* Posts by . 3

56 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Jan 2010


If you wanna make your own open-source chip, just Google it. Literally. Web giant says it'll fab them for free

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Re: VHDL's still a verbose horror, then.

Great to see Chisel getting a mention. It's the way forward for open source hardware; a functional programming language for building up digital logic. Easy to grok, easy to maintain, 100% provable.

BTW, the Google chip thing seems to top out at 40 IOs, so practically zero chance of building a fancy CPU unless it needs next to no memory or next to no connection to the outside world.

Embrace and kill? AppGet dev claims Microsoft reeled him in with talk of help and a job – then released remarkably similar package manager

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Re: All big guys have similar attitudes

This isn't what became HP VEE? I vaguely recall there were several rivals to Labview around in the early nineties.

Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

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Re: You supported a system...

"Gove90!" Ha ha ha!

Pew-pew woo-hoo! Hong Kong reopens video arcades shut by coronavirus lockdown

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Re: Dense city

Mask wearing in China to prevent the spread of disease apparently dates all the way back to the aftermath of the Spanish 'flu around 1920. If you have a cold it is customary to wear a mask in public so you don't pass in on.

Broadcom sues Netflix for its success: You’re stopping us making a fortune from set-top boxes, moans chip designer

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Re: Raspberry lining

BT Home Hubs use Lantiq chipsets. Or is that just another Broadcom tentacle?

ReactOS 'a ripoff of the Windows Research Kernel', claims Microsoft kernel engineer

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Re: It's an opinion.

We use systemd quite a bit for embedded stuff which is tailored per customer installation - mainly to provide a consistent way to manage process startup and watchdogging whether running full fat Debian or just Buildroot on some tiny ARM. The syntax is a bit arcane and debugging can be a bit of a bear, but there's not really anything better for free.

US kids apparently talking like Peppa Pig... How about US lawmakers watching Doctor Who?

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The King in Ben and Holly has it harder. I empathise with that guy more. And the grown-up's jokes in that show are funnier.

The kids prefer Hey Duggee. I hope that gets exported one day and America ends up with a generation impersonating an ott Alexander Armstrong.

HMRC: We 'rigorously tested' IR35 tax-check tool... but have almost nothing to show for it

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Re: Were...

There appears to be a private key in there. Nice touch!

https://github.com/hmrc/off-payroll-decision/blob/master/conf/application.conf :45

I do approve of the choice of tool though.

'Prodigy' chip moonshot gets hand from Arm CPU guru Prof Steve Furber

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Transactional memory

Possibly the biggest new thing here is proper hardware support for transactional memory. It will take all the guesswork out of inter-thread data sharing and will make putting memory barriers into code a thing of the past, together with the horrible caching penalties those can incur. The last few generations of Xeons have had some support for it baked in but it's currently disabled by the microcode for some reason.

There's not much language support for TM yet, but C11 and C++11 introduced new primitives. Only GCC supports them so far, relying on a software emulation library which is dog slow especially on ARM.

Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

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Re: Why IMAP and not XNMP?

There's already enough XMPP capacity in existence for billions of users (cf. ejabberd). However, there is no centrally stored message history so it's no Facebook replacement.

Why stop at Faceache? An open protocol Ebay / Amazon must be a good decade overdue.

F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus

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Re: C++?

> The F-35’s core software is written in C++ and runs on commercial off-the-shelf PowerPC architecture processors.

I have to disagree: C++ does very little to help the programmer of a concurrent system and adds plenty of bear traps, regardless of which libraries are slapped on to try and hide the especially dangerous bits.

ADA has spawned several of the languages du jour. Rust as sneered at in a previous comment would probably be a more suitable tool than C++ as it at least intrinsically takes care of synchronisation and memory safety, providing some protection from shoddy programming. But Erlang, though somewhat more esoteric, has steadily built up a reputation for ultra reliability and would probably be my first choice for this sort of loosely coupled heterogeneous system. As a bonus its VM was designed for tightly constrained embedded hardware from the outset.

Still using Adobe Flash? Oh well, get updating: 15 hijack flaws patched

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Still using Adobe Flash?

...asks the online news outfit still earning a crust from flash ads irritatingly inserted inline with the article text. May be wise to stop biting the hand that feeds?

NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM

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"As it turns there were several small surface changes found in the predicted area of the impact

Wonder what that statement implies for the state of preservation of Apollo detritus anyway.

Micro Men: The story of the syntax era

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Re: A brief - and significant time

Genuinely interested to hear which of Thatcher's policies you think had any bearing on the home computer phenomenon. Perhaps the general unshackling of private enterprise encouraged it along, but I think the seeds were rooted much further back in the legacies of gigantic military R&D budgets and totally state funded further education, both of which have tailed off subsequently.

MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

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Re: You have missed the boat!!!

Actually about mid 2012 was the cut-off date when you could have bought off the shelf a (then) brand new top-of-the-line Altera Stratix V for about $6k dollars and at ~2GH/s would have had a month or two to cash in. Clearly there were a lot of folk with their finger on the pulse back then who did exactly that.

Since then you have had to buy ASIC boxes which transform into boat anchors the instant the next process shrink happens.

Scrypt is quite a good leveller as your hash rate is more-or-less tied to your randomly-addressed memory bandwidth. Static RAM devices, particularly those with multi-ports gain you a bit of an advantage over PC DIMMs. Fortunately modern FPGAs are chock full of small SRAMs and an ASIC similarly dense cannot be made low-cost due to die area requirement.

Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

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Re: He's right.

I don't understand how this is really any different to the publicly undocumented stuff on all 3D graphics chips.

The documentation is usually available only under NDA because a) the registers are there for hardware hacks and you can potentially do an inadvertent HCF by writing the wrong thing or even just doing so in the wrong order and b) documenting it would reveal stuff about how it works which is useful to the competition.

With the pace of SoC development, registers for fudge factors and such will always be present in these devices as there just aren't going to be enough respins of a part to iron them out. Therefore SoC's in general don't make for great general compute platforms. (Says an OpenWRT hacker. :-)

Review: Mio Cyclo 300 cycling satnav

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Re: Sunlight

I am currently using a phone with an OLED display on mine with a bluetooth earpiece and it's fine. I have yet to try it in Summer, but tucked inside the fairing it's got some shielding from the daylight. Nokia Maps is superb by the way and shames the Tomtom I have.

New transistor tech could beat silicon and save Moore's Law

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Re: Gallium arsenide has been talked up for decades now

Researchers were building circuits with up to 6 transistors on a gallium arsenide substrate when I was in uni 15 years ago, also using MBE. I think no matter how small they are, drawing the individual transistors on is not feasible when you need billions per device.

Evildoers can now turn all sites on a Linux server into silent hell-pits

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Ahh, I've got it now. I agree completely.

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What I mean is this: He's written some clever code to modify the functionality of the TCP stack in such a way that it can tell when a new web page is on it's way out and modify it as it passes though without triggering anything watching. He might well be developing this on Linux (as let's be honest, it would be night on impossible trying to debug and test it under Windows), so having some real Linux servers to try it on would be invaluable.

As there's no apparent mention of the method of installation, we can assume he has got root access to these machines by some other means and just gone in and done it manually. It's not a virus if there's no method of installing itself on other machines.

Once the code is perfected, it can be ported to whatever OS is vulnerable to attack, yet still a worthwhile target.

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It sounds like it's the method of modifying the TCP stack to inject some extra bytes and, perhaps more cleverly, knowing exactly when to do it that is the novel technique.

Given there's no mention of how it gets planted on the server, the OS is pretty irrelevant. Perhaps the developer was just testing it out on some servers he already has access to that happen to all be running Debian. Having it spawning shells and writing temp files is pretty indicative of something not well polished.

BBC in secret trial to see if you care about thing you plainly don't

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Re: So..

(Hint: Here is a very good portable DAB receiver that I've used and like: http://www.tesco.com/direct/pure-one-mi-portable-dabfm-radio-black/208-6060.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=208-6060 , Note: Other even cheaper options are also available.)

Heh, I have that exact radio too. The FM mode is noticeably less muffled sounding than DAB mode. I'm about 11 miles as the crow flies from my local transmitter and it's more or less flat ground. Also, Radio 1 in DAB appears to lag R1 analogue by a significant fraction of a second.

I like the extra stations, particularly Radio 6 music which sounds great on iPlayer, just saying if they're serious about DAB they really need to fix the problems first.

The Jupiter Ace: 40 years on

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Re: It came out of Tangerine.

Excellent stuff! I had an Oric at primary school age. I remember my Dad coming home one day with a copy of the v1.1 ROM burned onto a couple of EPROMs. I guess someone at work must have had a new Atmos and let him have a copy of the ROM image somehow. It absolutely transformed the machine. I took the old EPROMs to school subsequently to show to the awe of the children (and confoundment of my teacher). "You can see the actual microchip through the little window!"

The 6502 and its beefed up successors are still very much alive inside of various ASICs. I bought a little photo frame a while ago which contains a very standard 6502 augmented with JPEG decoder hardware, SPI flash and USB interface.

UK.gov squatting on £1bn IPv4 motherlode

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Re: "over 16.8 million"

"It's also the number of colours in the RGB palette (256^3)."

