* Posts by Ogi

103 posts • joined 13 Nov 2009

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Chaos reigns as Coms plc CEO tries (fails) to stage boardroom coup

Ogi

Re: They took over my broadband provider

I am an ex-ADSL24 customer. After Coms bought them out it all went to pot. For months the broadband was pitifully slow (we are talking slower than a 56k modem), had constant drop outs, and 2 major outages as well. Fat good it did having an unlimited broadband package when you could never actually use the broadband.

Every time they put the blame on me/my equipment, despite said equipment working for ages with ADSL24 with no problems. Honestly, Coms were as bad as talktalk/sky, from the support perspective. I got the feeling they wanted to get rid of me, based on their behaviour.

Finally moved over to Andrews&Arnold, who are miles better than anyone else I've had (although getting used to the 100Gb cap is proving tricky). Coms still send me demands for payment for services despite me cancelling them months ago, presumably there is a disconnect between accounting and their broadband/telephone guys.

Still, I too am unsurprised that they are losing money, they sure are not going to get anyone to willingly pay them, based on my experience of their behaviour

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Revenge porn kingpin Hunter Moore pleads guilty to basically being a total cyber-scumbag

Ogi

Wait... so they procured hacked email photos?

So girlfriend sends nudie pics to boyfriend, these guys break into Gmail account, pilfer said pics, and post them on a "revenge porn" site. A site that touted that all their pics/etc... were authentic girls uploaded by their ex'es as revenge for cheating/being dumped/etc...

If I read this correctly, you could have women accusing their boyfriends of posting their private pics on a revenge porn site. As (in theory) apart from the creator, only one other person had them.

How many relationships did these two tits ruin I wonder? How many people did they cause emotional distress to? What a despicable act to be involved in. Cunts...

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Jaguar F-Type: A beautiful British thoroughbred

Ogi

Re: Do they do a version for people who can drive, or is it exclusively for the xbox generation?

Yes, Jaguar made it clear they will be providing a Manual option:

http://www.carthrottle.com/post/its-official-the-jaguar-ftype-is-getting-a-manual-box/

If I ever have the money (I can dream), I'll get one of these. I love the look, and the main reason I never considered a XK8/R was the lack of manual option.

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Ogi

Re: Charles Stross suggests that neighbors are ISIS-like and abhorrent

Well, seeing as what we call "nuclear waste" is in fact nuclear fuel that we couldn't burn in the reactor (hint, if it is radioactive, it still has energy in it) it is perfectly plausible that our nuclear waste to be usable in fuel in more advanced nuclear reactors.

The technology exists already, from what I remember, only the US (of nations that have the technological capability) does not reprocess spent fuel, but rather just dumps it into long term storage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor#Fuel_efficiency_and_Types_of_Nuclear_Waste has some info on reactors which can make use of nuclear waste to generate more heat.

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China and Russia start again with this UN internet takeover bull****

Ogi

Re: New "internet"

You're welcome :)

Well, like how the internet was before, the phrase "seek and ye shall find" comes into play. If you dig hard enough, you will find all sorts of scum and villainy, there, or on another free network, or even on the internet.

Part of freedom is the fact that it is free for everyone, even those you disapprove/dislike.

On the other hand, you are in control, you don't have to interact with the wider I2P people for example, you can set up a few nodes, and exchange between friends, sort of like your own private bubble within I2P. Just like you can avoid/block certain IPs on the internet.

Also, as more and more people use it, the %age of the network that is nasty will go down. The "scum and villainy" tend to be early adopters of new secure tech, but they are a minority in the world after all.

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Ogi

Re: New "internet"

Well, they are. The best I've seen so far is I2P. It is essentially an encrypted overlay over the internet (sort of like a global VPN) upon which you can implement servers. They already have servers for IM/file sharing and web. Unlike Tor it is fully encrypted throughout (with public keys), and is not connected to the rest of the internet, nor is it supposed to be (although I'm sure you can make a gateway to do so).

The wiki page explains it better than I can: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I2P

Or look at their official page if you want to get involved: https://geti2p.net/

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National Lottery sleeps through Sunday

Ogi
Happy

Re: Bets are

yeah "accidentally". Not like the sysadmin just won the jackpot and will not longer have to go back the next day to babysit old decrepit machines, eh? :-)

( I know which machine I would do it to in the DC, if I ever won a million )

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Can't afford a BMW or Roller? Just HACK its doors open!

Ogi

One of the "benefits" pro-connected car people...

.... would harp on about during my debates with them about the (imo) stupidity of filling cars chock full of electronics and wireless/keyless entry, is that yes, hackers can break into them, but how many petty criminals are also top-notch computer security guys?

I keep pointing out that while that is true, the petty crims don't need to be hackers. Just need one to work out how to break into a car, and then sell a little dongle (or I'd imagine in these modern times, a mobile app) that does the magic. Just like the problem with piracy, the moment somebody somewhere gets in, it can be distributed high and wide really fast and with little cost, and every dumb tit who can run an app can break into a car.

