1338 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007
Hmmm. It's a good list but missing a few: Missile Command, Galaxian, some of the overhead multi-player racing around the track games (can never remember the name - you get spanners and such to power up your car after races), the afterburner type pseudo-3d high speed shoot em up, and there are no examples of vertically scrolling shooters either, such as "battle for midway" but I'm sure that wasn't the first and possibly not the best.
There was also a ground breakingly different one where you got to drive a tank using two vertically aligned joysticks...
Most problems like this are down to using inefficient data formats. Longitude and latitude are good for many purposes but there are other (I'm under NDA on this, just Google them!) methods of storing spatial co-ordinates other than cartesian coordinates and some of these make it much easier to locate the closest N records out of a large dataset.
It still does often come down to the required level of accuracy, smart filtering such in the boundary box of the example given in the article and other manually prescribed optimisations.
Re: Sounds good in theory, but...
I think it's very good that these things are being tried. Features like this have been thought about, written into SciFi and just plotted for quite a while. Actually implementing it is something different entirely, and only through trying can you work out just how well it works or doesn't.
This is similar to the eye tracking feature that prevents the S3 from sleeping when you're looking at it. It works quite well on most occasions, but by putting it out there on real, live devices the performance can be judged, tweaked and improved based on real life usage rather than lab tests with those who are used to it. This feature can be disabled as well, so I see no reason why this couldn't be either.
You're definitely not the only one that finds WP outstandingly ugly (fisher price, poor UI design, lousy repeatability and consistency). Which is a shame really, as some of the underlying concepts are quite good.
If they had actually put a good looking UI on the phone (a skin really), tidied up the inconsistencies, not foisted sodding Bing and Xbox Live everywhere you looked it would be a good phone OS (not that Apple or Google are angels on this regard either). Yes, there are crashes and odd things that happen, but as long as you get a good build quality phone then these don't happen too often so they appear to be more spurious hardware related issues than direct OS problems. There are fundamental holes in the OS functionality compared to other phone OSes, as have already been pointed out here, and unfortunately the locked down nature prevents most of them being resolved by 3rd party apps, but this is also true of some other phone OSes as well. While Android is pretty open, some things need the kernel to handle and not at the application layer and while you can install complete custom versions of Android, this is beyond most users.
Re: #1 Reason to Upgrade From XP
Alternatively we could run software that wasn't so mind-numbingly bloated and inefficient that it doesn't need 3GB of RAM.
I now have a picture in my mind of extremely heavy, electrically controlled breast implants. Thank you.
Re: It's best to target each UI
Very good and nice and simple example.
And it's exactly why there should be a clean separation between presentation and content as this simplifies this process. A bit, anyway!
Precisely. I've specced and fitted switches like these with small businesses such as design studios. They need fast communications but don't need to spend the earth on corporate carrier class switches and their maintenance contracts.
There's a big difference...
There's a big difference... between those who never go online and those that can't be bothered with it.
I know a lot of people who just don't particularly see what's in it for them as they're happy watching TV and reading glossy magazines or working in non office jobs and really don't see what the fuss is all about. More and more are getting railroaded and forced into being online as often TV or print related items read "for Ts and Cs go to our website" or just "to enter this competition, go to this specific website and sign up for junk mail" (actually, they probably don't quite say that but it's what they mean).
Maybe I'm missing something here... but why would 72 cores "allow" HDR? AFAIK that's a function of the camera sensor and its control chip and not graphics cores as such. The graphics cores if the processing or camera software is written to take advantage may make the raw image processing more efficient, but that's it.
It appears to be yet another fall out from the utter bullshit corporate (and government) fallacy of perpetual growth.
Markets always hit saturation point at some point, they will usually then shrink a little and stabilise. They will not deliver growth of 10-15% year on year for ever as this is neither feasible, realistic or even mathematically possible. It seems that the only people who seem to think that this is possible or desirable or the only stake to aim for are blinkered governments and stock traders.
