1225 posts • joined 22 May 2007
Re: £300 - It's not surprising really....
I've gotta agree. My main hobbies are motorcycling and home brewing, and I must spend well over £300 a year.
For the bike, there's about £150 insurance, £50 tax, £30 MOT and £30 service parts, so £260 before you even take into account the fuel to actually ride the thing. As for home brewing, you have to offset against what I would spend on shop-bought beer for the cost of brewing a batch, but in equipment I must buy £100 worth a year, continually improving my setup plus replacing broken/worn out parts.
So yes, I can see gamers spending that kind of dough on games.
Consoles: Don't get it.
I have only ever owned one console. That was an original xbox which I bought for £30 from a mate (took advantage of his financial situation at the time... not a great mate am I?) and immediately chipped and put XBMC on. It was a media player to me, for occasional gameplay if a friend brought a game over. I never bought a single game for it.
I don't understand why people, especially techies, would buy a console when, for the same money, you can have a similarly-performing PC, which has the advantage of being a PC and doing things a console can't. Then, as time goes by, you can upgrade them. The overall cost of keeping up with the latest games' performance requirements is much lower, the performance and visual quality is better around this time (when all the consoles are getting old and coming up for a refresh), and it will do much more.
I can just about see the reasoning with a unique device, like the Wii, or for a non-techie who can't build their own systems. But for a techie... Why?
Re: OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...
"why does broadband have to advertise in megabits per second, when files/downloads are megabytes/MBs"
Because that's how comms speed has "always" been rated. Look at your ethernet connection: 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 1000Mbps. Modems, similarly: 9600bps, 14400bps etc. This is because the modem/NIC transmit bits*, so that's how it is rated. Bytes are just a group of bits.
Also, to rate in "transfer speed", you would need to take into account protocol overheads. As these vary with the different protocols, this would become even more difficult.
*OK, I think GbE actually uses 8b/10b encoding, so is actually transmitting bytes, but you get my drift.
Re: Giffgaffer Goodybag insider
That sounds like a rather bad experience. If I understand you, I'd have left having such service.
I have to say this seems rather opposite from my own experience. I haven't seen any GG forum posts deleted for complaining, and there are quite a lot. The only time I've seen posts deleted is when they have been offensive (e.g. bad language etc). I've also never had any problems with data connectivity except in low signal areas (like at my desk at work, which is annoying but hardly GGs fault).
Hope you find a network & package better suited to your needs.
"perhaps indicative of the operator's general business practices, which include bribing existing customers to recommend it to friends and family."
I guess you are not a fan of giffgaff.
Many companies offer recommendation bonuses. They are not bribes. Initially, with GG, the whole "payback" (rewards for recruiting new members or helping out those with problems) were a way to reduce support and advertising costs by having the customers do it for them. With recommendations/recruitment this is fairly common practice, and to call them bribes is inflamatory at best.
What is an ISP?
I don't have time to read the doct in full, but what counts as an ISP in this regard?
For instance would a company, running it's own email services, be required to keep these records and/or pass the info to the govt? What about someone running their own mail server as an individual?
Although there are obviously privacy concerns in this, I am personally worried that it will end up forcing people, like me, who run their own internet services to keep such records, which would obviously be quite a large task to such individuals.
Deffinitely trolling, but it's quite ironic seeing as Bill Gates was best at recycling other people's best ideas too, and Microsoft continues this tradition today (as I learned from a recent presentation by a MS rep in which most "new features" had been around for years on other systems, except Metro...)
Re: Lovelock a scientist?
"To combine Lovelock and Hawking on the same phrase is an offence to science."
I completely agree, and am ashamed to see such an affilliation in the Reg, without even a hint of sarcasm or a mention of the frivolous use of the earth's resources. This almost looks like copy-and-paste from a press release! Shame on both the "author" and the editorial staff (if such even exist anymore, which I have my doubts over considerring the number of mistakes I have seen over the last few months)!
