* Posts by Alien8n

334 posts • joined 15 May 2007

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LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

Alien8n

Re: Technology for technology's sake

"I learned a lot from the alt.binaries.pictures newsgroups, including the fact that some of them should definitely not be viewed while eating."

Hamsters and duct tape springs to mind...

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RELICS of the Earth's long lost TWIN planet FOUND ON MOON

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Front row seat

How many Michael Bay's in a George Lucas? (That's no moon!)

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Don't be stiffed by spies, stand up to Uncle Sam with your proud d**k pics – says Snowden

Alien8n
Coat

NYPD

Amazed no one else has spotted the obvious joke about the NYPD being upset about Snowden's huge erection.

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Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

Alien8n

Had that round here, VM van came round the next day looking for the source of the outage. As I'd walked home from the pub the night before I was able to point him to the the green box about a mile down the road that had all the switches pulled out of it by drunken idiots the previous night. Everything was back up and running as normal about half an hour later.

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Alien8n

Re: Failure

It could be worse, the entire card processing network for UK's banks is routed through a single exchange in Paddington. As we found out a few years ago when the whole system went down due to a fire in the Paddington exchange caused by the flooding of the exchange.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Alien8n

Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.

Not sure why someone would down vote simply pointing out that there are circumstances that require a heavy foot when pulling out onto a road with a blind corner. Certainly hitting the brakes could be fatal not only for the driver pulling out but also for the pillock coming round the corner *after* you've pulled out of the junction. Or are you supposed to be psychic and sense the vehicle coming around the blind corner and thence waiting until after they've passed? As I said, to be fair it's pretty much the only time it's necessary, but it does happen.

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Alien8n

Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.

You might be surprised just how often hitting the accelerator to get out of a situation happens. To be fair it all depends on the road, but it's not billions to one. I had a commute many years ago that pretty much guaranteed once a week having to slam my foot on the accelerator seconds after pulling out of a junction due to the pillock coming round a blind corner too fast. First time was quite scary given said pillock was in an 18 wheeler and I'd been driving less than a month at the time.

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Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Alien8n

Re: "Indispensable"...?

You can get sapient pear wood wallets? Does it come with little legs to follow you around when you leave it in the taxi?

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Alien8n

It was through afp that I got to know him personally, he was always willing to chat with his fans. I have a signed photo of him from the convention in '96 holding the Podling (aged 3 months) which he duly signed "I don't sign small children". This was an in joke as the saying went that he'd sign "anything except a blank cheque, but even that was arguable" and behind me was another fellow afper with a pen for him to sign my daughter with. My only regret in life is turning down the offer to go for a curry with him when I had the chance.

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Boffins find Earth's earliest Homo in Ethiopian hilltop

Alien8n

Have an up vote for that :)

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Alien8n
Joke

Homo Erectus

So we've found another link from early humanity to Homo Erectus. When do we find fossils of Homo Limpus?

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Alien8n

Re: "the dinosaur was holding a placard with “Ban the Bomb” written on it"

A most excellent book and actually gives an alternative scientific view of how the Discworld works. Shame he never revisited the Strata universe. Or maybe he has, with each Discworld book...

I've often wondered how much Douglas Adams influenced that book, very Magrathean in many respects.

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Alien8n

Re: The case

@dropbear it really depends on 2 things, volume and complexity. I'm not sure how many they were expecting to sell but they don't seem to be at the volume to justify that kind of expenditure. I could be wrong though as a lot does depend not only on the cost of the moulding but also the plastic being used. For the electronic components we used to encase it was a one shot deal. If there was any error in the process the whole lot was straight in the bin. But as said, we were doing over 20,000 a day and each "shot" was 60 devices, dropping 60 devices in the bin because the compound had messed up wasn't a big deal. For this case though my guess would be they'd use a basic plastic, if it messes up you just recycle it and reload (a lot of plastics for moulding are that simple, just stick it in a shredder and pop it back in the press). The finish on the final product can also be chosen to lower the costs, make it a matt finish and you can use cheaper materials for the mould.

Then there's the whole point of a kickstarter. In effect it's still a prototype, but what you're actually investing in is the research into DFM (Design For Manufacture). This is the research into the processes and materials for rapidly ramping up production. Sure you may only be making a few 100 or 1000 but the kickstarter enables you to develop the process for making 10s or even 100s of 1000s. The question for this product though is would they ever have had enough demand to warrent doing this level of work at this stage, or should they have gone generic this time and funded another kickstarter for the mark II version for researching the DFM? I'll freely admit I have no idea, but it's entirely possible they close to the point where DFM research would be required. Heck someone makes the generic cases, it shouldn't be too hard to find someone to make the new cases.

