1554 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 11:28 GMT
I was under the impression that a panic attack referred to an involuntary condition affecting the autonomic nervous system which can be mistaken for a heart attack. The victim starts hyperventilating, sweating, heart races, victim thinks he/she can't breathe, is scared he/she is about to die. I wasn't aware that it had any effect at all on voluntary acts, beyond (understandably) requesting emergency medical attention and/or a priest.
Or maybe a last beer?
I was about to mention the DC10, whose "engineers" disregarded fail-safe engineering principles with the surely inevitable consequences of having faulty doors blow open at altitude with catastrophic consequences. I made a point of asking what sort of jet my long-haul flight would be before booking, and if it was a DC10, telling the airline that was why I'd be flying with someone else.
Didn't know that Boeing had ever embraced that same stupidity.
The other reasons for never flying on a DC10 were being stuck in the middle of 2-5-2 seating arrangements (*why* not 3-3-3? ), and having ridiculously thin overhead luggage compartments that a standard-sized cabin bag would not fit into. Horrible, horrible airliner.
No locks (except on DC10s)
Just think of the consequences of a locked door failing to auto-unlock because of, say, mechanical damage, after a survivable on-the-ground collision that starts a small fire ... actually you do regularly see reports of this disaster having happened in a dodgy nightclub or hotel somewhere or other.
Thinking about it I'm surprised that same disaster never befell a DC10, which did have doors that bolted shut to stop them blowing open at altitude (mostly ). Or did it?
Missing: O/S hand-over
Unfortunately with two different CPU architectures you can't hand over the O/S from one CPU to another in milliseconds (maybe even microseconds)
It would be much nicer if there was one O/S context within which both CPUs operated. When the fast CPU found itself idling most of the time it would hand over to the slow low-wattage one and power down. When the slow one found itself overloaded, it would re-power the fast CPU and hand over.
Intel's Nehalem architecture does this to some extent internally, but using a two-chip set (different silicon process needed for really low wattage?) one could go a lot further towards low power consumption in undemanding usage, but real performance within milliseconds of requesting it.
Obviously it depends on how good the on-chip GPU is.
However, an on-chip GPU is connected to the rest of the chip with "wires" millimeters at most in length. Speed-of-light latency: a few picoseconds. A GPU that's separated off on PCI-express is at a remove of several centimeters. Latency: at least twenty times worse. Bandwidth: much harder to maintain. Latency is the speed of light at work, it can't be finessed by any sort of engineering.
There's a biological analogue. Our eyes are as close to our brains as nature can arrange. Nerves are quite slow and bulky: there's a penalty for eyes on stalks, or for putting the brain in a safer location deep inside the torso. Which is why brains are perilously exposed on the end of necks: better visual bandwidth.
Oh come on. There are many different liquids, a small bottle of which could kill everyone on a plane. Hot chilli sauce is not one of them. Not even MegaScoville hot chilli sauce.
Beer - the antidote.
Not even close
Beagle board ... UD$ 149 ... no DIMM socket, only 128Mb RAM, no SATA, No Ethernet that I can spot! Disk only via USB2 ... slow, and my experience with USB hard drives is that they always crap out. My Atom board cost about that with 4Gb DIMM, Gb Ethernet, SATA..
Old Acorn - won't be fast enough. ARM is just getting into useful desktop territory today.
I have a home system based on an Atom D510 ITX motherboard with a huge convection-cooled heatsink but no fan, in an Aopen S135 mini-ITX case. It's as close to silent as any PC with a hard disk can be. It runs Linux. It's not quite fast enough when watching some video clips, but will do for now.
Looking to the future, I'd like it to (a) use less watts and (b) use a SSD. (b) is just a matter of time, they're too expensive for me at present. An ARM CPU would solve (a).
Want one! But PC hardware compatible.
When is someone going to market an ARM-powered motherboard in mATX or ITX form, with all the usual ports and connectors that one finds on a PC at a price no greater than an Intel Atom-powered equivalent? (SATA, USB, onboard video controller capable of supporting web browsers, office apps, etc).
If someone already does, please tell me. I'm starting to smell an Intel comspiracy.
One thing that they could change compared to PC boards is to dump that 24 pin ATX PSU connector. Give it a 12V input via a back-panel insert and a power brick, and onboard DC-DC conversion for 5V and 3.3V needs.