"Eurgh! The boxes are ugly, you can't use them!"
"Fine, we won't. Enjoy your slow broadband."
It is pure NIMBYism. Just like the people who shout for more wind farms until you put them in an area they like. Let 'em do without (or pay significantly more)!
Re: Skepticism does not mean doubt
In many ways I have to agree that this seems the most plausible explanation: Those of a scientific mindset understand things and express themselves in different ways to those without.
For example, to take your deity example, a non-scientific person may say they think there is absolutely no chance of a deity existing. A person with a science background would think about it and say that they think there is a negligible chance of a deity existing.
To a lay-person these would sound the same, but the "scientist" is leaving the door open to the chance, even though they don't think the chance is large enough to make any difference.
Re: The BBC as ever has got wrong
Rather than just downvoting me for this, could someone please explain what I have got wrong?
Re: The BBC as ever has got wrong
Unless I have missed something, Google HAS been found guilty of copright infringement by the jury over the APIs.
The caveat, of course, is that;
a) the jury could not decide whether they amount to fair use, and
b) the judge still needs to decide whether the copyright is valid (i.e. whether you can copright APIs).
So, technically, the BBC is correct. The descision could be overruled by the judge, though. Even if APIs are found to be copyrightable, Google will go for a mistrial (or something, IANAL) because they need an answer to whether the infringement was fair use.
Well done SpaceX!
There's still a long way to go, but they have made remarkable progress. Kudos!
"Such a launch abort capability is regarded as essential for manned flight, given the nature of launch rocket stacks (essentially huge lightweight towers packed with volatile explosive fuels, which will be set on fire and subjected to enormous stresses, heat and vibration)."
It often amuses me that, although we have come so far in terms of technology, we are launching things & people into space using basically the same technology as Chinese 10th-century fireworks: A lightweight tube filled with fuel and set alight. I know it's a lot more complex than that, but we send our astronauts into space using a huge firework.
Microsoft: Please U-turn!
I was at a recent tech expo and a bloke from MS previewed a load of their up-comming technologies. For a start, I was very surprised that they worked, and worked well, even though they were all in preview state.
Beyond that, I thought they were great ideas, even though they had all been done before (in other OS's etc), with one exception: Metro. It is great on a "slate" or anything with a touch interface. Using it with a mouse feels clunky and awkward, a bit like using Windows without a mouse attached. I could see the benefit of a single interface accross all their consumer platforms (phone, "slate" and PC), but this is not the way to do it.
I for one will be giving Win8 a miss till touch screen monitors for PCs come down to a reasonable price (and I've tried it out to make sure it's not too awkward).
"The incidents are no laughing matter"
I have to disagree, I nearly wet myself reading this article.
Just within the surrounding cities I've seen light timings changed to unexpected values to cause idiots who think they are above the law or who don't watch where they are going to break the law
There, fixed it for you.
Although I will agree that road planner seem to spend more money trying to generate revenue than making an efficient transport network. They also seem to try to cause you to stop as often as possible, wasting fuel and generating more revenue for the exchequer.
"I would caveat that one, no idea if sensors can pick up bicycles etc"
I'm sure some can. Most, however, cannot even pick up a motorcycle. I would know, the number of times I've been stuck at a red light for an extended (i.e. abnormal, much longer than I have ever waited in a car) period of time, to have the lights change a few seconds after a car pulls up behind me.
I now avoid such junctions on the bike when I know about them.
Re: Power requirements
"The cost of buying and operating one of these things mean that they're only going to benefit the rich; so only a very small proportion of the population and no solution to urban congestion."
I'm sure a similar argument was made against cars in the early days. "They are too expensive, so they will only benefit the rich."
Except, as more rich people buy them, more are produced, production techniques improve and economies of scale start to have an effect. Soon (although it could be decades) people on "middle" incomes get to benefit, and eventually even the "poor" can afford a second hand one.
