* Posts by cirby

132 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2008


Uncle Sam courting Intel, TSMC to build advanced chip fabs on home soil – report


You can certainly find politicians and fanatics who say they don't, but in reality they all know they trust the US more than China, by a huge margin.

(Takes vacation to Disney World)

"We can't trust the US!"

(Flies to Boston for advanced medical procedure)

"Who knows what they'd do?"

(Checks NYSE on iPhone to see how their investments are doing)

First it was toilet paper. Then pasta. Now Broadcom suspects hoarders are behind its surprisingly good-looking Q2 sales


I hoarded, sort of

Back in January, when I started to hear about the virus, I bought some extra parts, just in case.

That paid off, since I needed to replace one of the pieces I bought as a spare, and right now I'd either have to wait over a month, or pay $50 extra for one (that would still not show up for weeks).

Leaks point to Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with mammoth 108MP camera and ... what? 16GB of RAM


Yep - that was my first thought. That 16 gigs will fill up in just a few seconds if they're buffering in RAM.

Cool 'joke', bro, you could have killed someone: Epilepsy Foundation sics cops on sick flashing-light Twitter trolls



I wonder if there's some clever way to hack video drivers so they reject transitions of more than a certain frequency and contrast...?

Space Force is go, go, go! Because we have a child as President of the United States


Democrats run the House

So it's the fault of Republican President Trump that the Democrats voted for the Space Force?

Just a friendly reminder there were no at-the-time classified secrets on Clinton's email server. Yes, the one everyone lost their minds over


Re: Top Secret- NOFORN

It's amazing how "91 valid violations we can pin down to individuals and 497 valid violations we can't pin down to individuals" gets translated to "there were no violations."

The report says there was no evidence that the introduction of classified material to unclassified systems was deliberate. That means is that there was no proof that they did it on purpose - but that also means that almost 600 violations were done unintentionally. Which means that they did so stupidly and accidentally.

That's why you run secured systems to begin with: in case you stupidly include material that should be classified in your daily operations.

As a footnote: No, material does NOT have to be marked CLASSIFIED to be considered such. Some information is considered "born classified," like casual conversations between US diplomats and foreign officials. Again, that's why Clinton and her flunkies should have been using a secured email server.

Yay! The ozone layer hole the smallest it's ever been seen. That's not necessarily good...


Re: Yet the weather is still getting worse, not better

Not exactly.

True, CFC production is much lower than it was 30 years ago, but it's common knowledge that there are "bootleg" CFC factories in places like China and India - and they're producing enough CFCs to counterbalance the tiny amount of CFC that degrades each year. We weren't supposed to see an appreciable reduction in stratospheric CFCs until the middle of the 21st century, even with complete phase-out of CFCs.

Basically, the amount of CFCs in the upper atmosphere shouldn't be going down at all, much less dropping enough to allow ozone regeneration. That suggests that the theory was drastically wrong about the mechanism for ozone depletion, at least in magnitude.

The safest place to save your files is somewhere nobody will ever look


Desktop. Just desktop.

I've run into a number of people who keep all of their files on their laptop's desktop, "where I can see them." ALL of their files.

There have been a couple with so many files on the desktop that you couldn't see the wallpaper or read the actual file titles.

Each time they wanted to open a file, they opened the appropriate program and skimmed the names...

Yes, this was horribly inconvenient and slow, but they never seem to want to change to something rational.

US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong


Oh well.

I've spent a lot of money on Blizzard games over the years - with WoW subscriptions, it's well over the thousand dollar mark. I recently resubbed to play Wow Classic.

Today, I cancelled my subscription to WoW and deleted all of their games from my computer, and I've seen other people doing the same today.

Let's see how well that China decision works out for Blizzard...

No DeepNudes please, we're GitHub: Code repo deep-sixed as Discord bans netizens who sought out vile AI app


Re: misogynistic monstrosity

Supposedly, the original plan for DeepNudes was for a male version too, they just got shut down too soon.

