* Posts by Persona

841 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jul 2018


Switch to hit the fan as BT begins prep ahead of analog phone sunset

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I have used DECT phones on the landline for probably 25 years. They don't support phone calls when the power is out, so not really any change there.

Mixin suspends deposits and withdrawals after $200m cryptocurrency heist

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Re: Insider again?

The US has $11 trillion of reserves in gold bullion so about 8,000 tonnes of gold. Roughly 5,600 tonnes of this are in the NY Fereral Reserve building but unlike the plot in Die Hard 3 its physically quite hard to steal as you would need 280 20 ton trucks..

Why Chromebooks are the new immortals of tech

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Re: Data

Yes Google likes to accumulate data so there is an understandable desire to limit what they can get, but the question remains does that data collection harm me in any tangible way? Given that Google has data on billions of people there should be million and millions of documented instances of people being harmed by the data Google stores on them, and by that I mean directly collected by Google and not just Google search linking to some other site where people have conveniently stored personal information.

On this subject, I found this quite interesting:


The iPhone 15 has a Goldilocks issue: Too big or too small. Maybe a case will make it just right

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Re: Phones are lovely but they'd be much better without cameras

I agree with you. I think this issue comes about because some Apple design god initially decides how thick the phone should be and expects the camera design team to defy physics and fit the optics into that thickness. They can't so it sticks out. In time they might be able to do better with periscope based optics like some other brands do. These use the length of the phone to match up the optics focal length but Apples slightly too narrow width goal makes this design incredibly challenging.

BOFH: A security issue, you say? Activate code tangerine

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Anonymous Survey

We had one of those. My suspicions were first aroused when I got a reminder informing me that I hadn't done the anonymous survey.

The confirmation was hearing the head of IT phoning a minion about one of the answers they had given.

Never trust a survey that purports to be anonymous.

EE touts next-gen broadband Smart Hub with Wi-Fi 7 for 2024

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If you ever do major works on your house it's worth putting in the odd Cat6 ethernet cables so you can put wireless access points in strategic positions to circumvent the thick wall problems. Wires are way better than mesh and much cheaper too provided you can install them easily.

So what if China has 7nm chips now, there's no Huawei it can make them 'at scale'

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Re: Lay off guys

I thinks it's a natural reaction to the blatant US anti competitive behavior.

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Re: another idea

Looking at the Times Higher Education list it appears that China has 9 of the top 100 ranked universities plus roughly 3,500 other universities and higher vocational colleges. It's reasonable to expect them to make progress now Mao Tse-tung has been gone one working lifetime, so no longer forcing them to be dirt poor agricultural peasants.

Buiding Excel-like UI for Uber's China ops exposed Microsoft calculation quirks

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Re: Iterative calculation

Yes. If you tick the setting box to enable "iterative calculation" the standard "Maximum Iterations" is 100 and the "Maximum Change" is 0.001, but as you say you can configure them to whatever you choose.

Meet Honda's latest electric vehicle: A rideable suitcase

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I can see perhaps a use case for commuters where public transport links at either end of the rail journey are poor and and the walk is too far. When riding, your bag full of work stuff and say gym kit goes in the internal storage space.

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

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I suspect those elected council leaders from whatever political party have about as much control over the day to day working of the council as Jim Hacker had with Sir Humphrey and the legions of civil servants he interfaced with.

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

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Re: Not impossible, just ludicrously unlikely

Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus all get total solar eclipses because the sun is relatively small when seen from them and they have big moons in the right orbits. For Jupiter, 5 of its moons (Amalthea, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) are big and close enough to cause total eclipses. Whilst these are total solar eclipses they do last longer that the fleeting ones on earth, but with an estimated 100 billion planets in our galaxy it is statistically very unlikely that ours is the only one where "instantaneous" total solar eclipses can occur.

