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* Posts by Richard 12

1562 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Picture this: Kodak could get out of bankruptcy as early as July

Richard 12
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Re: Sad, Really.

Hah! Domestic solar PV is completely irrelevant to the generating companies, the output from those isn't even a rounding error and that's unlikely to change in the next fifty years.

It does however mess with the supply/billing companies, because they have to pay out to the rich landlords who have them installed. Of course, they do it by cranking up everybody else's bills (yes, FITs are a near-pure 'steal from the poor' scheme).

At least in the UK, the larger-scale wind and PV installs cause massive headaches and expense for the distribution infrastructure as they both must buy all its output whenever available even though it's more expensive, rather than requesting it when needed at varying spot price (possibly negative) like everything else, and have to build out transmission to "the middle of nowhere" in order to do so.

National Grid are really pissed off at the Government, it comes through quite clearly in their publications.

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AMD reveals potent parallel processing breakthrough

Richard 12
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Re: Bittiness?

It's for their "APU"s, which are CPU with on-chip (possibly on die?) GPU.

So their GPU is already using the same physical memory bus and memory hardware as the CPU.

This isn't for discrete GPUs.

Looking at the list of partners, seeing ARM is very, very interesting - GPGPU in a Cortex A* is already very cool, and this would not only add go-faster stripes but severely reduce the CPU needed.

Anybody for 2-big.2-little.loads-of-titchy?

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Serial killer hack threat to gas pipes, traffic lights, power plants

Richard 12
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Re: Ah... Serial ports

I use serial-controlled devices regularly. It's part of my day job.

Most of them are 9600 baud, many are in fact an 8-bit PIC/Arduino class microcontroller. So yes, we really are talking single-digit MIPs and 100's KB RAM - less than your Microvax.

Nearly all of these serial links are intended for integration of disparate systems from different manufacturers.

Add encryption and both ends need to handle it.

If the link doesn't work, it needs "sniffing" to test it because one or both ends won't have any form of UI.

Unless the transmission itself is encrypted, then username/password is utterly useless because a trivial replay attack will crack it!

And in many cases, one end isn't made anymore.

The security belongs on the Internet connection device.

In most cases, it is simply not practical (or useful) on the serial link itself!

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Richard 12
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Re: Ah... Serial ports

You can't put useful security on the serial port itself, there isn't the CPU (or the bandwidth) in most devices.

Aside from that, even if you did it could not even begin to protect against man-in-the-middle or replay attacks without making the port itself useless for its intended purpose - namely simple interconnect between disparate systems.

Your TV probably has a serial port - it's for remote control like on/off and channel select when used in places like the Heathrow baggage area.

As long as that network stays private, the risk is easily mitigated. The trouble arises when the network is not private!

The security has to be in the serial-to-internet link, that's the only effective location.

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Richard 12
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Re: I know many systems using it.

What if the evil hacker just doesn't care about side effects?

If they just squirt some fairly random data at it until it responds, what happens?

A lot of these have a very simple command set, so the odds of a random data stream doing something are pretty good. In some cases even the bootloader or test modes might be exposed, so random data could even "brick" the kit by accident!

Many of the rest have normal terminals, complete with headers saying what they are - so a black hat could simply look up the manual for the equipment to find valid commands.

On top of that, most serial devices respond with things like "NACK" or "?" if they don't understand a request, and as many don't have much CPU, simply flooding the serial port can affect their ability to do whatever job they are doing.

Aside from that, a miscreant could easily prevent legitimate use of the device.

Either way results in a denial of service to a piece of physical plant, which could be quite dangerous.

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Ubuntu without the 'U': Booting the Big Four remixes

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: 119 MB is lightweight?

@ Liam - So I am. Whoops.

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Richard 12
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Re: 119 MB is lightweight?

Nope, 119MB of HDD after installing for the desktop complete with the default applications - so a full browser, office-type pack etc.

