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* Posts by Richard 12

1514 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Ten... smartphone survival accessories

Richard 12
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iPod chargers were weird.

They used to actually communicate with the charger to determine the charge rate, presumably so Apple could charge more for their chargers.

They now follow the standard - shorted data pins means no data, so eat as much power as you want.

That multi cable looks great - captive adapters are a great idea, usually the tip you need gets lost.

A Tumi is a Peruvian knife used for human sacrifices, so it might put ideas into peoples' heads when stuck in the back of beyond...

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'Not guilty' plea in Utah cop site hacking case

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Handing the defense a gift

"Tweeting" isn't a domain for nerds, and never has been.

Unless Katy Price is a nerd, in which case I no longer understand what the word means.

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Richard 12
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Once again, prejudicial

Even if we accept without proof that the website was actually hacked in the first place - ssomething that legally must be proven at trial first - this specific individual is only a suspect, you legally cannot say that he did it unless he has been found guilty.

Otherwise you are being prejudicial, may be in contempt and may cause a mistrial.

You would expect a police spokesperson to know that.

It is alleged that this guy hacked the site. That is all.

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Apple TV third-generation (2012)

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: AirPlay

I can go one better.

It's already been done using one of the Alpha boards.

You don't even need to "Hackintosh" anyway, as a ported AirPlay service already exists for Linux.

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PLANET-SWAP shock: Stars grabbed dirtballs from other clusters

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Non-Zero

What they mean is that a gas giant-type planet would have been spotted by now on account of it being huge (thus occluding stars) and massive (notably affect the orbits of stuff we know about).

Something small, like Earth/Venus or smaller might not have been.

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Apple fights off ebook suit with anti-Amazon defence

Richard 12
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Re: Can't have it both ways

They are accused of abusing the near-monopoly they have on tablets to gain their current position and profit margin in the eBook market.

It would be fundamentally stupid to wait until a company have actually gained a second monopoly by abusive methods, that's how IE6 happened.

The abusive methods must be challenged in the courts before irreparable damage can be done, swhich means going after them when they start tto use them, not dependent on results.

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RIP wind power: Minister blows away plans for more turbines

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Workable form of mass electricity storage

No nemo, it hasn't, you can tell because almost nobody is buying it. That's the "workable" part, you see?

"Workable" means that it's feasible, economic to build and run, and consumers will accept it.

Electric cars at the required scale are none of the above.

Secondly, in this context, smart meters are only a method of remote disconnection at times of high demand. This is not a solution in the first place, and of course consumers will never accept it.

"At the end of EastEnders you will suffer a blackout to prevent you from making a cup of tea."

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Richard 12
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Re: Sounds reasonable.

Which valleys are volunteering for flooding then?

We've already built pretty much all the pumped-storage that people will accept - there are plenty of places where it could be built, but people either live there or it's an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Or there are newts.

This is the thing - hydro-electric is incredibly destructive. It's not green, it's only low-CO2.

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AWS bids for cloudy SharePoint

Richard 12
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Hang on, if I'm reading this right

Then all traffic is bouncing off your own servers going through two VPN connections, inbound and outbound to Amazon.

If that is the case what exactly is the benefit?

Running a Sharepoint server can't be that much of a load that swapping it for doubled VPN traffic is a significant saving, can it?

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ANU puts quantum random numbers online

Richard 12
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Oh dear, you confused theory with hypothesis.

Gravity is only a theory, yet you wouldn't jump out of a high building naked.

In science, a theory is something that fits all known observations better than anything else.

Quantum theory fits our observations of really tiny stuff incredibly well.

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Richard 12
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Re: Is that even a problem?

For a start, it's cooler.

Secondly, the oscillator technique is psuedo-random - that's a chaotic system, not a random one.

Thermal noise can be affected by external sources as it varies by temperature, so not properly random.

Until now the only really high quality self-contained RNGs are based on radioactive decay events, so produce bits fairly slowly and are hard to buy.

This apparently makes high quality randomness really quickly.