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Re: Not impossible, just ludicrously unlikely

You do need to go considerably above 0.1c as the time dilation at that speed doesn't help that much. At 0.1c the relative journey time only drops from 42.5 years to 42.3 years. You need to get up to 0.866c to get a 2 to one dilation hence a relative time of 21.2 years. To be really impressive you might prefer something like LHC particle velocity which is 99.999999% of the speed of light. This gets a very "workable" relative journey time of 2 days though scaling from a machine with a 27km long track capable of accelerating sub atomic particles to something capable of transporting "slaves" would be a tough engineering challenge.

Let's give these quadruped robot dogs next-gen XM7 rifles, says US Army

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Not only cheaper, they can be mass produced by unskilled labor too.

BT is ditching workers faster than your internet connection with 55,000 for chop by 2030

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Re: Did I get this right?

their checker says FTTP is not available to my address.

Mine did that too for a year or two after the fiber was installed on the poles. Eventually it did appear as orderable from BT, but it was another couple of years before other ISPs acknowledged that I had fiber available.

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Re: Did I get this right?

Never say never. I live in a postcode with 6 buildings and we have have FTTP for 4 or 5 years. It was there ready on the telegraph poles for a year before that, but the website didn't let you order it. I've noticed them putting fiber to telegraph poles outside my daughter house a couple of miles away, so perhaps she will be able to order it in a year or two.

Scientists strangely unable to follow recipe for holy grail room-temp superconductor

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As with all science - until you can reproduce it independently, it's at best a fluke or misreading, at worst a fraud

It probably is the scientists misinterpreting their findings of what is undoubtably an odd material. There are however two ways to determine if it really is a superconductor. The first is for other labs to make and test it, but these attempts are failing. Secondly other labs could test the existing "superconductor" sample that the Korean team has made. Even if no one else can independently make it, others could independently test it properly to determine if it actually is a superconductor. I suspect the Korean team will not allow this to happen. Till they do it's a bit like Schrodinger's cat ..... but with an odd smell coming from the box.


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Re: Spoiler alert - game solution

unless you think very laterally and do something completely non-obvious

.... like looking at the FORTRAN source code for the original Colossal Cave Adventure as this was how I discovered that to get the last point to take my score from 350 the the maximum possible of 351 I had to leave the Spelunker Today magazine at Witts End.

Biden urged to completely cripple AI chips to China

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An IQ of 60 would be a fantastic achievement. That would put it on par with the average 6 or 7 year old. The Cotton Mills and Factories Act 1819 stated that no children under 9 were to be employed and that children aged 9–16 years were limited to 12 hours' work per day so before that a 7 year old could do a days factory work in the UK which suggests that an IQ of 60 could be very usable.

FBI boss: Congress must renew Section 702 spy powers – that's how we get nearly all our cyber intel

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Let's compare

It's got a bigger hacking program than that of every major nation combined ......

and in other news the US has over $800 billion of annual military spend,

or about 40% of global military spending, so fairly close to that of every other major nation combined.

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

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Re: A MILLION different Linuxes,...

The net effect is success, i.e. a firm with a Market Cap of 2.65 trillion USD

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Re: I’d imagine that

Had there been one single Linux distro that could have been true. People don't chose choose a computer for the technical merits of the O/S, they choose it for the applications (& games) they need to run on it. When an application developer decides where to focus effort they are firstly going to go for Windows and then bitch when new versions of Windows come out. Were they to also produce a Linux version they would first need to decide which Linux variant to go for. If they had been just one Linux variant to select this would have been easy but with dozens to choose between it's easier and much less expensive to just to ignore them.

Bosch goes all-in on hydrogen with €2.5B investment by 2026

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Re: Again?

making methane from energy, water and atmospheric CO2 or captured CO2 should [be] of similar efficiency as hydrogen production from energy and water

Whilst I agree synthetic methane is the way to go, its's worth mentioning that all of the sensible production routes use hydrogen as a reactant so methane is inherently less efficient to produce. The efficiency gets balanced by transportation and storage costs as hydrogen is very costly to transport other than by pipeline. This is very important as it only makes sense to manufacture the methane in places where electrical energy is cheap and abundant. i.e. don't even dream about using solar power in the UK in winter.

