* Posts by Timo

414 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Sep 2007


AWS plays with Fire TV Cube, turns it into a thin client for cloudy desktops


unloading unloved FireTV hardware?

This seems like a side project to find another market for those devices.

Has Amazon published sales figures for the FireTV platform? Reviews are mixed, many noting the cost of the device and the amount of ads. Doesn't seem like it fills a need, there are other devices from Amazon itself, or Roku, that are cheaper. Or for that kind of money you could get an Apple TV device.

Meta spends $181M to get out of lease at vacant London offices


Re: The Real Reason

I think the first counter-point to your point is that they'd pay the lease whether employees are in the office or not, so its a false economy to have people come in to the office.

Second counter-point: the company is actually saving money over the lifetime of the lease. One of the other posts here calculates the lump-sum vs. the total lease payments. They just elected to buy it out in one lump sum.

Verizon to 'sunset' Blue Jeans vidconf platform


You forgot "unloved"

Article mentioned also-ran status, but your post captures why it made it unloved. A previous employer used it and the majority of the time the video feed would fail to work or would be irritatingly blocky, even if only between two people. The hassle factor was very high, the conference room features and functionality were aggravating at best.

I think that employer probably got some early adopter silicon valley deal where Blue Jeans was buying customers with VC money. The platform never seemed to improve. Didn't take long to dump them for zoom.

The bonkers water-cooled shoe PC, hexagonal pink workstations, and IKEA-style cases of Computex 2023


flatpack cases = big box of razor blades?

In my experience computer cases come with tons of sharp edges. Will these flatpack cases be any different?

Some of the pieces in the picture look like large cheese graters. Will they come with a pair of chain mail gloves for you to wear during assembly/disassembly?

Watchdog calls for automatic braking to be standard in cars


Does this mean they'll make it work first?

Have a Honda product with this feature and I'm trying to figure out how to disable it. Anytime we're following a car in front making a right turn the car will jam on the brakes. It's so predictable and so undesired.

I can't wait for every car to have this capability.

Florida folks dragged out of bed by false emergency texts


It could work...or not

Hopefully the UK will benefit from years of learning in the US. Everyone comes up with a rainbow of new alerts, almost all of them with good intentions but just fail for all the obvious reasons.

For the first couple years we got "Amber Alert" (missing child) or "silver alert" (missing old person) to look for a vehicle that was last seen hundreds of miles away. And lots of alerts for dumb minor stuff or local alerts but misdirected to an enormous alert area. There's a whole mapping of cell site to broadcast area that has to be sorted out.

And then it seems that the people directing the service realized that the more trivial alerts that are sent increased the chance of people learning to ignore them altogether, so they must have reined in the well intentioned idiots that thought they had something important to notify people about (always in the middle of the night.)

Pager hack faxed things up properly, again, and again, and again


Re: Retry count

Back when cell phones only made voice calls my mobile phone number must have been fat fingered into a fax distribution list somewhere, and I would periodically get those calls with the beep. It was infuriating.

At some point I realized it wasn't going to stop retrying until it had gone through successfully. I hurriedly forwarded the call to the office fax machine and managed to catch it after a few attempts. I believe it was a travel agent or some other spam fax. An angry phone call later to the contact info on the fax and it was more or less sorted out.

It felt like the Star Trek movie where they got vger to finally transmit it's info and stop destroying the universe.

US government says Silicon Valley Bank depositors can get their cash on Monday


I believe the central bank steps in to keep this from turning into a cascading failure of bank runs.

Welcome to Muskville: Where the workers never leave


Re: HiTech Pottersville

Same for Pullman, now a neighborhood in Chicago. Pullman built housing for his workers, and some reports are that he was then able to dictate their behavior and actions, and charge them exorbitant rents, so that most of the wages came back to him.

Historical riots and spurred creation of many workers rights rules.

Nice smart device – how long does it get software updates?


I've heard other suggestions that people could/should fire up additional computers with fake soft clients on them to spam the data collection server, thereby lowering the signal to noise ratios, and anonymizing the actual usage because it can't be found in the swamp of garbage data.

Corporate execs: Get back, get back, to the office where you once belonged


Re: "Hybrid"

Similar experience here. Company says flexible and hybrid, but then drops the hammer with mandatory three days in the office, in the city center. We all know that HR is having problems filing positions with that sort of "flexibility", I've heard one position has had three candidates turn down their offers.

Company has been working on this since the spring. Many times people are in the office but connected to common meetings over zoom which is jarring. Meeting rooms are slowly coming back into use.

Two signs in the comms cabinet said 'Do not unplug'. Guess what happened


That's true, a screwdriver and a wire nut would be all it takes to bypass the switch. Only problem being that it would cause an outage to do the reconfiguring.

