* Posts by martinusher

2551 posts • joined 24 Feb 2015

China may prove Arm wrong about RISC-V's role in the datacenter

martinusher Silver badge

Re: A shot in the head is worth two in the feet

This has been pointed out by some quite eminent economists. Political interference in the supply chain means that the build/buy balance gets messed up so what once didn't make sense from a business perspective now becomes an imperative. The result is a double hit to the US semiconductor industry -- not only do we lose a ton of business in the short term but we have encouraged the creation of formidable competitors which threatens our markets in the longer term.

Its not just semiconductors. Boeing, our de-facto civil aircraft monopoly, has done quite well using political pressure to hold back potential competitors in the small aircraft segment. They'll continue to do this right up to the point where COMAC eats their global lunch. (We'll obviously do what we can to slow the Chinese down using sanctions and export restrictions, they'll respond, we'll drag our feet with certifications and stuff, but eventually the dam will break.)

(....and don't even mention Huawei.....their 'crime' being to nab the lead in 5G technology and so threaten the monopoly that we had in 4G)

The only way to stay on top is to run faster.

UK politico proposes site for prototype nuclear fusion plant

martinusher Silver badge

Re: A centre for industrial decline?

Its their reward for being 'moderate'. If you're of a certain age you'll remember how the miners were split between the Bolshie crew 'up north' (with a few outliers in Kent) and the nice, moderate, sorts in Notts and Derbyshire. They all ended up out of work, anyway, because for a time it was far cheaper to import strip mined coal from Australia (and Poland, I believe) than employ locals. Coal, of course, fell out of fashion (except in Germany) and so the former coal power station at Drax burns wood pellets which we're assured are renewable (they're imported and some at least come from real trees, not wood byproducts, but we don't want to talk about it).

So the heartland gets a boondoggle / a bit of pork. It probably won't make much of an impact on area employment.

>And when will The Register return to spelling words correctly (i.e. not American)?

We (Americans) own your spell checkers so you get to spell like us. Sorry. You can switch the dictionary to "UK English" but most people don't seem to bother (same with the keyboards). Take consolation from it nowhere near being as bad as the Spaniards have it -- Castilian (Spanish) Spanish is truly a minority language, its known about but not taught in the Americas and its practically unintelligible to many supposedly Spanish speakers.

You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Implicit in the article, but not explicitly stated:

That's the trap that's being set by 'the usual suspect(s)' for FOSS applications. They can't really compete with their closed source, or at least appreciate the danger to their business model by FOSS, so they take over FOSS by dangling attractive looking languages, build systems and archives. Before you know it you're in the same kind of proprietary tangle that you had with their products. (Only works on this version of a platform, requires those libraries in specific directories, the tools are likely to be turned into 'free' and 'subscription' versions.....you name it, we've already seen it, but generations of new programmers all hooked on 'the latest' will fall into the same traps.)

The open internet repels its most insidious attackers. They’ll return

martinusher Silver badge

What's New IP got to do with the ITU

The ITU is in the business of getting bytes from A to B. They might have an interest in what's in those bytes but generally anything to do with IP is the province of that most anarchic of non-organization, the IETF. If China wants to introduce a new protocol there's nothing to stop them, it will just have its own protocol number. Everything else will just operate as before. Its the beauty of the Internet.

So this politicized discussion of 'freedom' just belies the general lack of understand of what Internet protocols do and how they work.

The biggest danger to the open Internet isn't Russia or China or whatever. Its our legal system that's increasingly asking for content to be policed and nodes to be blocked because they might be pirating media. (...and if you make it really easy for a random media corporation to shut down bits of the net, excise content and persecute people it thinks are criminals then the government's going to have not problem. But as we all know, "It can't happen here".)

BTW -- I think that China's been aggressively implementing IPv6 for decades now. Having that really big address space allows you to .reliably identify individual nodes

FBI: We tracked who was printing secret documents to unmask ex-NSA suspect

martinusher Silver badge

JJust because information is classified doesn't automatically make it valuable

I tend to think of the Russians as fairly smart so if someone turned up offering classified documents their first reaction would be to either persuade him/her to go away or to get some low level individual to interact with them to see if they really have something useful to say.

