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* Posts by Cuddles

1178 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011

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Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Cuddles
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Re: Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personnel...?

"Now, I'll grant you that a new constant moon isn't going to have all that much effect, especially not when compared to street lights in a city"

Given that the whole point is to replace street lights in a city, at a minimum it must have at least the same effect as street lights in a city. In practice, street lights are generally placed only in areas where there's actually a reason to have them, with plenty of back streets, parks, non-residential areas, and so on, left unlit. And even then light pollution is a huge problem that interferes with everything from insect lifecycles to sleep disorders, and that's before you even start thinking about the harder to quantify aesthetic effects. Having an entire city lit up everywhere at all times is just a terrible idea in pretty much every conceivable way, and has exactly zero possible benefit compared to the alternatives.

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UK Home Office admits £200m Emergency Services Network savings 'delayed'

Cuddles
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Could be believable

"projected £200m savings might not kick in until 2020."

Did they specify which calendar they are using?

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GCHQ asks tech firms to pretty please make IoT devices secure

Cuddles
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Voluntary

Security was already voluntary for everyone involved making IoT crap. What exactly does telling everyone it's still voluntary achieve?

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Virgin Media? More like Virgin Meltdown: Brit broadband ISP falls over amid power drama

Cuddles
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Analogue Twitter

I can't be the only one amused by seeing people complaining on the internet about not having access to the internet.

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Hunt for Red Bugtober: US military's weapon systems riddled with security holes – auditors

Cuddles
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Re: Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Network-enabled Operations

" it's not like any potential peer adversary of the US ever does DDOS... the geniuses who brought us the F35."

If someone carried out a DDOS attack on the F35, would anyone be able to notice the difference?

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Astroboffins discover when white and brown dwarfs mix, the results are rather explosive

Cuddles
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Re: Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

"Is it a dipper, is it a cart or is it a bear then...?"

Part of the problem there is that those aren't actually the same thing. The stars making up the saucepan/plough/dipper/cart are only a fraction of Ursa Major; less than half the stars and maybe 1/4-1/3 of the total area. The Big Dipper doesn't look anything like a bear because it's not supposed to and no-one ever claimed it did. Ursa Major, on the other hand, has a clear body, legs and head that looks at least as much like a bear as anything I can draw - not all that much, but you can at least see the general form if someone tells you it's there.

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The Obama-era cyber détente with China was nice, wasn't it? Yeah well it's obviously over now

Cuddles
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Re: China

"I don't see any of you rushing to move to China, which kind of suggests that deep down you know it's actually a whole lot worse."

You don't see us rushing to move to the US either. The thing about the world is that there's quite a lot of it, and China and the USA aren't the only countries in it. "Country A does bad things" does not mean the same as "I love Country B and would do anything in my power to go and live there as soon as possible", especially for someone who actually lives in Country C and has no reason to move to either of the other two. That said, I know several people who either have, or are planning to, move to Countries D, E and F, at least in part because Country C does itself have issues becoming more similar to A and B than many are comfortable with.

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With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

Cuddles
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Blaming the wrong part

"the engineering requirements and the thorough testing needed means the timing of those experiments have slipped badly."

The engineering requirements and thorough testing were known about well in advance. They have nothing to do with why the timing has slipped, that's purely down to the people who knew about them not actually taking them into account when creating the original timetable. Whether that's due to incompetence or deliberate lies may be an open question, but at this point there's really no excuse for not understanding the challenges involved in getting to low-Earth orbit given that we've been regularly managing it for over 60 years.

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Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

Cuddles
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Re: Silly first name.

"Hence my Starbucks name is now Alex, which every barista can spell flawlessly."

You mean they never spell it Alix, preferably with a heart over the "i" in place of a dot? They must really like you.

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UK.gov withdraws life support from flagship digital identity system

Cuddles
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Re: Next

"Maybe private prisons"

You didn't realise we already have those? The UK has the second highest proportion of people in private prisons in the world (12% of prisons holding 15% of inmates). First is Australia, not the US as might be expected. Obviously the trend was started by the Conservatives back in the '90s, but the current government is actually the first since then in which the number hasn't increased.

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Cuddles
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Re: It sucked lemons!

"They have scanners that read the address on every envelope and package be it printed or hand written."