All of them are absolutely minuscule compared to Windows 7 and small compared to WinXP - our XP-Embedded image is much bigger than that without any applications at all.

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LivingSocial admits major hacking attack on customer database

Richard 12
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It takes some time

If there are a million user IDs stolen, and it takes the black-hat 1sec for their systems to try each one on all the sites they want to attack, it'll take them about 11.5 days to try them all.

So if you're in the second half, you might have a 5-day window. (Scale as appropriate)

If you're in the first few thousand tried you're stuffed, but everyone else may have a chance.

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What work? Tablet owners prefer to slack off with their slabs

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Work Use

Netbooks were crippled by the tiny screen resolution. Whoever it was that decided netbooks should have a max. of 600 vertical pixels was either an idiot or deliberately trying to kill the form factor.

Had they gone the same resolution as tablets (1080p), they would be considerably more popular - certainly all our engineers would have them!

That said, I actually use tablets for work pretty often as they make great remotes for our equipment.

(Such as a building... You remember the Star Trek segments where somebody wanders down the corridor with a PADD controlling the starship? We do that today with Win7/8 tablets for ships and buildings.)

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Microsoft off the hook for billions in Motorola Mobility payout

Richard 12
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Incorrect, MS' patents have never gone to court

The closest they ever came was Barnes & Nobel, when a discovery phase began, but MS almost immediately settled by buying a stake in B&N.

If that isn't a "smoking gun" I don't know what is - if you actually have a case, you don't literally buy out the opposition!

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Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

Richard 12
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Re: PC Audio

True, the processing needed is completely irrelevant these days.

However, the onboard DACs and line/headphone amps tend to be really rubbish, built as cheap as possible with noisy PSUs.

This doesn't matter though, as almost all of them have a digital audio output to feed into something with a decent set of DACs and amps - be it HDMI, SPDIF or optical.

Pretty much every discrete graphics card with an HDMI port has this capability, and the Realtek, nForce audio etc chipsets not only all have the digital output to connect it, but will "sound" exactly as good as anything else playing the same audio file.

Nobody needs a discrete sound card for good PC audio playback anymore - just a decent amp and speakers with digital audio input.

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Virgin Media: SO SORRY we fined your dead dad £10 for unpaid bill

Richard 12
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Re: Question

Cancelling Virgin Media without charges is really difficult.

Not as hard as cancelling BT, but nearly.

Being infirm and in a hospice, he will have had much more important things to do.

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Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Richard 12
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Have you put in the FOI request yet?

Asking for said evidence?

It would be very interesting to see it, given that the answers in the article bear suspicious resemblance to horoscopes!

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Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard's $45 Linux micro blow

Richard 12
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Re: Headline misses

Two chips on a Model A you mean, there's three on the Model B RPi - ok, one's stacked on top of another but you still gotta pay for 'em.

The large amounts of GPIO on this new Beagle are what makes it more interesting to me than the RPi, although I don't think the AM335x series can drive two framebuffer monitors, which is a shame.

It was the RPi that got all these new ultra-cheap SBCs started though, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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More and more likely that double CO2 means <2°C: New study

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: I love people who deny the basic laws of Physics...

I give up. You clearly have no understanding of any of the components you mention or any of the terminology that you keep using, and appear incapable or unwilling to even try.

Build one yourself, and see how long it runs for - take a DC motor, DC dynamo and rechargeable battery, connect them up and try it.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: I love people who deny the basic laws of Physics...

Zmodem, you genuinely have no idea what you're talking about.

Here is a simple proof: Follow the energy in your sketch.

Let's assume the following unreasonably high efficiencies for the equipment in the loop:

Wiring: 100% (superconducting)

The motor and dynamo: 99.9% of motor input electrical energy comes out the dynamo.

Battery and charger: 99.9% of input electrical energy can be discharged from the battery.

We will start with 1000 Joules of energy in the battery and assume no energy is consumed when starting the system.

