* Posts by Joseph Lord

341 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Nov 2009


Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

Joseph Lord

If you think a blockchain can solve your problem

If you think a blockchain can solve your problem then you understand neither blockchains or your problem.

'Green' Apple: We've smudged a bit off our carbon footprint

Joseph Lord

Pretty good lifespan

Actually despite the lack of upgradability the lifespan of Apple products seems pretty good. Trade in values for even quite old kit aren't bad. At least those I'm aware of seem to get passed on through the family until they are truly obsolete or destroyed.

Apple OS X Yosemite 4 TIMES more popular than Mavericks

Joseph Lord

Yosemite is more available

There is an open beta programme AND Yosemite is open to iOS developers whereas I don't think Mavericks was.

AT&T: 'twas conniving contractors who nicked your info

Joseph Lord

Re: ...is a phone company doing with SSNs?

Given how many companies you may work for in a career even with those limitations it is hard to consider such a number a secret. Better to treat as only an identifier with no authentication value.

Identity theft doesn't exist, identity fraud gets committed against banks and other financial organisations. Identity theft is a meme to shift the blame and the victim.

Sony bosses will return bonuses as firm preps for BILLIONS in losses

Joseph Lord

Re: Todokōru

> While their products are generally good, I do have one complaint: their audio specifications are crap. There is something drastically wrong with Sony sound. To my ear, it's very "flat."

I thought "flat" was high praise for audio gear. A flat response would imply a lack of distortion/alteration of the original signal wouldn't it? Or do you prefer high oxygen copper cables for the dynamism they add to the music?

Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

Joseph Lord

Power draw? Noise measurements?

What is the idle power draw? And under load? Noise measurements at both?

This would be most interesting to me as a small powerful server including tasks such as running builds and tests for software under development not just file serving so having a low idle power draw would be important.

It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Joseph Lord

Re: Please Reg keep your technical standards

No they don't "own" the machine without further steps (privilege escalation exploit or social engineering to get admin password). The can however access all your data, log web browsing and keystrokes so that they can get at your bank account (e.g. install browser plugin that performs MITM attack while you login).

Labour calls for BIG OVERHAUL of UK super-snoop powers in 'new digital world'

Joseph Lord


I would agree (possibly not the current intention but the likely outcome once back in power) but given the revelations about GCHQ I find it hard to imagine how they could possibly extend their snooping. Maybe it will allow the use of the results in court and to be shared more widely with the police and others.

Ghostwriter: Assange™ is NARCISSISTIC and UNTRUTHFUL

Joseph Lord

Re: That's who you need @hollerith

> Assange gutless coward. (Nuke him)

No give him a fair trial for breach of bail conditions and apply proper legal process (probably already done) between UK and Sweden and send him back to the Swedish justice system to process as appropriate. Even dickheads get fair trials.

Uni of Maryland hacked: 300,000 SSNs of staff, students, alumni swiped

Joseph Lord

Re: Stupid

What is really stupid is anyone that treats the Social Security number as a secret and uses it as an authenticator rather than just as an identifier.

Also it isn't "identity theft" it is bank fraud. The whole identity theft meme is a victim and blame shifting exercise.

MtGox fallout bogs down Bitcoin traders as malleability issue goes mainstream

Joseph Lord

Re: So the BTC unique selling point has evaporated...

From what I have read this is a MtGOX stupidity. They should have been checking that there was a transaction with correct sender, recipient and amount instead they looked for a transaction with a particular hash. The hash is based on some data that is allowed to change so people were changing it at MtGOX were paying them again.

This still doesn't mean that Bitcoins have any real value. I watch from a safe distance.

Sony set to axe 5,000 workers worldwide as it flings PC biz overboard

Joseph Lord

Re: TV and DLNA

Don't know if it "approved" but my TV KDL-24EXx20 works fine with MythTV and so do a few other servers I have used. I think it is only wanting to "approve" things that they can test and ensure won't be broken by someone else's updates.

