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* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1222 posts • joined 22 May 2007

EU warns United States: SHAPE UP on data protection OR ELSE

Dr. Mouse
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It seems to me that it should be part of a legal framework that the NSA cannot access data in safe harbour without first gaining whatever approvals would be necessary in the EU, from the EU country in question.

So, as an example, if a UK company ships data to the US under safe harbour, the NSA should need approval from the UK courts to collect that data. This should be included in any future safe harbour agreement, or safe harbour should be terminated.

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NatWest 'spam' email cockup got me slapped with late payment fee, says angry Reg reader

Dr. Mouse
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WTF?!?

Am I the only one who thinks this is odd?

On January 10 he received an email response from NatWest’s GIS Technology Services saying they could not act on the DNS problem because he’s an outsider.

So, a well meaning techie spots a problem with their network, and they can't do anything about it because it hasn't gone through the proper channels? I know there are procedures to follow (if only to protect ones own posterior), but he tried to help and you are telling him to do more work to fix your system?!

No, he reports it to you through whatever channel, and it is up to you to ensure the problem is fixed!

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Judge shoots down Oracle's Solaris support 'trafficking' claim

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh the irony

This is about a company producing "washing machines", claiming nobody else has the right to service them.

Not quite.

This particular type of case is a little different in a few ways. Taking the washing machine example, you have a washing machine and they find a fault. The company make a fix for it, spending time and money to redesign a circuit board, say.

Now we have to make the assumption that this machine is out of any warranty period, so the customer has the choice of paying for extended warranty, either with them or one of their approved service agents. If they do this and the fault appears, the service agent will swap out the board for the fixed version.

Now, another company comes along and starts offering extended warranty. They cannot buy the fixed board to fit, so they get hold of the design and make their own copies to fit to their customers' washing machines. They also say that they are approved service agent.

I will say that I don't like the way Oracle work, but I think this example is closer to this case (from Oracle's point of view).

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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

http://xkcd.com/651/

"It's OK, dear. In a moment he'll realize I have a good point and return my water... Hey! You can't arrest me if I prove your rules inconsistent!"

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Apple fails to shake antitrust watchdog loose, receives judge slapdown

Dr. Mouse
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Off topic, I know, but I am loving having the Dictionary of Numbers plugin on Chrome. It gives some insight into the figures...

She pointed out that Apple's own law firm had a partner on the books with the highest billing rate in the country of $1,800 [≈ One Starbucks latte per day for a year] an hour.

So for an hours work, they can afford a coffee from Starbucks every day for a year.

Imagine if they worked for a whole day!

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AT&T's sponsored data plan: Who, us, violating net neutrality?

Dr. Mouse
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Not sure

I'm not sure about this. As always, the devil is in the details, but it seems to me to be similar to 0800 (freephone/toll free) phone numbers. Companies are allowed to do that, effectively paying for a customer to call them. So why should they not be allowed to pay for a customer to access their website?

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Dr. Mouse
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Bluestacks is not really an emulator, if I remember correctly. It is more like WINE: It implements the Android architecture in Windows.

I've used it before, and it is very good. Pretty quick, although it is resource hungry.

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BT 118 phone number fee howler lands telco giant with £225k fine

Dr. Mouse
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It was free from a phone box. I may be a tightarse for doing so, but I remember popping down the road (only 4 doors down) to the phone box to call directory enquiries more than once.

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No sign of Half-Life 3 but how about FOURTEEN Steam Machine makers?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Interesting concept. For many reasons.

While I agree with the sentiments behind your post, splatt, but I must make one point:

The alternative is relying 100% on sales to other device manufacturers, and do you really think they'd be that willing to relinquish control to that extent?

Nvidia already rely "100% on sales to other device manufacturers". They don't make their own graphics cards, they make the chipsets for them (plus reference designs) and sell them to "other device manufacturers", who make the cards and sell them.

