* Posts by irneb

37 posts • joined 31 Jan 2011

My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

irneb

"FFS, if there's a team paid to make IT work, don't you think they should deliver? Or is it acceptable to fall back on the "beancounter" excuse, whilst still claiming the salary of a true professional?"

Actually, a company I worked for a few years ago had this issue. I was on the IT committee so can speak from personal experience. Our local power supplier monopoly was warning of rolling-blackouts, so we were begging for a set of UPS's and a jenny to run at least the PC's and some lights for the 150 staff. The bean counter (Financial Director) simply refused as it was "too expensive".

Well, we did the pricing and waited for the first blackout. In one hour the lost salaries were the same as the cost of the jenny, the next hour accounted for the UPS's. It took us a further month before the bean counter realized we were telling him the truth - only it wasn't that "we warned him and begged for a solution". It was him who noticed the decline in revenues and productivity and thus he feels the cost is justified.

Imagine how difficult it is to get decent PC's with a management like that.

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irneb

Re: Yup. @AC with ;hot hand

CPU isn't the ONLY thing. If the laptop's got a discreet GPU - then that's MUCH more likely to cause the fan to kick into overdrive.

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Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

irneb

Other OSs

What is in those Other OS's? For that matter where does Android fall (seeing as you list iOS but not Android)?

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Architect pitches builder-bothering 'Print your own house' plan

irneb

Design self or Choose from pre-designed?

Which one? If the later, then it's not much different from what you can get from a "normal" developer selling house plans. Hopefully those plans comply with local law / situation / material availability / etc. And hopefully the site you're choosing does not have extra requirements.

If the former, how are stuff like local authority rules to be applied? Apart from materials requirements, what about basic stuff like minimal room / passage sizes, ventilation, natural lighting, fire escape lengths, etc. Some sort of approvals done for the self-designer? Or is it left up to them to sort that SHT out themselves?

Not to mention, in nearly every country you have minimal requirements for the designer. E.g. here a junior Architectural Technician (registered with the local Arch. Council) is needed at a minimum. Then for double story up to 500 sqm a "Senior" Tech. (i.e. 10 years experience), then for anything larger / more complex a registered Architect. And then for any suspended floors you require a structural engineer to (at least) sign off the design. That's "law", else you will not be allowed to even start building the thing.

Then also the council submissions - that in itself is 10x more work than an estate agent's red-tape, and one mistake means do over from beginning again. At best takes 3 months over here, up to several years or more if some special requirements are needed like height restrictions, appearance requirements, heritage council approval, road furniture modifications (i.e. driveway entrance), sewer / storm water / water supply / electrical connections, building line / servitude relaxations, re-zoning, consolidations, notarial ties, etc.

And that's not even taking into account anything for the "new" green building council approvals. And no, that is not simply a matter of if your materials are "green" or even environmentally friendly. And in some cases this approval becomes a requirement, not just a nice to have. It includes many other aspects like: Is the design made to minimize use of artificial heating / cooling? What water usage is needed? Electrical requirements? Lighting, natural / artificial? Insulation? Re-usability of construction? Environmentally sensitive area? Transport implications? Even if materials are "eco-friendly" what are the transport impact on them (sometimes a non-eco-friendly material is actually preferred due to this)? Etc. And all these require studies by a registered "Competent" person to calculate them - no thumb-sucking!

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Official: Cloud computing invented by two technophobic old geezers

irneb

@bRick

Not sure I follow what you're on about? A "free" file store is not the issue. A paid for filestore you'd expect to have some benefits - wouldn't you? Else why pay for it? This isn't "cloud", it's just an off-site file server with its own backup and support ... so ... wait ... that would be a "data centre" in the 90's.

If I misunderstood and you're actually stating that "online storage" means just as bad as MegaUpload, then you're halfway correct. Even for paid servers. Data security / integrity is only finite, you can only make it better, not perfect. The issue with online is you're leaving that aspect up to someone else - which might be good or bad or both. They might have a better understanding of securing your data and making robust backups. But they might go out of business and then who can you blame for losing everything?

