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* Posts by Richard 12

1582 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Indeed, it's musical chairs up there

However, sooner or later the whole room falls down.

We saw a partial collapse a few years back in the banking crisis - unfortunately, the ones playing with the chairs don't appear to have learnt from it, so the next collapse will be worse...

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Eww! What have you done to the layout?

Richard 12
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WTF?

Indeed, I thought all the icons had vanished entirely for a good few seconds before realising they'd moved to the right.

Really don't like the separate button to add an icon - please put it back under the text box!

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Boston U claims LED patent, files against tech giants

Richard 12
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Mushroom

"Dear BU"

"We patented the method whereby your university buildings were constructed. Pay up or knock them down."

That's appears to be what they're trying here.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: Timing?

It certainly is trolling, because Apple don't make LEDs.

They buy them.

From people like Philips, Cree etc... Who are already paying the royalties...

This is reasonably likely to get a one-line response along the lines of "We buy them from X. Talk to them. BTW, our legal costs were Y, pay up!"

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ICANN puts Whois on end-of-life list

Richard 12
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FAIL

I'm very, very glad "he" got caught.

My first thought is "Good riddance to the freeloading bastard".

Did you really mean to say "Removing WHOIS would let me my friend get away with copyright infringement on a commercial basis", because that's what it sounded like.

Wouldn't have worked anyway, because it's a tennis club, so it's got a real, physical location given on the website. (Incidentally, Getty embed a watermark into all images to ensure they can be easily identified. This survives physical printing, so forget 'print-screen' copy.)

If you're foolish enough to use a Getty image or any other clearly in-copyright, all-rights-reserved image without a licence - whether as a 'placeholder' or not - you deserve everything you get.

Just don't do it - if you want a placeholder, search one of the many free-for-commercial-use sites or take your own photo. Nobody forced you him to use a Getty image.

Getty are simply a group of photographers who'd like to get paid for their work!

If you genuinely think photographers should just give away all of their work for free, then your acquaintance should be giving away his website design service as well.

Let me guess - he doesn't agree with that?

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Nissan to enter 300 kmh electric car in Le Mans endurance race

Richard 12
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Boffin

Amusingly, the hardware reliability is where the EV wins

Or at least, where it should win.

I expect this Nissan will be going down the route of high-torque, (switched-reluctance or multipole) motors either right in the wheelhubs or on short shafts (to reduce unsprung weight).

Essentially, the complete drivetrain made of either four or eight moving parts. (Ignoring the suspension itself as you need that on all vehicles.)

Done that way, if a motor goes down you lose 1/4 of drive power and some stability, but swapping it out may only take about twice as long as changing the tyre. While that would lose a short race, it could win an endurance race!

Unfortunately none of the EVs (aside from bicycles) currently on the market seem to be playing to the strengths of electric motors, keeping all the gearboxes, differentials, clutches etc that an IC needs but are simply unnecessary for an electric motor.

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Tesla unveils battery-swapping tech for fast car charging

Richard 12
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Re: Nice idea but doesnt work

All consumer rechargeable lithium batteries have a built-in "fuel gauge" chip to ensure they aren't overcharged.

It's not much of a leap to add enough Flash to store the entire history of the battery charge/discharge cycles!

The only ones you'll buy that don't are the hobbyist Li-Po cells for electric R/C aircraft and the like, where they basically will catch fire sooner or later.

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Brits' HSBC bank cards, net access goes TITSUP

Richard 12
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Devil

Re: "We are sorry for ANY impact"

The phrase "Sorry for any..." feels like "Nya nya, we don't really give a toss" to me, and I doubt I'm the only one who feels like that.

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Microsoft's canceled 'Project Brazil' took aim at Amazon, eBay

Richard 12
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Abuse monopoly much?

I suspect this was probably dropped on legal advice.

The EU would have loved getting its hands on a few billion Microsoft dollars, and even the USA would have had trouble justifying not prosecuting.

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Stay away from the light, Kodak! Look, here's $406m to keep you alive

Richard 12
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You what?

Unless you're shooting large format, you're talking utter rubbish!

Film has a grain size, you can see the actual 'pixels' with a hand lens. They aren't square, but they are there.