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: The case

A standard case design would make more sense for a limited run, not sure how many they were expecting to sell but the costs of machinery and moulding plates certainly aren't cheap. When I did engineering the plates alone for the circuit encasement were chrome plated and came in at the thousands of pounds. Fine when you're making 20,000 a day off each set of plates, not so good if you require 10 or 20 a day. Then there's the expertise required to maintain the equipment, setups etc. It's not a simple plug and play, each design needs calibrating to the correct temperature and pressure for injection. Research into different moulding compounds was a painful slow process, where even the outside temperature and humidity (for some insane reason they stored the moulding compound in an outside shed) affected how the compound flowed.

Tip for any injection moulding companies out there: Always store compound in an internal, climate regulated store room with a 24 hour embargo on use for first use. It stops a lot of reject devices when the shift changes...

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$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

Alien8n

Re: Gotta love Apple.

@Eddy While true that patent law was amended to require just the description of how the invention worked it was originally required to provide a working model. By the time of the invention of the telephone this had been changed. (Working models were required from 1790 to 1793).

The main problem with patents since they were first around is still one of money. Most people simply cannot afford to file a patent, so we're still down to the fact that Joe Public can have the best idea on the planet but will never see their idea make him rich unless he can find the money to patent it. And certainly in the early days there were plenty of clerks willing to not only "lose" patents for money but also to steal them wholesale on behalf of unscrupulous businesses.

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Alien8n

Re: Gotta love Apple.

@TheMole This is exactly how patents were designed to work. If you don't have a working model or process, demonstrable and deliverable to the patent office you can't patent it. I'm not saying it's fair, only that it's how it's supposed to work. In the form of code it's deliverable, but the idea of "swiping to unlock a phone" should not be patentable. The code behind it should be, but not the idea. It's how many patents work in real life as well, you can have 2 items that look identical and work the same way, but built differently so 2 separate patents. Neither infringes the other's patent but to a layperson they may seem to do so as they appear to be the same.

To take your example again and with what I said previously Elisha Gray was unable to patent his telephone as an idea, he had to have a working model, a device that physically existed. As Alexander Graham Bell beat him to the patent office he lost out. That's the fact of innovation, if you have a great idea and can't build it, or persuade someone else to build it for you, someone else will beat you to it. Doesn't matter if you had your idea 20 years previously or 20 minutes previously, the one who gets their model into the patent office first wins.

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: Gotta love Apple.

Unfortunately for Mr Fred Smith (or fortunately depending on how you view it) the way the patent system is *supposed* to work his patent would be invalid as he is unable to produce a working model. First to production should be the rule and the reason most patents are ruled invalid is due to prior art. Not always the case, famously Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone, despite Elisha Gray actually inventing it first. Credit goes to AGB though as he was first to provide a working model to the patent office. The way the patent system has been broken is in enabling the patenting of "ideas" which are then worded in such a wooly way that they cover entire areas that were never intended in the first place.

So in the case of iTunes if the patent system was working properly it should rule in their favour for this simple fact that the holders of the patent cannot show a functional product created before iTunes and that there is also prior art to show that their patent is not a new and novel invention.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Alien8n

Re: Copy/paste between OS's...

@Disko if by logging you mean timber, I know just the company. I used to support software for the timber industry, I think you'll find even that's an IT role now. Lumberjacks now carry barcode scanning PDAs which are then connected to the internet back at the main camp. This is to make sure your 100 feet of tree doesn't magically turn into 500 feet of logs...

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

Alien8n
Alien

Re: renewables

Actually when you think about it until coal and oil were discovered all fuels were renewables (with a possible "exception" of peat depending on its definition of renewable). Even the first industrialised mills were built using either wind or water power.

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Alien8n
Facepalm

Re: @Christoph

UKIP and "have a clue" do not go together in the same sentence.

Most of UKIPs members are baying idiots. Genuine quote from a prospective UKIP member standing for election this year:

"What happens when renewable energy runs out?"

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Alien8n

Re: My IT classes...

Only hacking we did at school was cutting the slots out of one side of the floppy disks to make them double sided. Not one kid at our school ever paid for the double sided disks after it was discovered that all disks were actually double sided and all you were paying for was the number of holes in the plastic casing...

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Alien8n
Facepalm

First update the syllabus

My daughter was doing IT at school until she dropped off the course to concentrate on her maths and English. She's perfectly computer literate and knows exactly how a PC works and even what's needed to build her own PC. Which is more than her teacher seems capable of doing as the coursework she was bringing home kept insisting that the CPU of the PC was the hard drive and the hard drive was where the RAM was.

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: today we are going to learn about IT

1999/2000, Open University course at Bath University. I ended up teaching half the class web design as I had more experience than the lecturer who was teaching that module.