Overall, I'd guess that the value of the information he had was negligible. Obviously the security services will make a Big Deal of it -- he was in a position of trust and was scheming to abuse it within three weeks. The most likely scenario is he got dismissed for unspecified reasons probably relating to him not really being suited for that environment and the documents were just a honey trap.

Chipmakers cut output, investment – but government bucks never go out of style

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Chicken and Egg?

I've been reading for quite some time now about the semiconductor shortage and how it affects the price and availability of stuff (especially cars, it seems). Now we're being told that there's too little demand so we cutting production -- and more ominously, investment. This typical kneejerk corporate reaction to demand cycles is how we're losing competitiveness right and left, especially as what they're also really saying is that they're going to cut headcount. This is going in the wrong direction but I suppose government largesse is designed to bolster stock price, not to keep key facilities and staff busy and paid during an economic cycle.

China spins up giant battery built with US-patented tech

martinusher Silver badge

It wasn't lost -- it was just outsourced

At this time China has the infrastructure and capital to build a large prototype battery while we in the US prefer investments that produce a quicker RoI such as speculation. So what's the problem?

The legislators seem to thin that the issue is China. I think the problem's at home. We used to have no shortage of entrepreneurs willing to take a fling on a new technology. If we can't find anyone with all the money that's washing around the economy then that's a problem. Not China.

How CIA betrayed informants with shoddy front websites built for covert comms

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Re: So which is worse

Its only in the movies that three letter agencies are all seeing and all knowing. Its not that individual parts can do really clever work but the overall performance is about what you'd expect from a large, unwieldy, organization. This article is proof itself -- the idea of using innocent, generic, websites as a channel for covert communications is brilliant and must have been demonstrated in a proof of concept form at one time using a dummy password like "password". The complete lack of inspiration and finesse comes from the implementation, replicating potentially flawed techniques over numerous websites with no mechanism for monitoring for, and reporting, problems.

Unless the sites were dummies, that is.

Arm founder says the UK has no chance of tech sovereignty

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Re: Not just tech

>n the long run Russia will be the big loser.

There is this place called "the rest of the world". Russia is also not just a oil and gas supplier like the Gulf countries, it has a lot of thing things going for it. I'd suggest that what holds it back is a lack of population -- its got a lot of space for not that many people (granted that a lot of that space isn't what many would call 'habitable' but that goes for a lot of the world, including large tracts of the US and Canada).

martinusher Silver badge

Its the City

The City -- the bankers - have very different ideas about what's important than most people. They don't really care that much about whether a country has technology or not, "they've got people for that", its all about the money. So if ARM makes more money by being sold off, dismembered or whatever then that's it fate.

This is has been the ruling situation in the UK for as long as I can remember. Its also what runs the US but the US is still dedicated to being a global power so it thinks as semiconductors and similar technologies as strategic necessities (its actually a large scale version of the UK -- the UK was one of the earliest countries to make microprocessors, for example, but they were dedicated to military use with commercial not even being aware of them). Now the US has started to exercise its strategic muscle countries that are not aligned 100% with its policies feel that they, too, need semiconductor capabitlies as a strategic necessity.

They should have retained their commercial capability. But it didn't make enough money......so off it went..

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Time gets away with you. 25 years ago it was very obvious which way things were going. Maybe 35 people were still thinking in terms of mainframes and wireline phones but even then it was obvious that communications was going to be important.

Back then in the UK at least 'digital' meant Teletext for most people.

FWIW I bought my first proper PC 40 years ago. It was a CP/M machine (an Osborne) and it couid, and did, useful work.

UN's ITU election may spell the end of our open internet

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Re: Zero sum, as usual

If you've been following the news at all you'll have noticed that the problem western media corporations have is a collision between their desire to control the information flow and the lack of technical standards enabling this. This leads to weak responses like court/government orders to ban certain web domains and a scattershot approach to piracy based on the mistaken connection between an IPv4 address and a physical location (and so user). In addition, we're pushing for government control of ISPs, forcing them to police content or face huge civil penalties.

Obviously someone hasn't been paying attention. After all, as we all know "it can't happen here".

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Zero sum, as usual

>In China you wouldn't be making such critical comments...

Do you actually know any Chinese people? I know its fashionable in our society to believe that China is just a big prison camp with one and a half billion people yearning for freedom and democracy but this defies both common sense and observation.

