412 posts • joined Tuesday 10th April 2007 10:04 GMT
Methinks they do protest too much
The truth is that wget isn't at all hard to use and is no more intrusive than a web browser. It can't retrieve anything you can't see with said web browser. In fact, arguably its less intrusive because it takes note of robots.txt files and, as a result, is prevented from retrieving some documents that any web browser would display.
"Is the lens up to this level of detail?" is exactly the right question to ask.
The short answer is that boosting the megapixel count behind a crap lens is pure ad-hype, even if its true, and does nothing whatsoever for picture quality. Here's an example: I have both a DSLR and a snapper, both made by Pentax, so direct comparison is a fair test.
The DSLR is a K100 with a 6MP 24x16mm sensor and uses good quality lenses - I use both the standard f5.6 35-100mm 35mm equivalent kit lens and the M-series lenses off my old Spotmatic F.
The snapper is an Optio WG-1 with a 14MP 1/2.3" sensor and the usual unspecified small, plastic lens found in this class of camera. The WG-1 has the lens and sensor entirely inside its body behind a waterproof pane of glass, so it makes a good comparison with a mobile phone camera.
Shooting the same subject at the same distance with both cameras (using the kit lens on the K100) clearly shows that the K100 has about three times the resolution of the WG-1, i.e. zoom right in on the image and compare sharpness: the D100 image is very obviously sharper. This shows that lens quality and sensor size are all that matters and pixel count is utterly irrelevant given the diffraction effects that limit resolution when lens and sensor are shrunk to the size needed to put them inside a 25mm thick body. Since no mobe is anything like that thick, it follows that their camera resolutions will be even worse.
Re: Round and round we go!
SQL's big advantage is that its a standards-based DML with implementations that are sort-of, somewhat compliant with the standard. Compliant enough, anyway, that devs and DBAs can work with most implementations with a minimum of training.
NoSQL might become flavour of the month if it acquires a standard DML that has a greater percentage of fully compliant NoSQL implementations than SQL has of its standard.
Recycling isn't necessary for minimal impact on the environment
When it comes to long life devices, who gives a toss about recyclable?
What matters is that every part can be replaced easily and cheaply and that replacement parts will be available as long as the owners want to go on using the phone. As long as it's usable and useful recycling is an irrelevance.
Re: Microsoftese at its finest
> Seriously....who in the REAL WORLD actually talks like this???
Re: Junk Science
The references posted by Nissemus and MdB predate the set of results that Iain Thompson is reporting. This latest information would appear to address to objections that were raised previously.
Wot no Fahrenheit 541
Its a fairly faithful version of the Ray Bradbury book bar the obligatory happy ending.
Granted, replacing the Mechanical Hound with a red helicopter for the chase scene was a disappointment. I *really* wanted to see that hound on screen, but OTOH having absolutely no text on screen apart from numbers was a very clever touch: even the title and credits were spoken.
Alan More's Rat King? Pah: a mere latecomer
Kornbluth & Pohl: Wolfbane (1959) was there first with surgically linked human brains used as computers by alien invaders. Like all their novels its a good read with carefully thought-out ideas and insights.
Re: But does it work for local PDFs?
" is it still possible to use an external viewer in preference to the Firefox one"
Of course: just edit the PDF entry in Edit:Preferences:Applications so it uses the program of your choice. I use xpdf.
Clarkes first law is right again
"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right.
When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
- Arthur C Clarke
Opera used to be good....
.... until the last few v12 releases with their odd habit of wrapping some of El Reg's ads round the back of the window so the right half of the ad appears on the left of the screen and an annoying habit of converting the Beeb's home and news pages into a 6mm wide vertical line at the centre of the screen, apparently of near-infinite height. I reported this to Opera when it appeared, some 3-4 upgrades ago and keep checking new releases, but no fix has appeared, so I'm now using FF for most browsing and will continue to do so until Opera fix their rendering engine.
FF has some less than delightful features but at least its doing a better job of rendering pages than the current Opera release.
Re: Wouldn't it be simpler ?
"To just have BT and other UK carriers, block any calls coming from overseas which do not have full CLI attached so at least the recipient knows its a call from overseas and treat it accordingly."
