* Posts by chris 48

27 publicly visible posts • joined 3 May 2012

Seagate unveils enlarged spy drive with support for 64 spycams

chris 48

The difference between a Surveillance Drive and a Hard Drive is..

.. that they write the word surveillance on the case?

Lotus F1: 38°C? Sand in your Vblocks? Must be building a data center in Bahrain again

chris 48

100% reliable

"It must be 100% reliable, 9 nines is not good enough" is the sort of bullshit that managers or other statistically illiterate people say. I would have though that most Register readers (and maybe even some of the writers) would know that 100% reliability is completely impossible (do you really require it to keep working through a direct meteor strike, which is a significant factor at that level of probability?)

99.9999999% reliability for 20 races a year means one failure every 50 million years. I'd say that's good enough.

Oracle's Larry Ellison claims his Sparc M7 chip is hacker-proof – Errr...

chris 48

Re: 4 bits one in 16

This isn't a particularly useful security feature once your badly written code is out in the wild. It stops you writing that bad code in the first place because your application will fail 15 times out of 16 in normal use and hopefully you'll look in to that.

Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

chris 48

Re: If advertisers want to reach me...

I think you've just described "Which?". We already have that.

‘Insufficient evidence’ makes Brit cops drop revenge porn probes

chris 48

Missing logical step

" were dropped because of insufficient evidence, suggesting that victims are too frightened."

I'm not sure how that suggests that the victims were too frightened? If they were dropped because of insufficient evidence that suggests to me that there was insufficient evidence. Now that may be because the police are crap at investigating cyber crime, it may be because the allegations were false, it may be because they were true but the evidence wouldn't be sufficient to secure a conviction.

Many possibilities but if the victim has already gone to the police over the first incident and then their Ex does something else to make them fearful that's "two or more incidents" i.e. harrassment. If you're fearful of your Ex and you are already in communications with the police, why not persue that so that you can get a fear-reducing restraining order?

So Quantitative Easing in the eurozone is working, then?

chris 48

Re: Apile of Turd Shined to Perfection

"100 years of failed economic policy"

So you think we're worse off now than we were in 1915? This argument is so obviously false, it baffles me that it keeps getting made.

We're the richest people ever, unemployment is relatively low, gdp is (despite austerity) somehow higher than it was at the hight of the spending and debt fueled boom in 2008.


If you feel like you're not winning, it's only due to huge inflation of expectations.

Budget UHD TVs arrive – but were the 4Kasts worth listening to?

chris 48

Re: this is what is wrong


But more, even if the "smart" aspects of it are really good no-one cares (or should care) because they won't be in a couple of years time when some new streaming service has come along. As you say, picture quality is the important thing but if you do want a smart setup then what matters are things like:

- Does it have enough of the right connectors

- Does it have separate Power On and Power Off remote commands

- Does it accept HDMI-CEC commands.

Wikipedia’s biggest scandal: Industrial-scale blackmail

chris 48

Wikipedia is 100% accurate

.. for articles about Babylon 5

95% accurate for articles about well understood concepts in the hard sciences

80% accurate for articles about uncontroversial factual topics

25% accurate for articles about living people or current corporations

Meaningless for anything related to the Arab-Isralei conflict, or anything else controversial.

So long as you understand that and only use it for the first 2-3 categories, it's fine.

Assange™ is 'upset' that he WON'T be prosecuted for rape, giggles lawyer

chris 48


"And he better pray Hillary follows Obama, otherwise Jeb Bush is going to issue an extradition warrant to Ecuador. And then where will he go.."

It doesn't matter who is in power in the US. It matters who is in power in Ecuador. Although it often doesn't seem that way, US law != World law

Small number of computer-aided rifles could be hacked in contrived scenario

chris 48

Re: spin drift. (Coriolis Effect?)

That's because the earth has rotated by a tiny but just about measurable distance in the time it takes your bullet to travel 1200 yards.

For the Coriolis effect to be the cause of the transient yaw it would have to have a measurable effect in the time it takes the bullet to travel the length of the barrel, much less likely.

