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* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

424 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Make it like VAT

A carbon tax could be made like VAT, with payments and deductions.

You buy oil, you pay the tax. You produce "non-CO2 carbon" as petrol, polythene, PVC, nylon, or whatever, and you get rebated for the amount of carbon in the product, easily assessed by analysis.

On second thoughts, this will produce an enormous non-productive bureaucracy that will be worse than any amount of CO2. Best forget altogether the idea of a cabon tax.

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Cold? Cuddle these HOT GERMAN RACKS, yours for only 12,000 euro – we swear there's an IT angle

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Re: Nothing new here, move along

In the early 1980s my workplace was using an Array Processor: massively parallel arithmetic for e.g. Fourier transforms. It drew about 2KW of power, The first thing we did on a winter morning was to switch it on.

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GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Meson history

The meson was a theoretical prediction.

Then mesons were discovered in cosmic rays. But they were not "right" mesons: they were mu-mesons. The later discovery of pi-mesons justified the original theory.

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BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

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El Reg is desperate to liven up its weekend section. Maybe one day they will give up on a bad idea.

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Languages don't breed bugs, PEOPLE breed bugs, say boffins

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Re: Real Programmers

Very true!

I saw lots of "engineers' Fortran" written in Coral66, Pascal, and C.

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Re: Erlang and more

Libraries cause as many problems as they solve. The Heartbleed bug was a conspicuous example, but there are many others.

The only libraries that are nearly reliable are the time-honoured functions in the C library, and their equivalents in Fortran and Cobol. All the new language libraries are rushed out by promoters who just want to get it onto their CVs.

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Dodgy arithmetic

In the 1970s I worked on various projects that used fixed point arithmetic, as floating point hardware was not available. Very few programmers could "get it".

Even if the computer operations were correctly coded, there were other algorithmic errors: most often, the loss of precision when subtracting a large number from a nearly equal number.

PCs now have floating hardware by default, but I do fear for micro-controller systems.

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New GCHQ spymaster: US tech giants are 'command and control networks for TERROR'

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@Trevor

Thank you for that comment. As it happens, I largely agree with it.

But we live in a society where people have different opinions, and we seek the kind of political and social compromises that allow everyone to feel that at least some of their wishes are respected. That was the point I was making about my colleague in that political discussion group.

I am not a part of what George Orwell referred to as the "Inner Party", and I have my reservations about them. But I am even less attracted to a Guardianista/Anarchist existence which would result if the majority views in this thread became dominant.

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Re: Put a cold nose up HIS arse!

@Gray

We in Britain have been exposed to threats for centuries. York v. Lancaster, catholics v. Elizabeth I, the gunpowder plot (5-Nov-1605), Irish terrorism, German espionage, Russian espionage. Then today we have middle east fanatics, and other espionage possibly Chinese though they deny it of course.

So we expect the government to take active measures to protect the state itself plus at least a few of the people.

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Re: I have no issues.....

If you think MPs have much influence on government policy, you are ignorant of these matters. Replace them on your list with: all Permanent Secretaries, the top four cabinet ministers (PM, Home Sec, Foreign Sec, Chancellor).

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Re: @Joe 48 - Facebook and Tor

@G Marsden

Or, as I saw it expressed in a cheap thriller story: "If they wancha, they gotcha".

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Re: Lost our trust

When the authorities find one "ne'er do well", as you call them, thay also want to find his or her associates before those others do more harm. That is why they need a trace of the last six months (say) on people who are not yet known to be offenders.

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Re: Want more surveillance?

The real problem was the "ten year rule": the doctrine that there would be no major war during the next ten years. This was imposed by the then chancellor of the exchequer, one Winston Churchill (*), and then cynically renewed by the Treasury every year.

I look at the current British government and its predecessors, and wonder if that rule has been quietly reinstated.

(*)Also responsible for raiding the Road Fund, a tax that was supposed to be reserved for spenfing on roads. Without Adolf, that is what Winston would be remembered for.

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@AC (The First)

That is a typical computer geek's view, somewhat shared by me.

But I was in a political discussion group where at least one man argued that a lot of the internet is just plain wrong - obscene, fraudulent, seditious..., and it should be stopped. I have some sympathy with that view also. There are laws against using telephones for those purposes, so why no law against the internet?

I am British, and there are enemies of my country out there. Even some of our 'friends' need watching. Within reason I am happy to help the authorities. Do I trust the authorities? Only to a limited extent. I was always uneasy when the work of the Security Services was extended from affairs of state to include major crimes. Thin end of the wedge... .

So Hannigan's arguments seem reasonable to me.

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Schneier, Diffie, ex-MI5 bod, privacy advocates team up on Code Red

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Troublemakers

Wow! What a bunch of troublemakers.

I hope the authorities keep an eye on them.

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UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines

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Re: Economics 101

BT do or did sell telephone directories on CD. What is that if not a spam-call list?

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Re: Its a waste of time even complaining

The only British outfits I know of that respect the Telephone Preference List are the political parties. They know that nuisance calls in an election campaign would lose them votes.

