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* Posts by Ogi

86 posts • joined 13 Nov 2009

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SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...

Ogi
Headmaster

Not sure if facetious .... but AFAIK no, it is not illegal.

Based on what reading of outer space treaties I've done, non-nuclear weaponry is a-ok in space. So yeah, it might not make you particularly popular on the ISS, nor would it be of much use without ammo, but yes, you legally could do it (assuming you had the authority to make that decision).

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Does this float your boat? Dead Steve Jobs to hijack yachts from BEYOND THE GRAVE

Ogi

Even Tesla developed a remote control boat.

Tesla patented it in 1898: https://www.google.com/patents/US613809 so we have 100+ years of remote control (boat, or otherwise) patents.

Ok, so the interface would have been non-touchscreen, but it was an interface, sending commands wirelessly, to a boat, which would then respond to commands and move about. Apart from a flashy touch-UI, a lot more power, and encoding differences, what is the difference in the basic premise?

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Drones swarm over bearded Brit billionaire's island getaway

Ogi

Re: Oh suuuuuure, it STARTS with pretty pictures....

Hmm, in my case, it was the police drones from Dark Angel that came to mind first.

Still, first they are toys, then they will be police survellience, and then they will have the option to be law-enforcers, and armed (probably with less-lethal stuff to begin with, who knows for how long).

It is pretty much how military drones evolved over the last 20 years. From toys/target practice, to survellience, to the predetor and other armed drones.

The way things are going, in future we may see people hacking together some sort of small, basic surface-air-missle to take out drones that are bugging them.

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Ferraris, Zondas and ... er, a bike with a 500hp V10 under the saddle

Ogi

Re: Lamborghini Zagato 5-95 based on a Gallardo LP570-4.

One of the most impressive things I've seen recently in boat engines is this guy. who is building a rotary beast out of mazda engine parts:

http://www.12rotor.com/

Something about a rotary engine that is awesome, it is like the evolutionary missing link between a piston engine and a jet turbine. This one has 12 rotors, and supposedly a single engine will generate 5400HP when finished (in highest state of tune).

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Anonymous wifi the latest casualty of Russia net neurosis

Ogi

Re: What about forriners?

I find this post a little ironic. As it turns out, in diplomatic circles there has been some rumblings that it might not have been the Russians/rebels who shot down the aircraft after all, but the Ukranians (whether it was the army, or one of the government/oligarch backed militias/private armies, I don't know).

The media has also toned down the Russia bashing, and switched to saying things like "shot down using Russian-supplied missles", which is a meaningless sentence, because both sides use Russian supplied weapons.

So, who is the one living in the mind-control matrix? Us, or the Russians? At least the Russians went through the whole propaganda thing, so they are always sceptical at news/media reports, and never trust them, nor take them at face value. They hardly ever think they are true. However westerners are more likely to blindly trust their news, which is a far more dangerous thing IMO.

Food for thought :)

(I'm not Russian, btw before any accuses me of it, and have no horse in the race, except a desire not to see WWIII erupt and an interest in geopolitics )

Also, I know of no free business based wifi where I don't have to key in my phone number. Also, when I got a contract phone, they needed to take my passport and scan it to tie it to my account. It would be trivial to tie me to some wifi in starbucks by that alone, not to mention all the CCTV about.

So the Russians are at least up front about something that is commonly done here behind the scenes. In many ways they are catching up to the surveillence used in the west, rather than overtaking them into some sort of police-state scenario.

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Ogi

Re: Yippee....

Additionally, nobody says you have to use Corn for Ethanol production.

The only reason we even have this as an issue is because in the US, the corn business lobbied the government to stipulate that BioEthanol has to be made from corn (which is actually rather lousy as a fuel. The acreage to gallon of fuel is poor), and it competes with a food crop that is used for human consumption.

Outside the US, the rest of the world is not crazy, and uses plants more suited for fuel production.

Using weeds and grasses would be better. Brazil has been producing sugar cane BioEthanol since the 70's, without causing mass hunger.

Unfortunately, people conclude that ethanol fuel is a dead end, because they see Corn-based ethanol in the US (and all its downsides), and think that it is the only/best way to produce it, when the reality is completely opposite.

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All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke

Ogi
Happy

Re: Some clarification

> I consider my 'Y' gene to be the turbo on my 'X' gene engine.

> It makes things go a lot faster, but can be unreliable and prone to blowing up if overused.

And as time goes on, I suspect more and more, that part of the Y chromosome codes for "the ability to make a car analogy out of anything".

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Home lab operators: Ditch your servers ... now!

Ogi

I virtualised a while ago...

