* Posts by Sirius Lee

581 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Dec 2009


Microsoft sued by ParTec in Texas over AI supercomputer patents

Sirius Lee

Re: USA stamps on own foot again

No they didn't. Since at least the 1980's MS have maintained a portfolio of patents, some there own, some acquired, so the eco system of software developers could be protected from patent lawsuits.

If you've worked at MS you will know you can't do anything there without making sure it doesn't infringe a patent. It seems to me the idea MS will create something as substantial as multi-billion $ Azure project without running it past the patent lawyers is unlikely, Especially as the patents are 2018 and 2024.

More likely, they tried to fleece MS who've told them where to stick their claim so now have to try the courts. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the case.

Scientists pull hydrogen from thin air in promising clean energy move

Sirius Lee


Seriously, that's pathetic. Scale it up and its still pathetic. If the hydrogen could be converted efficiently to energy (no storage losses, perfect burning with oxygen) then that represents about 11Kw. But there are going to be inefficiencies. So lets be conservative and say 60%. That means the device, 1m3, can produce 6-7kw/day. On a sunny day. To get 1Gw it will be necessary to have and maintain the equivalent of 200,000 of these things.

And it will not scale. The example box will be processing a LOT of air. When there are a lot side-by-side they will be feeding on each other's processed air. And just saying use a bigger one isn't any better because the surface area (where the air can enter and leave) is proportionately less compared with the volume.

The cost per kw/h will be ridiculously high.

Bill Gates venture backs effort to bring aircon startup to market

Sirius Lee

Maybe not patentable?

Which is a good thing. This exact idea was implemented in a prototype way by a guy with the science and engineering explained in this video on YouTube in 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_g4nT4a28U&list=PLzrI14lOlSqeS5pNkRCiV1-yhoBlCmxms

You're not wrong. The scope for quantum computers remains small

Sirius Lee

An article written by the modern voice of Thomas Watson.

Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash

Sirius Lee

Re: Deja vu again

Or legislation that mandates batteries part of a car involved in a crash are dismantled within a few days. If the car is not deemed a write-off the battery pack is replaced. Of course there'd be lots of push back from insurers but that's what legislators are for. Oh, I see the problem.

SpaceX staff condemn Musk's behavior in open letter

Sirius Lee

Re: I'm split

"they can be the most depressing person to work for" no one HAS to work for a boss they don't like. Get another job. Firing the boss because YOU don't like IS toxic. That way lies real anarchy.

Twitter shareholders to vote on Elon Musk's acquisition

Sirius Lee

Re: hey, what's $1 billion to the world's richest man?

If he finds the Twitter board has indeed lied about the user base, then he will not have to pay anything. He has to pay if he walks away from a company that has presented a valid prospectus. If the prospectus is materially false then he doesn't pay a cent. This is the same for any type of purchase whether its car, a house or a company.

But if the prospectus does contain falsehoods that are material then $1bn is not going to be the most pressing concern of the board as Uncle Sam will be paying a visit because lying to the SEC is a criminal offence.

Semiconductor industry growth to slow in 2022, warns IDC

Sirius Lee

Over supply...

unless and until China invades Taiwan. Seem prudent to have some extra capacity coming on line.

Elon Musk 'violated' Twitter NDA over bot-check sample size

Sirius Lee

Re: Bound and gagged

I think you are mis-understanding the law. Any buyer has a right to continue due diligence on an acquisition. Remember the disastrous purchase of Autonomy by HP?

If Musk has a point about the credibility of the numbers provided in the prospectus then the Twitter board has a lot more than Elon Musk to worry about. If the numbers in the prospectus are wrong, then these are numbers that have been reported incorrectly to the SEC in their 10K and 10Q disclosures in which case the SEC will have to investigate. If the SEC finds material problems, there are going to be serious questions for the Twitter CEO and CFO to answer. Failure to answer the questions appropriately can lead to prison time.

What was the methodology for arriving at the claim Twitter makes? At the very least, using a sample size of 100 is not likely to be judged adequate. Any statistician the SEC cares to consult with (and they have a lot of their own) will likely agree that the sample size is too small. If the 100 sample accounts were selected randomly then may be it can have some validity. However, any reasonable person has to ask why only 100? With millions of accounts available, why not make the sample size bigger? And exactly how were the accounts selected?

