* Posts by Richard 12

2156 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Star Wars: Episode VIII delayed by six months

Richard 12
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Budget increase and toys is my bet

After seeing how much Ep 7 made, the mouse reckons they can spend more on the next one.

Not to mention the tie-in toys.

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Microsoft legal eagle explains why the Irish Warrant Fight covers your back

Richard 12
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So Russia can demand Amazon Russia hand over the CIA

Same thing, right?

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Thousands fled TalkTalk after gigantic hack, confirm researchers

Richard 12
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The statistics are fairly good for this

A 15k survey is a pretty good sample size.

If they have a similar error to the polls before the last election (considered "shockingly inaccurate") then Talk Talk saw a drop of between 5% and 10% of their customer base.

Given how tight their margins must be, that's pretty disastrous. If that scale of loss recurs then Dido will have to strap on her parachute quickly, before there isn't a company to leave.

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Does anyone know what their broadband costs? The ASA hopes to change that

Richard 12
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Somebody couldn't believe it wasn't butter.

They know better now.

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Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Richard 12
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It doesn't matter what the EULA says

The law is more important, and the law says that any clause that a consumer who has no easy ability to change EULA clauses would not expect, is invalid an unenforceable.

To pick a daft example:

If the EULA said that you owe Microsoft the blood of your first-born child, would that be valid?

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Dialog box shut: Now Microchip is set to gobble up Atmel

Richard 12
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Re: Missing the point of Arduinos

Except that PICs really aren't that cheap.

The silicon costs about the same as a bottom-end ARM, and once you add the compiler (you're not writing anything of real note in pure asm), PIC ends up quite pricey.

Not to mention that quite a few of the PIC application notes are outright wrong.

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Forget the drones, Amazon preps its own cargo container ship operation out of China

Richard 12
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Re: Shipping sans sailors

The crew are primarily there to maintain the ship.

Maintenance, servicing and even heavy repairs are done while under way.

Being out of action is very expensive, and drydock costs can quickly bankrupt an operator - assuming the ship even fits in a drydock at all.

When an engine breaks down the ship slows, the crew fixes it, and they simply arrive at port a few hours late.

Similar for hull repairs.

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Swivel on this: German boffins build nanoscale screwing engine for sluggish sperm

Richard 12
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Not seeing the use in this context

The usual way of doing IVF is to grab the sperm, rip off the tail and poke it at the egg cell.

Is grabbing a sperm, sticking a motor on it and driving it around less likely to damage it?

Or is this simply a pretty fun way to test something that'll be used elsewhere for other purposes?

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BTC dev: 'Strangling' the blockchain will kill Bitcoin

Richard 12
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It's a pyramid scheme by design

That's one of the biggest issues with it. The other being that it's highly deflationary - and both issues are caused by the same design decision.

As I understand it, Bitcoin 'mining' performs the "payment processing" function, where the proof-of-work confirms that some transactions occurred. They get paid by new Bitcoins that spontaneously come into existence.

However, as time passes, more work is needed to produce each new Bitcoin.

Eventually this curve of ever-reducing results means that it costs more hardware and electricity to to mine a Bitcoin than the Bitcoin is worth. This means that all miners must leave the game - either as they see their costs exceed reward, or later when they have lost enough (or everything).

As the miners are the payment processors, the endgame of Bitcoin is that no payment processing occurs and no Bitcoin transfers can take place. At that point Bitcoin is worth nothing at all.

The steady-state of Bitcoin is therefore zero value.

Of course, anyone who gets in at the beginning and leaves at the right moment can get a very large return.

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TalkTalk outage: Dial M for Major cockup

Richard 12
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Re: TalkTalk outage...

Or they're locked into a two year contract and have to wait for a sufficiently terrible failure before they can escape.

This one should qualify. No emergency telephony is rather serious!

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UK Home Sec stumbles while trying to justify blanket cyber-snooping

Richard 12
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Re: Two camps, no meeting of minds

Or you're Pro-Actual-Safety, in which case you would know for certain that bulk collection is worse than useless for protecting the populace.

To use an old analogy, piling on more hay doesn't help find needles.

This kind of bulk collection serves two purposes only.

1) It makes it easy to frame someone you wish to make trouble for. It may not be enough to hang them, but ruining their life and career is quite simple.

