* Posts by John Browne

53 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Mar 2007


Electric forcefield space sailing-ship tech gets EU funding

John Browne

Steady on there

<pedant> Steady on there David. I think you might be getting ahead of yourself. The spacecraft is only* going to pluto so we can only say it's an "intrasolar" or "intrastellar" sailing ship.

I can't even imagine what an intergalactic sailing ship might be like. </pedant>

*It's not every day you can use "only" in the context of going to pluto.

Apple support-drone scripts leaked

John Browne

quality me arse..

"Quality of Apple products is generally very good. So good in fact that I presume they perform a pretty high level of QA testing of devices before releasing to retail."

hahahahahahahahahahahaha... I nearly fell off my chair when I read this.

Apple have a buy quantity buy cheap philosophy when it comes to part procurement. Quality seems to be a secondary concern

Fake IBM playboy pleads guilty

John Browne


£360 a day? as a labourer?

I'm sure the barrister didn't think that sounded outrageous considering that barristers charge that by the hour.

Ex-Army man cracks popular security chip

John Browne

Interesting Question

Moving to a full crypto core will make it far more difficult for this kind of hack.

The physical penetration of the chip was only the first step. After he ahd circumvented the wire mesh and the optical sensors he used the mirco needles to probe the data bus.

The data is stored on the chip encrypted in the Flash memory. There is a dedicated circuit on the chip that decrypts the data and sends it to the processor. so the data is sent in the "clear". It was these unencrypted lines that he probed and knowing how this type of processor core works he was able to interpret this data and "break" the chip.

Going with a fully encrypted core means that finding the block of logic that does the encryption will be all but impossible. Have you seen what a block of logic at 90nm looks like?

Tarnovsky did a presentation on this attack at black hat in DC a few weeks ago.

The presentation is available on line. It's very top level and not very technical. He tends to ramble though so it's about 40mins long.

John Browne


I'd be pretty sure infineon knew what they were doing and knew exactly how the chip could be broken but just figured no hacker would go to the trouble of doing it. (The equipment is very very expensive)

Infineons competitors in STM, Atmel, TI etc would have all the equipment and expertise to break the chip. They would even have a head start over Tarnovsky as they would know how the general architecture of the chip. I'd be very surprised if they hadn't "broken" the chip ages ago. they just wouldn't tell anyone about it.

Wind turbines to power phone masts

John Browne


In sunnier climates like Spain and Italy it's very common to see a solar panel hanging out of small mobile phone masts in the countryside.

Boffins: Stop trying to monetise us, you don't know how

John Browne

knowledge economy my arse.

It's clear that the perception of cutting edge in technology research these days seems to be centred around Facebook and Iphone Apps. Thee don't even deserve the full "application" title as they aren't even that. These things have all the RandD merit of a pretty multi colour formatted spread sheet.

The real research has always been in what resides under the bonnet and makes these things work.

The money these days is in joining the dots on a coding platform and slapping an add on it. Thats what the government means when it talks about technology with an economic benift. Google adds are the future.....

Orange declares mobile broadband price war

John Browne


It all seems rather expensive.

The Irish versions of the UK operators have been offering cheaper mobile broadband services for a long time now.

Vodafone €19.99 for 5GB/month (12month contract)

O2 €19.99 for 10GB/month (18 month Contract)

3, €19.99 for 15GB/month (12month contract)

Pay as you go options available too.

It's mobile broadband so it's inherently a bit shit anyway.

Qualcomm surrenders in Broadcom patent spat

John Browne

Who's that clip clopping over my bridge....

Qualcomm can teach apple a thing or two about Patent Trolling.....

No charges for terror arrest Tory

John Browne

wasting police time....

Is wasting police time not an offence. Is filing a false complaint not an offence?

Is jumping up and down pointing at people and yelling terrorist not an offence?

Where are the prosecutions in the home office?

Are they all busy expensing porn on poor Jacquis?

Intel invests in Ireland

John Browne

money money money

I think you're being overly negative on this investment. You're not comparing like with like when you compare investment in fabrication facilitites with investment in R and D and product development. The 7billion + is being invested in manufacturing and fabrication facilities which are very very very expensive. For the product R and D all you need is an office and a computer and some engineers. You seem to be getting dazzled and distracted by the headline numbers.

