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* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1284 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

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HP: We're still running the ARM race with Moonshot servers

Flocke Kroes
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1 & 2 GB Arms

There is now a selection of 1 and 2GB 32 bit Arms. Take a look here.

At those prices, techies can play with them and get a feel for what they are capable of. When a task matches a machine I have tried, I can select a 32-bit ARM with confidence and save money and power compared to a low end X86.

I have yet to even here rumours of cheap 64-bit Arm boards. Perhaps something will turn up in 2016.

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Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious

Flocke Kroes
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@Eugene Crosser

Put the IMEI in PROM and no-one can change it. Change the firmware so it does not read the PROM and and the IMEI is whatever the firmware decides it should be. The real danger of this law is it requires UEFI or something equivalent so you cannot jailbreak your phone.

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Cleversafe CEO: We would tell you about the 8TB drive, but...

Flocke Kroes
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When 2MP is or isn't enough

If you are looking at the whole picture, 2MP is fine. If you step up close to the picture, ideally the part you are looking at should be about 2MP, so the full image should be bigger. 4k TV is pointless because you look at the whole screen. A 4k monitor can be pointy if you like to have 4 x 2MP diagrams in front of you at the same time.

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6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)

Flocke Kroes
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Click back?

I set middle click to open the link in a new tab and not switch to it. I middle click on the links that look interesting, then close the tab. Waiting for a page to load is thoroughly last millennium. "Clicking back" and waiting to a page I have already seen to reload sounds like a complete waste of life. Have Facebook users really not learned Noddy level browser use, or is this the brainfart of a PHB?

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Red Hat: ARM servers will come when people crank out chips like AMD's 64-bit Seattle

Flocke Kroes
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I agree, I would rather have FDT than UEFI

UEFI usually means no documentation, soldered down firmware, hoping for vendor updates to remove some of the bugs and praying the device does not get bricked during a firmware update. Lack of UEFI means there may or may not be good documentation, and the firmware may or may not be on standard removable media. I have been voting with my wallet. I am sure I am not the only one because the embedded system market has been creeping and lurching in the right direction.

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Claim: Microsoft Alt-F4'd Chilean government open-source install bid

Flocke Kroes
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So Microsoft is saying ...

... buying proprietary software cannot be justified.

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TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

Flocke Kroes
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I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

I went to the website, pointed my browser at 'theorypaper9-4.pdf' and got and empty file. wget says 403 forbidden so the EmDrive fully lived up to my expectations. There is a 'principle of operation' page. The diagram has changed since last time.

Before, the magic chamber was a triangle, and the mathematics showed that the force on the roof was smaller than the sum of the forces on the other two sides. The mathematics conveniently used scaler addition, even though all three forces were in different directions. The correct mathematics would have summed the vertical components of the three forces and got the inconvenient result of 0. Despite the glaring defect in the mathematics, the project was still funded by the UK government.

This time, the picture is a trapezium, and the hand waving fuzzy argument talks about an EM wave with a 'large velocity difference at the reflector surfaces'. Electromagnetic waves all travel at the same velocity in vacuum. To get a velocity difference, you need two different materials, or a mixture of materials that smoothly changes composition with distance. As reading the theory is forbidden, I can only guess at the technique used to hide the defective mathematics. The way I would do it is to focus on the radiation pressure from reflection at the two ends and not mention the force on the (unshown) graded material in the middle.

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Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state

Flocke Kroes
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They are just following the UK's existing laws

According to the MPAA, bootleg DVDs fund terrorism. If you are suspected of terrorism in the UK, you can be held without being charged for 28 days (The plan was for 90 days but we have been spared that for the time being).

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Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows

Flocke Kroes
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What software will it run?

Back when X86-64 was shiny and new, Windows did not run on it. Eventually Microsoft ported Windows. 64-bit drivers usually arrived when manufacturers released new products and all Windows applications were 32-bit for years for compatibility with the large installed base of 32-bit machines. AFAIK, Windows developers now target X86-64. What happens when you try to buy 32-bit software for Windows?

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MPs to gaze upon biometric data industry's ID-gobbling tech

Flocke Kroes
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Of course new laws are required

1) A finger print left by a 3D-printed fake finger at a crime scene should be sufficient to convict anyone but a politician.

