3373 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
One for the experts here. Is Sun just following SGI down the path to irrelevance? Both companies prospered when they could dominate a market with specialised hardware and software, but the commodity Intel boxes have pretty much eaten the market. Does Sun have a future in the hardware market?
Trademark law in a nutshell
Good Phorm have taken the trouble to register their trademark and have used the little R symbol. This gives them quite a lot of protection under the law - with one proviso (see below)
Bad Phorm have chosen to use the weaker TM on their logo. Anyone who wants to assert a trademark can include the TM. It does not need to be registered and no money changes hands. HOWEVER in exchange for being cheap, courts are unlikely to be sympathetic when that trademark comes into conflict with a registered mark.
There's an obvious risk of confusion - 'Phorm' is not a word in the dictionary (which is one defence out of the window - you could start a company called Apple and still be protected) and both companies are in the Internet business (which would be a problem if your Apple startup was a computer company).
If I was Good Phorm, I'd love to know how Bad Phorm can claim to have independently hit upon their logo design - right down to the font. That takes coincidence too far.
So the name and the logo of Bad Phorm could, and should, be seen as a case of 'passing off'.
Actually Good Phorm *MUST* defend their trademark. If they choose not to do so in this case, their mark is in danger of become genericised, in which case *anyone* can use it. Good Phorm need to talk to their lawyers as a matter of urgency and get them issue a cease and desist order against Bad Phorm ordering them withdraw their logo and cease trading under that name.
Bad Phorm can claim an innocent error, even blame their designers who may be liable for any costs of infringement. In any case it'd make sense for them to withdraw the logo and the name as they'd almost certainly lose in court.
And if Good Phorm they need money, I'm willing to throw in a £20 to the Register defence fund.
Isn't it a bit late?
The 360 is just starting to make a profit. However, it is coming up to 3 years old and is starting to show its limitations in turns of pop-up and texturing. There is probably more to be squeezed out of it, but somewhere in Microsoft they must be looking at a third generation XBox.
Adding Blu-ray to 360 will increase costs, decrease profits and divert resources from the replacement whilst doing nothing to address the real issues of the 360 - it's going to look increasingly antiquated as developers get to grips with the PS3.
Finally, would anyone want to watch a Blu-ray movie with the 360 bellowing away? Mine came back from being fixed for the RRoD and it is noticeably noisier, so much so that it is impossible to watch a HD-DVD that hasn't been made by Michael Bay.
Deep Time climate change
Yes folks, the Earth has been much warmer and much colder in the past. BUT the climate change concerns are not so much about absolute temperatures - after all we're a long way away from the subtropical Arctic of the Mesozoic - but the speed of change which *IS* abnormal. Typically, the geological record shows gradual swings between hot and cold, not the recent surge which appears be without a geological foundation.
And for those who point out the very warm periods of the past, at those times there was easy access to the polar regions for warm water currents bringing equatorial warmth to high latitudes. Since Antarctica slipped under the South Pole and the effective closure of the Arctic Ocean this is no longer the case. Our polar regions and the deep oceans are colder than at almost any time in geological history.
Finally, re: Gore's appointment of Dr. Hansen. If you were making appointments to scientific posts and not as ignorant as the current incumbent, wouldn't you appoint the most highly-regarded people in the field?
And BT remains quiet
Phorm reminds me of Br'er Fox's tar baby; everything it touches just gets dirty.
So that's TalkTalk and Virgin backing away from Phorm's phragrant offering, leaving just one of the big three still officially onboard. Does anyone think BT can or will extricate themselves from this fiasco?
BT have cashed the cheque for my Data Protection request, so I'm looking forward to their excuse for being unable to tell me if I've been pimped.
Because vultures are so swift and efficient at disposing of carrion there was almost no opportunity for dead animals to rot, attract vermin and contaminate water supplies. Now with fewer vultures, the carcasses are real health hazard and are attracting large numbers of rats and feral dogs - both of which carry seriously nasty diseases like plague and rabies. So the vulture might take a good number of people with it.
Any chance the Reg and its readers could help sponsor some of the work to save the vultures?
Which are much nicer animals than you might think. Surprisingly clean and elegant. (I can only speak first hand about the vultures, I'm much less sure about members of the Register's staff)
Back to the Future
There was a plan in the early 19th Century to do similar things to attract the attention of any Martians who might be watching. Huge heliographs, trenches laid out in geometrical formations and filled with burning oil, planting the desert in patterns.
Mr. Wells' book probably didn't help sell those schemes.
Classic Mel movie
After all, between being beaten up and radiation sickness 'Edge of Darkness' offers lots of opportunities for Mel's torture weird fetish.
Come on BBC, release a decent DVD transfer to show us how good it really was. The current version really sucks.
Don't have an ID card, can't vote.
Yep, I think New Labour will like this report.
It's still missing something...
...and I know what it is...
