2701 posts • joined Wednesday 21st July 2010 13:57 GMT
Processes akin to 'iterative engineering' perhaps, but not strictly 'engineers'. But hey, I'm loving your enthusiasm for it! : D
Re: Is it not an "obvious" thing anyway?
Well, here's the rub: The whole point of these phone UIs is to make the device usable to an average newcomer. Therefore, a good number of the UI elements should, almost by definition, be obvious.
(Though of course, many things are obvious in hindsight)
Re: Ichneumon wasp
Have a read of this, mate:
The whole ichneumon wasp subject benefits from knowing the context of the arguments at the time (people being threatened by a lack of 'morality' in nature), and in this Professor Gould comments upon the human reactions to it, before concluding:
[It is amusing in this context, or rather ironic since it is too serious to be amusing, that modern creationists accuse evolutionists of preaching a specific ethical doctrine called secular humanism and thereby demand equal time for their unscientific and discredited views.] If nature is nonmoral, then evolution cannot teach any ethical theory at all. The assumption that it can has abetted a panoply of social evils that ideologues falsely read into nature from their beliefs — eugenics and (misnamed) social Darwinism prominently among them. Not only did Darwin eschew any attempt to discover an antireligious ethic in nature, he also expressly stated his personal bewilderment about such deep issues as the problem of evil. Just a few sentences after invoking the ichneumons, and in words that express both the modesty of this splendid man and the compatibility, through lack of contact, between science and true religion, Darwin wrote to Asa Gray,
"I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can."
[Stephen J Gould guest-stared in an episode of the Simpsons as himself, taking money money from Lisa to perform a test he then doesn't carry out, before running off laughing. He was not too proud to portray himself as a fraudster, when in fact he was far from it]
Re: IT connection
Another IT connection:
Some spiders can up the resolution of the eyes by introducing vibrations to them. Imagine you took a photo, and then shifted the camera to the left by half the diameter of each CCD receptor... and then shifted it up by the same. You would have three images that could be interpolated to resolve more detail than any one single image. Some engineers have built cameras based on this principle.
Re: IT connection
On the web, no one really knows what you really look like.
Re: So, presumably
Well spotted Hugo. The researches didn't mention it, but there are some advanced sexual behaviours in some species of spider. 'Dancing' on a web, for example... though it has been observed that some male spiders get it on with the female while their competitor is still showing off... all the gain for no pain (save being eaten alive by your mate). This is an example of biologists call 'sneaky fucker' behaviour. Please excuse the f-bomb, but seriously, that's what zoologists call it.
Re: I wonder if
...and the spiders are still awaiting a job offer from Jim Henson. The biologists didn't have the heart to tell the spiders that he is no longer with us.
>I believe (and hope) that gravity will continue to work today and tomorrow.
Yep, 'belief' is a way of making information processing efficient enough for our brains to handle it. If I had to build everything up from a priori sensations every time I made a decision, I wouldn't get anything done. Actually, I probably wouldn't be dissimilar to a newborn baby.
Re: Are they going to side with us or the insects?
...in an insect nation!"
Here's one to Bill Bailey! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2mmTDT6W7E
Yeah, just to clarify: 'Mimicry' applied to 'hover-fly looks like wasp' is not the same as a child mimicking their parent's turns of phrase. Mimicry in that sense does in nature- Mynah birds, parrots and song birds being easy examples.
Re: So, presumably
Indeed, some countries have bird-eating spiders (though that is in part due to the small size of some birds in some parts of this ever-surprising world).
Hmm, it might not be that the predator is threatened by the big decoy 'spider', but rather chooses it as the bigger meal, giving the real spider a chance to escape.
Nothing is proven. Even stuff you think is. For example, the internal angles of a triangle do not add up to 180º, but they add up to [180º] * [a function of the area of the triangle]. However the discrepancy between this theory and the actual sum of the angles is less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom if the sides of the triangle are a lightyear in length. Therefore, this discrepancy between Plato's idea and reality does not prevent it being a VERY useful theory.