My page was a bit more advanced than "changing colours and typefaces" though :)

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Alien8n
Alien

"Does this make them [...] unfit to govern"

Nope, the very fact that they want to govern in the first place makes them unfit to govern.

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Cannonbridge sells us a dummy – great premise, crap ending

Alien8n

Re: Could always be worse

Soul Music was pretty much a setup for "there's a guy works down the chip shop, I swear he's elvish"

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Alien8n

Re: Could always be worse

To get the most from Terry Pratchett you have to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of literature, pop culture and both current and historical events. Sometimes, like Soul Music, the entire book is a setup for the one liner at the end, in others, like Masquerade, it's a subtle parody of circumstance that takes a comedic actor to the stage of one of the biggest musicals ever produced. Always told with humour, almost always with a message. His is the Ronnie Barker of situational comedy opposed to Douglas Adams' Rick Mayall slapstick. Both immensely fun to read in their own ways.

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O2 notifies data cops 'for courtesy' ... AFTER El Reg intervenes in email phish dustup

Alien8n

Judging from some of the companies I've worked for it certainly is not a requirement to maximise profits. I recall one firm where the company's mission seemed to be to maximise the company's losses. I recall a figure of 25 million per quarter. Not helped by the purchasing attitude of "we need a laser testing machine" "how much?" "£750,000" "buy 2".

All the time I was there both machines remained in storage and were never used.

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

Alien8n

I've been hinting at this to my other half for a while, but she's adamant she doesn't want a tablet, she seems happy enough with a woefully underpowered years old laptop that she complains doesn't work fast enough. You try to help some people eh?

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Windows 10 heralds the MINECRAFT-isation of Microsoft

Alien8n

Re: Dungeons and Dragons

I was actually thinking animated characters on the table, similar to the star wars holo chess game.

It also brings in the whole idea of having a visual display on each character for things like range for weapons, distance you can reach by walking or running etc.

A friend also had the idea of using dice that contain little accelerometers in them so it automatically tells the computer what you've rolled (no more "it fell on the floor, but it was a 20, honest!")

Actually thinking about it with multiple hololenses and night vision and infra vision programmed for each character you could seriously limit some people's views, and checks for secret doors for the rogues and elves become interesting as no one else would know if they've spotted something. They don't even have to have the same map displayed, so splitting parties up becomes really simple.

Think multiplayer Baldur's Gate in AR with real dice :)

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Alien8n

Dungeons and Dragons

Can you imagine how good this would be for a DM if you could build dungeons on the fly with hololens and have the whole party looking at it projected onto the table? No more 1 p coins making up armies of goblins...

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Alien8n
Alien

Re: What's the big deal?

They also have different fingerprints. If I recall correctly even if someone was to clone you their fingerprints would still be different.

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Alien8n
Alien

It's a bought in feature, it's been around for a while for laptops. The problem for Motorola was that there is currently only one manufacturer of fingerprint sensors that will fit in a phone or tablet. Apple bought that supplier, and I don't see them selling the technology to their competitors.

In the UK there may have been a case for government intervention to block them buying the company, but in the US pretty much anything goes, especially it seems if it can stifle competition and innovation.

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Netadmin wanted for 'terrible, terrible, awful job nobody wants'

Alien8n

Re: Microwave

Funny you should say that, tomorrow involves making swivel chairs and removing a door from an office because they can't open the door once the tables go into the new office. I managed to get away without actually having to move any of the tables or filing cabinets, but do appear to be expected to make archive boxes (probably as well under the dubious assumption that the paper being archived may have been near a printer at some point)

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Alien8n

Re: Essential skill

Reminds me of 2001. We need this essential machine adding to the network. It's the only way we can remotely manage it.

Was a windows 3.1 machine using software that ONLY ran on windows 3.1

Company before that in 1999 was using a mix of Windows 3.1, 95, 98, BeOS and an AS400. Was rather worrying that as a trainee engineer I discovered that the person with the most AS400 knowledge in the company turned out to be me (after a conversation with the IT guy in charge of the data admitted he didn't know anything about the data structure)

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Alien8n

Microwave

Nope, I'm still asked questions regarding the microwave oven. Strangely it doesn't even need a plug to be considered an IT job here, small enough that if it needs a screwdriver it's considered an IT thing...

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Alien8n

Re: Thank fuck for jake!

lol, been there myself before. Made redundant from one company for them to then have to hire me back in on twice the rate to fix everything that the guy they kept then screwed up. For the sake of saving 3k a year on salaries (yeah, they just shuffled the job description in order to push me out and hire someone cheaper. Doesn't work when a required skill is Crystal Reports).

The cluster**k at another company that the contractor they replaced me with caused? I wouldn't go back to fix that even if they gave me a million.