An ARM-powered Netbook would also be nice.
An easy techno-fix for professional photographers
Pro cameras should be equipped with two media sockets, so that one is mirrored on the other. The police could request one, leaving the photographer with the other. It would also be a good idea if cameras digitally watermarked their media, so that any subsequent editing would be obvious.
Another possibility would be cameras that upload via mobile broadband if a "panic button" is pressed. Uploading everything that the police officer was saying would be an added bonus!
Partly the helpline's fault
The employer's helpline gave some of the dumbest advice I've ever heard.
Even if she'd got 100% recompense from her insurer that doesn't get the employer off the hook. An insurer can insist that you take legal action (at its expense - you just sign things on request) so that it can reclaim some or all of the payout from any third party it thinks is responsible.
The employer can in turn sue the laptop or battery supplier. They can in turn sue the manufacturers. AFAIK it is impossible to directly sue the manufacturer of a product, even if it is clearly defective (unless it's a direct sale by the manufacturer). You have to sue the supplier, the supplier has to sue his distrubutor, the distributor can sue the manufacturer if thats where he bought the product from. The chain can be collapsed at an early point in legal proceedings, if it's clear that everyone believes that the manufacturer is to blame. Much more complex if there are multiple blameworthy parties and none can agree on which and to what extent.
He who takes what isn't his'n
Pays for it or goes to prison.
The moral is surely not to plagiarise other people's copy. You can always pay a hack to rewrite the same sentiments in different words (which turns it from an illegal act into the "sincerest form of flattery"). These days it may even be possible to program a computer to do the rewording (and when someone writes that program, I forsee a very interesting lawsuit a la SCO with respect to natural language rather than code).
But this is a plain old boring lawsuit. Plagiarism is actionable - and should be, or no-one could writre for a living! Get over it.
Why NOT to buy it?
Because the SSD is coming and will soon be eating the market for HDDs, starting with the small ones and working upwards. Certainly it'll be quite a while before you can buy a Terabyte SSD for £50, but there again, do most office PCs actually need 330Gb HDs? Personally I doubt that they need more than 80Gb, even with Windows bloatware, and they get 330Gb just because a 330Gb HD costs very little more than an 80Gb HD, and is faster than a smaller HD.
I wonder whether IBM had seen this coming when they sold the business to Hitachi? In any case, that day is now a lot closer. Why pay a lot for a technology that will be in decline , probably terminal, starting two or three years from now, if SSD technology continues to advance as predicted by Moore's law.
I'd add, that there are at least two radically new solid-state storage technologies waiting in the wings to obsolete flash memory, and maybe put Moore's law applied to storage on steroids. Memristors, and something using bistable properties of Silicon dioxide films that I don't recall the name of. I very much doubt that HP are interested in HDs, they invented the Memristor technology and presumably have patents.
It may not be fishy. Maybe just a bit like a hybrid car (which charges the battery while the engine doesn't have anything better to do).
Provided the PSU can supply enough power to run the CPU at peak usage and a small trickle to the battery, all is well (provided you don't expect a rapid recharge while playing games!) The halt-and-catch-fire bug presumably is trying to take too much battery charge current from the PSU while the CPU is maximally loading it.
I do wonder about engineering it like this, to save the small amount of money? or weight? that a PSU with an extra ten? Watts would cost.
The best answer would be to ban lock-in contracts (and all other techniques for making it hard to change ISP).
You sign up. You try the service. If it proves inadequate compared to the expectations created by the advertising, you cancel. No penalty, no delaying tactics, ho hassle.
Within a year the dud service providers will be going out of business, and the rest will be upgrading as fast as they can to make their reality resemble their claims before someone else nicks all their customers.
Dim doesn't begin to cover it
Anyone who wants to blow himself up so that he can spend eternity with seventy-two perpetual virgins ... and thinks that he won't get bored, thinks that he'll still think he's in heaven after the first million years .... or billion ... or googleplex ....
Personally I hope that these people get what they are expecting. In the fullness of eternity, they will come to realise that they are in HELL.
Identity verification ... It's all been covered here and it's trivially easy. The problem is that when they say "identity verification" that's not what they mean. The control freaks want a database that can creep, ending up with the UK like East Germany once was, but more highly automated.
