1563 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009
Re: Level Playing Field
Good idea, except that's not how the FITs work.
Domestic FITs are quite simple:
You get paid a fixed price that's several times the "end customer" rate for every kWh you generate, regardless of whether you consume it yourself or not. Then you get an added kickback for 50% of whatever you generated at another fixed price that's just under the generation market rate, because they don't think it's worth metering what you actually export to the Grid.
The upshot is that Granny and people in rented accommodation are subsidizing the landed gentry.
Industrial FITs scale down the rate a bit, but it's still way above.
Re: Heads in sand - all of you!
You mean "If only we'd built the nuclear power plants", as solar cannot even get close to your domestic demand. Industrial and transport? Pah!
Re: The alarmist scientists know
I'm afraid that's completely wrong. How are the scientists being funded? Funding for "Climate Science"-related areas is extremely high compared to other areas, and one common 'trick' is to imply that your research has a "green" agenda. That funding wouldn't be so high without the 'threat' of AGW.
On top of that, there is a massive "green" industry that is completely and utterly reliant on Government handouts, and thus has a life-or-death reliance on AGW. Namely that if governmental policy changes to take away those , they will go bankrupt.
On the other side, there are industries that rely on the general populace burning large amounts of fossil fuels.
In essence, the debate is beyond the point of no return. Nobody really wants to know the truth any more, everyone just wants their viewpoint confirmed and jumps straight onto anything that can be bent to fit.
Personally? It's fairly clear that consuming less raw materials (including fossil fuels) where possible for a given output is a good idea.
However most of the current low-CO2 policies are stupid, because they are pushing things that consume more raw materials towards the exclusive goal of reducing CO2 output, regardless of all side effects - to the economy and the environment.
And that pains me, because not only does it look like I'm going to leave a shithole to my kids, I'm seeing that shithole develop in the name of being "Green".
A thousand times this
More importantly, will British Gas train their installers on how they work and how to use them?
The central heating installer I had didn't understand the simple 7-day timer he fitted, telling me a completely different tale to how it actually works.
What chance do ordinary mortals have?
Exactly the point
You could, *if you wanted*.
But you don't, do you?
I already have all the bits to attach my boiler to the internet as well, but I'm not going to bother.
I'll might attach the lighting and security systems once I get the firewall appliance for the PVR sorted out.
Yes, PVR. That is actually the killer home automation application.
Re: Advanced WiFi control system
Actually, while humans have a long latency to unexpected events, given suitable warning and a 'click track' most of us mere fleshlings can reliably hit a cue within 50ms, and some people down to 10ms.
It's all down to the rhythm of the dance.
Re: Advanced WiFi control system
Nobody even considers using WiFi for this.
This kind of event needs around 10ms accuracy, and WiFi cannot possibly do that as its latency varies wildly.
WiFi is great for email and surfing the web, it's ok for buffered video but it's utterly useless for anything that needs even mildly accurate timing.
Re: You know...
You need a better USB-Serial adapter then.
The real problem with these USB serial ports is that most don't actually support all the signalling lines and 'standard' baud rates. It's really hard to tell whether or not a given one will work either.
If your device needs 9600/8-N-1 and no flow control, you'll be fine. Anything else...
The quality is also extremely variable - I've used some really great ones and some real dogs.
Re: Isometimes need a floppy drive
USB FDD are about a tenner, I have several USB floppy drives because I support legacy products that have them.
However, what about the actual floppy discs?
The disks you buy these days seem pretty rubbish, not lasting very long and I gather there's only one factory making them.
When they stop, then what?
Re: insist on the Source Code?
AutoCAD is rubbish compared to the various solid-modelling packages, like SolidWorks.
(And heck, even Google Sketchup is better for most of the things AutoCAD is actually used for)
There's a reason the car manufacturing industry (and probably a lot of others) never used AutoCAD. SDRC Ideas was not exactly great, but it was actually 3D and not the 2.5D that AutoCAD is.
- I personally think that AutoCAD is probably indirectly responsible for a great many of the cost overruns on building sites. I see so many "Oh dear, we'll have to move that now the air handling ducts are in..."
Did he proof read this?