Carphone Warehouse coughs to MONSTER data breach – 2.4 MEELLION Brits at risk

chris 48

Subject Access Request

Could someone who has received one of these "We may have leaked some of your details. Our screwup, your problem" emails send Carphone Warehouse a subject access request to find out exactly what information they hold on you? If they send you back your own unencrypted password and credit card details then you know you have to worry.


Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

chris 48

Re: An employer of mine did an experiment, in a slow period

Because if you could achieve an 8% return on investment you wouldn't go anywhere near a NSW school, you'd work for one year at a hedge fund then retire with your $million bonus?

Bitcoin fixes a Greek problem – but not the Greek debt problem

chris 48

Re: QE

Could you explain what you mean by "worth" in the phrase "a bank has loads of assets it can't sell (such as crappy old mortgage backed securities), but these are actually worth money if only people were willing to buy them"?

My understanding of what "worth" means to economists is that people are willing to buy them for that amount of money.

It's not just splitting semantic hairs, the mortgage backed securities genuinely were worth a lot less than was being accounted for. By artificially raising their price back up to their book value and buying them the central banks transfered a huge amount of money to the banks while pretending that they were just solving a liquidity issue.

Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

chris 48

No no no

Firstly the applications are very limited. WTF is your washing machine doing that requires a 64-bit, quad-core, multi GHz processor? The processing power required for the bluetooth stack necessary to talk to your phone is many times what the washing machine actually requires. As a gadget fan and lover of computing power it's easy to forget that a $5 SOC can provide more than most devices will ever possibly need.

Secondly, this is absolutely terrible from a modularity point of view. What we want is a protocol that says

Hello scanner, scan now.

Hello phone, scanning

Phone, here is your 3-d image file.

We really really don't want every phone to need to understand the inner workings of every possible scanner. That involves some device driver horrors that surely we've moved away from now not to mention the possibility of damage when some dumb motors in the scanner follow the connected phone's instructions blindly because the scanner doesn't understand that it's about to damage itself.

I remember the pain involved in getting old printers to work even with a computer directly connected to them with a disk from the manufacturer. That's bad. What's good is USB storage, one standard.

Thirdly, phones are personal. I don't want to put it in my washing machine's cradle, I don't want to be unable to answer calls or play angry birds while I wait for my 3-d parts to print.

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

chris 48

Re: provide only internet services

I wonder how many people would be stuck in a power cut anyway because they only have a cordless phone?

Probably none really. They would call on a mobile like a normal person.

Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

chris 48

What recession?

We aren't in a recession. We haven't been in one for 6 years. There isn't even conflicting evidence: unemployment is low, gdp is growing, business investment is growing, I suppose that you could point to the fact that interest rates are having to stay low as evidence that the economy is still weaker than it could be but basically the economy is doing great.

So why do people assume that the economy is in a terrible state?

I think it's mostly because if you're a politician or journalist sypathising with your voters / readers about how hard it is to get on in this economy you come across as sympathetic. And regardless of how well the economy is doing, there will always be a large number of people having a hard time so that's what you do because it gets you votes / clicks, the alternative of actually looking at how the economy is really doing would just get you labelled as "out of touch with ordinary people".

It's also partially because everyone wants and feels they should have a bit more than they do. So when the world isn't delivering that, which it never will, they feel like there must be something wrong with the economy.

This self-delusion is of course the reason we have a big debt. Almost everyone agrees that we should save in the good times and spend in the bad. However, we're really quick to spot the bad times but only identify the booms in retrospect.

Facebook's phone KILLER: Messenger will replace TALKING, says Zuck

chris 48

This sounds awful

The problem is put together a bunch of Reg readers agreeing that it sounds awful and


It's going to happen isn't it?

I have no idea why. I am completely baffled as to why anyone would want WhatsApp, FB messenger, snapchat, BBM, etc. None of them really have any technical capabilities above sms and email and all of them have the massive drawback that you can't communicate with anyone who doesn't have that app installed.

Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

chris 48

No one minds the ambulance going to the front. The problem is under net non-neutrality (do we have a better word?) it's the ice cream truck which is willing to pay the highways agency that actually ends up at the front and the ambulance is stuck at the back.

