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* Posts by Pascal Harris

22 posts • joined 2 Apr 2008

Supercomputer geek builds Cray-1 around home PC

Pascal Harris
Thumb Up

Probably? Definitely!

Probably more powerful? Definitely more powerful, by at least a couple of orders of magnitude. Well, it will be if he's using *nix. Even if he's installed Windows then he should still be able to get, oh I don't know, at least the power of a ZX80 from it. Perhaps even a ZX81.

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Apple TV revamp rumours resurface

Pascal Harris
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A much maligned device

I'm a geek. I buy gadgets. Often I buy gadgets and soon think 'WTF? What a waste of money!' The Logitech Harmony being a prime example. The Apple TV, on the other hand, was one of my better purchases. Sure, it's a flawed product - but it does what it does so well that I don't really mind.

The biggest flaw isn't actually a flaw in the product. It's a flaw in the name, and in the marketing. Apple TV? Apple 'TV'? I don't watch much TV. But I do listen to a lot of music. And, with the music that I really love, I want that music to be lossless. There aren't many systems out there which can play lossless formats - at least, not for a reasonable small outlay. But the AppleTV does sterling service as a lossless music player on my HiFi. And, of course, for the throwaway background music, it also does MP3.

Sometimes, of course, I do watch TV. And on those occasions my AppleTV plays films that I've ripped from my own DVDs or bought from the iTMS. My DVDs are now languishing in a big box in the loft with other obsolete formats. No need to hunt anymore. I just search for a film and play. In fact, it gets better - because I can rent films too, although it has to be admitted that the quality of films from iTMS is a little hit or miss in terms of picture quality. Some of them were clearly converted by the night watchman. Still, looking on the bright side, films from iTMS don't subject you to interminable adverts or admonishments not to pirate film.

The only real flaws I can see are that it isn't possible, without hacking the device, to add third party applications. I'd love to be able to buy apps for it from iTunes. And it's also annoying that it doesn't have a proper on/off switch - I have to turn it off at the wall. But, other than that, it's excellent - and I look forward to Apple marketing it properly.

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Vote Lib Dem, doom humanity to extinction

Pascal Harris

What a brainless twat you are

Okay, Mr. Thickie, let me explain how it is for you. Sadly, I don't think I can manage to simplify it to words of one syllable - but let's see how we get on.

Nuclear weapons. They're expensive. Really quite astronomically costly. For one nuke alone you could employ many hundreds of policemen, teachers or nurses. You could probably build a hospital or two. You could do useful things with the money. Or you could buy a nuke - which you'll never use (sometimes also known as pissing money up the wall). And here's the other problem with nukes. They're not only expensive to buy, but they cost a shedload to maintain and even more to dispose of at the end of their lives. Seriously. They make bailing out the banks look like small beer.

But, I can hear you snivel, they're a deterrent. They'll stop bad guys from attacking us. Umm. Really. September 11, 2001? Nukes had bugger all deterrent effect there. And here's the thing. Let's imagine that someone madder than you launches a pre-emptive strike. London has been destroyed. Birmingham is rubble. Liverpool is smoking. What are you going to do? Retaliate? Why? If you launch a counter strike then two things will happen:

1. You will fail to resurrect the dead in the UK.

2. You will be responsible for mass murder of civilians (because, make no mistake, 99.999% of the people that you kill will be innocent.)

If, after reading this, you decide that you probably would counter strike then I can only conclude that you're an evil fuck, and I hope that you meet a sticky end. If you decide that you might not attack - you'd just pretend to - the deterrent effect is broken.

As for nuclear power, I'll let you have it. Seriously. Build more nuclear power stations - but only once you've cleared up ALL the mess from the nuclear power stations that have been built already. And I mean really clear it up - not just sweep it under the carpet to be a problem for future generations.

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Pizza-polluting YouTube plonkers soil Domino's

Pascal Harris

The problem with chains

When deciding where to eat I try to avoid chains as far as possible. This is the reason why. Logically, a chain is less likely to care for its customers than an individual is. After all, Dominos or McDonalds can afford the inevitable legal action brought about by the odd bit of food poisioning. It probably won't even dent their profits. And the average chain customer probably won't care - they're addicted to the advertising, the glossy plastic, and believe that they're somehow less likely to suffer from shocking service (this is true - I did a little market research amongst my acquaintances).

A privately owned and non-franchised shop, on the other hand, can't afford the bad press. Poor hygiene? Food poisoning? Legal action. They're out of business - or, at least, hurting very badly. Besides, I reckon that if someone cares enough to open a restaurant as a private business, they probably care about the food and they'll pull out all the stops to provide the best food that they can.

I had a very tasty lamb curry for lunch today. And I got to speak to the chef and inventor of that particular recipe.

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Apple MacBook Pro 15in

Pascal Harris
Jobs Halo

High Price?

I don't think that Apple ever relied on fancy design to justify a higher price. The fancy design was merely a pleasant by-product of the quest for perfection. Apple relies on having a decent operating system to justify the price of its systems.

