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* Posts by Nigel 11

2560 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

Nigel 11
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Re: Google

Why in the thirty-two Hells of Carmack would they want to get into building their own hardware especially at the silicon level?

Because they can see a way to reduce their energy consumption by doing something differently in Silicon? Because of their massive scale, things may look different to Google compared to lesser companies.

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Nigel 11
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What Google really wants?

What Google really wants is an ARM solution fabbed by Intel at 14nm!

Maybe Google is a large enough customer, that Intel might consider fabbing custom chips that aren't sold to anyone except Google. Google could buy any necessary ARM license and have it fabbed by any company willing to take their money.

Also maybe a hybrid chip with both x64_64 and ARM cores is possible and useful to Google.

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NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Nigel 11
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Re: China?

Except, one hopes that the NSA or someone is reverse-engineering the BIOSes being shipped, to keep the other side honest. Booby-trapping all BIOSes shipped is the sort of dirty trick that you could get away with only once (and pay a huge economic price afterwards). Unless you posit a multi-national conspiracy, if it had been happening we'd have heard about it by now.

Unless absolutely nobody is checking.

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Nigel 11
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Re: BIOS malware eh?

It's been around ever since some bean-counter demanded removal of the write-protect switch from a system's flash logic circuitry.

How it ought to be, is that to do a BIOS upgrade you'd start by taking the lid off the system and moving a jumper or switch to write-enable. Then update. Then set it back to write-protect. (Note: nothing to stop manufacturers shipping it write-enabled, if they know that their average customer is a moron. Intelligent customers would protect it on delivery -- or buy from a different manufacturer).

How much did removing one jumper save? One cent? Probably less. Bullet, meet foot.

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How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Nigel 11
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Another, shorter formulation:

Any sufficiently developed bureaucracy is indistinguishable from malice

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Nigel 11
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Re: FX570 was a superb calculator

I think the Commodore SR-36 goes back a bit further. It had Red LED displays, not LCD (which ISTR hadn't yet been commercialized). Superb bit of kit for the time.

I used mine for about fifteen years, until the batteries faded to the point you could only use it tethered to a wire, and I threw it into a box in the attic. I recently found it and fired it up, but something had failed while it was in storage and it would display only gobbledegook.

Still looks good, though.

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Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Nigel 11
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Re: A better useful Firefox "extention" [sic]

Invent an algorithm for your passwords.

If you forget your password recalculate My_Algorithm( "Facebook", other_things_that_I_CAN_remember)

It doesn't have to be complicated. You're already ahead of 99% of the crowd. I don't imagine for a moment it'll defeat spooks (who have inside access to Facebook et al anyway). It will defeat the sort of criminal who assumes that all your passwords are likely to be the same, or steals your computer so he can use your stored passwords.

And use a different algorithm for passwords that unlock real money!

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Nigel 11
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Re: Far more than "IT" person of the year

I wouldn't even say that the NSA and suchlike are evil. They're just government agencies and they probably think they are doing good. At present one might credit the governments of the USA and the UK with some degree of good intent, or at least benign intent. But do we all know what is proverbially paved with good intentions?

The road to hell.

There's also the advice about "Power corrupts ...." and I think it's becoming clear that they are stealthily acquiring more power and becoming more corrupt. Yes, for sure we're on the road to hell. How can we get off it?

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Nigel 11
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Black Helicopters

Re: Fuck Off!

Use a VM. Install Linux (Paranoid version: do not install Firefox or Seamonkey at this stage). Shut it down. Make a copy of the VM. Boot the copy. (Paranoid version: now download and install a browser). Browse. After your chosen time window, blow away the used browser VM, make another copy of the virgin one.

Now, do I trust that NSA hasn't found a way to subvert VMWare player so it can track every VM running in a particular player instance? Or that Browser instances aren't somehow trackable from day one (say courtesy of a secret NSA implant in MS OS'es) with all this Google cookie fuss as camouflage? Of course if the VM host is also Linux, there are lots of alternatives and all source code is available.

the right icon would be a hall of mirrors, possibly with Granny Weatherwax's naughty sister standing between them.

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Just when you were considering Red Hat Linux 6.5, here comes 7

Nigel 11
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Re: Not sure...

Carry on using 6.x then. Until 2020

Or even 5.x (EOL in 2017, with three years extended support available after that) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux#Version_history

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Industry group blames 'outdated' kit for stock-market tech disasters

Nigel 11
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Re: Better Idea

>>Put an end to this stupid millisecond nonsense<<

How? Maybe insist that all trades are input by a human being. Computers alllowed as advisors, but not permitted to enter directly.