Evernote's fall from grace is complete, with sale to Italian app maker


its a cloud notebook for multiplatform/multiscreen

Evernote is meant to be a cloud notebook, so that you could work on it from a mobile device to load notes and pictures and drawings, and then later could access from a tablet or desktop/laptop. One person I know took pictures of expense receipts with phone as they were collected, dropped them into a note, and then the receipts were all ready to load into the expense platform when convenient at desktop/office.

Evernote picked a really bad time to try to charge for the platform, as Microsoft OneNote and Google Keep were knocked together pretty quickly and worked just fine, for the low low price of free.

You can share notebooks from those, but its not usually the primary use case that you'd think of when you use it. My kids use it share their Christmas lists with the rest of the family.

OpenPrinting keeps old printers working – even on Windows


Re: The problem is usually with printers Linux never had drivers for...

I have the same issue. Brother printer, that is on my home network and old enough that it doesn't support mobile device printing. Simple enough, I thought, just get a Rpi and run CUPS. Only to figure out that the driver only exists for x86 and not ARM.

Apple exec confirms iPhones will switch to USB-C because 'we have no choice'


Self inflicted

It would seem that Apple put themselves in this situation a long time ago when they created the lightning connector but decided not to license it out to the industry (or too make it too expensive to consider).

Imagine if they had licensed it at some sensible rate, that form factor might have become the standard and not USB-C.

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess


Re: Bad design

I have two recent examples

Coffee machine at our house has three buttons, each with some cartoon on them that may have meant something to the product designers but not to anyone else. The middle button is the one that starts the brewing. The other two don't. It took many times for my parents to remember which one to hit. I've seen similar machines with a label maker arrow to the button that makes the coffee come out, likely with a "push this one" note.

And my kid #2 just learned to drive. Started out on a recent car with the keyless fob and they did great. Get back into my old car (2001) to learn manual transmission and I handed her the key. We sat there for a while while she figured out what to do with it. That made me feel pretty old.

That was fast: MetaGuard emerges as an 'incognito mode' for the metaverse



But won't a person have to log in to be able to use their avatar in the metaworld? That's not going to be anonymous, is it?

I may not be well versed in the dork arts, how is the metaverse going to work without the avatars? Or will there be the Second Life of flying griefer packs?

Obscure Asian fintech AMTD Digital becomes the new GameStop


unleash the shorts

when the stock is this high, and overvalued, there's a pretty good chance that someone will bet against it.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

Big Brother

Re: Scheme

We used to call those people, typically management, "carpet testers".

Because they'd make a lap around the office being really visible and asking brilliant and thoughtful questions (and generally taking a headcount) before returning to their office and shuffling papers around. They'd repeat their carpet testing laps after lunch.

And maybe right about quitting time, to make sure that everyone saw that they were there until the end of the day. Doing whatever it was they did.

Also I find being called into the office a nice break from all the work. I get in about 8:30, take a long lunch, catch up with people during the day, and then leave by 4:30pm. And that currently seems to be longer than many of my coworkers who ditch out earlier than that.

When I work from home I'm typically working by the same 8:30 but take nearly no lunch break, then work straight through to about 6:00pm. So my in-office days are shorter, even counting the commute!

IBM adds side order of NLP to McDonald's AI drive-thru chatbots


do you want fries with that?

IBM's Watson was once a huge deal, and it played Jeopardy and did very well. I wonder if it is depressed now that it's slinging burgers and asking "do you want fries with that?"

Icon is there for the other thing it almost surely has to do: "HAVE A NICE DAY!!! :) :) :)"

Remember the hype for NFV? Whatever happened with that?


also attempted for telecomms

Back at that time there were also pushes to integrate cellular controllers and modems for the network side into general purpose computing and fit into the NFV umbrella.

But the technology will almost always be at least one step ahead of the performance of general computing resources. That being said some of the older legacy technology has been incorporated into general servers and computer architectures, and it does reduce maintenance and support costs. But not at the leading edge.

You can buy a company. You can buy a product. Common sense? Trickier


Re: 'twas ever thus

In our first house the previous owners must have changed out all the light bulbs for super cheap ones with expected lives of minutes. Feels like I spent the first two months replacing burned out bulbs. So strange.

Chromebook sales train derails as market reaches saturation


Supply chain?

Any hints of supply chain issues limiting the shippable quantities? I would bet that companies shifted to piecing together higher-margin boxes based on the components they can get rather than low price, low margin Chromebooks.

US defense department wants to fund open, interoperable 5G


Interop pros and cons

$750 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the development costs of RAN networks. But it could go a small way in supporting interoperability testing.

One of the unintended consequences of having an open (theoretically) interoperable system is that there won't be one company to drag in to fix it when things go wrong. It may support a new "master integrator" role for a company to fill, and bring its own price tag for that service.

Fish mentality: If The Rock told you to eat flies, would you buy my NFT?


