* Posts by Howard Long

61 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Jan 2014


Former Fujitsu engineer apologizes for role in Post Office IT scandal

Howard Long

"And as for the expert witness thing, does this guy have no mind of his own to state what's true and what isn't?

The "expert witness thing" turned out to be key.

"All you have to be on the stand is honest and call out twisting of what you're saying."

The evidence presented during his testimony didn't show he was being dishonest, or twisting anything.

I can only recommend that you watch, listen, or read the testimony. At least start off with the first morning of his testimony where the "expert witness thing" starts. This "expert witness thing" was pervasive throughout his entire testimony, and fundamental to it.

Howard Long

Re: Watch fully all 4 days of his evidence before making your mind up on Gareth Jenkins.

That sums up my view. I too watched the entire four days. I wish I could've summarised it so well myself!

Until Ian Henderson's testimony (Second Sight) on 18 June when he described Jenkins as "very helpful throughout", had "no criticism of him in terms of answering my questions and providing support", and "straight as a die", I was of the view Jenkins was probably in the same basket of deplorables as Jarnail Singh, and Vennals etc. These statements from Henderson urged me to reconsider, and that I'd like to make that judgement for myself.

"The comment by Gareth Jenkins early on that Robust does not mean Infallible is the first time I have heard anyone qualify what Robust meant - I am convinced that some people did indeed equate it with infallible.

I am certain you are right. There's nothing like a bit of good old confirmation bias.

I put myself in his shoes. It would not have been at all surprising if I'd have been asked during my career, where I did more than my fair share of financial forensics on enterprise databases, to find myself offered up as a witness. I would have been totally dependent on the company lawyers to actively approach me and educate me on my responsibilities to the court, and I would not have even known what to ask, and neither would I have known about Part 33 of the Criminal Prosecution Rules, or the Code of Practice for Experts. Why would I?

I did not know, until this week's testimony, that an expert witness in legal terms is distinct from, and a subset of, a domain expert.

Jenkins, in my opinion, was trying to help. He was also conscious that this was part of a commercial relationship. He was misguided in that the likes of Jarnail Singh, the only criminal lawyer in POL, was not performing his responsibilities duties as a criminal lawyer to witnesses he was putting forward. Furthermore, Fujitsu top brass should've had alarm bells ringing, when someone seven levels down the pecking order was effectively representing their interests in a criminal court.

The only niggling thing I have about Jenkins is why he still considers Horizon to have been reliable, bearing in mind what we all know now.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

"So what?"

The concept of "expert witness" in the legal sense is absolutely fundamental to this. As you haven't heard the testimony, you're relying on guesswork and hearsay. At least listen to the first morning of his testimony. The "expert witness" issue is so completely and utterly fundamental to this.

The transcripts you offer are from criminal court proceedings and transcripts that relied on the falsehood that he was an expert witness in the legal sense. He has never been an expert witness in the legal sense.

He didn't know what his responsibilities were to the court. For example, he had no knowledge of Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, or even that such a thing existed. And I would strongly suggest that almost none of us did until this week.

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

"stop defending Jenkins on your mistaken understanding of what an expert witness is. "

Thanks, but I will make my opinion from the evidence I have seen, not some rando on the internet who doesn't agree with me.

Evidently, unlike you, I have watched his entire testimony. I have no skin in the game.

I entered the week of his testimony on the fence. Until Ian Henderson's testimony (Second Sight) on 18 June, I was of the opinion that Jenkins was a bad actor like the rest of them. Henderson expressed his opinion that Jenkins "was very helpful throughout" and had "no criticism of him in terms of answering my questions and providing support." [Ref: "Ian Henderson - Day 152 AM (18 June 2024) - Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry" 2:01:45]

To be clear, again, I do not understand why he still considers Horizon to be reliable in the face of what we all know now.

As I have stated numerous times, the concept of "expert witness" in the legal sense was brought up dozens of times during the testimony.

This includes adhering to Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure Rules and the Code of Practice for Experts, neither of which he's never read and didn't even know existed.

