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* Posts by Robert Jenkins

17 posts • joined 4 Jun 2007

Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Robert Jenkins

I was thinking RICO - the Corrupt Organisations bit.

The only people who can possibly make any money from this are the American 'Lawyers' fighting over it.

There have been so many dubious patents issued in the last few years, with blatantly obvious prior, that the only reason for issue can be to create business for lawyers, at the expense of businesses & the public.

That smells like racketeering & corruption to me.

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Apple: You're a copycat! Samsung: This is really about Google, isn't it?

Robert Jenkins

Handheld Linux & the touch / icon interface date back to 2000...

A lot of the interface features they keep fighting over originated long before either Android or the iphone.

I have an old Sharp Zaurus PDA, which runs Linux using a touchscreen interface.

Mine's a 5600, but the first Linux-based one was the 5000, released in the year 2000.

Android is basically another version of Linux for mobile devices.

The first iphone was not not released until several years later.

The Zaurus also had a full QUERTY keyboard, very similar to that later used on the Blackberry devices.

http://tuxmobil.org/pda_linux_sharp_sl5000.html

The patent fights are purely to try and hold back competitors, not due to any genuine, dramatic innovations.

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Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Robert Jenkins
Meh

Old hat...

Even the stand-alone 'clipboard' style drawing board / notepad digitisers available from some office supplies places (and occasionally Aldi) for many years, have styluses with interchangeable tips.

You can use a plastic tip to 'draw' on the bare unit or a ballpoint insert when drawing on paper.

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You can flog 'used' software, but read Ts&Cs first – ECJ

Robert Jenkins

Basic contract law!

This also seems to ignore the basic English law of Contract.

That explicitly states that the terms of a contract are those known at the time the contract is formed - ie when payment is made & accepted.

Conditions cannot be added after that point in time.

It generally applies to the garbage on the back of delivery notes etc., but also covers any form of shrink-wrap or click-through licence discovered after purchase - all that American-style 'legal junk' is completely irrelevant here.

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Windows Defender Offline: For PCs too hosed to go online

Robert Jenkins
WTF?

Microsoft years behind as usual.

As others have said, there are already some very good, free tools for cleaning badly infected machines offline.

My favorite is the DrWeb live CD - that's assisted in repairing several machines people have brought me that would otherwise have needed a re-format.

I wonder if the Microsoft one will actually disinfect executable files, or just delete them & finish wrecking the OS itself, as so many typical antivirus programs do...

(Another reason to like the DrWeb one).

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Wi-Fi may damage sperm, boffins warn

Robert Jenkins
FAIL

Tiny RF power, masses of heat

So; comparing exposure from a laptop producing tens of watts of heat, plus milliwatts or RF, or no laptop at all.

Sperm are 3 - 5um body size.

WiFi at 2.4GHz has a wavelength of about 120mm.

Infra red radiation (radiant heat) has wavelengths in roughly the 1 - 10um range.

A sperm cell looks to be a pretty good IR resonator, but completely invisible at 2.4GHz..

If they had been testing RF exposure, they would have used the same laptop with WiFi on & off.

Laptop or No laptop implies they wanted a result, then assumed the cause...

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Boffins insert 3D objects into any old photo... realistically

Robert Jenkins

Shadow errors

Most look pretty good, however the outdoor 'dragon' exposes a serious bug:

The real shadow of the tree falls within the added shadow of the dragon - but it's still visible, just darkened.

In the real world, you don't get shadows through solid objects.

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Apollo 17 Moon landing: Shock revelations

Robert Jenkins
Alien

Already documented

Come on guys, get serious - this is the Cheese-powered, spacegoing airliner told of by Harry Harrison in his book 'Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers' back in 1973!

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Aussie retailer accuses UK shops of HDMI 'scam'

Robert Jenkins
Boffin

I'll stick to pound shop quality!

@Ho-Hum

Quote:

The argument that "10110" is "10110" is only part of the story. There's slew rate, ringing, over-shoot and under-shoot.

Why do digital signals become unusable at some particular distance? Look up 'capacitance per metre' of cables. Now imagine a length that works but with a different capacitance. It's simple really.

OK:

Now look up 'Transmission line' -

Capacitance per metre is closely linked with characteristic impedance; it does not cause distortion of the signal.

Slew-rate is primarily a characteristic of the Driver, not the cable.

Ringing and overshoot occur with un-terminated connections, not propertly matched transmission lines.

The ONLY relevent characteristic of a balanced digital transmission line is the attenuation; the signal at the receiver must be a suitable amount above the receiver threshold levels.

