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* Posts by Charles 9

3470 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

Charles 9
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Re: "blood flowing through"

I suspect you can't use flow because blood flow can vary depending on heart rate.. A flow check might throw a false negative if you happen to use it just after a brisk jog or because you're in a hurry and nervous (both would raise the flow rate).

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Penguins, only YOU can turn desktop disk IO into legacy tech

Charles 9
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It can't be as simple as that. After all, using memory-mapped Flash also means you have to make sure it recognizes it as nonvolatile. Furthermore, the kinds of IO operations you would do as a memory map would be different from those you would as a disk analogue. The way chunks of memory are manipulated would have to be adjusted (you'd want cell-sized blocks ideally). If you use an advanced NVRAM that can be addressed even up to byte precision, then perhaps you'd want to block your IO operations into bus-aligned blocks the CPU can shuffle most easily. We have to realize there's more that needs to be handled behind the scenes than just throw the app into a memory-mapped flash array, and given that things can change from implementation to implementation, we need to allow for a little more time to shake things out.

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

Charles 9
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Re: Fragmentation

Then Open Source will never win.

The masses aren't interested in evolution and constant improvement. They just want the (expletive) thing to work, first time every time. Turnkey simplicity. They want OS's that intervene only when they HAVE to; otherwise, they stay out of the way and let people do their work.

In other words, constant evolution clashes with ease of use, and the masses prefer the latter.

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Charles 9
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Re: Yeah, I feel it to bro.

I suspect if there was a specific rejection code, then it's because the chip played havoc with other hardware. Or perhaps it's so unreliable that it produces silent corruption or other unwanted events. In either event, the Windows 9X drivers simply may not care and when problems occurred, you just saw random hanging or blue screens..

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Charles 9
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Re: Yeah, I feel it to bro.

The problem is that all those distros mean different toolchains and underlying software. That makes a unified form of software distribution almost impossible. This makes self-distribution of viable commercial software rather tricky, since the maker has no idea where the final product will be installed.

I can see that problem from a related angle. Steam for Linux only recommends Ubuntu and derivatives. But while Ubuntu and company are well known, there are lots of other distros out there, meaning they likely can't reach those people, and as much as Valve wants better coverage of the Linux world, they can't seem to find a way at this point in time.

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IT'S HERE: Seagate ships 'affordable' desktop hybrid drive

Charles 9
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Re: New file system

Not really. Each have competing needs.

ext, for example, scatters writes around the disc in a pattern because it assumes multiple people will be accessing the system at the same time which makes for a very random assortment of disk accesses.

ZFS was designed for use on large systems. Its logical limits surpass physical limitations, removing the need to worry about them. Meanwhile, its designers understood the problem of silent corruption (where the odds of it happening increase with size), so it sacrifices a little capacity and performance so as to be able to better catch these spontaneous corruptions.

FAT and NTFS, OTOH, assume a low user count and are designed to better allow the compacting of the file system so one can better perform sequential reads. NTFS takes the extra step of preferring its master file table towards the center of the disk to reduce the average seek time.

I'm just listing a couple of their more distinguishing traits. Basically, with different goals you get different filesystem structures, each with their pros and cons.

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Charles 9
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Re: Educate me?

According to the article the flash acts as a cache, so it's integrated to the drive.

It's something that piques my curiosity, to say the least, since I tend to packrat and accumulate lots of data. However, Seagate and I have rather a bad history together (too many of their drives start going clickety-click on me).

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Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

Charles 9
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Re: @John Smith 19

"A bottle of wine contains 750 ml of liquid. A unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml of alcohol. So to get 11 units in a bottle, you're talking about wine that's 14.5% ABV. I submit that if you're drinking "the cheapest wine you can get in a supermarket" and it's 14.5% ABV, your liver and stomach are in a world of trouble.

A more typical strength, particularly for cheap plonk, would be 11%, making for 8 units per bottle. Some wines are significantly lower (and none the worse for that - part of our current problem is that there's a tendency towards making beer and wine stronger - but that's basically for fashion's sake, there's no taste-based reason for it)."

Based on my experiences, I don't think most winos go for honest wine. They go for what might best be called "bum wine," which is in fact cheap fortified wine. They pack a stronger buzz than honest wines (since they climb up into the 18-20% ABV range) and usually cost less. The winos don't care much for the taste; they just want to get drunk as often as possible. As for their livers and stomachs, they're usually beyond caring at this point and are just picking their poison.