The problem with that is it doesn't actually mean anything. The thing about envelopes with your name on them is that they've been sent by someone else. Someone else who may or may not actually be sending things to the correct person at the correct address. For example, despite having lived in my house for years I still get post for both the previous owners and the ones before them. And the majority of the rest is for Mr The Occupier and Mrs Homeowner, because in these days of paperless bills pretty much everything I get is just junk mail (about 40% from Virgin, the massive cockwombles).

A central government identity system that relies on asking everyone except the person involved to guess who might be in a house doesn't really sound like a great idea.

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Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei

Cuddles
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Mid-what?

£550 is mid-ranged now? Bollocks. My phone cost £200 over a year ago, and remains more than capable of doing absolutely anything a phone might be required to do. Just because the most expensive phones are now priced solely to appeal to complete idiots without even attempting to look sensible, that doesn't mean the slightly less expensive high-end phones have magically become mid-range. You can get a supercar for £1 million or more, but that doesn't mean a £200k Bentley is mid-range.

Mid-range phones remain in the £2-300 region, with a bit of wiggle room at the ends depending on exactly how you want to define it. £500+ is very firmly in the expensive, high-end range. It doesn't matter if the most expensive phones cost £1000 or £1 million, that has absolutely no bearing on what the meaningful low, mid and high-end ranges are for normal people.

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World's largest CCTV maker leaves at least 9 million cameras open to public viewing

Cuddles
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It's not CCTV

It seems someone has to point this out every time, but surveillance cameras connected to the internet are not closed circuit. This is not just a minor nitpick, it's of fundamental importance for security. CCTV is inherently secure because the whole point is that there's no external connection; short of physically splicing extra parts into the system, there is no way of hacking into it. The big problem with connected surveillance cameras is that people keep treating them as CCTV, and that brings huge issues with security since you can't treat a connected system the same way as an unconnected one and expect everything to just work out fine.

If even illustrious rags such as El Reg keep mixing up the terminology, the situation is never going to change. It's not enough to just draw attention to the occasional big screw-up, the only way to improve things is to get people to understand the systems they're dealing with. Using the correct names to distinguish fundamentally different categories such as connected and isolated is only a small first step, but without that first step none of the following ones are going to achieve anything.

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It's over 9,000! Boffin-baffling microquasar has power that makes the LHC look like a kid's toy

Cuddles
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Re: 25 TeV vs 14 TeV

"That's not much of a difference, I'd say the LHC holds its own quite well"

Just to clarify, since I don't think the article really made it clear, the comparison is not 25 to 14 TeV. 14TeV is the collision energy of the particle beams in the LHC (the actual particles only have 7 TeV, the total comes from colliding them head-first). The 25 TeV in the article is the energy of gamma rays (ie. photons) produced by particles which themselves have much higher energy. The paper suggests an absolute minimum particle energy of 130 TeV to produce those photons; in reality it will of course be much more than that, and given a likely gaussian spread even if some are near the minimum the maximum energies are probably at least an order of magnitude or two higher.

For comparison, a synchrotron light source is an accelerator which works on the same principles as the LHC (which is also a synchrotron), but is dedicated to producing photons. A light source using 3 GeV (ie. 10^9) electrons will produce photons up to around 50 keV - five orders of magnitude lower than that of the particles themselves. Basically, if you see photons of a given energy, whatever produced them was almost certainly a hell of a lot more energetic. The minimums given in the paper make the LHC look like a toy, the possible maximums make it look like an insignificant speck.

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Super Micro China super spy chip super scandal: US Homeland Security, UK spies back Amazon, Apple denials

Cuddles
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Poor journalism

"One particularly annoying thing is that the graphics used in the blockbuster article – depicting the spy chip and its placement on the board – look to be purely illustrative"

The whole thing seems pretty weird. There are good reasons for keeping sources anonymous and not just dumping all the information and data handed to journalists into the public view, but usually it's made clear that said journalists have been shown stuff to make them believe something really is going on. Even if they don't publish it all, there are always comments along the lines of "We have been shown internal documents that appear to confirm...".

