* Posts by Mark #255

261 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

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Italian scientists use fluorescent box to arouse sexually indifferent men

Mark #255

Re: Wonder where they got the bulbs from

Ideal until they fizzle out in about six months.

You might leap to conclusions about CFL factory location and quality, I couldn't possibly comment.

They're coming up for their fourth or fifth winter, so they're not going too badly.

We also have some 20W daylight bulbs which get used every day, and are now noticeably dim for the first 20 seconds or so. I guess I'll need to change them at some point.

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Mark #255

Re: Wonder where they got the bulbs from

CFLs are actually the ideal light source for this. The old incandescent tungsten bulbs generally give off a yellowish light, whereas CFLs with the right phosphor can be coaxed into a sunlight-equivalent colour temperature.

We have three 30W daylight bulbs in the lounge which are brilliant for banishing those wintry shadows.

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Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

Mark #255

Re: Privacy @Chris 125

So aren't they forced to ask for your details?

As a counter-example of (arguably) doing it correctly:

Premier Inn's free wi-fi doesn't require a phone number; it doesn't require that the name you give matches the name you booked the room with; and it hasn't yet sent any spam to the address I signed up with.

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400 million Foxit users need to catch up with patched-up reader

Mark #255
Coat

Foxit

I saw a word ending in ..xit and thought, which country wants to leave now?

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'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

Mark #255

Re: The real universe doesnt care

Actually, it's a shape defined by the EGM96 coefficients.

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'Boss, I've got a bug fix: Nuke the whole thing from orbit, rewrite it all'

Mark #255
Headmaster

Inconsistent goto paths

The thing that gets me about the SSL code is that the two paths (bad packet length and cert length mismatch) have their meat in different parts. truncated could easily be in the earlier if block (like the other one is), and then simply goto f_err; (like the other one does).

And (assuming a1 is zero when there's no errors), you could write the final if(0) as if(!a1) for better readability.

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Flare-well, 2015 – solar storm to light up skies on New Year's Eve

Mark #255

Re: No problemo . . . me t'inks

Well, you're wrong. CMEs in 1989 led to the destruction of an HV transformer in New Jersey, and the collapse of the Quebec power grid (90 seconds from normal functioning to a full system failure).

Surge protectors provide microsecond-long absorption of high voltages, not the quasi-static huge currents that are induced by CMEs. Thinking that surge protectors would help is like thinking that a waterproof jacket would help stop your house flooding.

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LHC records biggest bang ever with 1 Peta-electron-volt jolt

Mark #255

Re: Lead nuclear mass - @Voyna i Mor

A nucleon is either a proton or a neutron, not a single lead nucleus. With an atomic weight of 208, a lead atom (or ion) has 208 nucleons.

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Nuisance call blocking firms fined £170,000 ... for making nuisance calls

Mark #255

Condensing Boilers (Re: My current pet hate)

As an aside (i.e. OT!) we don't want a more efficient boiler as it all likelihood it would require a complete rebuilding of the C/H system

It depends how exotic your system is: certainly you can get a condensing boiler that's a plumb-in replacement for a system boiler, leaving all your existing system (hot water tank, pumps, controller etc) intact.

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WIPO punts Cambridge University over attempt to grab Cambridge.com

Mark #255
Coat

Re: Land grabbing

[...]a .co.us for the larger Cambridge in the US[...]

But Cambridge is in Massachusetts, not Colorado.

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Web ad tried to make my iPhone spaff a premium-rate text, says snapper

Mark #255

Re: The best and worst features

Browsers should be completely blocked from being able to communicate with *any* other program on a device...

I disagree. mailto, phone numbers and addresses are things that I frequently click on, to open in another app.

The alarming issue is the apparent programmatic/automatic nature of it.

As an aside, the messaging app on my Moto G warned me recently that I was about to send a chargeable (out-of-bundle) text message; this is probably the appropriate app to know about these things, rather than the browser.

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GCHQ wants to set your passwords. In a good way

Mark #255

Re: Real World!

Regarding biometric data, they're akin to your username, not to a password.

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Clueless do-gooders make Africa's conflict mineral mines even more dangerous

Mark #255
Facepalm

Arithmetic

Whilst a price hike from $10M to $4B is Bad and Wrong, it's not a 400,000× factor. Well, not unless you're using (the archaic) British billions.

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Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Mark #255

hmmmm

Your entire thesis seems to be that because flexibility in non-cash-worker-rewards vs extra cash is beneficial to you, that we should all have this extra "flexibility" imposed on us.

Which is fine for those who truly do have the freedom to pick and choose ("career women", you write, and "those not on minimum wage"). But for those who don't, you're effectively giving their employers the freedom to "allow" their employees the chance to work themselves into an early grave.

And I'm sure that would never be abused.

