* Posts by Boothy

887 posts • joined 17 Jun 2011

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AMD is now following More's Law: More chips, more money, more pressure on Intel, more competition in the x86 space

Boothy Silver badge

Re: This is an extremely interesting situation

Quote: "Intel is still extremely competitive, and the new 10xxxx CPU's still seem to be top of the heap for gaming, although by an extremely narrow margin. This implies Intel's designs are probably better than AMD's from a performance standpoint, but are held back by their issues in fabbing 10 and 7 nm."

Not really, the main reason Intel have these small margins over AMD on some benchmarks, is due to clock speed. Gaming for example tends to lean heavily on a single thread [1], so if you're gaming on an AMD that's peaking out below 5GHz, but a similar Intel can hit 5GHz+, then Intel end up with an advantage [2]. That advantage is then lost on productivity workloads, where AMD pull ahead due to the extra cores you can get at the same price point as the Intel chip.

The upside for Intel on 14++++++++ is that the node is very mature, so very stable, and so can be clocked very high. The big downfall for Intel, with being stuck on 14++++++++ is that to get to these clock speeds, they consume large amounts of power, so generate lots of heat. Not too much of an issue in a decent desktop, but really bad in a laptop. The new Ryzen mobile chips for example have been outperforming the best mobile Intel chips by 45% or more (in productivity tasks), yet are only pulling half the wattage.

TSMC focus has been on lower power consumption, rather than clock speed, most of their 7nm is going into mobile devices, so the chips are efficient, but don't clock as well. Likely one of the reasons AMD have been pushing core count so much, as they knew they can't compete on pure speed alone.

Also from an architecture point of view, AMDs chips have better overall IPC (Instructions per clock), than Intel [3], which demonstrates overall, that AMD have the better architecture. What has let AMD down a bit has been bottlenecks, but this keeps being improved upon with each iteration, with updated fabric and increased cache sizes etc.

Zen 3 is rumoured to likely beat current Intel chips on these last few benchmarks, such as gaming, as Zen 3 is meant to both be faster (improved 7nm+ node), and has improved IPC over the Zen 2 design, combined these improved should give a good boost in performance. Looking forwards to seeing what the 4950X can do!

Addendum...

1. Modern game engines are now multi-threaded (most of them anyway), but those threads are typically for discrete functions, such as one thread for AI, another for sound etc. so workloads are not evenly distributed, and one of those threads (typically GFX related, but depends on game type) tends to be the bottle neck, and so games tend to favour core speed, over core count. Although this is gradually changing, and as the new consoles are basically under-clocked Ryzen 3700 parts (although as a SoC rather than chiplet), I expect future game engines to be more and more optimised for cores count over clock speed, and potentially more optimised specifically for AMD, especially as it's no longer considered 'the budget option'.

2. Worth mentioning that gaming benchmarks are also rather artificial. If you're looking at charts comparing one CPU against another (Intel vs AMD, top end vs budget etc), the results are unrealistic for most actual end user, because CPU testing is generally done with the best GPU they have around, typically an RTX 2080Ti. This being done to try and remove as much as possible any GFX card related bottleneck, and therefore only show how good the CPU is.

But most people purchasing/building a system will be on a budget, and so won't be buying a RTX 2080Ti, and so the GFX card becomes a bottleneck, depending on factors like detail level and resolution etc. Once the GPU becomes the bottleneck, it doesn't really matter that much what CPU you have, as long as it's at least fast enough to keep up and not become the bottleneck itself.

3. There has been benchmarks run, where an otherwise equivalent AMD and Intel system (same core count, memory, M2 drive, GFX card etc), have been fixed to run all cores at the same speed. So same number of cores in both systems, and at the same clock speed, with same GFX card. AMD basically ran the Intel into the ground.

Intel couldn't shrink to 7nm on time – but it was able to reduce one thing: Its chief engineer's employment

Boothy Silver badge

Re: For now, it doesn't matter yet

My <insert deity here>, just how stupid are you!?

You specifically brought up server chips, that was YOU, I am not talking at all about consumer GFX cards like the RTX 2080 etc. These are a completely different product.

As Steve Todd has mentioned, the server GPU are not GFX cards, they are specifically built for server use, rack mounted, and use CUDA etc to run tasks.

Here's a vid showing someone fitting some of them into a rack system...

https://youtu.be/ipQXdjjAPGg?t=57

Boothy Silver badge
FAIL

Re: For now, it doesn't matter yet

If a chip is designed and built to go into a server, then it is by definition, a server chip.

A GPU is still a processing unit, it's even in the name, and these chips are specifically designed for high end number crunching in data centres, including super computers, so more specialised than a CPU, but again, still a processing unit that goes into a server, ergo server chip. It's not like you can plug a monitor into these things.

And no, I don't work in marketing, I'm in IT, specifically a solutions architect. I help design and implement large scale enterprise solutions. Where do you work, the Daily Mail? Shelf stacker somewhere?