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New fake anti-virus shakes down frightened file-sharers

Richard 12
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Devil

Re: Any more on the delivery mechanism?

My guess would be that it takes a quick look through an infected system and drops itself into a Dropbox folder, getting itself automatically spread to everyone sharing that folder.

Going via email or browser relies on either unpatched holes or user error, while Dropbox will spread it by design.

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Laptop computers are crap

Richard 12
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Re: Amen on vertical screenspace.

My work laptop HDD is about 80% full, because it's what I use for development and customer support, in the office and in the field.

So I have most of the version history for several products and a few SDKs.

Those add up fast.

Though I suppose I don't need the local copies of 5 year old software installers anymore...

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Richard 12
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Re: Wise article

The reason there are no stick-up USB ports by Esc is you'd probably smash your screen.

How long do you think it would be before you accidentally close the lid (or someone shove by and do it) without removing the USB device?

It's bad enough the number that get ripped off the sides when putting into bags, but at least those usually only break the USB stick.

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Nokia on 'brink of failure', warns analyst

Richard 12
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Re: Why not revive the N9?

Meego was supposed to be for embedded systems, not laptops.

So cars, phones, ATMs, that kind of thing.

I gather it's doing OK in car entertainment systems.

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Renault Twizy budget e-car

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Or I could stick with my diesel

Exactly.

In London with the latest diesel prices I pay just under £70 for about 7 weeks commute, and mine's an older diesel in a relatively big car.

So my big car has only a little bit higher running costs (and cost me less to buy) than this quadbike - which nearly fits in the boot. (I think it's probably too tall, would have to cut the roof off and slip it in beside it.)

When comparing things of a similar size with newer engines do quite a bit better.

The baby Fiats, Toyotas and Citroens have similar 'up front' cost, are considerably cheaper to run, have windows, some of them aren't ugly*, and perhaps most importantly they can be charged in two minutes.

That said, this kind of golf cart runabout might suit a small Caribbean or Mediterranean island, or evil volanic lair.

* What is it with 'eco' models? Almost all of them look hideous, and there's no need for that.

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Netgear Powerline Nano 500 Ethernet-over-mains adaptor

Richard 12
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Re: Interference

Excellent question, and one to which I don't know the answer.

When I was doing these tests there weren't any "CE" EMC standards for PLTs, so we used the standards for normal PC equipment and looked at the complete point-to-point link over twin & Earth as being the "device under test".

- This also meant that every PLT shipped at the time was completely untested, the manufacturers claiming that as there was no "PLT" EMC standard they didn't need to meet anything.

We also looked at blocking PLT domains from each other - it needed seriously big blocking filters, and coupling between adjacent wiring easily bypassed it so we came to the conclusion it simply couldn't be blocked in any cost-effective way. This was before encryption as standard in PLT devices, so it's clear the manufacturers have realised this as well.

I gather that there are now standards for PLT, however I haven't read them - standards being very boring and PLT is not my day job.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Interference

Did similar tests a few years back when the standard was being worked out.

By using a radial spur, blocking filter and appropriately terminating* the mains wiring at both ends we managed to get a conducted emissions pass, and radiated didn't fail by much so could plausibly be sorted out.

However, the moment we used a ring final circuit (ring main) it failed quite spectacularly as this turns it into a loop antenna.

Notches work fine for avoiding radiated interference with specific other users, but you can't notch out everything so they will always squash somebody.

Put another way, it may be workable in much of mainland Europe because they mostly use radials, but it cannot work in the UK because we mostly use rings.

*Although the termination network drew more than half a Watt...

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Five charged after fanboi sells kidney for iPad and iPhone

Richard 12
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Re: Seriously?

I think it was the doctor who had the gambling debt.

The teenager just wanted an iPad and has no idea of the consequences - like most teenagers.

- When I was that age I built a zipline down a ravine with a couple of friends, and one of us swept through a holly bush when the brakeline snapped. So we tied the brakeline back together, tightened the zipline and had another few goes!

