* Posts by Dave 126

5570 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Oracle's Larry Ellison claims his Sparc M7 chip is hacker-proof – Errr...

Dave 126
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Analogy:

Look at xkcd cartoons. Sometimes the focus of his cartoon is a relationship between a man and a woman - the stick-figure with longer hair is the female, or sometimes a stick-figure is given a beard to denote maleness. The sexes of his figures are central to these cartoons.

Most of the time though, his cartoons are just aboput two physicists, or a doctor and a patient, or whoever. Sometimes he might make a doctor (stick-figure with white coat and clipboard) female (plus long hair) even though it doesn't affect the joke.

So, I guess I'm comparing pro-nouns with cartoon pony tails....

To cite the man himself:

"The role of gender in society is the most complicated thing I’ve ever spent a lot of time learning about, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning about quantum mechanics."

- http://blog.xkcd.com/2010/05/06/sex-and-gender/

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Dave 126
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Re: Can we ditch the silly political correctness in reg articles

I used the pronoun 'she' in a Reg comment a few days ago, in reference to a hypothetical inventor in her shed. My logic was that some real inventors are women (no comment about percentages) so it would be no issue if some imaginary inventors were women. The vast majority of the time I use 'he' when writing about an imaginary individual in a context where their sex is irrelevant.

Since women are bright enough to recognise the context for 'he' meaning 'he/she', I then also credit men with the wit to read 'she' as 'he/she' if the context s appropriate.

I think visually, and maybe, after imagining a cluttered workbench in a shed, it wasn't really necessary to imagine the appearance of the shed's occupant. Doc Emmett Brown is great, but after all the coverage of Back to Future day last week I didn't need to give him a another mental cameo this week.

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Ex-Microsoft craft ale buffs rattle tankard for desktop brewery

Dave 126
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Re: What's the point of this?

I guess that once you've got the hang of the kits, you can source your ingredients more cheaply from other sources.

The $500 price tag suggests that the machine is being sold above cost, so there won't be any 'printer ink cartridge / Kuerig cofffee capsule' extortion on the consumables.

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Dave 126
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Re: Kuerig for home-brew?

Apparently you can change the recipes yourself. Much like coding, you start by trying examples of other people's code, and then experiment by changing little bits to see what happens. Otherwise you'd just have too many variables to make sense of.

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Dave 126
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Re: Have to wonder

Same rule-of-thumb as pubs - if a busy pub is run by a rude miserable landlord, that is a good sign that the beer is well-kept. If the bar is staffed by an exquisitely pretty barmaid, that is a sign that the beer alone might not be good enough to bring the punters in.

Good beer sells itself. If I want to look at nudey pics, I don't need to look at a beer advert (or even buy ten packets of peanuts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_D_(peanuts)#Promotional_displays )

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Dave 126
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I had a mate who used a thermostat-controlled 'heat mat' under his fermentation vessel, of the sort sold for keeping pet lizards comfortable in their glass vivaria (empty fish tanks).

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Dave 126
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Re: If it's fully automatic ....

"Craft beer" is purely a marketing term. It has no meaning.

Real Ale, by contrast, does have a definition.

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Dave 126
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Temperature control during the process is important too, more so with 'pico' batches (surface area to volume ratios scaling as they do)... you might have an area of your house that maintains a roughly constant temperature, or manage temperature by other means.

You are right to highlight hygiene, though. Metal casks are often cleaned/sterilised with high pressure boiling water.

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Xiaomi preps Linux laptops for the post Christmas sales rush

Dave 126
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Xiaomi are now a shareholder in Segway, and it looks like a smaller and far cheaper Segway might be coming to Europe:

http://www.ninebot-france.com/boutique/gyropode/ninebot-mini/#

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Brit boffins build 'tractor beam' out of sound

Dave 126
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Re: Maybe a Rediscovery?

Sounds a bit Erich von Däniken or Robert Anton Wilson to me! : )

But yeah, potential medical treatments and new methods of chemical preparation are more positive than crowd control.

