* Posts by jmch

267 posts • joined 6 Mar 2017

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Erase 2017 from your brain. Face ID never happened. The Notch is an illusion

jmch

Re: I'd happily own a phone

"almost certainly done with the ambient light sensor "

I've always thought it used the accelerometer for that

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Which distant Mars-alikes could we live on? Ask these Red Planet data-sifters

jmch

Re: How many are habitable? ALL OF THEM!

"How many are habitable?"

Habitable for whom?

:)

Also, are Mars-like planets that much more common than Earth-like planets? It makes sesnse to go for the low-hanging fruit first and aim for planets that need least terraforming first.

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jmch

Re: You're doing it wrong

" I want an exotic, beautiful nirvana, at one with itself, with sexy, lithe aliens living in bountiful harmony with the whole ecosystem..."

...with blue aliens and flying rocks?

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jmch
Happy

Re: You're doing it wrong

"You'll end up finding the spirit willing, but the flesh will be weak... and bruised."

Or even... death by snoo-snoo

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Google lies about click-fraud refunds and tried to destroy us – ad biz

jmch

Re: Conflicted Here

"alleged disgusting and immoral business activity"

True, it's just alleged at this point. But (a) I think it's pretty well known in tech circles that a large %age of "clicks" aren't clicks at all (b) Google has plenty of public history of screwing advertisers, no doubt also a few others kept quiet with a hidden payoff.

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The North remembers: York scraps Uber's licence over data breach

jmch
Happy

Re: Grammar

"Appeal is intransitive. We need to know whether the appeal is for or against the decision."

Technically correct, but English is a bastard language that borrows schadenfreudes from around the world and thumbs it's nose at grammatical niceties, and any English speaker reading that will have understood that it means appeal against.

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At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?

jmch

Re: Goose

hmmm, never tasted goose but somehow it doesn't attract me

brussel sprouts .... ugh

turkey.... too dry

mince pies... not to my taste

yorkshire puds... meh

I love Christmas. In fact I love it so much that I want a gorgeously tasty meal on Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day, and all points between and around. So stuff tradition and what Victorian England would eat because that was what they could get. I want what I like, and miracles of modern logistics allow me a world of food choices.

And alcohol of course, in copious amounts

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What network neutrality madness has happened today? Take a big breath

jmch
Facepalm

Red Herring

This whole anti-Net Neutrality shebang is a bit of a red herring from the part of the big cable companies masking just how crap Internet connectivity is the US is. If the carriers had enough capacity and with low enugh latency running to their customers' homes, they wouldn't need to think about throttling some packets to promote others.

I do understand that carriers are concerned about their relationships with large providers such as Google or Facebook from where a lot of the rtffic on their networks originate (I remember some very illuminating articles on The Register from a couple of years back going into the technical/business details), but that's what peering agreements are for.

But I guess paying Pai and chums to get the rules changed their way and blocking competition to lock in their customers is more profitable than providing a proper service

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Pickaxe chops cable, KOs UKFast data centre

jmch

Re: DR Testing Failure

"Why didn't their UPS have enough capacity to keep things up, even if the generators failed to start cleanly?"

Doesn't matter how big your batteries are, if the generators don't work the batteries will eventually run out.

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Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?

jmch

Re: The vegetarian alligator

"one thing the Wikipedia community are agreed on is that you can't trust Wikipedia as a reliable source"

Having said that, for a quick reference on run-of-the-mill topic you can't beat it, and on the whole it is remarkeably reliable for something crowdsourced

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The eagle has been grounded: Dutch anti-drone squadron retired

jmch
Thumb Up

"To be fair it was not a bad idea"

Yes, top marks for trying something new, even if it didn't work out

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Oregon will let engineer refer to himself as an 'engineer'

jmch

Re: let me guess

"An engineer isn't an engineer unless he's an engineer"

Engineering warrants are there to not allow unqualified people to design/build machines and structures that could cause severe damage to people and property if they fail. They aren't there to prevent the general public pointing out when government is making an arse of itself

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Europe Commission thunders: Tech firms must do more to remove extremist content

jmch

The post office isn't examining the content of its parcels to better advertise to the sender and/or recipient

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jmch

"make them liable for content"

This. If you make money from it, you're responsible for it. Simples.