The fact that intel still want to expand and hire R and D engineering jobs in Ireland is very encouraging. It's no consolation to those that are losing their jobs in leixslip but they're not the same type of jobs that are being created in shannon.

French court fines Google over trade marked keywords

John Browne

@Trevor Watt

I don't think your example is quite correct as google doesn't sell anything itself but merely provides a service based on search queries.

A better example would be phoneing directory enquireies and asking for the number for Dell computers and being given the number for HP computers instead because HP had paid directory enquiries to associate it's name with Dells.

Third-gen Apple iPhone in development?

John Browne

well of course thay are

Of course they have a new one in developement. They've tied themselves into an 18month developement (upgrade) cycle.

Intel to extend chip-tech dominance

John Browne

fundamental physics

I think Mr BLoad doesn't seem to understand the concept of the C=kA/D he's spouting.

One should be very careful about calling people Ctards when you clearly don't understand what you're talking about.

Intel are not playing around with D (thickness of the oxide).

In a 45nm process or 32nm process the oxide is already as thin as it will go. The oxide is only a couple of 10s of atoms thick. You can't go thinner, that's it, finito. If you go thinner the oxide does not behave like it does when it's thicker. At these thicknesses quantum effects kick in and electrons can jump across the oxide without it breaking down and the leakage current goes through the roof. So unfortunately D is fixed.

A or the area gets scaled down when you go from 45nm process to 32nm process etc otherwise what's the point. In order to maintain a useable capacitance then the only factor in the equation that can be adjusted is "k". Which is changed by using different materials for your dielectric. That's why they're call high "k" materials, as the "k" factor needs to be increased.

Hafnium metal gates are required because the speed of operation of the transistor is a factor of the resistance and the capacitance. Using a different metal increases speed. Increases cost too.

There are many many many papers on this stuff available from the IEEE just search. (Very technical though) I've simplified it as much as possible.

John Browne

major achievement

Fair play to intel. The whole metal gate High K dielectric problem is a really really big one. The reliability of the dielectric is of special concern. You can't use any old common or garden Hafnium oxide mush as your insulator.

The fact that intel have solved this, is a major achievement.

Firm touts anti-radiation chip for phones

John Browne

I just fell off my chair......


Net pedants dismantle Quantum of Solace

John Browne

Magic Phone?

I wonder how they didn't notice Bonds Magic Sony Ericsson Phone.

It picked faces out from across an enormous, dark auditorium. It also did all sorts of other impossible tech wizardry.

Oh and I wish my office was like Ms where you could talk to the wall and it would talk back.

I especially liked the big continuity error where they expected us to belive that Bolivia wouldn't just nationalise the new Quantum water company just like it's doing with the oil inducstry in real life. That Plot was a bit thin to be fair but I don't think it detracted too much from the car chases, fight scenes and explosions. I like explosions. At least they didn't try and steal the internet like in Die hard.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 with Vodafone HSDPA

John Browne

UK mobile broadband

WOW mobile broadband is pretty pricey in the UK.

I'e got a 12month contract with 3 Ireland €19.99 per month ~£15 and its 10GB, HSDPA.

Although mobile broadband is definitely no substitute for a fixed line. Way too bursty, laggy and flaky to be used as a replacement.

E-voting fears run high as election day looms

John Browne

lotto Machines?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Everyone trusts lotto machines. It's both paper and electronic based. You mark who you want to vote for the machine reads your vote and prints you a receipt and retains the original paper version. Simple. Pleanty traceability there.

The benifit of loto machines also allows for you to make a quick pick..... They're reliable too because people would get very upset if they didn't get their numbers.

Ultra-mobile devices: Atom to beat ARM... just, says analyst

John Browne

Arm cores are everywhere

Arm cores are imbedded in everything from Nintendo DSs to sensors in cars. Arms have picked up the slack from the old 8086 imbedded processor market. I think intel have a long way to go to challange to take back that kind of market penetration.

Amazon's 'Kindle 2' spotted in the wild

John Browne

Isn't it lovely???

They should probably hit it with the ugly stick a couple of more times just to be sure.

Google goes after 3 billion with super satellite

John Browne

16 satelites?