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Dave 126
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Re: Spain, Bristol AND Sussex

A.M. [Pamplona .ac] and B.W.D. [Bristol .ac] designed, developed and implemented the algorithms and simulations; A.M. and S.A.S. [Bristol .co] measured the acoustic slices; A.M [Pamplona .ac] and D.R.S. [Sussex .ac] measured the spring constants; A.M. [Pamplona .ac] conducted the rest of the experiments and wrote the paper; all the authors contributed to the discussion and edited the manuscript.

tl;dr Pamplona and Bristol created the algorithms, Sussex helped measure them.

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Dave 126
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Re: Of course, in my early work in this area...

Isn't that more rapid bouncing than actual levitation? : )

(For some reason this reminded me of the 1997 party political broadcasts in support of the Natural Law Party, featuring Yogic Flying)

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Qualcomm proposes brain implants for IP cameras

Dave 126
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Re: SCORPION STARE

You're right - drone guns coming soon. Maybe some use for shooting rabbits (not people) if you are a pest-controller.

Reminded me of this starfish-hunting robot being trailed on Australian coral reefs: http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/starfish-killing-robot-to-rescue-great-barrier-reef-150903.htm

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Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

Dave 126
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Terminator

Aw great, now hobbyists are just going to develop bullet-proof/tolerant drones.... what could possibly go wrong? (only half joking!)

A compound drone composed of many smaller rotors, batteries and lots of small cameras (liike an insect's 'eye') might toleratre a direct hit if it could detach damaged componts. Like a swarm of bees.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bullit County

>Especially if this earlier footage contained the marksman's daughters.

For sure. Curiously, the article didn't note if any evidence of deliberate spying was presented in court, only that "Merideth *thought* the quadcopter was spying on his daughters in their yard". (my emphasis)

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Work from home when the next big Windows 10 installation arrives

Dave 126
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Re: Even happier I chose a PS4

I didn't say it was okay, but since the cause was a race to market combined with legislation forcing the use of poorly understood lead-free solder, I don't attribute it to malevolence on MS's part.

The disc scratch issue was not good, and I was unimpressed by MS's response, especially since it came at a timethey were insisting users had no legitimate reason to back-up their media.

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Dave 126
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Re: Nothing to see here, move along

Guys, adnim was joking.

admin, make that clearer next time!

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Dave 126
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Re: Morons.

SteamOS on XBOX360? Hahaha!

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Dave 126
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Re: hahahahaha

>Then again I gave up on sony when the PS4 became a PC jammed in a console box.... these days its SteamOS all the way :-)

Fair does. Personally, I judge a console by the games that are available for it, and not by its internal architecture. In the words of Oddball "I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work."

For many genres of game, Steam is very good. However, the Playstations, like other consoles, have always had some exclusive titles. Not that my reflexes are good enough for WipEout any more....

Oddball: Hi, man.

Big Joe: What are you doing?

Oddball: I'm drinking wine and eating cheese, and catching some rays, you know.

Big Joe: What's happening?

Oddball: Well, the tank's broke and they're trying to fix it.

Big Joe: Well, then, why the hell aren't you up there helping them?

Oddball: [chuckles] I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work.

Big Joe: Christ!

Oddball: Definitely an antisocial type. Woof, woof, woof! That's my other dog imitation.

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Dave 126
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Re: 360?

In 2001, Sony, Toshiba and IBM committed themselves to spending $400 million over five years to design the Cell, not counting the millions of dollars it would take to build two production facilities for making the chip itself...

...But a funny thing happened along the way: A new "partner" entered the picture. In late 2002, Microsoft approached IBM about making the chip for Microsoft's rival game console, the (as yet unnamed) Xbox 360. In 2003, IBM's Adam Bennett showed Microsoft specs for the still-in-development Cell core. Microsoft was interested and contracted with IBM for their own chip, to be built around the core that IBM was still building with Sony.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123069467545545011

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Dave 126
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Re: Even happier I chose a PS4

> [lack of JRPGs] is perhaps the biggest reason besides the RRoD, why I hate the XBOX brand as much as I do.

Uh, okay,I think 'hate' is a bit strong for something that merely doesn't offer your taste in games. If the RRoD issue could have been foreseen, it wouldn't have occurred. The XBOX360 disc-scratch issue was annoying, though.

I actually do prefer the game selection for the PS3 over the Xbox360 - there were more interesting games, such as 'Flower'.