For a non-connected car, your petty crim has to have some knowledge of breaking in (That doesn't involve triggering the alarm by smashing the window). And their skill varies. Some are good, others just smash and grab. Either way, it usually involves them looking suspicious next to a car for about 5 minutes, and drawing attention to themselves. Far more suspicious than if somebody runs an app near the car, unlocks it, and then just walks in like they own it.

Apart from the population of el Reg, most people haven't quite cottoned on to the situation it seems. Maybe like a previous poster said, Insrance companies should hike premiums for these cars, in order to send a message.

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Is is a Bird? Is it a Plane? NO! LOOK OUT it's an ASTEROID!

Ogi

0300 EST eh?

So, 2000 GMT?

While I would imagine that the UK weather will do what it does best, at least thanks to the net we can now observe it somewhere where you can actually see without the clouds, smog and light pollution.

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Snowden doc leak 'confirms' China stole F-35 data

Ogi

Re: Let the Chinese have the data for our own good

And that it was the Serbs, not the Bosnians, who shot it down:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_F-117_Nighthawk#Combat_loss

Although I remember there being a rumour that a B2 was hit as well, but was able to fly back for repairs.

The F117 was shot down by a S-125 SAM, not exactly hot new technology.

Apparently US stealth planes were designed to be invisible in only a narrow band of radiation, most used by modern radar systems. Old WWII/Cold war radars used lower frequencies, which were less accurate, but could see the planes no problem.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Ogi

Re: Die Gedanken sind frei…

<quote>they would gladly sell us air if they could work out a way of doing it.</quote>

Don't stop holding your breath just yet. Take a look at carbon credits. They don't sell you the air you breathe in, but they will charge you for the CO2 you expel out ;)

</joke, for the moment at least. Human expelling co2 is not part the carbon charge, but who knows what the future holds. They just need to get their foot in the door first...>

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IsoHunt releases roll-your-own Pirate Bay

Ogi

Re: Mmmm.... mole~!

https://www.tribler.org/ seems to be heading in the direction you want. From the site:

"Tribler is the first client which continuously improves upon the aging BitTorrent protocol from 2001 and addresses its flaws. We expanded it with, amongst others, streaming from magnet links, keyword search for content, channels and reputation-management. All these features are implemented in a completely distributed manner, not relying on any centralized component. Still, Tribler manages to remain fully backwards compatible with BitTorrent."

So, like the P2P of old (Gnutella/eDonkey/etc...), but with bittorrent underneith. Apparently it also uses its own Tor-like service for anonymity.

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BONK for CASH in Brixton and help us EAT the RICH

Ogi

Another alt-currency?

What, did Bitcoin become too mainstream for them?

If you are going to go the route of currencies that are not state backed, why go with one that is run by a single company, and who can control how much currency is in circulation by twiddling some numbers?

Even if they wanted to limit the area to just Brixton, you could tag Bitcoins and only accept coins with the tag, or start their own block chain and create an alt-currency.

This setup just seems real fishy to me.

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Sneaky Russian hackers slurped $15 MILLION from banks

Ogi

Re: "setting up remote control of the network by changing its hardware parameters"

Perhaps they get somebody on the inside to plant backdoors? It could mean anything from breaking in to install custom hardware that gives them access (e.g. reverse SSH) , to bribing a janitor to plug in a wifi AP somewhere in the building.

Still, I'm not sure you can class anyone as an "IT specialist" if they get so badly owned that the miscreants can watch them on their own webcams. Sysadmins especially should be security conscious, and all the ones I know (myself included) have paranoid tendencies.

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Not sure what RFID is? Can't hack? You can STILL be a card fraudster with this Android app

Ogi

I remember this from round 2005 or so

There was a guy who made a microcontroller based mifare read/writer, which could emulate the oyster cards used on London transport. In addition to reading and writing the contents on the oyster card, he could clone the cards of others then use those accounts for travel.

He never released the code and specs of what he did, but I remember there being a bit of a rukus a couple of years later about a large number of fraudulent oyster top-ups popping up, with TFL making changes to the system (Oyster is Mifare classic, from what I remember).

Presumably now they don't store the balance on the card, but some sort of ID which is linked to a central account. Still possible to clone them, but not to just issue "free" top ups.

It was deemed too expensive to rip out every single Oyster-enabled device and replace with a newer system, so I suspect that the above loophole is still viable, for those with the time and inclination for it.

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MYSTERY Russian satellite: ORBITAL WEAPON? Sat GOBBLER? What?

Ogi

Re: or...

Or perhaps, its purpose is to distract the world with a shiny, randomly moving object, while the real military satellite goes off somewhere else quietly?

Something that people have considered is the case for the USA's "secret" spaceplane as well. Real secrets are not so easily made public, discovered and tracked.

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Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too

Ogi

> Notice who is missing?

The people who pay for the service? What, you thought they were the customers? The customers are the advertising agencies. I believe the term for those who stump up the money are "consumers", a word I despise personally.

Man as I age, I get more and more cynical...

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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...

0
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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).

1
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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.

4
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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?

4
1

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.

0
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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!

5
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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...

1
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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...)

1
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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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