454 posts • joined 28 Jul 2009
Re: no, just no
"but in what way will a turbine function better if it can read the inane tweets of the great unwashed?"
More to the point, perhaps, are some questions that arise from my interpretation, i.e. that the devices can feed *to* social media:
* Why is it necessary for an industrial turbine to tweet?
* What would the said turbine post to facebook?
* Do we have to fit the turbine with a camera so it can post pictures of the plant operators?
* Will the turbines start to post depressive existential poetry?
* If they do, are we allowed to attack them with heavy weaponry?
And don't forget the interesting possibilities offered by consumer-grade toasters that can post upward into enterprise level monitoring systems...
Re: My usual comment...
@ledswinger: *My* electricity supplier quotes 85% nuclear among the list of sources on the bills I get, which puts your numbers into a different light, I'd say.
'Course I live in France, but never mind that. (And no, I'm not French.)
Drinks cabinet (was: Re: Sir)
If you're planning to use the safe as a drinks cabinet, just watch out for Indio and his gang...
Re: simplistic idea
Hmm. Nothing could go wrong here, no, not at all.
I couldn't go abroad for a couple of weeks and forget the password, could I?
"..that's a radial engine, not a rotary engine. Rotary engines don't have pistons."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_engine says you are wrong. Back in the day, people tried all sorts of weird stuff, and in some ways the weirdest was the pre-1920s device called a rotary engine. It had its main use in aviation, and it somewhat resembles a radial engine. The principal difference is that a radial engine's block is bolted to the airframe, and its crankshaft to the propeller, while a rotary engine's block is bolted to the propeller and its crankshaft to the airframe. The result is that the whole engine rotates, whence the name. It suffers two main disadvantages: relative inefficiency at high power levels, and a heavy gyroscopic effect, which outweigh the main advantages - they don't need a separate flywheel because the rotating cylinder blocks act as an effective flywheel, and they are, especially in aviation applications, effectively air-cooled without further work..
More modern applications of the term "rotary engine" refer to pistonless internal combustion engines like the Wankel rotary, and of course a pedantic application of the term would include turbine engines.
And anyway, if you look closely at the website, you'll find that it is an orbital engine, info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_engine .
Profit and value-add...
"And to the economist the ability to make a profit means that whoever is making that profit must, by definition, be adding value."
Not in all cases. An arbitrageur makes a profit (he wouldn't do it if he didn't think he has a better than even chance of making a profit), but doesn't actually add value. He buys where it is cheap, and sells where it is expensive, but he doesn't modify the stuff he buys and sells.
You might argue about whether he adds value by changing the object from "there" to "here", where "here" is an attribute of value, and "there" is an attribute of 'non-value', but I think that's excessively nit-pickingly pedantic.
"Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."
It depends on where you are and how awake you are.
Four years ago (nearly five, now) I moved to France. I picked up a pair (one for me, one for her) of PAYG SIMs from SFR, and discovered that they had a parental-control filter installed in the data plan.
How did I find this out? It blocked access to the servers used by the Google Maps app on WinMob6.1...
So how do I turn it off? Um, I would have had to write a dead-tree letter to SFR's relevant department explaining that yes, I'm a grown up (and had been at the time for nearly 30 years), so please let me look at dodgy stuff like Google Maps... (Not Street View, mind, just the map data...)
So what did I do? I walked downstairs to a different provider, who gave (sold) me a nice contract without (OK, I had to ask, but the dude could plainly see that we are adults, so no dead-tree was required) any such filter.
"remove the copyright and embrace the opensource."
Take one FAIL point.
If you remove copyright as a legal concept, you also remove the ability to place restrictions on the use of the copyrighted software (because it isn't copyrighted anymore, duh), and you end up throwing out the GPL (and other F/OSS licences) as well, so all that GPL software becomes public domain and I can incorporate it into a closed-source product without having to open my code up.
