* Posts by Richard 12

1598 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

Richard 12
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Re: The follow-up.

There are a lot of other human activities that have a vastly greater effect than any amount of CO2 emissions.

Deforestation, desertification, building on flood plains, draining swamps, paving over soakaways etc.

Some of these are being actively encouraged by the climate change policies - eg palm oil plantations created for biofuels are likely to destroy entire rainforests in the coming decades. Goodbye orangutans, you were sacrificed to the altar of climate change policy.

Desertification or flooding tends to follow the above.

None of this is climate change but all of it has a much greater effect on the ecosystems and indeed humans.

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Who loves office space? Dell does: Virtualization to banish workstations from under desks

Richard 12
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Oddly content free

A server with the requisite power is easy, but nothing on the hard part:

How does that remotely-rendered stuff get displayed locally quick enough not to wipe out all productivity?

There is nothing more irritating than a machine that's a little bit behind on you, causing you to overshoot the adjustments all the time.

There's only about a 40ms latency window to do the entire round trip before it feels "slow", and while getting a ping that low isn't too hard, this needs an entire 1080p or higher (4k?) resolution screenful of rendered content to be delivered to lots of workers in various locations at the same time.

RDP doesn't really cope with that in my experience - at least, not on commodity networks.

It's perfectly fine for "do this series of commands" but horrible for "up a bit, down a bit, no, looks like too far nudge it back" types of adjustments that all visual (and presumably audio) creatives do all the time.

If they do not solve the latency problem, it simply will not be used.

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China to blow away smog with DRONES

Richard 12
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Not really worse as such

China's just on a much bigger scale.

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Pine trees' scent 'could prevent climate change really being a problem'

Richard 12
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Re: Limit climate change?

Nobody is using the fossil record to predict what animals will look like in the future, and thus whether individuals should be allowed to breed.

That's one difference.

Aside from that, fossils are used to model what the world looked like millions of years ago, and when new fossils are found, the models have been updated.

There are hundreds of examples of radical changes in fossil reconstructions based on new evidence.

For example, Velociraptors are now believed to have looked completely different to how they were portrayed in Jurassic Park!

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US Senator lobbies feds to BAN BITCOIN

Richard 12
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Isn't that factually incorrect as well?

I thought it often took an hour or more to finalise transactions as the block chain updates around the world, so much slower than cash or even BACS.

I also thought the block chain of a given coin can be analysed to discover the history of every wallet it's ever been in.

Is that right?

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What the world really needs: A telescopic SELFIE STICK

Richard 12
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Re: Gut feeling? Not selfies[1], rather peeping.

Surely as a photographer you should love the term?

It makes it very clear that the image was simply taken on the spur of the moment for a laugh, and quite possibly while doing something they'll later regret.

The very antithesis of a paid-for photograph.

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Schneier: NSA snooping tactics will be copied by criminals in 3 to 5 years

Richard 12
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Paper cheques?

Your signature is not a private key in any sense if the phrase.

It's pretty much as public as it gets!

You publish it to everyone that cares to look for it by the act of writing it on the cheque.

Written signatures are also known to be relatively simple to fake to a high enough standard to fool a bank, and if given enough time, to fool even the most detailed scrutiny.

A certified signature is needed for some deals - A solicitor trusted by both parties takes a record of the document and can later be asked to confirm whether the document is unchanged and the right person signed it.

That one is similar to "signed executables" or signed drivers, except different because those are only saying "Hasn't changed since signing" as the trusted external party has never seen the document.

You have to fully trust the signer to be nice - and to look after their private keys.

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MtGox boss vows to keep going despite $429 MILLION Bitcoin 'theft'

Richard 12
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As Salmond himself said,

GBP is an internationally recognised currency and anybody can use it for their transactions.

An independent Scotland is welcome to use it if they want to.

If he thinks he can have any control over it then he's sadly mistaken, because that's simply not going to happen.

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MIT wants quasars to help put free will to rest

Richard 12
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Only if it's quantum

I think the idea here is to completely disprove classical mechanics, so if the only way it can work is because of quantum at either end, then it still works.

It's probably quantum.

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Apple Safari, Mail and more hit by SSL spying bug on OS X, fix 'soon'

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Test-Driven Development

Yes, the code style is rather odd.

I "assume failure" at the start of this kind of thing and only set 'success' if all steps succeed. There's lot of ways to arrange that depending one how much detail you'd like of the failure, and no reason to ever directly return the result of any one step.

I'd always assumed everybody else did the same. Perhaps I'm just pessimistic.