Even medium-format is only about 50MPixels.

35mm is 4 to 16MPixels depending on the emulsion (faster = lower resolution)

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Richard 12
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Re: Film Isn't Dead

But it is niche!

How big are the markets for floppy disks and new pressings of vinyl?

The large markets for film are gone.

Consumers do not want it, and professional photographers and cinematographers barely use it anymore.

Only enthusiasts and artists (arguably a subset of the former) want it now.

That kind of market simply cannot support a large enterprise. It can only support a small number of small businesses.

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IT mercenaries and buy-to-let landlords are my HEROES - here's why

Richard 12
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"Renting less than a mortgage"

How exactly does the landlord pay the mortgage if the rent is less than the mortgage payments?

The rent must be significantly higher as the landlord is hoping to make a profit on the enterprise.

If thats not through the rental income being much higher than the outgoings, they are betting on house prices going up and selling the property after a few years - which kicks the tenant out as the new owner must up the rent to cover their new, more expensive mortgage.

The general rule is that the rental income should be around double the mortgage payments, so that "voids" don't result in a loss and the landlord can afford the necessary maintenance, repairs and replacement items.

Renting can only be cheaper if multiple tenants pay for the same property - flats or multiple-occupancy houses - or the landlord owns the house outright thus has no mortgage.

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Richard 12
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Birmingham commuter belt wouldn't be bad

The commuter belt is where the shops end up, because while people are willing to do a daily point-to-point train commute for work, they won't be bringing the weekly shop home on that train.

So the effect is to boost the local economy.

The downside is that house prices go up as locals now compete with bankers who can buy a house with their monthly bonus...

That inequality of income actually the problem. The bigger the gap, the worse everything is.

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Soylent days and soylent nights

Richard 12
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Re: Not gloopy

Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6...

What are those in real money? Nobody else uses those monikers for the compounds.

'E' numbers are more widely used and less confused with others, even better is the common name of the compound.

The FD&C "Yellow 5" is also known as Food Yellow 4, E102...

Or better, Tartrazine. It is associated with hyperactivity and at higher doses, random heart attacks.

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SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

Richard 12
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Re: Flogging a dead horse

A dead horse can still kick you in the balls.

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Bjarne Again: Hallelujah for C++

Richard 12
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Re: C++

RAII and the appropriate smart pointers make it damn near impossible to forget to deallocate - the data is gone the moment the last reference drops out of scope.

RAII predictable, while garbage collection is anathema to predictable timing. If repeatable performance doesn't matter for your project that's fine, but not everybody is doing that kind of stuff.

TBH I find it hard to come up with a valid reason to prefer GC over RAII - why would you want the object to get erased some random period after you don't want it anymore? Why not kill it now?

Aside from all that, you still get memory leaks in garbage-collected languages, it's just a case of holding onto references you don't actually need anymore, or otherwise confusing the GC into thinking you might still want it.

You can shoot yourself in the foot in any language.

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Hubble spies unlikely planet being born in hostile neighborhood

Richard 12
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Alien

Who said it was natural?

Maybe somebody out there is building something big!

Large numbers of grains of sand sounds like a reasonable place to grab a large amount og material. Drop a few Von Neumann machines in there and let them get on with it, come back a few thousand years later when it's built.

After the device is built, consuming much of the material near the orbit where they dropped the initial probes, the remaining debris would probably show up like this.

They'd want to harvest from a distant orbit because the escape energy is lower, and they'd aim for the bit originally relatively dense (near the middle of the dust cloud) to get lots of material.

Worth considering, right?

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Confidence in US Congress sinks to lowest level ever recorded

Richard 12
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Nope, it's first-past-the-post which does that.

A "first past the post" system forces this:

- It rapidly becomes clear that voting for anyone other than the top two from last time is pointless.

- In an A, C, Z election, Voting for "Option C" that meets your views better than A, tends to cause option Z (opposed to your views) to win by moving votes from option A to C.

Thus it gravitates to a two-party system with "safe seats" in many votes, and the politicians can trivially ignore most of the electorate.

So why did the UK idiot electorate believe the big two parties when they campaigned against changing the voting system?

