* Posts by Mage

3521 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

'BILLION-YEAR DISK' to help FUTURE LIFEFORMS study us

Mage
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Re: what to write

Everything.

As we can't know what might be interesting later.

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Bill Gates is once again the richest man on Earth

Mage
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Re: Facebook a tech company?

Or an Advertising agency with one Cyber Billboard disguised as a "Social Media" site.

Not a Tech company.

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.5: The Sinclair Sovereign

Mage
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On Portable Devices: LED VFD then LCD

Though VFD type devices date from early 1950s and LEDs early 1960s. The VFD is about 1/10th of voltage of Neon/Plasma displays and much easier to drive / matrix. Can work as low as 15V.

VFD still used in Cars, Setboxes/Disc players, Ovens (Microwave or Resistive).

VFD (Matrixed Triodes) and Magnetrons (Diode) are really the only two valve devices left in Volume Production now that CRTs gone.

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Eggheads give two robots vodka and tell them to text each other FOR SCIENCE

Mage
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Like Animals

No, nothing like Animals scent marking.

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.4: Yamaha retro synth, valve oscilloscope and more

Mage
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Re: Quite.

Except consumer 200MHz Digital Scope is poorer than most 10MHz Analogue ones. You need a £5,000+ 2GHz sampling scope to compete with decent S/H analogue 100MHz £50 scope.

Cheap digital scopes often only 8bit (which means less than 7 bits really), limited input ranges (not as sensitive nor high voltages) and totally rubbish triggering. Also useless for X -Y mode. Actually some quite expensive digital scopes are poor at X -Y.

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Mage
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You need to order needles

Each steel needle is only good for ONE side!

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DisARMed: Geeksphone's next high-end mobe to pack Intel x86 inside

Mage
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Surely Not

It's not the first x86 phone.

It won't be the last one.

It will be a failure.

A phone where you can pick your own OS is definitely niche. What percentage of laptops, notebooks, desktops are sold that way. Most people want to just switch it on and start using it.

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BlackBerry ends write-off of a year with $4.4 BEELLLION write-down

Mage
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Hmm ...

They sound like they have 6 months to 18 months left.

Definitely a burning platform.

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The Bong's NEXT-mas Message for 2012

Mage
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Devil

The scary bit?

So true.

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Lifesize, driveable AIR-POWERED LEGO CAR hits the road

Mage
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Re: Surely...

The British version

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

I'm told the Railway engine version was very distinctive sound. Very powerful too.

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Datawind's low cost Aakash tab comes to UK, US

Mage
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Alert

History

Going back I think to 2007 I think they have a track record of over ambitious hyped products that sank due to problems.

El Reg Preview pocketsurfer

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Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow

Mage
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Out Innovates WinTel?

That would be easy. ARM based Phone, set-box and TV makers do it all the time?

I just see a packaging & Style solution, not innovation.

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Mage
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Facepalm

maybe the last.

If you like OSX and a more powerful Mac, enjoy this. It might be the last. Where are the Apple Servers today? This is a very niche market for Apple.

Yes, it's striking and different, but a niche expensive product. Maybe there might be one more generation at most.

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Samsung sees RDK as route to DOMINATION of US set top market

Mage
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Wintel

It's getting further from WinCE & Intel

(BT actually changed the EXISTING user's boxes from WinCE to Linux).

Intel inside on TVs and Setboxes was Intel's plan. But they are now collectors items.

Why are Apple allowed to call their Streaming Media box that has NO tuner and NO screen an "Apple TV"?

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Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?

Mage
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Re: Obey the laws

Much later he added a very creepy Zeroth law.

I see what you did then. So what's the revisionist Zeroth law?

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Drawers full of different chargers? The IEC has a one-plug-to-rule-them-all

Mage
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Ewaste

You don't get a charger with a Kindle, at least not outside US.

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Mage
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Re: Forget Apple: Only 90W?

There are some laptops with 120W supplies.

I can't see this working. Also probably about 3 different DC voltages needed.

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Mage
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Car aerial

My old 2000 year car has a nice 75cm whip. The little bee stings and shark fins are poor for VHF-FM and useless for MW or LW.

