* Posts by short

118 posts • joined 26 Oct 2011


Xiaomi builds a robot dog out of smartphone cameras and an Nvidia edge AI board


Re: Open Source

Depressingly typical. Fanfare, launch, 'open source', reluctant push of a few drawings and a crappily forked OS that'll never build.

Nice to see they've optimised out the more depressing stages.

Also, since Intel have just canned their Realsense cameras and team, " Intel ® RealSense™ D450 Depth module" doesn't look like a long term winner.

Remember, kids: Intel shit up an abandon any market they enter.

Tick-tock, Facebook: Not a reference to that short vid horsepuckey but a literal open-source timekeeper


You mock, but rubidium boxes with plenty of life left are only £150 or so, it's unlikely to be the limiting factor here.


(The CSAC module that this design uses is spiffy, being small, low power an decent spec, but doesn't seem to be purchasable. That might just be an export control thing, mind)


Re: So they've opened the source code, except for the interesting bit.

Good grief, no. FPGAs are quite good at this sort of thing. For a start, you can clock them faster than the edge speed of a 74xx, and you can build tunable tapped delay lines by stringing logic carefully in straight lines. Single nanoseconds are fair game, better with effort. These are all things I was looking forward to seeing how they'd implemented.

Rubidium oscillators are a bit jittery at this level, a good quartz oscillator is less jittery but less stable longer term.


So they've opened the source code, except for the interesting bit.

Oh, interesting. I'd love to see how they did the fpga, I've a bit of a time-nuts thing going on here, and the published specs look good.

<rummage on github>


I've got plenty of suitable FPGA boards, GNSS boards and a handy rubidium oscillator, fancy having a go. Somewhat disappointed that there's a bitstream file, and that's it.

To be slightly fair, there's a bit of pdf documentation of the FPGA, but that's pushing 'open source' beyond breaking point.

Oh well. Teasers.

Openreach to UK businesses: Switch is about to hit the fan. Prepare for withdrawal of the copper-based phone network now or risk disruption


Re: The future is coming

Wouldn't PoE be better than yet another bloody unreliable UPS whose battery will fester, forgotten?

Y'all ready to get back to the office this October, Facebook tells staff in the US


Re: Employees who want to keep working 100% remote

Hardly. I was hired for my abilities, not my convenient location and ornamental body, and I doubt I'm alone in this,

Of course, it's not impossible that someone will decide I'm interchangeable with someone else cheaper, but there's always been that risk - going into the office doesn't really factor in to it, doubly so as I work for a genuinely global company.

Ever wanted to own a piece of the internet? Now you can: $1 for a whole gTLD... or $2.8m if you want a decent one


> why shouldn't all registrars be able to register ANY unused domain?

Super. I look forward to .c0m , .conn and a thousand subtly accented and unicode horrors.

Salesforce's Dreamforce shindig hits new levels of nauseating online as... Oh god. Is that James Corden?


Re: Classic, El Reg, just Classic.

Do Banggood still actually sell stuff? My last two biggish orders just sort of languished, never got shipped, and eventually refunded. Strange business model, they used to be quite good crap-shifters.

BBC picks SiFive RISC-V chip for Doctor Who programming-for-kids kit – with Jodie Whittaker narrating


Re: Because?

It doesn't look (to me) as if the BBC has done more than a bit of licensing, and contractual stuff to allow (or force?) Jodie Whittaker to read some stuff into a microphone. The hardware existed before this and Tynker seem to have a pretty slick, if spendy, operation doing similar stuff with other target hardware (and none), including the micro:bit.

"BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor is produced by Tynker under license from BBC Studios.

Doctor Who and BBC Learning are a trademark of the British Broadcasting Corporation and is used under license. © 2020 All rights reserved."

Doesn't look like the BBC is pissing your license fee away here, might even be bringing some cash in?


Re: It's already up at Pimoroni

I bought a couple of these ages ago, but in black. The collateral was really not good - a tie-in to AWS to build a couple of toy projects, then seemingly orphaned.

