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* Posts by MacroRodent

671 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

MacroRodent
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time for MS to

...improve their ODF support. It is currently quite lame. A level playing field in file formats, finally. Must be quite a new experience for them.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

MacroRodent
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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

"It's analogous to having an array of filtered microphones feeding into a DSP."

I don't think so. Each of those microphones would be sending a filtered version of the sound, whereas the nerve cells fire more frequently when their frequencies are heard, and these firings do not resemble any version of the sound waves. (Disclaimer: I'm not an ear expert, but a tinnitus problem made me read at one time more closely about how the ear works. Tinnitus is (or at least some forms of it are) caused by some of these sensor cells getting activated for no reason. Like a stuck pixel in an LCD. That is why one hears a whining sound at a certain fixed frequency, or frequencies).

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MacroRodent
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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

The ear does do local processing. It does not send the raw waveform to the brain. Instead you have sensor cells arranged in the cochlea that get excited by different frequencies, and the brain gets the result of this frequency analysis.

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Use Tor or 'extremist' Tails Linux? Congrats, you're on an NSA list

MacroRodent
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Re: And if I actually USE Linux..........

"on my Linux box I know what every single process in pstree is doing and why it is there."

Ever heard of Linux rootkits? The first thing they do is ensure their processes don't show up in ps.

I suspect that if the NSA is really after you, it does not help very much if you use Linux.

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Spanish struggle to control spelling of 'WhatsApp'

MacroRodent
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Re: Gender of the internet???

There is no spoon.

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Google adds 'data protection' WARNING to Euro search results

MacroRodent
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Redirection

stats provided by Google that appeared to show that fewer than five per cent of all searches by EEA netizens were performed on the google.com domain.

Quite possible, because they by default redirect according to your location. If I type "www.google.com" to the address bar, I find myself at "www.google.fi", the Finnish version. Probably something similar happens in other countries. ("www.google.fi" does have the "use google.com" link, but I guess most people do not use it).

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Microsoft is still touting Android smartphones – meet the new Nokia X2

MacroRodent
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Microsoft the Linux vendor

Remember the time when Microsoft used to call open source a cancer?

Now they are shipping a product with Linux inside...

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Microsoft tests HALF-INCH second screen to spur workplace play

MacroRodent
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About the most pointless idea I have heard of for a long time

A separate little standalone display (no matter how cute) is precisely what my cluttered desk does not need! Besides, everyone these days has a smartphone (or two) that can do what Picco is supposed to do, if someone writes an applet for exchanging the doodles. It probably could be done even with a HTML5 web page.

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Zombie patents raid TI's wallet for $US3 million

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Chutzpah

"Other companies to have been sued by the company, over this and other patents, include Brother, Canon, Xerox"

Xerox? You know, the company where Ethernet was invented!

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Apple SOLDERS memory into new 'budget' iMac

MacroRodent
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Re: How many people ACTUALLY upgrade ram???

"The ability to upgrade computer hardware should be protected by law."

Amen, brother. In the same vein, the ability to boot another OS should also be legally protected. Really part of the same issue, since keeping old hardware viable may require it, if the original OS becomes unsupported (vide Windows XP).

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British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

MacroRodent
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Snowing in Helsinki today

Make of it what you will, but it is not common.

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World first: ANIMATED GIF of Mercurian SUN ZOOM from MARS

MacroRodent
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Wonder when is the next transit of Earth?

On Mars, one should occasionally see our own planet transit the Sun. It would be nice if Curiosity could film it. But maybe they occur only every few centuries?

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No spinning rust here: Supermicro's cold data fridge is FROZEN

MacroRodent
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Re: DVD? ( I have mixed views)

"The beauty of photographic substrate archiving is that if you can keep the plastic stable..."

Unfortunately not just the plastic, there are several ways the image data itself (consisting of silver, or dyes in the case of colour images) can degrade with time. A really serious archival material (one with lifespan measured in thousands of years) should probably work by punching holes or at least clear pits or squigly grooves into an inert metal, such as gold, and cannot use too high information density or complex encoding. There is one example: the disk sent with the Voyager space probes.

(Gold may not be the best choice for terrestrial use, since it might get melted for its intrinsic value during the new Dark Ages, before science arises again).

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MacroRodent
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DVD? ( Re: I have mixed views)

One would assume DVD-R, stored properly would be a good format: because of its popularity, drives capable of reading it should be around for a very long time.

