* Posts by BryceP

22 posts • joined 2 Jul 2014

How to get 10Gbit/s home broadband in the US: Step 1. Move to Chattanooga, TN


Re: Meanwhile: (correction)

Whoops, that'd be Click Network, aka Click Cable TV, not "Cable Network".

Shouldn't comment without consuming my Friday pints first.



While Chattanooga and other cities with far younger municipal networks are pioneering and innovating faster than their corporate counterparts, the city council of Tacoma is debating practically giving away the oldest functioning municipal network in the United States (Cable Network) because finding ways to fix it would be too hard and libertarians in Washington state are opposed to government everything. Instead of innovating, they have let a succession of incompetent utility executives squander a nearly fifteen year headstart. Instead of leaping headfirst into the modern era with data heavy entertainment (Youtube, Netflix, Twitch), they floundered under the mistaken impression that cable television would always hold a monopoly over our eyeballs. Every facet of the city council's and Tacoma Public Utilities' operation of Click has been a disappointment, and the leaders of what is otherwise a fine city should be ashamed of themselves for letting the one competitive edge they have over Seattle go to waste.

It's a shame. What's more, it's a shame that I can't seem to get the Register to even cover it.

Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview



The 512 issue caught most of the mainstream attention and rightfully so as it highlights the many and varied issues surrounding Windows 10's accelerated release. Still, it is a bug, and therefore is defensible, even if only slightly.

The real issue surrounding Windows 10's Start Menu is its near complete removal from the accepted norms of the classic Windows UI: no subfolders, no folder management (new folder, delete, rename), no click and drag, no copy and paste, et cetera. The most criminal issue is the lack of subfolders / nested folders as even with 512 items, even with a quarter of that, the Start Menu becomes an unorganized, in-navigable mess; subfolders allow me direct control over my Start Menu, and have had largely the same parent folder structure (Games, Utilities, Production, Media, so on) for the better part of 20 years.

Tickets addressing this issue, and more (forced driver updates, anyone?), have been created on the Windows Feedback forum, but they are largely ignored by users in favor of tickets asking for different versions of the Windows Hero wallpaper and for Explorer to be redone in the modern UI and other, similarly asinine things. For this reason alone I don't want to attribute this omission to malice but it seems like one major oversight too many. Microsoft want everything to go through their Store, wrapped in their nice, modern UI, and a vocal minority agree. That they haven't put as much effort into returning the Start Menu to its full and functional former glory isn't surprising; that they feel the need to completely reinterpret the wheel, along an accelerated timeline, one spoke at a time, is.

Nobody gets what they want and everyone suffers with Microsoft's new approach.

Videogame publishers to fans: Oi, stop resurrecting our dead titles online


Re: very fair and balanced

The Reg has always gone out of its way to push the buttons of every government, business, organization, group, and reader. It's as time-honored a tradition as Reg journalists showing up to the office Monday still drunk, reeking of beer and whisky, dressed in the same clothes they left wearing on Friday.

This is also why the header images take up more and more page space the more we complain about them. Our favorite rag just wouldn't be the same if it didn't show contempt for everybody and everything, especially itself.

Twin Adam Sandlers shake El Reg's movie unwatchablathon team



No discussion of Adam Sandler and his particular brand of Hollywood machine is complete without linking to one of the greatest critical analyses of the man, his empire, and his films.


Would the guys who made the Plinkett Star Wars reviews steer you wrong?

Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas


The show won't improve until Moffat shoves off. He was a good to great idea man working under and subsequently with Davies, but as a showrunner he is absolutely witless. Doctor Who won't pull out of its thoroughly modern take on 70s/80s excess until a helmer returns that understands the show is about the joy of wonderment, not forced spectacle. I'll take chavs, council housing, and low budget production value over this moodily lit Dickensian melodrama any day, every day. I don't want clever, I want smart; genuine, not cloying insincerity. To wit, would the returned show even still be on the air if Davies had written for Eccleston like Moffat is writing for Capaldi?

Removing the human element and turning the show into meta commentary on the surrounding pop culture is what killed the show the first time and it's what will kill it again. Momentum won't carry it alone. Fire the prat and hire people who enjoy entertaining others instead of themselves.

