130 posts • joined Tuesday 26th February 2008 20:04 GMT
Re: Wolfpack, anyone?
> Once they go feet dry, though, some sort of self-destruct/auto-immolation might be desired, but might conflict with safe handling and storage/stowage aboard a sub.
As opposed to the warheads in a MK48, or a cruise missile? A small auto-destruct on the electronics of a drone is no problem to stow ...
It's actually quite good
I've bought one and TBH it's a really nice console. Sure, there are a few teething bugs (random UI elements like dropdown menus lose all text, and a couple of system reboots playing Ryse), but after a weekend gaming on it it seems like a nice improvement over the XBox 360.
The most noticeable change for me is noise - it's practically silent, making it a viable platform for watching films - on the 360 you had to increase the volume to drown out fans.
Is it the best thing ever - no, of course not. A big enough improvement to justify moving over - probably not at its current price point for most people. However, I just like toys, and I'm happy ...
I have a couple of these ...
... CPU's not as powerful (only an ARM Cortex-M microcontroller) but it is trivial to whack in a breadboard and hack together some fun projects interacting with the "real world" - no soldering required.
The whole toolchain is web-based and you download over USB from the browser (just drag and drop the program to the flashdisk). Not as flexible as some of its bigger brothers, but for teaching kids it hides all of the grotty bits they don't need to know about (yet) and lets them focus on the fun stuff.
Re: "Who remembers netbooks?"
> i5, 8gb ram, 128gb ssd and a 9inch screen. No fancy graphics, just a portable workhorse. Few usb 3 ports, an SD slot and hdmi out(and in?) Oh, and not stupidly expensive!
So basically you want everything a laptop has - except the optical drive and GPU - but smaller? The cost of a higher density battery to give the same battery life in a smaller form factor probably costs as much as the bits you ripped out.
... because on iOS the file management is a complete cluster fuck* which means that I have to plug my tablet into a PC if I want to move files or to or off it it. If you want to transfer from tablet to tablet then you probably can't if you don't also have a laptop. This makes it a bit of pain by itself ...
The ability to push files to a USB key natively without needing iTunes from the device (or pull from a key) would be "really useful". I mean hell, its got a normal USB port and I can plug in a printer - sweet =)
* Caveat - it may have improved since I last tried - I gave up on my iPad for anything involving more than 1 or 2 files and switched to my laptop, as it was generally a much less painful experience. Nothing has yet convinced me to try again ...
Oh no, it will be worse than that ...
The energy companies will send some toughs around in really badly fitting suits, and make comments along the lines of "gee, it would be a real shame if the lights started going out around here", and good old tax payer will somehow end up subsidizing them too.
We are already paying subsidies for "green" sources and nuclear, so why not those to ...
Yes, that last comment was in <sarc> tags ...
Re: Equal footing with Uncle Sam
> in a neutral country
"Neutral country" is simply a transient state of politics and their current economics. You get one crazy bastard in power who thinks he could use this as a lever for political/economic/personal gain and then you're screwed.
Re: I'll give him a B- grade
> It is not helped the despite the best attempts of the apple spin doctors, the 5C is already seen as the lesser cheap phone
It _is_ the lesser cheap phone. That's because it had less features, sightly less expensive materials, and well, it's cheaper. It's just not lesser-cheap enough to keep the reviewers happy. Apple can't win on this one it seems (too cheap and I predict they would have gotten kicked for producing a crap phone which too few features, and too expensive they get kicked for not cheap enough).
The interesting data seems to be that rather than buying the 5C punters are buying the 5S. Far from buying a competitor product and abandoning Apple, the 5S shipments are looping excellent. My only complaint is the psychedelic icons and the parallax gimmic - it's pointless, just like window animations on Ubuntu. At least you can turn (most) of it off.
Looking forward to the next one ...
I'm looking forward to the next post on timezones. If you can handle strings then you are, possibly, ready to handle world time. Any computer structure as fundamental as time (in most real-world systems anyway) which can be screwed by politicans deciding they want to do it differently this year, is always good for a giggle.
Re: Stuck in the past
My RAM does feel exploited ...
... oh ...
Re: He is effectively predicting 3D won't work out
There is a big difference between flash memory and logic gates though (density, manufacturing process, clock speeds, etc). A flash die puts out a lot less heat than a CPU die.