As others have said, dirt cheap CAT5e cable is rated for 100m per leg with each pair rated to 350 MHz. Cost of the cable itself is in no way a major factor in the selling price

The attenuation of any normal HDMI cable is trivial, over those distances any moderate quality paired cable should work.

Any argument that cable quality can cause subtle changes on a digital link are ludicrous.

If anyone is in doubt - try very slowly pulling an optical cable out of it's socket while you are playing music through it and see what happens when a digital signal degrades below the receiver threshold.

It is in no way subtle, so watch your speakers & eardrums!

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3D printers, one-dimensional enemies

Robert Jenkins

They are more capable that you state.

To correct a point in the article, there have been 3D printers that will print objects with overhangs for some time.

They use either unset filler or a different, removable 'ink' to for support under or around objects.

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Microsoft fans call for Opera boycott

Robert Jenkins
Alert

WINDOWS internet explorer

Microsoft have been asking for trouble..

Has no-one else noticed the change in IEs title bar - it used to be Microsoft internet explorer, it's now Windows internet explorer..

They get the hassle they deserve.

The BIG problem with excluding IE from Windows is - - - How does an average Joe User get online on their new PC to download a web browser - without a web browser.......

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Microsoft trades goodwill for TomTom Linux satisfaction

Robert Jenkins
Linux

Microsoft are asking for trouble..

I think Microsoft are wanting to keep the Open Source aspect low key for one simple reason.

As soon the Linux / Open Source community feel they are under threat from Microsofts patents, Microsoft will find it's patent portfolio under scrutiny from millions of unhappy programmers and Open Source enthusiasts looking for flaws and prior art.

Although that scrutiny will probably start with the ones relating to Linux, it's unlikely to stop there - Microsoft could well lose a significant percentage of it's patents.

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Hackintosh maker bites back at Apple

Robert Jenkins
Go

You can't restrict usage in England!

>By Anonymous Coward<

>If I write the software and a user buys a license for that software then the license can stipulate that certain hardware should be used. <

Not under English law it can't!

Statute law explicitly voids any conditions or restrictions that you can't see until after purchase (unless, very specifically, you are buying a bus or train ticket with conditions on the back...)

The only restrictions on what you do with software etc. after you buy it are the most basic copyright ones like not making & selling copies without permission.

All other licence conditions etc. that say you must/must not do XYZ or the licence is void, or that you can't transfer it from one machine to another are absolutely meaningless.

This also covers any 'conditions' relating to online activation of software; they are irrelevant - You bought it, You can use it!

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Data pimping: surveillance expert raises illegal wiretap worries

Robert Jenkins

Anyone told the BBC?

The BBC use the name 'WebWise' for their 'Beginners guide to the internet' - I wonder what they will think of BT etc. using it for an advertising service?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/

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Better gadget battery-level readouts in pipeline

Robert Jenkins

Memory effect

Nicad 'Memory Effect' though misunderstood is very real.

It's another side effect of the cold crystallisation that occurs in NiCd cells.

If a cell is rarely discharged below a certain point, the deeper parts of the plates gradualy change from amorphous to crystalline metal.

If you then try to discharge the cell at anything like high current, it appears to go flat at it's 'usual' discharge level, as the crystalline metal is much less reactive than amorphous and the internal resistance of the cell gets much higher.

In this case, a deep discharge (2.2 ohm resistor across the cell & leave for a day or two) will completely recover the capacity of the cell.

Note that the 'dendrite' crystals are both prevented and destroyed by long-term trickle charging, if you can get the cell charged in the first place (high current 'zaps' help).

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'I Go Chop Your Dollar' star arrested

Robert Jenkins

Don't spoil the fun

It's the bad English in the 419 emails that makes them fun to read!

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Killer Wi-Fi panics London's chattering classes

Robert Jenkins

It's all headline grabbing and fear mongering...

The people making all the fuss seem to have no idea at all of basic electromagnetic propagation or relative power.

A typical cordless phone, with a power of 10mW and the antenna 25mm from your head, has the same effective field strength at the part of your head closest to it as a 160KW transmitter just 100m away (4000 times distance needs 16 Million times power to match the signal strength).

The signal from a typical cellular mast is rather weedy in comparison.

In terms of absolute power, a domestic WiFi access point with an output of about 50mW and an omnidirectional aerial would give a field strength of less than 1 microwatt per square centimeter at one meter distance. (The actual antenna is not perfectly omnidirectional, but the average over different directions and angles should work out about the same).

The current 'safe' limit is considered to be 10mW / square cm, 10,000 times higher.

In comparison to plain old full sunlight - which is of course electromagnetic radiation and generally taken as 1000 watts per square meter or higher (equivalent to 100mW per square centimeter) - the radio powers and field strengths being debated are weak to the point of insignificance.

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