Also, why report it as "< 5%"? If the 100 account sample is random then the only data Twitter has is the sample result which yields an exact, integer value. The only way the result can be less that 5% is if there were 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 bot accounts identified in the sample. Why not report this number because its the only real data available? Any other number is PR spin.

Pop!_OS 22.04: New kid on the Ubuntu block starting to show real muscle

Sirius Lee

Re: toxic

"We should be educating people on how to build software from source..."

Yeah, because *everyone* want to spend their lives doing that. "Hi Gran, did you update your Linux today? How did you get on compiling everything/"

Windows 11 usage stats within touching distance of... XP

Sirius Lee

Go back and look at the El Reg comments about Windows 10

There must be a file in the El Reg editorial room labelled something like: "Posts to use when Microsoft releases a new OS version". It will probably have a post-it note attached explaining that many readers will not have been readers when the earlier version was release or will have forgotten.

Come on El Reg, post something different.

Twitter faces existential threat from world's richest techbro

Sirius Lee

The Twitter PR starts

Whole article could have been written by the Twitter board. C- They will need to do better.

Arm China boss happy with Nvidia acquisition collapse

Sirius Lee

Maybe a simpler explanation is that Wu did not want to be part of the Nvidea purchase so the relationship between Wu and Arm has been characterised by ARM's PR machine as adversarial. Now the deal is dead, the ARM CEO departed and a different future beckons for ARM maybe we'll see a different perspective over the next few months about ARM China from ARM's PR machine as the new CEO delivers on a different plan.

'At least' 6.5 exabytes lost after contamination hits Kioxia/WD 3D NAND fabs

Sirius Lee

In a WD board meeting: "Have you seen the profits the CPU vendors are making from the 'shortage' of chips?"

"Yeah, who'd have thought you could make more money by selling less"

"Hey, that gives me an idea. That fab in china..."

Party on Semiconductor Street as worldwide 2021 revenues top record half a trillion dollars

Sirius Lee

Surely executives at chip manufacturers are realizing if they make and ship less of their product ensure a continuing 'shortage' they can increase revenue and profit. Given this background, why would any rationale executive ever make sure there is enough supply to meet demand. These economics would require that if demand drops so there is an over supply the manufacturer should destroy the excess product so the 'shortage' is maintained.

Government-favoured child safety app warned it could violate the UK's Investigatory Powers Act with message-scanning tech

Sirius Lee

In this case I don't think your point is valid. If the recipient of emails wishes, the content of all messages can be routinely processed for viruses and spam by a processor. Sometimes that processor is the recipient but most times it is an email service provider such as Google or Microsoft. We don't ask the recipient if its OK for their message to be checked, it just happens.

If an application checking the content destined for minors cannot be checked by an app like the one mentioned in the article then it cannot be checked for viruses and spam either. The laws referenced in the article and virus/spam checking processes have co-existed for decades without email service providers being hauled before the courts.

Likewise, the case that such processing might cause defamation seems also spurious. If the assertion that a message might contain offensive material is considered to be defamation presumably the assertion that an email contains a virus is no less offensive but again, no recipients have been prosecuted on this basis. Why not? Because no court would accept it.

So it seems to me one of the other problems a start-up company has to look out for are over enthusiastic lawyers looking for a gullible company to pay them some cash.

The assertion of the CEO that he could go to jail is also nonsense. Presumably the app is developed by a limited liability company. If so, the only reason time in prison is possible is if the CEO is fraudulent or there is a case of corporate manslaughter. The former has nothing to do with an app while the second is unlikely to result from the use of an application (or at least it would be even more difficult to prove than when a train crashes killing passengers).

Robotaxis freed to charge across 60km2 of Beijing

Sirius Lee

Re: Robo drivers

Don't language translation apps and smartphones work in automated taxis?

Rust dust-up as entire moderation team resigns. Why? They won't really say

Sirius Lee

Re: A shame...

Yes, like Linux Been a disaster with just one controlling voice which explains why it's had no real take up.

