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* Posts by Nigel 11

2223 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Top Facebook exec begs students: 'Click on an ad or two'

Nigel 11
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Unhappy

Re: I could have told the US stock market something ...

Tulips ... or Jesuits?

"Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". I hope I'm wrong.

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Nigel 11
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Re: I suspect

Firefox + Adblock Plus? Doesn't come with it, but it's a plugin just a few clicks away, and works just fine.

And a free idea, Adblock DoublePlusGood. the same, but behind the scenes it clicks on all the adverts that you don't see, and sends whatever comes back to the bit-bucket.

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Nigel 11
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Devil

Script it?

Er ... buy some FB shares and then write a script to "click" on FB ads? Then call it the FB share-price pusher and persuade all the other FB shareholders to download it? Or just embed it in an "Angry Birds"-alike app?

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Fake Angry Birds app makers fined £50k for shock cash suck

Nigel 11
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Re: Reprimanded?

What about lawyers employed by the real owners of "Angry Birds"? Can't they find a way to "encourage the others"?

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Russian satellite beams home 121-megapixel pics of Earth

Nigel 11
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Unhappy

Can do / can't do

the USA won the space race, and just about everything else in the 1950s and 1960s, because of a can-do attitude. How times have changed.

Today, the West is tying itself up in ever-increasing tangles of bureaucracy and red tape run by people whose attitude is 100% can't-do. If it's not explicitly allowed in the rulebook, it can't be done, so there's no point trying and it's our job to stop you if you disagree. My feeling is that the USA's version of this is rather more agressive than the UK/EU version, but both impede progress most successfully.

I expected the can-do magic to pop up somewhere else in the world. Russia?!

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Why can't ICANN just 'get s**t done', ask dot-brand hopefuls

Nigel 11
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Big or little endian? We could always try both!

It started with a redundant "www.", will it now all end with a redundant ".www"?

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Nigel 11
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Devil

.mafia

Wonder if anyone wants .mafia, and if so, who and why?

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Nigel 11
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Meh

Re: Maybe because

Why indeed?

I wonder whether the folks buying these new TLDs have thought it through, or whether it's just a dot-vanity project costing what's less than petty cash to a large ego's corporation?

I have trouble remembering URLs and extra TLDs won't help at all. Google doesn't forget and doesn't care.

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Big Bang secrets hidden in hundreds of petabytes of tape

Nigel 11
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Re: Duh

328 Pb is 328,000 Terabytes. This is territory where maximizing the surface area of the storage medium is paramount. Tape does just that, by rolling it up.

One day we may be able to do true 3D solid-state storage. Until then a roll of flexible 2D storage will have to suffice.

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'Dated and cheesy' Aero ripped from Windows 8

Nigel 11
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FAIL

Vista better than XP?

Did you ever try to copy a folder containing 15 Gb of photographs to a thumb-drive on the original Vista?

It was still in progress the next DAY!

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Nigel 11
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Re: New and intuitive

I completely agree, but why anonymous? The one I use, there's an option somewhere to optimise by shavings dispersion. It really matters when the shavings are Plutonium.

(note to MI5 - this is a joke)

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Nigel 11
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Re: Metro

Two steering wheels ... one for reversing, and the other for going sideways. Good-oh.

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Nigel 11
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Despite ...

Despite the great efforts being made by Gnome to frustrate this intent.

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Nigel 11
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Just bring back the windows XP UI on proper desktops.

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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ALL NHS patient records online by 2015

Nigel 11
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Alert

It's all a ghastly plan ...

... to make sure that anyone suffering from any, er, embarassing condition, takes himself or herself to a private clinic rather than getting treated on the NHS. Because it will soon be common knowledge that anything you've been treated for on the NHS will be public knowledge available to your spouse or to your prospective employer in exchange for a few tenners in some dodgy pub.

But if you think them knowing about your easily cured STD is bad enough, just think about the possibility of being made unemployable for life because one of your parents has been diagnosed with a slowly fatal incurable disease that you have a one in four chance of having inherited. Or that you're the parent, and you want to spare your kids until they are a bit older.

Happy goldfish bowl ....

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What's copying your music really worth to you?

Nigel 11
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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Speak for yourself, and read what I said. I have nothing against uncompressed or losslessly-compressed bitstreams on whatever media, and these days you can put tens of uncompressed CDs on a cheap memory stick. But if you can enjoy the sound of a C-major chord polluted with random C-sharps and E-flats and other tones that are not even a part of the twelve-note chromatic scale, then you do not have an ear for tonal music.

