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* Posts by Nigel 11

2413 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Reg HPC man relives 0-day rootkit GROUNDHOG DAY

Nigel 11
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Standalone scanners needed

A rootkit cannot hide, while it is just data on a disk. In other words, trying to detect a rootkitted O/S using the same rootkitted OS is hopeless. You need to boot a standalone scanner (preferably off CD or DVD because they're not writeable after being checksum-protected and mastered).

Of course, this means some completely-downtime for the infected system.

Why does Windows go out of its way to make this form of security difficult or impossible?

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My smelly Valentine: Europe's perfumers wake to V-Day nightmare

Nigel 11
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Re: I can see the point

Me too.

I normally put up with it, unless the perfumed one makes any comments about me sneezing my germs in her vicinity, in which case I've been known to tell her what I *really* think of her perfume and her manners!

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Nigel 11
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Re: "banning cheese next, followed closely by nuts."

"May contain nuts" means that it might contain a stray nut or fragment from another production line in the same factory. The allergic consumer knows whether that could mean rapid death. With a less serious allergy he'll probably chance "may" whereas plain "contains nuts" is a definite no-no.

The only really silly one is seeing "may contain nuts" on packets of nuts! (Though thinking about it, perhaps they mean "may contain other sorts of nuts"?

Glad my allergies lie elsewhere, and I can eat all the nuts I like.

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No, pesky lawyers, particle colliders WON'T destroy the Earth

Nigel 11
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Re: So How do they stop nature recreating the same experiments...

the densest matter we have in the story here is the pesky lawyers

Not dense. Just highly successful parasites. Ever met a poor lawyer?

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Nigel 11
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Re: Huh?

What you have to do is explain why, if the doomsday preconditions are correct, it hasn't happened already. Because Nature is bombarding the Earth with cosmic rays millions of times more energetic than anything we can make in our experiments. The Earth is a large target. The Sun is a much bigger one. Both are still here despite having been bombarded for the last century at least. If you accept that the last century is not special in cosmological terms, one can assume the same bombardment over the entire multi-billion-year life of the Sun. Either way, if strangelets could destroy us, it would already have happened.

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The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

Nigel 11
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Re: New Wheeze

You may not understand, that under the hood, XP is now really obsolete

So what?

the Linux kernel that first supported XFCE was obsolete very many years ago. (Many would say the same of XFCE). Buf if XFCE floats your boat, you can still run it atop the latest kernel. Why couldn't Microsoft let us run the XP user interface atop a windows 8.1 kernel?

Could it be that their programmers are so crap they've got no proper software modularity and the GUI is all tangled up with the kernel and with the applications? Or is it to railroad as many folks as possible into giving as much money as possible to Microsoft? Or do they just enjoy playing god (of the capricious variety from the Greek pantheon)?

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Nigel 11
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Re: What the hell did they expect?

Linux offers CHOICE!

Personally, I use Gnome 2, Mate, or Cinnamon, which offer a conventional start menu. You add frequently-used apps to your task-bar or desktop. I find the menu paradigm perfect for locating one from the many programs that I use infrequently.

But you don't have to be like me. You can install your window manager of choice, and select which window manager you want to use at login time.

I'd have had no complaint with Windows 8 if it had come with an option when I logged in to see the familiar Windows 7 (or even better, XP) manager. But it doesn't, and I hate it.

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WD My Cloud EX4 four-bay NAS

Nigel 11
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Strange

When it gets to the end of this process, a blood-chilling grinding noise emanates from the EX4

Very odd. I've always recommended WD "Red" drives as the quietest server-grade drives I've encountered, and possibly the quietest outright. I just can't imagine them making such a noise, not even with four of them working on it together.

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Hear that, Sigourney? Common names 'may not constitute personal data'

Nigel 11
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Re: Paranoia?

the bank would probably detect that and inform the police

If you don't admit to your true name, yes. But it is not against the law to go by any name you choose if there is no intent to deceive. So what happens should you go to a bank and say that you'd like to open a bank account in a fairly common name by which you wish to be known to strangers, while showing them your passport in your legal name as required by law? (I'm assuming it would be illegal for a bank to sell on the fact that you have an account "Sigourney Whatever known as Susan Smith")

Companies do this all the time: XYZ ltd. trading as "Whatever we want to trade as today".

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Nigel 11
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Paranoia?

I was once told that 90% of Chinese share just eight family names. The speculation was that this was a case of Darwinian selection, in the world's longest-running (almost) continuous civilisation. Those with unusual names were easier for the empire to trace and tax to the full. So they were poorer. So their mortality rate in the next famine was greater.

