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* Posts by Richard 12

1528 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Data cop slap for Brit text pests

Richard 12
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Re: Ah but

Now that's a good idea!

I tend to mute the mike and let them chat to nobody, but a rape whistle sounds much better.

... Or perhaps a modem handshake.

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Apple granted patent for microphone silhouette

Richard 12
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Re: Barmy

A US "Design Patent" is what the civilised world calls a "Registered Design"

That's somewhat similar to a trademark.

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Ten technology FAILS

Richard 12
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Re: MiniDiscs

It's only in the last year or so that MiniDisc has been replaced in professional theatre and radio, and only then because its got too difficult to get the discs.

Good audio quality, and many players that could cut, chop and cue up tracks without needing anything else, coupled with instant-start once cued up made them perfect.

Even modern PC-based players often struggle with that.

- If you want some the BBC World Service are selling theirs off.

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Facebook tries to stop its staff using iPhones in 'dogfood' push

Richard 12
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Re: I don't think so

Yes, if your employer is buying the phone and paying the contract, you get what you're given.

Although, if they said "We'll pay 50% of your contract costs if you get phone X as your personal phone", that might be tempting.

Finally, "We recommend you get phone X, or your job is at risk" (outright or implied) may be unethical, and even illegal in the EU, but it's permitted in much of the USA.

Personally, I'm guessing they are doing the first one.

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Richard 12
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Re: Don't get it

Nope, it won't.

Tech company employees are not the kinds of people that Facebook is really aimed at.

After all, how many commentards actually like Facebook?

It appears to me that the majority either tolerate it or actively hate it, and commentards are mostly employees of tech companies - that's the nature of the self-selection here.

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GE study pimps ‘industrial Internet’

Richard 12
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Re: Broadcast only while in the air

The funny bit is that Rolls Royce already do this.

They can call up the airline to tell them about increased wear in the engines before the aircraft even lands, so that the airline can plan maintenance and arrange alternate aircraft, routing etc.

I recall hearing somewhere that they have even been the ones to inform air traffic control about aircraft crashes, and their data is often the first the investigators get.

Once again, the Americans are touting something the Brits have done for years as "new".

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Cambridge boffins fear 'Pandora's Unboxing' and RISE of the MACHINES

Richard 12
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Re: Seriously

"Until then, humans will easily outmaneuver, subvert, confuse, deceive and turn into junk (by unscrewing a strategic bolt or nut) any machine intent on world domination"

I wouldn't be too sure about that.

Given enough time to chat with enough people, I'm pretty sure that a human-level AI could convince at least one person with the physical/logical power to either deliberately let it out (believing it to be the "right thing" to do), or do/not do something that permits it to escape.

After all, many people are already being convinced to run arbitrary software that damages them - and what is an AI if not software?

Even if you accept the (possibly wrong) idea that an AI researcher could never be convinced to let the AI out voluntarily, it's pretty plausible, if not likely that an AI bent on escaping could still come up with a way to do so, if given enough computing power.

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Richard 12
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Re: "Nature didn’t anticipate us"

Nature didn't anticipate anything. It can't, it's not an entity.

So I'd call that "Argument from fallacy", or possibly "Argument via lunacy"

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Hefty beauty GAGA gets voluptuous new undercarriage

Richard 12
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Re: Extremely Important - Fit a removable link

Just to clarify - a (reasonably-priced) switch isn't good enough.

Most designs of switch can weld together internally should they get overloaded (eg motor controller failure), also you really want to be able to hold "the keys" in your hand or in a safe box when working on this thing so it's definitely impossible for it to fire up the Spinny-bit of Death (and grass-cutting)

Yours, a former Robot Wars competitor...

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Richard 12
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Extremely Important - Fit a removable link

You really want to be able to physically cut the power from a distance.

Find a sufficiently-high current rating 2 or 4-pole connector, (eg the ones found in forklift trucks) add loop of wire to one sex and wire the other in series with the battery.

(4-pole means it can be an aux. charging socket as well)

Then you can grab that loop and yank it out to immediately shut down the machine should it blow something and jam a motor on, or get bored with grass and go on a rampage.

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Heroic Register reader battles EXPLODING COMPUTER

Richard 12
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For a refund, natch.

