Feeds

* Posts by Nigel 11

2223 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Windows Metro Maoist cadres reach desktop, pound it flat

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Great ad copy!

Same slogan, different images ...

A roadkilled rodent

A failed souffle

A mediaeval map of the world

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Unhappy

Emperor's new clothes?

My guess is that someone very high-up is making these bad decisions and everyone under him is too scared to voice dissent, or too effectively silenced.

They can pull back from the brink as long as we can choose to buy Windows 7. (Just as continued availability of XP saved them from Vista, although that was only bugridden not completely brain-dead). If they withdraw 7 so it's "8 or nothing", it'll be the beginning of the end of Microsoft.

15
0

Microsoft plots entry into tablet trade

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Meh

Price

Shouldn't be hard to get 25% cheaper than an iPad. Look at the prices you can buy low-end Chinese Android-hack Tablets for. It'll be Microsoft versus Google fighting for the section of the market that's rejected Apple for being too dear and Chinese no-support tablets for being too cheap.

Microsoft will be locking their tablets, so you won't be able to run any software not Microsoft-sanctioned. Google will presumably leave theirs open, both to non-Google app stores and to non-Google o/ses being installed on jail-broken Google tablets. I'd like to think that makes it no contest, but of course the average drooler doesn't give a monkey's about open-ness.

2
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Microsoft Hardware

Not my experience. MS keyboards seem prone to wearing out. It's Logitech keyboards that are nigh-on everlasting and pleasant to use (even the cheapo ones).

1
1

£CHING: ICANN bags $357m from 1,930 dot-word domains

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Meh

Re: .fail fail?

I presume they'll be selling subdomains. If 18,500 businesses pay $10 for their name.fail to prevent anyone else using it to disparage their products, then the TLD will be turning a profit.

Wonder how much the'll ask for epic.fail?

0
0

Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: @Nigel

"Using encryption/TOR etc will become a criminal act pretty soon I reckon."

At which point the real crims with a clue will switch to steganography. Send a completely innocent-looking photograph with an encrypted payload steganographically concealed in the noise. Perfectly encrypted data is indistinguishable from noise.

And don't send it. Just post it in a public place. As public and as popular as possible.

Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Alert

Re: @Nigel

What you've just said is that any UK employee of an overseas business accessing that business's intranet via a VPN is obviously a criminal.

Not sure if you intended irony or not.

3
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Will nobody think of the cheeeeeeeeeeeeeldren?

On the other hand, there ARE records of your phone usage (and everyone else's). There may be no records of your internet usage. So they're going from one extreme to the other. I'm reasonably cool with the concept of my internet usage being logged (I know that this visit to the Reg is logged). Those records should not be available for the authorities to trawl through without a warrant.

As for the practicalities ... VPN to overseas ISP in secrecy-friendly jurisdiction, anyone? Switzerland might be a good choice for a non-criminal who believes in privacy.

5
0

Hitchhiker shot while researching 'Kindness of America'

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Meh

Re: A personal view

I once had the thoroughly disconcerting experience of being held at gunpoint by armed and jumpy cops. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time: exiting a USA DoE facility with a research reactor on site, a few seconds after they'd had an alert that someone else had just shot at his ex-girlfriend. I matched the suspect's height, race, etc. and was driving the same model car.

It was very scary. The fact that the cops were armed quite definitely did not make me feel safer.

Yes, I can see the other side of the coin. There was an armed crazy on the loose, and unarmed police would have been far more reluctant to get close to him. But I'm still of the view that life is a lot better where the crazies rarely manage to get firearms in the first place, and the armed police are a separate division who are called up only when needed.

2
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Gun Training

Like in Switzerland? (Also the model of gun is tighly regulated there).

0
0

Linux Mint joins mini-PC hardware business

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Sheevaplug etc

????Plug devices don't have graphics hardware, or any means to add such, so that's an apples to oranges comparison. You might better try comparing it to a Rasberry Pi plus accessories (Power supply, box, USB hub, USB disk).

2.5" disks are silient enough for most people, and one can substitute an SSD if you're in the minority.

Never did understand why they doomed the ????Plug things by failing to include any graphics support at all. Just plain old 2D 1280x1024 would have sufficed. We don't all want to run games or watch movies.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: My phone has a faster processor

You've got to be trolling. Surely even Windows users know that Ghz comparison is only meaningful between chips with the same architecture (and then only if you're running something that's CPU-limited rather than disk-limited or net-limited).