What we have done in recent years is to encourage Chinese nationalism. It wasn't that long ago that they seemed to be all about bling and out-westerning the west. Then we attacked them for being good at what they do. Now we've not got a competitor, we've got a rival.

martinusher Silver badge

Re: We've been round this loop before

>What's different this time that will cause people to preferentially deploy the ITU's recommended protocol stack, rather than continue with the IETF's IP stack?

The ITU's protocol stack is in my experience just plain useless and I expect it to remain that way. Where the ITU has been essential is defining the standards that are necessary to transfer the raw data. Where OSI has appeared in standards for data transfer, typically under our common standard of Ethernet, its been a bit of a mess. For example, everyday 802.11 has to deal with bit reversed address bytes and a redundant Type 2 header in every packet (and I suspect the quirks and irritations of Bluetooth are related to the use of OSI).

martinusher Silver badge

Zero sum, as usual

If "they" win then automatically "we" lose. In this case we have to have an American sponsored candidate win or its game over for technology. A really dumb mindset.

Its not China that's been politicizing technology in recent years, its the US (Russia isn't a major player in this game). Its the US that's been sanctioning other countries, trying to hold them back using every lever that they can dream up. Control is a must. Extending this to the ITU is dumb; all they do is agree technical standards, a complex process but not inherently political. The political aspects come in with the application of those standards (and if we're talking Internet censorship then the mostly likely and prolific source of censorship is going to be western media copyright holders).

Is it time to retire C and C++ for Rust in new programs?

martinusher Silver badge

Re: M*A*S*H

Its worth bearing in mind that Rommell did wonders in North Africa because he was able to read the Allies's mail -- an American diplomat in Cairo wa sending comprehensive reports back home using a compromised coding system. Once that was dealt with then things reversed pretty quickly. Sometimes genius gets a helping hand.

>Everything MS touches turns to shit.

Corrodes, more like it.

martinusher Silver badge

...only if you want to rewrite all code that's currently written in these languages

The problem with any "new, improved" language is that the creator not only invents numerous round wheels but also tends to assume that their creation will be the one and only language used everywhere and anywhere for ever and ever. So the basic syntax of Rust could be made the same as C but the result wouldn't look new so the language has to have a syntax that's nearly but not quite the same because otherwise it wouldn't be new.

A lot of the language features come from integrating the linker and package management with the language itself. Its easy enough to enforce types in C, most programmers don't use generic types anyway, they use synthetic types similar to those Rust has, and by turning on warnings and using Lint most type SNAFUs can be managed (I tell people to "beware of implicit casts" -- just because you can fit bit pattern 'A' into 'B' doesn't imply equivalency of value). At the cost of becoming a bit unwieldy Hungarian notation (effectively systemized in C++ as name mangling) can be used to manage typing to turn lukewarm warnings into hard errors. Modujle linkage doesn't belong in a language definition as with package management -- and I think there's a special place in Hell for those programmers who think its OK to structure code using the directory tree of a development computer, you structure things logically so you can find them, not the development system.

Anyway, that's my 2c's worth. Such as it is. If I can get a rust compiler to compile a module I can link with other components I'll try using it -- I've always been focused on embedded so "Hello World" really doesn't cut it (I need to know a lot more about the system than an ELF file). YMMV.

Soaring costs, inflation nurturing generation of 'quiet quitters' among under-30s

martinusher Silver badge

Its actually an old problem but somehow nobody seems to remember it

Employers like to talk about their employees as if they were family.....but.....

"If you work hard and do your best you'll get the sack like all the rest,

But, If you laze and mess about you'll live to see the job right out,

The work is hard, the pay is small, so take your time and sod 'em all,

And on your grave stone neatly lacquered, These three words............


Set against this is a feeling of entitlement, the idea that you've worked through school, worked through college and so on so you're entitled to a certain standard of living. Unfortunately that's not the case......it never was and it never will be. You exist to create wealth for your employer; if you fail to competitively create enough wealth you will be replaced, its just a matter of time since nothing can happen overnight.

California to phase out gas furnaces, water heaters by 2030

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Scrubbers for fireplaces?