Perhaps we should all change our names to John Smith or suchlike, so that we may engage in internet commerce without having our easily identified "anonymous" data trafficked and tracked? How long before someone can prove that "John Smith" gets offered different (better? )prices than Sigourney Efidom for one's first purchase from a random etailer?

Is it still possible to open a bank account under a pseudonym, and to require and expect the bank to keep one's legal and legally required name strictly confidential?

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Open MPI hits milestone with FORTRAN-ready 1.7.4 release

Nigel 11
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Re: Fortran, indeed

Whilst I'd never write anything completely new in Fortran one of it's big advantages is that there are masses of very-well debugged programs/routines that are readily available to use & modify.

True

What's less-well known is that the Fortran language gives a compiler greater scope for generating optimal number-crunching code, because arrays are fundamental entities in the language, not just pointers to data. This was true even with Fortran-77, but subsequent iterations of the language picked up that ball and really ran with it. (Whole-array arithmentic without any explicit loops, slicing, WHERE statements, .... )

And the advantage grows, as computers can no longer have faster cores, but can have more and more of them, with SIMD instructions adding to the fun.

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Nigel 11
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Implied do loops

Hmmm. Whats wrong with a clear syntax that avoids several extra lines of code, that lets you access data files that aren't in the natural order for the program in one concise line? e.g.

READ( 10,*) (A(I), B(I), I=N, 1, -1)

where you've got quantity N data pairs and you want them in two arrays in the opposite order to how some other program stored them?

A similar concept, properly generalised, was fairly recently added to Python. ("List Comprehensions")

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For Windows guest - KVM or XEN and which distro for host?

Nigel 11
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If there's no space for a two-box solution, what about a two- or more-disk solution? Most BIOSes allow one to press F10 or similar to select the boot device. All but the smallest desktop cases can accomodate two 3.5 inch or 4 2.5 inch drives. Most motherboards support at least 4 x SATA, many support six or more.

(I deliberately don't suggest external USB drives even though USB3 is fast enough and most motherboards boot USB these days. My experience suggests that if a drive tests as low quality, it gets sold in a USB box. It's a good way to experiment with different multi-boot configurations, though. )

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WHEEE... CRUNCH! iPad Mini tops list of most breakable slabs, mobes

Nigel 11
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Industry Standard "vulture" drop test

Since there doesn't appear to be any industry standard, may I suggest that "The Register" creates one. Something like:

Vulture drop test grade 1: survives being dropped six feet onto concrete ten times starting in specified orientations. (Panasonic "Toughbook" territory).

Vulture drop test grade 2: survives the same from six feet onto vinyl flooring.

And invite manufacturers to submit devices for certification, if they dare!

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Life support's ABOUT to be switched off, but XP's suddenly COOL again

Nigel 11
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Re: "none of them have had any security problems"

tell that to Iranian Nuclear scientists.

Just the point I was making to someone who thought a PC not connected to a network was secure "by definition".

I offered to make it secure by removing its CD drive and filling its USB slots and Ethernet jacks with epoxy glue (as used to be done at certain MoD sites) but he declined. He needed to get data in and out of it, and wouldn't see that it would soon become a "Typhoid Mary" spreading USB-based malware.

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Nigel 11
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Re: What about the legend that is IEEE-488 (GPIB)?

You're maligning it. It was faster than USB (USB-1, that is).

True, the connector did tend to be the tail wagging the dog. The same problem recurs with a SCART connector and cable on a modern Digibox.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Showing my age ..

For added points, name the other signals on a full D25 modem cable. For Guru-hood, work out why the full 25-pin modem won't talk to the full 25-pin modem connector on the mainframe.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Anderson connectors

Along those lines, does the 1000-amp-plus 12V car battery connector have a name? The modern one that goes around the post and tightens with a wrench? (It works). Or the ancient Lucas twelve-clawed one that was supposed to push on and tighten with a thumbwheel on top, which would corrode itself into an unfortunate combination of immovability and high resistance within a year of fitting a new battery?

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Nigel 11
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The ultimate evil connector....

No-one has yet mentioned the ultimate in evil connectors, which is not only current but hell-bent on conquering the EU housing market.

GU10 lightbulb connector.

For which you need a plastic suction cup to manipulate the bulb into place, or risk having glass splinters embedded in your fingertips.

AAAAARGH!

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Nigel 11
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Re: F---ing SCSI connectors

And for proper wake-in-the-night-sweating nightmares: SCSI

You're obviously too young to remember the connector on a Digital Massbus(TM) disk cable. SCSI was a sweet dream by comparison.

The aforesaid cable was about 40mm in diameter. I think one of them once featured in a Star Trek episode, strangling a crewman by telekinesis.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Missing are

What about a vampire tap kit for an old thicknet Ethernet?