There is nothing deliberately crippled it is just cautiousness about making claims that can't be fulfilled.

Ex Sony TV Product Planner.

Nokia waves goodbye to device biz as phone sales continue to spiral

Joseph Lord

Prediction for 2016/17

(Or whenever Nokias no compete clause finishes).

Nokia buys Jolla and makes a return to the phone market.

I think that they might be quite successful having shed the the hulk of the once dominant monster and with the brand not completely destroyed. They would also have a platform that should be maturing at that point and I have feeling that the Android party will have peaked with growing acrimony between Google and Samsung.

Romanian Bitcoin baron 'stumps up $20k to keep OpenBSD's lights on'

Joseph Lord

Re: Why no Apple?

Lots of wrongness to go around here.

OS X, iOS, Linux (even most other BSDs) are not "based on OpenBSD". However the OpenBSD project includes some VERY widely used subprojects; particularly OpenSSL and OpenSSH which you may may have used on many other platforms.

Snowden to warn Brits on Xmas telly: Your children will NEVER have privacy

Joseph Lord

Re: Kids DON'T WANT privacy

I don't care if today's kid's don't want Privacy, the next generation might and I certainly want it, at least at times. You would probably have to work quite hard to find a picture of me online and certainly one of my child even if you were a 'friend' on FB.

And there are already teaching in schools not to give personal data to strangers online (and this is 5 and 6 year olds in Year 1).

'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

Joseph Lord

> So Google did a reimplementation of the part of the API they felt they needed, similar to what Compaq did with the PC BIOS.

Except unlike Compaq they didn't do a clean room reimplementation from a specification they just copied. And unlike Compaq they didn't produce something compatible.

Joseph Lord

Re: If Oracle want APIs copyrighted

> Yuck! API's are not copyrighted! We remember SCO suing IBM over Unix copyrights, when all that was copied seems to have been a couple of header files.

I don't remember whether API's could be copyrightable ever came up in the SCO case, it certainly wasn't a key factor. Some of the reasons SCO lost:

SCO didn't own the copyrights, Novell did.

The Unix API had mostly be licensed or not properly copyrighted (at the time you needed to add copyright notices and register copyright) originally such that is was available for use by Linux.

Linux didn't copy anything (SCO scraped together a few dozen matching lines but they weren't illegitimately copied).

SCO released it's own version of LInux with the relevant code in under the GPL.

IBM had licenses by various routes anyway.

Joseph Lord

Re: I wan't Oricle to win

This isn't about using an API but reimplementing.

What are you imagining might cause them issues? I expect that they largely have licenses whether open source, liberal ones from standards orgs or commercial ones.

Google could have implemented Dalvik under the GPL but they chose not to. Much as I hate Oracle I don't have much sympathy for Google either. Ask yourself if you would feel the same if it was old Sun instead of Oracle and MS instead of Google would you feel the same?

Joseph Lord

Re: This is a tough one...

They both do (or neither if it so obviously the only way to express the information). Copyright only prevents copying so a third could do the task years later and if they did it independently they would hold a copyright too.

A fourth person could then come along and copy providing they didn't say who they copied they would probably get away with it as the others wouldn't know which of them was copied.

Patents it does matter who is first (to the patent office) and you can infringe with an independent invention unknowingly. Copyright is the opposite which is why I hate when people talk about intellectual property without being specific.

How STEVE JOBS saved Apple's bacon with an outstretched ARM

Joseph Lord

Re: so Arm says that Apple did innovate then?

> Buying a license to another company's IP and then using it is innovation?

A "big bundle of RTL" (as the article describes what ARM license) representing a processor architecture design does not a silicon chip ready for manufacturing make. There would still have have been massive amounts of design work in the integration to the process and the rest of the components on the chip. Whether it meets your definition of innovative getting the chip out of the door in volume before anyone else is ready to do one is definitely impressive.