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Microsoft parades Windows 8.1, the version you may actually want

Richard 12
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Re: Sorry mmeier, each class of physical UI requires a different GUI.

mmeier: "Never considered SDI/MDI a huge enough difference."

Thanks, coupled with 'just hide elements' between touch and non-touch, you've now proven that you genuinely know nothing at all regarding GUI design and don't "get" why it matters either.

That's ok, many programmers are the same as designing a UI is a very specific skillset (some might say mindset).

But please, do your users a favour, and never, ever design the GUI for anything. Get somebody who specialises in that, though they need some domain knowledge to be any good.

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Richard 12
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Sorry mmeier, each class of physical UI requires a different GUI.

Something that's great on a 21" desktop with a mouse & keyboard is awful and probably unusable on a 7" touchscreen. Something great for your 7" touchscreen is hideously ugly and annoying on your 21" desktop.

Would you want an onscreen keyboard always covering half the screen on your desktop when you have a perfectly good real one?

That's just the most obvious example, there are many others!

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Richard 12
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Which version of Office is that, mmeier?

Because in Office 2007 and 2010, Excel and Outlook still behave totally differently to the rest.

Excel remains MDI while Word, PowerPoint etc are now one-window-one-document (which is better on multi-monitor).

Excel's copy-paste behaviour is completely and utterly different to everything else that has any kind of copy/paste.

Outlook 2007 wasn't ribbon'ed, 2010 is but still has the appearance of multi-window while actually being something slightly different and strange - try starting to attach a file, then stopping and trying to do something else while the "Open" dialog is still open. You're stuck - and some users end up rebooting the whole machine because if that one.

Consistency within MS Office has never existed before, why would I believe you now?

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Richard 12
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Re: Linux is everywhere

vxWorks is the RTOS used by over 300 control boxes in the Grand Mosque lighting control system, plus 11 WinXPE boxes as well. There's more vxWorks licences there than Windows ones in an average SME!

I suspect (but don't know for certain) that the lifts run on it as well.

If you want deterministic and short response times on low-power hardware, you're going to want an RTOS because the alternative is bare-metal.

However, more modern hardware is becoming so much more powerful and cheap, that in the last five years or so a lot of stuff that would previously have been RTOS or even bare-metal is now Linux.

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Richard 12
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Linux is everywhere

Linux is the kernel, so yes, my set-top box runs Linux, Android phones run Linux.

There's also a lot of stuff running on Linux that you'd never think of - the new Disney ships run on Linux, the Sheik Zayed Al Nayan mosque runs on VXWorks, the world's tallest building runs on Linux and Windows XP.

A lot of BMS and industrial controllers run on the Linux kernel - it's either that or VXWorks for the most part, and most ARM/MIPs computer-on-module suppliers offer Linux as a standard BSP.

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iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: @Frankee

Because it's not necessary for all the chip functions to be licensed to all purchasers.

For an example, look at the Raspberry Pi. The GPU accelerated H264 codec is licensed to all purchasers of an RPi (included in the price), but the MPEG2 and VC-1 are not - even though the GPU does these equally well!

It's well known that when you buy a chip, you may still need to buy additional licenses if you want to use all of its functions.

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Obama's patent troll proposals: Long on talk, short on walk

Richard 12
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Re: Baby/bathwater

An inventor would have produced a prototype, even if they did no more.

The problem NPEs haven't, instead they have bought the patent rights from somebody else and in many cases never produced anything vaguely related or even in the same field of expertise.

So perhaps a tighter definition would be that any patent assignee must produce a product (or prototype product) they have created or directly commissioned in order to commence any court action.

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Steelie Neelie: Crack down on wicked ISPs so we can Skype

Richard 12
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Re: Why indeed

What is outrageous is repeatedly submitting something almost if not entirely identical until it passes by accident or through boredom.

Which has happened - and not just in the EU. Teresa's going for the 3rd or 4th attempt on the snoopers charter, essentially unchanged from the first time it got shot down.

At what point does it become taking the piss?

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Review: Philips Hue network enabled multicolour lightbulbs

Richard 12
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20-30 seconds!?

So, rather useless and actually completely obsolete before even launched.

We aim for 1/40th sec and usually get 1/30th. Have done for decades.

