* Posts by Pete 2

2441 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Unlucky, Palmer: Facebook's going to BAN Oculus pr0n apps

Pete 2
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Sabotage your own product?

> pornographic content will be forbidden from appearing on the Oculus store

Well, I suppose that's one way to kill it off.

I guess the smut-mongers will either have to wait a few weeks until there is a cheaper chinese clone on the market, or wait a day or two until someone roots the device and makes an absolute fortune for themselves with their own Succubus Rift store.

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Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Pete 2
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Re: Just use Linux and be done with it!

> However, Microsoft could release their own Linux distribution and this would be (almost) comparable to Apple utilising similar technology in their O/S.

The thing is, no user cares, any more, what the underlying O/S is. They do care about the quality, range and ease of use of the applications they want to run.

And this is where Linux still falls down, flat on its face. Sure, it provides some apps that are said to be "compatible" - where compatible means they can read some of the same file formats and perform some of the same functions: GIMP and OpenOffice/LibreOffice are the examples used to "prove" that Linux can do anything that Windows can.

Until. that is, you actually try to do that "anything" with these free tools. Then you find that they are lacking in basic features, have such terrible UIs, simply don't work or have major bugs at the highest priority for many YEARS, that will never be fixed as the support team says: Just to be honest - it's very unlikely that this will be fixed soon. We are a community of volunteers - people fix what bugs they want to fix generally. In the grand scheme of things this really isn't a big deal - compare to crashes [ ref: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=37960&redirected_from=fdo ]

And it turns out that most Linux advocates simply don't understand that people are willing to pay for stuff that works. Everything past Windows XP has been at least as usable and reliable as Linux, supported a far wider range of peripherals and has professionally written and supported apps that actually work.

And if, like me and everyone else who works for pay, you can place a monetary value on the personal time spent dickin' about trying to dig out obscure documentation, patches, fixes and "how tos" - Linux is no longer "free" in financial terms, either.

And for those people who do want "free" AND who want simple to install, easy and intuitive to use and only costs pennies, there's always Android.

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Pete 2
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Data, not information

> Microsoft says it can measure 43 metrics* and spit 'em all out into a pretty, GUI-fied Azure console.

And as usual, all these monitoring tools do is find easy to record data from the kernel and present it in wizzy, pretty graphical format.

Even though it is all totally irrelevant.

Providing this is like telling a car driver the piston temperature, the headlight colour, the average pressure exerted by passengers on the seats and the methane content of the cabin. What drivers want to know is answers to the important questions, such as: am I going too fast? will something break? do I need to take corrective action?

And so it is with computer monitoring. All the monitoring services seem to be in a race (and, truth be told: have been for decades) to provide the greatest number of different measurements of obscure, irrelevant and often inter-related factors. However none of them provide anything that is of primary importance, such as: how long do I have to wait for the answer to appear? can I run something in the background without affecting the important stuff? Is there time to back my stuff up before I go for lunch?

So if Microsoft want to merely mimic all the crap that today's tools produce, they'll go down the metrics route. Even though most of the stuff is irrelevant, has little effect on the BIG QUESTIONS and in itself (without knowing what the applications are doing) provides nothing of value. As all the other monitoring tools that have come, promised and then disappeared into oblivion have done since the 1980s (remember "sar" and "vmstat"?).

However, if they want to truly provide something that is useful, user-centric and actionable they will extract I-O data (volume, latency, cache efficiency) on a per-file basis. Query times broken down into CPU, storage and network latency. Internet access times by site (or IP address), memory usage per processs - identifying shared, CoW'd and local volumes - best of all - a calculation of how much "slack" is available in these key areas for users to fill up with additional workloads.

All of this is hard. And most of it is not available from Unix or Linux kernels without a lot of hacking about. If it was easy then the dozens of other capacity planning / performance monitoring programs, companies and freeware would have done it years ago. However they have all failed to produce information that users value - which is the tricky bit, but, ultimately, all that matters.

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The weapons pact threatening IT security research

Pete 2
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Oppress "1" to start

> stop repressive regimes around the world from buying sophisticated software that can be used to spy on political opponents and others

But it's only repressive regimes who WANT to spy on "political opponents and others¹"

[1] where "others" would imply everyone who isn't a political opponent. So that has pretty much all of us covered.

