1998 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 11:28 GMT
Re: Wait, what?
Not how I read it in that context. 4 letters starting with C. No, not the usual C-word. Definitely racist.
Murderers often get 15 years, rapists can get less than five. Is murder only 100 times worse? Is rape only 30x worse?
It's not to say he's anything less than a horrible person, but as the proverb says "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me". If we can't bring back a day in the stocks (limited to squishy projectiles), community service would have sufficed.
Re: they can try
Blocked by a granite wall - are you sure? I've sent ordinary Wireless-G Ethernet 30 metres sideways and down through a reinforced concrete floor. Didn't even need directional antennae. Only got 5Mbps out of it, but it worked. How many Mbps does one need to read a meter?
Re: Rise Of The Socialists
Actually, no. If the abuse of power got that bad, then everyone would do what the criminal classes do already: an insulation-displacement bypass between the streetside of the meter and the house.
It's called theft at present, not protest.
Re: Why be part of a bad health experiment in your own home?
"Do some people become ill around certain common electrical devices? Also undoubtedly true."
Cite proof, please. A double-blind test.
Put a person who claims to be electro-sensitive in a screened room (Faraday cage) with a concealed wireless router, cellphone, whatever. Neither the experimental subject nor the person telling them what to do is allowed to know beforehand whether it is turned on or not. Ask them how they feel BEFORE finding that out. Repeat until a statistically significant body of evidence is gathered.
In a less kind and possibly unethical variant on this experiment, let the subjects know where the router is concealed (say, above a ceiling tile) but don't tell them about the spycam recording their every move and the *other* concealed router permanently turned on. I'd bet 9/10 "electrosensitive" subjects would feel the need to sneak a look at the router (and then report back that they're fine when they see it's turned off, despite the fact that the other one should be making them feel ill.
Might the point be that some people actually like to listen to their music in high fidelity? Which is quite definitely not what you get with a lossy-compressed download.
Re: Just a rumour
How does that differ from a personals ad "Chrissy Wayne, happy 21st from Ducky" or (approximate Heinlein quote) "James N, make your will. You have 27 days to live".
Both select prearranged messages: "Chrissy Ducky" or "N 27". As old as the hills, and less breakable.
Re: I nominate
Half a dozen power cables. Still perfectly OK, except that the EU has legislated that every piece of new equipment must be shipped with a new power flex. It's cheaper to recycle the old ones and to bin the new ones, because the old ones already have inventory and test record stickers attached and have already passed their PAT test.
Half a dozen Ethernet cables mangled and tangled to such an extent that the nearest bin beckons.
A pair of fetid trainers and/or socks
A Windows ME "Upgrade" kit
A charger with a wierd connector, possibly for a long-defunct mobile.
A dead mouse (the sort with a ball. Less often, the sort with two).
Re: Also a language issue
What characters are used in Welsh that aren't in the Roman alphabet? I just Googled "Welsh Alphabet" and didn't find such, just different pronunciations for things like w and dd. (Also scripts in which d g t and some other letters are written rather differently, but isn't that a font not an encoding issue? )
Solar (PV or thermal)
It's not economically competitive yet against burning fossil fuel(*), but if those fuels were not available it could certainly take over the planet's electricity generation and maintain a technological civilisation.
(*) Had just about got there in Arizona, but then the gas industry worked out how to extract tight gas by fraccing, and now there's a natural gas glut in the USA.
Re: People still buy HP printers?
If you don't want the extra software, then just ignore the CD that comes with the printer and download the minimum driver from HP's website. You'll find something like "HP Officejet Pro Enterprise Driver - IT Professional Use Only" (at least for the OJP range - dunno about the cheap deskjets).
Re: Can we have
If Robert Hooke hasn't yet featured on a banknote, he should be at or near the front of the queue.
Isaac Newton was a towering scientific genius but a fairly frightful man. He did all he could to bury Hooke's accomplishments, and took the credit for several things that Hooke should rightfully have been credited with.