I expressly draw your attention, for example, to "Gareth Jenkins - Day 159 AM (28 June 2024) - Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry" with key points at 2:28:35, 2:35:00, and 2:40:08.

"If I was going to court as an expert witness I'd be damned sure to read anything stating what my responsibilities were."

I am sure that we all will be know. I wonder, did you know of Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, or the Code of Practice for Experts, until I drew your attention to it?

I could quite easily have seen me being inadvertently drawn into something like this during my career. Have you ever dealt with corporate lawyers at work I wonder? They're far from good at being forthcoming with anything unless it's going to benefit them. My experience is that you send them an email to have something clarified, but I rarely receive anything back.

I very strongly recommend that at the very least you listen to the first first morning of his testimony, when the concept of "expert witness" was initially covered at some length. This then went on throughout the rest of the day, and was a continually referred to through out the remainder of his testimony.

In my opinion, Jenkins was an individual who was trying to be helpful, but ended up being a useful idiot for the POL lawyers. He was also let down by his own management, who should've picked up on this, but ultimately, it was a failure of POL's lawyers, in particular Jarnail Singh who was the only criminal lawyer employed by POL.

But I won't respond well to demands such as yours to change my opinion based on false claims.


Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

It is absolutely crystal clear that we had not read the Criminal Procedure Rules Part 33, and that was explicitly brought up several times during the proceedings, and at least twice this morning. For example, this morning's proceedings "Gareth Jenkins - Day 159 AM (28 June 2024) - Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry" with key points at 2:28:35, 2:35:00, and 2:40:08.

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

'How could he possibly be unaware of the support desk being briefed to say "no one else has this problem"'

He wasn't in day-to-day BAU support on the end of a phone to subpostmasters. This was from people working for the Post Office on the helpdesk, not from Fujitsu people, although I believe they physically worked at Fujitsu's location.

I am sure if you've ever worked for a medium to large organisation, while you may not technically be in a support role at the time, you'll occasionally be brought in to deal with certain very targeted things that you have domain expertise in.

"the extent of the remote access to patch up errors"

This came up during the testimony at least once. As explained, he was not typically involved in BAU, he was not aware that this was happening at the time, but he did become aware of it later, and recommended against it.

'And why did the court accept him as "expert"'

Lawyers. One in particular. Jarnail Singh, who was the PO's only criminal lawyer. There have been some stunning examples of claimed plausible deniability during this inquiry, but this particular individual takes the biscuit.

I suggest you listen to the Jenkins' testimony and make up your own mind.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

"Well, I strongly recommend you get your head out of your backside."

Well, unlike you, I've watched the entire testimony.

"No matter what happened at the enquiry, Jenkins was an expert witness at various criminal trials. The courts relied on him for expert testimony about the Horizon system.

"Maybe he shouldn't have been called as an expert witness. That's a discussion for elsewhere. The irrefutable facts are the courts deemed him to be an expert witness for the criminal trials."

There is no way you can have watched it with that response. I recommend that even if you only watch or listen to one part, start with Tuesday morning's testimony.

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

"I suggest you read those rules yourself."

I have.

And I suggest you watch the testimony, as I have.

I am drawing my opinion having watched the enquiry for all four days this week.

It is absolutely crystal clear that we had not read the Criminal Procedure Rules Part 33, and that was explicitly brought up several times during the proceedings, and at least twice this morning. For example, this morning's proceedings "Gareth Jenkins - Day 159 AM (28 June 2024) - Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry" with key points at 2:28:35, 2:35:00, and 2:40:08.

Throughout the entire four days, the question of him being an expert witness was gone over dozens of times, particularly on his first day. There is no way he could be described as an expert witness in the legal sense.

"If he said the system had no bugs"

He didn't.

"and was not remotely accessed"

I suggest you watch the testimony. He was unaware that this was happening at the time, but the testimony is rather more complex than this due to the chronology, and that he was typically not a day-to-day BAU guy, so did not know what they were getting up to in the boiler room.

