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* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1272 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Nokia puts Symbian out to pasture ... why not release it into the wild?

Flocke Kroes
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What are smoking?

There is no way that Elop will release Symbian into the wild. It would continue to outsell Winphone.

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Google rolls out new, cheaper Chromebooks 'for everyone'

Flocke Kroes
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Interesting hardware

If I wipe off chrome, install Debian and add some USB3 storage, this new chromebook is better that what I am using now.

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Apple loses UK 'Samsung copied us' appeal: Must publicly GROVEL

Flocke Kroes
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other use for that money

They could have doubled the pay of Foxconn workers.

The sad thing is that Apple have quality products that fanboys love. They do not need to mess about in the courts. (I am a dyed in the wool penguinista. Even if Apple ban every competing gadget I will still not buy Apple.)

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Users grumble after Adobe cancels Acrobat X Suite

Flocke Kroes
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Lock-in + segmentation is old news

The suprise is that people are still falling for it.

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UK.gov spunks £500k to create jobs in startup marketing businesses

Flocke Kroes
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How to qualify for some PR pork?

Come up with some positive spin on the government burning £250 million on a one off hand out because our energy intensive industries 20% powered by wind mills will never be competitive with the same industries in France 80% powered by nukes.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/10/energy_subsidy/

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When cookie spewers single you out, it IS personal, barks watchdog

Flocke Kroes
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Could be worse

Imagine you have chosen: Accept all cookies, treat all cookies as session cookies and disabled flash, java and javascript. Despite making the effort to show a clear policy for cookies, there is a gray bar wasting 8% of your LCD panel that will only go away if you accept the (changing) terms and conditions from several different companies and a cookie.

The gray bar is there because of an eu directive.

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Study finds file sharers buy more music

Flocke Kroes
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Ad hominem

People often accuse others of the crimes they would commit themselves. Say whatever you like about the people who collected the data, but bare in mind how many will interpret what you write.

If you think the study results are caused by bias, conduct your own study and publish the results - even if those results are not the ones you want.

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Engineer designs glass slipper on Quora

Flocke Kroes
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Read carefully

Snopes says that glass is not a mistranslation from French to English because the French source for the English version of the story uses verre not vair. The word vair was no longer in use when the story was transcripted from oral accounts, so whoever told the story to Perrault probably said verre. Going back to the oldest know version of Cinderella (from China), the slippers were gold. Somehow during translation and being passed by word of mouth, gold became glass. I am sure the slippers were made from many different materials before verre. Perhaps vair was one of them.

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Global notebook sales tank in recent months

Flocke Kroes
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The problems are segmentation and bundling

If Acer, Asus or Toshiba thought that there were a few customers waiting for Windows 8, they would arrange a deal with Microsoft for a Windows 8 license to be included in the purchase price. Customers could buy a machine now with Windows 7 and upregrade for free later.

I got my current laptop cheap because it could not run Vista. Windows 8 is a dissapointment because it does not promise to make several models of potential Linux machines a reasonable price. The thing that annoys me most about the laptop market is segmentation. To get the (cheap) features I want I have to buy something with expensive features that have no value to me.

If this laptop breaks so badly today that I cannot fix it again, my best choice would be to put a π in a briefcase with a monitor, battery, hub and some USB peripherals. If I need a big CPU, I already use my desktop via secure shell. I will always be able to get spare parts for a π in a briefcase, and I will be able to upgrade piecemeal instead of having to buy a new LCD, battery and box just to upgrade the CPU.

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How Nokia managed to drive its in-house Linux train off the rails

Flocke Kroes
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Easiest product to manufacture: excuses. Elop fires his blamethrower

Elop did his best, but he did not bury Meego deep enough. Despite being limited to a few small markets, it outsells Winphone (and makes a profit). At least he put Nokia's patents in the hands of a troll so Android will get a bit more legal hassle. Even that won't save winphone. Another year as CEO of Nokia, then he will go back to his current employer - Microsoft.