>The world such as it is DOES NOT revolve 'round Halo 5, or Gears of War 17 Fragfest. Which I kinda fail to get since those players would rather be in the PC Mustardrace.

People like to play splitscreen with friends in the same room, which Halo and Gears of War allow. It's fun, and reminds us of playing splitscreen GoldenEye on the N64.

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Dave 126
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Re: 360?

I very much doubt it. The Xbox360 is based around a PowerPC architecture IBM Xenon CPU, a cousin of the Cell chips in the Playstation 3. Porting Windows would be a pain, with little reward.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenon_(processor)

However, both the XboxONE and the PS4 are more or less just x86 PCs, making software porting much, much easier.

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Dave 126
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Re: What console?

Similarly, my XBOX360 hasn't been plugged in for a few years... Star Wars Battlefront looks fun, but maybe I'll wait a couple more years for some sort of unholy space combat / FPS / RTS / GTA-in-space mashup game before happily wasting my days away.

These days, I only play video games with real people in the same room, it just seems more fun. My drinking follows a similar pattern.

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Dave 126
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Re: Please...

Perhaps a Reg article comparing the personal data polices of Google, Apple, Microsoft et al would be handy?

Certainly their motives are slightly different... Apple make money on marking-up hardware and content such as apps and music, Google make it from advertising.

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Dave 126
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Re: Even happier I chose a PS4

>And what do actually believe that that will change, instead of MS spying on you it will be Sony...

Ah yes, Sony with their advertising network.... wait, hold on!

Okay, both MS and Sony are in the hardware, software and services games, but I suspect MS have a greater motive to retain your data. Sony haven't been great at securing the data they do have. MS have seen their personal data policies as a way of differentiating themselves from [Google's versions of] Android, though it's not something I've looked into for a while.

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By 2019, vendors will have sucked out your ID along with your cash 5 billion times

Dave 126
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Re: No thanks...

>those who don't regularly travel with phones (court employees, perhaps; most courts ban electronics due to multiple security concerns) or, like I said, have terrible memories.

I doubt courts have an issue with RSA hardware tokens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_SecurID

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US Army bug hunters in 'state of fear' that sees flaws go unreported

Dave 126
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Re: FULFILL MISSION OBJECTIVES! @ Dave 126

[after some fuzzy logic parsing of the above]

>Hmmm? However, does the fact that they seem to do the bidding of their political masters somewhat explode and flash crash smash that myth to smithereens,

Cause one to question said myth, certainly, but immediately explode it? No; there are some causative steps missing.

Basically, some US military commanders are given an extensive and perpetual education in history, geopolitics, philosophy, responsibility, humanities etc. whereas the politicians merely won a popularity contest.

The responses to this article are interesting:

http://contraryperspective.com/2014/12/17/americas-military-academies-are-seriously-flawed/

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Dave 126
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Re: FULFILL MISSION OBJECTIVES!

The US generals we have seen in recent years seem a lot more capable of critical thought than their political masters.

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Little bang for the Big C? Nitro in the anti-cancer arsenal

Dave 126
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Re: Nicely written

Likewise. Not immediately recognising his byline, I clicked to see his past stories.

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Dave 126
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Re: Good to see...

Another area that patents affect medications: Antibiotics.

If you developed a new antibiotic that was very effective against bacteria that have developed resistance to previous antibiotics, you probably won't sell much of it initially. Why? Because doctors will want to keep it in reserve, as a last resort in order to preserve its effectiveness. Since patents only last for a finite number of years, you might not see any return on your R&D investment.

Therefore, there is little incentive to research new classes of antibiotics.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yes, yes, cure cancer and so on, but, what of these 'poppers'...

This is the internet, I'm sure you can find any number of specialist-interest websites to advise you.... when perhaps you are not using a work computer!

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The battle of Cupertino: Jailbreakers do it for freedom, not cash

Dave 126
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Re: Huh?

I see what you mean, but the reality is closer to "Because we haven't found a way in yet doesn't mean nobody has found a way in yet". There may be security vulnerabilities that don't rely upon Jailbreaking.

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Zuk it and see: China’s stealth seduction of Western phone buyers

Dave 126
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Re: "It has a a 5.5" (1080 x 1920 pixel) touchscreen..."