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Fanless mini-itx system

You can, but a mini-itx box is considerably larger. My first thoughts about the mint box were "neat", "cool" and "expensive". A bit like an OpenWRT'ed router, but with the missing bits not missing (graphics, SATA, enough USB ports, enough RAM ... It's also got an RS232 port and a very high temperature tolerance. I doubt it's purely aimed at the domestic market.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Typical use?

A couple of years ago I built a PC based on a passive heatsink Atom 550 board and itx case. No fan. No noise. Low enough power consumption that I don't feel guilty leaving it on 24x7.

It means I can access the internet immediately, without having to wait for a system to boot. It also means that I can access "home" from work or anywhere else. Little things, but I like them.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Thumb Up

A hole in the middle

A hole in the middle is *exactly* what it needs, so that it can be chained or bolted down to stop it getting pilfered.

0
0

Climate scientists see 'tipping point' ahead

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: we will never know whether it saved China

And one other thought. If too many unsatisfied males causes wars, then the massive excess of females in the European population after ther carnage of WW1 should have prevented WW2.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: we will never know whether it saved China

How can you be so sure? The traditional attitude that girl children are worth less will fade in the face of girls being highly desirable. The same technology that allows selection of a male child allows selection of a female one.

It's also possible that we'll see the evolutionary reason for male homosexuality in action. That's highly speculative, and not intended in any way as endorsing any moral viewpoint. Evolution doesn't appear to have a moral viewpoint, any more than the law of universal gravitation does.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Influenza is a bad example

Influenza is an exception to most general rules about disease propagation.

It's anomalous because it can infect just about any creature with warm blood, rather than just one species. It is spread globally by migrating birds, even in times when humans hadn't worked out how to fly. It's also a fast-mutating virus. There are very many new strains every year, all busily adapting themselves to new species.

Flu is eventually its own antidote. As it mutates in a population, any strain which leaves its victims walking around despite being infected will have a huge advantage over a parent strain that isolates them in bed (or in a coffin). And because the strains are related, the less severe one spreads immunity against the deadlier. Flu evolves within a species to become more infectious but less serious. Were it not for the frequency with which it jumps between species, it would rapidly become no worse than a common cold.

One day, a scientist may have to decide whether to release a flu virus derived from a deadly one, engineered to be less deadly but more infectious.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
FAIL

Wrong climate regime @0_Flybert_0

What you describe is the very simple mechanism that's kept the Earth habitable through most of the last 600 Myears. It pertains whenever there is no near-sea-level ice to be found on the planet, which isn't today.

Today, we are in an intergracial period between ice ages. During an ice age, there's a built-in positive feedback regime. If the ice advances, it reflects solar energy back into space, causing further cooling. If it melts, more land is exposed, and that encourages warming. Especially since it thaws out methane hydrates trapped in permafrost, causing large releases of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. There's geological evidence that this sudden thawing has happened several times since the recent era of ice ages started, followed by a more gradual reglaciation.

We may have caused the tipping point towards melting, or we may be about to do so. We are living in a most unstable climate regime that would or will tip within a geological eyeblink(*) in any case, with or without the influence of humanity.

As for that ice-free planet, it's good news for large reptiles, and bad news for large mammals like humans. The stable temperature in the equatorial belt would be too high for humans to survive anywhere with high humidity. (temperature > body temperature, humidity near 100%, and you die).

(*) for non-geologists: a geological eyeblink is some time of the order of a hundred thousand years.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Hyperbole much? @Dave 126

I'm sure you're right about "Malnutrition, death, and horror" in some parts of the world. That's basically the same view Thomas Mathus espoused.

I'm also sure that you're wrong about large other parts of the world. 50 years ago, you'd surely have predicted the worst for Latin America: poor, run by dictators, and overwhelmingly Catholic, a religion that opposes birth control. Since then, population growth has slowed dramatically. The best extrapolation has it reaching zero by 2050.

There's also the Chinese approach, where having more than one child was criminalized. We can never know whether the Chinese would have curbed their fertility voluntarily, given female education and access to birth control. Also we will never know whether it saved (or will save) China from population control by famine.

0
0

Earth bathed in high-energy radiation from colossal mystery blast

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Erm, magnetic charges?

I've always thought that Maxwell's equiations should be written with a term for the density of magnetic monopoles. They are far more symmetrical and elegant that way. Add a statement that magnetic monopoles have never been observed, and that for all everyday purposes this density is everywhere equal to zero, leading to the common formulation of the equations.

