124 posts • joined Friday 20th April 2007 19:08 GMT
Re: Not without risk and cost
The world changes.
Remember what James Woolsey (boss of the CIA) said twenty years ago "We have slain a large dragon. But we live now in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes“?
Having serious antisubmarine warfare capability, to detect a launch transient and prosecute it, is generally the preserve of dragon-class opposition. There isn’t much of that about any more. If that’s likely to be a problem on the day, well, don’t launch the drone then.
The snakes tend to be messing about in skiffs and rhibs. You can hear those a long way away with decent passive sonar, even lying submerged in shallow water just offshore. Then you could launch the drone, fly it nice and high so the people in the skiffs never even spot it, follow the skiffs, then have some helicopter assault ships out on the blue water arrange a nasty surprise.
If you think Chris Mellor is being over the top about TV sound ...
... does your computer have a fancy sound system capable of bass tones?
It does? Head to iPlayer, find an episode of Dad's Army, and play the first minute or so, so you can listen to the theme tune.
What is that you are hearing? Is it a part for an upright bass that you've never noticed before? That's because your TV's speakers aren't up to it, nor all your previous TVs, all the way back to when Dad's Army first aired.
I can't help but think that's a NNSFW anagram of a portmanteau word involving fireproof trousers.
Meanwhile, Neal Stephenson's last novel "Reamde" features a character with a treadmill desk; a character who allegedly was once very very fat unfit etc etc, but who now has a PA to prevent him from overexercising.
does turning it off and on again...
... count as a reboot of the franchise?
not Bad Wolf...
... but Bad Wilf; Bernard Cribbins's character returns, having turned evil, in league with Davros, the Emperor Dalek, The Master, and the Caravan Club.
Or some other improbable nonsense.
Did you check the system clocks on the computers etc?
"boxes back to the '70s" ... or Aug 10 1945, or Jan 1 2001, depending on what you're looking at. Computers have realtime clocks on the motherboard being fed by a tiny dribble from mains current even switched off, or from a tiny battery. Now if the power goes down, and the UPS exhausts itself, and the computers are old and any motherboard batteries are dead ... well that doesn't matter does it, when the power comes back, the computers will set their clocks from NTP or Windows Time Sync, won't they?
No they won't; not if they are months out. Definitely not if they're centuries out. Which Apple bod was it who was born on Aug 10 1945 then?
Ummmm .... but why ...
... why was he looking for toms, when he had already found one?
Re: Caveat Emptor
Go on, reread the article. You are suggesting that HR bods are lacking in a competency that O'Connor implies they are not even required to have.
Secrecy and aesthetics
Let's assume I have drunk far too many vodka martinis to be able to use PowerPoint efficiently. [I'm not sure, but the number might be 'none'.] I might then have somebody prepare some slides for me to explain how/when/why I lost the DB5, the exploding pen and so on.
And such information is, like, secret, as in SECRET Intelligence Service. [Unlike NSA, "Not Secret Anymore".]
Which office PowerPoint-wallah do I choose? Somebody who will try to show the world his work because he thinks it's beautiful, or someone who will try to hide his work because there's no denying it's ugly?
Why be bothered about 'the cloud' in particular?
[Er, hi to to all my fans in US domestic surveillance. I didn't have time to read any of my email last month, can you send me a summary of all the good ones?]
Various US institutions have decided to ignore the US constitution, and since I'm not a US citizen and don't live in the US, any safeguard provisions in the US constitution aren't going to apply to me anyway.
Forget about 'US cloud technologies'. Pretty much 60% (or is it 80%? does it even matter?) of all internet traffic gets routed via some major bit of infrasstructure in California, so pretty much every packet can be inspected. I think this means that anything travelling across the public internet can be Got At, whether it's on Amazon's cloud, or someone else's cloud, or no cloud.
If I send email, at some point someone's going to read the headers. It doesn't matter if message body is encrypted strongly, you can do a lot of traffic analysis with SMTP headers. Or even IP packet headers. But then strong encryption isn't really a help. Not when many ciphers have been designed with the assistance of the same agency we expect to be listening in.
Those of us that cared could in principle build our own parallel internet. From whom would be buy our switches? Huawei, about whom there are unsubstantiated allegations that they're in the pocket of the PLA and their equipment has back doors? Or from Cisco, about whom we might expect some even more spectacular allegations to be made (in the pocket of the NSA; back doors, etc) once the next round of revelations are made concerning Prism and who's been gagged using the Patriot Act?
Yes, but what _precisely_ were they up to?
I mean, after all, did he pull out without indicating?