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Nigel 11
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Go

A way forward

This probably wouldn't work with popular music, but if one of the large music companies offered me a way to listen to anything in their entire classical catalogue whenever I wanted for a monthly subscription fee in the Sky-TV ballpark, I'd jump at it. If it used DRM to prevent me making copies I'd still take it. I'd rather listen to a different performance every time, than revisit the exact same one I'd bought.

Provided - PROVIDED - it was an uncompressed or losslessly-compressed bitstream hitting my DAC.

It'll never happen. Well, not unless the world's musicians get their tech act together and tell Sony et al to go jump in a volcano.

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Nigel 11
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Mushroom

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

I don't listen to compressed music at all. Digital compression creates non-harmonic distortion: frequencies in the output that are non-integer multiples of the input frequency, that have no musical relationship whatsoever to the source. For anyone with a liking for tonal music and a decent ear, this is fairly close to torture.

It's nothing to do with headphones. Even a cheap pair of 'phones is quite a high-fidelity reproduction device, and if they distort at all, it's harmonic distortion unless you have the volume up dangerously high. As for vinyl vs CDs, one can prove by measurement that the vinyl introduces the greater distortion. However, it's pleasant-sounding low-harmonic distortion, so it's understandable if some folks actually prefer it ito a CD.

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Resistance is futile? Memristor RAM now cheap as chips

Nigel 11
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Re: Endurance

It's not a whole lot worse than TLC flash!

With decent controller architecture and a lot of spare bits, you could today make a decent memory stick or SSD out of this. OK, you'd not want to use it as cache or index storage for a busy database.

If it has small pages instead of huge ones like flash, and if that 3000 is worst-case not average life, it might actually be better than TLC already.

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Microsoft to devs: Don't ruin Win 8 launch with crap code

Nigel 11
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Mushroom

Oh, PLEASE

Microsoft has just told you how to strangle this abomination at birth. Do you need any further encouragement?

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UK prosecutions for hacking appear to be be dropping

Nigel 11
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Meh

But why?

Does this mean the black hats are giving up, or that the black hats are winning?

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Iran threatens to chuck sueball at Google over missing gulf

Nigel 11
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Suggestion for Google

Draw in the international boundary down the middle. Label the Iranian side "Persian gulf" and the other side "Arabian gulf" . Simples! If anyone asks about the Gulf, point precisely at the line down the middle.

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Crooks sell skint fanbois potatoes instead of iPhones

Nigel 11
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Re: Anecdotal story about a dodgy buy on the street

in the Canaries, they don't even bother to pretend that the Rolexes are genuine. They pile them high and sell them cheap. If anyone thinks they're buying the real thing they're idiots, and if anyone from Rolex thinks they are losing money because of it, they're also idiots.

I bought one so my decent watch didn't get ruined by sand or saltwater. It was branded Rolexe (sic).

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Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

Nigel 11
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Re: Point 57 of a litre please.

Round my way it's vice versa. Supermarkets do two pints, corner-stores do liters. I imagine that way their price looks less exorbitant compared to the supermarket!

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Japanese operator to test quake-proof floating phone-mast BLIMPS

Nigel 11
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Re: That truck is problematic.

Definitely. You want pre-installed autonomous solar-powered emergency cells. Smart enough to configure themselves, both into non-interfering cells for the mobiles and for mesh communication with surviving neighbours.

And how to turn them on? I'd suggest smart enough to listen to the "proper" fixed cellphone infrastructure, and turn themselves on if that dies. Smart enough to link into it at the edges of the disaster area would be a plus. But I'm wondering, why normally off? In rural areas they might as well be [part of?] the normal network in everyday operation. Possibly even in cities, unless they have to be fundamentally incompatible with operation in a high cell-density network.

Anything that can't be done with existing hardware? I don't think so. It's a software problem!

For our next trick, we work out how to deliver a replacement cellphone network to a disaster area by bomber. (Planes which are usually sitting around doing nothing when a natural disaster strikes, long range, may as well use them for good as well as evil). Thinks: anchor, tether, electronics package, combination drogue / blimp support that inflates on the way down. A helium cylinder could double as an anchor, the tether could be a tube. Same form factor as the usual military payload?

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Fastest-ever hydrocarb scramjet hits Mach 8, doesn't explode

Nigel 11
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Re: Makes you think though...

So what is the military use? I'd have thought that if they can make the technology reliable, it's for delivering conventional explosives onto mobile targets ... this thing may be too fast to intercept and too fast to move when you spot it coming.

But also a good step towards Earth to Orbit without needing huge expensive rockets to lift fairly small payloads. Ultimately, this might lead to a genuine spaceplane, if HOTOL doesn't get there first .