16 satelites for 3billion people. Thats a contention ratio of , 187,500,000 to 1. That sort of ratio would put even BT to shame.

Your data may be quicker walking.

US customs: Yes, we can seize your laptop, iPod

John Browne

business travellers...

...will need to have their company attorneys on speed dial. Although they'll probabaly seize the phone first to stop you from calling in the A-Team.

Dud Nvidia GPUs tip up in Dell laptops

John Browne

Toasty chips- Yummy

Nvidia are claiming that the problem is only isolated to certain batches of G84 and G86 GPUs and doesn't affect everything. (In response to allegations from theinquirer.net (I promise never to mention that publication again!))

If this is the case then it should be real easy to know who got what. Nvidia would track the lot number and know which computer manufacturer got what lot. The manufacturer in turn should know by the service tag which customer got a dodgy graphics card. Should be nice and easy.

However Nvidia haven;t released any info on this only the vague statement of "Die/Package material set weakness". If it only affected a limited number of lots then they should be able to tell us how many and the precise nature of the weakness so we can tell if it's a genuine concern or not.

I think there's probably two chances of that happening though.

Nvidia throws itself under the bus with chip defect, delays and lost sales

John Browne

TSMC to blame?

I thought they said it was a poor material choice in the packaging.

That would mean that the fault would lie with Nvidia choosing the wrong material set for their product. I don't think TSMC do the packaging for them anyway, TSMC only provide a prototyping packaging service, they're just a wafer foundry and for volume product would ship whole wafers to an assembly house like, Amkor or Carsem or ASE or STATs etc etc.

Unless of course TSMC didn't passivate the Die properly or there was a problem with any stress relief (polyimide) coat that TSMC would have placed over the die.

Either way it's bad news for Nvidia.

Eurofighter at last able to drop bombs, but only 'austerely'

John Browne

Did I miss something or was this supposed to be a Fighter jet

Is it just me or does this all seem rather silly.

Why would you buy a super agile top of the range air to air FIGHTER and then decide that it's not really what you want and you then go back and bolt really heavy air to ground bombs on it. Of course the plane is designed to be light and agile so now to carry these bombs you need to take the engine out and put an engine in that can lift the load.

It seems about as silly as buying a sports car and then complaining about the load space, only to come up with the solution of putting a tow bar on it and permanently attaching a trailer to it, taking out the engine and putting a tractor engine in it.

If they wanted a fighter/bomber why didn't they just buy one in teh first place

Sony Alpha 200 digital SLR

John Browne

Camera reviews?

You never mentioned whether this was a full frame or cropped sensor SLR (One would assume cropped), or whether the lens mount is compatible with existing Minolta or Sony lenses, the quality of the supplied lens the general availability of other lenses etc etc. Your battery test was hardly comprehensive either.

I think the register might need to brush up on the quality of it's SLR reviews. This is almost as bad as that Canon 400D review the other day. You can't review SLRs like they're mobile phone cameras or digital snappers.

This is rather disappointing from the register as your other reviews are generally very good and I've used them before to guide my purchase.

British newspaper websites liable in France for privacy invasion

John Browne

Maybe its not where its published...

@ AC

I completely agree.

The privacy of the individual concerned was breached in France so that's where the infringement occurred.

Of course British gutter press should be held liable for obtaining material illegally in another jurisdiction. They're probably just thanking their lucky stars they weren't pursued in the UK where any civil judgment against them would be likely be significantly greater than a few thousand Euro.

However without reading the text of the judgment (I bet it's in French too), I don't know exactly what the courts ruled on.

Qualcomm splurges on UK spectrum

John Browne


"...and something to keep Qualcomm's lawyers busy for a decade or two"

I would have though that Qualcomm's lawyers would be busy enough sueing every mobile phone manufacturer in sight.

As for the EU mandating a single standard I'm sure everyone in Britain will be more than happy to have incompatible handsets with the rest of Europe. Didn't GSM work out very well for everyone?

Hopefully Ofcoms "technology Neutral" spectrum won't lead to the situation that occurred in the US where there were many different mobile phone technologies that were incompatible with each other which led to limited roaming capability for customers and terrible service coverage.

