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* Posts by Mage

2630 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Alarming tales: What goes on INSIDE Reg hack's hi-tech bedroom

Mage
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Re: All hail the mighty teasmade!!!

Popular from late 1950s. The one in the pic has 1966 on. Where did the 1970s date come from?

Perhaps a winch with cord around your ankle and plug winch into a time switch.

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Oz bookshop to deliver by drone

Mage
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Re: Text Books / eBooks

Well I just ordered the new version of Kindle DX. 1/3rd price of a top iPad, but no competition to a Tablet. It might compete well with paper textbooks, scanned books and A4 PDFs on a 1600 x 1200 laptop. I may save a lot on laser printing. Print to PDF and copy via USB to Kindle DX.

I'll not rush into buying text books till the eVersions are a LOT cheaper than dead tree versions.

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Mage
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Text Books / eBooks

No eReader is suitable yet to properly replace Text books. Novels are great. Reference works can be OK if done properly (A PDF of images of scanned book is painful).

Also the regular size kindle is too small for text books. If I get the now re-appeared Kindle DX**, I will test it,

Need easier annotation, better bookmarks*, goto by click on place on bar representing "depth" of book so you can flip into via "binary tree" like search as you would do on a paper one when you know roughly the location but not page number.

*Maybe show the Favourite Bookmarks as icons on a bar representing the depth of book.

BTW, Apple, I designed all this in 1987, so don't bother trying to patent it.

(** is re-released DX a newer screen like Paper White? Amazon site seems vague)

Mines the one with a Kindle paper white in the pocket.

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FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS: Microsoft faces prising XP from Big Biz

Mage
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Or

Not move at all. In reality the lack of patches doesn't make much difference to a sensibly used XP behind a firewall.

Surely there is a non-MS alternative too? Not if you have a large investment in old Windows and DOS programs, some of which don't work on Vista/Win7 and perhaps more don't work on Win 8, so the very people that can easily move to Win8 due to legacy baggage perhaps can move from MS. Many people I meet even with Win7 already are talking about Apple OS X or Linux. But the danger with Mac and OSX is that Apple has no loyalty to customers. Where are the Apple Servers today? If Mac and OS X is too much less attractive in Income than a cool styled "notebook" based on ARM and iOS Apple will drop the OS X based Mac family.

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Tape rocks for storage - if you don't need to, um, access your data

Mage
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Facepalm

SSD vs Tape

For BACKUP Archive, only restored when the SSD or HDD fails tape wins

SS powered off data retention capability of up to ten years.

With suitable environment tape might last a Minimum of 15 years and up to 80.

"up to" is a weasel phrase.

Good luck though finding a working drive in 50 years ...

I gave away my 8" floppy drive to a CP/M enthusiast this year. And the disks :)

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Aereo finds new way to ENRAGE TV barons: An app for Android things

Mage
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Idiots

Why don't they have a $7 subscription service. Or buy Aero and keep it at $8.

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EU digital tsar 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes: Telcos must adapt to losing roaming cash

Mage
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Ofcom Liberal?

In the wrong sense.

Maximise licence revenues and avoid the cost and complexity of actually protecting any spectrum user except high paying Mobile Operators.

Ofcom are more "political" than EU, but it's "Sir Humphry's" politics. Not the wishes of the public, parliament or what is good for the UK as a whole.

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UK plant bakes its millionth Raspberry Pi

Mage
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Teachers

The problem in the 1980s was that almost no teacher had a computer of their own or any training.

Today the problem is training. If the Teacher knows nothing about Computer Science and interfacing hardware and electronics, the kids might as well learn at home with a Pi.

The interfacing hardware and electronics is very important or else a cheap tablet or laptop with "Scratch" would be better. When Lego Mindstorms 1st came out I had high hopes of it for schools.

Maths is important to decent computer programming and HW I/O. Schools have difficulty finding people to even teach that.

A Pi can only be part of the Technology Teaching to Kids Solution. The biggest hurdles are the Dept of E. Lack of suitable teachers and commitment of schools.

They don't even do ICT properly. When I gave courses at a Business college for trainee secretaries, the best students hadn't done ICT at school. The ones that had (a) needed to unlearn rubbish, (b) thought they knew it all, so didn't listen.