The key point, often forgotten or at least overlooked, is that all open-source software, whether GPL, MPL, ApacheL, BSDL or whatever, is just as copyrighted as Windows is... The only difference, in the end, is that the F/OSS licences place <== this list of restrictions on the copying of the software and the availability of source code, and closed-source licences place ==> that list of restrictions (including that the source code is not available except perhaps at huge cost). They can only do this because the software is still subject to copyright.
Caveat lector: I have a mild and semi-reasoned dislike of the GPL, especially v3. I'm not going to explain why here, because (a) it isn't relevant and (b) it is only semi-reasoned, and I don't care to discuss the unreasonable/irrational part.
No matter what the deal is with the statistics themselves...
... the problem is actually the merging of "tech" and "digital" businesses into one category.
The various company types whose inclusion in this unified category is ridiculed by commentators and by the article itself are not inherently the problem. That we consider them "digital" is in some cases semi-reasonable.
That they link "tech" (presumably (but not necessarily) what we'd think of as tech companies - software houses, hardware design, etc.) and "digital" (evidently all this internet-using stuff that doesn't design, build, etc. technology) as if they are a single sort of thing is just ridiculous.
And all the commentators who posted before me have overlooked this point...
Oh, and Zapata Corp, now Harbinger, was originally an oil company.
Re: "The chances of anything coming from Earth are a million to one," he said.
More to the point, perhaps, "nine times out of ten"...
Re: Escaped Plates
I once saw a lorry owned by Cosi-Bed (or with their logos on it anyway).
CO 51 BED
Re: What's an EXE?
"users of Androids"
Androiders have to worry about Whatsap voicemail messages instead...
"If you can remember the eighties, bad luck."
I remember the eighties, sure. They weren't so bad. Of course, judging by your selection of TV personalities, I probably remember a different eighties to you. Mine were populated by Ronald Reagan, Dan Rather, and so on because I lived in the US for most of that decade. (One stand-out memory I have is of Dan Rather having run out of things to say about the Challenger disaster, but then continuing to talk about it anyway. When two large buildings fell down in 2001, I was by chance in the US, and I was struck by a certain similarity in the news coverage. *All* the channels on the hotel TV were covering the aftermath, and *all* of them were stuck in that same loop of needing to continue talking but having nothing new to say.)
"มาลัย (which means "Garland of Flowers" in Thai)."
Curiously, Goggle Mistranslate claims that มาลัย really does mean "Garland". "of Flowers" is not specified.
Emulators, and history, and stuff...
Article: "it came with an emulator to run 16-bit x86 code on DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC and SPARC"
I remember an interesting point that this caused.
Context: it is early 1998. Windows 2000 is visible on the far horizon, but it is still called Windows NT 5.0. Windows 98 is in late beta.
My employer (a British A/V supplier) is building up to releasing the first CD-ROM packaged version of its software, which will have installers for Win3.*, MS-DOS, Win95 (and Win98 when it comes out later in the year), and many flavours of WinNT3.*/4.0.
The question: given that we can ignore DOS because it doesn't do autorun of CDs, and given that autorun.inf doesn't have per-platform sections telling what to run, and given that some customers run Windows NT on Alpha, MIPS, and so on, how do you build a single .EXE for autorun?
Answer: you build it in Win16 and mark it as usable on Windows 3.1(0). Win95/98 will pick it up and run it natively. WinNT on x86 will pick it up and run it "natively" on WoW32. Win3.10/3.11 will be able to run it manually. MS-DOS will be able to run the same setup.exe if you build the MS-DOS installer in the real-mode "stub" part of the NE-format executable. OS/2 can run Win16 applications through its API emulation layers.
And Win NT on MIPS, Alpha, and friends will run the Win16 application through the x86/16 emulator.
Of course the structural difficulties of x64's compatibility modes mean that this no longer works - WinXP/Vista/7/8/8.1 on x64 do not run Win16 applications except in VMs - but equally the demise (for practical purposes) of Win3.* means that Win32 is a satisfactory API to target.
Re: The PS3 was and still is a top-notch product
"more than 4GB of system memory, which 32-bit chips are limited to. "
Tsk. Look up PAE, Physical Address Extension. This allows a compatible 32-bit processor to access memory beyond the 4GB line. And it was introduced on the Pentium Pro. In 1995.
