* Posts by Hurn

64 posts • joined 11 Nov 2013


Fujitsu confirms end date for mainframe and Unix systems


Re: Support for five more years ?

Excuse me, but the POWER family of chips does not power Z.

The requirements for POWER 3 through Power 10 are much different from the Z Mainframe CPUs, although it is true both CPUs have benefited from process improvements.

One example:

A P10 chip, running at, let's say 300 Watts, is able to be cooled using forced air (fans) with big heatsink.

Z systems use liquid cooling (with radiator and anti-freeze/water mixture), because their CPU modules run at much higher power levels, and are more densely packed.

Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac


Re: magnetocaloric effect ?

Why stop at 2 sockets?

Go Gatling Gun style - use 6 sockets, arranged in a hex ring, so that each socket gets 5x the time to cool down, before being used again.

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of 'Advanced Night Repair' skin cream helping NASA to commercialise space


Atmospheric Contaminant?

It would seem that the ISS, like (nuclear powered submarines) should be worried about atmospheric contaminants.

The CO2 scrubber (and CO-H2 burner, on a sub) can only remove so many compounds (especially volatile organics), many of the rest are "scrubbed" from the air by human lungs (which are almost as good as activated charcoal, assuming the humans are later able to breath "clean" air and hack up the crud).

One hopes the skin cream has a minimum of scent / volatile organics, and that no one has a bad reaction (asthma? allergy?)

Who's the next customer to foul the ISS air?

A tobacco company, with zero g vape pens (quite the engineering challenge)?

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!


Re: Dwarfs or dwarves?

Checked that other site - they didn't provide the "real" reason:

In the middle ages, possibly up until the mid-late 19th Century, depending on font, the letter "s" was shaped more like an f.

This meant dwarfs looked more like dwarff (and all the other words that ended with f, when pluralized, kinda looked like they ended with ff).

Because of this ambiguity, changing what looked like ff to vef (dwarvef) made things much less ambiguous. However, once the common fonts made s look like the modern s, the "fix" was no longer needed. Unfortunately, the language rules are harder to change, these days, so no one bothered.

Second MoD Airbus Zephyr spy drone crashes on Aussie test flight


Re: brushless

Old style synchronous motors used brushes to supply the rotor windings with current - the rotor's magnetic field would sync up with the stator windings' rotating magnetic field (typically 3 phase induction motor style windings). If the rotor's magnetic field became too low, or the load on the shaft too high, synchronous motors can "slip a pole" which results in a current spike, which can trip the motor offline.

Brushless / permanent magnets are ably to supply a constant rotor magnetic field without slip rings (which is good, as slip rings require brushes and maintenance). Hopefully, the magnets are strong enough to not slip a pole.

Most likely, speed is controlled by changing the frequency of the incoming 3 phase AC - something like 20 Hz to 200 Hz - which would be handled by the static inverter. Chances are, each motor would have it's own static inverter aka speed controller.

Inflatables, solids, strap-ons and riders – oh my, it's the week in space


Trump says NASA should be focused on Defense.

Isn't that what the Space Force (which he created) is for?

Clever girl: SpaceX's Mars-bound Raptor engine looks like it works just fine


Re: Green

Another thought would be this: rather than "saturation," many (video) cameras can "see" Infra Red, but report the color as green. Since the flame is hot, there's a lot of IR being released.

Example: point a hand held, IR LED remote control at a video camera lens and push the remote button. While the Mk I Mod 0 eyeball won't see anything, the camera will see the LED(s) light up green.

Presumably, even with an IR filter covering the lens, which would be a sensible precaution given the heat, some hot things may still show green.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?


Re: Imagine a smart bomb that refuses to explode

"Ah, bomb?"

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly


Re: It's not a compass.

The original concept was (is) called SINS: Ship's Inertial Navigation System

accelerometers sense movement along all 3 axes and track displacement

It is not Dead Reckoning, but a technological replacement. From over 50 years ago.

The main difference between SINS's gyroscopes and quantum "compass" is sensitivity (and need for extreme cooling).

Foreshadow and Intel SGX software attestation: 'The whole trust model collapses'


SGX = ?

Software Guard Extensions (SGX)

Zombie … in SPAAACE: Amateur gets chatty with 'dead' satellite


Re: That's pretty nifty!