Many devices don't even bother supporting the fixed, locked internal ID number as it's not a mandated part of the specification and adding it programmatically and then locking it is just a further PITA process during the manufacturing process that adds cost to very low margin devices. Even for the supposedly locked devices (such as HDDs) there are usually tools somewhere to change these IDs as they are not hard locked.
You can edit it and set it to whatever you want in a virtual environment, at least on VMWare. I don't remember seeing tools specifically for setting the IDS, but the configuration files are straight forward enough. IIRC VMWare itself uses these IDs to track copying and cloning of Virtual Machines.
Yes there were / are. It's a great idea in principle however getting lower level access to GPU hardware is frought with security minefields, particularly given just how capable and powerful modern GPUs are.
I believe the Win 7 driver model helped a bit with this, as more drivers, or more accurately their interfaces, run in user mode than at kernel level but this isn't something I'm particularly up on.
Re: Bring it on!
That's my dream too. Just because I can drive, doesn't mean that I either like it or want to do it.
Unfortunately I think such true motoring convenience is at least a couple of decades away.
Re: You do understand that an autonomous car wouldn't rely on GPS......
@AC 14:47 GMT
No, all those functions are handled by RFID. At least that's what the IBM RFID adverts were implying anyway.
Re: GPS for Dummies
I'd just be happy if the damn things gave me an indication of what direction they think I should take on the roundabout at the top of a slip road before I get to the ****ing roundabout itself.
I've made more navigational mistakes following sat navs than not. They're very useful but I also like to know where I'm going without them.
[apologies in advance for the length of this post!]
A lot of people here are asking for dumb TVs. With Sky decoding. Or Freeview. Or NetFlick. Or DVD playback. Or Media Streaming.
A truly dumb TV has a single video (and maybe audio) input. Probably an of/off switch as well. And maybe volume, brightness and contrast controls as well. Uh oh, feature creep is setting in already.
A slightly less dumb TV as a set of inputs, allowing you to either have multiple devices connected simultaneously or to give a choice of how you would like to to connect. No Scart? use HDMI instead? As soon as you get multiple inputs the TV has to start having input source selection. This is the first point that starts confusing the hell out of the average user... average as in Joe Public, not an El Reg reader who by definition is usually capable of mashing a keyboard semi-coherently.
A less dumb TV also has a TV tuner built into it. Except that this depends on the connectivity to your video source... as in over the air (generally FreeView), Satellite or Cable. These use channel numbers as a matter of historical and remote control convenience, not for the ease of use of the end user. These channel numbers are stupidly not consistent between FreeView, Satellite and Cable services and don't integrate with the Input Selection which is also a channel selector in its own way. When a user turns on a TV they often have a TV channel in mind, for example Sky One or BBC 2, they don't have "150" or "102" in mind and instead they have to either learn the specific device's numbering scheme or use what is far too often an extremely clunky or slow program or channel guide to select a channel. A program guide? Now that's yet another source of confusion as they are usually far too hard to use, inconsistent in operation and rely on short cuts on the remote control. Why does the remote control not have a "next day" button and instead the user has to learn to press the Blue button instead. Many Joe Public users just don't use the program guide or the channel listing, can't quite remember the channel numbers and instead repeatedly hit the channel up and down buttons on their remote until their desired channel eventually appears. Eventually? Yep, with digital decoding we're gone from the 1/25th of a second channel change to waiting for the first I-Frame in the MPEG stream, which on heavily compressed streams can often take a second or two.
We haven't even got to anything that would be considered a "smart" TV yet, and already we have layer upon layer of User Interface (or User eXperience) failures. The Smart TVs barely stand a chance.
As for where I'd like it to be heading...
Most users frequent no more than six channels (there's research on this somewhere). Give them a remote control with six channel buttons clearly marked with their channel preferences. This means a smart, two way remote. If the remote controls are cheap enough, supply more than one - one for the kids, one for mum, one for dad and so on. The alternative is one what can be switched between user profiles very quickly and simply. If information is stored on the remote control, back it up to the TV itself this way when a remote is broken or lost or multiple remotes are used they can be configured very quickly. Little things like this are really appreciated by users.