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Nigel 11
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Re: Makes you think though...

There are already several ways of delivering WMDs that are already deployed. Rockets (ICBMs), Bombers, Cruise Missiles. What need is there for a new delivery system?

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Intel CEO predicts DOOM for fab industry and competitors

Nigel 11
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Re: @Charlie Clark

"if you could get an ARM chip done with on the same Intel fab, would it then thrash it"

Yes. And if Samsung can attain / maintain fab parity with Intel, it will!

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BOFH: Siri, why do users lie?

Nigel 11
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But a PI number would be too easy to guess

3141 or 3142, except for members of the USA legislatures who'd probably use 3000

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Queen unveils draft internet super-snoop bill - with clauses

Nigel 11
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Re: Note for GCHQ:-

Looks like a business opportunity to me. Start researching Swiss law now, for a service you can sell to respectable people who worry about journalists, PIs and spouses getting access to logs that are supposed to be for MI5 only.

Swiss, because they're a country that will cooperate with law enforcement agencies, but where they still believe in privacy. The really bad guys will find other more bribeable jurisdictions ... or possibly, put their servers afloat in the Pacific garbage patch or in orbit!

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Nigel 11
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Alert

http://www.random.org?junk=a-long-string-of-random-garbage

I wonder how long this new surveillance regime will survive if some malware gets distributed which (invisibly) does the equivalent of browsing something much like the above every couple of seconds (or milliseconds), and ignores the error responses. Their logs will fill up with the random hexadecimal strings.

Some infinitessimal part of which might be steganographically concealed messaging?

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Secret's out: Small 15K disk drive market is 'growing'

Nigel 11
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Re: MTBF of SSD - MLC, SLC, TLC ...

SLC is OK. It's rated at a million-plus write cycles. 1M x 256G drive size / 1G bytes per second = 256M seconds to wear it out. Given a decent wear-levelling technology, that's about eight years at a rate somewhat in excess of current drive tech.

Another thing is that flash blocks fail on write. Provided what has been written is tested while it can still be re-written, data-reliability should not be compromised even when a significant fraction of the device has failed.

If it's cache you're using it for, then even a total bricking doesn't hurt much. Just toss it. Plug a new one in and let the cache refill.

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Nigel 11
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Re: @Nigel 11

The gyro I was thinking of wasn't in an evacuated enclosure. Old tech! If you don't like that example I could have said that a Dremmel tool can do 35K rpm.

A disk couldn't work in vacuum because the head uses aerodynamic effects to "fly" just above the rotating disk. I read once that they could make them go a lot faster if they were fillled with Helium rather than air. The seal is probably the problem on that front.

Anyway, the velocity at the rim of a 2.5" disk doing 22K rpm is no greater than that at the rim of a 3.5" disk doing 15K rpm. You can buy the latter, so why not the former?

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Nigel 11
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Re: "Daddy, daddy, what's a floppy disk?"

I imagine that an SSD will still be called the hard drive. The distinction being made was and is between that and removeable-media drives. Though perhaps the time isn't so far away when it won't be a separately replaceable module for much longer, it'll be soldered onto the motherboard.

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Nigel 11
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Boffin

Re: 15K growing or 2.5" growing?

The physics of fast drives is better if you keep them small. In particular it's much easier to seek faster if the heads have to span only the width of a 2.5" disk compared to a 3.5" disk. The arms on which the heads are mounted are smaller and so their moment of inertia decreases.

I'm slightly surprised that we haven't seen even faster 2.5" drives yet. They can do 15K 3.5" so 22K 2.5" should be straightforward. Stress on the disk no greater, ditto velocity of the disk at its edge so head-flight physics the same. A bearing technology issue? Seems unlikely, gyros can be spun *much* faster.

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Dinosaurs were DRAINED of blood by GIGANTIC HORROR FLEAS

Nigel 11
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FAIL

A puny insect

Gentlemen, I see your one-inch extinct flea and raise you a living Amazon Giant Leech

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/amazon-leech.html (If you are squeamish, do not follow this link).

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Moore's Law has ten years to run, predicts physicist

Nigel 11
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Bright flashes ...

"some people even claimed to see bright flashes of light acompanying the boom ffs"

Almost certainly, they did. It's called synaesthesia. It's quite common. For most people it occurs only when one of their senses is overloaded by a sudden and unexpected input. There is some sort of neural spill-over in their mental processes that registers as a different sense. If the triggering experience is sufficiently rare, they may not recognise it as an internal rather than an external phenomenon.

For me, a sudden loud noise also registers as taste (acid on my tongue).