Frustration with Elite:Dangerous boils over into 'Refund Quest'


With a wink and a nudge

"Reg commentards are mad about this and Elite: Dangerous buyers are clearly mad about this. Any second now social media and customer service “experts” will be tweeting and posting utterly obvious critiques of Frontier Developments' behaviour. Such posts may be the worst part of this whole unpleasant saga."

I seriously can't figure out if this was intentionally the driest self-deprecating humor I've ever seen on the Reg or just a comedic barb gone slightly in the wrong direction.

Either way, spectacular.

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


Absurd and corrupt.

Does this sound like the kind of absurd, yet spectacular, piece of circular logic "gotcha!" that only a smirking, corrupt politician experienced in hoodwinking morons could come up with? That's because it is. Both Pai and his advisor, Brendan Carr, are as in bed with the industry as Wheeler and his advisors, Philip Verveer and Daniel Alvarez - former telecoms lobbyists and counsels them all.

This is an insulting degree of spin that predicates itself, the type of zinger that doesn't have to be explained to the "common folk" because the whole thing is so polarized that they don't care about inaccuracies as long as it bolsters their own viewpoint or position, and the harder you counter it the more the "common folk" believe it. It's messaging, pure and simple messaging. You can just picture people nodding along to the argument, believing that Netflix should have stood their ground, damn the torpedoes all, no matter how damaging maintaining the status quo with AT&T and Comcast would have been to their business, any wavering obviously a sign of complicity. That the commissioner and his advisors believe that this line of reason will resonate is dangerous, regardless of what you think about the net neutrality debate and potential regulatory ramifications. Policy shouldn't be decided based on who most impresses their friends with community college sophomore level quips.

Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco


Fat luck on the recording

Despite every IVR system warning me that a call is likely to be recorded I have only encountered actual recordings when the company believes I was at fault. Every single time that the company was in error they deny that a recording was ever made. When the company has been in violation of law and most deserving of a letter to the state's AG they have vehemently denied that any recording was ever made. This in spite of my policy of requesting calls be recorded the second I get an agent on the line.

Record all calls yourself and let the courts sort it out. At the very least, the court of public opinion and the company's PR spin. Notifying the agent that you are recording will likely result in them terminating the call under the guise of not having the authority to consent.

The odds are stacked against you at every turn, especially when you are interacting with regional or national monopolies. If you can't win legally, humiliate them, and see how fast they either cave or double down with a suddenly produced recording that was made after all.

Marriott fined $600k for deliberate JAMMING of guests' Wi-Fi hotspots


Re: A small step in the right direction

This has already been closed with 802.11w. The revision still needs widespread implementation and it does also introduce new issues, but it does prevent deauth as long as the AP requires protected management frames. Finding a combination of AP and device that both support it might be the difficult part, but all AC devices (and I'd bet most N devices manufactured in the last couple of years) should.


Re: curious how it works

They probably whitelist their own MACs and flood everything else. Even if they can't see the MAC addresses of other wifi networks they'll know which networks are theirs and thus which ones not to flood.

I'm not sure what that would mean for address cloning, but I doubt your average conference attendee is going to bother with that.


Marriott's response is amazing.

"We will continue to encourage the FCC to pursue a rulemaking in order to eliminate the ongoing confusion resulting from today's action and to assess the merits of its underlying policy."

This is a gorgeous work of turnabout bullshit that is not being taken to task whatsoever by journalists. The FCC explicitly bars consumer (e.g., non-governmental) jamming of any communications network. Their definition of jammer is broad and includes any technique that effectively blocks use of said networks. Sending deauth packets to any unsanctioned network surely counts as jamming, and is malicious/bad neighbor behavior at best.

That the FCC authorizes the use of hardware, in this case Cisco, is irrelevant and misleading, bordering on flat out lying - the FCC hasn't authorized the use of the deauth software, as that's not their business (they only regulate a very small amount of specific radio software), they're simply certified that the hardware is interference free. Anything that can see and access wifi can send deauth. You could program a Raspberry Pi to do it.