No it isn't, that would be infinity. Though by quantizing it at 256 levels per channel you actually end up with many repetitions of the same set of colours at differing brightness or saturation.

(Also RGB HDMI uses 30 bits per pixel.)

Why Java would still stink even if it weren't security swiss cheese

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Re: Problem is,

Absolutely yes to C# (and F#). Microsoft (or other global megacorp) doing more to help bring Mono up to scratch would be the optimal solution.

If Ultrabooks lasted longer, would YOU open your wallet?

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Re: Not a PC

"My PC doesn't have an ISA bridge and it's 5 years old. Do you think the presence of a serial port honestly effects battery life and performance?"

Yes it does. Boot into a Linux kernel and you will be able to see what's hanging off it, including the PIC. Of course it's all embedded into one of the jungle chips on the motherboard, but it is still there ticking away consuming power. Intel based Apple products of course will have it too, but it will be switched off.

Tablet tech is really a Psion of the times

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Re: All I want

Yes, yes, and perhaps not Android. Energy efficiency was coded deep into the roots of EPOC (Symbian) in a way it just isn't with Android/Linux. Symbian is still being worked on somewhere by somebody, so I think that would be my preference, or at least a choice.

Perhaps some enterprising individual cobble a Raspberry Pi and a colour OLED screen into a Psion V chassis and win teh Internet for a day.

What happens when Facebook follows MySpace?

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Scriptable uploads

For the past 2 or three years I've found a combination of Imgur.com for pictures, Vimeo.com for movies and the Super Dimension Fortress freeshell.org (need to email them a one dollar bill for a web account) for the text and meta works adequately.

My point is though, that the whole lot is backed up multiple times on machines I own, and I've picked services which happen to have a convenient way to automatically shove the latest content on line from a shell script. If one of those entities drops off the web, I'll pick another with a non-interactive means of publishing content and tweak my scripts to suit. That way, the content will be available as long as I can be bothered to keep it maintained.

It's a cheap way to do it. And archive.org hoovers up everything at irregular intervals too.

iOS was SO much more valuable to Google than Android - until Maps

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Re: @Neil Barnes

Bing even provides a nice API for the maps too. I wrote a little Python script a while ago to scrape OS maps in both scales for the whole British isles. The tarball of all the map tiles comes to a little over 16G and easily fits on an SD card.

Google to bring Raspberry Pi to Bash Street

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Re: 102 RPis?

Mine from the ramped up production run arrived this morning.

Chucked in a fresh SD card, samsung phone charger, gash keyboard and the TV and it's buzzing away happily. Nice work raspberry people!

Managed to step on my one and only wifi dongle so got to wait for a new one to arrive now :-/

Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K quad-core CPU

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Re: Price?

Well for a point of reference, the work I do is very CPU and memory bound. I spent quite a bit of time looking at Ivy Bridge and the alternatives, and went for a 3570k (quad-core Ivy Bridge but without Hyper Threading). Performance for well behaved multi threaded programs is identical to the 3770, but there's a near on £80 price difference.

Ten... two-bay Nas boxes

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Re: Green Power

I switched to an mini-ITX form factor always-on server: a dual-core Atom with a pair of 2.5" laptop drives in a £30 off ebay small form factor case. I have a Wifi router int he same box which steals power from a drive bay. Total outlay was about £120 and running tweaked-a-bit Ubuntu server, quiescent power draw is near enough 18W, or £18 a year in electric.

I plan to replace the PSU with a SLA battery and trickle charger one day as a sort of poor man's UPS, Google tea tray server style.

MYSTERY programming language found in Duqu

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Reminds me about the story of the supposedly biggest ever deployment of the scheme language was an interpreter some poor techie embedded into his employer's toolbar / adware / malware for the express purpose of detecting rival's malware and disabling it. There was such a constant state of flux between the different camps, a lightweight framework for distributing and executing the day's new rules gave them a huge advantage apparently.

In modern terms though, object orientated and lightweight would suggest Lua. Perhaps the byte code is obfuscated.

Ford intros tech'd-up B-Max mini-MPV

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Re: Re: Re: Re: "litres per 100km"?

Ahem, see here: www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=257

Litres/100km does make more sense when comparing products as it makes for a linear scale.

Apple files patent for 'polished meteorite' keyboard

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Re: prior art?

I have an actual computer keyboard in front of me right now which works exactly the way described. It's in the front panel of a piece of equipment made in the 1970s and is obviously not meant to be typed on, more for pushing buttons to command the machine to do things. The key hinges are half an inch above the bit you press, but you do get a nice click action.