I used to have about 20 machines in my "server cupboard". 2 rackmounts (main server/router/firewall, and file server), and about 18 laptops, my old thinkpads, and compaq's and HPs that friends/family gave me after they upgraded. Mostly Pentium II/III/M.

However the noise and power consumption was quite high, especially as I noticed that they spent most of their life idle. Plus I had no way of doing remote admin with them (i.e. if they lock up/no-ssh, I can't get to the console withought being physically there).

Once I had to move to a new flat, I took it all apart, and never put it back together.

Instead I wired up the two rackmounts, put a 6 core AMD with 8GB in the file server, and virtualised the lot of them, using QEMU and some scripts for image creation/startup/etc... Much better, all the VM's run as good, if not better, than the laptops they replaced. Also, each console is available as a VNC server, so I can remote in to the console if they go down for some reason.

So now the only thing I have to physically administer is the file server and router/firewall, and get a UPS for the two. Unless you really need physical hardware (or you have the space that my tinny flat doesn't), virtualising your home lab is highly recommended.

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Ogi

As a 2010 Graduate...

... I found the secret was to actually take initiative. For example, before I went to uni, I took up volunteer jobs managing IT for charities in my area. I worked for free, they got free IT management. If I messed up they were far more tolerant than most business, additionally as I didn't cost them anything to begin with and usually the altenative for them was just to muddle along without help anyway.

Once I honed my skills enough, I formed my own company, and applied for contract jobs at small firms (using my charity work as a reference on my CV), essentially coming in if there is a problem, in addition to one/two times a week to keep their systems ticking over. I worked like this for 4 years, and it paid for my University (being from a low-income background, my parents could not afford to send me to uni).

Before I graduated, the business shut down (I had disagreements with my business partner), so when I graduated, I went looking for a full time salaried job, which I had no trouble finding.

Essentially, I graduated while having 5 years experience in the industry, and when I applied for a job, this put me above others, far more than what final mark I got at uni (it really wasn't an impressive one).

Turns out, that companies liked the fact that I did contract work, ran a company, and generally seeked out work. From their point in view it meant that I had shown the ability to manage resources, network, interact with others, and get a job done well enough to have repeat business, which was worth more to them than the degree itself. Since then, I've had no shortage of job offers, and enough work to keep me busy for a very long time.

As such that is what I recommend to people nowadays. Don't sit around waiting for work to arrive to you, but seek out work and build experience. A lot of (under)graduates hate the idea of working for free, but if you can find a charity that you want to help, it would be a good way of getting experience. Ditto on starting a company, even as a sole trader, it will teach you about client relationships, resource/time management, planning and execution, all things a potential employer would like to see, and an excellent way of standing out of the crowd of all your graduate peers (and if you do a stellar job, and your company takes off, you won't actually have to worry about finding a job at all :-) )

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Netflix, YouTube video killed the BitTorrent star? Duo gobble web traffic

Ogi

What about hiding bittorrent traffic...

I mean, due to said sue-happiness of the RIAA and ilk, a lot of time and effort was spent making bittorrent look like HTTP, HTTPS, or just plain encrypted packets. Are the statistics really showing a drop off of bittorrent, or just that it is hiding in other traffic?

Also, I would assume that the total bandwidth consumption is increasing. So it could be that bittorrent has not gone down in real terms, perhaps even grown, but that bandwidth usage as a whole is increasing faster, making it a relative shrinkage.

Also, maybe it just shows that bittorrent is more efficient then repeatedly sending the same bits to everyone, every time they want to watch something?

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Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Eco, economy and diesel power

Ogi

It also isn't ugly!

Sorry, but IMO the vast majority of electric/hybrid cars really look ugly (and I include the prius in that). Some of them seem to be designed maximaly for the "look at me, I'm green!" impression. Others look like plastic toys. It all makes it look somewhat gimmicky.

It is refreshing to see a car that, well, looks like a car. Apart from the badges, you would not be able to tell what the car is from the outside. And it looks pretty nice as well.

If I were interested in electric/hybrids, and had money to burn, this would be the first I would actually consider buying.

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

Ogi

Re: The thing about DRM...

Indeed that is true, but even if we assume that they somehow magically make 100% hack-proof DRM with Trusted module/path/execution, it can still be defeated by a determined individual (or group of individuals).

Even if it meant they had to sit there and manually screen scrape the whole thing. The fact is that at some point in time the system will have to show the content to the user. And you only have to do this once, then the content can be distributed far and wide by the usual methods with no degredation of quality.

DRM fails because it tries to deny access to the end user, while at the same time having to allow access to the end user. At some point in the line, it will be interceptable (unless they start embedding TPM modules in our brains to disable our audio/video senses if there is any unauthorised content around).

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Ogi

The thing about DRM...

The problem is, no matter how hard they make it to copy the output, you only need one person to succeed and then it gets shared the world over.