Except in this case, any hint of evidence seems to be missing entirely. One source claims to have heard something at a meeting, a second source claims to have seen a confidential report, and a third source claims to have seen some photos. At no point is it ever suggested that any of these reports or photos have actually seen by anyone at Bloomberg. Or anyone else for that matter. The graphics are purely illustrative because even the journalists at the heart of the claims literally don't have anything real to show us. At this point we should be debating exactly what parts of the internal report really mean, why bits have had to be redacted, whether maybe the whole thing is a fake, and so on. Instead all we can do is question whether a report even exists for us to debate.

The whole point of journalism is to say that something happened. We might not have all the facts and there might be plenty of arguments about exactly what happened, why, and what it all really means, but something definitely happened. In this case, all we have is that something might have happened but no-one has any evidence to say it actually did. When the entire claim is based on "someone said they saw a picture once", Bloomberg may as well be announcing that Chinese chips have been seen in a double-decker bus on the Moon.

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Brit mobe operator O2 asks cut-off customers: Have you tried turning it on and off again?

Cuddles
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"They're highly available platforms, but unlikely to cope with that sort of load."

And then people might not be able to connect to O2's network. Which would make a big difference.

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Organic stuff, radiation, unexpected methane... Yes, we're talking about Saturn's surprising rings

Cuddles
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Re: Organic material?

"Doesn’t say how complex, though."

Because they don't know. The instrument taking these data is basically just a mass spectrometer - it can measure how heavy a molecule that hits it is, and that's it. They can see that there's a bunch of stuff with atomic mass 28u, which can mean N2, CO or C2H4. And from other data they can infer that at least some of that is C2H4 released from the breakup of bits of the dust and other crap generally floating around the place. But the data here can't say anything about what it was all actually made of before that point.

"All the speculation about how the first organic molecules were created on Earth and there are loads just floating about in space?"

Yep, this has been known for a while. Organic compounds, even fairly complex ones, turn out to exist all over the place. The fact that they're relatively common in Saturn's rings is apparently unexpected, but finding them floating around in space isn't really new at all. What this means for the development of early Earth and life is still very much up for debate. On the one hand, it seems organic compounds are all over the place and things like comet impacts could have brought significant amounts to Earth. But on the other hand, there's plenty of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen on Earth anyway so there's no problem forming them right here. It's entirely possible that organic stuff rained from the sky all over early Earth, but was irrelevant to the formation of life because we already had plenty of out own anyway.

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Convenient switch hides an inconvenient truth

Cuddles
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"Um - 1900 was a Leap Year (it's divisible by 4 but not by 400)."

That's exactly backwards.

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Google is still chasing the self-driving engineer that jumped ship to Uber

Cuddles
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"I wouldn't exactly call $245 million "off the hook"."

Indeed. And while people are often tempted to write off even such large sums as small change when big companies are involved, it's worth bearing in mind that Uber has consistently made massive losses for it's whole existence - it lost $4.5 billion last year. An extra couple of hundred million might not be enough to push them over the edge, but it's certainly enough to be a very noticeable hit.

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A web where the user has complete control of their data? Sounds Solid, Tim Berners-Lee

Cuddles
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Re: Single point of security failure

"a primary target for all hackers after exploitable personal data"

Indeed, this seems to be a fairly large flaw with the whole idea. Instead of putting bits and pieces of your data all over the place as and when it's asked for, you pre-emptively put it all in one place and wait for someone to ask you for access to it access it without you knowing. It's just another cloud with all the issues that always brings.

Worse, even if it were perfectly secure it wouldn't actually achieve anything anyway. The problem with personal data isn't that it's too easy to gain access to it, it's that once it's been given out for any reason, it's trivial to copy it and hand it around. It doesn't matter how secure you make your central data store, as soon as you give anyone permission to look at any of it, all the data they've seen is in exactly the same situation as if you had no central store at all. In order for the idea to work, you have to trust everyone who is given access to any of your data, but the entire reason for proposing it is because most parties aren't trusted. It's a neat idea that completely fails to actually address its only objective.

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Spoiler alert: Google's would-be iPhone killer Pixel 3 – so many leaks

Cuddles
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"If you're not paying, you're probably the product, not the customer"

You have the incorrect tense. Assuming the person you're replying to is not a criminal, they did in fact pay for their phone. It's not a question of who is making money; someone already made money. That is how buying things works.

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'Incommunicado' Assange anoints new WikiLeaks editor in chief

Cuddles
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Re: installed a jamming device ????