BT's new boss reports flat sales and pre-tax profit tumble

Joseph Lord

Just guessing that the 17M homes passed is the number of homes now with fibre available to them. 7M may be the number actually using fibre whether from BT Retail, Plusnet or one of the many other ISPs including Sky, Talktalk and good ones like A&A or Zen.

LinkedIn: Obviously biz people DON'T use MS Exchange servers. REALLY?

Joseph Lord

If you run a company mailserver it is probably worth understanding this...

...because users are encouraged to make LinkedIn a middleman between the mailserver and the user's iPhone so that they can insert LinkedIn contact information into the emails. If I was running email for a company I would put a block in to prevent Linked In connecting into the server as a user due to the security risk.

Surface 2 and iPad Air: Prepare to meet YOUR DOOM under a 'Landfill Android' AVALANCHE

Joseph Lord

Typos and inconsistent units too

"Apple’s iPad Air is 7.5mm thick, weighs 478g, and packs the ARM-based dual-core Cortex-based A7 chip from the iPhone 5S. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 runs Intel’s multi-core i5 Haswell chip is 1.3cm thick and weighs 2lb."

Lets choose metric and tidy that up a bit:

"Apple’s iPad Air is 7.5mm thick, weighs 478g, and packs the ARM-based dual-core Cortex-based A7 chip from the iPhone 5S. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 runs Intel’s multi-core i5 Haswell chip is 13mm thick and weighs 907g."

Surface 2 Pro mass courtesy of http://www.techstumps.com/2013/09/microsoft-launched-surface-2-tablets-with-10.6-hd-display.html.

Beak orders Yahoo! to get on with Microsoft Search rollout in Asia

Joseph Lord

Another reminder that being a Microsoft Partner...

...means that they are likely to ride you into the ground.

Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

Joseph Lord

Re: @Nick Leaton

@AC - 11:45

Taking my 0.0001% figure (I haven't looked in detail at the actual policy proposals) it would take 10,000 transactions in a supply chain before it made 1% of a difference to the cost (assuming all transactions were for the final value of the product). For a complex product like a car that number of transactions being involved is conceivable but the vast majority of them would be for tiny fractions of the total price so the final result would be much smaller. For a restaurant meal there may be hundreds of transactions (again most/all of them for much less than the value of the meal) adding far far less than 1% to the total price, almost certainly less than 0.1% to the price.

Valid concerns would include what the cost of administering such a system would be and determining what was the proper rate for the transaction tax to optimise between limiting harm to normal business and collecting a return and gathering revenue from high frequency, high volume speculative trading.

Joseph Lord

@Nick Leaton

It isn't a couple of quid from each withdrawl, it is a penny every few withdrawls. Scale does matter; what might be bonkers at 10%, 1% or even 0.1% may work very nicely at 0.0001% (or at some other figure).

Assange: 'Ecuadorian embassy staff are like my family'

Joseph Lord

Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

...there is the matter of breaching his bail conditions in the UK to be dealt with.

Note that I have no view on whether the Swedish allegations are true or false. If the case requires it I see no reason for him not to be sent back to Sweden to face their justice processes before or after the breach of bail conditions is dealt with in the UK.

Post-PC world? POST-MAC WORLD more like

Joseph Lord

Products due for replacement - Haswell, bigger SSDs etc.

iMacs updated a couple of weeks ago, MacBook Pro Retina looking tired and pricy, Mac Pro replacement announced and existing product VERY old it is almost surprising that they are selling much in the last quarter. Especially as prices don't generally fall through the model life unlike most competing products so they start just about sensible for new products but look like a rip off just before replacement.

I'll be getting a new Mac (probably MacBook Pro retina) to replace my over 3 year old Core 2 Duo based MacBook Pro that is feeling quite sluggish compiling my apps and running test suites.

Apple ban win: Now you can't buy Samsung gear no one was buying

Joseph Lord

Re: The ITC moves too slowly for it to matter either way

Actually I believe that this and the article are wrong. The listed devices in the ban are only examples and that all devices infringing the patents are in fact banned. There is likely to be further battles about which devices also implement the same patents.