Mine's the one with Z80 instruction set in the pocket.

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Sales dive at UK's oldest tech wholesaler: PC crash splashes Northamber in red

Mage
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Maybe oldest PC supplier still Running?

Did we buy the ACT Sirus1 from them? We were selling that before the inferior IBM PC hit these shores. I can't remember what we bought off them in my Company founded 1980. I left late 1982, but we certainly did use Northamber.

I Suppose a UK PC supplier can only be such since 1981, whatever they sold earlier.

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Apple iMac 27-inch 2013: An extra hundred quid for what exactly?

Mage
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Keep taking the tablets?

What do you get if you make a 27" tablet, stick it on a stand and forget to add the touch screen?

An iMac. This is design style gone mad.

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Two years after Steve Jobs' death, how's that new CEO working out?

Mage
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Cook

Jobs was erratic and irrational and relied on Charisma.

Cook is probably a nicer and better boss than those at Google. Balmer, Larry Ellison and Elop.

The Touch Screen Smart Phone is a mature market now like that for the Mac Laptop or iPod or iPad. It's impossible to predict what the next success for Apple will be or if there will be another like iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone. An Apple TV or iWatch won't be it. Probably not an iPippin either.

They would be mad to try and complete on price with entry level tablets, phones and "notebooks". Cook will probably try and maintain the Apple Marketing Ethos and Apple as the world's most successful niche consumer media electronics company. Jonathan Ives isn't even really a true HW designer. He is a stylist and even admits he copies and admires Dieter Rams. Having him set the look and feel of the GUI as well as the package is a good idea. Having him run Apple would be a disaster.

Apple products fill a niche in the market. I personally find them a bit expensive and limited as I'm a poor engineer. Nor do I update my gadgets because a new version arrives but because the old one is unrepairable.

We are probably at Apple Peak, but I think that would still be the case if Jobs was in perfect health and magically 10 years younger too. It happens to almost all companies as a market becomes mature. RCA was once a Behemoth, but "died" 1986. Today it's just a badge. A future start up becoming the size RCA was or Apple is is unlikely to be selling Radios and TVs (RCA) or Phones. The iPhone + iPad likely now dwarfs iPod and Mac profits to small change and iPhone much more than iPad.

The iPhone came just as more powerful ARM, commodity Phone chips and larger Displays were easy to integrate. They could only have done it so well at most a year earlier. Also a big ingredient was widespread network upgrades and good data plans. Without the Data Plans the iPhone would have been merely a phone with local media player. albeit with a sensible GUI (though Trolltech had demonstrated similar a Phone edition touch GUI to replace their WinCE like PDA edition first!) That "trick" can only be done once.

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Microsoft: We're nearly OUT OF STOCK of Surface 2 and Pro 2

Mage
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Re: So...

11,003 approximately.

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Robot WildCat slips its leash and bounds around parking lot

Mage
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Black Helicopters

Re: I'm clearly a Luddite

Yes, even into 1960s Military equipment had "mule mounting kits" (maybe still has, but I only know about late 19th C. to 1960s). They have been extensively used by the British Army, in 19th Century campaigns and WWII. I suspect largely replaced by helicopter.

I suspect these are not really to carry loads but radar invisible surveillance and reconnaissance. Maybe even attack.

An unarmoured model has much more range. lighter, faster, smaller and is cheaper and faster to make. Why would you armour it?

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You're either mighty brave or mighty stupid. So which is it, Twitter?

Mage
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I don't care

Like Facebook it's a proprietary substitute for real Internet applications and websites. Overhyped by media such as BBC and some papers.

Good riddance if crashes and burns.

Facebook and Twitter add no value for people and shamelessly exploit them. Probably make more sense for both to be part of Yahoo or something, if we have to continue to put up with them polluting Radio, TV, papers and Websites.

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A14 to become UK's first internet-connected ROAD

Mage
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Oh Dear

Oh Dear.

A Solution that isn't needed that will break supposedly protected spectrum.

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Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Mage
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Wonderfull.

Why did no-one point out to me earlier that Unicode isn't 16 bits any more?

