* Posts by pwibble

22 posts • joined 22 Feb 2012

If you're looking for a textbook example of an IT hype cycle, let spin be your guide



...except that the Google archive in question stops all data at that cutoff point. Try searching on Microsoft for example. This is also detailed in the Wikipedia entry for Google Ngram.

Not saying there wasn’t Spontronics hype during that period. But don’t believe the hype about he hype here.

Consistency is key to Oracle and Microsoft's hybrid cloud clout


"It could start providing DB2 as a service from its own BlueMix cloud data centres"....

....you mean like the existing DB2 on Cloud service?

"it would have to transition its on-premises users to the same cloud environment as its BlueMix users, meaning a BlueMix on-premises system.... We can't see that happening, but never say never."....

...you mean like the existing Bluemix Local product?

True - these products have potential drawbacks, but the text reads as though you are not aware that they exist.

Larry Ellison's yacht isn't threatened by NoSQL – yet


Martin Fowler's balanced view on the NoSQL hype

Martin Fowler's got a thing or two to say on this topic (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI_g07C_Q5I ). Worth a look if you want to put the hype into perspective. He believes the world is heading towards what he calls "polyglot persistence" - which is just his way of saying the same as some others here - "horses for courses". NoSQL's got its place but (surprise surprise) it's just another approach with its own pros and cons.

By the way, recent versions of some "traditional" existing RDBMSs are also NoSQL stores, so you can also have the best of both worlds while only having to manage one type of database in terms HA, backups, DR, licenses, upgrades etc. - also worth thinking about.

Lib Dem manifesto: Spook slapdown, ban on teen-repelling Mosquitos


Mosquito device in a shopping centre.

Small child, say aged 6: "Mummy, mummy - please can we go away from here with that terrible noise. It's really hurting my ears"

Mum: "Shut up and stop complaining. We've got to wait here for dad to pick us up"

And so, a device for torturing babies and small children (who have _better_ ability to hear high frequencies than teenagers, but often can't choose to leave the area) is just legal. Think about that before you install one.

You want disruption? Try this: Uber office raided again, staff cuffed


The crime isn't really disruption in this particular case....

Just to explain this a bit....

If Uber had only offered UberBLACK and UberLUX, basically nothing would have happened. These are services provided by qualified, insured taxi drivers and the Dutch authorities were (basically) pretty happy with that.

However, Uber also offered UberPOP in which anyone with a normal driving license and "reasoable" car can provide.

This is illegal in the Netherlands, just in the same way that someone can't just stick a "TAXI" sign on their car and wait until someone sticks out their arm. It's pretty common in most cities in the world that you can't just do that. You certainly can't do it in any city in the UK either, for example.

Why not? Well.... insurance for one thing, vehicle safety for another. It's actually pretty sensible.

So, it's really nothing really to do with technology that makes this particular service illegal.

They were warned. They were fined. Their drivers were fined. But they just kept on doing it. At a certain point the boys in blue (well, actually in new trendy black and yellow shirts over here) come around and arrest you.

Intel offers ingenious piece of 10TB 3D NAND chippery


Re: So, can Kryder's Law in fact carry on?

OK, I should have asked my question a bit more accurately. Kryder's law is something only relevant to magnetic storage, but a purchaser of a hard disk doesn't care what's in the box - iron oxide or silicon. It's a way to store bits with a cost, power requirement, reliability and performance characteristics. In fact, generally they prefer silicon considering seek times, noise and power - although the reliability part is moot.

It's possible to considers a revised Kryder's law that is about bits per cm3 - that would be a better way to phrase the question probably.

The article I was referring to suggested that business models based on the concept of ever-cheaper storage were soon doomed. If we believe in a 3D flash future, then maybe these business models aren't so bad as the article suggested - at least for the next decade anyway.


So, can Kryder's Law in fact carry on?

So, in light of this and so presumably the ever more real possibility of the all-flash data center, what do we then think of this story from a couple of weeks ago right here in your daily El Reg?