A much better idea would be for BT to block all calls from a number on the TPS list or from overseas and which are either silent and/or have the "withhold caller ID" flag set. The caller should be charged a premium for the privilege of being blocked. This would stop the nuisance calls and keep BT happy because it would be getting paid for doing the blocking. As others have said, this would work because BT always knows the actual caller - without that information it doesn't get paid for the call.
Single level storage is a very OLD idea
This concept was first developed in-house by IBM in about 1970 as 'Future Series', originally intended to be a replacement for the System 360/370 mainframes. That project was axed in about 1972 before being resurrected in the late 1970s as System/38, which was on sale from 1979 and later morphed into the AS/400 range.
Its key feature was single level virtual storage. All RAM and all disk space was mapped into a single address space, so the only storage access method was virtual memory page reads and writes. There was no separate filing system as we know it because all files were in-memory structures. This worked well and was fast and reliable because RAID 5 disk arrays were used. Replacing disks was very easy - you just migrated disk-resident pages off a disk you wanted to replace. Adding a disk was even easier: plug it in and the load-balancing paging algorithm would to start moving pages onto it.
I'm not particularly an IBM fan, but this was one bit of hardware architecture that they got right.
You do wonder....
...why they used Li-ion batteries, which are known in model flying circles amongst other places for their flamability, and not LiFePO4, which do not have this problem. LiFe phosphate batteries have a track record of safe use in aircraft.
The Antares 20E uses them and has done for several years.
Beijing pollution is much worse than the article says
Take a longer look at the shot on the 14th: you can see that the muck cloud extends all the way to the coast, roughly following the river to Binhai, and totally obscures all but the northern 10-15% of Tianjin and all of the bay from just north of Binhai to and beyond the southern headland. I make the muck cloud roughly 240km x 100km or about 4 times the area of the infamous SF Bay brown cloud (the Bay is roughly 100km long x 40km (from seaward of the Golden Gate to the other side of Stockton).
Some time ago I wrote myself a PostgreSQL based archiver and a dedicated search tool.
Now I don't need to keep anything in my mail reader's folders: currently there are around 150,000 messages in the archive. I can find anything there in a few seconds, inspect it and, if its relevant, have it sent to my mail reader. Its also an automatic whitelister: anybody I've sent mail to gets whitelisted by a Spamassassin plugin that talks to the archive.
Feeding the archive is automatic. All mail, incoming or outgoing, passes through my mailserver. This passes a copy of anything that isn't spam to the archiver.
Re: Games addiction (there, I fixed it for you)
Yes, I'd say this is addictive behavior. What else can you call it given the steady trickle of Chinese and Korean players who are so hooked on a game that they don't stop to eat, drink or sleep until they die.
That is either suicide or an addiction with fatal side-effects. IMO addiction makes more sense because it doesn't seem that those players intended to kill themselves.
Re: The key may be in the name.
"Being a SANDY island, could it be that it comes and goes depending on prevailing tides and weather washing the seabed around?"
Doesn't sound at all likely since the Australians say the ocean is 1400m deep at X marks the spot.
I presume that -160°F is mispelt -160F.
IIRC El Reg agreed to standardise on SI units. This excludes Farenheit, an obsolete unit of temperature that is currently only used by Americans and elderly persons with Alzheimers.
I presume you meant to write 165K or -108C
Re: ...over-rated tat-bazaar that is Forbidden Planet
"Anyone else old enough to remember "Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed" when they were in Berwick Street?"
YES - and very good they were too.
Even "Forbidden Planet" were pretty good a few years ago, though judging by their online catalogue they're no longer worth bothering with.
Disclaimer: I am massively disinterested in comics and graphics novels, but DTWAGE and FP (but no longer) were the places I went for my SF fix.
Re: "A method for inducing cats to exercise"
No inducement needed - a cat will chase a small red laser spot without needing encouragement and appeared to enjoy doing so when I tried it with my sister's cat.