2) A phone company should be able to use your finger print with your bank if you forget to pay your bill.

3) All biometric data should be sent to GCHQ in case they need to impersonate you.

4) Wearing a Theresa May face mask should be an offence punishable by summary execution because you must be a terrorist.

Did I miss anything?

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AMD's first 64-bit ARM cores star in ... Heatless in Seattle*

Flocke Kroes
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X86 RISC core

Intel tried non-x86 instruction sets before. Have you even heard of the i860 or i960? (Both died last millenium.) The Itanium was an unusual type of success: its announcement caused delays and reduced funding to improve existing competitive 64-bit RISC architectures. Intel won that battle before the Itanium was even delayed - let alone released as an over-priced low performance power hog. Although specialist applications were created for these CPU's, they never got economies of scale because the vast majority of customers had bought x86 binaries with no source code and did not want to buy them again - even if they could.

When AMD created AMD64, Intel copied it promptly and disabled the implementation. I think they did not want to encourage people to code for the architecture, but wanted to be ready in case it was successful. The first AMD64 CPU was released in April 2003. Linux support was ready in 2001, and X64 Windows was sold in March 2005. Sometimes new hardware even had 64-bit Windows drivers. Occasionally, developers would release 64-bit Windows software, but there was no sense of urgency.

Even if the RISC core inside Intel X86 CPUs was binary compatible from one generation to the next, Windows developers release software for new architectures slower than continental drift. In the free software world, Debian officially supports 11 different CPU architectures and has unofficial support for 9 more. (You can have confidence in AMD64, ARMEL and ARMHF. Expect anything from speed bumps to road blocks if you try to do anything useful with the other 17.)

New architectures only get Windows support five years after free software on them is so successful the Microsoft decide the need to compete. Free software targets architectures with a good price/performance ratio - especially at the low end of the market where hobbyists can pick up some cheap hardware are re-purpose it.

Intel are the world leaders in exorbitantly priced CPU's. From Intel's point of view, every cheap CPU sold means an expensive CPU isn't. They are the wrong people to introduce a new architecture, and decades of experience has hammered that lesson into their skulls.

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Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

Flocke Kroes
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Bye bye UEFI

I am currently using a 1GHz armhf. It is fine for writing letters, answering email and web browsing. It is silent, tiny and under £100 - with keyboard, mouse and monitor from a dead AMD64 PC. There is a choice of these things, and none of them suffer from UEFI. (They all use forks of Das U-Boot showing various levels of hurriedness, ignorance, inexperience, lack of documentation and repair by skilled hobbyists.)

A newly released ARM small cheap desktop comes with Android or Ubuntu. Installing the distribution of your choice requires the ability to solder on serial port so you can talk to U-Boot. Machines that are a year or two old will have instructions on the web that can be followed by anyone able to read man pages.

UEFI is not a barrier for desktops. Just do your research before purchase just like you had to for graphics cards and Wifi last decade.

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KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer

Flocke Kroes
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Is there any evidence that Wayland is an improvement?

There have been dozens of attempts to replace X11 with something more streamlined, without the network overhead. In the past, these projects have fizzled when the developers discovered the slowness came from the biggest applications that used X. X dates back to 1985, so it had to be efficient to run on the computers of the day. It has been optimised for decades. Wayland developers will have difficulty beating that, and if they do, their hard work will be hidden by every ground sloth application that requires 128GB on a 32 core 8GHz liquid helium cooled gamer's rig to run as fast as an anaesthetised ant.

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Flocke Kroes
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Lies, damned lies and messing with popcon data

A couple of decades ago, about 60% of Linux developers used KDE, and about 60% used Gnome [Note to Windows users - switching to a different desktop environment in Linux usually requires about three mouse clicks, or you can run several at once and change which one controls the display/keyboard/mouse with <CTRL><ALT><Function Key>]. I was curious about what the current figures are, so downloaded some popcon results, which you can see below. Before that, here are some of the reasons why my results are thoroughly bogus:

1) Only machines with Debian installed report to Debian Popcon. I am sure plenty of people use Unity on Ubuntu, but only one Debian Popcon user uses Unity.

2) Popcon is optional. Lots of people do not install it, or they disable it.

3) A Debian package gets a vote if one of its executables is executed in the last month. (Some votes are missed because the executable is on a file system mounted ro or noatime.)