UK smart meter rollout years late and less than two thirds complete

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hit you over the head

I recall dealing with SEEBOARD was like being rogered doggie fashion with that hammer sideways.

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E10 meters used to have a night rate output, but I've never come across an E7 that did

It's not done by the E7 meter, it's done by the teleswitch. The teleswitch has a rate switching signal output that goes to the meter, but also inside the teleswitch is a high power contactor that can be wired to provide a rate switched output. It's the contactor that gives that big "clunk" when the rate changes.

If your teleswitch is out by 30 mins it's either broken or more probably on a different timer group. Curiously your electricity supplier has almost no clue which switching group you are in, so the night rate times might be quite different from what they will tell you. If you look on their web sites they are often rather vague about when the night rate starts,

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But even old E7/E10 style tariffs can be better managed by smart meters, at least they actually keep decent time.

Not really. They use the Radio Teleswitch Service so the clocks in them are synchronized. The time keeping is/was pretty good though I suspect it might even be deliberately "fuzzed" a bit to avoid causing transients on the grid as in addition to switching tariff they also have a "night rate" switched output.

Unfortunately the Radio Teleswitch Service is to be shut down on the 31st of March 2024, so the only way forward is a smart meter. Consequently mine gets installed Monday week.

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Re: I'm not sure why you've got so many down votes

With something like a nuclear reactor, it makes more sense to have it going 100% all of the time it's operating to see a return on the investment

Whilst that is true there is more to it than than. With most common reactor designs if you shut them down the buildup of short lived isotopes of iodine/xenon which is a neutron adsorber means you can't restart the reactor for a while after the shutdown.

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Being old enough to have been a customer of the old gas board and their electricity counterpart SEE board, the current system doesn't seem so bad.

Virgin Galactic finally gets its first paying customers to edge of space

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Ok they are a bit old, but rule 6 still applies.

Five billion phones are dead in drawers – carriers want to mine them

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Re: So, how much...

It is often the case with distributed valuable resources the cost of collecting and processing plus the cost of disposing of the useless bits can be higher than the value recovered. To make money out of it you want someone else to collect them into a huge pile you can mine.

JP Morgan accidentally deletes evidence in multi-million record retention screwup

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whether a company known as the vampire squid can have its reputation reduced further is arguable

JPM is not the Vampire Squid. Also JPM was not as highly regarded as GS for perhaps a decade after that Vampire Squid comment.

Another redesign on the cards for iPhone as EU rules call for removable batteries

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Re: UK specific model?

I think I'll go for the waterproof one and when the battery needs replacing make the decision to replace the phone or downgrade it by having a new battery put in at the expense of losing the IP rating.

The ZX81 finally gets the keyboard it deserves

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Well deserved

The ZX81 did have the keyboard it deserved. A cheap and nasty one that saved every penny to keep the cost down so we could afford it.

There were amazing tricks done to keep the cost low. The most relevant being I believe that the upper address lines were actually used to scan the keyboard matrix for key presses, presumably by the program jumping to a high address then back to a low one to pull the address line high.

AI weapons need a safe back door for human control

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Re: Looking for Asimov

Envisaging fictional "Laws of Robotics" is one thing, implementing them is something else. Even then it's something you would not include in a weapon.

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The second flaw is that the side the choses this "solution" is out gunned by the side that lets the AI pull the trigger.

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Re: Use the off switch

In the 1979 book THE TWO FACES OF TOMORROW by James P. Hogan, doing that enough times trained the AI to counter that operational problem.

Malaysia goes its own Huawei, won't ban Chinese vendor from 5G network

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The lesser evil

When it come down to getting the kit from the US or China its a hard call. It's widely rumored (largely by the US) that China could use it for the purpose of spying as opposed to the US kit where thanks to the Snowdon disclosures we know that the US can and does use it to spy on friends and enemies alike.

