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* Posts by Dave 126

4210 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Wheee GDUNK! Panasonic's latest Toughpads ready to hit the streets

Dave 126
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Re: woo hoo...

My mechanic has been using toughened Windows laptops with touch-screens for years, for the purpose of running engine diagnostic software.

>Using pinkies only, making choices from drop-down menus was a challenge, and will no doubt be a toe-curling experience for field workers.

And the software he uses is designed to be touch-screen friendly.

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MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery

Dave 126
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Confused:

>Worse, Apple opted for hard disk technology while every other manufacturer believed solid-state storage was the ideal portable storage.

>It duly signed up the only supplier of miniature hard disks that would fit the iPod form-factor and locked them into an exclusivity contract, in return guaranteeing that it would purchase its entire stock regardless.

That meant no one else could make hard disk MP3 players, even if they had wanted to. Don'tcha just love the free market?

So on the one hand, you're suggesting that nobody else wanted to make HDD-based players, but also saying that nobody else could make HDD-based players?

It was very hard to get hold of those little Toshiba HDDs... The only way I could hold of one to fix my iRiver H320 was to dissect an iPod with a broken screen. I chose the iRiver over the iPod because of wider Codec support, drag-n-drop support, USB-host support, line in and microphone recording, and supposed audio quality... oh, and it was slightly cheaper. I later found out that Rockbox let my play Doom on it (a pointless exercise really, but cool) and Gameboy classics.

It was frustrating a year or two later to be unable to buy a non-iPod HDD player.

Nor did the iPod introduce the 'scroll wheel' to portable audio- I had one on my Sharp minidisc player/recorder, though it wasn't used for track select - instead it was for jogging through tracks, and for entering text.

The pre-iPod HDD players were often a bit shit, though. The Creative that looked like a portable CD player was a silly form factor, and the later Creative Nomad was unreliable (the audio-out jack was soldered directly to the PCB, and so was unforgiving of longer audio jacks)

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Google helps out utterly underexposed Lego brand with Chrome toy

Dave 126
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Is WebGL still a security risk?

The Reg suggested some time ago that WebGL was a security risk, and since it wasn't used much (at the time) it wasn't a bad idea to disable it.

I can't find any recent news on this topic, though.

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Dave 126
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Re: Lego is a toy! Meccano is proper engineering!

LEGO Technic encouraged my engineering side. Cranes, JCB diggers, cars with gear boxes and suspension, plus electric motors - all good things. Suspension, gearing, chain drives, pneumatics...

The LEGO Mindstorms kits (sensors, motors, programmable logic) look good, but a bit pricey.

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Man sues NASA: Mystery Mars rock is a UFO – an unidentified 'FUNGUS' object

Dave 126
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Re: Choral Pigs...

FFS!

You DO NOT teach pigs to sing.

What you do is select a few dozen pigs, and determine the natural pitch of squeel for each. Armed

with this data, you then get a MIDI keyboard, an Arduino, and as many relays, crocodile clips and step-up transformers as you have pigs...

Then it's just a case of "a bunch of German microphones, a very expensive British mixing desk and absolutely no EQ whatsoever - just as the good Lord intended".

- with apologies to Monty Python and Hayseed Dixie

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Dave 126
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Re: Backfiring Logic

'Foucalt's Pendulum' by Umberto Eco is an excellent treatise on conspiracy theorists and their desire to believe, presented in the form of a thriller. It's very readable, if a bit dense at times, and has an overarching structure that prevents the fatigue one can feel after successive plot twists a la Robert Anton Wilson's 'Schrodinger Cat Trilogy'.

However, you don't need to have read it to consider Dan Brown a prick.

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Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

Dave 126
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Re: Easy fixed

I agree with Bronek Kozicki: I find it easier to proof read a document on paper, and then make changes on the computer. This sort-lived print-out scheme would be suitable for this, except I like to use a coloured pen to mark the required changes.

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Reg reader crafts 3-axis GoPro 'Stubilizer' for skull-mounted cameras

Dave 126
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Re: Design question - Waterproof

Re Waterproof.