Oh, hang on, we already have zero-hours contracts. And they've turned out to be an untrammelled force for good, haven't they?

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Thunder-faced Mozilla lifts Flash Firefox block after 0-days plugged

Mark #255

Re: Stop it, Mozilla

Also, it was a soft block; that is, the user could click through on the banner to enable flash on a per-site basis.

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KILLER! Adobe Flash, Windows zero-day vulns leak from Hacking Team raid

Mark #255

"Ask to Activate"

In Firefox, you can set Flash (and all your other add-ons) as "Ask to Activate".

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Silly Google's Photos app labelled BLACK PEOPLE as GORILLAS

Mark #255
Coat

Re: Google Photos labelled me Cunt

It was an image of me on a lounger, beside the sea.

And were you, perchance, surrounded by underlings who refused to believe that you couldn't order the sea to stop rising?

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Indie review of UK surveillance laws: As you were, GCHQ

Mark #255
Black Helicopters

Re: Yeah, but...

And so can the 'royal' mail - are they planning to open every letter?

Err, you are aware that (one of) the main reason(s) that the Royal Mail was formed was to allow the Crown to eavesdrop on those pesky foreigners/republicans/papists/terrorists?

this post from the I-get-all-my-facts-from-Horrible-Histories sofa

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MIT bods' digital economy babblings are tosh. C'mon guys, Economics 101

Mark #255

Re: Familiarity

Ian McMillan and Carol Ann Duffy both seem to qualify...

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New relay selection fix for Tor to spoil spooks' fun (eventually)

Mark #255

more pedantry

Interestingly, the full OED entry (possibly £) for decimate has the, er, "colloquial" usage as sense 4b

"4. transf.

b. rhetorically or loosely. To destroy or remove a large proportion of; to subject to severe loss, slaughter, or mortality."

Which just goes to show that, even though English dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive of current usage (there is no Académie Anglaise), there aren't an awful lot of dictionary compilers gritting their teeth and muttering "that is WRONG!"

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City of birth? Why password questions are a terrible idea

Mark #255
Facepalm

Still too many failures

I'd think that for far too many people, Google's suggested questions still wouldn't work.

I wasn't born in a city, and my dad doesn't have a middle name.

(this post from the I-am-Spartacus department)

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The Internet of Things becomes the Game of Thrones in standards war

Mark #255
Facepalm

VHS/Betamax zombie canard

Betamax, though offering better quality than VHS, did this at the expense of shorter running time.

So you couldn't (at launch, later iterations increased the running length) fit an entire film onto a single cassette.

Intermission anyone?

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Next-gen Freeview telly won't be another disruptive 4Ker

Mark #255

PVR vs catch-up

Reasons why PVR is (usually) a better option:

  • Better quality: OTA is generally higher resolution and much higher bit-rate than catchup

  • Not missing: some things (eg films) don't appear on catchup

  • No expiry: recordings stay on my PVR until I get rid of them (notwithstanding the finite space available), whereas iPlayer still only caches for a month (admittedly better than previously).

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Hordes spaff cash on Chip titchyputer to rival Pi (maybe)

Mark #255

Shipping and graphics output

The $9 version only gives you composite video out (fine for anything headless...), but VGA and HDMI outputs are $10 & $15 extra respectively. And shipping to the UK is $20. So that's $44 for the HDMI version to my door, which (once you've added import charges) is around £40.

(This post from the my-specific-use-case-is-not-being-catered-for department)

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Mozilla to whack HTTP sites with feature-ban stick

Mark #255

Re: why, why, why... what is the point?

Which is why I cannot support this idea, at least not unless Mozilla dig into their deep pockets to set up a non-profit, free for the user, certificate authority.

I'm afraid then, Mr/Ms Coward, you'll have to wait until last November before you can strike that off your list of demands reasons why you cannot support this idea.

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Acer introduces a REVOLUTION in tablet tech: The PENCIL

Mark #255
Unhappy

grumble

I realise there's a slight "my specific use-case is not being met" to this, but there's no bloody GPS. And now the Nexus 7 has been withdrawn, there seems to be a dearth of tablets to replace it.

You can get as cheap a 7" tablet as you like, as long as you're happy with Android 4.x, 1024x600 and access to Virus McPwned's AllLucky(TM) Glorious(TM) AppStor(TM).

grrrr.

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Motorola's 5-incher finds the G-spot: Moto G 4G budget Android smartie

Mark #255

Re: Lolipop

Just before Christmas, an update for "Motorola Update Services" arrived through the Play Store, which claims "This update is necessary to enable a future upgrade of your device to Android 5.0, Lollipop". I'd check you've got that updated.