Yeah, it would be nice if these generic Chinese Snapdragon 80x phones came in a smaller form. Still, the Sony Z3 / 4 / 5 Compact phones are available.

Given the positive reception these sub-5" handsets have received (smaller screen helping better battery life) I'm surprised more vendors haven't followed suit.

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The iPhone 6 doused in bromine - an incendiary mix or not?

Dave 126
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Re: What a muppet

>Since when did £500 devices become so disposible they can be destroyed out the box for a laugh?

I'm just thinking of the Lamborghini Miura - and other cars - destroyed in The Italian Job, just for a laugh.

.

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Dave 126
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It's very nasty stuff, we get it..

So, here's an idea: A website with a live camera of a chemist in a lab. The paying viewer can make requests such as: "please put an avocado in liquid nitrogen and hit it with a slipper".

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

Dave 126
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Re: How does the GDP calculation measure Barter?

See the example of the two female police officers, both with young children. Very sensibly, they put their heads together, and arranged their shifts so that one could care for the other's children whilst the other was at work.

The taxman got involved.

On a wider note about barter, you could probably do worse than listen to this ten part ( 15 minutes per episode) series "Promises, Promises: A History of Debt" http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054zdp6/episodes/player

You should note that if I want one of your pears, but I only have a live chicken, sorting out change might be tricky (or at least messy and noisy!). Think of a few more examples, and you'll appreciate that debt arose hand-in-hand with bartering.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not all exchanges are voluntary

*“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

― Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms: The Play

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Dave 126
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Re: Not all exchanges are voluntary

>If you accept Worstall's logic, burglary is just as valuable as manufacturing or finance.

Well, burglary creates work for locksmiths, glaziers, burglar-alarm installers and police officers. There isn't any moral determinism in these systems; arms manufacturers, tobacco growers and slavers are all a part of the economic system.

The burglar enriches themselves by inconveniencing others. A salesman who sells a low quality product enriches themselves by inconveniencing their customer. A company sells a frustrating and buggy OS to enrich themselves by inconveniencing their users.

So, we put locks on our doors. We educate ourselves and learn that a pricier but more durable product is actually better value*. We learn to use a different OS, or just accept that life isn't perfect.

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Dave 126
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>Never in the history of web journalism has so much empty crap been served dressed up as fake intellectual mumbo jumbo

Even if that's true, what is the harm? Nobody here would jump off a cliff just because "Mr Worstall told me to!" and his points are often debated and disputed here. If we believe him to be wrong, or has overlooked something, then we can make a counter argument.

Sometimes people who believe themselves to be fighting an ideology will appear to be ideologues themselves... this is always danger, so a bit of grown up discussion is generally a Good Idea.

For the record, I don't agree with much of Worstall says, but I think it is healthy to re-examine the things he attacks to test their sturdiness or otherwise.

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Dave 126
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Re: First time I have to totally disagree with you, Tim

Thank you itzman, maybe you could have a column or two? I have been thinking idly along similar lines in recent months, but drawing parallels to system theory and ecosystems*.

I strongly support your general gist and your raising of the subject, though you cover so much ground that it is inevitable that I can nitpick individual points:

When Bertrand Russell penned 'The Case for the Leisure Society', he wasn't equating leisure with idleness. Rather, he suggested that if we all only worked say twenty hours a week for food and shelter, we wouold choose more active leisure activioties (gardening, playing musical instruments, walking) and less passive (slump in front of a DVD-boxset with bottle of scotch)

>I think if we [The IT-Crowd, system administrators etc] exercised our power and controlled it properly, we would do a better job than politicians and economists...

Maybe. But in past times, scientists have thought similar things. Of course, if we all had more leisure time, IT experts might choose to read more history and philosophy, and financial experts and politicians might educate themselves about technology and systems. The electorate, with morew free time, would also take a more informed and active role in politics, too.

*All mature ecosystems dissipate more energy than immature ecosystems. There has always seemed to me to be an economic lesson there, but i can't quite articulate it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Shame

>The issue is that some people get massive residual incomes - being able to sell your time once and get millions for it years later kind of breaks things.