Fantastic LW, MW & VHF-FM on it. Awkward to add weaker stations. The RDS and TA (BBC seems to switch from R4 to R. Ulster for Traffic Announcements) works great though so only one preset needed for each VHF station.

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Mage
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Boffin

Digital radio could be implemented well?

Actually after many years research I conclude that Digital Radio is always going to be inferior to FM. Don't forget AM either, it's useful too.

The Problem isn't DAB, DAB+ would be just used to deliver 64kbps and double number of stations. At 192kbps or even better 256k, the advantage of DAB+ becomes slight.

DAB should be 256K. MP2 on satellite used to be 256k. At higher bit rates such as 256K MP3 or AAC hasn't so much advantage over MP2. In some cases MP3 and AAC can sound worse if you have poor hearing as it's a psycho-acoustic model based on normal hearing and "throwing away" even more data..

Digital Radio of any needs x6 as many transmitters as there are today, though most are small, to "fill in " coverage due to digital cliff for Mobile/Portable users, unlike very gradual AM and quite gradual FM in fringe reception. The "bubbling mud" isn't purely a DAB thing, it's an artefact of not enough FEC data before you fall off the "digital cliff".

Comparing Digital TV vs Analogue and Digital Radio vs Analogue the Digital TV has almost no disadvantage and many advantages. Digital radio is usually better quality than AM, never better than FM but every other aspect it's inferior to AM or FM!

The user interface experience is rubbish. Preset stations only, large inter station delay, massive delay if you have to change Multiplex frequency (there is a limit to SFN size), typically x20 power consumption, hardly any DAB sets have RDS on the FM, current DAB features inferior to RDS + TA, virtually no sets with LW / MW (even FM isn't universal, also what about stations outside UK?).

DAB is about dominance by BBC (extra channels) or very large commercial outfits. It's not about real choice, quality, value or ease of use.

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Avago Technologies chomps up LSI for BEELLLIONS - in CASH

Mage
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Stupidity

This ultimately isn't investment but asset stripping.

Avago and LSI are both now doomed by a millstone of debt. The winners are the the people who got the money.

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Digital GIANTS in BLOODY battle to put your EYEBALLS in a JAR

Mage
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Re: Wither telly?

Sky is ITV's competitor.

Multichannel Pay TV has destroyed the UK Telly, not BBC.

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Sensation: Chinese Jade Rabbit FOUND ON MOON

Mage
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Surprised

No one mentioned the Toy Franchise yet?

The Chinese are missing out not having at least two toy versions:

"lego" clone version

"Tomy" ready made remote controlled version

For rich kids (Geek Adults):

iPhone controlled version with camera

Chassis for Raspberry Pi/Ardunio with the dish as a functional 5.8GHz WiFi link.

My coat has an Argos Catalogue in one pocket and ToysRus in the other.

Great Achievement. After all they didn't steal German Factories and Scientists in 1945 though fought the Japanese to a standstill, while having a civil war and occasionally fighting Russians (pre 1939).

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How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Mage
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Re: Positively now: Lastly:

"Don't ask your government for help. Unless you're in China or Zimbabwe. They generally mean well but they will strangle you to death, by accident."

Yes. I discovered this with LEDU and NIDA etc in 1980s, £10,000 and it wasn't worth it. We ended up employing 11 people and making a profit by the time DeLoran closed. He got millions the same time they gave us £10,000. Because he lied. The UK never even checked his story of Shannon Development approval (IDA and Shannon Development thought it was a con and turned him down).

Under powered "sports car". Vibration made the steel skin come off the fibreglass. All this was obvious before the Gov gave him his millions.

Any Government will strangle you with bureaucracy. Apple wasn't successful due to good ideas with iPod then iPhone. Both pre-existing products. Ideas are nice, but having money and good marketing is the reason Apple is successful. Neither Jobs or Bill Gates were POOR students. Even their own families had enough money to fund their start. Jobs built his marketing on Woz's ideas initially and Gates repackaged Dartmouth Basic.

I'm all in favour of R&D and Innovation and Engineering, But that's maybe 10% of what is needed for a successful business. The rest is equal dollops of Hard Work, Money, Marketing and Luck!

