2142 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
The first one broke
Unfortunately in the real world, if they can't use "123456" or something short and crude, they write it down on a post-it pad and attach it to their monitor.
There's no reason you can't have liquid water in a high-G or high-pressure environment. It doesn't squash into a solid phase at all easily. Indeed, for everyday ice rather than one of the other high-pressure forms, squashing it converts ice to water rather than vice versa).
It's even possible to concieve of liquid planets - ones made of H2O all the way through. (At high pressure just about anything has high solubility in water, so that's where any small rocky or iron core would disappear to).
Maybe even a beer planet? (Microbial life in liquid suspension? Check. Excreting ethyl alcohol? Check.)
SF life in a REALLY high-G environment
On the surface of a neutron star. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon%27s_Egg
Re: Wrong end
We need to suss out what makes us what we are, and implant that in a body that has fewer stringent requirements for survival and doesn't age, something that can use anything as fuel, has a long sleep/hibernation mode.
Silicon chips optimised for energy efficiency, clocked very slowly during the long boring bit in interstellar space? Can't beat the speed of light, but can crank up subjective speed by any desired factor just as long as the hardware in the real world lasts the voyage.
Uploading a human being into a virtual reality is the hard part of the problem we haven't addressed yet. Indeed, we don't yet know for sure whether consciousness is a wholly classical phenomenon. If it's quantum in nature, a personality (soul?) is not uploadable to any conventional computer, and is not uploadable at all without destruction of its original. This is where physics meets theology via IT.
Re: EE 'Doc' Smith? Larry Niven?
An elephant is about the largest land animal (mammoths and dinosaurs were somewhat bigger). But that's on Earth, at 1G.
Consider stumbling and falling. Impact kinetic energy after a fall of any stated distance at 2G is the same as that for a fall of twice the distance at 1G. For a human, a pratfall at 2G would be like falling over the edge of a drop of his own height at 1G. A twelve-foot fall won't always kill you, but it will sooner or later. Big terrestrial animals (horses or larger) often die if they fall while running, but 4-leg stability means such falls are rare enough for the species to survive. Surviving a broken leg is also difficult to impossible for a large animal, and at 2G the load on the legs is doubled for any particular body weight.
Now consider 5G rather than 2G. 5G means the impact from falling over is the same as falling five times your own height on Earth. And consider that with a multiplied G force, you'd have to react many times faster to correct a postural instability before it becomes uncorrectable and results in a fall.
The elephant in the room on a 2G planet will be at most the size of a small pony. Which is good, not least because the maximum possible unsupported roof span will be a lot smaller than on Earth.
Re: EE 'Doc' Smith? Larry Niven?
Same thing. OK, EE was before genetic engineering was on the horizon, so no new body plan. But if you were picking human colonists for a high-G world, you'd select the shortest and most heavily muscled humans you could find. I confidently predict that if the colony survived, the fifth-generation children would be shorter still, more heavily muscled, with denser bone structure, and bigger feet for stability. Think Hobbit weightlifters in this case.
Unless we ever manage to tune in to their TV broadcasts.
Re: EE 'Doc' Smith? Larry Niven?
The Valerian colonists were huge and powerful ...
Showing an inability to understand basic physics (and Darwinian evolution). The larger a structure, the less able it is to resist gravity. A flea can survive hundreds (thousands? ) of self-inflicted gravities every time it jumps. A mouse can fall off a cliff and run away at the bottom, unharmed. A human being over seven foot tall is freakish, and at a clear evolutionary disadvantage. (Much more likely to break bones when he falls over, for starters).
Inhabitants of high-G worlds will be small by Earth standards. Rugged and powerfully muscled for their size, certainly, but above all sufficiently small as to be able to resist gravity.
Also unlikely to be bipedal, unless their nerves and reactions are much faster than ours. The consequences of falling over in high-G are greater, and the time available to avoid doing so is much less. Think small thick-set centaurs or wallabies.
Out of interest ...
Out of interest, what is it in the Linux kernel that needs to be so different for an AMD CPU compared to an Intel CPU that a specialist team from the manufacturer is needed to help write it?