I don't expect major corporations to not be assholes, but it'd be great if (1) the FCC had nailed their ass to the wall, and (2) the news media had taken Marriott to task for their bald-faced lies. If this were some kid they'd be charged with a felony, but a major corporation gets a free pass. Come on, shit ain't hard, people.

Icahn and I DID: eBay volte-faces, spins PayPal into separate biz


I can always hope, though severely doubt, that this is a first step towards opening eBay to more third party payment processors (Square, Amazon, Google, Apple all come to mind). Though they are just as unregulated as PayPal, eBay has abused its position as having a dominant online retailer, _the_ dominant online auction and barter house, and, depending on where you live, _the_ dominant online commerce payment processor and money sender. They also have more to lose than eBay ever has. For the longest time, no PayPal meant no buyer or seller protection whatsoever. It also meant being subject to random account lock-outs, customer service's inability or obstinance in resolving issues (that they mainly caused), and the highest fees among any of the major online payment processors.

Lock-in is bullshit. PayPal can't get shit out and made ripe for raiding soon enough.

Weekend reads: Douglas Adams' bio in The Frood, The Bone Clocks and Harry Partch, Hobo Composer


Judging a book by its excerpts

So if the Jem Roberts book had been judged by its first 15 pages it would have been insufferable, yet cherry-picked excerpts are trustworthy enough to judge a book by?

That's sort of like saying the first 20 minutes of 2001 are boring yet the trailer for 2010 is amazing and thus it's a great movie.

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?


A woman of a certain age

If you compare spectrograms of properly extracted source audio that is properly encoded as FLAC against a high quality lossy file WITHOUT any filters then you will notice they are the exact same. I'm talking maybe a pixel difference here and there. You could screenshot both spectrograms, load them into Photoshop, and cancel out every pixel which is the same and you'd be able to visualize the (extremely rare) difference. This is an imperfect representation of an audio file, but it's the best we have and likely ever have. Imperfect as it may be, the proof is in the listening.

The greatest area of loss in a lossy file is in the extreme high and low frequencies as well as the stereo image. Kill all filters and you're left with the question of stereo image. Even MP3's joint stereo is great, but ogg's "point" stereo implementation is better. Comparing both, at high quality, yield few noticeable differences to the lossless source.

As always, it's about the way the tool is utilized, not so much about the tool itself. This has really always been the way it is, back to the days when you simply played loudly into a horn that caused a stylus to directly cut the wax. This has only become more true since entering the digital domain. Anyone who claims they can hear the difference between filterless CBR 320 mp3, VBR 224-320 mp3, CBR 500 ogg, FLAC/other lossless formats, and the lossless source is lying.

Huawei prez: A one-speed internet is bad for everyone


The postman always rings twice

And in most of the Western world, the United States included, government postal services deliver faster than their private counterparts and for half the cost, too.

What a bizarre analogy.

Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list


Re: Get a proofreader.

That's not really an issue with individual authors on el Reg, more an issue with the editors. A long-standing one at that.

Of course, it's hardly deal-breaking, just pretend it's cheeky homage to the Grauniad.

Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed


Mastering for iTunes

Engineers have been mixing/mastering for multiple formats for decades. Reel, vinyl, cassette tape, CD, SACD, DVD-A... good engineers with the appropriate budget and an artistic directive want listeners to receive the best possible listening experience. If that sounds a bit fussy, it's because it is. It's also necessary.

Engineering a record for a STILL-lossy, proprietary format seems backwards and dated. Apple have the market share to mandate as standard a high resolution, lossless format, perhaps split between differently-engineered versions for hifi/stereo and portable/headphones, but they don't. I'd wager that engineering for the unique qualities of headphones (e.g., the way they present the stereo image, their dynamic range and response) would be of greater benefit than Apple's current certification that requires mixing for a lossy file format.

We have been increasingly engineering for higher and higher fidelity consumer products. Arguably, reel to reel was the pinnacle, only recently being surpassed by consumer formats. Engineering for lossless AAC would be the equivalent of engineering for cassette tapes; yes, it's a far more convenient format, but the resulting product is sub-par, so you might as well expend the effort engineering for the high quality, if less convenient, alternative. To wit, engineer for lossless 24-bit 96kHz flac and let Apple cut the damned head off of the master themselves.