"I've never seen a brand like Coca Cola, a real mainstream American brand on ad networks. They censor that too."
No, that's not censorship, it's Coca Cola deciding where to put their advertising money.
I do agree with Lowery on one thing - "You can't argue with someone that disingenuous" - but that statement flies both directions, and to date the copyright lobbyists have been the most disingenuous of all.
What we consumers want is to be able to purchase music at a sensible price, know that a decent portion of our money is going to the artist(s) who made it, and that we can listen to that music which we have paid for anywhere, anywhen and anyhow that we choose.
We resent and fight against the way that the megacorps have tried make us re-buy the same music over and over again, treated us all like criminals and even got taxes applied to blank media to 'reclaim' some of that 'lost' revenue.
We further resent and fight against the ridiculous length of copyright. When my parents were teens, their parents' music went out of copyright, and was re-used and re-generated into new works.
When my kids are teenagers, everything my parents grew up with will still be in copyright.
Is it any wonder people don't have any respect for the music industry?
Personally, I no longer buy any music at all, I just listen to "MTV"-like channels and the radio. Why? Because I resent being treated like a criminal whenever I do buy music. I suspect I'm not alone.
Finally, SOPA was written by extremists. Is it any surprise that this pushed many 'reasonable' people into becoming extremists, as that was necessary to shoot it down!
@AC 7/7 17:42
I do work in a corporate environment, and you've missed the point.
You must never forget the risk of all external suppliers - what happens when the supplier changes their roadmap, decides to end-of-life a particular product, get out of that business area altogether or goes bankrupt?
The severity of these events are far higher for proprietary commercial software because you cannot fork it or take it over once abandoned - even if you have the source code (which you probably don't), your licence can evaporate so you can no longer use it at all!
If an Open Source thing gets abandoned you've always still got the source code and a licence to use it, fork it and even take it over entirely if you want. Thus the severity of the maintainer giving up is small.
The probability of these risks depends on the product you're using, the supplier and your contract with them. That's actually the hardest part about picking which product to use.
I know of several projects that have been completely screwed over by proprietary commercial software components going a different way to their roadmap at short notice.
I also know of projects where an open-source component lost the maintainer. It was merely annoying.
For example, we have to keep a copy of an ancient version of MS Visio because one of the commercial tools we use is a plugin for it, and their plugin does not run in newer versions. It's not an old or cheap product either.
Still beats when there's only one path and you find it doesn't go anywhere near where you want.
At least with a forked project it is usually possible to backtrack across to another fork if it turns out to be going the wrong way.
Re: I give it a month
How do you get the new key on there? How do you revoke the old ones?
What happens when the 'master' key used to do the above is leaked or discovered?
If you accept that you need a revocation mechanism because individual keys might get exposed and thus need revoking, you must also accept that all keys could suffer that same fate.
The 'master' key is clearly the biggest prize...
Re: MS Dirty Tricks Again
No, it'll be completely ineffective for Joe Average, because once the keys are leaked or discovered, there will be a massive spate of signed virus and trojan infections.
Cleaning that mess up will take years, probably making Melissa and DNSChanger look trivial by comparison.
And also the one that everybody outside of Microsoft has thought of, suggested, and yet UEFI rejected the idea for no reason whatsoever.
Which is rather odd, don't you think?
Especially as the 'security' aspect of this supposed feature would be better served by a "Woah, your boot sector and/or UEFI firmware just changed. Did you mean to do that?" warning.
For bonus points, adding a signed Flash copy of what should be there that the UEFI could use instead or copy back to the drive.
Or you could instead put in a system that deliberately locks out other suppliers and hobbyists, and bricks the machine if a virus did ever infect the MBR or UEFI. Yeah, let's do that.
Re: (Ok, "iOS, Android and WP7 only have one real browser. Not true of the others." WTF??
I somehow got the idea they all used the Webkit engine, evidently I was on crack.
Thanks for the reminder that Opera and Firefox do not.
StatCounter is more useful, the Net Applications tells you nothing
While neither tells you very much (of course), neither of them makes me want to buy their more detailed stats either as their comments imply they just want to put the other down rather than produce a useful dataset.