4) I have picked a package as a proxy for desktop environment use. I may not have selected the most appropriate package.

5) Multi-user computers get one vote per environment used, no matter how many users use each environment.

perl-base 152772

xserver-xorg-core 66660

gnome-panel 19654

xfce4-panel 11163

plasma-desktop 8990

openbox 4488

lxde-common 3407

mate-polkit 1884

fluxbox 855

fbi 313

cinnamon 247

ratpoison 105

kdelibs4c2a-trinity 98

unity 1

perl-base got the most votes. It is a proxy for the number of computers reporting to Debian Popcon.

xserver-xorg-core is an attempt to count desktop/laptop machines, missing out servers.

fbi is an attempt to count the number of people using Linux virtual consoles instead of Xorg.

kdelibs4c2a-trinity is Trinity (fork of KDE 3 from before the KDE developers started shitting on their users)

My attempt at getting modern figures shows 29% use Gnome, 17% use XFCE, 13% use KDE (plasma-desktop) and 43% use Xorg without Gnome or KDE. The only conclusions I trust from these figures are that both Gnome and KDE developers are good at driving their users away, but KDE developers are slightly better at it. KDE developers should not win a prize until we can find a way to compare them to TIFKAM developers.

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Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!

Flocke Kroes
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Orbital gecko porn studio was fixed yesterday

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/07/all-systems-go-as-control-restored-to-beleagured-sex-gecko-satellite/

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Don't put that duffel bag full of cash in the hotel room safe

Flocke Kroes
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If everyone has their own number ...

I like to start early and get things done before people arrive and ask for help. On my last day, I had to wait for someone else to arrive because my number had already been deleted. As you would expect, he had forgotten his number because he never had to use it before. There we were with the bungler alarm screaming waiting for someone else to turn up and cancel the alarm. Just on the off-chance, I tried 1066 and the alarm turned off. Given enough people, someone will pick 1066 if they are not allowed to use 1234.

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British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles

Flocke Kroes
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It means all videos get a unique id

When a video is identified as child abuse, Google and Microsoft can remove it from any server they control and remove it from search results.

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Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

Flocke Kroes
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For me, the game changed when someone said ...

"Wizard now has ... extra fart power!"

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Flocke Kroes
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There has to be a maximum password length ...

... or someone will test the site to see what it does with 1MB passwords.

I thoroughly agree that the maximum length should be printed in large friendly letters near the prompt, preferably with a list of allowed characters. Anyone tried 'パスワード'?

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Flocke Kroes
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@moiety: Try downloading the data sheet for a chip

Some manufacturers require that you create an account before you can download a data sheet. They really need your false name, fictitious address, name of your first pet and the premium rate phone number of your favourite charity. I keep a list of these things handy in case someone else has not already created an account for 'username@example.com' with password 'password'.

There are times when a simple common password is the best choice.

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UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

Flocke Kroes
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there will be a list

The place to look for it is at www.theyworkforyou.com.

I just searched for "Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill" and it shows as "upcoming business" for today. Give it a while, and you can find the list of MPs willing to put up some token resistance against the all-powerful GCHQ.

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LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

Flocke Kroes
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A couple of entries in my sig file seem appropriate today

Cogito nimis ergo demens sum.

Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

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Flocke Kroes
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Per pigritiam ad planetas

Why does Google translate always pick one of the other meanings of a word when I translate back to English to check?

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Adobe Flash: The most INSECURE program on a UK user's PC

Flocke Kroes
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Flash on Linux

There is a free software implementation called gnash, so Linux users are not dependent on Adobe.

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That AMAZING Windows comeback: Wow – 0.5% growth in 2015

Flocke Kroes
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How to prefer XP to 7/8

XP machines were competitively priced. Wiping of XP and installing Debian is easy. Show me a modern Windows box for under £100 (excluding monitor, keyboard and mouse) that I can conveniently wipe and install Debian on.

Microsoft's insistence on 'secure' boot convinced me to keep old X86 hardware going until low priced ARM became fast enough. My last ex-XP machine will be retired next week and replaced by a faster 4 core 1GHz (Fanless!) A9 ARM (That is were the £100 price point came from).