Apple was very lucky as well with the iPhone because of the incompetence of Nokia, RIM and MS:

Nokia lost the plot on UI and R&D about 2002

RIM was a niche product

MS fixated on having ONE GUI and identity of OS (So CE was a stupid miniaturisation of Desktop, now the Desktop is a stupid enlargement of Zune)

Other "players" were too small and under the radar. Apple cut down OS X to iOS but bought in a decent GUI instead of miniaturising Mac GUI. All the rest was pretty much of the shelf. I built a 4G touch screen myself before the iPhone came out but didn't have a decent GUI and knew it (it didn't matter either, as it was only a Proof of Concept demo of the 4G Flarion Modem, then bought by Qualcomm) .

The iPod success was down to copying Deiter Rams' Braun styling and marketing, also simply being Apple. Other MP3 players as good.

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You gotta fight for your copyright ... Beastie Boys sue toymaker over TV ad

Mage
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Duracell vs Energiser

You can parody the Pink Bunny.

Duracell lost, even though Energiser was basically copying the Duracell bunny, cos the Judge and Jury thought it amusing?

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I KNOW how to SAVE Microsoft. Give Windows 8 away for FREE – analyst

Mage
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Facepalm

No, you couldn't pay me.

I'm not that happy about Win7. I have no interest in Win8

No pluses at all over XP. Lots of my programs don't work. Many of these are ancient specialist CAE stuff with no Win7 version.

I'm not fussed about upgrades, it's what to run on a new laptop that worries me. I'm getting a new dev laptop in 4 weeks and it has win 7. I'll have to continue using the old one with XP on the other branch of L shaped desk :-(

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.2: Tablet PC, CRT screen and more

Mage
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Modern UK plugs

Came in about 60 years ago!

Inspiron 7500 PIII 450 laptop controls/GUI on Win2K for a valve curve tracer/tester (it had NT4.0) all its working life. Ethernet and USB 2.0 both via PCMCIA cards.

A Dell slimline 286 desktop for DOS and programming channels on ancient Motorola VHF & UHF mobile radios via a home brew dongle on serial port.

I have one piece of test gear from 1945 (100kHz to 21MHz AM signal generator) I actually use. A mechanical AVO in a box somewhere. Rarely needed except for Transmitter valve PSU measurements, a £5 DMM (if you are not killed) goes woof with a blue flash at 600V on the 1000V range!

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Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Mage
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Oh Dear

Screen less functional for documents and more tiring on eyes than a 2002 Dell Inspiron 8200, 1600 x 1200 ultrasharp anti glare screen.

When are we going to get laptops again with decent antiglare 1200 lines or better screens and 4:3 to save weight and width?

I don't buy a laptop to watch video. I've watched less than 10hrs full screen video on a laptop ever probably. The TV is better.

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

Mage
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Boffin

Re: 100 percent efficiency?

I was assuming they can't make large structures. Also being 1 atom thick it would need a very smooth special substrate. There is also probably a limit to the current due to electromagnetic, Electrostatic or other effects, so we probably won't see physical wires (which would be like "Litz" no doubt) but if possible at all, only on chips.

You'll need a microscope to see it?

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Radio amateurs fret over G.fast interference

Mage
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Alert

Not Just Hams

But ANY applications below 106 / 212 and there can easily be harmonics.

It may also lock out proposals to use 42MHz to 86MHz properly.

For FM Radio Japan uses 76 to 90MHz and some countries around the 65MHz part of band.

The distance this can work at is limited (maybe 100m to 200m?), but not should be allowed for any above ground wiring. Actually fibre to the premises would make more sense.

Even current ADSL, ADSL2+ and VDSL is a problem on overhead wires.

But Ofcom and some others unlike ITU want to abolish ALL terrestrial broadcasting anyway. IP based services, cable and Satellite can't replace all Broadcast applications.

Aircraft uses 110 to 130 MHz approximately

Weather Satellites 137MHz

Marine 152 to 163 MHz approximately (Canals, rivers, lakes, not just Harbours, Estuaries, Shore).

There are other services too. Not just Radio Amateurs (50, 70, 145, 435 MHz small chunks) who are the least of the spectrum users between 1MHz and 430MHz..

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Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

Mage
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Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

Embedded Devices with Win7.