Similarly in the case of natural selection, it gives biologists a theory of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, which in turn informs health policy. Not quite replicable and repeatable, but close enough to Occam's Razor and Leary's Reality Tunnels to be getting on with.
Personally, I believe the world was created 8 minutes ago, and memories I have of the world before then have been placed there by His noodley appendages. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot
Re: So, presumably
Your girlfriend's instincts are good. Though here in the UK there are no spiders that can do us serious harm, that is not true of much of the world. She, like all of us, have ancestors that have lived amongst spiders since before we were small furry things.
Snakes, similarly- there are many species that can harm us if we threaten them, and our instincts 'know' this. In some people (Indiana Jones, for example) this fear is stronger, and harder for our concious minds to overcome.
I've heard it said that the sale of lion poo is prohibited in the UK after the poll tax riots when protesters used it to scare police horses. Horses might not have lived on the continents as lions for a few thousands of years, but their instincts tell them that this smell is associated with something to be avoided.
Re: So, presumably
The textbook example of this happening in short time scale is that of moths in England over the historical period known as the Industrial Revolution. Moths (nocturnal, so inactive during daylight) would rest against the bark of trees, appropriately camouflaged to the species of tree they preferred. Soot from the burning of coal ('dark satanic mills') darkened the appearance of trees in many areas, and this placed a strong 'selection pressure' on generations of moths- favouring those that exhibited a mutation that made them darker. Pale moths would be readily seen by birds and promptly eaten.
This happened in decades, if not years. Moths, like spiders, have many, many offspring.
If billions of years seems to short a time-scale, please do bear in mind that there are other mechanisms in place- not least sexual reproduction. Sex not only allows beneficial mutations to be shared around, but, in the case of this spider, could also accelerate the process: If a female exhibits a preference for a male spider that makes decoys, her offspring will not only have the genes for that preference, but also the genes for the subject of that preference.
Also, mutations don't have to create everything 'from scratch' every time... say for example, an animal population had colonised a perfectly cave system... there would no longer be a selection pressure to retain eyes. The genes for the eyes wouldn't be 'deleted', but rather they would no longer be preserved against random mutations- and over many generations the eyes would diminish and disappear. These mutations might be small, but would prevent the eyes from developing. An analogy would be changing a few bytes on your HDD's table of contents that would render it unreadable- but most of the HDD's data is still there. Should this blind animal population find itself in an environment with light, a few mutations over generations might reinstate eyes- the 'building blocks' are still there. By the same process, 'throwbacks' occasionally occur, such as humans with vestigial tails, or Julius Ceasar's five-toed war-horse.
A mutation might also be along the lines of changing 'Goto 10' to 'Goto 20', and thus place, say, an enzyme in the 'wrong' place. It is thought such a mutation replicated an enzyme found in the eye (to break down foreign substances) into the digestive tract of bovines, allowing them to break down cellulose and thus digest grass.
It is endlessly fascinating, and I would recommend Stephen J Gould over Richard Dawkins should you want to read more.
Re: In the words of Eddie Izzard
I think he also advocated giving monkeys guns... and then throwing them over the wall of Charlton Heston's house. So yeah, I'd vote for him.
Re: Why is it illegal to slap a politician?
I never listened to Marilyn Manson, or liked his image... but when I heard him talk in Bowling for Columbine, he seemed the only sane contributor.
I still don't listen to his music, but he seems someone you can have a beer with.
Okay, now attempt your best Marlon Brando impression:
"They train young men to rain fire upon people, but don't allow them to write 'fuck' on their airplanes because they think it is obscene".
Spider mech warrior? Where have I seen that before? [ insert JPG of that boss from Doom here]
Alas, mimicry as a survival tactic (birds that look like the plants they perch on, flowers that resemble female insects so that males 'mate' and thus pollinate them, hover-flies that look like wasps, butterflies that have large 'eyes' on their wings, stick insects that look like sticks...) arises from the successive selection of randomly occurring mutations.
Re: A story about Google....