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email

Sirius Lee


that anyone on here is complaining. The VISA fee is not paid by Amazon its paid by the many large and small vendors who use Amazon as a marketplace and see a reduced sum paid to them by Amazon. Now you know that if you are using VISA then relative to other payment methods you are short-changing the vendor you choose while the vendor has no say in the payment method you choose to use.

It seems to me the VISA PR team has been working overtime to try to counter this move and has been able to use many of you to make Amazon seem like the bad guy for not wanting to put up with higher charges. Amazing. But that's what you can do with so much cash floating around.

Windows 11 in detail: Incremental upgrade spoilt by onerous system requirements and usability mis-steps

Sirius Lee

So let me get this right. Microsoft's product managers must only plan the features of a version, one that is presumably intended to last a decade, that run on equipment available today. In three years time, when the current fleet of machines is replaced by kit that does have the required features these comments will be irrelevant and the machines more secure.

This is the same huffing and puffing that met the release of Windows 10. According to Microsoft Windows 10 is now on 1.3 billion devices. Back them, august sites like The Register were ridiculing that the take up then was not exactly like Microsoft predicted. But forecasting the future was not the point. Getting a new OS that would competently run on devices people could afford was.

Seems that the old play book has been dusted off for a new version. Goof luck with that

Boffins unveil SSD-Insider++, promise ransomware detection and recovery right in your storage

Sirius Lee

If this is an effective approach, why doesn't Microsoft recommend that everyone enable file versioning. It's built into the OS and allows a user to roll back to previous versions that are stored on disk.

Sirius Lee

Re: "detecting infections and reverting unexpected encryption"

Maybe I'm on Windows and enable disk encryption?

You're not imagining it. Amazon and AWS want to hire all your friends, enemies, and everyone in between

Sirius Lee

Re: "talent Hoover."

By comparison to what other company whose employees laud the boss?

I may have mis-read but I'm sure the article quotes an ex-employee extolling the work. The only time I've read bad things is when its sourced from someone wanting to start a union.

As Europe hopes to double its share of global chip production, Intel comes along with $20bn, plans for fabs

Sirius Lee

Re: gimme gimme gimme

Exactly. The sub-heading takes a pot-shot at Brexit. I think its possible to see the countries chosen are the set of rich EU countries able to afford the br.. the bri... the financial support. Hopefully the UK chose not to prop up Intel's shareholders. Or it will offer support terms to Intel's competitors like AMD so not all eggs are in the same basket.

Not a baaa-d idea: Embracing the eunuch lifestyle slows ageing – for sheep anyway

Sirius Lee

Correlation is not causation

Anyone who has been on a sheep farm (or watched The Yorkshire Vet TV series) will know that farmers have to limit the amount of time a tup (ram) spends in field of ewes because the tup will keep servicing the ewes to the point of exhaustion, dehydration and starvation. So, with rams, yes this research is probably valid, maybe even rabbits but does it really have anything to say about humans? Even teenagers like to take time out to eat and drink.

Fancy the ultimate no-Air-outside-bnb? NASA willing to rent out ISS for two weeks

Sirius Lee

But is it on the green list?

Or is quarantine when you get home.

Arm freezes hiring until Nvidia takeover, cancels everyone's 'wellbeing' allowance

Sirius Lee

Re: So you can pretend to take over a company that is really a competitor

Down vote from me as well. Don't mindless political commentary little bird.

Snowden was right, rules human rights court as it declares UK spy laws broke ECHR

Sirius Lee

So the UK government did not break the ECHR

That seems to be the ruling. Except that in the option of the court there were insufficient safeguards. However, the court was not asked to rule on safe guards and has no authority in that area. So the (long) article tries to excoriate the UK government with one clause "...didn't break the ECHR per se..." reflecting reality. My guess is that the MI5/6 will see this ruling as a green light to keep on keeping on.

Isn't is a bit moot anyway? My wife bought a Chinese Android mobile phone and we regularly ask after President Xi as he (or his apparatus) are bound to be listening in. We should probably say hi to Boris and Joe as well. Obviously I'll be up in arms if Macron is also listening in as lack of privacy and surveillance has to have *some* limits.

