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* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1295 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Music Biz: The Man is still The Man, man

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And the solution is?

> Take the skinheads bowling of course

Well I don't know what the world may want ... but what [it] needs right now is another folk singer like I need a hole in my head.

(thanks for the jog down memory lane, btw)

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Universe has more hydrogen than we thought

Frumious Bandersnatch
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@new weight unit

I'm all for bizarre units, and this one is even better than most in being "small, but massive"(*) all at the same time.

I for one welcome our small and very far away overlords, etc.

(*) refer to article, obv.

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Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: Metric units are abstract

Well then, I'm sure a litre of water out there somewhere will be very surprised to find that it weighs exactly(*) a kilogram, and that it fits in a cube of 10x10x10 cm. What could be a better and more concrete basis for a shared measurement system than the physical properties of water?

* Well, that was the intention behind the system, but what with measurement error and subsequent redefinitions, the SI measurements for volume, weight and length don't exactly meet this ideal.

The one thing that the French obviously got wrong in their zeal for base-10 measurements was the idea of the ten-day week. Sure, it'd be marginally better to have 3/10ths of the week off instead of 2/7ths, but who wants to have to work 7 days in a row? I guess they didn't take into account that weeks (and calenders) are more of a social construct than a scientific one.

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Russian upstart claims BitTorrent-killer

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: What part of "Denial of Service" don't you get?

"Denial of service" doesn't mean "overspamming".

Absolutely. You could also add a Slowloris-type attack to your list of possible DoS methods. You don't need huge amounts of traffic to effectively knock out a vulnerable server by starving it of file handles for handling legitimate connections.

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UK milk wastage = 20,000 cars = actually completely unimportant

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: As with all these Eco stories...

reminds me of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, pointless and above all arrogant.

Except that Canute most likely did it to prove a point (that he did not have the power to command the tides), and not out of arrogance or power-drunk madness. From the wiki page:

It is believed that, on this site, Cnut tried to command the tide of the river to prove to his courtiers that they were fools to think that he could command the waves.

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Best and the Rest: ARM Mini PCs

Frumious Bandersnatch
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256MB RAM is not much for running a modern graphical Linux desktop

I keep seeing this comment here on the Reg. It kind of bugs me to read that given that the PS3 only has 256Mb of main memory and it's completely capable of running Linux + X/Windows. OK, so there is a slight proviso in that large compile tasks sometimes need just a little bit more swap space, often borrowed from unused video memory, but you could just allocate an equivalent amount of disk-based swap and everything's copacetic.

So--256Mb--it may not be enough for everybody, but it's definitely enough for Linux + X/Windows.

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US gov boffins achieve speeds FASTER THAN LIGHT

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: @GitMeMyShootinIrons

Those pesky apostrophes 2...

Back in my day we had a thing called "alt.possessive.its.has.no.apostrophe". Kind of hard to forget when there's an entire newsfroup dedicated to it.

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America, China go ape for tablets

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Windows

Re: I still don't know

> what [...] tablets are good for

I dunno. You could tape it to the underside of a glass table, attach a couple of joysticks and buttons and use it as a retro gaming station. Provided it's got USB connections and whatnot.

TBH, I don't really have a clue either.

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No sex please, we're Telstra

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "videos that objectify women"

I thought it was going to be a screen capture (probably done with a shaky camcorder) of a SHRDLU session.

> PUT THE WOMAN ON THE PYRAMID

THE WOMAN FALLS OFF THE PYRAMID.

> PUT THE WOMAN ON THE RED CUBE.

THE WOMAN IS ON THE RED CUBE.

(with apologies for all caps... it's all we had back then)

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Suspected freetards to face piracy letters in 2014

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: A reward could be set up

A kick in the balls from Mr Orlowski, perhaps?

Sounds more like a job for the Special Projects Burro.

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Bit9 wants to bin 'broken' antivirus, install whitelisting tech

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Facepalm

What is a program?

I'm not convinced that whitelisting can really work in real-life situations. While it's impressive that they've committed themselves to building such a large database of known programs, there are a few big problems that I can see.

