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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1538 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

The LSD trick cyclist, the 1980s pop-star and video games to REPROGRAM YOUR BRAIN

Graham Dawson
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Re: Computer games & drugs? Seriously?

“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

― C.S. Lewis

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Google's robot army learns Spanish

Graham Dawson
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Re: The gootards really need shunning/quashing ...

They have a solution. Google Stars. Somehow it makes sense.

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iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating

Graham Dawson
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Fifth from the right? I've looked through the entire report, none of them show the settings screen for iOS. I'm not sure what you're trying to tell me.

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Graham Dawson
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Is there any particular reason why they show several pages of the app screen when they only show a single page of the iOS home screen - which is the functional equivalent? Methinks they're padding just a fraction.

EDIT: Actually strike that, they do show a second page. BUT. They don't show the iOS settings app, yet do show the android settings. Kind of cheeky.

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UK.gov's e-Borders zombie still lurks under the English Channel

Graham Dawson
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Re: How's it supposed to work anyway?

Way to miss the point. Besides, Norway regularly ignores EU directives, so you're wrong anyway. They have the choice, you see; they can implement what is good for their country and ignore the things that are against their national interest. We can't..

And Iceland abandoned the accession talks in august.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: How's it supposed to work anyway?

I'll trade you joining schengen for leaving the rest of the EU and joining the EEA instead. We can be like Norway - who, believe it or not, don't have to implement EU laws without any say. They can and often do ignore them. The only areas they can't ignore are certain areas of regulatory law, which membership of schengen or the EEA requires they comply with.

However, almost all of the regulatory directives are simply implementations of standards, regulations and so on and so forth created by various committees of the United Nations, the ISO and other such transnational organisations. The EU has very little input except to re-write them into the languages of its member states. As an EU member state we no longer have any individual say on those committees and have to maintain a joint presence with the EU.

Given that fact, the greatest benefit to us is to be outside the EU so we can properly represent our interests on the primary source of these regulations, and in Schengen and the EEA so we can benefit from the free-trade agreements without having to implement every stupid piece of one-size-fits-all legislation Brussels decides to send our way.

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HTC staring down the barrel of a US sales ban after Nokia's patent coup

Graham Dawson
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I'd much rather they reboot the maemo/meego development and release a successor to the N9. That was a bloody beautiful phone.

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Grand Theft Auto V: Violent, sweary and amazingly ambitious

Graham Dawson
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Pint

It's never too early. -->

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'Occupy' affiliate claims Intel bakes SECRET 3G radio into vPro CPUs

Graham Dawson
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Re: From the linked article

"Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Cut the red wire first, or you'll set off the bomb!"

Um... they're all yellow.

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New ransomware strain forces hapless users into becoming Bitcoin miners

Graham Dawson
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Because punishing people for a crime committed _against_ them is the most logical way to deal with this.

Idiot.

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Bill Gates again world's richest, tops in US for 20th straight year

Graham Dawson
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Re: Bill Gates and taxes

Obviously they're Jewish Commie-Nazis. And apparently pink.

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TWO can play this 64-bit mobile game, says Samsung, crossly

Graham Dawson
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Re: Why does Samsung have to wait for Google?

Independently adding their own code to the underlying OS would mean it was no longer Google certified (or approved, or whatever they call it) which would mean in turn that they couldn't bundle the google play app and other google toys, which would then mean they no longer have that google ecosystem to offer to the punters.

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Reelin' in the years: Tracking the history of magnetic tape

Graham Dawson
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And I'm reminded of my days at Bradford, when we were all ushered into a little room in the back of the university of photography, film and television and given a highly entertaining lecture on the evolution of magnetic recording media fro the very first to the very latest.

I mean it when I say highly entertaining. I've forgotten the chap's name now, but he could weave a story. It helped that he had a lot of props to hand around, including what he claimed was a length of the tape from those old BBC recorders, which was accompanied by a story of the day he took part in or observed an interview that used them. According to him, the operator had at least one finger missing on each hand.

I know it sounds silly and that digital recording has essentially no downsides, but there was always something so very tactile about recording to tape or playing back from it. On the other hand I'll not miss the amount of time it took to transfer rushes from DV to the computer.

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Canadian family gives up modern tech to live like it's 1986

Graham Dawson
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If you'd read the article you would have noticed an explanation for that. Do pay attention.

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Autogyro legend Ken Wallis hangs up wings at 97

Graham Dawson
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Holmes

Re: Look, no hands!

With a pipe!