Finance Bill amendments to curb umbrella company malpractice fail to get traction in UK Parliament

Sirius Lee

Contractors do not have to use unscrupulous umbrella companies

Surely its the responsibility of the person being contracted to make sure the company being used is legit. A quick review of the information held about the company by companies house will reveal the directors new and old, their revenues and financial history. If there's just one director who has changed recently don't use it. It's reasonable to think that if a contractor is choosing using a shady company, they are trying to get one over HMRC and maybe trying to avoid paying their share of tax. I have no sympathy for such behaviour and it seems MPs don't either. This will be self-regulating and more regulation is not needed.

Patch me if you can: Microsoft, Samsung, and Google win appeal over patent on remote updating

Sirius Lee

Judges getting better?

Maybe as more lawyers who grew up with computing devices become judges, their ability to reason about technology patents is becoming better so the most egregious one get thrown out.

Man found dead inside model dinosaur after climbing in to retrieve phone

Sirius Lee


...maybe the 2006 film Night at the museum was in fact a documentary and one of the animal cast got carried away in the updated Spanish edition.

On a dusty red planet almost 290 million km away... NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flies

Sirius Lee

Why is radio comms so slow?

The rate at which bits can be transferred to Perseverance at 200kb is very slow. Why not choose to transmit at a faster rate? Surely the hardware could have been capable. Is it an attempt to keep the power requirements really low so it does not affect Perseverance in some way?

Prime suspect: Amazon India apologises for offensive scenes in political thriller

Sirius Lee

Re: Awww...

Perhaps any self-respecting believer will argue that the gods did do something to strike back: they took control of an individual and had him commit an act of revenge. The gods *could* have taken out a whole continent/people/creed/sect and so on but, you know, its got to be proportionate and enough to let humanity know of the gods displeasure but not completely unreasonable (for a god)..

Planespotters’ weekends turn traumatic as engine pieces fall from the sky in the Netherlands and the US

Sirius Lee

Re: Buy stock in hard hats

Fantastic, thanks for sharing. Had me in stitches.

Nominet claims effort to replace its board with 'safe hands' is invalid, refuses to put it to member vote

Sirius Lee

Re: 2021's Brassneck Award goes to.. Nominet!

If it is a not-for-profit organisation then doesn't it come under the aegis of the Charities Commission?

China launches and lands its first re-usable spacecraft

Sirius Lee

Staggered by the misplaced wonder

So the Chinese have copied again. Wonder of wonders. They appear to have copied an idea that the Americans and Russians tried 50 year ago. This is not your grand father's rocket science. Now we have private individuals lobbing craft into space and, in the case of Musk, returning much of the rocket to earth.

What possible wonder can there be of a country putting a space plane on the nose of a rocket? My view, which worth less than the effort to type it, is that it indicates the problem with China. It can copy but few people are willing to put their heads above the parapet to do innovative things or voice the obvious criticism that it's been tried before and been a failure (yes, the shuttle programme was ultimately a failure).

When does anyone hear of a Chinese product and exclaim the breathtaking originality of the new chemical process or physics or management process. Sure the west got there first but there are still discoveries to be made - just not by a chinese person living in China. Note, I'm explicitly not disparaging the chinese intellect as I am sure that a chinese mind is as capable of being inventive as the minds in other cultures. It's just that those minds operate in an environment in which its not helpful to be unique.

Bratty Uber throws tantrum, threatens to cut off California unless judge does what it says in driver labor rights row

Sirius Lee

Re: I am conflicted on this

I can understand why you are conflicted. Its a matter of free choice, right? A driver wants to work flexibly and a company wants a work to work flexibly so why not?

Why not is because its a race to the bottom. It there are employment laws and one company is allowed to dodge them and, by doing so making more money for shareholders, the one following the law will likely have to fold or, also, dodge the employment laws. Where does it stop?

Since this is an IT site, maybe its worth pointing out that computer science has a branch of game theory (you know, prisoner's dilimma and all that) called Mechanism Design (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanism_design). Among other things, it studies game strategies that are rational from the perspective of the players of the game but which are detrimental to the wider society in which the game is played. There are countless examples.

