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* Posts by Richard 12

1516 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Microsoft Xbox gaffe reveals cloudy arrogance

Richard 12
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FAIL

U571?

It wasn't the Enigma machine which mattered, we had loads of those!

Much like grabbing a copy of the RSA algorithm doesn't let you break RSA, you have to find the specific key - not the general lock design!

It was the weather code book that made it much easier for us to consistently break German naval Enigma codes.

That book meant that we could know what the plaintext should be for the daily weather reports (because we had our own weather reports), and thus find that day's Enigma settings much quicker.

It's quite fascinating, and very irritating that the U571 film bore no resemblance whatsoever to the real events of U110 and Operation Primrose.

Perhaps the most amusing bit is that the USA didn't believe that we'd been cracking Enigma... Or at least it would have been amusing if that ignorance hadn't lead to hundreds of avoidable deaths.

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Richard 12
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Re: Luddites

Not everyone likes multiplayer.

I play single-player games almost exclusively, and I like the fact that I can still play the copy of Dungeon Keeper (albeit in a VM) that I bought many years ago, and I love that I can still play Freespace 2 - lovingly updated for modern OS & graphics and expanded by a dedicated team of volunteers - that I've owned for almost as long.

If either had been reliant on their company servers, they would long since be completely unplayable.

A good single player game will still be good in 20 years time.

Why shouldn't I still be able to play it?

What right should the publisher have to say "Ok, you've had enough fun now. Game over forever."

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Richard 12
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Re: Similar mentality?

To be fair, in the UK that doesn't matter.

You do do those filings over dial-up speeds and it won't take much longer, and everyone in the UK can get dial-up speeds for very little money. If nothing else, one of those 3G dongles on pay-as-you go would suffice.

Aside from that, almost all small businesses have needed Internet connections for many years for other reasons, and payroll is very commonly outsourced.

Broadband on the other hand...

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Oracle reveals strategy for internet of things

Richard 12
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So you can write drivers in Java now?

Who would have thought that?

Oh yeah, you can't. And nobody even remotely sane would try to write for a sub-Arduino-scale device in Java.

The sensors in these containers top out at around 8 MIPs, many are smaller.

Almost everything that size is written in C these days, though some of the larger ones have moved to C++.

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Windows XP support ends a year from … now!

Richard 12
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Re: won't happen!

It will happen. Look at the published pricing for extended support - that's clearly a "pay the salaries of the Win XP team yourself" price.

XP will die, Microsoft cannot afford to let it live.

However, the result will be a wave of Windows 7 installs instead of the Windows 8 (or Blue) that Microsoft wanted, and it will be reported as yet another nail in the Windows 8 coffin.

WinXP is dying and it's taking Win8 with it.

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Android's US market share continues to slip

Richard 12
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Clearly the wrong story

The graphs alone tell the very clear story "Blackberry users switched to iOS"

I don't see any other conclusions supported by the published data.

The missing background is that Apple released the iPhone 5, but which other major manufacturers released new flagship phones during the measured period?

Unless you annotate with the big releases the data is pretty meaningless.

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Microsoft: 'Facebook Home just copies Windows Phone'

Richard 12
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Coat

Do you pull the GBL often?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Richard 12
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Re: A load of bankers

Very few businesses can be started or even expanded without borrowing money.

The startup costs for a business are very high - you need your premises, machinery and the ability to pay your staff in the first few months before you actually get paid for any of your products.

Without borrowing involved, everybody must pay cash-on-delivery of the product/service.

You are a start-up, so you haven't built anything to sell yet - where can the money come from?

The same thing occurs domestically - even ignoring the land, just the labour and materials to build a house costs a lot, and again you have to pay that before the house is actually built.

If its anything other than a detached property, it's got to be built in concert with other homes, magnifying the problem.

Very few people could manage to save £100k or so before moving out of their parents home, ask a hundred people to save most of that before a block of flats can be built? Not likely.

Credit is necessary once a civilisation goes beyond the hunter-gatherer stage.

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Richard 12
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Re: "So how do we solve the banking problem?"

It's implicit.

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Bitcoin-mining malware ENSLAVES computers

Richard 12
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Re: Dumb question

I gather that it's designed to get significantly harder to generate a new bitcoin as more are brought into existence, with a theoretical maximum number that could ever exist.

So eventually a new bitcoin will require near-infinite processing power.

Of course, that's assuming nobody finds a flaw in the algorithm or implementation before that happens!

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LOHAN must suck juice while mounted on rigid rod - but HOW?

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: transformer using titanium rod as core

You know, that's just crazy enough to work!

Certainly easy to test, just take the rod and wind a pair of coils.

