I still have one of those in "Ye Olde Box of Crap" (TM)
Best DAB radio I have now is an RTL-SDR stick (from RTL-SDR.com) and a copy of Welle.io
134 posts • joined 30 Apr 2007
I'm totally with you on this.
"Amazon and Google would sell them at a loss if that sort of thing was legal and didn't make people suspicious."
Are you sure they don't? When I ordered an item from Curry's recently, a thing popped up that said I could have a Google Nest Mini for £10. Surely, that's got to be selling at a loss once everyone's cut is taken out? I didn't want one but I bought it to see what it was like and because I could probably reuse the case and PSU if I don't like it
I would be surprised if it is a long term feature in my home since the only real uses I have found for it so far are as a voice activated light switch, setting timers and for telling me how much something in a foreign currency costs in Pounds. It certainly can't answer "Hey Google, how many Watts is 8.6 Amps at 12 Volts?"
"Give me a viable alternative and I *might* consider changing but from anecdotal evidence DAB is no real advance on what I already have."
I bought a DAB radio early on because the marketing guff made it sound like a good thing which offered me more choice and better quality. The truth was anything but. The default codec on original DAB sounds like shit at the bitrates in use. Then "free-market conservatism" put pressure on Ofcom not to impose a minimum quality threshold and let the market decide the trade of between number of services and quality of each one. By the look of it, the market has decided and consumers seem to have gone with "We don't want 64 radio stations that sound like shit. Take your DAB radio and shove it."
At the time, the public statements seemed to assume that cars would have DAB as they tend to be the place people listen to broadcast radio the most. That doesn't really seem to have worked out. My car has an integrated radio and touch screen that does other stuff in the car so I can't just take the radio out and fit another without losing functionality. I acknowledge that off-board units exist but I really don't want micro FM transmitters, stick-on control panels and wiring spaghetti all over the inside of my car to listen to something that sounds shit compares with what the car's FM radio can do. I have never heard an online version of a station, Spotify, YouTube, Vimeo or DVB radio that doesn't sound better than DAB. I just don't see the point in buying it.
My confidence in the technology has been further undermined by the iterations that nobody told us about when they punted this thing , probably because we wouldn't have bought it if they had. Now, a chunk of the local stations here are DAB+, which my original DAB radio can't receive, rather than DAB so I need to buy yet another new radio and generate more e-waste to replace the still working DAB radio I have if I want the new stations. Now, there's talk of 5G Radio to cover the gaps in DAB and DAB+ so that's another change of gear. I don't want to spend money on radio to have the system change every couple of years and to have that money wasted.
I think it's just laughable that the Government are trying to force smart speaker makers to carry broadcast radio stations, presumably so they can carry on making money from them for licensing, when most of the public I know don't seem to really want them any more. I'm more than happy with the SD card of music in my car radio and with Spotify
"Perhaps this is a silly question - do we get to see the source code for the Microsoft program running on a Linux system ?"
That all depends on where they got the source code from. Pascal is right.
Example one: You write a piece of code that is all your own work on a Linux system - You are free to license that code under whatever license, open or closed source, you like.
Example two: You write a piece of code that is all your own work but calls to one or more external programs (say the program "grep" to search a log file for lines containing the string "Error".) Now grep is open-source licensed under the GPL but you are just running it as an external program (AKA "running it at arms length") so you are still free to license your code under any open or closed source license you choose.
Example three: You write a program and you incorporate code from a GPL-licensed program into your code. Say, you take part of the source code of grep and cut and paste it into your code or link to an open-source library and use its functions like they were your own. Now, you must open-source your code under the GPL as you're incorporating someone else's work that requires that into it. Note that compiler libraries are specifically exempt from this so using say the open source "gcc" C compiler doesn't automatically make anything you compile with it open source.
"Your real problem will be whether your brightest and best fall into this scheme. It looks as if it will only benefit an elite."
...and by extension only the biggest and most well off companies and institutions. Small companies and startups who want to create new innovations are unlikely to be able to attract notable Engineers and Scientists.
"The EU will decide nothing, it will keep intra-EU roaming free of charge and let EU operators decide if they want to re-introduce roaming charges for travel to UK from Jan 2021."
Our networks probably won't decide it either. It will be the mobile networks in the countries we visit. I currently pay about £20 a month for my mobile contract and get unlimited roaming in Europe for a flat rate of £3 a day for each day I'm there.
If I go to Germany on business for a week and Deutsche Telekom start billing my provider a significant sum of money per minute/SMS/MB then those charges will probably be more than the £20 I pay a month, possibly more than the £240 a year I pay. There is no way my provider are going to suck it up if I am costing them more than I'm paying or if the £21 a week roaming fee doesn't cover it.