Does this mean that although magnetic storage is really reaching some hard limits of physics, we have a very good alternative in this type of technology?

By the way - this is intended as a genuine question. I'm not sure myself about how this will turn out in terms of price / GB.

Hey, does your Smart TV have a mic? Enjoy your surveillance, bro

Black Helicopters

Unfortunately it's worse than that....


So, even if you don't do anything, your TV can itself be a badly secured access point and you are, to use the vernacular, pwned by the dodgy geezer living next door.

First of all the attacker can broadcast video to you.

Secondly they can read USB connected devices.

If there are further weaknesses they might even be able to access said camera / microphone. Not demonstrated in this attack, but the potential is there.

Mac Pro fanbois can rack 'em and stack 'em like real sysadmins


And on the subject of cooling....

...there's nothing I like more that a server rack with an airflow that goes, erm, vertically. Also very handy for getting at the network cables of the servers at the front.And come to think of it, how is this actually better than a shelf from Ikea (or more seriously, any other 19U shelf)?

But more importantly for the target market, is it available in "Space Gray"?

Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS



Guess you guys were too shocked by the numbers to remember to use it?

US highway agency awards Tesla Model S record safety score

Thumb Up

Re: The battery pack is an issue on trade in value.OTOH remember what happens to BHP?

How easy is it to change that battery pack? Well, they did it in about 1minute 30 seconds....faster than filling the tank of a conventional car.


The Register Android App


Continental Commentards Not Welcome

"This item isn't available in your country" at least in The Netherlands.

Boo hoo... or is El Reg just proactively betting on a "No" vote in 2017?

Hero Playmonaut lost at sea as SPEARS ditches in Channel


Next Launch Site

Next launch site....obviously Meriden in the Midlands. traditionally known as the center of England therefore very far from the sea.

Of course, LOHAN might get tangled up in a Boeing flying into BHX....

Anyway - what a shame! You lot must be gutted. But also time to cue "Gentlemen, we can rebuild, erm, her".

Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack


Re: Fixing the Patent System - Tricky but possible....

Some interesting examples.

I watched a demo video of the Mitsubishi product and it certainly did do some window resizing (but _not_ zooming) that had similarities to the iOS interface. The video may not have shown everything it could do and, let's be honest. not many people have seen the DiamondTouch in action. However, if there was prior art then that's exactly the kind of thing that would invalidate a patent. We can only assume that patent authorities / courts have so far not been sufficiently convinced that this does constitute prior art.

Minority Report.. Hmmm, I'd have to carefully watch the film again to give you an opinion about this. I remember all kinds of hand movements caused GUIs to do stuff. Again presumably this didn't cut any ice with the patent authorities or courts so far, so there are presumably some significant differences. Be interesting to know what the exact arguments were.

Let me put the case on "innovation" another way - would it be fair to say that the iPhone was a landmark device in portable device touch GUIs? I think it is fair to say that it is _the_ device that brought the multi-touch user interface to the mass market. Sure there are some predecessors that can be identified, but it clearly took considerable investment in R&D to create the iPhone. If we call that "innovation" or just "engineering" is something rather subjective in my view. I think the market for mbile devices was transformed in many ways by the introduction of the iPhone (multi-touch input, GUI, ecosystem, physical form factor and indeed "just" design).

Is Apple a patent troll? Well, most definitions of the term consider a patent troll to be "a pejorative term used for a person or company who enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered aggressive or opportunistic with no intention to manufacture or market the patented invention." (Wikipedia)

If we accept this definition, then Apple isn't a patent troll. They definitely do have an intention to manufacture and market their patented inventions.

You might not like all the patents they hold (a question of how "original" they are), or the power that patents in general confer - neither do I, and that was one of the points I was trying to make. What I was trying to suggest was ways of changing the patent system that could shift the balance of power towards companies (like Apple) that are actually in the business of making usable products and not (only) in the business of litigation. I also want to reduce the power of patent holders in general - but not get rid of them entirely. That's the argument I was trying to put forward, anyway.


