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* Posts by Charles 9

3549 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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

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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SimCity 2000

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

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

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

But to use hand-written assembler over the entire length of a huge project is usually too demanding unless it's a requirement. So as the other writer has said, compiled code is made as a base and then parts of the object code hand-tuned or replaced with hand-written assembler where performance is demanded.

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Charles 9
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Re: It's such a shame it's x86

The Cell lost when GPUs kept jumping up in performance. The writing was on the wall: the future of HPC would be in GPU-based architectures, and I think Sony recognizes this which is why they seem to be putting a solid emphasis on that part.

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Charles 9
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So Sony's finally laid its cards on the table. Since they've changed architectures from generation to generation, switching to PC-based architecture is actually not too radical on their part, nor is trying an OnLive-like approach to retro gaming. All I can say at this point is good luck to them.

Which leaves Microsoft. Their console evolution has been a bit different from that of Sony, and it might be of benefit to them to try something different than Sony's so as to differentiate itself. I think it would be best if Microsoft didn't jump architectures the way Sony did and stick with POWER CPUs and AMD GPUs. When it comes to specific hardware development, as long as the tools are robust and the hardware capable, the architecture can usually take care of itself, and sticking with POWER gives them a compatibility angle that keeps them closer to Nintendo's niches. As for memory, at least 4GB would be prudent, though with Sony touting 8GB they may want to consider moving up to allow for larger game worlds: cost-benefit analysis pending. Meanwhile, network-based gaming is thankfully a platform-agnostic idea so they can leverage Live to perform many of the same functions without much of a need for architectural changes.

So, Nintendo's already out the gate, and Sony's laid its cards on the table. Now it's Microsoft's turn. Odds are we'll hear from them at E3.

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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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Charles 9
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Turbo Mode

For versions of Opera other than Mini, the proxy service is available as "Turbo Mode": recommended for use on low-speed networks. Desktop installations can find an icon on the lower left (looks like a speedometer) that will let you toggle Turbo Mode, and it will recommend it if it detects a slow network. Opera Mobile keeps Turbo Mode tucked in the settings and allows for the ability to be kept on, kept off, or toggled on whenever one isn't in a WiFi zone.

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Charles 9
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That's precisely the point. If you have to move behind paywalls, fine. At least we know ahead of time the price of the service. Treat people more like clients and less like cattle.

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Charles 9
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Re: don't expect any response from Google

Or unless backed up with the threat of a hit to their bottom line. So unless the EU threatens to fine Google (and it would have to be something big like a 10% GAP fine or so), Google will see it as just The Cost of Doing Business.

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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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Charles 9
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Hadn't there been one case where one other aspect of SHC was noted, one which wick effect combustion couldn't handle: speed? It'd be interesting to see one where the verified burn time was too short for wick effect combustion.

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Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

Charles 9
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Re: So if the PC dies

But what if one argues that Microsoft sells the LICENSE, which then counts as a sale and therefore invokes exhaustion?

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How private biz can link YOU to 'anonymised' medical data

Charles 9
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Re: Typo?

And we all know how much practice private business has had in DE-anonymizing data. Once they figure out datum A is from the same person as datum B, they keep the relationship logged, keep doing so for other linked data until they find enough information through voluntary consent, legal mandata, or public information to identify any one of them. Then suddenly ALL of them are identified.

You just watch. All that "effectively anonymized" data will be effectively DE-anonymized inside of two years.

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Obama says patent trolls 'extort money', pledges reform

Charles 9
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Re: Or we could try to fix it

Not necessarily. Software patents because algorithms aren't necessarily specific enough to be covered by copyright. Consider the idea of "clean room engineering". This was the method Compaq used to bypass the copyright on the IBM BIOS because they basically came up with an alternative implementation of the BIOS without any inside input. Patents cover that angle by protecting the process in general. If the IBM BIOS had been patented, Compaq would've had no way to legally clone the BIOS, just saying.

Having said that, the length of software patents are not in line with software product lifecycles. Current patent terms were made for when product lifecycles were measured in years (usually around a decade or so) while software tends to cycle every year or so. If software patents are to be issued, then they need to be issued for a much shorter length of time to reflect the pace of change.

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Charles 9
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And in that same timeframe software would've undergone two or three product lifecycles. Your argument would make it more valid to make software not patentable at all because the bureaucracy time is longer than the product lifecycle.