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Charles 9
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Re: Say WHAT, bro?

Oh? Equal numbers of people claim the people saying the New Deal hurt America are THEMSELVES telling myths. Historical evidence suggests that the best way to boost economic activity is to encourage the class of society who have no choice but to spend (because they're starving). The general consensus is that while the New Deal didn't get us out of the depression, it did keep us from falling deeper into it. It kept us busy which in turn kept us from turning on ourselves (like you see in Greece right now because few things drive people to turn on their country like a lack of opportunity).

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Charles 9
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Re: Hypocrites.....

1) If the price goes up too much, we'll just make our own guns.

You'd be surprised how true that statement can be. The truly dedicated are capable of fashioning their own guns from scratch using machining tools available to everyone. Plus, some designs were designed to be simple to make, like the Sten.

2) If the price goes up too much, we can go to France to buy guns.

Wherever it's convenient. Smuggling guns is a known black market activity because of the guns that you simply can't get elsewhere because of laws or whatever.

3) My using guns doesn't harm anyone else.

I don't know if you meant to be sarcastic or now (you give no indication), but I can tell you that all three of these can SERIOUSLY be true, whether it be for guns or for alcohol or even for drugs (where #1 appears in the form of hidden pot farms, meth, "bath salts", and other synthetic drugs).

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Charles 9
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Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

What about during the Dark Ages? I heard monks then were normally given an allowance of ale that ran into the liters per day. And it wasn't weak stuff, either, as their bread, cheese, and ale all tended to be very robust.

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Charles 9
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Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

Thing is, what if you raise the price so high that you encourage what Americans call "moonshining" instead?

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Charles 9
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Re: @Rocket888

Thing is, if you start raising the price of the cheap stuff too high, you might as well be prohibiting it because you're pricing it out of range of low-income blue-collar workers: historically known for drinking. The same thing happens when you try to alter behaviour with punitive excise taxes. You just encourage underground brewing and so on. Alcohol is legal in the US but regulated, so there is still a market for the infamous moonshine.

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Prepare for 'post-crypto world', warns godfather of encryption

Charles 9
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Re: Encryption by size?

To use your analogue, secret recipes are kept by a select few who never tell. To keep their secrets, they come in, take the raw ingredients, and send out the finished product, and no one gets so see them in between the steps. I believe the same is true for the WD-40 oil mix and the original KFC chicken breading recipe.

So if a secret is functional, then it must be kept under the same type of obscurity. I believe that's how modern cryptoprocessors work. Their secret keys are embedded within themselves in a one-way write-only process (think One-Time Programmable logic), and there's no function that retrieves them directly. They're only used when the secret functions come into play, and all you see is something go in one end and the end product come out the other. I believe they call this idea eXecite-Only Memory (XOM). You can probably do similar even if the secret is a piece of data, by wrapping the data in a secret function and using the cryptoprocessor technique again.

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Charles 9
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Re: Quantum processing is a fantasy and APTs can be shut out.

Four words: Zero-Day Privilege Escalation. There's a reason the term "rooting" exists.

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Belgian boffins find colossal meteorite

Charles 9
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FAIL

18kg is Colossal?!

Goodness. I was half-expecting them to have uncovered that part of the continent constituted some (since I can't use the word colossal anymore) brobdingnagian meteorite hidden for millennia (something, say, the size of Australia's Uluru-Kata Tjuta).

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Strategic SIEGE ROBOTS defeated by 'heavily intoxicated' man, 62

Charles 9
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Re: "Dangerous Ordnance"

Sounds a bit too heavy for the average joe to heft. Think perhaps a 10kg hammer would still pack sufficient punch, especially if swung laterally?

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Charles 9
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Re: Valid tactics

Was this ever actually tried in say an episode of Doctor Who? I'm not too well versed in the Whoniverse, being a Star Trek fan myself, but the incident piques my curiosity to wonder if a Dalek or two just couldn't get their weapons on target because the target kept lurching around drunk.

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First, servers were DEEP-FRIED... now, boffins bring you WET ones

Charles 9
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Re: need a plumber

The new substance doesn't conduct electricity. The main reason for the piping was to prevent electrically-conductive water from touching the electricals. Here, you could put the server in a bath of the stuff and it wouldn't care provided you made sure the fluid didn't stagnate and start spot-boiling (but because the liquid has high thermal conductivity, the heat can spread through the fluid pretty readily).