Re: Fixing the Patent System - Tricky but possible....

Re: Yeah... really? Give me some examples?

Well, I think one area where they innovated was in touch interfaces, and in particular how multi-touch interfaces could work. This led to new ideas like bounceback and pinch to zoom. I have to admit that "tap to zoom" is in my view obvious, but the others are not.

If they are obvious, how come nobody thought of them before? We've had scrolling lists since we've had GUIs, so that's since the 1970's or maybe even the 1960's. We've had zoom functions for decades. We've had multi-touch capable technology (not widely implemented but it did exist since 1982) for decades. We've had portable devices with touch interfaces for decades (even with a stylus on the original Palm Pilot in the mid 90's or even on older devices the bouncing would have been possible).

It's only when a company invested in engineers and designers trying stuff out that they came up with new ideas - innovations - that really helped to make better (multi-)touch GUIs. And they were granted some patents on this. Sure - they got too many (that was one of my points, actually), but still much of this was really new and not obvious. If it hadn't been new, they wouldn't have got the patents. It can't have been very obviuous or it would have been implemented in the previous decades.

By the way, I decided against the iPhone and bought a new Android phone a few days ago if it makes you feel any better :-)


Fixing the Patent System - Tricky but possible....

So, first of all I'm not fundamentally against patents or intellectual property in general. Basically they are a "good thing".

Secondly, Apple is a real innovator not a patent troll. And clearly other companies are copying their stuff, so they should get paid for that. This seems reasonable to me. Or are you trying to tell me that the Galaxy tablets and Android are in no way influenced in their design by the iPad and iOS?

However, the current patent system fails on many points.... let me give you my thoughts on that....

First of all it rewards coming up with ideas and not actually taking those ideas to market. Both parts of this are (equally?) difficult. So, if I patent idea X, then do nothing about it but just wait until someone else later independently thinks of idea X and implements it in the market I can sue them. That doens't sound right. So, I would say that if you come up with a patent but don't follow up with implementation and product you should lose your rights to the patent. Patent trolling is bad for everyone.

Secondly, if I own a patent I can totally stop production of a competitive product, sometimes _prior_ to getting a ruling. That isn't helping consumer choice. So, I woud say an independent board (tricky, I agree) should set license fees and it should not be possible to block competitive products - it should just be mandatory to pay the patent owners.

Thirdly, patent length should be variable according to likely time to market. I would propose that the patent office should determine how easy it is to implement a patent. This shoud be something like "How long should it take to bring this to market?". if the answer is "10 years", then the patent length should be 10 years longer than if the answer is "1 day". The likely result of this is that software patents would be shorter than most other patents, and that's a good thing.

Finally, there should just be less patents. Patents should be for things that are _really_ innovative. Tricky, but actually not really. Just take the current patent system and the patent office gives each patent a score for "innovation". In my view the bottom 90% should just be rejected.

By the way, about the article - so, if someone bad agrees with you then your idea is bad. Poppycock. Kim Jong Il wore clothes therefore we should all go naked.... etc. sorry, but this is just a failed rhetorical concept.

Courier mishap sends woman's corpse to shopping club


Told you...

.... they should have used Arial instead of Courier. Proportional fonts are so much easier for the people working at the distribution centre to read.

CD: The indestructible music format that REFUSES TO DIE


Right about the CD Player.... but wrong about the 'phones

On the CD player you are basically right. I know of no other device about which so much nonsense is talked.

Hi-fi people.... tell me about how the 1s and 0s from that CD-ROM drive your computer that costs peanuts are transferred less accurately than the riduculous drive mechanism in the expensive CD player. That would be why loading software from the CD-ROM drive always go wrong due to errors... oh hang on a minute actually it doesn't.