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Nigel 11
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Re: #3 - terminal blocks

I raise you a well-cooked mouse that had inserted its head into the fan on an (old, hot) Opteron server.

I never could convince myself that there was any hole in the chassis large enough for that mouse to squeeze through. I do hope that the poor wee squeaker's neck was broken by the fan, otherwise it was a horrible death.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Mumbai Multiway

Having electricity isn't the amazing thing. Not dying by it is!

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Nigel 11
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Strip and twist

Would you believe 100Mbit server networking down a stripped and twisted cable? (and does it work with newfangled Gbit? I've never tried).

Well, what would you do at 4am, when you discover that you have to connect the server to a switch 13m away from the rack and you have only 10m cables and shorter?

It was working the next morning and the strip-twisted cable assembly was swapped as soon as possible the next day.

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The other end of the telescope: Intel’s Galileo developer board

Nigel 11
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Re: Lost the plot

And the Quark chip runs finger-burningly hot.

Presumably it is engineered to do so. As were Atoms before. And any chip well-designed for passive cooling (because you need a fairly large delta-T before convection gets going).

I remember an old Athlon system I once serviced. The heatsink fan had failed and I sizzled my finger on the heatsink (ie over 100C - heaven knows what the chip temperature was). Nevertheless it was "working perfectly". (The perceived problem was a failed CD drive). And it carried on working perfectly until it became obsolete a couple of years later.

Going back even further, I saw a power supply that had become overloaded because of a fault elsewhere, but which only failed when a rectifier diode melted its soldered connections and dropped off the circuit board. It was still a working diode.

CMOS silicon is very tolerant of high temperatures. The CMOS switching speed drops in inverse proportion to the temperature in degrees absolute, so the Tmax for a chip is usually the temperature above which the manufacturer will not guarantee correct function. Running too hot is akin to overclocking (which is why overclockers are into radical heatsink designs). Tmax is certainly not the temperature at which the chip will be destroyed in seconds. It gets much hotter when being soldered in place. Operational life is shortened by high temperature operation, but chips will function for decades and become obsolete long before ... dropping life expectancy from 30 years to 15 years rarely matters.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Lost the plot

NUC isn't intended for embedded at all. If for anything, it's for the Mac Mini market. See my post above re GA-C1037UN-EU for details of a PC board that is easy to run off a vehicle 12V supply (or a 12V power brick) with far more interface options than an NUC. The board itself has a standard ATX power connector, the Pico-PSU range is the other half of the solution, and the C1307 CPU is 17W TDP and fanless.

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Nigel 11
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Re: re: "I work in precisely this sort of market "

Just for completeness, one should perhaps add that it is possible to obtain a full PC for not a huge amount more. I recently purchased a Gigabye GA-C1037UN-EU ITX board. Add a Pico-PSU, DDR3 RAM, a disk device (a USB stick will boot for embedded) and you're away. The board is fanless (17 watt TDP), and to my surprise even comes with two COM ports (one with D9 on the back-panel), two Gbit Ethernets, a PCI slot and an LPT header. Also 3 x SATA (one of which 6Gb for SSD) and e-SATA on the back panel. Cost around £120 (for board, pico-PSU and RAM).

Agreed, it's rather more power-hungry and expensive than boards being discussed here. But it's also a LOT more powerful. I wanted mine for a silent always-on home server cum internet browser, but I immediately thought that if I wanted a computer to run off 12V in an automobile or boat, it would be a perfect starting point.

And I've discovered that I'm no longer using my core-i5 desktop for anything except gaming these days. This little beast is always on so no boot-up wait, and feels plenty fast enough for everything else.

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

Nigel 11
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Re: moore's law

you went and fucked it all up there right at the end. Moore's law is demonstrably bollocks and promotes a world view that is.... unhelpful, as acknowledged by the great man himself.

Sorry but you are completely wrong. From a physicist's or engineer's perspective, it's a scaling law, that predicted (back in the 1980s) that there was absolutely nothing fundamental in the way of going from the earliest CMOS computers with a few tens of thousands of transistors running at a few MHz up to today's billion-transistor chips clocked at a few GHz. It also predicted where the law would inevitably fail (ie run out of predictive power). That's where we are today. It's because the transistors have to be made out of discrete atoms and the thickness of a gate is now as thin (as few atoms) as it can be while remaining an insulator.

Back in the days of bipolar transistors, a bit was represented as a flow of current and engineers faced what they called a "smoking hairy golfball" problem. You had to put the components sufficiently far apart so you could keep them cool, which restricted the clock speed because of the speed of light. Shrink it too much and you can't stop it catching fire (aided by the fact that bipolar transistors suffer thermal runaway).