Microsoft's big bet on helium-3 fusion explained

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Don't hold you breath waiting for ITER.

First plasma was scheduled for 2025 but it's accepted it will slip by a couple of years, though some sources are predicting 2031. Full power deuterium tritium operation was not scheduled to start till 2035. Whilst the current issues do not necessarily push D-T out by the same amount, 2035 does look very optimistic.

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They can make helium 3 by fusing deuterium with deuterium. The downside of doing this is that you get an energetic neutron emitted and so after time a somewhat radioactive reactor. Helium 3 doesn't have this problem so is a much better fusion reaction.

Microsoft will upgrade Windows 10 21H2 users whether they like it or not

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Re: Juicy deets

Yep. Way to much detail for 99.9% of users.

The future of cars may be self-driving EVs gossiping about their humans and traffic

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Re: And distracted with their gossip, pings, software uploads, etc.

My car only does its upgrades when parked with the engine off and I have responded "yes" to the prompt. It's not a hard "if" statement to code.

Working from home could kill career advancement, says IBM CEO

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Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

They are all facing a similar problem. Some of the staff work very well from home and are more productive than in the office. There are also lots of staff that aren't productive. The difficulty is working out if that lack of productivity is due to the task being harder than expected, the person being "incapable" or the person not working. A different response is needed for each. When they are in the office it's a little easier to see if they are actually attempting to work, whereas if they are hidden away at home they might equally well be watching daytime TV, mowing the lawn or running their own business.

Over the years I have worked with several people who ran their own business while working for a major company. All of them would have relished being able to working from home five days a week as this would have permitted them to prioritize their own business without this being apparent to the form that is paying them a salary.

The end of Microsoft-brand peripherals is only Surface deep

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This article has caused me to look at my mouse. It's ancient. A Microsoft optical mouse 4000. Looking back in my emails I see I got it in July 2014. No wonder they are dropping them: they last too long to get repeat business.

Chinese city of Changshu to issue salaries in digital yuan

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Re: Why would anyone ever want this?

The Government already has the power to limit meat consumption without introducing a digital currency to enforce it. It has already done so for over 14 years of many peoples lives.

WW2 meat rationing began in the UK early in 1940's. It finished on 30th June 1954.

Techies all GUI-eyed as Xerox says goodbye to Palo Alto Research Center

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Re: Not for profit

Philips Research Labs (PRL) formerly Mullard Research Laboratories was the UK arm of the NatLab. I don't recall too much of use coming out of them. The great exception was the patent for radar doppler control of temporary traffic lights (Patent US4053887A). Every time I approach a road works and the traffic lights quickly change to let me though I say "thank you Ken!". He has saved all of us so much time.

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Not for profit

I often wonder if the management of Xerox ever realized quite how special PARC was, or how much money other firms would make from their work.

US Supreme Court snubs that guy who wants AI recognized as patent inventors

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Re: Good

DABUS could be employed at minimum wage and as is the norm with employees, "sign" the patent rites to him for $1 each at which point any future royalties go to him rather than DABUS.

Google's AI chatbot Bard catches up to generating code

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You'll need to check outputs for accuracy

Doesn't that translate to "you have to test the software"?

Always a good idea.

How DARPA wants to rethink the fundamentals of AI to include trust

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Re: Pipe dream ethical AI

ethically and morally is a pipe dream

They are not human constants either. What some people consider ethical and moral is very different to how others would judge them. It also varies with time. What is judged ethical and moral now is not how it was judged in the past or will be judged in the future.

Firmware is on shaky ground – let's see what it's made of

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Re: Go multiple steps further

I've worked on two versions of a process control instrument that used identical hardware but had different firmware. The simple version provided basic functionality that was suitable for 90% of applications. The upgraded version had a big investment in the firmware to give it vastly more functionality. It retailed for twice as much, and sold well to the 10% who needed it. Without protecting the firmware it was known that people would load the simple instrument with the enhanced firmware getting all the extra functionality for free, and thereby making development of the enhanced version of firmware non-economic.