* Posts by hoola

1534 posts • joined 22 Mar 2013

Amazon buys Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7b

hoola Silver badge

How are they worth $1.7Bn

What I find strange is just they they can actually be worth this much? They are loss-making and there is very little to suggest that is going to change if Amazon are continuing the business model.

So what has Amazon to gain from this?

What to they have in tech/IP that Amazon can benefit from?

Clearly Amazon believe there is value to them however in reality the amount is lost down the back of the sofa. Is this just a case of buying anything that might at some point be a competitor?

UK blocks China from licensing Manchester Uni's robot vision tech

hoola Silver badge

Re: Nice to see

I read this and thought, "Bloody hell, check again, no, they are blocking something".

That this should have happened on more critical sales like Cobham is rather shutting the door after the horse has bolted.

Cobham are currently being broken up by the US VC parasites that somehow now own then so all the valuable IP & assets can be stripped leaving a failed shell behind.

So selling to the US has really enabled them to develop, expand and become market leaders.......

UK government refuses public review before launch of NHS data platform

hoola Silver badge

Re: Everyone agrees that...

I think there is a tiny edit required.....

"It appears that the motivation for this is not healthcare per se, but the opportunity of the US creating profitable treatment industries. "

Court OKs billion-dollar Play Store gouging suit against Google

hoola Silver badge

Re: I wonder


Google, Oracle cloud servers wilt in UK heatwave, take down websites

hoola Silver badge

Re: "As a result of unseasonal temperatures in the region"

And the increased costs of subscriptions..........

If people want reliability money is key. Cloud providers work by trimming to the lowest spec to keep costs down so that they are cheaper (ha ha.....) that on prem!

hoola Silver badge

Re: cooling failure?

I think that there is a possible misunderstanding, the issue is not so much that there are cooling failures (and there has been) but more critically, the cooling has been unable to cope with the extreme heat. Bringing in air that is already over 30 degrees to then use it to chill water or whatever the solution is has a massive hit. Just switching to a +1 cooling solution does not help. There is unlikely to be the capability of running primary and backup together as the supply will not cope at the load needed.

As others have said, just open the rack doors, this does not work in most modern data centres as all you do is increase the ambient temperature in the cold aisle. It may help in a very localised situation but at the scale cloud providers are running, will not be possible.

And as the article states the goal is to avoid frying equipment or compromising it's lifespan by running at or over designed temperature limits. There simply isn't the option to replace fried servers and storage at the moment. There are already capacity issues so what other options do they have?

I supposed one could argue that more cooling capacity should have been specified at the site but at the moment these events are not regular enough to justify the increased costs.

Costs that the consumer of the services will have to cover.......

There will be companies all over that are having the same issues, it is just not make headlines.

We had to reduce the available HPC capacity by 50% to provide some service rather than cook the cluster. At least it is still working.

Hive to pull the plug on smart home gadgets by 2025

hoola Silver badge

Re: Thanks for the money but your stuffed.

Whilst I agree to a certain extent it is consumerisation of the products that it the issue.

There is a huge difference between what is purchased as genuine security equipment and a collection of consumer gadgets masquerading as as s security system.

I am clearly a lone voice on this but I don't understand why there is an expectation that it would turn out any other way. It is consumer electronics dressed up with tech and Apps as a security system.

On the plus side they have stopped selling them already (although other resellers still appear to have them).

hoola Silver badge

Re: Thanks for the money but your stuffed.

I am not so sure, this is consumer tech and the cut-off dates are 3 years away. Bluntly, most people will have got bored of it or replaced it long before then. If they stop selling them then fine but people ditch all sorts of other tech products, often in a shorter timeframe without a second thought.

Is anyone surprised? They shouldn't be it is they way things work now. Why anyone thought that all this IoT cloud connected crap would be anything other than transient is what is more surprising.

Smart thermostat swarms are straining the US grid

hoola Silver badge

Re: "why not rev up ready for it"

Aluminium telephone wires anyone?