If you haven't watched the testimony, I'm afraid all you're doing is guessing and relying on hearsay.

What is still not clear is why he maintains that Horizon was reliable, when we all know what we know now.

I'll add that the lawyers representing the subpostmasters today have been markedly less aggressive to him than they have been to a-hole lawyers and those at the top of the greasy pole. To me, that's a further indication that they already realise he'd just been used as a convenient cog.

The problem I have is that in my career working for vendors is that I, and any one of my colleagues, could easily have been put in the same position. Furthermore, if you've ever had to deal with lawyers in the corporate world, e.g., trying to implement & get direction on GDPR policy, IME they have a propensity for being arrogant two-faced t*ssers who always look down their nose at you, hoping you'll go away rather than doing their job... until they need you for something.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

Well, I wen into this week of the inquiry with mixed feelings. Was this guy a malicious a-hole, or a techy fall guy?

I've watched all four days.

""Gareth Jenkins’ almost Olympian levels of disengagement "

That's not what I got from it, and frankly this kind of reporting to me is so obviously partisan, and as a result they've gone down in my estimation.

What I saw was a nerd, probably on the spectrum, who was trying to do his best, under the shackles of working for a supplier that has commercial interests.

If you've ever been on that side of the fence, you'll know that doing anything for a client comes with commercial implications, and doing anything for free or off piste is frowned upon. In all cases, he solicited direction from above where necessary before proceeding, as anyone would do in that situation.

I still don't understand why he maintains that Horizon worked well when it was ridden with "bugs, errors and defects", but otherwise I have little doubt from this week's testimony that on balance he's a "techy fall guy".

That's completely unlike the other POL/Fujitsu a-holes whose coached and curated testimonies have shown they're uniformly second rate human beings, like rats on a sinking ship.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

This is the legal training \i am referring to for expert witnesses in criminal cases...

Expert witnesses need to have read Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and confirm that they have adhered to those rules, and have acted in accordance with the Code of Practice for Experts.

He didn't. Did you?

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

In oarticular:

Expert witnesses need to have read Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and confirm that they have adhered to those rules, and have acted in accordance with the Code of Practice for Experts.

He didn't, because he didn't know, like many others commenting here.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

"The courts prosecuting subpostmasters deemed he was an expert witness. "

Then I very strongly recommend you listen to the testimony at the enquiry this week, in particular the first day, where it became very clear that he was not, and never was, an expert witness.

"Expert witnesses don't need to have legal training"

They need to understand and adhere to their responsibilities to the court. They can get that from a non POL criminal lawyer.

They need to have read Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and confirm that they have adhered to those rules, and have acted in accordance with the Code of Practice for Experts.

This is so fundamental to the testimony.

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

"As pointed out elsewhere, you do not need to be legally trained to be an expert witness. "

The testimony at the inquiry this week says this is incorrect.

And by "legally trained" I am referring to understanding and adhering to the legal responsibilities to the court to be an expert witness. You will not get that from a Google search. I am not talking about doing some kind of academic course either.

It was a running theme throughout the week. I strongly recommend you listen to the first day, or at least the first morning of nis testimony: pretty much the whole of the day was taken up showing that he's not and never has been an expert witness.

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

"So anybody employed as an IT professional reading this who has specialist knowledge is qualified to be an expert witness."

If you'd listened to the testimony, you'd realise that an expert witness in the legal sense has significant legal responsibilities to the court beyond this. A "layman" such as him (or, evidently, you) cannot be expected to know what those responsibilities are.

This was a running theme throughout his four days of testimony, especially on the first day which was pretty much taken up with just this, i.e., whether or not he was an expert witness in legal terms. It was 100% evident he was not an expert witness, despite being and expert in technical terms.

You've fallen into exactly the same trap as he did.

Howard Long

Re: Jenkins was complicit in the cover-up

"More than that. He seems to have committed perjury. In one of the subpostmaster trials, he testified that it was impossible for anyone to tamper with the Horizon database. But at that time he knew this was possible."