There's no need for an inverter, just rapid switching (kHz) of the DC output with a mosfet. The inductance of the coil will smooth it out and reduce EMI (which would be bad for the radio) - this is how isolating DC-DC units work.

Won't be very efficient, the iron titanium losses will be fairly high as it's the wrong shape and the coils are necessarily quite far apart - at least the width of the rubber.

So you'd want the rubber to be as thin as possible for maximum sensation heating.

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Swedish judge explains big obstacles to US Assange extradition

Richard 12
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Are you insane?

Or do you think the Swedish politicians are?

For a start, that was a deportation, which is completely different - all countries have a fast way to send people back to their home country, even to refuse entry immediately, and the only way to avoid that is a believable asylum claim.

Assange is not a US citizen.

What do you think would happen to a politician found to have either signed off on or presided over a fast-track extradition to the USA for anybody, let alone Assange?

How many days would they survive after it became public?

They'd get the PM's "complete support" within hours, and be out on their ear within two days!

No matter what evil deeds you might ascribe to elected politicians, their first and foremost priority is keeping their job, followed closely by getting re-elected.

They only do this kind if thing if they think nobody is watching - and frankly, the longer Assange stays in that embassy, the more likely it is that everyone will forget about him.

On top of that, it's much easier for the US to extradite from the UK than from Sweden, if that had been the goal then the Swedes would have been asked not to serve their warrant and the US would have gone for him direct. They didn't, presumably because the US justice people don't think they have a case, no matter what their nutjob senators say to the hoi polloi.

It's also pretty certain that had he gone to Sweden in the first place, he'd be out or cleared by now and able to do whatever he felt like.

Instead he's feeding his persecution complex, and much as the ambassador might be enjoying poking two fingers up at the UK, they aren't going to let him stay there forever. Sooner or later it will fit their goals to throw him out, and then he'll be on a plane to Sweden, where he will now be refused bail and have to spend any pre-trial time in jail.

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US funds Europa mission

Richard 12
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Why not send people?

Because it's a one-way trip with current technology.

We don't yet have the capability to send a manned craft capable of landing on Mars and returning home.

Heck, we haven't even done that with an unmanned craft yet!

As for Europa - you'd cook.

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Giant solar-powered aircraft to begin cross-country flight

Richard 12
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Re: I , for one, am fascinated with this

Of course a 787 is reasonable.

As would a 777 or 747, but the 787 is supposed to be the most efficient.

Yes, the first commercial airliners carried about 20 passengers and flew much slower.

However, the modern traveller won't go back to that!

There isn't the airport capacity for many more aircraft, so they have to keep similar aircraft capacity - 200-400 passengers - unless you want international travel to be the preserve of the super-rich.

And would you be happy for the transatlantic flight times to double as well?

Not to mention that transatlantic at low speed also requires that these aircraft can still fly at night...

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: I , for one, am fascinated with this

Instead of umpteen tons of fuel, you lift umpteen tons of batteries. No change there.

You also missed the point spectacularly - the thought experiment was very simply "Can solar power a commercial aircraft at cruise", and the answer is "No, there is not enough insolation".

- BTW, The 'bumblebees' thing is irrelevant - we're talking large passenger aircraft, not microscale insect sat on sticky, turbulent air. Yes, we know exactly how bumblebees fly and have done for at least a decade. They aren't solar powered either, they run on nectar and pollen.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

If wishes were horses...

Zmodem, if you've got working perpetual motion machine, build it and show it to the US Patent Office.

I guarantee a working one would make you an overnight multi-billionaire.

However, you don't, and nobody does. Funding is not the reason, the reason is because they do not work.

Quite simply - if they worked, Rolls-Royce would be using them. They don't because they don't work.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: I , for one, am fascinated with this

Solar PV can't ever work for large airliners, here's why:

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is supposed to be one of the most fuel-efficient passenger aircraft yet developed.

It uses two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

A single Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine delivers 39,400 kW at takeoff.

There are two of them, so your batteries have to be able to provide that 78,800kW during takeoff - no batteries can do that, but we'll ignore that for the moment.

For the sake of argument, let's say 1/4 that at cruise altitude.

Maximal insolation is 1.3kW per sq metre at the top of the atmosphere.

Let's give you 100% efficient PV cells. So your aircraft needs to have a PV cell surface area of approx. 15,100 m2.

Boeing's Dreamliner's total wing area is 325 m2, let's say 650 m2 for the full aircraft (bigger than reality).

Yet we're still only at 23% of the required power by using 100% efficient cells.

Oh dear. Not going to work then, is it?