The fire risk is minimal in tract housing -- the BBQs that they close down are in parks where there's a real risk of the fire getting loose. The backyard grill is a very useful device, especially in really hot weather since you can cook dinner outdoors and so not throw unwanted heat into the house.

Sacramento is riding for a fall here. The mechanics of virtue signalling relies on being able to convince people that only an entitled minority has the privilege of such and such so its OK to ban whatever. Since our housing -- at least in the major urban areas -- is so expensive its easy to assume that everyone who lives in a house is a rich pig etc etc etc. This is a good way to alienate the electorate....and I really don't want to see "the other lot" in power since they tend to bring us good stuff like budget deficits, utility deregulation and generally make life difficult for everyone.

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Are they mandating the replacement tech?

Its a heat pump, aka "an air conditioning system run in reverse". They're quite viable for new construction but they work best if you've got a decent heat sink/source such as geothermal energy from under your house.

Heat pumps just move energy from A to B. To be at their more efficient they need the temperature difference between the two to be as small as possible. The generic air conditioning unit just throws the heat out into the atmosphere through a radiator, that's the bit with the fan that makes all the noise. (The compressor that moves the heat is quite small, it also sits in the outside unit.) One problem we have in hot weather is that the area around the compressor gets very hot, up close to 50C, due to the system being in an enclosed side yard. This not only noticeably reduces the A/C's efficiency but also compromises reliability of the system (....and repairs are expensive). We have to manually intervene (i.e. open a gate to let the air flow) to make things work well.

martinusher Silver badge

Wishful thinking

Our 1971 home is fairly typical of a suburban California home. Built on the cheap it has a relatively modest electrical supply, a 100 Amp panel. The supply infrastructure isn't designed for anything more -- back when a relatively small tract of houses was built our supply became unstable with the substation constantly blowing up. (Literally...) Over the years we've reduced our power consumption substantially and installed solar panels which help with the spiraling cost of power (peak rate is close to 50c a KW/h now).

We use minimal amounts of natural gas for water heating and home heating in the winter. These are significant energy users that will strain our house's power supply. We might be able to upgrade the panel and the incoming main but the entire tract would need to be rewired. Since power costs have been allowed to get out of control -- we we next in line after the UK's 'privatization' with the whole ISO, energy market, spot prices and what-have-you, somewhat tamed by the state but still subject to those 'market forces' that you in the UK know and love so much -- I don't want to install anything that might add to power consumption except maybe an electric vehicle since that can be used to not only substitute for even more expensive gasoline (petrol -- we running $6 a gallon, sometimes lower, sometimes higher) but as a float for the house as a whole. so I guess the AQMD may find a lot of people in "cold, dead, fingers" mode -- we are not going to go down that route and any attempt to force the issue is likely to have devastating political consequences.

(The gas fire pictured in this article is unknown in the US. We actually have one, a Baxi "Bermuda" that my wife hand carried from the UK back in the days before everything was seen as a potential bomb. Due to historical reasons all the fittings and specifications for pressure, venting and the like are actually the same between the US and the UK. It is by far the most efficient heat source anyone knows of -- the fireplace is supposed to be burning artificial logs but that's an amazing way to burn a lot of gas to get not very much heat, but this one can heat an open plan house on one bar.)

Rust is eating into our systems, and it's a good thing

martinusher Silver badge

Re: A Bit More Complicated

I depends on the hardware, too.

Programmers have shown repeatedly that they can't cope with segmented address spaces, the like the large puddle of generic memory because it means they don't have to design memory usage. It causes all sorts of issues, though. The problem was recognized many decades ago, the fix is obvious, but.....

martinusher Silver badge

What's with the obsession with NES?

This harping on about 'NES' and '8 bit' says more about the author than the technology of that period. A lot of people were building quite powerful and complex systems that required the code to be type safe, memory safe, thread safe and generally programmer proof, the just weren't the people that this author would be aware of. The entire PC buisiness has been one of masses of people learning why wheels were round, water wet and so on as the shortcomings of the cheap 'n dirty school of computer architecture were addressed piecemeal. Hence years later we learn that languages ideally should be programmer proof becuase only a subset of programmers have the patience to manage that level of detail. Rust appears to be one such language, a 'super-C' that takes a lot of the legwork out of coding. It might well be useful in my world, it largely depends on how well it integrates with other components and whether an efficient code generator for less well known parts becomes available.