Boothy Silver badge

For the chiplets, one of the other reasons was apparently they were expecting lower yields from the new 7nm process. and the smaller you can create your chips, the better the yield results are overall. (i.e. Less wasted wafer from bad silicon, when using smaller die sizes).

It also meant the IO die, which doesn't need to run at the same speed as the CPU itself, could be made on an older, mature and so cheaper node, and of course those didn't need to be made by TSMC.

All of which helps keep the costs down of course!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: For now, it doesn't matter yet

Quote: "core-i9 is still a good proposition for desktops/laptops."

Not really, too costly, too hot, uses too much power. One of the few remaining technical benefit Intel has over AMD is single core performance, which is only by a small margin now with Zen 2. But this is also irrelevant for most people and for most software, where more cores is usually better. If you're a hard core gamer, with unlimited budget, then maybe go for Intel, but otherwise AMD all the way.

Also the single core lead of Intel over AMD, which is basically achieved through raw clock speed for Intel, is quite likely to be lost with Zen 3, which is due before the end of the year, (and Intel have nothing to compete currently, unless they pull something unexpected from their hat before the end of the year). Zen 3 has IPC, clock speeds and internal optimisation (reducing known bottlenecks with the Zen 2 architecture) gains over Zen 2, and most analysis I've seen expect these combined to make Zen 3 at least on par, if not faster than Intel for the majority, if not all, single threaded workloads, and AMD already have the core count advantage, so are very likely to pull ahead of Intel on their last bench-marking advantage, namely gaming.

Quote: "NVIDIA doesn't make server chips."

Erm, yes they do. Their data centre revenues were around $3b last year, which is over a quarter of their business and growing.

Granted they don't make CPUs (yet), but these are still 'server chips', and they've been sniffing around ARM, which for them would likely be a good purchase, as they'd be able to build complete server solutions then with an ARM based CPU plus nVidia GPU. I could easily imagine nVidia bringing out an ARM CPU, at 7nm or even 5nm, made by TSMC or Samsung, in 12 to 18 months time, main issue likely being getting space at a FAB to produce them.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?

Boothy Silver badge

I've did a fresh install of Win 10 recently, on an old desktop PC I had (old i7 system I originally built around 2012), it had been gutted for parts, but I wanted a real test box, rather than just a VM. So I gave it a service (new CPU paste etc.) and threw some old parts back into it. Plan was dual boot, Ubuntu and Win 10.

I always install Windows without a network, it's faster and lets you set up local accounts easier, thus avoiding the MS live account mess.

I was aware of the pre-installed carp, so after booting up and logging in for the first time, and before connecting to a network, I went through the Apps & features page, and removed/uninstalled everything I could find that wasn't something I though I might use (so most of it).

Plugged in the network and left it to do its thing, updates etc.

Came back to find Candy f#*&ing stuff, and other apps I didn't want, need or asked for had turned up again! Despite removing them earlier. Went through it all again, and this time it stuck.

Seems a fresh Windows install queues up a bunch of stuff via the MS store, and ignores the fact you uninstalled some of these before connecting a network. It then promptly downloads and installs them all again as soon as it can!

I miss the days of being able to pick the features you wanted during install.

Even a 'minimal' option would be nice, like you get with most Linux distros.

Can we make custom Win 10 install disks?

I remember using tools years ago to make a custom XP install disk, that had SP1 and SP2 slipstreamed in, several extra drivers (RAID etc), some extra bits of software I always had installed, was locked to UK region and London time zone, and had a fixed name account, so was basically an unattended install.

USA seeks Moon and Mars nuke power plant designs ready to fly in 2027

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Coudn't they have specified...

Fun fact....(maybe?)

Not something a lot of people (outside the US) know, but technically you can get ~240v in US homes. It's usually used for things like air-con, electric ovens, washer dryers etc. If not hardwired in, these have a larger plug with two live connectors, one neutral, and in newer versions, an earth as well in it.

Unlike the UK, where we have 1 neutral and 1 live wire at nominally 230v coming into the home (ignoring 3 phase, as that's not common in residential places), the US normally uses a centre tapped feed into the house/building (often from a transformer outside), the centre being neutral, and then providing two live wires that are at opposite phases. i.e. live 1 and live 2.

Connecting between the neutral to either one of these lives, gives the standard ~120v AC.

The fuse box then typically alternates slots by live 1 and live 2, thus sharing the load. So regular sockets in a US home would be across only one of the live 'taps' from the inbound feed.

But you can then get double pole fuses that go over both live 1 and live 2, to feed the higher power items like the washer-dryer etc. As these lives are at opposite phases, using this gives you ~240v instead. Although you'd only usually find the heavier duty sockets for these, in utility rooms, garages, behind the electric oven etc.