"Let's face it, a sure fire way to hemorrhage subscribers would be to charge when others don't."
The thing is, it won't happen like that. The Operators won't suddenly say roaming costs money for everyone and cause a massive public backlash and stampede of customers away from them. They will remove free roaming in a "soft" manner, making it no longer available on new contracts.
We won't notice immediately as nothing about our existing deals will have changed. At the end of our lock in period we will be invited to move to a different, SIM-only deal so we're not paying for already paid-off devices. These new deals won't have free roaming. Handset dead after your lock-in expired? Want a new contract to get a replacement? No more free roaming for you! Anyone who doesn't travel frequently will probably take the new deal. Any hold-out refuseniks will continue paying their handset charge which will go straight into the networks' pockets. Others will just look for a new deal as routine when their existing one expires and may just look at the headline price, not noticing the roaming costs money.
This will continue until there are hardly any subscribers left who have free roaming. The networks will either suck this up as it's a small number of people or one day they will all get a letter saying their plan is no longer available and they will be moved to one of the new, no-free-roaming plans automatically but are free to leave if they want a PAC. These customers will look around and find there aren't any free-roaming plans available from any operator any more to jump ship to. This happened to me a few years ago when a plan I'd kept for years because of a particularly advantageous characteristic that was no longer a thing got "retired." These "last few" will moan but there won't be enough of them to kick up a massive public relations stink.
"I hope roaming charges come back, because that will mean domestic chargers are more competitive."
Like that is ever going to happen. Those prices are now viewed as the "going rate." When's the last time any of us saw a company, whose primary duty is to make profit for its shareholders, say "Gosh! We've increased our profits by 4%. We should cut our prices and go back to the amount of money we used to make." ?
I think this will be doubly true now networks are having to pay for the rollout of new 5G networks and will want to fill the holes in their balance sheets from that as much as possible.
Why did nobody do the sums comparing the insurance of proper disaster recovery against the massive costs of cocking it up this badly?
I would go with:
a) because management didn't understand "all this technical mumbo jumbo" and wouldn't spend that much money because everything "was working".
b) because nobody thought it would happen to them.
I've found phrases like "reputational damage" and "existential threat to the business" to be quite useful in meetings.
I'm starting to lose enthusiasm for connected products that don't have a usage cost associated with them.
Any such product where the only time I pay the maker for it is at the time of purchase seems to me like it's based on a "Ponzi scheme" type model. If I keep the product for a long time it will keep consuming back end resources that the maker has to pay for, using up the profit they made from me until my usage of it turns into a loss for them. Once a product ceases to be desirable and people stop buying it the supply of cash from new signups will stop and the back end becomes ripe for getting shut down when the beancounters see it's costing thousands a year to run but generating no revenue.
I'd much rather pay a company like Sonos a small annual subscription (Say £10-20 per installation) so that I was paying for the resources I consume and they didn't have an economic incentive to discontinue the services it needs and I could continue to enjoy it, hopefully for as long as I want.
It's not just hardware. There have been a number of examples of software, like games, becoming unusable when the servers went away. I wonder if it would be a good idea for companies to be given some incentive, like a tax break, for open-sourcing their back end software when they discontinue products to allow the user community to carry on if they wish.
or "Jim" is working at a level of brilliance that has surpassed Simon's expectations...
Jim could have been working from home all this time and never come into the office, hence his survival. What if the bosses that had "unfortunate accidents" were out of work actors that Jim hired to pretend to be him and he's been playing the BOFH all along?
Time for a revenge "field trip" ?
I shift work with frequent unexpected overtime, commuting delays and some foreign trips. Having a heating system I can turn on and off remotely so I'm not heating an unexpectedly empty house or coming home to it freezing I find a useful benefit.
I also find the ability to copy/adjust days and build my heating plan for the coming week on a nice touch screen interface a lot easier than wrestling with a horrible interface with a tiny screen and 4 buttons on the heating programmer.
No doubt it'll be the same at Best Buy when they suddenly announce Son of Insignia in late 2020 (and no of course it won't be compatible)
Of course it won't be compatible, different OEM badge-engineered.
Is it just me or are all these IoT things a giant Ponzi scheme? There is no subscription fee so all their profit comes from new user sign-ups or data mining. Once the device ceases to be cool and the market moves on running the backend is a financial drain on the company that's not paying its way and they will shut it. I'd rather have a product with an annual fee so they're motivated to keep me as a customer.