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Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech

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other searches

@Christoph

Or the North Korean People's Reeducation Facilities?

Or, in the case of ISIL, the Yazidi Womens' Reorientation Centres?

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Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers

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Common lawmakers

I object to the phrase, " lawmakers in the House of Commons", used as El Reg notes that the proposed law must be endorsed in another place.

All MPs are equal, there is no special category of "lawmaker"; nor, so we are told, are there lawmakers elsewhere such as at Buckingham Palace or in the Security Services. The phrase should be replaced by "the House of Commons".

Once upon a time there were special lords, the law lords, who were the ones who decided law cases. Although some MPs, such as Privy Councillors, are more equal than others: they are called sooner to speak in debates.

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Steve Jobs' bio man tackles geeks who 'created the digital revolution'

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Greek geeks

The ancient Greeks developed complicated machanical calculators, but they were all burned when the Library of Alexandria was destroyed.

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WikiLeaks reveals new draft of Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Re: TPP: The People are Peasants

"We The People RULE."

Er, like Hungary 1956, Tianenmen 1989, ...

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Unrepresentative

It surprises me, an Englishman, that a seriously democratic country like the USA can make these proposals which are so much against the interests of the common man. Or, as FDR once put it, "the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid".

Have they forgotten "No taxation without representation"? Where are the People's Tribunes in this negotiating process?

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UK's a very popular target for EMEA cyberspies – report

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Why Turkey?

So the list of countries is:

UK - finance, probaably

Germany - engineering prowess

Saudi - probably by Israel

Turkey - This one I do't understand

Switzerland - finance.

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'Theoretical' Nobel economics explain WHY the tech industry's such a damned mess

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Hawtony - Hawaii to New York.

Or Mintex - Minnesota to Texas.

Or hyphenate those two into a distinguished double-barrelled name.

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Hedging with words

This article, and some others from Worstall, remind me of the legendary Professor Iffsen Butz, head of multidisciplinary studies at Vaguest County State College.

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Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First

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Re: Many of us are forced to use MS Software

I, too, get downvoted or flamed if I admit that I like some of the tricks that Access and One Note can do. But not as badly as the time I criticised St Snowden.

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Re: rant-like journalism

Huh?

Trevor writes a long and serious article about real concerns with modern software, then adds a comment advocating drugs medications.

But what can I do except stick with Linux or XP?

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Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

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Re: As a fatter person

I don't drink (alcohol) as much as I did when I was young. "Beer is a nutrient", the apologists claim as they stumble between the comatose bodies on the floor/pavement.

Inheritance comes into it. I am the same shape as my mother's brother and their father. We have all seen that some people are beanpoles and others are roly-poly.

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Re: Moving the goals?

Well said, Dr Ellen.

(weight)/(height**3) is constant, roughly the same as water, 1 tonne per cubic metre for those who think big.

So (BMI)/(height) is constant. Ie, for the same shape, a big person has a bigger BMI.

Secondly, most of what we eat goes into keeping our blood warm (which helps our brains to function). A shark or crocodile can live on one big eat per month, but we cannot. The proportion of food used for physical effort is only a tiny fraction.

But now we are living in warmer houses: room temperature 19th century was 15 centigrade; these days it is 20 or more. However, help is at hand. Green policies will produce power cuts every winter (when there is less solar power anyway), and we shall shiver our way to slimness.

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Look ma, no hands! The machines are speaking our language

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Is there a non-proprietary 'app' for this?

Photocopy costs.

When I was at Uni, 1965+or-, 6d per A4 sheet. 2.5p in modern coins. Today, ca 12p per sheet in small numbers. That is price growth at ca 3.25% compounded.

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Minutes of meetings

I, so often the 'acting minutes secretary', would like to see a system that could listen to a meeting with one or more microphones, and five minutes after the meeting ends the system produces a coherent set of minutes.

As an easier task, it could proofread documents.

Some major newspapers seem to rely on their reporters dictating to robots and printing the words without sub-editing. The results are dire: homophones, bad sentences... I do not accept the premise of this article that voice recognition is looking rosy.

I remember the BBC trying out, on BBC2, a voice recognition commentary at the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981. Very disappointing. Since then there have been complaints by organisations for the deaf at the poor quality of TV subtitles, and the time delays they exhibit.

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Intel 'underestimates error bounds by 1.3 QUINTILLION'

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Re: Isn't this obvious?

You would not and I would not, but then I think of some of the people I worked with...

Back in the days of hand reckoning or electromechanical machines, numerical analysis was seriously taught. Nowadays it is brute electronic force and ignorance.

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Windows 10 feedback: 'Microsoft, please do a deal with Google to use its browser'

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Re: My Fave Changes...

Also, make the now-free One Note usable without all the encumbrances of MS accounts and clouds.

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Windows 10's 'built-in keylogger'? Ha ha, says Microsoft – no, it just monitors your typing

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Re: Figures

So you type the address in "No spacing" style and the body text in "Normal". That's what those "stupid style things" are for. And for headings, of course.

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Apple tries to kill iWorm: Zombie botnet feasting on Mac brains

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admin password needed

Most software on most systems needs an admin password to install.