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40,000 sign petition to oust Rep. Paul 'pit of hell' Broun

Flocke Kroes
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@sabroni: Buddhism

Siddhartha Gautama was a prince who lead a sheltered childhood. When he escaped he saw suffering peasants and knew in his heart that this was something that he wanted to change. He tried out some of the religions of the day. His experiments supported the theory that starving yourself and holding your breath does not alleviate suffering. Full marks to Siddhartha Gautama for testing the theories of the time with experiments and publishing results that would have been unpopular with the authorities.

Plan B was to sit under a fig tree for days until he worked it all out. When he knew in his heart that he understood how to prevent suffering he started his own religion to spread his theories. For about 6(±1) centuries his teachings were passed by word of mouth. About 19 centuries ago, these teachings were written down. Modern flavours of Buddhism disagree about which texts are accurate, which have been embellished and which were made up.

The tests of truth used in Buddhism are "I read it in a book" and "I know in my heart that it is true". Unfortunately, using science to reduce suffering has problems. When you try to test your theory either you experimental group or your control group will suffer and complain about being used in experiments.

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Flocke Kroes
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"Scientific beleifs" is an oxymoron

People use various types of test for truth: "I read it in a book", "In my heart I know it is true", "The voices told me so", "Consistent with a set of assumptions", "Confirmed by experiment". The first three all lead to wildly different "versions of the truth". The last two are interesting.

Each branch of mathematics has its own small set of consistent assumptions. If a theory can be shown to be completely consistent with the axioms then the theory is true. Any counter example makes the theory false. Simply proved theorems are combined to discover theorems that would otherwise be hard to prove. Mathematics does not depend on faith. If you do not like a mathematical theorem, look for a counter example.

In science, hypotheses are used to make predictions and the predictions are tested by experiment. If the predictions are wrong then the hypothesis is rejected. If you do not like a scientific theory, use the theory to make a prediction, then test the prediction with an experiment. If the theory predicts the wrong outcome for the experiment, publish the results so others can repeat your experiment and the theory will be replaced by something that makes better predictions.

The strange thing is that hypotheses in science often involve a mathematical model. Two completely different tests for truth, but mathematics is a tool used by scientists to make and test predictions.

In religion, there is no decisive test for truth. Religious truth depends on faith - believing something in the absence of evidence (or despite all evidence). There are no "scientific beliefs". Science does not depend on faith. When some religious nutter asks "Do you believe in science?" a scientist answers "No, I do not need faith in science. I test science with experiments."

Mathematicians can prove a theorem is true or false.

Scientists can prove a hypothesis is false. They cannot prove anything is true, but they can provide a huge supply of experiments that anyone can repeat that fail to prove scientific theories false.

Religious people ask "What do you believe?" because their tests for truth give inconsistent answers.

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New British tax-cuts-for-patents scheme criticised

Flocke Kroes
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What plannet are you living on?

The most obvious reason why small businesses have difficulty in this country is they get clobbered by patent litigation. The entry fee for patent litigation is at least £100,000 so small businesses get nothing from owning a patent until the liquidator sells the patent to a troll.

By all means let the Chinese sue each other into bankruptcy to feed their patent lawyers. The way to grow the UK economy is to tax the trolls, not let them off taxes. I want the names of the people responsible for this 'tax cuts for patent trolls' scheme.

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Drinking too much coffee can MAKE YOU BLIND

Flocke Kroes
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This is the Register ...

... so you should expect link bait.

Rather than editors having to decide about banning authors, I would much prefer the author's name next to the link bait on the home page. That way commentards can make their own decisions.

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Liquefied-air silos touted as enormo green 'leccy batteries

Flocke Kroes
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Yes really 870 kg/m³

In context, that is liquid air. 16m³ per second of liquid air is about 13900m³ per second of gaseous air at room temperature and pressure (5½ olympic swimming pools per second). Who likes their data centre windy?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_air#Properties

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Flocke Kroes
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OK: A comparison with Dinorwig

Energy stored at Dinorwig: 3.2x10¹³J

Volume of Marchlyn Mawr: 6700000m³

Maximum power output: 1.8GW.

