* Posts by Merrill

54 posts • joined 11 Nov 2008


Top Chinese Uni fears Middle Kingdom way behind on tech – and US sanctions make catching up hard


Re: Cliffnotes

It sounds a lot like a pitch for more university and academic research funding.

Compared with the US, more Chinese basic research is probably done in government labs and in government controlled industrial labs with universities more dedicated to turning out the manpower and staff them. I'm sure that their academics would like funding to be more like the US, where we fund a myriad of small grants to a multitude of academic principle investigators who actually produce very little.

Europe completes first phase of silicon independence project


Re: Is this an EU or Europe thing ?

The two party system allows the smallest number of people to control an elected government.

You only need 26% to win the primary elections of the party in control. Or even less if candidates are selected by caucuses or other intraparty mechanisms.

AWS wobbles in US East region causing widespread outages


"A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable"

Leslie Lamport, 1987

Another Windows 10 patch that breaks printers ups ante to full-on Blue Screen of Death


Re: Printers are the bain of MS's world

Once upon a time printers were one of MS's competitive advantages. In the early days of word processing, one of MS Word's few advantages was the length of the list of printers supported. The complexity of PC brands, interface boards, and peripheral makers and models eventually became a "competitive moat" for Microsoft.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns


Re: Deadly platform

The Lockheed Starfighter was the F-104. The F-101 was the McDonnell Voodoo.


Re: Why

60 turns?

They need Brodie knobs and upper-body strength training. No female pilots need apply.

British Army does not Excel at spreadsheets: Soldiers' newly announced promotions are revoked after sorting snafu


Matthew 20:16

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Class move, Java. Coding language slips to third place behind Python in latest popularity contest


Stack Overflow versus Github?

There are a number of languages which moved down and right when flipping between the Q1 and Q3 graphs, i.e. they declined in Stack Overflow and increased in Github rank. So maybe rather than a story of no movement in overall rank, there is a story regarding Stack Overflow versus Github. Possibly these languages have other support communities which makes Stack Overflow less important to their users?

Mainframe madness as the snowflakes take control – and the on-duty operator hasn't a clue how to stop the blizzard


Re: Xerox mainframe

The SDS were more like minicomputers than mainframes. I think of mainframes as designs that began as discrete transistor logic (including through IBM SLT), while minicomputers used early integrated circuit logic (TTL through bit-slice).

Chips for Huawei are fried: TSMC stops shipping parts to Middle Kingdom mega-maker this September


Re: becoming more and more like the old USSR

Around 1990, the US could have tried to become Greece and bequeath its culture and values to the world.

Instead, it went for becoming Rome.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


I wouldn't necessarily assume it is an IBM mainframe

Until at least a few years ago, the local county's payroll ran on Unisys. And I don't know why it would have changed.

Gospel according to HPE: And lo, on the 32,768th hour did thy SSD give up the ghost


Re: you never know when your SSD might be used in a time machine.

The IBM System 360 Model 20 in the story about the recent move could only do 16-bit integer add, subtract and compares, but it could do the full set of arithmetic instructions on packed decimal of up to 31 digits plus sign.

It woz The Reg wot won it! Big Blue iron relics make it back to Blighty


The were discontinued for System 370 and replaced by the System 3s. The /20 was sometimes used to drive card readers, card punches and line printers so as not to tie up the bigger models which could then do their I/O with tape and disk.

Surveillance kit slinger accused of slapping 'Made in America' on Chinese gear, selling it to the US government


Re: I'll bet this happens a lot

Most likely they were not a prime contractor, but a subcontractor to a prime that needed them to fulfill their obligation to throw a percentage of the contract to a "woman or minority owned business". I wonder who they were actually supplying the equipment to.

COBOL: Five little letters that if put on a CV would ensure stable income for many a greybeard coder


Re: About 10 years ago...

But of course columns 73-80 contain a sequence number so you can resort your card deck after you drop it.