The Apple case was somewhat different in this regard because the newer devices were licensed to use the disputed patents because they used different components that came with licenses.

I haven't studied the details of Apple's patents in use here or the Samsung ones used against Apple and I have no view on the invalidity or infringement of any of them. I was very glad though that Samsung was not allowed an import ban based on FRAND committed patents. If appropriate a court can set royalties and if appropriate penalties against Apple and I'll have no complaint but an import ban or injunction is in almost all cases inappropriate for FRAND committed patents.

Hardbitten NYC cops: Sir, I'm gonna need you to, er, upgrade to iOS 7

Joseph Lord

Re: Fuzz

> My old Nokia 6310i looks more appealing every day. Back to simplicity.

Did they ever fix that Bluetooth bug that would allow all the contacts (and maybe texts too) to be accessed remotely without having properly paired? [Details may be wrong it was a long time ago when I had one]

Great phone though, battery lasts all week but I would swap a modern smartphone for one. Most of the internet being usable almost everywhere is great and I can live with charging every day or two.

Finns, roamers, Nokia: So long, and thanks for all the phones

Joseph Lord

You underplay the focus on carriers

A large part of the software problem (and over proliferation of devices) was the carrier focus and their desire for locked down exclusive models. This caused them to hobble devices (no wifi until too late) and also provide too much control to the carriers. The massive variety of handsets had worked well with hits filtering through and different options for different tastes but software platforms need scale to attract developers so variety and indecision were a big problem and the common standardised platform was just crap (J2ME).

NSA to world+dog: We're only watching 1.6% of internet, honest

Joseph Lord

1.6% could probably include all the email and…

…all of the web traffic excluding the images, videos, search results, CSS and Javascipts.

Apple wins Samsung import ban, loses 'Battle of Rounded Corners II'

Joseph Lord

I believe that ITC decisions can be appealed to the Federal courts so it may not be over on that front. Also as others have said the listed devices are examples and other infringing devices may also be banned although I don't know the process for deciding disputes about whether any workarounds are sufficient to avoid the ban. I suspect El Reg's journalists work on this case is far from over whatever the ITC says about finality.

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins

Joseph Lord

Gen Alexander added. "No one [at the NSA] has wilfully or knowingly disobeyed the law or…"

Does that include Snowden?

Egad! Could Samsung be cheating in Galaxy benchmark tests?

Joseph Lord

Re: re: bootnote

So that is why your comment disparages the customers of another company instead of making any statement about the unethical and possibly illegal (Unfair Commercial Practices Directive may stretch this far and could it even constitute fraud) behaviour of Samsung. Well that's OK then because you didn't defend them.

Microsoft Surface sales numbers revealed as SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS

Joseph Lord

Re: The purpose of Surface

Making a product because the OEMs won't is a tricky path. If Microsoft priced high they couldn't ship volumes to prove the market and initial reviews and reception would be based on the high price. If they went low to build market share and take on Apple and Android the OEMs would avoid the market as they can't compete with your loss leader.

Of course MS have really made the worst of a bad job by pricing fairly high initially, getting bad reviews (poor value and what is it for were the main comments if I recall) and over producing. Failing to show OEMs that there is a real market there and even worse having massive overstocks meaning that there are going to be massive discounts no chance of profit in the short term on any products they do introduce.

And if you think the general discounts are good have a look at the prices being offered to schools: http://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/surface-rt-23495727

This looks to me to be an attempt to clear stock without affecting the main retail price too much but it shows how desperate MS are to get rid of stock. (£133 for a keyboardless Surface RT 32GB and £196 with the Typecover).

If the intention was to prime the OEM market they really should have underproduced and left pent up demand on the table (although not too much).

Fanbois smash iPhone 5s much sooner than iPhone 3s ... but WHY?