Efficiency: 75%

Imagine a liquid air storage facility built according to the description:

When it is windy, air gets pulled in through some gravel. The surface of the gravel is ambient temperature. As you get lower, the temperature falls. At some depth (the boundary) the temperature is -190°C. Below the boundary, the temperature remains at -190°C to the bottom of the gravel pit. This gives you a source of gaseous air almost at boiling point, but taking this air lowers the level of the boundary. When the boundary reaches the bottom of the gravel pit, you have reached the limit of its capacity. When it is not windy, you take air that was boiled in a turbine and push it into the bottom of the gravel pit. This raises the boundary layer and restores the system back to its initial state.

When it is windy, you use a heat pump to pump energy out of your cold air to liquefy it. The heat you pump out of the cold air goes into the atmosphere. The atmosphere is the place where the energy is actually stored, but because it is so big you will not be able to measure the increase in temperature. When it is not windy, you use heat from the atmosphere (or preferably waste heat from a power station of data centre) to boil the liquid air and drive a turbine which spins a generator.

Lets start by matching the maximum power output of Dinorwig: 1.6GW electrical. If the losses at Dinorwig are split equally between the pumps and the generators, that makes the generators 87% efficient, so to get 1.6GW electrical, we need 1.84GW mechanical. The maximum possible efficiency of converting heat to mechanical energy is: 1-(Tcold/Thot). Using -190°C and +25°C gives an efficiency of 72% so we need 2.55GW thermal from the atmosphere. There aren't any data centres that big. For that much heat, you need all the waste heat from a big nuclear reactor. If you do not have one handy, Thot will be less than 25°C, the efficiency falls and you need even more thermal energy from the atmosphere (and more liquid air) to get 1.84GW mechanical out of your turbine.

We just got 2.55GW of waste heat for free from our nuclear power station, but only put out 1.84GW mechanical from the turbine. The rest: 0.71GW boils liquid air. If you run out of liquid air, Tcold gets bigger, the efficiency falls and you need more nuclear power stations to get enough waste heat. Last time we calculated boiling liquid air requires 202J/kg, so we need 3500000 kg/second of liquid air. That is 4000m³ per second. Dinorwig can run full power for over 4.9 hours. The vacuum flask needed to store this liquid air is over ten times the volume of Marchlyn Mawr (the upper reservoir for Dinorwig).

The boiled air from our turbine is still cold, and we have to store that cold in a gravel pit ready for the recharge cycle. The cold air gets heated at constant pressure from -190°C to ambient (say 10°C) by the gravel. Wakapedia tells us the constant pressure specific heat capacity of air is 29.07J/mol/K (a mol of air is about 28.8g). I could not find the specific heat capacity of gravel, but it should be similar to that of glass: 840J/kg/K. The 3500000 kg/second of boiling air will cool 4060000 kg/second of glass. The density of glass is about 3700kg/m³, but we need space for the air to get through, so call it 2.7kg/m³. That is a mild 1500m³/second. To last as long as Dinorwig we need a thermally insulated gravel pit four times the volume of Marchlyn Mawr.

But we have not finished yet. We still have to do the recharge cycle. We need to take cold gaseous air and use electricity to pump heat out of it so it liquefies. Pumping heat from a cold place (-190°C) to a hot place (atmosphere say 10°C) requires at least (Thot-Tcold)/Tcold times as much mechanical energy as the thermal energy you want to pump. We only need 3x10¹³J of mechanical energy (yes less than the 3.2x10¹³J we are storing. We get the difference from the waste heat from our nuclear reactor). Assuming the electric motors are 87% efficient we need 3.45x10¹³J of electrical energy to refill the vacuum flask with liquid air.