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Charles 9
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Re: So if the PC dies

I saw the show you speak of. Unfortunately, the liquid being demonstrated was Flourinert. In a later show, they had to admit the substance was a CFC and no longer suitable in an now-ozone-aware world.

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Charles 9
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Re: El Reg forgets it's own articles???

I think this new fluid trumps mineral oil in that it's NOT an oil and therefore easier to clean off when you have to take a unit out of the bath.

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Charles 9
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Re: Same problem as all liquids

I suspect the energy savings come from the fact you don't need fans and their associated motors and heat generation. You also reduce the need for air-conning a server room because you can concentrate the heat exchange.

As for the fluid itself, if it has a high enough thermal conductivity, wouldn't its natural tendency be to diffuse the heat to nearby parts of the liquid, which would in turn diffuse to other parts of the liqud? Air is a poor conductor, so you need to constantly keep airflow to keep absorbing heat, but this liquid is an excellent conductor, so perhaps instead of a constant blast you just maintain a gentle flow (think less hurricane and more soft breeze), which you can build into the design so that if the fluid flows a certain way, it gently washes over the CPU, GPU, and so on and out the other side to be recirculated.

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Charles 9
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So instead of a rack standing on the floor you'd have one immersed in a tank of the stuff. Interesting concept, though I'd have to wonder what its boiling point and heat of vaporization are: so as to know when to start worrying about the stuff boiling.

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Charles 9
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The big problem was the flourinert was a flourocarbon which came out JUST as the big CFC-ozone connection was made. I'm pretty sure the new 3M substance isn't a flurocarbon or they wouldn't have continued pursuing it.

From my reckoning, they developed a fluid with very high thermal conductivity, so my guess is any part of the fluid that heats up quckly diffuses throughout the fluid. Plus, in the example, it's set up as an intermediary to a water-piped cooling system. My guess is they use water to help regulate the temperature and the new fluid more as a safer heat transfer medium; the water doesn't have to get close to the sensitive electricals.

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Air-to-ground rocket men flog top-secret mobe-crypto to Brad in accounts

Charles 9
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Re: Realy?

"Interesting. Those colors actually mean something, just so you guys know if you don't already. The five different classification levels are color coded, Green means UNCLASSIFIED, Blue is CONFIDENTIAL, Red means SECRET, and Orange is TOP SECRET. There are different procedures and handling standards for each level, so its telling if it doesn't turn blue or orange."

That's only FOUR classifications. In the US, that's all there are, as we no longer have a Restricted classification (we merged it into Confidential). Were you forgetting the purple CLASSIFIED color?

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Charles 9
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Re: Dual boot == information leakage

Wanna bet SOP is that the phones are locked to secure mode during operations? By the time the phone's insecure again, they're probably back at a base. Little good that does you then since you can't predict where they'll go from there.

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Charles 9
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Re: Realy?

If the phones are only issued to elite forces, odds are you'd wash out of those forces for having a disability. Used to be red/green blindness was a general reject, then it was a rejection for going airborne (because aircraft make heavy use of red and green lights).

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Charles 9
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Re: Dual boot == information leakage

The way I see it, when the phone switches modes, the other one shuts down, so as long as the phone is in secure mode, any tracking malware on the insecure side is not operating. And it better be a persistent malware, too--it has to be able to survive a reboot.

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SimCity 2000

Charles 9
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Re: @Flawless (@Sisk)

I believe that's because, unlike true abandonware, the rights to the game are still viably held (in this case by EA, which bought out Maxis and all its associated rights in 1997, a few years after SC2000 came out).

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Charles 9
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Re: Playing it on a 386 SX 40?

You would be right (it supported 640x480x8b--VGA was normally limited to 4b). It was also a Protected Mode game (thus why you needed at least a 386DX or the like to play it), so for its time it was rather cutting edge.

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Canadian cyborg says Google Glass design is cracked

Charles 9
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Just for the record. Did they say you were unsuitable because of the mismatched eyes or because your one eye was too myopic (I've read laser correction is not suitable for extreme myopia or for those whose corneas are too thin)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Each eye to focus on a different plane?