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You’re a LIAR and a CHEAT... la-la-la, I can't hear your lawyers

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Good article

I'm not a lawyer, but an app whose apparent purpose to "an idiot in a hurry" may to be incitement and facilitation of the publication of possibly libellous comment might well be risky from a legal standpoint.

The "red" honesty bar in the screenshot is particularly interesting. *innocent face*

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Magnets to stick stuff to tablets: Yup, there's an Apple patent application for that

Richard 12
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We have shipping product that does this

It's been advertised for a few years, and I'm sure we weren't the first.

Where do we send the evidence of prior art?

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Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

Richard 12
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Re: information useful to Al Qaeda

If I put a towel over my head will they cease to exist ?

Or would that make me one of them?

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Richard 12
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Re: More proof, if you needed it...

Terrorism - the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Interesting, by that definition state-sponsored terrorism cannot possibly exist, because sponsorship is clear authorisation, and thus such acts could only be war or violent government repression, such as in Syria and the Ukraine.

Where is that particular definition from?

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Tata says USA rejecting HALF of Indians' work visa requests

Richard 12
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Well, that'll backfire spectacularly

"We can't get visas so had to hire locally"

"Good, that's the point!"

If they wanted to stop that legislation, why announce that it's working as intended?

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Who OWNS data generated by 'connected cars' sensor slurpers?

Richard 12
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It is impossible to anonymise location data

If you get a small number of my journeys, you will know exactly where I live and work.

How personally-identifiable is that?

Historical location data is simply impossible to properly anonymise because of what it is! It's simply not a thing.

Current location can be anonymised, but only by disconnecting it from all other location data, including the next GPS fix.

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'No representation without taxation!' urges venerable tech VC

Richard 12
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Re: New Barbarian Manifesto

Those are the two sides of the same coin.

The people who rely on benefits vote themselves more benefits, while the corporations lobby for more benefits (so they can pay the staff less) and tax breaks.

And the idiots in charge give it to them both.

It works beautifully until suddenly, it doesn't and everybody is screwed.

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US Senate bill would mandate 'kill switch' on all smartphones

Richard 12
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Re: $30 billion eh?

Include all possible side effects and incidental costs and you can get a really big number really easily.

For example, the entire mobile phone insurance industry, the police time, the victims time spent pudding* about in the police station and replacing the phone...

* Autocorrect, but it seemed appropriate!

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PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

Richard 12
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Re: Some companies can't move

There are quite a few applications that don't run under 8, as several compatibility layers are gone.

There are far more that do not officially support 8, although they might actually run. Businesses can't take the risk that they will find an issue and be told "Sorry, but we don't support that application under Windows 8"

Finally, the completely new interface means retraining every single one of your users, having all of them take a productivity hit while they learn it, and your internal Helpdesk being overwhelmed by calls/external Helpdesk charging you a lot more for increased call volume.

So Windows 8 carried a large risk and high cost, yet with little to no benefit.

As a standalone or home user you could very well like or even love it, but that doesn't make it a sane choice for business.

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Microsoft gets with the times, builds two-factor authentication into Office 365

Richard 12
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Re: He's got a point though

Yes, I have.

I was comparing Office 365 with stand-alone installs, and said "almost" all.

Libre Office doesn't have feature parity with the latest version of MS Office, but it does do everything that the vast majority of users need.

Perhaps it is ten years behind, but what exactly have MS added in the last ten years that is important to more than a handful of users?

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Richard 12
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He's got a point though

Almost everything MS Office 365 does, a standalone install of an older MS Office or Open/Libre Office does just as well, if not much better.

There's no need for any hosting at all for the vast majority of things these products are used for, namely writing documents.

The two things you get with Office 365 that don't come with the others are automated offsite backup and automated collaboration.

The former is needed by everyone but has a myriad of other providers and is relatively simple to set up yourself. It also requires that you trust the provider 100% because they have all your data.

There are very few people who need the latter, and fewer still who actually use it.

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Rotten to the core: Apple’s 10 greatest FAILS

Richard 12
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Re: IOS 7 issues +1

This one drives me completely potty.

I had a longer reply but Safari refreshed and lost it.

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Minecraft developer kills Kickstarted Minecraft movie

Richard 12
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Re: Why?

In summary, Windows 8 x86 runs the Windows version just fine, and Windows 8 RT has a minuscule installed base, apparently no Java (really!?) and thus would be incredibly expensive to do and lead to very few sales.

That all adds up to a strong economic argument not to do it.