Ofcoms implementation is likely to be much worse as the chance for interference across the frequency bands from different types of wireless technologies is going to go through the roof.

BBC should not pay for fibre, Ofcom tells MPs

John Browne

If only the ISPs didn't hate peer to peer so much

It would be a far more efficient use of the network for delivering media content. The ISPs could even get in on the act by engaging in some local caching to improve performance.

I agree with what some of the other people above are saying. If everyone on my street has 8meg broadband with a 50gig download cap and we all attempted to use it then the whole system would fall apart. The ISPs should be more transparent in what they sell.

I envisage rather than fixing the problem they're only going to "Toll" people to use the infrastructure at peak times, like in the evening.

Orange signs up testers for mobile newspaper service

John Browne

yeah but no but yeah but no but

Unfortunately the Illiad is stupidly expensive and achieving portability by sticking a dongle in the top of it seems a bit silly.

The Amazon Kindle has to be one of the ugliest devices I've ever seen

The sony Prs-505 is the best looking and feels really solid and the leather cover makes sure it doesn't get damaged unfortunately it has no Wireless and the Bookeen isn't bad either.

Roll on faster refresh e-paper displays and colour. They really are far easier to read from for extended periods of time than traditional TFT or LCD displays.

Canada.gov blocks sale of space company to US

John Browne

@anonymous Coward re Artctic

Don't forget Denmark has a huge claim on the Arctic aswell. They still administer Greenland.

Sweden doesn't have a claim as it's got no arctic coast neither does Finland for that matter.

FSA acts as rumours send bank shares crashing

John Browne

Guaranteeing Customers money

Would the bank of England jump in to save one of the bigger UK multinational banks like HSBC for example, or would it let the international arm sink while keeping the UK division afloat? I think this is the sort of question that no-one wants to ask.

Texas Instruments sounds alarm on 3G

John Browne

Nokia now buy from ST

Didn't Nokia say a few months ago that it was partnering with ST Microelectronics for its handsets.

Therefore it's not exactly surprising that they would cut back on orders from TI.

El Reg decimates English language

John Browne


It looks like the usage of the word has changed through wide incorrect usage and consensus.

Sounds suspiciously like the wisdom of crowds, wikipedia, web 2.0 philosophy to me.

I thought we were supposed to ridicule that?

I suppose even the Register had to succumb to this eventually.

Apple optimistic it will sell 10 million iPhones by year's end

John Browne

pay as you go

I wonder how well this contract service will do in a market that's 70 or 80 percent pay as you go?

Hard drive replacement sparks singed disk situation

John Browne

TI chips......

looks like a TI chip....

There appears to be alot of excess material on the leads which would more than likely have caused the problem.

All chips are encapsulated in fire retardant molding compounds. It would smoke but not flame so there would have been little chance of fire.

MySpace wins UK domain name that pre-dated its service

John Browne

Myspace.com validated his claim.

It TWS are responsible for the advertising they show then Myspace are similarly responsible for the advertising they put out on the web.

If myspace.com allowed themselves and paid TWS (through adsence or similar) to be advertised on myspace.co.uk then they validated his claim to the domain.

Bjork lays into NZ snapper

John Browne

Expectation of privacy is zero

If you're in any public place you have zero expectation of privacy. (Except perhaps a nudie beach.)

Anyone is perfectly entitled to take a picture of anyone if they are out and about, if you take exception to this and do something about it you are guilty of Assault.

If you think about it every shop etc are taking images of you continuously in the shop and even on the street outside and theres feck all you can do about it.

I hope he sues her, or at least got a good photo of her.

Surprise: Ohio's e-voting machines riddled with critical security flaws

John Browne

What about lotto machines

You tick the boxes on a piece of paper, It gets put in the machine and it spits out the receipt with the numbers on it and then registers your play and numbers centrally. And you can see that the machine read your intentions correctly.

It's simple and everybody trusts it.

And more to the point on big jackpot days each individual lotto machine will process more requests in an hour than a voting machine will process in an election.

Of course the most important thing of all is that it will allow you to do a "quickpick"

IBM to get high-k with all its friends at 32nm

John Browne

Ahh Hafnium based gate dielectrics don't you just love it.

