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* Posts by Paul Showering

11 posts • joined 7 May 2008

Intel Sandy Bridge many-core secret sauce

Paul Showering
Jobs Halo

Intel or Inmos?

So does anyone remember the Transputer and its Cambridge Fast Ring architecture? Plus ça change...

(Halo just because it's a ring)

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Men at Work appeal Down Under plagiarism ruling

Paul Showering

Really?

OK, I have more letters after my name for various music qualifications than most people have in their names, and I can solemnly swear that the only similarity between these two tunes is that they are both written in a major key.

Added to that, Marion Sinclair is said to have taken the tune from a Welsh folk song in the first place.

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Nvidia details GF100 graphics beastie

Paul Showering

Supercomputer on a chip?

Gaming is of no great interest to me, but the sheer power of this generation of graphics cards is. With an expected compute power of over 2 teraflops and the standardised DirectCompute interface, how much longer will "serious" graphics and audio software be able to get away with just using the tiny number of FPUs in the CPU? I can perhaps understand why the developers of such software haven't in the past moved over to using the GPU because of the differing SDKs required by vendors, but surely, the advent of DirectCompute leaves them with no excuse.

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Microsoft sees its chance in Googlephone

Paul Showering

Is "free" really free?

The actual OS licence cost is a small fraction of the total cost of any system. What's much more relevant is TCO (total cost of ownership). If the "free" OS's like Linux and such really cost less overall, Windows would have died decades ago.

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Enormous raygun-on-a-lorry project acquires lorry

Paul Showering
Grenade

Mirror, mirror

If battlefield laser weapons become the norm, won't munitions manufacturers simply make their products with a mirror finish? I know that some people seem to think the laser will simply burn through the mirror finish, but if this is so then why have anti-missile systems been proposed that use spaceborne mirrors to reflect ground-based lasers onto their targets?

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Apple seeks OS-jacking advert patent

Paul Showering
FAIL

"Resent"?

Yes, I do deeply.

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Blackswift hyperplane hits trouble in Washington

Paul Showering
Flame

Actually...

The fuel did quadruple duty. It was the fuel (d'oh) and it cooled the airframe, but it also cooled the considerable payload of avionics AND was used as the fluid for the plane's hydraulics.

BTW, "barrel roll"? "Slowpoke"? I see what you did there!

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France gets closer to 'three strikes' downloader web ban

Paul Showering
Stop

Let's try this the other way around...

"An independent administrative body charged with preventing and penalising piracy", indeed. In other words, an unelected and unaccountable body is given the authority to completely sidestep existing civil law. OK, so media companies sometimes find it difficult and/or financially unrewarding to sue individuals who download the odd copyright item here and there. THIS IS BY DESIGN. The process of sueing someone is lengthy and expensive, but it's fair(-ish) in that it works both ways. Yes, it usually prevents me from sueing companies for having made misleading claims about products that I've bought and haven't lived up to expectation, but it also prevents them for sueing me when I slag them off to all my friends and tell them never to buy anything from that company again.

Now, things have changed and the system is put completely out of balance. The pigopolists get someone else to do their dirty work for them and fast-track generally law-abiding citizens back into the paper age, but we still have to go to the courts when we want to challenge the pigopolists on something. To make things fair, let's have a similar body to look after consumers' interests. This is how it would work in a sample case. Say, for instance, that I had bought a Sony-label CD from FNAC, and Sony's hidden DRM rootkits my PC. So, I tell the enforcement body, and they say I can just go down to FNAC and grab a PS3 in recompense. There. Ridiculous? Unworkable? Unacceptable? Sounds no different to what's being proposed in France, only with the sabot firmly on the other pied.

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MEP tries to ban lightbulbs with mercury amendment

Paul Showering

LED hazards

Yes, LED lighting can in theory produce far more lumens per watt than any other lighting technology, but they aren't without risk. The problem is the very uneven light spectrum they produce, with a very sharp spike in the blue region (because basically white LEDs are blue LEDs with an orange phosphor). Because the pupil of the eye responds to the average light level, the retina is exposed to far more blue light than if the light source produced a more even spectrum, for example, an incandescent bulb. This is called "blue light hazard", and may exacerbate sight-threatening conditions like age-related macular degeneration. LED manufacturers are responding by moving to "warm white" which has a slightly more even spectrum, but the basic problem of the large blue spike remains.

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After Debian's epic SSL blunder, a world of hurt for security pros

Paul Showering

Analogies

This brings the closed vs. open source argument sharply into focus. It seems to me that the situation is disturbingly like Brittanica vs Wikipedia. Brittanica is a lumbering, bloated dinosaur produced by a byzantine system of professionals that is full of information that was once correct, wherease Wikipedia is a dynamic collaborative project that is up-to-the-minute, but where any part of it can be wrecked by anyone, even if they have followed etiquette and asked on the Talk page about their changes first.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS20 compact camera

Paul Showering

Noise

As an owner of a Panasonic DMC-FZ50, I'm interested in the positive comments about noise with the DMC-FS20. Noise has consistently been the main weakness in the Panasonic line, and was mainly due (at least, according to my understanding) to the small sensor sizes they use. The DMC-FS20 uses a tiny sensor, and yet apparently does not have a noise issue. Strange.

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