Kill Infra Red remote controls. They may be quite power efficient but they're one of the reasons behind appalling user interface response times on TVs and similar devices. Two way wireless communications, e-ink display and quite possibly wireless charging would be the way to go. Stick with buttons and not touch screens. The older the user, the more they appreciate and can handle button interfaces - they are far superior for limited functionality applications than the more adaptable but harder to use (and hugely more expensive when done well) touch screen interfaces.
If "smart" TV functionality must be implemented in a TV, do it using an established platform and not recreating the wheel with poor quality often underpowered components and awkward operating environments. Android is the ideal platform for this and removing the telecomms stack and associated chipset would save a chunk of the cost. It even comes with wifi management which saves another problem... In theory, iOS or even WinRT would do the job, however Android, if the components are correct, the applications are coded efficiently and unnecessary baked in applications are removed it can be quite efficient and would not have trouble rending at full TV screen resolution as similar resolutions are in place on mobiles and tablets already. Android, iOS and even WinRT would have to be tweaked to be usable without using touch input and without having a horrible pointer overlay alternative. Once tweaked though, there would be a huge market for applications that either just work on this kind of device or have been specially created for them.
Integrate the channel and input selectors into one seamless list and ditch the entire concept of channel numbers. Channels should be sorted by separate sorting text behind the scenes which will sort the channels into the order the user expects. i.e. BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four and so on. Alphabetically these would be "BBC Four, BBC One, BBC Three and BBC Two" which isn't quite so user friendly. Regional variations on the channels are an added complication, in theory they should be listed together with their parent channel, such as "BBC One North, BBC One Scotland, BBC One South" this makes for an appalling use case for the users that regardless of the interface will still frantically press Channel Up and Down buttons to select their desired channels. We'd doubtless see a proliferation of channel named "Arrdvark 1" and so on but there is no perfect solution.
If the broadcast content is the same, always select the HD option rather than the SD when presented with two otherwise channels. This should be togglable of course, but given ease of use it should be automatic and not needlessly presenting a user with two versions of BBC One is a good thing.
Re: it's all about the video, of course.
...and a further +1 for logo removal.
We have enough deforestation anyway without encouraging it.
The point about leaving this up to companies like Apple, Microsoft or Google to research and patent the buggery out of and then stifle development and improvement just seems to prove itself. If a government were to research and do this then the results should be given out free and therefore benefitting all, not just a few corporations.
Re: A perfectly workable solution...
While HTML 5 has its problems, the majority of facebooks problems with it that I looked at were down to incompetence. At times it looked like that almost without fail they picked the most awkward or inappropriate solution every time they had to implement something, and then implemented it in a really inefficient manner.
Their website works ok with HTML (for now pretend the "mobile" version does not exist), HTML 5 is only HTML with a few extra extensions. Other than quite inefficient APIs there should have been no reason that their HTML 5 app was so bad.
Re: This is a standard tactic... @The BigYin
True. It's The Surface Windows RT devices that have the SecureBoot and the manufacturer is not permitted to allow this to be disabled and keys added and therefore boot a different OS.
If there were anybody actually producing these things then I'm sure somewhere somebody would find a way around it, but that takes market desire for these devices and manufacturers to produce them.
Re: "11-YEAR-OLD code wizard"
I was coding in Assembly by 11... but I suspect I was probably more of an exception but then so's this kid.
I'm not that AC, but I did do almost exactly this myself, just for my own curiosity. It caused a bit of a sense of humour failure in the IT department when they were given a list of usernames and passwords, some including their own staff.
I had no intention of doing anything nefarious* with these details but these days that doesn't seem to matter. They did considerably tighten up on their security before too long though and at least they understood that I wasn't going to do anything bad with them, didn't do it to intentionally make them look bad (otherwise their reaction could have been different), didn't shout about it around the Uni and even showed them what I did.
* Just had to use that word, it's probably underused.
That's a very blinkered and crazy point of view.