Shurely, that's mettle. (Unless a pun was intended.)

Hubble catches a glimpse WASP-12b, an almost pitch-black exoplanet


SOL is a dwarf?

" star WASP-12a – a dwarf star with a similar mass and size as our Sun "

If a dwarf start has similar mass and size as our sun, shurely this means our sun must be a dwarf?

Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient


Optometrist Algorithm

Is this better, or worse?

<makes adjustment>

Better, or worse?

Which is clearer, 1?

<flips lens>

Or 2?

< flips back >


<flips again>

Or 2?

SpaceX halts Intelsat 35e launch twice in a row


Sucessful Launch on July 5th

Perhaps an update to the article would be appropriate?

Back to ASICs: Mellanox pumps up Ethernet speed to 400Gbps


SFPs + Fiber = cost more than switch?

Proposed specs - official IEEE release expected in December

400 Gbit/s Ethernet

at least 100 m over multi-mode fiber (400GBASE-SR16) using sixteen parallel strands of fiber each at 25 Gbit/s[19][20]

at least 500 m over single-mode fiber (400GBASE-DR4) using four parallel strands of fiber each at 100 Gbit/s[21][22]

at least 2 km over single-mode fiber (400GBASE-FR8) using eight parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[21][23][24]

at least 10 km over single-mode fiber (400GBASE-LR8) using eight parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[21][24][25]

200 Gbit/s Ethernet

at least 500m over single-mode fiber (200GBASE-DR4) using four parallel strands of fiber each at 50 Gbit/s[26][27]

at least 2 km over single-mode fiber (200GBASE-FR4) using four parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[1][27]

at least 10 km over single-mode fiber (200GBASE-LR4) using four parallel wavelengths (CWDM) each at 50 Gbit/s[1][27]

The revolution will not be televised: How Lucas modernised audio in film


2 Items

1. The key to THX certification was the use of an HP sound analyzer similar to that used (in the 1980s) on US Submarines by "Sound Silencing" teams. The analyzer could be programmed for waveform analysis and "noise" detection on a per frequency/bandwidth basis,

Reference tones / pink noise would be played by the film projectors

Signals would be amplified, processed, and distributed to the speakers

Sounds would be emitted from the speakers

Multiple microphones / accelerometers would convert the sounds back to electrical signals, which were fed to the sound analyzer, which would check for frequency response, harmonic distortion. phase distortion (typically seen / expected at frequency crossover points), and amplitude.

Results were then used to fine tune the equalizers / filters / amplifiers in a feedback loop - tests and adjustments would continue, until the theater was declared to be "in spec"

Best of all, the process would be repeated at regular intervals (quarterly / semi-annually / annually), so certification resulted in a regular paycheck going to Lucasfilm / THX.

2. Any article about theater sound systems should mention the movie "Alien". At least, in my neck of the woods, it was the first "true Dolby Stereo" movie where the stereo effect & noise reduction were truly noticeable.

NATO secures adoption of submerged drone data comms standard


UHF Transmission

Submarines can transmit UHF without fully surfacing, as well. Like the periscope, the radio antenna (AN/BRA-34 back in my day) is mounted to the end of a hydraulic piston.

Sub comes up to "periscope depth" and raises the antenna above the surface of the water.

Unfortunately, as suggested, such communications were easily tracked via RDF, so the sub didn't say much.

Short range comms were handled by the underwater telephone (analog, acoustic).

Windows Server 2016 persistent memory support supercharges storage IO


Cherry Picked Opponent?

Is it me, or does the 55-58 MB/sec transfer speed to NVMe SSD seem a little slow?

She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down



"a seawater leak into the auxiliary lube oil system for one of her main propeller shafts"

Probably a leak from auxiliary sea water into the lube oil system via a heat exchanger.

Good reason for the oil pressure in the heat exchanger to be higher than the water pressure: so that oil leaks out instead of water leaking in.

Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving


Better Late than Never

There was a word* missing from the article:


In addition to the goals already ascribed to Roddenberry, he was also a big fan of the classics, and wanted to make Shakespeare a larger part of people's lives. To do this, he, ah, borrowed quotes (frequently used as episode titles), plot points, and even scenes.

* Well, name, really.


Re: proof read?

Erm, how about every article should be proof read?

This one is the worst I've seen on this site. Ever.