Joseph Lord

Re: Or perhaps...

And the other factor maybe the people. None of the careless people will still have an iPhone 3G as it wouldn't have survived so the population of iPhone 3 owners will be generally better at looking after things than the general population while iPhone 5 owners will include a higher than average number of people who have recently destroyed a phone.

Ad man: Mozilla 'radicals' and 'extremists' want to wreck internet economy

Joseph Lord

Of course Apple, Microsoft and Google are members...

...they all operate advertising platforms. Apple has iAd on iOS devices. Microsoft acquired at least one platform (Atlas??? name escapes me right now). And Google, well need I say mor?

Unmasked: Euro ISPs raided in downloads strangle probe

Joseph Lord

Re: Presumably independent action would be legal...

Revenue not profit, and it is global group revenue too. For major international companies it can easily be billions or even tens of billions although I'm not there have yet been Multi-billion Euro fines yet but MS's fine was over a billion.

Joseph Lord

Presumably independent action would be legal...

but if the accused companies agreed or in any way worked collectively to set terms they could be in big trouble.

I should remind everyone that breach of competition law in Europe can lead to fines of upto 10% of global annual revenue.

EU sets ball rolling on ominous telly spectrum review

Joseph Lord

Freeview isn't a broadcaster

It is essentially a marketing organisation. Arquiva does all the actual broadcasting and there are several different multiplex owners.

Sneaky Seagate slips 'world's fastest' enterprise disk mutant into the wild

Joseph Lord

@Martijn Otto - Writes never miss the cache

Others have already mentioned that the RAM is additional to the SSD.

However I do hope (and expect with an enterprise drive) that there is enough capacitors/battery to finish flushing the RAM to the SSD if the power goes off.

To be honest I would be surprised if the RAM is much use as a read cache at all as the OS is probably also doing some disk caching so the high frequency accesses would mostly hit that.

Yahoo! joins! rivals! in! PRISM! data! request! admission!

Joseph Lord
Black Helicopters

And probably only 2 were FISA requests...

2013Q1 - The FBI says give the NSA all your data

2013Q2 - The FBI says give the NSA all your data

All done and renewed every 3 months leaving between 11,998 and 12,998 requests to be about fraud, kidnapping etc.

Smart TVs riddled with DUMB security holes

Joseph Lord

Re: So putting an internet connected PC inside a TV set is not a very good idea.

Fair enough but I think you underestimate Samsung's scale. They have the possibility of a viable platform. Sony may do too if they Playstations can support the same platform but I wouldn't bet on it.

I don't like what I have seen so far of the Samsung Smart TV system (although I haven't had a close look recently so it may be improved) which had far too much emphasis on interaction and games rather than just being access to content. I would ideally remove all interface from the TV screen to a tablet device and leave the screen to the content, many of the manufacturers offer apps but I don't think any of them have yet reached the ideal yet.

All the Sony Internet TVs (and probably most of the others too) support DLNA which should enable mobile devices to send content to them but while it is getting slicker it isn't yet slick enough yet in most case. I use my TV to play content recorded on my MythTV box which works well as the video decoding is better than on the PC.

Joseph Lord

Re: @Joseph Lord

I wasn't aware of any digital TVs with P-in-P function. They should have the hardware to quickly swap those screens but perhaps they didn't optimise that path and just use a general change channel method.

MPEG GOP length is one fundamental limit but in the typical case you first need to actually tune to the frequency, start demodulating, access the PAT (been a while I might have the wrong table) that will inform you the PID for the audio and video of the channel you need, listen to those PIDs and pass the data to the video decoder. And I've probably missed several steps as I haven't had my head in the DVB standards for at least 4 years.

Regarding boot time maybe it is possible to do better. I know at Sony significant effort was put in to getting picture up immediately and other functions as quickly as possible. There are a number of applications to get going as quickly as possible including EPG data gathering, network connectivity sequence (DHCP etc.), starting subtitle processing, starting MHEG (or HbbTV or MHP), checking the signalling to identify channel list changes and possibly jumping to the HD version of the current service if signalled.. At some point, possibly later there will be checks for software updates (both from broadcast and Internet), if the tuner is not in use there may a channel scan in the background.

