3558 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
An interesting halfway house...
...is the screen being demonstrated by Pixel Qi - makers of the OLPC screen. In full power mode it is a conventional backlit colour LCD; but flip a switch and it turns into monochrome energy frugal electronic paper.
A picture of one of their 10.1" displays in an Aspire One here: http://www.pixelqi.com/blog1/
Hollywood has led me to believe that America's finest would settle for nothing less than Ken Adams inspired bunkers with wall displays and touch-screen tables; not something from Dixons.
I just hope they get some of those electric jetskis.
'Aren't all religions are cults?'
Debatably yes. Though Scientology is the only one that charges you to read its holy books and threatens anyone who disseminates their 'teachings' through unofficial channels.
Isn't he also a minister for Higher Education? Since he's more concerned about BitTorrent that could explain the state of universities right now.
He talks about 'future sustainability of our copyright industries.'
Easy answer. There isn't a future for copyright. Time for a new model.
@ Lionel Baden
'the amount of times ive bought a game and regreted not checking it first !!!!'
Absolutely agree. And don't forget this government is a huge fan of DRM which means under a strict interpretation of the law I can't watch many movies that are region coded. I fail to see how downloading a movie only available in Region 1, or an eBook who's publishers have forbidden it to be sold in the UK, constitutes a lost sale.
Big story yesterday about a blind woman who bought an eBook version of the Bible from Amazon. The publisher had decided it would not work with voice synthesis software so she was unable to use her book. Amazon do not offer refunds on eBooks and the publishers refused to budge. What did she do? She downloaded a cracked version of the Bible that did allow for spoken word.
Guardian Group and alternative health
Don't forget this is the same organisation that ran 'The Barefoot Doctor' column in the Observer for years and years. That ended nastily too when he was foolish enough to go online and try to answer questions.
BTW. his advice to coping with everything from male pattern baldness to dying horribly in a bus crash was massaging your kidneys and/or liberal applications of lavender oil.
Beardie's got some neck
I actually don't really care about the environmental impact of the suborbital jolly business, but this green spin is laughable. Per passenger, the emissions are about 'a quarter of that for a return trip from London to New York'.
Using one of Virgin's rather lovely airliners to fly the Pond and back takes say 12 hours total. The burn time of SpaceShipOne's engine was - 83 SECONDS. Whatever way you look at it, space junkets are a profligate use of energy.
But that's not the biggest turn off, surely the thought of being trapped in a small cabin with the likes of Beardie and Paris is more than enough to keep me earthbound.
Can the Cnidarian experts at the Reg's Defence and Ooze desk tell us if these are the much feared IMMORTAL jellyfish?
Needs an improvement
'The XM-25 smartgunner then selects how much nearer or further from that location he thinks the target is - for an enemy behind a normal wall, the soldier would choose +1 metre.'
Hopefully this is interactive and performed with the voice of Bruce Forsyth.
'Oooh so that's five metres. Do you want to go higher or lower? [BANG!] Good game! Good game!'
But I hope that screen's a mock-up or customisable. It's always a good idea to have the whole of your main menu fit on the screen at once.
But having said that, I've found the look and feel of the Zune interface and the Zune Store to be far superior to Apple's offerings.
As a piece of hardware and software this *should* be a big success, but I suspect with another iPhone refresh imminent, Microsoft is going to be lucky to maintain their increasingly irrelevant market share.
@ Andy B
The physical size of the crescent Earth as seen from that distance was smaller than one pixel, the reflected light was bright enough to register across a single pixel.
And El Reg...
If you're going to use the 'pale blue dot' meme, it's worth linking to Carl Sagan's commencement address where he used the phrase for the first time. It's a wonderfully evocative piece of prose:
@ Anonymous Coward @ Ken Hagan
'Do we really know for a fact they didn't just pile up six thousand tons of TNT in an underground cave and blow it all up at once in order to bluff us?'
That is a possibility with these relatively (and I stress the word RELATIVELY) small yields. It's a fine art to distinguish one of these blasts from an earthquake when you don't know the geology of the region in any detail, let alone the cause.
