Silly Storage

How about constructing storage so that there is no actual storage as such, just infinite transmission round a loop?

Of course this idea is not by any means new: In analogue terms, feedback delay lines have been used for 3 decades to store audio data. In digital terms, delay lines have existed for 10 years or so. How about appying the idea to storage?

What got me thinking was a recent article by Siemens and BT. These two companies are just experimenting with 160Gb/sec transmissions and are presently testing over 280 Kilometers sucessfully (in Lab conditions).

‘How much data is in transit at once’, I wondered.

It’s pretty straighforward maths, although I’ve not thought about it like this before.

Lets take it from the beginning:

c, as Einstein would put it, is 299,792,458 Meters per second. (Much as I hate the new money, it’s much easier this way, trust me!).

We’ll go about this in a rather long winded way, primarily because I’m a bit simple: At 10Mbits, such as with our good friend Ethernet, each bit is 29 Meters ‘long’. By long I mean if you could see each bit in transmission it would occupy a length of 29 Meters. Weird concept I know. BTW, Remember that these maths only apply to laser based comms: propogation through cables does not occur at c.

At 100Mbit and 1Gbit, the numbers are pretty easy to work out: 2.9 Meters and 0.29 Meters respectivly.

Okay. In my pretend example, lets say that we have a relay station on Earth and one on the Moon (okay, okay it’s crazy, stick with me a moment). Each relay station simply receives a signal from the other, regenerates it and bounces it back. The Earth station has the ability to pass the signal to an additional receiver and there is a facility for injecting fresh bits onto the stream (presumably replacing anything there already).

In this storage loop, the total capacity of the system and the retrieveal latency are related to the bit ‘length’ and the distance.

Lets keep with the moon example for a moment. The moon is about 402,336,000 meters from the earth, so there is ‘space’ for 13873655 bits along the path in each direction or let’s say around 3 Megabytes in total.

Our retreival time for any given bit is going to be (in the worst case), the round trip time (RTT), which at a distance of 402 million meters is around 2.6 seconds.

All in all, I think you will agree that this is probably the worst storage proposition you’ve ever had: particularly when you think that we have no error or check bits.

Never mind, lets go straight up to Gigabit: Now with each bit taking a mere 29 cm, we can fit a whopping 2,774,731,034
or 346 Megabytes. This is a bit better, now we are merely back in the dark ages.

Next: BT’s Recent Demo was of 160Gbit/Sec, this gives us an effective bit length of a tad under 2mm (although in actual fact, Bt’s work is around multiple parallel transmissions). Lets see what that gives us around 53,788,235,294 bytes in transit at once or around 53 Gigabytes. Much better!

In the real world of course we don’t need to worry about the bit lengths: we can just take the propogation delay in seconds and divide it by the bit rate to get the total data in transit. Not quite as interesting like that though, it it!

Going back to cables: As the propogation happens slower than c the capacity of the system actually increases increases, the tradeoff being the increse in bit recovery time.

All in all, bouncing signals off distant objects may be a really clever way to store high latency friendly data for long periods.

In the next example, We’ll try a Further planetary object like Mars or Jupiter… Watch This space

IE 6 user? Switch to something else for a few weeks again

Yep, another security warning for IE6 and yet again it’s a nasty one.

It’s another active scripting exploit which potentially allows
anyone to do anything to your machine. The majority of these problems
care not a jot for proxies etc, and will work regardless of your access

This is one of the growing list of problems which falls into the
cross-site scripting category of problem: allowing scripts from one
security domain (such as the Internet) to execute with the security
privileges of another domain (such as My Computer). I think you can see
the problem!

Presently Microsoft have no fix for the problem but are looking
into the issue. Industry experts suggest disabling Active scripting
(Not as easy as you woud think) or changing browser until a patch is

Wanna See What The Mystical 1500 Companies Actually Received?

The Groklaw site has published a transcript of one of the letters sent out to the 1500 companies originally contacted by SCO to persuade them to buy a license.

Guess what, one of them was IBM. In fact, as IBM have used this letter as part of their ammended counter claims against SCO, it’s actually formed part of the Court Record.

TurboTas has had a quick read of it and can attest to the fact that it is utter bollocks. Read on to get to my facimile or check out Groklaw.

