* Posts by Gigabob

80 posts • joined 20 Mar 2015


Smartphones aren't tiny PCs, but that's how we use them in the West


Guess you don't you fly much

QR codes are everywhere you fly - not sure how you avoid them unless you blog in the desert from under a rock. I appreciate the lack of appeal to western eyes with our preference for block letters vs the Asian Kanji characters that QR codes could seem to resemble - sort of a 3D bar code.

I think your bigger point is that "Good is the enemy of Great". For your information that point was already made and your notion that we in the west are in a form of "Arrested Development" due to satisficing with our better but less advanced purchase models (active credit model vs cash to phone payments in some parts of Asia), I think you have missed two key points.

The first is that current credit models are pervasive, good enough and already facilitate transactions. What difference does it make if I swipe my credit card at the grocery store vs flash my phone?

The larger point is a cyber-security deficit. Phones are already barely secure - and linking your bank to the phone leaves your accounts vulnerable to attack if the phone is compromised. Here in the US, the federal security agencies want to open your phone to their attack, even as manufacturers like Apple and Google try to encrypt everything with increasing sophistication. I will not link my direct deposit account to a mobile device until I know Fed Flunkies do not have ready access. Remember a direct deposit account also enables direct withdrawals.

FBI won't jail future US president over private email server


How Times Change

Many forget that Secretary Clinton relied on advice from her predecessor, Colin Powell - previously Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - for advice on email and messaging at State as she took over. He entered a world where a technophobic state department did not quite know how to spell "email" let alone have processes in place for managing it properly. After setting up her own services as done by Powell it is hard to remember the need to manage the underlying administrivia when you are in a Sec State role running over a million miles a year and corresponding all over the world. Your key criteria - did my messages get through and did just the people who were supposed to get them get them.

Many fail to recall a huge scandal that occurred on the Secretary's watch - Wiki Leaks, where the State Department's internal emails were breeched and sent out for global publication. At the time I bet Ms Clinton was glad she had her own private server instead of government services and security. The same security that saw every known malevolent state actor hack White House Emails, Pentagon (F35 plans to China), OPM - where all the top secret HR files for Presidents, Generals, and spies were hacked. The list of successful government hacks is rather too long to enumerate here. Where is the FBI/CIA/NSA in safeguarding these systems? Oh right - they have Edward Snowden's to worry about.

Lest we point fingers to all the massive government incompetence - we should look carefully at our own practices. Has your password changed since 1990? 2000? 2010? Do you change your password every 30 days and is it a complex alpha-numeric with more than 12 characters? Despite being in the technical dark ages in 2008 with respect to cyber-security - even in 2016 we would at best have just recently discovered the steam engine. We have a long way to go.

When Clinton took the State Department Office in 2008, the world was a very different place geo-politically and technologically. The planet was in the midst of its greatest recession in 70 years. A new President assumed office and was embroiled in domestic economic collapse and global conflicts while a new model of diplomacy was being embraced. Into that environment the prime objective for Ms Clinton was getting messages on a timely basis. Her predecessors advice was to not rely on internal staff based on their lack of technological familiarity. The world has changed radically since 2008.

Clinton left office in 2012 and with each 4 year interval the level of technical expertise and security awareness has changed geometrically - and yet, Sony, Home Depot, Panama Papers, Your Favorite Hospital. The list of major hacks and infiltrations using phishing attacks and social media to subvert mail and sophisticated security standards seems to grow each month.

My question is whether the right yardstick was used to judge Clinton - and I think it was. However, I take the words of James Comey - the FBI director - as a reminder to Clinton that things have radically changed and she needs to focus on cyber-security in any future new roles. It is ironic that despite shaming Ms Clinton for her security expertise, Comey, just a few months earlier, begged the courts - since "Congress" and "act" are oxymoron's, to force Apple to make their phone systems less secure so the FBI can crack them.

Time to re-file your patents and trademarks, Britain



Crikely Blighty - Now you'll have to file your patents in German, French and Italian - English need not apply. But who really cares anyway? In a go it your own, fully independent England, who needs patent protection for coal mining?

Surprise! Tech giants dominate global tax-dodging list of shame


Since when is this news?

This is why Ireland exists and in the US you file in Wyoming, Delaware and Nevada. Apple runs the bulk of sales through an office in Nevada due to favorable tax treatments. It is easy-peasy to classify the "product value" around intangible IP that is assigned to a PO box office. So the factory can exist wherever - and deliver costs - while the IP (profit) is sold out of a tax-haven office. For those who have been in a Cannabis Fog for the past two decades - that is the high tech blueprint for monetization.

Do you wonder why the Tech firms have large government lobbies - given the absolute idiocy that surrounds the garbage legislators propose for the tech community? It is to maintain the status quo on taxes. Tax policy has not impacted job creation significantly for over a decade. In fact several studies have shown that at the gross macro levels - job growth correlates to increased taxation.

Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security


Re: Evil one time pad

No - the trick is the "one-time" pad is held at the sender and receiver's position and for each message a layer of the pad is removed - thus each message encoding schema is random and observed bits from a transmission cannot be used as a guide on a subsequent message. This betters the scheme for Enigma - which transmitted a large volume of messages each day - and you had to decrypt during the day to be able to read something at night. This requires discipline to avoid reuse of the pad.

The only way to crack this unbreakable system, first documented by Frank Miller in 1882 for Telegraph systems is if the one-time pads are not truly random or if someone re-uses a prior pad as in the Verona case. This is why pseudo-random number generators are not usable for securing systems.

Cisco slots in Xeon v4s



Swapping CPU's is a poor ROI. Typically the "new" CPU costs more than the old, and who gets the old one. In addition, the outage cost is high, as is the labor to upgrade. Why would anyone tout a CPU upgrade - when the real cost of the server is in memory, and we have a new generation of hybrid dimms providing persistent backup on normal ram plus the arrival of 3DXP and maybe even the much ballyhooed memristor. All offer much greater performance and value upgrades than a CPU swap.

Senator Wyden recalls SOPA fight in bid to defeat encryption-weakening efforts


The next war will fire bits not bullets

Wyden hit the mark that this is about security and more security in an age where digital tools advance at the pace of Moore's law, reducing the veneer of security that simple passcodes presume to provide.

My concern in the coming debates is that a surveillance agency, either US or foreign can get into your smartphone/wallet and beyond seeing what you do, they can insert records for things you did not do.

Then we have the recent successful Iranian attacks on the water utilities in New York. These probes show we need to shore up security of these and other utilities that are now open to attack. Thus we need more, not less security and the role of government should be to find vulnerabilities across our business and security institutions, alert them and hold them accountable when not addressed in a timely manner.

Water treatment plant hacked, chemical mix changed for tap supplies


Re: no prizes for good guess

It will be a furious race - but I predict a tie at the finish line.

Lost in the obits: Intel's Andy Grove's great warning to Silicon Valley


Re: The problem is the natural outgrowth of legislation, at least in the US.

I think the situation is much more complex. What Andy Grove was articulating is that most resource distribution chains are complex systems. If we outsource segments of these systems to other areas we lose critical skills and capabilities and the chain itself collapses. You can't get to automated self correcting systems if you don't intimately understand the process.

Similarly - as resources get concentrated - as they have in the US via control of tax policy (all wages and current income production is taxed - but assets are not) then those with resources to "help" those in need have no incentive. In your model you want the "people" to help - it is equivalent to the poor helping the poor. In a steady state environment with no shocks to the system - this could be managed. But in the current environment where three things are happening, economies are recovering from major economic dislocation, the nature of work is being fundamentally altered by technology and political uncertainty has thrown a spanner into the wheels of government - then we need an outside agency to provide structure and direction to recovery - much as Roosevelt's New Deal did after the Market crash in the 30's and the US did after WWII with the Marshal plan.

My single biggest budget line remains my income. If it were my charitable contributions - I would either have nothing to contribute next year or have a much bigger trust fund than I can manage.

Apple tells iPhone court 'the Founders would be appalled' by Feds


It a new world order

The phone used to be for talking. Now it is a communications hub for text, email, payments, banking and withdrawals. Cracking this hub gives a government - foreign or domestic, access to your files, accounts and services. I worry less about someone seeing what I do than inserting records of things I did NOT do into my phone.

For the rapid expansion of global commerce and a "One-World" society to develop, identity and security must significantly improve. Apple, Google and others see the need and are on that path. The FBI is using crude tools from past wars to fight a new battle it does not understand. Using old tools in a such a crude manner has consequences the FBI has yet to grasp. Like a vaccine - cyber security can only be effective if it is uniformly applied with no cracks or seems for "bad guys" to filter through. The first shots in the next big war will be bits not bullets.

IBM to erase 14,000 people from the payroll – Wall St analyst


Re: Stop me if I'm wrong

Management is responsible for force rebalancing decisions and as long as they inflate the stock price, which is how they are paid... stop me if I need to go further to complete the picture.

Samsung is now shipping a 15TB whopper of an SSD. Farewell, spinning rust


I want more Write IOPS - or lower cost

These drives offer a huge increase in compute and storage density for Analytics applications - but only 32K IOPS - which is probably measured at full Q-Depth - seems low for these high intensity operations. I would otherwise place tow of these on blades in a chassis and deliver 30TB per blade - enabling HP or Cisco Blade systems to stuff 480TB to 240TB into a single chassis. Then it is just a matter of time before this approach faces competition from Intel's effort to marry 3DXpoint onto their CPU's - providing 1-2TB per CPU. I would hate to be in the traditional array business these days.