After the dynamo, there are now 1000 * 0.999 = 999 Joules.

After the battery charge/discharge, there are now 999 *0.999 = 998 Joules

Then 997, 996, 995, 994...

Eventually it's all gone.

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Ofcom to UK: Really - you're using the same password for everything?

Richard 12
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True but misleading

For example, I only have six or seven online passwords, and most websites have the same one.

That's because they are ****y little websites where I don't care in the slightest if somebody uses my login, because the websites shouldn't even have one in the first place - and I'm guessing that most store them plaintext anyway.

I'd happily use the same login as everybody else on El Reg for many of them!

I'm sure everybody can think of several examples.

The other passwords are for places like this very forum where I do care about people impersonating me, and my online banking/payment where I very much care.

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Peak Apple: First 'profit slip' in a decade - and, boy, it's gonna be BIG

Richard 12
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Re: Wrong and Right

You do know that Guinness is a mass-market beer?

It should be compared to something like Budweiser or another beer you will find in every single bar in the country.

Mass-market beers are always like that - they have to be!

If you want to compare mid-market beers that are easily found but not completely ubiquitous, look for Fullers, Greene King, Black Sheep and the like.

If you want to compare micro-breweries, compare micro-breweries.

Although you are right on one thing - the US microbrewery market is doing much better than the UK one. Thankfully the UK microbrewers are slowly making a comeback, which can only be a good thing!

(And the ABV of a beer is irrelevant unless the intention is to get hammered or stay sober. It's all about the flavour!)

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Richard 12
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Re: Wouldn't.....

Nope, BSE was an EU and USA thing, spread by feeding cow products to cattle. I don't think anybody could ever find the original source, not enough data exists.

There was always more BSE in the good 'ole US of A than the UK - but that's only because there are more actual cows. The prevalence was similar.

The difference was that the UK admitted it existed, other countries tried to hide it.

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Richard 12
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Something new on the UI front

The big thing on the iPod and iPhone was the UI - jog wheel on iPod, clean touch-oriented UI on iPhone.

They weren't the only or even first ones doing either of these, but they did it very well.

Since then, basically nothing has changed - it's all minor tweaks, still staying close to the limits of the original hardware.

- Compare the home screens of an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 1. They are almost exactly the same!

It's no surprise that they are losing market share - even Microsoft has been more innovative than Apple in the last few years! Ok, MS are going full-speed in the wrong direction on the desktop, but in the tablet and phone space, they do have something that some people really like.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Richard 12
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Re: Really !!!

The trouble with that approach is that it doesn't match what people really do.

Most people have a set of work contacts and a separate set of friends. They also often overlap.

I do not want to risk confusing replying to a FaceTweetSpace "Let's go out to XXX" with a work "We're meeting the customer at XXX".

A reply like "Cool, XXX is totes amazeballs" isn't suitable for one of those situations.

Perhaps the CxOs of such large companies as MS and Nokia don't ever have purely social engagements or socialise with colleagues, but most real people do.

For most people, keeping work email completely separate from social networking and personal email is a necessary function.

Ok, some do that by having two phones, but with the large physical size and short battery life of these things, that is becoming less practical.

To be honest, I don't really like that I have no way to properly separate my personal phonebook from my work contacts in the same phone, but at least that does have workarounds.

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Human rights groups rally humanity against killer robots

Richard 12
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Re: too late

Yes, it is too late in at least one field.

Anti-missile systems are already exactly this, because they don't work if they aren't - see HMS Sheffield for a tragic example of why humans can't do anti-missile.

You select a volume of space for them to check, the locations to protect and turn them on.

They then automatically fire upon and (hopefully) destroy any incoming items they recognise as an inbound missile.

There is no human in the loop, because by the time the meat-bag hears the alarm, it's too late for an anti-missile system to do anything.