It's the stuff round the edges which is important, and hard, and a massive time sink to create and curate. Micro:bit and Pi have that all up and running, we shall see if this gets traction, even with Dr Who branding.

That's not a second array of LEDs on the back, they're decoupling capacitors for the WSwhatever neopixel RGB LEDs, which are truely lovely in a small array like that - I suspect that's where at least some of the budget has gone, compared to the red array on micro:bit.

Wait, what? Develop on Tynker, where it's $30 per month? WTF? "Start for Free". This is not my idea of a good time.

Remember when the keyboard was the computer? You can now relive those heady days with the Raspberry Pi 400


Re: E for effort

Hang on, doesn't audio come out of the HDMI device?

Nobody with a choice designs in a mains power supply. RPF have a perfectly usable range of global plugtop PSUs.

Your other moans - meh.

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide


Hah, there's already electronics embedded in some cables, and I'm currently working on more. In a decade or so, most cables will have an attitude. Think Talky Toaster, but with the inherent annoyance of trying to rotate a USB cable three times widdershins while hoping your coupling license is up to date.

Oh, how I relish the future.

Just think, cables that can count insertion cycles, Super. Doubly so if they know the date.

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


VHDL's still a verbose horror, then.

After knocking out VHDL for FPGAs over the decades, I thought I'd have a look at how the grownups do it, in the A2I files.

Sweet baby jesus, it's just as awful, but on a much bigger scale.

How can VHDL possibly still be the best way of putting thoughts into silicon? They've got some nicer support libraries than I do, but this kind of crap makes me wonder if it's an intermediate, or if there really is no better way?

latch_ob_buf_status_avail : tri_rlmreg_p

generic map (width => ob_buf_status_avail_q'length, init => 0, expand_type => expand_type)

port map (nclk => nclk,

act => ob_rd_logic_act,

forcee => func_sl_force,

d_mode => d_mode_dc,

delay_lclkr => delay_lclkr_dc,

mpw1_b => mpw1_dc_b,

mpw2_b => mpw2_dc_b,

thold_b => func_sl_thold_0_b,

sg => sg_0,

vd => vdd,

gd => gnd,

scin => siv(ob_buf_status_avail_offset to ob_buf_status_avail_offset + ob_buf_status_avail_q'length-1),

scout => sov(ob_buf_status_avail_offset to ob_buf_status_avail_offset + ob_buf_status_avail_q'length-1),

din => ob_buf_status_avail_d,

dout => ob_buf_status_avail_q );

ob0_buf0_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(0) and not ex6_ob0_buf0_flushed;

ob0_buf1_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(1) and not ex6_ob0_buf1_flushed;

ob0_buf2_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(2) and not ex6_ob0_buf2_flushed;

ob0_buf3_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(3) and not ex6_ob0_buf3_flushed;

ob1_buf0_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(4) and not ex6_ob1_buf0_flushed;

ob1_buf1_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(5) and not ex6_ob1_buf1_flushed;

ob1_buf2_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(6) and not ex6_ob1_buf2_flushed;

ob1_buf3_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(7) and not ex6_ob1_buf3_flushed;

ob2_buf0_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(8) and not ex6_ob2_buf0_flushed;

ob2_buf1_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(9) and not ex6_ob2_buf1_flushed;

ob2_buf2_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(10) and not ex6_ob2_buf2_flushed;

ob2_buf3_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(11) and not ex6_ob2_buf3_flushed;

ob3_buf0_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(12) and not ex6_ob3_buf0_flushed;

ob3_buf1_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(13) and not ex6_ob3_buf1_flushed;

ob3_buf2_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(14) and not ex6_ob3_buf2_flushed;

ob3_buf3_status_val <= ob_buf_status_avail_q(15) and not ex6_ob3_buf3_flushed;

Thought you'd go online to buy better laptop for home working? Too bad, UK. So did everyone. Laptops, monitors and WLANs fly off shelves


Maplin seems to have been at least slightly revived. Someone's got the site and set up a shop with similar logos. There are references to how long Maplin has been trading for, pics of the old catalogues, but very sketchy about whether it's the same company.

