* Posts by Simon Rockman

559 posts • joined 17 Nov 2007


Ever wanted to own a piece of the internet? Now you can: $1 for a whole gTLD... or $2.8m if you want a decent one

Simon Rockman

Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

I bought some lamps from lights.co.uk only to find that they were a German company, shipping from Germany with all the ensuing supply chain problems. So when customer service was diabolical it took weeks for them to fix problems. Then one arrived broken and again the replacement had to be shipped from Germany. I would not have bought them from a German website. I was furious. Indeed, incandescent.

Going, going, gone... until March: UK comms regulator delays 5G spectrum auction over pandemic logistics

Simon Rockman

It's all about borrowing money

To buy the rights to use the spectrum the operators will go to financial institutions. While we are in the midst of a pandemic borrowing money is hard.

Waiting until the markets recover is sensible if Ofcom wants to realise the best return.

Unfortunately, this means delays to the coverage it promises. Ofcom first identified 700Mhz as a priority in 2014


Ofcom has long said that the auction would happen "by 2022", but there have been many false dawns on this one.

Planet Computers has really let things slide: Firm's third real-keyboard gizmo boasts 5G, Android 10, Linux support

Simon Rockman

Re: Slip sliding away...

Sidekick was hugely sucessful in the US.

Simon Rockman

Re: Head office?

No, it's the real office they work from. I've visited a few times. Love my Gemini, very tempted by this.

HMD Global revamps infamous commuter-botherer, the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

Simon Rockman

Odd choice

The obvious Nokia re-boot is the 6310

Google and IBM square off in Schrodinger’s catfight over quantum supremacy

Simon Rockman

Delighted to see Rupert writing for El Reg, but I think it "a frozen lunchbox consuming virtually no power in its core can outperform a computer chewing through enough wattage to keep a small town going" is carefully drawing the lines to ignore the power consumption of cooling the whole lot to 15 millikelvins.

5G signals won't make men infertile, sighs UK ad watchdog as it bans bonkers scary poster

Simon Rockman

The problem with the animal experiments which get cited (the Ramazzini study) is that the results were inconclusive so both sides use them selectively. For instance one side might say "some of the exposed mice and rats got cancer, the control ones didn't" while the other side will say "all the exposed mice and rats significantly outlived the control animals". This means the control ones might have developed cancer too if they had lived long enough.

But ultimately it's the difference between science and belief. There are people who believe that radio waves are dangerous and that may be enough. There is a lot we don't understand about placebo and nocebo. Belief does seem to have and epidemiological effect so believing it is dangerous might actually make it so.

I made a cup of tea this morning, well it was pain boiled tap water, but I thought of it as homeopathic tea. It was delicious.

Hey Dixons, you know what's mobile? Your rapidly shrinking sales

Simon Rockman

The handset market has got boring. Replacement rates are down, not even Apple can add upgrade sparkle.

Roll-on the Reborn RAZR.

Weird flex but OK... Motorola's comeback is a $1,500 Razr flip-phone with folding 6.2" screen

Simon Rockman

Not too expensive

Remeber the original Razr launched at $1,000, and $1,500 is the same price when you allow for inflation. That said it was nigh on $2=£1 then.

The job of the Razr is to be aspirational.

Trump-China trade war latest: Brave patriot Apple decides to do exact same thing, will still make Mac Pro in US

Simon Rockman

Manufacturing is one thing..

What about sales? China and India are the strongest growth markets what happens to Apple when China stops buying iPhones?

In the bag: Serco 'delighted' to grab £450m ferry and freight deal between Scotland and Northern Isles

Simon Rockman


Fantastic place. I was there yesterday. There is a great wireless museum in Kirkwall.

UK.gov: Huge mobile masts coming to a grassy hill near you soon

Simon Rockman

mast whining

This has been going on for a very long time. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/27/ministry_of_fun_announces_tries_again_on_mobile_mast_planning_permission/

The major thing a change in the rules is that it takes away the networks' excuse that they can't provide coverage because the rules are too restrictive.