There are many estates of the same vintage where these were used because copper was so expensive. Teh real problems come where they are crimped to copper.

hoola Silver badge

Ah but this is all marketing. Just like this obsession that Smart Meters somehow save people hundreds of pounds.

None of these gadget that claim to be "Smart" are actually smart in any way. They are just connected to the internet, some websites, back end logging and an App. Now it is the last bit that for some reason is perceived to make it smart.

I have a thermostat at home on my heating, when it gets cold, it turns on, when it warms up it turns off. I know what temperature it does that at & don't care if it is accurate, just if it is comfortable (17 degrees + a jumper).

Unsurprisingly all this "Smart" techy shite is turning out to be rather less smart and in reality no better, if not worse than the long-lived things they have replaced.

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall

hoola Silver badge

Probably the entire car stops working as it will have detected tampering.

We are not far off that with all the CANBus stuff now anyway,

Utter tossers, the trouble is that people will pay validating BMW's decision to go down this route. Certainly in the UK most cars are on some sort of personal leasing or corporate leasing when they are purchased new so a few extra pounds a month will just be absorbed. What happens when the car is then sold on is anyone's guess.

This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

hoola Silver badge

Re: We've Probably All Come Across This

Exactly the same situation for me but with a different outcome.

There were persistent issues with laptops issued to certain elected members of a council. After a couple of time investigating these and finding them full of porn and malware we attempted to to report it.

As they were elected members of the council we were told to lump it, not make waves or risk losing OUR jobs.

Apparently it was acceptable for these people to do what ever they wanted with no comeback, no matter if it was illegal.

Broadcom's VMware buy got you worried? Give these 5 FOSS hypervisors a spin

hoola Silver badge

Re: As usual, the issue is the integration with other systems...

You have hit the nail on the head here.

If you have VMware or Hyper-v then pretty much every mainstream backup product will integrate seamlessly.

Vendors are not going to offer support for a myriad of different hypervisors that are all edge cases. Switching back to in-os backup agents is not the answer either.

Leaked Uber docs reveal frequent use of 'kill switch' to deactivate tech, thwart investigators

hoola Silver badge

Re: Uber is a different company today

Even then, unless pretty much everyone in the management chain has been sacked and replaced after the new CEO, very little will change.

Companies like this neve change, whatever politically correct spiel is spewed out. It is a fundamental cultural issue of these "disrupter companies" which loosely translates to "no regulation of any sort applies to us, anywhere in the world we choose to operate because we are new, funky, based on Tech with an App and our head office is in the US".

Tracking cookies found in more than half of G20 government websites

hoola Silver badge

Re: simple incompetence strikes again

But partly that is because the people checking or doing any Q&A, are from the same school of thought so do not see any issues.......

It is a vicious cycle where lazy developers using all sorts of GUI tools and bits of packaged code put websites together that look great, more or less work but there is audit of all the extra bits that are now incorporated.

There are great developers out there, they just cost more.

US expands efforts to hamstring China’s chipmaking mojo

hoola Silver badge

Exactly, the Chinese are very good at the long term and know full well that whatever the West (US) tries to do, they will simply find a way round it.

The try, get it wrong, go back, fix things, and try again, repeating until they are very good.

Look at their automotive industry.

This will be exactly the same, they will develop their own lithography tools and wham, job done and even better, no need to buy machines from the West.

Next thing you know is they are the only producer of the equipment.

Nexperia talks up its investment in UK wafer fab, says no plans to close

hoola Silver badge

Re: "We're not planning to shut any operations"

Just how many times have we heard this.

"There are no plans to close the facility or move production elsewhere".

Followed by something along the lines of

"For reasons of efficiency and economics the facility in <xxxx> will be closed and production moved to China <insert cheap country of choice>.

The list of companies where this has happened is endless.

Europe passes sweeping antitrust laws targeting America's Big Tech

hoola Silver badge

Re: They are not equal...

Sadly correct and this just shows the amount of power a handful of largely US corporations have.