First off is the problem of what a program is. In this day and age so many packages have programming languages built into them. Either that, or the packages are actually development platforms in their own right. In the case of packages that have some form of scripting included as a non-core feature (spreadsheets, word processing apps), it would seem to be impossible to whitelist every single "program" embedded in ordinary files (shared by people) or included in the standard corporate install image (eg, company templates). The problem here isn't just the volume of programs that would need to be whitelisted if you take this expanded (and more correct) view of what a program is, but there would also be confidentiality issues if your company had to send samples of all your in-house macros/script collections for hashing. Even if you could set up the hashing/authentication server in-house, there's still plenty of scope for cock-ups.

Another problem with malware is that quite a lot of it (perhaps the majority?) is exploiting bugs in particular packages. Almost any program that reads in user data has the potential to have bugs which renders what should be just input data into live code. So even though a PDF or a particular set of inputs to a web-based service ostensibly doesn't come under the rubric of "programs", they do become a way for malware authors to trick the application or server into executing whatever they want. The whole whitelisting philosophy completely fails here since user input, data files, and so on simply don't get counted as programs when actually they are.

I noticed in the article that someone attached to the company said that false positives with whitelisting technology were "bad in the early days". It beggars belief that the people building these systems don't even seem to understand the Birthday Paradox when it comes to picking a hashing scheme... That certainly doesn't inspire confidence.

All in all, as it's reported here, the scheme is pure hyperbole, possibly verging on snake oil. IMNSHO.

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Swiss, German physicists split the electron

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

Maybe so, but not AFAICT the standard model which says that electrons are, eh, infrangible.

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Lesser-spotted Raspberry Pi FINALLY dished up

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Your school had an abacus?

You were lucky. In my school, we were the abacus. The headmaster would slap us left and right across the classroom whenever he needed to work on the heating bill, payroll, rent we had to pay for the classroom, etc.

Of course you try telling ...

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So what's the worst movie NEVER made?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Reeves playing Spike.

> The TV Sessions and Movie are among my all time favourite Anime

If I had to choose, I'd rank Samurai Champloo a notch higher than Bebop. Shinichirō Watanabe did both of them.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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live-action version of cowboy bebop?

Oh God, no.

Although he's been OK in some roles, no amount of mind bleach can eat away the memory of the steaming turd that was Johnny Mnemonic. To be fair, it wasn't just his acting--the whole screenplay/treatment was just atrocious.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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zenith - I do not think that word means what you think it means

I assume you meant 'nadir'. But I suppose you could be living in the antipodes. That would work, right?

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Life on Mars found – in 1976

Frumious Bandersnatch
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nobody suggesting "take off and nuke from orbit" yet?

Good job too... it didn't work very well in The Andromeda Strain.

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Bacteria isolated for four million years beat newest antibiotic

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Paris Hilton

Re: Now, that's strange

noticing how widespread this nonsense is becoming.

Of course this "Creationism" stuff is nonsense. These bacteria are obviously immune to our antibiotics because of morphic resonance!

(that's it Paris... use your brain waves!)

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Commodore founder Jack Tramiel dies at 83

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: disk drive (1541 an expensive peripheral)

Yes, that's true, but considering that it had quite a few of the same parts as in the c64 itself (less sound and graphics chips, naturally), the price wasn't that surprising. Basically, it was a fully-fledged computer in itself, albeit one dedicated to working as a drive controller.

I could never afford the 1541, but by the time I'd outgrown the tape drive, some clone drives were available that were a lot cheaper (and more slimline). I bought one of these clones (I can't remember the name, but I think it might have been by Evesham Micros) and never had any problems with it.

With this news, I'm tempted to pull the system out from the cupboard to see if it all still works. I loved playing Uridium and Zoids, but I'm sure there are dozens of other excellent games I've completely forgotten about. I just hope the floppies still work.

Thanks for all those (great) wasted hours and all the memories. RIP, Jack...

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Minecraft maker plots ultimate videogame for coders

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Loving the C64-style colour scheme and boot message

And if you squint, the assembly language isn't that far removed from 6510 assembly either. Well, the JSR, addressing modes and limited range of registers look similar anyway. The 16-bit opcodes look a bit bloated and strange though--definitely not like a C64. Then again, A9 30 only stores an 8-bit value there.

Off to read more about the instruction set.

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Google shows off Project Glass augmented reality specs

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Project Glass?

They should have pissed everyone off by calling it iWindows.