(1st Gen Moto G on 5.0.2 over here)

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Honda CR-V: SUV-lite that’s also light on the pocket

Mark #255
Headmaster

UK vs US gallons

An Imperial (UK) gallon is 4.54 litres, not 4.3 litres.

Our gallon is bigger than yours mostly because our pint is 20 floz, not 16.

But our fluid ounce is 4% bigger than yours, too.

Anyway, I drove a Civic with one of these engines 450 miles, mostly motorway. It achieved 75mpg, which was impressive.

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Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Mark #255

@Ian Re: Ken Rockwell laughing stock.

No, the camera doesn't get it right all the time.

Hence my use of the phrase "virtually all the time".

I shoot in raw+JPEG too, and I've needed it once - for contrasty shots in a very sunny Caen. I carry cards with enough space for about 1800 frames of raw+jpeg (ie 50 rolls of film equivalent), so memory is not a scarce resource.

But my point was that Ken's advice stems from the days when shooting in RAW meant that effectively, 1 card ~= 1 roll. I wouldn't wish that on any budding photographer.

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Mark #255

Re: Ken Rockwell laughing stock.

Shooting in RAW has its place, and with today's gigantic sizes it's a no-brainer (my smallest card is 8GB, and fits over 300 frames in RAW+JPEG Fine mode), but I hardly ever even look at the RAW files, because (as Ken says) the camera gets the JPEG right virtually all the time.

But scroll back to when a 1GB card was the pinnacle of flash memory - that's under 40 frames, and you're back into shutter-release-as-a-scarce-resource territory.

Where Ken's site is strongest is in his technical appraisals of lenses and bodies. His recommendations for settings are just that (and helped me change the hilarious old Nikon default of squashing all JPEGs to constant size, rather than constant quality).

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Mark #255

Manual control is the key

Rather than digital vs film, I think the real distinction is between point-and-shoot against the ease of customisation that a "proper" camera gives.

I briefly dallied with a Fuji bridge camera, which incorporated the worst of all worlds - indeterminately slow shutter release, nested menu controls, an over-abundance of special modes, and an "Aperture Priority" mode which gave two stops.

An entry-level D3300* does give you PASM modes, but you're still reliant on scrolling through on-screen menus to ensure you're changing the parameter you want.

Whereas even a D200* has enough dials and customisation that you can have one dial for shutter speed, the other for aperture, and you're basically sorted. And of course, if you want snaps rather than photographic art (or you're handing the camera over to an uninterested spouse/friend), then full auto is available, and the instruction generally goes:

  • Yes, you need to look through the view finder.
  • No, you can't display the picture on the screen and hold a kilo of camera+lens a foot away from your body. It's not comfortable.

  • Half-press the shutter button [yes, that button there, just under your index finger], wait for the beep, squeeze until it clicks

  • Yes, it is a satisfying clunk isn't it?

* Other makes are available, but I grew up with a Nikon, so everyone else's focus rings Go The Wrong Way.

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This ISN'T Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters

Mark #255
Mushroom

Re: You are absolute fools!

[I know I shouldn't respond to trolls, but...]

If you hate government as much as you seem to from this post, I look forward to hearing how your relocation to Somalia works out.

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German music moguls slammed for 'wurst ever DMCA takedown spam'

Mark #255
Black Helicopters

Re: Why stop?

The DMCA is (egregiously?) one-sided in this.

The accusing party is not held to making statements under "penalty of perjury", merely good faith belief. The rotten, scum-of-the-earth pirates accused must respond under penalty of perjury.

It's so one-sided, it's almost as if the law was written by Hollywood.

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(Re)touching on a quarter-century of Adobe Photoshop

Mark #255

High quality compression?

I could never get Photoshop (v4) to compress JPEGs well. I believe my compressor of choice at that time was LViewPro, but PSP did better, too.

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W3C turns BROWSERS into VIBRATORS

Mark #255
Holmes

Re: I'll give it about 2 weeks...

not having RTFR, I'd guess that it would be opt-in - like access to geo-location, camera, microphone, etc... are.

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WHERE'S WALLY? He's in this algorithm, says developer

Mark #255

Re: Fairly trivial with the right tool

Actually, a specific Wally-finding algorithm has been posted (based on the red-and-white stripes) to stackoverflow already.

What Mr Olson has posted is the quickest way to find Wally yourself, without a computer.

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First look: Ordnance Survey lifts kimono on next-gen map app

Mark #255
Meh

Openstreetmap and Osmand

A fair amount of the Ordnance Survey's mapping output is made available at no extra cost to we mere mortals, and ends up on the openstreetmap database. Several Android apps are already available which repackage this (at the expense of a GB or two of phone/tablet storage), including contour/relief maps. I use Osmand, which isn't perfect (its routing can be interesting, and it uses its own text-to-speech, which is (a) rubbish, and (b) American), but if the OS want to charge £18 per year, they'll need to provide the proverbial moon on a stick.