Like helicopters, this technology is interesting and likely to be useful in specific situations (eg very long loitering drones), but it cannot replace the jet airliner.

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Richard 12
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Re: At the risk of being too pedantic,,

Same as on a commercial jet - the low-pressure external air is compressed to create cabin air.

It's obviously a special compressor on an airscrew craft as there isn't any bleed air from the jets, but it's still pretty simple.

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Relaxed Windows 8 rules hint at smaller slabs to come

Richard 12
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Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

Type the program's name?

What is this, a command-line shell?

Why have a GUI if you can't bloody use it?

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You know how your energy bills are SO much worse than they were?

Richard 12
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Re: Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear....

1) There's no such thing as a 500MW wind farm.

There's a wind farm with a nameplate rating of 2GW that can be reasonably expected to produce an average of 500MW. Not necessarily when we actually want it though.

2) Nobody really knows what it costs to dispose of the nuclear waste, because nobody has yet been able to build the long-term storage.

There are estimates, and it will reduce significantly if we actually build some new plants.

Hinckley C is a 3200MW

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Wealthy London NIMBYs grit teeth, welcome 'ugly' fibre cabinets

Richard 12
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I see one flaw in the council's reasoning

What competitors?

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Swedish linguists nix new word after row with Google

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: To google

More or less.

If the term has become genericised, it means it's in common usage to meaning a class of products.

That still doesn't mean Electrolux can call a particular model of vacuum cleaner a "Hoover", just that consumers are going to use that term to search for it.

The fun of trademark law is that if Electrolux did try calling a new model that, Hoover would have to formally request them to stop as otherwise they could lose the Hoover trademark.

Not seeing how that relates to new words in a dictionary though, probably just lawyers trying to justify their retainer - who have now Streisanded themselves!

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Experts agree: Your next car will be smarter than you

Richard 12
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Re: It must be us old fogeys with no perception of speed or distance

Convoy slipstreaming behind an "18-wheeler"?

Clearly only in America... I think that's the only place the big lorries have the same motorway speed limit as the cars. It really won't fly in the UK when you can SARTE and get there an hour later per 200 miles than in "manual".

Yes, it'll save a lot of fuel - but driving at 50 insteads of 70 saves most of that fuel anyway, and nobody does it.

Aside from the technology barriers, are you really going to wait for one of those to come along before starting your journey? Of course not! If you're happy to wait for a scheduled journey, you'll take a real train or a plane and hire a vehicle at the other end.

The technology needed to do this is a useful stepping stone to cars that drive themselves on motorways, but don't kid yourself that consumers will ever do it.

HGVs might, though. Many of them already slipstream anyway, I'd rather a computer was doing it.

The whole concept is a very scary thought for other road users though - getting safely on or off at a junction could be made very difficult by one of those formations.

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The UK Energy Crisis in 3 simple awareness-raising pictures

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: back to coal

I'm complaining because you've done the maths completely wrong.

TWh is a measure of energy (1 TWh == 3,600,000,000,000,000 joules), GW is a measure of power (1 GW == 1,000,000,000 joules per second).

The time component is important. How much energy has the installed plant actually generated? This is not a multiplier of nameplate rating, even with a capacity fudge factor, as the amount of installed plant has changed a lot during the last decade. It should be pretty easy to measure but the figures are hard to find.

Essentially, the problem is that Wind is getting more dangerous (more turbines in more dangerous locations), while coal, gas and nuclear are getting safer.

Also, 6 wind deaths is the UK alone. It's about 200 worldwide over the same time period - again, compared to 4 nuclear power deaths in the entire world.

I do agree with you that we should be shutting down our coal burning plants. I just think we need to be building nuclear to replace them - and the time to start building those nukes was about five years ago, instead of spunking all that money all over tiny wind and solar PV installs.

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Richard 12
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Re: back to coal

Where on earth did you get that number?

In the last decade, the reported nuclear-power related deaths in the EU are zero, and roughly 4 worldwide - a steam explosion in 2004 in Japan.

(There was also a fatal accident at the Matapuri research reactor and some errors in medical usage of radiation, but that's not nuclear power.)

During the last decade (to end 2012), Wind power has killed 5 or 6* in the UK alone - and far more in Germany.

So UK-wide for the last ten years, 0 nuclear deaths per GW and 1 wind death per GW expected capacity.

The reason is quite simple - almost all wind turbine work is at a height in areas with high winds and poor weather, and as there are a lot of turbines needed to have a decent output, there will be a lot of such work needed.

One recent study (2011) gave the following worldwide death rates:

Nuclear : 0.04 /TWh

Wind : 0.15 /TWh

By that measure, wind is more than three times as dangerous.