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HTC sues fans for premature unboxing

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: These hackers got off lightly

> Guys, its Morris (who normally hides behind Anon Coward) DO NOT FEED THE TROLL!

Er, no. But top marks for spotting the reference.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Facepalm

Re: These hackers got off lightly

No, I'm not delusional. It was a joke. The clue was in calling them "hackers" and also the "I'll get my coat" icon... usually denoting humour, isn't it?

I'm surprised so many people didn't get it. A classic example of Poe's Law, it seems.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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These hackers got off lightly

They should have been given a jail cell with Bubba instead of just having their toys taken away from them.

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Use the holy word of God to stay secure online, says bishop

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: sibboleth (*)

Heh... came here to make exactly the same comment.

(*) It seems google doesn't recognise my spelling... perhaps it would make a good password?

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Lucy in 3.4 million-year-old cross-species cave tryst

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "hominin"?

re: that town in Kentucky... here was me thinking it was just a homonym.

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Chinese to burn iPads in upcoming celebrations

Frumious Bandersnatch
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$3.20 for a paper iPad?

Does that include any apps?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Voodoo its all voodoo

> leaders in Necromancy in it's [sic] day

Do a search for hopping zombies. Quite an interesting twist on the Haitian style zombies we're more familiar with. Chinese zombie films often make for some quite hilarious viewing.

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BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Windows

"turd divination"

I'm sure there's a word for that. I'm guessing "scatomancy".

What I'm sincerely hoping for is that there's also an app for that.

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Fujitsu's King K thrashes Top 500 rivals

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: (beer because there's no saki)

You're right... there is no precedent

(先きの無いコンピューターでしょう...)

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Sony intros Xperia Sola with no-need-to-touch screen

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Harry Potter fans should love this

Sendus Emailus!

On second thought, maybe too much wand-waving would be required to actually type anything...

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Tony Blair closes RSA 2012, denounces WikiLeaks

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Of Simulation and Dissimulation

Francis Bacon's essay of the same title starts off:

DISSIMULATION is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit, and a strong heart, to know when to tell truth, and to do it. Therefore it is the weaker sort of politics, that are the great dissemblers.

http://www.authorama.com/essays-of-francis-bacon-7.html

Besides still being a relevant observation on the value of privacy (rendered as "closeness, reservation, and secrecy"), it's also telling as an indictment of Bush and Blair. All politicians lie, and we expect them to "dissemble" (pretend not to be what they are) and "simulate" (pretend to be what they are not) to some degree of another, and as appropriate to the circumstances. However, these men have taken simulation and dissimulation to such a level that one wonders if they are the only ones who cannot see their lies as anything but transparent falsehoods. Such people are beyond being merely immoral---they are outright dangerous.

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Hackers print tiny Linux box to net up your home

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Flame

how long before ...

someone uses this as part of an environmental monitoring box (or similar) and someone else comes across it and thinks it's a bomb?

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Moles say Sony will kill Cell CPU for PlayStation 4

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Shame

"worse than CUDA with a fraction of the performance"

How do you make that out? Care to mention a bit of hardware that uses CUDA (in a more or less similar price range) and that outperforms a PPU/SPU app? I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but your comment is meaningless without looking at hardware--the programming architectures simply aren't directly comparable. On top of that, you also need to consider what type of application you're running. You can't make a blanket statement like that without considering what problem is being thrown at the system.

While I admit I'm not an expert on CUDA, I would consider myself pretty good at programming on the Cell. It seems to me that it would be a lot more difficult to get anything approaching full utilisation of the GPU in a CUDA architecture in comparison. The main reason is that CUDA seems to be designed around throwing many less powerful compute cores at a problem, and due to Amdahl's laws, there's a limit to how effective this can be, depending on the type of problem. CUDA does seem to be an advance over most previous GPGPU attempts, mainly in supporting a richer set of programming primitives. Bitwise operations is the main one I see, but perhaps it also supports branching? I'm fairly ignorant on this, but I know previous GPU shaders didn't support branching, something that seriously restricted their power from a programmer's point of view. Another CUDA downside is the lack of recursive function calls. There are probably more restrictions I'm not aware of.