As for the rest of your argument, andvancement of technology would eventually improve the performance and power requirements. This is also likely to be decades away, but none of your arguments are good enough to say "Why not do something usefull" to those developing these vehicles.
Yep, I had to have a bit of a chuckle at that. No offense meant, Lester, but you guys are not scientists. More like drunk reporters having a larf (Ang on, lads, we could make a paper aeroplane and send it into space! That'd be so cool! So who's round is it?)
Re: Rough and Smooth
"covering the cell in a thin coat of transparent material"
I'm not certain, but I think that would cancel out at least some of the effects. From what I understand, the "roughenning" improves efficiency at least in part because it stops as much light being reflected due to it arriving at the wrong angle. If you add a layer of transparent meterial over the top, that light will be reflected still.
I have not read enough about this to know 100% if I am right, but it makes sense to me from this article. If I'm wrong, I'm happy for someone to let me know :)
Re: telling ?
"lets just approximate that 1.8 millions A level students per year... What is the statistical chance that from one year to the next enough of those 1.8 million are that much smarter than the year before. Statistically extremely unlikely."
That is why I said over 10 years. Maybe longer would be more accurate, but I was taking about a long enough timeframe that it would be possible for a significant shift in "ability".
I'm gobsmacked! Over 25% get an A at A-level?!
Of course that only represents half the story. If the proportion of kid taking A-levels had reduced, so only the top 40% of those who used to were taking them, then this picture would add up to similar standards. However, I would suspect it has gone the other way, which is even more telling.
Re: The Bell Curve
I agree, to a point.
The problem is that this doesn't lead to equivalency in grading. If, over the course of 10 years, the ability of the students increases, it means an A grade is worth more. Similarly if the abilty goes down it is worth less.
Re: There should be a cynic in the house of Lords
"12 people in compulsory employment to oversee government decisions. 3 months employment at a time, with people randomly selected from a list of registered voters"
I couldn't agree more with this.
I would consider it like jury service: Just pick a load of citizens, preferably from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and have them oversee govt descisions for a few months at a time.
As for the article, I would say it was a step in the right direction. I would actually say that the Commons should not be the ones planning long term projects. They are only elected for a few years at a time, so the projects are viewed in terms of that. The Lords is the perfect place to have these long term projects dealt with, and would be the perfect place to have senior engineers/scientists etc sitting. They can take a long term view and plan things properly.
I think our current system has this fundamental flaw in that all plans must be made by the commons (who cannot see past the next election). Divide the labor between the two according to which is the most suitable place for it.
That's got to be one of the funniest articles I've ever read on the Registry! It even puts some of the BOFH stories to shame. Kudos!
I think this is absurd
I have set up this kind of service at home. Basically, I had a MythTV box, and all recordings were then available to me on any device (through a little custom jiggerypokery).
From what I have seen, they were providing this service but hosted in the "cloud". How can this be illegal? They may have added features the majority wouldn't have had access to, but that is just a feature of their site. In no way do I see that this is any more than providing a service which allows an individual to record something for their own personal use and play it back on the device of their choice.
If the law currently prohibits this, the law needs changing.
Re: @Dr. Mouse I'm sorry
"You have mixed physical goods and the "intellectual" property crap all in one pot and are confused as the result."
Nope. I'm not confused about that. I am confused about all the downvotes I got.
I will say it again, I really don't like this turn of events, but how a product is sold and/or licensed is up to the person producing the product. Of course, if you get the game on a disc, you have the right to sell that disc. If the license prevents transfer of rights, you do not have the right to "sell" the license. Simples.
This happens in other areas of computer software. AutoCAD, for example: You pay, not to own the software, but for a license to use it. You are not buying a physical object. The same applies to many others. If the license states you cannot transfer it, you cannot transfer it.
If game co's want to go down this path, they are perfectly within their rights to do so. I, for one, will not be obliging them in this, and hope that the business model fails so they are forced back to "real" selling. It will actually make me more likely to pirate games, or not "buy" them in the first place. But it is still their right to use a different business/licensing model. Just because you and I do not like it doesn't remove their rights.
