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Will Capped Data Plans Kill the Cloud?

Mike McTernan Playstation Store (530 comments)

I think they have a point here. For example, the PS3 has a load of services which are in the cloud, such as film rental and downloads as well as game downloads. A HD film or some games seem to be around 7GB to download, but my ISP caps at 20GB per month with £5 for an extra 5GB over that limit (£1 per GB, grrr!!). So basically these PS3 services have to be used with care, otherwise the cost of renting a film is suddenly a lot more than you pay at the Playstation Store.

The really stupid thing is that the ISP doesn't count usage between midnight and 8am, but the PS3 can't be set to schedule downloads in these 'off hours' unless you subscribe to Playstation Plus for an extra £40 a year.

As a result I don't use the Playstation Store for much, and well, haven't used it at all since they lost all the credit card details anyway!

more than 3 years ago

Firefox 4 the Last Big Release From Mozilla

Mike McTernan Re:Plugin Support (236 comments)

If your extension doesn't work with 3.6, edit your install.rdf file and change the MaxVersion to 3.6 (or wildcard)

Nah. Just install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter plugin and help the beta effort. This add-on lets others run irrespective of the version, but then you can also rate the compatibility of all plugins and indicate if they work or not.

more than 3 years ago

Fujitsu Eyes Wireless Gadget Charging For 2012

Mike McTernan Re:Already here for a while now (158 comments)

Splashpower started in 2001: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splashpower

I actually saw one of their demonstrations and it was cool. The pad was just a slightly thick mousepad like device, and you could put multiple phones of different types on it at the same time and at any orientation. They had modified battery modules to contain their own chip which did the inductive pick up and regulation. They said their goal was to get the chip built into devices by default, although unless the chip was very cheap, I suspect this would have been difficult to include in cost sensitive mobile phones and iPods.

more than 4 years ago

The Genius of the Lego Printer

Mike McTernan Make & program your own robots, William Clark (187 comments)

There's a similar lego plotter in this book: http://www.clarkonline.org/william/mapyor/index.html

The book describes using some large lego wheels to form a drum around which the paper was attached, and how to form a small electro magnet around a bolt through a technic lego plate to pull the pen towards the drum. The pen itself was suspended between two lego axles on a butterfly pin. The whole magnet head assembly could pinion left and right using an improvised lego rotary counter to measure progress with a similar block to rotate the drum.

I had the Sinclair Spectrum version of the book as a child and an IO box of relays. I never made the printer, but made lots of other devices.

There's some inside pictures of the book here: http://www.hexapodrobot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=318

A PDF of the book is here: http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=2000479

more than 4 years ago

India, China Try Import Regulations As Security Tools

Mike McTernan Re:The only encryption algorithms worth a damn (108 comments)

smart enough to make these idiot companies with closed-source encryption

It's often overlooked that GSM development started in 1982. At that time computing power was a fraction of what it is now and DSPs, rather than dedicated logic used in today's chipsets, would be used for the first implementations of this new technology. Mobile phones are also very power sensitive devices - battery life is very important.

So given these pressures, some corners had to be cut to make the system workable on the available technology. This lead to the A5 algorithms being both proprietary and somewhat lightweight given the limited computing resources in a mobile phone. Due to the huge success of GSM and the number of handsets out there, it rapidly becomes very difficult to change the standard in such a fundamental manner. 3G is one attempt to upgrade the GSM standards and brings in new ciphers based upon an existing published standard, but even that has taken a long time to get traction and GSM is still very widely available.

So to say these companies are idiots is somewhat ignorant of the historical practicalities required to make GSM a success.

more than 4 years ago

Nokia, Intel Merge Maemo, Moblin Into MeeGo

Mike McTernan Re:Gtk RIP? (162 comments)

Doesn't Chromium use GTK?

more than 4 years ago

Firefox 3.7 Dropped In Favor of Feature Updates

Mike McTernan Re:Where's the meat? (252 comments)

3.7 stands for a feature set on the Firefox roadmap.