Now, it's probable that the operator can order the anti-missile-missile to self-destruct after it's launched, but it's still very little time.

On the other hand, there is a difference between anti-missile systems and anti-tank etc. as there is a lot more time to identify the target before you need to open fire - although still not very much.

On the third hand, what are the military supposed to be defending against anyway?

Who has tanks and might invade a neighbour in the next fifty years? North Korea and Iran are about it!

The current and near-future threats are individuals or small to medium-sized groups (perhaps associated with international movements), not states.

Autonomous systems can't identify those, and really, neither can military personnel either - although they usually do better.

It's effective policing and peacekeeping forces that are really needed these days.

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BadNews, fandroids: MILLIONS of Google Play downloads riddled with malware

Richard 12
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Re: Come on El Reg

Two clocks on the home and lock screen.

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Shut the CANUCK up! Sony offers $1m to hacked gamers

Richard 12
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Joke

Re: £250,000 fine for losing 77 million credit card numbers

Most credit cards have 16 numbers on the front, so 77 million numbers would be about 4.8 million cards-worth.

Is that right?

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Malwarebytes declares Windows 'malicious', nukes 1,000s of PCs

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Cure worse than disease

Erm, MSE is the 'free for personal use' version of MS System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection.

It's no different to the other 'free version of paid corporate' AV systems.

As to whether it's any good - well, none of them are substitutes for good surfing practice.

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Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

Richard 12
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Re: Hmmm....

Possibly because Google would see them in court, and Microsoft are worried that there's a significant chance that they would lose and the patents would be annulled - then facing possible legal challenges from everyone who previously licenced the patent on threat of legal action.

MS have a house of cards and they clearly know it from the B&N deal.

I'm not sure why Google don't step in, it might simply be because lawyers are expensive, and they don't want to fight unless they have to.

However, it may really be down to the NDAs - Google don't officially know which patents and as MS' accusations have never gone to court they can't file an amicus brief, and cannot step in another way without facing an expensive legal battle in which they do not know what they are defending against before starting it.

NDAs on these settlements are the truly evil part.

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Richard 12
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Re: Extortion

No, just their lawyers.

The coders just code, the cleaners just clean, the sysadmins just... etc.

It's not their fault, it's the legal dept and upper manglement - and quite possibly upper management don't really know either, as once a legal dept gets too big it starts to mutate and no longer truly serves its master, it becomes something evil.

Night of the living lawyer, coming soon to a cinema near you!

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O2 tries something completely new: Honesty

Richard 12
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It's like this in South America

You take out two contracts - the monthly "Sim", and the credit agreement to buy the handset.

This model does reduce the pressure to upgrade your handset - if you are going to keep paying £30 a month regardless of whether you get a new handset or not, you're going to get the new handset.

So I can see it being bad for operator lock-in, unless they go for the same underhanded "automatic new 2-year contract" that BT got gently told off for.

This is the logical extension of sim-only deals of course - and it might be good, as it should mean more choice of which phone you want on a given tariff.

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Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

Richard 12
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Re: So few comments?

No, he's utterly wrong.

Taking photos that deliberately invade the privacy of another is already illegal in most jurisdictions.

For example, one could stand on a hill with a really long lens to take pictures of somebody topless sunbathing in a private area - and it would be against the law.

It would break exactly the same law to use any other technology to get that same photo.

- Oddly, you'd get caught more easily if you used a drone - they are noisier and have less loiter time than a bloke with a monopod and 1m lens.

Banning drone photography would be fundamentally stupid - it's the same as banning cameras because you might hold one up over a fence.

It is the photo itself which could invade one's privacy, not the means used to take it.

Apart from the "fun police" aspect, there are many business opportunities opened up by using them - the most obvious utilitarian example being safe roofing and gutter inspections.

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Space elevators, vacuum chutes: What next for big rocket tech?

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Question 5

We know that there aren't any outright planet killers due in the next couple of centuries, and nothing excessively large in the next hundred years.