ID verification ... issue a photo-ID card or passport with all the information printed on the document also digitally encoded on a chip within it, and protected by a crypto-checksum. Maintain and publish a database containing all the crypto-checksums of issued documents AND NOTHING ELSE. That's basically a file of random numbers. It's completely harmless. Leave the CD on a train, no problem. Distribute copies to banks, the police, the NHS, anyone that may have good reason to verify that an ID card is officially issued rather than a fake.
The ID document is verified simply by making sure that the crypto checksum contained within the document matches the one stored within the official database.. ZERO PERSONAL DATA IN THE DATABASE. Got it?
Another advantage for LEDs
LEDs are also highly directional. Compare that with a CFL that emits in all directions, including some light that is blocked by other parts of the same tube or tubes. Properly designed LED lighting (rather than plug-in replacements for old bulbs) will deliver light where it is needed and not waste it where it is not.
One huge advantage for LEDs
LEDs do have one huge advantage over CFLs and incandescent. They are an instant-on technology, and one that does not suffer shortened life expectance if turned on and off many times each day.
The best way to make them save energy would therefore be intelligent LED lighting with PIR and/or motion sensors, that turn off(*) whenever there is no-one in the room. Just as long as the sensors run on micro- or milliwatts, rather than soaking up all the energy saved and more, like the ill-designed standby circuitry in TVs and PCs.
(*) soft-off, please. In other words, dim gradually, so if the sensors are imperfect, it's a mild annoyance cured by moving a bit. Sudden uncommanded off could be a safety hazard as well as unpleasant.
Dixons done for dumping customer in skip
That's how I mis-read it.
I was thinking how much some customers deserve it, that someone must have snapped. What a shame! Would have been a much better story.
Ever-egged, but a good point
A good point but over-stated. Not "not at all" but "less than you think".
A bulb emitting heat neat the ceiling is a sub-optimal way of heating a room (especially if upstairs does not need heating at the time). Also electricity generation and transmission is inefficient, compared to generating the same heat in a good modern condenser boiler.
Nevertheless, anyone who calculates energy saved by taking the difference in wattage between incandescent and LED replacement, and multiplying by hours used, will be very disappointed. At best it'll be half that. My guess is one third to one quarter, since in the UK the need for lighting in summer is greatly reduced by the long daylight hours.
And a point about hot countries. Here, not only is waste heat truly wasted, but they are usually running an air-con to get rid of it. So in these places, the energy saving multiplier will be greater than one.
Body clock synchs on daylight
Most people's body clocks free-run at a longer period than 24 hours, a few free-run shorter. (I seem to recall 26 hours is average, anything from 22 to 30 is normal). This is established by experiments where volunteers live indoors for weeks or months, deprived of any clues as to what time of day it might be outside.
Daylight causes our clocks to fall into 24-hour synch. To a lesser extent, so do man-made clocks and scheduling activity around them. A few unfortunates have medical problems that appear to reflect a built-in clock that won't synchronize to 24 hours.
I've always suspected that those infuriating individuals who expect everyone to be up, bright and shiny at dawn, are those with the 22-hour internal clocks!
Free suggestion for AMD
Get it into the server market, but do it right. Give it an ECC-capable memory controller! Intel's approach seems to be that if you want low wattage and/or cheap, you can't care about data integrity. The only Intel CPUs that support ECC are their Xeons (expemsive, and even the low-wattage variants are energy guzzlers compared to an Atom).
Which is why the last two LInux terabyte NAS boxes I built had AMD CPUs.
I hate to say this, but ...
Hate to say this, but as a motorist I much prefer average speed cameras. What riles me about the other sort is that if you are driving safely, you are watching the road with occasional glances at your speedo, and it's all too easy to go past a camera at 10% over the legal limit because of a change in road gradient or even a sudden gust of tailwind. It's far harder to exceed the speed limit on average over several miles, except by wilfully speeding.
However, if they go down this route, I hope that they give reasonable consideration to raising the motorway speed limit to 90 (at which speed many routinely drive, and the police leave them to do so).
As for the privacy angle: there's no reason to keep numberplate data stored for more than a day to do speed enforcement. Long-term storage is therefore a separate issue. And since ANPR recognises numberplates, it does not provide legal proof that one was driving at the time. The plate could be a clone, or stolen. Or you might have lent your car to someone ... months later you can't be expected to be certain.
W ... T ... F?