Thermals provide the end constraint of these systems - how do you get heat out of the middle layers? Sure you could drop the frequency to reduce the heat output, but that kind defeats the point of adding more transistors in the first place, as there are limits to how well you can parallelise so slow and wide isn't always a win.
Re: hang on...
One footnote -> if it isn't entirely in a 1:1 orbital tidal lock then the friction of the tide through any rock will itself generate vast amounts of heat. At least one of the moons in our solar system (one of Jupiter's IIRC) has a molten cores long after it should have cooled, and that's entirely down to tidal effects though rock.
Re: hang on...
Tidal locking - yes, I would have thought so to some degree, although it does't have to be a 1:1 lock. A lot depends on orbit shape. Mercury for example is "sort of tidally locked" - it has a stable 3 rotations for every 2 solar orbits; due to it's eccentric orbit this is a stable gravitational resonance point.
Baking vs Frozen - stick a nice thick frozen burger under a grill and tell me if the underside is frozen after 20 minutes. That close to the star convection through the surface from the light side should outweigh radiant losses from the dark side. The star will be dumping a _lot_ of energy into it and it has to go somewhere.
Presumably that close to the star it never cooled that much and has stayed pretty close to molten all the way along ...
> Passpoint also identifies the user, so the operator can provide value-added services such as additional content without having to resort to a cellular connection, but that's of unknown value for the moment at least.
Unknown value to the user, but "quite a lot of value" to the passport providing company. They'll know who you are, what you are buying (you were on a Starbucks WiFi, right?), and pretty much exactly where you are all day as your devices hop from hotspot to hotspot. Marketing gold mine, and ever so slightly creepy.
Tin foil phone covers anyone?
Re: @Rol - vote (with your wallet)
> So you did not study geography. Britain has rather a lot, still, including mineral, agricultural, marine and geographical.
Agricultural: Really? Land area per head of population we have less than Germany, France, and Spain. Much of the UK land is hilly and hard to work and/or gets less sun each year than mainland Europe. Increasingly the only way for a farm to be commercially successful is to make larger and larger flat fields which can be worked by fewer people and bigger machines. UK planning law and geography make this difficult, so instead we pay tax (cost on the rest of the economy) to pay farmers to maintain empty fields and keep the hedgerows looking nice. We may get less than France but British agriculture is still subsidised, so not exactly a shining beacon of successful economics.
Marine. I'll ignore the fact that most of European fisheries have had reducing quotas, and fishing fleets in port for more and more weeks of the year. Yep, gotcha, huge reserves. Not. Or were you talking about North Sea gas, a supply so plentiful and abundant than in the last few years we have become a net importer of gas.
Mineral. UK coal production peaked in the late 1940s, years before competition from gas, nuclear, etc. Seams became harder to work, and so cost to extract went up. Assorted Tin, Lead, and Silver mines have existed on commercial scale, but mostly exhausted by the early 1900s. Scotland had aluminium with the Baco reservoir at Blacklake to power the hydro power, similarly exhausted in the first half of the 20th century.
Geographical. Well about the only thing "geography" is good for in the absence of minerals is walking holidays. If you think you can convince the rest of Europe to come here to go walking, and thus save your economy, then good luck.
In the absence of facts in your post, I suspect I know a lot more about geography than you do. The only way to commercially extract the minerals in this nation and make them competitive is either to pay the workers less, mass-scale automation (and so not employ people anyway), or subsidize them with money from other parts of the economy. I welcome counter arguments ...
P.S. In general I agree with your arguments - in an "ideal economy" (i.e. theoretical communism) everyone works for the greater good and everything is wonderful. Apart from the fact that it doesn't work, we don't live in a communist society, and companies are competitive little buggers.
The only thing "GB PLC" can do to work out of this is to make ourselves more attractive to outside investment, either through lower wages, lower taxes, ease of doing business, or more skilled and motivated workers. The evidence to date is that this is not happening, outside of cases where we do have established expertise (specialty steel, for example). Discussion welcome - but I see nothing in your post which is actually trying to propose a solution.
> A country is made up of its people, rich, poor, hopeless, retired, vigorous, productive.
The same buggers who bitch a lot and then refuse the buy British because it costs a few quid more?
