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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

GrahamCox Missing the wood for the trees, BBC (362 comments)

When the BBC opened 4 digital channels here in Oz on FoxTel, my assumption was that this is an intermediate move to establish the brand and also debug the distribution channels ahead of a time a few years away where everything is an "app" on whatever STB you choose, with a paid subscription model. Foxtel is only being used for now (I supposed) because that's where the technology is at and not everyone yet has an open-ish STB that can support arbitrary channel apps.

This latest shows that the BBC isn't doing this after all, which is a great shame, as it's surely the way TV is going to go (as long as governments have the balls to tell Murdoch to stuff his 80s distribution model up his arse). If there were a BBC "app" with a simple subscription model (in the manner of say, Apple TV) then the BBC would not give a shit who runs a VPN or how the content is accessed. They only have to ensure that the client has paid for the service. I'd go for that, it's a no brainer. Everyone wins - the BBC, the consumer, the box makers. Oh, Rupert doesn't, oh well, boo hoo hoo.

I just don't get it. The BBC is generally quite forward-looking and surely can see the way this is all going? If they truly can't, as this stupid comment seems to imply, then I really hope somebody gets their brain into gear over there soon.

about two weeks ago

Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

GrahamCox All in all... (237 comments)'s just another brick in the wall.

For some reason people aren't breaking out the hammers. It's as if they just don't care, or fail to understand the implications at least, of all this surveillance and monitoring.

about two weeks ago

Update: Raspberry Pi-Compatible Development Board Cancelled

GrahamCox Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (165 comments)

I started out as a hardware designer, specialising in RF. I worked for a medium-sized company at first, but one that was quite important in the UK in its particular market, and I had no trouble getting free samples out of any supplier when I mentioned their name. Later, when I wanted to build stuff for myself without the clout of a larger company, I still found getting free samples was easy enough. The trick was, call them up and ask them to give you a quote to supply the chip with price breaks at 10, 100, 10,000 pieces. Then after they'd gone through that process, throw in a "by the way, any chance of a couple of free samples?" (I wouldn't bother with this charade for basic components, free samples were no problem, but for more expensive items they needed to think you were serious). This was in the 80s so cutting edge at that time meant chips such as the 68HC11 SoC - I even got a couple of free development boards out of Motorola for that one.

A company called CML used to produce codec chips for handling the digital modulation of a baseband signal using GPSK, etc. Getting samples out of them was sometimes tricky because these were highly specialised custom fabrications. But I still got a tube full of free samples out of them which I used in a university project - very much a one-off - using the same BS.

about three weeks ago

Old Doesn't Have To Mean Ugly: Squeezing Better Graphics From Classic Consoles

GrahamCox Other parts of the world? (167 comments)

SCART was more common in other parts of the world

What other parts? Where are you from? If you include a relative reference, at least mention what it's relative TO. You know, the internet is worldwide, FFS.

about three weeks ago

News Corp Australia Doesn't Want You To Look Closely At Their Financials

GrahamCox Good! (132 comments)

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of cunts. The sooner they go down the toilet the better for the country.

about a month ago

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

GrahamCox Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

Exactly. Originally Wikipedia had a statement that "wikipedia isn't paper", so anything and everything was fair game for inclusion. That was one of its great attractions. I have no idea if that still stands, but if so it seems at odds with the whole notability thing. What they *should* do, if notability is an issue, is to have a little +/- thing on each article that rates the article for notability. Over time that will end up indicating the relative 'notabilty score' of the article, without having to have it actually deleted. Brainless fucks the lot of 'em, it's been years since I've contributed to WP, the attitude was just not worth battling over.

about a month ago

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

GrahamCox New Name (426 comments)

Just rename it "The Internet". You and I know that the web isn't the internet, but the average grandma doesn't. I'm surprised Apple haven't already tried it with Safari.

about a month ago

Of the following, I'd rather play ...

GrahamCox Re:Chess (274 comments)

At my level, it makes no difference who goes first :)

about a month ago

Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

GrahamCox On Yer Bike (341 comments)

Just get a bike. Berlin is brilliant for cycling. And if you need to transport something big, just call up any of the many taxi-like services that will take it home in a van for you.

about a month ago

Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

GrahamCox Re:Header files (427 comments)

Header files are great when you are writing code to be used by other people (i.e. most oft he time, for a professional). They allow you to separate the public parts of your blob of code from all the private nasty bits you'd rather they didn't see or use. Headers define your code's contract with the outside world, the rest is implementation detail. I'd hate to have to link against code that didn't use them - it would massively increase the learning curve for arbitrary libraries.

about a month ago

Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

GrahamCox Re:Remove the Bloat (151 comments)

C=64 1Mhz 6510 with 64k RAM (38 useable), also fast and efficient

It wasn't fast by any stretch (I had the European PAL spec, which was even slower). If you wanted to use "high resolution" mode (320x200 pixels) then it took minutes to draw even simple curves. If you programmed it using the built-in BASIC, anything non-trivial took minutes or more. The only way you could write anything like a useful program was to use assembler, coding directly to the bare metal. Some of the games resulting were impressive enough for their time, but wouldn't look much today.