So install it first on a secondary machine if you don't trust the source. It may say it comes from Megacorp but are you sure???

Then be careful with those memory sticks used on all your machines.

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Rise of the Machines: FIRST HUMAN VICTIM – 2015

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Re: And this affects me how?

At a mundane level, it could make car theft easier.

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No, Big Data firm, the UK isn't teeming with UBER-FRISKY GIGOLOS

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It all makes work...

Many years ago a song was released that described how the gas man broke the water pipe, which fused the electricity, which scorched the plaster, which fell into the water pipe and blocked it. Or something like that. The chorus line was, "It all makes work for the working man to do".

I have been waiting ever since for the song, "It all makes work for the working girl to do".

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What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Mechanical typewriters

I watched new graduates start working with computers during the 1970s, and it was obvious they had no typing experience. By the 1980s they had typed before, though sometimes not accurately. And, like Nigel Molesworth, there speling was excrable.

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Re: Keyboard commands for select, copy, paste and find

Re teeline

I am guessing that is a system of shorthand. The two systems I have heard of are Pitmans and Greggs.

I know computers can turn handwriting to print, provided it is live writing on a touch screen or pad, as opposed to an image file. Does anyone know whether they can read shorthand?

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Microsoft's nightmare DEEPENS: Windows 8 market share falling fast

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@Potemkine

I just bought a new Lenovo. I ordered the Win7 option, but it also includes recovery DVDs for Win8.1. So after I prepared the Win7 recovery DVDs, I am giving 8.1 a tryout. Lenovo have done customisation, including a start menu, so their 8.1 is more agreeable than the Microsoft trial 8.1 that I tried last year on another machine and did not like.

US software and chips, Chinese assembled. I guess pretty well any country can tap into that, then.

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Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Primus Secundus Tertius
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How much power?

A car going on an uphill stretch of motorway uses some 50 kilowatts of power.

The energy of sunlight is about 1 kilowatt per square metre, and about a tenth of that can be turned into electricity by solar cells.

So the car above, if electric, would need 500 square metres of solar sail. Bit of wind resistance there, one feels, plus problems at night. Worstall's hydrogen cells are unlikely to be significantly better.

Chemical energy is far more concentrated than electrical or mechanical energy. That is why we can make bombs, dammit. There is no sensible substitute for petrol.

And as most of the world's carbon dioxide comes from volcanoes under the ocean, our use of petrol makes no significant difference.

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That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN

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Re: "But we're still in the dark about how it rained down on us"

England and Scotland were separate in palaeozoic times. Then by some geological catastrophe England was encumbered.

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Re: Oxygen not new - some is, but not a lot yet!

The CNO nuclear cycle that you mention only runs in the bigger hotter stars, of which our sun is not one. So in our sun it is the process of two protons forming a deuteron plus an electron. This is a weak reaction and very slow. That is why stars shine for billions of years rather than exploding straightaway.

The deuterium reacts quickly to eventually form helium-4, which is why there is very little deuterium at any moment, and any excess in the original galactic mix would disappear.

So the sun does not currently form carbon or any nucleus later in the list of elements. When it becomes a red giant, billions of years hence, it will burn helium to carbon.

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Oxygen not new

Our sun has not created oxygen atoms from hydrogen, so they must have been part of the cloud from which the sun was born. Similarly with nitrogen and carbon.

Hydrogen is overwhelmingly more abundant than the C N O atoms, so they will exist as hydrides: methane, ammonia, and water. Rather like the atmosphere of Jupiter, then. Yes, these hydrides will have existed before the solar system was born, though they may have been unformed and reformed by solar processes.

The article seems to be saying the deuterium abundances are a signal. But deuterium does not disappear until temperatures are high enough for nuclear reactions. So it is consumed within the sun, but not in the planetary zone. The measurements the article reports seem to buttress standard theory rather than saying anything new.

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Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

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Re: Windows Schitzo?

or Windows Rondo -- round and round as fashions change and later repeat. Visual effects one year, plain background and capital letters the next, then visual again...

Nothing changes, but there is the Parkinson's Law of programming: software expands to fill the available hardware.

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FBI: Your real SECURITY TERROR? An ANGRY INSIDE MAN

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Cost of Snowden

@Frankie L

You beat me to it. "...costs ranging from $5,000 to $3m...". How much did Snowden cost?

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

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Re: Always been there or new?

DAM good analysis there.

I never had much faith in eyeballs at code reviews that I chaired.

Compiler listings(1) and robotic pretty prints(2) I found were useful. I dreamed of analysers that would create flowcharts, but never worked with any. Lint was good for C, but so much today is in various scripting languages.

(1) for misspelled variables and simple general correctness.

(2) for code engulfed in previous comments not properly terminated, or vice-versa.

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Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR

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@ A Grunt

I once bought a new Renault. Drove it home, put my usual junk into the boot, then the boot door would not close.

After that I defected to Ford.

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ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7

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Re: At last

@Steve D3

I thought it was Alfred who cooked a charred cake.

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GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

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@Wzrd1

That may be because there are far fewer scientists than there are religionists.

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