Re: I'm sorry
"What gives them the right to essentially ban second hand games?"
It's their product. They can sell/license it as they wish.
I'm not defending it, by the way. I dislike this as much as the rest, and I think it is a mistake.
However, if I make something, I have the right to determine how to sell/license it. How the market reacts to that descision will determine how successfull it is, but it's still my descision.
And you think the situation would have been better under Labour?
At the end of the day, everyone I know predicted that we would have shitty times for years after the last recession. This would have been the same no matter which govt was in power. Their economic policies were so similar (although they shouted differences, they were nearly identical when you looked at the figures) that they would have made virtually no difference.
What we actually need is for companies to start hiring. This would start an upward spiral as more people had more to spend. As things stand (and with media, politicians and my next-door-neighbour-and-his-dog scare-mongerring) things will be slow going because so many have no money to spend.
"I would argue that HTML markup is exactly the sort of thing that makes a good start for teaching programming."
I have to disagree with you there.
HTML is nothing like programming, so doesn't even come close to giving an introduction. The best it does is say "on a computer, if your type some odd-looking words and symbols it changes what happens".
This is where BASIC is actually very good as an introduction. Type PRINT "Hello World" and it does so. Very immediate results, but it is actually programming. I don't like BASIC myself, but IMHO it is the best available tool to teach an introduction to programming (although I think that's all it should be used for, with a view to moving on very soon afterwards).
Re: Unified File System Layout
Thanks for the historical info, you learn something new every day :)
However, there is still a case for keeping the "Linux" way of splitting / and /usr. I have used it for those reasons for years and would be very uncomfortable moving a server to a "unified" layout.
Unified File System Layout
"new unified file system layout: that is, everything now lives under /usr. The plan is to get rid of the separation of /bin and /usr/bin, as well as /sbin and /usr/sbin and so on. All files from the top level directories will now be found under their /usr equivalent."
Does this not sound like a bad idea?
I thought part of the idea of having separate /s?bin and /usr/s?bin was that you could boot a system with just the root FS, not needing to mount /usr, and have the essential tools available. So, if tools are moved into /usr and the root-level directories contain only symlinks, this functionality is borked, and your system is screwed if it can't mount /usr.
This may not be a problem for most desktop systems, which generally seem to be installed in a single root partition (eurgh!), but for those of us who do things the "right way" would be just as vulnerable to /usr corruption as the rest.
Hope this "improvement" doesn't happen to Debian any time soon.
"the cream of the bottom"
You owe me a new keyboard! LOL
First off, ensure your operators are correct. Yours aren't.
Second, I have known people who were not good at maths and science, but made good programmers (and engineers). They had to work very hard when it came to the mathsy bits, but their immagination and logical thinking allowed them to produce fantastic code.
Re: Missed the point? or did I?
"What in buggery has that got to do with 15 year olds learning HTML?"
I think everyone here agrees that when we are talking about teaching programming in schools, we are not talking about HTML.
Re: programming in schools is doomed by tick-box culture
Although I don't like it myself, what is wrong with this.
At the end of the day, this way of grading is about getting people to think rather than just do. So, if they have planned the project well, with good structure and style, but a couple of minor errors have stopped the programme from working, they should receive a good mark. In the real world the debugging would then begin.
With the woodworking example, they look to be teaching "measure twice cut once". Plan it well before hand. The planning and design is the real skill, implementation is just following this plan.
Re: Teach thinking, not facts.
I both agree and disagree with you here.
In the workplace, it is often not necessary to hold all the information you require in your head at once. Some facts will be forgotten, and can be looked up. As an example, I often consult man pages and documentation while working to find an obscure syntax which I know exists, but I don't know exactly what it is. This is the same in every proffession and doesn't require the internet: an engineer can look up Laplace transforms in a book, for example.