I had noticed however that if you wanted Web Sites, Browsers & SQL all to talk nice that UTF-8 was best.

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Mage
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Computers Invented in China?

I thought indeed they were.

Mechanical with Rods & Beads. c.f. adding MDCXIVL and XLVI

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Ofcom sets out next DECADE of spectrum policy: Use it or lose it

Mage
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Re: a Decade?

An upvote for

"I can recall the 1950s and 60s, when allocation was done first by considering the physical properties of the band (line of sight, ground wave propagation, multi-skip, multipath immunity, rain attenuation) and then deciding what class of service it would be suitable for. After that there were international agreements between regulatory authorities. Only then were the people who wanted to make money allowed into the discussion."

But you ought to wash your keyboard out for suggestion Ofcom is behaving correctly:

White Space

PLT (in denial)

LW/MF/SW/VHF Interference issues

Digital TV allocated space.

Interference to Digital TV

Supporting Mobile Operators view on Roaming charges

Policy to replace VHF-FM with DAB

Policy to replace DTT entirely by Satellite, Cable and Fibre.

Eventual total abolition of Terrestrial Broadcasting

--- and much more!

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Mage
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To be fair

Ofcom is rubbish but probably better than Comreg.

We need a new concept of regulator. A better definition of "good utilisation" of Spectrum, Consumer protection and a long term strategy that is about reliable and interference free USE of the spectrum. Revenue raised from Licences should be irrelevant. Possibly even zero. After all you can have VAT on the services Mobile companies sell. Corporation tax is a can of worms.

There is also MUCH MORE to spectrum management than either WiFi type applications or Mobile Operators. Ofcom have forgotten this.

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The life of Pi: Intel to give away Arduino-friendly 'Galileo' tiny-puter

Mage
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Ugh

Perpetuation of Ugly x86 Architecture.

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Sony Xperia Z Ultra: The quad-core 2.2GHz MEGA SCREEN PHONDLESLAB

Mage
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Re: 12mm better, vs 6.5

If I read the spec correctly the Sony is approximately 92 x 180 x 6.5 mm, so by my previous testing it's about 2mm approximately too wide (call it 1/8" too wide) and about 40mm too tall (about 1.5") and half the thickness it could be.

As the width is most critical for the hand or pocket and it's only a little excessive, the only major issue is thus the thickness. Too thin. We can ignore the extra 1.5" / 40mm height. But if it was 12mm to 14mm, then it would be likely 87 to 90 mm wide. You can experiment with blocks of wood, sanded and sprayed with a slightly inset graphic stuck on after laminating to represent the screen.

Actually the product I was developing used a large pen shaped handset which could work as phone handset, stylus for the "notepad" or a mouse for PC (on any reasonable surface) using a 2mm optically sensed ball in the tip.

This unrelated patent quotes my earlier 1989 - 1990 patent,

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6671497.html

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Mage
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12mm better

If thicker two advantages:

Can have strong Chassis so it won't bend and crack LCD so easily.

Decent Battery Life.

If screen is on at full brightness my Sony Xperia eats 79% for screen and lasts about 14 minutes. May be longer if just charged.

I did a huge amount of testing and survey in 1988 for a "pocket notepad" information product. It was found that no advantage below 12mm. Fatter quickly objectionable. Paper back book sized approx was found to be too large, typical traditional 110 mm x 180 mm x 15 mm (W x H x D). We went for 90 mm x 140mm x 13mm approximately. Fits most suit and many coat pockets as well as hand bags. Old hardback books designed for pocket are often 98 x 146 x 13 mm. There are some paper backs in about 85 mm x 150 mm format. I think that in 11mm to 14mm thick would be a maximum phone size. As you make it thicker from 6mm thick and 90mm wide you likely need to reduce width so 14 mm thick you want 80mm wide, or if you keep the 90mm wide, round the top side edges a bit and the bottom side edges more. A 1.85:1 screen fits well. (wider than TV 16:9 which is 1.78:1, but common Cinema format).

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Look out, Gartner: Behold the El Reg all-Flash Quadragon™ wonder map-o-graphic

Mage
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Obviously

El Reg likes Violin?