The fact that non-server editions of 32-bit Windows don't exploit the capability (they do run in PAE mode, but limit physmem to 4G for driver compatibility and licensing reasons) doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
I always liked the cgs unit for capacitance.
In cgs units, a conducting sphere has a capacitance exactly equal to its radius.
Re: And we now why they called it the Xbox 720
I must admit to having wondered a bit about the folks suggesting XBox 720. But then I've read the Japanese manga "BTOOOM!" (might have the wrong number of Os in there, sorry), where the protagonist (and most of the antagonists) are unwilling participants in a LARP version of an FPS. The online version runs on the fictionalised "DXBox 720" which bears an uncanny resemblance to various models of XBox...
Re: Cool..but also oddly disturbing
"Perhaps there are forms of life that are neither plants nor animals?"
Or were you thinking of something less Earth-bound?
That said, the idea of hyper-intelligent mushrooms gives me pause, a bit.
"How are expenses a loss"
Presumably because they expended them ahead of the putative private sale (in the expectation of being able to recover the expenses by receiving the commissions and fees), and then the putative sale didn't happen. This in turn meant that the expenses were expended without any gain, and therefore lost.
Or something like that.
Not that I have much sympathy with them at all, since they presumably knew / could work out that the putative sale was illegal / counter to regulatory policy.
Short version: "Waaaaaaaa!! Nasty Twitter wouldn't let me make money doing something illegal with their shares!: Waaaaaaaa!!"
Re: The man who created a legend
"Especially the 2nd generation ones which, had SLOTS!"
Pardon? The 5150 had slots. It also had a PSU that was almost big enough to power the devices(*) in them, and certainly couldn't cope with a hard disk. That had to wait 18 months for the 5160 (PC/XT), which was otherwise much like the 5150.
The original AT (the 5170) came even later.
(*) Devices? What devices? Graphics card ("display adapter", up to two), serial and parallel ports, floppy controller, that sort of stuff. None of it was on the 5150's motherboard, except the keyboard and cassette port connectors.
Re: The N in DNT is NOT
"Which bit of DO NOT TRACK don't you ad-monkeys understand?"
Oh, they understand it *very* well indeed, all of it. They just don't want DNT to exist. In fact, they'd rather it had never existed. But being that it has existed, and does exist as a Work In Progress, they inevitably want to evade it, or neuter it, and are willing to promise to just plain ignore it in order to get their way.
For me, though, the whole idea stank of fatuously optimistic naive idealism, right from the very beginning.
Re: Repost from 1990s?
I first ran across this idea at the Zurich Stock Exchange in about 1996, maybe early 1997. They had 155Mbps ATM fibre running under the street between the main Exchange and the back rooms. As a backup(*) they had a laser/receiver pair on the roof of each building.
(*) Yes, they had a backup that was less reliable than the main connection. Free-air laser links are prone to not working well when it is foggy (so the fog scatters the laser). Pigeons that happen to fly through the laser path will cause the loss of signal for a small fraction of a second, but apparently fog is the real villain here.
"It might be easier to put wheels on a submarine."
It has been done in the past. The US submarine NR-1 had "bottoming wheels".
"Its the Electric Boat Division which makes submarines"
Originally, of course, Electric Boat made, well, electric boats. Surface boats, that is, not submarines. Later on, their expertise in marine electrics got them into submarines.
Article: "things have become more flexible with users now being able to size and layer apps, where before they were set to a fixed size and apps had to be locked side-by-side."
Ah, like when Windows 1 gave way to Windows 2? (Well, actually Win1 would resize the tiled apps as needed to make them all fit, and if you had, say, 5 you'd often get a row of three and a row of 2 that were, inevitably, not all the same size.)
Re: Hows about?