Mr. Lucio A. Noto

Audit Committee Chair

International Business Machines

New Orchard Road

Armonk, NY 10504

Dear Lucio:

SCO holds the rights to the UNIX operating system software originally licensed by AT&T to approximately 6,000 companies and institutions worldwide (the “UNIX Licenses”). The vast majority of UNIX software used in enterprise applications today is a derivative work of the software originally distributed under our UNIX Licenses. Like you, we have an obligation to our shareholders to protect our intellectual property and other valuable rights.

In recent years, a UNIX-like operating system has emerged and has been distributed in the enterprise marketplace by various software vendors. This system is called Linux. We believe that Linux is, in material part, an unauthorized derivative of UNIX.

As you may know, the development process for Linux has differed substantially from the development process for other enterprise operating systems. Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software. This process is designed to monitor the security and ownership of intellectual property rights associated with the code.

By contrast, much of Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers, each contributing a small section of code. There is no mechanism inherent in the Linux development process to assure that intellectual property rights, confidentiality or security are protected. The Linux process does not prevent inclusion of code that has been stolen outright; or developed by improper use of proprietary methods and concepts.

Many Linux contributors were originally UNIX developers who had access to UNIX source code distributed by AT&T and were subject to confidentiality agreements, including confidentiality of the methods and concepts involved in software design. We have evidence that portions of UNIX System V software code have been copied into Linux and that additional other portions of UNIX System V software code have been modified and copied into Linux, seemingly for the purposes of obfuscating their original source.

As a consequence of Linux’s unrestricted authoring process, it is not surprising that Linux distributors do not warrant the legal integrity of the Linux code provided to customers. Therefore legal liability that may arise from the Linux developments process may also rest with the end user.

We believe that Linux infringes on our UNIX intellectual property and other rights. We intend to aggressively protect and enforce these rights. Consistent with this effort, on March 7, we initiated legal action against IBM for alleged unfair competition and breach of contract with respect to our UNIX rights. This case is pending in Utah Federal District Court. As you are aware, this case has been widely reported and commented upon in the press. If you would like additional information, a copy of the complaint and response may be viewed at our web site at

For the reasons explained above, we have also announced the suspension of our own Linux-related activities until the issues surrounding Linux intellectual property and the attendant risks are better understood and properly resolved.

Similar to analogous efforts underway in the music industry, we are prepared to take all actions necessary to stop the ongoing violation of our intellectual property or other rights.

SCO’s actions may prove unpopular with those who wish to advance or otherwise benefit from Linux as a free software system for use in enterprise applications. However, our property and contract rights are important and valuable: not only to us, but to every individual and every company whose livelihood depends on the continued viability of intellectual and intangible property rights in a digital age.

Yours truly,


By: Darl McBride

President and CEO

US Wants to Muller Euro GPS Efforts

The US has been upset ever since the first Galileo announcements some years ago, but the moves to make sure it happens in a US controlled way took a worrying turn recently.

The Americans have come out with all sorts of nonsense in the last few months. Every excuse you can imagine has been peddled out to hamper the Euro GPS consortium.

Initially there were concerns that the new constellation would interfere with the existing US DOD run system. Next were claims that terrorist elements would use the system against the US (A silly claim given that this is true of any Positioning System).

Now, in order to move forwards, it looks like the Euro consortium may be ready to cave in and let the US Military cripple the system as and when the need arises.

In practical terms this probably means that the frequencies will be available to allow the DOD to jam the satellites or worse that a form of Selctive Availability would be introduced (probably on a geographic basis this time around).

Dunno what you think, but TurboTas can’t help thinking that these tactics will put the Euro program out of kilter just long enough for the upgrades planned for the DOD GPS constellation to be delivering improved accuracy, at which time the Americans will try to Six the Euro effort permanently.

It doesn’t really need saying that the Balance Of Power in Space has already changed considerably in the last twelve months: Since the grounding of the US Shuttles, the Space Station programme is completely reliant on other countries to get supplies up to the station.

Even now, after the official findings into the tradgedy have been published, it’s uncertain when the Shuttle fleet will return to active service. Until they do it seems strange that a non space-capable nation are calling the shots!