On the other hand, cosmologically, in a universe having 4-spherical topology, there must be at least one monopole somewhere, or else magnetic fields could not exist at all.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Historical record

If it was something naked-eye visible and of duration >24 hours, it would have been seen globally and recorded by quite a few civilisations more advanced than the Europeans at that date. China, for example.

Unless, possibly, it was in the Southern hemisphere near the (celestial) South pole. Could that have escaped notice?

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Terrestrial origin

If so, one would expect many other radio-isotopes to be anomalous. I'd rather expect someone to have noticed the evidence of atmospheric H-bomb testing during the dark ages in (say) skeletons, but I guess it might be masked by the evidence of atmospheric H-bomb testing during the cold war.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Gamma ray burst ?

Would have had to have been a very small one. we don't know enough about GRBs to know if a small one is possible. A regular-sized one, of the sort we observe from cosmologically distant galaxies, would sterlilize the entire galaxy within which it occurred. The biosphere-killing mechanism is atmospheric ionisation, leading to the creation of huge amounts of Nitrogen Oxides, followed by deadly acid rain and ocean acidification.

A GRB in Andromeda?

0
0

Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Flame

Re: Won over? Really ?

We never did get to find out what would have happened if it was ME or ditch Microsoft.

We never did get to find out what would have happened if it was Vista or ditch Microsoft. (Yes, I know Windows 7 is pretty much Windows Vista properly debugged. XP had a fairly Vista-like start as well.)

This time? Who knows. DEC managed to kill itself, at the third or fourth try.

4
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Just Geddit People!

Not true. Linux is a lot cheaper than half the price, and a lot more than half-decent, so it should have put Microsoft and Apple both out of business.

Sigh.

1
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Confused

Win 7 UI works as well as XP. It P*ssed me off simply because it was different, so I had to spend time out from thinking about the work and start thinking about the s*dding interface again. I'm over that now. Same as learning to drive a new car, but worse, because a desktop UI has a lot more controls than a car.

Metro is far, far worse. It's an enforced paradigm switch. That can only make friends when everyone who uses the old one is crying out, "there has to be a better way", and you supply the better way. And even then ... everyone knows what is said about better mouse-traps, and that it's not true.

Metro fails at the first. It's not better. It's a huge leap backwards. It's the equivalent of taking away the pedals and controls that are universal on all modern cars, and re-introducing the pedals and controls from a model-T Ford.

5
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: for users equipped with mouse and keyboard this feels wrong...

Indeed. Note that Apple have a different UI on the iMac compared to the iPad. They know that they are two completely different classes of devices and users. The iMac one is not unlike "classic" Windows XP or 7.

(Amazing. Microsoft has managed to make me say something nice about Apple! )

6
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Facepalm

Truth in naming

ME - a nasty debilitating illness. Yup.

Vista - means excrement in Sanscrit (allegedly). Yup.

Metro - anagram of Morte. Dead. Yup.

4
1

Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Mushroom

Is this the same RBKC

Is this the same RBKC that two or three decades ago, demolished its old town hall building in the middle of the night when it heard that the folks trying to preserve this attractive and historical piece of architecture might manage to get it listed?

Of course, that was when RBKC was going to benefit by selling the site to a property developer. Wonder who else benefitted?

1
0

I need to multitask, but Windows 8's Metro won't let me

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Mushroom

No

You'd have to be the CIO of a company worth billions to get past his e-mail filter. You'd probably have to add another order of magnitude to get past his PA.

Anyway, it's completely clear from MS's strategy that HE thinks WE are fucking nuts. We'd do better mailing the Microsoft analysts at the big investment houses. Get rid of Ballmer before he kills the golden goose!

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

(Lightbulb)

Can I mount a Rasberry Pi in Duplo blocks?

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Flame

Choice

Gnome 3 really p*ssed off Gnome 2 users because it went against the whole Open Source ethos by denying them CHOICE. The Choice to stick with Gnome 2, or to instal both Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 on the same system until they decided which they liked most. It's as if Microsoft had inflicted the Metro UI on us not as a new product (which is bad enough) but as an automatic upgrade to Windows 7. Gnome should have forked Gnome 3 and looked for a new maintainer or developer for the Gnome 2 project.

However, although Gnome made life hard for Gnome 2 users, there is still choice. Scientific Linux, Centos and RHEL6 all stuck with Gnome 2. There's Cinnamon. There's Trinity Desktop (which is derived from KDE 3, but I believe that it can happily coexist with KDE 4). There are more than a few other window managers.

In the Windows world, there's no choice, just whatever UI Microsoft supplies.

