* Posts by Richard 12

1766 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

E-voting and the UK election: Pick a lizard, any lizard

Richard 12
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Re: Turnout

FPTP is fundamentally flawed, in that it forces a two-party system to come into being, due to the effect of the "split vote".

https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo

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Richard 12
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Re: It's not broken don't fix it

I'd love STV with something like 3-4 member constituencies.

Then I'd be able to take my issue to whichever of the members I thought was most likely to help on that particular thing.

The current One-Member system has the fundamental problem that if my Member is a Minister, or even worse, the Speaker, I'm stuffed.

The Minister must back the Cabinet due to Collective Responsibility, and the Speaker isn't allowed to express their opinion.

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Richard 12
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Re: Please, no e-voting! (@ Cynic_999)

No. It is much easier to lose or change the contents of an electronic ballot box than the contents of a physical one.

While it is relatively easy to 'lose' a physical ballot box, it leaves a physical trail that must also be hidden - 3rd party observers saw it, and every individual ballot paper has to be accounted for.

An electronic 'ballot box' has a no physical trail, only a small amount of data describes its existence - all one would need is the signature, and poof, the entire box is gone or rewritten for the Lizard Party.

The 3rd party observers would have no way of seeing this, and no evidence would exist outside the system itself to indicate that a large-scale fraud had occurred.

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Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

Richard 12
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Childcatcher

Re: CORRECTION Powerwall economics in UK conditions: ~ 5 to 6 year payback

Don't forget installation costs, and the VAT, which adds 20% to all the above.

So what you're saying is that it is uneconomic to use these because they will not pay back within their warranty period, unless you steal from the poor.

The 14.45p/kWh comes directly from everyone else's electricity bills.

Everyone who does not have the system is paying you for all the electricity you use.

Who can install these systems? Those who own their property and have either large enough savings to buy outright, or a good enough credit rating that a bank will loan them the upfront cost. In other words, the well-off.

Who pays for the systems? The poor and lower-middle class.

Isn't that simply evil?

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Building the Internet of Things with Raspberry Pi et al, DIY-style

Richard 12
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Boffin

Unconvinced that the 240V PowerTail is adequate

It's simply a 120V version with different relay and MOVs.

While the circuit and component selection look fairly sound, the PCB design looks extra-low-voltage, and may not be suitable for EU mains voltage supplies. It's quite hard to get mains voltage thru-hole PCB design right.

Can't be sure without a sample, and there's no hint as to the backside of the board on any of their published docs, however the topside creepage looks like ~1.5mm, when the standard requires at least 2.4mm*. You don't run tracks down the isolation gap - those pins are that far apart for a reason - and Protective Earth looks really close to LN.

I don't think El Reg should mention any mains voltage kits for the EU unless they've got good reason (CE mark etc) to believe that it complies with the basic safety regs in the EU. These set of devices look like they meet most US codes, but not EU ones.

* Assuming 'normal' PCB material and that it's not hermetically sealed.

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SOD TABLETS, if you want to get anything done travelling get a ... yes, a LAPTOP

Richard 12
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Re: TL;DR version

Indeed - though to be fair, the Surface Pro is actually a decent laptop.

As long as you can manage with 1 (one) USB port and no hardwired Ethernet.

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

Richard 12
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Re: Airbus definition of 'fail safe'....

No.

A timer overflow is so obvious and predictable that you can even work out exactly when it will occur to the individual tick.

A mistake in a flight control algorithm that gives unwanted results when fed by a particular mix of wrong and right values is an incredibly hard thing to predict.

One is a failure to count.

The other is an inability to allow for and test all possible circumstances.

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Richard 12
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Re: I don't think this is the spirit of Tintin's gaily colored moon rocket

It has to come down fast because it can't hover.

The throttle only goes as low as ~1.8G, so the least it can do is roughly maximum braking of a high-performance car. (0.8G)

Lower throttle isn't possible because turbopumps don't do slow, among other things.

According to Scott Manley, it's trying to drive at a brick wall at 120mph, then slam on the brakes and come to a halt just touching the wall.

This time it slammed on the brakes ever so slightly too late.

Next time...