"If you want to keep him off Pret's wifi, there's a far easier route. Get some CISCO (less extortionate brands are available) wifi access points and configure them to send disassociate packets for any SSID which isn't yours. Then don't let him on your own wifi."

There's a much easier method than that which has the benefit of having absolutely no questions about legality (the reason hotels used to use your method is because they're not actually allowed to any more) and no possible way to get around it - simply employ someone to slap the phone out of his hand every time he tries connecting to the internet. No need to faff around coming up with clever techy/physicsy ways to block signals that could potentially be circumvented in equally clever ways, when you can trivially address the issue directly at the source.

https://xkcd.com/538/

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Top Euro court gives Infineon the benefit of the doubt, wags finger at Philips over pricing

Cuddles
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Good defence

"It also claimed that the price fixing wasn't "a single and continuous infringement,""

I'm sure there's all sorts of technical law stuff involved deciding how bad different offences are, but it just doesn't feel as though "We actually broke the law lots of times, not just once" is the sort of thing an offender should be arguing in an effort to reduce the penalty.

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Resident evil: Inside a UEFI rootkit used to spy on govts, made by you-know-who (hi, Russia)

Cuddles
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"Such solutions are not always friendly for none technical people to achieve but it would completely stop any root kits from getting into your UEFI flash"

Indeed. This is the fundamental problem with backdoors and related ideas - there's really no such thing, they're all just regular doors. If you make it possible for a legitimate party to do things, you also make it possible for a malicious party to do them. There are no exceptions to that rule. Ever. No matter how difficult you try to make it or how well hidden it is, there will always be a way for someone to abuse it.

As always, it comes down to the question of how much you value convenience over security. There will almost always be some compromise needed with security reduced to make things useable in a reasonable manner. In a case like this, however, there really seems to be little need for convenience at all. Motherboard firmware updates are not particularly common things, and the sort of person who isn't happy switching jumpers probably shouldn't be trying to do it anyway. Given that the compromise means virtually undetectable and unfixable malware having access to pretty much everything, there just doesn't seem to be any good reason to make this all possible.

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Nameless Right To Be Forgotten Google sueball man tries Court of Appeal – yet again

Cuddles
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But how would they know?

"ABC has refused to identify himself to Google, court staff and even judges"

"To protect ABC's identity, the court has already made an anonymity order so reports of his case cannot name him or indirectly identify him."

If he refuses to identify himself to the court, how would they know if anyone names him?

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US government use of AI is shoddy and failing citizens – because no one knows how it works

Cuddles
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Re: Naturally obscure

"Nobody really knows how human intelligence works, either."

Yes they do; in this case "how it works" does not refer to the basic functioning at the cellular level, but rather to the ability to show the reasoning behind reaching a particular conclusion. Showing your working is drilled into humans from primary school onwards, you don't need to break the brain down to its component quarks to get that sort of information. The problem with AI machine learning is that, unlike humans, we actually have essentially perfect understanding of how the hardware and software function, but they're generally incapable of explaining their reasoning by design.

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Building your own PC for AI is 10x cheaper than renting out GPUs on cloud, apparently

Cuddles
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Re: 1080Ti v 2080Ti

"Could say the same about the potential invoice, I think the price of the latter is still pretty high. Not sure if it'd negate the advantage of building your own instead of renting though, but it'd add to the cost some."

I believe RRP for the 2080Ti is $1200, so it would only add about a week to the payback time. Definitely nowhere near as bad as trying to stick a "datacentre" GPU in there.

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Secret IBM script could have prevented 11-hour US tax day outage

Cuddles
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Interesting requirements

The contract apparently allows them 4 hours to fix problems, but also requires said problems to last no longer than 26.5 minutes. Which is less than the time allowed for them to even notice a problem exists at all.

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America cooks up its flavor of GDPR – and Google's over the moon

Cuddles
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Re: What a shitshow

"'corrupt useless ruse' is a distinct possibility. However, let's wait until Trump signs something into law..."

From the article:

"even at this early stage, the DoC has ruled out the introduction of law"

The fact that no-one is going to sign anything into law is one of the main ways it's obvious this is a corrupt, useless ruse. With any possibility of enforcement ruled out from the outset, it's impossible for it to be anything else.

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iFixit engineers have an L of a time pulling apart Apple's iPhone XS

Cuddles
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Re: XS

"Does anybody else stumble over that? It is a f'ing huge beast, surely not size "XS"..."