Although to be fair to the networks they signed up to better coverage and then the goverment failed tto deliver on 900MHz spectrum licensing and mast planning: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/27/1uk_voda_ceo_says_one_thing_about_not_spots_minister_of_fun_says_another/


GoDaddy's daddy goes: Chief exec Scott Wagner steps down as hosting biz swings into the red

Simon Rockman

I like GoDaddy

This week I had an hour long call with "sales" where they went through all the services I had switched some off and many to cheaper alternatives. It will have significantly reduced my quarterly spend.

I also like the tech support, the Phoenix office, in particular, has the ability to pitch explanations at the right technical level for me. Not being condescending or talking over my head.

Bonkers British MPs rant: 5G signals cause cancer

Simon Rockman

It's complicated, so people don't try to understand, they just have opinions.

The millitant action against 5G seems to have come out of nowhere.

The problem is, if you explain to people with deeply held beliefs why they are wrong they are incapable of absorbing the information. It's fine with people who are neutral, but when someone asks you "Is it safe?" and you say "Limits are not yet fully harmonised within the EU but the upper limit, which applies to the total power from all sources, recommended by ICNIRP is f/200 W/m^2 between 400 MHz and 2 GHz, then 10 W/m^2 up to 300 GHz which is an electric field strength of 61.4 V/m." you can't be surprised when they switch off. And go back to their beliefs.

I'm in a twitter war with someone who has oblected to my blog, who won't accept any argument on the basis that I work in the industry so I'm biased. But if the industry doesn't do any resarch it's accused of ignoring the problem.

This is complicated by the people ho know about biology not tending to know about rado physics and vice versa. I've worked with people who understand the physics and they have critised the methodology of some of the biologists doing research, and I guess if I found some good biological people they would make similar claims of the physicists.

We've looked very, very hard, there are something like six billion phones in use and we've not found anything yet, but that doesn't seem to carry any weight.

Vodafone urges UK.gov to get on with it and conclude review into Huawei

Simon Rockman

I understand that EE is 70% Huawei, 30% Nokia.

Coverage concerns dog UK Emergency Services Network as boss admits scheme too ambitious

Simon Rockman

The whole ESN is supposed to be release 12. Which is daft because release 12 doesn't support PTT, that's in release 13, but then Motorola own Kodiak a proprietary solution which it has introduced to bridge the gap. It also ensures that whatever devices are bought Motorola makes money. Part of the rationale for the ESN was an open market for devices. The whole project is a mess.

Home Office cops an earful for emergency network feck-ups - £3bn overbudget and 3 years late

Simon Rockman

The Three years late is a lie.

The original go-live date was September 2016. Three years is the date from the previous slip.

You can't say that El Reg didn't sound the warning bell: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/08/airwave_tetra_switch_off_gov_services_onmishambles/

Accenture sued over website redesign so bad it Hertz: Car hire biz demands $32m+ for 'defective' cyber-revamp

Simon Rockman

A website needs to be maintained

For a big company like Hertz the right course of action would have been to hire their own devs and do the site in-house. That removes, or at least reduces, all the budgetary meetings every time a change is needed.

It is but 'LTE with new shoes': Industry bod points a judgy finger at the US and Korea's 5G fakery

Simon Rockman

5G Evolution would be a name for 6G (whatever that is)

The orign of the name "LTE" as in Long Term Evolution was a 3GPP committee which wanted to set a 4G standard but whose remit was only 3G, so they discussed "3G LTE" by which they meant "4G". 4G was the long term evolution of 3G so 5G E, would be an evolution of 5G, as in what comes after, and it's far too early to think abou that. Indeed we may never get 6G : https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/21/ee_and_prof_say_6g_mobile_will_never_exist/

Golly 4G whizz: Vodafone caught using a cheeky bit of Three UK's spectrum

Simon Rockman

It's not about the Vodafone or Three customers

All airports are battle-grounds between the operators. They fight to give coverage because they want the revenue from off-network customers roaming as soon as they arrive and switch their phones on.