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Richard 12
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Rule zero of movies - Get the rights *first*

Then decide if you actually want to make the film, or would prefer to sit on the rights for an indefinite time period. (This happens a lot)

The prospective film maker was an idiot. You do not try to use any well-known* IP without getting the rights!

This was even true back in the days of silent cinema - look at what happened to "Nosferatu" because they did a Dracula clone without permission from Bram Stoker's estate.

* If it's not well-known and you are a big Hollywood studio, you can often get away with it and pay a pittance after you get sued.

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Richard 12
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Why?

If I write a game, why do I have to port it to any specific platform at all?

I could say Linux kernel only, or XBox only etc, and nobody at all can force me to change my mind.

One of the above has been done several times.

Will Microsoft port Halo to Linux? I doubt it, and they don't have to - it's entirely up to them.

- Also, if Microsoft really did have a port ready to go, it would imply they had done something they are not permitted to do... MS legal isn't stupid!

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Bitcoin value plunges as Mt.Gox halts withdrawals and Russia says 'nyet'

Richard 12
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Re: @Richard12

No, I just thought the similarities were interesting.

Now I want to correct somebody who seems to think that money now on a variant of the "gold standard", when it isn't.

Net (after all money-in-bank) UK national debt is over £1,254,000,000,000

Does the UK government really have that much in physical assets? It doesn't matter because we can keep servicing the debt and inflation means the real cost of the debt goes down over time.

Banks don't have the assets to repay all their liabilities - they bet the company on no more than a small number of loans going bad. In 2008/9 a few of them lost that bet.

Foreclosing loses money, that's why they try to avoid it if possible. I pay my mortgage because I don't care if the bank loses money, I don't want to lose my house!

- On a small scale, inflation means my mortgage payments get more affordable as time goes by.

Government are afraid of too much inflation as that can kill the currency, and of deflation as that kills their borrowing. They need it to be just right.

The difference between Bitcoin and GBP is that there are hundreds of millions of people who are confident that GBP will still be valuable in 25 years time.

Very few people are confident that Bitcoin will exist at all by then, expecting it to have been replaced by something else.

Who is right remains to be seen.

Real currencies have gone down the toilet more than once, with hyper-inflation wiping out everything (Germany, Peru etc). A new currency was then created - the government and country still existed, but the old currency became worthless.

Even GBP nearly did it in the 70s.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Bit confused here

This means that the currency has no support from an asset base which traditional currencies do, cause for concern?

The 'mainstream' currencies like USD, EUR, GBP etc don't have such an asset base either, and neither do any of the banks you store your cash in.

All governments that have their own currency continually print more in part to fund their borrowing - as inflation is the most effective way to reduce the debt burden of a country. (That's why several of the Eurozone countries got into so much trouble - they couldn't inflate their way out of the debt mountains.)

There's a reason why 'traditional' banks fear a "Run on the bank", and that's because none of them actually have the assets (let alone liquid assets) required to pay out more than a tiny percentage of the savings in them. Banks borrow for short periods and lend for long periods, that's what a bank is. Your salary is what they borrow, and things like government bonds and mortgages are what they lend.

All modern currencies work by fiat - they work because they work.

The reason any currency pulls off that trick is because the general population have confidence that they will still be able to exchange the bits of metal, paper, plastic or numbers stored on a computer somewhere they've never seen for tangible goods for a reasonably long time in the future.

(The people providing services need confidence they can buy tangible goods, like food, with the currency you're offering for that service. If they can't, they won't accept it.)

It's the idea that the cash will still be valuable next week, next month, next year etc that sustains a currency.

The moment the holders of a significant amount of a currency lose confidence in the future, they'll exchange it for something else, the value slumps (so inflation skyrockets) and boom! The currency dies.

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Fridge vendor pegged as likely source of Target breach

Richard 12
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Terminator

Clearly, Smart Fridges are a bad idea!

It'll be a cold day in Hell (Grand Cayman) before I let my fridge see the internet!

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Cupertino copied processor pipelining claims Wisconsin U

Richard 12
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Maybe.

Depends on the specifics.

What type of branch prediction, how does it work etc.

Lots of ways to skin that particular cat - for example, most (GP)GPUs simply execute both branches and throw away the "wrong" answer.

It does seem odd to be going after Apple though, as I'm pretty sure they didn't design the microprocessor in the A7.

Unless they mean some custom bolt-on module, like a GPU or whatever.

Given the vagueness it does seem rather likely they are simply trolling, in the original sense.