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Supersonic Bloodhound car techies in screaming 650mph comms test

Mark #255

Re: Doppler etc...

It's not the Doppler effect, it's the timing within the protocol that gets screwed up.

GSM is limited to speeds well below this - the railway variant GSM-R has specially widened guard bands to allow operation on TGV and other HS trains. If they've got 4G working at these speeds, and at sufficient bandwidth to stream HD video, that's impressive.

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Windows 10 heralds the MINECRAFT-isation of Microsoft

Mark #255

Re: Uh, yeah ....

Also:

"Direct3D has always performed better than OpenGL"

Yeah, I'm not sure that stands up to analysis.

Conflict of interest: Age of Empires 2 was (and still is) an excellent game. I've spent whole weekends playing that. Well done MS for buying Ensemble Studios.

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Uber BLOCKS COPS to stop stings

Mark #255

Re: Entrapment?

It'd be along the lines of a plain-clothes cop offering someone a tenner to break a window for them, then booking them for vandalism / attempted breaking-and-entering!

No, I think a closer analogy would be going to www.WeWillBreakWindowsForYou.com.au and booking a window breaker.

Although this analogy fails in that I don't think you can get a licence for breaking windows, whereas you can get a licence for operating a taxi service.

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AMD plugs firmware holes that allowed command injection

Mark #255
Mushroom

Re: x86

Trinity, Richland, Kabini and Kaveri are the four most recent desktop processor families (2012-present), you numpty.

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Spotify flips bird at Taylor Swift, adds MILLIONS more users

Mark #255

Re: 99p

Yes, Spotify were really pushing that one, presumably so they can say "we have x million paying customers" without adding the subscript "and y million will be churning away when we apply a 15x price hike".

Still, to Spotify's credit, at least they've stopped the insane "new users can only sign up using their Facebook account" which they were set on when I last looked at their offering.

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Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters

Mark #255
Boffin

Re: Bit-perfect copying

Actually, there is extra redundancy in CD-ROM compared to CDDA (which is why 74 minutes of uncompressed WAV files won't fit onto the 650 MB, by some margin).

So technically, it's possible that there are CD writers out there which are able to successfully rip a CD-ROM, but which can't clone an Audio CD bit-for-bit*.

*Of course, the error correction in the CDDA stream would kick in and you'd never hear the error - CDs are supposed to be able to cope with a 1mm hole, so a single bit error would be fine.

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Marriott: The TRUTH about personal Wi-Fi hotel jam bid

Mark #255

WiFi operates in a licen{c|s}e free band

The best, and the worst, thing about WiFi is that it is licence-free - no-one has paid to protect the spectrum from: other WiFi users; domestic microwave ovens; analogue video streamers; etc.

So no-one has the legal right to an unmolested WiFi band - not Marriott, and not the conference attendees.

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Proxima and Ultima: AI, hard sci-fi and multiverse – ALL GOOD. Romans – not so much

Mark #255
Thumb Up

Romans in spaaaaace

If you want a space-faring Romans sci-fi novel (though the Roman-ness is implicit in the text), the Hugo-winning Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is it.

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Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

Mark #255
Happy

Eight-minute empire

Eight-minute Empire is a wonderful game that we've just got. If, like me, you think Risk is too often (read: always) decided by the initial army placement, followed by 2+ hours of grind, 8-minute Empire is its antidote. Enough skill and strategy required that adults can play and not be bored, but the mechanics are simple enough and there's enough luck involved that our 8-yo can play with us and not always end up last.

Love Letter is an intriguing card game. Once said 8-yo got over the name, he really enjoys playing it.

Original Carcassonne (ours came with the Rivers expansion) and Ticket to Ride also get an upvote from me.

More child-oriented fare are: Labyrinth, and Hey! That's My Fish.

If you've got a few spare hours, Wil Wheaton's Tabletop series is on Youtube, and is head and shoulders above any other videos-about-board-games you'll catch on there.

If not, boardgamegeek is a Ronseal-esque forum.

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Yes, you heard me – the storage infrastructure WARS are over

Mark #255
Stop

Compass points

Erm, what is east-west traffic (and north-south traffic)?

(and where's my "dear lazywebs" icon when I need it, eh?)

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Mark #255

pie sandwiches

You've reminded me of my student days, when one of my housemates (hi John!) would make^W prepare a Frey Bentos pie sandwich.

'Twas truly a sight to behold. Though not if you'd just eaten.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

Mark #255
Unhappy

Face unlock anyone?

Does (did) anyone else use the face unlock on their 2012 N7? Is it still available?

The upgrade to Lollipop seems to have removed it on mine.

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Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'

Mark #255
Coat

Hmmmm

Just where is Admiral Ackbar when you need him?

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