Dixons Carphone still counting cost of miserly mobile phone sales

Simon Rockman

It's not Dixon's fault..

There is currently no must-have need to upgrade. Got an iPhone 7, Galaxy 6? You won't be any better off with an X or 9+. The battery life is no better the phones are no thinner, The camera is incrementally better but the old one was good enough as a phone and will never be as good as a proper camera.

Couple that with two year contracts and good SIM-only deals and why upgrade? The new generation of folding phones, particularly the new Moto Razr, might change this, but just as DixonsCarphone can't take the blame for the slump it can't take the credit for the recovery.

Huawei's 5G security scrutiny pain could be Cisco's gain – analysts

Simon Rockman

Protesting too much

I'm starting to suspect that a lot of the government suspicion about Huawei comes from the western governments knowing exactly what they are doing with Nokia/Ericsson/Cisco and whoever, and they assume the Chinese are doing the same.

Remember that the reason Sputnik was put into orbit was because the Russians couldn't do re-entry. The Americans could do re-entry but couldn't reach orbit. America assumed that if Russia could do orbit it could also do re-entry, and this kicked off the whole space race.

Ofcom: More spectrum for all the good boys and girls. Except you, EE. You've had your fill

Simon Rockman

Playing the ESN card

This is where EE says it can't meet it's ESN obligations without 700MHz, I suspect there will be a compromise where EE gives back some of it's higher frequency stuff to get some 700MHz and stay within the 37% cap.


Openreach names 81 lucky locations to be plugged into its super-zippy Gfast pipe

Simon Rockman

Redundant tech

G. Fast is bloody clever but it's an ADSL technology and will never do better than 500mb/s.

BT loves it because BT has more copper in the ground than most copper mines, but using G. Fast is a sticking plaster on old tech. The only sensible solution is FTTP.

G.Fast is, however, a half-way house to FTTP, it's FTTP where P is Pole, fibre to the pole and then copper (or aluminum if you are unlucky) to the home. It's kicking the can down the road and not something BT should be proud of.

We definitely don't need more towers, says new Vodafone boss scraping around for €8bn savings

Simon Rockman

It all depends on what you mean by 5G

If you mean 3GPP release 15 - which is the official definition - then you can do all that at existing spectrum and not build anything. Go on marketing, call it 5G.

If you want Ericsson's vision of 5G which is 500MHz of contiguous spectrum then you are going to need to go to millimeter wave. That's lots and lots more sites. Maybe not towers but buying streetlights is still shareholder baiting capex.

If you want the IoT view of 5G which is a million connections per square kilometer you need lots of backhaul.Again not towers but significant capex.

And testing 5G with its MIMO, Beamforming and full duplex is hard, very, very hard much more so than 4G so again needs a lot more capex.

Thinking in towers is simplistic.

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

Simon Rockman

I think this proves you can throw things away...

If you need an old IEEE488 cable or whatever, one post on Facebook and you'll have one.

I got rid of my Dyson - it was just gathering dust, and my theremin. I hadn't touched it in years.

Planet Computers straps proper phone to its next Psion scion, Cosmo

Simon Rockman

Go for it

I've an early Gemini (I was something like funder 37), and it's been sterling. I don't even have keyboard mat problems. The audio isn't great for calls but it's more than paid for itself in the work I've done on the tube.

UK Home Office admits £200m Emergency Services Network savings 'delayed'

Simon Rockman

Re: Stop rewriting history...

With first deployments April 2016

Emergency Services Network delays to cost public purse £1.1bn, Home Office reveals

Simon Rockman

And this is despite moving the goalposts as to what constitutes coverage. Airwave is 99% landmass, London underground and inland waters, and some sea coverage (used by coastguard).