Similar-ish offerings to defunct Maplin, so who knows if it's a goer. Good luck to them, though.

Openreach's cunning plan to 'turbocharge' the post-Brexit economy: Getting everyone on full-fibre broadband by 2025


Yeah, you're fine. So there's no need for better broadband anywhere. I get it.

Not to over-hype this storage chip tech, but if I could get away with calling my first-born '3D NAND', I totally would


Re: Hot in here?

The unused layers are just going to sit there, like NAND does, taking (next to) no power. I don't think anyone's (yet) pitching running all the layers simultaneously - there's not a controller per layer.

Atari finally launches its VCS console. Again.


Re: It's not a console, its "the Raspberry Pi of the Living room"

If it's an x86 (or x64) then if you want to homebrew, you might as well do it on any old platform. Hell, start now, you don't need to wait for this to launch. Print a case if you want to feel all retro.

If you feel the urge to homebrew games at a more fun level, then why not back

http://kck.st/2WHe9Ew ?

(Disclaimer: I do, and I have...)

It's still not a stellar gaming platform, but it looks like fun and the education collateral will probably be worth the time & money, given the project leaders. They also seem to have actual prototypes...

Mods I have known, Mods I have loved, Mods I have hated: Motorola's failed experiment is now a savvy techie's dream


Re: Phones for the 0.1%

>Yeah, great for selfies ..... of your nose hair.

The zoom doesn't work for closeups, can't focus. There's a tolerable macro mode, but you do have to hold the lens close...

People have become very accepting of non-zoomable (and otherwise deeply compromised) phone cameras. Sticking the Hasselblad mod onto a phone is a pleasure. A fair number of my photos are of various animals, at distances where a regular phone camera, no matter how good, would just show a blob. Maybe not your use case, but I'm enjoying it, and the photos are keepers. You can go (relatively) full manual if you want. Sometimes it's nice to force things.

Having it in my pocket at all times - in a way that I don't for real cameras, means it gets a lot of use, and the results aren't as disappointing as they tend to be with phone cameras. Google Photos integration means the photos get pushed to reliable storage without hassle.

It's not the best camera in the world, but it's a set of compromises that fits me nicely, especially at the price point that AO points out. I've got no particular bone to pick.

When I use the native camera on the phone, or my (works) iphone8, I remember why I like the mod. I got here via N95 and N8, both of which had notable cameras for the time - maybe I just like that sort of thing.


Re: The main problem with such ideas is...

Why do you want small? There's oodles of space on the back of a phone for some thickly gold plated contacts and a location pin. You _shall_ go to the ball, Cinders.

(Seriously, the connector is quite nicely done, and not a limiting factor. It'd be better if it had a raw USB channel in it, as well as the CSI, DSI and sidechannel /control gubbins, but if it does, I haven't seen a way to use it in my minimal rummaging)


Not that I could find, Seems like it would have been an easy thing to add to one of the audio mods, maybe with a luxury amp, since there's the space and power budget.

Edit: Nowt stopping you building such a thing, of course. That's kind of the point.


I love my Z with the camera mod - but now the phone battery's starting to fade, the camera craps out if the phone battery is at less than 70%, and sometimes the phone crashes too. I've dismantled a previous camera (met a sticky end when I rammed it into a tree), and there's nowhere easy to stick a big power smoothing cap.

Replacing the battery in the phone looks non-trivial on youtube, but I'll probably bother, as the combination is really nice. Seamless bolt-up to google photos if you don't mind google having your photos.

The speaker mod (with its own battery) is great, runs for many hours, plays audiobooks or radio while I'm working. You really know when an SMS has come in, though.