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Australia's anti-smut internet filter blueprint lasts LESS THAN A DAY

Graham Dawson
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Meh

Re: As has recently been achieved in the United Kingdom...

Most mobile phone operators already do the former and have done for some reason, as I found out trying to access an entirely innocent writing website.

Which just goes to show that these content filters are stupid anyway.

Who would have thought?

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Baffled boffins 'closer' to finding origins of extragalactic COSMIC RAYS

Graham Dawson
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Re: data is a plural word

Of course you're correct. The singular has become "data point", or the phrase "a single piece of data". Rather like cake. Though of course that also comes in slices. But then, so does data.

You see English is a very functional language. It has lost most of its inflection - not all, given we still pluralise and inflect for number, amongst other things - but certainly most, so of course when English adopts a word from an inflected language, such as Latin or Greek, it will tend to adopt a single form and discard the rest. Other forms of the noun might then turn up in other contexts, for related but distinct concepts.

One of the reasons I personally tend to rail against attempts to enforce foreign grammatical rules on imported words is that it leads to hyper-correction. That is, the proscriptive applicatiopn of "the rules" to situations where they have no reason to be applied. Virus and Octopus both still have their pedants insisting that they pluralise as virii and octopi, when English orthography would render them as viruses and octopuses. Yet there is no attested plural of virus in Latin, and octopus is greek, and should pluralise as octopodes.

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Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

Re: data is a plural word

A few things to bear in mind:

Nowhere does the article refer to a single point, but always to a collective "data".

In English, "data" is also used as a collective singular noun.

In English, datum generally refers to an originating or prototypical example of a thing. See for example "datum line", generally shortened to "datum", being a guaranteed line from which measurements are taken or from which distance is calculated in a variety of fields.

Datum might be the latin singular and data the plural, but we aren't speaking latin. My wife speaks classical latin and has taught it at a university level, yet she'd bop you over the head with her copy of The Golden Ass if you tried pulling that sort of pedantry on her. Attempting to shoehorn latin rules of grammar into English is the reason why we have to put up with complaints about split infinitives and the tortured house style of The Economist, that once rendered the unforgettable sentence "Yet even as big data are helping banks, they are also throwing up new competitors from outside the industry." Which is a complete and utter nonsense.

And finally: language evolves. Words change meaning. Often they can change quite fundamentally and even transform into antonyms of their origin, as you might find if you look up the historical meanings of "nice", "artificial" and "awful".

Data is the singular, plural and collective noun in English. That's not how it started, but that's what it is.

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Anatomy of a killer bug: How just 5 characters can murder iPhone, Mac apps

Graham Dawson
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BLIT

wink

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Boffins follow TOR breadcrumbs to identify users

Graham Dawson
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Re: "Anything to throw a spaniard in the worms"

Google "writing comments on a touchscreen"

(writing came off as spring and wording first couple of tries. ..)

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Why Teflon Ballmer had to go: He couldn't shift crud from Windows 8, Surface

Graham Dawson
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Re: Put my CV through but I have yet to hear.

ChairPunt, surely?

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Guardian teams up with New York Times for future Snowden GCHQ coverage

Graham Dawson
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@Bluenose Re: Yes Me history of the Guardian

Denying the Graun has a left-wing bias would be like denying that the Sun has tits on page three. They may once have been anti-establishment but as things stand now they're very much part of it, considering their close relationship with the BBC.

They are, nevertheless, performing a valuable service releasing these documents. One might question their potential willingness to do so had Labour been in power, but since Labour aren't in power the point is moot: they're releasing the information and we, as a whole, will hopefully benefit from that.

Never let it be said I'm not fair. Though I might be somewhat unbalanced...

Mine's the one with a copy of the Beano in the pocket.

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Google cursed its own phones with wacked Wi-Fi, say Nexus users

Graham Dawson
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Re: A slightly different problem

Maybe turn off the wifi unless you want to use it?

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Reg hack battles Margaret Thatcher's ghost to bring broadband to the Highlands

Graham Dawson
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Re: Take care

Nah, something like that would come under building regs at most. You can apply retroactively without penalty.

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Windows NT: Remember Microsoft's almost perfect 20-year-old?

Graham Dawson
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Windows

Oh look, it's mister monolithic whine.

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Snowden's email provider may face court rap after closing service

Graham Dawson
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His mistake was in being too honest. What should have happened was a series of unfortunate accidents that managed to destroy all of their data storage, after which they found out their backup system wasn't actually being used for the last two years, so all the requested data is simply gone.

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Auntie touts e-babysitting ... and no £15,000 in-app purchase shocks

Graham Dawson
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Re: Shurely shome mishtake?