Incoming... Trump! Notebook makers ramp production to avoid next tidal wave of US trade tariffs


Re: Aren't you forgetting...

Good point. At these rates, it appears to be about equal to the taxes that would have been paid by the manufacturers if they had produced the laptops in the United States. So it obviates the tax advantages of manufacturing offshore.

Plus, it is paid on the value at the border, so it isn't actually 25% (or whatever) of the retail price as the MSM reporting would leave you to believe. Depending on the product and how it is distributed, it is more in the range of half that at retail, given the distribution, marketing, retailing, and general and administrative expenses loaded onto the price within the US.

'Not productive for our business'... Michael Dell urges end to US-China tariff tit-for-tat spat


It was US politicians that encouraged businesses to move production to China for geopolitical purposes to counter Russia and to nobble the Asian Tigers who had become too successful and uppity. Of course we had previously moved business to the Asian Tigers after the Japanese had become too successful and uppity. Now the geopolitical mandate is to move businesses to the rest of SE Asia and South Asia, since the Chinese are too successful and uppity.

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, where to go? Navigation satellite signals flip from degraded to full TITSUP* over span of four days


Failures of these sorts are vital since they cause providers to exercise their recovery procedures and they cause users to exercise their mitigation, fallback and recovery procedures. Absent randomly occurring failures at some reasonable frequency society would build itself up for real catastrophic failures.


Re: Huzzah!

Unfortunately the Board of Longitude was abolished by Act of Parliament in 1828. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Longitude

No Huawei out: Prez Trump's game of chicken with China has serious consequences


Different CRC-32 Polynomials

It has never been clear to me why different countries don't require the use of different CRC-32 polynomials on the IP packets?

International gateways would then recalculate the CRCs only for permitted traffic.


Re: Techno-balkanisation - PCM Standards

Back in the day of circuit switched digital telephony, the US used mu-Law non-linear Pulse Code Modulation and Europe used A-law non-linear PCM. I was told by a US member of the CCITT (now ITU) standards group that the US had offered to agree to and change to match the Europeans. He was told that regardless of what the US would agree to, Europe would be different.

Twist my Arm why don't you: Brit CPU behemoth latest biz to cease work with Huawei – report


The Softbank Sprint-ARM relationship

Softbank owns 80% of Sprint, a US mobile carrier. Sprint is now the smallest, weakest and least profitable of the 4 major carriers, and is thought to be circling the drain. Softbank is attempting to get a merger with T-Mobile approved by the US Department of Justice in order to salvage its investment.

Softbank also owns ARM.

Boeing admits 737 Max sims didn't accurately reproduce what flying without MCAS was like


Re: Work out required

I would think that most females and slightly built Asians and East Africans should not pilot MAXs. Pilots should resemble NFL defensive linemen.

A backup system of mechanically operating the tail surfaces may have been OK on the early, small 737s, but that is a strategy that fails on later, bigger models unless you impose severe physical strength requirements on the pilots.

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy: Run Huawei, Google Play, turns away, from Huawei... turns away


Re: Over Due

They have Kylin, a version of Linux, and they have COS for mobiles. These find application in the government and military for obvious reasons.

For widespread use, there needs to be a commercial reason to more widely deploy them. This move by the US may be the trigger that is needed.


Will Apps be Thing in 5G?

Apps, essentially special purpose client software running on the phone, were needed with early generations of mobile data, since they could conserve bandwidth while providing a rich user experience.

With 5G, bandwidth would no longer seem to be a problem, and most functionality could be delivered with a modern mobile browser.

The other purpose of apps seems to be to nickle and dime the user for this and that. However, most useful services can be had for free.

Finally, how many apps does the average smartphone user need? Clearly not the hundreds of thousands that are available in the stores. The vast majority must be downloaded only by the creator, his family and friends. Probably the top thousand apps account for almost all of app usage.

Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?