If yo go into the testimony, you'll realise that what you've claimed just doesn't hold up.

As I've stated elsewhere in these comments, he wasn't an expert witness in the legal sense, and he is a nerd, the kind of nerd who answers the questions asked. The problem is that the right, targeted questions weren't being asked of a non-expert witness, nor was he given sufficient time to prepare. And those questions were unlikely to be asked bearing in mind the lack of disclosure, for which you can thank the criminal prosecution lawyers.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

"I spent 14 years in a job where being an expert witness was at the core of the work. No legal training was given."

I have news for you: in the legal sense, according to the inquiry's evidence, and barrister questioning, you would never have been an "expert witness" in a criminal court.

Howard Long

Re: Possibly controversial opinion...

"the issue I have, and this was the same with his colleague Anne Chambers, is the clear assumption that the system was working fine and if they couldn't find a problem in the data after a cursory check then there wasn't a problem and it was somebody else's fault. To find bugs you have to actually go looking for them."

Yes, I'd agree that this is a key disjoint, although from his evidence, he was doing a lot more than "cursory checks", although lacked time to do sufficient investigations as a supposed "expert witness" when issues were requests were often raised by the PO on the day before he was expected to give criminal court testimony.

His (and others') dogmatic claims about the reliability of Horizon's operation in the face of "bugs, errors and defects" does seem to be overstated bearing in mind the real world results. At least he didn't call it "systemically robust"!

Howard Long

Re: Distinguished engineer got trapped into doing things :o

Well, I've watched his entire testimony this week so far, with 30 minutes to go.

"Baloney, Jenkins was complicit in the cover-up."

What is clear from his testimony is that he clearly is/was an expert in his domain, that of the Horizon computer systems, but he was certainly not an "expert witness" in the legal sense, and had no training to be one, although he was presented as such by the criminal lawyers in court.

As he's never been a legal expert witness, he should never have been in a criminal court, as he did not know or understand what an expert witness is in legal terms, nor what their responsibilities are.

To be blunt, he was the lawyers' useful idiot.

Howard Long

Re: Unimpressed: false dichotomy

I've watched his entire testimony, and there's about half an hour to go.

"either he was the most incompetent of managers, completely unaware of either the technical details or the operational reality of the systems he was responsible for, or he has regularly and deliberately perjured himself in order to support prosecutions"

False dichotomy.

"he was the most incompetent of managers"

He wasn't ever a manager. He is and was a techy.

"he has regularly and deliberately perjured himself in order to support prosecutions"

There is zero evidence of that.


There is plenty of evidence that he's a nerd who understood the software well, but has no legal training, and should never have been presented as an "expert witness".

There's also plenty of evidence that, like the subpostmasters, he's inadvertently found himself to be at the wrong end of institutional and systemic failures of lawyers.

Unfortunately for him, he's also been misrepresented as a key figure who deliberately went into court with malicious intent.

Howard Long

Possibly controversial opinion...

I've watched all of his testimony so far this week: there's still about an hour to go.

Unlike other witnesses on the Fujitsu/PO side of this inquiry, he comes over as a reliable witness.

He is a techy, and possibly on the spectrum (we all are to some degree or another). Thus he tends to answer questions more literally than some might.

Furthermore, and key to this, in a legal sense, he is not and never was an "expert witness". Until recently he didn't know that in court an "expert witness" has some legal training, training that he neither had, nor was offered. In particular he did not know about disclosure.

I'll add that Ian Henderson of Second Sight, the forensic accountants, considered him in a favourable light, as being transparent and honest in his work with them. I have seen no evidence in the inquiry that he has been anything other than transparent and honest.

To my mind, this has been a failure of those higher up the chain, in particular lawyers, and if I am to pick one out, Jarnail Singh, who was the only criminal lawyer at POL, who should've known about disclosure requirements in criminal cases, and have liaised as necessary with Fujitsu on this.

While we may not like his answers, like the sub-postmasters, he's someone who's been shafted by those who should've known better.

