the view.

And with binoculars, you can see the Trianchela nebula making new stars.

1
0

nbn™ pauses hybrid fibre-coax build and will fix current connections

aberglas

They had to buy the copper

Even under the original FTTP plan.

The trouble is that many if not most people were actually satisfied with their existing broadband. And would not have switched to the NBN if the copper was still available. In those early Hobart trials it was only something like 15% that took up the NBN when it was free to convert.

Meanwhile, other people without broadband are screaming for something, and still waiting.

That is the fundamental disconnect. It was never about megabits. It was about availability to those that had none or very poor broadband.

1
0

Another UAV licence price hike? Commercial drone fliers rage over consultation

aberglas

The increase could pay for more enforcement of the fees

I doubt very much if the government makes much from these fees. By the time you add the cost of developing regulations, collecting fees, inspection and enforcement etc.

But rules and regulations, processes and procedures are what has made us what we are today.

I personally am disgusted that people can walk on footpaths without any licensing whatsoever. Thousands of these unlicensed pedestrians get killed every year. Not to mention the billions spent maintaining footpaths throughout the country. Something should be done about it.

1
0

Telstra drops nbn™ in it as it wears compo for broadband speed ads

aberglas

60 Concurrent Televisions from 100mhz

Amazing technology, FTTH. 60 televisions each showing a different show. Wow.

Trouble is, most households do not have 60 televisions. Indeed very few have more than 6. So unless you are running a data center, these high speeds are just not useful.

The problem was never bandwidth. The problem was availability. To people that did not already have good ADSL or cable. That should have been the original focus, people without decent broadband in the first place.

But instead, the NBN has mainly been built out to people that were already happy with existing service. Hence the complaints about having to cut the copper. And many households will end up just moving to mobile.

The whole NBN fiasco was based on the premise that people wanted very high bandwidths. And that premise is wrong. Once people can run two or three TVs they have enough bandwidth. You do not need 100mb to run Facebook.

Incidentally, few providers provide less than 25mhz, and there is very little price difference for those that do. If 12.5 mhz was offered at 60% of the 25mhz price, it would be the most popular. Heck, if 6mhz was offered at 60% of the 25mhz price it would be the most popular for households without teenage kids.

0
2

Like Uber, for socialism: Chinese leader calls for more use of AI, big data and sharing economy

aberglas

China is frightening

Have a look at Document 9's "Seven note worthy problems."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_Number_Nine

And they actually said this. Not just did it.

Their upcoming use of AI to control people will be truly Orwellian.

2
0

AMD comes out swinging, says: We're the Buster Douglas of the tech industry!

aberglas

SGX -- More than speed

It is tough being in a market that you only compete on price/performance. So Intel is trying to add features. One is SGX, which enables code to run in "enclaves" that cannot be accessed by the O/S or anything else. A bit spooky, but novel and riddled with patents.

If you have an application that relies on SGX, you will not go AMD even if it is faster and cheaper.

0
2

Java EE 8 takes final bow under Oracle's wing: Here's what's new

aberglas

Java is still big

(Probably way too big.)

The only comparable technology is .Net, which is fine if you want to confine yourself to Windows.

The various scripting languages do not come close. No static typing makes them horrible to work with in large projects and their performance is inheritantly bad (even with the new run times that do brilliant job of optimizing a broken design).

C/C++ are archaic rubbish that should never have become popular and cost the world billions in wasted programmer productivity. Go etc. do not have the JIT compilers and generational garbage collectors.

So Java is a bit of a monster. But it works. And it works well.

(J2EE is another story. But it can be safely ignored.)

1
7
aberglas

Re: The horse is but a distant memory...

"Nope. Java doesn't support (real) closures."

Like JavaScript does. Are you making an argument for or against Java?

2
2

nbn™ sweetens the deal for business and its own bottom line

aberglas

Businesses do not spend much time on Netflix

Most businesses have minimal need for video. The occasional webinar etc.

So they actually have less bandwidth demand than home users with teenage kids.

It takes very little to power the web. Even most cloud servers can chug along in the background without much bandwidth.

0
0

If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck

aberglas

French car maintenance is great

Everybody knows how horrible they are, so I can pick up a low km Citroen for about half the cost of the equivalent Toyota. When it goes bang, throw it out. (My current C4 requires major work just to change the air filter which is stuffed *behind* the engine.)

Pity this does not work for phones.