Intel has shown no other signs of becoming a stupid company. So there most be *something* in this deal that makes sense. What that might be I haven't a clue.
OTOH if Intel really is succumbing to corporate senility, it may be time to buy some AMD stock!
> All that heat from light bulbs is wasted energy.
WRONG. Or only in summer, or only in a warmer country than the UK.
In the UK, our houses need some degree of heating for at least 8 months of the year. Also, the hours of darkness are much longer during the part of the year when heating is required.
A filament light bulb burning near the ceiling is not the most efficient way of generating that heat, but it does convect around the room, and if we're talking flats, downstairs' lighting inefficiency becomes upstairs' heating.
A back-of-envelope calculation suggests that in the UK, something like 3/4 of the energy no longer emitted by filament light-bulbs, will be emitted by heaters and central heating instead.
Energy-saving light-bulbs are at their best in tropical places where not only is waste heat from light bulbs wasted all year round, but causes air-conditioners to waste yet more energy pumping the waste heat to the outside.
What REALLY irks me
What really irks me about standby, is how utterly pointlessly stupidly wasteful is the engineering. It is easy to build an appliance that will stand by monitoring for a remote controller or for a button-press on a milliwatt. With a bit of work that could probably be pushed down to tens of microwatts.
You'd need a small rechargeable battery or a large capacitor, a relay or triac to disconnect the mains properly, and a mains press-switch as a starter for the times when the battery or capacitor had run flat after a long period of non-use. Add some low-power CMOS electronics for the rest. Alternatively use a small solar panel and charge the battery/capacitor off ambient light.
Why don't they do it? Competitive disadvantage. Doing it right costs a pound or two more, and so the crappiest approach wins more customers. It really makes me want to spew.
Our law-makers should make illegal any appliance which stands by on more than a milliwatt. (Standby displays should be passive LCD, so no wasteful back-lighting needed. By all means add a brighter backlit display which is on when the device is on, if that's useful).
I recall reading that the energy needed to heat water for washing out old glass bottles, drying them and baking them to make them sufficiently sterile for re-use, was actually greater than the energy used to melt glass and mould new bottles.
It probably depends on the details of the factories. In any factory there is a lot of scope for recycling "waste" heat as input to some other process. For example, one could use the heat emitted by newly moulded glass bottles to heat water for the washing of recycled ones, or to dry and bake them after washing -- the most efficient process might be to smash up some but not all bottles returned for recycling, to get the optimum balance.
And in any case much glass is actually recycled as rockwool, for insulation, which is a product that starts saving energy as soon as it is installed and continues to do so until the house is demolished decades or centuries later. So maybe one should look on a glass bottle as a useful intermediate step in the manufacture of rockwool, just as long as it gets recycled.
Your council needs a kick up the a**
My council gave me a green box into which I put my paper, plastic bottles, cans and aluminium foil for recycling. (Also used batteries, worn-out clothes, and worn-out shoes). They collect it weekly.
But even before that, I just stuffed these things (except for shoes) into carrier bags and took them back to the supermarket, where they had (and still have) recycling facilities just as you describe in Europe. So unless you are making a point about always walking to and from the shops rather than driving ...?
Code can infringe a patent whether it's closed or open.
The unfair advantage of closed-source code is that it may hide patent infringement well enough that the patent owner never notices. It's far harder to take a collection of binary blobs and decompile them to see what algorithms are being used, than to read commented open source code in a high-level language.
And yes, the way to fix this is to scrap software patents. The right protection for software is copyright (and/or copyleft). Literary authors have known for a long time that although plagiarism may be grounds for a lawsuit, mere imitation is just the sincerest form of flattery. It should be the same for software.
Spot on.. Netbooks are cheap and come with Keyboards, Ipads aren't and don't. I'd take a lot of convincing that they were competing in the same market.
Windows 7 might be the culprit. Maybe until Intel has faster Atoms, the MS-philes have gone off netbooks because they're too slow running Win7? (That they come with 1Gb RAM rather than 2Gb doesn't help)
What I want, is an ARM-powered netwook with a small SSD running Linux and weighing under a kilo. Shouldn't be hard, with ~17 Watts less CPU and no moving parts. Is there really *no* market?
Does this make sense?
> "Making the wrong multi-billion dollar bet could ruin a supplier, and the HDD industry wants to pre-empt a potentially disastrous Betamax vs VHS-type struggle".
