* Posts by Nigel 11

2782 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Blighty tablet sales plunge 31 per cent in saturated market

Nigel 11
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Re: Ooooh..

Re Core 2 duo desktops

My last desktop "upgrade" was to complete silence, and in CPU terms was a downgrade possibly even from Core 2 Duo. SSD + fanless Celeron J1900 Mobo in mini-ITX case may well be the last desktop PC I ever need to buy, apart from replacements after hardware failure. The are good reasons for full-spec Core-i5/i7 systems, but none that make me want one at home.

I have a tablet as well, it does all I want it to (not very much!) And a £50 Kindle with paper display, which I find the most "magical" of my devices, and a perfect replacement for a daily paper made of mashed tree.

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OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

Nigel 11
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Re: So...

For those that need them well there are plenty other (more expensive) options available.

None less expensive? (My guess is that there's a feature-rich but plastic-y phone out there somewhere, probably made in China. Don't know the market or care enough to find it).

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Speed freak: Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB PCIe SSD

Nigel 11
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240Gb version price

Wasn't in the review? Anyway, Googled it around £180 for anyone wondering.

Yes, you can buy a SATA SSD for less than half the price. But if you need the speed of a PCIe drive, SATA is useless however much cheaper it is! Hopefully competition will rapidly drive PCIe drive prices down to SATA SSD levels.

I want one, but don't need one!

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Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

Nigel 11
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Another possibility

the assumption is that the main motivation for these chips is to displace ARM from the tablet etc. market.

However, they may also be a very good way of field-testing technological advances that they will later use in chips aimed at the server market.

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Cyber poltergeist threat discovered in Internet of Stuff hubs

Nigel 11
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Re: Never

Actually there are a few primitive sorts of connectivity that are OK. One day I will get around to connecting my central heating to my home PC ... with a single signal to a relay, so that the PC can turn the heating on and off. With a manual override switch, for if/when the PC doesn't do what it's supposed to.

I get to come home to a warm house, and/or tell the computer not to waste heating when I'll be home late.

Someone hacks me, worst they can do is waste some fuel (and lay waste my PC which would be far worse).

A few ...? I'm having trouble thinking of any others that would actually be useful.

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Nigel 11
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Re: But I "Want / Need" IOT it will make my life easier........

given all that ...

(a) software will still have remotely exploitable bugs

(b) the number of IOT systems will reduce to two or three (cf Apple, Android or MS for your mobile; MS or Linux for your desktop)

(c) So sooner or later the very bad guys will exploit a bug in a high percentage of the national /global IOT-enabled households to do something horrible. Like crash the nation's power grids. I hope that my hypothetical prankster gets to a lot of fridges first, to deliver a nonlethal warning by stink and lawyers that couldn't be ignored.

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Nigel 11
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Re: An often underestimated threat

Connecting radios, tvs, kettles, even the toilet to the net ...

OBSF: Robert Heinlein, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", in which the lunar rebels made the toilets run backwards.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Never

I have my doubts if it can be avoided.

I'm sure it can and will. I just hope that the number of fatalities is no higher than single digits before the penny drops. It'll probably be assassination by car-hacking that causes the public mood to change. If not that, the big stink when some joker turns off every domestic IOT-enabled refrigerator in the USA. Shortly after which a terrorist will turn on every kettle and heater in the USA all at once, and the power grids will crash.

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

Nigel 11
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Re: OK Say you get to Mars

Mars (or just about anywhere in the solar system) would be a lot easier with a nuclear-powered ion drive interplanetary stage. Assemble (fuel) it in Earth orbit, so there's never a critical mass or anything more radioactive than Uranium at risk to a rocket failure in Earth's atmosphere. Of course, you'd still need to lug along a conventionally powered lander.

Pity about the mindless politics concerning "nuclear".

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Nigel 11
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Re: Re-Use

There's going to be some reticence around loading up your multi-million dollar satellite on a slightly used rocket.