No legitimately CE marked PSU could fail like this unless there is a manufacturing defect, so either it's a bad one and you get your money back, or report the supplier to Trading Standards (or local equivalent) for selling dangerous goods with an improper CE mark.

You'll know which when you ask for your money back, and request incidental damage payments as well although I'm not certain of the law in this case.

- Note that it is the importer, not the manufacturer that's responsible for the CE mark.

Even "reputable" PC PSUs are so variable it's crazy - I've seen some dangerously shoddy soldering inside some well-known brands.

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Apple versus Samsung: everything infringes everything

Richard 12
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EU != USA on patents, praise $deity$

As the lawsuits Apple have won (subject to appeal) are in the US, I think the scope was obvious.

In the EU our patent examiners, judges and presumably some lawyers are not as foolish as the US.

The USPTO has plainly taken to approving everything, regardless of prior art or obviousness and letting the lawyers sort it out afterwards: ref. the recent design patent awarded to Apple quite literally and specifically for rounded corners.

In other words, the USPTO is now clearly utterly and irreversibly useless, and needs taking out back and put out of its misery.

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Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes

Richard 12
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Re: Err

I think that commentard meant "make it impossible to assign IP to a corporation, and make sublicencing illegal".

In other words, the original inventor/creator human(s) can (and often would) license it to their employer for the nominal 1 penny, but that employer cannot then sublicence it to any other entity.

It's an interesting concept, although it will never happen because too many corporations (Disney et al) are dependent on the current way that licences can be bought and sold.

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Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox

Richard 12
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Re: Is there any Titanium up there?

Up there it may not be as TiO2, as there's no free oxygen in space it might even be as free metal.

Is Ti able to strip the oxygen from H2O etc at the low temperatures found in space?

I don't know enough chemistry to guess the most likely compounds in a rocky asteroid, and the summaries I remember only listed the elements.

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Warming up the thruster that will ram LOHAN to glorious heights

Richard 12
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Re: Latent heat of freezing?

One of the goals of the heater is to reduce the amount of ice formation, so using ice formation to do it probably isn't such a great idea.

Also, I'm pretty sure the rocket motor (and especially LiPo cells running the electronics and the heater) need to be kept warmer than 0C.

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Super-Earths' magnetic FORCE FIELDS could harbour ALIEN LIFE

Richard 12
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Did he really say that?

It makes him sound rather silly, and I suspect he's probably pretty clever on account of using large numbers of giant frickin' lasers on a daily basis with killing or maiming anyone.

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Pirate cops bust LITTLE GIRL, take her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

No, by definition "theft" is an act that is fundamentally IMPOSSIBLE to do to any form of intellectual property.

IP can only be infringed.

Words are important - you'd find it rather strange if somebody said you were flying a book or eating a bicycle. Saying that copyright infringement is theft makes about as much sense.

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Why did Comet fail? Hint: It wasn't just the credit insurers

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: The one advantage that physical retail has..immediate availability

Indeed, I see no reason why this kind of "home electricals" shop can't offer "Next day delivery" on pretty much everything, with "Take Home Right Now" on a small selection - clearly marked as such.

Ok, if you live too far away from a major city then next-day can't happen, but you wouldn't need many depots. We do next-day for most of the country on goods of similar sizes from just one depot - ok, higher margin goods but still.

Argos, John Lewis and Amazon do 3-day home delivery on white goods, while holding a much greater range of products. Comet didn't appear to do that.

I rather suspect that Comet didn't actually hold any stock of many of their lines, and was trying to buy from their suppliers after the customer purchase as that's the only way I can think of to justify a 2-week lead time. It was certainly impossible to get a replacement for a failed unit in a reasonable time both occasions it happened to me - ended up with refunds and bought replacements from John Lewis, much faster.

The Comet staff were also really pushy and rude, so I decided never to go back - and I laughed when I saw my local Comet being boarded up earlier this week.

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Human Rights Watch proposes new laws of robotics

Richard 12
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Good point!

Same with tripwire munitions, which are still permitted.

Who said there was a minimum amount of intelligence needed before a "smart" bomb can kill a child?

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Richard 12
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Every single anti-missile system is human-out-of-loop

Unless you count "human turns the system on and off" as human-on-the-loop.

They have to be, because once a missile pops over the horizon there's single-digit seconds before the anti-missile missile must launch or the interception will fail.

While they might have a "do-not-fire" button for a human to hit, if you've got less then five sec to hit it then it won't be pressed - nobody is that alert for more than ten minutes or so - and under 2sec means it can't be pressed.

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.WTF? Governments object to .sucks, .army and .airforce

Richard 12
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Re: Is any of this addressing a real need?

Correct, it's all about the bucket of cash.

Nobody except ICANN wanted this, and the applications were clearly almost entirely defensive.

It will be very interesting when the lawsuits start flying.

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Just what you needed: A cell phone with a remote control. No, really

Richard 12
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Re: Driver vs transducer

Bluetooth "chips" usually include the entire radio, sometimes even the antenna, and if not that's just a PCB trace.

Feed it power and data and you're done.

The elephant in the room is regulatory compliance, as once you go wireless the requirements get more expensive to test, although some jurisdictions let you stretch the bluetooth module certification to include your device and others (CE) you'll probably never get caught at Bluetooth power levels.

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Why do Smart TV UIs suck?

Richard 12
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"More..."

Where do I send my invoice?

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Microsoft building poo-powered carbon-neutral data center

Richard 12
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Re: Really it's *too* easy to scoff about MS and poo.

It's a genuinely good idea.

Not seen one of those in relation to "green" energy for at least a decade.

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Retailers report slow Windows 8 sales, low demand

Richard 12
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How many exercised their downgrade rights?

All of the ones who know that they have those rights and have access to the media needed to do so.

In other words, almost none of them.

I'm not even sure whether the OEM versions of Win8 even offer downgrade rights, as MS have screwed around with these rather a lot in an attempt to stop people doing it.

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How can the BBC be saved from itself without destroying it?

Richard 12
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@iain - go read the actual law

Or even the summary the TV Licence people put up.

Owning a TV is in fact completely irrelevant - you can own a TV and not need a licence, or not own a TV and need a licence.

The two are not directly related.

The licence is needed if you "operate TV broadcast receiving equipment"

That might be the live iPlayer, it might be a TV, and until recently it might have been a Ceefax receiver.

Although owning a TV does make it rather more likely you'll need a licence, they still have to prove you used it for broadcast as opposed to being a dumb monitor.

After all, my TV has never actually used its tuner and isn't attached to the antenna. I actually need a licence for my Freesat box, not for my TV.

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Richard 12
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Re: "guess what you still have to pay"

Rubbish.

If you don't watch or record "live broadcast TV" then you don't need to have a TV licence. That's the law.

Yes, you can still use iPlayer Catchup, and you can listen to BBC radio.

I do have a TV licence that I even pay for, and I have absolutely no worries about the odd individual (probably less than a thousand in the country) who only watches iPlayer catchup and listens to BBC radio, no more than I worry about the many thousands of old people who get their TV licence for free.

If you disagree, then fine, write to your MP and suggest that the law should be changed, but there's no need to insult people for obeying the law.

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Survey: Win8 only HALF as popular as Win7 among IT bosses

Richard 12
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So if you change the UI it's usable.

Well, that's nice.

It's also proof of Microsoft's abject fail, because they could have shipped the desktop version with a similar UI to Windows 7, but they actively chose not to.

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Power to the people - if you can find a spare socket

Richard 12
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Re: Rond hole sockets?

Nearly everything in my house needs an Earth.

Almost all electrical equipment needs it - the only things that don't are the "double-insulated" items with the box-in-box logo.

I've also lost count of the number of electric shocks I've had from unearthed equipment that was in otherwise perfect working order - because many PSUs use Earth to drain their suppression caps.

It is a rather unpleasant tingly-buzz, jumping to a killing blow if a single fault occurs.

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Richard 12
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New Zealand plugs are stackable.

Neat idea, but people do tend to take it too far.

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Richard 12
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Most 4-way BS1363 extensions are rated at 10A or less.

Do not uprate their plug fuse, they really can't take 13A.

You do see quite a few that really are rated at only 5A.

Piffling tiny copper busbars inside and thin flex is usual.

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Richard 12
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Re: You should see our data centre

Don't you mean CEEform sockets?

Never heard them called "commando" before though.

Blue ones are 230V, red 400V, yellow 110V to name the three most common.

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Richard 12
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That's a widow maker.

If it passed a single PAT, fire the tester because he or she is utterly incompetent, and a danger to everyone.

A male-to-male power lead should be an instant fail in the visual, you don't need to do anything else to know its a serious fail and immediately destroy it.

Any so-called PAT tester that just plugs the thing into the machine is a waste of space, and by using them your employer is in breach of PUWER, which is actual legislation with criminal penalties.

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Richard 12
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Re: Adaptors.

Great, so he couldn't be bothered to buy an adapter in the airport at either end, so risked burning down the building.

Then compounded it buy yanking on the wire, which you NEVER do under any circumstances whatsoever, because there's a reasonable chance of what he did happening, along with a much bigger chance of damaging the plug.

There's a reason UK plugs have the wire out of the bottom - it's so pulling on the wire doesn't pull out the plug, so people don't try.

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Should Microsoft merge Office into Windows - or snap it off?

Richard 12
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Oh come on, Access is useful

It's perfectly adequate for prototyping DB applications, teaching the basics of relational databases, and for single-user databases - where it's orders of magnitude better than Excel.

The issues arise when people forget it's just a prototype and try to build it up into a multi-user system instead of migrating it.

That's when you get a monstrosity.

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Richard 12
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Re: 'data' != valuable

Most of that data isn't even valuable to the entity who created it!

Even those enamoured of "big data" acknowledge this, hence most of the point of the big data tools is boiling down crazy amounts of data into tiny nibbles of potentially useful information.

Even outside of that, a log file is useless >99.9% of the time, only becoming useful on rare occasions to figure out what went wrong.

The useful stuff is in emails, the important stuff is generally in Word and Excel documents, maybe PDF-d once ready for publication.

- It's very common to bash something out over IM and email, then "write it up" in Word.

Back at the article - it doesn't matter whether MS want to merge Office and Windows together, because if they do that on the desktop they'll be immediately done for abuse of monopoly.

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Humans becoming steadily STUPIDER, says brainiac boffin

Richard 12
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@Robert Long

True, and the morality of this remains both debatable and highly contentious.

Either way, it's an extremely recent societal change and evolution doesn't work on the timescale of individual lifetimes, it takes quite a few Grandfathers.

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Richard 12
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The guy's an idiot

"failure of any one of the [genes] gives rise to deficiency."

Bollocks. Utter tripe. Complete and total bunk..

He's either claiming Intelligent Design by the back door, or that evolutionary pressure on humans completely stopped selecting for intelligence thousands of years ago.

Genes simply change, and the vast majority of changes are neither good nor bad.

Even in modern human society, changes notably for the worse are still selected against (the mentally disabled tend not to have children) - although there is probably still some selection pressure towards being religious.

It does appear that his overall contention is true of his educational establishment though, because he's still there spouting rubbish when he should have been thrown out by now.

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Finally - a solution to let people make money online WITHOUT ads?

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: There are no transaction costs when a photographer sells a picture to a newspaper.

So, how does the newspaper find your photo to buy it in the first place, if it costs neither of you anything whatsoever to sell it to them?

In the real world, either the photographer is paying an agent to pitch their photos to the newspapers, they pitch the photos themselves, or the newspaper is paying people to search out photos. Usually all three.

Only the last one costs the photographer nothing - but the photographer almost always gets nothing for them either, because the paper will use the first decent 'free' one they find.

For example, Getty Images is an agency and many freelance photographers have arrangements with a few editors.

The article appears to be describing a way of linking multiple Getty Images-type exchanges together.

As long as you're able to control the price at which your work is sold, then it is to the good - more exposure, and lower cost of doing business.

There is of course a risk of the registries becoming full of useless tat, so newspapers etc don't bother - a risk that becomes practically certain if the 'orphan works' insanity progresses any further.

That would effectively mean not being on these registers would end up 'orphaning' your work, so it's yet another reason why that "orphan works" land-grab needs to be smashed back into both the EU and especially UK Plc's collective faces.

Repeat after me - there is NO SUCH THING as an orphaned work.

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Richard 12
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He said reduce "transaction cost" to pennies.

When you buy a thing, there are several parts to the money paid:

1) Cost of making the individual thing physically transferred to the buyer.

2) Marginal cost of designing/creating the original thing.

3) Marginsl overhead cost of running the shop selling the thing.