We also have wireless and battery-less light switches for the last couple of years - fancy a sticky-back light switch?

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Relax, Hollywood, ARM's got your back: New chip 'thwarts' video pirates

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: "ARM's TrustZone" - abuse of ENGLISH!

What they've done is offer a way a device manufacturer can ensure that no application running on the ARM core of the same device can read back the output of the framebuffer. Quite how this can usefully stop an application popping it back into normal mode to read the framebuffer is unknown, given that users want nice transitions between 'play video' and 'not play video' and quite like having GUI elements like Play, Pause, Quit etc.

But this feature isn't for the users. It's for devices that are genuinely frightened of the user.

However, any given implementation of this feature may be flawed, and the output of the physical IC remains (and always must remain) available - both LVDS and LCD-RGB will forever remain unencrypted (so getting the image is easy if you pop the lid) and both HDMI and DisplayPort are crackable, if not cracked already.

Fundamentally, the reason DRM as a concept cannot possibly work is because Bob, Eve and Mallory are all the same person.

For the same reason, the overall effect is to only annoy legitimate users and damage reputations, because it prevents the legitimate user from watching the content they've paid for - both when it works and when it breaks down.

In this case, if any issue (eg minor bug in playback app) causes the 'secure' GPU to get stuck in takeover mode, your device is a brick.

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Motorola shows off tattoo and swallowable password hardware

Richard 12
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Identi-Eze

Well done Motorola, you just re-invented it except worse!

This way you need multiple spares because they only last two weeks or two days.

So when somebody steals the spares, you're stuffed.

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Microsoft's Windows 8.1 secrets REVEALED ... sort of

Richard 12
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Re: "unified search results from your apps, files, SkyDrive, actions you can take, and the web"

More to the point, didn't they hear what happened when somebody else did that?

The most annoying annoying thing about any search function is when it returns too many results, so anything that gives you more results is only going to be more annoying.

Stand by for "Word" to become the most-clicked term on Bing...

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Who did Apple LIE TO: Australia or America?

Richard 12
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Re: Both right?

This isn't (really) about high street price, it's transfer price.

The Aus subsidiary doesn't make widgets, it buys them from another company in the group for an inter-company "transfer price", and then sells the widgets at a street price.

The profits are then worked out by "street minus transfer". By adjusting both transfer price and street price, a multinational company can move the bulk of the taxable profit into the country of their choice while still having huge margins.

If the transfer price is unreasonably high, the taxable profit will be unreasonably low and taxes have probably been evaded. If they are reasonable, then taxes are merely avoided.

This is what Starbucks did in the UK with the beans - they had to buy them from a foreign Starbucks subsidiary at a surprisingly high price. (They weren't actually convicted of anything though)

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Richard 12
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However, they did lie

It doesnt really matter how important a detail it is, but whether through incompetence or malice, they have given two governmental legal inquiries contradictory answers.

Worse, in both cases they gave an answer likely to be accepted by the questioner as reducing their liability, which implies the truth is probably neither of them.

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Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

Richard 12
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Re: The start screen can't be managed

I did not know that.

Weird how the more I learn about TIFKAM, the crazier it gets.

So it genuinely isn't as bad as I first thought - it's much worse!

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Richard 12
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Well done, you missed the point

It was never just about the icon - though removing it was fundamentally stupid.

It's the "MS needs the entire screen" attitude, first seen in Office 2007.

No, starting an application does not require the full screen, except when the screen is very small or far away - phone/tablet and TV.

Neither of those apply in a desktop situation.

Who's taking the fall for you this time, Ballmer?

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Tea, Earl Grey, hot! NASA blows $125k on Star Trek 3D FOOD PRINTER

Richard 12
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Re: Printing in kale

Pass me a 14B.

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Experts: Network security deteriorating, privacy a lost cause

Richard 12
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Re: political will

Smart meters do more than that.

They allow different billing rates at different times.

- So a miscreant can raise (or lower) your bill, by moving those times around. Perhaps make the Economy period from 1:00am to 1:05am?

Many allow customers to be remotely disconnected.

