1286 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007
Moor accurate tiepin ...
... does knot mean their will bee bettor spelling.
Imagine you graphics card is sending frame buffer 1 to the display. While it is doing that, it starts drawing the next frame on buffer 2. If your card can average 600 frames per second, it will complete that task well before frame 1 has been sent. It could sit idle and save some electricity, or it could start drawing a new frame in buffer 3. When the card has finished drawing in frame 3, it still has plenty of time, an no real use for the data in frame buffer 2. It can start drawing another frame there. Eventually, all the data from buffer 1 will reach the monitor. When that happens, the graphics card can start sending data from frame buffer 2 or 3 - which ever is complete. If buffer 2 was complete, the card finishes drawing in buffer 3, then starts drawing in 1, then 3, and so on until buffer 2 has been sent to the monitor.
Triple buffering has many wonderful advantages:
*) It provides extra profits for electricity companies.
*) It makes you fan spin so loud that the neighbours can hear it over the noise of exploding zombies.
*) You can boast about how many frames per second you £5000 graphics card does.
*) The gaming engine looks at your controls once per graphics card frame rather than once per monitor frame.
That last one can make a real difference to how laggy a game feels.
"declining [Windows] PC industry" and the unique selling feature of a Windows 8 phone will be "how the phone and [Windows] PC operating systems will work together."
Planned obsolescence is supposed to kick in after the warranty expires, not before the customer makes a purchase.
UEFI could have provided some security
If I could wipe all the keys and install one of my own, then I could be confident that only kernels I sign can be booted. As it currently stands, the manufacturers install Microsoft's key, and whatever other keys they choose or are legally required to boot CIA signed malware.
Estimating environmental impact never that easy
Electric cars have regenerative braking. At a wild guess, about 50% of the energy required to make the car accelerate gets back into the battery when it stops. That will approximately equal out a petrol car which is about half the mass but has 0% efficient regenerative braking.
The national grid is about 80% efficient. I do not have a figure for the amount of fuel required to distribute fuel.
Greenness of electricity depends on how it is generated. France is 80% nuclear. The UK still does not have a practical plan for low carbon electricity.
The materials and construction cost should be offset the the costs and benefits of recycling.
I think you are probably right about a Detroit gas-guzzler being more environmentally friendly in the UK. I think they would be about equal in France, but I do not have the required data to prove it one way or the other.
Judge Birss explained
Apple sued in the UK. That made the UK court into a (European) Community Court for this case. Apple later sued in Germany. That was very naughty. The whole idea of a community court is to avoid getting different verdicts from each member state.
The long URL leads to a huge article. Get your browser to find this text:
Lumia series has the highest return rates in Nokia smartphone history
If you had a big expensive high margin product, would you want your customers to know that you also make a smaller cheaper low margin product? I can understand Apple keeping quiet about the iPad mini and only mentioning it to customers who say a full sized tablet is too big.
Who's definition of open?
Microsoft have a really inclusive definition of open that includes all their lock-in software and file formats.
For that matter, what counts as 'considered'? How about "We considered using open source but were told that is was frightening, uncertain and doubtful".
Easy: religious faith
He has no evidence to support his theory, but has complete faith.
Intel are very good at performance. They are getting tolerable at power consumption. I cannot see them competing on price. I am sure Intel will produce some excellent high speed low power chips with their next generation super expensive manufacturing process. ARM partners will do the same with the current manufacturing process which will be cheap as chips by then.
2001 Linux has AMD64 support working on a simulator
2003 real AMD64 CPU's for sale
2005 Windows XP Professional x64 edition (AMD64) released
200? AMD64 Windows drivers and applications
Anyone going to hold the breath until Windows RT64?
Samsung have absolutely killer hardware
Google/Samsung have gone to a lot of trouble not to give their best laptop a name. "The new Chromebook" is going to be really confusing when the newer chromebook is released. I mean the series 3 Chromebook with the ARM CPU that is half the price of the Intel ones. It is model number XE303C12.
Here is how to install Ubuntu on an XE303C12:
The instructions put the Ubuntu on an SDHC card, but you could put it on the internal eMMC chip by typing different device names. Someone has reported success with openSUSE. I will be installing Debian this weekend. The bumps I expect to meet are:
Samsung's kernel will work fine. Debian's default kernel will probably be missing some device drivers. I expect compiling the latest stable kernel will fix most of that and the rest will get fixed within about two stable kernel releases.
The hardware should be able to run armhf, but I suspect armel will be easier to get working. armhf uses the floating point hardware, but armel does not.
The opengl library is not open source. The vendor supplied one will be either armhf or armel. The Mali 200 and 400 GPU's are being reverse engineered (see project Lima). The XE303C12 uses Mali 600.
When do we get the £680m back?
So tax payers buy some fibre for £680m. BT then rents the tax payers own fibre back to the tax payers. Then BT pays back the £680m when erm err ... never.
I could understand buying some fibre, then tendering out some maintenance contracts to the lowest competent bidders. I cannot understand giving the fibre to a monopoly.
I for one salute our Achaemenid Persian overlords. I'll get my coat.
Four worth less than 3 and 5
Numbers on a row of shops: 1, 2, 3, 5, ...
Whoever owned that row of shops clearly believed he would not get as much rent for a shop numbered 4.
What are smoking?
There is no way that Elop will release Symbian into the wild. It would continue to outsell Winphone.
If I wipe off chrome, install Debian and add some USB3 storage, this new chromebook is better that what I am using now.
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.)
Lock-in + segmentation is old news
The suprise is that people are still falling for it.
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.
Could be worse
The gray bar is there because of an eu directive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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?
OK: A comparison with Dinorwig
Energy stored at Dinorwig: 3.2x10¹³J
Volume of Marchlyn Mawr: 6700000m³
Maximum power output: 1.8GW.
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.
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.
Its worse than that ...
It doesn't even have a sink plunger and an egg whisk.
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?
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.
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.
Why do we have a patent system at all?
Juries or patent specialists, ignorance or mallice, who do you want to be trolled by?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am sure there are others just as good.
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?
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.
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.
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.
djbdns works fine - and it is free
The license is open source, but inconvenient for most distributions. Compiling, installing and configuring worked without complications for me.
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.
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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