Newton was also master of the Royal Mint, which is why is woud be such a good thing to honour Hooke with a place on a banknote!
Hawking isn't dead, and the tradition is that this rules him out. People are honoured with memorials after they are no longer alive.
Officejet Pro rocks
You're wrong about inkjets. HP's Officejet Pros routinely last well for tens of thousands of pages around here (university departments), and the cost of replacing them is a small fraction of the cost of the ink they've eaten. As for that ink cost, they are cheaper to run (including replacement cost) than most Laser printers costing the same or £100 more. Plus, they print colour. In short, HP's adverts for these are true.
Obviously running cost does depend on what one prints. I'm assuming text with the occasional splash of colour on a plain paper background, rather than A4 photographs or big blocky colour graphics. This is as printed by my users - research staff, not undergraduates. Your mileage may vary.
Colour quality of any colour laser printer isn't a patch on even the crappiest (but not knackered) ink-jet. HP OJPros are not intended for photo-quality printing, but they make a much better stab at it than a laser.
As for a big fast bomb-proof mono laser printer/ photocopier / Allin1, I'd vote for a Minolta BizHub (though on a sample size of just two).
Re: Fire ALL those involved in the design, manufacture, and service of HP printers.
How many of the other makes have you got and do they fare any better? There's not a printer in the world that can survive certain types of (ab)user for long. They do to printers as the BOFH does to managers. I mean, how do you get *coffee grounds* inside a printer? Anyway, it's the cost per page including both consumables and replacement printers that matters.
I'd rate Officejets and Laserjets in the £60 - £300 range highly (about 40 of them, various models). The cheapest ones are bad value (ink too expensive) unless you realy don't ever print more than a few hundred pages. The big expensive ones I just don't have experience with. Unique(?) selling point: they work like a charm with Linux via hplip (open-source but HP-supported).
OMG. OMG. OMG.
Apart from the target customer base (=everyone that uses computers!), what is there in common between a PC and a printer? Nothing.
When you put a crappy product division together with an excellent product division, what do you usually get? Crap all over the formerly good products.
I fear I'm soon going to have to start looking for a replacement default printer manufacturer. Especially if the first thing that the PC division (Microsoft-indoctrinated? ) does is to interfere with the hplip open-source linux-driver project. That's the reason that right now I don't even look at the competition: their linux support is so dreadful in comparison.
HP, don't put the printers in the crapper. De-merge the printers division if you must!
Re: Lord Of The Rizzzzzz
If you couldn't stand the books you won't like the films. If you absolutely loved the books then the films will inevitably disappoint. But worst movie of all time ... come on, have you really considered all of the above posts and decided RotK was worse than any of them?
Re: The Fermi paradox.
Large moons around gas giants seem common. (Several in our Solar system). Gas giants in the habitable zone seem common (many such exoplanets detected).
Surely the deduction is that ET is more likely to be living on a large moon than a small planet.
Also there's no problem I can think of with life evolving on (or in) a suitably warm gas-giant. It's thought that Earth's original atmosphere was much like Jupiter's is today. It's even possible that some day we'll discover high-pressure-tolerant life under Jupiter's clouds (Jupiter gets warmer the deeper you go). Speculating, I'd agree that it might be hard for such life to attain technology, for lack of anything solid to lay its (presumably non-existent) hands on.
When there was a great company called Pilkington that made glass for every application you could imagine and some you couldn't, they ran a corporate-image advert featuring a large iron nail being hammered into wood with a hammer made of glass. And at the end of the advert, the same nail being removed with the glass claw on the other end of the glass hammer.
If Apple made hammers ....
I'm no fanboi, but Apple at least knows how to make things pretty. Also that the right interface for an iPhone is not the same as the one for an iMac.
"Worst" is the superlative of "bad". "Bad" is the opposite of "good". The word is neutral, colourless: not shocking, not disgusting, not instantly forgettable nor horribly unforgettable.