"I am rich" app

I remember back when someone created an "I am rich" app for the iphone, with a price of something like $10,000 and all it did was display a red jewel on the screen. And they pulled that one down from the store.

But now NFT's have taken over and that "I am rich" app seems sane in comparison.

FTC sues Intuit for false advertising, says 'free' TurboTax isn't always free


Re: US 1040 forms not as complicated as they are made out to be

Just discovered last night that the 1040EZ form was discontinued in 2018. And the 1040 "long form" is now not as lengthy as I remember.

Been paying an accountant for the last couple years, but likely to go back to doing it myself next year. The standard deduction eliminates a lot of paperwork and supplemental sheet calculations.

The right to repairable broadband befits a supposedly critical utility


I'm not sure that having the local government owning the infrastructure is going to change that equation, unless you're talking about a municipal ISP that gives you the end-to-end service.

Without that you're just going to get a different pair of entities pointing the finger at each other.

If the cost of broadband would come down then it would not be a problem to have two providers, and do load balancing or failover. But that isn't going to help where people do not have even one option.

This article is timely, we lost internet service from noon to 6pm on Monday, and I did realize a few hours into it that it has now reached the level of importance like water or electricity. It is sort of novel for an hour or so, and then gets to be a problem, especially interfering with working from home. Tethering to a mobile gave the minimum ability but syncing to onedrive/sharepoint was very slow. And I may not have been the only person using mobile data as a fallback.

Luckily in this situation my workplace runs on Office so a decent amount of work could be done offline and then shared over lower bandwidth chat. And voice calls.

We have redundancy, we have batteries, what could possibly go wrong?


cold start generators

Took a tour once of the hydroelectric dam (Bagnell Dam) and power station at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The hydro plant had a set of smaller turbines that can self-generate enough electricity to power the plant and bring it online. It may provide synchronization for the rest of the larger generators until it can connected back with the grid. I had just finished a power engineering class in college and it blew my mind that I actually understood what was going on.

LG promises to make home appliance software upgradeable to take on new tasks


Please patent it

I hope that they will patent this, so that it will prevent any other company from doing something like this. Then I'll only need to avoid that one brand.

We have an LG microwave oven and it plays an extended tune for every action, and shutting off the chimes silences everything, even the timer that you'd want to hear. It also has omitted the useful reminder chirps when you've left food inside.

It's the day before the grand opening but we need a firmware update. It'll be fine


the rite of passage

This is the rite of passage that nearly every engineer (and many others, including their PHBs) must go through _at least once_ as they learn how to function in the real world. Some people may need more than one lesson.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

Tech Bro CEO lays off 900 people in Zoom call and makes himself the victim


Re: Glassdoor...

About 3 years ago Glassdoor's ratings system got revised, and the companies I tracked and worked for went from their previous deserved 2.3 rating up into the 3.4 area. It made it very hard to distinguish good companies at 3.5 from the horrid ones I knew that were now at the same levels.

At that point I stopped paying attention to Glassdoor.

Unclear what caused the shift, if it was Glassdoor kissing up to companies, or if someone had found a way to tamper with the feedback to get paid.

How do you call support when the telephones go TITSUP*?


This brings back memories

At my workplace around the same era, we noticed that the cleaners were really adept at knowing which phones had international dialing capabilities.

One click, one goal, one mission: To get a one-touch flush solution


Re: Probably the flapper valve

It is inevitably faster to drive to the store, buy an entire new toilet, and install it, than it will be to attempt to fix just the flapper valve to get it to stop running.

Been there, done that, many times.

Google's 'Be Evil' business transformation is complete: Time for the end game


Re: could have been

I don't think we can lay all the blame on the tech companies. It comes down to how people want to buy things, and for the majority of them free, supported by advertising, is how things get monitized.

Research finds consumer-grade IoT devices showing up... on corporate networks


Re: The elephant in the room

Add a printer to the list if the place wants to keep everything separate. My last place used split tunneling VPN so it was simple to print to the network printer I have at home.

Forget that Loon's balloon burst, we just fired 700TB of laser broadband between two cities, says Alphabet


Re: Standards of measure

I might be able to find 5 sides: top, bottom, edge, inside, outside

'Unicorn' startup CEO faked sales figures, deals to trick investors, prosecutors claim


Collecting logos for that one slide

Many silicon valley jobs involve collecting logos from other companies for their slides, as a way to attempt to demonstrate that they're one of the movers and shakers there, and pump up the assumed value of their contributions.

It quickly turns into a hollow exercise, but it's almost the only thing they know how to do.

See that last line in the access list? Yeah, that means you don't have an access list


Stopped asking why a long time ago

I used to ask that question of "what are you trying to do?", but that often opened an few cans of worms. I now just follow my orders even when it makes no sense. Much less friction at the ivory idiot towers and it keeps the paychecks flowing. I've given up.