They are fighting a losing battle. Even if they made it totally impossible to access the bitstream, in the worst case someone can screen scrape frame by frame, reassmble into a movie file, and share it. The others will just download it.

Funnily enough, I think that the harder they make the DRM to crack, the higher quality rips will be available. When everyone can click a button and rip a DVD, you get all sorts of rips, with varying audio/video quality/distortion, audio/video out of sync, etc...

If it becomes really hard, then only those with the skills to do it will be able to release anything, and those people will probably also have a clue when it comes to normalising the audio correctly, and otherwise making sure everything works as intended. We'll get fewer rips of a movie/TV Series, but possibly better quality overall.

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BMW offers in-car streaming music for cross-Europe road trips

Ogi

Not a bad idea, but not for me.

I never actually bothered hooking up the radio antenna in my car, everything is streamed from my phone to the AUX IN.

It is quite nice, especially when I tour Europe. However Why would I get this, when there are cheaper options.

With the exception of non-EU countries (like when I went through Swizerland) roaming costs are capped by the EU. As such my T-mobile roaming bill was insignificant, and I could stream throughout the road trip with no issues (well, signal issues around the mountains, but that is a different problem).

Another alternative is to buy a local SIM card. Pre-pay ones that include internet can be got, and some require no info from you apart from your name, while others will ask for ID to prove you are a EU citizen, but then you can top up and roam locally.

However this:

* is limited to one car (I can take my phone out, stick earphones in and stream from the beach),

* you can't change provider (what if Vodafone decides this isn't worth it, and cans the service?)

* What happens when you sell the car on?

* Will this always be available, or will it say, stop working after 5-10 years (like those old mobile phones that came built in as optional extras during the 90's, which are now paperweights in second hand cars).

* You can't transfer it to another car (unless it is also a BMW)

* What happens if a new format comes out, or a new streaming service, will there be upgrades? Will they be free?

If you really wanted to go this route, it would make more sense to make it as a standard DIN head unit, which you can then stick a SIM card in, and it will use the data connection to stream whatever you want.

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Half of youngsters would swap PRIVACY for... cheaper insurance

Ogi

Re: Anyone who still believes that insurance drops at 25 is hopelessly deluded

It is very odd, like Brenda said (and I mentioned before in this thread), if you try something crazy, you can end up with lower premiums.

I too managed to insure a ~200HP RWD sports car as soon as I got my licence. It was £350 a year, which for a male in the 18-24 bracket who just got his licence, was amazing. I repeated to the insurance company 3 times to make sure they understood my age and the fact I just got my licence. They said it was all ok.

The car proved so cheap to run that I still have it, the higher fuel consumption is offset by the lower cost of insurance, tax and everything else really.

Only catch is that I don't earn a "no-claims bonus" , but the insurance is so much cheaper that I don't care, and I don't have to worry about losing it if something happens.

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Ogi

Re: Understandable

Heh, and it is actually cheaper to insure a 30 year old car for a 18 year old, than any other car (due to qualifying for classic car insurance).

This is how I managed to insure my first car after getting my licence. It was the only car I could afford insurance on, and it was so cheap, that years later, I still drive the car to this day (I've pretty much gone off buying non classic cars, everything is more expensive on new cars, including maintenance, repairs, and taxes).

It's also a lot more fun to drive than modern cars, and entails a certain respect for driving. You feel everything through the car, and not having any computers to help you (or airbags) really instills prudence and thinking carefully before you do anything rash.

Personally, I think driving the car made me a better driver, and think everyone should do it at some point in order to grasp the fundemantals of driving, but that is just my opinion really.

Oh, and since I bought it, it has more than doubled in value, which is a nice change from the usual depreciation you get when you buy a car :)

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'He's F**KED with the wrong nerd ... I warned I'd go public'

Ogi

Re: Perhaps not quite so hypocritical

That is ignoring the fact that, from what I remember reading about Google maps when it first came out. The "highest" zoom level were pictures taken from aircraft flying above (which is why you don't get this zoom level everywhere, some countries disallowed it).

The difference was that it wasn't a drone, so I guess there must have been some license paid for the right to this, and Google probably paid a lot for this data.

If I were to make a guess, I think Eric is worried that if anybody can launch a drone up and take photos as good as Google maps, all the money they spend on the data would be useless (Imagine openstreetmap with such photos).

Still, it could just be because he is a complete hypocrite, or both. Who knows. Still... not amused.

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Nvidia, Continuum team up to sling Python at GPU coprocessors

Ogi
Happy

Re: Noise

It could well be due to that, and you got an upvote from me for the chuckes :)

I know quite a lot of "22 year old using Python on Pails and Javascript in Jails tweeting every commit" people, and boy do they annoy me. I see them more as fad chasers than actual programmers. I remember a few years ago they were banging on about Ruby.