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Virgin Galactic will get into space 'within 18 months to two years'

Pete 2
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Re: And we should give a Rat's Arse about this why?

> It's simply some disgustingly expensive carnival attraction.

First of all, the money is NOT destroyed, it's merely moved from one individual who has too much to a company that is at the very least doing something that no-one has done before (or yet). Making progress, if you will.

Although it won't get us to Mars or the Moon, it's investing in technologies and techniques that make space travel better, cheaper, (hopefully) safer and more accessible. That adds to the sum total of moving in the right direction and is probably better for us all and the person involved than other ways of blowing the same amount of cash.

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Pete 2
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The spacefaring equivalent of 2 weeks?

Whenever someone asks when a piece of software will be ready (or any other IT goal met, for that matter) the standard response is that it'll take "another couple of weeks".

That is long enough to make progress - possibly even get close to something that works. It's also long enough in the future that you can hope whoever you made the commitment to will have forgotten. It's also close enough to satisfy the person asking, without them criticising or objecting too much.

Of course, it's incredibly unlikely that you will have it all sorted by then - but when they come back you can say "oh there were a few complications, but I reckon it should be ready in a week ..... or two"

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Intel imagines chips in nappies to create the Internet of sh*t things

Pete 2
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At last!

A real-life implementation of Sturgeon's Law

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Pete 2
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Re: Why the obsession....

> Why the obsession with using smartphones as remotes?

It's arguable that a true IoT device shouldn't even need a remote. In fact, most of them shouldn't need a person to tell them what to do, at all.

Take an IoT'd lightswitch as an example. Instead of a boring old PIR to detect the presence of people and then turn the light on or off accordingly, a better solution is to design in a $5 ultrasonic Doppler sensor to detect the direction of people: into or out of the room. When $number_of_people == 0 OR $light_level > daylight then turn off the lights.

All that this obsession with remote controls does is to add one more level of indirection into the equation. Instead of a person making a physical action to control a device, they are now required to do so by means of another piece of equipment. As a design concept it's as daft as calling for your butler to do these trivial things for you: more trouble than it's worth, so I'm told.

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RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

Pete 2
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Buy your way in

Let's just sit back and see how long it is until the station receives a donation of LAN equipment from, say, Iran, the PRC or N. Korea. I'm sure it would all be perfectly fine and that there would be no chance it would have any backdoors, bugs, covert comms channels, spyware or other nasties.

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Pete 2
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Re: 3% margin of error

Although the pollsters claim a 3% margin, that is clearly shown to be false. You just have to look at the results of the various polls, where the spread from one poll to another was much greater than 3%. When Sky News was broadcasting before the election they had a rolling graphic on the screen that summarised the most recent polls. Looking at the numbers as they went by, one could see that few of the polls were within 3% of each other.

It would be easy to dismiss the spread by saying that the polls were taken on different days. However, if there really was so much variation: one day to the next, then the pollsters were measuring a quickly changing variable to too high a degree of accuracy. The poll might have been accurate to the stated degree, but its shelf-life at that accuracy was so short that it was probably obsolete before it was even published.

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Pete 2
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Measure what you value ...

... don't value what you measure.

> This put Tories and Labour within a whisker of one another around the 34 per cent mark.

But that's an irrelevant statistic. Who wins a First Past the Post election (as we have in the UK, designed primarily to produce clear, if somewhat less than truly representative, outcomes) is the party with the most seats, not the most votes.

The system is supposed to be highly sensitive (there's only 1 winner, whether the majority is 1 or 10,000) to small differences in numbers of votes between the most voted for and the next candidate.

Everyone: the pollsters, the media who commissioned them and the general public all know this. So to huff and puff and say "well, we were almost right with a measurement of something that's useless" is a ridiculous defence.

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ISS 'naut: How we collect our POO and DROP it FLAMING on hapless Earthlings

Pete 2
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Dropping in.

Further proof, as every pigeon will tell you, that being higher up the gravity well¹ beats being higher up the food-chain.

[1] provided of course you're in a self-sufficient environment and not dependent on those below.