And then clock stability! Ha!! We are talking about 44.1kHz (or maybe 96kHz if you're lucky). That's kilohertz dudes. Thousands of times per second. Checked the clock frequency on your CPU recently? I think that the electronics industry is capable of creating a stable clock in the kilohertz band for not very much money.

And then DACs... OK, now we can have a conversation with some possible merit. But still interesting to compare to pro-audio gear and see that the most expensive hi-fi stuff does not make sense.

So, yeah, CD-players (and especially those feeding external DACs) are the ultimate in hi-fi nonsense, Slightly behind ridiculously expensive cables - ever thought about the fact that the signal you are listening to went first through metres of much cheaper (but still good quality) cable in a recording studio first? Ever thought about how much it would cost to wire a recording studio (in the analogue days especially, but even today) at 100 quid per metre?

But then headphones... well, actually nothing much happened in transducerland for a few decades. Sure, some new magnetic materials, but the basic principle is the same as it was in the 50s. So, still makes sense that headphones (and also speakers, microphones) are just as expensive as they always were. Inflation has basically been cancelled out by better logistics / production and design techniques and low labour costs in China.

Powerful, wallet-sized Raspberry Pi computer sells out in SECONDS


Just look at the NSLU2 and similar - expect a community behind this thing soon

Look at what happened to the very humble Linksys NSLU2 (designed as a simple NAS device) - got quite a large community of users using it as a media server, web server, print server or more advanced NAS, some even used it as an audio player. Same is true of various other hacked NAS devices / wireless routers.

The Pi is much better mainly due to the HDMI and audio ports and the fact that it is actually designed to be hacked, so you don't have to follow "interesting" processes to first of all "root" them. It might not sell in millions, but expect a considerable following. This is a nice piece of kit. I can use it immediately to directly replace both of my NSLU2s... and do quite a lot more, for example.

LOHAN's fantastical flying truss cleared for lift-off


Single Balloon Elevated

My money's on the Single Balloon Elevated approach... maybe some juicy headline material in there about Vulture 2 being "erect for launch"....

By the way nice to see El Reg responding to the readers there.,, and it's certainly a good idea to "just try the three different ideas".... the proof of the pudding and all that!

LOHAN's flying truss: One orb or two?


drben is Spot On

Dr Ben,

Sounds like a plan. Simple, efficient, beautiful. Like you say...just suspend the truss down from the balloon(s) and the truss inherently becomes the launch rails. Like it. Forget all that messing about with triangles I was ranting about.

Slight challenge in terms of how to miss the balloon, but on the other hand as long as the cable between the truss and the balloon is long, should not be a problem. I mean, it will be difficult / impossible to get Vulture2 to really go exacly vertical anyway. And the launch rails can just have a slight incline at the end to push the rocket slightly to the side.

Simple, less is more - this is the way to go. And you don't even need to change the parts you already built really. Brilliant.


Neat Triangular Truss

Tricky problem - the essence of it boils down to the following:

How do you get the launch platform to stay in the required geometry relative to the balloon(s) with 100mph winds blowing it all about?

I like the idea of just using a very long cord between the balloon and the platform. Simple, effective. Low chance that the Vulture2 will hit the balloon, so this must be part of the solution. My guess is that 50m will be enough, but you guys can do the maths on this.

Another aspect is that some kind of control electronics will be needed to assess the launch angle and only fire when the Vulture really is vertical - or exactly 10 degrees off vertical to avoid hitting the balloon. Tricky, but sounds possible to solve. I think if you don't do this then it could go off at almost any angle due to winds.

The single straight truss doesn't look good to me. I like the construction concept, but I would go for a triangle with the three corners connected to a single balloon. Again, it gives more chance of clearance on launch because the Vulture will not be exacly underneath the balloon(s). Should be fairly easy to get the triangle in balance by positioning the cameras and Vulture 2 itself.

So - the solution(!).... triangular launch platform (similar to current design, but three trusses linked together). Connect the corners of the triangle to a balloon (or balloons) on a long cable. Launch when Vulture2 is just off vertical. Should work :-)


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