I've also got the development mods, but have done nothing but fetch the toolkit and run the demos. Anything that I want to build, would probably be better connected over USB or Bluetooth. An oscilloscope back would make me very, very happy. Sort of bolt a Red Pitaya or whatever on, but use the fast camera data lanes to dump a screen buffer onto the phone.

It's a shame there's not a sandwich battery mod, so I could run the camera forever. An extra 4mm thickness would be a massive capacity boost.

Anyway, mods = gods, etc. And the phone, without mods, isn't too shabby.

Thousands of misconfigured 3D printers on interwebz run risk of sabotage


So Skynet's main weapon will be hairballs of slightly stinky plastic thread and the occasional penis?

Suddenly, I feel less worried.

UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo


Re: UK has the resources

Interesting, what have you all got against eLoran?

From my reading of it, it seems like a less jammable, nearly as accurate (with modern receivers), lower running cost navigation system that can be rolled out across the globe as needed / wanted / as our empire inevitably restores itself post-brexit.

Useful antennas currently exist down to 2cm square, and I imagine that'll gently shrink with time - so not as tiny as GPS, but GPS isn't going to stop existing, LORAN would just ride alongside as a less fragile backup for when you really care.

Educate me, downvoters.


Re: UK has the resources

+1 for an eLoran style ground-based option, rather than yet another sat system that'll be just as prone to jamming as the rest. Possibly not as good for guiding individual rounds in (is it?) but better at letting squaddies and assets know where they are,

Edit: Also, third parties are much more likely to chip in to help build out & run an eLoran. Nobody will give a single fuck about yet another GNSS. I'd imagine that any receivers will be for Are Boys (and emergency services) only, hence huge, power hungry and crappy, to the point where they all just use a phone instead.

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball


Fifty is a bloody odd number

That's right in the sweet spot of annoyance - Too few for any kind of volume (real plastics, cheap parts and PCBs), and too many to casually knock out in an afternoon.

SLA plastics, then? Would help explain the grotty buttons - but the clear display cover looks like a real moulded part?

While it's no great loss if the Vega+ dies on its arse, it would be a shame for all the tooling to have been made, and then just a run of fifty cycles, then in to the bin. Especially for the people whose crowdfunding paid for the mould making.

£500K doesn't get you many goes round at design, tooling, testing. Does it look like they nearly got there, or is this a product that's 90% there, and just needs a second, and possibly third 90% to be adequate?

Intel Xeon workhorses boot evil maids out of the hotel: USB-based spying thwarted by fix


Re: Should be disabled in firmsware

Bosch do a USB-charged wireless hot melt glue gun for this sort of thing. I thought it was a daft idea until I saw a friend's and got one, Highly recommended.

Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet


Ram Air?

I'm slightly surprised that the pressure dropped. The outside pressure is about 1/4 sea level (isn't it?) , and there was a sodding great hole, right at the front, with the plane presumably going at 600ish mph?

Anyone do the maths / physics for this?

Does the data recorder log cabin pressure?

(I'm not in any way saying that it wasn't appallingly windy, cold and tricky to fly...)

Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history


providing a good UX - Facebook?!?

I've got a facebook account (under a pseudonym, natch.)

How in hell is that a good UX? Can't find things, can't dig back, can't organise. It's just a dumping ground. Photos get resampled, cropped and generally befouled. Videos likewise. Coments don't thread. Ads are poorly targeted bollocks if I disable blockers. Recommendations for 'you might like' are nonsensical babble.

It just lived off investor cash until it got big enough to sell the emperor's new ads, and now it's reached critical mass.

Horrible mess. But clearly successful. Does beating FB mean playing it at its own crazy game? Interoperating with it?

Horn star Sudan, last male northern white rhino, dies aged 45


Finally, a use for homepathy?

Rhino horn: much more potent when diluted massively.

Get to it, advertising weasels, justify your existence.