If it won't be waterproof in its first version, has any thought been given at this early stage that will make waterproofing easier to implement at a later date? For example, concentric grooves or flanges could be added to the moulded parts for version 1.0, so that labyrinth seals can be more easily added for version 1.5.

Whilst waterproofing the design would add cost - especially the testing, if it is to be sold as waterproof - this decision does seem to limit the market considerably. [Anecdotal, I know: In my local pub (some distance from the coast) there are a couple of paragliding enthusiasts, a few motorcrossers, a couple of dozen mountain-bikers and maybe a dozen surfers. ]

I'd be interested to read of your experience of learning to use Solidworks, too, with respect to more common software: What did you make of the UI, for example, or did you find quite straight forward after you got the hang of the conventions (sketches > bodies > parts > assemblies, the feature tree etc)? Did you just play with it, or did you follow tutorials on YouTube and look at user forums?

Best of luck with this project.

And thanks to The Reg for publishing a story about people using IT in the real world.

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Snap! Nokia's gyro stabilised camera tech now on open market

Dave 126
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Re: Spin

Foucault (of pendulum fame) observed that if he placed a metal rod in the chuck of a lathe and hit it from above, it would vibrate up and down - as one would expect. What he found notable, however, was that if he then rotated the chuck of the lathe, the plane of vibration didn't change, i,e, he didn't observe the rod wobbling from side to side, it was still up and down.

MEMs gyros are based upon this same principle, but are constructed using techniques developed for silicon chips.

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Dave 126
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Re: Surely this is only a minor part of Nokia's special sauce.

The Nokia 1020 has the big sensor. The midrange Nokia 925 has a normal (for a phone) sized sensor and this gyro tech, and in reviews is said to be a "versatile if not amazing" camera.

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The other end of the telescope: Intel’s Galileo developer board

Dave 126
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Re: Get out the stuffing

>(if you need all those peripherals: ethernet, micro-SD and what looks like an extremely dodgy sheild interface) then you really shouldn't be trying to do it with an Arduino

I'm a complete novice at Arduino and the like. My only experience is the custom Arduino board that runs my RepRap Ormerod 3D printer - I note that it has ethernet and a microSD slot, though.

EDIT: Link added. It's one of these:

http://blog.think3dprint3d.com/2013/12/Duet-Arduino-Due-compatible-3DPrinter-controller.html

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

Dave 126
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Re: You know he's on the way...

Seriously though, Stephen Fry seems a natural fit to champion this cause. Though some might criticise him on points of detail, he a genuine interest in technology, gay rights, languages and German history - and has a larger profile amongst the wider population than The Reg does.

Don't forget that he was vocal in his support of Paul Chambers, the man who was prosecuted (and later acquitted) after he tweeted jokingly that he would 'blow up Robin Hood airport'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Time for The Register to weigh in methinks.

A damn good idea. And perhaps a popular public figure with a very large twitter following and an interest in history, gay rights and technology could be recruited to raise awareness of this campaign amongst the general population?

Oh wait, Mr Orlowski has other ideas. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/28/stephen_fry_says_kildall_was_cracked/

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Dave 126
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Re: Polish cryptographers!!

I liked the Interactive Display in Futurama's Luna Theme Park, telling the history of Luna exploration:

""[Singing] We're whalers on the Moon, we carry a harpoon. But there ain't no whales so we tell tall tales and sing our whaling tune""

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Behold the world's first full-colour 3D printer

Dave 126
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Re: HP?

HP dipped their toes in the pool, then pulled them out:

In January 2010, Stratasys signed an agreement with HP to manufacture HP-branded 3D printers. In August 2012, the HP manufacturing and distribution agreement was discontinued.

I don't know if HP are still pursuing 3D printing in any way.

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Dave 126
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Re: Market Target?

>3D printing seems to attract two kinds of people.

You seem to have forgotten professional product development engineers and designers.

But yeah, there is a lot of FOSS hype about. Let us all remember the horror of home produced, clip-art laden posters that were all about in the nineties, when philistines laid their hands on DTP software.

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Dave 126
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Re: to widen the discussion...

I agree with Don's gist.

