* Posts by Richard Boyce

327 posts • joined 8 Aug 2007


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

Richard Boyce

Recent security lessons

Aren't we now running processors that have had to be hobbled because of the resources they intimately share? Are the people who paid extra for hyperthreading and similar still getting the benchmarks they paid for?

Fake broadband ISP support scammers accidentally cough up IP address to Deadpool in card phish gone wrong

Richard Boyce

Re: Useful telephone number.

Better to direct them to your MP's home number.

DNAaaahahaha: Twins' 23andMe, Ancestry, etc genetic tests vary wildly, surprising no one

Richard Boyce

Re: Boffins or Bafoons?

I gave you a thumbs up because you're making people think and raising quality standards by playing devil's advocate.

If a lawyer defends a well-known criminal, the lawyer may strongly suspect that his/her client is guilty, but it would be in *everyone's* interest that the evidence be tested very carefully.

Phew, galactic accident helps boffins explain dark matter riddle

Richard Boyce

Re: Explains the riddle...?

At best, it just seems to modify the existing riddle. Why do most old galaxies have little dark matter?

We still don't know what dark matter is.

Q: If Pesky Pepper had a peek at patient papers, at how many patient papers did Pesky Pepper peek? A: 231

Richard Boyce

"I wonder how many of us here would not have done the same thing in that situation?"

Can you be trusted with medical information?

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

Richard Boyce


"The Planck constant, named after the physicist Max Planck, is incredibly small (it's 6.62607015 x 10-34 Js)"

I think we need to be careful about describing units as large or small, when the magnitude of the numerical parts of their value is a function of the units we've chosen to use.

For example, would it be reasonable to describe the speed of light as incredibly small because it's 9.71561e-9 parsecs per second?

Watch closely as NASA deploys the world's biggest parachute at supersonic speeds

Richard Boyce

Re: Good news

If we deployed a large sunshade near Venus, large enough to put the whole planet into shadow, the planet would start to cool and begin absorbing CO2 by chemical weathering. After some millions years, maybe even Earth-like tectonics may begin. Teraforming Venus is definitely a long-term project.

UKIP doubled price of condoms for sale at party conference

Richard Boyce

Close the border.

US sanctions on Turkey for Russia purchases could ground Brit F-35s

Richard Boyce

Flip-top lid

I cringe every time I see a picture of that flip-top lid. It just seems designed to break.

SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

Richard Boyce

Besides other things mentioned, I guess it would rule out the use of cryogenic propellants such as liquid oxygen. By the time, you got the rocket up to height, it'd be covered in ice and a lot of propellant would have boiled of

Also, recovering the rocket and payload if there was an aborted launch would be a problem.

Richard Boyce

Unusual trajectory

Why was the trajectory unusually vertical?

The satellite required a near-polar orbit, but it still needed to obtain orbital speed, so one would think that building that speed early to reduce gravity drag would be important.

Was the desire to recover the booster a factor?

123 Reg suffers deja vu: Websites restored from August 2017 backups amid storage meltdown

Richard Boyce

Re: 123Reg ?

Rename to Reg321.

Bright idea: Make H when the Sun shines, and H when it doesn't

Richard Boyce

Re: carbon monoxide as byproduct???

I "guess" as you have put solar energy in you must get more energy from burning the carbon monoxide and hydrogen

I think the solar energy is effectively used to split water and the water is reformed at the end, releasing that extra energy. Doing that without the involvement of methane would be more difficult.

NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it

Richard Boyce

Re: Future humans will only find

Would their own existence not provide all the evidence required?

Granted, there would be some people that postulated the involvement of a deity, and that plastic was HIs means of testing their faith.

Yes, your old iPhone is slowing down: iOS hits brakes on CPUs as batteries wear out

Richard Boyce

Battery shape?

Could battery shape, specifically a very thin battery with small electrodes, limit the power output of the battery such that it is manufactured with insufficient excess capacity to cope with ageing?

Could someone familiar with the battery technology comment on this?

Dark fibre arts: Ofcom is determined to open up BT's network

Richard Boyce

Re: The consumer would like some of Ofcom's attention too

Most people are not technology-sensitive. What they care about is cost, and what they can do with their Internet connection. Most are therefore still oblivious to the fact that their fast Internet is perfectly capable of handling their telephone traffic at near-zero incremental cost, even for many international calls, just as their visits to web sites are.

So they continue to think that they need something separate, and continue to be charged in the old way. I am not asking for FTTP to be universally installed. I am asking for more FTTC (which suffices for telephony). I do not want Ofcom to ask, as you do, what evidence there is that people are wising up to the new possibilities. When it comes to improving our national telecoms, they should be proactive, acting for the general good.

Ripping up the old copper wires to the exchanges would be a one-time cost that will have to be done eventually anyway. The sooner it's taken out, the sooner the ongoing maintenance costs end. This should be part of the process of rolling out FTTC to a neighbourhood.