The eye strain comes from MISMATCHED focus. It's easy enough to duplicate by holding something in front of only one eye (about 10cm away). It soon becomes disorienting because your eyes aren't in sync.

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Keyboard, you're not my type

Charles 9
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But WAY too expensive.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2008/04/the-optimus-max/

No one wants a computer where the keyboard is the most expensive piece of hardware. Besides, there is a question about the longevity of the keys. There is something to be said about simplicity, which is why microswitch keyboards last so long.

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German boffins turn ALCOHOL into hydrogen at low temp

Charles 9
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Re: The attraction is Methanol is *easy* to handle.

The trouble is that it has carbon in it, which manipulates the carbon cycle. Since most methods of making methanol on the necessary industrial scale aren't carbon-negative and since most processes that convert methanol to energy release CO2 as a byproduct, making it carbon-positive, you hit a bugbear in that using methanol is essentially carbon-positive and bad for the environment. At least pure hydrogen is carbon neutral when you use it (no carbon in it).

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Four firms pitch hi-def DRM for Flash cards

Charles 9
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Re: the problem with DRM systems

The Steganography angle. Thing is, stego has two competing goals. It has to be robust or it can be destroyed by signal manipulation, and it has to be hidden or someone will detect its presence and either avoid it or remove it. The goals clash against each other because they both apply to signal alteration. A subtle signal hides it but also makes it vulnerable while a robust signal is harder to erase but easier to identify.

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Charles 9
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Re: the problem with DRM systems

Not necessarily, if the drive circuit (the thing that actually turns the pixels on and off) contains the encryption kit, which is kept internal to the chip so that unencrypted video feed never leaves the device, then you have encrypted video data on one end and already-diffused pixel data going out to the LCD array along tons of wires: much more difficult thing to capture. And since the signal is all digital: even down to the display on the LCD array, there's no "analog gap" to exploit. That's why most efforts have been into cracking HDCP (which they pretty much have done): breaking the trust chain elsewhere.

Now, the audio data is much more basic and just about impossible to keep encrypted because it's easy to analog-record from the speaker wires. But trying to do it across 8 speakers and keep the timings exact (due to speed-of-light and clock skews) is trickier.

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Charles 9
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Re: the problem with DRM systems

That's the old "Screeners" scenario (taking handycams to theaters). It may be ugly, but if you really just wanna watch the movie, then it'll do. The movie companies concede that point because camera tech is already too far ahead (What you gonna do? Strip-search everyone on entering? And did you know video cameras can now fit in eyeglass frames?)

The current movement in DRM is to limit the quality of these ripoffs, as a screener copy may not be to everyone's liking. OTOH, if someone were to present a 1080p/7.1/multi-language rip of the latest blockbuster, unencrypted, that's gonna get some attention. That's why high-definition content has to many authentication mechanisms: to try to make sure only trusted channels get access to the high-def content on BluRays and so on. That's also why BD+ was developed: it's a virtual machine with the codes on the discs: a moving target for the crackers.

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Charles 9
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Interesting thinking going on, for sure, but let's give it a little time. I'm sure people with nothing better to do will take some time and tear into the scheme looking for chinks. For example, this scheme makes me think of DVD's CSS protection, which had to be offline and therefore impossible to update. So if a bunch of movies are signed by a particular key, and the key gets cracked, the box gets opened again, I would think. So I'll see how this plays out.

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Look out! PEAK WIND is COMING, warns top Harvard physicist

Charles 9
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Re: Hemp

Maybe, but hemp only really grows well when the soil is itself pretty good (the results in less ideal soil aren't as productive). Furthermore, hemp oil is not as useful as other oil. For one thing, it can go rancid. For another, it lacks the energy density. Plus, hemp's use as a fabric or rope material is hampered by its hollow fibers (meaning they tend to wick unless you tarred them). That's why ships switched to non-wicking manila rope.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not wind only

Isn't that why the idea is to install solar plants in deserts? Particularly very arid or very windy deserts: neither of which are very conducive to vegetation and therefore mostly taking up empty space?

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Charles 9
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Re: Sack the earth huggers. Build more nuclear.

Global warming in and of itself isn't a scam. What's the scam is the idea that we're influencing it in any significant way.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not just build a solar panel that covers half the world....