Would destroy anything based on high-speed decision-taking and ultra-high leverage. The first, because a human can't input a trade in less than a few seconds. The latter, because the risk from fat-fingering it would be too great.

Just because something can be done does not mean that it should be done. Trading faster than a human being possibly could is one of those things. Doing so with ultra-high leverage puts the stability of our entire financial system at risk.

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Cheap 3D printer works with steel

Nigel 11
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Re: solar power will be the limiting factor on what humans can do in the long run

Todays nuclear reactors have outputs that reach the MW range on a surface that would take a solar farm half a continent to replicate.

Bollocks! A small fraction of the Sahara desert alone could generate more electricity than the human race currently uses.

The Solar radiation flux onto Earth's surface is about a kilowatt per square meter. Allowing 10% for harvesting efficiency and a factor of two for dark night-times. you need 20 m^2 per kW power-station output. A large power station is a Gigawatt: a million kilowatts, or 20 square kilometers of desert covered in solar panels.

Controlled nuclear fusion would be great if we could get it working (economically). So far, we can't (at all). Certainly worth continuing to try, but ... in the meantime, solar panels really do work, and offer an alternative should fossil fuels become uneconomic or accepted as too damaging to use. Solar panels are already cost-competitive with fossil fuels where there are deserts in close proximity to cities (for example, in Arizona).

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Mexican Cobalt-60 robbers are DEAD MEN, say authorities

Nigel 11
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Re: I don't understand

Maybe something to do with the fucking great piece of lead that it's stored in.

And probably even then, the driver wants a good bit of inverse-squares law on his side. Like most of a truck's length?

Now you know another reason why slip-streaming or staying in a truck-driver's blind spot for a long time might be bad for you!

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Nigel 11
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But far more ingeneous

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Nigel 11
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Re: I never saw the point of this concept.

Meaningless strings of words, I agree. But can't you see that the "Pheasant plucker" is a minor masterpeice of something like wit? The moment you notice where you might go wrong, some perverse subsystem in your brain wants to go wrong. And there are so many ways to choose from!

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Nigel 11
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Re: Assume "worlds hardest in English....."....

Google Translate also has trouble with the second. Well, more trouble:

In the dense spruce thickets pick the nimble finches efficient.

Jubeljodeljauchzerjungen exultant cheer jubilantly exultant jubilation jubilation yodel yodel exultant cheer Jubeljodeljauchzerjungen.

Tiny children can not cherry stone crack. None cherry stone can crack tiny children.

Red cabbage remains red cabbage and wedding dress wedding dress remains

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Nigel 11
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Pheasant plucker

That's definitely the funniest one. So many ways to go wrong, all rude.

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Blighty's winter storms are PUNY compared to Saturn's 200mph, 15,000 mile wide HEXACANE

Nigel 11
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Re: Why a hexagon?

Why can't it be because of a years-stable period-3 wave in the planet's equivalent of Earth's jet-stream. Watch long enough, we may see the vertices move, assuming there's anything more stable to define their location relative to (which on a gas giant, I doubt! )

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Nigel 11
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Re: North Pole

internal (poorly understood going on 'no bloody idea') heat source.

Something undergoing a phase change such as gas or liquid to solid, both down in the planet's depths. Outside chance that it's a low level of fusion (D-D), or there's a lot of radioactive Potassium in a rocky core that theory says Saturn shouldn't have.

Lots of hydrocarbons, enormous pressure: what are the odds on Saturn's atmosphere concealing the Solar System's second-biggest and still-growing diamond as its core?

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Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

Nigel 11
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Short of closing down the internet how *can* the authoritoes close Bitcoin down?

Anyway, it's not new. Since the earliest days of the Chinese Empire (and probably earlier, but the records have perished) there have been trustworthy(*) alternative criminal(**) organisations which would move your money across borders and around accountancy barriers for a fee. Typically you hand over some money and receive a token, such as a roughly torn sheet of paper. You later present it to a representative of the same organisation at another location, and they match the other torn piece and then hand over the agreed amount of cash.(***)

(*) for certain values of trustworthy

(**) according to the authorities, who ask more in taxes than the alternative asks in fees.