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1980s Apricot reborn in noughties as netbook seller

Pascal Harris
Thumb Down

How sad.

Once upon a time Acorn produced genuinely innovative computers. Now the brand has been reborn as a vehicle for cheap Windows tat.

Apricot was also innovative, albeit within the confines of the Victor Sirius architecture and MS-DOS. They even came up with their own GUI (ACTivity) before bundling Gem and finally Windows. Now Apricot has gone the way of Acorn (although, admittedly, all Apricot's since the Xi were shite).

Please. Please. I beg you. Let these venerable brands rest in peace inless you intend to do something innovative with them (bundling Windows or cloning the EeePC does not count as innovative). At the very least, let us have design that matches that of Lenovo, Sony or Apple.

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Microsoft breaks IE8 interoperability promise

Pascal Harris

the moral?

Don't bitch about Microsoft behaving like a bunch of scallywags. They always do. It's not news. Just ditch Windows and get yourself a nice standards compliant (posix) OS. It doesn't matter which brand. Just choose anything that hadn't been tainted by Microsoft

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Jeremy Clarkson tilts at windmills

Pascal Harris
Go

@ Chris W

"Until you, your friends and apparently a host of others can judge your speed without the need to constantly monitor the speedometer then I suggest you all refrain from driving."

Well said that man! When I was learning to fly, the instructor used to stick little plastic suckers over various important instruments on the panel. I had to learn how to judge speed and altitude without aid. And if I can do it several thousand feet (ahem - sorry, several thousand linguine) in the air, it isn't too much to expect the average joe to be able to do it at cruising altitude of zero.

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Pascal Harris
Alert

@michael

Michael - thanks for proving my previous point. Top man!

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Pascal Harris
Boffin

Clarkson?

Clarkson is a funny guy. Unfortunately, he is also a halfwit - a scatterbrained simpleton who can't understand simple cause and effect (i.e. that digging up aeons old carbon in the form of fossil fuels and then burning them is a.) wasteful because those oils might be better pressed in service as plastic and b.) contributing to global warming - which is, by the way, not merely a theory).

Fortunately for him, the average Sun reader manages to attain an even lower IQ. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Or, at any rate, Clarkson.

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Unpatched Windows PCs own3d in less than four minutes

Pascal Harris
Paris Hilton

Fister or XP?

Fister has had plenty of bad press but, like it or lump it, it's a huge improvement over XP - at least as far as security is concerned. So my question would be, does this report apply to Fister or XP - or both. I'd be rather surprised if it's Fister alone - but respect to the hacker to can own Fister that quickly without local access.

Myself? I don't much care for Fisting (strictly Posix for me), but I'll bet Paris is into that kind of thing.

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3 days on: The iPhone users still to make a call

Pascal Harris
Thumb Up

Fairly Happy

I think it's fair to say that this debacle has been dreadful PR for O2. I'm a new O2 customer. I waited in line (not for very long though - I had the sense to pick a store in a small town rather than in a big city), paid my money, and got a 16GB iPhone. Of course, I was still struck by the registration server failure - but the very attractive girl who served me had the brains to ditch the IT quickly and sign me up on paper.

24 hours later, my new i gained its Phone and I must say that it is a wonderful device (albeit with a crappy camera - but since I have an SLR, I don't really care about that). Apparently, it'll be Wednesday before my old phone number gets transferred - which is a nuisance - but, other than that, plain sailing.

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MobileMe steals Live Mesh thunder

Pascal Harris
Paris Hilton

Embarrassing?

Why is a me.com address embarrassing? Am I missing something here? And why is it worse to advertise Apple than it is to advertise Google or Microsoft?

Paris because perhaps I'm being dumber than she is.

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Dell buys into Dell for $100m

Pascal Harris

Yes! Please buy a Texas sized share!

I'd love nothing more than to see your fortune wiped out. Seriously, I despise Dell even more than I despise Ballmer.

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An iPhone with a keyboard?

Pascal Harris
Jobs Halo

Apple Flip Flops

The true Apple acolyte would never bet on the future of Apple technologies. To have said that PowerPC would power the Mac forever would have been to ignore Apple's past form. After all, Mac OS had previously run on 68k, 88k & Intel (albeit in prototype form), Sparc and PA-RISC (albeit via MAE). It would be similarly short sighted to say that Mac OS will run on Intel forever more - Mac OS will run on Intel for as long as Apple writes it for Intel, and no longer.

Similarly, those with long memories will remember that OS X is not the first BSD based Mac OS. That honour goes to A/UX - Apple's pro Mac OS from the 90's. Fools may have claimed superiority for Mac OS over Unix - but those fools were never within Apple.

As for the one button mouse, those who deride it display the breathtaking arrogance of someone with a little knowledge who has forgotten what it's like to be a newbie. My mother, for example, panics if presented with more than one mouse button. The keyboard might be a minefield, but the mouse is supposed to be her uncomplicated friend. I rather like the mighty mouse - it's a one button mouse for the newbie, and when the newbie gets a little more advanced it can behave a little like a multi button mouse. It's not perfect - but it isn't a bad compromise. And when the compromise gets wearing, a 'proper' rodent can be purchased. And as for the one button trackpad - there's no compromise there. It's perfect as it is, and the pad on my ThinkPad annoys the hell out of me now.