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Alien8n

IT managers

Usually if you gain enough experience in the various roles that you become a "jack of all trades" the next step up is management. Which is pretty much where I am now except without someone to manage (apart from myself). Doesn't matter what they call my job title, IT Manager is what I'm actually doing. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to pitch for a PFY if they keep growing at this rate :)

Must admit though, the evening job has better perks. Off to an all expenses paid night out in London next week for a record label showcase :)

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MYSTERY RADIO SIGNAL picked up from BEYOND our GALAXY

Alien8n

It's almost like the entire Universe has taken one look at Earth and gone "nope!"

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Alien8n

In seriousness though

The main thing to note about this is that we do not know of anything that could produce this burst, or of anything strong enough magnetically to affect it in such a way. Wonderful thing physics, we're still learning new stuff daily :)

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Alien8n
Alien

Battlestar Galactica

"Cylon base station to Cylon attack fleet, commence attack now..."

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TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'Nauts end panic by switching computer off and on again

Alien8n

Re: Can you believe it?

"Well, percussive maintenance usually helps too."

I believe that only works in the Russian sections of the space station...

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Alien Earths are out there: Our home is not 'unique'

Alien8n
Alien

Re: What alien race would want to communicate with us?

Not round here, BT was being extremely stingy and used copper plated aluminium...

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Huawei? Apple and Samsung's worst nightmare, pal

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Consequences - just like the US

In the semiconductor industry IP theft by Chinese companies is rife. It actually got to the point where if your product was truly innovative the last place you wanted to sell it was China. You'd have sales of 10's of thousands for months and then suddenly dry up. The Chinese companies would quite blatantly admit they stopped buying them because they'd figured out how to make them themselves.

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If BT gets EE, it will trigger EU treasure hunt for fixed lines

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Quad play

If it's not Virgin it uses BT's infrastructure (1). Regardless of whose name is at the top of the bill, it's BT that you're using. Which is not a good thing, as there's no incentive to improve. Our local network is either Virgin Media or BT. And since BT decided to install the infrastructure for the entire village using copper plated aluminium that pretty much just leaves Virgin Media if you want anything faster than the slowest ADSL connection in the country.

(1) Except in extremely rare cases, such as Hull which for some reason has its own local telephone and broadband provider.

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Yes, Obama has got some things wrong on the internet. But so has the GOP

Alien8n
Alien

Re: VATMOSS

I know a few authors that sell e-books. They've pretty much unanimously decided they will no longer sell anything online in the EU due to the almighty mess of this. Doesn't help that like most laws of this type the advice given is completely different each time you ask.

"No, e-books aren't covered by VATMOSS"

"Yes, e-books are covered by VATMOSS"

And that's asking the same person at HMRC on 2 different days. It's the biggest mess ever, designed to ensure large businesses cough up their taxes and in reality putting thousands of small businesses out of business as it's actually too much hassle for them to ensure compliance.

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Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

Alien8n
Alien

I was thinking almost along the same lines, as a DM I'd love the ability to churn out an army of orcs on demand (well a few days before the game). Then there's the customisable main characters "what do you mean his main weapon is a frying pan?"

Amazing how many times the elf rogue's character was actually the halfling's model

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Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas

Alien8n

Re: A female doctor possible?

Never mind that. Whatever happened to the Doctor's "daughter"?

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Alien8n

Re: Old Clara

It's not that you can't change history, you can't change the Doctor's history. It's for this reason that River Song couldn't tell him what was in her book, in case he tried to change his own timeline.

Did anyone else think "old Clara" was supposed to be the original ending and "young Clara" was written back in after a new contract was signed sometime in Autumn?

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Not so hard

Semi-jokingly I offered to get my other half a top spec macbook pro for her birthday next year. Her only criteria is "will it play the games I want?"

Which is fine by me as the games she plays are the really cheap rubbish that come with an online subscription and will run on 10 year old tech, so no need to buy her a laptop again until she breaks the one she has. My daughter however is looking at wanting a 2k gaming laptop (she's really into her gaming and it'll mean she won't be nicking my pc once I get the Occulus Rift and flight joystick for it, not to mention the new MB, graphics, RAM... who am I kidding, I'll be building a whole new PC :) )

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: Even when people ask your opinion they make their own decisions

Depends on the mods. No way the other half's laptop could handle Minecraft (vanilla or otherwise) and the PC only just copes now it's got 8Gb of RAM in it.

When looking at modding check the spec required for Resonant Rise 3 and Sphax. Ideally you're looking at 16Gb of RAM if you want to run the server on the same machine as the game (at least 4Gb for each, possible on 8Gb but not recommended, my server regularly errors out due to lack of RAM now they've ditched Cauldron)

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