Only surprise for OnePlus fans with firm's latest tilt at the mid-market is a sub-€400 price tag

Boothy Silver badge

I'm watching this one

I got a OnePlus 3 back in summer 2016 (it launched in June, think I got mine in July), was around £350 at the time. Still using it currently, although it's a bit stuttery these days, and the battery doesn't last too long any more (and charges very quickly!).

They updated it all the way to Android 9, (which was one extra OS update people were not expecting). Security updates only ran out in October last year, so they basically provided 3 years and 4 months of security updates. (The replacement model 3T came out in Nov 2016, so looks like they basically patched the phone for 3 years after it was replaced, rather than 3 years after launch).

I think that regular updates, the fact the phones don't come filled with bloat, and that they tweak the stock OS with features people might actually use (like improved customisation options etc.), are why they have a bit of brand loyalty.

My only real issue has been the price of everything after mine, just going up and up.

I'm not going to pre-order, I'll wait for the hands-on reviews to come out, but this is potentially a purchase from myself in maybe a month or so from now.

My life as a criminal cookie clearer: Register vulture writes Chrome extension, realizes it probably breaks US law

Boothy Silver badge

Or sites like rockpapershotgun who won't enable some content unless you accept targeting cookies!

Quote: "To experience this #content, you will need to enable targeting cookies."

This seems to block images in some articles, and you can't use their built in search function to find articles either without accepting targeting cookies!

Is this even legal?

AMD pushes 64-core 4.2GHz Ryzen Threadripper Pro workstation processors

Boothy Silver badge

Quote : A new CPU is out, that's a bit faster than the previous one.

Technically, these are actually slower than the previous ones, at least on paper.

As an example, the top two Threadrippers', pro vs 'old'...

3995WX (64 core) clocks at 2.7/4.2 GHz (base/boost). (new)

3990X (64 core), clocks at 2.9/4.3 GHz (base/boost). (existing)

3975WX (32 core) clocks at 3.5/4.2 GHz (base/boost). (new)

3970X (32 core), clocks at 3.7/4.5 GHz (base/boost). (existing)

Plus the older X versions are all unlocked, so can overclock, whereas the WX pro versions are locked, so can't be overclocked.

As far as I can see, this about thermal stability for the OEMs, so making case design easier, plus warranty support etc. Plus the introduction of ECC memory, and the increase in the amount of RAM supported.

As I see it, existing X is basically aimed at enthusiasts and early adopters, that perhaps don't mind a bit of instability, or even building their own machines.

Whereas the new WX is aimed at people who want an off-the-shelf, solid system that can happily sit running at 100% all day long without cooking itself.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Overkill and over powered?

As far as I'm aware Ryzen puts cores to sleep if not currently in use. I can't imagine Threadripper being any different.

Pandemic proves just the tonic for PC sales as shipments shoot upwards

Boothy Silver badge

Re: I have to say...

Ah, never did Minidisc.

I basically went from cassettes to CDs & MP3 in one step.

Except for my last 3 cars, (which have all had modern fully integrated ICE systems that you can't really swap out), I'd always had older cars that had the standard letterbox sized hole for the ICE unit.

Pre 2000s I had a decent cassette unit that I moved from car to car, and then back in early 2000s I replaced that with a CD player, but it also included a USB socket and a SD card slot, it could also play MP3s from a CD. So all my music just ended up on SD cards for quite a few years.

Still have the ICE unit, sat in it's original box, just in case I ever got another car that might use it! (Always fancied building a Westfield one day, but life/family etc :-\ ).

The newer cars ended up being a step backwards in some regards (better cars, but poorer factory fitted ICE), as although they both had CD auto changers in the boot, neither could handle USB or SD cards, or digital files at all. Hence going back to burning CDs for a while.

Current car doesn't have an auto changer either, just a single CD slot up front, but it can at least use USB drives, so CDs gone, and back to MP3s again! Tried OGGs but no go :-(

Boothy Silver badge

Re: False Dawn

I did say most people, not all people.

We banned the use of file shares many years ago.

Almost everything was migrated to SharePoint and OneDrive for Business (so basically SharePoint again of course!), and being part of Office/Microsoft 365, are all accessible over the Internet without VPN. (But does require muti-factor login using a corporate account, the connection of course uses https/TLS anyway, plus all devices, laptops etc, all have full disk encryption enabled).

It's also a requirement that if using public Internet, such as in a cafe, train station etc, or using a guest network, such as on a client site, that we use VPN then.

We do have a few additional colab/data storage/version control tools, such as Confluence, GitLab etc. and those are all behind VPN, but those are mostly only needed by technical staff, developers etc. If your role is more admin/management etc. Then you'd rarely need to access these systems, if at all, hence the most people comment.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: I have to say...

Last semi regular use of optical disks for me was due to my previous car, which was about 12 years old when I finally replaced it about 3 years ago.