One web page I read recommended making 3 copies on blank media from 3 different manufacturers, just in case. One is kept at hand, the other two go into your long-term storage vault.

By the way, I wonder about the wisdom of storing non-spinning hard drives. After a long inactivity, don't they develop "sticktion" that prevents them from spinning up?

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Evidence of ancient WORLD SMASHER planet Theia - FOUND ON MOON

MacroRodent
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Back and forth

I have this collection of essays on science by the late paleontologist Björn Kurtén, published around 30 years ago, where he uses the idea that the moon was born out of a collision as an example of a plausible scientific theory that was disproved by evidence. I guess that was the prevailing view around 1980, but at some point the collision theory came back in favour...

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Supreme Court nixes idea of 'indirect' patent infringement

MacroRodent
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Re: Interesting ruling, but

In your example, I would say the ruling would not be a big problem for the drug company. The alternative would still be clearly inferior (more complex and risky to use), so few patients would take it instead of the official medicine. Certainly no doctor mindful of his reputation would prescribe it.

Remember that even though the patent on the original Aspirin has expired ages ago, the brand.name Aspirin still sells at a premium compared to generic versions (or at least it does where I live).

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

MacroRodent
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Re: Swift looks...

"It would be a very easy language to port it over to a real computer platform like Windows."

And risk getting hounded by Apple lawyers? No thanks. I will stick to languages that are not proprietary and owned by litigious corporations. There are still plenty of good choices.

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That Snowden chap was SPOT ON says China

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Ah, the smell of propaganda in the morning

Reminds me of the good old Cold War days, just replace "online spying" with "human rights". The Soviet Union used to counter damning Western human rights reports with reports of its own, usually featuring oppressed trade unions.

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Pirate Party runs aground in European Parliamentary elections

MacroRodent
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Re: You can't be more wrong about that

In that case, changing the name of the party might be a good idea.

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MacroRodent
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no recent copyright outrages

I guess the reason is there has not recently been so mane high-profile cases of the entertainment industry imposing outrageous DRM, or sueing a little girl with a few pirates songs on her laptop... The pirate issue has faded.

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ET hunter: We will find SPACE ALIENS in 20 years

MacroRodent
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Re: Seems unlikely...

"where are all the Tech Billionaires and Russian Oligarchs when you need them?"

Shopping for a new luxury yacht, or the 21th addition to their collection of sports cars they never actually drive.

With rare exceptions, the hyper-rich tend to spend their wealth in depressingly stupid and tasteless ways.

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MacroRodent
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Alien

Re: I've heard that before...

"and with the way technology is going, we'll have no need for powerful broadcast radio within the next 100 years. "

I actually sent a similar objection to Seth Shostak a via mail around 10 years ago, in response to some web article of his. He answered that while the normal radio traffic of advanced civilizations will use techniques that makes it hard to detect, they will also send hailing signals meant to be heard over interstellar distances.

I think this is a bit too optimistic. Why would a civilization keep broadcasting its existence "in the clear", given that it might actually be risky to do so? (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_Star, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker_%28Saberhagen%29). Maybe that is why SETI has picked up nothing... and never will.

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OpenStreetMap declared ready for paid use after satnav app debut

MacroRodent
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Re: OSM better than...

OpenStreetMap also seems to be developing pretty fast. Another of my test spots (Analipsi, Lasithi prefecture, Crete) was quite sparse in OSM a year or two ago. But this discussion inspired me visit it again and someone seems to have been quite busy there.

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MacroRodent
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Crowdsourcing

"Google crowd-sources map data too, in a sense. I've personally submitted a correction, ..."

Ditto Nokia's "Here". Although I have yet to see my correction taken into consideration. It has become my test case for map updating: Many maps have (or used to have) a short alley marked at the end of the street where I live, but it does not actually exist (probably it was planned at some point, so it appears in some fashion in official city mapping data). I got it removed from "OpenStreetMap". "Google" shows it with dotted outline and name, apparently still thinking it might come into existence. "Here" shows it solidly, despite my fixing request.

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NASA agonizes over plan for Mars rock sample return mission

MacroRodent
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Re: Something's Wrong

"maybe the answer is that it all makes the Sahara look teaming with life and Mars was only ever a dead rock"

That we know already. Any spot on Earth is more hospitable to life than any spot on Mars (with the possible exception of the crater of an erupting volcano).

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Space Station in CRISIS: Furious Russia threatens to BAN US from ISS

MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: Space Race?

"The more fun thing is, the US GPS constellation is aging, with no replacement plans in sight."