The same reticence there is about loading it on a rocket with a short track record, or one that's suffered a recent failure. Which will be balanced against the reduced launch fee for early flights or multiply-reused launchers. Market forces really do work!

Also one would hope that a bathtub curve might emerge, and that a second, third, ... launch might actually have a lower failure rate than the first one. But it's never been done before, and it'll take a good while to accumulate anything like useful statistics. So to start with it'll involve a lot of guesswork by all parties.

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How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden

Nigel 11
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Keep on spying illegally?

My view is that we should continue to oppose any changes to the law that make it legal to conduct surveillance on a greater scale. Once surveillance is legalized, it will be used by those in power against the people who were supposed to be protected.

On the other hand, I'm more relaxed with GCHQ etc. breaking the law on surveillance in order to keep us safe from serious evil-doers. That's how it always worked in the past. The intelligence agencies operate in a very grey zone where the secret breaking of small laws is justified by the seriousness of the illegality being contemplated by those they are supposed to be spying on. The fact that they are operating outside the law means that they can be stamped on by the courts if they start acting outside their remit. Which in turn means they will tell the police what they know about a terror group planning to blow up a shopping centre, but not what they have (hopefully accidentally) learned about a non-violent protest group planning to dump a ton of manure outside some errant council's offices, or a million other almost-harmless illegalities that reach their ears.

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Jeep hackers broke DMCA, says EFF, and that's stupid

Nigel 11
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DMCA illegality?

I wonder whether it is covered by this DMCA exemption

a person who has lawfully obtained use of a computer program accesses a particular portion of the program solely to identify and study elements of the program that are necessary for interoperability and that have not been previously available to him or her

IANAL but ... You've lawfully obtained use when you buy the car. You require inter-operability with yourself in order to drive the car. Where does it say inter-operability with another program excludes inter-operability with a human being? In any case, there must be a lawful use for inter-operating your car so that you can remotely control it from your laptop. I think I've just invented the remote-control demolition derby ....

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Jeep drivers can be HACKED to DEATH: All you need is the car's IP address

Nigel 11
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Air Gap

I won't be buying any car without an air gap.

That's the air gap between the engine and the mechanically operated clutch. I'd far rather that there's also no possible control of the steering, gearbox or brakes by the computer. Failing which, they must at most be servo-assisted with mechanical override possible via the major controls, not "drive by wire" through a computer.

There's going to be a Ford Pinto moment for someone in the auto industry in the near future.

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A dual-SIM smartphone in your hand beats two in the bush

Nigel 11
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Re: The other reason?

A SIM is a lot smaller than a phone.

I only mentioned this because of today's news. Also I'd heard that cheating was one of the reasons for the popularity of dual-SIM phones in China. No idea if it's true.

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Nigel 11
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The other reason?

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned cheating on your spouse yet.

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Much more Moore's Law, as boffins assemble atom-level transistor

Nigel 11
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Re: Well, we've created this computer that uses single atoms for transistors...

A bit negative aren't we? I wonder what the performance of the world's first germanium alloy-junction transistor was like back in Bell labs?

I find it hard to imagine that in a few decades, they'll be able to integrate maybe 20 to 200 billion of these on one small chip, along with all the wiring, and sell that chip for $100 or less. But on the other hand if you'd forseen the billion-transistor CPU back in 1960, few would have believed it was even a theoretical possibility, let alone reality in the late naughties.

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Ashley Madison hack: Site for people who can't be trusted can't be trusted

Nigel 11
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Re: There is no non-stupid definition of "terrorism"

I'd call advocating, threatening or committing crimes against humanity a completely non-stupid definition. Many of the other (wider) definitions are also not stupid, although failing to bear in mind that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter certainly *is* stupid.

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Nigel 11
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Re: >The leaked data could become fodder for extortion or blackmail,

"My masturbation practices performed in the privacy of my own home aren't fodder for blackmail."

