* Posts by devTrail

444 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Oct 2018


Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes found guilty of fraud: Blood-testing machines were vapourware after all


Does not fit

Sounds really strange. By the time she was 20 years old she had already raised several million dollars,by the time she was 30 the company had a valuation in the billions. However the promised product required a technical expertise that only few researchers with decades of experience have. How come so many expert investors turned such a blind eye on the lack of qualifications? Were they fooled or were they accomplices?

Boeing will cough up $2.5bn+ to settle US fraud charge over 737 Max safety


Let's recap

So, let's recap. Less than 6 months ago the government bailed out Boeing. Then the managers use the government money to buy their way out of a criminal prosecution that involves the manslaughter of hundreds of people.

Toshiba to sell off-the-shelf quantum key distribution kit, eventually offer it as-a-service


Let me understand

Just for the sake of clarity, what are they selling? The first idea that comes to mind is that the device is using quantum phenomena to achieve true randomness.

NASA hires Nokia to build first 4G network on the Moon as part of plan to boldly go back to lunar surface by 2024


Re: 5G

You already had an answer before posting your comment, see later, later Re: China?, but the moderation has become quite slow.


Behind the marketing

I suspect that they are selling dreams of men walking on the moon while they are preparing a network for a lot of robots, the Moon will probably become the target for mining robots and the test bed for the robot technology to be used on other planets in the future.


Re: China?

5G is specialised for high bandwidth, but on a short range and with no obstacles between sender and receiver, it doesn't seem very appropriate for what is needed on the moon.

Intel offloads NAND business to South Korea's SK Hynix for a cool $9bn


The usual question

Is there a competition watchdog with some teeth out there?

LibreOffice rains on OpenOffice's 20th anniversary parade, tells rival project to 'do the right thing' and die


Bad bad taste, poor poor manners

Basically they are insulting OpenOffice users alleging they do not understand what they are doing. It's a pity to see an open source foundation behave in arrogant Apple style and treating users as idiots.

BTW I am not an OpenOffice user, but I can easily understand that a lot of organisations can prefer an old platform if it is stable and still has the functionality they need. Continuous upgrading to new bugs sometimes can be just a cost.

Nvidia signs up for an Italian Job: Building for Europe the 'world's fastest AI supercomputer' by 2022


Precision for AI

though FP16 is presumably good enough for AI

FP16 might be good enough, but only for certain problems and only if the data normalisation and scaling is not too much.



That top-end machine, nicknamed Leonardo, is expected to reach 10 exaFLOPS albeit at FP16 precision

All four computers are capable of running simulations at higher and lower precisions, including 64FP and 32FP as well as bfloat16 and 8-bit integer.

I don't get it. Does it mean that the first sentence gives the number in FP16 precision just to get a awsome number, but then at runtime FP64 might be used? If that's the case, isn't that a scientific, EU funded, project? Shouldn't they avoid this kind of marketing tricks in this context?

Heads up: From 2022, all new top-end Arm Cortex-A CPU cores for phones, slabtops will be 64-bit-only, snub 32-bit


Re: Does it really make sense?

Maybe. But if it was outdated why it happened? Why put all the resources on the 64 bit line? Killing the 32 bit version with all the apps means also killing the possibility of making no frills models designed to make the best of a battery charge. 64 bit is an overkill on current smartphones and it will probably be so for another 5 years or more.


Re: Presumably also less power usage ...

Unless you have a coprocessor that you can switch off when needed.


Does it really make sense?

If the problem was that the instruction set was outdated that would make sense. But if we keep talkig about 34 vs 64 bit the question is how many apps actually need 64 bits? I guess that most of the smartphones don't even have enough memory to serve apps that would take advantage of the difference and that won't change for a while, I mean that a smartphone may have more than 4 GB of RAM, but it could not allow a single app to use all the memory.

MediaTek's Snapdragon-7-bothering 5G eight-core Arm chip for modest mobes jets into Europe this month


MediaTek is known for ...