The car had no USB, but did have a CD autochanger in the boot. So I had one of those zip up CD caddies in the boot, with something like 30 burned CDs in there, which I'd swap around occasionally (I never use my original CDs outside of the house). I'd just clone any new CDs I bought (at the same time I'd also rip them digitally).

Don't think I've installed an OS off of a disk since I bought Windows 7 on DVD back in 2009! I ended up eventually ripping the DVD to an ISO, then creating a USB from the ISO which I kept in the same box as the original DVDs (which still sits on the shelf in from of me to this day).

Boothy Silver badge

Re: False Dawn

Same here, neither myself or the company have bought any new kit for use at home. The only work I'm aware of by the company was to bolster up the VPN a bit, as it was getting sluggish, but most people don't need VPN anyway (docs are in Sharepoint etc), it's only really used by support and development people to gain access into the network when they need to utilise a server on the corp LAN etc.

The only change I've done at home, is to set up a new desk, so I can have my personal stuff, and work stuff, set up at the same time, and separately, as I was having to swap stuff around on the same desk previously.

Also means I can compartmentalise a bit better, one desk for work, one desk for personal, which I'm certain is better for the old mental health!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: I have to say...

Quote: "For that matter, I don't AT ALL understand these $2000 tower gaming rigs with NO optical drives, and no drive bays to put one in."

1. Because no one provides software on disks anymore, and haven't done for years, and where the drives did sit in a gaming case, is better served most of the time as an additional cooling intake instead, and is often used for mounting an AIO or water cooling rad. A 5.25 drive is just dead weight for most people, and...

2. It's also not really true, a quick look at cases on CCL online, and filter by external 5.25 bay, and there are 8 pages of cases (20 per page) with at least 1 x 5.25 bay. Reverse the search to only show cases that don't have any 5.25 bays, and there are 10 pages instead. So still around 45% of cases with at least one 5.25 bay. (4 pages for 2 x 5.25 bays or more, and they have two Phanteks with 5 x 5.25 bays each).

And these aren't all some knock-of budget case from brands you've never heard of, these cases with a 5.25 drive bay include brands like Corsair, Phantek, Be Quiet, Fractal Design, Thermaltake and so on.

Personally I don't really use DVDs or Blu-Rays (although I do have a few in a drawer), but I still prefer to buy my music on CDs, and I have a small Samsung USB DVD reader/writer for the occasions when I want to rip a new audio disk, which I can just plug into whichever machine I'm using at the time.

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

Boothy Silver badge

Re: male/female

Quote: "My kettle has a chassis-mounted plug, and the cord has a cable-mounted socket on the end."

No it doesn't, at least not unless there is something seriously odd with your kettle!

A plug by definition is portable/movable, i.e if you can pick it up and push it into something, it's a plug, pin layout is irrelevant.

Whereas a socket is typically fixed in place. i.e. If it's mounted on the wall, or on the side of something like a PC case, TV, kettle etc, then it is a socket, again irrespective of any pin layout. [*]

Quote : "Male and female don't apply."

Yes it does, generally (although not always), if it has pins, it's male, if it has receptacles for those pins, it's female.

Therefore the kettle has a male socket, and the cord has a female plug.

If you don't believe me go lookup 'C16 male socket' on Amazon or somewhere. (C16 is the IEC standard code for the kettle type socket, i.e. the bit that goes on the kettle).

* There are exceptions to this, such as with mains extension leads, but even there, the 'socket' is usually still mounted on something, such as a cable drum, or a small box.

IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old

Boothy Silver badge

Re: HR droids...

Similar to when I moved into IT around 1998 (I was an electronics engineer before then).

I'd been asked to travel to a conference centre in Leeds for the day, where an IT agency was trying to recruit people from outside of IT. There was around a 100 applicants there that day, who were split into two groups. We were not told in advance what was going to be expected.

The day consisted of a presentation, then two exams. One was basically a multiple choice IQ type test, the other was a pseudocode test. The IQ test was time boxed to one hour in the morning before lunch, whereas you had up to three hours for the pseudocode test, which started at 13:00 after lunch.

For background, whilst I wasn't really a 'programmer', as part of one of my electronics engineering courses around 6 years earlier, I'd taken an optional module on machine code programming for control systems, plus I'd also messed around with machine code/assembly on a Sinclair Spectrum as a teenager, so pseudocode wasn't exactly taxing!

PS: I got the job.

It's not a Windows 10 release without something breaking so here's a troubleshooter for your OneDrive woes

Boothy Silver badge

Re: My first step

I'd be curious about what tools you're using to do the Win 10 clean up?

I've done a couple of fresh installs recently (just test environments, one VM and one real hardware), install is nice and easy, but then cleaning up the mess that is a 'clean' Win 10 install afterwards is a pain.