If you leave your house unlocked, you're insurance won't pay out...
Even if it is illegal to do, do you think someone can be prosecuted for receiving non-encrypted info sent out over the air?"
If you leave your door unlocked and someone enters and removes your property without your permission then they can still be prosecuted for theft. Your failure to secure your property doesn't constitute permission.
Under the UK Wireless Telegraphy Act, unless you are a person with permission from the government, like an Ofcom employee whose job it is to monitor radio compliance or you have permission from the radio transmission license holder you may only receive transmissions intended for general reception (licensed broadcast stations), weather broadcasts, CB or amateur radio. A side effect of this is that it is actually a crime to listen to a pirate radio station because they don't have a license and are therefore not covered by the broadcast exemption.
There is an Ofcom document that sets out what it is legal to use a radio receiver for.
Someone can absolutely be prosecuted under the Wireless Telegraphy Act for receiving something they shouldn't that was unencrypted and it has happened. An offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act has probably also been committed if someone knowingly intercepts private messages intended for someone else without their permission. Add on a Data Protection Act charge too if the signal contained personal information because it was sent by a computer and miscreant in this case used a computer to convert it back into text.
That this person had an Amateur Radio License is an aggravating factor as they have done radio training, should know better and can't claim they bought a scanner off Amazon and nobody told them what they shouldn't do with it. They are in a load of trouble and, if prosecuted under the Wireless Telegraphy Act will be disqualified from holding an Amateur radio license or working for any broadcast station for 5 years.
+10 stupidity points for also putting it unsecured on the Internet so they got caught.
"Verizon UK's Central London Data Centre next to a major rail network hub"
This isn't much of a surprise to me. Before privatization, a British Rail communications engineer told me that they had the 2nd largest telecoms network in the country. Lots of lovely straightish lines between major population centres that cables could be neatly buried beside. Selling dark fibre space to the likes of Verizon would seem to be a nice little earner for them.
Thanks for that PLT stuff Which?, from everyone who enjoys the hobby of amateur radio. You seemed unaware of the potential downsides but it had to be better because it meant not having to run cables.
When I was a student, my Landlord subscribed to Which and I got to read it. I was never impressed. I didn't get the impression that the people writing the reviews had really taken the time to get to understand the products they were talking about. They seemed to be prone to getting dazzled by looks and glossy-brochure claims.
I don't claim to be an expert on the things they were reviewing but, as an engineer, what I read didn't look like the words of people who gave sound evidence-based advice.
A friend of a friend was charged with monitoring web access, viewing questionable material to verify it was a breach of company policy and collecting evidence to initiate disciplinary proceedings at a major banking company.
One day he told my friend that he'd discovered a prolific offender. "I can't believe this person. They spend over 6 hours a day surfing porn and don't seem to do any legitimate work. They're done as soon as the request to return a user name for the IP address comes back."
The next day, he was much less excited. "You know that person who was surfing porn 6 hours a day?" "Yeah..." "It was me."
Such ID transmitting devices already exist. They are, however, obscenely expensive (at least 2-3 times the cost of most craft) and fairly battery hungry. They also require an ID number which would mean having to go through the costly process of getting formal aircraft registration. Their weight and power draw would also affect the performance and flying time of, particularly lighter, craft.
Part of the problem faced by drone owners is the success of DJI. They have become such a market leader that their products, particularly the Phantom, are what the public thinks of when drones come to mind and their capabilities are assumed by the public to apply to all UAVs.
The heart of any drone is the Flight Controller (FC.) It manages the craft and converts the control inputs from the sticks into control signals that direct the motors. Unlike a model plane, where the stick movements can be directly translated into movements of the control surfaces, a drone can't fly without an FC.
Not all FCs support geofencing around airports. In fact, most non-DJI units don't. Not all FCs have GPS as standard or at all. It's not desirable on grounds of weight or battery life in some applications such as drone racing which is performed with small, very fast craft where agility is much more important than stability. Not to mention a lot of drone racing being done indoors.
Would any legal restrictions require onerous technical inspections to check the capabilities of craft? How do they know that my GPS-equipped FC isn't running old firmware from the pre-restricted days or I haven't unplugged the GPS cable? Would I need to have it re-inspected every time I did significant work on it?
As a user and author of open source software, I have concerns about where this might lead. If GPS and geofencing that couldn't be defeated were to be made legal requirements, that would effectively constitute a ban on all of the open source FCs as they either wouldn't have geofencing or any miscreant could edit the code or the no-fly-zone list to remove the restrictions. I'd hate to see a precedent set and it become normal for open source to be banned from whole classes of products because of what someone might modify them to do.
The autonomous flying of any model aircraft is already banned in the UK. All operations must be below 400ft (125m) and within visual line of slight (VLOS.) The operator must be in full control of the vehicle at all times.
I also have doubts about what "industrial specification" means and what this craft might have been. If the person writing the statement knew their drones, it's fairly specific and there are a limited number of craft that such a description would cover. I suspect, however, that the person making the statement probably didn't know the subject and "industrial specification" probably means anything larger and more imposing looking than a DJI Phantom rather than a professional-use craft.
As a member of the multirotor (drone) flying community, I'd like to say the person doing this isn't representative of us. I don't know of anyone in our club who wouldn't grass the offender up if they knew who it was. I hope they are caught swiftly, made an example of by the law then sued into oblivion by the airport and airlines for their commercial losses. A court injunction prohibiting the person from owning or flying any kind of drone or model aircraft for life would also seem appropriate. The last thing that we, as a community, need is some knee jerk law passed because politicians and the Daily Mail think something has to be seen to be done. The things this person has done are already illegal under multiple laws. Those laws now need to be enforced severely and publicly.
First thing I would do is get a drone video receiver. If the person doing this is hiding and doesn't have line of sight to the craft, they will, most likely, be flying by video. If they're using off-the-shelf kit (likely) it will probably be on one of the standard 5.8 GHz video channels. Watch (and record) the pictures from the drone and follow it home. If the perp is careless, you may even get a pic of them.
"Simple answer, no access, take £1Bn out of the devource payment, what is the EU going to do ?"
Then countries all round the world will see we don't stick to our end of the bargain when we make an agreement and no longer consider us a good-faith negotiating partner. Just what we need when we're trying to negotiate trade deals for "Global Britain."
There is no "punishment" being handed out here. If you join a club, that membership comes with costs and benefits you receive in return for your membership fee. If you decide to cease being a member, you stop paying those costs and you cease receiving the benefits. Would you complain you were being punished if you decided to cancel your gym membership and they wouldn't let you continue to use their Jacuzzi? If you stopped paying for health insurance after years and thousands of pounds of membership, would you consider it unfair or disrespectful they wouldn't give you treatment if you got sick after you left?
We were instrumental in writing the Galileo rules. We knew they contained a provision that non-EU members can't have military-grade access to or perform work on the service. When we triggered Article 50, it was entirely predictable that we would lose access to the system as non-members. Those of us who repeated pointed things such as this out were howled down as "Project Fear" or "unpatriotic."
This whole "punishment" argument makes me quite angry. Vocal parts of the Brexit movement told the people that we were so special that the EU would bend over to give us a wonderful deal when the EU, quite honestly, said from day one that no non-member deal could ever be as good as a member deal. I have had to close the business I spent 25 years nurturing because I can't get anyone to sign contracts for performing work on the continent when I can't promise I will be able to fulfill them going forward and the customers were looking for long term business relationships. The orders dried up as soon as the referendum result was announced. I am angry that those who convinced the people that a better deal would be available are now using talk of "punishment" to try to avoid responsibility by effectively saying, "It's the EU's fault they won't give you what we said you could have. Not ours."
Business moves cost money and take time. Big businesses, unable to get the certainty they wanted that they weren't going to be hugely impacted by Brexit, have already started moving jobs and the money that goes with them abroad. It's the sensible course of action for any large company faced with a significant business threat. They need to make moving decisions in time to get the move done before the threat materializes. Because of the time and money moves cost, once those jobs are gone, they're not coming back.
I had this update auto-apply to a home version of Windows on one of my laptops. I don't use OneDrive (machine only has a local account) so, as far as I can tell so far, I've not had any files disappear into the ether.
The update did break something else though. It brought in a bad version of the Atheros Killer 1525 driver and hosed the WiFi and Bluetooth on the laptop (error code 10, device cannot be initialized). This is clearly a not-uncommon problem as there's a page in the Killer Networking Knowledgebase describing it and how to fix it.
I acknowledge QC is hard in a product this widespread that runs on thousands of different pieces of hardware but I am surprised that a bad driver for a network adaptor from a major maker, like Atheros, wasn't picked up.
It's my view that the EU "divorce bill" should be separated from the outcome of the current negotiations. These are things we already agreed to fund at the point we entered into them and I see our current attempts to use them as leverage in the negotiating process as very damaging to our credibility on the world stage.