The older 'programmer proof' language? Ada, of course. Not what I'd call my favorite by any stretch of the imagination but its a bona-fide attempt to achieve these goals.

NSA super-leaker Edward Snowden granted Russian citizenship

martinusher Silver badge

...and as we've been larning all these years modern warfare doesn't involve millions of ill trained conscripts charging at each other's trenches through a sea of mud. A lot of the fighting involves managing information, for example. (According to one news article I read Ukraine's logistics are managed from an industrial park in the Netherlands, for example.)

A lot of the military never sees front line action. Up to Vietnam it was reckoned that for every serviceman actively being shot at some nine were needed to keep the wheels of the miliary turning. The ratio's changed a bit these days due to subcontracting but like subcontracting in the real world this is more about personell flexibility and cost savings than some radical shift in war methodology. After all, it costs a bundle to recruit and train a soldier and they continue to cost a lot of money when they're killed/injured/retired so why not pay others to do the legwork for you? (In fact, there's a school of thought that suggests that Ukraine is actually a proxy war -- we (the US) are paying them $1.6 billion a month plus hardware to fight Russians -- but we'd probably better not go there.)

martinusher Silver badge

Read the fine print

The "partial mobilization" affects reservists and is no different what we did in the US during Iraq and Afghanistan where we mobilized parts our National Guard (i.e. reservists) to serve there. This was a bit awakward for many because what was supposed to be one quick tour of duty ended up being three, four or more with some people stuck over there for literally years.

The one difference between Russia and us (the US) is that in Russia everyone is on paper a reservist due to universal military service (which I think they still do). Here is the US we don't require everyone to undergo military training but we do require all men 18-24 years old to register for the draft. (Its a dumb thing but without that proof of registration you can't get 'benefits' from the Federal Government such as student loans, immigration and so on.)

Open up, it's the IRS. We're here about the crypto tax you dodged

martinusher Silver badge

>Countries run on taxation. If you are raking in thousands, millions or billions from crypto then you need to pay your share.

Life would be good if you could pay the IRS in cryptocurrency but unfortunately they want cash or cash equivalent. That means that if you're trading a highly volatile security, even indirectly, you are quite likely to trigger taxable events that will require virtual -- and fleeting -- profits to pay tax in hard cash.

Cryptocurrency isn't the only way you can get caught like this but its possibly the one area where a significant number of people have dabbled in unregulated, volatile, securities without having a clue what they're doing. The lessons are going to be hard and expensive. The people affected will complain that its not fair and they don't believe in The Man or whatever but its not going to change anything.

Meta told to pay $175m to walkie-talkie techies for infringing IP

martinusher Silver badge

Re: So many crap patents

A recent patent infringement case concerning generic drugs (resulting in a $300million+ judgment) shows just how bad the USPTO has got.

Patented drugs eventally run out of patents and become generic. In other words, cheap. However, some clever sod discovered that you could actually patent the dosing label of the proprietary drug. This is a bit of a trick because the label information is FDA approved and is mandatory for the drug type regardless of its source. So the generic becomes in violation of your patent.....and we've got 'em, down the East Texas we go and nail those suckers for everything they've got.

If we could only spend the same level of intellectual resouces actually inventing stuff rather than raiding others'....just think, we might be able to Make America Great Again.

Amazon accused of singling out, harassing union organizers

martinusher Silver badge

Re: I find myself idly wondering ...

Been there, done that...

Anti-union is in American corporate DNA. There are any number of consulting firms that will help the corporation out if its troubled by potential unionization. No trick is too dirty, no tactic too low. Unions must be fought at all costs. Historically, that cost has been in lives at times (when we do security around a workplace we bring in armed security, sometimes they get a bit exuberant.....you kow how it is....check out "Matewan")

Why corporations have this fear of unions is anyone's guess. Unions are only adverserial if you try and screw the workforce too badly, normally everyone just wants to get on with the job and earn a paycheck.

IT services giant Wipro fires 300 for moonlighting

martinusher Silver badge

Its a different world over there

Back in the good old days employers used to not just employ you, they owned you. They expected to have a say in how and where you lived and how you spent your time. This faded a bit in western countries but obviously the idea is alive and well in the east. Its the sort of thing that we need to get back here -- we need our employees to be wide awake, focused, totally committed and generally be upstanding citizens, its good for both the company image and the bottom line. If you've got any complaints then you don't need to work here (and its not our fault if you starve).