... and for the previous posts w.r.t. unions in Germany and how come they still have a manufacturing base. Unions in Germany for the most part seem to be sensible. For example, there have been multiple instances in the last few years of the unions actually talking to the companies (car companies in this case) and negotiating when a site move was threatened. Cheaper to run a factory in Hungary you say, well how about we cut wages by a few percent and work a few extra hours?
British unions still seem to have the "our way or death, never surrender to the bastards" mentality, which both kills the existing businesses (hello Royal Mail) and is a huge discouragement for any large multinational looking at the UK.
Re: @Rol - vote (with your wallet)
P.S. I agree outsourcing IT is a terrible idea, and almost never works unless you co-locate a lot of your own team in "off shore". But this has very little to do with manufacturing ...
Re: @Rol - vote (with your wallet)
> Mrs T <snip> hated manufacturing because it was "smoky and dirty"
I think you'll generally hated it because she should see the way the future was going. Britain doesn't have any natural resources so everything must be shipped in, a small customer base so everything must be shipped out, and workers who are generally expensive to employ (for multiple reasons). It hardly stacks up to a competitive position v.s. most of the Asian economies ...
If you were in heavy industry and looking to open a factory, and had a choice of anywhere in the world, would you honestly open a factory in Britain?
It may come as a surprise but "the government" doesn't run the factories. Companies too. Companies also vote with their feet, and so far the message is "you lose". The only influence the government has over employment is (1) taxes and (2) cost of employment. Successive governments have been trying very hard to raise both, either directly via taxes or via additional costs (Health and Safety, increased red tape, mandatory pensions, minimum wage, etc) often at the behest of the masses. You can't have both great employment and all of the welfare tick boxes you want.
Re: Only 87% of atheists?
> If 'Darwinian evolution' is taken to mean that changes are entirely random and consciousness isn't then
Um, nothing in Darwinian evolution states "random". It simply says survival of the fittest, where fittest is defined by the environment.
Re: Not a monopoly - don't talk bollocks
> Not actually true. I can't be arsed to do the research but there are all sorts of regulatory barriers to laying stuff under roads and pavements.
The usual "regulatory" power is $$$. No company has successfully done any major underground cable laying on a national scale without going bust (effectively) in the process.
Cost of digging up roads => huge
Cost of setting up new exchanges and cabinets => huge
Margins => Low
Customer demand for broadband => mostly satisfied already unless you download a lot of porn, illegal music, etc. Willing to have if, but only at small incremental cost to existing solution.
Real world not black and white ...
Who'da thunk it ...
Re: So what the author is suggesting is...
>> How much to insure a teenager - 3-4K IRO
> Given they are the highest risk group it's no wonder.
Any it's nothing to do with them getting fleeced by the insurance industry, no sir move along, nothing to see here.
Some (horribly rough) finger in the air approximations stats:
UK population: 70M
Average life expectance: 70 (or there abouts, for sake of easy computation - it's really closer to 80 IIRC)
Assuming even distribution of people to age bins (untrue, but it helps correct for the under shoot above) ...
Roughly 3M 17-19 year olds.
Let's say 30% drive - 1 M people.
1M * 4K => 4 BILLION pounds.
Do teenagers crashing cars really cost that much every year, or are they just a very high margin group who are easy to get money out of because many have no choice but to have a car for work, and all the companies are price fixing ^H^H charging what they can get away with.
> Avatar had a good plot, good action scenes, and great scifi 'world' .. the 3D was only a bonus!
We can debate on the "good plot" part, but I really did enjoy the film.
The one standout thing with Avatar was the quality of the implementation of the 3D, and the maturity with which it was used. The filmed parts were filmed "properly" in 3D, not post-processed, and where used in the CGI parts it was done relatively subtly*. *Apart from the flying mountains, but they were cool =)
For most "other" content the 3D seems to be done on the cheap and it shows. But they still want to charge you an extra £1.50 (cinema), £5 (a "3D" blueray), £100s (TV + glasses) for the privilege of getting a headache. The only other good 3D film I have seen is Prometheus, and well, shame about the plot, action, and sci-fi world in that case =)
The TV industry saw dropping sales (everyone had upgraded to HD, freeview, digital) and we hit a recession. They saw a possible golden goose and all started running towards it so they could put another "tick box" on the boxoffice / tv schedule / TV item ticket in the shop, and then gouge all of the customers for a significant increase in content price. For many films on DVD / BlueRay the DVD was £4 and the re-release 3D BlueRay was £17. Were they surprised no-one buys them?