The data could be anonymized. Names, addresses, day of birth and second halves of postcodes blanked out. For doing genuine statistical research, this would matter not one iota.
If it's not anonymized, what we have is a catalogue for paedophiles to choose their victims from.
Re: Different corcumstances
A while ago when AMD was causing Intel serious pain, ISTR Intel sued AMD for various IP infringements. I don't recall the resolution. Did it fizzle or get settled out of court, once Intel competed its way beyond AMD in the server arena?
My theory is that Intel needs AMD, to avoid being treated in law as a monopoly, and to keep itself at the sharp edge. AMD is now weak, and maybe Intel is cutting it some considerable slack with respect to other possible lawsuits? Not least to make it undesirable as a takeover target?
I'm speculating. However, I really don't think Intel would like to see AMD either go bust or taken over.
Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.
If you want to win, hire a Finn.
Just remember to hde the booze.
Or relocate your Finn well South of the Arctic circle. (Which Linus has done for himself).
Re: using his product ...
He doesn't have the power Jobs had, either. If a majority of the Linux community felt that Linus was a hinderance rather than a help, there would be nothing to stop them breaking away.
There's a lesson there for the wider world. Dictators are bad because they can issue orders and punish those who disobey. A "benevolent dictator for life" in open-source software can only issue suggestions and justifications. Anyone and everyone is free to ignore him. In general they don't until the dictator ceases to be benevolent, because it's much harder going on the outside of the fold.
Open-source projects are probably the closest thing to a working system of anarchy that we'll ever see.
Surprised no real mention of platform-independent coding. I'd have thought Python, Qt or WxWidgets for GUI, other platform-independant libraries deserve a mention. Even Java, if Oracle don't (accidentally?) kill it by getting it banned from every business PC as a security nightmare.
Files of type .pdf cannot be printed
Some cruel joker once created a file printme.pdf.txt containing the above title as text and e-mailed it as an attachment to a particularly clueless person ....
Not all printer problems are printer problems. I'm stlll wondering why it is that we frequently have users complaining that they can't print random.pdf (created using Adobe software) from within Adobe Acrobat reader. The same files print without any problem using Foxit, Evince, or any other pdf-capable program that wasn't written by Adobe.
Re: I hate printer "User Interface Engineers"
If you feel you have to break a perfectly good GUI just to justify your existence then spend your time doing something really useful like jumping off tall buildings or shooting yourself in the head with a .44 magnum.
What, no flame icon?
ISTR that Linus thinks that people who fail as printer UI designers, write BIOSes.
Re: Speaking as a printer engineer....
I thought that species was extinct (or mutated into big photocopier/ printer/ stapler/ puncher/ folder/ scanner/ shredder/ firestarter/ Allin1-and-a-bit engineer).
It must mean that there are places which still have one huge expensive printer for an entire building, which sooner (or occasionally later) will be unfixably broken and in need of replacement costing a five-figure sum because the breakage was caused by a luser sticking part of his anatomy in a place it shouldn't have gone. (The more highly paid an employee, the bigger the luser -- just as per the story).
Think what replaced the dinosaurs. Proto-rats. Try lots of expendable printers. Not really cheap ones, their engineering is crap and the ink or toner is ultra-expensive. Really cheap printers are Xmas gifts for people you hate. But cheap enough that there's plenty of them on the network around the workplace, and no need for crisis management or expensive service contracts when one of them expires. Just heave it into the skip and buy another out of the toner and paper budget, when your friendly non-BOFH can't fix it by staring at its innards and employing a few more brain cells than the average luser.
Re: Just one little thing...
But to me it looks like it's Nationwide's top managers that are laughing all the way to the, er, bank.
Zopa is a great idea but you are playing on a field tilted against you. Put your money in a bank, and the government guarantees you'll get it all back, even if the UK economy tanks and many people that the bank has lent your money to default on their loans. Also the bank is too big to fail, so it makes reckless loans and drives loan rates down, knowing it cannot go bust. Bankers! Lend your money through Zopa, and you are on your own. Yes, you get more interest, but personally I don't believe you get enough to compensate for the risk to your capital, especially after it's taxed.