"southern sates" ? (should be 'southern states')

My head hurts from reading this.

BAM! Astroboffins now have a second way of picking up black holes' collision super kicks


"We now have two ways of detecting..."

"We now have two ways of detecting black holes..."

Not exactly. We have the old school method: spotting the tell-tale X-Ray signature (from the swirling accretion disk).

This new, gravity wave, method doesn't find existing black holes. Rather, it locates empty spots where black holes used to be. Or the place remnants were ejected from.

'Limitless enterprise storage'. Really? Digging deeper into Symbolic IO


RTC and Dedupe and Encryption, Oh My!

" By reformatting binary we see consistent results that de-duplication and compression cannot achieve. "

That's because, for this sentence, he intentionally forgot to add encryption. The description of the device clearly employs all three technologies.

Any metrics of the claimed consistent results would no doubt be distilled snake oil, probably based on processing easily compressed text files.

Am guessing with highly compressed video files, the main "storage saving" mechanism is the fact that many people (cable subscribers) would be watching the same show. With spinning rust, only so many processes can access the exact same data at the same time. NV-DIMM would allow greater parallel access.

Might "Symbolic Bit Marker" be a fancy term for inode?

Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount


Anyone watching the Klingons battling V'ger during the first few minutes of ST-TMP could see/hear that "Previously actors had just made grunting guttural sounds" isn't true.

Engineer uses binary on voting bumpf to flag up Cali election flaws


Who uses decimal codes for ASCII anymore?

Hex, baby, hex.

01100101 => 65 => e

or, 0x65 would work, too.

CERN publishes massive data set


Re: The barn already has a definition - and it is a small area

Agreed - origin does stem from that phrase.

However, at least in fission, the term is used to measure the probability cross-section for absorption.

Example: to a neutron, the relative "target size" (such that the larger the target size, or cross-section, the more likely a neutron is to be absorbed) of a nucleus is measured in "barns" (likely-hood of hitting the broadside thereof) .

The actual, physical properties are in terms of energy (speed) of both the neutron and the target nuclei, which is related to temperature. Thus, there are different values for "fast" vs "thermal" neutrons.

NASA injects cash into solar electric motor


Re: I'm begining to suspect something is going on....


Ideally, you'd want to use the heaviest, stable, inert gas. And that's, err... Xenon.

Thanks, Periodic Table.

Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge


Research Fail

"... read the works of Vonnegut or Heinlein and claim it as his holy book, and demand accommodation of Bokononism or the Church of All Worlds.”

CAW (Church of All Worlds) is a recognized (tax free) religion in the US and has been since the 1970's.

This judge needs to do better research.

Grounds for an appeal?

Bring on the goats! Apple's cloud failure demands further sacrifice


Please correct this:

The population of “engaged” Apple customers - defined as those that buy Apple categorizes an "engaged" customer as one who has purchased a service

Looks like two thoughts collided.

A tiny Violin plays as EMC tops all-flash array revenue chart


If thy comma offend thee, pluck it out.

"IBM's creditable showing was almost $40m, ahead of third-placed Pure Storage’s $150.2m." makes perfect sense with the comma removed. Interesting, as the more common failure method consists of not using enough commas.

She's coming... the Chief Data Officer


Better Definitions Needed

<still confused a bit>

So, the CIO is in charge of the people in charge of the hardware, while the CDO is in charge of the people in charge of the data?

In other words, CIO = Medium, while CDO = Message.

And both are encouraged to be Propaganda Ministers, Judas Goats, and/or headsman's ax catcher as required by the business model du jour.

Apps that 'listen in' to your mobile get slapped by US watchdog

Black Helicopters

What Frequency is used?

Many codecs sample at 44.1 KHz or lower (especially web based ads). Given Nyquist's (or Nyquist-Shannon as it's now know) theorem (max theoretically reproducible signal is half the sample rate), how does the ultrasonic signal get reproduced?

Also, many speakers do quite poorly over 18KHz, and many microphones aren't good with high frequencies, either, so even if an ultrasonic is (barely) present, "hard of hearing" (in higher ranges) microphones might not hear them.

Seems like this ad tracking technology has some serious roadblocks in its way, just based on the current technology. Might do better with some sort of infrasound, or audible but unrecognizable as a signal sound (audible steganography) for tagging ads.