That makes the creation of the European Galileo system, long seen as wasteful me-too project, seem quite rational. Who cares about GPS if future devices manage to use also the European, Russian and Chinese navigation satellites.

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Scientists warn of FOUR-FOOT sea level rise from GLACIER melt

MacroRodent
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Re: This has always happened

In those cases, the reason is that the land has sunk locally, not that the sea level has risen. This can happen for various reasons like earthquakes, or subsidence of land.

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MacroRodent
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Re: A

That news was about sea ice, that comes and goes every year. The glacier is land ice that is gone for good when it has "collapsed".

Phil Plait's "Bad Astronomy" blog has a good writeup here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/05/12/global_warming_antarctic_glacier_collapse_may_now_be_inevitable.html

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Slow IPv6 adoption is a GOOD THING as IETF plans privacy boost

MacroRodent
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Re: What IPV6 really needs

I don't think you need NAT to implement a firewall. Your firewall can still shoot down those incoming connection request packets you want shot down, even if it does not do address translation.

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OUCH... right in the Androids! Google hit by another antitrust sueball

MacroRodent
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Big Brother

Bing Bong

"Except of course that it is the best search engine... and even though Bing has made vast improvements, you can't really say Google achieved its position by not being clearly better,"

Exactly. The only Bing searches I make happen because in my Windows phone (like in all of them), hitting the search button starts Bing and often I am too lazy to start the Google app instead (which I do have), or go to the Google web page.

But of course it is not anti-competetive if WP very strongly steers users towards Bing... what with its pitiful market share.

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Nokia, new CEO Rajeev Suri, and BEELLIONS of euros burning a hole in the bank

MacroRodent
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Dividents

"It's using this cash pile – which is bolstered by the €5.4bn it finally received from Redmond – to hand out €3bn in dividends to shareholders,"

The plans are to pay the divident at the beginning of July. This coincidentally is the month most Finns take their summer vacation, so the Finnish shareholders (like me) get a nice boost to the holiday budget.

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MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: What next? How about fixing IE?

That fortunately is not Nokia's problem.

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Reg probe bombshell: How we HACKED mobile voicemail without a PIN

MacroRodent
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I guess depends on the carrier in Europe as well

My provider (Elisa, in Finland) has always required the PIN, which I consider the only sane method, because just because it is my phone does not mean it is me using it.

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Minecraft players can now download Denmark – all of it – in 1:1 scale

MacroRodent
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Headmaster

Baltic?

I have always understood the term "Baltic country" to refer only to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Besides, Denmark has coastline both on the Baltic and the Atlantic. "Nordic country" would be a more appropriate term.

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Space station astronauts pop outside to replace crippled computer

MacroRodent
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Re: It looks suspiciously like an AE-35 unit

I have always wondered why the AE35 had to be in a location reachable only by a spacewalk, except that the plot of the "2001" required it. But what plot point requires that ISS computer to be outside?

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OpenSSL bug hunt: Find NEXT Heartbleed, earn $$$ – if enough people donate cash

MacroRodent
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Re: Open Source Funding...

I don't think it's actually possible to put any lower value than 'free' on the contributions most people make to open source projects.

Actually, these days the most important open-source projects have paid developers working on them, paid either by corporations that use the code, or by some non-profit. OpenSSL seems to be an exception for high-profile project. This needs to change.

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Lost your credit card PIN? No worries! Get a new one - over SMS

MacroRodent
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SMS is retained

"Infobip argues that while the final leg of SMS isn’t completely secure, it’s at least as secure as printing a secure envelope and trusting it to the postal system.""

The difference is the post office cannot feasibly open each envelope and scan the contents (at least it does not do so in most countries). But your full SMS text actually may sit at the SMS server of your phone company for a long time, possibly months or years. This happens even without any special "lawful interception" feature being enabled. It's just part of the normal logs.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS

MacroRodent
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Re: iSuppli estimates

The same is true in any hardware company. The details of parts supplier deals are always deep secrets, because both the competitors and competing suppliers could take advantage of them.

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Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

NO technology yet (Re: Makes sense)

Except the technology to get there exists now, so it isn't going to provide the boost it did in the past because there are no problems that need solving.

Technology for a very expensive moon picnic exists (or used to exist), but not for an extended stay, which would have its own set of unsolved problems: radiation shielding, dealing with moondust, recycling air and water for an extended time, surviving the cold lunar night, etc.etc.

Plenty of challenges remain.