I will admit though, I have been a Python programmer since the early 2000's, and I do love the language. The whitespace thing is odd, but it's not the end of the world for me. Especially as I find development so fast and easy in it.

I personally have been using pyCUDA, which provides pretty good integration, minus the fact that the actual CUDA GPU code must be written in C, so I guess this is the natural progression of the technology.

You can even use the languge for FPGA programming (using myhdl), and when I have some free time I will see how that works.

Fanboyism aside, it does seem like a very flexible and useful language, which also retains easy redability (especially when multiple people work on a codebase).

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World+Dog don't care about climate change, never have done

Ogi

Re: That's USA, right?

@Mad Mike

Well, you can use any biomatter. Quite why would anyone grow food and burn it makes no sense to me. More likely to make use of non-edible leftovers, weeds, refuse, etc... that is not needed for feeding.

Not to mention, from what I heard about the EU, a huge amount of perfectly edible food is thrown away every day due to over supply. Things like the CAP keep EU farmers producing with a subsidy. What usually happens is either:

a) The good goes to waste, literally, they just let it rot, or

b) they dump it on the market, which in the past got them in trouble because they were driving farmers in the developing world bankrupt, and causing these countries to require food aid.

c) they don't farm the land at all. Essentially they a paid to keep the land fallow.

We don't have a problem feeding people, we generate more food that the entire human population needs. It is more about distributing the food, and the difference in production per sq/m in Europe and say, Africa.

Quite frankly, if we got all these extra European farmers producing crops for fuel instead of food, we may well stabalise the food supply, rather than having this unstable supply/dumping/etc... and also not have to pay people to not work.

Oh, and the food prices have little to do with food supply, more to do with speculators hoarding food on the commodity markets to make a fast buck.

Some of the research in biofuel now is in using algae, rather than plant matter. Nothing is insurmountable with this technology at the moment. All that it needs is refinement, and research into scaling it, which is more of engineering challange.

Also, the UK government has removed fuel duty for the first 2500 litres of biofuel you produce yourself for personal consumption, so unless you need more than 200 litres of fuel a month, you could in theory do this and get very cheap fuel (assuming they have not changed anything).

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Ogi

Re: That's USA, right?

There are alternatives to petrol/diesel.

Biobutanol is pretty much a total replacement for petrol, no need for engine modification. Ethanol needs modification to the engine/fuel system/fuel lines/ECU for cars that are not designed as "flexfuel".

Biodiesel works in old diesel engines, it needs a bit of refinement for use in modern direct injection diesels, but is not an insurmountable issue.

We have all the alternatives to synthesise fuel for transport (in fact, over a century ago, before fossil derived petrol/diesel, this is what cars/engines ran on).

The only reason we do not use them is because synthesis would cost more than the current prices of fuel. I seem to remember someone calculating that petrol would have to hit £1.20 a litre in order to make butanol a worthwhile alternative (note, that is £1.20 a litre of actual fuel cost, not including the crazy 70%+ tax we pay).

I do also know that biobutanol is coming online for small scale testing refineries in Europe, so people are planning for the future, and working on it.

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Ten 3D printers for this year's modellers

Ogi
Happy

"Postulate: 3D printers are to techies as designer shoes are to women"

I sure have a use for a 3D printer, and it is on my list as soon as my savings account has enough money (probably go with a reprap, but might go with a commercial offering, we will see).

For me, the biggest benefit is to make small/medium plastic parts, either because I want to fix something, or change it. Things that pop right into my mind are:

* small cases for electronics projects (I can get away with beige boxes, but not the best finish)

* Custom parts for case mods (e.g. I need a hard disk caddy for my current case, and so far have been unable to make a decent one that lasts. Currently using some glued together acylic).

* Custom car parts. My car is a classic, my choice of plastic parts are usually from scrapyards, and the plastic is brittle after so many years. Otherwise I can pay an extortionate amount to the car manufacturer for some "new old stock", if they even have it anymore. The ability to print my own will be a godsend.

* I also like (astro)photgraphy, and being able to manufacture my own custom lens mounts, interconnects, filter mounts, tubes, etc... would be nice.

If I had a backyard I would have a foundry, and then use the lost wax casting technique to make my own aluminum parts as well.

When I see 3D printers, I see so much opportunity, it just fires my imagination, they are as far away as the possible to the concept of "designer shoes" to me. I have a lot of practical ideas for one :)

(if this home manufacturing trend continues, then they future may well be more awesome than I expected)

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Satnav-murdering Google slips its Maps into car dashboards

Ogi

Re: wtf?