I don't see Long island City being attractive for employees

I've been to the building where Citi Corp is giving up 1 million square feet that Amazon will move into.

I guess it is part of the attempt to redevelop the Queens and Brooklyn bank of the East River.

Oracle cloud supremo Thomas Kurian extends temp leave to the heat death of the universe


Re: Nothing new

If not for the IBM Service Bureau Consent Decree and the FCC Computer Inquiry II, we would have been doing cloud computing all along.

However, government distortion of technical rationality doesn't last forever.

Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price


Re: Be careful what you wish for...

This seems to be a Qualcomm Snapdragon Windows and not compatible with other ARM processors.

The chance that it isn't dependent on a Qualcomm patent somehow is essentially zero.

Detroit sh*t shifter's operating costs waste away with Oracle's cloud


But can they collect bills?

DWSD has a lot of trouble collecting the money owed for services provided.


Julia 0.7 arrives but let's call it 1.0: Data science code language hits milestone on birthday


Julia Computing

See https://juliacomputing.com/ for Julia products including Julia BOX, an online environment for coding in a browser using Jupyter Notebooks, and Julia Pro, an environment for science and engineering on the desktop including many packages. Note that it is still at 6.4.1, presumably until the package ecosystem is upgraded to 1.0 and fully tested.

Julia BOX is free, and it is the best way to get a feel for the language, especially if you are already using Python Notbooks.

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs


What will be the data retention lifetime?

When you access that file that hasn't been rewritten since the OS was first installed ten years ago, will it still be there?

Broadcom, you've been punk'd: Qualcomm puts stockholder vote on hold for US security probe


Qualcomm didn't need to tip CFIUS

Qualcomm started life as a supplier of secure comms to the DoD.

US govt staffers use personal gear on work networks, handle biz docs on the reg – study


People are fundamental to security

Security depends on the trustworthiness, expertise, and diligence of people.

But any reasonably large group of people will include one who is a defector, stupid, or lazy. That is why secure organizations are organized in small cells.

Here's why online social networks are bad for humanity, the nerds who helped build them tut-tut


Put them on the flat screen and they are just wallpaper

When my grandson watches youtube on a tablet or smartphone, he attends to it constantly.

When youtube is on the flatscreen, he plays with his toys, colors, talks, runs around like a madman, and generally behaves like a kid. He occasionally looks at the flatscreen.

We translated Intel's crap attempt to spin its way out of CPU security bug PR nightmare


Re: Other CPU architectures affected by Spectre...

Interesting. I wonder whether SPARC, MIPS, Loongson, Sunway, etc. are vulnerable to Spectre?

We keep forgetting that 1) all scripts and executables shall be executed without modification only from read-only storage, and 2) the read-only storage shall be modified only by a trusted configuration management process.


From Red Hat --

There are 3 known CVEs related to this issue in combination with Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. Additional exploits for other architectures are also known to exist. These include IBM System Z, POWER8 (Big Endian and Little Endian), and POWER9 (Little Endian).


Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief


Europe - Far East communications transit North America

Due to non-coincident busy hours, Europe to Far East cables via Eurasia are not needed. Instead, the Atlantic and Pacific cables are connected via North America taking advantage of the fact that the three continental pairs do not generate peak traffic at the same times.

(It also makes it easier for Five Eyes to keep tabs on things.)

Qualcomm sues Apple for allegedly blabbing smartphone chip secrets in emails CC'd to Intel


Re: re: "We were told to ignore intellectual property rights when designing the modem."

If engineers/developers conduct IPR analysis, they open themselves up to willful infringement and treble damages.

It is best to ignore intellectual property and then have legal staff conduct a right to use study under client-lawyer confidentiality.

Or so I was told.

The developers vs enterprise architects showdown: You shall know us by our trail of diagrams


There is also the matter of consistency


- what the business needs to run

- what is installed

- what is running

- what operations is charging the organization to run

- what finance is charging the organization for depreciation

- what vendors are billing the organization for licensing

and now what various cloud vendors are billing the organization for.