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Snowden docs: NSA building encryption-cracking quantum computer

Dr. Mouse
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So the real problem is - and has always been - whether you trust the (democratically elected) government which controls these organisations to act in the best public interest.

No, the real problem is whether any government, democratically elected or no, can control these organisations. Spy organisations operate in secret, out of necessity. They don't explain everything they do to the government. They operate on a need to know basis with everything. How can you control something when you do not know what they are doing?

Where would YOU go given the choice between north korea (which doesn't have quantum computers and says clearly where it stands) and the "big bad undemocratic" USofA ... I'm ready to bet you would still chose the latter....

Where would you rather live: A slum in India or in captivity in Guantanamo? I'm pretty sure you'd choose the former. It may be a slightly better choice, but that does not mean you would want to live there.

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Pervy TOILET CAMERA disguised as 'flash drive' sparks BOMB SCARE on Boeing 767

Dr. Mouse
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Re: NSA

Or maybe the TSA? (Obligatory South Park reference, plus we're all sitting on it the wrong way)

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Andrew Fentem: Why I went to an arts quango to fund pre-iPhone multitouch

Dr. Mouse
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Re: So, Why did he go to an arts quango to fund his pre-iPhone multitouch?

"Why did he go to an arts quango"?

He went to NESTA: "National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts".

By the title (and probably the spiel put out by the govt at the time) it should have been a suitable place to go for support and money.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

Standards are a Good Thing(tm)

The point of this is to allow flexibility to the consumer. If you think back to the bad old days, every phone manufacturer used a different charging connector. You often had to take your charger with you wherever you went, and would end up throwing the old charger away every time you bought a new phone.

Now, most people can use USB to charge their device. They won't even need to take a cable with them, as their friends/colleagues/employer will have one. The only hold out of this is Apple, who insist on using their own proprietary connectors.

If they are forced to allow charging through uUSB, this brings everyone together on a single, readily available standard. It will benefit all consumers. The only people it will damage are Apple, who won't be able to make such a killing on their vastly overpriced Lightning cables any more.

"I think Apple corporation and their customers are the people to decide on how their stuff works"

I doubt anyone buys an iThing because of the Lightning connector. The consumers buy Apple kit because they like the device, and one of the biggest complaints I hear from people is about the Lightning cable. This is not because it's a bad cable/connector, but because it is not the standard, and they have to carry their cable around with them. It also costs a fortune (relatively speaking) to replace when it breaks.

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Wait, that's no moon 21.5-inch monitor, it's an all-in-one LG Chromebase PC

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Too Limited

an HDMI-in port for attaching external media devices

So it does function as a regular display.

Personally, I can see plenty of uses for such a device (dependant on price), just as I can for chromebooks. For may people it will do everything they need (especially with GDocs etc being available), and it may even have niche uses in a techie house.

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Google embiggens its fat vid pipe Chromecast with TEN new supported apps

Dr. Mouse
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Re: UK?

Completely agree. Although the previous comment about it not being open is true, I would love this to be available in the UK at a reasonable price. $35 should be around £26 inc. VAT, not the £40+ you can get them on eBay/Amazon.

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Creepy US spy agency flings WORLD SLURPING OCTOPUS into orbit

Dr. Mouse
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It's a double-bluff. Noone will believe that they exists, because the govt would not admit it if they did.

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Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Kilograms?!

"surely someone there must have realized the equivalent metric unit of thrust is the Newton"

IMHO kg thrust is a perfectly acceptable unit of meaasurement, especially when taking about lifting a load (pretty much) straight up.

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Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Throw the book at her.

Throw the book at him.

How do you know he didn't stick his dick in her?

Seriously... he could have just pulled it out when the cops turned up.

No excuse.

-----------------

Innocent unless proven guilty. Of course, if the law is so worded, it may be that just having them there is breaking the law, turned on or not, in which case ignorance is not a defence.

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Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

Dr. Mouse
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We'd note that Mr Watson was cunning to think of this for the first time, but would caution others that copying him, now that the idea is out, would be merely to waste our time and one's own.