Nice little jape there old chap. Did it take you all year to come up with that one or was it a spur-of-the-month thing?

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Nude swimmers warned of GONAD-GOBBLING FISH ON THE LOOSE

Graham Dawson
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Re: Fishy

The Finns are merely compensating for the lack of vowels in Welsh.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: A few details:

You mean the dongle, surely?

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Norway BANS Apple from Oslo's skies: No aerial Maps app snaps allowed

Graham Dawson
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Re: But...

Wiki lists two incidents. Breivik in 2011 and four "men" attacking an Oslo synagogue in 2006.

So there you go.

There were more but Breivik's ubiquity on the interwebs makes them difficult to dig up.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Wow

Actually Norway isn't on a 1 Euro, which makes sense when you think about it. It's not an EU member state, so why would it appear on the currency?

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Graham Dawson
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Jag fjelløver och nix gytuppen?

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Facebook's request to the flash industry: 'Make the worst flash possible'

Graham Dawson
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So he wants write-only memory?

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No distro diva drama here: Penguinista favourite Debian turns 20

Graham Dawson
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Re: Advanced

I remember my Gentoo days with fondness, but you can only be a ricer for so long before it starts to get boring. Still, compiling an entire system from scratch (even in the guided way portage handles it) was rather fun for a while.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: Different linuxes for dirrerent purposes

Debian is fine for desktops too, you know. I use it.

Ah but then I do almost everything in the browser anyway, so...

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Graham Dawson
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Pint

Re: I picked this as my first distro.

I often wonder why some people have a problem with others being genuinely satisfied with the decisions they've made. It's almost as if the idea that a person can be happy is somehow evil.

I just moved into a new flat. It is exactly what I want. I have never been happier.

Is there a difference between that and a user getting the distro they want?

No.

Let the man be happy.

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Netflix dares UK freetards: Watch new Breaking Bad NOW or torrent it?

Graham Dawson
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"and if you're really that bothered let the nice man in next time he calls round to check."

No. Never. NEVER let the man in. All they have to do is prove there's a signal on the TV and they have you, no matter how tenuous it may be. They have been observed sticking a finger in the aerial socket and using their own body as an aerial.

Besides, if they see a TV they just assume you're unplugged it while they're around and send court summons. Given it's impossible to prove a negative, once that happens you're screwed. Don't let them in. They have no right of entry unless you invite them.

Like vampires.

Funny that.

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US federal judge: Yes, Bitcoin IS MONEY

Graham Dawson
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@silent_count Re: Just curious

You're discussing fiat currency. Money used to have a physical value based on a commodity, either because it was made from that commodity or because it was guaranteed by that commodity. Traditionally the commodity was gold

Unfortunately any commodity-backed currency has two features that make it undesirable to the modern debt-bound state: You can't simply print off more money to pay off your debt and it doesn't inflate very fast (a gold-backed currency inflates as more gold is extracted from the ground, but this is a very slow process), which means you can't inflate your debts out of existence either. You can re-denominate your currency (for example, you can take $1 of gold and declare it's now worth $10), but that devalues your currency: incomes, prices and debts get an extra 0 on the end, but otherwise nothing changes. The debt remains and earning power is unchanged.

There are advantages to a fiat currency. The biggest for the capitalists amongst us is that economic growth isn't restricted by a lack of available money in the system. The biggest for the state is that it can, as explained, print money and inflate debt out of existence (in a commodity-backed currency this would be the equivalent of finding a few-billion dollars worth of gold somewhere). Unfortunately the downsides are quite obvious: printing money will devalue it. Though it exists as a legislative construct, nevertheless a fiat currency still follows the basic rules of economics and is still in effect a commodity. The first rule of commodities is that the value is dictated by the available supply: if supply of a commodity increases, its value generally decreases. If supply is restricted, its value generally increases. In the case of a commodity like copper this would mean that the price chasnges variant with the available supply and the relative demand. In the case of money, an increase of supply means the monetary "value" - the amount that a dollar can purchase of anything - is reduced.

If your economy inflates at about the same rate as your currency inflates, the currency will tend to retain its value. If your currency inflates faster than your economy grows (either by increasing the supply through printing, or by reducing the demand through a stagnant or shrinking economy) then the value of your currency decreases. In extreme cases you get a zimbabwe, where the supply of currency increased at the same time as the economy was destroyed by poor government behaviour. In less extreme cases you get a situation where a barista or waitress in the US earns what used to be a living wage but now has to be supplemented with tips in order to earn enough just to survive - because the wage stayed nearly static while the currency was inflated by increased supply.