...Jean Claude van Damme as a time-travelling kickboxing cyborg samurai!
If he could also be a werewolf that'd be ace.
There's still time for David Lean wannabe Jonas Bauer to get him onboard, just give Jean Claude a call, I'm sure he'll be free.
Worth remembering this...
...the next time a government minister talks about the security of ID cards, why the police need 42 days to crack strong encryption or the protection they apply to CDs.
Then laughing very hard.
The thinking behind this
New Labour is sinking in the polls like a luxury liner in the North Atlantic circa 1912. They need to win people back, so they need to win opinion-formers back. How to do that? Why announce an eye-catching initiative that on the surface no one could object to.
This law hands the country over to the Melanie Phillips wing of the Daily Mail.
American ethanol *is* driving up the price of corn. At the moment about 20% of America's entire harvest is going into ethanol plants because the US government offers a subsidy of 51c per gallon on ethanol production - making it more profitable to push the crop that way than send it for export. With the Bush administration constantly upping the demand for ethanol this is going to continue. Whether farmers can increase production to match demand is another matter.
But there is some hope. Almost all of these ethanol plants are fuelled by natural gas - whose price is also spiking upwards, making them ever-less profitable.
The economics of ethanol in the US are so labyrinthine that no one can even be sure they're helping the environment and their contribution to the energy consumption of the country is minuscule. They exist for political reasons only, Iowa; home of the Corn Belt is the largest producer of corn in the World. It also has the first primary election in the US presidential vote. As an episode of 'The West Wing' showed, it is a stupid candidate who goes to Iowa and does not inhale the ethanol.
Can we agree on one thing?
Even if my sensitive casting of Ross Kemp as Servalan isn't meeting universal approval, can we at least be unanimous on this...
The shape of the Liberator can't be changed in the slightest.
It sucks HD-DVD died, but...
...I'm enjoying getting all these disks at less than £6 apiece.
At the moment you can pick up the Toshiba HD EP30 player for less than £100. It plays HD-DVDs in 1080p, supports Dolby TrueHD and upscales DVDs like a dream. If nothing else, it makes a perfect high-end DVD player and Toshiba are promising support for 8 years - by which time Blu-ray's replacement will probably be in sight.
A pity the more consumer-friendly format had to die to make HD affordable.
I have to agree, Asus can only hurt sales with these constant announcements. Right now, the Eee is in such short supply that they *can* sell all they make, but that will change as they ramp up production and competitors appear.
The Apple approach of 'no comment' until new models appear is better for the bottom line. They can sell old model machines right until the new ones roll off the production lines *AND* surprise customers *AND* reap the free publicity.
'Can we believe any of their claims if they can't even get the speed of the machine right?'
The lower throughput is down to them needing to do a price-check when the Pervatron scanner thinks you're a Sainsbury's own-brand oven-ready badger.
Clearly a priority
Now that the Dear Leader has solved the trivial problems of taxation, terrorism, climate change, economic meltdown, and food and energy shortages, he can turn his attention to the big issues.
BTW. Is it just me, or does Andy Burnham look like he's made from plastic?
Some of the reports say they pulled 10Gs during their landing.
The nice thing about Soyuz is that it's a very forgiving design. A normal re-entry should use the capsule's shape to develop some lift and reduce the load on the passengers, but if something goes wrong, the ballistic trajectory ensures that they get home in one piece.
The modern Soyuz is a relative of the Soviet Soyuz 7K-L1 probes (with the spooky name Zond) sent around the Moon between 1968 and 1970. These were designed to become the first manned missions to pass behind the Moon beating Apollo 8. At the time the Soviets knew they couldn't beat America to the landing, but they could get some publicity for the missions and test their lunar hardware. However,problems with the capsules and the Proton booster caused the manned program to be cancelled.
One of the problems with Zond was that it had a nasty tendency to make ballistic re-entries in excess of 20Gs.
That'd be nasty.
Zond returned some stunning, and rarely seen, images of the Earth and the Moon, you can see a few of them at:
I really, really like the overdue addition of music to the promotional video - before I heard the soundtrack I doubted the Vulture*, but now - I'm sold.
Do you think the final version will come with the huge spotlight shown in the video? It'll be really useful for when I come home late at night and I've forgotten a flashlight.
* Not you guys obviously.
There's a handy rule of thumb that the speed of a chemical reaction doubles for every ten degree increase in temperature. So it'll be interesting to see if people in Alicante are complaining their disks have gone tits-up before the 48 hours expires, and if the frozen inhabitants of Kiruna are smugly watching their disks for a week.
In any case - 48 hours is a lot longer than it takes to rip a copy.
Choose piracy; the ecological choice.
Sell! Sell! Sell!
Phorm's share price is a delight to behold. Whilst the FTSE 100 has pretty much moved sideways in the last few months, Phorm is now trading at about 1/3 of where it was in early March. Clearly investors don't have much faith in the brave new world of Webwise.
