1029 posts • joined Monday 28th June 2010 14:47 GMT
Bosch have form
I remember reading that in the early days of automobile electrics Bosch stole the magneto design from a British(?) inventor. I can't find any trace of this story on the interwebs, so it may be complete nonsense, or it may have been ruthlessly suppressed.
I used to own a Dyson. It broke down quite frequently, and my cleaner hated it because it was heavy and not very efficient. When it finally expired she recommended a Miele, which is easy to use, light, compact and reliable, without being a radical design.
Am I the only one who thinks James Dyson is the Steve jobs of vacuum cleaners?
Re: This is not a service
@I Am Spartacus: "Reading a book in electronic form ... is better for the environment (not cutting down trees)".
The trees used in paper manufacture are a crop, grown specifically for the purpose, so you should really say "better for the environment (not planting trees)".
Electronic books may save the energy used in producing and distributing paper books, but they will result in fewer trees, not more. Then again, the trees in question are hideous plantations of conifer, so they're no loss.
A few years ago, some colleagues and I speculated on why nobody had designed computers for CEOs and the like. I was thinking of burr walnut cases and maybe brass keys (design has moved on a bit since then, but you can imagine the modern equivalent).
On seeing how our CEO actually used his computer, it became clear that the appropriate installation was actually one of the cardboard dummy computers that furniture shops use to make desks look more lifelike.
Re: Windows 8 piracy?
modern UI flows like the Orinoco
I've never actually seen the Orinoco, and I am not a geographer or geophysicist. But online pictures of the Orinoco show something meandering and brown, from which I conclude that you are saying "modern UI" is sluggish, muddy and takes a long time to get anywhere.
I first read the Bond books as a teenager, before even the first of the films. At that time we all thought of Bond as a style icon (though the style in question wasn't very attainable for 14-year-olds in 1960).
Nowadays the books are like a window on the past. The Bond style was actually pretty old-school and eccentric* in 1960. I suppose it's actually the style of an old Etonian stockbroker, which is what Fleming was before the war.
* Just a few examples I can remember: short-sleeve shirts with a suit, black lace-up shoes, gentlemen's clubs, German white wine with meals, proudly executing a ski turn called a "sprung Christie".
"a major espionage centre like Vienna"
Spying on the Austrians? Are we after their secret Sachertorte recipe?
Considering how much I've spent on dentistry in the past month, 32 teeth (or, rather, what remains of them) is quite enough, thank you.
Re: Track information
My last car audio would display CD text, but I only ever saw one album that included text (Bach Sonatas and Partitas by Julia Fischer).
Having read the replies, I think I can answer my own question. The reason that the original CD spec didn't include text (and CD text never seems to have been widespread), has nothing to to with shortcomings in CD technology. It's because the technology to display it was not possible or too expensive for most players during most of the CD's life. It's only during the past decade that memory-mapped displays have become widely available. I overlooked this because I've always mostly played CDs on a computer.
Re: You must mean Physics of Heineken advertising?
According to last night's Standard, the latest film includes a scene where Bond is drinking Heineken, from the bottle, in bed.
Short of having him watching daytime TV in his pants while eating cold takeaway from the carton, I can't think of anything less cool.
@Tom 38: Utter tosh. You can develop class based JS applications perfectly fine in JS right now, no external tools required.
These days, anything but the most trivial scripts are "compiled" (i.e. compressed and obfuscated) before deployment. You can only debug these with tools that relate the deployed code to the original script. I don't know about TypeScript, but I would expect any compile-to-JS platform to include this feature by default.
Personally, I don't think developing in an IDE is the epitome of sophistication
Yeah. Real men write their programs using vi/emacs/edlin/edt/whatever, and compile them by keying in the opcodes. Nice to hear the old ones again.
It's always been a disappointment that with a capacity of 650 Mb or more, the designers of the CD format couldn't spare the space for a few kilobytes of track information.
You could say this is just 2020 hindsight. But other digital disk formats of the time, such as magnetic disks, always allowed space for metadata. Perhaps it was because the CD designers were thinking in terms of vinyl, so the resulting CD was higher-quality and higher-capacity, but still an unstructured stream of audio like an LP.
On Earth, it's almost axiomatic that nothing is ever really clean - no matter how thoroughly you kill 99.9% of germs, the little buggers come back in no time at all. Life seems to be everywhere, even if it's in the Antarctic ice and therefore not very lively.
I find it slightly unsettling that there's a possibility that Mars, and most planets, are technically "clean". That even if the rover found some water and hydrated the grotty stuff in the photograph, the resulting slurry would be more sterile than surgical instruments.
Re: Universe = depressingly vast
@Frank 14: pillage and poison, maybe. But interplanetary rape? That sounds like a physical impossibility, or at least a minority taste.
"These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five-year mission, to boldly rape and pillage and poison..."
Re: The taxman
The thing that puzzles me is how they manage to send the money in a Zip file. Don't the notes get all creased when they compress them?
Re: acoustics prize
That's actually a brilliant idea. Much better than call screening. Just turn the echo on whenever you receive an unwanted call, and see how long they last.