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Duracell powers into cloud storage market

Richard 12
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How much for 2TB?

For that you can buy complete replacement local hardware (two HDD and the enclosure) every two to three months!

Even Seagate's aren't that bad!

That pricing is just crazy, nobody would pay that for a domestic/small business scale storage system, even with automatic offsite backup.

At $199 up-front with a small monthly covering the offsite backup and replacement local disks past the 3year warranty period (basically life insurance for HDDs) they might have a business, otherwise, nope.

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Devs: We'll bury Candy Crush King under HEAPS of candy apps

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: More than just a name?

Well, it should be. It's also generally not allowed to trademark a dictionary word, which makes this one rather odd.

Especially as the word "Candy" has been used in many thousands of other computer games, so they don't even have the Apple Computer/Apple Music distinction (which got very lawsuit-happy later on...)

Trademark law is an odd one though, because you lose it if you don't defend it - unlike copyright or patents.

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Hello Moto: Lenovo grabs Motorola biz for $3bn. But Google's KEEPING the patents

Richard 12
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Defend who against whom?

If it's to defend its customers against the other members of the consortium, then it wouldn't have worked. The other members wouldn't have agreed to a blanket licence to anyone implementing Android.

Remember that they never sued Google directly, only it's customers.

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UK internet filtering shouldn't rely on knee tappers, says Tory MP

Richard 12
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Re: I used to not be family friendly like you,

Up voted for sheer balls!

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Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

Richard 12
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Re: If memory serves...

Whaddya mean, "used to"?

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What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

Richard 12
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Re: Reason?

On the other hand, you wouldn't buy a car if you could only get service and parts from a single supplier.

That's the real consumer difference which open source and more generally, open standards give you and walled gardens are intended to prevent you from having.

iOS and WP force you to get everything from MOT and exhausts to radios and satnav via them. There's no other markets where that's the case.

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A BBC-by-subscription 'would be richer', MPs told

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Quality

The UK's commercial broadcasters generally don't go for quality in order to get revenue. They make most of their revenue from advertising, and the remainder from their subscribers and the TV licence.

High-quality TV is extremely expensive to make - that's why it's so rare.

If the BBC turned fully commercial then they would obviously reduce their quality because that makes them more profit - and the existing commercial channels would be able to reduce their quality further as they'd be compared to a worse quality of programming.

The BBC keeps the commercial broadcasters honest - and not just UK ones, because every broadcaster around the world is compared to the BBC.

On top of that, the commercial broadcasters would get less revenue because most of them get a small cut of the licence fee!

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Richard 12
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Re: Richer?

You missed the part of the licence fee that doesn't go to the BBC, as some of it goes to other broadcasters, and also the fact that the BBC gets about 30-40% of its income from elsewhere.

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Nokia waves goodbye to device biz as phone sales continue to spiral

Richard 12
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Re: Sitting On Their Hands

Would not have happened though.

The way they were set up encouraged silos, and actively discouraged the distribution and reuse of good ideas internally, due to the us-v-them internal culture.

So common hardware wouldn't have happened without a shakeup and major change to internal management culture.

I will never understand why the board let Elop shoot them all in the head, rather than picking the "best" from each unit and merging them.

I'm just really glad Qt-on-mobile survived it, as it wasn't ready when it was sold off and Digia had no interest in mobile at the time.

I do find it funny that Qt can now develop for every mobile platform except the one Nokia sells.

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4K-ing hell! Will your shiny new Ultra HD TV actually display HD telly?

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Wow... just wow

No, the money-grabbing horse excrement is the ludicrously expensive cables.

My personal favourite are the 'special' mains cables going for multiple thousands of pounds that apparently make the power going into your amp 'cleaner' in some way.

4K displays are at least a real thing with a genuine result, even if there's no actual source material available yet.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Are you serious?

Phasing is always retained in a 2 (or more) channel system. Seriously, claiming it isn't is audiophoolishness of the highest order.

However, compression will introduce some artefacts and by its nature, lossy compression discards some data. That's nothing to do with it being digital or not - vinyl is a form of audio compression that introduces its own artefacts and discards some data.

Ask yourself one question - How was the audio master recording made?

Everything commercially recorded in the last decade was recorded digitally, using a digital mixing console.

Live sound in practically all but the smallest events uses a digital snake - that's a digital signal path from the microphone preamp to the line-level output to the amplifiers, and in many cases the amplifiers take that digital signal directly.

Those of us who work in the live events industry find comments like the above quite laughable.

