GeekSpeak for 2016-01-23

Throttling Bitcoins at the Back Door

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A follow up on T-Mobile’s Bingeon service, Discussion of Encryption and backdoors, Plus the latest news about Bitcoin.

Correction:T-Mobile’s Binge On Optimization is Just Throttling, Applies Indiscriminately to All Video

Our last finding is that T-Mobile’s video “optimization” doesn’t actually alter or enhance the video stream for delivery to a mobile device over a mobile network in any way. 2 This means T-Mobile’s “optimization” consists entirely of throttling the video stream’s throughput down to 1.5Mbps. If the video is more than 480p and the server sending the video doesn’t have a way to reduce or adapt the bitrate of the video as it’s being streamed, the result is stuttering and uneven streaming—exactly the opposite of the experience T-Mobile claims their “optimization” will have.

Apple’s Tim Cook Lashes Out at White House Officials for Being Wishy-Washy on Encryption

Apple CEO Tim Cook lashed out at the high-level delegation of Obama administration officials who came calling on tech leaders in San Jose last week, criticizing the White House for a lack of leadership and asking the administration to issue a strong public statement defending the use of unbreakable encryption.

Video Shows SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Land on Droneship, Then Fall Over and Explode

The short video, which Musk posted on Instagram, shows the Falcon 9 rocket first stage touching down on the drone ship as planned, but then falling over to hit the deck and explode. Musk has said one of the four landing legs on the rocket failed to latch securely, leading to the fall. The rocket landing occured after SpaceX successfully launched the Jason-3 satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite will map Earth’s oceans in unprecedented detail for NASA and NOAA

The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment

Why has Bitcoin failed? It has failed because the community has failed. What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked “systemically important institutions” and “too big to fail” has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse. The mechanisms that should have prevented this outcome have broken down, and as a result there’s no longer much reason to think Bitcoin can actually be better than the existing financial system.

Server retired after 18 years and ten months

“In its day, it was a reasonable machine – 200MHz Pentium, 32MB RAM, 4GB SCSI-2 drive,” Ross writes. “And up until recently, it was doing its job fine.” Of late, however the “hard drive finally started throwing errors, it was time to retire it before it gave up the ghost!” The drive’s a Seagate, for those of you looking to avoid drives that can’t deliver more than 19 years of error-free operations.

Return of incandescent light bulbs as MIT makes them more efficient than LEDs - Telegraph

But now scientists in the US believe they have come up with a solution which could see a reprieve for incandescent bulbs.

Researchers at MIT have shown that by surrounding the filament with a special crystal structure in the glass they can bounce back the energy which is usually lost in heat, while still allowing the light through.

They refer to the technique as ‘recycling light’ because the energy which would usually escape into the air is redirected back to the filament where it can create new light.

Richard Stallman on Free Software

Richard Stallman from the Free Software Foundation joins us to talk about the GNU/Linux operating system and his philosophies about software including Digital Restrictions Management and so-called “intellectual property.”


Episode 3, Season 16