This is definitely true.

I heard a story along a similar line a few years ago. I cannot vouch for it's accuracy, but it is amusing and I thought I would share.

A lad applied to an art college, and was invited for an interview/audition. After speaking with the admissions panel, he was taken to a large room at around 10am. In this room were all manner of art supplies, from paints to pottery wheels, along with a buffet table with a large selection of food. He was told to make something by 4pm.

He proceeded to spend the next few hours dabbling, hoping for some inspiration. He started painting a landscape from memory, then abandoned it. He tried producing a sculpture from clay, and gave up. He tried a few snacks. Nothing was coming to him.

Around 2pm, he resigned himself to the fact that he had failed. He had tried just about every format available, and couldn't think of any way to proceed. He had also finished the entire table of food, except a small piece of cheese he had dropped. This is when he decided to have some fun.

He started at the piece of cheese, and painted tiny mouse footprints along the floor. When he reached the wall, he chiselled out a mouse hole in the skirting. He painted a new window in between the existing 2, replicating the view outside (a brick wall). He was like a mad man, running around and adding bits to (or removing from) the room everywhere, until he heard a knock at the door.

As the door opened, his heart sank. He felt sure he would be booted out, or possibly arrested for criminal damage. Looking around the faces of the admissions panel seemed to confirm this view: There was a look of horror on their faces.

At this point, one of the panel spoke: "This... What... This...

"is amazing". He went on to say that it was the most creative and imaginative piece of artwork he had ever seen, and immediately offered him a place at the college.

When he got home, he told his friends about this. The next week, one of those friends went to the same college. He took the same idea, and made the room into a piece of art (albeit in a slightly different way). At 4pm, when the panel arrived to inspect his work, he was escorted off the premises and told to expect a bill for the damages.

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Difficult, not impossible.

"maximum practical range is still 200 ft, or about 220 yards"

200 ft = 67 yards

220 yards = 660 ft

There has been some miscalculation here...

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Fishy fishers' fishing figures fingered using Google Earth Gulf pics

Dr. Mouse
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Happy

Not just this. The MS/NSA headline is fantastic today, too.

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Vintage WINE laid down in SIXTEEN HUNDRED BC was 'psychotropic'

Dr. Mouse
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Carlsberg?

'The 200 year old booze, which was the oldest ever found, tasted "fresh" with notes of "yeast, honey and ... a hint of manure".'

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FAT PIPE for ALL: Britain’s new tech firms take it from the telcos

Dr. Mouse
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Coffee/keyboard

Icon says it all...

Suspiciously, when you raise the question of inadequate internet access with politicians, they fart about supporting mono-browed, chicken-shagging hermits living in the sticks who apparently need gigabit broadband so they can order groceries from Ocado and browse FeatheredButtocks.com.

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Intel: 'Y'know that GPU-accelerated computing craze? Fuggedaboutit'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Intel failed at making decent GPUs

ARM, AMD, and NVIDIA will... eat Intel from the bottom up

Oh, Matron!

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Samsung v Apple: Titans await jury verdict on damages of MILLIONS

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Madness.

Pinch-to-zoom is arguably less obvious but I am pretty sure there is prior art for that too.

I'm pretty certain of that, too, although I am too lazy to actually look it all up.

I am sure, however, that Pinch-to-zoom was used in Minority Report. I know it's a film, but the concept (if not the precise implementation) was there. That came out in 2002, whereas the first iPhone came out in 2007 (and pinch-to-zoom much later than that).

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Google Earth SHOCK: ZERO point ZERO ZERO SIX of world forests disappear each year

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Don't understand

I'm sorry if what I said came across as an insult. It was not meant to.

I was merely pointing out how a set of results can be interpreted in 2 completely different ways, as this is an extreme example of such happening.

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Dr. Mouse
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Don't understand

I posted a comment which was moderated out. It was not offensive, and I see only one possible reason why it would have been rejected*, so I am going to resubmit it below without that.

It's almost funny that these figures can be represented in 2 completely different ways.