Size "excess"? Sounds about right to me.

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Patch for EE's 4G Wi-Fi mini modem nails local privilege escalation flaw

Cuddles
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Re: "a minor security issue"

"does it have to somehow spawn arms and stab the user to death before burning down their house?"

It's the problem of using a scale that needs to accommodate things like this at one end, and the Samsung Note at the other.

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Holy macaroni! After months of number-crunching, behold the strongest material in the universe: Nuclear pasta

Cuddles
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Re: Sorry, what?

"Why, I thought those two got along quite well (neutrons being neutral and all), even snuggling together inside most nuclei. Someone please explain to me what those "competing forces" actually are?"

There are several of them. Firstly, protons and neutrons aren't fundamental particles, they're composites made up of quarks. Neutrons have zero total charge, but if you try to jam two of them inside each other you start having to worry about how the internal charged parts react to each other (and there are no neutral quarks). It's essentially the same as how neutral molecules can become polarised and attract or repel each other.

Secondly, as far as we're aware gravity is the only force that is always attractive. The strong force is attractive only above a certain distance, once you get too close it actually becomes repulsive instead. This is why atomic nuclei don't simply collapse into black holes - the protons and neutrons can only get so close before they start being pushed apart again.

Finally, degeneracy pressure, as mentioned already, is caused by fermions being unable to occupy identical quantum states - essentially meaning you can't have two neutrons in exactly the same place with the same energy at the same time. This can be viewed as similar to electron shells in atoms - once you've filled the inner shell, any extra electrons will have to go in a shell further out; the outer shells have higher energy, so some input is required to actually get them there and that appears the same as pressure forcing them out. The same thing happens in pretty much anything involving quantum states - some of those states have lower energy than others and tend to fill up first; once they're full the exclusion principle stops anything else getting in there as well and forces them to occupy higher energy states instead.

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Big Cable tells US government: Now's not the time to talk about internet speeds – just give us the money

Cuddles
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"why is the most technologically advanced nation on the planet providing slower speeds to fewer people at higher cost than any other comparable Western economy?"

Presumably because they modelled it after their healthcare.

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Put your tin-foil hats on! Wi-Fi can be used to guesstimate number of people hidden in a room

Cuddles
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Re: Woof!

"It is a fairly gross assumption that the only "bodies" in a room are human."

What else would they be? If this is being touted as a way to count how many customers are in places like shops and cafes, there are unlikely to be any other large animals moving around inside. The number of guide dogs will be well within the normal margin of error, and outside some kind of Jumanji situation what other possibilities are there?

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Microsoft reveals train of mistakes that killed Azure in the South Central US 'incident'

Cuddles
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Odd design choice

"as its thermal buffers were depleted, temperatures rose, and a shutdown started. Alas, this was not before temperatures had risen to the point where actual hardware, including storage units and network devices, were damaged."

If you're going to have a system to protect hardware from damage due to overheating, it seems it would be a good idea to have it kick in before things get damaged due to overheating.

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Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design

Cuddles
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Re: Doesn't seem to work

"Correction: when you ask your browser to display it "as a desktop site" it shows you the 4 headlines; if you UNTICK the "desktop site" it goes back to being responsive."

Correction - as I already pointed out, that is not what "responsive" means. If I use the desktop site, I get 4 headlines no matter how big I try to make it, regardless of what device is used. If I use the mobile site, I get a single column, again no matter what size I try to make it and regardless of what device is used. You can complain all you like about it being the browsers getting it all wrong, but the fact is that it was claimed the change was made so that only a single, unified site would work on all devices that automatically rescales to the appropriate size and layout, but what we actually have is exactly the same separate desktop and mobile sites each with a different, fixed layout. In other words, as I said to start with, it does not actually work.

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Cuddles
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Re: Doesn't seem to work

"It responds to smaller screen sizes"

Not on my phone it doesn't, still 4 headlines to a row on that. If I change to request the mobile site then it gives a single column, but that's still clearly not responding to screen size, and certainly not consolidating anything.

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Cuddles
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Doesn't seem to work

"One reason is to consolidate the desktop and mobile versions of the website into one design that responds to whatever size screen you're using."