(***) this practice may even be the origin of paper money instead of gold, brought back from the underworld by the authorities, who could then back several banknotes with the same piece of gold and get away with it for centuries. Behaviour which any self-respecting criminal gang would be ashamed of.

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Nigel 11
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Re: What goes around...

I wouldn't want to be these crims when they get caught.

Especially if it's organised crime that is first to catch up with them. It's probable that organised crime has also had its data corrupted, and what can they do? Can't inform the authorities. Can't pay the ransom, in case it were a sting by the authorities. Can do something hideously violent and permanent to the perps if they find them.

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Nigel 11
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Re: backups and...

Linux LVM snapshot will preserve the state of the LVM at the time it was taken. Cryptolocker, or anything else not running on the Linux LVM host, could only affect the snapshot if it were mounted and exported read-write. A common practice is to mount it read-only and export it read-only, so users can perform self-service rescue of files they (or cryptolocker) have messed up. RO mount means that only a root exploit on the Linux host can damage it, but then copying the snapshot to offline and offsite storage is a good second-line, not least should your backup volume fail.

One caveat - make sure that the snapshot LVM is the same size as the source LVM so that should Cryptolocker or everything else write to most of the blocks on the source, the snapshot doesn't run out of space.

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Oh no, RBS has gone titsup again... but is it JUST BAD LUCK?

Nigel 11
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Re: Title is too long.

£10 + £1 is still £11 whatever way you cut it.

ROFL. Whatever legal way!

One of the oldest "victimless" frauds was dropping all fractional pennies into a personal account, instead of rounding or dropping them into the bank's own account.

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Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE

Nigel 11
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Re: Calm down...

It's to stop the "flip it over" problem that USB connectors seem to magic upon themselves - Cable won't go in - Flip it over - won't go in - flip it over - goes in.

A USB connector is a Fermion not a Boson. You have to rotate it 720 degrees before it's back in the state it started in.

(A corollary of his is that no two USB memory sticks can ever have the same internal state :-)

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

Nigel 11
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Re: Resistance is futile

@Wzrd1 - a fundamental misunderstanding of CMOS. In a pre-CMOS computer, a bit was represented as a flow of current. It's consuming power even if it's just maintaining an unchanging logic level for minutes on end.

in CMOS a bit of state is a package of charge - maybe as little as 100 electrons. No current flows except when a bit of state is chaged, when the electrons have to be removed from a high voltage (probably representing a 1) to a low voltage (0). CMOS can work on micro- or nano-watts. Witness the hand calculator powered by a couple of square cm of low-grade PV panel, illuminated by an energy-saving dim light bulb (and operated by a dimmer one - sorry). Easy when you want single-digit IPS not MIPS.

Moore's law is based on a scaling law. If you shrink the devices by a given factor, reduce the voltage (between 1 and 0) by the same factor, you have constant power per unit area of chip and that factor squared more devices to play with in the same area. The limiting factor is that atoms are discrete, and today we are at the point where the gates of the FETs can no longer be made much (if any) thinner. So the scaling law can't be followed any further, and the first sign of trouble is that the chip runs too hot because it's suffering resistive heating from various sources.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Manufacture

At a guess they aren't stable. AFAIK there are NO silicon or germanium analogues of aromatic (C6-ring-based ) hydrocarbons. In fact I don't think there are Silicanes either, apart from Silane. Instead you get silicone chemistry, based on Si-O-Si bonds.

But I may be wrong, because I'd have thought Stanene even less likely. Is it really stable in the presence of Oxygen? Water? Or is it like one of those "things I won't work with" (Google that phrase for some fun reading about molecules that fall apart at the slightest nudge -- or occasionally, against all expectation, that don't).

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Nigel 11
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Re: Tin pot

Graphene was a neologism

A logical one. The multiple-ring hydrogen-carbon compounds with delocalised electrons have names ending -ene (Napthalene, Anthracene, Pyrene, Benzpyrene ... getting more carcinogenic as they get bigger )

So the one that's so big you can peel it off a lump of Graphite with Sellotape was christened Graphene. Until someone did that, it was wrongly assumed that it would be unstable and couldn't exist. (I'd have voted for Sellotapene)

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Nigel 11
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Re: 100 percent efficiency?

I expect they mean it superconducts only at isolated edges. Pack a load of edges close together and they simply aren't edges any more. The electrons in one edge start interacting with those in other edges and I'd guess the whole thing becomes an ordinary resistive bulk conductor on the macro-scale.