On points of detail though, my take is that technology like 3D scanning and image recognition will allow 3D printers to compensate for user ineptness. E.g the printer will be able to 'see' that what it is laying down on the bed isn't what is desired, and so will adjust the parameters accordingly.

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Dave 126
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Haven't we been here before? I think I've made a Reg comment in jest before, about encoding the filament so that unauthorised consumables are rejected by the printer.

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Dave 126
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Re: Missing the point

>anyone not wearing one when riding a bike is an absolute idiot of the highest degree.

The statistical evidence in favour of bicycle helmets is not as clear cut as one would assume, though it does appear that, on balance, wearing a helmet is a good idea.

I would recommend the film 'The Crash Reel' to anyone. For a film about the consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries, it is surprisingly uplifting. That film, and also the movie 'Senna' were on my mind when I heard the news about Michael Schumacher's crash last month.

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Dave 126
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>Me thinks this needs to be opensourced back into the community, after all their business wouldn't be anywhere without the opensource reprap.

Where did you get that idea, rmwebs?

Stratasys have been selling commercial 3D printers to paying customers since the early 1990s. The open-source RepRap project, based on Stratasys's Fused Deposition Modelling (as opposed to alternative rapid-prototyping techniques such as Laminate Object Modelling, Selective Laser Sintering or Stereolithography) has been running since 2004.

Disclosure: Stratasys sent me a sample, a 4" long 3D-printed adjustable spanner in 2001, made of a nylon-like plastic. Only yesterday did I manage to print (mostly successfully) a 3D object on my own RepRap Ormerod printer (the one being sold by RS Components). The trick of coating the bed with a 50:50 water/PVA mix and allowed to dry seems to have solved my warping problems. It's been (mostly) fun to assemble, but don't believe the "Kit takes two hours to assemble" claim on the RS website! For a honest and broad overview, you can of course check the Reprap Forums > Machine Variations > Ormerod: http://forums.reprap.org/list.php?340

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Dave 126
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Re: So can they print rainbow ice-hockey helmets

It would be easier to graduate granules of different colours in the hopper of an injection-moulding machine.

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Dave 126
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Re: A 3D printed cycle helmet?

In industrial design, people understand the difference between an appearance model and a functional prototype.

That said, bicycle helmets are usually made of composite materials (i.e, a composite of polystyrene and a gas such as carbon dioxide) so that the gas can compress on impact. In theory, additive manufacturing can be used to create a structure with pockets of air which can meet or exceed the relevant safety tests. However, I can't think of a reason as to why you choose this process over traditional means, other than the promise of a helmet that is 'tailored' to an individuals head shape by means of 3D scanning.

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Dave 126
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Re: Missing the point

>I don't care what colour my bike helmet is, I want it to be as strong as possible while also being light.

I don't want my bike helmet to be as strong as possible. I want it to deform on impact in order to reduce the acceleration exerted on my brain. That is why they are made of polystyrene or, more recently, cardboard:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25681895

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Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

Dave 126
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Re: Why let truth get in the way...

>You know he's given the answers on the autocue or into his ear, right? You know HE KNOWS all these things, right?

Sod it, Jeremy Paxman knows everything (if his role on University Challenge is to believed) so let's just make him President of the World now and save some fuss.

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Dave 126
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Re: The thinking man's grandma

DNA in Cambridge before Watson and Crick.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why let truth get in the way...

You'll be next be suggesting that there aren't actually rules to the game we know as Mornington Crescent! What a ludicrous idea!

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Dave 126
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Hmm, IBM and ICBMs are very different things.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why let truth get in the way...

Since we are pointing out the bleedingly obvious, Alan Davies isn't actually ignorant. As the producers of the show found out in the first pilot for QI, having Alan just give the correct answers resulted in a boring show.

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Dave 126
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Re: The thinking man's grandma

@mastodon't

Exactly.

Whereas Fry's friend Douglas Adams described himself as the sort of person who, when faced with a two hour long job on a computer will instead spend two days writing some code to do the job for him.

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Dave 126
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Re: The thinking man's grandma

If we're going for accuracy, then let us note that the error probably lies with the researchers and scriptwriters on QI, and not with the man reading the autocue.