China to offer recoverable satellites-as-a-service


Digestive biscuits are surprisingly fireproof

Anyone who's tried to laser cut a digestive can tell you that they're surprisingly resistant, so I reckon a huge one would be worth a try for a heat shield. Getting SpaceX to replace their boat-borne catcher's mitt with a giant cup of tea would be a fine thing, too.

UK.gov calls on the Big Man – GOD – to boost rural broadband


Re: Deja vu...

Good grief, that's impressively hardline. Is that still the stated policy? Good to see IDS saying that the internet's nothing but filth, too.


Re: Good stuff but a sticking plaster fix ...

Hang on - I'm a rural business, and bandwidth means I can Skype (or Zoom, or hangout, or whateerthehellcustomerwants) in to meetings without having to drag my arse across rural roads for an hour or more. 10Mbps will do, but crappy asymmetric and flaky *DSL, no chance.

It's not (all) just form-filling farmers around here. We'll even pay for service (but not necessarily what BT/OR want to charge). Fat wireless links from chrches, as long as the backhaul's ok, would seem to fit the bill.

It does sound like it's just a way to get masts without the planing hassles, though.

Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'


Re: Wow

Don't GG get miffed if you tether on an 'unlimited' plan?


Re: Wow

>It will be interesting to see a map showing 4G coverage and absence of FTTP/FTTC.

Out here in the fens - EE's coverage map is good, and BT's service is shit.

Obviously anecdotes are not data, but for me 4G at £60 per 200G trumps sub-megabit flaky ADSL. Sure, unmetered would be nice, but I'll take what I can get.

[edit] I should stop saying this stuff, or people will sign up and my tower / backhaul will get contended to hell. I certainly don't miss the home-from-school and early evening VM slowdowns at my last place, on a notionally much faster service.

Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times


Do the kids(tm) just

lurch from one social app to the next without rancour? How do they drag their stick-in-the-mud friends over to the next platform? No point being there if your friends aren't, after all?

UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps


Re: The turn of the millenium called...

I can only see 9G/Mo for £18 om Giffgaff - what am I missing?


Re: The turn of the millenium called...

It's easy to mock, but some of us are stuck on glorified dial-up. The line here delivered a flaky 300kbps when I killed it. Fortunately I'm in a decent 4G area, so as long as I'm prepared to pay £1/G, I can have a usable service - which I need for both work, and reading ElReg...


Other than 'grudgingly',

How are BT going to deliver this?

As few FTTC boxes as possible, and hope that advances in *DSL will allow them to keep up with any increase in obligated speed?

Bite the bullet and overprovision, with some FTTP as well?

Something wireless?

Just ignore it, say they're working as hard as they possibly can, and swallow any fines that arrive?

One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics


Can't they have (chained down) Farnell & RS catalogues?

There are people on ebay selling Farnell's stuff, using photos and text scraped straight from the web site, with a 400% markup and 99p delivery fee, despite the fact they get free drop shipping straight from Farnell to the customer. One of them, "Top Quality Tools", has 126,000 feedback - there's clearly a (perceived) need for it. Of course, people will probably whine if they ever see the actual markup, which the ebay sellers manage to conceal effectively.

OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering


Re: 20 layers you say.

The design rules are pretty tight, though - 0.8 thou track and gap (20 micron) , I'm seeing from manufacturers.

It's the stacking of the boards through that via-laden interposer board that I find interesting - although the amount of waste from all those 'middles' seems sad.


(That's just the good photo from ifixit of the stacked interposer)

Also interesting that the BGAs are backfilled, but they haven't gone the next step and filled the whole assembly for thermal and rigidity reasons. Maybe it makes things worse with heat coming from different chips at different times?

Boffins' satcomms rig uses earthly LEDs to talk to orbiting PV panels


Re: Signal to noise ?

Yeah, but you'd have to point your lens in the right direction, which is hard.

Picking the AC signal out of the mush is 'just' analogue and processing, no movement. (and blocking the DC from the sun is trivially easy).