The behaviour by Uber and Lyft are examples of this problem. From their perspective offering flexible work terms to self-employed contractors is rational. However, from the perspective of the society in which Uber and Lyft operate it is not appropriate. After all, where does it end? I no longer have small children but if I did maybe I could offer chimney cleaning services as an inducement to get fares.

California and UK (amongst others) have decided it ends with all companies respecting employment laws. If Uber does not want to respect that requirement they do not have to operate in those jurisdictions. It is true that as a result, the cost of get a ride it likely to increase, that rider will be required to pay more and that some drivers will need to find alternative employment. But this is a choice jurisdictions make: either riders will pay more or they will find an alternative form of transportation if hailing a taxi becomes more expensive.

Chinese ambassador to UK threatens to withdraw Huawei, £3bn investment if comms giant banned from building 5G

Sirius Lee

Re: From the dept of redundancy dept

That's for the company to say, not a government official. Presumably the ambassador feels empowered to deliver news on behalf of Huawei and equally presumably, there's a reason for that feeling of empowerment.

If there was ever a way to give the UK government the amunition to further curtail sales opportunities this is it.

With a wave of Nokia's wand, behold as your 4G network magically becomes... 5G

Sirius Lee

Interim solution

saying most "do not see this as a necessary solution in the short to medium term"

There's money marketing 5G. Now some western markets are banishing Huawei this might be a short-term fix while longer term full fat hardware upgrade is rolled. It seems likely to be somewhat attractive to the telecoms provoider's accountants because they get a reason to get more out of existing capital investments.

Clearly this route was available all along. Equally clearly, the vendors of shiny new hardware wanted to sell shiny nerw hardware not software update. I see the argument that this maybe like 2.5G. But is 4.5G that bad if it provides a route to an incremental upgrade? If a telco is putting in new hardware it makes sense to use 5G kit. But in mature markets? Ma be not so much.

Heir-to-Concorde demo model to debut in October

Sirius Lee

Your question...

"..so when do you think there’ll be a market for expensive and unproven new hardware?" Fair enough but Tesla, SpaceX? I think the question says more about the limitations of the person asking than will be revealed in any answer. And any answer is un likely to satisfy anyone who will ask such a question unless it identifies bums on seats ready to take (and pay for) a trip next week. Hopefully other participants will ask more expansive questions.

Scalability, reliability and availability: Three things the AWS Summit for EMEA struggled to get right

Sirius Lee

The other perspective

Worked for me from 9am (BST) until 2pm. Watched all the sessions I wanted. The only frustration was that the first presenter ran significantly over and into the next session.

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

Sirius Lee

Re: Good and bad

Shared bibles, touching pew surfaces, loo flush handles? I agree, many more vectors than an aerosol.

China successfully launches its biggest-ever space truck to fire up its space station ambitions

Sirius Lee

And rocket chemistry

In his book 'Ignition!' Dr John Clark provides an informal history of the development of liquid rocket propellants from the perspective of someone who was there (working within the post-war US navy research program). Although published in 1971 it is a very readable book with a foreward by some friend of his and fellow chemist called Isaac Asimov. In the book he describes how US research into propellants was informed by the extensive work undertaken by the Germans before and during WW2. After the war German reasearch and stockpiles of hyrogen peroxide were split between the Brits and the US for further study.

So scientists may have been sequestered but here is an account showing how the German chemical technology was acquired and further developed. Clark describes how in practice the German chemistry, focussed on peroxides, though great for relatively low-power thrusting was not sufficiently powerful for ICBMs and, anyway, it freezes at a relatively high temperature. Instead, being able to work with existing stocks allowed US chemists to discard peroxides quickly and focus on other fuels and oxidizers and ultimately the predominant use of various forms of hyrdazine and nitric acid based oxidizers.

ICANN finally halts $1.1bn sale of .org registry, says it's 'the right thing to do' after months of controversy

Sirius Lee

Surely only temporary relief

Surely this is evidence ICAAN needs to relocate itself to a more forgiving jurisdiction then start again. This episode seems to show the leaders of ICAAN have an agenda. Without leadership change, the team is surely still motivated to find a way to complete deals like this.

House of Commons agrees to allow Zoom app in Parliament, British MPs will still have to dress smartly

Sirius Lee

If some jokers hacked in and started making wierd noises would we notice the difference?