Commodity flash just as good as enterprise drives, Google finds



Think of the difference between Flash and HDD like carbon fibre and wood. Wood alerts you to a failure while carbon fibre can endure far beyond expectations - until it fails catastrophically. This is why you should never buy a used carbon fibre bike frame - you don't know how it has been stressed or when it might fail. Check out http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/20/politics/air-force-gunship-lost/

As new materials enter the marketplace and move from technical to consumer grade users many mistakes are being made and new usage models are being learned. Besides not putting your e-cig Lithium batteries in your pocket for them to overheat we should not do barrel-rolls in gunships.

However, I maintain that the flash community needs something akin to the S.M.A.R.T. alerting for SSD.

FBI v Apple spat latest: Bill Gates is really upset that you all thought he was on the Feds' side


SKeptical of Gates Reporting

I was incredulous at reports suggesting Bill Gates favored the FBI. Glad he had a venue to counter the original erroneous reporting. This is a large and nuanced conversation which does not fit well in today's in your face - either-or attack style reporting. We have moved from carefully amassing facts, sifting for clues then reaching informed opinions in favor of steroid sensationalism. "You tell me that everyone who drank fluoridated water in the 1850's is dead. Clearly Obama is poisoning the people."

The raison d'etre for the FBI vs AAPL case is due to Congressional abdication of their duty to have this debate at a national level and weigh the balance between privacy - oddly something I feel our elected officials will feel a greater need to protect than for than average citizens, and getting law enforcement the tools they need to do their job. I doubt I could craft a law today that would not require serious changes due to advancing technology in a rather short period of time. Failure to adjust those laws could have unintended consequences worse than what they sought to cure. The Patriot Act's new capability to seize property by local police forces in a period of diminished budgets is one example.

Look at Juniper - the NSA had a backdoor built into their networking equipment - and that exploit was in the wild and being used by terrorists and criminals without anyone being aware. Meanwhile the probability of the San Bernardino terrorists having left something incriminating on his work phone is vanishingly small. He was careful to destroy his two burner phones and his attack caught colleagues completely off-guard indicating his discipline at presenting a clear outward "Walter White" face to his business interactions was completely divorced from his Heisenberg side. This is a setup for the other 12 cases the FBI is seeking to crack that are NOT terrorist related. Is that a bad thing? Bill Gates and I don't know - but feel a national debate is needed. People with names like Jared, Hastert, Schock, Weiner and Delay might have different ideas.

Why Tim Cook is wrong: A privacy advocate's view


There are Backdoors - and Backdoors

I accept that "Apple is not being asked to create a backdoor" based on the very narrow definition of defeating the encryption scheme with a "One Ring" Master Crypto. They are being asked to build a mechanism to interrupt the internal boot sequence with an external loader that will divert and reset internal processes. As the FBI and AAPL are both aware - such a defeat would get into the wild and render all pre iPhone6 systems susceptible to a similar defeat.

The good news for AAPL is that this should send anyone with a 5 series or below iPhone to migrate much more quickly to version 6.

"Don't buy American" is slightly flawed. I am sure you can get a secure Chinese phone instead, Not!

HPE is going to unleash a Machine on us. Here's how it might play out


Is "The Machine" really better?

How does this new architecture advance computing performance over standards available today. My plan was to add a 20TB array into each 1U server using NVMe U.2 drives - which could employ either traditional 3D Flash or 3DXP in the future. Using 3DXP I would cut my RAM levels - from 512GB to 128GB and raise 3DXP installed to 2TB while keeping a local 20TB of PCIe NVMe in a local all flash array. Expected cost for this 1U pizza box is $3K- $4K less than a comparable 2U system with 20+ HDD's and 512GB of RAM. This should meet a large number of in-memory database, virtualization and other transaction processing requirements at a much lower cost than these projected future products of dubious incremental performance. The biggest question is how much recoding and new development is required for "The Machine" optimizations relative to my design using OTS parts.

Foxconn to slurp Sharp for US$5.6 BEELLION


Haier gets GE appliances while Foxconn gets Sharp. How will the Chinese manage the brand they are buying? Will they depreciate like RCA and Polaroid in Korean hands, or will they be energized and price competitive as Lenovo did with IBM x-series. A lot of Potential for Foxconn to make Sharp into a higher quality but lower cost Vizio.

Billion-dollar blood-test unicorn biz Theranos 'putting lives at risk'



Hard to know what the truth is these days. Does Theranos have a leading edge testing regimen that will dramatically cut costs and thus endanger the high cost of health care found in the US - or are the Son's of Bernie Madoff seeking your healthcare dollar.

I have to expect that any startup will have to take some initial shortcuts to ramp and scale services as tools are developed, deployed and the bugs worked out. I am looking forward to the truth. Ever since the potential demonstrated by Affymetrix I have long held out for the battery of tests using a few cells instead of a few pints of blood.