CMOS, on the other hand, scales so that energy is dissipated only when a logic element changes state, and the heat generated per unit area of active electronics is a constant as you shrink the transistors, shrink the operating voltage, and scale up the clock speed, all by the same factor.

Agreed, Moore's law is now historical and no longer predictive. (the entire context of this thread is history!) We've now pretty much reached the physical limits for the smallness of a transistor, and any future improvements in CPU performance will have to come from using the billion or so transistors on a chip more intelligently.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Surely it can be changed ?

but wasn't the invention of the programmable computer an invention that just maybe has a smidjin more of an impact of the modern world?

Definitely, although it was invented by Konrad Zuse in Germany before the war! Colossus came second, or maybe third if you believe the Yanks. Or even fourth, if you accept Babbage's mechanical engine as the first programmable computer.

Also don't under-estimate the input of genius physicists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_transistor. If we still had to use thermionic valves there might be less than a thousand computers in the world. If we still had to use bipolar transistors there might be less than a million. Oddly, the FET was discovered first, though CMOS arrived quite late and was the enabling technology for Moore's law.

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Nigel 11
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the story of the German invention of computing.

Which is actually true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Zuse

Cracking Enigma was a huge achievement, but the hardware used was not a general-purpose computer. Turing's other contributions of genius were to the mathematics of computing and computability. He wasn't an engineer.

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What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

Nigel 11
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Could it be ...?

Microsoft thought that people would meet Windows 8 on their new mobiles, like it, and would then demand it on their desktop.

Whereas in fact they met it on their desktop, hated it, and that makes them buy anything except Microsoft for their next or first smartphone?

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Sweet work, fellas: Boffins build high-density battery powered by sugar

Nigel 11
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Assuming the sugar is of biological origin, it was made in a plant by photosynthesis using atmospheric CO2. So it's a closed loop (assuming the plant is regrown ... a fair assumption for agriculture).

There is a carbon cost, in that agriculture uses fossil fuels for powering machinery and for making Nitrogenous fertilizer.

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UK smut filter may have sent game patch to sin-bin

Nigel 11
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Heaven help you ...

... if you live in Scunthorpe.

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EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

Nigel 11
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Black Helicopters

Whose routers ARE secure?

I suspect that the only router you can trust is your own Linux system. (And that's only a maybe).

Paranoid mode on. They used to come from China with an NSA-approved backdoor in the flash with the vendor's secretly compelled acquiescence, plus a Chinese government backdoor without such acquiescence. Now, in order to provide plausible deniability, they've degraded the firmware so that they can blame their activities on organised slime, or indeed on any old Tom, Dick or Harrietta with a router.

It also lets the manufacturers sell "enterprise" routers at 20x the profit margin, which come with the better-engineered backdoors.

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Crippling server 'leccy bill risks sinking OpenBSD Foundation

Nigel 11
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Re: I don't (knowingly) use OpenBSD myself but I'm definitely sending them a few quid.

LInux Weekly news nearly shut down, because they didn't think that lots of readers around the world would pay them a few tenners per annum. Luckily they gave it a try, and the money rolled in.

I'd suggest that OpenBSD sets up a contributions site. It's probably easier to get 400 people to pledge and pay $50, than one to pay $20,000.

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Google Glass driver told she CAN wear techno-specs while on the road

Nigel 11
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If you could strictly control the functionality of Glass - such as a Driving Glass product variant, then there could be potential for benefits.

Now there's a sensible idea that's almost trivial to implement. Mandate cars to have a low-power transmitter in the steering wheel, that puts any Glasses in the vicinity of the driver's seat into legally mandated driving mode. For cheap uncertified ones, that would simply be "off". For better certified ones, that would enable augmented reality for drivers. I don't believe the technology for the latter is good enough yet, but give it another decade and it will be.

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Nigel 11
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Re: What bollocks

This is bad... the police won't know it is on until they stop someone, and then they will just turn it off. Police will get charged and just worn't stop anyone.

You mean like drivers who were texting or otherwise playing with their mobile, who turn it off just after they've killed someone?

If necessary, mandate that Google glasses and suchlike maintain an activity log, and that the police are entitled to check that log. Like mobile phones do, and the police can.

A time will probably come when N'th generation Google glasses will be good enough to provide full augmented reality, and it will then become safer to have your car's instrumentation relayed into your field of forward vision, than to have to take your eyes off the road to (for example) check your speed. Likewise traffic warnings, which if displayed on roadside devices can be missed due to (say) a high-sided vehicle on your nearside. At that future time, I imagine a certification process will be required, to separate the products of adequate quality from the cheap toys. Some decades later, they may even become compulsory.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Next time ...