Richard Boyce

Re: The consumer would like some of Ofcom's attention too

No problem. Just get your land line discontinued. I'm sure your ISP will find some other way of connecting you

In the UK most consumers who need a wired service are forced to use either a service that uses Openreach or Virgin Cable. With the former, you're required to pay for an ordinary phone line too. Virgin therefore makes you pay for a phone line whether you have one or not. Indeed, you're often quoted more for service without a phone line.

These days, we should be plugging our telephone handsets into our routers. We're well passed the point where we need to replace the USO for phone service with a USO for broadband that includes VoIP.

None of the big telcos will put the old cash cow at risk by offering a VoIP service that competes with it. You have to go to a company that specialises in VoIP service. That is why we need a regulator to act.

Richard Boyce

The consumer would like some of Ofcom's attention too

As well as more lit fibre, we need less copper in use, particularly in the local loop. Consumers are still being forced to pay for old-style land lines while VoIP is suppressed.

Logitech: We're gonna brick your Harmony Link gizmos next year

Richard Boyce

Re: Idiots !

Squeezeboxes were developed by Slim Devices. Logitech acquired them and things went downhill from there. I still use a lovely version 3 player, thanks to community support.

Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280m in Ethereum

Richard Boyce

Re: A tragedy?

If your physical wallet got blown overboard into the sea, would you be happy if someone within earshot laughed and expressed the wish that all your capitalist vapour-paper be snuffed and permanently inaccessible?

Apple hauls in $52.6bn in Q4, iPhone, iPad and Mac sales all up

Richard Boyce

Re: What is the point of the cash pile?

They've been considering making cars. Building the factories would require a lot of money, as Tesla has shown. Another option would be to create or buy a bank.

There are plenty of ways to further enter the lives of the well-off and status-conscious.

Giza geezers' muon-geyser visor reveals Great Pyramid's hidden void surpriser

Richard Boyce

Re: 'a particle usually found in cosmic rays'

Muons are very unstable, so don't travel very far before they decay. Better would be "a particle usually made by impacts with cosmic rays".

Apple Cook's half-baked defense of the Mac Mini: This kit ain't a leftover

Richard Boyce

Re: The 2011 one still works

I'm typing this on a 2010 mini with its original HDD. It's been running 24/7 since new. The only upgrade was to put 8GB of RAM in when new. I have long considered replacing the HDD with an SSD but have instead been waiting for a new mini because I also need more than two cores.

If my mini fails (likely to be the HDD) before a new mini is out, I will simply buy a new PC, transfer my existing Windows VM to that, and give up on running native Mac apps. I certainly won't spend a fortune on new Apple kit with a screen I have no use for.

SpaceX gives free ride to replacement for Facebook's fried satellite

Richard Boyce

Re: As Robert Heinlein once (nearly) said...

Will Mars be a harsh master?

Capgemini: We love our 'flexible, flowing' spade

Richard Boyce

Douglas Adams

Let's put these talented people to work designing the interior of the B-Ark. Obviously, this vital work will need to be done from the inside...

After seven-hour operation, the ISS has a new 'hand'

Richard Boyce

I think the term "any old gripper" is fair comment. Given the costs involved, this should be designed and operated to last the lifetime of the station, despite the harsh conditions.

You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Richard Boyce

Re: Had this from the IT tech side before

He was fired as soon as that was found out.

Instead of the manager who ordered him to do it?

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Richard Boyce

"Bojo has his faults but at least he's not Corbyn. Jesus, May's bad but Corbyn would be the ruination of us all."

I immediately thought, where's our Angela Merkel. Then I remembered the last chemist we had.

Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

Richard Boyce

Re: £1,149

"Yesterday's announcement feels like them attaching the milking machine to the cash cow's udders."

That's long been attached. They're now using a cannula to draw blood too. Dracula would be impressed.

Everybody without Android Oreo vulnerable to overlay attack

Richard Boyce

Re: "will need updating"

Always buy SIM-free, unlocked, and try to buy as directly from the manufacturer as is practical. The fewer middle men adding their own software and their own indifference to security, the better.

As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

Richard Boyce

Re: Arithmetic

The NASA page linked to in the story confirms that it's linear.

I've got a verbal govt contract for Hyperloop, claims His Muskiness

Richard Boyce

Sadly, I think the security problem will also be the main obstacle preventing the contruction of a space elevator, even when we have materials of sufficient tensile strength.

Virgin Media broadband latency headaches still not fixed six months on

Richard Boyce
Thumb Down

Not the only problem with the SuperHub 3

My SH1 died and I asked to have a replacement sent to me. Not possible they said. Wait days for an engiineer to come, they said.

He installed a SH3. I later found that it can't support port forwarding rules and DMZ at the same time. With the "firewall" on, one works and the other doesn't, and vice versa.

Never heard of that, they said. Not possible to send you a different SH, they said. So I asked to refer them to the Vigin Media support forum. The effect was the same as if I'd used a Jedi mind trick. A SH2 arrived the next day.

