2560 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
makes you realize how civilised (some) UK employers are
Someone I know tripped (no-one's fault) and ruptured a disk (badly), causing inability to drive for more than a few minutes (essential for the job) and serious back pain. It'll probably never get any better. End of career, and definitely nothing to envy.
The company's insurance has taken over paying his salary and pension contributions until he reaches retirement age (many years away). This even includes a new "company" car every three years and free fuel, because the car perk allowed unlimited use of the car by his wife when he wasn't using it for work.
I don't suppose all UK employers are this decent, but the story from China rather puts things in perspective. Hope people get to read this behind the great firewall.
Re: Couldn't they come up with...
You'd have to compare the relative efficiency of (a) direct solar-powered water evaporation and (b) solar-PV electricity generation followed by electrically-powered reverse-osmosis. I expect that the thermodynamics have been studied and the solution that they are using is the better one.
As to why they aren't scavenging energy from fossil-fuel plants for water purification, I don't know. Come to that, when you burn Methane one of the major outputs is pure water (two H2O from every CH4), and it should be trivial to condense it rather than pump it up the chimney, if water is a valuable by-product rather than "just steam".
Re: "...it’s rain-free about 80 percent of the year..."
It's an issue that needs to be addressed. Cleaning solutions with minimised water consumption are part of the design of these plants. (Not sure if they've cracked water-less yet). Obviously the availability and price of water for cleaning in the middle of a desert may be an issue. In some places there may be plenty of low-quality groundwater unfit for drinking or irrigation, because of salinity or Arsenic content.
Until there's enough solar capacity to remove the daytime demand peak from the fossil-fuelled generation plant, the fact that solar needs daylight is not a problem. Many parts of the worlh have higher day-time demand than evening because of industrial processes. In hot parts of the world air-conditioning demand is highest when the sun is streaming down (especially in solar-friendly parts of the world with nearby deserts and therefore low humidity, where it gets a lot cooler quite fast after sun-down).
Re: Well Done Those People
Don't know about "few places". Solar power is appropriate anywhere that has barren land and a climate that is sunny either most of the year, or for the parts of the year when the demand for power is highest.
That applies to pretty much any roof under which air-conditining is required on sunny days, especially if closer to the equator than the UK. It applies on a utility scale anywhere there is a desert within HVDC transmission range of a city. Most of Australia, SW USA, Spain, Arabia immediately spring to mind.
Re: Mini-ITX variant?
Thanks for the pointer to the ITX board. That's one heck of a passive heatsink! I'd assumed that these CPUs were slightly too hot to run with completely passive cooling. My current Atom gets pretty wam , and (from memory) it is about 10W less.
I'd still prefer a 4W CPU, though.
Anyone know if there's going to be a Mini-ITX motherboard sporting this chip (with a fanless heatsink). A quick Google didn't succeed.
I built my own almost silent always-on PC with a passively cooled Atom board a couple of years ago, but it's a bit slow. One of these looks like a perfect upgrade (along with an SSD to replace the HD). If I can get it as a board instead of a full tablet, that is!
Why do people find it so hard to see ...
Why are people finding it so hard to see that Tablet devices and PCs are two different classes of device, and that many folks will use one of each (plus a smartphone making three).
Apple gets it. That's why the UI on an iPhone is not exactly the same as on an iPad, and why the UI on an iPad is not at all like the UI on an iMac.
Touch devices are for data consumption, for output-mostly usage with small amounts of clicking and even less typing. There are some business applications that fall into that category. For these, going to tablets makes sense. I recently visited a sofa shop where the salespeople all had iPads. They could show you what any sofa would look like with any fabric, and then take your order while sitting on the sofa. Neat! (Pity the sofas were crap).
But for serious data creation you need a keyboard and/or a precise pointing device (mouse). For many classes of serious work you need multiple windows open at the same time nxet to each other, or overlapping. For 6+ hours/day working with the computer, you need a big vertical screen and ergonomically acceptable keyboard and seating. A company that expects staff to work those hours on a tablet, will soon be sued by staff suffering from RSI. (And even if they don't sue, productivity will be way down and "sickies" way up).