And the primary reason we have a waste problem is that people are afraid to reuse the fuel. We ALREADY have reactor designs capable of reusing the fuel and getting more energy out of them. The problem with come is stated concisely in their name: BREEDER reactors. A necessary byproduct of reusing the waste is you end up with more potent waste, and to keep the cycle going, you have to take it out once in a while to reprocess it, which inevitably raises concerns of weaponization and proliferation.

A number of the Generation IV reactor designs DO take breeder reactor concepts into consideration to try to maximize their fuel use.

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iPhones, 'droids go to WAR: US soldiers invade TOP-SECRET cloud

Charles 9
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If the US military is smart enough, only the public-facing aspects of "secure iPads" would come from their plants. Secure elements are much more likely to come from American firms after they've been carefully vetted.

The move sounds more like a trend toward more diversity in the event Blackberry has trouble continuing operations in the medium term. In military terms, your basic contingency plan.

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It begins: Six-strikes copyright smackdown starts in US

Charles 9
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Re: This assumes the person is contactable

There ARE ways to confirm delivery in the postal services. At least there are in the USA (Certified and Registered Mail, for starters). If they get word of a rumor that post gets lost, odds are they'll send at least one notice with a guaranteed notice of receipt. There goes the "mail gets lost" out. Plus, usually only the addressee can sign for these kinds of mail, blunting the "mail gets stolen" angle.

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Charles 9
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There's a reason for Geolocation lockouts.

Copyrights are not globally assigned but are held by region by different parties. If one region is down with it but another isn't, then you have no choice but to institute lockouts because the second region can sue for copyright infringement because they never gave permissiobn.

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Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

Charles 9
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Re: Backwards

Likely, with the PS3, almost zip, because the PC x86 architecture is a lot different from the relatively unique PS3's Cell CPU. Architectural differences make emulation difficult and usually require a performance edge of some ten fold at least, which isn't happening this time (CPU tech hasn't been progressing as quickly as in previous generations). And timing concerns mean you can't throw multiple cores to make up the performance deficit for emulating a single core.

The PS1 has been possible to emulate on the PC for years now, and PS2 emulation on PC hardware is achievable under the right circumstances.

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Charles 9
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Re: RE: comparison with a PC and PC performance

The prices, however, also include market factors that are not related to the hardware or development costs. If a game is popular on one platform but not the other, or if one port came out later than the other, that will affect the price comparison. Take Halo. The PC version came out long after the original XBox version, for which it was a launch title and a console headliner.

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Charles 9
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Re: RE: comparison with a PC and PC performance

In Joerg's defense, hand-tuning is a lot easier when the specifications are more concrete. In the general PC environment, coders have to consider whether their end product will be running a machine with lower levels of shader support which can restrict the level of graphical detail you can put in your product. Consider the game BioShock. It was made right around the time DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4 came out. However, since most video cards on the market could not support them, the amount of DirectX 10 code they could put in the game was quite limited. Pushing the envelope in PC technologies is risky because you risk alienating audiences (Crysis was an exception to the rule--but it scored BECAUSE of its audacity--trying to repeat the feat would be difficult).

OTOH, on something like a console, you know exactly what type and how much hardware you'll be working with. This is the kind of information that lends itself well to hand-tuning. If you know just how much and what kind of RAM you're working with, you can micromanage to get the last byte of performance out of it and do it with the tighest timing you can. Similarly, knowing that every PS4 will fully support OpenGL 4.2, you know just what functions you can and can't use and don't have to worry about fallback functions.

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Ad-titan Google blocks Adblock Plus in Android security tweak

Charles 9
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Re: I may be being incredibly naïve, but ...

Trouble is, look at spam (which is ad-bombing cranked Up to Eleven). The cost to deploy even a bazillion ads is so low that the return from JUST ONE HIT usually pays for ALL of it, meaning all the others are pure profit. And given that there's gonna be SOME sucker SOMEwhere (thus nullifying the "everyone block them" angle since JUST ONE is needed), the odds of a return are in the advertiser's favor.

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Oklahoma cops rake ashes of 'spontaneous combustion' victim

Charles 9
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Re: Burning Bodies

Going that far back, we know the Nazis were rather gross, but looking at it strictly from a scientific perspective, the Nazis knew how to run like a well-greased machine. In this case, they knew enough to keep in mind an ideal ratio of tallow (fat) to other body mass.

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