I made sure I stood behind the cat and didn't shine it on it or near its eyes, so it never got direct sight of the beam. Nonetheless, its something I'll never do again. Afterwards the poor moggie spent some minutes twitching its ears and shaking its head: I think even the reflections off the carpet (a brown haircord hallway one) were too bright for its eyes. This was a Maplins Keychain Laser Pointer. No power given, but at a guess it would be no more than 1mW.
This just beat me to it. Here's my take on the earliest personal, portable computing devices:
Slide rules fully deserve their place in this history.
Several generations of engineers and scientists used slide rules, an essential tool from their invention in the early 1620s that remained in common use into the late 1960s. Arguably, these were the first portable calculation devices unless you want to include the far earlier, but less capable, abacus which, in its modern form, was in use from the 2nd century BC and printed tables of logarithms, which appeared in 1617.
However, a slide rule, though portable and deserving its place in every engineers' desk or briefcase, wasn't really pocketable. The Curta calculator gets that slot. It was far from the first mechanical calculator, but all its predecessors were heavy, bulky desktop machines, while the Curta was a comfortable handheld device and much loved by the rally-driving fraternity.
This was the first really good pocket electronic calculator. It was not only affordable, but a real game changer because it was the first that could replace a good slide rule, being capable of dealing with logarithms and trigonometric functions.
Re: I'm so old...
"I'm so old......I remember when HP stuff used to be good quality."
Same here. I fact I still have all the old HP stuff I've bought, and it all still works:
- HP-21 calculator (1976) that would run if I replaced its NiCds (again)
- HP-28S calculator (1990), used when I need a calculator. Runs forever on N cells.
- HP 7475 plotter thats used when needed, but getting pens is difficult
- Laserjet 5 - best printer I've owned and currently my only printer
Re: Public vs Private
"But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know."
I agree: this is possibly the statement that got Rumsfeld the most derision of anything he said. But it should not have: the abuse merely showed the ignorance of his critics on this one point. Nassim Nicholas Taleb's 'black swans' are just a restatement of the same idea.
Metric and ICAO
I'd say use SI units for everything except for aeronautical matters. The exception is because in aviation the use of feet for altitude, nautical miles for distance and knots for speed is universal in powered civilian aircraft.
...but the eye damage is real
Your typical 5-25mW red laser pointer may be fairly harmless. However, any IR or visible light laser over 30mW (new classification) or 500mW (old classification) is considered to be unconditionally hazardous to eyesight. So, where does that leave the readily available 400mW watt green lasers of those 1W blue laser light sabres? If you think these are hard to find, just search the internet for 'green laser' or 'laser light sabre'.
This isn't just a US problem: there are plenty of British idiots who think targetting aircraft is cool. Reading GASIL incident reports shows just how common this stupidity is.
Well, it might be beneficial....
...but only if there's a radical rewrite to include at least the following:
- patents are non-transferrable
- patents have a fixed, non-extensible lifetime (10-15 years at most)
- patents can only be granted on production of a working model
- no software patents (copyright covers these adequately)
- discoveries and designs are not patentable
- prior art always takes priority
- all patents are global and documented in a readily searchable database
Yes, I know, the trolls and corp-rats would object, but tough: MBAs and accountants don't invent things and nor do 'managerial innovators'. They can always lease use of a patent from its inventor.
Another one too lazy to do his civic duty?
"So to continue the logic, being a facebook user means you can avoid jury service.
That is the first reasonable argument in favour of joining facebook that I have seen."
You sir, are another example of societal disintegration. So, as well as dodging jury service, do you also fail to vote and cheat on taxes?
Re: Patent... too late!
A container "for an electronic device or other object" has been prior art from around 1970, when the first fibreglass glider trailer came on the market. This is highly relevant: the fiberglass assembly is structural as well as forming the exterior shell.
A benchmark you missed
Since PostgreSQL also shares common root code with Ingres it would have been interesting if they'd also benchmarked PostgreSQL 9.1 on the same kit as Actian.
Another term bites the dust
"We also recognise that the innovative nature of our business...."
So, it seems that 'innovative' has now become a meaningless term.
If you think that mobile phones cook your brain DON'T USE ONE
Its your brain and your responsibility to look after it.