Silly question of the day: if the government takes 40% of your interest in tax, shouldn't it reimburse 40% of your losses if things later turn sour? :-(
Batch processing has considerable advantages. You have large-scale commit rather than small-scale commit. The batch is either processed in its entirety, or not at all. (Or at least, if it's being done right, that's how it should be).
That ought to make disaster-recovery easier, which is why the RBS fiasco was so shocking. Not only was there a loss of service for some considerable number of days, but it became clear there was also a loss of data integrity in the case of some customers' accounts.
Re: A: drive
Nicely ironic name if you ask me. It's about the same size as a floppy disk, but stores about six hundred thousand times more about ten thousand times faster. I can think of worse adverts.
Best of both worlds?
If you never use more than 32Gb this drive will behave like an SSD, because everything you store will be cached in the solid-state part. The difference is that you won't run out should you want to store more. The stuff that you store and subsequently don't refer to for a long time will "disappear" into the magnetic disk. The stuff that is active will be solid-state cached.
Should be the best of both worlds.
Especially if it can tolerate complete failure of the flash cache, and revert to being a magnetic-only disk. Anyone know? The failure mode of solid-state memory is reportedly often to stop working in a flash (sorry). Magnetic disks can also fail like that, but more often degrade progressively and gracefully giving plenty of time to copy your data elsewhere.
Re: Duplo is very much a trademark
Window pains, surely?
Re: So they will be paying you then?
Ever heard of the common good?
It might be a good idea for the mobile company to offer you a femtocell in exchange for a refundable deposit. On the other hand if it costs £50, I'd happily pay that for my convenience, and extend the convenience to anyone else with a phone in or very close to my premises. Administering a refundable £50 deposit might actually cost more.
Doing so for phone calls and texts has effectively zero cost. A phone call is 24 kbit/sec before compression, compared to 2 Mbit/sec on the poxiest of broadbands. A data throttle on "my" cell would be appreciated, so my internet doesn't get flooded by people downloading movies to their smartphones.
Re: Get one at home?
Actually the fact that you are registering the phones does create some degree of legal liability for you, if only for the act of registering them.
If the box just DHCP'ed, connected back to the mobile operator via a preconfigured encrypted VPN, and then accepted any phone in range, then you'd be acting as a carrier (for encrypted traffic that you can't even read) and all liability would be back with the mobile operator who could remote-control "your" (their!) femtocell.
I don't know if one can get a plug-in-and-forget box such as I've described above. I can think of a few basements where a cheap box of this nature would be very welcome!
Early computers tended to work in decimal (or rather, BCD). It was often more efficient o make hardware that crunched pseudo-decimal than to convert long strings of 32 or more bits into decimal digits after the computations were done.
Re: "...it's in the middle of nowhere"
I thought that the official middle of nowhere was more or less the corresponding location in the South Pacific, marked by a lack of islands and any other reason to be there. It's also not even on the way to anywhere much.
Rumour has it that the middle of nowhere is the default target for the major nuclear powers' missiles, so that should one ever get armed and launched by mistake, as little harm as possible is done. (Unless you are a blue whale, of course. )
Re: If the volcano explodes and no one is there...
Might be Heard, not seen.
Re: Don't tempt fate
I believe that at Krakatoa, what happened wasn't much dependant on the lava type. The ocean got into a (half-?) empty magma reservoir, and the result was possibly the biggest steam explosion that humanity has ever seen. (Unless Santorini was bigger).
True, if it's the highly fluid lava they get on Hawaii, the chances of the ocean finding its way into a large empy magma chamber are lessened.
Katla also isn't particularly explosive. Just high enough in toxic fluorides to poison cattle in Ireland, and acid enough to cause severe respiratory distress in London. It also upsets the climate, though not as badly as Tambora did. EjaFyallawhatever was a small forewarning of what's long overdue from Katla.