Yes, it's three orders of magnitude less dangerous than worldwide coal - but just because cliff diving is safer than bungee jumping doesn't mean we should all go do that!.

* Depends if you include collisions with offshore turbines. I think you should.

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Richard 12
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Re: back to coal

While nuclear might be more expensive to build than wind for 'nameplate capacity', nuclear produces the actual nameplate capacity at any time we want it to.

Nuclear power is also far safer than wind in terms of deaths per GWh.

Seriously, wind power is very dangerous, accounting for a great many deaths every year - mostly due to falls during build and maintenance.

They don't make headlines because they get lumped in with general construction deaths, and they only claim one or two victims each time.

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Richard 12
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Re: Burning Gas = Electricity

Wind's not as predictable as you think.

While wind penetration stays low (10% or so), it's fine. Push it much higher and it becomes almost completely unpredictable.

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Rug tugged from under 2e2 after it racked up £50m loss - report

Richard 12
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It means "used"

Unnecessary, redundant and/or excessive verbiage is a well-known and necessary requirement of consultancy communications.

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Next from Microsoft: 'Blue', the Windows 8 they hope you don't hate

Richard 12
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Re: desktop

It's clear that MS want to kill the "legacy desktop" for several reasons:

Firstly, because they now call it the "legacy desktop".

Secondly, because they castrated it in Win8, removing a lot of the really nice features of the Win7 shell.

Thirdly, because they deliberately made it impossible to stay there without installing a third-party shell. There was clearly no technical reason for this whatsoever, because said 3rd party shells do exist.

This clearly indicates an intention to remove it entirely, and given the features of WinRT, the timescale looks like "the moment Office works in TIFKAM".

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Apple share-price-off-a-cliff: Told you that would happen

Richard 12
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Re: How to predict share prices.

Actually, Nokia were already sinking when Elop took over. And yes, looking back it was probably because they were the market leader that they spent so much of their energy infighting instead of producing quality goods.

He merely threw almost everyone overboard, manning the pumps or not, ripped down the sails and then set fire to the powder store.

If he's lucky, the powder is wet. Otherwise...

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Furious Stephen Fry blasts 'evil' Reg and 'TW*T' Orlowski

Richard 12
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Re: He's very good...

Steve Knox, I must disagree with you.

English Literature doesn't change all that quickly, so assuming he hasn't forgotten more than 3/4 to 7/8 of what he knew then, he still knows a lot more than me on that subject.

After all, the famous dead authors haven't written anything new lately.

It's not like technology, where last year's cutting edge is now really out of date, or even physics, where the theories of any given decade are likely to be proven as lies-to-children during the next.

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Google patent filing suggests Glass will be ULTIMATE REMOTE

Richard 12
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Re: I can see it now...

More seriously, I always considered the text to be simply displaying Terminator's internal monologue.

Much better cinematic method than an audio monologue as it emphasised the difference between a human monologue (traditionally done with a voice-over) and the high-speed robot monologue (multilogue?) of the Terminator.

What I'm not sure about is where the idea of a robot's monologue being shown as text and diagrams came from. It has become very common though!

Is my film critique showing? Damn.

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No, really: Austrians develop hi-tech jewellery made out of concrete

Richard 12
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Seems like a waste of palladium to me

Much better uses for it than sat on someone's finger.

Personally, I'd rather be able to breathe the air than look at a shiny thing made artificially dull by spray-on concrete.

I'd be happier if they used man-made Pd though, "forged in a nuclear furnace" seems likely to be a selling point in this market, given the crazy "so hard to manufacture" talk that always comes with designer jewellery.

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Space probe spies MYSTERY 'Cold Spot' in very fabric of cosmos itself

Richard 12
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Coat

Re: Advanced Boffinry

Rocket surgery must be more difficult.

I mean, it's not brain science.

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Movie, TV ads annoying? You ain't seen nothin' yet

Richard 12
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Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

I think it'd be more than a little bit disturbing watching somebody blend a smoothie using a kitten, or drinking a kitten...

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Oi, Microsoft, where's my effin' toolbar gone?

Richard 12
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Re: Toolbars disappearing?

So it was impossible for Microsoft to put the menu down the side, where a 16:9 monitor has tons of wasted space?

They certainly made it impossible for a user to put their toolbars there.

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LOHAN fans drawn to magnetic coupling

Richard 12
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Happy

Gold sprung contacts onto gold pads

Sorry, I missed the last thread!

They provide 1A (and USB data) in our application, tested in a multitude of low-altitude environments around the world. They're intended for 'industrial' phone charger type applications.

Zero disconnect force. To be more accurate, a little less than zero...