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VW's US environment boss gets seven years for Dieselgate scam

jmch

Re: outrageous

" we should jail the shareholders. Or at least fine them."

The fine to the company is in effect a fine to the shareholders, as that's money they will not get as profits/dividends

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No, BMW, petrol-engined cars don't 'give back to the environment'

jmch

Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

"The Nordic countries have managed that quite well"

True, but Nordics (and much of Europe actually) have population densities far more suited to mass transit and public transport than the US

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O Christmas wreath, O Christmas wreath, thy potent skunk's in bunches

jmch
Thumb Up

Re: The sooner

FTFY: The sooner it's de-criminalised in the world the better.

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Staff at Steria gov shared services centre offered voluntary redundo

jmch

Re: Let me finish that paragraph.

"Sadly, that leaves the most useless as the ones left to run the place."

That is typical in these early retirement schemes. The ones who are any good know they can get a job elsewhere so take the money and leave. Those who are hanging on to the job with their fingernails are usually the ones who know they won't get a better (or as good as) job

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Microsoft adds nothing to new Semi-Annual Windows Server preview

jmch
Trollface

Re: Knowing Microsoft

There are no new features to add because it is perfect

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Facebook, Twitter, Google cleared in Dallas shooting lawsuit

jmch

Re: Welcome to the US

"Sure there was a judge there and it took place in a courthouse"

That is what I was referring to

"when you bring a private action you pay fees for that"

I wasn't aware of that detail, but are the fees actually covering all court expenses? In any case, thanks for the clarification

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jmch
FAIL

Welcome to the US

Need a court case to make a statement of the bleeding obvious. Waste of taxpayer money, much?

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Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

jmch

Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

"I don't know about the UK, but data plans for smartphones here in Canada are ridiculously overpriced"

Don't know about UK either, but in Switzerland you can at least get unlimited plans. Still outrageously overpriced, but reliable and good speeds, so if you have one then you don't need a fixed line at all.

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jmch

"A separate hotspot allows a choice of carriers"

Bit if you don't have a hotspot, no Internet. And if you do have a hotspot, you can connect to that preferentially over mobile data, same as with a phone.

The only question is does it have a physical or software-defined SIM that can be swapped from carrier to carrier, or is it a fixed hardware SIM that ties you to the carrier? In the latter case I would share your concern

EDIT: According to this article, they have nano-SIMs, so no concern:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/06/always_connected_snapdragon_pcs/

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jmch

" if you want a good choice of apps which run at full speed, you'll almost certainly prefer an iPad or a Surface"

An iPad or surface is likely to cost 2-3 times as much, though. This is aimed at a very specific type of consumer ("consumer" both in capitalist sense and also in an Internet/ media sense), and, dare I say, very far from the type of usage that the typical Reg reader will require.

Just because it won't work for you doesn't mean its a terrible idea

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Samsung starts cranking out 512GB eUFS storage

jmch

@disgustedoftunbridgewells

No, very thin lines actually, and as I said mostly invisible... BUT in direct sunlight* much more noticeable and making a refracrion pattern on the dashboard reflection. At first I hardly noticed them, but once noticed they are very difficult to un-notice!

* Possibly for UK-based readers this is not a problem :)

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jmch

"heated front windscreens "

Ugh! Test-drove one of those on a clear day, The super-fine lines that run through the glass are visible in bright sunlight, and even though thry are not seen hen focusing through the screen at the road, it still gave me an uneasy feeling and, after a while, a headache. Just a powerful blast of AC air from the inside is usually quite enough to clear tthe screen in a few seconds even if it's icy outside

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What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies?

jmch

Re: Sanctimonious Sigh

"Yes, the solar panels cost money but they have increased the value of my home and will payback my capital cost in 3-4 years.