Oh, really? The Beta/VHS struggle was because you couldn't interface a Beta cassette to a VHS player or vice versa. There would be no trouble interfacing either drive platter technology with the SATA and SAS controllers in existing systems.
More likely, no-one wants to end up betting their farm on the less good technology, and no-one wants to pay for two lots of R&D to avoid that fate. It should be good for people who buy drives, if the companies pool their R&D efforts until the best way forwards is clarified.
SSDs will be obsoleting small HDs in the near future (despite Windows 7's best efforts to out-bloat the SSD). Hard drive manufacturers will soon have to downsize and up-spec, because the average PC may not contain an HD at all for much longer. Long ago, I assumed IBM had seen this day coming when they sold their HD business to Hitachi.
Killing the goose?
The more I read the more I am starting to think that I should employ a completely stateless browser. There's a goodly set of browser appliances for use with VMware player, including good old Firefox at http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/507083, or I can play a live CD ISO image.
Clone a VM, browse, nuke it. Shouldn't slow me down much with a decent PC.
Do the guys that spy on us know about killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?
Lucky for you they started failing during the warranty!
Dell - the company that used to use PSUs that were physically and plug compatible with ATX, but wired differently. Replace one of those with a generic (non)-equivalent, and ... kaboom!
Origin of faulty caps
I heard a different story about the problem. Chinese organised slime bought cheap audio-grade caps on the open market, employed slave labour to replace the labels with fake good-name low-ESR labels. They then sold the relabelled caps back into the market at the (in)appropriate premium price. It was a year or more before they started to fail in service, by which stage the criminals were long gone with their loot, and ~50M motherboards were doomed to die young with brown gunk oozing out of their caps. Also, they always went flakey for weeks or months before they failed completely.
I don't think one can blame manufacturers of boards or systems for the problem if this is the cause. It's how such a problem is handled that's significant. Note the blatant lie "customers' data is not at risk" in the Dell mail. Anything that can cause a computer to crash poses a risk to the data that it is processing, or to the process that it is monitoring.
When I'm asked what I think of a company that's shipped us lots of kit that works perfectly, I say "OK". I don't have what I need to say "Bargepole" or "Brilliant". I get that when something goes wrong, which I assume is inevitable given enough time. A brilliant company accepts responsibility (not the same as blame) and sorts it out, fast. A bad one finds excuse after excuse for doing nothing, or simply fails to answer the phone in any meaningful way (call centre hell or plain no answer). What are these bargepole outfits thinking? That's I'm stupid enough to risk being fooled twice? Or that there are plenty of other suckers out there?
A grenade ... what the Chinese Slime deserve, along with any company that employs people to deny problems instead of fixing them.
Manifesto for a small revolution
Some of this I agree with. Certainly the chilling effect of the WEEE mafia on charity and giving things away.
I completely disagree about support. If the primary requirement is to give families access to the internet, you don't even need a hard disk in the PC. A usable Linux system can boot and run off a DVD, and apart from videos and and high-def photographs, you can save everything you need to store on a USB stick. Including extra apps, for those who get computer-savvy enough to download them.
A linux DVD will boot on virtually anything with an X86 CPU. Especially anything that's been around for a few years - it's mostly the bleeding-edge hardware that lacks Linux drivers. If you don't believe this, download a Knoppix or similar DVD and try it for yourself. It won't touch your hard disk if you don't tell it to.
So customise such a DVD to contain all the software that a kid in a particular school year will need. Give one to every kid. Kids not below the poverty line can run it on their home PC. Families below the poverty line will qualify for a repurposed UK.government PC. The letter with the DVD will tell them about that. At the other end, all unwanted government PCs go off to the repurposing agency, which handles data destruction and disposal of the few machines that can't boot the schoolware DVD, or which are too slow or too damaged to inflict on anyone else.
Where's the problem? Support: eject your USB stick if you still can, then hit the reset button or turn off. The PC contains no state. This will always reset it back to the known-good state contained entirely on the DVD. A reset-user-defaults script on the DVD would deal with times that the user's own context on his USB is knackered. Hit F-something during boot to access it.
Remember the BBC micro? Same concept, brought up to date.