On that basis it has to be "Battlefield Earth", doesn't it?
Madonna can't do movies.
If you are a producer and have to choose between Madonna and a house-brick for your actress, go with the brick.
Despite or because of this, "Desperately Seeking Susan" was fun. The filmographies have Madonna down as a supporting role, but in the pre-release publicity it was very clear she thought she was the lead. Rosanna Arquette completely, comprehensively and absolutely stole the film. Madonna playing a brick (or possibly herself) worked quite well as a foil for Rosanna's talent.
Re: John Carpenter's Dark Star
It was complete genius. Sure, the special effects, er, weren't. But it was made on a budget that wasn't so much a shoestring as a single thread of silk too short to make anything with. Except that he did. Sure, you have to turn the spacehopper into an alien in your imagination, but that's not so hard.
The whole thing was a pitch for a chance at a big budget, that worked. Except, I prefer "Dark Star"!
It was a can-do culture back then. People didn't take "no" for an answer, and the engineers were in charge. Try - fix the failures - try again - repeat until you are pretty sure you have reached the limit of the possible. It normally only happens in war-time. Well, it pretty much was war-time, but mercifully the nukes were never actually loosed.
In peacetime, zombies take over. They have no concept of experimentation and honorable failure. They demand an assurance of complete success in advance. When something works, they take all the credit (and the pay-rises). When something fails, they shoot the messenger (and often the whole engineering team, for good measure). Ultimately they redefine success as successfully causing increasingly untrue or meaningless words to be assembled on sheets of paper, while running any and all actual hardware into the ground. And of course, they are forever breeding more of their own kind, until there are so many zombies that society completely collapses.
For zombies, read bureaucrats, if you don't already think the two synonymous. And in the USSR, "shoot" wasn't always hyperbole.
Vacuum survivability = a few minutes?
I thought human survivability in vacuum was minutes, not "under a second". Anyone know if it's been animal-tested? I'd have thought it must have been.
One would have to exhale as pressure was reduced, and would normally black out from lack of oxygen maybe 15 seconds later. Death from lack of oxygen takes 3-4 minutes. By hyper-ventilating in advance, one might remain conscious for longer.
The other problem is that water at blood temperature will boil in vacuum. However, a body's membranes are quite tough and will maintain the small fraction of an atmosphere needed to prevent this for some time. My guess is that lack of oxygen would be fatal before embolisms.
Explosive decompression presents greater hazards.
The real problem
The real problem is that time itself in a mystery. How do we know that ten seconds measured today (accurate to 14 decimal places) is the same amount of whatever time might be, as ten seconds measured yesterday? Or last century? Or in the age of the dinosaurs? Or "seconds" after the start of the universe?
We don't. We know only that multiple clocks involving different vibrating entities that agreed on a number yesterday, also do so today, within their individual limits of accuracy (whatever that means). We can't take today's clock back to double-check yesterday's measurement. Time goes forwards only.
IT angle: in a computer or other clocked logic, the exact frequency or regularity of the clock is fairly unimportant. The presence or absence of skew between the clock here and the clock there is critical to the correct operation of the whole thing. A wild speculation: the universe ends when it expands so far that "clock skew" prevents it from working.
Prior art from the 19th century?
Go right back to the earliest days of photography! A photographer put a ground glass plate into his camera and ducked under the hood to adjust the focus, aperture, framing etc. That's a preview! Then he replaced the ground glass screen with a photographic plate, and waited until it was exposed (which for the earliest photographs, was minutes or even hours, not milliseconds).
Atolls do sink
It was actually Charles Darwin who first worked out how coral atolls form around a volcano which starts sinking back into the earth once it becomes extinct. From its shape, you can deduce that this one is indeed in the last stages of sinking beneath the ocean. Most of what was once a circular reef has already sunk beneath the waves.
How much of what they are seeing is sea-level rsing and how much is rock-level sinking is probably unanswerable. Regardless, the islander's plight is very real!