You're fabbing it wrong: Chip shortages due to lack of investment in the right factories, says IDC

Howard Long

All inventory stockers and brokers including Rochester have been doing OK, I've used them even before the shortages hit. Rochester are now on Digikey's marketplace.

The problem is that if you're on small to medium production runs, they often tell you you have to buy full reels of, say, 10,000 units, but you might only need 1,000. For passives it's usually not a big deal because they're sub-pennies, but for semiconductors it's a different kettle of fish, so you end up sitting on a lot of inventory.

JIT manufacturing is dead.

I had a visit to my CEM (contract electronics manufacturer) just before the new year, and I've never seen their stores so full: there are so many projects with parts on back order. Just one part in the BOM missing and you can't do a production run as you can't test your board or assembly..

The worst part about it is that there inventory for most parts exists, but it's sitting in shady warehouses in China. Predominently Chinese businesses have come out of nowhere, and buy up everything on a speculative whim. As they're the only ones stocking the parts, they can demand any price they like, and it's not just a 10 or 20% premium, it's at least three times but often ten or 15x the manufacturer's price.

Many of us are reworking designs to use what's available, but it's been a game a whac-a-mole for over a year now: you redesign for different part(s) and suddenly they disappear too.

The end result is that for the first time ever I've had to increase prices on my products by 20%. You will also notice that some products will just disappear or not even make the retail market at all despite a marketing push: Intel NUCs have been a good example of that for example.

Regarding TI in the article, if you look at their own inventory, I'd say about 70 to 80% of their products are out of stock. TI is quite big in a number of areas, and power supply parts in particular voltage regulators is a problem for everyone now. These aren't fancy state of the art 5 or 7 nm nodes, they have no need to be. There's a move by some to go back to good old fashioned discrete solutions suing jelly bean parts: they're significantly more effort to design, but it you're not space constrained it can make sense. The increased parts count will inevitably hit the COG.

Lead times for many parts are extending out to 2023 now. As a result, everybody is stockpiling, it's like Mad Max. While the bog roll thing we saw was just pathetic, for businesses if they have no parts, they have no product, they have no sales, they have no business.

It's nearly 2019, and your network can get pwned through an oscilloscope

Howard Long

Re: stuxnet/duqu

I have a 1GHz HP/Agilent/Keysight Infiniium mixed signal scope in the lab from about 2003 running XP although there were earlier editions of the same scope running Windows 98. An equivalent new scope today (with equivalent options such as deep memory and serial triggering) would be around $20,000.

The equivalent higher end scopes today still run full fat Windows, I think it’s still Windows 7. The low to mid range run Windows CE.

The top end scopes go for same price as a house,

Howard Long

Still plenty of XP and Windows 2000 scopes

There is still plenty of high end test equipment about running Windows XP, 2000 and even 95/98 with ethernet ports.

The simple reason is that new hardware replacements for high end gear are several $10k or $100k.

The problem is that high end test equipment has a useful lifetime far beyond your average PC, measured in decades, not years.

Adding any OS with network capability to any hardware with little or no upgrade path inevitably builds in obsolescence, unless you don’t plug it in.

Watt? You thought the wireless charging war was over? It ain't even begun

Howard Long


Corrrection for the sake of the pedants, the Americas comprise ITU Region 2, not Region 1.

Howard Long


"Energous is FCC certified as of Dec 27th."

... for a four day charge time of your average cell phone.

Howard Long


For the Energous device:

Part 18 of FCC regs on 915MHz, Part 15 on 2.4GHz Bluetooth. Part 18 covers non-telecomms RF devices like microwave ovens and covers SAR levels, which is why there's a 50cm "keep out" distance in front of the device. Unlike Part 15 devices, there are no specific power limits in Part 18, just the SAR level limits are applicable.

The 915MHz ISM allocation is specfic to the Americas only (ITU Region 1). I am not sure if there are similar regulations equivalent to Part 18 in other countries outside the US, but one thing's for sure, it's not global.