Re: Self-evident wisdom
>Baseball World Series
It seems there were two competing leagues which both allowed their winners to be called "American Champions", so a more grandiose name was required.
It reminds me of the Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss Earth competitions in competition.
The Leap device of the headline looks very interesting- I have posted in Reg forums before about the Kinect not fully reaching its potential for content-creation applications, but this Leap device appears to have got a fair few peoples attention, and generated some interesting discussions, from the specific (does it work with X? could it do Y?) to the more general:
For now, they state that their focus in on hand/finger tracking (I've seen 3rd party demos of the Kinect doing similar) rather than the '3D object scanner on the cheap" that have also been demoed using the Kinect. Interesting times if you're into computers and making things.
They don't say exactly how it works at this time, but it seems to do its thing by different means to the Kinect, and with far cheaper hardware.
I was under the impression that MS is considering contact-less gesture controls for future laptops, but haven't heard anything lately due to all the noise around Win8. Oh, re OS choice, Leap say "At this time, our focus is on Windows and OS X, with Linux being on our agenda." It is encouraging that they are still platform-agnostic, and haven't been bought by a big player as FingerWorks (multi-touch gesture-based input devices) were by Apple.
Fingers crossed that it is as good as it seems and it takes off.
Re: Winter cleaning?
Google and Microsoft are based in the Northern hemisphere. I think that press statements along the line of "its now time to do some Winter cleaning- that's Summer cleaning for our antipodean users..." would be both cumbersome and patronising, and doesn't take account of users in the tropics, where seasons as we know them don't apply.
Re: Massive underground dykes!!
Really? I must check my bed...
... nope, none there. Lucky that, I'm tired.
Re: A fool and their money ...
So how is then that these 'fools' still have the money to buy a Mac, then?
No really, please do expand on your reasoning.
(do bear in mind that any price difference between PCs and Macs is no more than a few hundred dollars if that, whereas even the most basic 'upgrade' package on a new car, for example, is far, far more. Hell, in the UK, Ford charge £250 for a wretched DAB radio to be factory-fitted to your new Focus, never mind fancy wheels, leather upholstery or upgraded sound system etc. A slightly nicer house? Thousands. A couple eating out once more per month over a year? One extra pint of beer per week, over a year? Hundreds. You don't need a spreadsheet to get the gist.)
Re: The joke icon...
>I personally regard Bill Gates as a modern day Robin Hood
Helping thousands if not millions of unfortunate souls in devolving countries with healthcare, disease-eradication efforts and basic infrastructure, by causing years of minor irritations to Windows users (such as myself). Ah well, I can live with that.
Then you get the niches that screw the figures... teenagers with fairly expensive gaming PCs, who haven't yet matured to the point of charitable giving - or of they do, it was because they were 'chatted up' by an attractive charity mugger on the street.
>not very christian, is it?
Rastafarianism seems to have more parallels with Judaism than Christianity.
Re: Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.
Wasn't there a case a few years back when the KKK got permission to stage a demonstration march, but near to the time decided to cancel it? The cops had prepared to police the event, and when the KKK called it off, the cops decided to sue them for the cost of their unnecessary preparation: The KKK were sued for NOT putting on racist march!
(I know this because it formed part of my post-doctorate in "What some bloke told me down the pub", so please correct me if wrong)
Re: the badly inbred Phelpses of WBC are plain wack
Fair play to US servicemen for their restraint and self-control, is all I can say. When the WBC routinely picket the funerals of dead soldiers- attended as they are by soldiers who are very much alive, kicking and combat trained- I'm surprised that no-one in the WBC has been seriously hurt.
>and institution's to account
Dave, you pillock- how did that blasted apostrophe get in there? (Hangs head in shame)
Sure he would... it would just be a case of blasting himself out of his car door and into his garage, then closing the door behind him before he runs out of air.
Pamela Anderson was near the top of the list at times, IIRC.
Re: What a shame…
Yeah, if only that wretched, maladjusted nutter had taken time to compile a list of targets based on rational criteria.