There's a similar problem in the Semiconductor industry. SiO2 is a good insulator, but only in bulk. As you start trying to make thinner and thinner FET gates, you eventually get to the point where most of your SIO2 is surface and the rest is influenced by being only one bond away from a surface. At which point it ceases to be a good insulator and Moore's law runs out of road.

Another similar conundrum is the tensile strength of a carbon "buckytube" molecule. Strong enough to build a space elevator ... except how do you assemble buckytubes into a bulk material? What "glue" can you use, that doesn't change the (admittedly large) molecule into something else?

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Nigel 11
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Re: No, the -ene ending is entirely inappropriate.

Given that there's no carbon and no double-bonds in this entirely inorganic new material, the suffix is completely incorrectly used.

Not exactly. Chemists break those rules all over the place (for lack of syllables? ). -ane refers to a hydrogen-saturated compound of carbon and hydrogen, except we have Silane (SiH4) Borane (BH3 ... sometimes ... lots of other wierd BmHn compounds), and even, if memory serves, Stannane (SnH4). There's the clue: Tin is a group IV element and although it usually displays metallic character, in this -ene it seems to be displaying the same delocalised electron bonding as Graphene.

the thing that's puzzling me is the Fluorine. Two Flourines per Tin should tie up two electrons, so is it maintaining a delocalised ring structure with 2/3 electrons per "bond" rather than 4/3 as in Graphene? Doesn't that make it perfluorostannane? (And can one manufacture perfluorographene, which might make PTFE look sticky if it can exist at all? )

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RBS MELTDOWN LATEST: 'We'll be the bank we should be ... next YEAR maybe'

Nigel 11
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Outsourced / offshored?

Unless, of course, it's outsourced and offshored, so that if someone is "fired" he just gets swapped with someone making a mess of some other organisation's IT. If the entire outfit to which it is outsourced is "fired" the same principle will apply: you'll end up with someone else's rejects, either directly or indirectly (though mass hiring, firing, and forming new companies to tender for the work)

Outsource the catering and the cleaning. If it's mission-critical it must be done in-house. If it's mission-critical and it fails because of under-investment, the CIO (and possibly CEO, rest of board) should be taken out and shot.

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Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

Nigel 11
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Re: Law seems clear

"forbidden to have a screen mounted where the driver can see it. Turned on, or off. I don't see how this defense can fly.

The Google glasses weren't mounted, your honour. They were being carried. Carried, I hasten to add, in a way which in no way impaired the ability of the accused to drive safely.

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Nigel 11
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Re: "nothing illegal to be wearing Google Glass"... yet.

Out of interest, a 'complete halt' as opposed to what other kind of halt?

Stop-start nudging forwards at walking pace or less in a motorway traffic jam? Seriously, that's one situation in which I defy UK law. If the motorway has been at an all-but-standstill for >10 minutes, I'll call ahead on my mobile to let folks know I'll be late. Which is illegal, because my car isn't parked. Also difficult, because all the other cars are also doing it, and overloading the local cell!

Not relevant to this thread, but I've also had it explained to me by a USA cop that a STOP sign means that one must bring one's vehicle to a completely stationary 0mph stop. Slowing down to less than walking pace and seeing clearly that there's no reason not to turn right (like a left in the UK) is illegal. Only reason I didn't get a ticket and fine was being a newly-arrived foreigner. The law is probably the same in the UK but here a STOP sign is used only on a junction with truly terrible visibility where you would be mad not to stop anyway. Otherwise it's just a "give way". In the USA just about every junction has a traffic light or a 4-way stop.

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DON'T PANIC: No FM Death Date next month, minister confirms

Nigel 11
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It is a conspiracy, in that there are public plans to deny us choice by discontinuing FM broadcasting at an unspecified future date. Until an announcement is made that FM is here to stay, be very afraid for your music broadcasting.

Once that announcement is made, expect DAB to die out. The only reason it got any market penetration at all, was a lot of people bought a DAB set to try it out on the back of a load of media hype. (This customer hasn't binned his DAB set because it does represent a slight improvement over BBC World Service reception on AM. The other preset buttons remain unset).

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Nigel 11
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And the funny thing is that your FM receiver doesn't notice. That's right, FM broadcasting is far less vulnerable to interference than digital broadcasting.