I really wish there was an advance user option during the install, like the minimal install option you get with many Linux distro's. i.e Just the OS, needed drivers, and base utils only, nothing else.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Mouse mats with logos -avoid, avoid, avoid

In the late 90s an aunt of mine bought me a Seven-of-Nine mouse mat for Christmas (can't imagine why!). Jeri Ryan was wearing a silver metallic looking jumpsuit, and of course the mat itself was very very shinny.

This worked fine initially, as I still had a mechanical mouse, but of course the late 90s was also when optical mice started to take off, and the mat became useless[*] fairly quickly.

* Except for aesthetic reasons of course!

Hats off to the brave 7%ers who dived into the Windows 10 May 2020 Update within a month of release

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Latest Image

I'd also just remembered that some distros also have Internet install versions, with a minimal ISO, that then requires an Internet connection to download everything else live during the install.

So those should produce a more up to date install each time.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: LTSC?

I'm using a corporate [*] laptop, and we are still on 1809 (Enterprise), and all updates are managed by the company, so can't even force an update to 1909, let alone 2004.

Corp has 50,000+ employees worldwide, so that's a small amount still on 1809 globally, but still quite a few.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: half and half

Also in the same on-hold state with my main Desktop PC. Might be due to it being a home custom build, so not exactly a generic box. But I'm in no rush.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: WSL2

WSL2 is the one thing I'd really like 2004 for, but my main PC current states that I can't update from 1909 to 2004 [*] atm, and other test updates on other boxes, haven't exactly got smoothly! So I'm going to wait a while.

* It just says the update is not ready for my device yet, they'll let me know once it is!

Boothy Silver badge

Fresh install also worked for me, although I've only done this successfully on a single test box so far (real hardware).

The one test VM I updated to 2004, (from 1909), has been glitchy, odd stability issues, video flickers, NAS drive dropouts etc. Could be partly an incompatibility with Virtual Box, lots of people complaining about the video issue. A fresh install of 2004 in a VM still had video issues (very very slow), but other things like NAS drives seem to work okay, so far anyway.

Won't be letting 2004 anywhere near any of my 'real' PCs any time soon.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Latest Image

Quote: "...image with all updates included like Linux community."

Huh? Is this a specific distro?

I've installed a few Linux installs over the last few months, desktop and server, VMs and real hardware, different distros, and always from a freshly downloaded ISO. The ISO only usually changes if the release number changes, and they always need an update/upgrade once installed [*]. i.e. the ISO for Ubuntu 20.04 is still the same now, as it was months back, so needs even more downloads to bring up to date.

* Not a complaint, just an observation, I expect to have to update any fresh install, and at least with Linux, it's usually quick and painless (especially server editions).

UN warns of global e-waste wave as amount of gadgets dumped jumps 21% in 5 years

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Or...

Glances at the shelves above my desk.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, long since retired, still in it's original box.

A collection of phones, an S3, HTC Hero, T-Mobile MDA (aka HTC Hermes keyboard slider phone), and a box for my OnePlus 3 (still my current phone). Nearby a Nexus 7 tablet original box, tablet not inside as it's still in occasional use (custom ROM) from its Dock (which I also still have the original box for).

A few PCs from the 2000s, although don't think I've got one earlier that my 2002 Athlon.

I have an early gen Intel NUC, which has Ubuntu server running on it, for those times when I really need low level hardware access rather than a VM. I've also got a couple of working Amiga's as well, a A1200 (in it's original box, had since new) and an A4000, although these haven't been used for a while. I haven't even mentioned anything that's in the loft yet!

Me a hoarder, nah ;-)

My general view point is if it still works, I might find a use for it at some point. It only tends to go to recycling if its just no longer of use, simply doesn't work at all, and can't even be used as an ornament or for demo purposes.

As an example, behind me on a table, my previous PC (an Intel i7 system built in 2012, which was only replaced last summer by a Ryzen 3800X) is currently being used as a test bench, and is at this moment running a full system restore test (from a drive image backup from my current main desktop PC). You can't call it a backup, if you haven't tested the restore process!

(Going to be interesting to see how Windows 10 copes with booting up on a completely different motherboard, CPU, GFX card etc!).

Happy privacy action day in California: If you don't have 'Do not sell my information' in your website footer, you need to read this story right now

Boothy Silver badge

...ought to be delayed given the Covid-19 crisis...

Quote: “We believe the entirety of the enforcement of this law ought to be delayed given the Covid-19 crisis...

I don't buy that, the changes should have been made to web sites in time for when the new law came into force (1st Jan), or even before then, not when it was due to start being enforced.

The law was passed back in June 2018, so people knew what was needed, and when it was needed, two years ago. Since then, they've had a full year and a half to plan, design and implement the changes in time for the 1st of January 'go-live' date, and were then given an extra 6 months grace period on top of that before enforcement started, so two full years of available time, where only the last 6 months would have had any Covid-19 impact, and they still blew it!

One map to rule them all: UK's Ordnance Survey rolls out its Data Hub and the juicy API goodness that lies therein

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Could this become the official UK postcode and address database?