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The iPad 3 would make me so horny...

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

If you do it as PDF, then you've got to licence any embedded fonts. Let's say you do that and it doesn't cost much.

Now the text looks better as it's rasterised on demand to fit the display - although by some accounts the original iPad couldn't manage that fast enough anyway.

What about your pictures and diagrams?

Most of those images are not going to be available as vectors, and even those that are may not be in usable formats so you've got to rasterise those anyway.

So you still have to rasterise some of each page.

Yet in all magazines there are full-page images on many of the pages, so you still have to handle full-page images either way.

So why bother?

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CSC, NHS extend jaw-jaw on disaster deal: 500 jobs go

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: This lot almost make m$ look good

And that's why "big bang" implementations on this kind of scale are stupid and should never, ever be attempted under any circumstances whatsoever*.

You only find out that it's an abject failure once all the money has been spent with nothing to show for it, and either the customer pays huge cash for nothing or the supplier goes bankrupt.

Instead, if you do the project as a series of small changes, implementing each part of the system in a limited area (not the whole country) and expand it slowly, not only do you get a system that works (and is useful at each step) but there are many more companies that could bid for it because there's money at each stage so crazy credit isn't required.

As a bonus, when the credit requirements are smaller at shorter periods it's much cheaper to build, with less risk to all parties, and more of the cash goes towards the actual project rather than the banks that loaned the money.

As a bonus to the bonus, you can pause or even stop the project at almost any stage and still have something useful, and usually change the requirements of the next stage without penalties in time or money.

Yes, I just more or less described the Agile methodology.

It does work, unlike Waterfall which always fails.

*(C) Department of Redundancy Dept.

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IT urine bandit fired and charged

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: What or who did he deem attractive?

Is that even physically possible without killing the duck?

Horses are one thing, but ducks?

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Browsium rescues HMRC from IE6 – and multimillion-pound bill

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: Really a fix?

I would expect that Browsium are now the ones providing support for the "IE6 Frame" and all the associated components that aren't part of Windows 7, as that would all need to be rolled into their plugin for this to work under Windows 7.

It sounds like a very good way to escape from IE6 - that was always a tricky problem as most large corporates dare not go for a "Big Bang" approach to that migration, even if they could afford it.

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What does the Titanic's sinking tell us about modern science?

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: Wot George Said

Erm, he didn't treat her as a speedboat. The whole "let's go really fast" idea was an invention of later movies and never actually happened - Titanic was never in the running for the Blue Riband.

Olympic's stern collided with HMS Hawke, and the incident was blamed on the suction from the turning Olympic - though it could have really been caused by Hawke getting too close in the first place.

The real problem with modern ships is the quality of officer and crew training. Many bridge officers are basically incompetent, keeping their jobs because modern cruise liners navigate themselves and the few really good officers cover for them.

Possibly the most frightening thing about modern cruise liners is the fact that in many (most?) sinkings it was the entertainment staff (dancers, activities, theatre technicians and musicians) who saved the lives of the passengers guests, and not the officers or crew.

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Terrafugia flies first prototype: Flying cars 'within a year'

Richard 12
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FAIL

Moller is the definition of vapourware

They've been promising that their one is going to be available "really soon" for the last twenty years, and still have no solution to any of the tricky problems of a flying car.

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Richard 12
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Happy

Re: We don't want driving planes,

Quadcopters and other multi-rotor designs are already quite capable of flying themselves* on complex courses using only GPS-assisted inertial navigation.

Collision avoidance remains an unsolved problem but that will come as processing power and camera technology gets smaller, cheaper and less power-hungry.

Scaled up, they just might work - a Y6 or X8 design even has built-in redundancy, able to lose at least one rotor without significantly affecting stability - though you'd still want to land anyway as it would be burning more juice to stay up.

*For the 20 min to half an hour until the batteries run out. Skynet they ain't.

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Home Sec: Web snoop law will snare PAEDOS, TERRORISTS

Richard 12
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Re: hmmmm...