Health trusts swapped patient data for shares in an AI firm. They may have lost millions

hoola Silver badge

Re: A cynical person...

Whilst I am completely with you on this the real challenge now with so much held electronically is that one the data is handed over there is no chain as such. it is just a file that can be easily copied, exported and messed around with, usually to make money. One the data has been put somewhere where there is not control, to all intents it is no public.

At least with a paper record it is much more difficult to distribute.

hoola Silver badge

Re: Who 'lost out'?

This stinks of smart sales people using the perceived magic of "AI" to do clever stuff from a company that has no assets, limited capital and all sorts of dubious links to the people providing the anonymised data.

Just another pyramid scheme where a small number of people have made money at a lot of other people's expense.

Those data sets will have been sold on many times now and who knows what the level of anonymisation was.

Schneider and Dell integrate UPS, HCI for graceful shutdown

hoola Silver badge

Re: This is not new...


Cloud infrastructure spend to crack $90b and overtake non-cloud in 2022

hoola Silver badge


So another analyst outfit makes a prediction......

Pretty much anything that is virtualised on-prem is now classed as "private cloud" so then entire statistic starts to become meaningless.

The only thing that appears to matter is that IT can tell management they are using "The Cloud". At that point everyone has a warm fuzzy feeling because they are "on-trend".

Maybe I have just been in IT for too long but increasingly all that matters now is the marketing and buzzword bingo.

Real costs whether on-prem, private, hybrid or public cloud are buried in subscriptions and leasing arrangements.

UK signs deal to share police biometric database with US border guards

hoola Silver badge

Re: Pass the parcel

So the questions might be:

Who is lobbying for this?

What are the reciprocal arrangements?

How stands to gain what?

This looks to be yet more of the US attempting to police world and harvest as much data as they can.

Maybe I am just a sceptical old fart.....

Windows 11 22H2 is almost here. Is it ready for the enterprise?

hoola Silver badge

Re: Local account

They don't need to for Enterprise as pretty much everyone is using Azure AD with M365. It is already there.

There will be some exceptions but if they are big enough they will be able to get some sort of workaround.

hoola Silver badge

Re: WTF?

So why do I want my PC deciding when to start up and then install updates or running in some sort of comatose state so that it knows when to patch,

I just don't believe it will have any net benefit but will permit yet more data gathering.

I refuse to have a Smart Meter, they don't save power. I already know what is on and in the case of my Microserver, how much power it uses.,

My parent's were forced down the Smart Meter route when an ancient meter with a rotating wheel had to be changed. For a while they were afraid to turn stuff on because the stupid panel showed all sorts of horrendous costs and red bars. In the end I removed the stupid display and they they forgot about it.

Of course turning on the toaster, kettle or microwave uses lots of power, it is just intermittent..........

hoola Silver badge

Re: Local account

Whilst I understand where you are coming from consider the following for the average consumer:

Most people will already have an account if they have a mobile phone (Google or Apple accounts) so a Microsoft account is just another sign-up

Many will already have an M$ account from X-Box or Office so again, it is not an issue

Most people using Windows 10 will have setup an M$ account if they did not have one as that was the most obvious route.

ZTE intros 'cloud laptop' that draws just five watts of power

hoola Silver badge

Re: Show me that experience

This maybe the case but with so much delivered from the Internet & moving into browsers now with all the latency and refreshes that involves, ultimately this is where we will end up.

Desktop as a service. Microsoft is already there with the Azure Desktop, it just needs the thin clients.

However much hardcore techies dislike this and see it as a big step backwards, if it is pay-by-month on a subscription and includes an endpoint, then consumers will buy.

99% of consumers simply don't care.

Intel withholds Ohio fab ceremony over US chip subsidies inaction

hoola Silver badge


I simply don't understand this.

Intel are making billions ($43Bn last year and over $40Bn for some time). Why the hell does it need subsidies to entice these corporations to make their core product when they are generating that much profit?

The answer I suppose is partially that the reason they make that much profit is because of the subsidies, they get the plants to build their core products for free (or cheap).

