Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/20/letters_2010/
GPS units lose cloaked shipping containers
And duck! There's a galaxy coming
Letters Sun announced this week that it plans to sell shipping containers . Something of a departure, perhaps, except that these containers will be stuffed with half a million dollars worth of kit that sysadmins can stack in the company car park:
This Sun data centre in a box idea is bound to work. It's exactly what sysadmins want. At last, reconfiguring their systems will be much more akin to playing with gaint lego bricks than ever before. Much more fun than slotting dull and boring blades in racks, etc.
Of course every sysadmin out there is busily booking themselves on a crane driving course as it will become a vital skill of the job. There will be forums dedicated to discussions as to how high you can pile them up, and whether it's best to put the storage at the top of the pile so data gets some speed up as it runs down hill to the users. I wonder if crane drivers earn more or less than your average sysadmin?
When you think about it, what would be the point in having an expensive and inflexible building when you could just as easily pile up ISO containers. RAID could gain a new meaning - Redundant Array of ISO Datacentres.
Since Sun's data center in a container needs a water hookup, can one simply throw one at the bottom of a lake with a long extension cord and be done with it? :)
And the follow-up :
A lot of the article touts the requirements for cooled space as something that this new shipping container will solve, I quote:
"Way back in 2000, Hipp emphasized that server vendors should place more emphasis on cooling and space conservation"
"Sun's solution looks much easier and cheaper to me than building out more data center space that requires specialized cooling and the like"
Which begs the question, why the hell are they putting it in a BLACK shipping container. Surely even the good people at Sun realise that black is the colour that absorbs the most heat from solar radiation, thus only increasing the temperature of the box??
Just my $0.02 worth.
Those black trailers make me wonder if Sun shouldn't be providing an MP3 of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
We had a couple of extra contributions on the whole HSBC card crash  debacle:
OK let me get this right theregister is a web site that give out IT based news, so it would not be to farfetched of me to say that most people reading it, and responding to articles, will have something to do with IT. Give that everyone here is in IT I'm going to assume a bit of IT knowledge, like the importance of backups, and that we all know that both primary and secondary systems can fail at the same time for different reasons.
With this knowledge that we all have WHY OH WHY DO PEOPLE ONLY HAVE ONE WAY AT GETTING THEIR MONEY? Given the number of pre-approved credit card applications that I get sent everyday, it makes sense that I have one from a bank that is completely different and independent of my main bank account. I've got one it costs me nothing to have and I keep it tucked in my wallet and never use it, but if my normal one gets refused I can get it out. Mind you if I was with HSBC I'd get a second credit card and change banks, actually I did just a few months ago and it really is easy. Won't say who I moved to but its all smiles here.
Seriously? Is it just me, or is that scarily paranoid?
We were stuck in a pub in the Lake District, our dinner cooked and on table with no alternate means of payment. They accepted the little cash I had on me and an IOU that I would call back whe nthe bank was back 'online' and do a card holder not present.
I contacted HSBC during the outage and received a rather poor and un-helpful sevice/responce from one of their non UK 'call centres'.
I have since lodged a complaint and insited that they pay me £25 for my inconvenience. As they feel that £25 is a fair charge to me for going overdrawn I felt it only right for me to charge them. They have contacted me back and I'm glad to report I am now in receipt of a credit to my account for £25.
I'm sure they'll find somthing else to charge me for before the year is out.
Scientists announced they have developed a cloaking device . So far, it's only good at hiding things from radar, but not as some readers suggest, merely by duplicating stealth technology. But what about the cloaked person, you wondered?
I don't wish to pour cold water on their efforts but if the cloak bends all the microwaves/light around the object (like water around a smooth pebble) then presumably if you are inside the cloak you can't see out as you would have no incoming radio/light waves to process. A bit like walking around a cave in the pitch black without any lights on so no-one can see you. Problem is you can't see where you are going either !!
There still exists a way to identify/locate an "invisible" object using microwaves--- Because the object redirects the waves around the object, the path length of the wave being redirected is longer that the direct path. This means that the redirected path would take a longer time for a pulse wavefront as compared to the direct path.
Using a wave pulse of sufficiently short duration should make the "smearing" of the return pulse detectable due to the difference in the time taken by the redirected wave. A "subtraction" of the original wave pattern from the reflected pattern should show the delta.