We've seen this before: "And I'm Ron Burgundy. Go fuck yourself, San Diego. "

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Globe grabbin,’ sphere slammin’, orb-tossin’, pill poppin’... Speedball

Dave 126
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Re: Joystick Killer

Back in the days when joystick packaging proudly stated 'Microswitches' as a selling point!

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Dave 126
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Re: The Bitmap Brothers

>Although I can't actually remember the game being all that good...

Gods looked great, but it was a bit ploddy, flip switches to open doors, and relying on every health and weapon upgrade you could get.

Platform games were a bit scarce on the PC at the time, with Sonic and Mario of course being exclusive to Sega and Nintendo. Heck, even the 8-bit Master System seemed to have better platform games, such as Wonderboy III.

Flight simulators and strategy games aside, the PC felt to me like the poor man of the gaming world until the rise of the First Person Shooter.

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Dave 126
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The Bitmap Brothers

I loved their art style across all of their games.... Xenon 2, Gods, The Chaos Engine, Speedball 2... I owned a PC, so I missed out on much of the audio richness of the Amiga / ST versions, though. I never played 'Z', (I must have been too busy with Doom and Carmageddon) but I see it's been remade by the community: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z_(computer_game)#The_Zod_Engine_.28Remake.29

Along with Team 17, Codemasters and Sensible Software, it was a golden age of gaming.

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Apple's Tim Cook: Fear not, worried investors, new product salvation is 'absolutely' on the way

Dave 126
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Re: New product category

> Next step is probably the additional capability to drop the mobile device into a dock and it becomes your desktop PC

There are two main reasons to want to do that: 1, access to files that are only on your mobole device, and 2, saving money by not duplicating processing hardware.

There are probably better (and more redundant) ways of synchronising files, and the cost of hardware required to do a good many tasks is very cheap these days.

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Dave 126
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>Plus the mobile phone market is surely a once in a lifetime deal. To find another device almost everyone on the planet wants/needs, that costs what a smartphone costs and that gets promoted by massive cross subsidy from monthly subscriptions is surely a hard act to follow.

Healthcare products? Apple have already bought a hearing aid company, and health monitoring of our ever-ageing population is a justification for 'wearable' technology.

As noted in another Reg article today, healthcare is an area Sony is looking at.

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Altcoins will DESTROY the IT industry and spawn an infosec NIGHTMARE

Dave 126
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In cryptography, scrypt is a password-based key derivation function created by Colin Percival, originally for the Tarsnap online backup service. The algorithm was specifically designed to make it costly to perform large-scale custom hardware attacks by requiring large amounts of memory. In 2012, the scrypt algorithm was published by IETF as an Internet Draft, intended to become an informational RFC, which has since expired. A simplified version of scrypt is used as a proof-of-work scheme by a number of cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin and Dogecoin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrypt

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm mining Litecoins as we speak...

Iitecoins were designed to not hand a massive advantage to specialist hardware over CPUs, but due to how it implemented the Scrypt proof-of-work GPUs are still faster.

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What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

Dave 126
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Cheers guys! The weight won't bother him too much, and in any case he usually carries a Panasonic travel zoom camera - for landscapes and pub sessions.

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Dave 126
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My old man is in the market for a new phone, his previous small-screened Android phone having irritated him - especially the keyboard and the battery life. A fair few of his friends have iPhones, and they have a reputation as being easy to use, yet my father's chief complaints with his current phone is that the keyboard is too small. I was just about to suggest he get a Google Nexus 5 (good value, big screen, good battery life, virtual keyboard can be swapped out for another one).

However, on Saturday his friend showed us her Nokia 1020, specifically the messaging app in which she had bumped up the font size. Clean, legible, large... it looked very good (Actually, it looked like Rockbox on my old iRiver H320).

So, beyond the lack of apps compared to Android and iOS (which doesn't bother my old man a bit), is there any reason I shouldn't recommend he get one?

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Apple plans to waggle iNormous 4½-incher in fanbois' faces

Dave 126
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Re: Cheapo?

When did polycarbonate become "cheap?"