- Cutting a significant proportion of a single substation's load instantaneously could easily destroy the remaining customers' equipment due to overvoltage, and may even damage the substation. This has occasionally happened when a JCB has an accident, covered by the excavation insurance. Who pays for your new TV if it's killed by smart meter hacking?

- Imagine what would happen if 10% of a region's demand were suddenly cut off without warning? What if it was more than that?

Given that all potential miscreants will be provided with their very own example of the equipment to play with...

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Reports: New Xbox could DOOM second-hand games market

Richard 12
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

Renting...

Are you absolutely sure that's going to be possible?

Because how is "I rent game for a week and return it, then you rent game" any different to "I buy game play for a week then give it to you"?

Activations as described would kill the rental market as well, because you can't prevent resale without preventing rental, unless there are specific "rental" versions with a different DRM management system that would make them expensive and buggy, and limited to specific games.

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More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Much ado about nothing...

That's not a folder (or directory in old language). It's useful, but doesn't serve the same function - it's got more in common with KDE plasma widgets.

I've got something like hundred items in the Start Menu on my Win7 machine. (It's relatively hard to work out)

- More than half are actually the 'uninstaller' or 'configuration' that I will probably only ever run once. They're still there though, and they'd still be be there in the Start Screen, given the same prominence as the actual application they relate to.

So, tell me, how many screenfuls worth of scrolling is that under TIFKAM? Ten to twenty? That's not "a little"! Zooming out doesn't help unless I recognise the icons because the text becomes unreadable. (It's hard enough to read normally)

If I start rearranging things to move those "only ever run once" off to the end, I'll lose any sense of "this is the config tool for that". If two happen to have similar name and icons...

It's just two 'menufuls' of folders on Win7's Start Menu, and the stuff I've used 'a lot' turns up at the beginning without user interaction. If I want I can rearrange it to squash it even smaller, while stil maintaining a sense of "This relates to that" because folders can contain folders. That is a good UI.

The TIFKAM Start Screen is a reasonable UI for a tablet or a phone where somebody's probably only going to have ten to twenty "apps" and will only install anything from a unified interface that provides both installer and uninstaller (like Synaptic or an app store).

It doesn't work for a Windows desktop, where a lot of applications aren't well behaved and many (eg Office!) have multiple components.

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Richard 12
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Re: Much ado about nothing...

What's missing from the TIFKAM Start Screen?

For a start, Folders.

Without folders it rapidly becomes impossible to find anything you need but don't use often.

Even the search bar may not help because it relies on you knowing what something is called and not what it does or is related to.

- for example the IBM Rational ClearCase Client is called "Remote Client"

Brilliant. So I type "IBM", "Rational" or "ClearCase" and I won't get it. If I type "Client" it'll appear, along with a stack of other programs and I have to recognise the icon or figure it out because it's not Git Client, Mail Client etc.

Or I could just look in the "IBM Rational ClearCase" folder that's created by default, and suddenly the name makes sense!

I could even put that into a Source Control folder along with the others I use more often if I wanted.

Most people have a small number of applications they use every day, but many also have a large number they need once or twice a month (or less)!

A GUI is supposed to be less typing and offer hints that a command line can't.

Essentially, what you're saying is that TIFKAM is just a pretty command line launcher with none of the power.

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Irish deputy PM: You want more tax from Apple? Your problem, not ours

Richard 12
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No, no

They should devise a less clever tax code.

The cleverness is the problem. If its simple, and fully described on one side of A4, any possible dodges becomes obvious to all.

That then means any avoidance techniques will be well- known and therefore clearly intended.

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New 4TB drive spaffs half a telly season into your eyes AT ONCE

Richard 12
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Re: 4TB too big for me

I have the 500GB version, it's nowhere near big enough.

I would much rather have a bigger one - because then I could go to town on "auto-record anything looking vaguely interesting" without worrying that it would run out of space and be unable to record something I really, really want.

The high capacity is so I can delete stuff at leisure.

I often go away for long periods, and find it really annoying when I come back to find Episode 3 of %great_new_series% is coming up, and I've missed the opener.

With a bigger drive I could have more stuff recording on the off-chance it's good, to be deleted when I find its awful.

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Climate scientists agree: Humans cause global warming

Richard 12
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Re: Can somebody explain...