The previous NK test vented some of its fission products into the atmosphere and they were picked up by the Americans and Japanese, so we know they did detonate a nuke before - we even know a little bit about how it was made and what sort of technology was being used.
So you can bet lots of planes with sticky bits of paper* hanging out of them are flying over the Sea of Japan right now in the hope of picking up something. The USAF has its Constant Phoenix which you can read about here: http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=192
* Okay, really high tech sticky bits of paper if it makes you happy.
And Ken makes some good points.
'The WW2 weapons were quite possibly over-engineered to make sure they went off. North Korea's are quite possibly under-engineered to conserve their material. As a species, we have learned quite a lot about these bombs in the last 65 years, so it would be naive to assume that scientists in NK know less about these things than the pioneers of the Manhattan project.'
The Little Boy bomb was hugely over-engineered to guarantee that it would explode - it used more than 1 critical mass of uranium to make the big bang and a flash. The US was so confident the uranium cannon would work they didn't test it. The US built about 80 Little Boy type weapons in the immediate aftermath of WW2 until the superior implosion bombs started to be mass produced. The only country to replicate it was South Africa which built a handful of weapons in the 1980s and 90s before dismantling them with the fall of apartheid. SA wanted to avoid an obvious plutonium enrichment program and had plenty of experience with enriching U235 as a cover.
Fat Man was less over-engineered than Little Boy as it used a sub-critical mass of plutonium which was compressed into a super-critical mass by implosion. The US gradually reduced the amount of fissile material in its weapons by levitating the core (giving much more force to the implosion) and boosting the yield with deuterium / tritium. By the late 1950s the US had got a 0.5 kT fission weapon down to 23kg and just 28cm in diameter.
(1950s madness here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device) )
But these were only made possible after a great deal of testing. It seems unlikely that NK could go to a miniaturised warhead so early on its own back. Although the really scary thought is that Pakistan *MIGHT* have provided them with one of their missile warhead designs (in turn obtained from the Chinese).
'Point 2: there has been considerable argument over the actual sizes of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs over the years. Wikipedia says 13kt and 21kt respectively and those are at the bottom end of the scale. Historical estimates have been about double that, so a factor ot two uncertainty for the NK device is no big deal at this stage.'
The Hiroshima blast is the one open to most argument; Nagasaki's yield is pretty locked down as the US did immediate studies of the fireball and the radio isotopes in the plume. The figures for Nagasaki were also cross checked with the near identical data obtained from the Trinity explosion. No such work was done at Hiroshima so the estimated yield was back calculated from casualties and damage on the ground.
Probably not good news either way
It suggests the North Koreans are fixing their problems with making an implosion weapon, although there's clearly something wrong with their design or their materials.
Pretty much everyone else who's followed the Fat Man design (that'd be the Russians, British, Chinese and French - possibly the Indians and the Pakistanis) set it off and it worked; but not only did it work, but they got AT LEAST 19kT - actually the French did best with 70 kT on their first shot.
So either the North Koreans have some problems with their basic design or they're trying to jump ahead and miniaturise their design without doing the basic testing.
The worst news would have been if they'd produce a yield much more than 19kT - then we'd know we were in trouble.
Of course, he said thinking on the hoof, they might have tried a uranium cannon bomb like Little Boy (and the South African nukes). It's pretty much idiot proof and guaranteed to work, but it's a ridiculously inefficient bomb and produces a much lower yield. Though, whether North Korea has enough U235 to make one is a good question and it'd be militarily useless - too big to go into a missile and NK doesn't have any suitable bombers.
God I miss my nuclear chemistry classes.
You're all being too hard on the designer
One of the things the designer mentioned in his brief for this horrible-looking thing was that it had t be big enough to carry two people and
A CASE OF BEER
This guy is clearly thinking clearly, we should encourage more engineers to work this way. So the next space shuttle must carry 7 astronauts into orbit for seven days, return safely in any weather and be capable of stowing a case of beer. The US Army's next robot must survive dangerous combat conditions and not spill a single bottle of beer...
Bit out of date with his numbers
'Only 36 per cent of energy available in the fuel in a power station is delivered as electricity'
Combined cycle gas stations like those that dominate UK energy production rate at over 60% efficient. Throw in distributed heating systems where they supply local populations with hot water and heating and you can be looking at round about 80% of the energy in the fuel going to useful purposes.