Both of these stats are about web browsing, and not applications, which means the underlying OS doesn't actually matter, you only care about the browser and form factor.
(Ok, iOS, Android and WP7 only have one real browser. Not true of the others.)
Net Applications bundling of "tablet" with "phone" commingles completely different form factors, thus giving no guidance whatsoever. How do I tell from that whether I should put more effort into making my site look good on a Windows Phone or Symbian? It feels like a statistic specifically invented to make iOS look good.
StatCounter on the other hand is useful, because it tells you how much effort to put into making your "for phone" version(s) of the website website look nice on anything other than the Android and iOS big two.
Again, it doesn't tell you whether it's worth working on the various tablet versions, but at least it's up front about that.
The argument about page impressions against unique users... What exactly is wrong with tracking both? I'd rather like to know if a huge number of page impressions is really only a small number of users, or if I just get a host of uniques who never come back, as these two are indicators that I'm doing different things wrong.
Re: So desperate
Nah, she had a lute, see?
"Zero-cross" switching is irrelevant, it's almost exclusively a marketing thing. It has no bearing on device reliability or whether or not it'll damage the telly. It merely reduces EMI switching noise - which is a good thing if you've got a lot of them, otherwise irrelevant.
- Consider a 3-pin-plug or the switch on the socket. Does that do zero-cross detect? Does the act of plugging in a TV damage it?
AC SSRs are actually a pair of back-to-back SCRs or a Triac, just like a dimmer. This means that the waveform they produce is not sinusoidal (both due to being non-resistive and having a recovery time during zero cross) and that they never fully "turn off" - there is always a small leakage current through the SSR. There is also a notable insertion loss (fixed voltage drop) which makes them rather inefficient compared to a relay.
Many power supplies can be damaged by these effects - continually feeding it a small current that's not enough to start it and making the zero-cross point fuzzy are both bad things to do to a power supply. Switch-mode PSUs also draw their current in 'pulses', which means the SSR may not actually stay turned on throughout the cycle and may 'starve' the SMP. (This has all kinds of strange effects)
Put simply, you need a physical relay contact that goes "click", because that's what the PSU in your equipment was designed for.
The best is a physically latching one as then no power is consumed keeping the relay "on" - this is impossible to do with SSRs as they must be powered to turn on. Thus relay-based ones can be considerably more efficient than SSR ones.
That's assuming you even come out ahead in the first place - if you have multiple items on the switch then it might be worth it, but just a TV is almost certainly pointless.
Remember that these switches are themselves in standby!
They're cheap, and have much lower-quality PSUs than TVs etc.
So how much power do they consume themselves? It is likely that some of them actually draw more power in their own standby than your TV does, and all of them will increase the power consumption when your TV is on.
The only one I could find that gave consumption values was a US version, and it said 0.08W in standby, and 0.50W when on. Let's assume a UK version is the same (it's probably worse due to the higher voltage)
My Plasma TV is specified to draw 0.30W in standby, thus I would save 0.22W when my TV is off, and cost 0.50W when my TV is on.
This means that simply to break even, my TV has to be off for 2.3 times as long as it is on.
Now take a look at a modern LED TV. Oh dear, 0.1W in standby.
That's before you consider the damage the SSR (solid-state-relay) -based ones will do to your delicate electronics.
Nope, they're not less likely to happen
Corporate fines are at best a lagging driver. Nobody takes much notice until somebody else has been hit with a big one, and then it takes a long time to change course anyway.
Aside from this, the risk severity was already as high as it could get - this current disaster would probably have triggered a state takeover of RBS had it happened when they weren't already zombified.
Even as it is, they are going to lose a lot of customers.
At the end of the day, the probability of this kind of failure is directly related to the complexity and importance of the system, and inversely to the experience of the people looking after it.
As they get amalgamated, more financial astronauts come up with more or more complex 'instruments', and experienced staff retire, "retire" or are made redundant, the probability increases.
So this is very likely to happen at least once more, and the only difference is that it's more likely to take a CxO with it next time.
Re: No victim.
Rubbish. Utter tosh.
If the US wanted him, they'd extradite him directly from the UK, as that's much easier than arranging for Sweden to extradite him and then extradite him again from Sweden.