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High on bath salts, alleged Norse god attempts tree love

Richard 12
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Why was the first response to Taser him?

Would they have shot him first instead if the cop hadn't got a Taser on him?

They can and do kill. It's not a magic stun-phaser like in Star Trek, and somebody high on drugs is at higher than usual risk of death if Tasered.

I wonder what would have happened if the policemen did nothing? Would he have quietly passed out after sexing the tree?

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Soil and sand harden as SPEEDING MISSILES and METEORS SLAM into GROUND – boffins

Richard 12
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Hypersonic jobbie?

Eeewww! That's a hideous image...

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PHYSICS APPLECART UPSET as dark energy disappears, Universe slams on brakes

Richard 12
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Re: Science is self-correcting

Press release != science.

Then the reporting of the press releases gets even further from the actual results.

It's primarily shoddy journalists, who simply don't understand science at all, but pretend that it's just like the arts or humanities.

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ICANN urges US, Canada: Help us stop the 'predatory' monster we created ... dot-sucks!

Richard 12
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FAIL

The new TLDs were sold in an almost identical manner

So that's equally 'predatory', yes?

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Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account

Richard 12
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Re: Lawsuit

Class action isn't really a thing in Europe.

That said, it's a wonderful own-goal by Sony.

The only possible legal results from this are that they cancel the alleged debt, or that they cancel the alleged debt and pay a fine.

The PR result is already clear.

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Richard 12
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Re: Other reasons to get your account banned

No, that's known as an 'abusive contract' clause, which has no power whatsoever in any European country.

Dear Sony, you will lose. Trading Standards will rip you a new one.

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Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

Richard 12
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Mushroom

I read it when I was young and foolish enough to consider making some of the recipes.

Fortunately, I was never quite foolish enough.

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Dot-com intimidation forces Indiana to undo hated anti-gay law

Richard 12
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Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

Not that load of bollocks again.

You can find somebody claiming anything if you search hard enough.

I pity you. It must be so difficult to maintain such a flawed and bigoted worldview.

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Richard 12
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Re: Is there no refuge?

Your right to throw a punch ends before it hits another's face.

I think that explains it.

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Richard 12
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Straw man - it doesn't matter how big a religion is.

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South Korea to NUKE Microsoft ActiveX

Richard 12
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Re: "proprietary standards"

He just missed the 'scare quotes' around 'standards'.

There are such things as proprietary standards/specifications though:

A company publishes an interoperability specification which others can use, perhaps even royalty-free, but the company retains full control over it.

Most APIs are like that.

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No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over

Richard 12
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Re: True. Things Just Happen

If it's hard work, then maybe it's not right.

It might be hard sometimes, but marriage isn't work!

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Microsoft gets data centres powered up for big UPS turn-off

Richard 12
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Lithium ion eh?

As far as I recall lithium ion batteries really don't like deep discharge and wear out much faster than the equivalent sealed lead-acid.

So this technique means you'll be replacing more, smaller batteries more often - hoping that 1000 small batteries costs less than 10 big ones.

Not to mention the interesting fire loading - lithium battery fires cannot be doused, and the batteries catch fire quite easily when damaged or overcharged.

You basically have to wait for it to burn out and then put out the secondary fires.

Can their fire suppression system cope with that?

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A day may come when flash memory is USELESS. But today is not that day

Richard 12
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Re: Open question...

A disc doesn't have to write a full block, it's the file systems that do that.

Not all file systems use blocks, and those that do generally allow you to choose the block size if you want a different tradeoff between storing the location of the data and the data itself.

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We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

Richard 12
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Re: A simple solution?

If I, as a Brit, want to buy German bread then I can send a German bakery money and they send me the bread.

Shipping might be expensive and a bit stale once it arrives, but I can do it and the law does not affect my ability to do so.

However, if I want to buy German television, I cannot. It is simply impossible to do without breaching copyright.

If I want to watch it, I must breach the copyright.

This is the *only* type of goods or services where this is the case within the EU, and it's obviously stupid.

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Atomic keyrings: Just how bright are they?

Richard 12
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What odd units

Under 4 microlumens per square inch.

Or 1.3 candela / sq metre in SI units.

So, roughly the brightness of a single candle diffused across a square metre.