Toshiba packs NUMERIC KEYPAD onto self-bricking USB drive

chris 48

Re: Ten miskeyings and it's toast ...

A requirement of FIPS 140-2 certification I believe.

Also, if you tell people to use an 8 digit pin I imagine the majority will use a date with a 4 digit year. If they pick one from the last 100 years that's only 36,525 ish combinations to try so it would be cracked in under a day.

Brit gun nut builds working sniper rifle at home out of scrap metal

chris 48

I haven't down voted you, but just in case you're getting confused by all your downvotes they are not because Reg readers hate freedom, self-defence or permissive gun ownership rules (though I'm sure some do have their doubts).

They are because you have failed to notice that the title's deliberately hysterical tone is a pastiche of the hysterical articles in the press about the horrors of 3D printed guns.

Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

chris 48

Re: Happiness maximization is such a stupid two-pence-guru idea...

I think that you misunderstand what is meant by happiness maximisation. The idea isn't to make everyone deliriously happy for 5 minutes, it's to maximise long term happiness. So if adequate medical care would make you happy (which it would for me) then that's what a happiness maximising society would provide.

It's very like the difference between the original anceient Greek hedonists (who decided that Happiness was the only good could be best achieved by a simple monastic lifestyle) and the modern hedonists who think it is best acheived by drinking lots. The later are wrong (as they will admit themselves when the hangover hits) but that doesn't mean that hedonism is wrong.

chris 48

Happiness vs utility

Defining utility as whatever it is that humans act to maximise is daft. You can't say what it is even after some careful thought, what are the chances that everyone else is defining it sensibly and acting to maximise it? Nil. And that's easy to prove because there are plenty of psycological experiments which show that people make contradictory and incoherent choices. "Thinking Fast and Slow" has loads of examples of this.

It seems far more reasonable to me that utility and happiness are the same thing and that people are just bad at maximising them. They move to Burnley for more money because they think that will make them happier. When the extra happiness doesn't materialise they either fail to notice, assume it is due to something else, or stay out of inertia and embarassement at having made a wrong decision.

Perhaps a focus on happiness economics at a national level will encourage people to take a more rigorous look at what is making them happy or unhappy and act to correct it. Even if it doesn't, it must be a sensible goal.

Of course the problem is that it's like communism, a lovely idea but really hard to implement without some difficult side effects (in this case the firebombing of Burnley).

WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

chris 48

Makes sense to me

I always turn off all the functions of my CPE except for switching and phone anyway, in an attempt to get some stability out of it, then put my own router in front of it. I can easily see that less sophisticated, non-Register reading users would be better off with that stuff shifted to the exchange side.

My only concern is that they let me turn their stuff off. If not I suppose I'll just have to tunnel through it. VPNs seem like a sensible idea these days anyway.

Google's Pankhurst doodle doo-doo shows the perils of using Google to find stuff out

chris 48
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Not a real story

If she was born on Bastille day, and she wanted to identify with the storming of the Bastille there wouldn't be any uncertainty. Since there is uncertainty I conclude that she was probably born on the 15th.

Also her birth certificate says the 15th.

Skydiver Baumgartner in 128,000ft plunge from brink of space

chris 48

Re: Sound barrier?

There is a table of the speed of sound at various altitudes here http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/atmosphere/q0112.shtml

That table suggest that the if they are expecting to break the speed of sound while it's 690 mph they will have to do it in the first few thousand feet and that he really will be passing through the air surrounding him faster than sound.

There is something not quite right though. In rough numbers 690 mph is 300 m/s. It has to take him a minimum of 30 seconds to get to that speed by which time he has fallen 0.5 * 10 * 30^2 = 4500m = 13,500 ft. Add a bit for drag and my rounding and he'll be breaking the local sound barrier at 100,000ft or so, where it's only 675 mph.

I suspect the difference comes down to the difference between the actual atmosphere on the day he's jumping and the simplified model used by aerospaceweb.org

Star Trek's Wesley Crusher blasts Google+ landgrab

chris 48
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The like button on YouTube is a minor inconvenience

.. compared to the way Google+ has utterly fucked picasa