Two different tools. Why does Microsoft and half the rest of the world think that they should be forcibly merged? It's possible to build an amphibious car, but most people know that they need a car, or a boat, or both.
Re: Not far enough....
As with many such things a modicum of commonsense is needed. In the case of archiving e-mails that may in part also be personal, people need to have confidence that the archive is automatic, that reading its contents will never be a matter of routine, and that if personal information is uncovered in the context of an retrieval for proper business or legal purposes, then it will remain private. Some of this is already mandated by law, more of it ought to be, and a good business won't routinely be spying on its staff because that's very bad for morale once it becomes known or even suspected.
After all that is said, the bottom line is that if you are using your employer's hardware, you can't expect the same degree of privacy you'd have if you used your own. So don't post stuff that would cause anything worse than moderate embarassment were it to become public.
Most of us aren't BOFH's. I've more than once found embarassing user content while doing a sysadmin's job. I've never revealed information that was not intended for my eyes.
Re: Deliberate decision not to archive
However, if I were in business I'd worry that a dishonest customer might present a very biassed selection of e-mails that I sent to him in support of some dispute. Or even edit such e-mails. Would you want to be unable to prove bias - or fraud?
RAID for rockets
Disk drives are not supposed to crash either. As long as the failures are predictably confined, this design equates to RAID for rocketry.
Provided (big proviso!) failures are always non-destructive, it's more like you've got (at least) one spare engine. Think of a passenger jet. It's not unheard of for an engine to fail mid-flight, but it's usually no big deal. It's all but unheard-of for a plane to come down because of both engines failing.
Bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket if you can avoid doing so.
Re: Improved accuracy
Drop the water attached to a brightly-coloured helium party balloon by about 10m of nylon monofilament. Just as long as the lost person can still walk, he'll find it without much trouble at a distance of a kilometer or more. So accuracy not needed, just lateral thinking.
I'd be a lot more interested in realizing the "smuggler's mule" device in Bruce Sterling's "Heavy Weather". It's basically a self-navigating gas-powered pogo stick, or perhaps one should say a monopedal kangaroo robot. Bounces its way across just about any terrain in 30-ft jumps. One seriously cool idea, with the sole drawback that it's hard to think of a legal use for it!
Away from head
Until a bug replaces a plus by a minus, and the beam is directed straight at your head, and then the phone ramps up the power so a sufficient wattage emerges from the other side of your head.
So if the battery life suddenly drops by a factor of maybe 100 and/or the reception suddenly goes cr*p, you have been warned. It's trying to kill you.
Re: Headsets in the vertical plane.
Not sure I like being called a very "effificent absorber of radio signals", though. Makes me sound a bit fat. : (
It's the conductive (watery) bits of you that are the good absorbers. Adipose tissue is unlikely to be a major contributor to absorbtion of microwaves!
Re: "can save more energy than would be supplied by a battery occupying the same space"
Re increasing battery life, or not: It's the milliwatts needed to power the computation versus the milliwatts saved with respect to a conventional antenna. It may cost more to compute than it saves in transmission, much as a better compression algorithm may save less on transmit time (or cost) than it costs you in CPU time (or electricity).
For some reason I'm reminded of Vinge's "zones of thought" SF universe.
There was a recent press release from Siemens trumpeting that their latest CCGT had broken the 60% barrier, so state-of-the-art is a little under 40% of waste heat going up the chimney. Isn't that plenty? And just as "wate coolness" could be stored in gravel, so could waste warmth.
I agree the overall thermodynamic efficiency of liquid air energy storage won't ever be high, but it looks to me as if a lot of the "wastage" can be made up out of low-grade heat that's going to be wasted anyway.
If the liquid air storage plant were sited alongside some large factory that both emitted much waste heat AND needed air-conditioning, things might get better still (scrap the electrical air-conditioning, and just pipe the cold air into the factory).