Or - even better, audible watermarking of sound sources with date/time/channel ID stamps -- instead of tagging the ads themselves, tag the medium. After the spyware phones home, the big data analytics engines can do the mass lookups to correlate date/time/channel stamps with what content was playing. This way, individual advertisers don't have to "play" to be useful. Some sort of "ignorable" (by humans) noise would carry the information.

ESA's Sentinel satellite to ride converted ICBM


Re: What does happen when an ICBM launch fails?

You do if you're at the launch site. Especially if it's the first one to launch.

Presumably, there's some sort of arming mechanism, which only arms them once they've traveled far enough away from the launcher. Kinda like submarines and torpedoes (or bombers and bombs, for that matter).

Boffins freeze brains, then thaw them – and they're in perfect order


Contract probably referred to the actual freezing procedure as "experimental," meaning no refund.

Besides, the big, big, big money isn't made freezing parts; it's in keeping said parts frozen year after year, decade after decade. Refunds would only apply if parts are allowed to thaw, accidentally like.

Microsoft researchers smash homomorphic encryption speed barrier


Re: What on earth is this article on about?

Does the 99% figure relate to (what sounds like) OCR hit rate, which doesn't sound all that good, depending on the source images, or is 99% somehow related to internally guessing the values of the encrypted data, prior to doing work, which also does not sound like something to brag about?

I'm guessing there may have been a copy & paste incident, and we're actually reading content from what should be two different articles.

Eight budget-friendly 1TB SSD data packers for real people


Re: 2.5"

M.2 motherboards have been around since the beginning of last year, if not sooner.

The real problems are:

1. That dead end named mSATA - it should never have lived.

2. SATA based M.2 drives (IMO they should all be PCIe)

3. Transitioning to NVMe based M.2 drives (and getting BIOS/UEFI to boot from 'em)

4. Not having to pay an arm and a leg for the result

Old school Fibre Channel gets new lesson in NVMe treatment


Seems to me, the latency reductions will initially come from the host side stack.

An NVMe driver (with streamlined instructions) should reduce latency over the traditional SCSI / FC HBA driver stack. This should be the easy part.

Next up would be the storage end. Would need NVMe direct to storage (flash or whatever) instead of some NVME to SCSI to flash, which would probably be the 1st gen implementation.

Reducing latencies at either end will help, but there would still be the FC fabric limitations / latencies.

Apple will cut down 36,000 acres of forest in 'conservation scheme'


Ford did this (ran a steel smelter plant next door to a car factory). Seemed to work for a while.

IBM did it as well, right down to groundskeepers and toilet cleaners being IBM employees. Trouble was, those benefits cost too much, especially the toilet cleaners who'd been with the company for 40 years. Ended up laying 'em all off and contracting with maintenance firms to get the job done, cheaper.

US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf


Or, drop a tar bomb on any target which is silver / mirror painted. Then target the tar with the laser.


FCC bigwig grills Netflix: If internet fast lanes are so bad, why did YOU build them?


Real Story: Corrupt or Incompetent

If the FCC hasn't been keeping up with this story, they're either Corrupt or Incompetent.

They should not be acting surprised, as this is old news. Guess they haven't been reading all the letters Netflix and other providers have been sending them for the past several years.


Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs


Now, with paddles for extra spin

Interesting. I wasn't expecting to see the paddles rotate on their support arms' cylindrical axes. Nice. A free stabilizing feature -- they can angle like an arrow's feathers to induce axial spin of the stage as it falls (engines first, being heaviest).



Re: Where?

The third Orbital Sciences cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch at 6:22 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 28, from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

El Reg spends One Night in Hell with Queen's Brian May



so you view the scenes in much the same was

Should be "so you view the scenes in much the same way"

Non-related comment:

Stereo reproduction of the static pictures can be accomplished without the need of optics:

Instead of having the images side by side, with the left image lined up for the left eye on the left, swapping the positions of the images on paper allows for the viewers to simply cross their eyes and focus. True, not everyone can focus with eyes crossed, but those who can do not need the owl or any other special reading device.

BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army


Power Supply

Take a powerful, lightweight (relatively speaking), gas turbine out of an MBT and hook it up to a large generator (technically, an alternator).

Power the wheels (or treads) within individual motors (which can also act as braking generators).

Time to fire the rail gun? Keep the gas powered genny running, hit the brakes to generate additional surge power, and funnel it all to the rail gun.