I suspect they are losing the plot. Small business is not profitable they say. Where do they think all those "Big businesses" came from? Umbrella Megacorp not not simply pop up over night, and then turn around and ask for 5K licenses for each product. They all start small and grow.
If you make it harder for your software to get in at the ground floor then in 25 years time all of the new sexy big business will have a background in other platforms - probably Linux given Macs are too expensive to roll out in volume. Once that happens you are truely shafted. All of your existing "big business" will be paying out high margin to MS, if they go the Oracle model, and all of these not-so-small businesses will be coining it with Linux not paying out to MSFT every year. Once a few big businesses prove you can make Linux work, and save a lot of money into the bargain, then a lot of the "risk averse" companies will start to think seriously.
Re: Eighth generation
> I just cannot fathom how they're better than PCs if they're just technically PCs
They never were "better than PCs", and not really designed to be. Consoles always have been relatively low spec machines (roughly equivalent to a mid-level gaming PC when they are introduced with obvious ranking-rot over 5 year lifespan). The £250 price point for the base version should have given away the fact that it isn't exactly a high spec machine ...
Their main advantage is a fixed hardware spec so the game developers know exactly what they are targeting, and therefore what they are optimizing for. And because of "fixed spec" it usually "just works" for the technically inept (or kids) ...
Re: @Neil 8 (was: @asdf (was: This plonker claims to have invented the common or garden padlock?))
> It's the knowing of where the lock is,
Not in any sane security system it's not. That's commonly called security through obscurity.
Rule #1: always assume the bad guys know where your stash is, and what algorithms you are using to protect it.
Re: Patentts trump trade secrets
He could even keep it secret and just have a decent experimental setup; it would be enough to convince the naysayers. Patent or trade secret is just how you commercialize it, but that's not excuse for sloppy science.
Re: Having read the paper...
> Yes, but power was only on 35% of the time rather than 100% of the time in the dummy run
Nope. All you know is that the power on one of the many possible inputs was only on 35% of the time.
The measurement setup for the experiment is incomplete, and therefore the results are void.
Science. Theories backed up by gathering of hard empirical data. May or may never be proven.
Unless there is hard and _complete_ data it is nonsense, and deserves absolute skepticism. Gives real science and engineering a bad name ...
Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?
> The dummy run pretty well establishes that with the same instruments and cabling no gain was achieved and the emissivity was established.
> The electric wires in the first burn-out test actually casting a dark shadow, meaning they are cooler than the rest of the device
No shit. I turn on my kettle to boil water and the wires don't get hot. Overhead pylons power half a frickin town and get mildly warm but not enough to fry seagulls. Means jack.
> Supplying power through the ground wire in the active test but not the dummy test past the equipment and when they have full control of the room is only a very remote possibility.
... but it is a possibility, and one which has been raised before. If you had to prove the outside world wouldn't you actually _want_ to measure it to cover all bases?
> very awkward PR
It's not the PR that's the problem. He's a blatant self publicist. Fine I can deal with that.
It's the absolutely shite science which is the problem. If you claim "free energy" you know damned well you are going to get questioned about the energy in the system, not just the one wire you happened to measure. All energy in and out, mass in and out, place chamber in insulating fluid of known heat capacity so you can measure radiant losses.
I'm not even a fricking research scientist and even I can spot the holes.
If it smells to good to be true, and has no hard data, then it probably is ...
Re: Windows 7 is a poor OS
> It's closed source and cannot be audited for back doors
Linux and co have pretty much proved in the last 5 years that just because you can audit code (1) it doesn't necessarily happen, and (2) where it does happen it often introduces more issues because the people doing the auditing don't actually understand what they are looking at.
I don't yet see any MSftisms quite as bad as the Debian SSL keygen cockup, which really was quite spectacular. And some of the kernel paths with bad NULL pointer checks. They were good too. Microsoft isn't perfect, and there are a lot of problems with their security model, but if you believe that Linux is immune to this because "it is open source" you are really living in a dream land.