Libre Office is very good for the vast majority of business users. Why? The vast majority of business users use their entire Microsoft Office suite to:
* write the odd letter, maybe even mail merge
* record a few values in a spreadsheet
While there are a large number of users that use more advanced features and there are a lot of (suicidal) organisations that somehow run their entire operation on Excel Spreadsheets, their number is considerably less than the majority. The majority of business workers do not sit in finance offices juggling Excel or Word macros across multiple documents, they sit in grotty offices using Microsoft Word in place of a type writer.
I like Libre office (and Open Office prior to that), and use Microsoft Office extensively, but what I'd like even more is for Libre Office to be challenging MS Office much closer and forcing Microsoft to actually improve their product rather than just change the user interface skin every few years and somehow make the entire thing larger, slower and more bloated with every release.
The key lock in to the Microsoft Office suite is Microsoft Outlook. Unfortunately despite being awful in a huge number of ways, it's the best email and calendaring client there is.
...and there I was thinking that HTML 5 offline storage could be a good solution to reading articles offline rather than (yet another) app.
I'll admit that I haven't tried using this functionality in anger, only in noddy test environments. Apps can do smarter things though, such as fetching content in the background even when the browser is not running, but that tends to upset user's data plans.
If it's a bog standard camera (or even if it isn't) then they're probably radiation interference. Even a height of 240 miles makes quite a difference to the level of radiation that you're subjected to.
Re: 70 per cent more boys had called in about seeing porn online
This reminds of me of hearing about the son of the directors of a company I used to work for. His son was suspended from school for peddling porn. It turns out that his son was videoing the late night trailers for the soft porn cable and satellite channels, putting them all together and duplicating and selling videos of it. Given the soft nature of it all he really wasn't sure whether to be angry about it or proud because of his son's entrepreneurship.
As far as the end of the road? That's very, very dangerous - there should be a law against that kind of thing. After all there are paedophiles behind every bush and gate down the street so it must be a mercy or arrogant luck that any of the poor innocent children actually make it to the end of the road, let alone back again.
We'll ignore the fact that almost all child molestation is carried out by a close family member of course. It's the exceptional cases that make the news, and often these wind up being a close family friend or family member anyway.
Re: well we can hope
Not forgetting that it's been a VM policy to not hire anyone on first line support who has English as a first language.
Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator
... and the reliability of a Sinclair QL.
No idea about that, I've been waiting since last week for it to boot.
Re: Daniel Palmer
While the emulator is a dog, even the recent versions that run much better than older ones, It's not a good line that it "runs perfectly on my Nexus 1". Runs and runs efficiently are entirely different.
Often I think that developers should be purposefully given slow machines with low resources so they can produce efficient code rather than the monstrous bloated abominations that appear to be "normal" these days.
Re: Round and round....
Why does it have to be so polarised? You can use many tablets with either finger or a pen. Some interactions work best with fingers such as pinch zooming, broad swiping and scrolling however with a pen handwriting recognition and fine selection and interactions work much better. This gives you the choice of using the optimal or your preferred user interface interaction method. We'll see similar arguments whenever voice recognition finally matures and becomes useful.
It's a forward thinking more from Samsung though. Increased usage of stylus inputs could easily happen in the near future and positioning themselves like this is wise.
Looking just at the supplied picture, subjectively it's definitely not a particularly attractive phone by a long way. However Blackberries have always tended to be a bit more function than form focused anyway so this isn't really surprising and in real life the thing could easily look quite good, marketing shots aren't always that great.
10h talk time? In a modern smart phone? :) What are they thinking?
Usually it's not a requirement that such a service has to be located in the UK. For appropriate Data Protection cover anywhere in Europe (the EU) is acceptable. Taking data that should be protected out of the EU and into countries that do not have adequate, or any, privacy safeguards is in contravention of the Data Protection Act. This includes storing data in cloud infrastructures or heading off to US organisations that are not specifically registered under the Safe Harbor (sp) act for the distinct and specified purpose required.
I'm in no way affiliated with them, but Wuala provide EU based cloud storage. It's a bit clunky in places but has some good features that are well suited to business as well rather than the complete focus on individual storage that is usually found everywhere else.