Only because the rest of us are unwillingly paying you a ludicrous subsidy. If you're in the UK, that's the Feed in Tariff scheme"

Sure, and if the panels were not subsidised theeir cost would take 6-8 years to recoup. Lifetime is 15-20 years so it's still a good investment even without subsidies.

Oh, and If you want to gripe at a stupid government subsidy scheme, have a gander at Spain, where following pressure from electricity suppliers the feed-in-tarriff was not only scrapped but reversed, so you have to pay to get your surplus electricity onto the grid, AND you can't have them off-grid. i know which country's scheme I would rather be in place

http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2016/04/16/solar-panel-law-in-spain-could-cost-thousands-of-independent-energy-producers-millions-in-fines/

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jmch
Thumb Up

Re: fossil fuel - we're addicted.

"staggering amounts of energy for all the infrastructure required to drill, extract, pump, refine, transport and dispense petrol and diesel"

I believe that for some supplies such as tar sands it costs 9 units of energy to produce 10 units, which is a terrible waste. However it is still providing net +1 unit. Same with all other hydrocarbon sources, however much is wasted, there is still a net positive output that, if hydrocarbons are no longer used, needs to come from somewhere else. So massive increase will be needed in solar, hydro, geo, plain old fission and pretty much every other technology that can be thrown in because we're going to need a lot of everything, plus probably major grid upgrades to tie it all together.

What will help hugely is efficiency in the vehicle itself. Besides all the refinery etc energy requirements, ICEs are about 30-35% efficient. Electric motors, battery charging and high-voltage transmission all have efficiencies in the 90s, so even combining the losses, net efficiency would be in the high 70s, more than double that of ICE. Even if electricity is produced by hydrocarbons, best combined-cycle turbine efficiency is in the high 40s, so will in any case be at least as efficient as the most efficient ICE. So moving to electric vehicles greatly reduces the energy consumption required.

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Night before Xmas and all through American Airlines, not a pilot was flying, thanks to this bug

jmch
Happy

Re: Time and a half or a holiday over christmas

Money can't buy happiness

But it can buy you things that will make you happy :)

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GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online

jmch
Flame

"Students will cheat"

The problem isn't students "cheating", the problem is grading students on a basis that is totally divorced from reality, not only in IT. In the real world, the important skills are collaborative working, ability to reason and to fit old bits known from experience (yours or someone else's through books, papers, forums etc) together in different ways to solve a new problem.

The school system grades people on individualism and selfishness, collaboration is considered cheating. Creativity is frowned upon, even if there are many answers to a problem, the ones that are not 'by the book' are frowned upon or penalised. No surprises by the way, school systems have not basically changed in a hundred years. The major puropse of schools isn't only to educate students to a minimum standard but to drill in conformity and obedience, all the better to produce compiant worker drones.

Certainly there are good and great teachers out there, but that is in spite of the system not because of it, and in my experience the best teachers are the one whom the system is constantly fighting against and undermining. Adding iPads instead of paper and keeping everything else the same is not modernising.

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Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price

jmch

Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

"There's nothing stopping Tesla to sell their vehicle in Europe in 2 or 3 years when production of the semi starts"

Also, the drivers' seat is in the middle so they don't need to produce a different version for UK (or Japan, Australia etc)

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jmch

Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

"Batteries cost more than the price of mains electricity they can charge and discharge in their lifetime."

*citation needed

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jmch

Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

"After 2019 do you really think this government is going to risk discriminating against a US company and favouring a French company like Renault"

France has committed to phase out ICE cars completely, and Renault is a leader in EV technology. Just sayin'

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jmch

Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

" you would need to drive 178,731 km to get the extra £20,000 back from the standard Tesla truck"

Without going into your figures, 180km still seems like a value proposition. These semis easily do a few 100km/day (max allowed in the US is 11 hours driving, so can go into 6-800km a day for a long haul trip). Even averaging 300km/day and operating only 260 days a year, you would drive 180k km in about 3 years. I suspect for long-haul fleets who can rotate drivers and have shift drivers working overnight or weekends, and if Tesla's reliability claims are correct, they could probably do 180k km in a year.