Indeed, I feel the same. Not to mention there is one crucial difference. With a phone, If I really want to not be tracked, I can pull out the battery, or just leave it at home. Neither of those options are possible with the car (I mean, I can leave it at home, but that defeats the point of having the car in the first place).

And if the EU in its infinate wisdom decides to legally mandate this in cars (not sure if it is actually law yet), I suspect tampering/removing it will be illegal to boot.

And am I the only one disliking the idea of being forced to have to pay for a cellular contract for the car?

The more I see the general direction of the automotive sector, the happier I am with a 30 year old car. They are actively making new cars less desirable to me, and unless they ban old cars one day, I don't plan on buying (I guess if they manage to indirectly force me to not have a car, they win on the eco front anyway, so a win-win for them).

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O2 joins pocket hotspot party

Ogi

May I ask what the point of these things are?

As I have never seen a need for them. My phone can do the same as this thing, without limits on hosts (and it has other features). Most people have an Android phone (which can work as a hotspot with the right free app). I presume the iphone guys have a similar feature.

If you want to use them as a broadband replacement, it seems both slower and more expensive per GB.

If you want to use them on the move with your laptop/etc, then why not use your phone? You already have one, chances are that if it is a smartphone it will support hotspots. Why carry an extra item about? Along with the additional contract.

Not putting down those that do use these, I just am trying to figure out what benefit it has over the above. I must be missing something...

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Microsoft: MED-V won't help you escape WinXP end-of-life

Ogi

Re: Time to move to reactOS I wonder...

If they suceed in getting compatiability of reactOS up, then you don't need to rewrite IE6, you could just rip it out of an old windows install and run it as is. That is the benefit. I doubt wine (for example) will ever support activeX, as while it has API compatability, the OS-specific bits in IE6/ActiveX will never mesh with the linux system (at would be a massive job to do).

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Ogi

Re: Or Wine on Linux?

I agree, the reason I went with ReactOS is because I had hardware with windows drivers. Linux only has NDIS for networking, and getting windows drivers working in Linux is near impossible. Far easier to make use of an OS that allows use of windows drivers by design :)

Wine and reactOS complement each other, rather than compete. I believe they co-operate on the API/userspace area already.

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Ogi

Time to move to reactOS I wonder...

I have been looking at reactOS (http://www.reactos.org/en/index.html), basically an open source version of windows, for some legacy software/hardware. So far some apps works on it, some don't, so it is a bit hit and miss, but the project is reaching a point where it is usable for some things.

Perhaps going with them is better than trying to fight MS with clinging on desperately to windows XP?

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Mobile device enslavement a plague on British workers' health

Ogi

Re: six to seven hour days?

Indeed! My minimum daily rate (as specified in my contract) is 9 hours a day (does not include on-call/weekend work, for which I am not paid overtime)! The other places I worked in had 8 hours minimum. Which job gives you less hours of work per day than that?

Unless I'm mistaken a 7hr day is from 9am to 4pm! I'd love a job like that! Even if it meant I had to spend an extra hour or 2 on my laptop at home.

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Reborn UK internet super-snooper charter to be unveiled today

Ogi

Re: So where are we heading?

Hey, At least they would have solved the unemployment problem! They would need to hire people to monitor people!

If unemployment hits 50% they can hire one half of the population to monitor the other half. Imagine, your very own personal monitor! They can follow you around all the time!

</sarcasm, I hope...>

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Ogi
Black Helicopters

As I presume mine has been for upvoting his comment... I am now an accomplice to incitement!

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'You don't have to take Prozac to work at Capita - but it helps'

Ogi

Re: What has changed?

Well, I presume outsourcing is the biggest thing really. Both the "old kind" of outsourcing your DC, etc... e.g. just leasing managed dedicated servers (possibly in another country) and cloud computing.

A few years ago I worked for SME's, and in each and every case I was eventually laid off when they shifted off the servers to the cloud (mostly Amazon's EC2). Most companies that are not core IT companies don't want the hassle of DC/server management. SME's first made the jump, and likewise once they contracted out that side of the business, had little use for the low-end IT jobs.

I presume now that as the cloud has begun to be seen as more legitimate, you have bigger and bigger firms considering it, with corresponding loss of the need for low-level IT staff.

Not that these jobs have vanished, the cloud/managed-DC guys still need people to work on the servers/racks/etc... however:

a) you get economies of scale, they need fewer IT jobs per machine managed

b) the jobs may well no longer be in the country, the DC may well be somewhere else, so the jobs essentially moved overseas.

I don't know about Capita in particular (I have no access to their internals), but I've seen it happen.