Re: One of these was already invented
First time I came across this it was a demonstration of the problem of echo on transatlantic phone lines. That must have been about 40 years ago.
Re: By my reckoning...
I find that the trouble with time off between contracts is that it's only time off if I already have the next contract agreed. Otherwise I split my time off between looking for a contract and worrying that I haven't found one yet.
This despite 28 years of contracting during which I've had a total of about eight days between contracts. Maybe I'm too insecure for the contracting life.
It's a bit odd that a review of backpacks for computers has as the Editor's Choice "a bag for photographers that ... features a pouch ... for your DSLR". Are all notebook users supposed to own a DSLR and carry it wherever they go? It's a bit like reviewing bikes for commuting and recommending delivery bike because it features a container for your groceries.
I'd really like to see what the job descriptions and recruitment ads for the Eagleworks super-advanced space drive lab look like.
I imagine that the applicants consist of 1% brilliant, highly-qualified scientists and 99% raving lunatics.
The people at the back of the queue in Subway might be excused for thinking that somebody who gets out a credit card to pay for a sandwich probably deserves identity theft.
Re: @ Brian Morrison
@Dave 45: I am on the list to have a call back in a months time when a fix is available for my car.
Have you a link to this list? Or did you just phone the dealer?
Tales of online tax
Every quarter I have to pay VAT. In order to do so online (which is now obligatory), I have to have some kind of secret squirrel code to log in. It's so secret that it has to be sent to me in the post. Welcome to the 19th Century.
Actually I can't see why it has to be so secret. If anyone else wants to log in to my account and pay the VAT, you won't find me complaining.
Of course, the code never arrives in time for me to use it, because I do my VAT return at the eleventh hour. By the time I do the next return three months later, I've lost it.
I hope this book contains a warning about the real hazard of building your own computers.
In a few years your house will be filled with bits of obsolescent yet perfectly functional hardware. I recently spent a weekend pulling stuff out of a cupboard and sorrowfully consigning it to the bin. IDE disks, some with capacities up to 500Mb. AGP video cards, and PCI video cards, too. Ethernet cards, some old enough to have coax connectors (when did I last use a motherboard without its own network interface?). CD-ROM drives, usually boasting speeds of 8x and 16x. Fans that fit no known processor. Power supplies that would barely light the LEDs on a modern motherboard. And drifts of motherboards, each with its little tin thing to fit round the ports.
I must resolve not to hoard.
It's not that I'm a bleeding-edge enthusiast. If you build PCs for kids, then sooner or later you succumb to the complaints that the current one won't run any decent games. And now and again I find that I just can't do serious development on a Pentium 4 with 256Mb, so I have to upgrade my own.
Cue replies saying things like "you could install Microbe Linux on that and run your own nuclear power station", or "I develop software using edlin on an IBM PC-XT, and it's never done me any harm".
Re: Not really building a computer, is it?
Like making an Airfix model is "building your own plane".
No, not like that at all. You can't get into an Airfix model and fly. When you've built your computer you can use it.
Re: I'd upvote the both of you, but....
And can we have some sort of SSO while you're at it? I've already logged in to Reg.
I've upvoted one or two posts and posted one of my own, so no question that I'm logged in.
I click the upvote button in Reg Hardware and I have to log in again. Then I get the upvote page, but I have to click a link to upvote the post (I thought I already indicated that I wanted to upvote). Then I have to click another link to return to the forum. That's four or five unnecessary page refreshes.
Slightly off-topic. When I read this I thought "will this make a difference to the price of expensive, dry-cure bacon, or only to the rubbish?"
Then it occurred to me that in the 50% of the bacon sarnie thread that I had the stamina** to read, there was no mention of the horrible white slime emitted by much bacon when it's fried. Will the new bacon rules lead to a reduction in this abomination?
**Need more bacon sandwiches.
Re: A reference only likely to be significant to people................"
Presumably I attracted downvotes because I included the explanatory gloss. Sorry, people, I only knew the story from a record that was played interminably in my childhood. I didn't know it was a classic of folklore, nor that it was still being played.
If you don't know what to do...
... here's what looks like an interesting course on the Cambridge Computing Labs site.
I intend to work through it as soon as I have (a) a Raspberry Pi and (b) a lot more free time.
Re: One Pi is Pi
To be pedantic, a bramble is a cluster of blackberries. I suppose a cluster of raspberries is a "cane", but it's not a very inspiring name.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has declared “The time has come for us to build a bridge over the trolls."
The three billy-goats gruff will enjoy that.
(A reference only likely to be significant to people old enough to have listened to BBC radio on Saturday mornings in the 1960s.)
Re: Other board games are available...!
Interesting. I've never heard of Carcassonne.
Is it a board game that simulates the extermination of Cathar heretics? As far as I know that's the most notable thing to have taken place at Carcassonne.
Re: To choose to play monopoly...
True, but if you want to go to bed in a murderous, paranoid mood, play Diplomacy. Actually, that's not quite accurate. A game of Diplomacy takes so long that you probably won't go to bed at all.