It only shows four stories in a row no matter the screen size, and pads the sides with huge amounts of empty space. Far from responding to whatever screen size I'm using, it appears to simply be an entirely unresponsive mobile site that is unable to handle desktop browsers correctly.

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First it was hashtags – now Amber Rudd gives us Brits knowledge on national ID cards

Cuddles
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Everyone is doing it!

It wasn't a good argument in primary school, and being in government doesn't make it any better. Just because all the cool corporations are smoking and drinking and stealing everyone's personal data, that doesn't mean you should do it too.

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Guess who just bought Maplin? Dragons' Den celebrity biz guy Peter Jones

Cuddles
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Re: Well, best of luck to him...

"Amazon have literally everything you can think of. There's nothing a new Maplin can sell that Amazon can't."

Amazon has a decent size selection in many areas, but it's far from comprehensive. You're better off with dedicated shops for all kinds of specialist stuff, even for a pretty broad interpretation of "specialist". Try getting bike parts, for example. Not exactly an unknown niche hobby, but aside from inner tubes and a pile of Chinese knock-off lights, you'll struggle to find anything of much use at all; even common parts and big brand clothing have pitiful selections easily beaten by small local shops, let alone the bigger online bike shops. The same goes for things like looking for specific books or board games, and all kinds of other things. And of course even when you do find things you want, it's rarely Amazon actually selling them, but just some other random store that happens to use Amazon as their online storefront - half the time they don't even use Amazon's delivery service.

There's nothing Maplin can sell that Amazon can't, but there are likely plenty of things Maplin can sell that Amazon doesn't. Who knows if it will work out in practice, but there's certainly plenty of space for specialist retailers next the the generics giant of Amazon.

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Apple in XS new sensation: Latest iPhone carries XS-sive price tag

Cuddles
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Re: Yawn....

"Surely I'm not the only person underwhelmed by this? The only one that looks at this and sees nothing more than incremental change?"

To be fair, the jump to $1500 for a phone is a pretty big increment.

"The whole smartphone market really has reached the point where it's flat, dull, and stable"

People tend to comment on it now being a mature market, but I'm not convinced it wasn't born mature. My very first smartphone was an HTC Hero. Obviously the underlying hardware and software has improved since then, but I can't point at anything missing that would distinguish it from a modern phone. Hell, it has a removable battery, 3.5mm socket and accepts SD cards, so it's actually well ahead of many of them.

It's not really smartphones and the market that have changed, but rather society. When smartphones were new, people saw them as exciting shiny things, and were happy to buy new ones regularly because they were even newer and shinier, even though they didn't actually bring anything new to the table. Now, they're just ubiquitous tools. Upgrades are no more or less meaningful than they used to be, most people simply stopped giving a shit.

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Boffins bash Google Translate for sexism

Cuddles
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Re: What's the problem here?

"Since when has "they" become singular?"

Since about the 14th century; it has been in continuous use ever since and is accepted by pretty much every modern style guide. It is always good for a laugh watching wannabe grammar nazis fail at the English language while trying to correct others though.

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Nvidia promises to shift graphics grunt work to the cloud, for a price

Cuddles
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Nonsense

"It's a fact of life for gamers: If you want to be able to compete, you need the best hardware to give you an edge."

Being competitive has pretty much nothing to do with hardware. You can get practically any game to run perfectly well on old, low-end kit as long as you're willing to drop the graphics settings a bit. Expensive, high-end hardware only matters for making things look shiny. Which is what the vast majority of gamers actually care about since it's only a tiny minority that actually compete in any meaningful fashion. About the only bits of hardware that actually matter are the keyboard and mouse. And given that wired versions are universally preferred due to the increased latency of wireless ones, I don't see any competitive players wanting to stick an entire wireless network in between them and their computer.

Latency aside, there's also the rather more important issue of coverage and reliability. Actual competitive gamers travel around the world carting all their kit with them. No-one is going to want to risk turning up at a tournament only to find they can't connect to their remote subscription service and so are unable to play at all. No, it's painfully obvious this is not aimed at competitive players at all, it's entirely directed at casual home gamers who keep seeing articles like this claiming they need to shell out thousands of dollars just to play a game, and so are fooled into thinking an expensive subscription service is somehow necessary. Just follow the money - Nvidia are one of those hardware sellers who would supposedly be worried about this. Obviously they are not worried about it, because they know perfectly well that the subscription costs will actually be significantly more than the cost of buying a computer yourself.