Silicon Dioxide has been in the process of being replaced by variations of Hafnium alloys and oxides as the transistor gate oxide dielectric for ages now. It's nice to see that it's finally been cracked and that all those horrible reliability issues that have frustrated this happening for so long have been resolved.

Did I hear someone say NBTI?

No shush thats not real. you're measuring it wrong...

In all IBMs openness I didn't see a mention of what metal they're using as a gate contact in their shiny new process. We shall wait and see.

Phishers bait hook with Verified by Visa scam

John Browne

Bank security is a joke

I got a phone call from a number coming up as "Private" with the person on the line saying "hello I'm Mary from "XYZ" bank am I speaking with John Browne", I say "yes", She says "do you have a few moments to talk about our new services", I say "yes", she says, "Can you confirm your account number, address and date of birth". Immediately alarm bells started to ring, so I said " You called me so you should know who your calling, I don't want to give out personal and bank details to someone claiming to be from "XYZ" bank, especially an unsolicited call". Now Mary had the sound of weary call center worker in her voice but without breaking stride gave me the banks phone number and her full name and said If I had any questions to give her a call.

The same bank has a policy on it's website that advises it's customers not to give out personal details to callers, But I suppose it's ok if it's actually your bank calling, but how are you supposed to know that.

In the end I googled the phone number Mary gave me and it turned out to be the Bank and I rang her back and was talking to her subsequently, but the number she gave me is different from the numbers on the bank statements or the online or phone banking numbers.

Of course if it was a scam It would be all my fault and the bank would not be liable.

Venezuela to shift clocks half an hour

John Browne

Dictator, Despot???

Wasn't he elected by the people of Venezuela? Isn't he quite popular in Venezuela. I know some quarters would like us to think he's a despot and a dictator but c'mon.

Nokia ships 100 million phones in Q2

John Browne

By jove Jon I think you've got it

and at 9000 phones an hour Apple will sell 79milion phones by this time next year in north America alone. Go on the Iphone

Apple takes flak as AT&T drops iPhone bomb

John Browne

Apple Share price

The apple share price appears to be caught up in the IPOD bubble and this bubble is an order of magnitude bigger than the dot com bubble.

see for yourself, from the Nasdaq website


Sony Vaio reborn for the living room

John Browne


I wonder will it carry the sound out of the PC through the HDMI port to the TV because it would be really annoying if the HDMI port was just sitting on the graphics card without the sound component.

Xbox 360 price set to crash?

John Browne

Ahh reliability

I'm glad to see Microsoft hot off the heals of a "Dear Customers, here's a billion dollars because our console reliability is crap" is now deciding to move it's chip fabrication from a 90nm process which is now mature and has had the kinks worked out to a 65nm process that doesn't.

Good old Microsoft...

iPhone hackers disclose vulns and hunt for clues

John Browne

EU rules

When the IPhone launches in Europe will it fall fowl of handset portability and competition rules by being locked in to just one network. Afterall you're supposed to be able to change network if you want, keep your own number and bring the handset (which you paid for) with you.

Cell hack geek stalks pretty blonde shocker

John Browne

Predator Drones....

I think Predator drones would make a very effective deterrent to the kind of identity theft that involves cloning someones phone.

Perhaps this family could borrow one.....

Apple GPS System rumoured to debut in Mercedes cars

John Browne

Just think about the cost

If apple are charging $600 for an iphone which is subsidised with a contract I shudder to think how much a built in in car GPS system is going to cost based on the same technology.

If we assume that adding GPS functionality will add at least $150 to the price and take away the subsidy we're looking at a $1000 piece of kit.

As this is being built into the car all chips will need to meet the automotive reliability qualification requirements. These are listed in the spec AEC-Q100 handed down by the Automotive Electronic Council. Because of the extra testing required, Semiconductor companies charge up to 1.5 times the price for an Automotive chip as for a consumer chip (same silicon more stringent testing requirements).

Now this will add considerably to apples sales price into the cars. Add on the cost of Apple doing it's extra testing to ensure reliability in the car and you're looking at a $2000 piece of kit. Add on the car companies markup 50% would probably be a bit low but anyway that leaves you with a $3000 option on the car.

That's not cheap but then again these are going into mercs.