Priest: embarassing. (Is it less or more of a sin than actual sex)?

Doctor: recommended by recent medical advice discussed here in the Reg. Reduces your likelyhood of getting prostate cancer, if you're not in a relationship.

School teacher: that's one heck of a leap isn't it? I guess there are places in the USA it could be a problem.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Get ready to duck

At least in the UK, marital infidelity is not a crime, and is very rarely grounds for being dismissed by an employer. Your main worry is that your spouse might refuse to believe your denials. That aside, being on that list should merely be an embarassment. Also our libel laws are the strictest in the world. Anyone publishing the allegation that you were a signed-up cheater when you weren't, could be in expensive trouble.

(It occurs to me that getting yourself hacked into that list might be a route to simultaneous divorce and profit for you and your spouse alike ...)

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Flash in the pan? Dell 3D TLC AFAs are cheaper than spinning rust

Nigel 11
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Re: "$1.66/GB price point for raw flash"

Cheaper than spinning rust? That's not true. Neither is it particularly cheap compared to other solid-state options.

Of course, there's "enterprise grade" snake-oil or wizardry included in that price. Without knowing a lot more about it, price/Gb comparisons are a bit pointless.

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What goes up, Musk comedown: Falcon rocket failed to strut its stuff

Nigel 11
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And I recently spotted via a serverfault link to another site, a worried intern asking what he should do because he thought he'd spotted a showstopper bug in a project very close to release date. He feared that telling management about it would be a career-limiting move.

Managers never learn, do they? (Except, how to justify ever-more-obscene salaries for themselves).

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Nigel 11
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Re: Definition of 'Monday Morning Quaterback'

In a similar vein, "where was your hindsight when it would have been useful?"

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Nigel 11
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Re: The third dimension

His parting words were "don't have any parties until it is all fixed".

Which is of course another reason for over-engineering buildings. The architects can't be sure that someone won't overload a floor way past design specifications, be it with 200 people, or a medium-sized library of mashed-tree books, or a large sculpture, or several tons of stolen silver bullion.

(That last item pushed the floor loading past all tolerances. The bullion spontaneously descended from the third floor to the basement, fortunately while the residents of the lower floors were away. The police were waiting when the crims came back to collect their loot. Note for crims: stash your loot around the *edges* of the room, or better still rent a basement flat.

In passing I was once told about the "jump test" by an old-school surveyor. You can get a pretty good idea of the overall soundness of a suspended timber floor under carpet etc., by jumping up and down on it. (Engineering explanation: field-expedient impulse response assessment). Just be sure that it's not *completely* rotten before you employ this test!

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Toyota recalls 625,000 hybrids: Software bug kills engines dead with THERMAL OVERLOAD

Nigel 11
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Re: Planetary gear transmission

Redundancy is always a good idea, isn't it?

No.

Nature decided that redundant kidneys were a good idea, and put a lot of low-level redundancy (or over-capacity) into our livers and brains. But when it came to the big pump, we got just one of them.

There's also the joke about the right number of chronometers for a ship to navigate by. One is OK, if it's a good one. Three is overkill. Two is a very silly idea.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Quality

The DC10 cargo door problems surely came a close second to the Fort Pinto in terms of corporate misbehaviour in the face of an engineering defect that was killing people.

Those of you too young to have ever experienced a DC10 should also know:

It was designed with a 2-5-2 seating plan, rather than 3-3-3. I once had to fly the Atlantic in seat position 3/5. Thereafter, I asked the airline if the flight was a DC10 and if so, I found another flight or airline.

It was designed with overhead baggage racks too shallow to take any normal carry-on bag, so you had to put your bag under the seat in front of you with your feet jammed in on either side.

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Did speeding American manhole cover beat Sputnik into space? Top boffin speaks to El Reg

Nigel 11
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Re: As the lid sped into space, it was heard to say ....