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You put up with CRAPPY iOS 7. You can put up with Obamacare too, says prez

Mage
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Re: Interesting: UK more left?

Even the Labour party is more Right Wing than Maggie Thatcher was. UK is heading to being more right wing than USA. Of course essentially in European terms there are no Liberals or Socialists in the USA. The Democrats are somewhere between Conservatives and Right Wing new Labour and Republicans between UKIP and Conservatives. A gross simplification. I'm not convinced the Lib-Dems "stand for" anything much, except a bit less naive than the Greens.

Socialist parties in EU are pretty much in the minority these days. More about Personalities and nuances of policy (c.f. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in Ireland who would HATE to be in coalition but are very close in political spectrum and policy. No real change no matter which gets in).

UKIP doesn't have the NRA to back them, but they deliberately & fundamentally misrepresent EU in general and Euro in particular.

EU is nothing like the US Federal/State system and even if there was a USE, it would not be remotely like USSR or USA.

Despite the European 2008 to 2010 bank and debt "meltdowns" the Euro still exists and countries are still joining it.

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

Interesting that almost all the UK, Irish and other EU countries problems were LACK of LOCAL regulation and spawned by USA institutions poorly regulated.

European countries need the EU to compete economically and politically with Asiaian today (China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, India, Philippines, Malaysia), North America and in the future BRIC / South Americans.

Eventually there will be Five major Socio-Economic-Political Blocs. If the UK goes it alone they will become a 3rd rate economy with zero political influence. It will certainly discourage immigration.

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Scientists to IPCC: YES, solar quiet spells like the one now looming CAN mean ICE AGES

Mage
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Re: Energy: Population

Population is a separate issue to Climate Change. Unless you are going to wipe out 2/3rds of the existing population. Assuming there is a Climate Change problem. Even if it's 100% true that we really do have global warming, and it's man made, some places will produce more food and some less. If there isn't global warming, man made or otherwise, then according to David Attenbourgh we have a Population problem anyway. But experts can't agree on the future growth nor sustainable level.

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Mage
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Re: Energy

USA throws away 40% of food.

North America takes 75% of resources for 25% of population.

Rats eat a lot of the food in Asia. Maybe 25% or more.

We are very far off overpopulation. The problem is Greed and Corruption. Communism isn't the answer to those Capitalist ills though.

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500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?

Mage
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Re: open source Windows XP

Persistent Rumour is that there are bits with no source.

Why else is Services tab changes never remembered or same bugs in parts of Explorer for over 10 years?

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Mage
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But slowly – over time

If you use Disabled Autorun on all media, Libra Office, Firefox & NoScript, don't click to install Tool bars or addblockers or codecs from random sites and an external Firewall the risk is very very very low.

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LIVE, my beauty, LIVE! Nokia revives dead phone with LIGHTNING powered Frankencharger

Mage
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Alert

Why?

Because they can.

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Multipath TCP: Siri's new toy isn't a game-changer

Mage
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Stupid on a phone if there is WiFi

This only makes sense on a phone if the phone can use TWO different Mobile bands at once. Then you can get more speed.

Variations of this have been used in specialist Routers for some time before the recent spec, such as 2 or more ADSL Modems when multiple phone lines exist but speed is only 1Mbps to 3Mbps due to distance. The ISP then supports it and the LAN devices and Internet Servers don't need to know.

But it illustrates the cluelessness of Apple to implement this between WiFi & Mobile unless there is an option to turn it off. I seriously doubt the iPhone can make two simultaneous connections on say 900 UMTS and 2100 UMTS. bands. Two connections on the same band will in most cases give the same channel so give no net increase in speed or reliability.

So there are two use cases (aggregate multiple phone lines or multiple bands), but the iPhone doesn't do either. Also the problem of lack of server support vanishes if the ADSL ISP or Mobile carrier implements it. Such a specialist link aggregation is useful, but Multipath on the Public Internet between Mobile and Fixed is stupidity.