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Gartner

I thought Gartner predictions were for sale, and if you didn't buy, they would predict growth for your biggest competitor at your expense.

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MPAA, meet the Streisand effect: Picture ass. slaps Reddit with takedown

Flocke Kroes
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Viral advertising

Some people will never pay for films, so advertising links to torrents causes no loss of revenue from them. Some people like to try before they buy, so Streisanding this corner of reddit increases revenue.

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Google adds 'data protection' WARNING to Euro search results

Flocke Kroes
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Just tried it

If I ask for google.com, I get redirected to google.co.uk. To go to google.com, I have to click on the link to it at the bottom of the google.co.uk page. For all I know, Google has worked liked this for ages. Anyone know for sure when this started?

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Ofcom to BT Openreach: From now on, you'd better kill 70% of gremlins within 2 days

Flocke Kroes
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Do they still charge for technical support calls?

Excellent revenue stream. 45 minutes minutes of dull music waiting for someone to answer the phone and tell me to call the other number. 45 more minutes waiting for someone to tell me to try the first number again. So Ofcom say they can only keep this up for two days. What is to stop them fixing the problem, waiting a day then breaking it again?

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Freeze, Glasshole! Stop spying on me at the ATM

Flocke Kroes
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I prefer the infra-red camera trick

After the victim has typed the PIN and taken away the hand used to hide what he was typing, take an infrared photo. The most recent key pressed glows brightest.

pic

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David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Flocke Kroes
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Solved this last millennium

Get a channel islands SIM.

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If Google remembers whom it has forgotten, has it complied with the ECJ judgment?

Flocke Kroes
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Getting into orbit does not protect Google

If a government wants to fine orbital Google, they can add a Google tax on Earthlings who buy adverts.

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Google slings SSD persistent disks at huge 'n' hungry servers

Flocke Kroes
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Encrypted?

Why bother when Google have the key?

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Satellite 'net hype ignores realpolitik

Flocke Kroes
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Practise thinking evil

I am sure GCHQ will provide Google with a base stations all over the world.

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Latest casualties of Iraq fighting: Facebook and Twitter

Flocke Kroes
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If they are blocking porn sites...

It must mean the rebels are using porn sites to communicate. Clearly people at GCHQ should spend all their time at work looking at porn so they can decode these secret communications.

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Google in talks to nail Virgin as 'partner' in satellite internet plan

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Why?

The space plane launched from the big double plane is useless for satellites, but plan was that the big double plane could also carry a two-stage rocket. That rocket would take about 200kg of payload to LEO. The idea is sane, but I have very little idea how much progress Virgin have made with it.

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Flocke Kroes
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Signs on the reserved parking spaces:

Business Unit Manager

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207 thousand lights-out boxes are STILL hackable

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Maybe more wiring-related than protocol-related

The turnip-brained idea was that IPMI could share the only ethernet connector on the motherboard with the internet connection to save money and reduce the number of cables. Add to that the fact that you are dependent on the vendor for security updates and you can see the disaster train accelerating hard towards the cliff. It could have been worse... Imagine what would happen if firmware upgrades required a digital signature from the vendor.

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Google's URL-hiding 'origin chip' is 'backburnered'

Flocke Kroes
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Another possibility:

Something like

http::uk.co.theregister.forums/forum/1/2014/06/11/googles_urlhiding_origin_chip_is_backburnered/

It will never catch on because current fashion in user interface design is to remove every choice on the grounds that they confuse the users. By 2084, computers will show a continuous stream of targeted ads and have no controls at all - not even an off switch.

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Mobe-orists, beware: Stroking while driving could land you a £4k fine

Flocke Kroes
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The proposed lack of legal aid concerns me

The state would hire a qualified prosecutor. The clerk of the court has a legal qualification, but he cannot help as the magistrate is in charge and he does not require any proper qualifications at all. Much as I dislike the idea of my taxes going to pay for legal aid for some phone fondling driver, I would really hate to be in front of a magistrate with no barrister even though I do not even own a mobile phone.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: GPS?

I am sufficiently tall that I have to scrunch down to see the road ahead. Even then, a quarter of the windscreen gives me an excellent view of the bonnet. The GPS talks to me, so I have no reason to look at it while driving. The reason why I want it under the windscreen is so it gets a good signal from the satellites. The GPS does not talk to me about signal strength. For that, I would have to look at it. What wonderful laws we have.

