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* Posts by MacroRodent

704 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

MacroRodent
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Joke

Tan from Dolby?

So does it have an UV channel? IR channel?

Actually, having more colour channels could be a real improvement for simulating reality. Imagine the screen showing a scene in Sahara and actually feeling the heat...

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Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

MacroRodent
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The real agenda

Google search is popular because it still is the best. I occasionally start Bing because it is activated by the search key of my WP7 phone, but very often it does not find stuff that Google finds, or the results are less relevant.. And other search engines like "DuckDuckGo" are usually "meta searches" that ride on Google's back, and would be nothing without it.

Perhaps this is precisely the reason for the News Corp complaint: If search engines are crippled, they and other publishers can act as gatekeepers of information, just like in the good old days.

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Hawking: Higgs boson in a BIG particle punisher could DESTROY UNIVERSE

MacroRodent
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Hmm,

If some particle collision can trigger such an intergalactic doomsday, then it should already have happened, since the universe contains objects like black holes, supernovas, magnetars etc that spout more energetic particle beams than we can ever hope to generate. So I'm not worried.

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Snowden shouldn't be extradited to US if he testifies about NSA spying, says Swiss gov

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

Re: direct flight

>And Russia could retaliate by banning that country's airlines from flying over Russia.

It is rumoured that could happen any day anyway for EU countries, as a counter-sanction.

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Before I Go To Sleep turns out tense enough to keep you awake ...

MacroRodent
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tired plot device

"you’ll realise that the whole thing is one of those situations that depends on certain key individuals not saying anything about things you’d kind of expect them to talk about"

Sounds like the "Harry Potter" films then, where most of the messes could have been avoided if Harry, Dumbledore and others hadn't been so fond of keeping secrets.

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Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy

MacroRodent
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Re: Bang on

The people gawking at their screens all the time are not going to be too interested: a watch is too small. Hasn't Ive noticed the phones have been getting larger rather than smaller, to allow for a decent screen. A traditional watch has a different task, it just shows one piece of information so its "screen" can be small.

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What could possibly go wrong? Banks could provide ID assurance for Gov.UK – report

MacroRodent
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Re: Meh

" Not being able to access the government's website using your bank login details is correctly known as a 'minor inconvenience'."

Well, it could mean queuing for hours at an actual office that has cut the staff to a minimum because everyone of course uses the internet service.

This is also a matter of principle. Private companies should not be allowed to act as gatekeepers to governement services.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Meh

Yes, it works, but the downside has been that the Finnish banks (being commerical operations) are very reluctant to provide net banking credentials to people with credit problems, who nevertheless have a need to access governement services like everyone else (or even more). This turns it into a human rights issue.

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Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

MacroRodent
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Re: Some valid points ...

"different high-entropy strings for each website and just store the password in your browser"

Who in this day and age uses the new from just one device? Granted, some browsers have "cloud sync" features, but that opens its own can of worms...

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MacroRodent
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SOME password strength validation still useful

I mean, if you don't stop people from using reportedly common choices like "123456", "password" or "qwerty" as their password, even the online attacks have a good change of success. But I agree torturing people with rules like "must contain uppercase, lowercase, numbers and punctuation" should be stopped.

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Is that a 64-bit ARM Warrior in your pocket? No, it's MIPS64

MacroRodent
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Re: RISC, not IRONIC

"And while code density is less of an issue now than ten years ago, [...]"

I recall compiling some programs for MIPS and some other CPU:s back in the 1990's, and the MIPS exes usually turned out to be around twice as large as the i386 or VAX ones. But this was not a big deal even back then.

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MacroRodent
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Boffin

RISC, not IRONIC

From article: "Ironically, MIPS and the new ARMv8-a (PDF) instruction sets are conveniently similar: for instance, they both have a fixed register that always contains a zero value, they both have tons of general purpose registers, each instruction is the same width, the program counter is not directly accessible, and so on."

I don't see anything ironic here. These are the features that actually distinguished RISC processors from CISC in the first place. Every real RISC architecture implements at least some of these, especially the fixed-width instruction format and the large number of general-purpose registers.

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SHARE 'N' SINK: OneDrive corrupting Office 2013 files

MacroRodent
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Windows

Re: lol, "tight integration."