Switching between links (changing between Mobile and WiFi) is a different trick to true Multipath or Link aggregation. It doesn't need any NAT support at all or Multipath. It does require application support at the Server and Client. It can be done purely at the application level on the client and with some persistent object (cookie like) at the server so when client reconnects with a different IP the server Application regards it as the same session. Plain vanilla web servers of course can use a browser cookie.

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ATOM SMASHER ON A CHIP technology demonstrated

Mage
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Re: Well, that cool

Yes, the ultimate non-replaceable phone "battery" you won't worry about replacing. A power source that lasts for 5 years screen time would be good.

Why does a Smart phone battery go flat quickly? Screen is 80% of power consumption.

I wonder what you could do with a large 2D array of these "rice grain" accelerators?

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DEAD STEVE JOBS kills Apple bounce patent from BEYOND THE GRAVE

Mage
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Re: Prior Art

Not destroy the company. actually make little difference except more innovation and competition. Especially from startups.

The current "to easy for rich people to enforce a trivial patent" situation harms innovation and only helps the big company bottom line a little. Actually some companies spend so much on patenting that if only genuine patents granted they might save more than they would lose in competition.

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Mage
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1996 NT 4.0 Solitare Bouncing cards?

Such a feature should never be allowed a patent anyway.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Mage
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Re: Standardised connector: SCART

That was Peritel, a French attempt to block imports to France.

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Nokia demonstrates: White Space ploy can get more 4G handsets into same spectrum

Mage
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Similar

But not actually White Space at all. It's fully managed

TV transmitters can't change frequency.

Proposed TV White Space is unmanaged and the idea is the ordinary public buys devices using the TV band. There is no way to Police it, ensure all TV users are OK or detect gadget users adding too big aerials, more power or disabling database.

With so called TV White Space there is no mechanism for TV receivers to report which channel they are really using due to local topology. Which may not be what the official database predicts. Nor can the TV transmitters change.

This Nokia scheme is fully managed sharing and can work. Not really white space at all. TV White Space is a totally evil concept making broadcast users into unprotected secondary users.

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IPCC: Yes, humans are definitely behind all this global warming we aren't having

Mage
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Over population & Family planning

There is no Over population nor would more Family planning education fix anything. The human issues are down to greed and corruption. South America is good example as is Africa.

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Mage
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Ok, for a moment say 100%

Let's say it was 100%, probability of 1, totally certain and proven that Global Warming is Man made.

But what does that give us? There has never been any verified prediction of actual warming, climate change, ice changes or sea level change. Not Ever.

Those are the important bits. Till there is model that actually remotely matches reality so that what is forecast for 5 years and 10 years time is at all close, the models are useless and thus planning about what to do is largely points as there is no way to gauge the effect until a decade has passed.

So everyone needs to calm down, collect better data and better analyse it. The predicted "up to 84cm sea level rise by end of century" at present seems to be a guess even if we are all 100% convinced that it's 100% proven there is man made global warming.

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Congrats on MP3ing your music... but WHY bother? Time for my ripping yarn

Mage
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Lego Jukebox

Two CD drives so there is no gap.

Entire collection in Carousel

16" 4 x 3 screen to show the sleeve art (camera and case in carosel if you can't be bothered scanning.

Loads of Technic and a Raspberry Pi.

Also does DVDs with suitable drives. hmmm...

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

Mage
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Re: The problem isn't that the sun doesn't shine

Use desert solar power to both electrolyse and distil water at the nearest coast. Use waste carbon to synthesize hydrocarbon with hydrogen.

Ship the LPG to Edinburgh. The released CO2 won't really matter as you used CO2 or other carbon sources that would have gone to atmosphere to make the LPG.

Hydrogen can't be economically shipped except in Blimp envelopes.

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Mage
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Re: Commercial fusion may not be as far away as you think

"mistakenly writes mW "

Well a miniaturised 100mW to several watts would be interesting for portable gadgets. No charging or batteries.

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Microsoft to merge Windows, Windows Phone stores in 2014

Mage
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Stupid

Applications for a laptop, medium touch tablet , TV set GUI and a phone are not just needing different GUIs but also need different design. On a decent screen multiple windows and floating & dockable customisable tool bars might make sense. But never on a phone, rarely on a tablet. TV is similar display needs to a 6" tablet, (because it's maybe 2m away) but due to very limited user input and navigation and usually no touch, no keys much beyond 0 .. 9 and functions and no trackball/mouse (why not a IBM thinkpad style or gamepad wobble pad/stick though?) is mostly limited to browse & select.