The BBC's article was "Oh no, look how much the forests are shrinking!"

This article is "Meh, the forests are barely shrinking."

No voicing an opinion either way, but it's a good reminder of how data can be manipulated to support your own political agenda.

* The only part I could see which would have reasonable grounds for rejection was a famous "quote" about statistics.

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SECRET draft copyright treaty LEAKED: Meet the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Can't even do that.

Damn you, I've lost!

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: The only way to beat them

"Let's get back to the era where people made their own entertainment. Fuck'em"

Sounds like a good way to make your own entertainment, as long as you put a bag over their head...

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BOFH: One flew over the PFY's nest

Dr. Mouse
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Top notch, as always. Cheers Simon

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Want to BUILD YOUR OWN Tardis? First, get a star and set it spinning...

Dr. Mouse
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If c is exceeded mass also goes off into the imaginary

My fiancée would love to exceed c!

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Dr. Mouse
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Time travel

Of course neutrinos, and all other matter, can travel through time. They do it all the time.

I am currently at point A in time, and later I am at point B in time. I have travelled through time from A to B. We are all time travellers. It's just a one-way street at a (mostly) constant rate.

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Dr. Mouse
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Light does slow down as it passes through matter. This has been known for a long time.

The constant, c, is the speed of light in a vacuum.

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Anonymous threatens cyberwar with Anonymous

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Why on Earth...?

I have to LOL at this comment thread.

The extremist AGW positions on both sides of the debate sound like an argument between religious nuts. Both are absolutely certain that their view is correct, but they do not try to debate, they just shout at the other side, as they are clearly wrong and stupid.

I often wish we could just get on with destroying the planet, and our own species. I think the universe would be better off without us...

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Brit spymasters: Cheers, Snowden. Terrorists are overhauling their comms

Dr. Mouse
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Re: 2.4 children?

How do you get 2.4 children? How do you get half a child?

Reminds me of an amusing incident.

An incredibly intelligent friend of mine (who used to be a programmer on mainframes for the banking sector) is currently out of work. The job centre sent him on a basic maths course. Now, I should mention that this friend has a very dry sense of humour, is very quick witted, and gets bored very easily... Not a good combination in this instance.

Not far into this course, they were doing fractions. One sum came out at 13.5. The tutor explained that you needed to use your common sense in applying the results.

"For example, you couldn't have half a child," she said.

My friend's immediate response: "Tell that to Jamie Bulger's parents."

Unsurprisingly, he was asked to leave the training facility and never return.

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Tesla shares dip as Elon Musk admits electrocar firm ran out of juice

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @TT

Now; I know the next argument: of course the Tesla firm uses something a bit better than mere laptop batteries, of course they do.

I think you'd be surprised. IIRC* Tesla makes their battery packs from Panasonic 18650 cells. Open up most laptop batteries and you will find... 18650 cells.

Now maybe they use a different spec, but they will be very similar. What is different is the control electronics, which I suspect will be very complex to take the best possible care of those expensive battery packs.

*I remember reading this somewhere, but cannot vouch for it's accuracy.

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Anonymous hacktivists' Million Mask March protest hits London

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @AC 11:59

"Actually the democracy part means that you can stand as a third option. No doubt your ideas will be perfect and everyone will vote for you. Then you have to implement them, and that's when reality will bite you."

My ideas are far from perfect, and I would be lousy in politics.

"The current system is far from perfect"

The problem is not the system, per se. It is the people who generally rise to power in our political system. Hence my tongue-in-cheek quote from a South Park episode (maybe I should have included the joke icon to make it clear). It is captured in another line from that episode:

"But Stan, don't you know, it's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Nearly every election since the beginning of time has been between some douche and some turd. They're the only people who suck up enough to make it that far in politics."

I do think there is another reason for this: Most people do not understand fully what they are voting for. Sometimes this is down to the voter (e.g. they are just voting for Party X because their parents did or they were too lazy to actually look into the issues), sometimes it is down to the politicians not giving enough information to make an informed decision. The politicians (from all parties) also tend to do as much work trying to discredit their opposition as setting out their policies (I am being generous, here).