Just realised my own statement "The two companies have nothing whatsoever to do with each other." isn't strictly accurate, as they do obviously have a business relationship, i.e. you can use RM services in a PO etc. I just meant the two companies themselves are independent entities.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Could this become the official UK postcode and address database?

Just to be clear: Post Office =/= Royal Mail

The two companies have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. (although before the 90s they were both part of the GPO).

Currently we have:

Post Office Ltd: A UK state owned private company, founded in 1986.

Royal Mail: This is a brand/trading name under Royal Mail Group plc, which is itself a public limited company as of ~2014.

(ps: RMG also own the Parcelforce Worldwide brand).

Regarding Post Codes... You're correct, here's a few more details..

UK Post Codes are managed by Royal Mails PAF service (Postcode Address File).

PAF is the single mast.. erm, single official source of all UK Post Codes.

Anyone else selling or using Post Code related services (such as entering a postcode on a web site, that then allows you to pick your specific address), either gets the list directly from PAF themselves, or via a 3rd party supplier that in turn gets it from PAF. Any organisation who doesn't get it ultimately from PAF (such as crowd sourced datasets), is unlikely to be 100% accurate, or they'll at least be a bit behind on their info compared to PAF itself.

One of the main issues with subscribers to PAF services (or also 3rd party providers), is this is usually a subscription based service, and unless things have changed recently, how much you pay RM, changes how often you can update your local PAF db. Some organisations might only update once a year, so it can take new addresses quite a while to show up in an application/service. Some places might decide to cut costs, and cancel their sub, so end up getting out-of-date quite quickly.

Disclaimer: I used to work for RMG in the late 90s and early 2000s, and had quite a few dealings with PAF related services both internally, and with 3rd parties.

Apple: We're defending your privacy by nixing 16 browser APIs. Rivals: You mean defending your bottom line

Boothy Silver badge

Re: So Google is upset

Quite: "I-Phones are encrypted by default, with Android you normally have to enable it manually."

Not true, at least not since late 2015 (for new devices).

Android has had full disk encryption on by default since Android 6 (late 2015). Google tried doing this (on by default) with Android 5 in 2014, but there were performance issues (mainly missing drivers for doing AES encryption/decryption in hardware, which meant many devices had to do this in software, which was very slow!).

By Android 6 Google tried this again, but this time made full device encryption a mandatory requirement of getting certified (needed if you wanted to pre-install Google apps like Maps and the Play Store etc).

So any Android 6+ device (so late 2015 onwards), that has Google Apps pre-installed has to be using full disk encryption by default. (The encryption is enforced on first boot, so even a factory reset won't remove it).

Looking at my Android 9 phone, there isn't even an option to turn encryption off.

Lockdown team building: Actualise the potentiality of your workforce... through the power of video games

Boothy Silver badge

We are doing it retro

We also get together on a Wednesday nights, but we are doing retro titles at the moment, so playing CTF in both Quake 2 and the original Unreal Tournament (not the remake on Epic store).

Reminds me of when I used to go to LAN parties back in ~1999 to 2005, just without having to lug about a PC!

Windows 10 Insider wondering where Notepad has gone? Fear not, Microsoft found it down the back of Dev Channel

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Better alternative, skip MS

i

Got used to vi on AIX boxes back in the late 90s.

I'm on Linux boxes regularly, so still use it to this day.

I don't even use vim!

Not really an expert with it, but i, /keyword, dd, L-Shift+a seem to get me through.

Other editors seemed to come and go, but as you say, vi is always there (Thankfully!).

:wq

California Attorney General asks judge to force Lyft and Uber to classify drivers as employees – or else

Boothy Silver badge

Well, that is their Business model after all.

1. Run at a loss, in order to unfairly undercut local taxi services, gradually forcing them out of business.

2. Use investor money to keep the company going, and when the balance is looking low, ask for more.

3. Gain a near monopoly in a given area, due to the competition going bust, at which point increase prices, so you start making a profit in those locations.

6. Profit.

If any taxi firm manages to start gaining traction, just drop the price again in that area for a while, and the taxi firm goes under.

Ultimately this is bad for everyone (customers, drivers etc) except for the investors and shareholders, and even they are playing a long game here.

Fortunately a lot of local bodies, groups, politicians etc understand this, and so are tying to rain them in before it's too late.

Folk sure like to stick electric toothbrush heads in their ears: True wireless stereo sales buck coronavirus trends

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Little known company called Onkyo

Still got an old Onkyo TX-SR606 sat in the living room.

Was handy being able to basically throw any video signal into it, and get a single HDMI out of it for the TV, with the audio going to the 5.1 speakers, rather than to the TV.

Stripped it down to replace the caps on the HDMI board about 8 years ago (at ~4 years old I think), as it would no longer sync the HDMI video signals. Lasted a good few years longer after that.