Surely a Red Planet horticulturalist ought to be known as a Titchmartian?
Patent? prior art?
I recall driving through the Limehouse Link tunnel and then between some tall buildings along London Wall one day, in 2010 I think, and noticing the loss of satellite signal, and remembering that my then-new iPod Touch could tell which way up I was holding it because of digital accelerometers. I recall mentioning this via email to a TomTom engineer ... "with a couple of orthogonally-arranged accelerometers, you could achieve inertial reference navigation, as a secondary position source when GPS reception keeps dropping out", and the reply I got indicated that this was a newly-introduced feature on top-spec models.
In version 2.0 and later, yes. But not in version 1.0.
Re: Pound sign
Dr Alan Solomon
Go asteroid mining? Really?
And I'd like to be the king of all Londinium, and wear a shiny hat.
Mmmm. Sony laptop batteries
... would this count as a fire sale?
Tsk. Not propulsion at all
... so this thing would be used more or less like a radioisotope thermal generator, except you get more watts for less Pu-238, at the risk of having moving parts?
* CHAPTER I. Down the Rabbit-Hole
* Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the
* bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the
* book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in
* it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or
* So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the
* hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure
* of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and
* picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran
* close by her.
EE 'Doc' Smith? Larry Niven?
On El Reg, could we please confine our impressive grasp of fiction to official Government statistics?
Once upon a time, before the second coming of Steve Jobs, Apple migrated its desktop machinery from M68k to PPC. This appears to have succeeded. There was a compatibility system for running M68k binaries on PPC; I don't know how it worked. I do recall hearing that for a CISC processor architecture, the M68k series had fewer opcodes than most.
After the second coming of Steve Jobs, migrated its desktop machinery from PPC to PPC64, and i386, and x86_64. The Intel hardware could run the PPC binaries via a compatibility layer known as Rosetta, based on JIT compilation technology, licensed (or subcontracted to, or something ..) from [looks at Wikipedia] oh yes, "QuickTransit" from Transitive Corporation. In my experience this worked well. In terms of execution speed and reliability, you'd be extremely hard-pressed to tell whether something was running natively or via Rosetta. [I myself only tossed the PPC-only EyeTV 1.x software, and bought EyeTV 3.x software, when I upgraded my desktop to 10.7, from which Rosetta had been dropped.
There were a few bits of software that wouldn't run via Rosetta, usually because they were doing spectacular things in kernel-space. I only ever encountered one..
If Apple does transition Macs to ARM-architecture processors, I shouldn't be at all surprised if something like Rosetta reappeared to support Intel-architecture binaries, and I would expect it to work.
What would disappoint me would be the non-reappearance of PPC support in this latter-day Rosetta, support for which I could find a use even now.
"Mounsey may have a point" ho ho ho
"Mounsey may have a point" ho ho ho
The calculations suggest all 740 employees work 365 days a year. I find that unlikely. And while McDonalds does claim to use only premium ingredients, I'll bet it pays rather less than £70/kg for chocolate.
Despite having visited McDonalds several times over the past decade, I've never eaten a McFlurry and I've no idea how much it costs to buy one. And since I don't have any access to McDonalds business information, I have no idea how much one costs to make, or how many a restaurant of a given size might be expected to sell over the course of a year.
But I speculate that if doubling the chocolate content from 1g to 2g -- at a cost of 7p as per the article's numbers, or 3p as per my wild guess -- led to 740 test subjects wanting to buy one a day for a year, at a unit selling price wild-guess of £1.49, grossing £400k (additional chocolate cost either £18.9k or £8.1k), I wouldn't fire the employee who experimented with adding extra chocolate. I'd offer them a job in product development.
Equally, it a well-known factoid that the cost of ingredients amounts to a fairly small fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal; and I, like most diners, do not understand why anybody in any food business would skimp on something cheap at the risk of driving away repeat custom through being stingy. Even McD.
Why St Lucia, and not ...
... why St Lucia, and not Antigua, or Tobago, or ... Trinidad? Guess which one of those islands is biggest, has the most comprehensive road network, and an economy based on oil and financial services instead or agriculture and tourism.
I suppose we've discovered where TomTom's management goes for its holidays.
I suggest that the reason people denounce reverse-osmosis desalination as carbon intensive is because they don't understand it. They do understand distillation, which is carbon intensive even with lots of fancy heat exchangers to reclaim heat where possible, and so there is a (numbers-free) idea in some people's heads that reverse-osmosis desalination must be as carbon intensive as distillation.
Which it isn't.
I drank water produced by reverse-osmosis desalination when on holiday in Tobago. It tasted funny.