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UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

Flocke Kroes
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What to do with the waste

The Juno space probe to Jupiter is solar powered because of a shortage of nuclear waste.

One person's life time's lifetime supply of long term nuclear waste if using 100% nuclear power fits in a dinner plate.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could reprocess nuclear waste into fuel. (The terrorist threat in the link is a bit silly as there is a much bigger target in northern France that would cause the UK plenty of problems and calling Tony Blair pro-nuclear would have made me laugh out loud, but I am too busy paying for his windmills).

It would also be handy if we could build proper storage facilities.

There are plans to use the high neutron flux from fusion reactors to convert long term nuclear waste into short term nuclear waste that can be used to generate power. I am sure if such plans get close to construction the windmill lobby will make it illegal.

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Flocke Kroes
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@jason 7

Any 'competent' politician can tell you what you want to hear. Try to going to some tree-hugger event where this councillor is due to speak, and see if he sings a different tune.

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Flocke Kroes
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Dinorwig

Dinorwig does an excellent job of running kettles when the adverts come on. According to the wind lobby, if the wind isn't blowing in the UK, it is blowing somewhere else in Europe. According to weather records there are 3 to 5 days each winter when the whole of Europe has no wind. Pumped storage on that scale is insane (even more insane when it is unused 97% of the time). Take a look at the maps in sustainable energy without hot air. The book gives you the equations to calculate how much energy is used for different tasks, so you can pick places where economies can be made. It also gives you ways to calculate costs of energy production - including land (or sea) use. You can make your own energy policy and see how much of Scotland and Wales has to become pumped storage for wind powered UK. I like the big blotches in Libya for solar powered UK (have fun paying for a power cord - or putting even bigger blotches here).

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One EURO PATENT COURT ruling for all from 'early 2015'

Flocke Kroes
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We have had software patents for decades

They have been invalid for as long as they have existed, but plenty of EU patents offices will issue invalid software patents if you call them 'computer implemented inventions'. They are an expensive nuisance to defend against as some judges do not recognise unpatentable subjects even when the patents have the marker phrase 'computer implemented invention' all over them.

The plan was to take patent disputes away from the regional courts and have European patent court staffed with clerks and judges who were all patent professionals who would never find a patent invalid, no matter how obvious, old or mathematical. By the looks of it, the new plan is to keep disputes in regional courts. I am surprised that appeals are not automatic, as they fund holiday homes for patent lawyers.

Whenever I hear the word 'protection' in the same phrase as 'patent' I think of one of Edison's thugs with a baseball bat giving we the chance to pay for some 'protection', or something might 'happen' to my business. The only way it could get more silly would be if trolls got their own tax exemption... too late, already happened.

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Google to let Chromebookers take video content OFFLINE

Flocke Kroes
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Excellent

If future, ChromeDebianbooks will have plenty of internal flash.

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

Flocke Kroes
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A new 80% tax on the rich would be a complete waste of time

They would just avoid it like they avoid the current taxes.

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VROOM! Intel revs Devil's Canyon monster 4x4 at 4GHz

Flocke Kroes
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Re: 16 lanes doesn't cut it

LGA 115[650] sockets only have enough contacts for 20 PCIe lanes (16 graphics, 4 everything else). That keeps the price down, and it is enough for a hefty chunk of the market. There are two obvious explanations for the lack of say LGA1600 with 30 PCIe lanes. Pick one:

A) Economies of scale: Dividing the market into two (LGA1150/LGA2011) reduced economies of scale. Dividing into three would reduce those economies still further, and increase prices for all except for people who want (fictional)LGA1600 but do not want to pay for LGA2011.

B) Segmentation. Although there are people who need a little over 20 lanes, the lack of an intermediate product forces those customers to pay for 40 lanes and a bunch of other features they will never use.

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Microsoft's NEW OS now runs on HALF of ALL desktop PCs

Flocke Kroes
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Netmarketshare's site selection really shows up on mobile

They gave iOS 48%

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FORGET OUR PAST, 12,000 Europeans implore Google

Flocke Kroes
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Has anyone done the slightest bit of thinking here?

Please send me proof of identity and a list of the most embarrassing web pages about you.

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