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Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

Pete 2
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Double or quit

And if you really are off-grid and rely on this technology to keep you powered up, you'll need a backup in case of failure (guarantees are nice, but they don't keep the lights on and if it takes a week to deliver a replacement to your remote, off-grid location ... ), or for those times when your "old" battery is being replaced.

The thing about multiple LA batteries is just that: you already have the makings of a resilient solution. Or at least one that can operate at reduced levels, rather than being a single all-or-nothing proposition.

So, as with all H.A. systems: computer or home, the cost of a truly reliable system is a multiple of the cost of a single purchase.

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High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Pete 2
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The IoT thing

> a fan of the Internet of Things (IoT)

If you're a true geek you'll be rolling your own IoT out of ESP8266's and looking seriously at the possibility of configuring them as a mesh network. Given that they are < £5 a pop, any geek's house should have these in every room (they also work as wifi APs and stations) and should be hooked in to the home internet, too.

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New EU security strategy: Sod cyber terrorism, BAN ENCRYPTION

Pete 2
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Saying what you mean

> the concerns of law enforcement authorities on new encryption technologies

Encryption is just one form of obfuscation. Another is substituting one word or phrase for what you really mean: like saying "the product" instead of a crate-full of weapons, or "collateral damage" instead of dead civilians.

However, it goes further. We are all aware that in broadband sales the phrase "up to" means less than, "unlimited" means we know you're stupid enough to believe that and saying something "may" happen means it's a dead cert. - unless that would be a good thing™. So would banning encryption also outlaw weasel words used in advertising, or require politicians to tell the truth or for government communiques to contain facts?

If only the European Commissioner would stop speaking in code.

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Cash register maker used same password – 166816 – non-stop since 1990

Pete 2
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Re: Experimental data

> Let the world hope that you're not in security, since you clearly lack any understanding of it.

Lack understanding - hardly. Because asking for a considered and quantifiable measure of risk and downside is such a bad thing?

At least with that information people would be able to make a proper assessment of the threats they face and hence to apply the correct amount of effort. Instead of employing Wild Assed Guesses that either address the wrong issues, fail to resource their security teams correctly or even learn how to identify a real threat from ignorant media jibberings.

You never know, the next step might even lead to fact-based professionalism.

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Pete 2
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Experimental data

> “Nine out of 10 times when we see equipment from that manufacturer, 90 percent of the time, this is the password.

And exactly how many cases have there been of this being exploited? It would interesting to see a study of how many times "well known" security holes do actually get compromised.

What a lot of security professionals do (and you can't blame them, since that's how they make their money) is to point at every vulnerability: whether theoretical, practical or exploitable for gain and say "LOOK! it's a massive security hole. everyone must fix it immediately".

Now, it's true that once a weakness has been "outed" it's far more likely to be explored - especially if hackers can get some material gain from it. However, that doesn't mean that every single weakness is in that class. At least not until some security geek goes blabbing to the entire world about it. It may even be that the small cost of having a single password across a long-lived range of equipment is far outweighed by the savings and speed for maintaining it or having to call someone in when you've changed the password and subsequently forgotten it.

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'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

Pete 2
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> 13% of people can comfortably understand foreign languages.

13% of people know about Google translate AND have the nous to find the same product described in their native language AND manage to get a decent price for inter-country delivery charges AND trust "foreign" postal / courier services.

Sounds like a pretty high percentage, to me.

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A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

Pete 2
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Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

> If you want to fix the world, then economics is the way to do it.

I would humbly suggest that economics describes the problem - though that is the crucial first step before it can possibly be fixed. In order to fix it, the world needs education (foremost for Guardian journalists opinion-scribblers).

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Cyanogen finds $80m in collecting tin after busking session

Pete 2
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Testing times

> The company will use the funding to recruit more developers and help build the alternative Android ecosystem.

And hopefully some (professional) testers, Q&A-ers and documenters, too.

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PIRATES and THIEVES to get Windows 10 as BOOTY

Pete 2
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Killing the competition

MS have finally realised that they were their own biggest competitor.

People didn't feel the need to upgrade from XP to something newer, as what they already had was good enough. This isn't so much a compliment to XP: that it's stood the text of time. It's more a criticism of everything that's come since as failing in innovation, backwards compatibility, or being too expensive in terms of what you got, and not providing anything sufficiently "must have" that people were willing - or able - to ditch it and invest in a newer product.