I have read (non-authoritative sources) that there are health implications to persistent ingestion of demineralised water as produced by reverse-osmosis desalination. And (same Wikipedia article) it rots the utility companies' plumbing because it's more acidic. But (same etc) the lack of solutes make it really good for washing cars and assorted industrial processes.
230 million cups of tea per year!
I was watching Countryfile on telly on Sunday night, and John Craven or some such was introducing a piece about wind turbines, and produced a factoid "a wind turbine like this can produce enough electricity to make 230 million cups of tea per year". I got my calculator out to calculate how much electricity that was, and the numbers were big.
Unfortunately the corresponding numbers for the first tiny PWR I could think of were 80 times bigger, and when I started examining the assumptions in my back-of-an-envelope calculations, the numbers for the wind turbine got smaller, and the ones for the PWR got bigger.
I love it when the greenies rate wind turbines in terms of kettles. Suppose I did not want to sit in a yurt drinking tea, but stand in an office looking out of a window at people operating my aluminium smelter?
.. cast/director for the Hollywood reimagining of this tale of woe ...
Well, you want a big-name director, and you're going to have to turn a script-doctor loose on the screenplay.
How 'bout James Cameron? So the groom becomes a disenchanted researcher into robotics, biology, and physics (especially temporal plication), so some humanoid-looking cyborg killing machine arrives at the wedding to commit mass murder, and the movie climaxes with an H-bomb detonation at the reception?
[You *would* *not* *believe* some of the stuff that got cut from the first draft screenplay of "Titanic"; Sarah Connor's grandmother on the boat, iceberg under the control of Skynet, nuclear bomb plus kill-droids hidden in the coal bunkers, etc etc etc.]
Female spacecraft pilots
Consider the now-retired Space Shuttle. There are suggestions that when it was being specced, NASA knew that American women would fly in space and so made the Shuttle female-friendly.
Did it have ... a rear view mirror? Clutch? Reverse gear?
Best of all, when the fuel tank was empty, the crew weren't required to refuel in any way, they just threw the tank away. So, no panicky calls to Houston, "help, I'm at the space station and I've filled up with diesel."
Deary deary me...
... so I was working my way down page 1, thinking "Even Molesworth never spelled quite this badly", not realising that this was all setup for a gag on page 2, which duly arrived and left me unprepared for the even better gag that followed clutching its coattails.
What, no Basil Fotherington-Thomas?
I remember that Tory MP
I remember that Tory MP.
When his body was found, he was found wearing women's underwear.
But what was most unusual was that the Tory candidate at the ensuing by-election was a man. Normally after a sex scandal, Tory selection committees choose a woman, it's almost a reflex. Presumably on that occasion they asked all the prospective candidates if they'd ever worn women's underwear, and disqualified all those who said they had.
I myself would love any forthcoming Freeview HD channel allocation to be decided by beauty contest rather than by auction, andI can think of two existing Freeview channels that show content which would benefit hugely from HD, Film4 and ITV4.
That's not to say I wouldn't want to watch first-run Fifth Gear in HD, because I would. [Is it me, or are VB-H's hemlines getting shorter?] On the other hand, I sometimes forget for months on end that E4 exists.
This is a Paris Hilton story, isn't it?
Go on people, check your video archives from 2001-4, THAT video, she takes a phone call, and Rick Salomon voices his disappointment. [I can't remember which handset; probably predates her ownership of a Sidekick.]
The Steve never bothered with TV
Good luck to The Steve's heirs and successors, then.
Apple already has a TV product, the Apple TV. The Steve always discussed it as something of a side project. The Steve himself appears to have never been interested much in broadcast TV. And he always felt DVD as an entertainment delivery format was already on its way out, and that Blu-Ray would be dead on arrival. Maybe that's why the present Apple TV doesn't have an optical drive but is very good at streaming downloaded content that people have paid for.
The Apple TV might be just the thing in the US market, but it's a damp squib in the UK. In the UK free-to-air broadcast TV is very good (BBC, etc) and because of bandwidth costs streaming and downloads of movies and other content hasn't taken off in the same way -- well, apart from the BBC iPlayer which is a runaway success provided the BBC's servers think you're in the UK when you try to use it. Hi-def digital broadcasting (DVB-T2, Freeview HD ...) is working well for me. DVD is working for me, and soon Blu-Ray will be for me too.