I did my job and wrote the tools to transition to EC2 for my company, then they laid me off. Same at the next company. At that point I saw the writing on the wall, and just contracted myself out (for far higher an hourly rate than I got before) to transition firms to the cloud, with the tools I've written and the experience I had doing it so far ( I didn't agree with the idea, I felt that losing their IT people and just being managers with developers in India would be a failure, but its their funeral, they were pushing for it).

Then I moved on, now I work for a large company, essentially as a sysadmin for their private cloud. IT is a constantly changing area, much faster than most others, so you just have to keep on your toes. That is the only way I can think of to keep up and keep your job from being outsourced...

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'Zombie bullets' fly off US shelves after wave of undead attacks

Ogi

Re: Mmmm, Hollow Point Zombie Bullets..... The cure to "Bath Salt" zombies everywhere.

Heh, looks like it has been done: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_gun

(I'm stuck on the tube, at least there is signal...)

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Ogi

Re: Mmmm, Hollow Point Zombie Bullets..... The cure to "Bath Salt" zombies everywhere.

Surely if you want accuracy with slugs you'd want a rifled barrel in the shotgun? I don't know if they make them, or if it helps with slugs, but as a thought experiement (as you nicely put it).

All the shotguns I've used are smoothbore, but I'm sure someone somewhere tried to rifle one (CBA to google it now, on way back from work).

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Spy under your car bonnet 'worth billions by 2016'

Ogi

Re: already installed one

That's different though, because you did it and you own it, data included. You are still in control.

A government one would probably have rules against tampering/modifying, would be illegal to switch off and/or remove, you would not be able to decide when you want it to track you, and the data it collects would be owned by the government, to do as it wishes with (including selling it on to insurance,etc...)

I don't think many people are against tracking/telematics as a technology, more that they are weary of government application of said technology, especially once they get their foot in the door, they can later on extend it as they wish, including (potentially) dictating what the car does.

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Ubuntu will hit the big time on Amazon: Here's how

Ogi

Re: What does Ubuntu offer?

Out of curiosity? what problems did you have with virtualising Debian? I ask because we settled on virtualising all our old Debian servers (running on a Debian qemu/kvm host) and have not had a single problem with them. I've even moved to virtualising all my old servers (broken laptops mostly) into one single server at home, all worked flawlessly :).

Virtualised some Ubuntu as well, and it was also painless.

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Ogi

What does Ubuntu offer? What is its unique selling point they can make money from?

The article nicely points out how Red Hat makes its money, and also says that Ubuntu will not do it that way.

So... how can Ubuntu make money? If they start charging for using the OS, surely places like Amazon etc... will just switch to another free OS, like Debian? That would require very little infra changes (e.g. I've switched between them many times). Does Ubuntu offer anything in particular that would prevent people just dumping it if they start charging?

It's all well and good saying Ubuntu should start making money from the cloud deployments, but I don't see how they can do it, unless they write some sort of proprietary Ubuntu-only extensions/software geared towards cloud management, then perhaps. However I don't see that happening either.

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Sony stock slides to 30-year low after record loss

Ogi

I think 1 or 2 can happen, but not 3. If the worst comes to the worst they'd get bought out eventually. As witnessed by the number of fanboys, Sony brand name still has a lot of monetary value. They also hold patents and have some good technologies (e.g. Cell processor). They earn good money in non-consumer space in specialist areas (supercomputers, embedded systems, DSP processing, etc...)

The question is will the stock go up or down before 1 and 2 apply? I honestly cannot say. Depends on how much of a loss you're willing to take, and how confident you are in judging the firms potential for future performance! :)

Good luck! (Alas, I'm not allowed to invest, so I just get to watch)

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Ogi

Re: Point of order

I meant it in scope of them offering it running on PC's. At that point the only place you could get an ATRAC encoder was inside the hardware (although I assume somewhere in the deepest darkest depths, they had a software implementation used for those mastered minidiscs, which probably ran on PC's). It would also make sense that after 20+ years of development, Sony would continue to use ATRAC internally, as it is theirs. If they used mp3 they would have to pay for a licence + royalties. Lame is only allowed for research purposes (officially).

ATRAC was a very good codec, one of the nicest things about it is that you its quality was encoder led. This means that improvements in encoder quality didn't break old decoders. A music file encoded with ATRAC3 (For example) actually sounded better on an ATRAC1 decoder than an ATRAC1 encode would.

Plus it was energy efficient. My old minidisc player gave me 40 hours of playback from 1 AA battery (60+ hours if I used the internal battery as well). It took a long while until mp3 players caught up with that, and they didn't have the whole issue power draw from the rotating assembly (HD-based ones excepted).

It had a lot of potential like I said, it was Sony's control-freakery and paranoia about piracy that ruined their chances.