My experience as an Orange/EE user/victim is that their data network isn't generally fast enough for 3G, never mind 4G. Much of the time it isn't even fast enough for GPRS. So what's the point?
The argument about the higher cost of providing communication services in rural areas isn't a new one. In the past it's been resolved by insisting that suppliers have to take their fair share of the rural lemons, rather than just picking the urban cherries. That's why you can post a letter to any address in the country at the same cost. The alternative viewpoint is the one adopted by Dr Beeching, the man who carved out our magnificent rail network.
So the OEM copy of Windows 7 that was installed on my recently-purchased notebook is illegal*.
Presumably I can now demand that Amazon or Samsung or Microsoft supply me with a legal version. It's not that I care about the browser ballot, I just hate pre-installed OEM Windows and would love to be sent a real install disk.
*If not illegal, it's evidently not "of merchantable quality and fit for the purpose for which it was intended", as the UK Sale of Goods Act has it. One of the purposes for which it was intended, albeit a minor one, was offering browser choice.
Microsoft's red, yellow, green and blue colours
OMG! I've been using red, yellow, green and blue colours for years. I never knew they were Microsoft's. I should have read the EULA.
Are there any colours left for the rest of us?
Quite right. Measuring design effort by the complexity of the result is as misguided as measuring progress on an airplane by how much it weighs (to coin a phrase). That way lies Victoriana.
Another week, another loony Republican
We've had Romney (The Man With The Magic Underpants) dissing the Olympics and bigging up "Anglo-Saxon heritage". We've had the woman who can see Russia from her house in Alaska. Last week there was a dimwit who thinks women can't get pregnant if they're raped. Son of Gipper is mild by comparison.
Clarification required: is a "whinner" someone who wins, or someone who whines? I can't believe you mean someone who, er, "gorses" (definition of "whin").
Learning how to spell has the inestimable benefit of allowing people to understand you.
Oh, and the word is "disdain".
Re: The Usual Silliness
@jonathanb "If two horses bump into each other, not much happens; so a lot safer than cars."
In fact, of course, the risk of accidental death and injury in the pre-industrial age was much greater than it is today, especially when applied to the much lower populations of the time. Horses may not cause a lot of damage when they bump into each other, but lorries don't suddenly get scared and bolt when carrying a load of logs.
Re: Follow the Money
Someone paid them to slip this line into the show.
As earlier posts have suggested, cock-up is a more likely explanation than conspiracy. Can you imagine a marketing meeting to approve this payment?
- "We've got this killer plan: we'll pay Disney to portray a 9-year-old denigrating open source software."
- "Wow! How much do we have to pay?"
- "50,000 bucks."
- "When will it go out?"
- "It's a pre-teen sitcom that's usually on in the afternoon."
- "Fantastic! get the purchase order on my desk today. Next step, IPO, after that, world domination."
I'm not qualified to comment on the veracity or significance of this story. But I find it ironic that the effects of global warming on butterflies is worthy of extensive debate, while the more long-standing and, I suspect greater, effect of pesticides and monoculture farming isn't.
@NomNomNom: there's evolution, which, as you say takes a very long time, and there's selection, which can be relatively quick. The classic story of the peppered moth is a case of short-term population change as a result of selection. (Whether you want to be a pale moth when the industrial revolution comes along is another matter.)
Mono-crystalline sapphire doughnut
Scene 1: the breakfast table; wife has just opened the post
wife All right, who is she?
wife Your floozie. The one you've bought this mono-crystalline sapphire doughnut for. I must say, I don't think much of her taste in jewellery.
man Oh that... it's, er, part of an experiment. I'm hoping to make Masie, er, a maser. That's it, I'm going to make a maser.
wife You must think I was born yesterday. You'd better make up your mind - her or me!
man I'm just off to the shed to try it out.
wife A likely story!
Scene 2: the shed
man Oh sh*t! What do I do now? I don't suppose there's any chance this maser thing is really possible.
To be continued.
Re: never understood why there isnt a lot more viruses for macs
"If you're going to call others stupid best not to show ignorance with your grammer and spelling."
If you're going to call other ignorant, best learn how to spell grammar.
Pot, meet kettle.
How do they pay?
As these are online scams, presumably the victims pay by card. Presumably the card companies or banks transfer the payment to the fraudsters, so they have some kind of ongoing relationship with them, and can help to catch them. Or does the Chinese equivalent of Visa just hand over money in a holdall?
It's not actually crap; in many ways I like the things it can do. But it does have more worrying features than most languages, such as semicolon insertion and automatic type conversion, not to mention the ease with which global variables can be accidentally created.
Also, some of the syntax used to get around its limitations can be hard to follow. (Modules defined by anonymous functions that execute immediately, anybody?) The fact that it can be done is impressive; the fact that it needs to be done is a disappointment.
Re: Making a version number part of the name...
It never occurred to me before. The Austin Metro was a successor to the Austin 7!
And the successor to the Austin Metro was... Austin aka BMC aka BL aka Rover going bust.
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