* Posts by Enno

29 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Apr 2007

Is Apple going ease off its HomeKit chokehold? Sure looks like it...


So are actually expecting to be allowed to attend their events when they find prose like "Silicon Valley's Idiot Tax operation" describing them in your articles?

Personally I don't care, not a fan boy too many computer manufacturers, (been in the industry too long!) but I can see where they might be a little peeved.

Just saying.

Go forth and break it: Google pushes NASty Cloud Filestore to beta


Re: Azure "geographically redundant storage with 16 nines availability"

No, no... it says sixteen 9's... so no more than 31.536 nS of downtime per year. I'm sure there's an SLA and some sort of penalty clause. After all otherwise it's all just marketing B$.

Good news: It's still legal for Apple to keep its MacBook, iPhone batteries from melting


Slightly less cynically perhaps (and those who know me will be crying alien impostor as they real this!) the view has long been that it's not possible for patent examiners to be subject matter experts in all areas of technology. As such they're quite unqualified to judge patent applications on the basis of intrinsic merit and thus fall back to the "does it look like something already on file" part of their job. After that, the validity or not of the patent will be tested in the courts. (Why yes Gloria, these people are all just lawyers... aaahh, there's that cynicism!)

So to create a trollable patent all you have to do is pick some arcane corner of technology, say computers or electronics, find something so obvious no one has bothered to write it or anything like it down before and create a patent for it. The canonical example for me is sadly the "XOR pixels to create a cursor so you can XOR again to remove it and repaint it somewhere else (often one pixel over)" patent which at one time or another every graphical display and window system vendor has been trolled with. But only if you think XOR is a fabulous new invention and not completely obvious and with significant prior art. Or maybe this... https://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/13/business/patents-patent-office-faces-huge-backlogs-extremely-technical-inventions-absurd.html (patent lawyer teaches son how to make a patent with a playground swing as an example, patent is granted).

The 'fix' is to find some non-lengthy-court-battle way for patents to be reviewed. Maybe to consult experts or academics, or to have a year window after the patent is granted for the public (i.e. any interested party) to offer comment that might lead to review. The current system has clearly become too unwieldy to survive much longer as it drives small companies to settle or cease trading and fills the courts with unnecessary litigation from organisations big enough to defend themselves.

America's forgotten space station and a mission tinged with urine, we salute you


Re: the final crewed mission of the Mercury programme

As I recall, in the first Mercury flight, Shepherd was delayed on the launchpad (not uncommon in the early days) and it was found no provision had been made for a full bladder. The ultimate 'solution' (no pun intended was for Shepherd to basically relieve himself in the spacesuit. I presume the leaking urine bottle was a later addition to the capsule, and by the sounds of it one that was perhaps a little gerry-rigged.

Software gremlin robs Formula 1 world champ of season's first win


Re: Sorry, I still don't get it...

Of course the teams hate the idea of losing the aerodynamic surfaces not because of the effect on the cars but because of the sheer amount of advertising they carry. If you want to get rid of wings, then ban ads on them. Then the team principals will no longer care.

Google gives its $1m Turing prize to, er, top Google bods: RISC men Hennessy, Patterson

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The Reg does itself a disservice with this article...

The ACM Turing award goes back a long way. Long before there was a Google in fact. The fact that Google sponsors the prize the ACM is giving away with the gong is I would suggest barely relevant. The fact that Google which has made a habit of hoovering up the most talented people it can find ended up essentially giving money to some of those same people (chosen by the folk at the ACM) merely serves to confirm their policy is working. And of course as the article notes, the work being recognised is also from decades ago and no one is suggesting it is unworthy (far from it in fact).

So, not really sure what the troll bait headline achieves if you want to paint yourselves as serious journalists? Other than exciting comments like this of course.

It's begun: 'First' IPv6 denial-of-service attack puts IT bods on notice


IPv6 and CIDR

The biggest issue I see in the glorious IPv6 future is that one of the current (very poor) mitigation strategies used by some ISPs (cough, Telstra here in Oz) is to unroute targeted destination subnets to unload the attack traffic from their links. In the brave new IPv6 world with it's baked in CIDR routing that will of course no longer be possible...

It's all very well having your firewall correctly configured to keep the DDoS traffic out of your systems. But if the link to them is taken down by flooding they still accomplished their goal. Nor clear what it gets them apart from shits and giggles, the occasional bit of corporate blackmail notwithstanding.

Playboy is suing Boing Boing over Imgur centrefold link


All hail the sub-editors!

I just like the partial headline: "Playboy sues Boing Boing". Surely the article was all downhill from there. :-)

Speaking in Tech: I am Wink, Wink.i.am, do you dig my smart home jam?