Still wonder why things have gone quiet on the big Vanadium redox flow-battery storage front. That looked like a pretty efficient way to store electricity, albeit one that needed Vanadium by the kilotonne.
@Robbie The reason why all long-distance links are HVDC is very simple: Every single generating set in a linked AC system has to be exactly* in sync, as otherwise they end up consuming power instead of generating it.*
Utter nonsense I'm afraid. An electricity grid is self-synchronizing in the same way that two people pedalling a tandem are self-synchronizing. If something synchronous (generator or motor) gets even very slightly ahead, it will start supplying energy to the grid until it is back in synch. If it gets behind, it will start draining energy until it has once again attained the same speed as everything else. If the total power drain exceeds the amount of power going in, the frequency and voltage of the whole grid will droop, until regulators at individual power plants notice this and open valves to increase the flow of steam to the turbines. The regulation is totally decentralised. There's no single control centre, no master grid-regulation station that could be attacked by terrorists.
The only time there might be trouble is if a (synchronous AC) generating plant gets disconnected from the grid and has to be reconnected. This requires careful monitoring of both the frequency and phase of the plant to make sure that they both match the grid before the connection switch is thrown. Otherwise, there would be a massive surge that would blow "fuses" and probably break many other things.
As for HVDC, as other people have observed, technology has advanced since Tesla and Westinghouse's day. Transmission losses are reduced with HVDC, and HVDC to grid-AC conversion is no longer impossible or uneconomic. Long-distance HVDC has another large bonus. It is immune to the effects of solar storms (which increase as the length of the line increases). If a huge CME induces a DC current in a DC line, it either adds to or subtracts from the power being transmitted, but it doesn't appear as any sort of abnormality to the plant at the ends. When the same happens to a conventional AC line, the DC current cannot be transformed by the transformers, and instead becomes waste heat inside the transformers. If someone doesn't break the circuit fairly rapidly, the transformers catch fire. In other words, either we suffer a short-term blackout or a long-term blackout (possibly an end-of-civilisation blackout were all the safeties to fail). Had a Carrington event occurred in, say, the 1960s, this would have been a real possibility. Today, we know to watch our sun closely, and to cut the power to save the grid if it throws another big belch at us).
If all we need is a distribution that boots direct into Gnome 2 for that much-like-XP experience, then it already exists, and Linux will conquer (not the Ubuntu flavour, though).
The block is Microsoft data-format lock-in. Openoffice and LibreOffice are not entirely compatible with MS Office, and the (slight!) incompatibilities are the reason that businesses continue to fork out several hundred quid per employee on MS office licenses, than loading one of the free Office softwares onto their Microsoft systems and then planning an exodus to Linux.
It's not just Office, of course. Outlook is another lock-in. Ever tried using Thunderbird as a mail client in an organisation that uses Outlook calendar functions? Then there are Access databases. And of course, all the proprietary Microsoft-only applications that they've bought from third-party vendors.
Truth be told, LInux lost the corporate desktop before Linux was born. The only business that can easily migrate to Linux for everything, is one that has yet to buy its first computers. And the trouble is that start-up businesses usually don't have anyone who knows about Linux and about the Microsoft data-format lock-in trap. By the time they are big enough to have even a part-time computer system manager, Microsoft will rule their roost.
The unhappy face should be crying. The business model that Microsoft uses is very similar to that of a Cocaine cartel (albeit legal). By the time the user realizes Cocaine (or MS software) is not his friend, it's too late for most users to do anything about it.
Re: Apps yes, OSes no
Perhaps Canonical will offer a paid for, ad free version. It's fair they make money after all?!?
Closed source thinking.
With open source, the source is public and someone will take the source of your no-ads version and rebuild it and put it up for download. You are not allowed to withhold that source from them, if it's a derivative program of a GPL'ed work. If you've tried to protect yourself by (say) copyrighting the artwork, it'll just take them a little longer to replace that with their own. Red Hat do copyright theit graphics, probably more because of Oracle than the free distributions. If Centos slipped up, I very much doubt Red Hat would do any more than bang off an e-mail telling them which copyrighted graphic they missed.