"Windows gives out zero'ed blocks of memory, "
*Windows* may give out zeroed blocks of memory - I don't recall because it has been a long time since I needed to allocate memory directly from Windows itself(*) - but so what? malloc() is not a system call, especially on Windows. It is part of the C runtime library, and on Windows it normally carves up big blocks of memory allocated from the OS. But, being malloc(), it doesn't do anything special with the contents (except in debug builds, where they are often poisoned with some arbitrary value - Visual C++ uses 0xCD if memory serves, to produce a 32-bit (or 64-bit on Win64) value that can't be used as a valid pointer to anything.(**)). In particular, except in the poisoning case, it doesn't vape the previous contents...
(*) It is even longer since I relied on the contents of a memory block allocated by malloc() being anything but 'uninitialised'. If you want guaranteed values in your allocated memory, use calloc().
(**) OK, when running a Win32 program on Win64, with certain marks on the .EXE, pointers could be from anywhere in the 32-bit address space, but this value was chosen when Win32 was king and there wasn't any Win64 on x86 because there wasn't any x64. At that time, .EXEs marked appropriately could have access to 3GB of address space, and 0xCDCDCDCD is in the fourth GB...
Brings back ... something ...
"relax and soak up the atmosphere of the… er airport"
The date: 15-16 September 2001
The time: starting around 7:30pm, until around 6am
The place: Honolulu International Airport
So I'm trying to run away from a tropical island (am I mad?) four days after two(*) large buildings fell down, and the plane that's supposed to take me away is delayed. I arrived in good time for a 10:45pm flight, which finally arrived from Sydney in time to take off again in the general direction of Toronto(**) somewhere after 5am the following morning.
So like all my fellow passengers, I had to spend the night relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere of an airport where everything interesting was shut.
(*) Yes, I know it was more than just two buildings, and that "fell down" isn't exactly an adequate description. It's a literary device, because most people tend to overlook the others.
(**) Where I missed my connecting flight, was booked on another, and then instructed to queue-jump past about three hundred unfortunates to check in, all the while wearing one of those delicately-shaded shirts that are so symbolic of Hawaii.
Re: Deal of the century
"If Dominos signed up to this (being the only pizza chain with the resources) that would be incredible."
Their systems collapsed on such a piddling amount?
When one of the large Chinese banks held its IPO in about 2007, they priced the shares at a stunningly low 4 yuan or so so the common man could afford to buy some, and therefore issued a correspondingly large number of shares. They traded briskly on that day, and the end result was that the total volume traded for the day was around 14 billion shares.
This, of course, demonstrated the presence of 32-bit share volume counters in information and trading systems around the world, like the one I was working on, which suddenly started showing a negative average price once the volume exceeded 2.15 billion shares...
"When you're writing for geeks, it's important to get these details right :-)"
Indeed, like the size of a PDP-11. The smallest PDP-11s fit inside a VT-100 enclosure, and so, by the standards of minicomputers of the time, weren't large at all.
re: rotational speeds
You lot are, of course, all wrong about the probe's effect on our *rotational* speed. The Earth does NOT rotate around the Sun. It rotates around its *axis*, and *revolves* around the Sun.
So the probe's passage has an unmeasurably small effect of marginal calculability on the Earth's rotation because it tidally steals a small amount of slowness. It also has an effect of similar size on the Earth's orbital speed, slowing it by conservation of (linear) momentum. This causes the Earth to drop into an orbit that's ever so slightly lower. Atoms are bigger than the difference, though.
I think you could say that it affects the Earth's, um, er, revolutionary speed. Make of that what you will.
"You mean it doesn't come with a lifetime guarantee?"
Sure it does. "This watch is guaranteed to continue working throughout its lifetime." That is, until it breaks.
What? You meant YOUR lifetime? Ha ha, fooled you!
Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1983 +/- a year or so. The place: a Grand Union(*) store in Endicott NY.
They introduced new barcode-scanning checkouts which announced the prices of scanned items in a pleasant if slightly synthetic-sounding voice, complete with odd stress-accent patterns because they recorded(**) numbers up to 99 and then played back the appropriate combination of numbers. The result being that the slight shifts in emphasis between "one dollar forty two" and "one dollar forty", and even "one dollar" weren't there. They disabled the voices after a few months, I'd guess because people (the employees, even) found the plethora of identical disembodied synthetic-sounding voices unnerving.