That's all.

We don't know if something big enough to effectively destroy our civilisation is going to hit in 150 years - and although I suppose I am conflating "species" with "civilisation" here, I think you'd agree that "civilisation falls" is still an apocalypse worth spending some energy avoiding?

We also don't know whether something big enough to wipe out a major city like London, New York, or Washington DC is going to hit tomorrow. That Russian meteor? Imagine if that had airburst directly over a major city at a lower altitude, instead of 'merely' ~25 km up and ~50 km away.

To really avoid those 'civilisation killers', and to even spot the 'citybusters' in time to simply evacuate, interplanetary space travel needs to be routine. Not the "launch a last-ditch heroic attempt to deflect atop quickly thrown-together rocket" we see in films, it has to be "Oh, that one's coming a bit close in fifty years, better start planning to send something to go deal with."

Even simply getting to an asteroid takes a year or two.

We only have around 100 years of clear time to do that - and given our current rate of progress, we won't make it.

I probably won't live to see it. But I want my kids to go to space - for a holiday, or even permanently.

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Richard 12
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Re: Question 5

25% in the long term, compared to the 0% long-term survival probability of the converse that we currently have.

A large asteroid strike is inevitable unless we have the technology to reliably redirect one. That takes routine extra-orbital space travel.

I say our current situation is the converse because over the last decade our politicians have been shoving us into various mapcap schemes to "preserve the planet" that simply don't work anyway because they don't scale anywhere near the size needed for current population, let alone predicted population, and in many cases actually seriously damage the environment!

Large numbers of people will die as a result of those policies - not because climate change is real, but because the methods to "stop" it that the politicians were backing are futile and harmful to people and the environment.

There is some hope - Hinkley C has been given the go-head, which is finally a zero-emissions* generating plant at the scale we need to stop the lights going out and people dying.

It'll be coming on stream too late though.

* Ignoring construction emissions, just like the wind and solar people.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Space elevated....

Snapping a tethered cable space elevator near the bottom would do very little - it would simply start to slowly drift, and you'd need to grab it again within a few days or it might go too far away from your 'base' complex.

You'd need to break it much further up to do much damage - but break it far enough up and it'll wrap around the entire globe...

On the other hand, physically snapping the assembly near the base of a Space Fountain or Launch Loop would disintegrate quite spectacularly, as the dynamic stabilisation energy gets dumped into the remains of the base.

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Richard 12
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More to the point, how'd you build it?

I genuinely can't figure out any method of building a launch loop, and they don't seem to have a proposal either.

Even assuming enough of the appropriate materials and budget, it still appears impossible to actually assemble one of those!

I like Space Fountain idea because it's buildable.

Yes, like all infrastructure-to-orbit concepts you still need an unreasonable budget (although less unreasonable materials), but it does have a clear method of building it - and one that we've been doing for a while in bridges and skyscrapers. Build the foundation, build the top and slowly jack it up.

A launch loop seems to need to be complete before it can support itself - so how do you put it together?

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Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: "Simple"?

They are the low-hanging fruit.

Reducing soot is easy - better filters on exhaust, higher quality fuels.

Reducing methane is even better - cap landfill and oil wells to capture the gas and burn it. For bonus points you could do something useful with the methane.

Unfortunately politicians do not actually care in the slightest about climate change. They want an excuse to do things.

The greenies are even worse - they actually want almost everybody to quietly drop dead. Or rather, that's the effect of the "hair shirts" they want to impose.

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FAA: 'No, you CAN'T hijack a plane with an Android app'

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: I was thinking this was bogus

The moving-map feed for the 'on-demand' entertainment is probably simply a separate GPS receiver.

- I'm reasonably sure it's separate because the height values have been wrong for my last few flights where it's been running on the ground.

Even if it does get the data direct from the flight instruments, the sane way to do this would be a unidirectional RS232 link - only one direction physically wired - streaming the current position and speed data into the moving map.