The problem with this is that to work in this way, the person needs to know it in the first place, know that it exists. The best way to do this is to make those studying learn those facts. This embeds their use into the mindet of the person learning, allowing them to recall their existence year's later. If they have used them day-in day-out for 25 years, they will know them by heart. If they haven't touched them in 25 years, they will know they exist and be able to look up the facts in order to use them.
As for "the Professions become less and less relevant", pull the other one! "The Proffessions" are, in essence, people specialised in a particular field. We will always need this, and we will increasingly need such specialism as human knowledge grows. It doesn't matter that all the information is available at our fingertips: if we do not know it exists in the first place, how are we to find it when we need it?
I agree... to a point.
The viewpoint in the article makes some excellent points, although it misses some too.
I believe that part of the reason our (UK) education system has been well regarded throughout the world is that it starts with a broad base but, through GCSE, A-Level and Degree becomes specialised very quickly.
IMHO, the way to introduce kids to programming is to start in primary school. Teach them all a very basic programming language to show them an introduction to coding. This just adds to the broad base of knowledge every kid is exposed to in primary education.
This can be expanded at the beginning of high school (probably as a small part of regular IT lessons). This will then allow those who are interested to take it further at GCSE level etc. This is how other subjects are taught, and it is a very good way to introduce subjects and encourage those with interest or skill in those areas.
Oh, and the courses need to distinguish between programming and ****ing HTML! That confusion winds me up no end!
Re: Pre-ordered boards
Same here with RS, however did the same with Farnell and have ordered one. Don't think it's going to be the first batch, though, but at least the order is placed.
Still trying to decide what to do with it though.
Re: Its not just about programming
Yeah this is all true. Hopefully this will work and we'll end up with "IT" teachers who know something about computers (beyond how to use MS Word)
I remember being thrown out of a computer lesson once (this was using Archimedes, would be about 15-20 years ago). The teacher asked what a RAM disk was. I answered that it was a virtual disk emulated in the computer's RAM. Her reply?
"No, it's Random Access Memory."
When I argued, I was thrown out. From then I decided to keep my mouth shut, do the work, and learn the real stuff about computers on my own.
Re: Learning about computing
I have to agree.
The thing is, with school PCs they need to thoroughly lock down the OS (beyond even what you would see in a corporate environment) to stop kids (especially the clever ones) cocking it all up. I should know, I was one of those kids 15 years ago, and I was the one poking holes in the system until the IT tech realised and asked me (and my friends) to help close the holes (in return for more privileges etc).
So to encourage kids to do real stuff with computers, buy some of these (cheap as chips, if you'll excuse the pun) and let them do as they wish. If they screw it up, swap the SD card for a fresh install and it's working again, unless they have trashed the hardware, in which case they've lost £30 instead of £hundreds.
Re: I still don't get it
"I mean harddisks, particulary such small ones, are only used on initial program load. After that you'll have all the code you need in RAM... It's fairly cheap to have 16 gigs of RAM now."
And what about that first load? Or cold boot? Or if you have more than 16GB of data you wish to deal with quickly.
IIRC it's about £60 for 16GB RAM. Yes, this is pretty cheap, but for around that you could get a 60GB SSD, allowing your OS & at least most programmes to be kept on it, improving both boot and initial programme load times.
OK, stopped reading
when I got to the fourth paragraph and noticed the 2nd spelling mistake of one name.
Please, el'Reg, proof read your articles. If you can't be bothered to do this, I can't be bothered reading them (unless you are going to start paying me to report the mistakes!)
Re: Apple needs a hammering
"Went to publishers and offered the Agency Model where the publisher could set any selling price in iTMS they desired on condition that Apple take 30% of sales and that no one else pays less than the remaining 70%."
AFAIK it was actually "noone else can sell at a lower price".
I may be wrong, but that's the gist I got from the Most Favoured Nation clause: Noone else is allowed to sell cheaper than Apple.