2) You can put together a dossier on someone after they have committed atrocities.

It simply does nothing whatsoever to prevent an atrocity - and seems likely to increase the probability of same due to the manpower issue.

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Richard 12
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All Home Secretaries do this though

At least, all the ones I can remember were insane control freaks who desired to take every bit of privacy and liberty from everyone they could.

Does becoming Home Secretary cause this attitude, or is it only such people who desire the post?

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BBC risks wrath of android rights activists with Robot Wars reboot

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Wow

It was Channel 5 that it moved to.

Ah, I remember my entrants into Robot Wars Extreme. They lost most awesomely.

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Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox

Richard 12
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I'm told that bald men have tiny hairs too

This rather strikes me as clutching at straws - in both cases.

Perhaps future work will flesh out the theory though.

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TV streaming stick brings the movies and the network backdoors

Richard 12
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Re: So?

The reset button requires physical access.

If the attacker has physical access then it's already Game Over - at least for normal levels of security.

This type of attack seems to only require the attacker to be in wifi range.

So the van parked outside, your neighbours, or someone a bit further away with a good directional antenna can look at everything on your network.

That could then be used as a springboard for another more serious attack.

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Going on a date, and it's just the two of you? How ... quaint. OkCupid's setting up threesomes

Richard 12
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Re: "sapiosexual."

In case it's a genuine question (from anyone if not the OP)

It means that they find gender and (at least in theory) species irrelevant. A sapiosexual wants you for your mind, regardless of your physical or actual gender or species.

Human sexuality is weird.

I wonder if that's true of other sapient life - not that I'll ever find out. If we do meet gorgeous blue-skinned aliens, will any of them be interested in any of us?

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How hard can it be to kick terrorists off the web? Tech bosses, US govt bods thrash it out

Richard 12
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Re: Confused thinking

Then you'll know that GeoIP is basically tosh.

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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

Richard 12
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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

Netflix have both far more users and far more - and unique - data to send.

If we did assume a need to distribute spot price to all meters in the country, there is such a thing as "multicasting", where you send the same packet to all subscribers.

Cellular networks also have a lot of low-level stuff that goes out to every single mobile telephony device, which could be used instead of IP-over-GPRS or similar.

However, I have yet to see any argument that instantaneous spot price is either necessary or desirable at the meter, as opposed to simple banding and shedding command signals.

Those are commonly done with low-frequency signalling on the actual mains supply. (See France)

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Richard 12
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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

They use cellular data.

So they don't work in many existing buildings.

The smart meter at work doesn't work at all, which is interesting. All the LCD segments are solidly lit, we have no idea how much we've used until the bill comes.

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Confirmed: How to stop Windows 10 forcing itself onto PCs – your essential guide

Richard 12
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Re: Corporate vs SOHO users?

If any medium-sized or larger business has just one important application that doesn't run perfectly under an upgrade-path Windows 10, and is upgraded without explicit request of the business, that business will immediately sue Microsoft.

How much they win is irrelevant, the publicity would severely damage Microsoft's reputation in the business world.

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Richard 12
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Re: @ Doug -- Paying for Windows 10 after July

In that case Charles, it's XP Embedded and has no physical or radio connection to any public network whatsoever.

And is therefore safe and never was going to get any OS updates anyway.

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Cocky SpaceX will try another sea landing with next rocket launch

Richard 12
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Re: Of course they're testing it again

Man rating is such that they could easily go for "Manned launches are first-time only"

Or perhaps second.

There's a lot more unmanned needed that can use the third to 30th launch, so it's fine to do that.

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Richard 12
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Re: Test to destruction

Just Read The Instructions has survived two failed landings.

One where it hit pretty hard and boom, the second where it hit hard enough to bend a leg, fell over and boom.

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Three-years-late fit-to-work IT tool will cost taxpayers £76m

Richard 12
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That was the problem. No re-assessment date.

You repeated the original mistake. It used to be a once-only declaration from the GP, with no re-assessment ever required.

The problem the assessments were intended to solve is very simple:

A lot of claimants no longer had a valid claim, for two major reasons;

a) Their condition had improved.

b) They had died or left the country, someone else was getting the money.