Don't tempt fate
Heard Island's remote location means any eruptions are unlikely to bother anyone
You hope (assuming that the island has not been the subject of the same sort of detailed study by vulcanologists that, say, mount Vesuvius has been)
Some volcanoes go with a very big bang. The fallout can have regional or even global consequences. Krakatoa. Katla. Tambora.
Re: Perhaps it's time for other hardware manufacturers to seek another O/S.
Android IS Linux under its skin.
As for why Google might ever do "Desktop Android for Business" ... certainly not to give the penguin a helping hand. It would be because they thought businesses were looking for something that could replace MS Windows and MS Office, and they thought that they could make a profit out of supplying it. Odds: 3:1?
IBM is the other giant with the means to take on the MS desktop stranglehold. Whether they have a motivation is quite another matter. They don't sell desktop hardware (having sold the Thinkpad business to Lenovo). However, if the business really is like an elephant, they won't have forgotten being shafted by Microsoft over OS/2, and revenge is a dish best eaten cold .... Odds: 12:1?
Re: MS Hardware
I never had much joy with MS keyboards. They felt "wrong", and that's before they started going glitchy after a couple of years (non-entries and double-entries). Low-end Logitech keyboards, on the other hand, are the best you can buy for little money. I actually prefer the cheap ones to some of their expensive ones that I've tried, and they seem to last very well.
I agree, MS mice are as good as Logitech ones, and both beat the rest hands-down. The choice mostly boils down to whether you like your mice fat (MS) or thin (Logitech).
Re: Perhaps it's time for other hardware manufacturers to seek another O/S.
What I was thinking. HP Linux? Pity HP is a shadow of its former self.
Or maybe Google will see its way clear to do Android Desktop for businesses?
So, then you have a radioactive tank containing a tank crew knowing they have less than a month left to live. My comment about ultimate suicide warriors stands, except they are also well-armed and well-protected. Of course, I'm assuming that the opposition would be smart enough to realize that you have to keep your heavy armour dispersed, rather than all gathered together in a small area.
I think even Ghadaffi knew that. The problem is now solved with laser-guided conventional bombs, rather than nukes. Dunno what they can do to counter that. Better camouflage? Advance planning, plant lots of small forests so there's always tree cover handy? Hey, that's a good idea - make being "green" a military imperative!
Re: Not new...
Maybe they took the opportunity to test EMPs as well.
What was well-reported was the use of carbon monofilament wires to short-circuit electricity transmission lines. That was extremely effective. it's amazing how much electricity a carbon-fibre wire can pass before it gets hot enough to turn into CO2. The resulting spikes and surges on the electricity grid may well have been mistaken for EMP activity.
I have no idea what WW3 will be fought with, but I'm sure WW4 will be fought with stones.
Re: CD eject?
I dunno. Did they say eject in one piece? You ever seen why they stopped making 72X CD drives and backed down to 56X ? I was once on the receiving end of a shower of sharp plastic shrapnel, and (not for the first time) was thankful that I wear spectacles.
Re: Not new...
I once read an account of how an electronics engineer fought back against the yob who moved in next door and subjected him to loud music 24 hours/day. He built an EMP generator and repeatedly took out the yob's audio system through the wall. Eventually the yob decided that the place was jinxed and moved out. I guess inverse squares makes it far easier to do that at a range of just a few feet.
If it was a hoax, it was a well-written one. It was, of course, posted anonymously, since it's illegal to do this.
A James Bond reference, surely?
Wouldn't have worked, either. Inverse squares. There would be a large perimeter within which the people would have suffered a large radiation dose and would know that they'd be dead within a month. For a few days, though, they'd be alive, active, angry. Knowing their inevitable fate they would become pretty much the ultimate suicide warriors.
I hope it was the inhumanity that was the reason these weapons weren't persued, rather than the above.
Re: Selective crowd control
Chain mail would be. A modern implementation thereof would use a lightweight metal rather than Iron (Aluminium or Titanium alloys). If one wasn't interested in protection from bladed weapons, knitwear made with fine copper wire would suffice (something any self-respecting anarchist's granny could knock up in a few hours).
Re: These People Are Nuts
Actually long-term stable climate is the norm, for most of the last few hundred million years.