The new ESN is 90+% landmass - all major roads. And it still looks like being 10 years late.


China's going to make a mobile OS and everyone will love it, predict ball-gazing analysts

Simon Rockman


UK.gov won't Airwave bye for another 3 years, plans to phase in ESN services

Simon Rockman

Be careful of people around the Emergency Services network re-writing the past. The new ESN was supposed to start replacing Airwave in April 2016


This hasn’t started yet so it’s already three years late.

Every time they have moved the goalposts it’s late compared to the last time it was due, hence the “year late”. They haven’t even started testing because the service isn’t ready – I don’t think the device to device software is locked down yet – so whenever it is ready, and that looks like years – there will need to be 18 months of testing. This service isn’t a year late if it’s less than nine years late I will be surprised. Oh, and it’s many years since I used Kodiak, but it was so laggy that when I pressed the button and said hello to a college and they didn’t reply I walked down the corridor to the colleague’s office and as I entered his office I heard my message arrive. I doubt that it’s that bad now, but I very much doubt it’s up to the use the police need.

Vodafone cops ads rap over Martin Freeman's vanishing spaceship

Simon Rockman

Unlike the junk mail I got from BT which makes no mention at all of the speed it's trying to sell me with it's unlimited, superfast fibre. It did say that the speed was 5x what most people had, but not what it was actually selling me.

I'm typing this slowly because I'm in rural Westminster (in what was the nearest residential home to the House of Commons before it became offices), and so BT can only get me 17mb/s.

Hyperoptic arrives soon.

Rights groups challenge UK cops over refusal to hand over info on IMSI catchers

Simon Rockman

I'd rather the police didn't tip off the crooks about what tools they were using. I value my personal freedom not to be robbed by the kind of cook the police are out to catch than any idea that the police might be grabbing one of my IMSIs.

They already have legal intercept and the ability to scan MAC addresses - TfL have show that they regularly track the movements of people by following phones wifi.

Just because IMSI snatching is hard it shouldn't be in a special category,

Psst, says Qualcomm... Kid, you wanna see what a 5G antenna looks like?

Simon Rockman

Not really mmWave

At 28Ghz the wavelength is over 1cm.

Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?

Simon Rockman

Maybe it's deliberate

If data coverage - mobile and wifi - was better on trains, more people would use them.

And the last thing the rammed train system needs is more passengers.


Relive your misspent, 8-bit youth on the BBC's reopened Micro archive

Simon Rockman

Re: Good manuals

IIRC it was free if you requested it, but shipping a manual to people who in the main had just bought a magic typewriter was a waste of time and money for everyone.

Motorola extends modular phone adventure for another year

Simon Rockman

Good News

This is great. I'm an Indiegogo backer for the keyboard and have been holding off getting a phone until the keyboard arrives. It will be interesting to compare it with the Gemini.

Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

Simon Rockman

Re: Why only 4G??

It's only 4G because the other technologies don't support Push To Talk. There is a special flavour of 2G - GSM-R which does.

The core of the problem is the huge gap between the techies who think they know what the blue light services need and the actual requirements of plod and the Fireman Sam chasing scrotes through underground car parks and running into burning buildings.

Simon Rockman

<sarcastic tone> This is such a surprise.</sarcastic tone>. Here's a piece from January 2015:


I don't however think it's Motorola being disingenuous here. Airwave always knew the writing was on the wall and was pretty straight up that it was going to milk the old tech for all it was worth.

It's a combination of EE, Ofcom and DCMS all wishing that the impossible were true.

About to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? You might want to wait a little bit longer

Simon Rockman

Agreeing to let the update install resulted in a borked docking station - suddenly my ethernet and USB connections all died. Took an hour on the phone to Dell tech support to get it fixed.

Xiaomi the way: Hyped Chinese giant begins its battle for Britain

Simon Rockman

"an impending bloodbath of phone brands, in which the survivors other than Apple or Samsung".