On the Cell, on the other hand, the SPUs are much more capable computers in their own right, with a full and pretty rich instruction set. It still has a performance penalty for (unhinted) conditional branches and it's really designed as a vector processor so there's a performance (under-utilisation) hit there too if you're writing scalar code for it. But the point is that it's a much more advanced core. Add to that that you've got great inter-core communication possiblities (hardware mailboxes and interrupts and very high bandwidth DMA, though not directly to the GPU--you have to use a flip buffer in main memory) and it's quite possible to think of dedicating some SPUs to specific tasks the way you would threads or concurrent processes in other systems. Or of using a hybrid model, with some SPUs loading code dynamically as needed for small, compute-intensive kernels, while others are statically allocated to certain tasks/threads.

The Cell is also much better at keeping the main CPU free from having to act as a master to slave cores, with all the attendant housekeeping that can entail. In a properly designed application, SPUs can basically act asynchronously and can coordinate work amongst themselves, with main CPU overhead kept to a minimum. My guess is that a CUDA system needs to dedicate a fair amount of main CPU grunt to keep GPU cores singing. And that's power could be spent implementing other parts of your app that the GPU can't help you with at all.

The upshot of all this is that while a CUDA system could very well beat a PS3 at a narrowly-defined task (eg, password cracking, though not things that involve rainbow hashes, since memory/disk bandwidth is the bottleneck there), such applications generally have to be embarrassingly parallel to begin with. So maybe you can write part of your render pipeline by throwing more cores at it in a CUDA system (constrained by your memory/DMA buses), but because of Amdahl's law, there's a limit to how far that will take you. At a certain point, you need to start thinking of apps as distributed programs with complex data interdependencies instead of purely parallel ones with only simple pipelines, and that's where the Cell's architecture really shines, in my opinion.

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Playboy, Virgin Galactic tout zero-grav nookie in spaaaaace!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: What?

Meh. An indignant tone is unnecessary: xkcd.com/123/

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File sharing arrests move to Germany

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: what

Hmmm.. I foolishly hit reload on the page that had the original url. Now it's gone. Does the Register search box have some sort of silly iframe deficiency that lets search terms embed other pages? Or is it simply a well-placed %40 and a double decoding problem with browsers exclusively? Now that the original post has been edited, I guess I'll never know :(

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: File-sharing, like skateboarding, is NOT a crime.

And Bill Posters is innocent, too.

Seriously, though, what's with the influx of rabid AC commenters on this story? It surely can't be the PR departments of media companies, and I sincerely doubt it's a bunch of artists. Although maybe if it is the latter, it might explain why they aren't making as much money as they'd like from their fans ...

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Apple files patent for 'polished meteorite' keyboard

Frumious Bandersnatch
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polished meteorite?

More like polished coprolite.

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OPERA grabs spanner, fixes kit, and slows down neutrinos

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Get the Atomic Vector Plotter

Put the small plug into the small receptacle. Put the large plug into the large receptacle. Now all we need is a nice hot cup of tea as a source of Brownian motion...

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Upstart startup STT punts big on universal memory

Frumious Bandersnatch
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what can spintronics do for us?

I mean apart from the speed and the non-volatility,. And the scalability. OK, and the price? I mean really? Can it survive an electromagnetic pulse?

If it is, maybe it's something that Cyberdyne Inc. should look into then? Oops... wrong trope.

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Squirrelled away: seeds survive 30,000-year winter

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: a huge dose of radiation

Damn, I was going to start a scare thread of "The Triffids are Coming!" a la Kempf. Too obvious?

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French National Front woos internet pirates

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Feargal Sharkey "doesn't speak for 'Loz'"

Maybe he thinks finding a good heart these days is easy?

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Apple lands slide-to-unlock patent blow on Motorola

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Re: Prior art

Speaking of digital cameras, quite a few of them have a "swipe to activate" feature too. I'm talking about sliding lens covers that double up as a power switch. Oh, it's also finger-operated. Make of that what you will.

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Pope's PR says Vatican in grip of WikiLeaks-style scandal

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Dear Mr. Bank Manager

I was quite shocked to read your letter describing your problems balancing our bank account. I suggest we meet up to discuss same. How does Blackfriars Bridge on the 18th sound?

So mote be it!

PS please bring some bricks, if you can, on the off chance that we may chuck them at the ducks.