That's not the point.

The real danger of this kind of thing is that having arrested someone on suspicion of $crime$, they want to be able to trawl though everything that person has done online in order to find something, anything to pin on them. Regardless of what it is.

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Richard 12
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Trollface

Re: Bah

Thank God for that, we'd be utterly screwed if they were competent.

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Freeview TV shoved aside for iPad-compatible 4G

Richard 12
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My phone line has had more downtime than my ADSL

Over the last five years I've lost ADSL for a few hours at most, and so far not at a time of day when I really noticed it.

I've lost my phone line for two days - while the ADSL was still working. I still don't quite understand how BT performed that trick.

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Philips 42PFL7666 42in 3D LED Smart TV

Richard 12
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Re: distract from the dullness of the content

Yes, I suppose it does, given that I haven't used the built-in speakers of my main telly for two years.

I suspect that nobody who buys this kind of TV wants the speakers - why would you want 3D picture with 2D sound?

-Especially as 5.1 and 7.1 sound doesn't leave you feeling sick and dizzy.

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ALL Visa cards blab punters' names - not just Barclaycards

Richard 12
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FAIL

@ Anon: NFC is RFID

Also, it's a shame to see someone so taken in by marketing.

These are in fact the same technology.

Have a Wikipedia article (it's not outright wrong)

NFC is simply the branding of a set of RFID standards aimed at this kind of 'cash' and 'ID' usage.

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Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Anybody heard of TRACK1...?

Yup. I assume you're of the opinion that this simply doesn't matter in the slightest? Mastercard and Visa appear to disagree enough to try to keep it vewwy qwiet.

Name and CCN is enough to make a transaction in many countries around the world, and even in the EU it's still often enough to make an online or phone transaction.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Yes

10-20cm is more than enough in any kind of busy environment.

That's further away than pickpockets work, with the added bonus of not having to actually touch the mark.

It's quite normal for someone to come that close on a bus or train, even a nearly empty one (eg aisle seats) and normal for people to be that close on the high street, in a shopping centre etc.

Here's a game for you to play:

Next time you go out shopping in somewhere busy (New York in Lincolnshire doesn't count), try to count the number of people who come within 20cm of your wallet or handbag during the journey there and back and the actual shopping experience.

So, given that you could clone the name and card numbers of all those people, you've got rather a lot of data you could sell to overseas criminal gangs - or use on any online retailers that's not checking CVV!

In a single day you could get hundreds if not thousands of valid name/CCN pairs with no risk of being detected whatsoever. Flog 'em to some gan to use, and you've got yourself a pretty penny with no risk.

I can see this kind of fraud becoming rather popular over the next few years. Well done banks, you've only gone and broken it again!

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Richard 12
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Re: NOT Visa failing - It's AMAZON failing.

I disagree to some extent.

I really want to be able to have the goods sent to my work address, because that is where I will be during the 9-5 time period when couriers and Royal Mail deign to deliver physical goods.

If I don't do that, then I won't get my goods until the following weekend when I am able to go to the 'local' depot or sorting office and queue for a couple of hours.

Even if I was at home that day, half the time couriers just shove the 'You weren't in' card through the letterbox and run away. Presumably because the box was never loaded on the van.

They don't all do that as often with corporate premises.

I would however much prefer it if the invoice were to be posted separately to the cardholder address, as Amazon imply, rather than stuffed in with the goods.

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Linux 'internet of things' gizmo ships

Richard 12
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Re: Too expensive.

£40 for the interface hardware and casing sounds about right, especially as it's a rapid-prototyped case and very low volume interface PCB.

You can pay over £20 for low volume bare PCBs in that kind of size, so it's not exactly extortionate.

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Apple pushes patents for 3D avatar authoring

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: Prior art?

The Wii one for making Miis is 3D and practically identical, even down to the icons used!

The only discernable difference is that the Wii one puts the user interface elements above and to the sides of the screen rather than below.