Er, since always? Injection moulded plastic parts are far cheaper than CNC'd aluminium parts, if you are making enough units. Moulded polycarbonate may be slightly more expensive than moulded ABS, but not by much - and we're only talking about a part that weight a few dozen grams.

Extruded skylight roofng panels and compact discs are also made of polycarbonate.

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Apple’s Mac turns 30: How Steve Jobs’ baby took its first steps

Dave 126
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Re: Oh deary, deary me

Look at the address bar on your browser, and you will see the last characters are 'p1/'

Kindly navigate to Page Two of Part 2 to find what you seek!

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Windows 8.1 update 'screenshots' leak: Metro apps popped into classic desktop taskbar

Dave 126
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Re: Reverse

I don't use Adblock on The Reg, because a, I like The Reg and b, their adverts are not normally intrusive - they get the balance correct. A month or so back there was an annoying Microsoft advert here with audio, but I can only assume that this was a rare oversight. Were that kind of advert the norm here, then yes I would enable Adblock.

A good number of websites have become almost unusable in the last year or so, with constant in-window 'pop-ups' and elements that break the normal conventions (such as changing the behaviour of my mouse scroll to move between photos, for example). The Reg is not one of them.

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UK smut filter may have sent game patch to sin-bin

Dave 126
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There have been stories like this...

...since the early nineties, when schools were getting t'internet and using crude filters. IIRC, Beaver University had to change its name to Colorado University as a result.

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Pay-by-bonk? YEP, it's an Apple patent now...

Dave 126
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Re: secure wireless connection

Financial data sent over a secure wireless network?

Newsflash: People do that every day, from making Amazon purchases to using a 'chip and pin;' card to get a pint and £20 cash-back in the local pub.

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Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

Dave 126
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One of the wheels is not working properly:

Opportunity’s front right steering actuator has stopped working, so [NASA Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres] identified that as the possible culprit behind the whole mystery.

Each wheel on the rover has its own actuator. Should an actuator jam or otherwise fail, the robot’s mobility can suffer. In the case of this wheel, it can no longer turn left or right. “So if you do a turn in place on bedrock,” continued Squyres, “as you turn that wheel across the rock, it’s gonna kinda ‘chatter.’” This jittery motion across the bedrock may have propelled the rock out of place, “tiddlywinking” the object from its location and flipping it a few feet away from the rover.

http://news.discovery.com/space/mystery-rock-appears-in-front-of-mars-rover-140117.htm

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Apple hires medical techies, raises spectre of iStuff slurping data direct from your bloodstream

Dave 126
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Re: Apple might actually get some money out of me...

>I would very much prefer such a device to have NO connectivity at all.

What, not even USB connectivity so that you can look at graphs of glucose over time?

Fear about 3rd parties having your data are reasonable. Fears about 3rd parties obtaining your data through dodgy security implementation are reasonable. A point-blank dismissal of individuals collecting their own data, to be shared with whmo they choose (and so perhaps saving a district nurse from travelling to the thrice weekly)... a bit daft.

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MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Dave 126
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Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....

If only the Proof of Work could be something that required human 'brain hours'.

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Dave 126
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@Ac

Curiously, I was reading a similar roundup of BC-mining hardware, and it was noted that one supplier had started as a speculator and was now offering hardware, whilst another hardware supplier had since become a speculator.

It seems the two companies have converged upon the same hybrid business model... part gholdminer, part seller of shovels.

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Dave 126
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Re: EC2, Azure, etc

There are Crypto-currenciues (like Litecoin) based on a Proof of Work (such as Scrypt) that doesn't hand a huge advantage to specialist chips... however, it's said that Litecoin bodged the implementation, meaning that GPUs are still faster than CPUs.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....

> does the whole mining process not strike anyone else as being an utterly futile waste of electricity and processing power?

Yeah, I know how you feel.

However, the same can be said for the physical mining or gold, or diamonds... at least Bitcoin mining doesn't pollute groundwater or result in hundreds miners being killed each year.

One can almost imagine a swarm of self-replicating machines in orbit, feeding upon satellites for raw materials and turning sunlight into virtual gold... maybe its that sort of disastrous situation that which caused the universe of Star Trek to be a 'post money' society!

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