Or maybe

I gotta get outta this place // if it's the last thing I ever do

With the volume turned up to, er, 11^11 ?

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Seagate bleeding sales as PC downturn starts to hit hard

Nigel 11
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Re: Because of "PC Sales"

Surely not so much the PC downturn, as the SSD upturn? Who wants a 250Gb HD when they can have an affordable 250Gb SSD?

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Chromecast gains wired Ethernet dongle

Nigel 11
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Re: PoE Please

Power from the mains and comms via Homeplug protocol might be even more useful.

(Not sure if I want my new smart TV online at all, but it's wired-only, and there's a fireplace between the router and the TV so installing that wire is non-trivial).

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Decision time: Uninstall Adobe Flash or install yet another critical patch

Nigel 11
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Re: Won't somebody think of the children?

Write a shim that goes between the browser and the Flash player, displaying appropriate things about the dangers associated with clicking the "view" button and the stupidity of the site that wants you to use Flash. Give it a password option so you can lock non-authorised users of the computer out of Flash.

Flashblock contains most of this functionality, apart from the insults (which might have to be lawyer-vetted).

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Nigel 11
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Re: NSA sponsored ?

I'm starting to think that they are faulty by design ?

Only starting to think so?

I've thought that since about a year after flash first arrived on the scene. Only thing I'm not sure, is whether the faulty design is by incompetence or by malice.

Windows is also faulty by design, ever since MS broke the NT 3.5 kernel's designed-in security on purpose. Again, incompetence or malice? You decide.

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Nigel 11
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Re: No shit, Sherlock.

Adobe Flash... pretty sure it serves a useful purpose, somewhere, for someone.

the NSA and other countries' intelligence agencies?

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Nigel 11
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Re: More Flash vunerabilites...

Decision time: Uninstall Microsoft Windows or install yet another critical patch

At least Windows can apply its own bandages ... until the bad guys get there first and cripple its auto-updating.

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Nigel 11
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and it might come to that, soon

But surely there's hundreds of times more porn out there than any person could watch in a lifetime? So start recycling it, like rubbish.

about 600 EUR for a shoot

That's about sixty times the recently uprated minimum wage (1 hour shoot?), for which a tidal wave of illegal immigrants are trying to break into the UK. Methinks it's got a long way to fall yet.

Aren't there some strange folks who would pay the producers to be in a porn movie? Exhibitionists, I think they're called ....

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IBM GATE-CRASHES chip world, boldly exclaims: 'We've cracked the 7nm barrier'

Nigel 11
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Not for VLSI CPUS?

The assumption seems to be that IBM is interested in this for making CPUs.

I would guess that the first application of very small (and therefore very fast) 7nm transistors will be in specialist datacomms devices (things like 100Gbit Ethernet). It's also probably true that in that field, billions of transistors aren't needed. Mere thousands might be useful, mere millions certainly would be.

There's a hint, in that they are talking about SiGe, not plain Si. SiGe is more difficult (but intrinsically faster).

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Ginormous HIDDEN BLACK HOLES flood the universe – boffins

Nigel 11
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Re: so...

I thought that discovery of the bullet galaxy had rather damaged the chances for MOND. It's two clusters of galaxies that have collided head-on. The normal matter has been slowed down by that collision. The weakly-interacting dark matter has continued at pretty much unchanged velocity, and it is now possible to deduce from observations (of gravitational lensing) that it is displaced with respect to the original galaxies.

It's not entirely clear-cut, though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullet_Cluster

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Pluto probe brain OVERLOAD: Titsup New Horizons explained

Nigel 11
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Re: This is proper engineering

Proper engineering but with silly political constraints.

We've known how to assemble a nuclear reactor (U235 fuel, unshielded) in orbit and how to build ion thrusters for quite a while. Unfortunately the anti-nuke lobby are so strong, they won't let us do that, even though the vehicle wouldn't become significantly radioactive until after it had left Earth orbit, never to return.