On this most auspicious of days, we ask: How many sysadmins does it take to change a lightbulb?


Re: First and only thought

Alternative, as unappealing as it is, is to consider it easy pay. You make the same money whether you're checking in office supplies or putting out virtual fires.

TITAN crypto-token does the opposite of zero to $60: Value plummets in hours


Buy low?

With the titan at such miniscule levels (infinitesimally small) why wouldn't someone put $25 into it, get 176 million titans, and then plan a good time to get out when it rebounds?

I must be missing something, because if it was viable someone would have already done it.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends


Re: Dear Lord...

Statistically that is true, but in relative terms you have a 100% lower chance of winning than she has...

JavaScript developers left in the dark after DroidScript software shut down by Google over ad fraud allegations


Re: Nobody works at Google anymore

The money that is being made by these companies is built up of bazillions of users multiplied by pennies per user. As long as everything works (for the company, primarily) then its all great. But as soon as you have a problem you're not worth supporting, and its then up to you to try to fix it yourself and hopefully post what you did to fix it as free tech support.

What did you expect for free after all? I keep coming back to that old saying "if you aren't paying for it then you're not the customer, you're the product".

This last wave of internet innovations has been driving even more cost out of the system, to the point where "customers" are becoming part of the cost side of the equation.

FCC urges Americans to run internet speed app to counter Big Cable's broadband data fudging


Re: Samknows whitebox

in fact I found the email from them (it was back in 2018)


The Whitebox you currently have is one of our older models and it caps at around 92Mbps. Which means that your test results will be skewed and your internet speed will also be limited to 92-94Mbps therefore, we don't recommend using it at this point.

We're not sending new Whiteboxes at the moment, but we hope this change soon. Therefore, we recommend re-registering for a new Whitebox here and we will keep your details on our waiting list and in an orderly fashion.

You don't need to return the Whitebox, we only advise to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.

Alternatively, you can use our free SamKnows App which is available on both Google Play and the App Store. Our app measures download, upload, latency, YouTube and web browsing. It also generates monthly graphs that you can share.

We really appreciate all your time with us. We’ll remove your details from our system so you can re-register using the same details again.


Samknows whitebox

Our house had a SamKnows "whitebox" for years (we're left-pondian), happily running speed tests and checking all those endpoints that you mention, and provided a pretty decent dashboard of test results. At one point I was able to use the SamKnows data and charts to show our ISP that their connection was failing and causing retries and terrible performance.

The whitebox that we were given could only handle fast ethernet, so when we upgraded to >100 Mbps cable it couldn't test the full throughput. At that time the response from SamKnows was to remove the box and sign up for a future revision of the whitebox, time TBD. That was probably at least 5 years ago.

Cheers to The Reg because I think I heard about SamKnows here, and signed up for the service. The only downside was that the continuous testing consumed a relatively huge amount of data each month.

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy a beer: Beware the downloaded patch applied in haste


Re: Not as bad as...

You may also have proven that nobody paid attention to those alerts. Some companies (and PHB's) think that anyone and everyone should get the alerts, it usually starts when the company is small and the process never matures, possibly because the poor minion that was tasked with setting it up is long gone.

How embarrassing: Xiaomi and Motorola show up to high school prom both wearing remote-charging tech


Re: Waste and saftey

Article mentioned millimeter waves, which puts it into the range of 30-300 GHz. At that frequency it behaves much closer to light and would need to be direct line of sight to operate.


Engineers blame 'intentionally conservative' test parameters for premature end to Space Launch System hotfire


Re: Well That Doesn't Sound Too Bad

How is SpaceX going to get the extra fuel into orbit so that it can do the in-orbit refueling?

It seems to me that most of the fuel is used up getting to orbit. The more payload they try to lift, the more fuel it will take. As you can tell, I'm not a rocket scientist by any measure.

Buggy chkdsk in Windows update that caused boot failures and damaged file systems has been fixed


Re: And where is the fix?

I read the KB linked in from the article here, and it seems that "chkdsk /f" is what they recommend to fix it? So the same chkdsk that trashed the computer will be the same thing that fixes it?

Or are they assuming that you can boot the machine to get the update, then run the check?


Maybe I was hit by this too

My parents have a mid aged desktop that ran Win7 and then got the upgrade to Windows 10, but the last week of November refused to boot and then wanted to repair itself back into Win7. As everyone is quarantined it was easier to order them a cheap laptop for them to pick up curbside than to take the trip to see WTF windows had done to itself.

It's always DNS, especially when a sysadmin makes a hash of their semicolons


Text checksum

ISTR that the magazine I had for C64 games came with an initial program (that I also had to type in) that generated checksums for each line of input, so it checked the program as it was typed in. That helped a lot.