Thus, everyone who was claiming had to be re-assessed.

So far, everything makes sense.

Every claimant should be re-assessed at intervals - their condition may change and thus need more or less help.

Because nobody had been re-assessed for a decade or more, everybody had to be checked at once.

That was fuck up #1

Then the DWP decided to outsource the thing to a random supplier, instead of to GPs. (Not sure why but I suspect BMA complaints)

That was fuck up #2

Then the supplier fucked it up completely.

The idea was good. The implementation was a complete and total fuck up from top to bottom.

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Intel, Warner lock horns with hardware biz over HDCP crypto-busters

Richard 12
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Re: Hello Ms Streisand!

Indeed, these devices are for industrial use.

In my experience, HDCP has only resulted in the embarrassment of several CEOs and marketing departments, as it prevented them from playing their own videos at conferences.

HDMI splitters and HDCP strippers are for repeater displays and "comfort" monitors at conferences and the like.

Usually to convert the HDCP "protected" output of a video playback device into HD-SDI for distribution around the venue.

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MPs slam mandarins over failed GP IT system

Richard 12
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So call them on it

Your product claims to read the data format of %other%, please now demonstrate.

If it won't do so usefully, then give them some time to fix it and eventually can take them to court over it (failure to meet published spec).

If it gets most of the way there, then you can pay them to do the last bit.

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Got a pricey gaming desktop from PC World for Xmas? Check the graphics specs

Richard 12
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Re: Probably never be an issue...

An overloaded SMP PSU sags, produces pulsed DC and huge amounts of electromagnetic emissions.

That doesn't affect resistive loads like heaters, but is extremely bad for electronics.

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After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Richard 12
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Re: "Si non confectus, non reficiat"

Trident is very different to Death Stars - the intention is never to use Trident, it exists to ensure that nobody else ever uses their Trident-equivalent.

The Empire always intended to use their Death Stars, as the Rebels didn't have any of their own that they could blow up important Empire planets with.

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What did we learn today? Microsoft has patented the slider bar

Richard 12
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It's a "Registered Design"

However, I don't see how they can possibly have a case when their own documentation specifically recommends using the same style as MS Office.

Direct quote from Microsoft's User Interface Principles document:

For example, if your application supports, application or an add-on for, Office OneNote 2003, it is wise to follow the styles of UI and interactivity standards of Office—and OneNote itself, in particular. This includes using the Office-style command bars instead of the standard toolbars, and other such things— both visual and behavioral.

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Microsoft halts downloads of new PowerShell power-up

Richard 12
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Re: Leave it up to MS...

It seems that MS have never really understood localisation, it's always been a last-moment bolt-on that gets broken in odd ways.

I've yet to see any usable localisation tools from them at all, which is probably one reason.

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Microsoft in 2015: Mobile disasters, Windows 10 and heads in the clouds

Richard 12
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Re: On Windows 7 in 2015 ....

"Files are locked..."

No, files are locked if the application requests a lock when opening them.

Or the application doesn't ask for a lock and doesn't get one.

That is sensible and extremely useful.

It is generally bad to delete a file from under the user, so many editors (Word etc) do ask for the lock.

And many don't. The decent text and code editors don't, instead opting to be notified if the file is changed or deleted out from under it.

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Bookstore sells some data centre capacity, becomes Microsoft, Oracle's nemesis

Richard 12
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Re: Trevor, surely Office sells Windows, not the other way round?

But even Microsoft can't write two versions of MS Office that round-trip.

Or even one version in some cases.

The inertia is nothing to do with feature parity or UI similarities - after all, MS Office' radical UI overhaul took three versions to reach all the applications in the suite.

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Software bug sets free thousands of US prisoners too early

Richard 12
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Re: surely its normal to check these things

Computer says you go home now. Bye!

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Richard 12
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Use all the numbers!

Min, mean, median, mode, max...

Heck, just publish the complete list. It'd make several pretty graphs.

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Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Richard 12
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Re: A bit negative...

SRBs are basically a metal tube.

There's very little in them that's breakable - other than gaskets that were expected to be replaced every time.

Liquid engines are really expensive with loads of fiddly bits to go wrong.

They are aiming to get 30 launches out of each engine. If they get a 10th of that, it's a gamechanger.