This sort of thing faded in the west but is obviously alive and well in the east. We'll probably need to reinstate it to be competitive.

(I'm glad I missed out on those days)

Amazon's Roomba acquisition gets caught on FTC's rug

martinusher Silver badge

If you don't want it to know "the most intimate secrets" of your home....

....then you know what to do. Don't buy the thing. There's no law that says you've got to use one and as turns out a human Roomba does a much better job (and actually knows an intimate secret when he/she sees one).

I trust Amazon merely because they already know so much about us and our purchasing habits that any more data is superfluous and, anyway, they're not going to sell that data to all comers -- competitors. They also know that if they abuse what they know then their customer base could evaporate. This type of enlightened self-interest is the only reliable indicator of corporate behavior, everything else is inviting a workaround.

Tongues wag that Softbank's Son may sell Arm to Samsung

martinusher Silver badge

Re: I don't have this language in my "localization" settings.

Its an English expression, its origins go back a long way and have absolutely nothing to do with guns. Its a bit like saying "I wash my hands of XXXX" only more material than personal.

As an aside, I've been plodding away trying to learn a foreign language for some time. What I've learned so far in my studies is that I am so grateful that I'm a native English speaker (that's real English, not the subset used in most of America) because there's no way I would have been able to learn it.

Meta, Google learn the art of the quiet layoff

martinusher Silver badge

An old trick in the US

Its a common trick, especially among larger companies which, despite their size, are structured as numerous business units. When your unit is closed or consolidated you are invited to find work elsewhere in the organization. Not necessarily at the same facility, of course. You get a few months to sort this out, and if you fail to be accommodated then you're literally redundant.

What never ceases to amaze me is why employees think they have any kind of status in the company. Sometimes they're difficult to replace -- actually, if you're smart you'll try to get into this position -- so you have a measure of job security. But for the most part in the US employment is "at will" and I'd guess in the New, Improved, Brexit Britain the same flexibility will become the norm, if its not already.

'Last man standing in the floppy disk business' reckons his company has 4 years left

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Speaking Of Ancient Storage Methods .....

Not reel to rell as such but tape cartridges. They're still widely used for backups and other mass data storage. They're quite reliable and have been shown to reliably hold data for extended periods of time..

martinusher Silver badge

Older media still has its place

A lot of softwre is obviously endlessly reininventing the (hamster) wheel since the prevailing sentiment seems to be "if its not the latest then its obviously no good". The problem wiht that mindset is that every time you update something you're stuck with verifying it (you do test your products, don't you?). For some types of product the testing and certification can take a lot of effort so unless there's a pressing need to update code you just don't. Not all software is an app for a smartphone or its desktop equivalent.

When was the last time you updated your anti-lock brake software? Or your kitchen's microwave?

What happens when cancel culture meets Adolf Hitler pareidolia? Amazon decides it needs a new app icon

martinusher Silver badge

That's what cartoons do to people

The Amazon logo has never looked anything like Hitler. This noise is really an expression of our culture of ignorance, an enormous cultural fatberg of people who know little and shout a lot, hyper enabled by an Internet echo chamber.

Like anyone else in history, Hitler by himself was "mostly harmless". As a vegetarian, a resolute non-smoker and general health nut he'd fit in quite well in modern society. His ideas are also quite reasonable sounding, you can find them being voiced by many people today, including many Republican politicians and (with the MAGA crew making a very good impression of Brownshirts). We swim in this environment oblivious to the danger it poses because for many -- most -- of us Hitler is just a cartoon, a cartoon of on 'evil', so as long as we don't go around in a designer uniform sporting a toothbrush mustache we're all good with nothing to worry about. After all, it can't happen here, can it?

Cisco SMB revolution: selling hardware with no subscription required

martinusher Silver badge

Don't I recall them acquiring Linksys some years ago? Commodity hardware, purchased over the counter that did basic networking tasks. Its really the command and control options, the sort of thing that the average user isn't interested in, that causes stability and security issues so commodity hardware should be bulletproof.