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jmch

Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

"This is based on a liter of petrol providing 9.7 kWh of energy when used to run an IC car engine"

No, I believe that this is the energy density of petrol in its raw form, so when run in a car engine you get about 30% of that as engine output, so about 3.2 kWh/l. Given a petrol price of approx GBP 1.20/l, the petrol is costing about 37p/kWh 'at the wheels' (ie 3 times what you think, it looks like you did not account for inefficiency of petrol engine).

Electric motors are also of course not 100% efficient, but well into the 90%s, and there are also battery charging losses, but also with >90% charging efficiency. even with worst case 90%X90% gives 16.5 p/kWh 'at the wheels', so less than half.

"Tesla's statement that fuel costs for an electric semi are less than those for a diesel implies that the cost per kWh of diesel fuel is higher than electricity in the US."

This is actually what clued me in that something might be off in your figures. In Europe petrol and diesel are highly taxed while in the US it's political suicide to have high 'gas' prices, and prices are as much lower than Europe.

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Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?

jmch
Thumb Up

Pizza party :)

Posting thratening notices outside someone's house for their kids to see is beyond the pale, whatever they are supposed to have done.

The pizzas, on the other hand, always a good prank!

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Facebook bends to pressure, opens German center to löschen abuse, gets yelled at by spies

jmch

Good on the Germans

FB (along with Google, Amazon and many others) are profiting from people creating content for them., and then pretending it's nothing to do with them, as if they have no possibility of oversight, which is bullshit. If you publish a magazine which is full of articles penned by independent (and even unpaid) authors , none of whom is your employee, you are still responsible for the content.

This worry about FB having the power to control what people see is a straw man. They ALREADY control what people see, they don't dump all my friends' posts on my feed but have some algorithm to select those that will gain my approval or stimulate my bile. Forcing them to take hate-mongering and incitement to violence down is just basic editorial decency.

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Huawei's Honor 9: The only mobe of its spec asking 'why blow £500?'

jmch
WTF?

Apologies to hijack this thread...

...with a rather off-topic statement....but....

Is that a banana case in the picture??? Someone looked at a banana, which is a perfect natural packaging, tough on the outside even when soft inside, easy to open, and gives a visual indication of readiness for consumption... and decided "hey I can do better!"

and people actually buy that??

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Pokémon GO caused hundreds of deaths, increased crashes

jmch
Flame

Re: Presumably, Danny 14 ...

People (without guns) kill people (mostly) individually and with difficulty

People (with guns) kill people with great ease and in large numbers

Guns don't kill people, but they sure make it a hell of a lot easier. Which is by design not by any sort of accident

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Plans to thwack Official Secrets Acts smacked: Journo-gagging reform postponed

jmch

Re: " nothing less than a threat to Britain's free press and thus its democracy"."

"For some very odd versions of the word "democracy.""

"Democracy" is far more than allowing people to vote every 4 or 5 years. Without a free press, and general freedom of speech, without independent judiciary and police, without seperation of powers etc etc it's not a very good democracy

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Military test centre for frikkin' laser cannon opens in Hampshire

jmch

"You could easily fit that to a whale"

but needs to be a bit smaller for a shark :)

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'Treat infosec fails like plane crashes' – but hopefully with less death and twisted metal

jmch
Trollface

Re: Plane accidents vs Infosec fails

" is it cheaper to roll out a change to the fleet, or just accept the occasional hull loss and bad PR?"

Is that you, Tyler?

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Munich council finds €49.3m for Windows 10 embrace

jmch

It's the software, not the OS!