Howard Long

Re: I would recommend reading this...

Indeed, and with a claimed 100mW charging rate and a 10Wh battery, that's a four day charge time, assuming the device is switched off and near 100% charging efficiency.

Oh, and with an efficiency in the region of 1%, its green credentials are ground breaking, just not in a good way.

Core-blimey! Intel's Core i9 18-core monster – the numbers

Howard Long

Multiple cores makes development a breeze

My use case is cross platform and embedded development, my daily driver for this is a dual core Xeon E5-2697v2 (24C/48T) from the Ivy Bridge era. If you have thousands of source files to compile for multiple targets, or for the edit-compile-debug loop, it makes it a relative breeze. Going to the more mainstream i7-7700K or even Ryzen 7 1800x is really quite a disappointment for productivity (relatively speaking, of course!)

Google's macho memo man fired, say reports

Howard Long

Open discussion, oops, oppression

While I don't support the content of the ten pager or its aims, I totally support his right to say it, and be free to discuss it.

Shutting down a discussion does not make it magically go away. "A workplace culture that is free from intimidation"... errrr, you just fired someone for their opinion, sounds like intimidation to me. Winning people over by oppression, not quite the workplace I'd like to be in.

Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

Howard Long

Re: Emergency boot partition

Indeed... except (a) some software is specifically not supported on VMs and (b) neither is some hardware (many peripheral PCIe cards for example).

While VMs are a great solution for many things they are not a universal panacea.

Howard Long

Re: ,So there's an online fix for not being able to get online?

Nope, ipconfig /release and /renew alone certainly did not work for me, it was the first thing I tried before discovering there was something else more subtle afoot. It needed those previously published pair of netsh commands plus a restart.

Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

Howard Long

Wireshark/network traces

I still do, been using network traces for decades. It's getting harder though. First, there was the move from hubs (and token ring) to switches (and Ethernet) so you couldn't just sniff all the traffic from another host on the same LAN segment. For some years, I carried around a crappy old hub and a crossover cable (remember those too?) to intercept traffic.

Nowadays you need to persuade the network guy the SPAN switch ports for you, which can delay things to such an extent that you start installing sniffers on the affected host... which can and does sometimes have its own side effects, such as differences in where the stack is executed in promiscuous mode (NIC or OS).

Then almost all traffic became TLS/SSL making it more difficult to trace application layer problems from network traces.

It still has its place, but I use interactive network traces a lot less than I used to because of both the political and the technical challenges around getting it set up in the enterprise. In the development phase I use them much more frequently on the local host.

They can be exceptionally useful tools. Despite the pervasive use of TLS, often you don't need to know anything about the payload data at all, just seeing the conversation metadata is enough to determine if you have a client-side or server-side problem. I rarely see people use sniffers nowadays though, they're more likely to hit Google.

As DHCP negotiations are in the clear, it would be easy to identify which side of the conversation was at fault.

My laptop had the problem this morning, I should've fired up wireshark/netmon. Instead I followed the instructions and rebooted like a good script kiddie, and it fixed it.

I suspect just a reboot or two fixes it, as I discovered that the update was requesting one, and this is what the nub of the problem is. The update itself gets applied but needs a reboot which is delayed, so DHCP breaks in the process. After the DHCP lease time expires, or the machine comes out of sleep or hibernation, the DHCP request fails because the update needed a proper reboot to finish and work properly. Hence, machine cannot connect to the LAN or t'internet.

Qualcomm, Microsoft plot ARM Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 PCs, tablets, phones

Howard Long

Shoot in foot

If, like with Windows RT, they delibrately cripple the OS so it can't run recompiled ARM versions of x86 desktop apps, it will fail again.

My Surface RT ended up being nothing more than a video streamer, after discovering that not even Hello World would work.

VCs to Trump: You know what would really make America great? Tax breaks for VCs

Howard Long

VCs: listen up!

I have a way VCs can do just fine with the talent already at home. Work a bit harder on your due diligence skills before you piss away other people's money on fundamentally flawed projects when looking for your next unicorn.