Skipping that number signifies that the planned release has changed form. Avoiding use of that number then neatly avoids confusion about what the new planned releases will contain since Firefox 3.7 already has an attached meaning. It also allows retrospective discussion of what was planned for 3.7; useful if the roadmap is being updated.

If you don't have a published roadmap with promised features, keeping the next release as n + 1 is no problem.

about 5 years ago

Apple Fails To Deliver On Windows 7 Boot Camp Promise

Mike McTernan Re:Apple Specific Drivers (279 comments)

Yeah - I'd be surprise if you could damage the CPU in the way described in the original post.

There's a bunch about thermal monitoring and control from Intel here:


The relevant bit is:

"The power monitor continuously tracks the die temperature. If the temperature reaches the maximum allowed value, a throttle mechanism is initiated. A multi-level tracking algorithm is implemented. Throttling starts with the more efficient dynamic voltage scaling policy and if not sufficient, the power monitor algorithm continues lowering the frequency. If an extreme cooling malfunction occurs, an Out of Spec notification will be initiated, requesting controlled shutdown. Lastly, the CPU can initiate a thermal shutdown and turn off the system."

I'd guess the thermal shutdown cannot be configured by software and would prevent any damage if the other mechanisms were either ineffective or somehow disabled by software.

about 5 years ago

Con Kolivas Returns, With a Desktop-Oriented Linux Scheduler

Mike McTernan Re:great news (333 comments)

Making schedulers runtime pluggable would make it really easy to get other people hacking on the Linux scheduler though.

For example, you could lash up a reusable test harness to allow scheduler testing under well defined and repeatable scenarios. This may then allow more direct comparison between schedulers hopefully leading to a best of breed race. Making it runtime un/loadable would also speed up the development cycle for the scheduler much in the same way that loadable modules can often be more rapidly debugged and fixed by not needing a reboot for each change.

You could even go crazy and make a scheduler plug in 'shim' just for the purpose of profiling different implementations under real workloads.

The only thing I would say is that the whole scheduler API should be made in such a way that the scheduler is undeniably covered by the GPL. Binary blob schedulers would be the worst possible outcome and would go against the thought of trying to open up the scheduler as a means of furthering development and healthy competition.

more than 5 years ago

Best Home Backup Strategy Now?

Mike McTernan Mozy is good (611 comments)

Mozy is good - it's offsite backup with nice shell integration. Sadly it's Windows only though :(

more than 5 years ago

Ugobe, Maker of Pleo, Files For Bankruptcy

Mike McTernan Re:Am I the only one? (79 comments)

They probably worked out the costs if they sold >1M. They sold 100k, so never reached those economies of scale.

That's a shame, but at least they were thinking big. If they started out planning to sell 100k, they wouldn't have bothered.

I wish them luck in what they do next. Pleo is still unique.

more than 5 years ago

Optimizing Linux Systems For Solid State Disks

Mike McTernan Re:Why pretend these are ordinary disks? (207 comments)

> and of course, having a filesystem and a special MTD driver for
> *every single SSD drive manufactured* when they change flash
> chips or tweak the controller, could get unwieldy.

Large numbers of flash chips can be supported by the MTD CFI drivers:


Something similar could be done for SSDs too, except they've chosen HDD standards as they are a better fit.


more than 5 years ago

VIA Nano Bests Intel Atom In Netbook Benchmarks

Mike McTernan Re:Intel Atom 330 turns the tables though (130 comments)

Yeah, well Via's driver support for Linux is horrible, while the Intel Atom stuff just works perfectly with Ubuntu out of the box. That may have something to do with why Intel is preferred.

more than 5 years ago

DIY LED Array Marquee For Your PC

Mike McTernan serial interface (128 comments)

Shame the TCP/IP stack isn't on the microcontroller. Putting uIP on there, or grabbing bits from my stack (http://www.mcternan.co.uk/MAD/) would be awesome.

about 6 years ago

Google Chrome Tops Browser Speed Tests

Mike McTernan Re:Wrong use case (371 comments)

> Chrome seemed to take a second to open just one tab, let alone 15.

I think some of that maybe the price you pay for process-per-tab.

more than 6 years ago


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