To match the capacity of Dinorwig, a liquid air energy storage facility would need a volume 14 times the size of Dinorwig's upper reservoir and the waste heat from a large nuclear power station. The best possible efficiency is 92.5% (assuming the best theoretically possible heat pumps) compared to Dinorwig's 75% (with real world turbines). Although Dinorwig is big, it is only there to handle fluctuations in demand. Its peak power is nothing like the base load. Most winters, the wind is calm over the whole of Europe for 5 days - not 5 hours. If your energy plan is mostly windmills then you have to convince people that Scotland or Wales is mostly pumped storage - or you could cover England with vacuum flasks and gravel pits.

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Flocke Kroes
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Some actual numbers

First we need a source of heat. In this example I will use a large (10MW) data centre providing air at 25°C (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_centre#Environmental_control). The article says the liquid air is at -190°C. If we use the most efficient possible theoretical engine the maximum efficiency is 1-(Tcold/Thot) with temperatures in Kelvin 1-(273-190)/(273+25) = 0.72. Have we found that 70% efficiency figure? I hope not because this is the efficiency of turning 10MW of waste heat into mechanical energy. So we are looking at 7.2MW of mechanical energy and 2.8MW dumped into the source of cold. If we assume mechanical to electrical efficiency of 80%, we are getting 5.8MW of electricity.

Now lets see how fast we are vapourising liquid air (numbers from wakipedia):

Latent heat of vapourisation: Nitrogen 5.56 kJ/mol Oxygen 6.82 kJ/mol

Molecular Weight: Nitrogen 28g/mol Oxygen 32g/mol

Specific heat of vapourisation: Nitrogen 198J/Kg Oxygen 213J/Kg

Composition of air without water and CO2: Nitrogen 78.8%, Oxygen 21.2%

Composition by weight: Nitrogen 76.6%, Oxygen 23.4%

Specific heat of vapourisation for air: 202J/Kg.

Density of air: 870 kg/m³

Volumetric heat: 176 kJ/m³

This means that the 2.8MW dumped into the liquid air vapourises 16 cubic meters per second. (An olympic swimming pool every 2½ minutes). Lets pretend liquid air is £0.1/kg in bulk (I found bulk liquid nitrogen for $0.06/litre). That makes £0.86 / kWH. If only all green energy schemes were as practical.

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Rolling robot avatar trumps telecommuting

Flocke Kroes
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Its worse than that ...

It doesn't even have a sink plunger and an egg whisk.

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FTC settles spying charges on rent-to-own computers

Flocke Kroes
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What's the first thing you do with a new computer?

Wipe off all the vendor supplied software and install Linux. Now, what was the problem?

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Google promises autonomous cars for all within five years

Flocke Kroes
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More reading time

If I am going somewhere with a railway station or a good bus service I take that because it is so hard to read a book while driving. I like the idea of self driving cars, but I would want it dual control with me in charge for years before I have the nerve to read a book while a machine drives. The obvious way to start earning my confidence is a video showing the camera's view of the road marked up with the machine's idea of what it thinks is outside.

I live near a narrow windy road. The speed selected by locals depends on the depth of the pot holes hidden around the next corner. Anyone know if Google can drive like a local? This includes remembering refuse collection day and if the hedges look really neat, dodging the tractor in the middle of the road with a hedge cutter.

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OpenWave fires ten-gun patent broadsides at Apple AND Google

Flocke Kroes
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Back then ...

If you were a startup company doing anything interesting, a potential investor would come round and ask about patents. If you had a clue, you would send him to your nearest competitor as fast as possible. If you took the bait, you would waste time and money getting some patents. As your focus was not a product, you would have no income. As your field was new and innovative, you would not have any successful companies to troll. Even if you could hold out long enough for someone else to turn a profit, patent litigation would cost far more than you had. The solution was to file for bankruptcy. The potential investor could then pick up the invalid patents at fire sale prices and sit on them until a rich target infringed them.

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Juries: The only reason ANYONE understands patent law AT ALL

Flocke Kroes
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Why do we have a patent system at all?

Juries or patent specialists, ignorance or mallice, who do you want to be trolled by?

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So many devices, so little policy

Flocke Kroes
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Only one possible solution

Boot from your own USB storage device. Even then, you are trusting the BIOS is OK and that there are no hardware key loggers.