Long URL approaching:
If a British accent in America can get you through the tightest security (and I can confirm it can get you a long long way) it can't be long before all al Qaeda operatives are sporting the finest Dick van Dyke accents.
'If their flight was delayed and their wife was waiting for them at the airport are they still OK with that?'
Spookily, all the airports I've ever used possess strange devices called 'Arrivals Boards' which tell the cognisenti the estimated times a plane will land and even say if the flight has been delayed.
From experience, the people on board a plane are usually the last to know if their flight is going to be late.
First blended wing
Like most things aeronautical, it was German. May I introduce the pre-war Junkers G38:
A passenger aircraft which could carry passengers inside the thick wings as well as the fuselage.
But I'm using the PS3 more for a couple of reasons.
Noise - the 360 is just so intrusive, there is no comparison between the two of them when watching a movie or playing a game that doesn't have shooting. The PS3 is very rarely audible, the 360 roars. Put a HD-DVD in the 360's add-on drive and depending on the phases of the Moon the machine might just bellow for two hours so it's almost impossible to hear the dialogue.
Secondly, it's the reliability. My 360 has already been serviced once by Microsoft after the RRoD and they've replaced the inherently faulty motherboard with another one of the same model - so I suspect it'll fail again in short order. The machine's fan is already sounding rough after only a couple of weeks, so I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing went bang. If I get a choice of platforms I buy the game for PS3 because I'm pretty sure it'll be working this time next week.
Don't panic Mr. Mainwaring!
I think I can clear up the confusion....
Geosynchronous satellites form a ring around the Earth's equator. (There are theoretically other geosynchronous orbits but these require the satellite to remain under some form of thrust such as that from a solar sail).
At closest approach the asteroid will be closer to the Earth than this orbit so if you draw it on a piece of paper it looks like there are two points where the satellite could crash into a satellite - one approaching Earth and one leaving.
HOWEVER, the 2D view is misleading. The asteroid's orbit is inclined with respect to that of the plane of the Earth's orbit, so those crossing points actually sit above or below the plane of the geosynchronous satellites - so no risk of collision.
Even if the asteroid did crash into the Astra satellite, tragically depriving millions of Ross Kemp and the new Gladiators, it'd have about as much impact (ahem) on the rock as the one-off interaction between a hedgehog and a Mondeo.
And now the terror forecast
'The public should be kept permanently aware of the level of threat faced by the UK of terrorist attacks.'
'The outlook at midnight tonight. Politically oppressive with waves of extremism sweeping in from the Middle East here - and here. Generally there's a slight chance of ricin or caesium in the South East, so best take a gas mask and don't forget your identity card. And now the shitting forecast:
'Blunkett, scary becoming terrifying soon...'
'BT has claimed that it has no way of telling which of its customers it Phorm profiled and served targeted advertising to.'
BT must have had some way of identifying users who were unwitting subjects of these trials. Suppose BT customers started complaining about the service, (okay, started complaining the service was worse than usual), BT would have needed to know if these problems were down to Phorm technology or to some unrelated issue, otherwise their engineers couldn't have solved the problem and they'd have no way of making comparison with un-Phormed users.
My DP request is with BT right now asking if I was part of their trial. I look forward to their response; especially if they say they've no idea whether I was press-gang-banged into their trials.
@ Matthew Hepburn
Unless you're using a very naive bank (in which case I have some friends in Nigeria who would love to meet you), all your bank transactions will be encrypted with https. Phorm can look at the packets all it likes, but it will only see garbage.
'What exactly then is a council suppost to do then if it suspects fraud? Ignore it? Sit on their arses?'
Oooh I dunno, have someone from the education authority call the parents in for a nice chat/interview during which their address is discussed and they are reminded about the rules over catchment areas?
'“If you want to get [iPlayer] on the PlayStation or Xbox, they want control of the look, the feel and the experience. They want it done within their shop, and their shop only,” Huggers claimed"
'Seems fair enough to me.'
Clearly you haven't used the sluggish, buggy, unintuitive abomination that is the PS3 shop.
Might be a good thing...
...if it could also track debris clouds from exploded satellites and spent boosters which are the real threat to satellites.
I'm not sure about the claim in the article about needing to keep track of geosynchronous satellites - it's very unusual for a geosync satellite to ever move out of its destination slot, and when they're there, they stay put relative to the ground, so not much tracking needed.
Possibly the US is interested in satellites such as those that hang around in high, or the extremely elliptical Molniya orbits which are used by communication and reconnaissance satellites as well as the Russian Oko early warning satellites.
- Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!
- Spin doctors brazenly fiddle with tiny bits in front of the neighbours
- Game Theory Out with a bang: The Last of Us lets PS3 exit with head held high
- That Microsoft-Nokia merger you've been predicting? It's no go
- Microsoft breaks bug-bounty virginity in $100,000 contest