And then this ties into arguments over all sorts of economic topics, such as minimum wage, taxation, cost of staple necessities, "cheap imported labour" and so on and so forth. All this because successive governments decided to enact polices that inflated the money supply for various reasons of their own (corporate profiteering, "creation" of "wealth", or funding the latest social engineering project by "borrowing" from the first union bank of unicorn farts and rainbow fantasy). The economy appears to grow because profits and wages appear to increase in numerical terms, but the reality is that it may be stagnant or even shrinking.

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Graham Dawson
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Re: In this case the distinction would not have mattered

The taxation of barter rests on the rather dubious assumption that any cost you save in barter is the functionally same as earning that money, leading to the IRS treating it as taxable income. It further rests on the assumption that the state has the right to take your property. It seems like a rather silly assumption to me.

Not that it matters. They can't tax what they don't know about, and unless they've found a way to assign a monetary value to every barter _and_ a way to monitor every barter that takes place they aren't going to be taxing much of it unless that information is volunteered.

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Sergey Brin's 'test-tube burger' cooked, eaten, declared meat-like

Graham Dawson
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Re: In an psychopathic ideal world your best meal is one of your own species.

BSE resulted from eating brain matter, which is a bad idea in general anyway and a terrible idea for a ruminant like a cow. Stick to the steak and you're fine.

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Graham Dawson
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Angel

Wasn't he talking about a steak?

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Graham Dawson
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Megaphone

Who's the shill from the national quorn marketing board?

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Bloke in shed starts own DAB radio station - with Ofcom's blessing

Graham Dawson
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Re: Why bother

Even at a high sample rate, lossy digital compression is effectively audio compression. It normalises everything; you lose the clarity and peaks and deep bass just plain disappear. On any remotely decent hifi system you can hear the difference and you don't have to be some audiophile or freakish mutant or the idiot who spends a squillion quid on a gold-plated, jewel encrusted cable to do so. I noticed it one day playing the Master and Commander soundtrack. The CD version had this incredible deep thump in the bass that was missing from the ogg and mp3 versions I played over the same speakers. Even a q10 vbr ogg was missing it.

Of course if all your CDs are the hopelessly compressed, pumped up noise they sell so often these days then of course you're not going to hear a difference - a bit more lossy compression really won't make any significant change to that - but if they've been put together by a competent sound engineer then the difference is as between night and day.

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Village-swallowing MUDCANO was no accident, say boffins

Graham Dawson
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Facepalm

How old is fracking? And how many mud volcanoes had it caused in that time?

To save you the effort: more than 50 years, and one. Maybe.

Time and time again you people claim x y or z means fracking is the devil, but it always turns out to be so much over emotional hyperbole with no basis in fact.

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Lasers to carry 622 Mbps Earth-Moon link

Graham Dawson
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Re: when's BT going to fix my phone then?

It would probably get more results than ringing BT...

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Unreal: Epic’s would-be Doom... er... Quake killer

Graham Dawson
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Re: One thing I do remember from Unreal..

The bit I remember is right at the start, when your'e crawling through the ship and get into an air vent. You spot a figure up ahead but it scarpers just as you see it. Then later you get to a door and hear people on the other side trying to open it.

Then they die horribly.

I think it gave me a few uncomfortable nights that one...

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Dear Linus, STOP SHOUTING and play nice - says Linux kernel dev

Graham Dawson
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@AC Re: Different people respond to different things

"when was the last time you had an examiner call you a fucking idiot?"

Personally I've never had it happen, but I saw it happen to other people when I was at university. And I will be frank, they deserved it.

(not the AC for the record, just a guy who was smart enough to not be called a fucking idiot)

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Pirate Bay bod and pals bag $100k to craft NSA-proof mobe yammer app

Graham Dawson
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Big Brother

Hey anon, question for you: do you have curtains? Or blinds, or whatever?

Why? What are you trying to hide with them? You must surely be trying to hide _something_, otherwise you wouldn't have them, right? I mean only people with something to hide will actually close their curtains...

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Elon Musk's Grasshopper tops 300m, lands safely

Graham Dawson
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Not so crazy. You'd need as much if not more fuel to carry the extra weight of the lifting and control surfaces, it would dramatically increase the cost of each launch and it would introduce a lot more potential failure points. This way is cheaper, simpler and I'd wager a lot more reliable.

It's not "just" a soft landing either. Bringing back the early rocket stages for refurbishing and reuse will slash the cost of launches.

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