Causing riots at funerals? Like shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theatre, no?
Free speech is about being able to challenge your rulers without being banged up in prison or beheaded. It is not about being a prick.
Likewise, freedom of the press is about bringing politicians and institution's to account- it shouldn't be about harassing innocent citizens for the titillation of others.
Re: "Protest the funerals"?
Actually, all New Testament bibles have the line "Treat others as you yourself would be treated", and "Blessed are the peacemakers". Kurt Vonnegut, a former head of the Atheist Association of America*, has made a great case for living in a world in which the Sermon on the Mount happened.
Christianity started out as the religion of the poor, under the Roman empire. For much of the last two thousand years, political views and movements have been expressed in religious terms, culminating eventually in the enlightenment, a milestone of the very civilisation that has shaped your views.
You make me embarrassed to be an atheist.
*(in his first speech as president, he says "Isaac [Asimov, the former head] is in heaven now" to howls of laughter)
Re: What I wish would happen to WBC
I wish that their prophecy comes true, and they move to Israel. As Loius Threoux (who when meeting the WBC had not long come back from meeting Ultra-Zionist Settlers in Israel- total nutters) noted with sublime understatement: "Oh, that will be interesting..."
I noted that Anonymous said they would spare no enjoyment... the WBC's hate videos are a hoot and look they they had a lot of fun making them, using the pastiches of the same popular culture that they claim to attack.
Loius Theroux and Keith Allen have both visited them... Theroux did better, since they couldn't quite work them out.
You give 50p, some flash bugger gives $200 for tax reasons... and hey presto, we're in the rough area of $100. That's how mean averages work. To know much more, we need diagrams...
Re: I have a different take...
>This is evidenced by the simple fact that they are paying at least 30% more for their computing devices than an equivalent from another manufacturer
Tom's Hardware would disagree with you. I could take your word for it, but Tom's were good enough to show their working and you weren't. Sorry. Obviously the UK case is different, because exchange rates can up the margins, but this study was done by a US organisation.
Generally though, Mac users are more likely to be baby-boomers with some expendable income, their children are grown up, house is paid off etc... people who probably didn't use digital technology from a young age. Remember- for every objectionable hipster with a Macbook in a coffee shop, there will be a dozen Macs in the homes of perfectly pleasant people who don't get worked up about technology for its own sake, but do whatever they do in one of the myriad other areas of worthwhile human activity besides IT.
>The linux users are the most savvy of they bunch and thus recognize most charities are scams with hugely bloated administration
If the Linux folk are so savvy, wouldn't they be able to differentiate between the efficient charities and the bloated ones, rather tar them both with the same brush? I think that they are, and they can. There are also organisations that attempt to rate charities on their effectiveness, should one want guidance.
Re: Wait and see
I don't know if they use it, but Sony at least have a market for small screens with very accurate colour- until a few years ago, they were still selling $5,000 15" CRTs to the broadcast industry.
>Not suitable for HD recorders then!
I beg to differ... many people use PVRs to watch weekly broadcasts at times convenient to them, and then delete them. If you want to store the recorded footage 'for keeps', then you would have to take steps to transfer it to additional storage anyway, because one day that single HDD will fail. I believe there is PVR firmware which allows content on a PVR HDD to be transferred to other devices on the network.
For 'normal people' who don't tinker with their toys, all a bigger PVR HDD means is that come the day it goes Pft!, they lose more hours of the recordings they have made.
[Disclaimer: I'm not advocating illegal duplication of copyright material, but the above is a technique that allows broadcast material to be retained for reasons that fall under fair use provisions- such as academic use or parody. ]
Re: Computer Models!
>Environmentalism is a religion, a kind of Doomsday Cult. It is probably the most popular religion in San Francisco.
Do you mean that ALL people who are concerned about the issue are zealous nutters? I'm an atheist, yet I do not kill, do not steal, and keep the clean separate from the unclean (food safety). Similarly, I'm not a member of Greenpeace or whatnot, yet if I were a town planner, I would sooner approve a building that was kept at the desired temperature through the use of design and materials over one that relied purely on fuel heating and powered air-conditioning.