These can be amazingly far apart in an corporation with a complex organizational structure and a few thousand developers.

Python explosion blamed on pandas


Notebooks in the Azure Cloud

Microsoft offers free Jupyter notebooks in the Azure Cloud at notebooks.azure.com for those interested in investigating Python notebooks. There are also two very basic Python courses from Microsoft on edX suitable for the rank beginner that use the notebooks.

There are free Jupyter notebooks for the Julia language at juliabox.com for those interested in Julia, and there is a Coursera course on Julia that assumes you know other languages.The objective of Julia is to provide the ease of use of Python, R, and Matlab while running as fast as C or Fortran. See juliacomputing.com

El Reg gets schooled on why SSDs will NOT kill off the trusty hard drive


What is needed is better data destruction policies

No one, including me, will ever read the roughly 100,000 files that I've collected. There is simply no reason to review the past.

Lots of storage will be freed up as people die.

PC sales still slumping, but more slowly than feared


Users not interested in new ways to do old stuff

I've tried to migrate the wife off her 10-year old Win XP machine, but she's not having it.

SBU claims Russia was behind NotPetya


Most likely state-sponsored?

Nations have been concerned about ranswomware used by criminals and terrorists to collect funds from the victims. One way to counter this is to release ransomware that does not have the ability to decrypt the files after the ransom is paid. This makes victims unwilling to comply with demands in the future, and decreases the effectiveness of future ransomware attacks as an economic crime.

This appears to be the case with non-Petya. Releasing it in the Ukraine for geopolitical effect is just gravy.

Cook fights for life after Google summit blaze


Re: Good headline

Re: deep fry - just say no

Maybe something like an emergency drain, that would drop the hot oil into a fireproof holding tank would work?

Do we need Windows patch legislation?


It should be supported for at least the life of the motherboard

The life of a desktop or notebook is determined by the life of the motherboard and the solid state electronics on it. The mechanical bits, such as fans, disc drives, connectors, and the power supply with short-lived capacitors are easily replaced.

The life of a motherboard is at least 15 years, so an operating system that is sold for 5 years should be supported with regard to security and safety defects for 20 years from first availability.

Tuesday's AWS S3-izure exposes Amazon-sized internet bottleneck


Licenses are a big deterrent to proper BC/DR implementation

Too many vendors of proprietary software infrastructure charge full freight for deployments on the passive side of active/passive implementations. Even with active/active implementations, there are additional costs for underutilized licenses, and the design and operation is more complex.

This many standards is dumb: Decoding 25Gb Ethernet and beyond


The age old question

Why do people have so much information in the wrong place?

Factories are too DULL for Google's robo-dreams: Behold the GATAMAMs


The robot-maintained data center

Data centers have two big problems:

- clearances have to be allowed for humans to move about, and

- they have to be filled with air for the humans to breathe.

If you design the data center to be built out, maintained, and upgraded by robots, then the dimensions of packs, crates, racks, aisles, pods, floors, etc. can be done with an eye towards maximizing efficiency rather than designing for human access. Of course, this requires robotics compatible designs for cooling, power distribution, cabling, equipment mounting, etc. as well as servers and networking gear.

It may be possible to fill the data center with a liquid coolant instead of air. The advantages of doing so may be greater at the high densities of equipment enabled by using robots for all physical operations.

The design of the robots and the design of the data center would be done together to jointly optimize efficiency.

Why Google and Amazon could end up cooking their own chips


Custom VLSI could reduce data center cost and power

Instead of having rack after rack of general purpose CPUs spinning endlessly through the same bits of code for low level functions, custom VLSI could do it a lot cheaper and more efficiently.

Incompatible IT systems blamed for bank sale collapse


RBS replaced NatWest teller system in 2003

They must have lost a step.

Getting it right: the RBoS/NatWest takeover




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