If this actually got approved then it really should be the final nail in the USPTO office. It's way past time for it to be totally closed down for being utterly incapable of doing their job.

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Who killed ITV Digital? Rupert Murdoch - but not the way you think

Richard 12
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Re: I have a genuine ITVDigital monkey :-)

I got one of those too - I gave it to my sister, and now you tell me it was worth something?

I signed up because I was in a rented student flat so dishes and cable were both out.

Then spent a year cleaning up the direct debit mess after they went titsup...

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Nvidia shows off first 'Kepler' GPUs

Richard 12
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Re: re: efficient performance, while consuming the least possible energy

A large and slow fan is much quieter than a small and fast one even if they move the same mass of air.

So you want a big fan if you can.

In my desktop the GPU fan is the only audible one, and it's by far the smallest.

At some point I will have to sort that out.

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Elsevier's backpedalling not stopping scientist strike

Richard 12
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Re: Pay?

True, those stupendously fat margins make up most of it.

That is what the argument is about - making excessively large margins. Especially galling becuase the vast majority of the work is done for free - the only thing the publisher is actually doing is collating, printing and distribution.

The prices they charge don't match up with what they do. Compare with other low-volume printers, eg Lulu, and the various University presses.

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Big Media drags 142,000 through UK's courts IN A YEAR

Richard 12
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WTF?

WTF are you smoking jacobbe? It's £12.13 a month!

The licence fee is £145.50 a year from April, and is fixed until 2016.

To put it another way, it's approximately half what the very cheapest Sky TV pack costs.

The monthly cost is less than a 20 pack of cheap beer from Tesco, or a meal for two from KFC.

It's even less than taking two people to the cinema. (In London that's even before you buy any popcorn!)

I'm sure you can come up with other comparisons.

If (as an extreme example) you really did only watch and listen to an average of one hour of BBC TV and radio a day, that's 40p an hour - less than iTunes.

Are you really saying that nothing the BBC makes is worth that to you?

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Firefox gobbles H.264 to serve up vids to mobes, slabs

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: Can see the analogy.

@ath0

I repeat, supremely disingenuous. (That means true but phrased in a way intended to give the entirely the wrong impression, in case you were previously unaware of the word.)

Perhaps I could rephrase that precise statement you quoted:

H.264 and other MPEG-like encoders are better at screwing up the source material in the way that MPEG-like encoders screw up the source material.

Or perhaps another example would be clearer:

The Pope is better at being a Catholic than at being a Muslim.

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Richard 12
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Thumb Down

Re: Can see the analogy.

Rather disingenuous statement there, ath0

All lossy codecs show demonstrable loss of quality when re-encoding something that's already been compressed using another lossy compression method.

That's true of MPEG2, of VP8 and of H.264.

Even the original CCDs (or film negatives!) are lossy compared to the original light.

It's a fundamental of information theory - once the data is gone, you cannot get it back.

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Microsoft accused of leaking RDP attack code

Richard 12
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Re: "Confidential Inform,ation is to be protected"

Irony... That's like steely, but softer, right?

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Richard 12
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Re: "Confidential Inform,ation is to be protected"

It is used in hospitals. And airports.

In hospitals it's even running life-critical functions.

The main point of that famous clause is to indemnify Microsoft, not to improve safety.

- You find that clause in the spec. literature of damn near everything, from PCB material on upwards, so what do you do?

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Charge of the Metro brigade: Did Microsoft execs plan to take a hit?

Richard 12
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@dogged - They were all sold Vista, whether they wanted it or not

That's the thing - for quite some time, it you bought a computer from any OEM you got Vista pre-installed.

Almost all corporates wiped it back to XP SP2 using the corporate image - and all of those rollbacks to XP were still counted as Vista.

A lot of 'home' users probably did the same shortly after finding their hardware didn't work properly. Either that or they returned it as 'broken'.

I would not be surprised if >50% of the "Vista" sales were actually running XP SP2.

That said, the trainwreck was mostly the new driver model. MS changed everything about drivers so all existing hardware stopped working until the hardware people could update their drivers. That's a big job!