Oh, such short memories. Anyone remember Theranos? I am not one for regulation, but the VC "industry" is crying out for it. If ever there were a bunch of suits lining themselves up for negligence claims it's the VCs.

If the talent is so much better overseas then invest there. But it's not better. It is cheaper though. Funny that.

We wanna give IoT folk kilobit data rates, beam NB-IoT telcos

Howard Long

Re: Not necessarily a bad idea

Broadly speaking, higher bandwidth needs higher power to be seen above the noise floor. In fundamental terms it's a case of swings and roundabouts, i.e. there's no such thing as a free lunch.

You can thank Claude Shannon among others for that.

For IoT (gawd I hate that acronym!), producing RF typically costs orders of magnitude more in terms of power requirements compared to any processing requirements. The main exception I can think of is always-on real time video applications, which will innevitably be power hungry in the processing department, and you're likely to need wide bandwidth anyway to make it a viable product.

Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

Howard Long

Not really anything too new

I wrote an x86 & PC emulator for Windows CE around 1998, it interpreted the instruction set and the standard peripherals of a PC such as the PIC, but also paravirtualused many of the interrupt calls. We didn't call it paravirtualusation back then though. It ran at about the equivalent speed to an 8MHz PC AT on a 33MHz MIPS processor.

ISTR Linux had DOSEMU at about that time too.

You discover weird stuff undergoing such an exercise when you can't get DOS to boot: one or two undocumented processor features were used for example.

The market? As the article states, there are shedloads of vertical market niche applications out there that will never be re-coded in this month's hottest language/framework.

It was both a shame and a stunning marketing fail that Microsoft deliberately crippled Windows RT to Modern UI only apps from third parties, that pretty much killed it off before it was born. Maybe they did learn something.

Fancy a wee quasi-DRAM? Supermicro bulks up server memory

Howard Long


Some of them are spacers with no fan function but look like fans. In fact if it's like the 1U Supermicro chassis I'm familiar with, each of those fans are actually two fans, resilience don't you know.

Pocket C.H.I.P. makers go Pro with cloud-linked ARM-flexing module for IoT gizmo builders

Howard Long

Re: Glazed over at the mention of...

Indeed, but have you considered how this outfit is surviving and intends to survive, selling $6 devices to geeks, bearing in mind the overheads of being in the Bay Area and circa dozen+ FTEs?

Sure it'll work without their cloudy based option, but do you think that they will offer any support in getting your non-revenue earning non-cloud based system going? As an OEM myself, I can state that they are barely breaking even on the hardware, let alone funding their operations and R&D. They need to make up the money somwhere, and this is from value add sales like screens, keyboards, subscription cloud: the device itself is an attention seeking loss leader narketing ploy, just like razor blades or ink cartridges.

They have yet to make good on their $9 Kickstarter, with only a fraction of those delivered.

Consider the financials of this outfit for one moment, once their funding bubble bursts, it's landfill. That was my point, sorry I wasn't clearer!

Howard Long

Glazed over at the mention of...

...cloud subscription.

Nope, not interested in another piece of obsolete landfill.

Inside the Box thinking: People want software for the public cloud

Howard Long


No, I don't want a 100% cloud based service, where the services offered come and go as the vendor pleases, I cannot access my data without a working high speed internet link, service terms and conditions are unilaterally changed on a weekly basis, or one serviced by a company likely surviving off VC piss.

Howard Long


No, I don't want a 100% cloud based service, where the services offered come and go as the vendor pleases, I cannot access my data without a working high speed internet link, service terms and conditions are unilaterally changed on a weekly basis, or one serviced by a company surviving off VC piss.

Should Computer Misuse Act offences committed in UK be prosecuted in UK?

Howard Long

Re: Take (NOT) back control

"EU directives were on if the last things in between us and a corporatocracy"

*cough* You do know about TTIP, right? *cough*

HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

Howard Long

Re: Its not just the firmware...