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Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Richard 12
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Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

Deleted or changed? Almost certainly not.

Read by anyone determined enough to try? Quite probably, given the general lackadaisical approach to online data security.

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An on-demand video subscription isn't just for Christmas... Oh. It is

Richard 12
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Over The Top

It's supposed to indicate that it's supplementary to normal Over The Air (OTA) broadcast.

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'Powerful blast' at Glasgow City Council data centre prompts IT meltdown

Richard 12
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Re: Gas fire suppression is bad for hard disks...

One alternative I've seen elsewhere is a set of individual fire-extinguisher "tubes".

You put one inside every piece of kit the could start a fire.

If it starts heating too much the tube melts at the hottest spot and poof! the fire is doused.

There's a sensor at the end of each tube to detect a discharge.

It probably damages the kit it's inside - but that was on fire anyway.

Quiet, simple and relatively cheap.

Couple with a zoned sprinkler system over the AC and I suspect you'd never lose more than the box that went on fire.

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Strict new EU data protection rules formally adopted by MEPs

Richard 12
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Re: Right to be forgotton

Ah, but what about the private companies who have acquired this info?

Does this now mean all those "private parking scare-letter" companies can be torn asunder and their corpses hung from pikes?

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13,000 Comcast customers complain to FCC over data caps

Richard 12
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Re: toejam13 Router fault?

So Comcast are using data that they know to be incomplete and likely incorrect, and refusing to properly check it until the press get involved?

Sounds like fraud to me.

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CES tech show adds new security checks after fears of violence

Richard 12
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Re: Won't do dick.

I disagree.

It makes an incident more likely, as it's much easier to attack a stationary, slow-moving queue outside a venue than to actually go to the trouble of getting a ticket and going in.

Plus a getaway car becomes both possible and a weapon.

It's effectively worse than useless.

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EE Power Bar recall: Telco will waive £5 fee for laggards

Richard 12
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Re: 2nd hand battery?

That was apparently the idea.

You were supposed to walk into an EE store with an "empty" one and they'd swap it for a "full" one.

Probably sounded great to scientifically illiterate management.

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North Wales Police outsourcing deal results in massive overspend

Richard 12
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Re: Call me stupid...

Including the "If not realised, we take your liver" clause?

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Richard 12
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Re: Let's think about this...

There are cases where outsourcing makes sense.

1) It's a very common, generic function that almost everyone needs. Eg payroll processing, banking, component manufacture.

2) It's a one-off, high-skill design job or buyout component.

Note how neither of these ever involve a transfer of staff.

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Sneaky skimmer scam stings several Safeway supermarkets

Richard 12
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Re: Massive outbreak of skimmers in U.S.

The "oh, I have some extra coins" thing is also a common scam.

By bouncing a few coins around it's relatively easy to get a tired cashier to give too much change - or even the original large note back.

So they are always told "ring it all into the till, give exactly what it says".

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Windows for Warships? Not on our new aircraft carriers, says MoD

Richard 12
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Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

And how many in Windows? And OSX?

There's no way of knowing how many accidental bugs or deliberate back doors exist in any closed-source software.

It is at least theoretically possible to find and fix them in open-source.

Both of them will contain bugs - they're written by people.

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Lower video resolution can deliver better quality, says Netflix

Richard 12
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There's plenty of silicon to do it

Including relatively programmable silicon that can be configured to handle a variety of source and target encodings.

Or just go for commodity GPGPU, which is slower but much cheaper.

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Richard 12
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They're trying to deal with the lack of customer bandwidth

Pixel resolution is a fairly meaningless quality measurement in video anyway.

If the video is 3840x2160 but breaks up into clearly visible encoding blocks at any point, the video is unwatchably bad.

Even if it doesn't break up, the sustained bitrate you can actually get from your ISP will probably wipe out any possible extra detail.

At 1280x720 the same bandwidth can probably encode a much better looking video, and your 4k screen can upscale the result to give something objectively and subjectively better.

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How to build a real lightsabre

Richard 12
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@Ian Michael Gumby

JET.

The Joint European Torus does produce more energy than it consumes.

The current trouble is that they can't fuel it while it's running, which means it only burns for a minute or so before it runs out.

Refuelling while running is the current technical challenge for fusion.

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