* Posts by sam

16 posts • joined 10 Jan 2008

Darling supports broadband by raiding Granny's digital fund


A right to broadband? wtf...

People choose where they live. No one in the UK is stuck in a particular area.

If you want to move, you make sacrifices.

You rent, you move away from your friends, you adjust to a new pace and style of life.

Poor access to services is an implict part of the deal when living in the countryside. It simply doesnt make economic sense to provide them.

If someone in a rural area wants access to high speed broadband, they should be willing to pay a price reflecting the cost of that provision, and should decide if its worth it. Nothing stops a local interest group all pitching in for a microwave link, instead of lobbying central government for more subsudies for thier unsustainable lifestyle.

Grow some balls and move, accept the realities of your environment, or do something to change them. The countryside is a money sink anyway.

Sony Walkman S-series MP3 player


the radio is good too...

I have an S series Sony MP3 player, and I can confirm its rather good.

I recieved it as a present, and whether under normal circumstances I would pay extra for the sound quality, and usable interface, and physicaly well engineered feel, I couldnt say.

However the radio is rather good. It apears to use the headphone leads as an antena, so golden eared freaks with shielded wires may be out of luck, however it auto-tunes well, and can pick up a good stable signal where cheaper dedicated radios cant. FM only.

Windows 7 early promise: Passes the Vista test


rip off linux features? yes please

Microsoft make polished products compared to the opensource comunity. Its invevitable.

Coders dont like polishing a product. Its much more fun to break new ground, or add features that make a big difference, than perfecting the features you aready have.

So if microsoft want to take ideas someone else has done but not copyrighted, I for one will buy thier product.

*Multiple desktops (linux for years)

*Access to the shell, with a real scripting parser for power users

*configuration in text files as well as GUIs so you can see the settings all in one place

*real virtual file systems

*publisise internal interfaces so that developers can use them. wine will just reverse engineer them anyway, but think what friendly developers could do

*real user level security with forced user level access and sudo

I think we can all list some stuff. Microsoft could easily put it in the next windows.

But would any of you guys object?

University offers one-day Jedi course


oh well

Its no less legitimate than university courses on wine tasting.

NASA mulls nuclear Moon reactor

Thumb Up

I want one.

Dumpster size nuclear generators!

So that was the electric car power plant the oil companies were covering up!

Prison officers slam EDS data loss


disks? disks? wut?

I don't understand.

Why do they keep moving things around on disk?

If you have a huge amount of information, you send it over the internet, and it probably still doesn't take as long as a courier job. If they are not doing that, why do they need more than dial up at thier office?

oh wait! they need thier facebook (i.e. I publish my details publicly, why are these people complaining when I lose theirs).

If a system for intuitively sending data securely between departments does not work, perhaps the next pork barrel the government roles out should be that. At least it will be useful. Plus maybe a few pounds to go glue up the USB ports on all the computers.

China plans spacewalk by end of the month



The irony of Websters post is that, given that china actually spends money on its PHD students (especially if they want to go to a foreign university), most truly new research these days is done by the Chinese . Have a look at the names on the papers in IEEE explore.

Modern technology is all stolen from someone else anyway. If I am using a computer to design antibiotics, I probably didn't invent computers, much less germs.

This said, you have to suspect the American DOD is keeping sekret regarding space stuff. If the Chinese rediscover it, you have to suspect we are more likely to get our hover cars.

Its a shame modern growth, everywhere, kind of relies on the west borrowing back money that it payed someone in the first place, multiplied by fractional reserve banking, then paying it back to the people they just borrowed it off.

How Chrome puts the skids under Nokia



but google is in a better position to do that.

Users would probably prefer the google services platform, which a lot of them already use in PC land, especially because it gives them some compatibility advantages with their friends.

My question though - how is googles ad based business model going to continue holding up given the amount of space on a tiny screen?

Maybe a 'pay for what you get' nokia way of doing things is the only way?

Open source release takes Linux rootkits mainstream


"intel proccessor exploit?!"

Your processor can be in 2 modes - user mode, and a privileged mode.

The privileged mode is required for an app to do certain hardware type things, but is only accessible after an interrupt.


1: a program is running on the processor in user mode

2: the program triggers an interrupt, through a hardware exception like "tried to write outside its address space"

3: at interrupt, the processor looks at a table of pointers called "vectors", and starts running code at the location pointed to by the vector appropriate for the given interrupt IN PRIVILEGED MODE.

4: hypothetically, the rootkit overwrote one of these vectors or the code it points to to cause it to start the rootkit, letting it run without a visible owner process or somesuch.

Processors, AMD, intel, VIA, use a standard instruction set / structure called x86, with an increasing number of open standard extensions (SSE2 etc). The interrupt exploit is probably on the standard x86 instructions, so yeah, AMD is probably vulnerable, but intel ownes the rights to x86.

This may be slightly incorrect in the details, I'm not overly familiar with x86, but is probably 80% useful.

Oyster system failure causes travel misery

Black Helicopters


Cloned cards should be fairly easy to spot - If go in at station A, then in at station B, then out at station C and out and station D... I am 2 cards.

Further, if the system says I recently entered the network at station A, and I swipe in at B, it is fairly simple to have an alarm go off so that a guard may harass me.

Similar systems are already used by banks, because (at least the strips) on thier cards are easily easily clonable.


Black helicopters, because I'm sure as hell not traveling by tube.

Siemens siphons off 17,000 jobs


maybe not

@ john: or maybe not

I think it is important to profile the competition. They can largely be divided into "other countries with high costs and a stable, law abiding business environment", and "countries with low costs and an uncertain, insecure business environment".