Just as there is a lot of common sense in the scriptures, (on how not to get food poisoning, on how not to depress yourself by coveting your neighbour's wife's ass, or creating ill-feeling over the above) there is some common sense in being less wasteful and at least studying potential alternatives. This isn't faith- how long have aluminium smelting plants been built near hydroelectric plants? For decades.
Trying to tar all environmentalists, or even the the yet-undecided, with the same derogatory brush is like comparing your local vicar with Jim Jones of suicide cult infamy or the Spanish Inquisition. Not every concerned citizen is a Swampy, just as not every climate change doubter is a Koch brother. If your argument can be made on it merits, lets hear more of you, and often; but please don't pollute the discussion with name calling.
Re: Only for americans
>This study really does need say it's specific to the USA, it really doesn't work elsewhere in the world.
It doesn't need to say that, because it made it clear that the data came from the US grid and weather.
>Air conditioning is considered a necessity and is expensive to run - a situation that simply doesn't feature in the UK or wider
Even termites can construct structures that only vary by 1ºC over a 24 hour period, and they're insects. Can't we build a little smarter? If we looked at Moorish architecture, with courtyards, water features and thick walls, we would be doing better than just erecting another condo with a hundred Mitsubishi air conditioning units hanging out of the windows. I'm not saying we currently have the solution, but we can do better than "we need air con, so let's give up now". Still, what with Florida being filled with AC-dependant senior citizens, and their enthusiasm for voting, it could be a struggle...
Re: How difficult....?
>But it's also not very difficult to mug a defence-less little old lady, however that doesn't mean one should get away without prosecution for doing it.
My above question was not meant to infer that McKinnon was right, or wrong- it was just a question.
Anyway, I'm tempted to up-vote you, just for comparing the US Department of Defence and a proverbial old lady : D
How difficult was what McKinnon did? Is there a talent there that can be used by any one?
Re: Thanks for not mis-calling it the 'dark' side of the Moon...
Calling it the Far Side of the Moon suggests that it populated by cows wearing harlequin spectacles, stupid children and smoking dinosaurs.
> this seems like mindless vandalism to me...
Maybe it is, but the first thing to do would to explore how likely the following two assertions are to be correct:
-The engineers have a reason to do what they are doing, but subtleties of their reasoning have not survived the journey through a Reg article... or
-The engineers are mindless vandals.
My first assumption was that it was being done to study the resulting impact, but the article says that won't be seen at the time. Maybe it is enough for them to study the crater/ejected material after the event, but they are destroying the second probe soon afterwards. Maybe it is just some house-keeping, keeping junk out of orbit so as not to pose a danger to future missions to the Moon (however small a chance). Dunno.
Re: Win 8 FTW
Vista would force restart your computer every so often, to install updates, wiping unsaved documents (avoidable) and killing any long tasks like batch rendering or downloading (unavoidable). This behaviour couldn't be turned off in the Home versions. Personally, I consider that to be more annoying that having to bat some coloured squares out of the way on start up.
Re: Windows 8 is basically a waste of time
>But there's literally nothing that would make you want to go through the hassle and expense of installing 8 when you have 7.
I'll take your word for it, as I'm happy enough with Win 7. That said, I haven't any USB 3 hardware, or any need yet to explore Storage Spaces. Lots is written about the Win8 UI, (I'd just assumed that technical users will use 3rd party tools modify it to their liking... surely 'power users' have their own pet tweaks they like to make to any GUI?) but less about the 'under the hood/bonnet' new features/bugs.
I kind of get the impression that MS knew many people would be happy enough with 7 not to bother with 8, so they have been more experimental with 8's UI, with a view to implementing the resulting feedback into 9. This view is deliberately optimistic, though!
Re: It's working here.
Ohh, thank you for bringing Descent Rebirth to my attention. I had the original on my old 486, and was later happy to see a Mac version turn up at school in a suite of networked PowerPCs, multiplayer fun!
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