* Posts by Persona

655 posts • joined 6 Jul 2018

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SpaceX: 5G expansion could kill US Starlink broadband

Persona Silver badge

Re: Don't Forget

No I'm not forgetting that. England still has a low level of fiber compared to many countries. Lots of the planet including some quite underdeveloped ones have a far higher level. It works out because fiber is much more robust and cheaper to maintain than traditional copper telephone wires. At some point it becomes cheaper for the phone companies to adopt fiber. This is especially true in some countries where copper wires get stolen almost as quickly as they are replaced.

Persona Silver badge

Re: 56k

I remember using an acoustic modem doing 300 baud over a Transatlantic phone line. That was a very time consuming business. I don't want to go back to that.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Don't Forget

Starlink is doing ok in the US largely due to the way the market is structured keeping prices ludicrously high. In the UK however I can get full fiber 100Mbps uncapped for £25 per month (>$31) with more bandwidth available for a little more should I need it. This makes Starlink unattractive long term as fiber rolls out to all but the most remote areas, and 5G will be a strong contender for them. Much of the world is little different with the notable exception of the US. Starlink in the US faces the problem that as it rolls out and proves the demand in rural US, other carriers will be able to move in and undercut them by a wide margin, with or without data caps. We know this is economically possible as it has been proven in the rest of the world.

More than $100m in cryptocurrency stolen from blockchain biz

Persona Silver badge

Re: Isn't it funny...

If it was based on Fiat cars it wouldn't be a good store of value unless the price of rust went up considerably.

Metaverse progress update: Some VR headset prototypes nowhere near shipping

Persona Silver badge

Re: Prototypes

Plenty of prototypes end up getting sold and shipping, particularly with small firms where the cash raised is needed to build the next one. This should not be necessary for Meta unless they are a lot more expensive than I thought.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

Persona Silver badge

Re: Review of risk

So the next review of risk questions ...... Are there buyers? How much would they get for it? How could they monetize it? Would it have any detrimental consequences for me? Why haven't I noticed them in the 28 years I have been using web browsers and not worried by cookies.

Persona Silver badge

Review of risk

I accept all cookies either with a plugin or manually where it doesn't work. It doesn't seem to be doing me any harm, so why are folks commenting on this forum so worried about cookies? Are there really virtual criminals using the information from cookies to data-mine browsing history, and if so should I care?

Leave that sentient AI alone a mo and fix those racist chatbots first

Persona Silver badge
Coat

Funny shaped robot.

I'm assuming that the "emotion" robot from Tsukuba has pointy arms mainly to deter people shoving it where the sun doesn't shine to see if it still gives that that "loving feeling".

Nothing says 2022 quite like this remote-controlled machine gun drone

Persona Silver badge

Re: Fortunately Useless

This is pointless

The use cases are endless. e.g. In urban warfare when you are trying to take control of a street you trundle it off down to the far end and look for opposing forces which you can suppress. You now control both ends of the street so there are far less points of ambush and your human forces can advance in relative safety.

Persona Silver badge

Re: smart or stupid

Anything totting a 7.62mm machine gun has more potential to harm you than a warm day.

EU lawmakers vote to ban sales of combustion engine cars from 2035

Persona Silver badge

Re: In other words...

Corporations are poised to make enormous profits on this EV thing

Perhaps in the short term. As time goes on competition forces down the price and the firms who are making the big profits either cut prices, become more efficient or go bust. Eventually it matures into a cutthroat market with only efficient corporations taking small margins.

Persona Silver badge

Re: replacing a battery pack is fairly easy

Most Battery makers are now predicting 1,000,000 miles on a battery. That means you won't have to replace it in the lifetime of the car.

Regardless of the mileage you never have to replace the battery in the lifetime of the car. Once the battery is "done" the cost of replacement effectively puts the car at the end of its life. However if they can get a million miles or even > 300,000 out of a battery and it still being able to take 90% capacity that would be good enough, though I don't quite believe that goal is close.

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

Persona Silver badge

Re: That vinyl sound

What you are describing is a filter function that could easily be added to the solid state amp to replicate the growing level of distortion that the valve based amp introduces as it approaches the limit.

Persona Silver badge

That vinyl sound

I often ponder about sound on vinyl. For the vast bulk of those vinyl disks, in the recording process the analog sound is digitized and stored. This is even true for those really old direct to disk records where only a few records and no digital master exists. They play it and digitize the output to use to make copies.

The recorded digital signal is then mixed and edited until it's the way the producer wants it. The digital signal is then used to control the cutting head of a type of lathe to make a metal mold to stamp out vinyl disks. The groove in these vinyl disks then vibrates a stylus that is then amplified and fed to a speaker to make sound.