And finally, the bottom line is that politicians do not do after the election what they said they would do before it. This is, I believe, most people's biggest gripe. They may say that they couldn't, but they should not be making promises they cannot keep. So how can we, the general public, the voters, make an informed decision when the politicians will not do most of what they say anyway?

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Did you know about this?

I hadn't even heard about it until I read it on here.

Although I haven't had time to watch the news for a good few weeks.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: @AC 11:59

Let's get out the vote! Let's make our voices heard!

We've been given the right to choose between a douche and a turd.

It's democracy in action! Put your freedom to the test.

A big fat turd or a stupid douche. Which do you like best?

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Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

Dr. Mouse
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Re: So fix it!

This one size fits all is a big mistake. We need to group individuals into their talents and teach them that way.

I agree with this, to a point. However, this cannot be accomplished as fully as you state in a mainstream school environment. This is where parents an out-of-school activities come in. A school classroom will have 20+ students. It is unreasonable to expect a teacher to be teaching many separate curriculums to cater to each individual's needs. The school classroom, at primary school, needs to cater to the majority, with special help given to individuals who need it where possible (whether because they are struggling or need pushing harder).

Outside of school, talents should be encouraged by parents. I was lucky. My parents were both intelligent and able to either teach me or learn things along side me. I still remember my father teaching me pythagoras on a steamed up mirror. Outside their skill sets, they ensured I had all the support I needed. For example I had violin lessons, first at school, then at the local music centre, and finally private lessons.

I agree that most teachers are not equipped to teach "mainstream" IT, let alone programming, but then I don't think that they necessarily should be at primary school. What they should be teaching is logic, reasoning, problem solving and other fundamentals which need to be in place before "programming". It doesn't have to be on a computer: Preparing a procedure for how to perform a simple task in natural language is a first step. Work through that to defining algorithms, branching, loops, error handling etc. but not necessarily programming.

Programming is not the most important skill at primary level. Thinking in a way which will support programming is. Those who show flair can be encouraged, but the fundamentals would be an asset to all children. In high school, the students can go on to study such matters in more depth.

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Amazon lashes Nvidia's GRID GPU to its cloud: But can it run Crysis?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: What's it for?

Found it:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Print/2012/05/16/nvidia_vgx_gpu_virtualization/

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Colour me impressed

"it probably wont be good enough speed wise to play games on, the main reason being lag"

There was an interesting piece I read about that (it may even have been on el Reg). IIRC it claimed that the lag would be at least as good as modern consoles (at the time). It would not be good enough for a hard core PC gamer, but good enough for a casual gamer.

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Dr. Mouse
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Colour me impressed

Looking at that, if you are a casual gamer it would be seriously worth considering using a G2 for your gaming needs. 50p/hour on a machine with that spec... Plus you should be able to use it anywhere you have a decent internet connection, even from a cheapo tablet.

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Digital deviants: The many MAD COMPUTERS of Doctor Who

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I've been called to look at a PC that's working perfectly well.

"So next time you see a dialogue box saying 'Are you sure you want me to go insane and try to enslave humanity?', CLICK NO!"

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Apple will FAIL in corporate land 'because IT managers hate iPads'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: IT Managers (in a windows world) dream of

Every device locked down so hard that the users can barely do their proper job let alone anything else.

There are good reasons for this.

1) IT need to stop users from breaking things. It happens all too often: A user downloads some badly written software that they think they need, or changes some settings, and BLAM! The PC is dead. It then takes IT hours to fix. Hours which stop them from doing their job. (Incidentally, these problems happen more often when the user is someone who "knows about computers", you know, the type of user who complains that they should be allowed more freedom because they know what they are doing...)