"He said operating systems were becoming "more unimportant and other organisations are wisely spending their money for platform neutral applications." "

Munich council agrees that OS is unimportant. They're not switching back for the OS, they're switching back for the applications:

"...will make it easier and cheaper for us to buy public sector software on the market as everything there is designed for Windows (only)," "

Makes perfect sense. Companies developing software many times start up from a single implementation for a specific client then expand it for similair clients requiring similair software. Most of the initial clients would have been Windows-based and there is little incentive to port code to Linux and also provide support. If I were an SME providing Windows-based software to a number of German municipalities, and Munich asked for a Linux version i'd say no, or ask for a development fee, higher licensing and likely higher maintenance and support fees as well because any Windows investment is amortised over many clients but I got only a single Linux client.

For Munich Linux to have succeeded required either a few other German municipalities to follow suit, or for all applications to be cloud/browser based. For all the latest cloud advances we are very far from that stage.

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Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate

jmch

Re: 40p is a small price to pay to avoid US TV hell

"Yes, best not let the proles decide for themselves"

The proles CAN decide for themselves

- Watch TV and pay

- Don't watch TV and don't pay

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Aussie Catholic School forced into hasty cover-up over suggestive Saint

jmch
Devil

Re: Dirty minds...

"Can't believe some people are actually looking at that statue and seeing a loaf of bread..."

Yep. It's like the London Olympic logo. Once you see Lisa Simpson, you can't unsee her.

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While you're preparing to carve Thanksgiving turkey, the FCC will be slicing into net neutrality

jmch

Re: There wouldn't be such a push to kill neutrality...?

"If you believe the Scandinavian countries are in any way 'socialist' you are truly retarded"

Erm... what? The site you link to doesn't rank countries by how capitalistic they are but how good their overall economies are. Look at the detail scores and you can see that the Scandinavian countries score low points on "Government Spending", "Tax Burden" and "Labor Freedom" categories (ie they are socialist). Being socialist is not the same as bing communist, and these countries are perfect examples of combining open economies, rule of law etc (all the other categories on the site ) with socialist policies to be able to have well-functioning open economies for the benefit of most of society rather than the handful at the top.

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jmch

Re: There wouldn't be such a push to kill neutrality...?

"Isn't this NN fight really the age old one about capitalism vs socialism anyway?"

Funny, I don't see many supposed free-market capitalists pushing to expand the choice of providers, they seem quite happy with the big 2 providing quasi-monopoly services in what is basically a legally approved cartel.

Oh, I forgot, many of today's "capitalists" are not pro-free market at all, they want their monopolies and are paying for the best politicians money can buy to provide that.

Personally I don't see anything wrong with charging more for guaranteed better service. In the early days of internet <deity> knows that this was rarely/never the case, and if ISP is going to invest in broadband they need to have a commercial case for it as well. But this cannot be achieved without true ISP competition (with most people having a choice of 4+ broadband providers of which at least a couple are local/regional not the giant trolls). Canning Net Neutrality without forcing increased competition is putting the cart before the horse

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London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

jmch

" alternatively, they could, you know, just stop maintaining the roads"

One of the problems here is that AFAIK the fuel tax, congestion charge, vehicle licensing fees etc go into the UK general budget, not int a pot reserved for road upgrades and maintenance. So what is spent on roads is far less than what road-related taxes bring in.

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jmch

Re: What about the downsides?

"This doesn't say "new tech is bad", but the opposite. New tech is good, but we need to make sure we don't lose tax revenue."

Yes. And more pertinently, not taxes for taxes' sake but specifically to fund road improvements and maintenance

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jmch

Congestion Charge

"The current Congestion Charge netted TfL a quarter of a billion pounds (£249.6m) in fiscal year 2016/17, even though drivers of cars and vans that “emit 75g/km or less of CO2” are exempt from it"

Congestion charge is a charge for taking up space on the road, so just make it a true congestion charge and remove the exemption.

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