The problem isn't sloppy coding, but that expectations are higher - people want photographic fidelity for images and video, interfaces that look good, and the ability to download stuff over the internet quickly. All that takes a lot of processor power, and a certain amount of code. A modern PC is hardly wasting CPU cycles to get its work done (except in the trivial sense that it's using a lot of power for things that some people consider frivolous, like blurry translucent window backgrounds), there isn't a way to speed up our devices by 10x and still have them do what they do. The idea that modern code is wasteful and bloated is a myth.

about a month ago

Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

GrahamCox Re:Obvious (151 comments)

Then the rate of improvements fell off a cliff

That's only true if you're only judging it by outright speed, height, etc. Things have continued to improve in terms of efficiency, thrust-to-weight ratio, noise, cleanliness of fuel burn and above all, reliability.

The original RB211 turbofan (the first big fanjet of the type that all modern airliners use) had a total lifetime of 1,000 hours. Nowadays it's >33,000 hours. That's an incredible achievement. In 1970, as a young kid with a keen interest in aviation, I would watch Boeing 707s fly in and out of my local airport, all trailing plumes of black smoke, all whining loudly (and deafeningly, on take-off), and understanding where all the noise protesters that frequently appeared on the news were coming from. Nowadays you don't have that, because noise is just not the problem it was, there's no black smoke, and jets slip in and out of airports really very quietly, when you consider how much power they are producing (which in turn helps them climb away more quickly).

As far as computing is concerned, you're right - there's still plenty of room at the bottom. But the current fabrication technology is reaching its limits. Perhaps jet engine manufacturers in the late 60s couldn't see how they would overcome fundamental limits in materials technology to produce the jets we have today, but they did.

about a month ago

Of the following, I'd rather play ...

GrahamCox Chess (274 comments)

Of those listed, Chess is the only game (possibly the only game ever invented) that has no element of chance whatsoever. You win or lose purely by the decisions you make and the power of your own intellect. Even though I'm not very good, I do find it a stimulating and very satisfying game.

about a month ago

Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

GrahamCox Re:Legal... sort of (178 comments)

Which is nuts, actually. Hemp is a brilliant raw material with hundreds of practical uses which *should*, if people had any sense of balance, far outweigh the small issue of the cannabinoids. It could probably even be selectively bred to eliminate that aspect, but no, concern about a few potheads sends legislators into a tailspin. This is why we can't have nice things.

about a month ago

Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

GrahamCox Soccer's been sold out (39 comments)

Soccer has been sold out to the corporate sector. It's no longer about players and the love of the game, it's just about maximising profit.

Germany, who just won the World Cup, don't tend to do it this way so much - instead they invest in youth soccer training and mentoring, spotting and nurturing young talent. As a result, most of the teams in the Bundesliga are "worth" far, far less in pure financial terms (though I'm not claiming that there isn't a great deal of corporatism there as well, it just hasn't quite reached the same insane levels as the UK for example).

It's sad to see the game that was once the passion of every working class member of society become basically Formula 1 with boots on, with ticket prices only the wealthy can afford.

about a month ago

Xbox One Will Play Media from USB Devices, DLNA Servers

GrahamCox DLNA is crap (112 comments)

Why DLNA, in this day and age? It's garbage, with a "lowest common denominator" approach to media files, with only 8.3 filenames and very few supported formats. It's like the companies got together to grudgingly agree a simple standard that would mean they didn't have to do any real work with each other, just a bare minimum that would just about allow interoperability and a minimum of effort to implement.

about a month ago

I'd most like to (personally) explore:

GrahamCox Re:I'd like to explore... (246 comments)

Bali Bali

No such place. There's Bali, and there's Bora Bora. One of those?

about a month ago

Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

GrahamCox Re:I don't get it. (541 comments)

why is intellectual variability so verboten

Show me a) how the brain works (at the intellectual level, not just neurons firing, which is only the hardware, not the software) and b) what IQ means, and c) how the genes influence either a or b.

It seems likely that whatever constitutes "intelligence", genes may be a factor. But there's a gulf of understanding the cause and effect between the two right now. That's why it's really just bad science to write about it as if it were a proven fact.

about a month ago

Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

GrahamCox Re:Heysham (120 comments)

I can assure you it was not for time between nuclear accidents, but don't let that little truth stop you from you from making a slant.

I never claimed it was. I designed the thing; it was pretty clear they meant industrial accident in the normal sense of someone cutting themselves, dropping a hammer on their foot, etc. Nevertheless it struck me as a strange thing to want to put on display, because no matter what value the display showed up to 999, it would either be misinterpreted (e.g. as a nuclear accident) or always look far too low. The only way it would ever be impressive would be if it had a 10-digit display that always showed some very large number (but then that would be dishonest). So what's the point of it? Not for me to question, we were happy to take the customer's money.

about a month ago



Einstein thought religion "childish superstiti

GrahamCox GrahamCox writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GrahamCox (741991) writes "The Guardian is running a story about a private letter of Albert Einstein's which is about to come up for auction:
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." So said Albert Einstein, and his famous aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own. A little known letter written by him, however, may help to settle the argument — or at least provoke further controversy about his views. Due to be auctioned this week in London after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, the document leaves no doubt that the theoretical physicist was no supporter of religious beliefs, which he regarded as "childish superstitions"."

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