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Richard 12
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Re: But first

It might. In most cases large areas of the screen don't change much (if at all) from frame to frame, they simply shift in one direction or another.

So you can do a lot of frames with very little data, and by choosing the key frames very carefully you get quite astounding compression.

You can't do the latter very well on a live stream though, as you can't predict when the director is going to cut away.

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Top patent troll sues US regulators for interfering with its business

Richard 12
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Re: We got one of their demand letters...

No it doesn't.

Because the owner is not liable. Only the manufacturer or importer could be liable for patent infringement.

So unless you bought it direct from Ghangzou province or whatever, it's not you.

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Richard 12
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Not in this case

If I understand correctly, this company is in the business of sending out letters that say "Send us money or we will sue you".

They haven't filed a case at that point and probably don't intend to.

Outright extortion really.

If they have actually filed the cases then they'd be risking actually having to defend it in court, not to mention frivolous lawsuit rulings as it would only take one company director to have a lawyer friend take it on "pro bono".

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Richard 12
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Re: Free Speech?

The reply is simple:

See Arkell v. Pressdram (1971).

Perhaps better, ignore it entirely.

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Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

Richard 12
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USA should love metric

Their pints are tiny, switching to half litres would give them more beer!

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Top Microsoft bod: ARM servers right now smell like Intel's (doomed) Itanic

Richard 12
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Re: Power Consumption

Definitely! The clock speed escalator basically stopped five years ago or more ~3GHz is it.

Over the last few years the only way to make your software go faster has been to utilise more cores (be they CPU or GPU, in one or many boxes). If you can't then your software is basically never going to go faster no matter what hardware is thrown at it.

The only notable difference between my 4-year old Intel desktop and the latest desktop CPU from Intel is that the new one has 2/3 of the power consumption and double the number of virtual cores. The per-core performance is completely unchanged.

This is the time of the multiprocessor.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

I can buy such an ARM chip right now.

Actually, I can buy low to mid-range 32bit ARM servers off-the-shelf right now. Top-end are custom of course.

In fact, I just did and it's in my hands right now. Unfortunately the hard disks didn't arrive on the same shipment so I can't start it up until tomorrow.

That said, 64bit ARM is relatively new and there aren't many 64bit ARM SoCs yet.

For IO bound tasks many of the options are already ARM, and a lot of them go faster and use less power than the equivalent x86 - by going massively-parallel on a scale that is uneconomic in x86.

You can buy and run a 1024-core ARM server much cheaper than an 1024-core x86 cluster.

Which made me think - as Microsoft seem to like charging per-core, they've effectively ruled themselves out of the market before it even existed...

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Is your IT department too tough on users?

Richard 12
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Erm, not really.

If the legacy Windows application is 32bit and runs under 32bit Windows 7 then it will also run under 64bit Windows 7 unless:

A) The developer is particularly stupid and packages 64bit DLLs.

(And yes, that happens. Often.)

B) It talks directly to external hardware.

16bit Windows and DOS applications on the other hand - nope, ain't going to happen.

And yes, there are a lot of those in many businesses and most users aren't going to understand spinning up a VM.

Most of the above programs won't run at all under Windows 8.1 of course, usually because they were breaking the "rules" in Windows XP. For some unknown reason, MS chose not to put Win7's carefully built compatibility layers into Win 8. Odd.

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Haters of lurid supershow CES: The consumer tech market is still SHRINKING

Richard 12
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Re: What I want...

No, what he wants is what I want:

The best damn display they can make, lots of inputs with good A/V routing and integration with external devices - and nothing else.

It won't be cheap because a good display isn't cheap, and there are lots of things to differentiate - just look at computer monitors - eg colour gamut.

I don't want them to waste time, effort, components and my electricity on features that I'll never use and which are out of date before the TV even ships, because there are loads of STBs that already do it better.

On top of that, even the consumers who do use the "smarts" etc to start with will have replaced those with external units a long time before they replace the actual display.

Perhaps the worst offenders are the "top end" stuff - a top end customer has multiple top-end external A/V sources and a top-end sound system already and will be replacing them on a rolling basis.

So a top-end display that includes "smart", tuners and speakers is utterly pointless as none of the customers will ever use any of them!

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Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

Richard 12
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Boffin

@roger stillick - Work at height is dangerous work.

UK HSE:

Falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality. In 2008/09 there were 35 fatalities, 4654 major injuries and a further 7065 injuries that caused the injured person to be off work for over 3 days or more, due to a fall from height.

That's the first thing you're told in work-at-height and harness training.

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