Unless, of course, the industry definition of areal density is simply the number of bits stored on a platter divided by (pi times radius squared). It doesn't necessarily make sense to exclude the hole in the middle, since its necessary size may be part of a complex design trade-off. Thinks ... a smaller hole means a narrower spindle which will be less rigid and vibrate more, meaning you have to put the tracks further apart to allow for that. So there's definitely an optimum to be sought.
Re: $35 million but can't afford an iPad?
"Freakonomics"? No, just check out our own industry's major players. "The first hit is free" (90 day free trial software) but after you've used it for a while, you'll be locked in for life. Where do you think they got their business model from?
Robot Kangaroo anyone?
My guess is that they'd find kangaroo-style running easier. Why? Because kangaroos have a less evolved brain than other mammals. Also because tripedal stability is easier than quadrapedal.
I'll be worried when it can carry its own power supply and run on grass. (At that point I'll start having nightmares about the Beast in "Farenheit 451").
Re: "Sensitive Personal Data"
You or I may not regard our name, phone numbers and permanent address as sensitive. If you were being pursued by an unbalanced or outright homicidal ex-partner or stalker, you might feel very differently. Especially after s/he had obtained that information by accessing the USA copy of your PNR, and visited you with a gun / knife / bottle of acid.
You might also find that if you were in that situation, it's highly probable that an intelligence agency's automated passenger record filtering system might decide that you were of greater interest than the average traveller. They don't know *why* you've changed your address three times in the past year, and your bank account five times, but they have noticed that you have done so.
Re: No touchscreen, very painful learning curve
Why on earth can't it just detect its display hardware and default appropriately? Touchscreen hardware, default to touch interface. Non-touch screen plus keyboard, default to desktop mode. (I'd suggest a what-do-you-want screen if it finds touch-screen with a connected keyboard, or non-touch-screen without a keyboard).
And put a visible start button back in the Desktop mode before it's too late and gets damned like Vista. Invisible buttons go with invisible clothes, and we all know about the Emperor's new clothes.
Not for the squeamish
There are even bigger bloodsuckers still with us. Anyone squeamish is advised not to follow this link
Ice is a mineral
Ice is a naturally occuring crystalline inorganic solid, and therefore a mineral. It surely follows that the snow on the summit of a mountain counts as part of the mountain.
If the objection is that this means the height of the mountain varies from time to time, that's not a problem restricted to ice. Mountains are mostly gently sinking as their roots melt into the underlying magma, unless the tectonic processes that created them are still ongoing. (Everest is sinking. The Andes are mostly rising). Earthquake activity can create sudden changes. Frost-shattering can cause large chunks of a rocky peak to break off.
3.0 signifies very little
Linux folks know will know this, but according to Linus there's no significant reason for the change of major release number. He just got fed up with 2.6.nn when the development process meant that he could see no reason why 2 or 6 would ever be changed, so decided it was time for major version 3.
Actually there WAS a very long-term target finally reached either in the 3.0 release or close thereto. the Big Kernel Lock was finally abolished, after very many years of working towards that goal. It's just coincidence, though.
"continuous partial salary"
Truth in advertizing
I've just realized that the new Windows 8 logo is telling more truth than they realize.
The flag, bright and multicoloured, free in the world.
The blue window, no longer diversely coloured, suggestive of an indoors that is walled off from that world. But you can look out, and maybe there's an openable door.
I'd suggest that the icon for windows on ARM ought to be a door without a keyhole. As in a jail cell. Because that's what you'll be buying. Or maybe just a brick, because it's about that much use for running everything you bought in the past.
Well, it's a single platter so the aerodynamic drag will be considerably less than with two platters. Likewise half the number of heads to move around needs less energy. So the wattage for 7200rpm may be the same as a two-platter 5400rpm one.