The biggest issue Windows has is an utter lack of a sensible permissions model, and that is mostly a UI issue. The underlying technology is actually much more flexible than default Linux permissions model, just nothing actually uses it because it isn't really wired up the GUI or explorer in any way which actually works.
I see two major issues:
(1) Who pays for this?
When schools sit exams the whole school (or significant portion there or) tends to be in exams. We go from a system needing a hundred machines in a computer lab, to 600-1000 machines.
Where do you put these machines? Laptops are possible - but not the most cost effective, and likely to give half the kids bad backs, so you're gonna need small machines with LCD panels at least. Assuming you have 120 kids in an exam hall each running a machine drawing a few hundred watts peak power then suddenly all of your exam halls need a big old power feed and some means to get power to the desks. So you also need to rewire all of the schools in the UK.
Then what happens when these machines fail mid-exam?
(2) What "computer" skills would be actually gain? All of these machines would be heavily locked down to one application with spaces to type in if the exam security guys have any sense. The only skill you gain for all of this expensive messing about is typing.
If you want typing skills then how about actually teaching typing skills? Most kids are not and will therefore use the one or two finger prod. Which is probably slower than hand writing unless you have a "known issue" like dyslexia (in which case you get a compute already under special dispensation rules).
I work in tech, and most days I have to write by hand (log book / meeting minutes, etc) - it is not an obsolete skill.
> You're missing the effect of all this, it is the parts that are hard to obtain that are potentially being printed, not the metal ones
Which bits are those then? The rubber band, the nail, or the metal pipe?
Guns are not exactly difficult - bang the spiky bit into the cap and it goes bang. Have enough strength in the system that that it doesn't remove your face by mistake.
The only vaguely "functional" part of the printed design is the "spring" coil; the barrel would be better turned on a lathe (even if you wanted one made out of plastic), the nail and ammo you have to provide yourself anyway. The rest is mostly aesthetic.
The automatic version is more interesting from a technical perspective - but risk of user injury or heat jamming the whole thing still would seem to imply that there are better ways to do this.
I can change my password ...
I can't change my fingerprints ...
If the security of the system gets compromised they are screwed - I mean what are they going to do?
"We've emailed all users to warn them of a breach in our security and have asked them all to change their hands and eyes?"
But Cisco are not the only one out there right. There are dozens on _specialist_ companies who build switches ...
Sure - being stuck on one vendor is a pain in the arse - but there are plenty of other alternatives. I'm just not sure why Facebook suddenly think they can do better. If they were doing "something special just for our workloads" then fine, but that's not what they are saying.
It just smells like not-invented-here syndrome, and if I were a shareholder I'd ask if what they are doing is really part of their core business.
Internal use ...
For internal use within our organization I find that they have two really nice uses:
You get a nice human name for the caller ID, along with their digital business card so you know what team they work for. Hardly rocket science, but it's nice to have in an organization of a few thousand employees and you don't know everyone.
We can now move desk simply by unplugging all of our crap from the network and plugging it in at the destination. Provided you plug the phone into the network socket with PoE support it all works, and your number migrates without the IT team doing anything. On the old analogue system desk moves were a real pain in the proverbial, especially when moving a whole team - often a few hours without phone, etc. Desk moves are now much more casual and less needing military co-ordination to make sure they run smoothly.
Re: At last
Actually it may even only be fed off the initial PS Booster ring (older still than the PS and much smaller). I do like how they just keep taking the output of one accelerator and throwing into the next bigger one the make - can't wait to see what the LHC feeds in 50 years ;)
Re: At last
ISOLDE != LHC
The ISOLDE lab is fed by the Proton Synchotron - a much smaller accelerator ring which predates the LHC by about 60 years or so ...
If it helps:
@ David W "You don't need a net connection."
Err. Yes you do. It's not a need for a permanent "always on" connection, sure, but the software does phone home periodically at startup and if it can't get a connection when it wants to do this then you're shafted.
As a happy user of their offline tools, and one machine licensed with CC (laptop - see above - really annoying when travelling because "free wifi" isn't that ubiquitous in rural England), I'm sad to say they won't be getting any more £££ from me.
Re: Does it has to be because of internal warfare?
> According to the financial papers, that is because most of their cash is outside the US, and bonds are the most tax-efficient way of returning $100 billion to share-holders.