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Nigel 11
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Re: This is proper engineering

Apparently no one forecast a one-ton Mars-invading laser-toting nuclear-powered space truck named Curiosity

I recall reading SF about lunar mining operations using tele-operated hardware controlled by people here on Earth, and how the speed of light made that bloody tricky.

Given the capabilities, weight and power demand of computing hardware back then, it's unsurprising that nobody forecast machine "intelligence" sufficient to allow a Mars rover or Pluto probe to look after itself in real time while communications between it and Earth crawled along at the speed of light. CMOS (and Moore's law) didn't arrive until the late 70s. (I'm ignoring the sort of SF that postulated hardware that could support AI, with no plausible extrapolation from then-existing hardware.)

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Yank my blockchain: Bitcoin upgrade SNAFU borks hungry miners' currency

Nigel 11
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Re: May I ask...

There is definitely something worthwhile in Bitcoin given the investment that is still being put towards blockchain R&D.

Always bear in mind that currency has two purposes: a store of value and a medium of exchange. Those who seek to make a fortune using bitcoin as a store of value, risk losing a fortune. It's more fragile than electronic pounds sterling or dollars, and *much* more fragile than gold.

But as a medium of exchange, it may have a lot going for it. Coin, Banknotes, Cheques, Visa, Paypal ... Bitcoin?

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Nigel 11
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Re: You make it sound easy, but it is not

There was a woman who put something like 150k miles on her SUV (or whatever) without a single oil change, without even knowing that it was necessary,

The people who really need to be laughed at are the ones who junked that SUV when it finally broke down, or tipped the oil in the sludge can and serviced it in the usual way. Had they stripped that engine down and analyzed the oil in forensic detail, they might have learned something valuable! (I'm assuming that they didn't).

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Boffins demo 'memcomputer', plot von Neumann's retirement

Nigel 11
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Re: I slipped on muh snake oil

Reading between the lines, I think that's probably "in theory, ignoring noise".

Allowing for noise, either this piece of magic will fail rendering the whole thing useless, or assuming that the boffins have more of a clue than the journalists, you'll be running a sort of physically accellerated annealing process that will give you an answer that's pretty close to THE answer to the NP-complete problem. However, it won't necessarily be that answer, and you may never be able to know whether it is or not. For a travelling salesman problem (route optimisation), that doesn't matter. Any close approximation is equally useful. For other (crypto?) problems, that most certainly does.

It's almost certainly a good idea to build one and study its operation. As with quantum computation, detailed information on what can and can't be achieved may lead to the next breakthrough in our understanding of our universe.

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Kingston offers up its fastest SATA SSD: HyperX Savage 240GB

Nigel 11
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No capacitors?

I can't see a bank of capacitors for an emergency power reserve. If I'm correct, what happens to the contents of that 256Mb of RAM when the power fails (especially if the drive is in the middle of remapping some blocks on which your filesystem metadata resides)?

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Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

Nigel 11
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Re: Welcome to the 19th century

Kinetic energy = mass times velocity squared. Mass is proportional to diameter cubed. So there's a factor of about eight from the relative sizes. Double the velocity could easily account for another factor of four. Finally, there's the extent to which it dissipates its energy in the atmosphere before impacting the ground. It'll be far worse if it's coming straight down compared to a very oblique impact with the atmosphere. A large one will shed relatively little energy in the atmosphere. Small enough, and it's just a shooting star. That Chelyabinsk meteorite shed all but a small amount of energy in the lower atmosphere, which broke a lot of windows over a wide area rather than subjecting a smaller area to the equivalent of a small ground-burst nuke.

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Nigel 11
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Re: So.

If you can't divert it enough to miss the planet completely, divert it into an area with low population density and evacuate that area, or onto an island and evacuate that island. Make sure it misses cities and oceans (the latter because it'll cause a Tsunami all around that ocean's coasts).