The thing I find amusing is that they talk about the woeful security of IoT devices (no or poor encryption/authentication/protection against snooping, lousy air interfaces, etc) and then with no sense of irony talk about Amazon Alexa, Apple's Siri and whatever phony name Google's device was christened with with no discussion of how these things are shipping audio from your home (or God forbid bedroom) to their cloud and have carte blanche to buy, sell with your money, transact with devices in your home and so on.

I still maintain it's not IoT but IoopS - Internet of other poeple's Stuff.

Speaking in Tech: Yes, they advised me to turn my phone off...


Some colleagues here used to have a company called Functional Software. At one conference they too were handing out socks with their logo and the tag "Functional Sockware". I think I still have mine (or maybe just one?)

Give us encrypted camera storage, please – filmmakers, journos


a thin FILM of encryption...

Of course the camera in the picture accompanying the article is an F90x by the looks... Good luck encrypting the FILM in the back of that sucker!

IoT puts assembly language back on the charts


It's IOOPS not IOT in my opinion anyway...

From what I've seen so far it's all about corporates getting their grubby little fingers on data about me. So sell me, say a thermostat and make it phone home constantly. You know, for me.

It's not IOT it's IOOPS, the Internet Of Other People's Stuff.

Boffins achieve 'breakthrough' in random number generation


Not new at all...

The sad fact is that this result is not new at all. Back in the mid 80's I was R&D manager for a manufacturer of poker machines and one of the first pieces of advice we were given by the University Math/Stats consultant we retained was to use two random number generators and combine the outputs to create a single random number of much higher quality.

Not sure either how you get a paper out of this in 2016 or why it's being reported now.

Microsoft gouges Australia lightly on Surface


a further problem not considered...

The real problem is that for any sort of ordinary tech toy, a US shop buys from a manufacturer or wholesaler at a wholesale price and then offers it with whatever markup they see fit plus any taxes if applicable. Most of the price comparisons here are done on the odd assumption that our local distributor has to buy at US retail price before shipping the items here and attempting re-sale to we unhappy locals. In contrast if _we_ hop on a plane to defeat the unreasonable markups (or phone a friend or something) we will have to buy at retail... assuming anyone actually pays full whack for anything there.

Interesting of course to consider companies who don't have a wholesaler in the fulfillment chain, mostly those who manufacture and sell directly to the end-user... which includes Apple and seemingly now Microsoft amongst others. In this case they presume a build cost, a fixed markup and then set their retail prices. The attempts to wring more out of, to them, foreign customers just represents a poorly thought out strategy of passing on extra costs (like shipping from California regardless of where its built) directly to those customers. As the brand stores here have discovered, customers are happy to find ways to access goods at the cheapest price they can see it anywhere in the world, anti-competitive restrictions notwithstanding (and clearly we're becoming more and more adept at working around those too).

Verity Stob's Big Fat Geek Yuletide Quiz of the Year Part 2


nice but....

really, you need to go back to the source... the greatly missed Kenny Everett who long ago on his program on the telly observed that the answer to question 3 was in 2 parts. Part A was 8 1/2 inches and and part B was Tom Jones. And now, Hot Gossip topless!

'nuff said.

Merry Christmas all from the antipodes.


Oz pub slammed over 'No Undie Sundie'

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st. kilda...

Yes a few girls going commando for $50 in drinks... that'll be "an invitation to sexual assault"... The prostitutes wandering the streets in this corner of Melbourne or the kerb crawling lowlifes who use their 'services' are no problem though.

St. Kilda is one of those areas of town where the night life gets a little wilder than average. We all know it and the problems there are not that the pubs run risque promotions but that all levels of bureaucracy still insist on policing the easy/mostly irrelevant laws rather than the ones that matter. And as has been noted, if the pub had broken any actual laws, plod would have been right round, rather than just making vague hand wavy threats in a national newspaper.


IBM solves world's 'paper or plastic' crisis


speed of light...

Ah yes, speed of light... and IBM in one article. Made me flash back to the "jokes file" from the 70's which featured this gem (all over the net. Just google for OSVU if the link gets moderatrixed...).


"...IBM, through its wholly owned subsidiary, The United States of America, is working on a program to upgrade the speed of light and thus reduce the overhead of extraterrestrial and metadimensional pageing..."

Ahead of its time I say!

DNS lords expose netizens to 'poisoning'


Short DNS expiry...

This is most commonly a sign that the people you are dealing with have a load-balancing/failover product that does DNS redirection from site to site as well as the more common intra site redirection. Its hardly the sort of thing an admin chooses to do for themselves...


Bill Gates loses richest man crown

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worlds richest white dude?

It was my impression that the whole list was bollocks anyway, revolving around the provable (often paper) assets of these folk. The world has richer people, various oil sheiks, the Sultan of Brunei and so on, its just their real worth is less tangible until its all been dug up and until we know whether the western world will collectively pay $100/litre to visit aunt peg next decade.

The 'blem wit' error messages


obligatory joke...