Why do all of the audiophiles agree that the vinyl sound is better? Perhaps it does but it's just a digital signal that has had some strange processing steps (not magic) added to it during the process of converting it back to sound. Couldn't an equivalent bit of distortion and filtering be applied during the digital to analog processing of a pure digital recording to mess it up enough to sound like vinyl?

Perhaps this could be a good use for machine learning: determine the processing required to convert a purely digital recording to match the sound of one that has been pressed into vinyl.

Fusion won't avert need for climate change 'sacrifice', says nuclear energy expert

Persona Silver badge

Re: We Have an Acceptable Option

I'm a fan of there being fewer people on the planet

That's a dangerous route to take. Last time it was done with conviction, the Khmer Rouge policy (which was in retrospect extremely green and eco friendly) killed off 21% to 24% of Cambodia's population.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Fusion quite possibly will never work but there are alternatives

(wind), and could be made much more reliable for the sake of sorting out some transmission scale storage

The problem I have with UK wind power is that it is so variable. As I'm writing, wind is generating just 0.57GW. We can and do get spells where wind is insignificant for a couple of weeks. Storage would indeed help, but to cover that sort of outage would need (I recall) about 6,000 Dinorwig pumped storage systems.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Fusion quite possibly will never work but there are alternatives

They plan to drill multiple bore holes using differing depths and flow rates to match the pressure and temperature needed by the fossil fuel plant.

The great thing about reusing the existing turbine, generator and electrical distribution infrastructure is that it make it much cheaper, so you can afford to do more of it.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Fusion quite possibly will never work but there are alternatives

Traditional geothermal uses two pipes and water flowing between them possibly with a type of fracking used to enhance the flow. The gyrotron drilling is very different. It's a single hole that is very very deep to get high temperature and high heat transfer. The hole is vitrified and sealed so there should be no chance of it causing earthquakes.

Persona Silver badge

Fusion quite possibly will never work but there are alternatives

The big problem of fusion is that despite progress it's still a long long way from delivering and may well never deliver energy at an affordable cost.

Meanwhile there are alternatives that are technically orders of magnitude easier.

Solar is good but doesn't fit the UK climate. The Xlinks project aims to deliver power from Morocco where solar is 5 times more efficient in winter than the UK. The technology it needs is 3,800km high voltage undersea cables, which sounds absurd but it's existing technology. It incorporates wind and battery backup too to match our electricity demand curve. https://xlinks.co/morocco-uk-power-project/

Quaise Energy are using powerful gyrotron microwave devices that were developed to heat the plasma in fusion research. They cut through rock and will be used to drill down to hot strata for geothermal power. As they use RF rather than conventional mud cooled drill bits they can drill much much deeper and vastly quicker. They will be used to drill 10 to 20km into the earths crust where the temperature is going to be 500C just about everywhere, making geothermal possible just about everywhere. If it works (possibly a big "if" but much more feasible that any fusion concept) the plan is to "repower" existing fossil fuel power stations with geothermal energy extracted from deep underneath them. https://www.quaise.energy/

Persona Silver badge

Doing the maths we currently get ~25MW of incident solar energy for every human being on this planet. its not terribly significant.

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words

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Coat

Re: E-sports professionals?

Yes they watch you intently and play so hard (dodging/running/flying) you would think their lives depended on it.

Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers

Persona Silver badge

All risks are relative

Nuclear apocalypse remained the top risk for the US government over the Cold War. The fear of terrorism took over post-9/11.

Statistics show you are far more likely to be shot by US police than be involved in a terrorist incident, dramatically so if you are black and not a member of the US Government.

Beijing needs the ability to 'destroy' Starlink, say Chinese researchers

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Connectivity for people who live in the north of Scotland or Canada etc.

Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes

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Bandwidth

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sends data to Earth for 10 or 11 hours each day when it's not occluded by Mars. The data rate is between 0.5 and 4 megabits per second. The total data it has sent so far is about 50 terra bits which is more that all of NASA's other planetary missions combined. If you do choose to back up your data on Mars be very selective about what you store as it's going to take a very very long time to restore. Also bear in mind that the radio dishes used for the Deep Space Network are very few and far more fragile than most places people might choose to securely store data.

AWS puts latest homebrew Graviton3 Arm processor in production

Persona Silver badge

At $2.32 to rent 64 vCPUs for an hour a prospective user could try it for themselves and make their own decision based on their workload rather than trusting a benchmark.

Start your engines: Windows 11 ready for broad deployment

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Coat

Re: Ladies

assume they are ladies until they prove otherwise

Just don't do that in Thailand

Industry pushes back against India's data security breach reporting requirements

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Coat

Re: Best practice

NOUN

commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.