FCC boss Wheeler: Lack of broadband choice is screwing Americans


Re: Saturation

I dislike analogies when discussing ISPs/the internet in general; at best they are inaccurate, at worst dishonest. Why be either when you can simply expand upon the actual idea in no uncertain terms?

Broadband offerings are crippled because they sell you a variety of products that can use up its full monthly allotment in a fraction of the time. Even a 7 megabit pipe would meet cap in ~80 hours which, at the average American television consumption of five hours a day, would equate to around a half a month operating past cap.

The cap is the real limitation, not the pipe - for instance, most high definition tv-capable pipes can easily support 25Mbps for dual-HD DVR tuning/recording, priced based on package, regardless of if I leave it on 24/7/52. That said, if an ISP billed me based on usage instead of speed they would make far less money. Even factoring in retail infrastructure costs - let's assume $00.20/gigabyte, which is six and change times Amazon's delivery cost - the "average" (e.g., the average Comcast customer that uses "far less" than 250gb/month) user would pay far less than they do now for internet. As a heavy user I might pay more fully metered, but I'd likely pay less than I would with cap + post-cap surcharge. Even at my grossly inflated retail costs a terabyte would cost me a total of $200, versus Comcast, which would be a MINIMUM of $180 (e.g., impossibly difficult to obtain $30/month retention special + $150 in overage). Not much of a difference, and we both know that (1) retail costs are far lower than $00.20/gb and (2) bandwidth gets cheaper with volume.

So, please, bring on metered billing. Or do you think that ISPs aren't switching because the status quo is better for customers?

As an aside, I never once stated that it costs ISPs nothing, so please take your strawman elsewhere.



Utilizing the full capability of a 25 megabit line would see you reach a standard 250 gigabyte cap in slightly over 22 hours.

Choice is an illusion if every one is equally crippled.

Verizon points more fingers at Netflix: It's YOUR pals slowing data


Before September 2012 I had U-Verse and Fios at two different properties in Texas. Never had an issue with either except when Netflix's regional CDN would bottleneck, at which point I just forced a switch to another one using the old DNS trick. This was before Netflix's open connect initiative.

Starting in September 2012 I relocated to Washington and Comcast became my provider at two different properties. Despite offering the highest broadband speeds I had the absolute worst buffering and quality issues imaginable.

After the Comcast/Netflix deal my streaming quality immediately went back to the same state it was in prior to relocating. That is, it went back to the same quality as when I was using U-Verse/Fios.

Maybe I was just lucky with AT&T and Verizon, or maybe they started throttling after I stopped using their service. It's just slightly suspect that the Comcast deal miraculously restored service and immediately after AT&T and Verizon were in talks with similar deals... despite insisting that the issue isn't with the end user ISP.

That's some pretty incredible doublespeak at work.

We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier


John's been giving this same lecture for a few years now. I specifically recall an AES lecture a few years ago that has been well catalogued and discussed on various audio engineering forums. It isn't that what he said is in any way controversial, and there seems to be agreement that many aspects of his actual electrical designs are beneficial and sure to be in mainstream speaker design in the coming decades. No, I seem to recall the greatest amount of debate regarding his (slightly controversial) theory that omni-directional speakers eliminate virtually all of the issues that plague traditional speakers and render extensive control room treatment a moot point. He's the only one doing the science, so it isn't exactly like anyone can disprove him.

But I can't help but think that no matter how dogmatic audio design engineers can be - preferring the mechanical design side of things over the electrical engineering - and no matter how much more money they would (likely) make selling $24,000/pair B&W Diamonds over cheaper, yet still high quality alternatives, that if the technology was as proven as John believes that at least _someone_ would have implemented the technology, marketed it, and sold the resulting product to hi-fi consumers and audio engineers alike. Conglomerates love volume sales, so it isn't exactly like there isn't a business market for it.

Only the future will tell which of his predictions and technologies bear out.


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