This just shows who broken the system is. The only people losing are the end users of the products:

We have to pay inflated prices.

We have to pay the taxes to cover the subsidies.

Spain, Austria not convinced location data is personal information

hoola Silver badge

It is personal

The trouble is that as soon as you start to make exceptions it becomes too easy to aggregate other bits of data that are also not seen as personal to create a very accurate profile.

Location data is going to be one of the main tools in joining up the dots.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

hoola Silver badge

Re: Straightforward solution

Whilst that is correct the most obvious button is usually a huge coloured "Accept All" with a tasteful grey "Reject All".

hoola Silver badge

Assumed consent is already there and the absolute worst has been the shift of much of the data-grab and tracking into "legitimate consent".

The problem is that the Internet and and tool people use to interact with it (the web browser) are all big business, absolutely megabucks of money.

whatever is planned to improve privacy and reduce tracking is just a game of whack-a-mole because the scummy corporations make so much money from our data.

Cookie consent has just been one of them. You can reject all cookies except functional but then that list is as long as your arm. Then there is a separate tab for "legitimate interest" that even if you reject all cookies on the first is still enabled.

Then you have to scroll down 1000 lines to find the "Reject All" button.

This is just with enlightened users. The average user of a web browser just clicks the most obvious button within milliseconds of of it being presented. And that takes us full circle, for the 99.9% of people using the Internet, anything about cookie choice is irrelevant. Now that is a ridiculous situation to be in but that is exactly what the companies that control and make their money from "The Internet" want.

Always read the comments: Beijing requires oversight of all reader-generated chat

hoola Silver badge

Re: Not a good future

Whilst I completely agree the alternatives that we have with Facebook, Twitter etc are at the opposite end of the scale were it can be very difficult to get utterly inappropriate content removed.

Even looking at the BBC HYS forums (an organisation one would assume errs on the side of caution) there is no consistency in the moderation and relies on the readers to report the offending posts.

There is a fine line between controlling the content that is available and censorship. What one person sees as offensive, misleading or dangerous is believed to be perfectly acceptable to others. That when something is clearly not acceptable it then gets attention far beyond what it merits makes the situation worse.

US must adopt USB-C charging standard like EU, senators urge

hoola Silver badge

Re: I miss ...

Similar here, A StarTech USB switch that has a blue LED light so bright you can almost read by it. Why?

The my hearing aids, there is a green light on the charger that plugs into the wall, a green light on the little case then the devices themselves have a light that flashes from red through to sold green when it eventually is charged. I know I need to see if it is charging but it does not have to illuminate the room!

It is as though manufacturers see the brightest possible LEDs as meaning "better".

hoola Silver badge

Re: De-duplication?

The new issue is that some chargers now have USB-C on the outlet instead of the good old fat USB. That I don't understand. It does not make the charger any smaller and you still end up with the problem where you go somewhere (our offices are a good example) where there is a mix of chargers with USB & USB-C outlets. If you have a laptop that is supplied with a charger that has a USB-C cable it is usually captive so you STILL need a cable if you don't have the dedicated charger.

The HP business laptops have been pretty consistent with their interchangeable docking stations for some time now. There may be different powers etc but you can pretty much plug anything HP in and it will work.

The only issue I have found on the slim USB-c dock is that some of the non-business class devices don't respond to the power switch.

hoola Silver badge

Re: USB-C connectors suck

The socket failing is usually the lack of decent mechanical strength on the motherboard. As it is used it flexes and the tracks break.

There is no excuse for that. Just make the connectors with a decent physical footprint and fixing to the board. The load-bearing fixing should be unrelated to any electrical connection.

It is not difficult it just needs a bit smarter design, you know like we used to have when connectors were bolted to panels or then bolted to the system boards rather than just soldered.

Brave roasts DuckDuckGo over Bing privacy exception

hoola Silver badge

Re: Targeted advertising needs to die

Whilst I totally agree with you the trouble is there is so much money to be made in this area it is going to be very difficult. Just look at Google.