Based on this definition, best practice for banks would appear to be not to report anything.

Clustered Pi Picos made to run original Transputer code

Persona Silver badge

I/O bound

For us the Transputer links were both it's strength and weakness. We worked with INMOS and liked the product as it seemed ideal for our parallel processing but when we did the data simulation we found that due to the volume of data we needed to process in a fixed unit of real time and the link bandwidth supported we were I/O bound rather than CPU bound. There were much faster ways of getting data to an array processors so we went with another RISC CPU that was about to start production.

Legacy IT to blame for UK's inflexible benefits system

Persona Silver badge

Re: My BS-o-meter just shot off the scale

I have scratched my head on why the Universal Credit roll out has taken so long. My guess is that the DWP has multiple departments that each "manage" a particular benefit. The managers of each department see it as their personal empire that needs to be heavily staffed to cope with the complexity and utterly opaque so what they do can't be amalgamated into another department. However as benefits interact the amount due is conditional on what other departments are paying so the whole process feeds back on itself. Changing anything is going to be hard and some people will be adversely affected, particularly if the benefit they were getting was incorrect.

The only solution I can see would be to create a "Benefit Audit" team whose task is to check everyone is getting the right benefit. To enable that they would have to be given live access to all of the benefit defining criteria held on all of the departmental systems, and a feed of the benefits being paid. Achieving this would be an uphill struggle, but a necessary one. Phase one would be to model the full set of benefit rules, run everyone through it and examine the exceptions. If the exemption is due to the model they fix the model. If not a manageable number of the error cases is fed back to the relevant department. One would hope that the individual departments would address the errors so after a period of time phase two would kick in and the departments notified of errors would have a fixed time to respond and fix or disprove the error, otherwise the "Audit" team would apply a balancing payment to correct the error for the claimant. The net result of phase two is that claimants are getting paid the correct amounts and the Audit model has been tested with all the rules and all the claimants. Phase three would be to turn off the payment orders coming from the departments. Their role is now to collect, store and correct the benefit eligibility criteria and "perhaps" approve advances and exceptional payments. The legacy systems can then be replaced one by one with simple database update and a query tool applied to the central "Audit" system that explains what benefits are and are not being paid and the underlying reasoning based on the eligibility criteria.

I suspect it would only work if you kept phases two and three secret otherwise that first hurdle of getting access to the individual departments data would be an impossible task.

Persona Silver badge

Re: My BS-o-meter just shot off the scale

Those COBOL programmers will have retired and be claiming their state and civil service pension by now.

Firms are now paying £600 per day for COBOL contracts and finding it hard to get people. I'm wondering if there are enough capable retirees left to attract back to the workplace.

Elliott Management to WDC board: Spin out or sell flash biz

Persona Silver badge

Re: no growth in flash (for WD anyway)?

the investor action seems to want to just cancel it and get their money back

I'm reading it as Elliott wants to split them in two and take a bigger share in the flash side. That way they can get out of the HDD market before it slowly winds down coupled with the flash business picking up.

Rocket Lab successfully catches falling rocket booster with a helicopter

Persona Silver badge

Re: Does it work economically

your still looking at millions of dollars per unit

Per unit as in per engine. Nope they don't cost that. An Electron launch to orbit will reportedly set you back $4.9 million. As there are 10 engines flown they certainly won't cost millions per unit. The total cost of all 10 on the launch is likely to be less than one million.

Tory Bruno's (who is a rocket engineer) big rule of thumb (subject to plus or minus) is that half the cost of a launch service is the rocket, half the cost of the rocket is the booster and 2/3 of the cost of the booster is the engines. This puts the nine first stage engines at a little over 100K each. Sounds about right.

We are not talking about 30m Superyatchs here, more like 23 foot surf boats.

Persona Silver badge

Re: Does it work economically

you might be underestimating the costs involved in building a rocket motor

Their Rutherford engine is a small low cost engine with 9 of them on the Electron booster plus a vacuum optimized one on the second stage. It's incredible simple (for a rocket engine) as it uniquely uses a battery powered electric pump instead of a complex pre-burner and turbopump. Because of its small size and simplicity it is mostly 3d printed. I don't know the cost of a set of nine but I suspect it's one of if not the most cost effective solutions launching.

This article has a great picture of Peter Beck with a Rutherford engine https://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-unveils-battery-powered-3d-printed-rocket-engine/

Persona Silver badge

Does it work economically

It's great to see it being technically possible. Now it will be interesting is to see if it is worthwhile from an economic perspective. As Peter Beck has previously stated, getting one back to the factory (even if full of seawater) is the way to work this out.