It's still unclear that W10 has addressed these failings. But I think we can expect MS to have built something into W10 to force its adopters out of their "bad" habits.

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

Pete 2
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Re: Data or hearsay?

> they should collect data by strapping cables to them connected to machines that go ping

And yet cosmologists and astrophysicists manage to collect volumes of science-standard quality data from other planets, stars and places they couldn't hope to visit (or attach wires to) by making observations and fitting them to their understanding and theoretical models - and then refining their knowledge and testing the predictions that result.

Maybe psychologists (or is it psychiatrists? who knows - who cares? ) could learn a thing or two from watching proper science as it's done by those who know how.

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Pete 2
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Data or hearsay?

From the article:

"were asked" ... "completed a "questionnaire that measures levels of sexual desire"" ... "rate their experience" ... "self-reported their level of sexual arousal"

So basically not a single objective, quantifiable, piece of information in the whole performance.

But, on balance can anyone substantiate the opposing view claim that "watching erotica makes men unable to respond sexually to ‘normal’ sexual situations".

It would seem that we - or rather: the trick cyclists - are still at the myths and legends level of their subject and have a long way to go before anything that a scientist would recognise as repeatable, verifiable data would appear in any pieces of research.

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Zuck: Get your FULLY EXPOSED BUTTOCKS off my Facebook

Pete 2
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Bum, beach-bum or *hole

> focusing in on fully exposed buttocks

Given that "arsehole" can describe both a part of the body and a person who displays ignorance, it's a shame that exposing a buttock isn't construed by FB as pointing out the failures or views of such a person.

There would then be much less need to unfriend or block peoples' posts.

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Attack of the Digital People: The BBC goes fully Bong

Pete 2
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Re: bbc + digital = fail

> It works with web browsers. You should try it.

Correction. It works occasionally with web browsers (I use, or used, this for Radio 2, straight off the website). However, it frequently drops the stream or halts with the message "this content is no longer available".

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Pete 2
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Omit the remit, dammit

> So expansive and vague is the BBC's current Royal Charter, that BeebWash would actually tick all its boxes (not only the "mission to inform, educate and entertain", obviously, but also "sustaining citizenship and civil society") and happily sit within the corporation's remit.

I have the sneaking suspicion that whoever wrote the BBC charter naturally assumed that the phrase " ... by making programmes and broadcasting them " was such a blindingly obvious limit to the scope of the British Broadcasting Corporation's charter that it simply did not need to be explicitly stated.

However, the BBC has always had a penchant for jumping on trendy bandwagons (sometimes even creating them, then jumping on). When it involves something that few of their "customers" understand, then it allows them to go into full patronising mode, too. As well as collecting "charter" brownie points to make up for all the crap they push out, which clearly has no (positive) charter content, at all.

But it is just that: a bandwagon. The BBC has many more influential ways to promote "digital" stuff. The most effective, cheapest and least popular with its management and programme makers would be to present "techies" in a positive light. Have someone on Eastenders who does more than argue in cliches with the other characters and (say) gives them advice on how to fix their PC, or load apps onto their phone, or scan for viruses. They could even have programmes (gasp!) that don't ghettoise "geeks" by either assuming a set of interests, being banished to obscure channels and times (e.g. Click), talking to people as if they were 8 years old and limiting each "segment" to a sound-bite friendly couple of minutes - with all the annoying electronic background music that is used to inform us that this is a technical subject, and the worn-old theme of a literal "journey" of discovery.

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

Pete 2
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Re: why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

Because it wouldn't make sense to compare it to an olympic sized swimming pool or a double decker bus.

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Pete 2
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What can you do with a 74HC00?

> a springboard for more advanced products such as the Arduino

If an Arduino counts as "more advanced" than this jobbie, it's difficult to imagine just how basic this Micro-bit device will be.

[ Edit: though since you could make an S-R flip-flop out of a 7400, I think you'd already be bordering on the limit of understanding of most 11 y/o's ]

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Never escape the boss again: Salesforce tracks down your best people any time, any place

Pete 2
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An interesting proposition

> the intelligence will be added on as a paid-for upgrade

Please can we (the callers) have this, too?