MediaTek is largely known for its entry-level Helio system-on-chips

MediaTek is also known for making laptop components whose driver are a pain in the ... for Linux users.

They are the usual Chinese conglomerate making the dirty work on behalf of the US corporations.

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it


Re: Vaccine useless

Defining the vaccine a waste of money depends on the point of view. Try and see it the way of Big Pharma, such a vaccine could generate huge profits and even if it did not work nobody could prove it.

She was praised by the CEO and promoted. After her brother and mom died, she returned from compassionate leave. IBM laid her off


Re: What the Hell Has Happened to IBM?

Back even in the 1920s, 1930s IBM had a revolutionary employment record of taking on people of all sorts of backgrounds....

Back then skilled work was done by a minority of the workforce. Nowadays skilled workers are almost the equivalent of factory workers. It's not IBM that changed, but the context around the workplace.

Future airliners will run on hydrogen, vows Airbus as it teases world-plus-dog with concept designs


Hydrogen as an explosive

Hydrogen might be volatile and explosive, but kerosene vapour is not much better. Repeating over and over again the story of the Hindenburg is just scaremongering based on a 80+ years old technology. I think that with all the unmanned blimps and balloons that companies around the world are currently testing hydrogen has some room to make a comeback also as a lifting gas.


Re: Carbon neutral but still not climate change neutral

It's true Water Vapour is a greenhouse gas, BUT it is a significantly milder greenhouse gas.

This is not correct because there is far more water vapour than CO2 in the atmosphere. The overall effect is a stronger greenhouse contribution.

Actually its more complex then that, because Water Vapour's effect on climate change is dependent on temperature to a large extent (the hotter it is, the more effect it has).

The effect depends on the altitude. if it is close to the ground the reflected sunlight might be more than the trapped heath. If it is very high instead it is the opposite, you can easily notice by yourself comparing the temperature you feel in a night with or without clouds. That is why vapour released by engine planes is the worst one.

Temperature comes into play because the warmer it is the higher the chance it goes up with a thermal current. That is why the vapour released by the cooling tower of a power plant (and all the other combustion engines to a lesser degree) is more damaging than vapour created in other ways.


Carbon neutral but still not climate change neutral

If it could go into actual commercial operation it would be a step ahead, but not a complete solution.

It would be carbon neutral, but also water vapour when it is release at an altitude is a greenhouse gas.

UK govt urged to bolt tough legal protections onto Arm and protect jobs – or simply veto Nvidia's £31bn acquisition


how to harm a caause

The most perfidious way of harming a cause is to deliberately defend it with faulty arguments.

This quote is more than a century old, but it is truer than ever, nowadays you can see the same trick applied over and over again on mainstream, non mainstream media and politics.

The argument of job protection can be questioned because Softbank is in troubled waters and can't give more guarantees than NVidia. The argument of the local technology going into foreign hands has also been ignored countless of times, moreover both of them have a thin legal base.

The argument about NVidia acquiring a dominant position in the smartphones, tablet, IOT/embedded market instead has a strong legal base. How can you allow a single player get control over the patents and the technologies used by all the competitors?

Nvidia says regulators will be 'very supportive' of $40bn Arm buy despite concerns about chip designer's independence


How can ideas be controlled?

Yes, I can bet the licensing will go on, playing dirty in a open manner would surely backfire, but what about the subtle changes? NVidia could easily transfer the most advanced solutions proposed by ARM engineers to its own research centre while the ARM development would go on in a conservative manner. Internal ideas and designs cannot be controlled by external regulators. In few years NVidia could get a clear advantage in a market worth billions of processors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arm_Holdings#Sales_and_market_share), if they are allowed to get control over ARM there's no chance that on the long term they'll play fairly.

Nvidia to acquire Arm for $40bn, promises to keep its licensing business alive


Re: Nvidia and Linux? @macjules

I wonder if the Nvidia legal people have found a way (deep down in the small print) to revoke those perpetual licences? That really would stir things up.