You've all missed the main problem with trying to run the disks in a vacuum chamber: in all hard drives the heads fly above the disk surface on a thin layer of air - think of it as an air bearing. This will work with any gas provided the operating conditions are adjusted for the density and viscosity of the gas in the chamber, so helium should be OK.
However, the heads can't fly in a vacuum.
Current drives do not have a sealed chamber so they always operate at the local atmospheric pressure. Consequently they have a specified maximum operating altitude, usually around 10,000 ft. Above that height the air is too thin to hold the heads clear of the disk surface and the heads will crash, destroying both themselves and the disk's recording surfaces. Airliners are pressurized to about 8,000 ft, which is why you can use a laptop while flying at 30,000 ft. in one
Free-running or it doesn't count.
I'll believe the numbers when I see it in action, untethered on an outdoor running track. There's a huge difference between a dangling set of moving legs and a running robot with its legs carrying its chassis, brain, engine, transmission and power supply.
The Rat Thing would just blow that away - it could run at sonic speeds and catch bizjets as they took off. Even the Mechanical Hound would be faster than that pseudo-cheetah.
Re: He is right that more can done by machines, but...
Actually, there seems to be a two-pronged approach being tried: (1) a 'virtual doctor' application that uses a database of disease literature and case notes to generate a diagnosis and course of treatment from the patient's symptoms and (2) using a database of drugs, trial results, etc to aid a doctor's search for appropriate drugs during a consultation, the idea being that this reduces the doctor's workload of keeping up with current research and new drugs.
See http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528796.400-watson-turns-medic-supercomputer-to-diagnose-disease.html for more details. Both look like reasonable approaches though, as they are based round IBM's Watson system, the kit is currently rather expensive unless it can be used as a shared resource for a group of practices.
Re: Burn the heretics!!
"Do they do proper bacon?"
No. Its paper-thin stuff that ends up resembling tasteless brown papadums no matter how you cook it.
I once tried some american 'bacon' that had apparently been cured in maple syrup. That made the frying pan smell of maple syrup while I was cooking it but there was no detectable difference to its taste.
It would seem that these days you're crazy to use IBM for applications development or outsourcing: their last good developer is about to be thrown out the door. See the recent set of articles by Robert Cringeley.
This one is directly relevant:
Or, for all his recent columns on Big Blue, look here:
Looks like it will take a few shots to get a good ignitor
..so it may save a bit of cash to experiment with smaller, cheaper motors until you can get reliable low pressure and low temp ignition. Have a word with your suppliers. Explain the problem and ask them about cheaper motors that use the same propellant and if there's a volume discount.
The coder, by miles
...and Turing wasn't the first to write an algorithm when he had no place to run it.
According to what I've read, Ada Lovelace did exactly the same, only she did it 106 years earlier than Turing wrote his chess program.
Re: You need more "everything"- NOT
"I'm not sure 'they' do... the pixel count of cameras released as successors in a range seems to have plateaued; many manufacturers aren't trying to use pixel count as the selling point."
Spot on. The lens is considerably more important. The sharpness, contrast and apparent resolving power of that monster are abysmal - no match for almost any of of the gigapixel photos on the Gigapan site, http://www.gigapan.org/ which tend to be taken using cameras with decent lenses.
The same applies to domestic digital cameras: My Pentax K100 SLR produces much higher resolution images using its standard kit lens than my new Pentax WG-1 snapper. This is despite the K-100 having a 6Mp sensor while the WG-1 has 14Mp. Yes, the WG-1 image files are more than twice the size (4.1 MB vs 1.7MB for the same test subject) and both were shot with flash to eliminate camera shake.
Compare them using the GIMP at max resolution (1:1 pixel display) and the difference is obvious: the K-100 image is still sharp while the WG-1 image isn't even if it is twice the size. Compare 1:1 (K100) with 50%. shrink (WG-1) so details appear the same size and its still obvious that the K100 image is sharp while the WG-1 image isn't.
Fortunatly I bought the WG-1 for use in situations where I wouldn't dream of using the K100, such as in a single seat glider cockpit, or I might be disappointed with it. As it is, it does its job rather well.