For a smaller number of people, the linkage between their senses is a permanent part of everyday experience. They're not mad, because they are fully aware that it's their own internal "wiring" that is different to that of most other people, and because it doesn't cause them any distress.

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Study finds water cycle accelerating with warming

Nigel 11
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True only for the age of the dinosaurs

... and unfortunately not true for the unusual era we are living in, with ice at both poles.

For most of Earth's history, there was no ice at sea level anywhere on the planet, and the climate stability model was very straightforward. It was also very warm - Antarctica had a temperate climate, and the tropics would have been too hot and humid for large mammals like people to survive.

Ice creates instability. Cooler - more ice - more reflected sunlight - cooler, or warmer - less ice - less sunlight reflected - warmer. Positive feedback, not negative. But this too is a gross over-simplification. More heat nearer the equator and more water vapour from the oceans may result in more snowfall over the poles, resulting in more ice even if it's warmer ice. Or not. This all depends on the actual atmospheric circulation patterns. Also ice is a step-discontinuity. Below 0C, you get snowfall, above 0C, you get rainfall, and the transition between water and ice releases a lot of energy.

Ice is just one of the reason why climate modelling for the present is particularly difficult.

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Boffins cross atom-smasher streams, 'excited' beauty pops into being

Nigel 11
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Boffin

Re: any other accelerator built by humanity

We don't know what made it, but Google the Oh-My-God particle (a cosmic ray assumed proton with ~3 x 10^20 eV energy, or about ten million times more than anything men can make!)

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Nikon recalls camera batteries

Nigel 11
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Mushroom

An improvement?

The icon suggests what used to happen when Lithium batteries overheated. Are they more stable these days?

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Uni plagiarism site buckles under crush of last-minute essays

Nigel 11
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Flame

Appallingly bad design?

"The service also stores all student essays submitted – with the result that students are often accused of plagiarising themselves."

Surely it should also store who submitted the essay, and spot that it's being resubmitted by the same person?

On the wider issue of citation versus plagiarism, it surely ought to be capable of parsing the common forms of citation, such as text in quotes followed by a citation reference.

It's wrong that the computer is "scoring" students. Surely it should just return the essay marked up to show the areas of concern, which the student can then revise, and finally hand in the (marked-up) essay with a separate explanation for human consideration of anything where he can't satisfy the big dumb computer!

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Supernovae blasts shape climate, life on Earth, reckons boffin

Nigel 11
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Boffin

"Passes through"

The galaxy's arms are density waves, and all the stars in the galactic disk periodically pass through them. The most everyday example of a density wave is when you are driving along a busy motorway and the traffic abruptly slows to a crawl or stand-still for no apparent reason. Viewed from space at night, it is actually possible to see waves of traffic density moving in the opposite direction to the traffic. Another example is density waves of Guiness moving through the head as it settles.

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Battlefield Earth ruled worst film EVER

Nigel 11
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The word you need

is sequel?

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Biologists create synthetic DNA capable of EVOLUTION

Nigel 11
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Re: Funny thing

Only trillions?

Yes, I know it's a figure of speech, but given the Avogadro constant and the size of Earth's oceans it seems a bit inadequate.

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Cosmic ray source riddle mystery now even more mysterious

Nigel 11
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Boffin

Re: long live the oh my god particle

Well, if the process was 100% efficient, the amount of energy needed is as stated in the article. It's just that we don't have a clue how to concentrate that much energy into a single particle.

Perhaps there are weakly interacting massive particles left over from the big bang, that decompose into high-energy protons with a long halflife, much like radioactive nuclei. There's good evidence for the first part of that statement. Cosmologists call them "dark matter". The other half is speculation.

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Austrian village considers a F**king name change

Nigel 11
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IT Angle

Re: Penistone ...

Anyone know whether it's true that user-ids at a certain ministry used to be six letters of ones first name concatenated with six letters of one's surname ...

Until Virginia Bottomley landed the top job!

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Nigel 11
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It's not so very different in German

Ficken: to fuck.

Surprised no-one's mentioned the German for "car journey" yet.

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Nigel 11
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: "ing"to indicate settlement?

FUCKDORF. Truly brilliant. Thank you!

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Nigel 11
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Re: Penistone ...

My sister knew a girl at school, who dumped a chap called Littlejohn to go out with another chap called Allcock.

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Nigel 11
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Re: There used to be a Lord Fuchs (sp?) in England somewhere.

But isn't that pronounced Fooks? There was also a botanist of that name: witness the Fuchsia. (Try pronouncing that right today and you'll get some funny looks).

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