Re: Never underestimate the IQ of MS Office users
Strange that I'm defending it, but there's nothing "wrong" with PowerPoint , it's a great tool when used correctly.
Unfortunately it's the "used correctly" caveat where 99% of PowerPoint users stumble.
A PowerPoint slide show is not a presentation. A presentation may have a PowerPoint slide show to assist with parts of the presentation, but that is very, very different.
Are MS trying to kill their joke of a subscription model even before it starts?
£80 per year for a bloated, hard to use (thanks to TIFKAM influence) office suite containing a massive amount of crud that no sane home user is ever likely to want to use? Fine, it can be installed on up to five systems, but how many home users really care about that? To save money most are willing to have it on one or two system and leave the others as they are.
As a generalisation, home users don't care about Outlook, most use webmail these days as online mail services integrate well with mobile phones, attempting to use Outlook effectively ties you to MS mail services of some description. Publisher? Sane professionals don't use it, home users get by with Word. Next they'll be flogging powerpoint to home users... The home users that may want to use much of this software tend to want to use it for business purposes, which if you check the licence terms on this service is prohibited - it's for home, personal use only.
Now if MS were to provide something like a subscription service for just MS Word at £15 per year for home use only then they'd have a massive uptake. Unfortunately the greed has set in and they're more interested in foisting the rest of the MS Office suite at users and trying to get them locked into proprietary non interoperable software packages and systems than providing a good value service for end users.
This is new? I've seen this for a while now with Java applets. Made me look twice when I first saw it but a very good idea.
Shame that IE doesn't have anything sensible like this... time to clean up yet another PC infected through a drive by java exploit where the effing Java on the PC can't be updated to the latest version or even have the latest version installed as well, because the corporate Oracle software that requires it is so incompetently written it only works with old, unsupported, versions of Java. The irony of this is not lost :)
Re: Silly resolution.
Human perception while nominally of quite a low resolution works much more cleverly than a simple "pixels across by pixels down" basis.
When looking at something you eye has a much higher resolution of detail in the centre of your vision, specifically edges, but colour as well and this resolution of detail reduces from the centre of your vision outwards. The edges of your eyesight have much better motion sensing but pretty crap colour (technically none) and little edge detection and our brains combine all the details together with remembered details to come up with what we "see".
To improve our visual definition further our eyes move slightly even when looking at a fixed point. This slight shifting allows the collection of additional image detail far beyond the obvious quality if you merely counted the number of rods and cones in our eyes.
I'm not going to judge what happens until the film are released and I get to see them. The first three films (IV to VI) were genre changing for what they did although by today's standards they don't look it, the next three films (I-III) were kiddified toy marketing and computer game cash in opportunities made into film so while entertaining enough (sans Ja Ja Binks) they just don't deserve quite such the same place in movie history as the first three.
While I don't particularly like the new Star Trek reboot and it's easy to hate change and difference in something you were brought up with, some of the changes just seemed to be made because it could introduce stupid Earth bound scenes and product placement rather than for any valid plot reason so they just felt very out of place. However, without exception, any time Star Trek goes near the concept of time travel the plots, characters and everything just seem to disappear up themselves in some inane wormhole continuum arsehole implosion and you're left with some special effects and a heavy sense of wtf have I wasted the last X hours watching this?
It'll be interesting to see what happens as while Disney itself has produced some great films recently it's also produced a lot of real dross. Lucas appears to have lost the plot recently in some ways, although how much of that was down to him and how much to the studios (or more accurately, the financiers behind them) would be interesting to know. The combination of what comes out will be interesting all right.
So if they can get quality direction and backing from Disney without it being massively turned into one very long product placement merchandising ploy, have worthwhile actors cast in the film rather than "stars", they keep sodding time travel out of it entirely and stick true enough to the spirit and background of the Star Wars "universe" then I don't see why Abrams couldn't do a good job.
Re: ...the septics are fond of prosecuting you...