Re: things ai't gonna change until
Nah, fining the organisation is just stupid. All that does is move money from one Gummint pocket to another.
Instead you fine the people responsible. Start with the numpty whose act of commission or omission actually caused the leak and include the entire managerial chain from his boss to the CEO on the grounds that all failed to adequately supervise their immediate staff member. Hit them all with a fine of the same %age of salary so all get the message with equal emphasis. For fairness, also make it a rule that if anybody gets fired over the data loss, they all do.
High pressure gaseous CCS
This was always the sort of idea that would appeal to politicians rather than engineers. Its sort of obvious that expecting large amounts of very high-pressure gas to stay put for a couple of hundred years, let alone a few thousand years is very likely asking the impossible. Then, when you expect it to stay in a worked-out coal-mine (barmy) or even a depleted oil-well ( what, no cracks? really? what about corroding well liners?), you're asking for the impossible.
About the only safe storage would be as solids - think artificial limestone or, better, marble. But don't think that will be cheap because it won't be. I wouldn't be surprised to find that whole of life costs for thorium nuke generators are cheaper.
Why use an altimeter when you have a GPS tracker?
I don't thing a separate altimeter is needed. Tap the NMEA data feed between the onboard GPS receiver and your tracking transmitter, feed it to a program that extracts the altitude from the data stream and use this to trigger the launch.
In a little more detail: parsing the GPGGA sentence provides the 'antenna height' information. All the program needs to do is recognize when a preset height has been exceeded and trigger the launch sequence. Any Arduino or similar micro-controller with a serial input and a digital output should be easily able to handle this. Possibly even a Parallax BS2 STAMP could manage it. The launch trigger might be as simple as using a relay or a MOSFET to switch on power to the rocket igniter.
Actually, its worse than that
GA aircraft and Air Transport (airliners and cargo planes) follow ICAO rules and work in knots (speed), feet or flight levels (height), ft/min (rate of climb) and nautical miles (distance). Flight levels are measured in units of 100 ft using an altimeter set to 1013 mb, so FL 120 is nominally 12000 ft but may vary by several hundred feet either way depending on the barometric pressure at that time and place.
Gliders generally use ICAO units except that we measure rate of climb in knots (a) because its easier to calculate glide angles when both airspeed and climb rates are in the same units and (b) 1 knot is almost exactly 100 fpm. Except, that is, in Europe, where gliders are metric so they use km/h (speed), metres (height), m/s (rate of climb) and km (distance). Also, glider pilots almost everywhere measure the tasks we fly in km, mainly because that's what the FAI uses and most of the recognised achievement badges and diplomas are defined by the FAI.
I don't know what units the military use, but ICAO units would seem probable since this would simplify interactions between military and civil air traffic controllers.
Water in REHAB is a good idea
Here's a way to use water to monitor the pressure inside REHAB without hurting the pump.
Start by boiling the water and letting it cool in the glass you'll put in REHAB. Tap water contains dissolved air which, if left in it, will give the impression of boiling at a higher pressure as the air comes out of solution.
Now put the glass and water in REHAB, close it and suck away while watching the water. If it starts to boil, note the pressure and immediately close the stopcock before stopping the pump. This approach will minimize the amount of water vapor ingested by the pump. In fact., water vapor shouldn't hurt the pump because ambient air has a relative humidity of around 70% in the UK and the pump must be able to deal with this. Boiling water can only raise the relative humidity to 100%. Also, its unlikely that your REHAB design will allow liquid water to enter the vacuum tube if the water glass is sitting on the bottom of the chamber.
BTW, unless you're going to control the temperature inside REHAB to 20C, you should also invest in a reasonably good thermometer and/or install the REHAB internal thermometer now. Then find a table of water's boiling point vs. pressure - you'll need it to get a reasonable pressure reading from this method.
Looks OK except for copyright extension
Why this gift to idle tossers who profit from somebody else's creative laurels?
I think copyright should be limited the later of the author's death or 20 years after first publication. That would suit me if I was the author and should give enough time for a publisher to recoup his outlay. Anything more just panders to third party greed.