The trouble is, it's a state that we don't want ever to see. No sea-level ice anywhere on the planet, and far too hot for large warm-blooded creatures like humans. The stability is created by cloud cover. It gets hotter, more water evaporates, more clouds form, more sunlight is reflected into space. Negative feedback (up to the point where the cloud cover reaches 100% and global warming soars to Venusian levels, which will happen in another few hundred million years because our Sun is getting older and hotter.)
Ice, on the other hand, creates instability: it's cold that creates more ice, which reflects more sunlight .... but it also traps methane, which causes rapid global warming should the ice ever melt .... We live in that least stable of global climates, an interglacial era between ice-ages. Once upon a time, just before multicellular life evolved, the global cooling ran away and the whole earth became a snowball. It's probably a good thing that the sun is now a bit older! Though the difficulty of surviving under a kilometer of ice might have been the trigger that got multicellular life started in the first place.
Re: But what happens if
It's actually quite possible that the interglacial period during which humankind developed civilisation wold naturally have come to an end a couple of hundred years ago, or a few thousand ... and it's us burning fossil fuels, or us burning forests for agriculture, that is the reason we're not fighting the next ice age. But if we over-do it, the ice goes away altogether, and that's also a bad thing.
We don't know what we're doing. We're trampling on an unstable natural system. The one thing we can be sure of is than an interglacial period is a global climate system NOT in long-term stable equilibrium. "Stable" is either an ice age, or an ice-free planet. One is too cold for humanity, and the other is too hot.
Re: Careful now!
You mean burning fossil fuels, clearing forests, genetically engineering crops *isn't* deliberate?
Re: Digital Research?
ISTR the rumour was that NT 3.5 was every bit as secure as VMS. This meant that the graphics performance was seriously limited, and that it would be almost impossible to put a Windows-98 style interface on top of it with the hardwarre of the day. Microsoft wanted to blow holes in its security to do so. Cutler said over his dead body. Microsoft overruled him and he resigned. Thus NT4 was created. Microsoft then blew more holes in it to make Windows 2000 and yet more to make XP. It wasn't until XP SP1 that they realized Cutler had probably been right. By then they'd made such a mess of the code base that they had to start again with what became Vista (and then 7).
Re: So the only option is...
There's more to this to come. If this is a genuine aggreieved customer, courses of future action include requesting credit-card charge-backs for failure to deliver the produce as advertised, or a small-claims court summons for breach of contract. Or just maybe, Amazon isn't quite the bad guy it's being painted.
Or the fourth option, just stick to chunks of mashed tree. Seriously, they're less portable, but a lot more readable. Especially techie ones where you want to flip through the pages fast.
Make a display
Line a deep-ish picture frame with velvet. Arrange all the RAM modules in aesthetic and/or chonological order and make labels for them. When you're happy with the result, glue them down and hang it on the wall.
Last time I made a display, it was of German hyper-inflation era stamps (none valuable) arranged by date on one axis and roughly by the log of their value on the other. Pfennigs (10^-2) to Milliarden (10^9) in two years. One glance and you know why the Germans really, really, really don't want to let the ECB print money for the Greeks.
I've got fifteen old stopwatches made in the 1950s that will be my next project when I have an idle Sunday. (No glue for them. Little velvet compartments. They still work! One goes in 20ths of a second, 10 seconds per 360 degrees. Possibly the first casualties of the digital revolution? )
I quite like the idea of doing a display frame of Motherboards, but I don't have a big enough frame or wall. Pretty things, though, and there are definite fashion trends to be noted as well as the evolving technology.
Lofts and Altruistic non-hoarding
I rescued a sack of 1920's physics teaching aids from a skip outside my University and took it home. Brass and Bakelite stuff. Initial intention was E-bay, but soon discovered it wasn't old enough to collect.
I have thrown the sack into the furthest recess of my loft, with a letter explaining what the junk is, and that if it isn't 2170 yet, just leave it lying there hurting nobody, and some day after that date it'll make a future owner of the house very happy.
(Do you know how much lab junk from the 1850s is worth these days? Oh, for a time machine! )
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