Irrelevant as usually the vendor upgrades/changes or not the Embedded OS. Often you wouldn't know an embedded device uses Win CE, Win3.11, NT 4.0 or XP embedded and normally it doesn't matter unless it's on the Internet, in which case why isn't it running Linux, VXWorks or QNX?

Actually I've been mystified why anyone chooses MS for embedded devices since about 1990.

P.S. I don't count a POS or ATM as "embedded" as they have a big screen and GUI. Some of those pretty much are PCs. Most embedded devices have no x86 CPU, and small mono LCD or no display at all (Alarms, Washing Machines, Routers/Modems, CNC machines etc).

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Mage
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Win 7 isn't XP SP4

Not a SP for XP. gratuitously different, awkward and too many programs won't run.

Nor was Win2K a SP7 for NT4.0 though less a problem of a move than XP to Win7.

Basically MS has NO decent upgrade path for XP. There is so much pain and incompatibility that Debian + Wine or Linux of choice + VM with XP for the applications with no Linux alternative is looking good.

The only time MS did this close to this before to Business users was anyone using MS OS/2. But since mostly people only used that with MS Lan manager for DOS & Win3.x clients, then migration to NT was possible, especially as it even ran OS/2 console apps (up to NT 4.0 anyway, I never tested Win2K server or Win2003 Server with OS/2 console apps).

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Mage
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Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

Yes, well, MS should compensate but only where people didn't need new HW.

People are being forced to spend money on NOTHING. There is no real advantage to Vista, Win7 or Win8, only negatives. But if people need to buy new HW anyway apart from upgrading XP then it's less clear cut. MS can afford to to give them free XP as they already paid for Win7 and this costs MS nothing and buying new HW anyway you need OS.

Any XP limitations are either incorrect installation or artificial. We had 64 bit on NT4.0, there is a 64 bit XP (two actually if you count the dead Itanium version) and NT 4.0 Enterprise 32 bit could access beyond the 2G / 4G limits via PAE.

There is in reality no better security in Vista/Win7/Win8. Most issues are down to bad installs and users installing junk. AV nor any Win8 feature doesn't protect against that.

They need to differentiate OSes more too. Trying to have one name, one kernel and one GUI for all types of platforms and products is stupid. Of course developing win3.x, Win9x, WinME in parallel with NT3.5, NT3.51, NT4.0 and Win2K both families for PCs was stupid. Maybe they should have done non-PC console device with Win9x family on it. It was stupid on Office or Home computers other than for games.

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Mage
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Mushroom

Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

Explain to me why when there are no Jigs or moulds to wear out that MS won't sell the most popular desktop OS ever?

It only requires DVD pressing.

They are maintaining it via Embedded XP for some years.

They have an ego that gets in the way of making money. Sell people what they want and I bet you could make more profit selling a SP upgrade for XP and new copies of XP than on Surface or XBox.

Daft ejits.

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Climate change makes phones obsolete: ITU

Mage
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Coat

Someone send Ofcom a Radio

Maybe a TV.

Then dig up their fibre.

You listening to this Ofcom, Comreg, FCC?

Issue Mobile licences for free and put VAT on the calls. Remove the Licence revenue stream from Regulators. Remove Regulator levy on Comms companies. Currently Ofcom and Comreg have incentive to destroy terrestrial broadcasting and it's actually their policy to kill ALL TV & Radio Terrestrial Broadcasting.

Repeat after me:

IP networks and Broadcasting are complementary. IP Networks can't replace Broadcast. Satellite and Cable TV can't replace Terrestrial. Digital TV works. But for various reasons Digital can't yet easily replace AM (wide coverage) and FM (local coverage). Maybe unlike TV, Digital Broadcast Radio can never be a fit replacement for AM & FM.

Mines got a Broadcasting Engineering handbook in the pocket.

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DON'T PANIC: No FM Death Date next month, minister confirms

Mage
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Sounds like a commitment

Do do nothing!

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False widow spiders in guinea pig slaughter horror

Mage
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Re: If a false widow is freaking em out just wait till they see a woodlouse spider

Hmm... not seen those. Plenty of woodlice. I'm told that they taste of shrimp, being distantly related.