'He might be able to keep the moustache if he has one, but you do understand he'll need to lose the pipe if he's to go up into space. Right?'
But... but... but... Dan Dare had a pipe:
The pressing need for a zero-G pipe requires the full application of the best of British boffinry. Since we don't have a DARPA to call our own...
Gentlemen! To your sheds and prepare for blast-off.
Oh god, you just know the government is even now investing in workshops, DVDs and teams of roving ID ambassadors to show and tell security twonks about the 'distinctive noise' made by a genuine ID card.
Fact. If you rap one with your fingernail it sounds like 'BLUNKett'.
@ Anonymous Coward
'Besides, why bother with this crap when you can just have a fission reactor and be done with it?'
Because reactors need pumps which make noise and make the submarine more vulnerable. Diesel electric submarines such as those deployed by the German and Swedish navies, run rings around nuclear subs.
One reason for cancellation
Is that the Terminator franchise isn't owned by Fox, so even if the series does well on DVD they don't see much income. Dollhouse is a fully owned property, so strong DVD sales will add to Fox's bottom line.
I've seen both and after a rough start, Dollhouse is the better series (IMHO). I really don't see where people get the impression TSCC had a particularly deep story; it was good on occasion, but rarely anything to write home about.
The Shuttle doesn't have enough fuel to change orbit from the current HST rendezvous to that of the ISS.
But by the sounds of this the damage looks to be superficial and in an area not especially exposed to very high temperatures during re-entry. It's worth remembering that many, if not most, Shuttle flights have had tile damage; we're only hearing more about it post Columbia.
@ Dan Paul
'Iodine is a volatile solid metal'
It's a WHAT?
Iodine is a member of the halogen group and is most definitely NOT a metal. So whilst the rest of us engaged in the age-old ritual of blearily staring at Open University chemistry programmes through an industrial hangover, what were you doing?
500 words on the oxidation states of lanthanum on my desk by this time tomorrow.
Has anyone noticed...
...that since they finished upgrading the WCML there has been more disruption because they're constantly digging it up again?
If my computer is using more power than Google does to answer my query, the obvious energy-saving solution is to switch off my computer.
Still not working
When I went to one of the biggest Tesco's in the country this evening, so it looks like it might be something more complicated than flicking the power switch.
Isn't today the day they were planning a huge new relaunch of their Clubcard loyalty scheme? So that's worked out about as well as a Gordon Brown relaunch.
"...a little shocked that it will take the programme $87m to not fly shuttles in 2012. Sounds like a bargain."
They'll be decommissioning the hardware and removing anything dangerous or likely to deteriorate before shipping the airframes to three lucky museums.
We train them to enjoy the taste of refrigerator-sized immortal jellyfish and finally answer the immortal question of which phylum is the hardest.
Makes a great little delivery vehicle
That range and relatively quick recharge should make this an ideal delivery vehicle for city centre businesses like caterers, florists and the like. Finding a good niche for 'leccies will be key to getting them accepted. Hoping to compete with the petrol family car is a non-starter (ahem) right now bearing in mind the limitations of the technology.
Does anyone remember a Channel 4 series about 10 years ago called 'Better by Design' which got a couple of industrial designers, Richard Seymour & Dick Powell, to redesign the Norwegian Pivco electric car? They had the brilliant idea of turning it into a tiny delivery vehicle with interchangeable back sections that could be swapped as and when needed to carry different loads. Of course, as in all these things, the company saw the idea, loved it and then decided to stick with the original layout.
I really like the Kindle's addition of a keyboard. If this device is to succeed in the educational market then its crucial that users can annotate their books without having to also carry a notepad or computer. The current eInk screens don't allow for onscreen keyboards unless another overlay is put over the top like on the Iliad - but IMHO that makes for a poorer quality display and a thicker, heavier device.
A physical keyboard is the only way to go and the Kindle 2's looks like a nice compromise between usability and thinness of the whole device.
Now when's it coming over here?
You'd have thought...
...from its history that IBM wouldn't want to get involved in the compulsory registration of citizens all over again.