Not so difficult to guess.

They'll slow down the evolution and let the design slowly fade into obsolescence


BBC coverage is not OK


BBC coverage is focusing on least important issues on purpose. This is a major issue for the anti trust and the British Authority should block the agreement. But, if the BBC article is a signal of the attitude they'll meet in the UK I suspect that the British authorities will will turn a blind eye or will just play a mock role.



Such a deal should be clearly unacceptable for any anti-trust authority in the world. How come they came up with such a deal? Not only the sector is very restricted to few companies, but ARM licences their technologies to almost all NVidia competitors in the smartphone segment. Considering smartphones, tablets and other gadgets Nvidia is buying the possibility to hold by the balls the competition in a market where more than one billion chips are sold every year. Of course they now promise they'll keep licensing their technology to al the others, but nobody prevents them from transferring the most advanced research to the mother company and let ARM slowly fate into obsolescence

Dell: 60% of our people won't be going back into an office regularly after COVID-19


Remember Marissa Meier

The new normal won't last forever, it will last until companies decide they have to get rid of some workers in a discrete manner. Then suddenly they'll change the WFH rules forcing such changes in people lives that a lot of them will simply quit, obviously most of them will be those with a family, older and with higher salaries.

Samsung says it makes the world’s best holes. Yes, holes. Holes so good they even get a brand


Just the starting point

All right, now let's wait for the pen that can write in zero gravity.

You there. Person, corp, state. Doesn't matter. You better not shoot down or hack a drone. That's our job – US govt



So, now in the US people can be armed to the teeth within their property and can shoot a man trespassing in their property, but they cannot touch a drone invading their property.

You'd think 1.8bn users a day would be enough for Zuck. But no. Oculus fans must sign up for Facebook


Changing the contract terms way after it was agreed

Once again a big corporation will impose to their clients a change of the terms under which they sold some services/products and they will get away with it. BTW this is nothing new to Facebook.

Good news: NASA boffins spot closest near-Earth asteroid ever. Bad news: We never saw it coming. Good news: It's also really small


Within a busy area

A space rock [...] zoomed within 2,950km of Earth

That's inside the orbit of many satellites, way inside the orbit of geostationary satellites and less than 1000km from the orbit of the ISS.

Apart from the picture was it detected by the radar or other sensors of one of those satellites?

India selects RISC-V for semiconductor self-sufficiency contest: Use these homegrown cores to build kit


Re: Can't forgive, won't forget

If you think that Vietnam stands out you probably didn't work in the banking sector. Even people working in the IT departments have to sign a paper whereby they promise to notify any suspected operation with prohibited countries from a list that includes Cuba. That makes 60 years to hold a grudge.


Chip design is not enough

Last time I had a look at RISC-V compilers and other tools were not fully developed. Those implementing the design had to do a lot of work by themselves. What is the status now?

Linux kernel maintainers tear Paragon a new one after firm submits read-write NTFS driver in 27,000 lines of code


Re: Mainline NTFS FUSE perhaps?

There is a different aspect and it is what I asked in the post immediately above.

FUSE with read and write capabilities is not inside the kernel, it must be added by the user after the installation (or sometimes it is done by the installer). It is a small issue from the technical point of view, but on the other hand it can be easily excluded by an organisation using Linux on a large scale. Including the same capabilities in the kernel is a big change from the legal point of view.


Re: Ext4 ?

There is still some software around that runs only on Widows. So some people need dual boot on their laptops and they need access to the Windows partition from Linux since the other way round is a pain.

The current drivers work well. The article says that Linux can't write NTFS, but the solution has been available for year.


Are there pending patents?

I remember that Microsoft has the habit of patenting any single change they make to their code. TomTom was fined because Microsoft patented the patch that allowed to use names longer than 8 characters on FAT file systems and something similar was present in the Linux drivers. Isn't there the risk to go back to Microsoft threatening Linux users if this is included without a check on eventual pending patents?