I don't actually use the HDMI now, as the HDMI is so old on the Onkyo, my newer devices won't work through it anyway, but my TV has four HDMI inputs and a pass through optical, so I just use the TV as the switcher and the Onkyo basically acts as a plain 5.1 audio amp.

Boothy Silver badge

Also got the Sony WH-1000XM3 headset here.

Wore them flying from Australia to the UK in January, using the included flight adaptor, and they still had around 30% charge left on landing in the UK, despite using them almost constantly (I rarely sleep on flights). So basically a full day of use, and charge to spare.

They also work well with Windows, both for things like Zoom/Skype using the built in mic, but also for music playback (gaming I guess as well, but I use 5.1 speakers for that).

I noticed they show up as both a Headset, and Headphones in Windows Sound Settings (mmsys.cpl). Use Skype/Zoom etc and it uses the Headset mode (mono, with a mic), but use something like Media Player, and it uses the Headphone profile instead (stereo and higher bit rate, but no mic).

With intelligent life in scant supply on Earth, boffins search for technosignatures of civilizations in the galaxy

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Edge case

Which pretty much sounds like the Drake equation, a fraction of, then another fraction of, and another fraction of, etc.

Unfortunately too many unknowns, and so assumptions currently, so the Drake equation isn't all that useful really!

NASA to send Perseverance, a new trundle bot, and Ingenuity, the first interplanetary helicopter, to sniff out life on Mars in July

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Lift-off?

Current plan seems to be...

Perseverance takes samples, puts these in a sealed tube, and drops them on the ground, moving off to the next sample area (around 20 to 30 samples in total).

Another mission in a few years sends an orbiter, which includes an Earth return entry vehicle.

A 3rd mission has a collection rover and an ascent vehicle. The rover drives around and picks all the samples, loads them into the ascent vehicle, which then docks with the orbiter, which transfers the samples to the Earth return vehicle, and sends them on their way.

Everything past Perseverance still seems to be in concept and/or design, nothing actually being built yet. So may not happen at all, or may get changed around.

HTC breaks with tradition to push out 2 phones someone might actually want to buy

Boothy Silver badge

OnePlus are fairly good at updating phones.

I still use a OnePlus 3, which I bought in July 2016 (it was released in June 2016), which cost me £309 at the time, including delivery, and came with Android 6.

This was updated to Android 7 and 8, and the last update was expected to be 8.1, but even though a beta had been around for 8.1, they skipped it and went directly to Android 9 instead. (Apparently something along the lines of, "We were doing the work for rolling out Android 9 to the 3T anyway, and there wasn't much hardware difference between the 3 and 3T, so might as well roll out for the 3 while we are at it")

Last update was in November 2019, to security patch 2019.10, still on Android 9. So basically 3 major OS updates over its life, plus security patches for about 3.5 years. Not too bad really.

Main issue now is the price, with their cheapest phone being the 7T at £470 (current discounted price), but that's also last years September release. The 8 and 8 Pro came out in April this year (cheapest of those is £599).

But, all that being said, there are rumours about a OnePlus Z phone coming out soon™, aimed at the mid range. For comparison they did a mid range 'X' model back in 2015 for $249, so they have form here.

It was apparently due for launch in April, along with the 8 and 8 Pro, but it's been delayed till later in the summer, dates and details yet to be confirmed. But might be worth keeping an eye out for.

If you're despairing at staff sharing admin passwords, look on the bright side. That's CIA-grade security

Boothy Silver badge

Re: 123ABCdef

Stick a dot/period in the middle (other characters are available), and most web sites would consider this a strong password!

As a bit of fun, I did a quick duckduckgo search for password strength checkers, and went through the first few with that password, and then added a dot in the middle. The first two checkers I used all went from weak/instant discovery, to strong/discovery in years after adding a single dot/period!

Only the third one I tried (@ my1login) actually noticed the character sequences, stating medium strength (with the dot), but also said only 2 days to crack, rather than years (it was ~3 seconds to crack for the original no dot version on the same site).

But that same site also considered correcthorsebatterystaple Very strong, and 65 years to crack, but with the first two sites stating weak and instant, with one even quoting xkcd, so go figure :-)

Meet the dog that's all byte and no bark: Boston Dynamics touts robo-pooch Spot with $75k-a-pop price tag

Boothy Silver badge
Terminator

Re: A less friendly-looking version of Spot was featured ...

The robots did have a projectile type weapon as well, as they end up sniping one of the French soldiers when the soldiers first encountered them (ep 2 or 3 I think), ending up in a full fire fight.

The bolt was only used against already incapacitated or trapped people. The robots (or more accurately their bosses), had an agenda, they were taking some people away alive, so they seemed to first try to incapacitate them, then scan them, then either took them away or they killed them. Makes sense to use the bolt in this case, rather than using up ammo. No ammo would leave them vulnerable (they could be destroyed by regular weapons), and would mean having to go back to resupply.