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Dubai splurges on 700hp, 217mph Lamborghini police cruiser

Richard 12
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Alert

Re: Cameras

They do have quite a lot of them, and unlike the UK they don't paint them yellow and they hide them fairly well.

However, the locals quickly figure out where they are - and even visitors spot them fast because it's where everybody suddenly brakes hard.

The speed traps that actually catch people are the 'mobile' ones the police set up at random.

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'You can keep it' - Brit's nicked laptop turns up on Iranians' sofa

Richard 12
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His insurance company may have said to forget it.

And probably did.

It's not worth their hassle to get it back, and it looks better PR-wise to say "Ok, keep it" anyway.

Although the new owners may well be in trouble with the Iranian authorities, as it would not surprise me if handling stolen goods was a strict liability offence over there, unlike in the UK.

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Shaky liftoff for Sputnik: Dell's Linux lappie runs its own cloud, ish

Richard 12
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Re: Windows is always without a problem

For example, Windows 7 occasionally decides to disable the volume control.

So you can drag it up and sounds happens, but it immediately fades it back to zero.

This will continue to happen until you reboot, when it will have set all volume controls to zero (masters and per-application), but now lets you raise them - one at a time.

There might be some incantation to fix that, but I haven't found it and the hundreds of Windows help fora appear clueless as to why.

Seems to be related to other MS software - like MS Messenger or MS Skype.

There are many other similar issues. Not surprising, as no software is perfect, but it is strange that they are so readily glossed over.

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Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Richard 12
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Re: Absolutely true for me

I give up mmeier, either you can't read or you won't read.

MS are copying tablet functionality and styling on the desktop.

That means they are making the desktop look and behave like a tablet.

That is the problem, and that is why it's stupid.

They are very different. No matter how good it is, you simply cannot put a tablet or phone UI onto a desktop and expect it to be useful, just like you cannot put a good desktop UI onto a phone or tablet and get something useful.

This kind of UI design is my day job - I build touch interfaces - and their core rules are the antithesis of the decades-accepted rules of keyboard & mouse desktop GUI design.

Win8 breaks those rules, and breaks many of the universal UI rules as well.

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Richard 12
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Re: touch

If your employer moves to Win8 this year, you should update your resume because that company is unlikely to be long for this world.

A few testing machines, certainly. However, a general roll-out anytime soon would be a disaster for most businesses.

Win8 actually causes a world of pain with a lot of professional 3rd party software and drivers (can only install in "Safe mode"! WTF?), and most corporates use some of that kind of software - not everything is Office.

Aside from that, retraining the staff and the lost productivity would cost a fortune during the transition period. It's simply too different.

- Mostly side effects of the "MS own your computer now" attitude.

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Richard 12
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Re: Vista Part II...?

Why did you "upgrade"?

What was key feature in Windows 8 that you didn't already have in Windows 7, that you felt was worth your $40?

Because if a prospective user can't answer that question, it doesn't matter what it costs - it's too expensive.

Even if something is free, it still costs time. If you don't gain anything, why spend the time?

- Incidentally, you can actually buy a whole computer for that $40 these days.

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Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: Absolutely true for me

mmeier, what makes you think that?

It didn't work for Vista, it didn't work for ME and it didn't work for Bob.

In the past, Microsoft ended up having to release a new version with a different name - and even though Vista is actually ok now, nobody touches it with a bargepole.

Why is Windows 8 going to be any different?

In every other industry, if the incumbent market leader radically changes the UI, the customers always think "Well, if I've got to learn something new anyway, might as well look at the competition".

And in many cases, the incumbent loses huge amounts of market share.

In the case of Windows, it looks very much like the radical change of UI is making people think "You know, I don't actually need a new PC. One of them tablet thingies does what I want."

Worse, many are thinking "Those tablets actually do everything that new Windows [8] does anyway. They even look pretty similar."