(That LED light is faulty, though. Or a cheap illegal import that doesn't meet EC RFI requirements)

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Nigel 11
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Re: Yes, digital is always better than analogue

The problem is with the data-compression used by DAB (and compressed MP3 etc), and the fact that the algorithms chosen generate time-varying non-harmonic distortions. Digitisation, as used on CDs and studio-master recorders, doesn't do this to any audible extent.

Vinyl, valve amplifiers, and carefully constructed nonlinear transistor amplifiers generate harmonic distortion, which colours the music. Some people prefer it that way. I don't prefer it, neither do I detest it. At low levels, without the ability to compare sources with and without low-harmonic distortion, it's impossible to tell whether the tonal colouration was there on the master or not. Draperies etc. in concert halls also colour the music, by removing greater or lesser quantities of harmonics.

If the only source of broadcast music is DAB, I'll never listen to broadcast music again. What it does to music (even with perfect reception) is simply vile.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Radio Silence in Cars ?

Fuck DAB till it has a genuine 95% saturation rate. Until it gets that far, it's useless

And even if it does get that far, it'll still be useless. I'll just have to stop listening to radio, and spend a bit more time compiling my own zero-compresion music collections.

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Think unpatched Win XP hole's not a big deal? Hope you trust your local users

Nigel 11
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Re: Quote "XP is like 13 years old. Get with the 21st Century."

If a stalker knows enough about me to impersonate me to obtain my vehicle's location, they likely know where I live already as it'd be one of the security questions so why would they go through the hassle and risk of exposing themselves further?

That might be the point. Someone you want to avoid, doesn't know your location but has access (legally or otherwise) to various large collections of data.

The other reason is that an automobile "accident" is much easier to arrange and much less likely to lead to a full murder enquiry, than any other sort of "accident". And the more they knew about your habitual routes, the easier it would be.

All hypothetical. Some people care about their privacy more than others.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Quote "XP is like 13 years old. Get with the 21st Century."

Clearly you're lacking some knowledge on how these trackers work, they do not report your every move, you report the vehicle stolen, the company that provided the tracker contact the car and retrieve it's location.

At the risk of posting something that really belongs on the Snowdon thread, why on earth do you trust that the tracker company is the only organisation that can do this, and that it would never do so on anyone's behalf except your own?

All I can say is I hope you never have to live in fear of a jealous wife, a new partner's wealthy psycho-stalker, a criminal organisation that wants to erase an inconvenient witness before he can talk, or a government run by a mega-humanitarian like Joseph Stalin. (Mega-humanitarian: eats people by the million).

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DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life

Nigel 11
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Re: More on win8 please.

any new laptop purchased now is going to come with win8, I'd like to know exactly what evilness MS has in store for those of us who want to dual-boot linux.

Some pointers

Make those restore DVDs as soon as you've unpacked it. Then make another set just in case. Assume that your first attempt at converting it to dual boot will brick it at the software level, and then you can only be pleasantly surprised. (Unless you manage to brick the hardware - far too easy on certain Samsungs, supposedly now fixed in the BIOS. They blamed Linux until someone demonstrated you could also brick one trying to dual-boot two versions of Windows).

Use Google. Read about the generics, and as much about the specifics of your model as possible.

It's probably running in secure boot mode as shipped. This can be turned off, from within Windows 8. I'd recommend that you do. After that you just have to master re-partitioning a UEFI disk, installing Linux into UEFI partitions, and installing Grub2 or other boot manager. Alternatively you can have "fun" trying to install a secure-bootable version of Linux.

The quick and easy way for casual Linux usage is to download free-beer VMware player for Windows and run your Linux inside Windows. (Yes, I know, leaves you feeling unclean just thinking about it. But easy) The other way around requires paying Microsoft more dosh for a retail Windows distribution (or playing fast and loose with your employer's volume license ... which might just cost you your job so don't.)

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Nigel 11
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Mea Culpa

Sorry, I'd forgotten Vista. Wiped it completely from my mind, or maybe Microsoft brainwashed it out of me. Though in my defense I could assert that Vista was just a Windows 7 RC, which should never have been sold or even shown to the world.

And was/is Vista more resource-heavy than 7? My impression of it was that it was buggy and brain-damaged in equal measures, rather than that it would have been OK given 4Gb RAM and a CPU speed boost.

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Nigel 11
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Good luck!

Good luck with Windows 7 on an ancient underpowered netbook. It's the most resuource-heavy Windows Microsoft has produced to date. Personaly I think 4Gb is its minimum RAM (and a Netbook can't have more than 2Gb). Windows 8 is actually far less demanding.