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Not just websites hit by OpenSSL's Heartbleed – PCs, phones and more under threat

MacroRodent
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Re: The real bug

>This bug is the sort of mistake beginners make

And experienced people as well, occasionally! I have seen bugs of similar stupidity level made by long-timers (me included). Sometimes in code that has been in use for years.

There is no room for any holier-than-thou attitudes in programming. Anyone can goof up, therefore processes must be in place to to catch and limit the damage.

What I want to emphasize is this starts at making sane specs that avoid unnecessary complexity (like the redundant length field).

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MacroRodent
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Facepalm

The real bug

is having two length fields in the heartbeat packet that inevitably got out of sync! The potential for bugs like this is one reason why you should not duplicate information needlessly. The spec was bad.

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The gift of Grace: COBOL's odyssey from Vietnam to the Square Mile

MacroRodent
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Mel (Re: Real Programmers *and* Mythical Man Month?)

That Story of Mel link did not work (at least for me). I think the canonical reference is to the one inside the Jargon File: http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/story-of-mel.html

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Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed

MacroRodent
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Re: remote management?

I wonder how often the remote management is on by default in these devices? The ADSL+WLAN router I bough several years ago had it disabled, and after some thinking I left it that way, not seeing any good reasons to enable it, just lots of risks. But I could imagine some manufacturers having a different policy, in which case those devices are probably pwned by now.

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

MacroRodent
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Re: I assume ...

>Second, doesn't UDF have a big memory overhead?

I haven't heard of it having any worse memory requirements than other non-ancient file systems. Surely larger than FAT, but that is also true of exFAT (which does not have much to do with the old FAT file system, apart from the name). UDF comes in several variants to handle non-overwritable media, but flash cards and USB drives would only need one, the simplest read/write variant.

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MacroRodent
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Re: I assume ...

>There's nothing stopping anyone doing a decent ext4 file system driver for Windows,

It probably is doable (although not so simple: there is a quite a bit of impedance mismatch between how Linux and Windows handle files, like how protections are handled, and the case sensitivity issue).

>and it could become something that everyone just knows they have to install.

This is where it falls down. Unless you can somehow automate it totally (like getting the driver quickly installed the first time an ext4-formatted SD card is plugged in), most users will not bother with cards requiring such tricks.

A little-known fact is that the UDF file system could in principle be used on other media than DVD:s as a read-write file system, and many operating systems already support it, Windows included. So trying to get flash card vendors to use that would be a better plan.

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Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest

MacroRodent
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Thumb Up

Re: " toughest substance in the known universe"

You neatly described how I also see the Lego evolution. My son has around 1000x times the number of Lego parts I had at his 8 years of age (yeah we Finns have got richer...), but it is harder to use them for own designs, since most come from different disintegrated StarWars, Space Police, Kingdoms etc. etc. sets with too many special types of parts. Even if you find more than 2 of the same shape, they are of different colour... The old limited palette reduced this problem.

I still have my box of various old school Legos, but left intentionally at my parents house. It is delightful to see what happens when the modern kids (my son and his cousins) get their hands on these mostly generic parts that do not carry any message about what you should build from them. The only specialty is the old Lego railway system with the discrete rail and tie parts. But even there the isolated rails can act in other designs as rods etc. It is really sad it has been discontinued.

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Chinese patent app tries to own Wine on ARM

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

So they try to patent a port of an existing program!

Unfortunately, given how patent offices work (not just in U.S) the possibilities of this going through are good. For a software guy, if you know how to program X once, then making X in execute in a loop, or making X a parametrised subroutine, or making X work on a different hardware platform are obvious stuff. But patent offices have issued bad software patents for these variations of a known operation.

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Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

MacroRodent
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Re: Next time...

Probably this generation of "internet natives" does not even realize it is possible to transfer data with other methods than the Net! (or think the only other alternative is owls, quil and parchment, as in Harry Potter).

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

MacroRodent
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Serious industrial spies will have no trouble getting hold of a binary blob to analyze, even if its redistribution is restricted (spies by definition do not obey the rules). Such redistribution restrictions hamper only honest users.

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MacroRodent
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Re: But then we'd need hardware standards

>Basically, you wanna ban trade secrets.

Not at all. Just keep them on the other side of the programming interface. If the trade secret can be seen from the firmware code, it is no trade secret at all, because those with serious financial interest in getting the secrets can get the binary blob disassembled and analyzed. The only people hampered by the binary blob are those who honestly want to program the device.

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