Once fired, stop breaking and redirect power back to the propulsion motors.

All you need, now, is for the fuel truck convoy to not take a wrong turn.

Reg hacks see the woods or the trees In the Forest of the Night


Re: I was more worried about the complete lack of people...

I, too, noticed the lack of people. Wasn't bothered by it, however: budget doesn't allow for unnecessary extras.

Still, with all the Underground entrance shots -- you'd think someone would have been shown exiting up the stairs, stopping, and looking around, scratching their head. Wouldn't have cost much.

Other, unrelated things:

Re: 'Merkins (I'm one of 'em) and the "Natural History" Museum:

The phrase would "trigger" (in modern head shrinker parlance) the ugly feud between the Evolutioners and the Creationists - BBCA does NOT want to get involved in that argument.

Re: Oxygen and "Airbag" effect

Perhaps the original (flawed) script made some mention of the oxygen floating up and re-enforcing the ozone layer (getting "activated" somehow by the incoming charged particles), thus providing additional protection from the solar flare / CME. Unfortunately, the word "ozone" is also a trigger, and might kick off an Eco-Green vs Filthy Polluters battle, so the word had to go.

In the BBC's quest for world TV domination by way of "dumbed down for the world" Doctor Who episodes, one lesson stand out clearly:

Never alienate _any_ demographic groups.

We see the results of this philosophy each week. Unfortunately.

Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN


Re: Why 400 days for men and 300 days for women?

While the greater body mass of men does provide some additional shielding, that's not the primary effect.

The spec is "death due to exposure"

The article mentions (I'm paraphrasing here) "mostly due to cancer years after the mission is over"

Who lives longer?


Thus, women are more likely to die due to (the long term effects of) radiation exposure, since the longer they live, the better the odds of getting radiation damage induced cancer (20 to 60 years after the exposure).

Interestingly, this is the opposite to a recent article here stating that women were more likely to go to Mars because they're more resistant to the effects of radiation. Hmm.. more resistant, yet more likely to die from it. Nope, they're not more likely to be sent, unless the trip is one way.

Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast


Re: I really hope this works, but ...

An airship, on the other hand, would work quite well.

Place the reactor in the middle of a huge bag of Helium and very few neutrons will escape the outer envelope. And, hey, what's the waste product of the reactor? Helium. (1)

As far as reducing weight, it'd be nice if there was a way to get electricity directly from the plasma itself (perhaps via MHD (2) ?) rather than have all the weight of a heat exchanger / turbine / condenser / feed pump cycle.

(1) Yes, the reactor output volume of Helium will be orders of magnitude smaller than the volume of gas required for lift.

(2) Magneto Hydro Dynamics - electricity can be generated based off the magnetic field generated by moving ions within the plasma. It'd be difficult to get the MHD generator to not interfere with the containment magnetic field, however.


If the 1950s are any guide, the first use will actually take the form of a prototype land-based plant which is a mock-up of the proposed sea going ones.

In addition to testing the new tech, said location would be key to writing the "Reactor Plant Manuals" which would contain Operating Instructions (startup / shutdown) and Casualty Procedures (what to do if <insert_problem_here> happens). No doubt said facilities would be built to be run for 50 years or more, serving to train generations of engineering personnel who will run and maintain the plants.

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?


Surely the iTunes import preferences shown on page 2 of this article are for the importation of audio CD tracks (i.e. what format to rip/transcode the WAV to).

It seems a more fair comparison would be this:

1. Have the audio CD of music you want to compare

2. Set the iTunes importation setting to ALAC

3. Place the CD into the drive, import the album, eject the CD

4. Rename the Album title within iTunes (so that all tracks show the new Album name)

5. Go back to the iTunes importation settings page, change to lossy format / bitrate of choice

6. Repeat steps 3-5 as required for whichever formats / bitrates you wish

7. Listen to the resulting tracks

Assuming that ALAC is equivalent to FLAC, why bother with differently sourced FLACs?

Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s


Time Travel?

" Following the launch of the Apple Watch, Cook has repeatedly invoked the memory of Steve Jobs."

Erm... surely the launch hasn't happened, yet. Or, is it already "early 2015" ?

There's a large difference between a "pre-announce" (future event, no hard date given) and "launch" (general availability).



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