How to build a real lightsabre


Lightsabres R Us

The author's premise that a lightsaber leverages lasers is pure rubbish. As anyone from a galaxy far far away knows - these are cutting plasma fields and the trick is containment. If Earth scientists could make a lightsaber they would have conquered fusion long long ago. Power to contain the field varies with the square of the length and the cube of the radius so a longer or thicker sabre requires a much greater level of force to contain it. Lasers are for kids.

Help! What does 'personal conduct unrelated to operations or financials' mean?


Non-FInancial Bad COnduct

He went postal and shot a mailman. Its the holidays - it happens.

US Navy robot war-jet refuels in air: But Mav and Iceman are going down fighting



I your view reflect short term outlook. Will pilots be essential for the next decade - yes. The following decade, perhaps. The decade after that - no way.

We SC what you did there, Mikey: Dell emits top-end array, hyper-converged boxes



As an enterprise customer I doubt AMD will be around to honor the 5 year service contracts we demand.

Mysterious cosmic dustball fires up Milky Way's black hole


Never really a corona guy myself - always chasing tail.

Samsung sneaks out its TRIM, SMART SSD model – using 3D Magic


This is why I bought my Asrock Extreme 6 Z97 ...

...last year - but better late than never. Can't wait to finally get this in place.

Burn all the coal, oil – No danger of sea level rise this century from Antarctic ice melt


Not Buying It

Sea level rise is only part of the global warming story - and being in the Western US - the shift in rainfall patterns and today the loss of snowpack are devastating. In 85 years at the current rate, livability will be challenged. Ironic to think that our salvation is in desalinization plants, located on the coast, that will become flooded over time if Caldeira is wrong. But I am betting against him.

If Caldeira's models show only an 8cm rise in a century due to Arctic melt and we have seen a 17cm rise this century - perhaps he missed a digit in his model. It happened to Lockheed on the way to Mars, and the Italians had their challenges at the OPERA.

Storage boosters: Six mSATA format SSDs on test



Who sells a contemporary MBD with mSATA interface? Agree the plethora of M.2 alternatives is low and their availability is scarce - but see this is an issue of ready to ramp. The 500M+ aging desktops over 5 years old are not going to be upgrading older systems when the new systems with integrated M.2 interfaces dominate for just a few dollars more. Just need the drives. As a matter of perspective - why buy an mSATA 850 EVO for $120 when I can get the same 2.5" version for $89?

Intel keeps droning on, as PC sales continue to tumble


The point is sales growth vs replacement

Today, my preferred compute experience is my Dual Monitor Desktop. But I get paid from the results I deliver daily using my phone as the key compute engine - because my big old desktop is on my desk, at home, while I am on the go collaborating with clients and engineers in the field.

PC sales have plateaued as we wait 3 key breakthroughs - all of which kill your traditional desktop. Until we attain those breakthroughs, PC sales growth will remain negative as judicious upgrades, RAM or SSD rejuvenate older units pushing out their replacement cycles from 3 years to 4 and 5 years.

I was part of the Intel Digital Home Team back in 2005 and 2006. We tried to emulate everything on a big fast CPU - but even then it was all about the software - and to the earlier point, it takes a beefy GRAPHICS engine, FAST NETWORK and STORAGE to make a robust multi-media experience. Big, Fast, Hot, CPU...not so much. Better to consolidate big powerful CPU's into the Data Centers used to stream content to a Atom CPUs inside a "Smart" TV with a fast Internet connection to stream from.

The next big PC - will be a fraction of the size of the current desktop and rely on breakthroughs in video interface - think Google Glass on Steroids, robust networking - think LiFi, and I/O that replaces the keyboard with gestural, motion and verbal commands. This PC will be the size of a large Pen. Take a look at the devices from Gene Roddenberry's "Earth Final Conflict". That is your future desktop. And its value will not be in its ability to perform local computation, but its ability to tie to large databases and create information in response to verbal queries in real-time.

Violin's breakeven within reach, but revenues still falling


Only with Blinders can Violin be heard

Flash competition is really heating up. PCIe interfaces for SSD's reduce Violin advantages, NVMe drives getting ready to commoditize and 3DXP is coming and Hybrid DIMMs are very interesting. As an Enterprise customer, Violin must get much cheaper for consideration over the next 3 quarters. They are not on my 4 quarter capital spending list - not sure where that puts them in 6.



Radio Telescope - Who can see that

US lawmakers probably could not see what the fuss was all about - this being radio and all.

And who says these death dealing droids are using blades - most of the cutters today use strings.

AI guru Ng: Fearing a rise of killer robots is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars


Ted Cruz is already on it

With his fervent effort to repeal laws that don't exist and aggressive questioning of NASA head Charles Bolden - I think Ted is living proof their is no intelligence in Government, much less on Mars.



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