0
0

Australia reviews defence export controls, perhaps easing cryptography research

aberglas

Not really enforceable

Fortunately, Australia is not the USA. So people here are not sentenced to long prison terms for technical breaches. Particularly that every laptop that travels is full of crypto.

But those regulations are a nuisence. They could hold up government contracts etc. So good to see them go.

5
0

If at first you don't succeed, you're Microsoft trying to fix broken Excel 2016

aberglas

Excel 2016 Kills earlier versions

When you install it.

Now only one version of Excel per (virtual) machine. Unlike previous versions. And no install options.

So people WILL learn to like it!

There are lots of bugs and limitations that go back to Excel 1995 that have never been fixed, and will never be fixed.

0
0

Australian telcos promise to be better NBN helpers

aberglas

It is not the copper wiring

The article is talking about the problems with backhaul. The last mile works fine for most people. But there is no point if the telcos do not provide sufficient capacity at the other end of the wire. And the NBN charges the telcos for the privilege of providing backhaul, which is why they are not doing it.

Leave the "fraudband" politics behind and stick to the facts.

1
5

German court reveals reason for Europe-wide patent system freeze

aberglas

Software Patents

The problem with any unified patent court is that it will become part of the patent industry. And thus strongly inclined to widen the scope of patentability. That is what happened in the US.

Currently, the law states strongly that software "as such" is not patentable. The EPO interprets that to mean "unless it runs on a computer"(!), and thus grants lots of patents, which are probably not enforceable by any normal national court. But a unified patent court controlled by the EPO would almost certainly decide that software is in fact patentable.

The fight against European software patents has been long and ongoing. Do you really want to follow the Americans there?

1
0

Following flat financials, Telstra pins hopes on NBN renegotiation

aberglas

Re: A wireless future?

For most people without teenagers at home 100 meg would actually be enough.

0
0

Australia's .au internet registry chair quits amid no-confidence vote

aberglas

Some background please to make it intelligible

Who are the "Members"?

Who are the shareholders, if this is a company?

What, exactly, does the company own? The right to the .au domain? Says who? What if the members create a new organization?

1
0

TechnologyOne says City of Brisbane ignored its own reviews

aberglas

How do small councils survive?

Brisbane City Council is several times bigger than smaller regional ones. Yet they both do the same sorts of things and need the same sort of IT support. Rates, dog licenses, capital works projects etc.

And a Rates system that does 1,000,000 residents is no more complex than on that does 10,000 residents so there is a huge economy of scale.

And yet, rates for Brisbane are quite high. And the smaller councils still manage to get things done.

One of the mysteries...

1
0

AI bots will kill us all! Or at least may seriously inconvenience humans

aberglas

But does it matter?

Obviously, really intelligent machines will never be built because they have not been built yet. Nor are they likely to be built within the next few decades.

But once they are built, the ones that survive will be good at surviving. Natural selection. And being friendly to parasitic humans is not likely to help them survive in a competitive environment. So meat based intelligence will become obsolete.

But does that matter? As individuals, we will all soon grow old and die anyway. What are our descendants? Men or machines? Is this how "we" achieve immortality?

It actually does not matter whether it matters. It is inevitable anyway.

http://www.computersthink.com

0
3

The hidden horse power driving Machine Learning models

aberglas

Machine Learning <> (!= for some) Artificial Neural Networks

There are many types of machine learning. ARNs have the buzz at the moment, and are often used inappropriately. And even if ARNs are used, there is (much) more to them than the naive back propagation algorithm that is so, so slow to learn.

Fix the algorithm before going crazy with hardware.

0
0

Russia, China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor browser

aberglas

China govt Root Certificate

Mandated on all devices. Just like corporates do in the west.

Easy to intercept all HTTPS traffic. And if you do not trust that root then nothing works.

0
0
aberglas

Revolt in China!

Nonsense about there never being a revolt there. Taiping was home grown, as was Boxer and Sun. Heck, Mao's crusade was a revolt. Read your history, China has been nothing but revolts until recent times.

However, Goulash communism requires the standard of living to rise every year so that people will put up with the government. China simply cannot keep growing at the astonishing rate it has for too much longer. There will be stagnation, and people will blame the government.

This could lead to horrendous trouble. At the moment the Chinese government is fairly benign because there are no threats. But if there is a real demand for democracy, will they adopt it (probably in a Russian style) or stand firm and fight.

Either way, it is very important to keep trouble makers on a tight leash. New AI technology for monitoring communications can help a lot with this.