Grand Theft Auto 6 maker confirms source code, vids stolen in cyber-heist

martinusher Silver badge

Should, if anything, enhance their business

I'd guess that these games are built like movies, sophisticated story telling that runs on a highly optimized platform. So leaking the look and feel isn't going to result in a rash of pirated games and actually might enhance their business.

GTA is more than a game, though. Its a cultural icon whether we like it or not so like other cultural entities of similar statue it needs to be preserved in some form for posterity like we do for movies, books, music and so on.

Arm execs: We respect RISC-V but it's not a rival in the datacenter

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Toast

Taken at its most basic the ARM is just another generic RISC -- multiple registers, three address instruction set, five stage pipeline and so on. Their secret sauce was their conditional instruction execution, its a great idea but I don't know how much its used in practice. So the competition is not going to be about the actual processor core, that's pretty much standardized, but how well one or more cores can be integrated with memory and peripherals. For the low end -- a surprisingly large percentage of processor applications -- this doesn't matter that much, this type of processor has been a standard offering as a soft core by FPGA manufacturers for decades. So I'd expect this ARM business to evaporate over time, leaving just the higher performance designs. This is probably what they meant by 'data center'; here ARM has got a significant lead over RISC-V -- but for how long?

UK govt refuses to give up on scoring Arm dual-listing for London

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(It doesn't help that most Americans think Cambridge is in Massachusetts. Home of a few quality universities as well, just to muddy the water further.)

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Move along....nothing to see here...

In the chip business a billion either way is just tea money. Its kind of scary, really, but that's the way the world works.

ARM may or may not be a good investment. Its got a lead over RISC-V because its better developed and well established but architecturally its a toss up between the two. Since ARM based products are commodity products for the most part vendors are going to squeeze the most out of a design so a royalty free design will eventually win out.

Amazon allegedly punishes sellers who dare offer lower prices on other marketplaces

martinusher Silver badge

Amazon's Logistics are better

I've bought stuff from Brand X retailers and often the service is as good as Amazons. Until you discover that the product you bought (sight unseen, just the description in the listing) wasn't what you thought it was and you want to return it.

Beand 'X', being typical, finds you SOL. There is a return policy but its this and that and you've got to manage the shipping and insurance (or whatever's needed to prevent the "but it never arrived" mantra).

Amazon just gets you to fill out an online form, drop it off at a convenient location and processes the refund.

I've learned the hard way that the cheapest isn't always the best. I'd rather pay a few bucks extra to Amazon for "no hassle" service than get the absolute cheapest price and realize I've got nothing when what turns up isn't what was advertised, is broken or just plain doesn't work. The Amazon return policy is pretty amazing -- assuming you don't abuse it -- and it may contribute to the extra cost differential between AZ and Brand 'X'.

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Amazon: "Capitalism is good but only when it works our way"

In case you've not noticed, that's exactly how the system works.

Everyone is taught at school the idea that its the only system that promotes competition and enterprise and so benefits the consumer. The reality is about monopoly and charging what you can get away with.

I would have thought that people in the UK would by now have a really good understanding of how the free market works.

Twilio more than decimates staff, CEO says it grew too fast

martinusher Silver badge

Re: ouch

>that he's sacking people based on their skin colour?

It won't be just skin color because California is rather diverse to start with and if you discriminate against (for example) your Chinese employees then half your useful workforce evaporates (...and there's also a small matter of rather strict CA employment laws). Its more likely to be a cliquey thing, about attitudes and fitting in. That's easier to fudge.

With a lot of these companies its hard to figure out exactly what they make (the line between marketing and reality), whether the product has significant real-world uses rather than being fashionable and how they intend to make money off whatever products they do make.

White House to tech world: Promise you'll write secure code – or Feds won't use it

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Software is flakey and full of holes, get over it

Software written for real time systems is not flakey and full of holes. Its a bit more conservative than the applications code we're used to with far less focus on getting the latest features out ahead of the competition (real or imagined) and far more attention paid to testing and verification.

Its a different mindset, one that would drive a lot of programmers crazy but its the way that software should be written. After all, for most applications we don't need to change it every year or so -- call me boring but I would be a lot happier using a word processor program from a couple of decades ago than fighting with whatever interface Word has thrust at me this week. Most software features are redundant eye-candy, anyway.