1
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Unhappy

Doomed to failure?

Microsoft are not doomed until their customers realize that there's nothing left for them with Microsoft, and start moving to Apple or to Linux. So far they're only at ther stage of bitching loudly and hoping, praying, that someone at Microsoft will listen.

Microsoft will be doomed the day they announce the Windows 7 support termination date with only Windows 8 as an upgrade path. On that day IT departments all over the place will commit to their plan B and it'll all be over for Microsoft.

If Microsoft shareholders are smart, Ballmer will have been sacked before then, and the new boss's first pronouncement is that Windows 7 will be maintained until there is something acceptable to replace it with.

0
0

SpaceX signs deal to put its giant rocket to good use

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Unhappy

Monster?

Don't go OTT. It's slightly less than half a Saturn V.

1
1

Fedora aims cloudwards with Beefy Miracle release

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Flame

Re: Fedora is all very nice and all...

The nice thing about Linux is that if you don't like a UI, you can choose another one. It's easier with some distros than others, but there again one has a lot of choice of distro.

Think I'll be checking out Mint shortly. Also on my list are Trinity (UI derived from KDE3) and Cinnamon (classic Gnome UI implemented with Gnome 3 libraries). The reactionary distro is Scientific Linux (or Centos or RHEL6) which still use Gnome 2 and promise several more years support.

Still think that whoever inflicted the Gnome 3 "everything is a tablet" interface on us ought to face a long time in purgatory. About as much time as he or they wasted of other people's lives, preferably forced to work 24/7 with a truly diabilical ever-shifting omni-awful UI that looks a bit like Metro, but works less well.

1
0

Microsoft forbids class actions in new Windows licence

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Devil

Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

Does the USA allow one to waive one's legal rights in this way? Or at all?

Also given the nature of lawyers in general and USA lawyers in particular, I wonder if Microsoft won't be facing a class action lawsuit from the legal profession concerning this nefarious attempt to prevent citizens from asserting their legal rights, thereby depriving lawyers of their right to profit thereby? Sooner rather than later?

2
1

Assange loses appeal against extradition to Sweden

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Facepalm

What the UK should have done

Why haven't we (the UK) obtained an assurance from the Swedish authorities that Assange will be returned to British jurisdiction if he so desires, after he is found not guilty by a Swedish court, or after he serves his sentence in Sweden if he is found guilty?

That would kybosh all the conspiracy stuff about it being a front for extraditing him to the USA, and clear the path for an allegation of sexual misconduct to be dealt with in the proper way. (I don't say "rape" because what I've read suggests it isn't. Statutory rape, maybe). It could also have been done in days.

If course if the Swedes refused this, it would prove the conspiracy!

2
3

Super-powerful Flame worm could take YEARS to dissect

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Smart Geeks

Smart Geeks also don't do work that gives anyone a reason to kill them.

I can't remember where I first read it, but the all-time classic along this line involves pure mathematics. If you were to find a fast algorithm to factorize a huge number into its only two prime factors, your only hope (other than keeping it secret to your grave) would be to spam your paper as far and wide as you could, and then go into hiding for a few months until the powers that be worked out that it could not ever be suppressed.

Most mathematicians believe such an algorithm to be impossible. If there are any that justifiably think otherwise, they have good reason to keep quiet about it!

2
0

Trekkie wants to build USS Enterprise … in twenty years

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Boffin

Not that bad, probably

As far as we know the density of gram-sized dust in interstellar space is low enough that one wouldn't hit one (to a high degree of probability).

Much smaller dust would be dangerous. Carrying your reaction mass as ice frozen into a long thin cylinder with the crew quarters at the back end ought to work, as long as none of the incoming dust generated enough energy to blow the whole mass to pieces, or enough gammas to fry the crew.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: A journey to Alpha Centauri

Or, we discover a way to tap zero-point energy. The Casimir effect proves that this is not an outright impossibility. We just have to do it very many orders of magnitude better (or find out why it's not possible).

SF: "Songs of Distant Earth", A C Clarke.

0
1
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: What I really don't want to imagine

History would repeat. the colonists would want their independance. Classic SF: "The Moon is a harsh mistress" (Heinlein) and "A Fall of Moondust" (A C Clarke).

Earth would lose. We're at the bottom of the gravity well, they're at the top.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Rad-shielding

Actually, not. You use inverse-squares. Keep the crew quarters a good long way away from the (unshielded) reactor. With micro-G acceleration, a boom can be very long and very thin. Or you use an unmanned nuclear tugboat and a very long string.