I'm impressed that they got this much bandwidth, though. Good stuff.

Gov claws back £645m in BT broadband from subsidy


Yeah, I know. It's only BT directly with whom I have a gripe - any dealing with them has, over the last 30 years, been somewhere between unsatisfactory and a shambles. I've learned my lesson.

Dealing with the weasel's tentacles, though, doesn't seem to be doomed (yet). Cellnet - tolerable. OpenReach - tolerable. EE, tolerable. Wish me luck.


"Sorry, your property is in a RED area which means no properties are planned to have access to fast broadband. Scroll down to see the options available to you."


Ooh, subsidised satellite, maybe that's better than the <250kbps over the landline.


Nope, it's subsidised installation, but with a long contract and still over £1/Gbyte, but with added latency. I'll stick with my 3G & 4G dongles. I guess that's broadband - and at least I'm not giving the BT weasels anything.

I've got to admit that I'm reasonably happy with EE's 4G->Ethernet widget. Shame it's not unlimited, but it gets the job done. Reluctant to squander precious bytes on a speedtest, but it never feels much slower than the VM 50Meg I moved away from. If you're getting crap service but have 3G or 4G coverage, it's worth a look. Port your phone number to VoIP and ditch the wire.

Oracle has to pay top sales rep stiffed out of $250,000, US court rules


Quite a lot of money

$873,638.10 for a $10M contract. Is that sort of ratio normal? Has she already spent large chunks of it during the 30 months sales job, on 'lunches with the purchasers' and stuff like that?

This is a world I know nothing about, but it sounds interesting.

Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds


Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Oddly, I don't grumble at all when 35 (or lower) is an appropriate speed. It's the oblivious '35 is the right speed in any circumstance' that I (and others, seemingly) find vexing. I just don't understand how one can drive like that? Is the act of steering so overwhelming that there's no capacity left for altering the speed? Clearly it's not a safety thing, or they'd back off through the lower limit sections. I'm honestly baffled. Anyone who tends to do this want to pop on an anonymous mask and give me a hand?



Just on case it hasn't already been patented...

Can I have bluetooth, wifi or other short-range wireless homing between car and customer's phone, so it can actually manage the final stage of finding the customer. I don't think the mapping is yet good enough to reliably locate which house / flat / hovel is which, and it'll be annoying to have to walk half a mile to get to a car that's arrived by postcode only... Likewise, finding the autonomous car that's come to pick me up from the station, rather than the hundred other people. This doesn't work well, even with experienced taxi drivers, and is going to need a solution - and I haven't seen it discussed yet.


Re: One Good Reason

Oh gawd - how much 'advertising' budget would it take for self driving cars to tend to route drunkards home via a particular brand's drive-thru?


Sunday (autonomous) driving

Having driven far too much last Sunday - is there going to be a speed control button on these things, so the elderly can set it to FUCKING DAWDLE at 35 on country roads, and then FUCKING SPEED at 40 through 20-limited residential areas?

If not, I can't see them getting a lot of use.

Automatic transmissions piss me off - 'like giving your drunk friend in the passenger seat the clutch pedal and gear lever'. I look forward to handing my drunk friend full control, oh yes.

Meg Whitman OUT at HP ...Inc


Re: Maybe she'll do for Uber @DCFusor

Maybe Keysight will ditch the daft name and logo, and start making HP gear again. You know, the (mostly) good stuff they used to. Among test gear people at least, the HP name carries a lot of fondness.

Agilent / Genital was a crazy rebranding, but maybe it made sense to try to decouple from the systems borg HP was turning into?

Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?


It's not a pbook, it's a Holmes-Ginsbook Device

“The Holmes-Ginsbook Device” , Isaac Asimov, seemingly only released in the collection Opus 100, is a fine short story about two devoted scientists and their invention of an improved document reading device, as the current state of the art made it too difficult to look at girls and smoke.

I can't remember many of the other stories in that book, but this one has stuck with me.



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