What pisses me off even more is the sites that split the standard cookies and "legitimate interest" and you see a default option of blank that actually means "assumed consent". You then have to do "Object All" (assuming the button is there) to block them. The list of these so-called legitimate interest is often running to hundreds or entries.

The list of cookies is often shorter as they have clearly moved as much as possible into the legitimate interest field.

Crypto market crashes on Celsius freeze, inflation news

hoola Silver badge

Re: "There's a limited supply of my shit too"

Not sure how the mining works though.......

Astra fails, sends NASA's Tropics weather satellites back to Earth

hoola Silver badge

It is all about the terminology

I just love the way these sorts of statements are worded:

"We had a nominal first stage flight. The upper stage shut down early and we did not deliver the payloads to orbit."

Translates into

"The rocket failed to reach orbit and the payload was destroyed."

Concerns that £360m data platform for NHS England is being set up to fail

hoola Silver badge

Re: Data grab

I read this earlier this morning, it is unbelievable.

GPs should never have been allowed to become privatised in this way (and most are now). THe only reason US companies are involved is because of money, data and future contracts. Health provisions is a monumental cash cow in the US and over the last 20 years the UK is seen as a nice fat target ripe for picking.

It is exactly the same as all the schools "Academy Trusts" that are just a way for pen-pushers to make money at the tax payer's expense.

I am not sure US companies have moved into this area yet but give them time.

I love the Linux desktop, but that doesn't mean I don't see its problems all too well

hoola Silver badge

Re: Computing smarts in the cloud

Okay, look at from the view of the average user who just buys a computer:

What are the choices?





For the average user there are no other options. You don't walk into a retail shop and ask for a laptop running Linux. If you have already reached that stage then you are not an average user.

Firstly, and this is where Linux is it's own worst enemy, what distribution do you install? The list is endless. Windows and iOS are single choice products, The Android variant is based on device you buy.

People buy hardware with preinstalled operating systems because they (mostly) work out of the box. If a manufacturer supplied a Linux distribution pre-installed with some form of Office and Chrome preinstalled it just might sell a few.

Secondly take the most used application that many families will already have either through work or education, Office, can this be installed with 2 or 3 clicks on Linux? No, there are multiple steps that will simply make that average user reinstall Windows.

It is irrelevant to say to use Open Office or Libre Office, people don't want to and don't care, mostly because of product familiarity (not usability). They want Word, Excel or Outlook. Again, if you are using a non-Microsoft Office alternative, you are not an average user.

That more servers or services are running Linux globally is not what the article is discussing, it is about what the end user who just buys a laptop, desktop or tablet uses.

hoola Silver badge

Re: Computing smarts in the cloud

That maybe true if you look at the overall distribution of the OS. From the end user that is utterly irrelevant. Most of those back end operating systems no longer even have a KVM attached, that makes is completely useless to someone who actually needs to interact with the OS.

In the perspective of the article it is about what those who interact with the OS to do stuff use. Ignoring the techies on El Reg (we are a very small minority" there are 3 operating systems that matter,

Windows, iOS and Android. You could possibly include Chrome OS but I don't know anyone who uses it.

Linux in any form other than these is very rarely used by the average consumer.

hoola Silver badge

Re: Computing smarts in the cloud

Almost, they don't give a damn if they can save money in the sort term and the execs get their trips out to the US to "see how it works"......

Microsoft forgot to renew the certificate for its Windows Insider subdomain

hoola Silver badge

Re: When you are your own root CA...

Many will have been on the other side of this an developers can be really lazy when it comes to certificates, security or documentation that is external to their project.

Just saying use Let's Encrypt does not solve the problem but just puts a sticking plaster over things. Yes it is great and can save quite a bit of overhead but this then takes us full circle and you are now reliant on a third party.

In this case Microsoft has the tools to deal with it themselves and the reality is that this is simply human error in something being missed or not setup. Sure, it should not have happened and certificates are a pain in the neck to manage with you have thousands but do we really want to end up where the majority of certificates that are manged on the web are using the same tool?