Sweden aren't going to allow an extraordinary rendition either, because it'll go VERY public very quickly - how would that play in the media? Assange extradited and 'vanished' on the way over? Not going to happen.
So, ask yourself - Does it really make any kind of sense to fight two legal battles, one though a puppet and the other in person, to extradite someone instead of just one?
On top of that, the UK has a 'special relationship' with the US, including rather lenient extradition terms for any time the US want somebody. They don't have a similar agreement with Sweden.
If you're looking for a conspiracy theory, this is not one.
Re: Equally, it fails in multi-path
Bugger, that should read "..if they're at a petabit/s scale in fibre already without OAM..."
The fail is clearly me..
Equally, it fails in multi-path
Once it gets reflected about a bit, the information on the OAM gets lost very quickly and is no longer recoverable.
Thus this technique is really only usable for point-to-point tight-beam transmission.
Which really means it's a bit 'meh' for radio-frequency below the tens-to-hundreds of GHz (when you have to do point-to-point tight-beam anyway as nothing else has reasonable power requirements for decent range), and equally not that useful in optical until you're in free space as the photons get scattered by the atmosphere.
I do think it would work pretty well in single-mode fibre though, which is interesting - if they're at a petabit/s scale in fibre already with OAM, OAM might add another order of magnitude.
As long as you stay on the surface of this world, and don't go up any particularly tall mountains.
Going down any particularly deep mines is also obviously out, as they don't have decent beer down there.
Re: @Fibbles on 'leaks'
Go on then, why the downvotes?
@Fibbles on 'leaks'
Yep, that's the smart thing to do.
Never announce something until it's in a container on the way to the shops or sat in your warehouse.
Then pretend to be really surprised when somebody 'accidentally' leaks the details while you're still developing it.
All the exposure of a premature launch, none of the risks of the cries of "vapourware!!!"
Re: "because the company continues to purvey the myth that TV viewing is growing"
Thus assuming your daughter still lives with you, you do still have and use television receiving equipment.
So you or your daughter does still need a licence and the TV licencing people remain accurate in their assumption.
If you only watch iPlayer and other on-demand "repeats" and never at the same time as it's broadcast, that's when you don't need a licence.
- Incidentally, there's no longer such a thing as a 'TV detector van'. Many years ago they could tell by the CRT baseband squeal, even knowing which channel, but it's now much easier and more accurate to assume that 99.9% of the population have and use TV receiving equipment, coupled with the database of TV receiving equipment purchases.
That said, Capita do have themselves to blame over continually bugging people who genuinely have no TV receiving kit. And even repeatedly visiting people who already have a TV licence - that one really annoys me.
Re: Touch v Desktop
"An emergency, critical, unavoidable SP pack will fix that."
Even Microsoft wouldn't be that stupid.
Their bread and butter revenue comes from corporate IT, and doing that would quite simply result in corporate IT shutting down all Windows Update and rapidly searching for an alternative operating system that didn't force that kind of change on them.
Can you imagine the CEO of MegaCorp turning on his computer one day and finding Metro instead of his expected desktop photo of his children?
- However, they probably wouldn't actually take up the alternative because the threat alone would force Microsoft to publicly fire whoever they could blame for forcing the update. Thus nobody below Ballmer would sign it off, and even he might get forced out by shareholders if it was proven.
You cannot change out the UI that radically in any corporate environment. The ribbon was a minor change compared to pushing Metro.
Just like Greece
It worked beautifully oevr there, didn't it?
Re: Very tempted
Compared to an Aygo, it's a right looker.
Sounds like it's nicer to drive than an Aygo as well and has a usable boot.
- Had an Aygo as a hire car once. Horrible little thing.
If we're playing the numbers game
The Ovi (Nokia) store had 116,583 apps for Symbian as of December 2011.
More interesting is that the Windows Marketplace has more than 100,000 registered developers, which implies that the majority of devs have published somewhere between zero and one applications.
Re: I'm bullish about Metro
"There should be synergies and economies of scale from using the same O/S and same UI across all devices."