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NASA working on faster-than-light drive capable of WARP TEN

Flocke Kroes
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Fly in the ointment

If you put a magic warp field generator on your spaceship, the warp field has to move faster than the speed of light through unwarped space or your spaceship will overtake it. To use a magical warp field generator to get to Alpha Centauri at ten times the speed of light, you switch on you field generator and project a beam of warped space towards Alpha Centauri for 3.93 years. You then jump into the beam and switch it off. You ride the beam for 159 days (Earth time) and arrive at Alpha Centauri at the same time as the leading edge of the beam. Calculating the size of the lens needed to keep a beam of gravitation waves focussed to the size of a space ship 4.37 light years away is left as an exercise for the reader.

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New Nokia Lumia mobes fail to inspire investors

Flocke Kroes
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Nokia do sell Linux phones

They only sell them in a few low-population countries. Unfortunately they out sell Windows phones and make a profit.

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/07/the-sun-tzu-of-nokisoftian-microkia-mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-whose-the-baddest-of-them-all-waterloo.html

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Thanks ever so much Java, for that biz-wide rootkit infection

Flocke Kroes
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Playmobile reconstruction or it didn't happen

Have you got a URL for some good Java coded Linux Malware? I would like to try it out. When I have tried installing malware before it didn't work - not even under wine.

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'FIRST ever' Linux, Mac OS X-only password sniffing Trojan spotted

Flocke Kroes
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Nothing new here

Linux distributions already have regular security updates. I have heard Windows users complain that AV software smells of pooh so often that I am glad there is very little for Linux (There is some for filtering Microsoft malware out of email). In the Microsoft world, malware is installed and executed so it can hide and do damage before AV software can hunt for it. The rest of us don't run malware in the first place unless it is to test security.

I have tried installing some but the install scripts got tripped up by little things like mounting /tmp and /var/tmp noexec. Trivial changes to the configuration like that make most Linux boxes more trouble than they are worth. There are plenty of more complex options available for high value targets to ensure that viruses have to be targeted to a specific organisation or machine.

X86 is getting rare these days as much has been moved to AMD64, but my home also has MIPS and two incompatible flavours of ARM. Multiply that by the number of distributions and the users' choices about what software to use and you can see why Linux malware is just not as profitable as stuff for Microsoft even though some of the machines are very high value targets and Unix malware has been around longer:

This is the Unix e-mail virus. It works on the honour system. Please send copies of this e-mail to your friends then delete a few files.

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Apple: I love to hate, and hate to love thee

Flocke Kroes
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Apple service for Android

If Apple have annoyed you that badly, buy Androids and put the difference in cost into your insurance account. When you break an Android buy a new one with money from your insurance account.

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Want a Windows 8 Start Button? Open source to the rescue!

Flocke Kroes
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TDE

http://www.trinitydesktop.org/

I am sure there are others just as good.

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New nuclear fuel source would power human race until 5000AD

Flocke Kroes
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Yes

And Three Mile Island and the fire at Windscale. How many more nuclear disasters will it take for you to work out that the media likes to exaggerate bad news?

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Flocke Kroes
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Don't steal our natural radiation

We need it for erm err ... mutant fish ... keeping the sea warm ... naturally irradiated sea food ... preventing earth quacks ... banning anything that competes with windmills. Just hold on a few days while I think of something.

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Disney sitcom says open source is insecure

Flocke Kroes
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Ignorance

Never ascribe malice where incompetence or lack of time will suffice. There is more than enough ignorance in the world to explain why a script writer does not understand a thing about programming. The author of the article does not even know the difference between a freetard and a penguinista, and he writes for a tech journal, not childrens' television.

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Acer: Windows 8 'uncertainty' deflates Wang's big growth aim

Flocke Kroes
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Acer negotiating a good price for Windows 8

Take a look out for some nice prototype Linux boxes from Acer that disappear when Microsoft cave in on price.