7 had the advantage of more time - the new driver model had been out for a while by then - and also added a host of shims to let legacy hardware and code work.

(Most of these shims don't work in the 64-bit edition, which is a pain but unsurprising.)

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Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: @Ken Hagen

@dogged

That's kinda the point. "Click in the bottom left corner of the screen".

"Why? There's nothing there!"

"Trust me, just click there"

"I tried and nothing happened."

"All the way into the corner. Move the mouse down and left until it stops."

"My mouse fell off the table."

That's even before the fun and games of multiple monitors - if the "primary" isn't bottom-left then you're well and truly ****ed.

It's quite difficult to click on a single visible pixel. A single, invisible pixel is...

We've spent the last couple of decades making things look 'clickable', as if they are physical buttons. Even making them change colour to announce "Click me! Click me!" if you hover the mouse over them.

Metro removes all that. It takes away all the visual clues that every desktop interface has given users since the dawn of pointing devices.

That's painful.

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How a tiny leap-day miscalculation trashed Microsoft Azure

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Whoever designs system that have changable clocks will always have problems

mad physicist Fiona, you appear to have spectacularly missed my point.

You aren't describing processing, that is all formatting. You'll need to do that no matter how you store the time internally, but you don't need to do it very often.

It's not as complex as the existential questions you get from storing and processing in local time - that way you don't know what time it was by the time it's stored to disk, because the local time definitions may have changed. Thus any stored local time also needs the definition of local time at the time to be stored alongside it to use in all future processing.

UTC changes much less often than local time, so that processing lookup table is much smaller - it will have 35 entries in total as of the end of 2012, all of which are +1 second and published in advance.

As opposed to the local time tables which are complicated enough to be worth defending a copyright claim over and change regularly on the whim of world politicians!

Storing local times means that your data set is dependant on those local time tables, and every single data point must state the timezone it was recorded in, for the data to be useful for any purpose at all.

Storing UTC means you can do almost all processing with no lookup tables at all and be fairly accurate about intervals - only 35 seconds out in 50 years - or have one adjustment lookup table that is valid for all data points.

Yes, you still need those complex lookups to display to the user but you don't need them for your data set to be useful.

Incidentally, Windows has been UTC internally since Vista, although its monotonic clock remains irritatingly 32-bit. (49.7 days is a magic number)

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UK kids' art project is 'biggest copyright blag ever' – photographer

Richard 12
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Actually, many commentards are

The point is that this organisation is teaching kids "You must give away your Copyrights to large organisations, only big companies can own copyrights. You are small, you cannot."

So, is it surprising if these children grow up thinking that copyright doesn't matter, only big organisations can have it. When they were little some organisation 'stole' their copyrights, so why not infringe it.

An easy train of thought goes:

It's not like they are affecting real people by infringing. That company probably 'stole' the copyrights in the first place like someone did to theirs. So clearly they should take it back!

Put another way, if we want these kids to respect our copyrights then we should respect theirs, and teach them what copyright actually is.

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Could tiny ebooks really upset the mighty Apple cart?

Richard 12
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Re: Who cares about the publishers?

All of which can be hired.

Typesetting is dead already, especially with ebooks. It's entirely automated except for artistic purposes.

Illustration is often driven by the author anyway - they have a preferred partner to do that. So they could hire them at a percentage.

Cover design usually isn't but should be (how many books have you read where the cover bears no resemblance to anything in the book?

Editing - that is selecting which books a publisher is actually going to take. Self-published don't do it.

Copyediting can be hired easily at quite low rates, ironically made cheap by publishers.

Which leaves marketing and lawyers, neither of which tends to be very valuable these days. When was the last time you saw an advert for an author you hadn't heard of, or a lawsuit against an author of fiction?

Ok, non-fiction may want lawyers.

You forgot the real reason why authors want publishers though - advances. They would quite like to eat while waiting for the first royalty cheque.

Except that advances are getting rarer and worse...

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