NASA to launch 247 petabytes of data into AWS – but forgot about eye-watering cloudy egress costs before lift-off

Sirius Lee

Maybe auditor have not considered all AWS options

The data has to be stored somewhere and wherever that is there's going to be a code. As for access to the data, on the AWS S3 pricing page (https://aws.amazon.com/s3/pricing/?nc=sn&loc=4) on the 'Data Transfer' tab is this little nugget which may be relevant:

You pay for all bandwidth into and out of Amazon S3, except for the following:

• Data transferred in from the internet.

Data transferred out to an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance, when the instance is in the same AWS Region as the S3 bucket.

• Data transferred out to Amazon CloudFront (CloudFront).

(my emphasis) So providing 'data scientists' are working from an EC2 instance in the same region as the NASA bucket there will be no charge to NASA. Of course there will be a charge to the 'data scientist' to run the EC2 instancein the same region and to add sufficient storage but that's not the concern of NASA. In this scenario the data transfer the costs will be $zero. Of course this assumes NASA staff configure the bucket correctly and only allow access from IP addresses in the same region.

Microsoft's GitHub absorbs NPM into its code-hosting empire: JavaScript library vault used by 12 million devs now under Redmond's roof

Sirius Lee

Re: Nobody wants to pay for a package manager

If I could upvote this comment more than once I would.

Deliveroo UK adds 'Don't interact with the help' option for when ordering a burger

Sirius Lee

How does this help?

What on earth do delivery drivers do when they call at the door? Swap spit? Cough all over customers? If the sweaty hands of the infected delivery person (or the person at the dispensing burger comany) have been all over the packaging and you pick up the packaging (you have to pick it up, right?) then the virus can be transmitted. It doesn't matter that the delivery person is wearing gloves if they've wiped their nose with them or coughed into them as the virus will be all over the gloves and, so, on the packaging.

Huawei claims its Google Play replacement is in 'top 3' app stores after Trump turns off tap to the Chocolate Factory

Sirius Lee

Re: Individual developers not allowed

You are wrong and being misleading here.

A VAT invoice is only required if a EU businesses is going to offset the VAT paid on purchases from other EU businesses against the VAT that business includes in its own sales. The only relevant consequence of buying from a business that is not VAT registered is that the buyer is not able to offset the VAT. If a business is not VAT registered it can only offer a sales invoice that does not include VAT. If you are being advised that it is not correct to buy without a VAT invoice, I recommend you get a new adviser. Or be honest and admit the reason you prefer to buy from a VAT registered company is so you can reclaim the tax.

Since January 2019 no EU business, wherever they are located within the bloc, only need to register for VAT if their annual revenues will exceed €80,000. Businesses below this threshold are likely to be sole traders but not necessarily.

The UK tax authority, HMRC, has always allowed UK registered companies to opt out of the VAT if the revenues of a company was below a similar revenue threshold. HMRC adopted this approach because of concerns about the burden of VAT on very small businesses. The EU Commission finally agreed and, after initially requiring VAT registration for all businesses, has adopted the UK position because the number of new small businesses in EU member states was falling. Plus the totally impractical requirement that small businesses outside the EU (read USA) had to register for VAT if a EU citizen had the silly idea of wanting to buy one of their products. It was never going to happen so small foreign businesses stopped selling in the EU.

Decent, legal, honest and searchable: C'mon, Ofcom. Let us check up on the ad-slingers ourselves

Sirius Lee

The problem with good ideas...

Is they are sometimes promoted by zealots who lose perspective and I wonder if this has happened in the article.

"Who buys, who sells, who reads, what it is, when it was out there"

Who reads? The article's author is advocating a governmental agency should be monitoring, recording, and in the author's ideal view, making searchable what recipients read? So much for privacy and GDPR. Imagine how much of a gold mine that will be for hackers.

As for political advertising: leave it alone. It might be a swamp but in my view better an unregulated swamp than giving some group of mandarins or even worse corporations veto over what our would-be elected representatives want to tell us. If there are crimes committed during a campaign, let the criminal justice system do its work after the event. If your concern is that the criminal justice system cannot or will not do its job, there is a much bigger problem to tackle than adverts you believe are in someway wrong.