On the other hand if you have a Lenovo T400, Windows 7 is OK after you have upgrade the RAM to 4Gb. If you also replace the HD with an SSD ... who needs a new Windows notebook?

Wish you'd reported the kid's feelings about other Linux Desktops (KDE, Gnome3, Cinnamon) but I guess a bit OT.

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NSA spied on 'radicalisers' porn surfing so as to discredit them, reveals Snowden

Nigel 11
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Re: massive blackmail database being compiled...

The scary thing is that "big data" techniques mean that the database does not actually have to be compiled. They can just do a search for dirt on anyone who is deemed to be a legitimate target, through just about everything that's ever been recorded about everyone. The NSA is filling a data centre mot much smaller than Wembley Stadium with 4Tb disk drives. We're all in there. If you've had an extramarital affair in the last decade, I'm fairly sure they can work out when and with whom, just as soon as they get the order to look for dirt on you. If you have one this next decade, it will be a dead certainty they'll be able find out.

I didn't really get "Rule 34" when it came out. When I first read it I thought it was for laughs. Now, it's starting to feel as chill as the bad stuff in the Laundry, and a lot closer to real life. Skynet is unlikely. ATHENA, on the other hand ....

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Nigel 11
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Ad hominem attacks are OK by me when they consist of revealing that someone is a hypocrite. Because a hypocrite is someone who should be attacked for what he is. The adjective "nauseating" is often applied, because any decent person will be sickened by anyone who preaches one thing in public and engages in its opposite in private, regardless of whether they support his public position or oppose it.

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Micron: Our STACKED SILICON BEAUTY solves the DRAM problem

Nigel 11
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Re: good, but ...

MRAM or RRAM (HP's memristor tech).

But chip stacking as a technology might be valuable in conjunction with either of the above, to deliver truly awesome bandwidth. Or, stack RAM on the CPU, to reduce interconnect speed-of-light latency. Stacking is almost certainly worth researching.

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'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat

Nigel 11
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Re: Just don't get me started on

Caesium for an even more explosive reaction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSZ-3wScePM (Open University broadcast. I have to wonder how many out-takes before they got the Caesium just right :-)

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Nigel 11
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Re: Coming up next on Mythbusters....

Judging by what Coke does to teeth, keyboards and electronics, the answer should be a resounding "Yes and you don't need the Mentos". What's a Mento anyway?

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Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

Nigel 11
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at least this one is under cover.

Actually I'm sure that's what I'd hate most about it. It' s possible that an Amazon warehouse has a transparent roof, or even just skylights, but somehow I doubt it. A day spent with nothing but industrial high-efficiency lighting would really suck. I once threatened to resign if I wasn't relocated to a location with a window. (They moved me rather than calling my bluff. I meant it).

I could walk eleven miles in a day and enjoy it (if sunny and outdoors) until I reached my 40s. I probably still could after a week or two toughening myself up. Ask someone in the army what they're expected to be capable of. And that's before hostiles start shooting at you. And they say they enjoy it!!

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Nigel 11
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Re: Comp Sci degrees were sold to many kids looking for a well paid job....

You don't want a CS graduate. You want a Physics graduate who enjoys programming.

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How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

Nigel 11
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Doomed to fail

Unless there's a measurable difference in the isotopic makeup of Australian and African Tantalum, this is doomed to fail for lack of verifiability. Put bluntly, we'll just create a financial incentive for smugglers and corrupt miners. We'll be paying more. The horrible slave economy in Africa will be getting much the same for much the same. The new intermediaries will be pocketing the difference.

A better answer would be to make Tantalum obsolete. It's used for capacitors, isn't it? Can't we work out how to make Graphene capacitors (or something) with four billion dollars spent on research?

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Astronomers spot 13-BEEELLION-year-old hot galactic threesome

Nigel 11
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Re: 13 billion light years old or 13 billion light years away?

Back to relativity and that difficult concept "now". The light we observe has been travelling for an estimated thirteen billion years. The space it has been travelling through has been expanding. It was a lot less than thirteen billion light years distant when that light set out. By extrapolating, we can work out that light emitted by that object at this time (insert relativistic caveats) won't get here in thirteen billion years. Forty billion might be a better guess. Or not. It's a long time to wait.

If the expansion of the universe really is accelerating, maybe that object will move right outside the boundary of our observable universe at a future date. (In that case it will become more and more red-shifted, until the redshift becomes infinite and it disappears).

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