"The question is, why is the OS messing with the data at all?"

Indeed. I always thought OneDrive is just a bit store when used via the syncing feature, but Microsoft seems to have "added value" to it. I use OneDrive (hence the icon) but approach it with Windows7 and LibreOffice, and have not seen any corruption so far.

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Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality

MacroRodent
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the bug

Wonder what it was that time? Probably not feet vs metres confusion, like in the missed NASA Mars probe, since both the ESA and Russia are thoroughly metric.

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Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store

MacroRodent
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On a phone, the Interface formerly known as Metro works pretty well. A small touch screen operated by fumbling fingers is a low-resolution input device, so the "Fisher-Price" approach is actually sensible... But it is indeed mysterious why Microsoft thought it would make sense on a desktop.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

MacroRodent
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Re: So what is wrong with...

What's wrong with EDLIN? Well, if I remember correctly, EDLIN could deal only with one 64k block of text at a time. To handle a larger file, you had to manually switch between the blocks. One reason why in the MS-DOS era, I always installed MicroEmacs to any new PC I encountered. At one time had a personally customized version of it that fixed some irritants in the original (possible since it came as C source).

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MacroRodent
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Get a distractionless wp

I recall once seeing a review of some "distractionless" word processors. The idea is that the word processor offers just one text window with minimal decorations and other distractions, meant for writers that want to fully concentrate on the text.

Too bad I cannot right now remember where I saw it. (Thought it was lwn.net but nothing turned up when searching there).

None of them were household names, which is not surprising since their users are a rather specialized group. I think the idea has merit.

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TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

Re: I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

What gets my BS detectors going about emDrive is that the proposed machine is so simple that replicating the results should be feasible even by fairly modest laboratory equipment, and it shouldn't cost much. Get a tunable microwawe source, then do some metal bending. So why don't we get a flood of success reports?

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Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE

MacroRodent
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Re: Scanning Photodisk

"Full frame camera with a macro lens. It won't be cheap."

Yes, something like that. Or just any kind of digital camera that can take macro shots. The disk negatives probably have less than 5mpx worth of image information. The negative is just 11x8 mm. Too bad my current Canon compact camera (SX230HS) cannot focus that close.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Flash

"Most people are too thick to know how to turn off the flash...."

Reminds me... back in the 1980's Kodak tried to push disk-format film camera: A cartridge held tiny negatives arranged around a wheel. At some point I bough one at a flea market out of curiosity, and exposed a few disks. The camera was rather stylish (not unlike in appearance to some compact digital cameras decades later, in fact I suspect it would be mistaken for one today), but clearly it was meant for "too thick" people; There was absolutely nothing to adjust. And getting to the point: The camera had a built-in flash that always fired. No way to turn it off! The flash and other functions of the camera (automatic exposure and film transport) were powered by a battery that was not user-replaceable, and did not need any replacing at least during the time I used the camera.

(The image quality was rather grainy, because the negatives are about the size of a Super-8 film frame. Now I'm wondering how to best scan them... My flat-bed scanner does not have enough resolution, and there is no way to crunch the disk into the film scanner.)

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MacroRodent
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Re: Other phones are available

It's not just Kate. I have noticed many other people seem to use iPhone as a synonym for a smartphone, or indeed any mobile phone. Oh well, sign of the times. I remember when "Nokia" was misused the same way.

(Wish I could be there).

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Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests

MacroRodent
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Not surprising

An app inside a container is essentially native: Same CPU, same kernel for all containers. There is just a more isolation between the processes compared to the case without containers. So if most benchmarks did not run at native speed, there would be something seriously wrong with the container implementation.

I find the container approach way more sane than virtualization, unless you really need to run different operating systems on the same machine.

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Google's ANDROID CRUSHING smartphone rivals underfoot

MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: Today, smart phones and tablets........

>"Linux is the OS of tomorrow."

> And it always will be.

Actually, as you wrote that you absolutely certainly used directly or indirectly one or more devices with the Linux kernel in it. Note that includes all Android phones, most consumer routers, a good chunk of telecom network elements, servers, smart TV:s, and so on and on...