" Their diet consists exclusively of woodlice which—despite their tough exoskeleton—are pierced easily by the spider's large chelicerae.

The courtship of these spiders is typically aggressive and mates risk injury from each other's large chelicerae. The female lays her eggs in a silken sac and is believed to look after her young after hatching like the "Mothercare" spider (Theridion sisyphium).

They have been known to bite humans if handled. Their bite can be painful but the venom causes no major medical problems. Localised itchiness at the bite site has been reported in some cases"

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Mage
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Re: I live near Hedge End...

The list of things guinea pigs can die of is quite long ...

Top is Respiratory infection (bacteria) from human. Otherwise there are no communicable diseases in common. Next is bad diet. Rabbit diet is bad, too much Lettuce is bad. Lack of water common cause of death, they mostly might not seem to drink much (it varies) but whatever little it is they really need.

I'm not keeping them again. Too stressful. But I wouldn't worry about spiders.

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Mage
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Re: Steatoda bipunctata

Steatoda bipunctata is a species of cob-web spider, of the genus Steatoda, in the family Theridiidae.

It is common in North America and Europe and may be found in proximity to human structures, such as basements or sheds. A nickname for this arachnid is the Rabbit Hutch Spider, since rabbit hutches often make a suitable habitat. The Steatoda bipunctata is similar in shape to the Black Widow spider of the genus Latrodectus and can thus be mistaken for it, although its bite is significantly less dangerous to humans. For this reason, species of the genus Steatoda are commonly called 'False Widows'.

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Mage
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Widespread

Sudden temp changes kills.

But they live all the way from Amazonian Swamps to Andean snow line. They like snow. At least ours did.

But they WILL attack stuff. We had one that taunted a rook. It knew EXACTLY how far the rook could reach into the outdoor run. We had netting roof. Otherwise Cats & Magpies would try eating them.

Rats would tunnel in to steal g'pig food in broad daylight. Most of the cavies ignored them, but one male would chase them. Our largest pig was size of a dwarf rabbit, about twice size of rat, and similar but bigger teeth to a rat.

Something else might have killed them.

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DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life

Mage
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You can buy new batteries cheap!

Just saying.

A "Cloud" OS is isn't an option, that's just a Terminal that relies on the Internet, thus much slower and less reliable than a wired terminal to a server in your own building.

"Clouds" only make sense for people with loads of separate offices all on redundant fibre broadband and probably with their own cluster or (several co-located servers in different data centres)

You can configure Debian or Ubuntu to run sensibly on netbook with "Classic" desktop. Or Mint.

If XP or Linux is too slow it's not configured properly. Uninstall parts never needed and disable any thing that can't be uninstalled that isn't need. On XP "Disable" services, not "Manual".

Learn how to not install malware and up to date Browser with No Script or equivalent. Never add Toolbars, disable all PDF and external Media Playing and Skype plug-ins in Browser.

Then don't run AV. It needs too much RAM & CPU. False positives and false sense of security and not as much protection as "using" the computer properly.

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Kobo Arc 10HD: The bookworm's fondleslab?

Mage
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Re: OR

The colour filters needed for colour eInk reduce the reflective brightness to about 1/5th. Colour filtering works with LCD (which is also inherently mono) because the backlight can be x10 to x50 brighter than light reflected off paper.

The Qualcom mirasol might be a lot brighter. But so far seems to be vapour. It works on a similar principle to butterfly wings. But it won't be as bright as mono eInk.

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Mage
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Nothing for Bookworms

It's just a Tablet with poor PDF support.

Nothing to see here for Bookworms or readers of Datasheets and old PDF encapsulated scanned books.

Mines the one with huge pockets for the Kindle DX.

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How STEVE JOBS saved Apple's bacon with an outstretched ARM

Mage
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No, Apple wasn't saviour of ARM, ARM helped save Apple. Re-read the article!

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Mage
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Re: DECadent

Intel ironically got the DEC StrongARM IP & stuff as part payment of some settlement. They sold most of it to Marvell, but not all (they had an ARM based comms chip last time I looked in 2008). AFIAK Intel do still have an ARM licence of some kind.