Meanwhile, if someone creates a nude portrait of a female or male celebrity with Photoshop (or even paper and pencil), that's apparently acceptable, and has been for years. Because it's art.

White House mulls just banning strong end-to-end crypto. Plus: More bad stuff in infosec land


On the other hand...

The "government officials" translates to "some mid-level bureaucrat talking to a tech writer over a four-martini lunch."

If they don't have a LOT of politicians asking for it, plus most of Silicon Valley, it's not going to happen in our lifetimes.

DeepNude deep-nuked: AI photo app stripped clothes from women to render them naked. Now, it's stripped from web


Time passes...

Twenty years ago: "Nobody should be ashamed of sex or nudity! Anything goes!"

The same people, now: "SHAME ON EVERYONE!"

Hot desk hell: Staff spend two weeks a year looking for seats in open-plan offices


Human nature

One company I know implemented - at least officially - a "hot desk" plan.

It only took one day for it to turn into "this is my desk now."

The only "hot desks" are the ones by the front door, which are new basically reserved for workers visiting from other locations.

Nvidia keeping mum on outlook for year as data centre slows, channel chokes on crypto crap



The first thing they need to do is drop prices at least 10%, probably 20%.

The RTX line of cards is pretty neat, but the price differential over the 10x0 series is too much.

Until they get enough games and other software to support the RTX features, they're just higher-priced versions of similar cards.

Wine? No, posh noshery in high spirits despite giving away £4,500 bottle of Bordeaux


De gustibus non est disputandum

A number of years ago, a rich and showy wine connoisseur customer bought us wine for a stupidly-expensive dinner, for some reason or other.

He started with a "cheap" $100 bottle, then moved to a "good" $500 bottle, and finished off with "his favorite" $1100 bottle.

The "cheap" one was my favorite, and even he admitted that the expensive one wasn't immensely better, and that most $30 bottles are pretty good nowadays.

Put a stop to these damn robocalls! Dozens of US state attorneys general fire rocket up FCC's ass



I've been getting "AT&T Alert: Fraud Risk" on most of my robocalls lately. A few still slip through, but it's nice to see that AT&T is at least starting to do a little bit about it.

Google plonks right-wing think tanker and defence drone mogul on AI ethics advisory board



...they might have included these contrarians to keep the "ethics experts" from addressing silly, unrealistic scenarios, to keep them focused on what the industry is actually doing.

"Yeah, we know that making a T-1000 or an ED-209 would be a bad move, but let's address the issues involved in dealing with the things we can ACTUALLY build in the near future. It also might be nice to look at what other countries are working on right now, instead of going on and on about the US military-industrial-academic complex and how awful it is."

Welcome. You're now in a timeline in which US presidential hopeful Beto was a member of a legendary hacker crew



He was a teenager who wanted to get free cracked games, and needed free long distance to get them because that's how it was back then.

Pretty normal, really. Especially in the small BBS world of the time.

Holy crappuccino. There's a latte trouble brewing... Bio-boffins reckon 60%+ of coffee species may be doomed


Umm... nope.

First, they extrapolate that a degree or so of extra warmth is going to kill most of the species of WILD coffee plants. They add in species that haven't been seen for a while to get that "most."

Then, they casually suggest that the ones being cultivated and harvested are going to die off because of possible diseases that aren't actually known to exist, and could only be saved because of wild plants (which probably won't be immune to those diseases anyway).

Coffee production, by the way, is at an all-time high, almost 50% higher than in 2003/2004. So the global warming we've had so far seems to be having either no effect, or a positive one.

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit


Bad planning

They should have sent a kudzu vine.

By this time next year, it would have covered the place.

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home


The reverse problem...

Back in the 90s, I lived in an apartment, and ever day at 6 PM, my TV and cable reception went to hell. Couldn't figure out why, until I also noticed that the guy downstairs came home each day at that time. He had one of the cheaper PC clones (with almost no shielding on the case) that he'd overclocked a lot, and it was emitting enough RF at just the right frequencies that it would hose every TV in the vicinity.