Wolfram Alpha says it's less than half the apparent luminance of the twilight sky.

Which is very dim, as the human eye is logarithmic.

But certainly visible.

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Google adds evil-code scanning to Play Store

Richard 12
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Re: Google Apps

Yes indeedy.

Why should I need to root my device in order to selectively allow/deny applications unnecessary privileges?

That is one thing Apple do a little better.

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Boffins brew up FIRST CUPPA in SPAAACE using wireless energy (well, sort of)

Richard 12
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Odd that he lists the mostly solved problems as the "huge challenges", but ignores the "make one of these things actually work" and "make it not be a bloody superweapon of hideous death"

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X+Y shows teens are teens, regardless of where they are 'on the spectrum'

Richard 12
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It's about Power

A simple and quick way to gain and retain Power is to define an "Other", upon which blame can be placed.

The powerful can either 'pity' "them", try to change "them" to be more like "us", or remove "them".

When a problem arises, it's tempting and really easy to say "The problem came from them", not "us.

Thus diverting attention from the real cause.

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A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Richard 12
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All the Mac users I know use USB sticks daily.

Most of them use a second USB device at the same time - what it is varies, but nearly all of them do.

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Richard 12
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Re: @Dave 126 Not a universal view

So this one isn't even enough for you.

The nearest comparison is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which has a grand total of one USB 3.0 port and one power port - and everyone I know ends up carrying a USB hub because it's not enough.

Most people use USB sticks to transfer files between computers. It's simple and intuitive.

At the office, everyone connects via the wired ethernet because it's faster - most via a desktop dock.

Surface Pro has a dock, does this?

This new Macbook is clearly intended as an alternate iPad with the same pattern of consumption-only use.

So, it's alienating all the professionals who use Mac for creative purposes - continuing a worrying trend from Apple.

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Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: In the news over the weekend...

Most modern PSUs (chargers etc) are quite capacitive and so have a low power factor in the other direction.

It's all pretty silly anyway, as after I got rid of my electric shower I've not used more than 400kWh in any given month, it's usually closer to 300kWh.

So even in a bad month, my mean (24hour) consumption is under 560W - or 1700W for 8-hour days - which means the error bars are rather significant.

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Apple Watch: HOT WRIST ACTION plus slim $1299 MacBooks - and HBO TV

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Why?

18 months? Useless.

Mine ran for 5 years.

The replacement battery only managed 3, and I was so annoyed that I stopped wearing a watch altogether.

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Richard 12
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Re: Vertical Thinking

You also need two versions to cover about 99% of the population.

No idea what you do for the last 1% or so.

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Top Euro court ends mega ebook VAT slash in France, Luxembourg

Richard 12
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I luff my 3G Kindle.

Even works in deepest darkest Peru :)

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Google's 'encrypted-by-default' Android is NOT encrypting by default

Richard 12
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Re: it's a shame...

I'm certain that it would be technically possible for Google to do, and pretty sure that they employ people who are good at it.

However, I'm also pretty sure that doing so would have simply got them sued, gaining them nothing.

This type of limitation is usually legal, not technical.

(There are several features we've been forced to remove from our products due to stupid patents that should never have been granted. Unfortunately, the court would have been in Texas, so...)

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El Reg regains atomic keyring capability

Richard 12
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Unhappy

You bastards, the purple ones are gone!

Any idea when they might be back in stock?

I have some money here that I want to dispose of in return for a nuclear furnace.

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Firefox 36 swats bugs, adds HTTP2 and gets certifiably serious

Richard 12
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Re: @paulf - Have they stopped

That's because the guy in charge of the UI is an insane control freak who has no understanding of his users at all.

He needs to be fired, he's a bloody idiot.

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Samsung in second SSD slowdown SNAFU

Richard 12
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Re: Can we just lose FLASH already?

Ferro-electric NVRAM is on the shelves already, but the density is still very low and the price high.

I've not seen any FeNVRAM bigger than 256kbit yet. It compares very well with SRAM and battery/supercap backup, but not Flash.

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Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

Richard 12
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Correction

Superfish were the party in question.

Unless they outsourced their entire product, in which case, they are not only evil, but stupid as well.