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Ogi

Re: ATRAC

And they already had it :) (After all, it was used in the Minidisc's already). It was their deployment of it that really messed everything up. If they made it as flexible as mp3 (multiple software encoders, published specs, etc...) they may have had some running against mp3 initially. It was for the time a very good lossy compression format, alas they didn't share, mp3 got refined (specifically thanks to the lame guys) and beat it out in quality in the end.

Instead I remember people hacking out libraries from realmedia encoder (as realplayer apparently used atrac for its audio streaming) and using those to (de|en)code atrac files on PC's. This worked ok, but without the keys needed to digitally encrypt the files prior to transfer to the minidisc (the net-MD concept they finally allowed after mp3 players had already taken off, too little too late really) it still pretty useless. The big advantage is that you could add your ATRAC files directly and have the software not transcode it for you (slowly).

My point is that Sony had some excellent hardware ideas, it was the execution from the management perspective that messed things up. I think that minidisc could have dominated had they made it as flexible as CD (or hell, they allowed people to "burn" Minidiscs on their PC), but they were so petrified of piracy, they crippled it fatally. People had to record from CD in "real time", and not surprisingly, when the first companies started the mp3-cd concept, the ability to quickly burn multiple albums on your PC to CD blew away Sony's chances.

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Ogi

Re: Stop Shafting Your Customers

Corrected the title for you.

Sony has royally shafted all their customers. Back in 1992 when minidisc came out, it could have taken the world by storm. Smaller than a tape, CD-quality sound (good enough anyway), can't scratch the disk as it in a case, recordable, even in the field!

By all intents and purposes it should have taken over from both tape and CD, but noo, Sony had to cripple it with proprietary lockouts, and even go so far to split the format in "Minidisc-data" and "minidisk-audio", and go so far as to prevent people making computer drives that could write minidisk-audio (nobody bothered with minidisc-data as a consequence).

talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Sony could have owned the media market pre-mp3 (and then had the clout to sustain and perhaps embrace the mp3 revolution). Instead the blew their leg off and continued to stagger on until the late 90's.

Once again, mp3's came out, rather than embrace them they made their own lossy format (Atrac), but once again cripped it with DRM and you had to use only their windows software (sonicstage was it?) which was a POS like no other (you had to check songs in and out, and if you checked it out 3 times, that was it, you can't listen to it anymore). Buggy as hell.

So now Sony blew their other leg off, and finally adopted mp3 (long after Apple and others had left them in the dust). Panicking now, they had the wonderful idea of rootkitting your PC if you stuck a Sony CD in there, for god forbid you wanted to rip it to an mp3! They ballsed the mp3 revolution up, so now have to stop you from doing it.

Great! So now they blew an arm off as well, another arm went with the otherOS and PS3, and well.. quite frankly they've run out of limbs.

I stopped with the minidiscs, and since the rootkit fiasco refused to pay Sony (and its sister companies) a cent. Forget about the shock of their share price plummeting, I'm amazed they survived this long. I assume it was momentum they built up from a time in the 80's when they built damn good quality hifi and electrical equipment... because most smaller firms would have collapsed years ago from this level of mismanagement and micromanaged freakery.

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Sega squirts urinal game console onto shop shelves

Ogi

Re: WTF???

It's Japan, remember! http://news.3yen.com/wp-content/images/japan-crazy-shit-350x.png

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Intel bakes palm-sized Core i5 NUC to rival Raspberry Pi

Ogi

Re: different beasts

That's pretty cool! You could get a gun's eye view :D Does the boat actually fire? (I presume the combat bit actually involves actually firing stuff at each other?). You could have some fun implementing a ballistic calculator into it, perhaps with range estimation :)

I have so many ideas for the pi, primarily because I can risk it in environments and experiments where the magic smoke/water damage is more likely. Places where I'd never dare stick an expensive PC.

Good luck with your project, sounds awesome :)

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Ogi

Re: different beasts

What he said! If anything this is more akin to Via's Nano-itx (at 12cmx12cm) than the rasberry pi.

The main selling point of the pi is that it is so cheap, cheap enough that you could take risks with it that you would not want to do with something costing 10x as much. Basically I see it as an experimental computer (something between a fully fledged PC and micro-controllers), something you can use to teach yourself, or stick it in difficult environments without risking a lot of money.

The Intel does not compete with it, they are in different leagues completely.

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Microsoft squashes Hotmail password hijack bug

Ogi
Linux

Re: So what about those of us that got locked out?

Wow that sucks... thankfully I don't really use the account anymore (the account was from 2002, so already quite old), I kept it around for the history.

Thankfully I moved away from relying on MS a long long time ago, so this doesn't affect me much, but it must really suck for those who actually use it. Perhaps this will finally push the rest of my friends off MS :)

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Ogi
Meh

So what about those of us that got locked out?