Red Hat understands this. AFAIK they are happy with it, but if they are unhappy it'll do them no good at all. So they actively encourage people who aren't willing to pay to use Fedora, which is a sort of years-long much-better-than-beta test. It also gives them a chance to garner feedback on radical re-designs before they inflict them on paying customers!
And if you aren't happy to live close to the bleeding edge, there's Centos (bug-for-bug compatible with RHEL) and Scientific Linux (very slighly less bug-for-bug, in that they fix any bug that's causing problems at CERN, even if Red Hat don't).
And of course, there are several Debian-flavour distributions that aren't Ubuntu. And of course, you have very great freedom to remove any packages that offend you, and install replacements that don't.
Re: So what?
Re: What if...
If you want Red Hat but don't want to pay, take you pick from CentOS or Scientific Linux. Or Fedora, if you don't mind living on the bleeding edge. I used not to, until they inflicted Gnome 3 on me. Apparently Cinnamon is now a standard Fedora package, so I may pay a return visit soon.
I am a buyer, not a sellee!
Personally, I find unsolicited advertising of most sorts actively encourages me NOT to buy the product. The more intrusive the advert into what I'm actually trying to do at the time, the greater the enduring hostility towards whatever is being advertized.
Exceptions, by the way, are mostly old media. Ads in trains and on walls and in newspapers and magazines present themselves while I am not busy with something else, and I may start thinking "interesting" rather than "annoying".
A long time ago I decided that I'd always be a buyer, never a sellee. If I want something I'll actively go and look for it (and the best value method of obtaining it). If I don't yet want it, advertizing it to me has value for the advertizer between zero and minus infinity (the most annoyingly intrusive ads get the entire company, not just the product, onto my mental no-buy list until the memory fades).
depend on just how much it’s prepared to bend to Western expectations of how a technology company should be run
Hmmm. You mean have the company run by a board of despots who stuff as much of the profits into their own pockets as they can, while skimping on the R&D and putting as many employees in their own country out of a job by outsourcing manufacture to somewhere that slave labour is all but legal? (Which somewhat ironically, is often elsewhere in China). Not giving a damn about the long-term future of the organisation, because the short-term determines how many more millions they'll have to retire on? Replacing doing the right thing for its customers, with extracting every last penny from its customers by any legal means and many not so legal?
Compared to many of our companies, this sounds pretty utopian. It also sounds not unlike the non-company that I'd like to buy shares in if I could, but I can't - John Lewis partnership. Anyway, more like that, than a limited company. Also shades of how a top UK university used to be, before the government decided it ought to be run by professional parasites, sorry, managers.
If it's just an act, it's a very expensive and successful one.
Some animals are more equal than others ...
and occasionally, the other way around.
Re: Universe = depressingly vast
Best argument against the strong anthropic principle I know.
It wasn't built for us. It was built for creatures that live s...l...o...w...ly. One thought per day rather than one per second, and a life-expectancy scaled similarly.
They might even be living in this solar system ... the slow cold parts thereof. Wild speculation, might what we call a comet be what they call bidding a final farewell to a deceased loved one? Tip the ashes down the gravity well?
Always find the fact the stuff escapes from a black hole (ie the jets) confusing
It doesn't escape. The jets are the stuff that avoids falling into the black hole, after getting close enough to be generally shredded, vaporized, and heated to incredibly high temperatures by the rest of the stuff whirling around that does ultimately fall in.
It's a bit like dust trying to escape a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Very little does. The only way it can, is to go dead straight up the axis of rotation of the vertex.
If it works down at the logical volume level, there's no reason to restrict the filestore that runs above it. zfs or btrfs might be good matches (they're supposed to be self-healing, should the worst happen and data be irretrievably lost).
Re: Limited use cases
Leverage Wake on LAN?
However, there will always be cases whre data is lost, temporarily or permanently. A whole lab of PCs shut down while the electricians or decorators work. A set of PCs being unavailable, which exceeds the redundancy in whatever redundant storage technique is in use. So it can't ever be quite as reliable as proper server-room storage with a proper backup strategy.