The HP way does survive, just not in HP, in spun off companies like Agilent and Keysight, all key technology leaders and innovators in the true sense, unlike the HP of today which is a vehicle for short term casino "investment".

Google broke its own cloud by doing two updates at once

Howard Long

Change management 101

Bizarre, who, in their right mind, would schedule multiple concurrent changes without fully testing that scenario first?

Hey, turn down that radio, it's alien season and we're hunting aliens

Howard Long

Re: Won't work

Jeffy poohs, It is swings and roundabouts if you include path loss, as you'll see I specificallly mentioned.

However as I also mentioned, going down in frequency also increases the ambient noise floor.

But then making very low noise receivers is easier at lower frequencies.

But then your beam width increases with lower frequency, so more noise.

But then increased beam width means more simultaneous coverage.

But then wider coverage area means more difficult to pinpoint the source.

Lots of swings and roundabouts, but my main point was around the size of the antenna aperture combined with path loss, and all other things being equal means that the change in gain due to frequency is offset by the change in path loss. It's all part of an RF link budget calculation.

Just sayin' ;-)

Howard Long

Re: Won't work

Check your maths. Swings and roundabouts on antennas and path loss vs frequency.

Gain for a given antenna aperture area is proportional to frequency squared, not cubed. Note this is area, not diameter.

However pathloss over a given distance is proportional to frequency.

The reason to go up in frequency traditionally has been to avoid noise, terrestrial as well as galactic.

Power cut crashes Delta's worldwide flight update systems

Howard Long

Re: LHR to ATL about 20 years ago

Interesting, because in those days, Delta didn't fly to or from LHR, it was Gary Gatwick. Just sayin'.

Is uBeam the new Theranos?

Howard Long

Re: Worlds best tranducer, Worlds best microphone

Inverse square law applies to all point sources, whether omni or directional, in a linear transmission medium.

In near field, with very large radiators (ie, non-point sources in near field), such as very large phased arrays, it is possible to concentrate energy from a distance of the order of a few wavelengths, but it'll be a frikkin big array with hundreds if not thousands of point sources with appropriate separation.

More of a problem is the non-linearity of air at the power needed to generate enough power to charge a cellphone, the inefficiency, the enormous wall sized arrays, the receiving sleeves, the cost of infrastructure, regulatory barriers, safety implications, innevitable litigation over fillings falling out etc.

It's a complete load of impractical bollocks, and yet another wakeup call (in case they needed one) that the VC industry needs to wake up and stop mis-selling this sort of crap to uneducated investors due to sheer negligence, deliberate or otherwise, on the VCs' part.

Howard Long

Re: Possible .NE. Practical

This ^

It is indeed difficult to differentiate the entire tech VC market from a pyramid, Ponzi or straight scam.

The sheer lack of quality due diligence is shocking. When you hear of the supposed VC experts who, after a fifteen minute meeting send in their "expert advisors" to due a half hour due diligence, and generate $24m in investment off the back of it it is truly shocking.

Worse, Mark Suster, who's on the board of uBeam and whose outfit Upfront Ventures invested $10m wrote a nlog about how let down he feels, and how difficult if is when you've been shouted out, sorry, hoist by your own petard, oops, no, I mean shafted by the very press who drank you koolaid


Even more shocking is when Techcrunch, whose founders have their own investment links with uBeam, and who've repeatedly bigged-up uBeam, have an article also questioning their own darling.


Not only is it the whole VC tech investment crowd who have questions to answer, it's also the tech press and media who're in bed with them encouraging endless puff pieces (El Reg, I assume, can be excepted in this case, but it is rare to find a journo who doesn't enjoy a freebie in exchange for puffery!)

If we don't see some negligence claims in the near future levelled against the tech VC crowd it'll only be because the SEC have got in there first.

Microsoft to make Xamarin tools and code free and open source

Howard Long

Oops, an expensive and unfortunate mistake for some

Blimey, I'd be royally pissed off if I'd recently forked out a four figure sum for a licence.