Linux _is_ the OS of today, it has just arrived in a way that most consumers have not noticed. Resistance is futile...

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Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

MacroRodent
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(there's some odd effects that can do this)?

Yes, actually. Uneven pressure from sunlight. This was mentioned some time ago when an asteroid was observed to break apart because it started spinning too fast. There was an ElReg article about it which I'm too lazy to dig up now. Hopefully the same thing will happen to this one, before we need to bomb it.

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MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Blow up a nuke but _not_ on the asteroid

Trying to blow it up is of course silly, but some a-bombs nearby could be used to deflect it without breaking. The idea would be to use the blast of heat to ablate material from the rubble pile so that the reaction nudges it from an Earth-hitting orbit to a missing one. Probably better use several smaller bombs to make the operation "gentle".

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Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'

MacroRodent
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Holmes

Re: I'm more impressed

By the fact that the phone logged the light was turned on and off and for investigators went into the phone and found that information.

I wonder why on earth would the phone log things like that? Just because it can? Some developer has not thought through all the consequences.

The low volume is just in case you have to explain why you didn't answer an incoming call.

My explanation for not answering is usually that the battery was flat and I left the phone hooked to the charger.... but I suspect that this event too would be logged in iPhone (I have a Lumia instead - I wonder how many details that one logs).

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Microsoft: Just what the world needs – a $25 Nokia dumbphone

MacroRodent
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Re: If it can execute J2M...

there probably still is more J2M Software out there than software written for Windows Phone.

Not so sure about that these days. In any case the Windows Phone software is likely to be more useful and usable: less limiting environment. So it is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison.

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MacroRodent
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Not cheap enough

Here in Finland (generally an expensive country), shops frequently advertise bottom-end Nokia or Samsung dumphones for around 25 € (and no carrier locking). Now if the price for the new Nokia had been below 10 €, that would have been interesting, and could really have created new classes of customers.

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

MacroRodent
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animal legal rights

In medieval Times, humans sometimes did take animals to court. Even more amazing is that the animal sometimes won the case!. (Naturally with the help of a lawyer). But I suspect a modern court would throw the maqaque and his lawyer out.

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Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD

MacroRodent
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Re: Simpler Solution?

Probably because in other respects, Linux fits the needs of Facebook better. Not being Facebook, I cannot say why. Linux has wider hardware support, but that probably is a non-issue for a company that buys servers by the boatload, and therefore could specify devices that work well with FreeBSD. Perhaps their software has developed dependencies on the details of Linux.

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Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS

MacroRodent
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Re: Legacy only

Perhaps you did not notice the "now" in my the trouble is it is too different from the mainstream now. Yes, I am old enough to remember when VMS was mainstream. In fact I had some experience of using and programming on it (and TOPS-20) before I first encountered UNIX. At the time the features in VMS were not unusual, other minicomputer operating systems had similar style. But now OS'es have converged on somewhat "unixy" solutions, so it is VMS that is the odd man out. And this makes supporting it alongside other systems a pain.

Some examples of what I mean include the baroque file name syntax "drive:[dir1.dir2]filename.ext;version" (with some users preferring <> instead of [] delimiters so you must be prepared for either), and file types, so for example text files are commonly represented in several ways and the C library did not completely hide the distinction (try fwriting or seeking a variable-length record text file). Lots of pitfalls that have wasted my time over the years. Yes, I do know VMS pretty well, and that is why I don't like it!

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MacroRodent
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Legacy only

This is good news for those saddled with legacy VMS systems, but others should steer clear. VMS is a solid system but the trouble is it is too different from the mainstream now, so it is a lot of extra work if you want code that runs on it and also on Windows and *nix. Innumerable times in the various programs I have written or maintained there is one #if branch that does things for Windows and Linux, and other for VMS. I would have preferred the beast to die quietly in its sleep.

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MacroRodent
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Thumb Down

Re: hmm

"Their POSIX compliance was actually fairly good:"

But if they implemented only the original POSIX standard to the letter, you really could only run programs that read and write text files or interact via a text terminal. Networking, what's that? The Windows NT "POSIX box" was like this, guaranteeing that nobody actually used it (I think it was Vista that finally dropped it and nobody noticed).

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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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