(*) A supermarket chain much like any other.
(**) They might have been synth'ed rather than digi-playback. It's been a long time since I heard them.
"I can't see why they can't just assume that when you stick your card in then you've finished shopping and are ready to pay."
The regulations issued and/or enforced on the retailers by VISA and Mastercard probably don't permit this option. That would require the card reader to transmit information about the card (e.g. "card is in the slot") to the POS terminal, and I'd expect they are only allowed to tell the terminal about success / failure of the card approval.
"Not sure they've conjugated it correctly here, mind."
No, they haven't. To coin a name (or other word) is to create it. The word they were probably looking for is "termed" or "called".
I think you're saying (at least partly) that this is a solution looking for a problem, aside from the "large lump of data from the middle of nowhere" idea. Even there, existing Iridium-style satellite comms are a worthy competitor, I'd guess.
Article: "direct access to the beta test programme.
"Ths[sic] stick: you need to cough up full whack for the game by ordering it ahead of time."
Alastair: "A beta is for TESTING if you do this you aren't testing you are just selling early access."
Yes, of course they are selling early access, but it's hardly a first. I have to admit (with a sort of red-faced mumble-cough(*)) that I bought a pre-purchase edition of GW2 so (1) I could get a beta-testing early look, and (2) I could start early because of three days' Early Access to the released version. So I have one of the very first full-version characters created in the semi-wee hours(**) of the 25th of August last year. The beta testing was done over a series of weekends and odd days here and there, with bugfixes applied on the fly and between sessions. Of course you're testing it for them, and paying for the privilege, but equally you are getting an early look at something you theoretically (see (*)) want.
(*) red-faced mumble-cough because it failed to live up to my expectations/hopes. It was almost right, but in a way that leaves it far from what it should have been. I wanted to like it, but in the end I couldn't really carry on after I rather grimly battered my way to getting my first character up to max level. But their failure *wasn't* because they sold early access to public beta testing.
(**) They opened Early Access three days ahead of the full access release, nominally at 9am CEST, but in fact the servers were available three hours earlier than that. I got up in time to be ready to go at 6am, and was stomping centaurs in Shaemoor only a couple of minutes later. Much good did it do me in the end.
Re: Sounds crazy and backwards
"How about USB electricity vending sockets on the talking cars?"
I think the main problem (from the passenger's point of view) with that suggestion is the word "vending". The electricity should be included in the price of the ticket. As you yourself said, the cost of the extra power is irrelevant compared to the cost of the power that propels the train(*).
(*) Even on non-electric lines. The main cost there would be stabilising the voltage supplied in the carriages.
"It sent a DeLorean back though time"
If you watch the film very carefully, you'll find that lightning send the DeLorean *forward* through time, not back. ("Back" was powered by stolen plutonium if memory serves, and at the end by "Mr Fusion".)
Re: Next project...
"...just has to be a pig..."
*TWO* pigs (more at your discretion), because it has to be *Pigs*, not *Pig*.
Re: Better to have no gadgets during take off
Re: safety briefings.
Just wait until you've had the briefing for a tourist submarine... (Pedant mode: submersible)
They explain how to use the rebreather gear under your seat so you won't die of chlorine poisoning if seawater gets into the batteries...
*THAT'S* a safety briefing.
Re: Big consequences?
"the ads only affect the G-mail user not the Sender who already knows about the service and has accepted the Ts&Cs"
No, the Sender (firstname.lastname@example.org) has NOT accepted the Ts&Cs. Well, not Gmail's Ts&Cs, anyway. He isn't a Google user. Goodness, he might not even ever visit a Google site. (Odd, these days, but not impossible.)
The complaint is that the external sender has not accepted the privacy-busting aspects of Gmail's Ts&Cs, and yet email he sends to email@example.com will be manipulated in those privacy-busting ways.
And yes, the complaint is also that Google *are* opening each email to read it, so that they can display ads that might be relevant to the content.
Re: Ignore the obvious choice
"Er, yes, but the PC/AT wasn't around in the PC days. The PC-101 keyboard came out several years after the original PC."