LOOK at them, a big bar down the right hand side of the glasses.. that WILL impede your peripheral vision,

Careful ... do you want to create a significant minority who are banned from driving? Some people don't have peripheral vision. They may need to wear very strong corrective lenses, which can correct only what's in front of them not what's to the side. Or they may have had certain eye diseases which have destroyed or damaged their peripheral vision before diagnosis and (in some cases) cure.

You'd also have to ban motor-cycles, since it's not legal to ride one without a helmet and helmets cut your peripheral vision.

It present (in the UK at least) peripheral vision is not a requirement for driving. Be careful what you wish!

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HP EliteBook 840G1: Sometimes it's an Ultrabook, sometimes it's not

Nigel 11
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Re: not a bad machine but

Overpriced, definitely. I'd argue for over-specified rather than under-

Are there any inexpensive 15" laptops out there with 1920x1080 screens? Do we really need the high-end gubbinsry that this beast is encrusted with? Or just an ordinary computer with a decent screen to run Windows and/or Linux for serious work away from our desks?

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Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

Nigel 11
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Re: What we want to know is...

@Ragarath - can I interest you in a car wirg a square steering wheel, the brake pedal where the accellerator used to be, and the throttle on the dashboard? I assure you, with a little practice it really is possible to drive the thing.

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Audiophiles: These Wi-Fi speakers have a stereo drift of less than 25μs – good enough for you?

Nigel 11
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Re: Caskeid – pronounced "cascade"

You can trademark "Cascade" for audio products, if no-one else is already using that name in connection with audio or digital networking. The latter has a problem: www.cni.net Maybe they decided the phonemes first and the lawyers decided they had to change the spelling?

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Nigel 11
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Re: It's ironic really

PURE - the people who make DAB radios?

If DAB is your sound source and he doesn't think there's anything wrong with it, there's something wrong with his ears. It's already even more FUBAR than MP3, and no way could you notice any gain from using audiophile components downstream. (Though I'd agree that spending money on well-chosen electronics and speakers is a better use for it than fancy pieces of wire, if your source is FM, CD, or Vinyl. )

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Nigel 11
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Re: Stereo sound

If the delay is completely constant, then I agree it's probably nor detectable, and otherwise equivalent to moving yourself or one of your speakers by less than a foot.

On the other hand, if it occasionally glitches (changes abruptly) that would be disconcerting, and if it glitches frequently or drifts continuously that would be horrible. There's a less serious reverse effect you can experience by wearing headphones. You move your head, and the soundstage moves with you. You get used to it, but in the first instance you are anticipating the sound being fixed when you move. The effect of your head moving when it wasn't would be worse. Like being drunk or motion-sick?

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Nigel 11
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Re: No, it is not

Never ceases to amaze me what people will pay and do to avoid using a piece of wire. (Failing which, an analogue RF transmitter/receiver which will maintain coherence of 1us per quarter-kilometer, or thereabouts).

Of course if you are turning a typical MP3 file into sound, it's FUBAR whatever you do with it. The only decent audio file is one that's compressed losslessly, if at all.

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Meta search engines may infringe database rights: EU Court of Justice

Nigel 11
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You get a low-res image. If it's of any interest you click on the image and get more details and a "visit page" link for the site that hosts the original image. How is this bad?

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Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

Nigel 11
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Joke

Re: The real fun starts

Windows 14, of course.

(Ask a Chinese if you need an explanation of the joke).

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Nigel 11
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Re: It's part of a bigger picture

still uses Imperial measurements or, perhaps more accurately, does not use the metric system

Perhaps the rest of the world could start (accurately) calling them British imperial units, to help the USA readjust?

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Nigel 11
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Re: the Metro language is going to be fixed and "matured"?

They probably mean the Windows 8 tiles page will use a better pattern matcher, so that a dyslexic can also find his apps. Well, more often than at present. Xecel ... Cexle ... Exlec ...

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Nigel 11
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@Quarky

People who have Windows phones hate Windows 8 on their desktop PC. People who have Windows tablets hate Windows 8 on their desktop PC. Apple understands this, and sells three different interfaces matched to three classes of devices: phones, tablets, and desktop computers.

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Furtive ebook readers push Hitler's Mein Kampf up the charts

Nigel 11
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Geek embarassment

Depending on your employment:

"C++ for dummies"

"Visual Basic for dummies"

"Javascript for dummies"

"Linux system management for dummies"

etc.

And methinks there are a few bastards out there who should have read "Banking for dummies" but never did, and never let it hold them back.

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