Most of the time calling the "support" desk is a screening process to weed out those callers who aren't absolutely desperate to get help, assistance or support. The trial-by-patience means that while you are on hold you will either be flipping through the (badly worded, inaccurate and out-of-date) instruction manual, or searching out solutions on the web, or scanning through Amazon for an alternative product that will have different and hopefully not show-stopping faults. If you succeed in finding a fix of your own, then you ring-off before you get connected to the (non-flying) drone who's only suggestion, after taking all your personal details for the Nth time. is to "turn it off and on again".

If only there was a way of getting through to the "right sales or support staffer for a particular task no matter where they are". Something along the lines of "Press 1 if you're an idiot. Press 2 if you've already turned it off and on again. Press 3 if you think there's a race condition in the interrupt routine. Press 4 if you're prepared to pay £10 to get in front of the other 23 people in the queue and talk to our 1 single qualified techy RIGHT NOW".

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Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

Pete 2
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Re: 'ow do you do that, then?

> writing the same chunk of memory over and over is common

Quite so. And when the marketing people stick their oar in, "10 full drive writes/day for 5 years" sounds a whole lot more impressive than a single block life of less than 20,000 write operations.

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Pete 2
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'ow do you do that, then?

> Endurance of five years at 10 full drive writes/day

OK, I admit I needed my fingers and my toes to work this one out.

But 10 "full drive writes" per day seems to me to be 80TB of data.

A day contains 86,400 seconds. So to write 80TB (80,000 GB) in that number of seconds requires a write-rate of:

80,000 / 86400 or about 0.9 GByte/sec.

But the drive spec says it can write less than 560MB/sec.

</confused>

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Pete 2
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The evils of having too much money

This project seems to be an extension of a Sound Triggered Flash. This was a staple in hobbyist electronics magazines, going right back to the 1970's. It's popularity was that it only needed a handful of easily sourced components.

How can something so simple cost so much and go so wrong?

I suspect the answer is that the project creators fell foul of the problem of a lot of software (free as well as commercial) projects and tried to do too much, add too many features, make the thing too flexible and (ultimately) didn't really have much idea what their goal was. As more cash poured in from the "corrrr, that's so kewl!" brigade - desperate for a new toy that would probably only be used a few times before something even "kewler" grabbed what little attention they had - the project used that as an opportunity to extend, expand and "improve" the original project.

It's just a shame they hadn't heard of the Arduino - which seems to have all of the functions and features they wanted and can be made to do all the stuff they were after (possibly without a UI - but really .... what the hell is that all about?) - for a small fraction of the £300 £250 they were asking for a production Triggertrap.

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I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

Pete 2
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To inform or to entertain?

What do people want from their "news"?

If we watch TV news, it's pretty clear that the primary goal is simply to keep viewers watching. This is done by a combination of vivid (lurid?) images - sometimes inserted more for their shock value than to convey information (though in factual programmes almost NO information comes from the video stream: just turn away from the picture and you STILL get the whole, errr, "picture" - the same cannot be said for turning the sound off). And to keep viewers from switching over with promises of stories about loss (since fear of loss is probably the greatest motivator of all), hints about celebs and other small furry animals and SPORT. Just keep watching the boring stuff about bad things happening in far away countries, and we'll get to the juicy stuff ... after the break.

For newspapers, the intention seems to be to push a point of view (and also to get them to watch the advertisements). Since the article uses The Guardian's Comment is Free monicker (it's not BTW. It's very heavily censored, as any commentard who even suggests that their angry-women columnists might only be using a selected version of the facts) we can use their text as examples. The Gruaniad''s pieces appear to be (very carefully) crafted to encourage clickage, attract eyeballs and generally maximise advertisement revenue. They do this by putting their own political slant on their pieces - which one wouldn't really call "journalism".

If you want "information" from the news media, then the simple way is simply to skim the headlines. In most cases this tells you all that is known about a breaking story. The rest of the piece being merely guesswork, conjecture or a rehash of what people on twitter are saying about it. Google News does this very well - and it's so quick to use. It also seems that journo's are writing their stories to be GN friendly, with all the facts in the first sentence or 2.

Understanding and background can be found. But that usually requires the "expert" to arrive. So for depth regarding stories, one generally has to wait a day or two. But by then it's all been forgotten and the next set of 140-character news-bites has washed away any important but dull stores and we're back to cats playing with celebs (or what colour is a dress) again.