Microsoft confirms pursuit of TikTok after Satya Nadella chats to Donald Trump



I don't know very much about TikTok, but from the description I read it seems to fall well within Microsoft expertise. They screwed Skype, they screwed LinkedIn, surely they'll know how to screw TikTok.


Conspiracy theory

Among the other rumours I read that TikTok is asking more than 10 billion dollars just for the US branch of the company. So my conspiracy theory is that Nadella asked Trump to start a show with his usual threats to push down the price.

We're not all about rockets, says NASA: Balloon tech is good enough for economical star scanning


Hydrogen or Helium?

To stay afloat in the thin atmosphere it will find at the height of 40 KM the gas in the balloon will have to be very light indeed. What are they going to use?

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation


What kind of opt-in was it?

I didn't get the description of the opt-in. From the article it seems that it is not a choice of the system administrator, but set by some software. I hope I misunderstood it, otherwise it would be a terrible solution.

Boffins step into the Li-ion's den with sodium-ion battery that's potentially as good as a lithium cousin


Re: A materials win-win?

How come every single article becomes an excuse for the fake flu propaganda?


You should go back at the periodic table and have a closer look. There the element are grouped by the similar chemical/physical properties. Sodium is so close to lithium that you can't rule out it will have similar problems.

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station


You almost fooled me. I was taking seriously your comment, but then I noticed the covid BS. Trump killed nobody with covid because it is just a flu. Trump did absolutely nothing he just pretended to be on the side pf those who understood the scam to taint their message. Plus he let other people do the dirty work because he knew that the fascists curfews would have been unpopular.


What an achievement

The flight also marks a momentous milestone for NASA for another reason, too; it’s the first time that the space agency has partnered with a private company to build everything from the touchscreen-driven capsule to the astronaut’s swanky spacesuits.

What a step. The more space exploration will go on the bigger the chunk of public spending going on the pockets of the oligarchs will be.

The collaboration with Elon Musk's SpaceX promises a cheaper alternative,

Cheaper because it is compared to 30 years old technologies, but what has been developed by SpaceX is nothing more that the prosecution of NASA projects carried on by ex-NASA employees.

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans



I can bet he was almost the only developer in an under-resourced project. With the usual priorities set by marketing managers used to their monopolistic power they spent a lot more time turning word in a bug/backdoor prone macro engine than delivering a proper tool to manage the machines. The crazy thing is that even on servers versions of Windows that was the only tool available. Wherever I could I copied ProcessExplorer, but when you have to search for bugs in applications running on dozens of VMs set up by monkeys able to do only the basic clones it was rarely available.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development


Re: Useless

The usual story of heroism to rally support for the cause. Te usual attacks to the person who wrote the post. Usual boring propaganda.



The importance of a coronavirus vaccine is equal to the importance of any other flu vaccine. Never forget that the mortality has been overrated for other purposes.

Lockdown endgame? There won't be one until the West figures out its approach to contact-tracing apps


Re: likely to be implemented here in oz, so how to manage it?

Network analysis is more sophisticated than what you think. Some known nodes can be used to identify unknown ones. By cross checking few repeated encounters with other data, like work colleagues identified via LinkedIn or other legal or illegal data eventually an unknown phone will be put in the right place in few days.



One of the few coronavirus "success stories" has been Singapore.

Not a big deal since Singapore is a tropical country. Yes, I know, fake news outlets published reports stating that heath does not stop the spread of the epidemic. Unfortunately they presented the evidence with the contorted language typical of a lawyer, where the paper says that the virus in hot and dry conditions is less virulent although you cannot be sure 100% that it will be stopped they claimed that you can be sure 100% that it wouldn't work.



Comment Most health experts agree stopping the coronavirus lockdown requires two things ...

No, it requires just one thing. That big business is satisfied after scavenging the rubble they created with this scam.

Nokia said to be considering sale or merger as profits tank


Re: Efficiency