Wasn't 'Angels and Demons' written BEFORE 'The Da Vinci Code'? Which means Dan Brown was still developing his powers as an author, so it's unlikely we'll see the later novel's 'extraordinary' prose, 'astonishing' plot and 'thrilling' character development.
But I reckon it will still read like he had the wikipedia guide to Rome open in front of him.
At a wild guess:
'Langdon walked across St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.
'It was only then, as he perused the menu in a family-owned trattatoria that he saw the reflected image of the lesbian assassin nun wielding the cold fusion assault rifle.'*
Word to Ron Howard and Tom Hanks - you gave us 'Apollo 13' for crissakes - why are you making this shite???
* If anyone has a couple of million burning a hole in their pocket I am willing to write the rest of my screenplay - complete with the lesbian assassin nun, the cold fusion assault rifle, prominent placement of the product of your choice (Coca Cola, Pepsi, the Shroud of Turin you name it, I'll cram it in between the roof-top car chase and the CGI sidekick), Dolph Lundgren and/or Jean Claude van Damme in a dirty green vest as the mitteleuropean action hero who dies a gory death at the hands of the Provisional wing of the Salvation Army, and a huge, deeply satisfying climactic explosion which will have me venerated by hearing specialists for years to come. Think Michael Bay without the taste and restraint but with gothic chanting on the soundtrack.
'Genuine death mask of King Tut'
$1.99 + $400million shipping from China.
It really wasn't until I saw that it was in Beijing that I cottoned on it might not be real.
@ Robert E A Harvey
'I think the publishing houses need to get together and agree a portable format for all ebooks if they don't want to hand control of their business over to Amazon & Sony.'
There is an agreed standard called ePub which is supported on most current eBook readers and reader software. In a complete break with the rest of the company Sony support it on their readers and it works very well.
Amazon do not support ePub and tie you into the Kindle infrastructure.
Bloody Chinese copying our ideas again
Not satisfied with knocking off iPhones and Wiis, the Chinese are now emulating our own splendid security-mad government. Next they'll be having unelected leaders and suppressing dissent - oh - right...
Rival to the Sony VAIO TT???
This machine is priced in a market alongside the two style icons of the laptop market - the VAIO TT and the MacBook Pro - it's hard to see why anyone would choose the Fujitsu. Hell, even Dell's latest consumer laptops are more attractive.
In terms of size, if you want a small screened laptop I guess this compares with the TT, but that's about it. The bottom of this machine looks thicker than the whole of the TT and as for the styling - well there isn't any. And is that really a VGA out on premium-priced laptop???
As for the MBP, Apple's specs are better, and well - let's face it, it's the best looking laptop out there.
I'd go for a Dell over this thing and pocket the difference.
Twixt two stools
Okay there's no need for hysteria - yet (possibly). But...
It's worth remembering that this is the virus that caused the 1918-19 pandemic and it has shown itself to be capable of human -> human transmission. What is absolutely crucial is finding out how deadly it is. At the moment the figures from Mexico City suggest a relatively high level of mortality, whereas it's produced relatively minor symptoms elsewhere. What we need to know is how many infections there have been in Mexico and if the deaths are in excess to normal 'flu. Of course there's an outside possibility there are two forms going around.
And even if this is a relatively benign virus, it is clearly capable of spreading through the human population. It will continue to mutate and reassort as it passes through humans and pigs (and possibly birds), which means we're getting yet another warning that pandemic 'flu is a real threat - how many more warnings do we need before we start planning for them?
BTW. Whales can catch the 'flu virus - can you imagine how much snot they produce???
Look on the bright side
The 1918 - 19 pandemic was preceded five to six months earlier by a similar disease which had a relatively low mortality in humans but was extremely dangerous to pigs.
There's still plenty of time to panic.
- Xmas Round-up Ten top tech toys to interface with a techie’s Christmas stocking
- Google embiggens its fat vid pipe Chromecast with TEN new supported apps
- Xmas Round-up Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear
- Exploits no more! Firefox 26 blocks all Java plugins by default
- NSFW Oz couple get jiggy in pharmacy in 'banned' condom ad