They're getting quite close to the physics limits. The frequency of light (visible light) is in the range 400 to 800 Terahertz. So 1THz modulation is a significant fraction of the carrier frequency, and dispersion effects will start to be very significant.
It was solved with radio waves a long time ago, but we don't yet have anything like the control over individual cycles of optical light that we do over individual cycles of RF and Microwave radiation. As far as light is concerned, we're still doing the equivalent of AM radio.
Re: my granny don't get it
Have you ever tried explaining the notion of money as it currently exists, as if to a man from Mars? One thing is certain: most people don't have a clue, and also don't have a clue that they don't have a clue.
So being too complicated for most folks to understand ought not to be a barrier to adoption. Consider also computers, mobile phones, airplanes, automobiles.
If you have Windows 7 in your coat pocket, you are part of a very small minority (technologically or sartorially or probably both).
As for the mode of working: I like overlapping windows. Anything that insists that I should only be able to see one app at a time doesn't have a clue about the sort of work I do.
I wonder what the city dealing rooms will do (four or more monitors per workstation, ALL displaying multiple windows from multipe apps)?
Re: That's gotta hurt
And crucially, this is a poll of self-selected early (pre-release) adopters, who you might expect to be of the neophile tendency, and inclined in general to like things merely for being new and different.
Things will be much, much worse for MS when XP ceases to be supported, and the folks who thought Windows 7 was a downgrade are confronted with Windows 8 (maybe as the only option on a new PC? )
Apple must be rubbing their hands in gleeful anticipation.
No-one has yet made a Stross / Laundry tie-in. Hope they've installed good wards on it.
Not nearly as serious ...
This isn't nearly as serious as when the CPS discloses details of witnesses to dangerous thugs or their lawyers. The witnesses have variously been intimidated into withdrawing their testimony, roughed up, or murdered.
the CPS has a considerable amount of form for doing this. So much so, I have occasionally wondered whether incompetence was an adequate explanation.
Never believe anything in politics until it is officially denied
Otto von Bismarck apparently said this first. I tend to remember the "Yes Minister" formulation, which I think was Sir Humphrey observing "on the other hand, it hasn't yet been officially denied ...".
Serious suggestions have been made about how to clean up orbital junk. You'd need orbiting robot craft that would match orbit with each piece of junk and deal with it. You won't want to take the junk on board because that means you'd need more fuel for the next orbital rondezvous, and soon you'd be out of fuel.
The manouvering would use a low-thrust high-efficiency electrically-powered thuster such as VASIMR. When it matched orbit with a piece of junk it would attach a very lightweight "parachute". Something to maximise drag with respect to the very thin atmosphere or solar wind up there. This would cause the piece of junk to de-orbit over a number of years, ending with it re-entering and burning up.
Sort of like a fleet of orbiting Roombas!
Re: What ever happened to the "Right Stuff"?
Absolutely the wrong thing to do. Google "Kessler syndrome", or read some SF.
A single large piece of space junk can be tracked and avoided. 10000 small pieces of space junk can't. And at orbital velocities, even small pieces can cause huge damage.
Re: Sort of...
DDR3 was initially more expensive than DDR2, because DDR2 was the mainstream volume product and DDR3 the exotic new one. Today, DDR3 is the mainstream product and if you want to upgrade a system using DDR2, that upgrade will cost you more than the same amount of DDR3.
It'll be the same for DDR4 if it catches on. And if Intel backs it for the core-i4 or whatever they call it, then it most certainly will catch on!
As for upgrading a DDR4 system, I doubt that you are right. Chances are it'll be completely flexible and a system will work with 1-N sticks of DDR3, quite possibly even if they are all different sizes. There's already more flexibility than most people realize with DDR3 - matched pairs are best for performance but not mandatory (and give me 8Gb mismatched over 2Gb matched any day! )
One size does not fit all.
Microsoft's big mistake is thinking that what fits a smartphone can also fit a desktop.