The icing on the cake is that the key caps are actually little transparent perspex windows which you can pop off with a suitable tool (watchmakers screwdriver) to customize the key legends, i.e with printed paper, slivers of wood, metal, meteorite, etc.

I wouldn't for an instant want to bet on Apple not getting awarded their patent though. (Twats.)

Brit student locked up for Facebook source code hack

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Bad metaphor

that is. Are you a policeman?

Iran draws veil over secure internet access

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Would be interested to hear how they are filtering the SSL traffic. If it's by port, then it's trivial for hosts to circumvent. If there's packet inspection going on then SSH port forwarding to a friendly proxy may be a good substitute? I doubt even a deranged government would attempt to block all ssh traffic on spec as too much stuff would break. They may as well just turn the whole WAN off and be done with it.

Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics

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Hah. My daily driver is a Datsun Cherry. I had a Proton MPi once. The Proton was a thinly veiled 80's Vauxhall and although comfy exhibited all the rubbishness. Apart for is love for the tinworm, the Datsun is in a different league in terms of component quality and refinement.

I don't think you can draw any meaningful comparison between Japanese and South Korean car industries at all. Different mindset, different goals.

YaCy takes on Google with open source search engine

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You know what to do...

So get involved and so some tweaking ;-)

Truck nuts swing onto US freedom of speech agenda

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Tow hitch

AFAIK they are always the detachable type in the US. Much neater looking than the horrendous 1/4" plate and a enormous pair of nuts style we have had mandated in the UK since forever.

Hackers pierce network with jerry-rigged mouse

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Nice hack

Neatly demonstrates the USB renegotiation function built into the newish Atmel ATMega*u2/4/6 line.

It's not really doing anything you couldn't do with an attack on a wireless keyboard though and stands a higher risk of being detected. e.g. by the anti-virus software throwing a warning when a new device is connected. I have been on sites where the leads are glued into the USB ports and any spares pasted over to mitigate this type of attack.

Peugeot 508 Active e-HDI micro-hybrid

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Wait, what..?

So it has a regular starter motor, a starter/generator and super caps? Why the redundancy? And all duct taped together with legendary French electrics. Hmm.. think I'll pass on that one.

Unique imagery of Shuttle docked to ISS released

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Big shuttle is big

Shuttle is not exactly dwarfed by the ISS, but a lot of the area is solar panels. Can't help but wonder how many shuttle trips before you might as well have just ridden the ISS into orbit.

Elite coder readies £15 programming gadget for schools

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Wires = JTAG?

Looks like a JTAG header to me. Can't see an obvious one anywhere else.

iPhones secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements

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And also wrong

If you had read the cited article, it's not the tower location, it's triangulating your actual location down to a few metres and recording it with timestamps with 1 second precision. And it's not a cache file, it's an SQL database which is not getting deleted.

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Did you bother to read it?

It does actually triangulate your position. With 3G, the cell base stations already know their own location and broadcast it precisely so devices can do this.

Android's online location database is for stations which don't report their location, i.e. GSM (and WiFi thanks to streetview).

Flash drives dangerously hard to purge of sensitive data

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Absolutely right

It's sloppiness on the part of the SSD controller firmware that the ATA security erase command does not directly translate to an erase all pages command to each nand flash chip. The operation takes about 3-5 seconds to complete on the nand flashes I'm familiar with and every last bit can be guaranteed to have been reset to a 1 unless it is already worn out, in which case the odd zero in a sea of ones is hardly going to convey meaningful data.

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@Ammaross Danan

NAND flash memory is very much segmented into pages, usually 512 bytes. This is the granularity of an erase operation. Your point about them being emulated is wrong.

I think the detail in your comment of the physical layout is a bit of a red herring as magnetic drives also have the same disconnect between logical and physical indexing: They usually employ multiple heads and have a strategy of dynamically reordering the data with the aim of reducing lateral head movements to minimise power consumption, seek time and noise.

Absolutely right that encrypting any temporary files (and the swap file/partition too) is the only way to be sure.

ARM Holdings eager for PC and server expansion

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MS on Acrhimedes

My memory is hazy as it was a long time since I was in high school where we had one of these machines set up in a locked cupboard due to the vast expense incurred procuring it, but I can faintly recall a 486 co-processor on a daughter card therein which I believe was there solely to execute the MS binaries. In other words it was a bastard offspring and there wasn't actually any emulation going on.

Dirty PCs: How much filth can you take?

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TVs too

colour CRT TVs this is; the ones that came from a smoking household and had been on 12 hours a day for a few years tended to grow sticky tendrils about the back of the tube and over the HT portions of the PCBs. A vacuum cleaner and brush would only ever be partially successful at removing it before you had to start working on it. Trike was the best stuff for getting it off.