All the video and audio decoding will be in hardware but processing all the DVB tables, setting tuning parameters, controlling the demux is all done in software so the CPU isn't completely idle.

My Sony TV goes from a full off to TV picture in about 6 seconds, channel change is available a few seconds later and input selection shortly after that although access to the full menu isn't really possible until about 30 seconds after switch off and the menu is fully populated (including network services) by a little after 40s. This is on a pre-2011 version of Linux when I'm not certain that it was as optimised for fast booting.

I'm not saying that it can't be done any better but that it is at least considered and there is rather more going on than you might a first think processing DVB video.

Joseph Lord

Re: Smart TVs are dumb full stop

If you need a new TV the additional cost for an internet capable one (I'm not keen on "Smart" either) is zero as all except the super budget ones now have it and you probably wouldn't want them for other reasons. The hardware cost of a non-wifi internet TV is negligible as an Ethernet adapter costs only pennies.

When it no longer meets your needs THEN buy a STB that does. Or if you don't want/need an new TV then certainly just buy the STB.

Joseph Lord

Re: So putting an internet connected PC inside a TV set is not a very good idea.

Ex TV product planner (and engineer before that) here.

Channel surfing speed isn't just up to the manufacturer but mostly the broadcaster. The GOP length of the encoding has a major impact as does the the repeating frequency of various tables (when changing MUXes). Having said that my Sony TV changes between HD channels (on the same mux) in under 5 seconds and to SD channels in about 2 seconds in some cases. At least at Sony great efforts were gone to to optimise this (and startup time) but there are real limits on what is possible (without massive cost significant additional power usage to include and run multiple tuners and video decoders a predicting most likely channel changes to allocate to these decoders). Likewise showing multiple channels also requires more hardware to receive and decode the other multiplexes and would be quite a significant additional cost.

The STBs are basically Linux PCs and may be running with only a 400Mhz processor.

The TV manufacturers are all (hard to tell about Samsung as their accounts aren't clearly broken down) making loses. They hope to build content platforms big enough to be attractive and profitable to actually subsidise the hardware loses so I don't think that they add any cost.

The fearful price of 4G data coverage: NO TELLY for 90,000 Brits

Joseph Lord

Re: £10K cap per household?

If the money is unspent it goes back to the mobile operators who put the money in to start with.

You need a line of sight to the satellite to get Sky/Freesat and at least in some mountainous locations that will not be possible without running long cables. The angle to the satellite also drops as you head North so it might be a more severe issue in Scotland too.

Amazon yoinks Dora and SpongeBob from Netflix for MEELLLIONS

Joseph Lord

Re: Oh, Amazon

DRM is somewhat acceptable when you are only borrowing the content rather than buying it, at least there is no pretense of ownership or lifetime access. I wouldn't buy any DRM content with the expectation of being able to watch it more than 24hrs later.

I actually access Lovefilm on my TV which while the content is protected there is no DRM as such as it is only streamed and there are no video outputs. This means my computer doesn't need to be infected by DRM. The quality is really pretty good, definitely HD for some content these days although I'm not sure it is as good as Netflix.

How Microsoft shattered Gnome's unity with Windows 95

Joseph Lord

Legally wrong

I don't think that laches applies to patents which you can enforce selectively and also wait until it is worthwhile. You may however act in ways that offer implied licenses.

Having said that Windows 95 patents will be expired by now or expiring very soon. They must have been filed before the technology was made public (certainly before the public beta was released) although they may have taken some time to be granted so the 20 years may start later than you would expect. Windows 3.1 and earlier related patents are probably all expired and anything added for Windows 95 will soon be gone.

The best thing about patents is that they do expire within a lifetime.