I got locked out of my own hotmail account a few months ago, and many many attempts to get MS to reset the password were fruitless.

They kept telling me that it was my fault for having a weak password, that there was nothing wrong with their security, that someone must have seen me type it in, etc....

Plus they didn't want to reset it because I did not know the new secret word/sentence that the attacker set.

After loads of hassle I gave up (I only really had the account for historic reasons and msn, due to some people still using it), but for those who still used MS for their main account must have had a lot of problems.

So now that it turns out it was a bug, will MS finally start agreeing to reset accounts? Ideally an apology would be nice as well, but I don't think that will happen.

I wonder how long this bug has been known about... I used to remember people telling me about their hotmail getting hacked (even years ago, before gmail for example), but never knew how it was done.

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PLANET-SWAP shock: Stars grabbed dirtballs from other clusters

Ogi

Re: How did they spot two worlds orbiting each other without a star?

So basically we got lucky :)

Thanks for the explanation! It does seem obvious in hindsight, lol!

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Ogi
WTF?

How did they spot two worlds orbiting each other without a star?

Forgive my ignorance, but I was under the impression that our telescopes are not powerful enough to see exoplanets on their own. They can only spot them when they pass across their star, or by the effects the planets have on their star (e.g. gravitational).

So we only observe the stars directly, and infer the planets from the star, so how do you spot planets when there is no star to observe and infer from?

Any astroboffins in the ranks who can enlighten me?

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'Attitudes to robot sex will change'

Ogi

Re: What could possibly go wrong?

Actually.. the religious nuts will probably continue to do sex the old fashioned way, especially if this is seen as "unnatural, impure, etc...". What may happen is that birthrates will fall for those who use these bots (especially if they form long term childless bonds with them), while the religious ones will continue to breed, resulting in a demographic shift towards the faithful.

How that would affect society in the future, I guess we'll see :)

Not my cup of tea personally, the thing I love most about the girls I dated is that they are their own people, with opinions, thoughts and feelings, rather than a robotic equivalent to a sycophant, but whatever tickles your tackle. Each to his own, etc....

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The Hardware Hacker's Guide to Home Automation

Ogi

Re: *still* not there

Ah sorry about that, I had a look at the rear of the 2400 ES from your link, and you're in luck! You have both a rs232 and a sirius control port.

Now the rs232 will depend on the encoding Sony use, but if they raise any pins high you should be able to get +10V when the Amp turns on. Easiest to test each pin with a multimeter with the amp on, find one that has a signal, turn off the amp and see if it drops. If it does, then you're good to go! :)

If you're not using the "Sirius" control port (mini-din on the top left), that could be perfect. The SiriusConnect port has a pin it raises high when the amp is on (known as the "Power enable" pin). It is so that you can turn on/off the Sirius receiver with the amp.

According to the pinouts I found here: http://www.pbase.com/mrubin/image/93526001/original.jpg (sorry, I can't use tiny.cc, etc... as I'm at work, and they are blocked) pin 2 is the "Power enable" pin.

If you feel you're competent enough with electronics, give it a try. It is probably easier than guessing with the rs232 port.

So actually, modern Sony HT equipment has more options than my old stuff, lucky you! :) I can see a few other ports to try, but that is going into proper hacking territory. Better to try the above low hanging fruit first. Good luck! :)

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Ogi

Re: *still* not there

Does it have an "AC outlet" something like this (to the right):

http://cdn.sulitstatic.com/images/2011/1015/081935750_0818089459e58fc5bd266b4f5d10f9ea742c3e810325d844e.jpg

My one had an "AC out", but it was a proprietary connector (some odd cross between US and Euro sockets, I presume you needed a "Sony adapter" cable to do it properly).

It was a solid state relay rated at 110V (US I presume). You cannot feed your 220V stuff directly, but you can stick 12V down one pin, and it will activate the relay (and complete the circuit), so you can drive another 240V relay if you want.

I had all sorts of Sony AV equipment, and the AC thing was very much a home theater feature (so you could turn on all your gear with one remote). I'd be very surprised if they actually removed this from new models....

What model do you have?

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Ogi
Happy

Re: *still* not there

I had the same problem, but mine was rather trivial to solve, my Rotel pre-amp had a "remote out" which would put 5V out when I turn it on with the remote. I just ran a wire to a relay along the same route as the sub-woofer cables. Now when I turn on the preamp with the remote, it turns on the power amps and the sub-woofer.

Check if your AMP has a remote out equivalent, so far most Audio equipment I've owned has had it in some form or another (Rotel, Marantz, Technics and Sony). There is a tendency to have them with incompatible connectors/pins and voltages (to prevent you mixing separates I guess), but a bit of Googling you can find out the specs, and in some cases schematics for interfacing between them.

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