If you meant rad-shielding against solar flares, that's a bigger problem. Although with nuke propulsion, you can probably afford a large cylindrical mass to put between the crew refuge and the sun.

0
1

Free Windows 8 desktop app development is dead

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Megaphone

Qt, anyone?

I'd suggest hobbyists, or anyone else who doesn't actively want to restrict their software to Windows 8, take a look at an open widget kit. Qt is awesome. WxWidgets is easier to get started with. There's also Tcl/Tk.

While you're at it, dump the MS languages and learn Python, or some other open scripting language.

Then your app should work on pretty much any flavour of Windows or Linux or Mac, and you won't be helping Microsoft to lock anyone else into their walled garden/ prison.

3
5

Man's car warns of AIR RAID OVER LONDON

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Bullfights?

Please, PLEASE someone post a link to the draft standard with all the possibilities in it!

I wonder if there is a huge list of $ANIMAL on road for all likely and unlikely values of large mammal, bird or reptile? I wonder if there is one for the peculiarly English "Police holding up traffic so mother and baby ducks /swans can cross the road"?

0
0

Steve Jobs' death clears way for vibrating Apple tool

Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: Deja vu from recent Reg headlines

Did he ever say he hated styli? Or just that he hated devices that needed a (device-specific) stylus?

If the latter, I'm with him. One should be able to use any not-very-pointed stick. I find a Bic Biro with the cap on almost perfect, and cheap enough to lose one daily without caring.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge

Re: So

The thing I've never understood is what's wrong with an ordinary stylus?

Its key advantage over a finger is very simple. It has a point. Not sharp enough to damage the touch-screen, but sharp enough to interact to millimeter precision. For some modes of use, an un-augmented finger is too blunt an instrument.

And its disadvantage? It gets lost.

I 'd solve this problem the same way I solve it with everyday writing implements. Make them cheap and make there be lots of them lying around. In fact with my (not-very-smart) touch-screen phone, it's a biro (with the cap on) that I use to control it most of the time, reserving the pull-out telescopic stylus for times when there's no biro to hand. The phone is supposed to be finger-operable, but I find it so much easier using a biro.

I can see that the haptic stylus might be a plus for certain minority categories of usage and user. For most of us, a biro will suffice. You can also use it to write on paper!

Mr. Biro should be proud. His invention may outlast the everyday using of paper.

2
0

People-powered Olympic shopping mall: A sign of utter tech illiteracy

Nigel 11
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: The problem is kiloWatt-hours

Emphatically not. Energy = Power times time. Kilowatts times hours for this unit. It should help remind anyone with a few brain cells to spare that the cost will relate to the power of the appliance multiplied by the amount of time it's turned on (or unnecessarily left on).

It's not a metric unit, but it's a useful one. Are the metrication fanatics seriously contemplating abolishing the hour, day and year (and birthdays!) and measuring time exclusively in kilo- mega- and giga-seconds? If not, they should accept the logical consequences, that units with time measured in hours or days may make a lot more sense in appropriate contexts.

Even scientists do this. When it comes to the distance of stars and galaxies, they work in Light-Years, not petameters (and exa- and zetta- and yocta- ). Why? Because the light-year makes perfect sense in cosmological terms. Ten billion light-years means what you are looking at happened ten billion years ago, when the universe was much younger.

1
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
WTF?

Sci-Fi

FTL Travel and Time travel are effectively the same thing (if General Relativity is right). Both are impossible, at least for anything larger than a subatomic particle, if current physics is correct.

Uploading consciousness is not believed to be impossible. We simply don't know. Perhaps there is a fundamental problem (consciousness *may* be a quantum phenomenon). Perhaps not. It may be a mere technological problem, that will be solved within decades or centuries.

The "hardest" SF doesn't wilfully break the generally believed laws that govern our universe. It runs with them.

0
0
Nigel 11
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Energy / Power isn't complicated

It's just taught badly.

Everyone has an intrinsic feel for water, so do it this way. Energy is the total amount of water that goes down a pipe. Power is the rate at which it does so.

A toilet is high power, but flushes don't last long. A dripping tap is low power, but over a day will expend more water than flushing a toilet.

Electrical power relates to the flow of electricity rather than water.

If the height that the water descends is fixed, then there is an exact analogy (stored water has potential energy). Electrical voltage is analagous to pressure (which is determined by height).

Water also has the advantage that kids can muck around with it in a "lab" with no risk of anything other than getting wet.

2
0