This might be easiest to detect by having a flat background to reflect the pulse from. Other backgrounds would work, but that would require having "snapshots" of the background when the "invisible" object isn't there.
Granted, the "invisible" object would still be invisible if there is no reflected pulse to compair. But that might be worked around - possibly by having a predefined wave pulse broadcast from one site, then picked up by a second site.
If it were optical, then I would expect the "invisible" object would show up by an interference pattern (just like a hologram is generated) revealing the objects outline.
You'll need a hardy constitution for this one. But as Thomas C Greene argues, the US might not have one anymore :
I have been a devoted reader of this website for years now and have never seen such an inappropriate piece of journalism on what I thought was a technology news outlet that published articles concerned only with technology. Sure there are the usual politically-biased pokes and prods but they are always light-hearted. Your publishing of this material has no doubt scarred The Register's reputation in the eyes of a significant number of readers.
While the points and opinions are relevant and warranted, readers expect certain things from this source and this stuck out like a self-inflicted, rank wound. And no, I do not vote Republican or Democrat for that matter. If you wanted to started publishing purely politically-biased garbage, then why couldn't you at least pick a native author?
Just for the record, Mr Thomas C Greene is about as American as they come. If nothing else, you can tell by the middle initial.
From constitutional madness, we turn to customer services badness  from Sony Ericsson:
What's the news? Sony Ericsson has bean deaf to complaints ever since. Roughly three years ago I sent in a complaint about the P800 of a quality that makes you expect someone from the company to give you a call. At least. I never even got an eMail in return.
That bouncing email is pretty typical of Sony and their subsidiary branches.
Sony Online Entertainment's cancellation response email address, (where you basically tell them the billion and one ways they screwed up the MMORPG game you were playing and why it caused you to quit,) just bounces straight back to you.
As a response SOE can happily sit in their offices not recieving any complaint emails, and thinking that they are doing everything right.
Hence the reason why they were so shocked that their 4-500,000 player base for Star Wars Galaxies took a massive nosedive after they released the NGE, (New Game Enhancements,) and they are now sitting at just above 100,000 players. Most of whom are not active accounts, but cancelled accounts that still have credit on them.
Bouncing rubber emails from Sony is the norm sadly !!
The story of Reuters and Second Life  gets a second wind:
"How very sad. To my mind Second Life has always been something of a posterchild for the wooly headed Web 2.0 (Second Web?) mob, with its focus on 'user created content'."
Maybe Mike should do some more research then... I'm not a massive fan of Second Life but to dismiss it as a "Web 2.0" gimmick is to misunderstand it. For one thing, it's far more level-headed than Web 2.0 - it uses a fairly sound business model which doesn't involve crossing your fingers and hoping Google buys you, but which instead rewards users monetarily for high-quality content and then (as I understand it) takes a percentage off everytime someone decides to convert their virtual earnings into real money. For another, it's less about the future of the web than it is about the future of online-enabled games, which /are/ heading towards more user-generation of content, partially because ownership begets attachment, and partially as a counter to the increasing cost of content generation in games.
Personally I think what Reuters is doing here is a great experiment. They're taking online games seriously (something which far too many non-industry people fail to do), they're looking at alternative ways to deal with the much-heralded "death of newspapers", and they're probably going to make a good return on investment given the Second Life model. Hell, if the Linden Labs "Cash in/cash out" model really is the future of online games (unlikely IMO, but possible) Reuters could make a killing on the back of this move. Hats off to them for having the balls to do it.
Youyou areare lessless [Enough! - Ed]. Sorry. You are less than impressed with TomTom's court case  against Garmin:
Garmingarmin, is this the way to your lawyer's office?
I hope the JudgeJudge throws TomTom out, if only for their appalling adverts. What advertising agency in their right mind thought it a good idea to annoy prospective customers?
And finally, one very jumpy reader wonders if he needs to move house soon :
re. Galactic collision captured in stunning detail "our own galaxy, which is likely to collide with the (cosmically) nearish Andromeda galaxy in about six billion years time."
Oh my God! What are we gonna do! Oh wait...I thought you said 6 MILLION years.
That's all from us, this week. Back on Tuesday, so keep writing. ®