Remember that old joke: "If Ken Thompson designed a car it would have just one light on the dashboard which would light when there was a problem. The experienced motorist would know what the problem was". Yes the early UNIXen had to squeeze down into an early PDP-11's memory space (64k code and 64k data?).

Sparks fly over electric shock dealing Dell laptop


basic electricity...

- In order to not affect (i.e. load down) the circuit being measured, voltmeters are very very high impedance. The tiniest parasitic capacitance can result in seemingly lethally high voltages when driving a 10Mohm load. The voltage/current they deliver into a much lower impedant human earth path is closer to mV and uA.

- the real reason this happens is of course the modern, two pin (i.e. no earth connection) 'floating' switch mode power supply has no way to earth the case and protect the user. Should really only be used with plastic cased goods though and ideally a plastic that doesn't hold charge very well.

UK gov backs Trading Places DNA study


ulterior motives?

Not wanting to sound like the tinfoil hat brigade... but I seem to recall an article in New Scientist in the last year or so that suggested that as few as 25k-30k DNA samples taken from a (say longitudinal?) cross section of the UK could allow the police to zone in on family and together with a few other forensics clues allow them to essentially identify anyone from a crime scene, without actually needing a sample of that person's DNA. (i.e. because the uk has been a mostly closed genetic pool for thousands of years they can leverage that.) So who was paying for this study and what limits were being placed on the information? Yes. Thats what I thought.

On a lighter note... its been 2008 for a couple of hours down here already... Happy New Year everyone.


Dell's laptop customisation options not very customisable


well they used to do the right thing here in Oz

Well the Dell laptop I'm using now was pretty much bought the way the guy in the article wanted (an Inspiron 9400). When ordered on the web site there were a whole list of memory options including details of how the memory was provisioned (e.g 1Gb with 2 DIMMS, 1Gb with 1 DIMM, 2Gb with 2 DIMMS, etc).

As I recall it cost me about $10 extra to choose a single DIMM config.

Buffy mastermind returns with new TV series

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Joe 90 anyone?

So Josh is re-making Joe 90... Ooooh, original. Mind you I read elsewhere that he claims it was all Eliza's idea and she mesmerized him over lunch one day... easy to imagine with that lass!

Nissan builds twirly-cab sideways electric pod-car


concept cars...

So you guys realize that concept cars are not about getting new ideas/models out first right? They're for exploring design concepts... "If I build a podule putter with robo distractor on the dash, how many extra airbags will I need for the extra crashes?"

Man and I worry about postits on my monitor distracting me and causing eye strain! ;-)


(Oh and to the anonymous twat who said the French did it in 60s/70s... you do realize that Renault bought Nissan back when they were flirting with bankruptcy right? So still a French company technically. ;-)

Yes! It's the USB typing-speed indicator lamp!


humping dog? pfffft!

How can you go past the glory that is... wait for it... the USB pole dancer!


My guess is NSFW by the way...

UK government tunes out debate on DNA database


the real danger...

Lovely article in New Scientist a few months ago about the nature of genetic diversity in the British Isles. It seems as 90% of the populace has been largely trapped on the islands until relatively recent times (about when the modern jetliner brought travel down to the price all of us could afford) that there is enough genetic overlap in the population that as few as 15k samples and new techniques for tracking genes across family trees will allow police a good chance of determining family name of a random offender who is not (yet) in the database... maybe not enough for court, but likely enough for a search/questioning? In fact, the only people who escape that net are the recent arrivals whose genes will not have spread far enough through the populace to be present in the 15k samples. Of course the sample set is already much larger and growing daily...

But still, lovely thought. Plod at the door: "excuse me sir, someone with your name committed a murder last night. Where were you at 9pm sir?" Adieu presumption of innocence. We barely knew you...

10 signs you're in a tech bubble


reminds me of that old joke...

The only problem is that 2nd paragraph, "Just three of the past 15 bull markets..." reminds me too much of that old joke about economists having "sucessfully forecast 15 of the last 3 recessions...". ;-)

The other obvious difference is that last time round with publically traded stocks a lot of the unwashed got burned by unscrupulous companies. This time round its private capital thats out there buying and then raping and pillaging corporate assets. Often their acquisitions are saddled with the debt they incurred borrowing to buy the companies in the first place (allowing the private capital to extract itself from its debts along with a 'modest' profit) and many it seems may never recover from these acts.

Not sure how the bubble plays out in this circumstance but I suspect as ever it will be best to be observing from some distance away with your assets safe in a bunker with you. Hopefully you don't depend on the companies thus 'invested' in or the economy they support... oh wait.

Intel inserts hack into Celebrity


intel on board?

By the looks of the scale model Itanium (with the Segway booth babe) Intel may be on board with El Reg's Itanic moniker. It certainly looks like the chip is sinking from here!