There is nothing to say that Apple or Samsung will survive. In the early 90s the dominant manufacturers were Motorola and NEC. Motorola with all the skills and IP was untouchable.

In the early 2000s it was Ericsson which had the RF sewn up and Nokia which was supreme with amazing product platforming, distribution and efficiencies.

Nothing is a given, least of all Apple which is a fashion play.

New technologies are often the cause of disruption and 5G might shake the shape of the industry.

Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

Simon Rockman

So no Doro Clam then?

I notice Doro is out of stock on Three, and while the Swedish company showed a 4G clam at MWC it was a way from shipping

Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

Simon Rockman

Once we have Neutrino detectors in satellites all nuclear powered anythings will lose any element of secrecy an the subs will be obsolete.

Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

Simon Rockman

Not all mobes are smart

I'm still selling as many 2G phones as 3G ones, and triangulation is something the mobile networks only do in extreme circumstances. It's significantly resource heavy.

This idea also assumes that people have one phone. What if you have work and personal phones?

And it fails to understand future trends where you might have multiple devices and the one you speak on is different to the one you read which is different to the one for navigation.

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Simon Rockman

Not just POTS

A couple of my phones are not just POTS and wired, They are pulse dial. Proper rotating dials. Mostly for incoming calls but I do still dial out on them occasionally to see if the 1891 technology still works.

Russian regulator asks courts to disconnect Telegram

Simon Rockman

I once looked at rolling out a secure telecoms service.

I came to the conclusion that it was easy enough to build something which offered protection against a suspicious wife, business partner or rival.

Impossible to build something which would protect you from your government.

I don't understand why anyone uses telegram now that Whatsapp is encrypted. Using Telegram screams "I've got something to hide". With Whatsapp you hide in the masses.

Ofcom to networks: Want this delicious 5G spectrum? You'll have to improve 4G coverage

Simon Rockman

A coverage obligation? What a good Idea! I wonder why no-one suggested that before.

Oh, they did, four years ago:


And 90%? - pants on fire - the operators should have to publish maps of their 10%.


IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

Simon Rockman

I'm not convinced that a rotary dial isn't quicker..

To a number on my rotary phone I pick up the handset and dial. It rings immediately.

To do the same on my smartphone:

Press the button on the phone to wake it. Swipe to unlock, enter the pin (4 digits and enter),

Find the phone app, choose keypad, enter the number and press send.

Then wait while the phone registers, while it checks that it's got credit and does no end of lookups which take a full 10 seconds before the phone at the other end rings.

Ant then it sounds nowhere near as clear.

And this is progress?

But then my business does employ real, human operators to put calls through.

Roses are red, Three's feeling blue, spectrum appeal rejected, they'll have to make do

Simon Rockman

The irony is...

For all Ofcom's whingeing about Three blocking stuff it's Ofcom which has been sitting on it's corporate arse. The consultation for this spectrum sale was in 2014 (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/07/ofcom_omits_coverage_obligation_in_mod_spectrum_sale/)

The irony is that if BT does buy a huge chunk of 2.3 and 3.4 it may find itself frozen out of the 700MHz it must really want. That makes this spectrum much less desirable. And for all the bluster it's not really in the right place for Three. So that makes the lead bidders O2 and Vodafone. However Telefonica is lukewarm about the UK and has been trying to sell/float/forget about O2 which leaves an auction with just a canny Vodafone.

You have to wonder if it will make the reserve price will of £10m for a 10MHz / 2.3GHz lot and £1m for a 5MHz / 3.4GHz lot. But not as much as I wonder why an organisation which has a remit to "make the best possible use of available spectrum" has been sitting on it for four years,

Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'

Simon Rockman

8k video isn't just about frame rate. Experiements at the BBC showed that you also need a faster frame rate. There is an 8k, 240fps standard. Even compressed that's a lot of data, Current HDMI won't do it let alone the broadband.



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