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Richard 12
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Re: No point moving out

Except that heaven is described as being "brighter than the Sun", so somebody would have taken that to mean "nuke everyone"

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The millionaire former playboy, Hugh Hefner, and a crucial fight over playboy.london

Richard 12
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Re: This is why extra TLDs were stupid

As absolutely everybody predicted, and ICANN chose to ignore because money.

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Apple design don Jony Ive: Build-your-own phone is BOLLOCKS

Richard 12
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Actually, he didn't.

The Model T was originally available in a variety of different colours - none of which were black.

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Richard 12
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Re: Let me get this right:

The point is that you are richer because you can afford the free time it takes to bake that delicious loaf.

You do it because it's fun, not because you have to.

Your free time is part of the bounty of being a specialist.

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Samsung: Our TVs? SPYING on you? HA HA! Whee! Just a JOKE of course

Richard 12
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Re: My main TV

You could just deny it any access to your Internet connection.

That's easier and just as effective.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The Red Dwarf chilli chutney egg sarnie

Richard 12
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Re: Oversold it, major fail!

This married fan would disagree.

My other half isn't a fan but she's foreign so couldn't be expected to understand.

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Richard 12
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Re: nom nom nomenclature problem

The line is "Triple fried-egg butty with chilli sauce and chutney".

The "chilli sauce and chutney" is repeated, they're definitely two separate ingredients.

Can't find the script online unfortunately.

I do wonder what was in the actual prop.

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NASA: Check out this TWIRLY SPACE DWARF – and NEVER moan about our budget

Richard 12
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Re: A bit interesting

Don't tell the Elf.

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Assange's cop chaperones have cost £10 MEEELLION to date

Richard 12
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Re: Has it cost anything at all?

The reason for quoting this cost is that the officers can't do anything else while waiting for Assange to come out.

The coppers and equipment would have been employed and the money spent either way, but it could have been used in other, more useful ways.

- walking the beat, responding to calls etc.

Instead the officers are standing around watching a door, hoping he'll come out and they can arrest him, pass him on to the Swedes or the courts and get back to doing something else.

There's no choice though. As a country we simply cannot allow anyone to abscond bail.

The difference here is that he convinced another sovereign state to let him sleep on their couch.

They probably wouldn't do that for me, but apparently he's quite persuasive.

Eventually they'll decide he can't stay anymore and that will be that. He'll be taken to Sweden, face the police there, perhaps be tried, be convicted or cleared and when that's over, he'll be deported back to the UK to serve his sentence for absconding.

At that point it would be trivial for another interested country to request the dubious pleasure of his company.

If his claims of US involvement are true, then absconding was the stupidest thing he could have done, other than flying to the USA and knocking on the door of the Pentagon.

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Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

Richard 12
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Re: "There is nothing to touch Visual Studio"

Qt Creator is also considerably better than Visual Studio.

Infinitely better if you want to go cross-platform, whether Qt or pure C++. (Kits are awesome)

The MS C++ compiler is great for Windows, but only Windows.

Pretty much every developer knows that Windows is the wrong OS for IoT - too expensive in terms of hardware, development tools and per-unit licence costs.

Presumably this is MS' attempt to change that, but unless they become free they will fail.

IoT is low margin, high volume. That's the point!

I can do embedded Linux and RTX development for the cost of the hardware alone, and while I'm happy to pay extra for developer support, the key feature is that the resulting product has a zero cost licence.

For a device that has a total hardware cost of under $30, a $50 licence is laughable, and even $5 is unrealistic.

Enclosure or Windows? I pick enclosure.

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Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

Richard 12
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Re: looking for apps

Textual searching is fundamentally broken because it requires the user to know the name and spelling of the application.

Both of which may be unexpected and may change between versions.

Furthermore, if you have two items with similar names you cannot tell the difference in a flat list of search results.

This is why the Win7 Start Menu had that highlight of newly-installed programs, and why a hierarchical menu is necessary.

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YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

Richard 12
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Re: "In no way am I suggesting that INgrooves is an evil bunch of bastards"

Or what they have done is of questionable legality, as asserting a copyright claim when it is obviously false may be a breach of the DMCA.

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