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NO ONE is making money from YouTube, even Google – report

Pete 2
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Kitty litter

> So what is the idiot-viewing platform actually for?

Cats and their lonely owners.

Am I the only person who habitually adds "-youtube" to their Google searches?

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Pete 2
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Re: A great little kit.

> I think this is a great kit for someone who just wants to get the end result achieved.

The difficulty is that it doesn't work.

I experienced a number of IO errors, all related to I²C communications, during the time I spent with the Kit. Dexter Industries Forum posts relating to the GrovePI+’s predecessor suggest this is not uncommon but at least can be caught and managed in the core Python code.

If the kit has a buggy I²C implementation (or the software running on the Pi does) then it's of little use to non-technical people who's abilities limit them to "plug and play" components. Not only would those people not be able to produce a working outcome, but they wouldn't have the skills to diagnose or fix the problems, themselves.

And for the more advanced user: would the time needed to work through or around those bugs, or to work within the limitations imposed by them, be worth the convenience of buying this kit - especially when there are debugged hardware alternatives with known quality software available from other sources? Or even (perish the thought) Arduino solutions that have a proven track record.

Maybe it would be better to wait for version 2.0

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Pete 2
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On competence

One simple way for IT admin people to gauge their competence is this 2-stage process:

Tot up the number of *ckups you have fixed, avoided or alerted your employers to. Assign a realistic financial value to them - remembering to include fractional values where it wasn't just you who contributed to the fix (or fault). Subtract the value of the ones you have caused.

If the total amount saved is greater than the cost of them employing you (not just what you get paid, but the cost of your employment, including overheads) then voilà you can count yourself among those competent to do your job.

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The Interview? Kim Jong-Un, you really shouldn’t have bothered

Pete 2
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Cut! or hack?

> North Korea really didn’t need to go to the trouble of hacking Sony Pictures over The Interview

But they didn't! A far more likely possibility is that S.P. was hacked by film lovers in an attempt to stop them making any more dross like this.

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National Lottery website goes TITSUP again

Pete 2
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Winning at work

> “Why is it down all the time, get some proper staff,” said one

Maybe the "proper" staff won the lottery and b*ggrd off?

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Brightstar deal means Post Office mobile network could be a thing

Pete 2
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Stamp it out

> The Post Office is ramping up its plans to become a virtual mobile phone network

So it'll take 3 days for them to connect your call (or 2 weeks at christmas) - which might go to someone else if they can't reach the person you wanted to speak to. And then, if they fail to connect your incoming calls, you'll get a TXT saying you have to go to the Sorting Office to collect your voicemail?

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Doomsday Clock says 3 MINUTES to MIDNIGHT. Again

Pete 2
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Re: All those nukes...

> They're still out there.

In theory, yes.

However, it's 50 years since anyone's put a nuke on a rocket, lit the blue touchpaper and had a successful "boom" - rather than a <phut>, ooops or "oh crap it's heading back in our direction". That means that the last people who did it (assuming they were in their 20's and 30's) are now retired and the people they trained and passed on the "tricks of the trade" to are now getting on and have (presumably) passed on all the folklore to a new generation.

So would a system that was last end-to-end tested half a century ago, with all the subsequent innovation, upgrades, redesigns, changes and cost-cutting have any realistic chance of working? I can't see much hope for it - but I hope nobody reads this and decides to try it out.

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2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Pete 2
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That sound you can hear ...

> TV technology was obvious a big talking point

.. is the world saying "Meh!".

Nobody cares about TV tech. Nobody, that is, apart from individuals who use the size of their equipment as a measure of, well, the size of their equipment and those locked in development labs producing ever-denser, more responsive, brighter, bigger, bendier displays - that will still be showing the same repeats (some in B&W, witness True Ents screening The Avengers, right back from 1965) that were not even new a generation ago.

Let's face it: we have enough TV. There's such a large back catalog that there is little need for anyone to make any more telly (apart from filling the gap left by expunging 1970's "non-persons" from ToTP repeats, and updating the few true science documentaries as better information becomes available) - as all the channels of 100% repeats show us, all too successfully with their ability to compete with the big-4 channels for audience share.