So, by copying tablet functionality (everything full-screen, 'app store' etc) and styling on the desktop, Microsoft are killing the desktop.

If they don't wake up soon, the commodity desktop will die - and be replaced by piles of tablets.

Then the only thing people like us will be left with are enthusiast SBCs (RPi etc) and very expensive "Gamer" desktops and "Developer" laptops.

That's not a world I like the sound of.

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'Close to one in three - sorry, one in eight - SMEs are software pirates'

Richard 12
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Re: Priorities

Why would I think that paying some of my staff to investigate every single computer for every single piece of software installed upon it and checking every single line of small print (or even not printed at all) in a licence agreement that I can't even see let alone read was a "priority"

I'd have to be insane to even start, I've got a business to run!

Especially as the BSA who tell me I should do this are unable to understand simple statistics - 12% do X and 18% have done Y does not mean 30% do XY.

I find it shocking, simply shocking that the BSA should have such terribly incompetent statisticians.

It is simply bewildering that they still haven't changed their statistical management practice to correct this, it would appear that it would require a legal challenge.

Given the costs involved, you'd think the job of sorting out the BSA's own statistics would be a priority from the word 'ready' or 'set', let alone 'go'.

Perhaps the BSA do spend so much of their effort checking all their own software is properly licenced that they can't do their own core business?

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German boffins aim to burn natural gas - WITHOUT CO2 emissions

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Where does the carbon go?

No, I want the press release to make it very clear what they actually did, and what they did not do.

This (and many other) press releases say "CO2 SOLVED!!!!" or "CANCER CURED!!!!" as many times as possible and try their damnedest to hide the "but it doesn't actually work", or even which step towards the goal has actually been achieved - the latter is particularly common for cancer-related press releases.

There's only one sentence in the release mentioning that the reactor doesn't actually work - it's as much of a one-shot deal as the existing one they say doesn't work and for basically the same reason as well - the rest is "WE SOLVED EVERYTHING!!! GO US!!!".

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Richard 12
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Unhappy

Where does the carbon go?

What keeps it at 1000deg C as you pump all that gas in?

What cools the resulting hydrogen to storage temperatures?

Heat exchanger from output to input will help, but not all that much as the gases are rather different.

This technique has the same problem as steam reforming - it takes a very large energy input to turn a very energy-dense fuel into much less energy-dense one - except worse because you can't turn it off.

The fate of the carbon is even more important!

Reading the press release, it would appear that they have no idea how to get the carbon out or if that's even possible - sounds like instead of being stuck to the walls of the reactor it's thoroughly mixed throughout the liquid metal.

That would normally be called an alloy, and the only way to get that out is to react it - usually with oxygen. Oops, CO2.

All in all - interesting, but nothing like the "saviour" the press release makes it out to be.

They always get published in newspapers as "Woo! XXX fixed!" when of course, it doesnt even work yet - and so nobody is even starting the process of scaling it up to a useful size.

I hate and despise these kinds of press release. Right now, some students have just finished their degree project. Brilliant, they'll get a good honours or PhD. But nothing that will yet affect anybody else.

No university publishes press releases for "Student writes really good dissertation", this is no different.

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Whatever happened to self-service computing?

Richard 12
Silver badge

End user self-service works in exactly one situation

Single-user of a very commonly needed resource.

In other words, personal webmail.

The moment the company needs multi-user, for example "All email must be @ company domain X", you must have a central administrator to select, register and maintain that.

Without that, it will fragment, break and/or expire, probably all three.

Would you let employees buy other infrastructure (chair, desk, company car, office building etc) without oversight?

What is so different about IT that you'd consider letting them buy cloud services that way?

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Microsoft Xbox gaffe reveals cloudy arrogance

Richard 12
Silver badge
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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Oracle reveals strategy for internet of things

Richard 12
Silver badge

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
Silver badge

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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