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Experts argue over whether shallow DNS gene pool hurts web infrastructure

Flocke Kroes
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djbdns works fine - and it is free

http://cr.yp.to/djbdns.html

The license is open source, but inconvenient for most distributions. Compiling, installing and configuring worked without complications for me.

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Judge begs Apple, Samsung to get a room, or trial will end in tears

Flocke Kroes
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Juries make a real effort

Anyone with half a brain can avoid jury service. (Likewise anyone with a super brain will not get past jury selection). When jury decisions are suprising, the first places to look are the evidence and the reporting. Some reporters like to emphasise the evidence that is contrary to the jury's decision to create some controversy. Some just paraphrase the press release from the losing side. Remember that we see evidence that the jury does not.

The biggest slice of evidence we got to see is about 950 examples of prior art Samsung does not get to show the jury. Apple complained that Samsung did not specify for each example whether the example demonstrated obviousness or prior art. Samsung did not get a response in by the deadline. I think that example of Apple lawyering speaks volumes about how weak they think their case is, but the jury is not allowed to know about it.

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Flocke Kroes
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Jury selection

The court summons a large bunch of potential jurors. Some are sent home because spending time on the jury would cause undue hardship or because they have a business relationship with one of the parties. They lawyers from each side get to throw out a few potential jurors. Every single time, they throw out the people with experience with technology or law.

The European Patent Office is lobbying hard for a specialist patent court. If they ever get their way, no patent will be too obvious and the concept of non-patentable subject matter will be entirely forgotten. If you ever hear a rumour that the possibility of a specialist patent court will be created, publicise the rumour at once and hope that letters to MEPs will stamp this atrocious idea back into the mud again.

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'$199' Surface tablets: So crazy it might work, or just crazy?

Flocke Kroes
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Secure boot would not last long at $199

No DRM has survived determined attention from hackers. At $199, surface would receive lots of attention, and Microsoft losing money on each sale would add more. The only way you will see $199 is if you sign up for some lock-in ware at $20/month for 2 years increasing by $5 per month each year after that.

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Hard-up Kodak stalls crown jewels sell-off to milk bidders

Flocke Kroes
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Mouse income

Has anyone seen any research into mouse wealth, and if mouse income or savings vary according to residence type? Is there any evidence that church mice are any less well off than mice living in a shop or school?

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Study shows half of all websites use jQuery

Flocke Kroes
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Just disable javascript

Plenty of websites work better without it. If one relies on javascript, go to a competitor.

PS: I usually get the opposite problem - when I run a browser full screen I get a narrow web page with big blank borders.

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Apple patents shopping lists

Flocke Kroes
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There are excellent reasons

Patent examiners are overworked, and it takes far less effort to grant a patent than to do all the paperwork required to delay it. Rejecting a patent just means it will come back with a few words changed. Remember the purpose of the patent system is to divert money from R&D to lawyers. A good patent should be really obvious so there will be plenty of infringers. A better patent has plenty of prior art so plenty of businesses are already profiting and ripe for some nuicance litigation.

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Rampant fake Facebook ad clicks riddle hits dead end

Flocke Kroes
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Disputed figure: 1 or 2 % disable javascript

A quick web search only found one attempt to measure the percentage of people who disable javascript. There were several pages that disputed the figures.

I can understand why some people cannot believe even one percent disable javascript: If a site does not work well without javascript, I will go to one of the competitors. I assume fellow Luddites do likewise so owners of those sites are convinced everyone enables javascript. I saw a long discussion thread about how pointless it was to cater for lack of javascript. Not a single commentard argued. I tried to speak up, but javascript was required. I enabled javascript, but it did not like my browser. I tried ice weasel, and still could not post a comment.

I can understand why some people are shocked that only two percent disable javascript. When I have tried sites that require javascript, I have run away screaming. Dell's site is particularly abysmal. The only way I could read it was to block out the animations with my hand.

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Euro NCAP to mandate auto-braking in new-car test

Flocke Kroes
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Terrifying

On a narrow road I sometimes decide to speed up to pass an approaching car where the road gets wider.