So if there's no need for more content, and we can easily satisfy the current generation and ones to come with the existing, already paid-for, known to be popular programmes - why would anyone need a bigger, better, bendier telly to watch it. It's not as if the medium has any affect on the message.

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Wizard of Oz OFFICIALLY 'most significant movie' EVER, says PNAS

Pete 2
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Facebookification

> what really sets a film apart is the number of times it's later referenced in other moving pictures.

So basically, all they are doing is counting the number of "likes" a movie gets from other film-makers.

And as for "a good measure of scientific citations", haven't the journals been counting and indexing citations since, well, forever? Though it may be that Google's indexing algorithm (giving more weight to references from well-referenced papers) is a better plan - rather than just tallying up the totals.

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SO. Which IS more important to humanity: Facebook, or Portugal?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Keep looking in the mirror

It's very handy when you're backpedalling.

(and so far as FB's value goes, considering the massive number of "workers" - maybe "employees" would be a better word - who seem to spend all their time on it, shouldn't FB's global economic value be negative $227Bn?)

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Firefox 35 stamps out critical bugs

Pete 2
Silver badge

newtabpage still borked

With older versions of FF (e.g. 31) when you opened a new tab you could configure the browser to show you a grid of "favourite" website thumbnails to click on. By default this was set to a 3x3 matrix - but could be changed to show more sites in more rows and/or columns, albeit with smaller thumbnails of each one.

In FF34 this feature was "improved" to fix the grid to 3x3, no matter what about:config parameter the user set. In FF35 Mozilla have applied their infinite wisdom and decided that users should want LARGE thumbnails, rather than to allow the users to choose smaller ones but more of them. So now it *is* possible to have more columns (maybe even more rows, too - but I don't have a screen large enough) but the size of each thumbnail is fixed, irrespective of the size or resolution of the screen I have.

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TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'NAUTS FLEE 'gas leak' to Russian module

Pete 2
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You can't get to there from here

> The station is split into two sectors: the Russian segment and the United States segment

So, which segment has access to the escape pod?

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What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

Pete 2
Silver badge

Consumption is not the same as production

The basic fallacy behind comparing PC use to oil consumption is that the model IS fundamentally different; PCs were (are?) subject to the "law" of mass-production: the more things that are made, the cheaper they become. Whereas oil production - from whatever source - is subject to supply and demand: the more something is consumed, the higher it's price becomes.

Now it might be convenient, as a prop for the "Rise of the ManufRacturers" to assume that:

> There's simply no shortage at all of shales to exploit around the world

However, that statement is clearly bollocks. Even if there was a (practically, if not physically) infinite supply of fossil fuel there is still geopolitical issues that limits its distribution: someone can turn off the tap - just ask Mr. Putin. There is also the factor of what to do with the emissions from burning this stuff: even if climate change is "questionable" now, once a proportion of this "no shortage" oil shale disappears into our air it will alter that questionability and/or lead to air pollution of unacceptable levels.

We could also discuss the effect of transportation costs (oil, being sucked out of the ground is, essentially, free. But the cost of getting it to the end user is high. Whereas PCs have substantial production / software costs and transport adds little to that) on the different markets. Also that PCs are not in themselves a desirable "good" - they are merely a platform for the software we wish to run on them and unlike oil don't have any viable alternatives for their use.

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Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

Pete 2
Silver badge

Don't shoot the messenger

> but I have yet to see anyone write "she should'f been shot".

Ahhh, that's because the correct shortening is: "she shoulda been shot" <g>

The problem with should / would / could of is that id doesn't conjugate very well. You can mispronounce "should of" in the present tense but "should of had" makes no sense.

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Pete 2
Silver badge

Liff's too short

My preference is to use words with the fewest least letters. So while a lot of obscure words do carry suitable meanings if there are shorter words (or abbreviations) that mean the same I try to use those, instead. Or as the list would suggest: avoid prolix wordy writing.

Of course, if we want to talk about excellent sources of words for describing common (or not so common) situations and feelings, Douglas Adam's "other" masterpiece has always been a good choice.

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Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Pete 2
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Making a splash

> 11 videos viewed for every person on the planet

Remind me never, ever to buy a second-hand mobile device!

(or to borrow anyone's phone)

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