No, there are not. And here's why:
The user interface that's great on a 10" touchscreen tablet is hideously painful on a single, high-res monitor with a trackpad (laptop).
It's also very annoying on a multi-monitor desktop.
The different physical UIs need different 'software' UIs.
There might be some synergies in the OS, but probably not as much as you're thinking and it may even be more complicated anyway as cross-platform dev is hard.
Re: (the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)
Symbian was just getting good when Elop broke its legs in a memo.
Nokia then proceeded to shoot it in the head by deciding not to sell Symbian smartphones in the markets that can afford to buy large numbers of smartphones.
- Have any Symbian smartphones been offered for sale in the UK?
Given the above, rather a lot have been sold.
HDMI was deliberately crippled with HDCP to stop you mirroring
Plus Windows goes mad and literally blacks out the playback area or cripples the resolution if you try to clone the laptop display onto a projector. (At the time HDCP projectors didn't exist, now they are merely almost impossible to buy.)
This all drives us mad, and I took a sneaky joy in reminding a MS exec that the reason they couldn't see their video on their presenter's screen was Windows copy protection.
It would be great to see the things we used to be able to do easily come back, though I somehow doubt that happening.
Re: He may have some valid points
I'm with you on the writer front. The guy might be a good musician but he can't write prose for toffee.
TBH It reads like a series of commentard postings, not all by the same person.
There is some interesting info on how artists currently (do/don't) get paid, and how they (did/didn't) get paid in the past, but it is fairly buried.
Fundamentally I suspect that the problem is very few people respect copyright, and the general reasons for that are fairly clear. The 'big media' don't respect it much either, and they've successfully lobbied for ridiculous copyright length - the latter stifles creativity because you can't bounce off existing works until they're truly ancient.
The fundamental problem is one of respect - it's basically been lost.
@Sean - it's called compression.
The "normalisation" you mention is more properly knowns as "compressed to hell and back", and has nothing to do with spending more or less on recording or mastering.
Leaving the dynamic range in would cost no more, possibly a bit (though not noticeably) less as it's a step you can leave out.
It's a deliberate choice by the producers of the track.
My guess is because every track wants to be the 'loudest' on the radio or the various music TV channels, for the same reason most adverts are also compressed to buggery.
Though compression does cover a multitude of sins, not least an the artist's inability to sing. Rather like autotune, but less obvious.
Autotune and sampling is where you look for the corner cutting. Sampling cuts out the musicians, autotune cuts out the vocalists, doing both cuts out most of a recording studio.
There are one heck of a lot of tracks using massive amounts of both, to the point where it could have been anybody 'singing' in the first place.
Re: android already does this
Not really. Inter-application communication has very tight granularity, but application-to-phone permissions are still quite big buckets:
It's a little odd as there are a few very fine-grained permissions, while most are very large buckets. eg location info has several different permissions, while others let the app do pretty much whatever it wants to "X".
It's still not possible to deny an application a permission while still running it, or alter permissions after installation - for example, almost every social network app seems to want GPS location. What if I don't want it to have my location but am happy for everything else?
Or even more common, I'm happy for it to use the Internet but not for it to use my phone or SMS/MMS. When abroad it's easy to kill Internet, but not possible to kill phone/SMS/MMS.
The problem with such walls is that they need holes
Say you write a picture-munging application. It clearly needs to be able to read the pictures already on the phone as well as take photos with the camera, and it needs to save the results back to the picture gallery.
Equivalent examples exist for a lot of things.
The obvious solution is for more granularity in permissions - you may see my picture collection but not my sounds library etc.
More importantly, we need the ability to deny a particular permission to the application, eg It gets an empty and volatile persistent storage.
That's a very difficult area.
The fun part is that we don't have any living models for a bird or reptile anywhere near that size.
Mammals are clearly a bad model, and living things generally don't scale so birds and reptiles are of limited usefulness. For example, the size of the digestive tract varies immensely among animals of similar dimensions. (Compare horse to cow. Or even horse to hippo!)
All in all, it makes figuring out the likely physical build of a fossil creature incredibly difficult and often subject to bias - the Victorians went with 'slow and fat', hence the very high original weight estimates.