I'm sure the individual staff members aren't inherently dishonest; more likely it's a bad management ethos that's filtering down to the support personnel.

Eggheads identify the last animal that will survive on Earth until the Sun dies

Richard Boyce


Even Tardigrades are part of a food chain. On their own, they're doomed.

Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Richard Boyce


I only buy rotatable monitors, so I think I'll give this one a miss. :)

SpaceX halts Intelsat 35e launch twice in a row

Richard Boyce

Re: "it depends on whether the customer is willing to use a cheaper, second hand rocket. "

If they start to use the term "pre loved", they should be "first against a wall when the revolution comes".

Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Richard Boyce

Re: That's a very restrained response from NASA

The Register may have damaged its own reputation by wasting NASA's time in this way.

ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

Richard Boyce

Sainsbury's did worse

In 2010 ( think), Sainsbury's were sending out marketing emails despite my account settings recording that I had opted out. Towards Xmas, they were sending emails most days using a third party spamming house. My complaints and instructions to delete my account information were not acted upon.

I considered getting heavy with them, but instead I set an email filter to forward all Sainbury's emails back to Sainsbury's, with the hope that they would automatically acknowledge receiving each one.

It wasn't until five years later that I found the filter was no longer needed, and they got another order from me. During that time, all my online grocery shopping went to rivals. Ultimately, that's the real cost of doing this sort of thing, not a token fine.

Toshiba bowls out small but nippy enterprise spinner

Richard Boyce

My next computer is likely to have an SSD, not an HDD. However, admittedly a few years ago now, I traded in one netbook with sold state memory whose performance quickly degraded to the point where it was hardly usable. That experience informed my comment.

One alternative technology that intrigues me is SONOS.

Richard Boyce

We want something fast that doesn't have the built-in obsolescence of SSDs.

Richard Boyce


"Seagate has a 15K 2.5-inch Enterprise Performance drive, launched in October 2016, that also has 300GB, 600GB and 900GB capacities. It has three platters and six heads at the 900GB capacity level, which suggests Toshiba has an areal density advantage."

Maybe the photo is of the 600GB model.

Currys PC World given a spanking for misleading laptop savings ads

Richard Boyce

Re: PC World still exists?

"Don't forget it needs to be gold plated as well, you can really tell the difference when they are, honest!"

Especially valuable with optical connectors, of course. It's not just PC World offering such bargains. http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-digital-optical-mini-tos-adapter-a14ny .

Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Richard Boyce

Re: Whatever the technical merits/flaws

Speaking of white elephants, they don't get much more expensive than the International Space Station. No chinese involvement in that, AFAIK. We could've had a huge number of interplanetary probes and landers for what that cost, and the cost is still rising because noone will cut the losses lest the prior waste be more obvious.

Richard Boyce

Re: Total travel time?

"I reckon the main use of this would be for freight, not people."

The likes of Amazon may be interested, but most freight is more sensitive to cost than to delivery time.

Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

Richard Boyce

Mac mini

It's nice that my 2010 Mac mini is still running, but the main reason is that Apple still can't manage to offer a quad core replacement. When it fails (likely to be its hard drive), it will get immediately replaced by a PC, not a £1,200+ quad core iMac with a fixed landscape-oriented display. I'm not in the market for a computer that is expensive furniture first and computer second.

Russian data scientist unable to claim £12,000 prize in Brit competition

Richard Boyce


At least he can put this result on his C.V. to enhance his reputation. I suspect the organisers are not too keen on transparency in this case.

Now, if I felt inclined to be really cynical, I might wonder if he was awarded the result for the purpose of depriving someone who was eligible for the money.

NASA Sun probe named for solar wind boffin Eugene Parker

Richard Boyce

Re: 1300c + continuously.

Not continuously. A speaker at the event indicated that it's hard to cope with the repeated heating and cooling during the probe's eliptical orbit.

Dixons Carphone: Brexit not a factor as Brits' gadget lust holds strong

Richard Boyce

"I think I was going for the decent selection of PCs in my hometown, you have no choice which is rather more correct."

By all means make your choice at the store, but make sure you buy online from someone else. The chances are the online equivalent has a higher spec, even if the main part of the model number is the same, or will at least be cheaper, even with delivery. If you get a dud (it happens) and have to return it, you likely won't get an argument from someone professionally obstructive.

Richard Boyce

Re: Alternatively

"It is not a shock that the survivability of the EU is always in question (at least in its current form)" .

The same is true of the UK.

SSD price premium over disk faaaalling

Richard Boyce

Unused capacity

I think a lot of installed HDD capacity is going unused, especially in domestic PCs and that will tend to increase as areal densities increase. Manufacturers of PCs know that if they have a choice of fitting a 1TB HDD or a 500GB SSD at the same price, the 2x price premium of SSDs is not sufficient to choose a HDD.

HDD manufacturers could offer crippled drives at a lower price, but that won't change the manufacturing cost. One option might be to shift to making a lot of drives smaller than 2.5" .


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