One App store, one name of OS and one GUI is just a confusion. At least Apple and Google differentiate a bit (iOS, OS X and Android, Chrome).

After trying to shoehorn the Win3.x then Win95 style on everything they make the opposite mistake of Zune interface on everything.

By all means have a single coherent API for all devices so programmers have less to learn and make less mistakes. But this doesn't mean you should normally do the same application identically for all platforms. Unless it's maybe a game with simple interface or a trivial program. Even then it might not want to be full screen on everything.

Even running phone apps on a PC in a "phone/small tablet sized window" is rarely going to work well. Touch vs keyboard and mouse with no touch.

Most phone apps are either too trivial, or awkward or more limited than many paid or free programs on a Laptop. Also I want to get away from MS dependency on desktop, not get locked into it.

I can use the phone on WiFi beside laptop anyway.

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Mage
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Re: satellite FTW

Not portable though.

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Mage
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Re: Oh Dear @HMB

But the Band II VHF is no use to Telcos.

Community radio would remain on VHF-FM anyway.

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Mage
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Boffin

Re: Cost

400 Hours on some 1950s battery valve radios. Though large batteries. But a 1929 radio with rechargeable LT and a staggering 80 x AA cells for HT runs for 450 hours on HT. vs 6 hrs for 4 x Alkaline AA on DAB set.

dividing 450 by 20 gives 25 hrs per 4 x AA, so 1/4 running cost of the DAB set.

Only LW & MW though.

An all band Tesco mechanical £8 radio (€10) is about 135 hrs on VHF-FM on 2 x AA, so comparing with DAB set 4 x AA, that's 270 vs 6, an incredible 45 times better. It also does LW, MW and many SW bands well.

Try and get a DAB set with LW, MW & SW. Many with FM don't even do RDS. The sales of DAB sets is purely because they are commonly available in the shop. Many are used for FM, or not used at all. Channel changing too slow and awkward User Interfaces.

Also a few weeks ago on Feedback BBC said Cricket is on R4LW because the BBC DAB coverage is 6% worse than FM, which is only 99%, that means about 1% of households = 200,000 Households don't get VHF-FM and rely on MW & LW. So if I interpret BBC correctly 212K households can't get DAB. That probably assumes an aerial. If so then about 1 Million out of 20Million households can't get decent reliable FM without an extended aerial (not needed MW & LW) and very many more no DAB reception without moving the radio to a suitable window.

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British Gas robo home remote gets itself into hot water

Mage
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If it's really cold I light the fire with some turf. Bottle or Mains gas is insanely expensive here. If we get really poor we can burn the bannisters, chairs, table etc.

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EasyJet wanted to fling me off flight for diss tweet, warns cyber-law buff

Mage
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But

Is any of it true?

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Elop's enlarged package claim was a cock-up, admits Nokia chairman

Mage
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N900?

Digit missing

I want the modern 3G & 4G + WiFi equivalent of my N9210i

Without OS provider Spyware please.

(given back to employer in 2004)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_9210_Communicator

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Chaos Computer Club: iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED

Mage
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Re: Embedded RFIDs in your hand

Remotely cloneable at about 3m or more.

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El Reg seeks new mobile, wireless tech writer - could it be YOU?

Mage
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Big Brother

Working out of London Office?

Why?

Do the duties involve refilling the coffee machine?

I'd have thought you could save expensive office space and travel time by having someone work 50% longer from home.

There is this thing called Broadband.

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Five reasons why you'll take your storage to the cloud

Mage
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Summary in Five Points

1). It's new marketing speak for [Hosted services] what has existed almost as long as computers have (well actually really not so new any more, expect a new name for Hosted services soon).

2). It's sensible for some users and applications and daft for others.

3). It's mostly limited in performance by your "last mile" broadband connection. Forget it on a domestic ISP contract for business use.

4). Lots of hidden costs

5). Lots of hidden negatives the vendor won't highlight.

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