The problem went away when he lined the case with aluminum foil.

Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files



A quarter-million in video footage, and he didn't have daily local backups?

That's like driving a Rolls-Royce blindfolded, with no insurance.

VR going mainstream? Yeah, next year, says Facebook, for the third year in a row



The Vive sold about a half-million headsets in 2016 alone. I think your numbers are a bit old.

Oculus Go is supposedly over the million mark already.

Add up the PSVR, Oculus, Oculus Go, and Vive, and you're well over the five million mark, almost certainly much higher.

From the introduction of the Apple II in 1977, it took about five years before "home computers" hit the five million sales mark (Apple II, Atari, TRS-80, etc).

The Oculus Rift (the first mainstream headset to release) has been out for about 2.5 years.

VR sales are building at well over twice the rate home computers did when they were released.

That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?


Even the simple things

Once, I had a consulting call - a friend of mine sold Macs, and one of his customers had decided their print server needed to be replaced.

I took the new machine to their office, looked around, and asked where the old print server was.

"What print server?"

I went onto the office net, found there definitely _was_ one, and started a physical search. Found the offending beast in a closet that was hidden behind a tall cubicle partition. Moved the wall out of the way, went into the room, and found an original Mac II, monitor turned off, covered in dust, attached to an ancient lead-acid UPS. Turned the monitor on and checked the uptime.

Twelve years.

It had been a running, non-rebooted print server for twelve years. I felt bad for replacing the poor old thing. Luckily, it was running bone-stock software, so that side of the process was easy enough, but it took three days to train them all on how to use the new process.

VMware 'pressured' hotel to shut down tech event close to VMworld, IGEL sues resort giant


Re: Convention contracts

It's probably more the case that the restaurant assumed the group was part of the main convention, and didn't find out about it until the day of the show.

I've seen worse things at shows. Like a major company shipping their entire $500,000 booth to the wrong continent, and finding out the day AFTER setup was supposed to start.


Re: Convention contracts

The "restrictive rules" are mostly just "pay for a booth, and if you want to host a larger event off-site, pay us some cash to advertise the event."

IGEL did a lot of things wrong, starting with "we're going to host a competing event at one of the contracted hotels for the show without reading the hotel contracts thoroughly."


Re: Convention contracts

Oddly enough, "outboarding" usually IS a basis for action.

When you look at the contracts big hotels make you sign when you do shows, one of those nice little clauses usually mentions outboarding, with "we can shut you down" language buried in there.

...and when you have an "independent" restaurant in a hotel, using hotel resources (like in-house AV), they're controlled by the same sort of language.

It's going to be really interesting when the lawyers for IGEL get to deal with all of the contracts they signed when they set this event up. It'll be friggin' HILARIOUS when they find out how many IGEL people had badges for the VMWare show, and if they were promoting the outboarding event at the show, IGEL could be hosed in even more ways.


Convention contracts

A lot of shows have a problem with vendors trying to take advantage of their shows by hosting events in the hotels the show books (or right next door). For example, instead of paying the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to book a large booth at the show, someone might host an event at a nearby restaurant.

This is often called "outboarding," and is frowned on by basically the entire trade show industry. Lots of companies have been shut down in very similar situations. Most big convention hotels have policies against outboarding.

Yeah, you might be a "partner" of the exhibiting company, but in this case you're acting more like a competitor - and a somewhat disreputable one, at that.

They probably saved a couple of hundred thousand by hosting this at the restaurant, but now they've pissed off their "partner."

There's a similar practice called "suitcasing," where someone attends a show, doesn't pay for a booth, but runs around selling their products to attendees (spend $2000 for a badge an a hotel room, instead of $30,000 for a booth). Generally, if you get caught you immediately lose your badge, and are usually banned from ever attending that show again...

Make Sammy Great Again: Surprise – Samsung chucks cash at manufacturing



Samsung has a lot of interest in the emerging VR market.