Smaller dinosaurs are much easier - birds are a close model, and we've even got a few skin impressions which helps immensely.
Re: What a great video
This cow is very small.
Those are very far away.
Small, far away.
Meanwhile, quality has gone through the floor
Warranty periods cut (so clearly they know they're rubbish), and so many more failures post 'infant death' than before.
Yet nobody to run to, because they're both as bad as each other.
SSDs appear to have more suppliers, but remain rather expensive and still have rather variable reliability.
Electronics are going to be much more reliable
than any heath-robinson contraption you could reasonably build.
Two very simple and extremely reliable options:
1) A clock. After a given time, fire the rocket. Calculate the likely maximum flight time to altitude and add a bit, such that it will fire after balloon burst.
2a Strain gauge joining truss to balloon not via the parachute. When strain drops to near-zero for longer than 5 sec or so, fire the rocket.
2b) If you want to wait for the parachute to have opened and thus stabilised the truss, use two strain gauges - one on the parachute cord, one on the balloon cord.
When parachute cord has higher strain than balloon, fire.
2 a/b can be done entirely with discrete solid-state electronics (wheatstone bridge, op-amp, monostable, mosfet) no software or moving parts. (Avoid electrolytic caps)
Use two identical strain gauges in both cases to compensate for temp - both should respond the same.
Can easily test this in the freezer as pressure has no effect, only temperature.
Re: National survey
The actual weight measurement wasn't the issue.
The problem was them asking for large amounts of irrelevant data - both parent's full names, dates of birth, full address and phone number?
Is all of that really required for the described intent? Could you justify all of that data to a judge?
Put simply, the school can contact the parent(s). The 3rd party agency doesn't need to know anything at all about the child or parents outside of the data strictly necessary for the study.
They need weight, sex, year and month of birth and that's it. If they really want to do fine-grained geo-location on the data, the full postcode is already too fine-grained for useful statistical analysis.
The phone number is certainly far too much - and even the name is unnecessary.
They probably sold the data on to some other party to use - imagine the phone calls "We sell weight loss plans for your children!" (And we already know they need it...)
So did you report them to the ICO?
What did the ICO say about it?
Re: I agree with you that the version numbering scheme is a bit daft
That's the sound of you missing the point by a few AU.
I agree with you that the version numbering scheme is a bit daft
There were pretty good reasons for the MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH.BUILD version numbering systems used by almost everyone (with various company variations on the BUILD bit).
Going away from that causes confusion and digs holes for both users and developers to fall into.
For example, if the devs crank up the PATCH when they make a fairly big change, users become nervous about any upgrade because "the last minor patch changed everything!"
Pretty soon it ends up in a situation like 1.20.50.xx because now there is nothing big enough to justify crank the MAJOR. That then confuses people and support even further - when somebody says "1.2.5", do they mean 1.2.5, 1.25.xx or 1.20.50?
Alternatively if you crank the MAJOR every single time, nobody has a clue whether a change is actually significant.
That means some users don't want to upgrade because they think something big must have changed every time and they don't want to learn it. (yet)
Once they realise most are not big changes, they get scared because they cannot easily tell whether anything "big" is there and thus put off every upgrade until they have a week of nothing much going on to test the new version.
So they end up behind, because this major version was really just a patch while that one was major, and the other was minor, and they all happened way before the user got the time (or courage) to try any of them.
For most of the above, for "user" read "Corporate IT Dept".
Most home users will just leave the auto-update at defaults, and then get very surprised if anything changes - my mum always phones me when her "internet" changes, and I doubt she's alone.
Authenticating proxies are painful
There are so many hoops to jump through to get those to work it's unreal.
I never did figure it out properly and it appears that nobody else has either.
My software can detect the proxy and authenticate itself, but cannot use the system authentication, the user has to re-enter login details.
Firefox and many other applications are the other way around.
Even more applications (eg Dropbox) don't do either, requiring you to manually set all the proxy details.
So how are you supposed to do it? The only application that mostly manages is IE8, and that fails if there is a different proxy for HTTP and FTP.
They have been privately traded for a long time, that's what set the IPO price.
And yes, it's a record low as far back as I can be bothered to check (2010)
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