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Palaeoboffins discover 500 MILLION year old ARMOURED WORM

Nigel 11
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Distance

Millions of years isn't really the right measure of distance. Some organisms haven't changed a lot since well before the dinosaurs (sharks, for example). There are "living fossils" that are still extant, but most closely connected to larger groupings mostly long-extinct (the pearly nautilus is an example).

And then there are the Archaea, single-celled organisms with biochemistries far more different from today's main groups than the difference between a man and a cabbage.

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

Nigel 11
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Re: Kill that WiFi Sense thing!

Check out the OpenWRT Hardware list http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/start

The one I have is the Trendnet tew-732br

http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/trendnet/tew-732br

installing openWRT Barrier Breaker was a piece of cake.

The one problem is that AFAIK there are NO ADSL2+ All-in-one routers that can run Openwrt, so I'm using my ISP's Router to NAT everything onto a piece of wire connected to the Linux router. Double-NAT isn't perfect, but I can cope with it. Or you coudl buy a proprietary ADSL2+ box that can run in bridge mode (but apart from the Draytek PPPoA to PPPoE bridges, most are doing horrible things that a bridge really shouldn't be doing)

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Nigel 11
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Re: Oh that's just great.

In most jurisdictions, wilfully aiding and abetting a crime is a crime, and inducing a well-intentioned individual to commit a crime in ignorance of doing so is usually regarded as a worse crime.

Watch out, Microsoft execs!

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Nigel 11
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Re: Kill that WiFi Sense thing!

A good solution would be a multi-SSID capable AP with VLAN capabilites (but the latter requires also support all down the chain...) to segregate some less secure device, but not every user is a sysadmin with the required knowledge, for many wifi and internet is just a plug&play "experience", and without knowledge, they can't undersand the full picture...

Well, you can get a router with that hardware for about £15 and OpenWRT to enable the capabilities for free. So with a bit of luck, someone will package it all in a form that the only slightly clued-up can use and either open-source it or sell it (if it's a user-mode wrapper running on OpenWRT or similar, the GPL doesn't force you to give away your source, only OpenWRT).

You don't necessarily need VLAN support in the rest of your hardware. You just need routing rules to segregate your subnet from the kids' one.

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Hello Tosh, got a downrated 6TB spinner? Yes, for slower workloads

Nigel 11
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How do you know that these won't last twenty years?

Over the years I have encountered models that were complete lemons, and batches of formerly reliable drives that suffered presumed common-mode component failures. Excluding these, I've found that the majority of IDE and SATA drives were working well up to the day the system they were in was scrapped. No manufacturer stood out as better or worse, but really unless you are the like of Google (who aren't telling), you haven't got a big enough sample set to judge past history let alone extrapolate the future of a newer model.

By the time you (or the manufacturer) knows that a particular design is long-term reliable, it is also obsolete and no longer in manufacture. So cross your fingers, touch wood, mirror your disks, pair different manufacturers to minimise common-mode risks, and make sure of your backups!

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Nigel 11
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Re: Not so good for non-textual content

Yes. But a lot of that is because the format (pdf) is not designed for e-paper displays, or perhaps that the pdf software in the Kindle is not well developed (because there's no money in it?) Not that much money in technical publishing either, compared to entertainment-type novels. That's why the mashed-tree technical books cost so much.

This is the sort of thing that would rapidly get fixed, if Kindles were open devices.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Eventually bought a Kindle Paperwhite..

E-readers. I love them. But they'll most likely, in the long run, die just because they bloody _work_.

Not the ones that are tied into a proprietary locked-down framework for selling content. Amazon will carry on selling Kindles to supply a replacement market, because the profit is in selling the content to read on them. They'll buy the company that makes the displays if they have to. Having used a Kindle I'd buy a replacement even if my daily newspaper subscription was the *only* available content.

I really wish that there were an open equivalent to a Kindle (even if only as open as an Android phone, rather than a Linux'ed PC), but I think you've nailed why there isn't and probably won't be.

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