You name three countries, China, Korea, and Japan. Other important countries exist or are emerging, and in generality fit the descriptions I gave above.

China, although costs may rise as time goes on, along with a number of other emerging countries, enjoys an advantage over established countries because workers expect less money, in international exchange terms. This is because of an availability of extremely cheap unskilled labor from the rural areas, which enables it to also provide relatively cheap skilled labor (if the man who farmed your cow is payed $3 for a whole cow, you can afford a lot of steak as an educated chemical engineer on $5/hour). Particularly with china, a wide range of other factors are in play, but I feel the above is important.

This advantage is answered by certain disadvantages. Critical in terms of high tech goods such as the LCDs mentioned above are intellectual property protections. While china has been improving a lot on this front, there is still a valid perception that any important IP being manufactured in china is at significant risk of being stolen. IP laws have tightened, but their enforcement has not been as tight as some might like, and local political influence can have a big effect on the viability of a prosecution. Disregarding some celebrated cases, such as the "fake LG" company who's own employees believed themselves to work for the tech giant, industrial espionage and restrictive "joint ventures" still discourage companies from building the most high tech parts of their devices in both china, and other developing economies. Sharpe for instance manufactures much of its LCDs in china, but produces the screens themselves in either Japan or Korea.

In terms of Europe's rivalry with other "expensive, secure" countries, even the UK is comparatively cheap for japan, and sees some outsource business, yet japan still maintains a strong manufacturing sector. How? one factor is domestic purchasing - domestically produced goods enjoy a better market there than they might here for a variety of reasons including taxation and patriotism.

Another is efficiency, in terms of automation and process. Visiting effective factories in western and eastern countries you are struck by the difference in the use of manpower. In the west, because workers are expensive, it is likely goods might be carried around a warehouse in quantity by a forklift. In emerging economies it is not uncommon to see a chain of workers, who cost less than the lift would. This is not necessarily a bad thing for those economies - these people are cheaper than a forklift, and for the work pays enough that they can send money to their rural families - but it is an insight into how Europe can continue to compete.

Europe cannot count on things like "superior skill" or "efficiency" to compete with emerging economies. The number and quality of graduates in these countries is often greater than here, and "efficiency" will come just as soon as it is cost effective.

Rather Europe should rely on the laws of competitive advantage, and keep in mind that they only work if all sides play fair. In the future, as now, things will work because they work for everybody. Competition is important, but Europe doesn't need to 'win', just to find its place.

IT depts under threat as City braces for 20,000 job cuts


IT as a cost centre / supporting component

At an investment bank these days, traders sit at computers, using programs to do transactions with databases.

Sometimes they read reports based in large part on often computer analysis of information on databases.

Some deals are done face to face, especialy the really big ones, but this kind of computer based trading is the bread and water of most banks. This makes banks a true "IT" company, rather than a computing one like say Microsoft. They work in information through the medium of technology, and thats 80% of what they do.

This has several effects:

* it makes expensive traders partialy computer replaceable, which is gradually happening and has been for years

* it makes faliure of computer systems as critical to the bottom line as faliur of non redunant plant at a plastics factory. We saw this in the french bank problem.

While there is a case for cutting employees and reducing future facing investment, I would argue that IT cannot be and is not concidered uncritical.

Pirate Bay to sue music industry


sekrit sharing

@ top post:

Mod: without I think, giving any sugestions, I discuss anonymous P2P methods:

Actually, the combination that you outline is still vulnerable. To some extent, using TOR might prevent the website you get the torrent from logging your IP, however because of the way Bittorrent works, it is hard to produce a system in which at least some of the users are not vulnerable, not to mention the tracker admins.

TOR is not ready to carry P2P amounts of traffic, and many exit nodes deliberately prevent bittorent and others transiting them. Further, unless I'm missing something, you cant have an open inbound port, so one of two exchanging P2P users has to be not anonymous.

What people often do is to send their tracker traffic through TOR, so the tracker cant log their IP, and comunicate unanonymously with the other peers. This again requires one of the two users to be unanoymous. sorry. further, as no inbound, it stops firewalled, often fast users from connecting to you (i.e. dorm rooms).

The only option for real anonymous P2P is darknets like winny, mute, freenet. These are slow because traffic is encrypted and sent via other nodes, and many people do not use them because they are concerned about what material could through no fault of their own end up in a cache on their HD. If someone downloads illegal materials, they may go via you (so neither sender or downloader knows who the other is), and be cached on your system. This allows deniablity, but could be sold to a tech illiterate or very concervative audiance as aiding and abbetting say pedophiles, terrorists...

Plus judging by the japanese experience these things get compromised pretty quick.

Rock and a hard place.

I earn enough not to be overly concerned, but students and teenagers might hope that rather than try and prosecute sharing out of existance, labels and producers will use the distribution economies of the internet to offer competative products.

Is this the world's most expensive desktop PC?


overclock potential detected!

How thick is the gold?!?!?!

If its really thin this could be THE ultimate overclocker PC.

Gold has even better properties than copper.

Its probably thick though for bling cred

Revealed: USB 3.0 jacks and sockets


wireless USB

wirless usb at 600mb/s (max, probably 80% of that in a good environment), is in development. I dont neccesarily think its the standard that will win out however. It will (probably) use ultra wide band, which is good for short (in the same room) transmission.

The standard its based on is ECMA though, which can indicate some funnyness.

Beware the populist mash oozing out of Facebook and YouTube


but not as bad as

but not as bad as people like otto who professionaly get hot under the colar about "internet social issues".


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