In fact, if UK government was doing this, perhaps they shouldn't repurpose old PCs after all. Perhaps they should commission a tiny box with a 3-watt ARM CPU, a DVD and plenty of USB ports. Should cost under £100 in large-scale one-per-kid production. Why? ~100 less Watts per child, that's why. Less strain on poverty-line electricity bills. And less strain on the UK's creaking electricity supplies.
An even better idea if they start using the same box for all civil servant desktops ... a box that can't run MS stuff, except as a thin client stop-gap until the country goes open-source. I'm digressing.
Ku ... you ask why small businesses aren't using Linux. Well, I know a few that are. But mostly, before they talk to anyone who knows anything about IT, they have trapped themselves into PCs using MS-proprietary file formats talking to MS servers via MS-secret protocols. They've trained their staff to use proprietary software that isn't available to run on Linux. Try finding an HMRC-approved small-business accounts package that runs on Linux. Good luck. "There's no demand" and there never will be as long as Microsoft is allowed to keep pulling the strings.
UK Government is in the same trap, but it is big enough to call the shots. Unfortunately it is also dumb enough to make the same mistakes over and over again. They're smarter in Brazil.
> I wouldn't be surprised if plenty of them didn't get sold on to make some extra cash.
Neither would I. Neither would my sister, who is a primary teacher, and knows.
The parents (mostly) aren't child abusers. They aren't even particularly neglectful or unloving. They just think that education is a waste of time. By the time the children are of school age, they think like their parents. So either the free PC gets used exclusively as the family's games console, or it gets flogged to help pay for a holiday or a new TV.
You can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. (Or, you can take the girl out of Essex, but you can't take Essex out of the girl). I don't know why we have an anti-education "working class" culture here. It's quite different in the far East.
RAM wiped at power-off?
Not as well as you might think. Someone might well be able to capture useful data by pulling the RAM from a recently switched-off or live machine and immediately re-powering it in another. You could do the swap in ten seconds, less with practice.
Might pay TV companies provide a large market for volatile hard drives? Except not exactly the same. They'd want ones that have the key battery-backed against power failures, but which self-erase if the drive is ever disconnected from the pay-per-view gizmo in which it is embedded. More secure than DRM techniques, I think.
The reason is that driving a laser printer mechanism is a realtime process..
It used to be done page by page with RAM as intermediate storage, but for advanced features such as producing multiple copies of multipage documents stapled into A5 booklets, then the whole document needs to be buffered, not just one page. And of course, it's prefereable if one person sumbitting a large print job doesn't result in everyone else getting "prniter busy" for the next half hour. Having a hard disk as a buffer solves these problems but creates a security issue. Inventing the volatile hard drive fixes that.
Re-purpose old PCs instead?
Why not take every PC that UK government no longer has a use for, wipe the hard disk, install Linux with a prominent Firefox icon, and give those to the hard-up? At the moment, UK government is paying with our taxes for people to take them away to be scrapped.
Of course, if UK government used Linux rather than Microsoft, it would not be trapped in Microsoft's upgrade treadmill, and it would not have to scrap perfectly good computers just because the latest Microsoft bloatware won't fit in them. But for the time being, there are probably quite enough unwanted computers coming out of UK government to give one to every child living in IT-deprived poverty.
It means if the power trips on the copier, for whatever reason, you're going to have to rescan or reprint whatever it hasn't got around to putting onto paper. Tough.
The device is conceptually equivalent to hundreds of Gbytes of RAM. Cheaper, slower to randomly access, and even more certain to 100% self-erase on power-loss.
Other uses? I have read of a Linux software implementation where two servers generate encrypted filesystems and keys for each other, and users' data is mirrored between them. All links through the net encrypted and world-wide multi-hop, close to untraceable. If the opposition, whoever that might be, grab one of the servers and aren't 100% clued-up when they do so, the data is auto-gone, and the other server (far away in a different jurisdiction) is a hair-trigger away from self-destruct with its manager very much up-clued.
X X X X X X X X X
Am I the only person who is thinking "resigned", and many other things from "The Prisoner"?
Should I worry that with the benefit of hindsight, "Rover" looked remarkably like an Apple product (clean uncluttered white design, etc.)
If I next read about Apple moving into the defense sector, I'll start having nightmares.
Sculpture for sale
> if I make a sculpture, I get money from and when it's sold, it's sold. No further money for me.