I don't believe that septic used in this way is down to that usage of the word. Instead it's "septic tank, yank" - as in rhyming slang. Although I'm not sure where "yank" originates from...
Re: I would imagine...
I think it's more apt that you do a bit of due diligence and look around the bank before lending them your money. Are there doors and walls, is there some form of security, do the staff walk around in orange jail house suits? :)
Most of the time we rely on blind trust that there's not a wide open door at the back where anybody with a clipboard can walk in and out and access whatever they feel like.
Re: Shooting themselves in the foot? - yes, by releasing Win 8.
Ignoring the foaming and other flame comments:
Win 7 driver model - each hardware device usually wants a specific driver installing. The Win 7 driver model is far better than previous as it moves the layer that a lot of driver functions execute in. Arguably hardware drivers should operate at the trusted operating level, however in reality there are a lot of very poorly written drivers out there because there are a lot of poor developers and poor emphasis in management above them to invest properly in good practices and resources to test and develop drivers. Poor quality or unreliable drivers directly affect a user's perception of the system, or Operating System as a whole - therefore when a particular device driver crashes then the immediate response is that the "computer" crashed and to blame the visible differentiating part - Windows. MS's shift of function execution mitigates this reliability issue quite a lot and also helps to resolve security issues as poorly written drivers are massive security holes that are just ready to be exploited, and often are. It's only the diversity of drivers (hardware) that has kept this security problem down. As for every hardware device requiring a specific driver, of course it does - there are hundreds of thousands of individual devices that can be plugged into a computer and therefore there are a large number of drivers. While it's true that generic class drivers can be used these do not give good performance and neither are they likely to take full advantage of the device itself.
A poor install model - If Microsoft were to produce an online App repository for Windows (not RT), can you imagine the screams of complaints and anti-trust / anti-competition threats that would result? Now what they should do is to create an App-store repository system that's comes with the Operating System itself and can be configured to point to online, or more accurately networked, App-Stores that are free and available to operate. i.e. a clearly specified client-server system where you could link your system to a company's app-store and get updates and possibly new products from them easily, alternatively a corporate managed app-store where you can install corporate software or paid for packages and the deployment and management of these is automatic. Unfortunately the reality is that most Windows software is extremely poorly written, has ghastly dependencies (a Microsoft afflicted problem) and as a result won't operate too well in an app-store / repository delivery mechanism. This is just the tip of the problem with such Windows app delivery mechanisms.
Needs anti-virus - Whatever OS happened to be used by the majority of users would be targetted for malware. A large ecosystem of systems will produce more vectors of attack and therefore will be more vulnerable. Others OSes have security problems as well, however I will concede that by (mis)design Windows is far more vulnerable than others. It's improving but is hampered by being built on an extremely poor security model to start off with.
Hides file extensions - this is one of the utter stupidities that I agree with, it's a suicidal move and while it does save some problems with inexperienced users accidentally or intentionally changing file extensions, is a crazy thing to do and causes more problems longer term as user's just don't understand that there is a file extension and that it is very important. Other poor defaults such as "hide the fecking notification icons" are another UI stupidity as well as the inane animations that slow the usage of a system down - I don't mind animations and effects, but these shouldn't slow a system down, unfortunately many of the default Windows ones make a reasonable system appear slower than it is rather than adding polish to a system.
Command line - Just use Windows Powershell if you hanker after typing everything on a monochrome screen. It's very useful for automating a lot of tasks. However GUIs were created for a reason, to make systems easier and simpler to interact and manage, don't forget that while some users have a rabid fascination with typing, the majority of users prefer to point (and click). There are some tasks that I find much easier to manage with a command line, others that are much easier with a GUI.
Slashes, forward or back... who cares? Why is one superior to the other? Why don't we just use full stops (periods) to separate directories instead? No wait, that's been done already :) The primitive drive letter system in Windows is more of a problem than slash orientation and even MS have been trying to depracate usage of drive letters for years.