Sure, but you're still assuming that they have that pile of cash in 30 years time when the bonds vest. Still a gamble.
Re: An excellent result
>> "Strip away the faux complexity of the models, and for climate science, correlation is causation."
The issue isn't that the models are "too complex"; if anything it is that they are too simple and missing factors. Accurate modelling of any system is really hard work, especially when systems are non-linear and self regulate; errors in the model tend to stack up pretty quickly. It doesn't mean the models are worthless, but as a scientist you need to admit the weaknesses in the methodology rather than insisting that the CPU is always right because the model said so.
> What BS. The predicted warming is based on physics. The greenhouse effect. It has nothing to do with correlation. If you did study climate science at degree level you probably failed.
It is possible to based something on physics and for it still be be wrong if the physics in question is not a complete set of variables.
Re: Surging iPad sales?
> While the iPad sales increased 27%, Android tablet sales increased 177%.
Statistics, statistics. Surprisingly if you increase a small number by X you get a much larger percentage gain than if you increase a larger number by X.
I'd be very interested in that figure in profit terms - I suspect most of those Android tablets are cheaper than an iPad, and actually make far less money for the companies. Not saying Android tabs are bad (I have a Nexus 10), but not all tablets are equal. It's like complaining Ferrari doesn't sell many cars in emerging markets.
> So if you can be prosecuted for punching someone in the street, then why not for mentally torturing them online? It's all hurt.
Mostly because it's very hard to write a sensible legislation around. "I smacked him in the face" is very easy to identify, very easy to define "you should not do this". Also it requires both offender and victim to be in the same place, so "contact points" are statistically much less likely and so it scales.
Mental "hurt" is subjective; what offends some people doesn't offend others. Many humans are petty, selfish, not particularly nice people (it's in the genes folks - the bastards survive) and the internet is "there" - especially with social media - and a low barrier to entry. You therefore have a high "contact" point and many people wouldn't think twice about posting crap online, but they would think twice about swinging a punch.
See the latest kerfuffle about the "Youth PC" and some of her historical twitter posts - kids will be kids (and many are spiteful little snotty brats, that's in the genes (and hormones) too) - you don't honestly want to suddenly start locking up all 12-16 year olds, right ...?
You then have a group of people who go out of their way to be "offended" - see the recent issue at PyCon. See I didn't even mention dongle once.... ah .. bugger. Lock me up. I offended someone.
but but ...
How hard is it to change suppliers anyway? Read meter. Phone new company. Say "I want to switch". Most will sort out the rest for you.
It takes all of about 5 minutes. The main issue is that they are all a bunch of profiteering bastards and awfully close to cartel pricing (i.e. once one jumps they all put up their prices within a week).
But still not of that justifies a many 100 £££ smart meter which will probably need replacing every 3 years once the security bugs start rolling in.
Re: Who let the data out?
> Until somebody comes up with a convincing reason for such connectivity
I read that and agreed. And then I realized you probably weren't meaning Facebook ...
Re: Don't want DRM?
Since when does "not buy" == "download illegally"?
If you don't agree with the company that made it just don't want it. period. full stop. Don't go and watch it - that just proves you really actually do agree with their model (i.e. they make content you actually do want to watch) and you are just a cheapskate ...
Re: I can, therefore I should
@ Wize ...
Shhh. If you're not careful they'll ban sticks.
Re: You cant eat or drink..
But at the end of the day the base metals do at least have one big vested interest (i.e. a country) who wants to keep them useful.
Bitcoin just seems a little bit too much like a fad to me - it has no value other than people wanting to buy it and limited supply. If another "fad" e-currency turns up which has the same properties what's stopping people moving. Everyone says that the "value" in bitcoin is its limited supply, but it _isn't_ limited as far as anyone else could go and start another currency based on the exactly the same mathematics. They just haven't yet.
It's no worse than putting a few quid on the geegees, but serous investment for $11M - ha. No.
Re: p < 0.05 ???
> already super expensive experiment (tens of thousands of pound)
What you mean like CERN?
- It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources
- iSPY: Apple Stores switch on iBeacon phone sniff spy system
- Chinese gamer plays on while BMW burns to the ground
- Pic NASA Mars tank Curiosity rolls on old WET PATCH, sighs, sniffs for life signs
- How UK air traffic control system was caught asleep on the job