China's single aisle passenger jet – the C919 – likely to be certified next week

martinusher Silver badge

Obviously can't work because, well, they're Chinese

COMAC is probably the single greatest danger to the US aircraft industry but as usual we'll just ignore it and try to do what we did when Airbus got a bit too close for comfort -- make with the PR, hit up the lobbyists and generally change the rules in our favor. Its no coincidence that Boeing's management has now decamped from Chicago to Virginia. They're not in the airframe business, they're primarily lobbyists. (See what happened when Airbus planned to acquire Bombadier....)

As for remarks about Russian planes its worth remembering that Russia is the primary source of machined titanium parts used in US airliners. Its one of those things we don't talk about, just as we don't talk about Chinese materials in the semiconductor business. (Just this week the F-35 production had to be stopped because it was discovered that -- gasp! -- there was a Chinese sourced component in the engine or something.) The Chinese can make airliners. The Russians are also very good at it, they pretty much wrote the book on composites, for example, having been using them for a lot longer than we have. We need to take these seriously because they'll produce a good product and they'll probably undercut us.

martinusher Silver badge

Re: size

The interiors are fitted out to suit the customer, they're not inherently part of the aircraft.

With its Ohio fab under way, Intel's next challenge: Keeping its promises

martinusher Silver badge

Wrong mindset

You can't "win" against China just as they can't "lose". The analog of this situation is a sports league. Everyone is familiar with, for example, Manchester United. Big, powerful, successful, a global brand that's used to being at the top of everything. Some global fans may know of their crosstown rivals, City, that have always been a bit of an underdog. A few years investment in players and facilities have turned the tables, though -- City's now on top and United is looking a bit tattered and tawdry. The takeaway is that you're only on top for as long as you work hard to stay there.

The situation with China is similar. We have squandered our position over decades by assuming that because we invented the game we have the right to make all the rules. We don't need to invest in new facilities and developing players, we can simply use our accumulated resources to poach what we need and change the game's rules to our advantage when we feel threatened. The problem with that approach is that the smaller players will put up with it while they're dependent on the gate revenues but as soon as they're big enough they'll start playing their own game -- and if they play fair then they'll drag all the other teams off with them.

We need to rebuild our team. We've passed the point where fiddling the rules is going to work. I -- and others -- have been pointing out this problem for years but like any other problem (e.g. climate change) its always been easier to kick that can down the road, squeeze a bit more profit and put off doing anything about it. We've now run out of road. (...and the Chinese 7nm process should bring this home to us, along with planetary rovers, space stations -- you name it, how big do the signs need to be for us to read them?).

martinusher Silver badge


Not just in 'murka -- how many failed "will deliver 'x' jobs' initiatives has the UK been through?

Its what you get if you run a company by the numbers -- just by the numbers. The actual product is just a tool to generate cashflow with the real action being hiding profits, minimizing tax liabilities and maximizing tax credits. Its not good for business but it's the system and it makes those profits.

Intel does have at least one fab in the US, my daughter lives near it. Its undergoing some expansion at the moment but one of the problems with working there is that you just don't know if and when the plant will be reduced, sold off or even shuttered. I believe it primarily makes Flash memories.

Biden administration prepares to bring hammer down on Chinese chipmakers

martinusher Silver badge

Re: Well Murica... if Sanctions are working so well...Why do you need more?

A lot of 'merkans -- especially hose not on the coasts or in universities -- still think that Chinese people are likee Charllee Chan. Seriously. They just can't cram into their heads the notion that these people are just like us. So its obvious that if they have any technology its got to have been stolen / misappropriated because they can't invent stuff (etc.).

Meanwhile the rest of us note the number of Chinese names on academic papers and patents. There's an awful lot of them and they're hungry. If we hadn't started all this BS then most of them would be happy wolfing down our overpriced iPhones (made in China but profits generated in the US)((Ireland, actually, but that's FinTech for you). Now they've got a goal, a national focus. Ours is to stop them. Theirs is to carry on doing what they're doing and excel at it. We're screwed -- unless we can change the way we do things.

HP pays $1.3m to settle dispute over printer security chip

martinusher Silver badge

Re: €95 is easily not enough

Take off 50% or so for lawyers' fees....its a joke. $1.3 billion wouldn't even begin to cover the damage.


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