I'm no Apple fanboi, but Apple knows this. An iPhone is not the same as an iPad and is absolutely different to an iMac, in UI terms.. True Apple fans go out and buy one of each, because all of them get a lot of UI things right, for the size and usage of each class of device.
Re: The Score
You missed out Win 2000 and Win ME.
I guess you weren't there in 95, because Win 95 was a bad one, 98 was better, 98SE the best of that technology, and ME an utter dog's breakfast. Having installed ME you either wiped it and reinstalled 98SE, or you were well softened-up for a new PC running Windows 2000 (which was also pretty bad).
A few months back I loaded 98SE into a VMware VM on a modern fast PC, just for fun. Boy did it boot fast!
Re: something new here ?
is this not so with every Windows OS release ?
You mean like Vista? It never got fixed, it got rapidly replaced and then buried. Neophiles got shafted. Buy into the hype and then buy again to get something that was usable!
Windows 9 will be coming sooner than many think.
Who stands to gain?
Who stands to gain by mentioning that this act of vandalism involved use of a tool called Linux? (A detail that's about as relevant as someone's window being smashed using an Apple charger brick, rather than the more usual house-brick).
Is Microsoft a large campaign donor by any chance?
Re: Great language name! Not confusing at all?
You'll very often find it referred to as Golang, possibly to make it searchable. Or use quotes: search "Go language" seems to hit on the right things.
It strikes me that one of the most interesting materials to print 3D things in, is wax. Can these printers do wax?
If you are wondering why: look up lost was casting. You surround the was with clay, heat it to boil and burn out the wax and to fire the clay, and finally cast metal into it. To start with it could revolutionize the jewellery trade. You could go from a 3D cad design to a finished item cast in silver or gold in a day. And computers can calculate (and 3D-print? ) fractal designs so easily. Just try carving a fractal from a block of wax by hand!
Re: 'just like playing bingo' ...
I think you meant "a true gamble" not a true gaming platform ....
@Cmdr3X Re: thx for asking about variadic templaces
If you still want to learn programming, start with the right language. These days I'd suggest Python. Anyway, definitely a scripting language (interpreted), so you can type bits of code at the computer and immediately see what they do. As a side-bonus, you won't need to pay a penny for a compiler or a developer environment (even if you are determined to stick with Windows).
If you get to the point where you are a competent programmer and are being frustrated by the slowness of code written in your script language of choice, you might then consider learning a compiled language. (But do first make sure someone hasn't already written what you need!)
Count yourself lucky
Count yourself lucky if the nutters find harmless things to believe in, like UFOs or NASA faking the moon landings or WTC conspiracies.
Without them they might find other things to believe in, like fascism or Maoism or any number of other -isms that have led to a state perpetrating mass murder.. They wouldn't have pre-labelled themselves as nutters, either.
see how high you can go until you find a setting that renders the board unstable.
Overclockers have always puzzled me. The manufacturer knows exactly which are the critical pathways in the CPU. They can test and appropriately speed-grade their chips by exercising these pathways. Intel turbo-mode is supported, meaning that Intel has tested your CPU at the highest turbo speed they support. You'll get correct results, as long as you stay within the thermal envelope.
But if your CPU has not been manufacturer-tested at the speed you are clocking it., all bets are off. Which matters most - getting the right results, or getting wrong results faster?
It's not an entirely rhetorical question. If you are rendering frames for a movie or game, wrong results are either immediately obvious or of no significance. However, that's a special case. One bit wrong in the allocation bitmap of a filesystem, or in the compression or encryption of a datastream, and the eventual loss may be huge. Even in a render farm, overclocking has risks: it's the same overclocked CPU crunching the pixels, and adjusting the allocation bitmap of the disk on which the results are stored.
So the question: why overclock a Pi, when you can so easily buy a faster system?
- Leaked screenshots show next Windows kernel to be a perfect 10
- Amazon warming up 'cheapo web video' cannon to SINK Netflix
- Something for the Weekend, Sir? I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!
- Episode 13 BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
- Vulture at the Wheel Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK