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* Posts by Richard 12

1556 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Yahoo! will! ignore! 'Do! Not! Track!' from! IE10!

Richard 12
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Re: Yahoo! will! ignore! 'Do! Not! Track!' from! IE10!

There are laws that apply to this within the EU, so it will be interesting to see how long this stance lasts once somebody (maybe the French) bring a suit.

Yes, the cookie law does apply - a website cannot ignore a clear instruction from the browser saying "I reject this".

The more general privacy laws probably also apply, but those are likely to be more complex to argue.

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Richard 12
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Re: More Microsoft "doing favors no one asked for"

That's exactly what they did - during setup of your user profile, the question "Do you want evil advertisers to follow your every move on the Internet?" is asked*.

Oddly enough, the vast majority of users pick "No, I don't."

* Example only, actual question received may vary. Not to scale.

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EDF: We'll raise bills 11% - but only 2% is due to energy costs!

Richard 12
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Ho hum - Dinorwig doesn't scale

Well, it could, but we'd need to flood most of the Scottish highlands to cover wind doldrums.

While you might find some people in favour of that, oddly enough the locals don't like the idea.

Although Salmond might as it's one way the Scottish could afford independence, rather like Labour and the ConDems on wind and PV - hell bent on it regardless of cost or feasibility.

Presumably it's a political thing - get into politics and your brain is surgically removed, making you incapable of considering consequences beyond the next election.

The next Parliament is going to be seriously ****ed though, as that seems to be when the lack of energy security is likely to come home to roost.

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Chinese e-cars to turn London cabs green

Richard 12
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186 miles?

I'm pretty sure even London cabbies go further than that every day, so I'm confused. How can this possibly work?

Or are they saying they all need two

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Microsoft's 'official' Windows 8 Survival Guide leaks

Richard 12
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Ctrl + C for Charms?

Does Win 8 not have a copy function anymore?

Why in Dante's 8 pits of Hell did they decide to arbitrarily change common keyboard shortcuts just when users need them the most?

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Windows 8: Is Microsoft's new OS too odd to handle?

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: ah the knees, methinks they doth jerk too much

Here, I have a crock of shit to sell you. The crock is really good after you clean out the shit.

No, I'm not going to take the shit out of the crock. It's critical to my strategy that everyone gets the shit as well as the crock.

What do you mean, you don't want it? The crock is great! Everyone says so!

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Who moved my cheese?

I've been pressing the Off button to shut down my machine since XP SP2, and possibly longer.

It's even the default functionality under Windows 7 - Vista was the one with the broken default (Sleep!)

My keyboard doesn't have a Start button. It's got a "Windows Logo" button that looks just like the Windows Logo used in the Windows 7 menu that it opens.

So clearly, the Windows 8 version of the keyboard should have a blank, unlabelled key to open the Start Screen.

And GET YOUR ****ING HANDS OFF MY CHEESE. It's pretty clear that you've never actually read that book, as the key point it makes is that change for the sake of change is stupid, as all change causes a loss of productivity in the short term. Change has to have clear reasons, and offer clear benefits to all users or it will create resentment, be passively fought, and even actively sabotaged.

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New Mac mini: Business in the front, party at the back

Richard 12
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FAIL

Where is the front media slot?

The originals had a front DVD slot, and given that USB sticks are the official replacement why oh why is there no front USB port?

The front ports on my desktop and the side ports on my laptop are the ones I use the most. (Ok, there's a pack of things plugged into the rear ports but they are the things that are never unplugged.)

Why do Apple think I should clutter my desk with USB hubs?

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Apple's skinny new iMac line: Farewell, optical drives

Richard 12
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@ Monkeigh

Ouch, thanks. I didn't realise that, I thought the previous generation had screen-edge USB ports.

- I've only got a Mac Mini for test purposes at work.

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Richard 12
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@ Mr Client with the optical disk

Mr Designer, I'll just drop the DVD-R through your letterbox. Don't bother posting them back (5p ea.)

Or Mr Designer, I'll just drop the USB stick through your letterbox, please return them. (£5 - £20 ea.)

Also, never underestimate the bandwidth of a box of DVDs. Even today, posting a few DVDs next-day is often faster than uploading and downloading.

These days clients tend to bring source data on either DVD-R or external hard disk, depending on the amount.

Which raises another annoyance - it look like that new iMac doesn't have any front or edge USB ports. So how do you plug in the client's USB stick or USB HDD without looking like a class berk?

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Windows RT OEMs unveil pricing for Surface wannabes

Richard 12
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Re: "Brand New Operating System"

"Brand new" in the sense that none of the software you currently have will run on it, there is very little software you can buy to run on it and you can't even recompile your own software because it uses a different API (WinRT, no unmanaged code and not .net, silverlight etc).

Which rather feeds into the second issue, of course.

Windows 8 desktop doesn't have those issues outside of the TIFKAM environment so is less doomed, but has other oddities.

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New Oz road rules forbid touching mobes

Richard 12
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Re: Good.

None of them ask for confirmation unless there are multiple "matches".

What I find irritating is that Siri is shit about half of the time that it's working at all, while the voice commands it replaces are quite good - and don't need a data connection.

Seriously - "call such-and-such" "Siri isn't available right now"

WTF Apple!!?

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Apple banishes Java from Mac browsers

Richard 12
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Translated: "This update breaks your Mac...

To fix it, go somewhere else."

That's what most Mac users will actually experience, assuming they are using Java at all.

Given that the whole USP of Mac OS is supposed to be "It just works", this strikes me as a very odd thing to do.

Why exactly didn't Apple just ask Oracle for permission to redistribute their Java installer (saving the hit on Oracle servers), and install the Oracle Java themselves?

At least that way this "upgrade" would have left Apple users with a working computer.

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Calxeda plots server dominance with ARM SoCs

Richard 12
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Re: What they need to work on...

True, that is of course why x86 became so popular in the first place - it was nothing to do with absolute performance, and everything to do with being able to run common binaries.

Unless and until a common "ARM Server" platform exists allowing binary compatibility, it'll stay rather niche.

I say ARM Server because the majority of other manufacturers of ARM kit won't benefit much from common platform - STBs, mobiles, and tablets are (mostly) deliberately incompatible with each other, and the majority of users don't have any reason to care.

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'No cutting off people's internet based on secret evidence'

Richard 12
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Re: Probably not enforceable

And then no hotel, coffee shop, place of work or public area will be able to offer Internet access at all, as the risk would be too great.

This would last until the Palace at Westminster got accused of infringement - which it would.

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Windows 8 and the ‘Dad test’ stunts

Richard 12
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Re: Bollocks

Yes, they are dumped in front of the computer and expected to get on with it!

You even see this with specialised equipment - as long as the machine isn't directly dangerous (and worryingly, sometimes even when it is!)

Just ask anybody who works in technical support!

The only exceptions tend to be CRM systems, presumably because 100% of CRM systems are impenetrable crap that nobody truly understands.

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Microsoft Surface: Designed to win, priced to fail

Richard 12
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Re: Being as good isn't going to cut any ice in market share

The trouble is that Windows 8 RT is Microsoft's attempt at copying Apple iOS control freakery.

Same kind of walled garden, same kind of inter-application sandboxing.

So anybody who dislikes Apple iOS for these things will also hate Windows 8 RT.

The inverse is also true, but less relevant.

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NURSES' natural DESIRES to be SATISFIED, by technology

Richard 12
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Absolutely right

I've been on some jobs where these digi-pens were used.

And they were used in special circumstances for exactly one purpose - partial or even complete sign-off of expensive wares.

Like ships.

Getting out the special paper and digi-pen was a sign that Something Big was about to happen, and some part of a contract was about to be completed.

Every single digi-pen event represented a lot of money changing hands, and that's why they used them - multiply redundant copies of "Yes, pay the supplier a few million pounds"

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Engineer designs glass slipper on Quora

Richard 12
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I also thought she had two feet

Thus when standing still there would be ~250N on the slipper.

When walking this would increase to well above 500N, as there are impact forces to consider, as well as a failure mode that didn't amputate the wearer's foot, so toughened glass would clearly be a minimum requirement.

Perhaps he made the hidden starting assumption that she'd already had a terrible accident with a previous design of glass slipper?

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Swiss photographer sues Apple for pilfering her eyeball

Richard 12
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Re: I know the photographers won't see it this way

There is no difference between taking a photo and creating a work of software.

If your contract assigns the copyright to another entity, then you'll get nothing further than what the contract said.

Most photographers accept both kinds of contract - maybe employed by a studio, then the studio owns the copyright on the photos, maybe they pay the studio for the time and own the photo copyright themselves.

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Richard 12
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Re: Three strikes law

Not really, there's a difference between "hosting user-provided content" that breaches copyright, and using infringing material in products and an advertising campaign.

The former has a valid defence, while the latter doesn't.

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Take away bad drivers' mobile phones, they still crash their cars

Richard 12
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Re: Bananas

To be more serious, smoking.

Smoking while driving is seriously dangerous (and not just because of accidents, they cause wildfires as well) yet it's ignored.

It's even already usually illegal in vans (place of work), yet I've never heard of anybody being cautioned or prosecuted.

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British Library tracks rise and fall of file formats

Richard 12
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Re: Ask someone working in any field

The difficult formats are the proprietary binaries other than word processing. Word processing formats usually have the raw text inside in ASCII or similar well-known representation, so reverse-engineered conversion utils are usually available - even if they only get the text, it's still worthwhile.

However, once you look at other fields you will find many obsolete and difficult formats.

For example: Strand SSF - have to convert to Ascii, using an unsupported and difficult to find Win 95 application called Showport. As far as I know the source code for that program is long gone.

If Strand hadn't written that before going bankrupt then a lot of people would have lost a lot of data.

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Richard 12
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Ask someone working in any field

They'll all be able to tell you of formats that are obsolete, and in some cases impossible to open.

I deal with several completely obsolete formats in my day job - we have several special tools to (mostly) convert them into text-based formats that the modern systems will open with varying degrees of success.

Assuming you have a working floppy disk drive, serial port and Windows XP emulation that can use them.

However, while they can extract the really important info, none of them get 100% of the data - usually 95-99% or so.

Unfortunately there are also some formats with no tools at all, and they are less than 20 years old - with the hardware still in use.

Because of this, all our current systems have ASCII export built-in from day one - oddly, most of our competitors do not.

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Kernel crimps make Windows 8 a hacker hassle

Richard 12
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All very well until someone gets the keys to the castle

Then every Windows 8 machine will get "owned", without anybody being able to do anything about it.

Specially trusted drivers guaranteed to load before anything else? Root kit paradise.

The TIFKAM sandboxes sound even more fun - are they seriously saying that I can't open a particular data file with two different TIFKAM applications?

What kind of user never needs to use a different application to open a given file?

What happens when you want to open that old Word 2012 document with Word 2014? Or even OpenOffice 50?

How do you edit a photo? Add an image to a document? Do all those things which are necessary for content creation?

This seems to be saying that you instantly lose all your data if you want to try out a different TIFKAM application for X.

They've put the nails in Windows 8's coffin before it's even born!

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That horrendous iPhone empurplement - you're holding it wrong

Richard 12
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Devil

Re: Next iPhone accessory?

You mean black paint, ribbed for (her) pleasure?

That'll be in there already, Apple buy the whole lens assy and sensor from others.

A built-in lens hood is highly unlikely - the geometry simply won't fit the aesthetic. A stick-on one would be trivial though.

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Bing is the most heavily poisoned search engine, study says

Richard 12
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Why nudge the spammers under rocks?

Better to drop really big rocks on them.

Find the C&C servers, follow the chain of where the Sara comes from and then either smash them with local law enforcement (if applicable) or drop them off the Internet.

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Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Richard 12
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Unhappy

I would really like one

Trouble is they cost far too much.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Sod the blackouts . . .

Brownouts aren't effective anymore, as most of the electric devices in your home will automatically compensate.

All your low-voltage equipment (except some low-voltage tungsten lighting) is pretty much constant-power - reduce the supply voltage and they'll draw more current.

Check the nameplate of your PC and TV power supplies - almost all are 100V to 240V, thus a brownout just makes it draw more current (and get hotter) while still running ok.

Your electric heating and cooling (except showers) is on a thermostat - so the peak power drawn might* reduce but the total energy consumed remains the same.

In my home, on an average evening I run a small amount of mains voltage tungsten electric lighting, thermostatically controlled oven, fridge & freezer and the rest is genuinely constant power.

Browning me out would actually increase my energy consumption due to the increased resistive losses.

Browning out a large area might actually cause a substation to fail due to the increased current.

* Induction hobs and microwave ovens are constant power.

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Assange chums must cough up £93,500 bail over embassy lurk

Richard 12
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WTF?

If true, Assange played straight into their hands!

So let's take Assange's story at face value.

Had he just gone quietly, the case would have been over by now - and he seems quite confident of his innocence, so presumably he'd be a free man - or at least appealing in Sweden.

Instead, he's now wanted across the whole of the EU for both the original arrest warrant and for absconding while on bail.

In other words, he's almost certainly going to be spending several years in a British prison (where it's really easy to extradite to the US), regardless of the outcome of the Swedish investigation.

All the while giving the US even more time to come up with something to extradite him for.

Well done Assange. Either you're an idiot, or you don't actually believe the US angle and just wanted to run away - regardless of what it cost any of your friends.

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Astroboffins to search for mega-massive alien power plants

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: @Nuke

Thermodynamics is the one theory we can be most certain of.

Namely that you can't get something for nothing - you can only get usable power by letting heat flow between a heat source and a heat sink, and the smaller the temperature difference between them the less useful work you can make it do.

As far as we can tell the only way this can change is if you can use another universe as your heat source and/or heat sink.

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LASER STRIKES against US planes on the rise

Richard 12
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Re: Annoying brats (bis)

The cockpit generally faces forward, so a miscreant intending to do this would probably stand in front of the aircraft.

At that angle the apparent motion is very slow.

Even from the side it's relatively easy because it's a long distance away and extremely smooth.

Example: Next time you're a passenger in a car on a motorway/freeway, use a pair of binoculars and watch a few stationary objects through them.

You'll find it really difficult to watch anything nearby to the side, easy to watch anything ahead, and easy to watch anything that's far enough away.

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Richard 12
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@ElReg!comments!Pierre

A cheap telescope or telescopic sight costs about £40-£100.

The lasers powerful enough to dazzle at range cost more than that - we aren't talking £10 laser pointers, those are just Class I-II, you'd need at least a Class III or higher to dazzle from outside the airfield perimeter fence.

So as it's being reported as a regular problem, the price isn't a barrier to these idiots.

In my day job I'm seeing a lot of people buying cheap "disco" lasers that contain diodes easily capable of doing this - some would even dazzle or blind if they simply broke down.

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Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Annoying brats

Sighting is relatively simple.

A good followspot operator can do a pickup from dead straight onto a head-and-shoulder spot from several hundred meters away - one end of a stadium to the other. We use telescope sights for this as they don't affect night vision.

A good sniper can do the same from several km using telescopic sights.

Both of these are easily available anywhere (unlike the actual sniper rifle)

You're right that this is not an issue with the Class I-II laser pointers that you can buy in a high-street shop (almost) anywhere. They just aren't powerful enough to be even noticeable from more than a hundred metres or so.

Somewhere I have a Class III green laser diode, in the UK you can't buy those 'bare' anymore - only as part of a larger product like a disco laser scanner.

However, in the US you can buy some seriously terrifying lasers. Over there it's quite easy to purchase a laser from an online shop that can almost instantly permanently blind a person at short range, and those are capable of a laser flash at some distance.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Which colour?

There's nothing particularly special about a lased photon compared to any other photon, so the only way to block them is a coating that absorb/reflects the appropriate wavelength.

You can't block them all, because then it's no longer a window!

You can add a dichroic (or similar) coating to reflect certain specific wavelengths, such coatings are actually relatively cheap (commercially available ones) - and this is already done anyway in commercial airliners as part of the very complex armoured glass windows of the cockpit.

I don't know the specifics of what they block, but I'd guess IR is blocked as a matter of course as that can easily damage sight, leaving only visible lasers.

Secondly "sweep the laser spectrum"? It's not broadcast!

Lasers emit a coherent beam of light. Thus anywhere that you can see the aircraft is a 'possible vantage point'. This extends for many miles beyond the airfield, and considerably further than you could see from any possible place in the airfield.

At night, if it's misty/hazy or dusty then you might be able to see the beam as it reflects off particles in the air and backtrack that to where the line intersects the ground.

However, this requires two viewers at different locations who can act immediately, before the perpetrator runs away. These things are very small - smartphone or smaller.

Basically, this is not something the airport can enforce, it's something that the police need to - because they are the only group in a position to both see the beam and act upon it.

Unfortunately, the lasers powerful enough to dazzle a plane have another excellent feature - they can all temporarily (and in some cases permanently) blind you with very brief exposure.

Although with any luck the oiks doing this will blind themselves.

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Steve Jobs is STILL DEAD

Richard 12
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Facepalm

I almost never need to take it out.

That's why I don't have it on my keychain - and in fact have no idea whatsoever where it is.

This will be very annoying when I finally do need to swap the SIM card.

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Mobe app makers doubt Windows 8 will be worth the hassle - poll

Richard 12
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Piracy!?

There is none.

Ok, not quite none at all, but it's so incredibly low in the mobile app scene as to not even make the status of rounding error.

If there really is a difference in revenue between the two platforms, it might be that many androids are very cheap so those are owned by people without much money, while iPhone is/was a status symbol mostly owned by people with lots of money.

Thus the percentage of iPhone owners spending real money on apps is much greater than android owners.

However I'm not sure that the figures actually bear that out - for our paid apps, almost identical between iOS and Android: in the USA sales are about 75% iOS and falling, while in Europe they are 50/50

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Top admen beg Microsoft to switch off 'Do Not Track' in IE 10

Richard 12
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It doesn't deny them the ability

It just asks them nicely not to.

Under some jurisdictions it might have some legal force but that's unclear as there are no precedents.

Of course, if they are shown to be ignoring it then the politicians might decide to pass specific laws regarding online tracking, and that's what the advertisers are worried about.

They suggested DNT to try to avoid legislation happening, which is why it's odd that the admen are now making such stupid claims, because the sensible response by the politicians would now be "Ok, seeing as you clearly won't do this yourselves, we will do it for you."

Of course, that will take several years, so perhaps that is the goal.

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Liquefied-air silos touted as enormo green 'leccy batteries

Richard 12
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Re: OK, trying to keep this question short and simple...

Short answer is that we won't.

In real life when we want an energy store, we heat something up, pump water up a hill or do some chemistry.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

HVDC - @imanidiot @proto-robbie @AC

The reason why all long-distance links are HVDC is very simple:

Every single generating set in a linked AC system has to be exactly* in sync, as otherwise they end up consuming power instead of generating it.*

It would be incredibly complicated and extremely unreliable to try to keep all of mainland Europe in sync with each other, or even just keeping France in sync with the UK.

On top of that, once there's more than one link with enough geographic distance between them it becomes impossible due to speed-of-light delays.

So we use HVDC for these long-distance links between different Grids - that way we don't have to keep our generators running at exactly* the same speed and phase as the French.

Originally these really were big DC motors driving big AC generators (and vice-versa)!

- High-power silicon is now good enough for solid-state versions, which are much better as they can sync instantly and as well as being more efficient.

Icon for what happens if you don't sync the generators.

* Rather simplified.

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Richard 12
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The 70% figure is an outright lie

The full cycle efficiency is apparently "up to" about 30%

The "70%" claim was if you use the heat output of another plant to boil the liquified air more rapidly - in other words, if you dump yet more energy into the system you'll convert some of the extra into electricity - obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of heat engines.

They don't appear to be counting that extra energy as being energy.

Alternatively, you could use that heat to do some other useful work, or not waste it in the first place - as most UK industrial plant already does whenever practical.

For example, heating the office areas a'la CHP.

On top of that, the waste heat that remains is not controllable! If a slab of steel needs cooling, it needs cooling now, at specific rate, not later when the Grid needs some of the energy stored in your LN2 tank.

This is snake oil, which is why I'm shocked that the IMechE even mentioned it, and I'm rather glad I'm no longer a member

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New science: SEAS WILL RISE due to CO2 ... but not for centuries

Richard 12
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FAIL

This is not a climate model, and it says nothing whatsoever about climate.

This is a prediction of the sea-level rise that is likely to occur if one of the climate models used in the work is correct. (One set of curves for each climate model prediction)

To put it another way, this works says the following:

If Climate Model A is correct, then we predict Sea Level Rise A

For Climate Model B, we predict Sea Level Rise B

etc.

It doesn't say anything about whether or not those climate models are believed accurate or not. Modelling the behaviour of an event doesn't (necessarily) have any bearing on whether the event is likely to occur!

- See what-if.xkcd.org for several examples of modelling highly unlikely events.

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HTC outs Jelly Bean running One X revamp

Richard 12
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Re: Reboots?

This iPhone has needed rebooting about once or twice a month to make it connect to wifi or cellular data, and Safari crashed regularly under iOS 5 - usually while writing a comment on this very site.

To be fair, Safari does seem more reliable in iOS 6.

Basically they're all a bit crap sometimes.

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Purpose of RFID finally discovered: It's for pairing up socks!

Richard 12
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My wife sorts out my socks

Saves a lot of trouble, and I can certainly recommend this method as it has many other side benefits that may not be immediately obvious.

She says it's relaxing, so I'm happy to leave her be.

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Tim Cook: 'So sorry for Apple's crap maps app - try Bing or Nokia'

Richard 12
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You seem to have forgotten that Google did it first

Pop open Google Earth and take a look at central London.

3D buildings in well-known cities were there for at least two years.

Ok, they didn't put it on a Smartphone yet, but to be fair, I don't really want it there either, I use maps for getting around.

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WTF is... NFC

Richard 12
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Awooga!! Abject journalist fail alert!

"Unlike RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, which are powered up by the received radio signal, and can thus be read at extreme ranges by upping transmitted power, NFC devices are powered using an induction coil"

RFID are powered by an induction coil.

Passive NFC are powered by an induction coil.

They are almost exactly the same, the only real difference is that N-mark compliant devices are a particular implementation of RFID, branded differently with a need to comply with a specific set of protocols, while RFID is a more generic class of technology.

Congratulations on falling for the oldest marketing trick in the book, the wonderfully sneaky "Name Change"

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Curiosity photographs evidence of ancient streams on Mars

Richard 12
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Re: Excuse my ignorance.

Wind tends to produce ventifacts rather than smooth pebbles, as it polishes via sandblasting rather than rolls them around.

Presumably there are similar tell-tale differences in the pebble shape you get from fluidized sand and viscous liquid like water, oil, and mud.

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Google celebrates as Android hits 25 billion downloads

Richard 12
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Re: ...but how many of those downloads got erased seconds after trying the app?

Exactly the same as the iOS one, then.

Although some of the utter crap iOS Apps are made by Apple (Podcast, Maps...) while I've yet to see a crap Google application.

Apple claim to 'curate' the iOS store, but they don't do any kind of filtering for quality - they may have done so in the past (I recall having to send them a video of the application working) but they don't anymore.

Possibly this changed when they decided to go for quantity, as that's much easier to brag about.

It's really easy to 'write' and publish an Android or iOS application, so of course most of them are rubbish.

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Kiwi cops forgot Kim Dotcom's visa

Richard 12
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More importantly, how often has this happened before?

Are New Zealander communications being snooped on routinely because of a general culture of don't-ask-don't-tell when determining the legality?

Are they just intercepting anything and everything?

It looks like a complete, public judicial review is needed for every single act of interception performed in NZ for the last decade at least.

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Events in stratosphere can affect Earth's entire climate

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Oh, suddenly you like climate modelling.

I'm saying that we shouldn't be using 'climate change' as a policy driver at all, because we simply do not know enough to make reliable predictions.

By comparison to our current climate models, the other models you mentioned there are extremely good, giving results many orders of magnitude more reliable, precise and accurate.

However, we do know that the oil is going to run out relatively soon (and long before that it's going to become ruinously expensive), we do know that the other emissions (not CO2, the NOX, SOX etc) from most fossil fuels are toxic to humans, plants and animals and so it is clear that we should be reducing our reliance and the absolute amount of those burned.

It's just that CO2 is not the reason why, and thus (for example) replacing tungsten lighting with mercury-based is not a sane idea.

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