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Safari, Edge fans: Is that really the website you think you're visiting? URL spoof bug blabbed

Cuddles
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Re: Edge has fans???

"I only use Edge when forced to do so by Microsoft product tying (SharePoint) in their desperate bid to win back market share."

Product tying with Sharepoint? Works perfectly well in Firefox and Chrome when we're forced to use it at work.

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Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday

Cuddles
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Re: Long or Short

"No idea where you got 21.4 million km from...."

It's almost as though two similar-sounding words that differ only by a single letter can occasionally be accidentally substituted for one another when writing. It's a shame this is such rare occurrence that we haven't invented a word to describe such typos.

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Neutron star crash in a galaxy far, far... far away spews 'faster than light' radio signal jets at Earth

Cuddles
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Re: Relativity - Great! But what about String Theory, Dark Matter and Dark Energy?

"But it is ONLY hypothesised to exist as an explanation for these observations"

Well yes, that is how hypotheses work. Would you prefer it was hypothesised to exist for observations we don't actually have, or for ones which it wouldn't explain? That wouldn't make an awful lot of sense. Science really isn't all that complicated. In essence:

1) Make some observations;

2) Come up with a hypothesis that can explain them;

3) Figure out what other consequences said hypothesis might have;

4) Continue making more observations and checking if they match what's expected.

That's it. See something, try to explain it, see if that explanation works, GOTO 10. I've never understood why anti-science types constantly complain about things like a hypothesis only being invented to explain some observations we've made. That's the whole bloody point, and is the only vaguely sane way to approach things.

"What is dark matter? The stuff which explains the rate of expansion of the universe. What explains the rate of expansion of the universe? Dark matter."

Dark matter has nothing to do with the expansion of the universe*. Dark matter stems from observations that there often appears to be more mass present in some places than we can actually see. Galactic rotation curves are probably the best known observation - stars towards the outer edges of galaxies are almost always seen to be orbiting faster than they would if the stars and gas in the galaxy were the only mass in it. Dark matter isn't some bizarre invention out of thin air, it's just by far the simplest explanation - there appears to be more mass than we can see, therefore there's probably more mass that we can't see. Note that this doesn't even need to get the weirdness of relativity and quantum physics involved; orbits can be largely explained by Newtonian mechanics and observations made using Newtonian telescopes.

It only starts getting complicated because obviously the first thing everyone thought of was that it was just regular matter that we couldn't see in the form of things like brown dwarves and diffuse gas clouds, but after looking into it it turns out that can't actually explain things (essentially, if it was just lots of little things too faint to see, there would have to be so much that we'd be able to see it). And then as time passed a whole bunch of other, entirely separate, observations were made that not only suggested there was more mass around than we can see, but also tended to agree on how much, where it is, and that ordinary baryonic matter can't be present in the quantities required.

Which is why we now have more seemingly weird theories about what it could be. No matter what we look at or how we look, we consistently see indications that there's much more mass out in space than we can see directly via the electromagnetic spectrum. It can't be made out of baryonic matter, therefore it must be made of something else. We've ruled out lots of something elses so far, but we're still not sure what it actually is. Hence, dark matter. You certainly could call it sky pixies instead if you liked, but that wouldn't change the observations or the best answers we've come up with to explain them.

* OK, that's not quite true. One of the many lines of evidence pointing at dark matter is the observation that the rate of expansion of the universe is consistent with there being a lot more matter around than we can see. Dark energy is an entirely separate theory related to acceleration of the rate of expansion, but dark matter is required as well to actually fit the observations.

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Cuddles
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Re: Relativity - Great! But what about String Theory, Dark Matter and Dark Energy?

"they have never been detected"

What exactly do you think "detected" means? Dark matter is theorised to exist because it explains certain observations. In exactly the same manner, electrons are theorised to exist because that explains certain observations. Neither of them can ever be picked up in your hand and looked at with your own eyes, but both absolutely have been detected in any meaningful sense of the word.

"There are other theories that do NOT need dark matter and dark energy but they are (in general) ignored because ..."

They're ignored because they don't work. The first and most fundamental hurdle for any new theory to pass is to explain the observations we already have. So far none of the alternative ideas to try to explain dark energy, and even more so dark matter, have managed that.