I don't own an Apple TV, because it doesn't do iPlayer. If it did, iPlayer on its own would be enough to make me buy one. All those people elsewhere in this thread complaining about how many buttons on the remote ... search the web and you'll find blind folk singing The Steve's praises because unlike most media players, the Apple TV's accessibility features are really good. [Those same blind folk then denounce The Steve because the Apple TV doesn't do iPlayer so their accessible device won't let them get at BBC content.]
Cable and satellite are available to me, both as content delivery mechanisms, and creators of content. I don't subscribe. Other people do. I might subscribe if the free-to-air content wasn't so good in this country. Ditto IPTV, apart from the specific IPTV service I've mentioned.
Things like the iPod and iPhone succeeded because they were gamechangers. They solved obvious problems, and also bigger problems you didn't know you had. Whatever The Steve was cooking up, it's more than the existing Apple TV with a screen on top, even with a hi-def display on top, and maybe a legacy optical drive and a DVB tuner.
But for the iPod and iPhone, the game was more or less the same in every country. All that stuff I wrote above about what I can get at, and why The Steve never saw the need in the past to support it because the content being delivered by the equivalent mechanisms in the US wasn't worth the effort. Whatever big thing the notional future Apple TV is going to do, I think it's going to have to be a different thing in every country.
Swappable battery? Seriously?
My pal Baz once took a really good picture of me, which I saw for 15/100th of a second; that is, before he dropped the Android device with which he'd taken the picture, and the device hit the ground and the back came off and the swappable battery fell out and that was the end of anything not in permanent storage. I don't how much drinking time Baz wasted reassembling his phone and seeing what content he'd lost because I'd wandered off back to the bar by then.
re "5. Scarcely Marks You Out As One Of The Cognoscenti"
Fire extinguisher would have been my choice too. Because of "you'll get geekslapped by an early-adopter pal with a demonstrably better gadget: and to crown this infamy, his will probably have cost a lot less than yours".
To show how discerning I am, I'd follow said early-adopter pal around with said fire extinguisher, waiting for his 'demonstrably better' gadget to catch fire.
And in the meantime, should one be besieged by some "iPhones are rubbish, really they are" bore, perhaps even Lewis Page himself, a fire extinguisher makes a pretty handy improvised blunt instrument.
How TomTom could sell more PNDs
Most PNDs, like TomTom's, aren't entirely self-contained devices. They generally need to have their data updated periodically, and this is done by attaching the PND to a computer and managing the PND with some software supplied by the PND's vendor.
For older TomTom PNDs, there is an application with comprehensive functionality called TomTom HOME. But for current TomTom PND models, there isn't.
That might be down to the settlement reached with Microsoft over the FAT32 patent. Or not. But, whatever the reason, however much I'd like a new TomTom PND with enhanced lane guidance and a 5" capacitative multitouch screen, and bluetooth, etc etc etc, until TomTom release the corresponding device management software, I'm sticking with my existing PND.
No, did YOU bother reading the article at all
John Naismith, I expect better resolution from GPS than "in the North Sea off Norfolk".
The accompanying map shows something occurring above the north Norfolk coast, which could be either the balloon's peak altitude, or loss of signal presumably because of splashdown or landing. Either way, there are no coordinates given, and the only time value given is for the balloon's launch, although the text of the article indicates the launch crew were having lunch when it passed 40km. I will admit that I didn't notice the 'Z' suffix in the time value shown on the map first time round.
If on the other hand we knew that the balloon hit the water early in the afternoon, we could be reasonably certain that it had nothing to do with the lifeboat callouts that occurred in north Norfolk that night because of reports of an object suspected to have been variously a sky lantern or a distress flare.
Altitude determined how?
Onboard pressure sensor? What's the margin of error at 40.5km, given that atmospheric pressure isn't constant?
Moreover: launch from Cambridge at 2011-08-20-07-30Z? Came down in the sea off the north Norfolk coast? Exactly where and exactly when? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-14606919
"Despite not being a total success in the matter of moon mapping"?
There was nothing wrong with the maps derived from Lunar Orbiter 2's images ... Armstrong had to steer the LM away from a boulder field because the LM's flight computer had been given an incorrect initial value for the LM's velocity.
Lots of people cry at weddings ...
... but everyone will be crying at this one. Marmaduke LaHussy, you omitted to refer to the Met's pre-ceremony excessively zealous use of tear gas.
they may have to reboot the franchise
ie, do please ask, "have you tried turning it off and on again?"
"Chernobyl ... most of the area is still unfit for human consumption."
That doesn't add up.
If I was in the habit of eating soil, I'm not sure how bothered I'd be about how radioactive it was.
yes, but even so ...
... does this mean that the team that wrote Stuxnet is going to get fired because their product failed to deliver?
- 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