Helicopter at sea operations are notoriously expensive, then add to this the cost of inspection and refurbishment of what they got back. With an expensive to build rocket there will be a margin to make it cost effective, which is how SpaceX manages it. However with the Electron the ticket price is much lower so the recovery costs are vastly more significant.

Take this $15m and make us some ultra-energy-efficient superconductor chips, scientists told

Persona Silver badge

Re: "a fair price"

If it looks like its going to work IBM will spend serious money researching it. If it's a commercial possibility Intel will spend vast amounts of money getting it there.

Robots are creepy. Why trust AIs that are even creepier?

Persona Silver badge

Re: Plausible deniability

You should consider what the advertisers will choose to use your face to promote. Just wait till that commercial break in the middle of your favorite program. There you are on the screen advertising products for erectile dysfunction and incontinence pads. Plausible deniability you say?

Twitter faces existential threat from world's richest techbro

Persona Silver badge

I’m sorry but I have to disagree.

Why? As in why are you sorry you have to disagree? There is nothing wrong with having an opinion and hence disagreeing, though very few people will believe you actually were sorry about having to disagree. You should perhaps be sorry about fibbing about being sorry.

Persona Silver badge

Existential threat.

Clearly the author of this opinion piece "cares". Most of us don't give a toss.

Growing US chip output an 'expensive exercise in futility', warns TSMC founder

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Re: To paraphrase

Building a FAB costing what $4billion is not exactly a short term investment. Intel are currently working on 10(?) new ones.

Netflix to crack down on account sharing, offer ad-laden cheaper options

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Advertisers have always know that their money is being wasted. It was John Wanamaker who once said, Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.

Persona Silver badge

Re: 'Peak Netflix'

The biggest problem is storage space

Rip them and give the physical disks back to the charity shop.

Persona Silver badge

Re: GREEEEEED

They use geolocation. When Netflix detects a new location they send you a polite email telling you -the device type, the possibly incorrect location and the time.

Plus the text:

If this was you or someone in your household:

Enjoy watching! Have you seen this one?*******

If it was someone else:

Please remember that we only allow the people in your household to use your account.

Which you ignore because it was just someone in your "household" on holiday or business travelling. Obviously Netflix have a pretty good idea if this is the case or not, but they can never be certain.

Persona Silver badge

Re: GREEEEEED

That 100 million is undoubtedly 100 million devices

Not undoubtedly. Smart people go for the Premium plan that allows 4 things to be watched simultaneously and share it between 4 or perhaps more people as it's unlikely that many of the group will ever want to be watching Netflix simultaneously. The downside of having more than 4 is that there are only 4 "slots" to save where you are in a series etc. so "resume" might not take you to the right episode etc.

Whilst it does mean that the cost per person is halved it doesn't man that Netflix would get twice the revenue if they stopped it. I suspect it would lead to canceled subscriptions and a loss of revenue.

Immersion-cooled colo is coming to Ohio... via a crypto-mining datacenter

Persona Silver badge

Re: Environmental - Warming River Water

The Earth gets ~25MW of heat from the sun for every person alive, so 52MW from a data center directly heating air or water is only a very very local effect.

Beanstalk loses $182m in huge flash-loan crypto heist

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Crypto assets are great.

They let you move fast and break things.

Beanstalk in this instance.

When the expert speaker at an NFT tech panel goes rogue

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the only unique (and non-fugible) thing about an NFT is an ID in the blockchain of choice

Hence it becomes non unique and nicely fungible when you have more than one blockchain to choose between.

Cisco's Webex app phoned home audio telemetry even when muted

Persona Silver badge

Re: Proper design

For "A" turning the microphone on and off is the easy and effective way to test the LED so the "risk" is pretty much limited to the gap between the very unlikely event of a not over driven LED failing and using the microphone, and only then if the microphone was turned on for this period.

With "B" that is a case of the manufacturer going from a good design to a bad one. Proper design is still the solution.

Persona Silver badge

Re: And this is why we can't have nice things...

However, if you buy separate, individual webcam & microphone

I have seen people do exactly this, then forget that the built in microphone is still there and might even go live when the external microphone is disconnected.

Persona Silver badge

Proper design

These sort of things should be designed so that muting them kills the power to the microphone pre-amp. The monitoring LED should be fed by this power to the pre-amp so you can visibly tell when the microphone is live and when it isn't because it's a hardware based solution.

Star loses $500,000 NFT after crooks exploit Rarible market

Persona Silver badge

Where the NFT concept fails to match real world ownership is that very first step linking the digital data to the NFT. There is nothing to stop anyone taking that identical digital data and representing it with a NFT from a competing implementation. Then you have two and potentially many many more "unique" and tradeable NFT's which both "prove" ownership of that same blob of data. Real world common sense then steps in to tell us that none of the NFT's have any validity.

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