2) IT need to stop users from doing things they shouldn't be doing. I know we should be able to trust each other, but some people will do naughty things when noone is watching. If kiddie porn or pirated material is found on a system, the company could be in for a world of pain. Even things like watching a football match on your PC in your lunch break could have an effect. IT must ensure business rules are followed with their equipment.

Now obviously, sometimes an over-zealous admin will apply too strict a policy, or will make a mistake. But the entire point is to make computers business tools.

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A post-Snowden US had better not SQUEAL about Chinese cyber-spying

Dr. Mouse
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South Park to the rescue

FRANKLIN

I believe that if we are to form a new country, we cannot be a country that appears war-hungry and violent to the rest of the world. However, we also cannot be a country that appears weak and unwilling to fight to the rest of the world. So, what if we form a country that appears to want both?

JEFFERSON

Yes. Yes of course. We go to war, and protest going to war at the same time.

DICKINSON

Right. If the people of our new country are allowed to do whatever they wish, then some will support the war and some will protest it.

FRANKLIN

And that means that as a nation, we could go to war with whomever we wished, but at the same time, act like we didn't want to. If we allow the people to protest what the government does, then the country will be forever blameless.

ADAMS

It's like having your cake, and eating it, too.

CONGRESSMAN 2

Think of it: an entire nation founded on saying one thing and doing another.

HANCOCK

And we will call that country the United States of America.

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FREEZE, GLASSHOLE! California cops bust Google Glass driver

Dr. Mouse
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OK, personally, I'm all for the cops being hard on people who drive while distracted in any major way.

However, Glass could be a way to reduce distractions. Let's take sat nav as an example. Currently, people have a small screen device mounted at dashboard level. Mostly, you can get by without looking at it, just using audio directions (something I do regularly on my bike, as my phone is tucked away in my pocket). But, being realistic, most people can't help looking at it every few seconds. This involves not only looking at it, but also refocussing on it, then looking back to the road and refocussing again, as does looking at your speedo etc.

Instead, if all this info is placed on a Glass display, it is already both nearer to your line of vision and (AFIAK) at the right focal distance. This is much safer to look at. I can also (AFAIK) be used as a hands free kit for your phone.

Now obviously, it could (and probably will, by some at least) be used to watch cat videos, read text messages, etc. which would be a major distraction. What we could do with is a "car mode" along with a log of what is being used, so cops could see whether the driver was using it for something they shouldn't.

In all, it is not as clear as Glass (ba da boom, ching). But banning their use outright will discourage it's use in ways which could improve safety.

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Robo-drones learn to land by going bug-eyed

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "They used a spiral pattern to confuse the bees and trick them into crash landing."

Ditto

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Google tired of endless AGONY over alleged EU search biz abuse

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh dear, once again... (Yawn...)

So imagine this: Google does a lucrative deal with Fox News so that every time you search for a news story, Fox's version of events and their opinions are prioritised above all others. Would you still be happy then?

The point, for me, is that they don't. They act as a search engine.

The only part I regularly use through the search engine which is not just a search engine is Maps. I use this not just because it is convenient, but because it is a damn good product. I do not just go to Google and type in a postcode because it is convenient. If there was a significantly better free online map, I would use that.

Other than that, I use Google as a search engine. Whether this is for a general web page, a product, a news story or even a forum post, it provides me with links to relevant information. If it didn't, I wouldn't use it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Yawn.....

I am not sure where I stand on all of this yet, but I do know that Google makes information easily accessible.

When I use a search engine, I am looking for information. I don't really care where that information comes from, as long as it is the information I need.

If I search for a postcode, I expect a map. If I search for a product, it is likely that I will want price comparisons. And, to be frank, I don't want to wait for another site to load up to give me that information: I want it there, now, at my "fingertips".

Google do this well. If I search for a postcode, it returns a map showing me where it is. If I search for a product, I will have a list of sellers right there on the page. This makes it more convenient for me.

If they didn't do that, instead showing links to other price comparison or mapping sites, it would not be as convenient a service for me. Yet another click to get to my information is not what I (or the majority of users) want.

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