Also the Spot resemblance was due to Boston Dynamics being involved in the design of the robots, although the ones in the show were 3D printed full sized models for the close-ups, and CGI versions for the walking ones. No real robot dogs were harmed in the making of the show!

Microsoft disbands three-ring Windows Insider circus and replaces it with 'channels'

Boothy Silver badge

It also matches what the last client I worked for, used as their main git branch names...

dev, beta, release

Where...

release is the current release, and the only changes allowed here are to merge in the next beta once confirmed it's ready for release (or the occasional hot fix if really really needed).

beta the main next build, basically a pre-release of the next release.

dev the latest code.

New functionality, bugs etc would all have separate branches.

Also all three main branches must be buildable at all times (automated build and testing of course).

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

Boothy Silver badge

Re: 2004 update to blame?

I've updated one VM at home as a test, it didn't go well (gfx corruption issues), and one of my colleagues updated a work laptop, also had issues.

My main PC (home built last summer, all current tech, no legacy device), is currently blocking the 2004 update, stating on Windows Update "... your device isn't quite ready yet.".

What they actually mean of course is that "Windows 2004 isn't quite ready yet".

I've no idea why it's blocked, there doesn't seem to be any details, but personally, I'm in no rush for the update.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Standard Win10 Error

For any old instructions that told you to do a cold boot, i.e. Shut down, then start up again, if on a default Win 10, you need to do a restart instead now.

As others have mentioned, Win 10 shutdown is actually a hybrid hibernation by default (it logs you out, then hibernates), which can lead to odd issues. (For example my network drives always show as disconnected, with a warning icon in the tray, despite actually working fine when opened).

Whereas a restart in Win 10, seems to close everything down before starting up again. So if using Fastboot, do a restart instead of a shutdown to clear up issues.

Personally I don't see the point in Fastboot mode on a modern machine. my personal machine has a fast SSD (M.2 NVMe), and for me there is no perceptible difference in boot time with our without Fastboot. Plus wiithout it, it also fixes the occasional odd app behaviour, and also resolved the network drives disconnected issue I had).

That being said, Fastboot might be useful for people on a slow HDD. My company provided laptop is an old 4 core, 4 thread thing, on a slow HDD, and boot times are noticeable faster with Fastboot on, but I do a restart about once a week, otherwise it starts to get testy (apps crashing etc).

For ref, the Fastboot setting is under:

Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Power Options\System Settings

Alternately, type Power into the search bar (i.e. Windows key, then type), then click 'Additional power settings' on the right, then click 'Choose what the power buttons do', which takes you to 'System Settings'. (Don't you just love Win 10s mixed approach to settings!).

Sony reveals PlayStation 5 will offer heretical no-optical-disk option. And yes, it has an AMD CPU-GPU combo

Boothy Silver badge
Pint

Re: PS4 to PS5

Perhaps we could start a rumour that the new consoles include an embedded 5G transmitter? ;-)

Icon --> Well it is Friday!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Disk free

Steam showed the way on PC years ago, and in a very short time basically destroyed the boxed PC game industry, with any publishes not going via Steam, having to provide their own downloads, or create their own platform.

Big publishers like Ubisoft and EA have been trying to do the same to the console market for years, the PC versions of Origin and Uplay basically being practice for them.

The only reason I have any disks for my PS4 (first PlayStation I've owned) was that they were usually cheaper to buy than the online store versions (especially the legacy games, like early Uncharted games etc).

Personally, I don't miss having to use a CD/DVD to install stuff on PC.

Boothy Silver badge

Mark Cerny (lead designer at Sony) has already stated that an external drive can be used for legacy PS4 games, and those PS4 games can be run from that drive, or moved to the internal SSD for a speed boost if wanted. Can't be used for PS5 games though, but...

PS5 also has an NVMe M.2 slot...

Quote from Mark Cerny : "We will be supporting certain M2 SSDs," Cerny confirmed. "These are internal drives that you can get on the open market and install in a bay on the PS5. They connect through the custom IO unit just like our SSD does, so they can take full advantage of the decompression, IO co-processors, and all the other features I was talking about. Here's the catch though: that commercial drive has to be at least as fast as ours. Games that rely on the speed of our SSD need to work flawlessly with any M2 drive."

Original article here: https://www.gamesradar.com/uk/ps5-ssd/

Hey Mister Prime Minister ... Scott! Can you get off my lawn please, mate?

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Might be me

I did see some Foster's on draft one time, somewhere outside of Sydney, but I've never seen cans of it.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Might be me

You won't find much Fosters in Australia, more likely to get hit by a can of ice cold VB (Victoria Bitter)!

Lenovo certifies all desktop and mobile workstations for Linux – and will even upstream driver updates

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Driven to Linux by M$...and Linux turns out to be wonderful!!

Ah, wasn't aware of that, I'd just picked the first 3 questions, and used the same answer each time.

Good tip, thanks.

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