Not necessarily so. It depends on whether you also sell the unrestricted rights to reproduce it. I don't know the legal defaults for sculpture. I's probably rather complex. For example, I know that when a sculptor makes multiples of a sculpture cast in metal and numbered say 1/25 up to 25/25, it's thereafter illegal even for him to make more from the same original, let alone for anyone else to make copies (=fakes). On the other hand he can sell 1/25 up to 5/25, keep the master, and sell up to 20 more at any later date. If the number of copies is not specified, he can sell any number of copies later. This situation is pretty much the same as a musician selling recordings.
Personally I think the dividing line is whether one is using another person's work for personal gain. If it's a typical amateur YouTube video distributed for fun, I don't think that a musician whose work is used in the soundtrack should be allowed to complain. Call it free publicity. Perhaps there should be a requirement that the music is in some way incomplete or talked over, so the soundtrack can't be taken by others as a substitute for buying an authorised copy of the music. On the other hand if the video is an advertisement, or otherwise linked to something being sold for profit, then the musician has every right to claim a share of the profit (and also the moral right to refuse to allow his music to be associated with a commercial product that he objects to).
There are always grey zones. How much has to be the same, before one is plagiarising music rather than creating an original composition? In classical music, a fairly common form of the art is variations on someone else's theme, or a re-arrangement thereof. Thank heaven C21 copyright law was not around when Ravel orchestrated Moussorgsky's "pictures at an exhibition" ....
Can this work?
Hmmm. The Intel x86 architecture contains an awful lot of historical and upwards-compatibility cruft that an ARM core does not. Surely this means that it'll always either consume more power, or be slower, than an ARM-based system of equivalent performance. In the mobile arena this will translate into Atom handsets being heavier than ARM-based ones, or having shorter battery life.
I really can't see x86 compatible CPUs catching up in the mobile world.
How on earth can they know this?
> From 1997 to 2003, at least 212 deaths resulted from defects in five different brands of defibrillators.
My understanding is that a defibrilator is a last-resort treatment for someone whose heart has stopped, or whose heart is no longer beating effectively. A person who is at death's door, in other words.
In some cases the machine will work and the patient's heart will again start beating normally. In others ... the jolt fails, and the patient dies. The latter must be fairly common.
How can they tell that "at least" 212 of the people who died, did so because the machine's software was defective, rather than because the patient was beyond saving? Note "212", not "about 200". Even in the only case I can think of where it would be obvious that the machine malfunctioned -- the one where it refused to deliver a shock to the patient at all -- how can anyone say with certainty, that patient could have been saved?
I'm also wondering whether these machines have an emergency bypass - sod the computer, give the patient a jolt NOW! - or whether that is a bad idea. I do know that medics had completely manual defibrilators before microprocessors existed. Did these kill more than they saved?!
Why have yet another sort of tax?
To me, the answer is obvious. Now that at least 99% of the population watch TV one way or another, include the TV license fee in people's income tax, by reducing the personal allowance.
Have a no-TV opt-out box on the tax return. Anyone caught watching TV who had ticked that box, would be guilty of deliberate tax evasion, a more serious crime than forgetting to pay for a TV license. And the TV detector vans would know exactly where to watch.
Or maybe, don't have an opt-out box at all. There's no opt-out from paying for the NHS if one has full private medical cover, nor from paying for schools if one does not have children. The admin cost would be greatly reduced this way... all the way to zero!
Whichever, everyone on a very low income would get a free TV license by default, which seems fair.
And reading between those lines...
... this is a feature which was insisted on by a marketing person, so that he could have icons which flashed purple and pink and jumped up and down while making Whee! noises.
An engineer pointed out that this was really bad system design with unlimited potential for security breaches.
The marketing drone pointed out that this was really cool artistic design with unlimited potential for supporting the Wubbly(TM) marketing campaign, and future highly profitable developments.
The engineer was over-ruled.
Wubbly(TM) was canned a few months later when someone higher up pointed out that it might cannibalise the sales of Microsoft Office. Which is why we have never heard of it and have been spared a proliferation of purple-and-pink-flashing active icons.
Unfortunately, not a proliferation of malware, because the engineer was right. (Engineers are *always* right, but no-one ever listens until after the design is changed without their approval, and the inevitable consequences follow).
All this is complete fiction based on no facts whatsoever. Have you got a better explanation?