Read. History. Carefully.
The original PC (the 5150) came out in late '81, with an 83-key keyboard. It was superseded in 1983 by the PC/XT (the 5160) which used the same keyboard.
The PC/AT (the 5170) came out in 1984, using an 84-key keyboard, the 84th key being SysRq. The keyboard connection was not compatible in either direction with the PC / PC/XT keyboard connection, except that many third-party keyboards had converter switches.
The 101/102-key layouts reached us in 1987 with the arrival of the PS/2s.
My home button's a little flaky, which may be part of the problem, but I think they've moved it to single click, only when there's a set of headphones plugged in. Bah. I never noticed it until now. Sigh.
"the added functions in the lock screen"
Like finally being able to tap the wake button, then poke the screen to force the mp3 player to skip ahead / back... 'Course it only works if you sleep the machine while the player is the foreground app, but there you are...
My own experience on the download is that it showed 10 hours at one point, and then a bit later it was up to 17. It actually took a lot less, although I would have liked it to (Finnish words) wait after downloading rather than just installing during the night once the download finished (after only a few hours).
The problem being that I use it as my alarm clock, and it lost the date/time until I unlocked the SIM to get it back on-line. At 4:45am, ffs. (I don't know. Something disturbed my sleep, so I looked at the phone to find out the time, and there it was, already in iOS7.) It looks like everything works, at least.
And I like the ability to open up a folder and swipe through its pages rather than being limited to 12 items.
Re: @ Pascal
"what about Windows 3.1 > Windows 3.11"
Windows 3.1 was actually 3.10, as you would be told by writing a program to ask it its version number. It would return 0x0A03(*), meaning 3.10.
(*) Yes, this is wanked. It is why Win95 included code to return 3.95 to programs that were marked as "built for Win 3.*". A number of "commercially important" such programs naively compared the returned version number to 0x0A03 rather than swapping the byte order and comparing to 0x030A. Win95's true version number was 4.0, 0x0004, so it lied to programs targeted for 3.* to present itself as 3.95 (0x5F03).
Re: Most Western Airport Security is Smoke 'n' Mirrors BS
"travel through Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv."
I did that back in 97. It was a weird experience. Going *into* Israel (from London) was easy (aside from the bonus metal detector pat-down at the gate), but getting out was more amusing. I had listened carefully to my colleagues' advice - I didn't look like a backpacker or anything like that because one of them had done that and had had a four hour grilling.
I had a letter in Hebrew from the local office that allegedly described what I had been doing there, and I was able to describe the little bit of sightseeing I had done the night before - a trip down the coast to see the old port at Jaffa. The guy looked at the letter, chuckled, and then set it aside. He seemed generally bored with my situation and let me go.
Re: SCSI cables
"I brought all of my SCSI cables (old and new) in hand-luggage in 2004"
I did something like that in 1996 coming back from a conference in Anchorage. At Anchorage I transferred my (company) laptop from my carry-on bag to my briefcase to make it easier to get at, but left the rest of the case and accessories in the other bag. (This was a time when you could bring a bag AND a briefcase on a flight...)
So I got to Seattle to change onto the flight to London, and the X-ray guy there asked to look in my bag because he could see what looked like coils of wire... Oh (Finnish words). I told (and showed) him what was what (power adapter and its cables for the laptop, duh), and he was suddenly much happier. We had a brief laugh about it and off I went.
Or when my dad went through Shannon in southern Ireland during the 1980s, and had to tell the security guy that yes he had coils of wire and a crimping tool...
"The roaming charges badly affect people near borders as radio propagation ignores bizarre lines on maps."
Yup, confirmed. I *live* far enough from the French border with a certain country enswearified by Mr Adams that when I am at home, my phone stays with Orange/France. In the office, however, it's a different story, as the skin of the building has a drastic effect on Orange's signal strength, but less so on the nearest enswearified base station, so I have to lock the phone into "don't roam" mode if I don't want periodic "Welcome to Enswearifia" messages during the day. And of course that means that voice-call quality is atrocious.
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