Just because Let's Encrypt is free and run for the Public's benefit now does not mean that it will stay that way. Eyes will be looking as some eagle-eyed corporation spies a source of generating revenue.

OMIGOD: Cloud providers still using secret middleware

hoola Silver badge

Re: "they also add new potential attack surfaces"

This takes is full circle. The point of the "Cloud" is that you don't have to manage loads of layers, that is the responsibility of the provider. Unsurprisingly they are going to use all sorts of tools to make that as easy (and cheap) as possible.

A cloud provider can use whatever tools they want, including anything the develop themselves. That they are use their own custom tools is again, no surprise, it is cheaper and history has repeatedly shown us that a commercial product does not automatically make it secure. The technologies that are used to support and manage their could are always going to be a closely guarded secret as this is the area were competitive advantage will come in.

What does the author and RSA conference expect?

'Red-rated' legacy IT gets refresh in UK as US battles theirs with bills

hoola Silver badge

Re: "The systems were eight to 51 years old"

Ah but this is where you are wrong. If it is not in the public cloud then it is "Legacy" even if it is a month old. The snake-oil salesmen will be hounding directors with presentations and all sorts of scare stories about how their existing systems are "Legacy" and are doomed to fail.

All sorts of improbably savings will be quoted and funky PowerPoint presentations showing have slick everything is.

That is will end in failure, not deliver the improvements, zero savings and cost billions more over the lifetime of the system than on-prem is irrelevant.

UK police to spend tens of millions on legacy comms network kit

hoola Silver badge

Re: Not all Motorola

And this is the problem, for some reason a push-to-talk system with almost universal coverage was deemed inappropriate or legacy and that the solution was to use a mobile phone. Then the person out in the field could have all the information they needed.

Maybe I have missed the point, most appear to have corporate phones anyway and the PTT is the safety net.

Just because the latest (although in this case that is a moot point) technology appears cool in an office in the middle of London, does not mean that it actually works in the field.

A case in point is the old Motorola V3 phone, it was utterly indestructible, could be used with gloves and made phone calls. You could even send messages and try to download a train notification over Edge. The only improvement would have been to make it splash/waterproof.

Meteoroid hits main mirror on James Webb Space Telescope

hoola Silver badge

Mitigation Options?

Given where it is and the likelihood of this recurring in the lifetime of the platform the options are rather limited.

1. Is there enough strength in the mirror & coating to avoid damage?

2. If there is an impact & damage occurs, how much can you sustain before the capabilities are degraded?

3. How much adjustment do you have to correct mirror alignment if an impact duffs up more than specs on the coating?

One assumes that this was all calculated into the design but being rather pessimistic and the huge cost over runs on the project, one wonders.......

It will be really sad and somewhat ironic if JWST is outlived by Hubble. There is a planned life of 10 years with an expected life of 20, I just hope that continued exposure to events like this does not screw that up. Bluntly, if it is anything to do with hardware that cannot be corrected by software or post image processing then it is stuffed.

Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near

hoola Silver badge

Re: Freedom of choice

Ad blockers are all well and good until you get to a website that refuses to let you browse unless you disable or them or whitelist the site. Now I will try and find an alternative if that happens but one I came across recently that I was trying to get a specific bit of information from, refused to let you in even with an exception. By this time I was on a disposable VM and they only way of getting into the website was to actually remote the blocking tools from the browser.

The only reason I pursued this was to find out how far I needed to go to get into the site.

Utter tossers.

hoola Silver badge

Re: The mystery

Like the ones that try to install McAfee with all the Adobe products.

Always checked by default!!!!

hoola Silver badge

Re: Does anyone need more justification

That is harsh and is from the view of an enlightened technical person.

Just as the old days of IE, most will use the most convenient browser and that is Edge, Chrome or Safari.

The average person will also use Google for search and the result of that is how that Chrome ends up everywhere.


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