How will any other country view us as a faithful and honest party to enter into any long term agreement with in future if we don't honor existing agreements and demonstrate that we have no issue walking away leaving unpaid bills if we don't get what we want at the end?
Yeah. What has the space industry and the technology that trickled down from it into wider use ever done for us? It's not like people have benefited from technology like the microprocessor, inertial navigation, priority-based task scheduling, satellites, earth observation, GPS, insulation materials, scratch resistant lenses, CAT scans, LEDs, water purification systems, memory foam...
I take issue with your assertion that this referendum was "free and fair."
In the UK, it is illegal to tell lies about a political candidate during an election campaign in order to sabotage their candidacy. There is no similar law that makes it illegal to tell such lies in a referendum campaign.
The EU referendum campaign was, in my view, defined by people telling the public whatever they wanted to hear to get the result they desired. I don't think that any democratic process can be defined as "free and fair" or even genuinely democratic when significant campaigners set out to spread misinformation so that the voters weren't making a genuinely informed decision.
You make it sound like ISPs and transit providers are operating as charities...
As both a content producer and an Internet user, I pay my ISP and hosting provider for the service I receive, including the bandwidth I consume. They use some of that money to pay their upstream providers who use some of that to pay their transit providers and so on. Everyone is getting paid. If I pay for bandwidth, I expect to be able to use it and, provided I'm not using it for any purpose that compromises network integrity or brings law enforcement to their doors, what I do with that bandwidth should be none of their business. I paid for it. It should be mine to use.
How is it possibly anti-consumer or anti-competitive to guarantee that I can use the bandwidth I'm paying for to consume the services I choose? On the other hand, I would see it as massively anti-competitive for my ISP to push me towards a content provider they have some paid prioritisation deal with by making competing services perform so badly in comparison that I give up on them. It would be like the parking provider in town making me use only one entry and exit lane and park in the crappy spaces on the 5th floor unless I was going to the supermarket in town that had paid them.
From my point of view, this whole thing is about corporate greed from the ISPs, particularly the cable ones. Not content with the fee they charge me for the service I bought, they want to double-dip the content providers. Now, I do see this as anti-consumer. If content providers have to hand over huge chunks of money to ISPs, they will want to get this money back. They will do this by taking it from me, directly or indirectly. Things that were free will suddenly cost money. There will be "premium" access plans to things that were free. Paid sites' prices will go up, they won't buy as much content or they will end up plastered in advertising to recover the charges. All of these things will take away from the Internet experience of consumers, particularly those on restricted incomes.
What happens if transit providers see the ISPs get this and decide they want a slice of the action? Will ISPs who don't engage in prioritisation end up with it by default when Netflix pay their upstream provider but Amazon don't? I'm starting to feel like this is the thin end of a very large wedge. Hey, why shouldn't Cisco have a slice too? Their gear is switching it all.
Torvald's Expletive Laden Rant - Finnish craft export bitter
DHCP - Distinctly Hoppy Craft Pint
DROP TABLE Ale;
USB - Universally Stout Beer
Ankles Tangled & Twisted (AT&T) - Outsourced IPA.
Core Dump - Late harvest cider
PoE - Pint of Excellence
Asterisk BoIP (Beer of India Pale)
SaaS (Sauce as a Service) - Golden ale, provided by someone else
Git Push - Strong ale; a real fighting drink
Facebork - Another strong, dark ale.
Turing's Bombe - Finely crafted tribute to Alan Turing. It's not quick but the results make it worth the wait.
Sadly, these non-technical management types believe the Sales Account Manager when they tell them their encryption is "military strength and would take someone 8000 years to crack with a super computer."
No sales person is going to tell the CTO that their product is "a bit crap and, in a couple of years, some kid in their bedroom will be able to crack it in less than a weekend using a couple of CUDA graphics cards."
Taking a quick glance down their membership list, I'm sure I've missed some but the ones that jump to my eye are:
ActiveVideo Networks LLC (Charter)
Association of American Publishers
Book Industry Study Group
Cable Television Laboratories Inc
Digital Comic Association
DRM Inside Co Ltd
Media Do Co
The Motion Picture Association of America Inc
Penguin Random House
Recording Industry Association of America
Sport Total AG
The Walt Disney Company
I'm really pissed with Windows 10. Since the last update, I can't see my NAS any more and none of the guides on the net have brought it back. Booting Linux on the same machine shows it fine.
The only things I use Windows for now are games, my photography software and the programming software for my two way radios. Every new major Win 10 update forces more privacy invading features on me that I often can't disable. I can't wait to seen the back of it.
I'm even starting to feel happy about work's declared plan to switch us all over to Macs.
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