Not as headset makers (though their Windows Mixed Reality headset is probably the best of that type), but as a component maker. They make the displays used in the Vive and the Rift, for example, along with chips and other hardware.

Virtual reality meets commercial reality as headset sales plunge


Christmas Sales

The Oculus Go is pretty nicely set for Christmas. Pricey enough to not be a too-casual purchase, but cheap enough that a bunch of middle-class parents will grab it as their kids' first VR headset. It's probably going to be the Commodore 64 of VR. Not the best, not the fastest, but certainly good enough to get started.

I have a Vive, a Rift, a WMR, and a Go - they each fill a certain segment of the market. The Vive is my favorite, but the Go is surprisingly good for the price. They're all pretty good, though.

...and the true second-generation headsets are no more than a year out. That's when it kicks into high gear.

nbn™ CEO didn't mean to offend gamers, just brand them unwelcome bandwidth-hogs


Gaming bandwidth?

Not likely, pal.

Almost all online games minimize bandwidth. When all you're doing is sending game location and input data, it's a tiny fraction of the size of, say, a decent-quality YouTube stream.

Games companies try to use the least bandwidth because if you do big chunks of data, it nukes the servers that are carrying all of those online games and makes it nearly impossible to get good latency.

President Trump broke US Constitution with Twitter bans – judge


Re: So...

Except, of course, that they can STILL COMMENT.

In many, many places.



When the next President has a press conference and ignores questions from some of the reporters, he's violating the Constitution too, right? Same effect.

A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it



3. Slo-mo is incredibly useful sometimes. I used mine for figuring out the RPM of a fan motor just last week, and it's great for troubleshooting some mechanical issues.

4. Not always better, but I do like having a nice big screen.

FYI: There's now an AI app that generates convincing fake smut vids using celebs' faces


Re: Stamping press, meet nail

...except this is for video.

For even a ten-second clip, it would take a ridiculous amount of time to do well - and the results would probably be pretty bad.

For comparison, someone took one of the Carrie Fisher "added" shots from the last Star Wars movie and did their own version with this software, which arguably looks better than the professional version.

Republican tax bill ready to rescue hard-up tech giants, struggling rich


Yeah, that $1000 or so per year I'm going to get to keep sure makes me sad.

Hey, waitaminute...

French activists storm Paris Apple Store over EU tax dispute


Re: Theft or not

You need to remember some things when you read those "US companies don't pay taxes" stories."

First, the vast majority of "companies" in the US are small businesses, and a lot of those companies are basically just one or two people and some incorporation paperwork. A majority of those companies don't pay taxes because they're basically placeholders - companies that either never did business or that are getting ready to start up.

Second, a lot of the rest of the corporations don't make a profit in a given year. A bunch of those are ones that are getting ready to go out of business, and a number of others are ones that don't make a profit in a given year (due to acquisitions or other financial reasons), but make a profit and pay taxes in other years. Quite a few of them also don't pay corporate taxes because they report their taxes under the individual tax codes (quite a few contractors do this).

Third, foreign and US-owned companies often shield their income by keeping their profits overseas, or counter their US taxes by losses in other markets. This is "encouraged" by US tax codes that double-tax US companies that bring their overseas profits back home. The current tax reform bill is supposed to address this.

You also have the situation where a reporter writes "X company didn't pay taxes" when the real story is "X company didn't pay taxes in the second quarter of the year," which is pretty normal.

Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1


Current VR headsets (Vive, Rift) are barely able to run wireless - it's "edge" hardware at the moment, the the few people who use the TPCAST wireless kit are mostly having to deal with a lot of bugs and other issues. I know this because I'm one of them.

The next generation of headsets - 4K per eye monsters like the Pimax, for example - are going to be using DisplayPort, because current HDMI just can't handle the bandwidth on a single cable. They talk about an RF wireless add-on, but that's vaporware at the moment.

HDMI 2.1 will allow 4K per eye, plus be able to push HDR content, which will make more difference than any planned upgrades in resolution.