The people earning millions years later are probably the outliers, the extreme beneficiaries of systems (copyright, patents, IP) that are intended to fairly reward more people more modestly. The greater rewards can also offset the risk an individual assumes by investing their own time in an endeavour. A would-be inventor might spend months in her shed, but it isn't guaranteed that her tinkering will result in a working prototype, let alone a commercially-viable product.

Of course, real life will skew the principle.

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Apollo 15 commander's watch clocks up $1.6m at auction

Dave 126
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>Or has it got a really,really,really long strap?

It does indeed have a really, really long Velcro strap.

See image here:

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/moon-watch-sells-for-$1million

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If MR ROBOT was realistic, he’d be in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and SMELL of WEE

Dave 126
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Re: Movie OS

To wrap up, this exhaustive website 'does what it says on the tin':

http://www.scifiinterfaces.com/

My apologies for veering off the topic of 'the appearance of fictional vs real computer operators', to 'sci-fi GUIs' via 'Hollywood contemporary GUIs'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Movie OS

Movie OS

Much of the time, the movie director just wants the fictional GUI to display a nice big status bar slowly inching towards "100% complete" before the bad guys arrive.

This site goes into more detail: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ViewerFriendlyInterface

Another type of 'Movie OS' is more flashy and futuristic.... think Minority Report, or Iron Man. Not all of them are completely silly:

http://www.creativebloq.com/movies/user-interfaces-movie-history-11121389

Strange to think that these days mocking up a fiction GUI is fairly easy... however, the wireframe Death Star from the pre-attack briefing scene in Star Wars took Barry Cuba months to create. Ridley Scott's VFX team had CG wireframes on screens in Alien, and later reused them in Blade Runner to keep costs down.

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Dave 126
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Re: Mr Robot

I greatly enjoyed Mr Robot. If you feel the lead character is too good-looking, just remember that what we the viewers see is clearly signposted as being from his point of view. It makes use of the 'unreliable narrator' device, even to the extent of playing upon any comparisons the viewer might make to Fight Club.

Hmm, writing this has reminded me of a 2007 film starring Christian Slater called 'He was a Quiet Man'. Worth a watch if you enjoyed Mr Robot.

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Is China dumping smartphones on world+dog?

Dave 126
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thanks for your replies guys!

I was thinking more of what the next 'feature jump' might be... some people used to pay £600 for a tiny polished Nokia 8210 when it was state if the art, but 6 or so years later a handset would have to do much much more to have that price tag.

Agreed, the list price is usually way over what a phone can be had for - at least in Android land.

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Dave 126
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Hmm, what sort of features would make a sensible person spend £600 on a flagship phone when a £250 handset is nearly as good?

With current technology, there isn't an answer to that question that is immediately obvious to me. Sure, there are esoteric features that might appeal to a few consumers - an IR camera, or Kinect-style 3D sensor, or perhaps a laser range-finder for site workers - but nothing obvious to appeal to the mass market.

If anyone of you think you know how to justify an extra few hundred quid on a handset, I'll expect you'll keep it to yourself and make money from it, rather than post it here.

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ITU rubber-stamps '3D' audio format

Dave 126
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Re: Useless

What, you mean subtitles for the heathens in the next village?

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BlackBerry opens its Priv kimono just a little wider

Dave 126
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Case-by-case permissions is in Android 6 Marshmallow, reports suggest the BB Priv is running Android 5 Lollipop at launch.

Details on how Android 6 manages permissions is here:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/10/android-6-0-marshmallow-thoroughly-reviewed/5/

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New Nexus 5X, 6P smarties: Google draws a line in the sand

Dave 126
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Re: These are not the droids I'm looking for...

>No SD is a big no-no for me. I like to have a large music collection stored on my mobe. I spend a lot of time working down in the bowels of a data centre where phone signal and the company WiFi are non-existant.

Two suggestions: 1, look at LG's offerings - they still have SD cards and swappable batteries, plus some models can play back native 24bit 192Khz FLAC files.

2: Your phone's battery will probably take a hit by searching for a cellular signal in vain, so ease the load by just buying a dedicated audio player with SD card support... the Sansa Clip springs to mind. Don't worry about the extra bulk; it's the size of a matchbox and is a convenient thing to wrap your headphone cables around.

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