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Shakira attacked by sea lion who mistook BlackBerry for a 'fish'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Dangerous animals

Dear Shakira,

I get letters telling me since I moved away

you've taken to hanging out on that rock about a mile from shore

given what I know about that rock mainly that it's populated by seals

I strongly suggest to you that you not hang out there anymore

'cause the seal is a wily and a vicious creature

and the seal will bite you if you give him half a chance

yeah the seal has a mind set on violence

and the seal is the sworn enemy of man

now when I say that the seal is vicious I use the term advisedly

according to webster's 9th new collegiate definition 4b.

which states that vicious means marked by ferocity

and offers as a synonym...savage

'cause the seal is a vicious and a wily creature

and the seal has a mind full of evil designs

and the seal will harm you and laugh about it

yeah the seal is not a creature you want to toy with

yeah the seal is not a creature you want to toy with

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Chip boffins demo 22-nanometer maskless wafer-baking

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Holmes

Quantum tunneling doesn't necessarily manifest

in the equipment used to etch a pattern on silicon. Quantum tunnelling is how the uncertainty principle manifests as electrons travel along ever-smaller circuits. As you shrink circuits and the overall energy levels approach Planck scale (which might be measured in terms of energy gaps or distance) then it causes electrons to apparently "teleport" at random, so smaller circuits introduce quantum glitches.

If you're talking about the actual process by which circuits are etched, however, you're probably talking about very high energy beams (x-ray lithography or, in this case, an electromagnetically accelerated electron beam) then the energy of the photon (x-ray) or electron (CRT-like accelerator) can be ramped up to a level where they're well in excess of the Planck-scale energy levels, so won't be as affected by the uncertainty principle.

There are still problems, though. Even x-ray lithography (higher energies relative to UV) mightn't have enough energy to cast a clean shadow against the mask--hence (I take it) the need for multiple masks and x-ray sources. As for CRT, aiming is still hard at high energies due to the need to have a very high frequency circuit for steering the electron beam. Aiming has been a problem with CRTs since the beginning. The traditional solution (to get the electron to hit the right pixel) is to have a charged mesh close to the target which helps to focus electrons that are slightly off-target or absorb those that are more wildly off. Higher-energy electron beams probably do something similar.

The designers of these kinds of etching hardware still have to worry about the uncertainty principle as they get to ever-smaller scales, but the physical description of their problems manifests more as wave/particle duality (inability to cast hard shadows due to edges causing a diffusion/diffraction of the beam) than quantum tunnelling per se ("teleporting" low-energy electrons in a circuit). At least, that's how I understand it...

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The God Box: Searching for the holy grail array

Frumious Bandersnatch
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is latency that big a deal?

I can see cases where it matters (basically anything that requires interactivity, such as database back-ends, game servers or things that need to be as real-time as possible) but how many of these are going to be held up by client-side latencies (application loading) or network latencies (things accessed from cloud or web interfaces)? I can also think of many more applications (indexing, compiling, transcoding, rendering, etc.) that are more compute-bound or that would much prefer to have bigger throughput/bandwidth than lower latencies. Besides, in a lot of applications the latencies associated with data transfer can be hidden by doing double- or triple-buffering of work packets or precaching data. This can usually reduce latencies to effectively nil, provided there's a discernible access pattern and it's not just purely random access (which the tiered, "temperature"-based storage caches won't handle well anyway). So does latency really matter so much?

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Space: 1999 returning to TV?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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If you have artificial gravity, why do you need Newtonian thrusters?

Maybe because their artificial gravity system is effectively in a bubble with no net change to gravitational forces outside the ship? So like, maybe, the gravity in all the levels pulls in a direction they decide to call "down", but up at the "top" of the ship they've got the reverse pull to balance things out?

TBH though, invoking "artificial gravity" explanations kind of bugs me. We know it's all made up, but there's no need to lampshade it. The one exception: inertial systems that actually work, ie spinning ships and stations, a la 2001.

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iRobot Warrior-bot goes on sale this Spring

Frumious Bandersnatch
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for the geek who has everything?

I thought that was penicillin?

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ViewSonic V350 dual Sim Android smartphone

Frumious Bandersnatch
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not much good for drug dealers

I know the article wasn't being entirely serious when suggesting it, but dual sim isn't going to allow you to create two walled-off identities. The problem is that the IMEI is transmitted when you register with the GSM system and this is uniquely tied to the phone, not the SIM. So no good for drug dealers, extortionists, kidnappers, etc.

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