Re: Cos while people are daft enough to pay it
The problem, however, is exactly what the music and film industry have faced (although probably to a lesser degree): If people feel like they are getting ripped off, they will look for alternative methods of aquiring the content.
Films are now getting towards an acceptable model with Ultraviolet and physical-to-"digital" availability. I think we need this with books.
For myself, I have a fair collection of paperbacks which I read over and over again. Then I got a Kindle, and I am expected to purchase these books all over again, at a higher price, if I want them on my eReader. Now this is not going to happen.
I take a more moral than legal view on this. I own the book, and have paid for it. I therefore do not consider it wrong for me to find a torrent of this book and download it for my own use.
The problem is that this becomes a slippery slope. I started with this. Then, when I wanted a new book I found the paperback was cheaper than the Kindle version. So I bought the paperback and downloaded a torrent of the eBook. But then it gets you used to downloading the books for free, and I have had to use willpower to hold off just dling it all for free.
I really do think eBooks need to nip this in the bud now and start an ultraviolet-like system, with a paper-to-ebook sceme and automatic licenses, or else they will find everyone just pirates their content and they loose out.
Re: PNAS Review
"You choose not to accept that consensus because ... something vague and waffly about politics and bias for which you can give no material examples or specific explanation."
"From this we know that the Yamal data set uses just 12 trees from a larger set to produce its dramatic recent trend... In all there are 252 cores in the CRU Yamal data set, of which ten were alive 1990. All 12 cores selected show strong growth since the mid-19th century. The implication is clear: the dozen were cherry-picked."
OK, the Register is not a peer reviewed journal, but this is the sort of thing which puts doubts in people's heads (especially as this research was published in a peer reviewed journal, and many other researchers used it's results as a basis, which also made it through peer review). I have read about similar cherry picking in other research from both "sides" of the debate, and there have been other scandals too.
So, as an open-minded person, I have doubts as to the integrity of climate "scientists".
Re: Selectively picking through the data to create "evidence"
a) It is not random upper case, it was upper case used to emphasise certain words.
b) Politicians butting out was in reference to them commissioning research in such a way that one result is preferred, and will likely result in more research (and therefore money) for those involved if their preferred result is validated.
I agree, in science there is only one side: all scientists work towards finding the truth. However, in an issue such as this, there are 2 sides, as well as a large swathe in between the extreme views. Some supposed scientists and organisations do take a side and this distorts their results. I have seen evidence of both "sides" cherry-picking data to support their preferred results. If this is happenning, how can they be trusted? This applies equally to those denying or confirming man-made climate change.
I am not denying that man-made climate change is going on. I think it is obvious that man affects this planet in an enormous way, but this is not proof. What I would like is to be able to trust the people and organisations doing the research. What I would like is to be sure that those doing the research are scientists.
Re: Selectively picking through the data to create "evidence"
BOTH SIDES work in this way. The argument is so political now that people doing REAL science are few and far between.
I am on neither side of the argument. I have seen evidence produced by both sides, but I am unable to trust the majority due to the political interference I see. What we need is for politicians, corporations and biased organisations to but out. We need real, unbiased research, utilising all available data (no cherry-picking, a technique used by BOTH sides) and analysing it in an open, honest way (open to scrutiny by all). That is science, and that is NOT what we have seen so far.
Well, I can dream. I think I will see a herd of swine migrating south first...
Re: Just thinking
Well, that depends. I know several.
Maybe I should post this AC... Nah. Never have yet, if I don't want someone to know it's me posting, I don't post it.
"dose that mean it's in the public interest for The Register to hack my adult hook-up website accounts to see who I'm banging?"
That depends. If you are banging a celeb or public figure, or are a celeb or public figure, the public would be interested. I wouldn't, but the "public" would be.
Personally, I don't think the public being interested is the same as "the public interest", but Sky News would probably agrue they mean the same.
By the way, which adult hook-up website? You've got me interested now. LOL
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