I'll dive through the WEEE bin on Monday, see if we have any in there and drop you a photo.

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Researcher sets up illegal 420,000 node botnet for IPv4 internet map

Richard 12
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Re: Linux

Probably because there are far, far more of them, most are run by average consumers and they are left running 24x7.

The majority of the commodity hardware sat on the actual Internet or in the DMZ (as opposed to NATed) is running Linux, simply to get a network stack.

ADSL routers, switches, firewall appliances, Internet-webcams - that kind of thing.

Comparatively, there are very few Windows PCs directly on the Internet anymore - it's only really servers these days, and one would hope the admins of the majority are sane and competent.

In most cases the idiocy is probably the device manufacturer, leaving telnet or SSH turned on with a default password.

Very few home users are going to check the security of the WAN port of their home ADSL router, and they aren't going to try SSH or telnet attacks when fitting a webcam to watch the kids from work, they'll just forward the ports or even put it in a DMZ.

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Infosec boffins meet to plan nuke plant hack response

Richard 12
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Re: Defeating online attacks is simple...

It's not quite that easy, as the Stuxnet attack on a radiological facility showed.

If you can infect the computer that programs the facility, you can use that to corrupt the PLCs that actually run the place later on.

Effectively a kind of sneakernet.

Which is worrying, and why I'm fairly paranoid about my laptop!

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UK's 'Nobel prize for engineering' given to 'inventors of the interwebs'

Richard 12
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Yes indeed, he made mining much safer.

Must have saved many thousands of lives.

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Richard 12
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I can see it now...

Competitive vomit races, and even target vomitry!

Imagine it, vomit bouncing down the street, straight into the face of a passer by.

A perfect ten, by anyone's standards.

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Researchers find cloud storage apps leave files on smartphones

Richard 12
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Shock! Stop the press!

Putting a file on a machine puts the file on the machine!

Who would expect that!?

What exactly was the point of this research anyway?

- "Deleting" a file has never destroyed it on any media, these researchers don't say that the client apps claim to destroy the data and I've not heard of them claiming that either.

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Holly(oaks) talking head is FUTURE of face messaging, claims prof

Richard 12
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Will certainly be interesting to see what games do with this

Was playing Mass Effect 2 recently and was struck how "forced" all the facial expressions looked. Very disappointing, given the fully pre-programmed nature meant they really could have done better than "smile/neutral/grimace".

So something that lets them cheat would help a lot for making believable characters.

Although nothing can save them from such terrible dialogue...

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World's largest solar collection plant opened in Abu Dhabi

Richard 12
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Where in the world is there lots of sunshine?

Hint - it isn't Britain.

It would be genuinely stupid for the UK to invest significantly in direct solar energy, given the general lack of sun.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out why it's massively subsidised in the UK with huge amounts of money is being thrown at wealthy landowners to install it.

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How UK gov's 'growth' measures are ALREADY killing the web

Richard 12
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"Leave" doesn't mean the UK

It means the market.

In other words, they'll stop taking the photos and take their image libraries offline.

Essentially, if nobody pays for the pictures they'll have to find a "proper" job instead to pay their bills, and photography will be relegated to a part-time hobby.

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Richard 12
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No, it's infringement

That's what it says on the actual statute books.

The more you scream about copyright infringement being theft, the less attention anybody will pay you.

FACT is a lie.

Copyright infringement is a crime, but it's not theft - it's more closely related to fraud and breach of contract.

(Criminal/civil law)

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Richard 12
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Re: Quadcopter

Actually, you can't.

Remote-controlled model aircraft are not permitted to go that high, and the batteries in a quad/octo don't last that long either - 20min is about the longest you'll get.

You can take a lot of really nice photos with a big quad or octo, but the aircraft to carry a decent camera is going to cost £5k or more.

Model aircraft are great for chase cams though!

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BT engineers - missed appointments

Richard 12
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Boffin

Small Claims, it's easy

It can also be done online, you usually don't need to go to court in person.

Costs £20 IIRC, added to the claim.

You will have to show that you've taken "reasonable" steps to settle the matter before going to court.

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Philips pushes out SDK for multicolour Zigbee LED lights

Richard 12
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Re: Limitation

You'd be wrong though.

It's all about the fade, and a ten-step 1 second fade is very visible.

You need at least 20Hz update rate for fades in small tungsten lamps, for LED you'd want 30-40Hz.

10Hz only works for large tungsten, or if the response is artificially slowed to allow internal smoothing to work.

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Richard 12
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Only "sort-of" dimmable

Better than any of the other 2-wire "dimmable" LED lamps I know of though, most of which only go down to 20%

I would still like the last 11% though.

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