Pop quiz - how do we know that fast temperature oscillations did not occur in the past?

The correct answer is that we do not know, because all the proxy models we have for changes in the non-historical past are very low resolution.

That means we simply cannot see whether short-period oscillations occurred or not, although we do know that one did occur in medieval Europe - but not how extensive that was, although it seems fairly reasonable to assume that anything affecting all of Europe affected the rest of the world.

To date, we have no evidence that the current period is not another short-period oscillation.

We also know that we're in an ice age and that's not the 'usual' state of the planet - however, our society really needs the planet to stay in an ice age, and we're not sure what actually causes ice ages...

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Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: Proof?

@The Craw - WTF?

You just said "scientists do not benefit financially from biasing their results in favor of that theory", followed immediately by "many scientists are paid by companies that have trillions of dollars at risk"

The amount of doublethink involved in that post is truly astounding!

Fossil fuel companies have thousands of scientists. How do you think they find the stuff in the first place, let alone extract it and convert it into useful chemicals?

The money argument is perfectly valid, as scientists are people too - thankfully it cuts both directions.

- BTW, Nobel prizes don't pay the bills. For a start, they are usually awarded more than a decade after the work was published. While the prize money is pretty large, no bank is going to lend you the money to do research on the basis that you'll pay them back with the Nobel prize money...

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Richard 12
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Alert

Re: Making the numbers look good.....

65 to 10 then.

So 87% "for" and 13% "against".

The rest are irrelevant as it would appear the paper had no evidence for the opinion, and thus is no different to asking the man on the clapham omnibus, yet will give a very high weighting to specific individuals who often put those words in their papers.

Although only 75 papers expressing a quantified opinion is an incredibly tiny number to be basing so much policy on...

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Richard 12
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Re: The most interesting point...

"Then how many of these 8547 Authors have definitive proof that AGW is real?"

Zero. Science doesn't work like that.

Science works by trying to prove something wrong and failing.

It's coming up with a hypothesis, and saying "if this is true, then that must happen. Does it?"

If it happens, try again. If it doesn't happen, reject the hypothesis.

For example, Newton's theory of universal gravitation predicted the Moon's orbit. Great. Now predict Mercury's orbit - even better, it's wrong! Wow, we need to find a better theory of gravity! (Einstein)

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Richard 12
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Re: so.what do we do....

I also know that several papers have an abstract saying things like "Due to AGW" or "May contribute to AGW", when the content of paper itself has no bearing on the matter whatsoever.

In those cases, the line in the abstract is merely the authors' opinion, with no basis in the evidence and work of the paper itself.

This isn't a meta-study, it's simply an opinion poll - and one where each paper got a vote, not each scientist. One could argue that's the right way around, but only if the papers are actually chosen by the evidence/conclusions rather than because the abstract contained certain words.

It's also irrelevant. The problem most rational people have with AGW is not whether or not it's occurring, but the insane schemes being dreamt up and firced upon us to "fix" it - most of which don't work, can't work, make it worse, kill people and/or destroy the rest of the environment purely in the name of CO2 reduction.

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That $1,000 the lad in Lagos needed? Just email it with Google Wallet

Richard 12
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Re: Also in this continent

"I would rather have my money safely resting in the bank underwritten by taxpayers, thank you very much"

Fixed it for you...

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Jailed Romanian hacker repents, invents ATM security scheme

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Over complex

Indeed, I'd just drive the head sideways as that's much less complex. Stick card in sideways mag-stripe first, head is driven along the stripe, chip'n'pin contacts click into place when the head hits the end of the track. Job done.

The hard part of this (both his design and the much simpler variants) is ensuring the mechanism can't jam if the card is inserted 'wrong', because most people will try to stick it in the way they're used to, and there are cards like the "Mint" ones that are odd shapes.

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Richard 12
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Re: On the subject of ATMs

I gather they're supposed to be usable by those in wheelchairs and dwarfs, as those are more common than elves and giants.

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Richard 12
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Re: Erm.

Can't use your card in the UK.

There are lots of places that only use the mag stripe, one of them is quite large and called something like "Unsecured States of America", where they don't even ask for a signature a lot of the time.

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