"Same with String Theory. It can never be proven (experimentally) because strings would be smaller than the Plank Length (and thus can never be seen/resolved)."

Again, sheer nonsense. Confirming things in experiments does not mean being able to pick them up and look at them, it simply means that observations agree with the predictions made by a theory. It doesn't matter how small and impossible to directly see something might be, if its existence explains an observation that can't be explained in any other way, then that is evidence for its existence. As it happens, you're actually correct that string theory can't be proven, because there is actually no such thing; string theory (and its replacement M-theory, string theory is obsolete) is actually a large class of theories. You could get evidence for a specific one, or group, but it simply doesn't make sense to talk of proving string theory as a whole.

"Electric Universe"

Bwahahahahahaha.

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Benchmark smartphone drama: We wouldn't call it cheating, says Huawei, but look, everyone's at it

Cuddles
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Re: VW

"I’m all in favour of a doped up sports league. Cyclists off their tits on performance enhancers, runners barely able to piss for drugs and so forth. See what that real limits of the human body are when chemically boosted."

It's called the Olympics.

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Cuddles
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Re: Isn't this easy to fix?

"Benchmarks are a silly idea... But buy a phone that plays the equivalent of GTA V at 120fps on Ultra (or whatever), and you get... a phone that'll play that game like that."

Which is... drumroll... a benchmark. Benchmarking is simply comparing tests run under standard conditions. Comparing how well computers can run GTA5 is no different from comparing how well they can run Geekbench. The only difference is that with dedicated benchmarking software, you can be sure of running exactly the same tests in exactly the same way every time, while running a messy game makes that much more difficult. The tradeoffs are that badly made benchmarking software might not be representative of real world use, and that since there are relatively few testing suites around it's easier to cheat as was done here.

The reality is that no testing method is going to be perfect, but simply complaining about benchmarking in general doesn't make sense. Benchmarking software attempts to solve a real problem with comparing performance; the fact that it brings its own, different problems doesn't mean simply abandoning the whole idea will help since that still leaves you with the original problems to deal with.

Ideally what you want to do is along the lines of the testing TechReport does, which combines a variety of purely synthetic benchmarks, realistic benchmarks, and a selection of common programs and games including ones known to tax systems in different ways. For example, their most recent CPU benchmarks include memory and maths tests with AIDA64, Javascript performance in browser, WebXPRT benchmark, compiling with QTbench, 7-zip performance, Veracrypt disk encryption, Cinebench, Blender, Corona, Indigo, Handbrake, SPECwpc, Crysis 3, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, GTA 5, Hitman, and Far Cry 5. Six of those are dedicated benchmarking tools, six are standardised benchmarks performed with representative data sets in real programs, and five are best efforts at standardised tests in games.

Every single part of that is a benchmark, and even the more synthetic ones play an important part in the overall evaluation. The problem with benchmarks is not that they're a silly idea or that they don't mean anything, but that far too often both the people carrying them out and the people looking at the results are lazy and don't understand what they're doing. Looking at the results of a single benchmark is indeed meaningless, probably more so for a synthetic one but even realistic ones vary hugely depending on the task. There's no point looking at only the results for GTA5 if that relies heavily on single-core performance and completely misses memory bandwidth problems, and even adding a few other games in doesn't help if they all end up relying on the same aspects of the system (or importantly, if you just blindly throw games at it assuming that will make as good test, without figuring out what you're actually testing). The only way to do benchmarking properly is as above - test lots of different things in different ways, and for some of that synthetic benchmarks are the best tool for the job.

tl;dr - Benchmarking is far from a silly idea, and in fact pretty much every proposal for what should be done instead is just a different benchmark. The trick to doing it properly is simply to make sure you cover all aspects of performance, rather than just throwing one or two programs at it and calling it a day. If that's all you do, synthetic benchmarks are really no worse than anything else; you're not going to get a useful answer anyway.

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Facebook flogs dead horse. By flog, we mean sues. And by horse, we mean BlackBerry

Cuddles
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Pot, meet kettle

"Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, BlackBerry is now looking to tax the innovation of others,"

"(acquired from AOL)... (acquired from AT&T)... (acquired from BellSouth)... (acquired from HP)... (acquired from 3Com)... (acquired from HP)"

Hmm.

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