Wireless for that bandwidth just isn't in the cards right now. I'm betting on optical wireless for the next step, because getting that much 100% reliable radio bandwidth is getting harder and harder.

US government seizes Texas gun mass murder to demand backdoors



"...we need to get into the phone so we can catch him. The dead guy."

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act


Re: I'd like to see more

"professional entymologists will have accounted for any natural cycles"

You don't know many actual scientists, right?

While that seems to be the sort of thing they'd do if they were all interested in getting to the truth about the subject, there's no guarantee of it. A few minutes of skimming Retraction Watch will disabuse you of most of your romantic ideas about modern science.

Well, whad'ya know? 'No evidence' that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower


So much for that Russian collusion story...

That "Trump was working with the Russians" idea was primarily based off of those nonexistent wiretaps.

If there weren't any wiretaps, the whole thing goes down the drain.

(The "Trump Russian Dossier" story also relied on the fictional wiretaps, so it goes away too.)

PC sales to fall and fall and fall and fall and fall for the next five years


Re: Virtual Reality

Data visualization alone is enough for a lot of users, and when you start looking at architectural design and other industries, VR kicks flatscreen straight to the curb.

Training is already a major VR segment, you just haven't noticed it yet, for some reason.


Virtual Reality

We're about a year away from the "business usefulness point" of virtual reality systems - the headsets will be crossing the resolution line, and enough good software will be available. Prices on systems are already starting to drop, and the showstopper bugs are all pretty much worked out.

...and yes, that will mean desktop-level systems, not tablets and phones. Yeah, you can shoehorn enough hardware into a laptop, but at twice the price of an equivalent desktop machine, and you still need at least a small stationary work area.

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding



"Your Honor, I'm not certain this is the same Terms and Conditions I saw on their website. The one I saw didn't have an arbitration clause, for example. I'd like to see the signed and notarized copy, please."

"All we have is the electronic version!"

"Well you seem to have AN electronic version, but unless you have some sort of physical proof that it was the one I agreed to, then I don't see how it can be valid."

Revised 'Broadband 2.0' report: 6.7m Brits suffer 'sub-10Mbps' speeds



We have the same problem in the US: people who whine about other people not having the fastest, nicest, cheapest broadband - but who can't understand just how many people live waaaaay out in the country, or who just aren't interested in having internet access in the first place.

USA to screen tablets,
e-readers and handheld games before they fly


They're gonna love me...

Just got back from a trip - four tablets, two laptops, a handful of portable hard drives, and a few other gadgets.

(Yes, they were needed - work hardware I wasn't going to leave in checked baggage)

Trump tramples US Constitution by blocking Twitter critics – lawsuit


Re: No-brainer

You're right - you can't block citizens from seeing it.Which Trump hasn't done.

You can still view his Tweets, even if he blocks you.

You just can't reply directly to him - which he was going to ignore anyway.

Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs


The GTX 1080 is a 9 teraflop card. not 6.5. The 1070 is about 6.5.

The Xbox One X has about the same bandwidth as the 1080, not 50% greater. Again, 1070.

Basically, you were using the 1070's specs to compare to the Xbox One X.


Re: Other problems for VR - not really

There isn't much (if any) VR content that relies on direct video streaming like that.

Generally the "40 ms" issue in internal to the VR system, and doesn't touch the network. Interactions between players by pass that, for the most part, and don't impact play any more than any other online game.

If you have a long delay (40ms+) between the time you move your head and the time the display updates, that's a problem, and people start to get "VR sickness."

If you have a long (300 ms+) delay in person-t-person game interactions, it just makes play seem clunky.


Re: Silly prices for 8GB RX480's on Ebay

A 1070 is currently $525 to $600+ - the one in my VR machine cost me $399 last year, but is going for $649 now...

A new 970 (up to $450) is more expensive than a 1070 was in January.

(I had a lightning strike kill this computer last week, and I was panicking at the thought of replacing the graphics card - luckily, it survived.)