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If Ultrabooks lasted longer, would YOU open your wallet?

Flocke Kroes
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Standards

I too looked at the title, and hoped for the impossible - standard laptop components like we have for desktops. Parts of my desktop are ancient because I can keep using them when I upgrade other bits. You could do with some standard laptop case sizes so you can transfer your good components. I would like to upgrade my CPU/chipset to something quieter, but lack of standards mean I would have to replace the LCD, keyboard, touch pad and case at the same time.

If Intel want a faster upgrade cycle, they will have to sort out some standards - over the dead bodies of the current laptop and LCD manufacturers.

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British Gas parent to grab £500m North Sea gas tax break

Flocke Kroes
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Which homes, which energy?

"expected to meet the energy demands of 1.5 million homes"

The Register often contacts people and organisations that are in the news for their comments. Can you make it standard practice to find out what the energy demand of a home is because I am sure everyone uses homes with or without gas central heating and hot water depending on what they are selling. I am keen to these claims in well defined units:

Power: 1 sheep jub weight = 123.6MW

Energy: 1 Norris linguine = 14 Joules

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FDA clears edible medical sensor for human consumption

Flocke Kroes
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1 to 2 Volts of _Voltage_

The units of power are Watts: Power = Voltage × Current

Power is also Velocity × Force, which means there is already a Register unit of power:

1 sheep·jub = 123.5MW

The real challenge is to find the unit of power used by the wind turbine industry. 1 Windmill (when the wind is just right) is equivalent to so many million homes (with gas heating, hot water and cooking + free public transport). If anyone can find this home, we will be able to calculate the number of sheep jubs per windmill.

Register units lack a direct unit of time, but one can be inferred from distance and velocity:

1 second = 41970000 linguine per sheep

Register units do not include a unit of charge or anything that involves charge, so there are no Register units of voltage or current.

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Big biz 'struggling' to dump Windows XP

Flocke Kroes
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Have your tried some wine with that?

Quick searches for "IE6 wine" and "IE7 wine" show that some people had it working (to some extent) years ago (and others had difficulty). If Window7 is going to cause you hassle, see if Linux+Wine+IEwhatever is a more convenient solution.

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Beeb stuffs $21tn into Olympic-sized swimming pools

Flocke Kroes
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Register units catching on

Yesterday a BBC commentator said that the Olympic swimming pool was the size of an Olympic swimming pool. How did he know? Where can I get a tape measure marked out in Olympic swimming pool lengths, widths and depths?

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Texan scientists create tiny, tiny laser

Flocke Kroes
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Tiny, tiny sharks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_lanternshark

Adults are about 20cm long. Newborns are about 6cm. These sharks naturally glow in the dark.

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Sysadmins! There's no shame in using a mouse to delete files

Flocke Kroes
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No need to learn new command line tools for every OS

If all else has failed, and you have to use Windows, install Cygwin so all your favourate Linux command line tools will be available.

The amount you have to learn is not that big either. The name of the command is plenty as almost all of them will explain themselves if you type:

command --help

If you cannot remember the name of the command to handle some topic:

man -k some_topic

The commands you need to get started are:

man man

man bash

info info

Those are the manual pages for reading the manual and using the shell, and the info page for using the info documentation library. If there are some details of a command you cannot remember, read the manual. If you are dealing with a new topic, try info. After a couple of months, you will find things in the manual far more quickly than by clicking on all the menu entries and reading all the options in the dialog boxes.

There are some tasks that are best handled with a GUI, but if you have to do something once, then there is a bad chance you will have to do it again. If you got the job done using the command line, then it takes almost no work to get atd or cron to do it for you in future.

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Microsoft unfurls patent lasso, snares Linux servers

Flocke Kroes
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More proof that the patent system should be scrapped immediately

Patents were supposed to increase the rate of technological progress by rewarding publication of how novel non-obvious inventions work with a monopoly.

Microsoft claims Linux infringes their patents, but as they have disclosed nothing, the "inventions" must be so old and obvious that people can implement them without looking at any of the secret patents.

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