It seems unlikely DEC was going to replace Alpha with ARM. After all there was even a 64 bit NT 4.0 for the 64 bit Alpha. They might have used it in a Terminal or handheld device or network gadget or SCSI controller I suppose.

DEC is a great loss. Compaq & HP pissed it away. They only wanted the service support aspect anyway, none of the R&D, SW or HW. HP in taking over Compaq and "rationalising" seemed to ditch some of the better products of both companies. Too many decisions by speculators, lawyers and accountants.

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Mage
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Re: so Arm says that Apple did innovate then?

Apple bought an "ARM design house". That team applied its previous skill and ARM IP to produce the A7. The first iPhone used a Samsung developed ARM.

So Apple "natively" are a Product Style and Marketing company. Very little software or hardware innovation. Even most of the style is copied from Braun & Dieter Rams.

But then again MS bought in SQL, Visio, DOS and many more. Original MS Basic ripped off mostly over a weekend from Dartmouth BASIC by Bill Gate's friend. They did really produce Word & Excel (the two most successful Office apps ever?) but ironically initially for the Mac (Lisa MkII copy of Xerox Star) as their own GUI copy of Xerox wasn't quite able then!

Google bought in Maps and Android, copied Java and used Linux. (They are really an Advertising Agency).

The patent system is broken and there is a small amount of incremental innovation by anyone. Often most by small acorns that are snaffled up by pigs.

JAVA internal design concepts based on p-Machine used to run p-code produced by UCSD pascal.

No one designs from scratch and in isolation very often.

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US puts Assange charge in too-hard basket - report

Mage
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Re: And of course....

Sweden allow extradition on Death Penalty charges to USA? Not possible.

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XBOX ONE owners rage as HDMI SNAFU 'judders' Brit and Euro tellies

Mage
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Re: Tellies can handle 60Hz input

Yes, but even PERFECT 50Hz to 60Hz frame conversion is RUBBISH

Especially for movement.

Almost all Broadcast is 25fps interlace 50Hz in Europe, There is NO WAY AT ALL to display that as 60fps 60Hz progressive without degradation (blur or shudder) of movement.

Any Picture in Picture the game needs to be running 50Hz 50fps progressive.

Also ANY display of broadcast on a Progressive only panel of interlace source even at same frame rate is degraded compared to CRT or native panel interlace (with strobed backlight).

The very concept of Xbox one is flawed in a world where we have 24fps, 25 fps 30 fps 48fps 50fps 60fps progressive and 25 fps 50Hz, 30fps 60Hz interlace. Not to mention all the different resolutions (more on broadcast than disk).

It's a pity with HD they didn't go for a single 48fps progressive 2136 x 1154 standard instead of the 1/2 dozen or so incompatible standards.

The original 30fps / 60Hz and 25fps /50Hz had to be:

1) Interlace halves the transmission bandwidth. An analogue compression system if you like. Progressive wouldn't have been possible for 40 years.

2) The frequency had to match lighting (or else you'd have strobe bars) and initially local mains (so hum bar on picture would be stationary, hence 24 fps 48 Hz interlace wasn't possible. Video cameras are more sensitive to this effect than film cameras. Later in 1950s the TV Power supplies and Cameras better and so TV frame was no longer locked to mains.

Modern TV was developed 1934 to 1936 initially. Hence the frame rate limitation would last nearly 20 years. Interlace Limitation until MPEG and digital was available to do compression.

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Meet the BlackBerry wizardry that created its 'better Android than Android'

Mage
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Flame

It won't save RIM/Blackberry

But it may make QNX more valuable in the eventual firesale.

A great trick/hack though.

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Julie Larson-Green: Yes, MICROSOFT is going to KILL WINDOWS

Mage
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Facepalm

Moronic Idiocy

They need maybe 5 GUI and 4 OS.

BUT ONLY DESKTOP should be called "Microsoft Windows". Call the others something else. Height of stupidity has been calling ANY embedded version (We have had Win 3.x, Win NT, Win XP, Win CE embedded versions) "Windows".

One Windows & One GUI (even only two) is stupidity.

Maybe one Kernel is possible.

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Poor Intel TV dies on vine, its fancy pop-up shops turned into cafes, cinemas

Mage
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Laughs

Ha Ha ----->

says Nelson

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