Windows 7 does require a lot of resources to run. It also does more, however I'm definitely not convinced that much of what it does is useful or required and there is a lot of unneccesary bloat, which is very bad in an Operating System. See the point above about drivers though and their general quality, or lack of. It doesn't run only on Intel - it runs on x86/x64 and even then only newer versions of these. It is very hard to track driver resource usage as for efficiency reasons they aren't monitored, so when your system is running like a slug nailed to the floor and yet the CPU is shown as 99% idle this is usually the reason. Or software services running at driver level to circumvent security to allow automatic updates to software. Not monitoring of driver performance isn't unique to Windows either.
File system - the Windows file system (NTFS version whatever, at least the more recent revisions), are not poor. They're not a proper journalled file system yet (grrr), but reasonable. The time to copy or manipulate files is usually down to the nonsense that the Windows Shell (explorer) inflicts on the process combined with Anti Virus and Anti-Malware applications getting involved as well, although most of the slowness is at the Shell level. Copy or manipulate the files using command line or other file manipulation tools and the difference is very noticeable.
Directory layout? You are kidding aren't you? /home/<user> is the same as \users\<user>. Applications go in one place, data in another, settings in another and user files somewhere else. Be careful, your demand to work straight of C:\ sounds like the demand of idiotic Windows developers who seem to think that their application is so different and special that it needs all of the files in one special location for it and the program files, data files and settings (and log) files all need to be in the same writable location. Nothing like making malware's job easy for it - programs files should be read-only at all times except when an installer is writing or updating the files.
Closed source hampering debugging? Have you no ideal how to use a debugger? I can remotely debug a Windows system session if I feel like, usually I tend to stick with local debugging though. You shouldn't need to debug against windows code even when writing drivers if you stick to the correct, documented interfaces and diligently check and manage algorithm inputs and outputs as you should be doing. The windows driver API may not be the most accessible beast to read, but it is clear.
Oddly, not an entirely original solution. The ancient Egyptians dealt with lice in a very similar way.
Re: I'll bet ....
* By restricted systems I mean proper control systems such as PLCs, not PCs.
Re: I'll bet ....
The actual real time control systems will use dedicated systems for the job. These are restricted systems and they do what the are designed to do and generally nothing more.
The management systems, on the other hand, are often Windows systems. This makes the development task of producing a system than can collate figures, poke configuration changes onto control systems, generate reports and all the normal stuff that people, or more accurately end users and managers, need to see feasible. In any properly designed system the actual operation side is independent of these management systems.
Oh FFS, just how incompetent do they have to be. Turn off, disable and kill auto-run with prejudice. It's not an especially difficult concept to grasp, but so many industrial control systems still have it enabled.
I'll admit that MS have made it moronically hard to fully disable unless XP SP3 is installed along with one or more updates, prior to that turning it off didn't actually turn the fecking thing off completely. After all, MS knows best on how to propagate viruses easily and what harm can there be from automatically running executable files from arbitrary removable devices?
It all depends on your idea of a small marble :)
From what I understand and remember of the design, the walls of the inflatable structure are a multiple layer compartmentalised layout. The flexibility will absorb much of the impact of a small object, and the multiple layered walls are designed, similar to kevlar or passive reactive armour, to reduce and / or deflect the impact of any hit.
The general consensus I've heard is that they're just as safe as standard rigid structures in space, but have a far superior weight to volume ratio.
Current rigid space habitats are very susceptible to orbital hits and when an object the size of a small marble is travelling at 10-30k kph it really doesn't make much difference what the structure is made of, it's more important what the object is made of. To reduce the chance of serious damage there is usually a forward facing (orbital direction) lump of material to get in the way, often a thick part of something that was being sent up anyway. Small objects that can be vaporised, (ice, etc) can be effectively protected against using a multiple layer shield where the outer layer forces the object to vaporise, a gap or filling material slows down the resultant smaller object (droplets) and an inner layer absorbs the impact relatively unscathed.
Re: its worth remembering......
Yes, for all his detractors and everything else - he did a good job.
Re: Wot, no score?
Because the El Reg scoring system is unable to cope with anything other than 85%. ?
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