The real thing that the UK could learn from China is the way their bureaucracy controls and tames the internet. It is not too heavy handed, so most Chinese do not complain. Just enough where needed.

1
0

JavaScript spec gets strung out on padding

aberglas

What about static typing!

That is the big one that makes JavaScript horrible to use for non-trivial applications. (With type inference of course.)

5
7

Oz attorney-general a step closer to SCNA*

aberglas

They had a super secret meeting

With super secret people in a super secret room. These people must be important to be in the super secret room. As were the pollies that were invited.

There they heard. Heard of .... TERRORISM. Top secret information. That there might be "chatter", whatever that means.

This was very, very important, in that super secret room. So they all nod in unison.

0
0

Queensland Police want access to locked devices

aberglas

Restricting Complaint is nasty

The nastiest part of this type of law is restricting people's ability to complain about being subjected to them. Much of the ASIO legislation also makes it illegal to tell people if you have been arrested etc.

Like this would stop a real terrorist from telling their mates. It is about protecting the security forces themselves, pure and simple.

5
0

Apple frees a few private APIs, makes them public

aberglas

Microsoft stoped doing this 20 years ago

It was a big deal then. Special APIs that could only be used by MS Office to entrench a monopoly. I think the courts thumped them by vague memory, or were going to.

Yet Apple is now as dominant as MS was and seems to be able to get away with anything.

0
2

I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

aberglas

It is Bullshit

Not tiny drone could destroy the grid. At the very worst trip breakers for a few seconds. And Think about the size and strength of the insulators compared to the few hundred grams of drone.

OTOH, I once hit high tension wires with at glider winch launch cable. 1000 times more solid than a plastic drone. It made a huge explosion as the cable vaporized. But did not seem to do any permanent damage, although we thought it best not to inquire...

2
0

Self-driving car devs face 6-month backlog on vital $85,000 LIDAR kit

aberglas

Re: I don't know...

Half right.

Understanding depth by using one eye is a really difficult problem. However, using two eyes to measure depth nearby is relatively easy, and AI labs have been doing it for a long time.

When driving, humans do not use stereo vision, distances are too great. But a computer can have two or more cameras spaced well apart. The hard part is to recognize that an edge seen from the two cameras are actually from the same object. Then a simple bit of trig gives you the distance.

I am surprised this approach is not used. But I suspect that the car manufacturers are more auto engineers hacking AI rather than AI researchers.

1
0

Have a go with this WW2 German Lorenz cipher machine – in your browser

aberglas

The NSA man did not understand enigma

The NSA had a real enigma at the RSA show this year. NSA man was showing how people could encrypt a short message and then decrypt it. So I asked him, pointedly, how this could possibly work because there was not Encrypt/Decrypt lever. Just double encrypted to produce the plain text. Just got a blank look.

[The way this works is extremely clever for a mechanical machine, but turned out to be its fatal flaw. It is central to the whole story.]

0
0

Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes 'No' to modular overhaul

aberglas

Sun was always a little arrogant about Java

Sounds like they need some face to face meetings.

The sun.* packages are used because there are no good alternatives. The alternatives need to be provided well in advance. And with back portable .jars. Some things are just convenient, like base 64. Others like sun.misc.unsafe are essential for some advanced usages.

Java itself was godsend. It made Lisp-style programming popular, introducing garbage collection to the unwashed masses. It spawned .net. If it did not exist we would still have to use archaic rubbish like C++ and PHP.

4
10

Australian Taxation Office named as party preventing IT contractors being paid

aberglas

Re: We OBVIOUSLY are missing big chunks of the story. . .

Australia is not (quite) the USA (yet).

Unburdened by any Bill of Rights, we have never had slavery. Nor do we have the US civil forfeiture laws in which police can arbitrarily steal people's money. Nor the extreme plea bargaining against draconian laws.

It is very rare for the ATO to freeze assets. So there is probably more to this than disclaimed. And it will go to court in a few days, unlike the USA.

3
0

Webroot antivirus goes bananas, starts trashing Windows system files

aberglas

Re: But what if we invented the internet all over again

There would be no peer to peer networking.

There would be no such thing as universal email. There would be lots of walled gardens.

The Telcos would control which sites you could use/visit. Only they would be able to produce servers.

There would be no anonymous sites or browsing.

But fortunately, all those things got out of the bag before the MBAs took control.

1
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018