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John Lennon's lesson for public-domain innovation

Charles 9
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Re: GPL is copyright

That was what I thought. The GPL and similar licenses are meant to leverage copyright law to protect the code from hijacking. A similar angle sometimes occurs in the patent field. Their version of the FOSS license is the "hands off" patent: obtaining a patent on a process for the primary purposes of allowing free use of the process and not allowing anyone else to assert it.

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Charles 9
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Re: But /why/ ?

IOW, the idea behind the FOSS licenses is about applying the copyright laws JUST a little bit, not so much to limit the people's ability to USE the code but rather to protect the code from being hijacked.

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Software update knocks out Space Station communications

Charles 9
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Meh

Oops.

Sometimes, even the best laid plans can go awry. But give NASA credit for keeping up with their "Steely-Eyed Space Men" mystique. So something went wrong; they already had the backup plan in place. A few quick tweaks and they're back in business. In the annals of space travel, this was the furthest thing from a panic attack; more like one of those many "Oops" moments that occur all the time; annoying, but planned for in any event.

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Iceland thinks long and hard over extreme smut web ban law

Charles 9
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Re: Parental Responsibility

Besides, how will you handle things if the kids can outsmart the parents, which is not unheard of in the electronic age?

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Own a drone: Fine. But fly a drone with a cam: Year in the clink

Charles 9
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Re: RC hobbyists

"Law enforcement is REACTIVE. PROACTIVE law enforcement gets into the realm of attempting to determine one's intentions before he or she formulates the intention or executes the action, resulting in everyone being a criminal before given the chance to not be one. This makes the abhorrent assumption that people have no other attachment to doing right, or not doing wrong depending upon the theory applied, which is an affront to personal liberties."

But REACTIVE is now too slow for people. By then, the tragedy (Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, 9/11) has already occurred and people are dead. That's too late. The move now is towards PRE-crime: preventing the tragedy from actually taking place so people don't die. Because if PRE-crime is such a bad time, how bad would it be compared to someone YOU love being the next to die become of some crime no one anticipated in time?

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Charles 9
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Re: "....make the act of attaching a camera to a flying machine illegal."

They'd probably say you'd no longer be allowed to fly such a machine in Oregon if the law passes. Owning such a device before the law passes would be a grey area due to prohibitions on retroactive statutes, but if the law passes, FLYING one would almost certainly be forbidden, built-in or not.

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The universe speaks: 'It's time to get off your rock!'

Charles 9
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Re: If an asteroid wants to wipe out mankind, it had better hurry

Thing is, we still have one edge over other species: we can adapt. Hey, if the Inuit can live in the Arctic all year long, perhaps we will over time. Plus we're good at building things..You'd think in 7,000 years we'd have better access to fission and fusion technology which is basically temperature-agnostic. Rig to some geodesic domes and use the snow and ice for water and you have a fair go, I'd say, regardless of how cold it gets.

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Civilization peaks: BEER-dispensing arcade game created

Charles 9
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To those in Europe, please don't knock all American beers. Admitted, the big brand names are perhaps thin an unsatisfying for your tastes, but most Americans drink it for (relatively) cheap refreshment, not necessarily because of its flavor (Note: the best-selling beers in America tend to be "light" beers--that should say something). However, for those who want more honest beers, we have a great amount of diversity thanks to a booming microbrewing industry, and these microbreweries are not afraid to experiment, so you can find just about anything from the full-bodied to the far-out-there, just by asking around a little.

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Doped nanotubes boost lithium battery power three-fold

Charles 9
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Re: Bring it on!

Except the primary reason for more than one car is more than one simultaneous driver. And these drivers tend to drive in similar patterns so would want similar kinds of cars to keep costs down.

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Facebook in futile attempt to block perverts from Graph Searching for teens

Charles 9
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Re: Maybe 13 is the problem

Part of the problem is that kids that young may not be fully cognizant of the potential consequences. We tell kids to just say no, but they sometimes have trouble understanding WHY they say no. Kids may scoff at "Because I said so," but if told the actual reasons may just reply with a "retard's stare," meaning it went completely over their heads. By the time of adolescence kids are at least aware of the concept of personal privacy and would therefore be interested in ways to safeguard it.

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