So there you have it. When it comes to technology companies, Apple is pretty much at the top of the heap. It's true that little of the Mac or it's OS was invented by Apple - but Apple put the pieces together in a truly innovative manner, a manner that will trickle down to cheap systems eventually. You might not be able to afford one (in which case, Ubuntu is a good alternative), but you'd be thick as two short planks to hate them.

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Asda declares baby's arse 'pornographic'

Pascal Harris
Stop

Erm, Frank...

A cake from Paul isn't morally objectionable, no; although given the number of Paul outlets that have opened at stations I'd argue that it may have an objectionable flavour. There are times when a spot of cake or a nice pastry are just the ticket - but the true gourmand would buy said hand-crafted treat from their local patisserie rather than a chain.

On the other hand, buying a birthday cake is rather pathetic. A birthday cake is supposed to show that you care - although I concede that a shop cake is fine as a gift for some bird you nobbed and don't particularly want to see ever again.

One final thought - since when were flames supposed to be rational and well thought out? The world might end if that ever happened!

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Pascal Harris
Coat

Um.

Quite apart from the daftness of censoring a picture of a baby, what kind of pikey buys a cake from Asda? Come on! It's not exactly rocket science to make a cake from scratch, and a home made cake shows that you actually care about the person you're giving it to. Seriously. I'm appalled by the laziness of the nation - a nation that would rather watch big-celebrity-dragons-get-me-out-of-wifeswap-den-brother or play duke-grand-theft-quake-enstein IX rather than do something creative or learn something new.

No wonder this country is as sick as it is. Of course there'll be bad-shit going down if people lock themselves in their homes or cars, wanking themselves stupider over consumed content. The only way you build utopia is go outside. Walk. Say hello to your neighbours. Build something yourself. Stand up to bullies. And wave two fingers to government when they try to pass stupid laws.

Apologies. I seem to have gotten myself hot, bothered, ranty and sidetracked. Still, got to qualify as a flame - hasn't it?

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Apple partially rehabilitates Sun's DTrace

Pascal Harris
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Why would I want to look at Apple's software with DTrace?

I can see the point of looking at my code with DTrace - if I find something amiss, or if I find something inefficient, I can fix it. If I don't have access to the source code then I couldn't care less what it looks like in DTrace. Doesn't matter. It's unimportant. And as for the DRM is bad argument, I know. So does everyone else. We've been crapping on about it being bad for years - doesn't make a blind bit of difference though. So enough already.

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BOFH: Testing the obscenity filters

Pascal Harris
Jobs Halo

You Berk

<QUOTE>can't <SLAM> you accept that modern macs ARE pc's albeit with dodgy styling, idiot proof OS and massively over inflated price tag...</QUOTE>

Macs are PCs? Macs are Personal Computers? The shock! The horror! The revelation! Were they ever anything else? To think I'd always thought that they were kettles.

Dodgy styling? Matter of taste I suppose. I quite like it. Mind you, some people think Peugeots look nice. It takes all sorts.

Idiot Proof OS? I quite agree. Great isn't it? Idiot proof OS (or quite close to it) for newbies and enough power to keep the uber geeks happy and fiddling (courtesy of Unix). Oh. You meant that as an insult? You stupid <SLAM>

Massively over inflated price tag? Nope. Not last time I checked. Excellent value for money - but Apple have chosen not to play in the pikey end of the pool. So they just don't sell anything uber cheap.

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Red Hat scurries away from consumer desktop market

Pascal Harris
Happy

Ubuntu?

So what is Ubuntu if no a very highly regarding desktop Linux? Sure, the marketshare is yet small, but Rome wasn't burnt in a day. Actually, scratch that. It probably was. The building took a while longer. So, while Microsoft fiddles, the Unixen hoardes are preparing to board computers everywhere.

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Man proposes to prospective partner with games console

Pascal Harris
Coat

I did propose on a tropical island...

...under a volcanic waterfool. More fool me. If only I'd had a Wii (admittedly, it hadn't been invented at that point - N64 then), I could have saved myself a few bob.

Good luck to him (and her) though. I hope that they get that life upgrade they've always wanted.

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Fixing the UK's DAB disaster

Pascal Harris
Coat

Great for 4.

I have to agree that this all seems to be a load of nonsense FUD about DAB. DAB wakes me up in the morning and my radio is on almost continually when I'm at home (even for The Archers, although that's more for my wife than for me!) My only problem with DAB is that my car doesn't have a DAB receiver.

The Reception is perfect - and as for being mono only, well all those little 'stereos' that one can buy are, effectively, mono only. The speakers are too close for stereo. As for the DAB hifi separates - they definitely do stereo. I still reckon that radio, of any type, only offers preview quality though. A good preview, perhaps - but if you want the best then buy a CD.

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