I'm thinking this disk may also have considerable utility in desktop systems as well, if the seek time is the same or less than a 3.5" 500Gb drive and the price similar. Greener, and possibly better performance. (And for DIYers, mirrored disks in a single 3.5" slot, or as a PCI card with two laptop drives attached to it).
Only a matter of time
It's only a matter of time before you read about a music industry psychopath being charged with the murder of a formerly great artist. In fact I expect it's already happened, but they got away with it.
You might not know that Oystercards are optional. Cheaper, but optional. You can pay for a single ticket with cash. You can also buy an Oystercard for cash, without registering it.
Aren't there any public transport systems in the USA with prepaid electronic tcketing? I can't quite remember if the magstripe tickets I used on BART in the 1980s were that functional, but I'd be most surprised if they haven't got there yet!
Interesting that Red Hat, with RHEL6, seem to be committed to Gnome 2 for the next decade.
The answer may be Cinnamon - provide something like a classic desktop, but layered on top of the Gnome 3 libraries.
Illegal if true
This "secret agreement" would be highly and expensively illegal if true, so it almost certainly isn't. Also I suspect the main driving force behind faster CPUs etc. isn't MS OSes. It's games, and the people who'll spend hundreds of quid to get an extra couple of fps out of their game of choice (or is that addiction? )
Anyway, people who use computers for serious work, like scientists, have a lot to thank the gamers for!
One of that alleged minority is Linus.
However, in the Linux world you can pick and choose between many desktop UIs. My grouse about Gnome 3 is not that it sucks. Rather, that they developed a radically diffrerent UI without forking the source, so that if you have Gnome 3 installed on your system you can't also install or use Gnome 2.
Anyway, for now XFCE will have to do, or the Scientific Linux 6 distro (which will be sticking with Gnome 2 for many years to come). Then there's Cinnamon, which looks promising (a classic UI running atop the Gnome 3 libraries). This is what Gnome devs should have done in the first place, and only then started playing around with tablet-style UIs layered on the same library, as optional alternatives to the classic UI.
They fixed that ages ago
If you don't know about starting a shutdown, you do know about the on/off button on the front of the box. Once it became a soft button rather than a power switch the problem was solved. Briefly press the button, and Windows (or Linux) shuts down cleanly.
UI not OS
This thread is about the UI not about the OS. The XP UI remains pretty much the same as the 2000 UI and not so very different from the NT4 UI. In my book that's no bad thing - it's become second nature over the years, so I can think about what I'm using the computer *for* rather than having to think about *how* to use it. There may well be a host of incremental improvements that I don't recall, which again is how it should be. None were big enough to annoy me!
And now they've thrown all that away and given us "7" which is gratuitously different. And now they are planning to make 8 gratuitously different squared, so I won't even have a chance to make friends with "7" (which I am starting to think isn't actually all bad if you've got enough Gbytes of RAM and a modern graphics chip).
Yes, XP the OS was pretty dodgy in the early days, and maybe the 7 kernel is better than XP. It's just extremely annoying that Microsoft links changing the kernel to forcing a new UI down our throats!
Invisible start button?
But it's got a "hot corner" that works like a start button? How does this differ from a start button, apart from you have to know it's there because you can't see it?
Maybe you don't have to click it either? Oh great, so there's a corner of the screen that you have to be careful to avoid with the mouse because all sorts of annoying or even dangerous things happen if you don't.
Then someone will work out how to paint it with an icon, give it an option to require a click to un-mask the stuff underneath, and they'll call it an app and sell it to you.
Unlikely, not impossible
One of the advantages for the electricity company is remote reading, so obviously they emit RF.
I'd expect the level to be much less than a mobile phone, and the scope for causing interference to be extremely slight unless your PC / router/ radio / whatever is less than a metre from the meter (for example fitted on the other side of the wall behind your desk)
It features in Vinge's "The Peace War", published 1984. No rifling, low muzzle velocity. His design was/is still a bit in the future, it was "fire and forget" using image processing to stay locked on what it was fired at.
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