4) Profit made by the seller.

If you make and sell intangible copyrighted works, (1) is almost zero, (2) and (3) are your real costs.

(2) has already come down dramatically and are still falling - the cameras and other equipment needed for most artworks cost far less than they did even five years ago - yet the cost of actually licensing the work to another entity and getting your money has barely changed in decades.

For example, the PRS uses most of the money collected in order to run itself - so the transaction cost is high, and very little of the cash gets back to the artists.

If you can radically reduce the cost of licensing and payment (to mere pennies instead of the current rather high prices,) then you will get more profit on your work.

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Automatic Facebook couple pages: Nauseating sign of desperation

Richard 12
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FAIL

The photo on mine is my father-in-law and his DOG!

I don't think you could get a more abject fail even if you tried...

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Word wonks insist GIFs are really JIFs

Richard 12
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Re: G

SAP is "sap", as in "sapping my will to live."

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Nokia woos disgruntled iOS users with rebranded maps service

Richard 12
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Re: The POI are generally wrong though

Take a look at a motorway sign.

What colour is it?

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Richard 12
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The POI are generally wrong though

For example, my local library is in completely the wrong place, and my local pub is missing entirely!

How can I trust a map that doesn't show every pub?

The two things about iOS maps that annoy me the most are very simple though:

The colour scheme is wrong. They appear to be using the same USA colour scheme throughout the world, regardless of the local conventions and laws. Motorways are BLUE and major A roads are green, that's what the Highway Code says. Both yellow is just horrible, you can't distinguish them.

It is incredibly slow. Google maps takes a second or so to start displaying, iOS maps takes upwards of ten.

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Even a CHILD can make a Trojan to pillage Windows Phone 8

Richard 12
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That's why I both like and hate the Android scheme

When you download an app you can see what permissions it wants and check if that matches what you think it does.

Which is great.

However, you can't tell it "No, Farcebook, you may not have access to my contacts", which is crap.

However, in iOS and Windows Phone, you have no way of knowing what a given app does - once on board it is permitted to do anything at all to things like contacts etc in the "shared storage" areas, and you have no way of knowing beforehand that it even could.

So you are completely reliant on the curation of their app stores.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13in Retina display review

Richard 12
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Re: Maybe, but ...

Come on, an Ethernet port isn't the same as RS232 or whatever. Its damn near impossible to find an office with no Ethernet jacks. Heck, it's pretty rare to find any building without them!

I use the Ethernet port on my laptop every single day, and I'm not doing anything particularly special.

All the MacBook users I know also use the Ethernet port most of the time, and any adapter is annoying and easy to lose or forget.

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Nvidia launches not one but two Kepler2 GPU coprocessors

Richard 12
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Re: No

Solidworks and Vectorworks are both good and well respected, which one is better for your business depends the kind of plugins you need.

Solidworks still seems to have the better FEA tools, while Vectorworks has by far the best lighting simulation.

I don't know enough about the other plugins to say either way.

Solid modelling catches so many stupid errors. I only wish more architects would start using it, and stop putting sprinklers, ducting, low ceilings and my 2m racks all in the same place...

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Richard 12
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No

The only thing that can help you is to throw away Autocad and get a CAD package instead of a glorified sketchbook. It'll help your customers as well, les stupid mistakes...

(Autocad is a drafting package, it's never been CAD. They have tried to fix it, but at heart it's just not solid modelling.)

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Richard 12
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To expand on (1)

GPUs are "massively parallel", because their architecture was originally optimised to do the same set of T&L calculations to every single pixel on your monitors.

So a General Purpose-GPU is really great at doing the same f(x) to a huge dataset, whereas a CPU is good at doing many different tasks to a small dataset.

If significant parts of your task can be boiled down to "foreach x do f(x)", GP-GPU is going to really speed things up. Otherwise it probably won't.

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UK's planned copyright landgrab will spark US litigation 'firestorm'

Richard 12
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Watch TV for a while, you'll find some

Sooner or later you'll see a YouTube video that isn't credited to the user, but instead is marked "YouTube", or even "Internet".

It's extremely common for the metadata to get stripped off online photos, which the various media outlets love to use.

In both cases, somebody has deliberately or accidentally "orphaned" the work by stripping the attribution and metadata.

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