Nope, AFAIC online storage is for sharing data to others / to other devices. Backup you should do yourself. And security means: "Don't share it, so online it out!"

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irneb

Re: I can access my NAS from anywhere

Probably more so than most "cloudy" "services" ...

Seen "some" stuff where "cloud" might have been a decent idea (at least from the user's perspective). E.g. as someone commented before: instead of building your own render farm. Though that one in particular didn't work for me: AutoDesk's 360 has not rendered faster in any single test than my i7-2700, in most cases a LOT slower! And that's not even if I try using VRay with multiple PCs in slave mode. But for the most part, I DO NOT see online file storage as "cloud" - that has been FTP/WebDAV/Etc. for quite some time now.

As for servers on VM running in "the cloud", yes and? Is that something new perhaps? I've seen similar since the 80's and have heard / read / learned of such from the 60's. Actually it was common practice back then, since a decent "server" cost you billions - thus you shared the damned thing with as many end users as possible to make some iota of a ROI. So you had lots of big firms selling off time on their server for lots of smaller firms. And the smaller firms could then buy time on several big firms' servers if they had a "rush-job". Only difference now is, there's more "big-firm" servers available - but that's not "new" just "more".

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Review: Britain's 4G smartphones

irneb
WTF?

Razr HD?

Would have loved to see a Moto Razr HD compared to these. Or even the Moto RazrHD Extreme. Would most likely have blown the socks off even the note's battery life. Just sorry it's still a US-only device!

But as stated by someone else ... what kind of downloads are you doing with your phone that warrants a 12-40Mb/s baud? Should we be worried? Are you running some torrent app on your phone? Or are you using your phone as a concurrent hotspot for your PC's, Laptops, Media Streamer, Email / Web / FTP Server, Massive Data Centre, etc. at home? I'm sure you could do better in that case using a fixed line?

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I watched Excel meet 1-2-3, and beat it fair and square

irneb

Re: @FunkeyGibbon

"But even so, I don't think you should blame the users over this but Microsoft instead. After all; for many years now a standard Office package consisted of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. SO what do you suggest Office users should use for a database instead?"

That would probably be the case yes. But you also find people using Word tables for this, not to mention a "presentation" made up of images on Word pages - or worse, and image per Excel tab. Now why didn't they go open PowerPoint?

As for me, I used 123 in the 80's ... for financial / engineering calculations. Yep, "what it was meant for". If I wanted to write a letter / specification / manual I started PFS:Write. For database I used R:Base and later for smaller DB's Q&A. But "upgraded" to Ability+ in the late 80's - combined all those into one (like Symphony should have been, only much earlier).

When the MS-GUI abominations happened with the slap-on Win3/3.1. I looked at it a few times and decided to give it a skip. W95 wasn't much better, but had a better UI and finally your programs could actually operate. Win NT 3.5 at least didn't crash on you (all the time) - put programs tended to "not work" on it if it wasn't written specifically for the platform. When NT 4 came out, that was it - MS should've stopped there, it only got worse after that.

BTW, in the mid 90's I used Excel/Word/PowerPoint/Access or that stupid Ms Works (which was a contradiction in terms) at university because that's what they gave us to use. At home I used Borland Office (including WordPerfect / Quattro Pro / Paradox) later editions also included Presentations. It was cheaper than MSO and had more capabilities without the hoops you had to jump through. Not to mention Paradox at the time was ahead of Access - and was highly integrated into their full DB InterBase if you wanted to work with large sets & a lot of concurrency. Quattro Pro was also a lot nicer and more fully designed than Excel, never had an issue with any date formatting / queries / CSV import-export. Used to look at Exceller's with a blank stare when they complained about this, I simply did the "real" work in QP.

But as the article states, MS's programs might not have been the "best" for the job at hand. They were the "best" marketed - be that some backhanded way or not. So they ended up on nearly every desktop there was. No wonder DOC/XLS is still the defacto standard when people send files to each other.

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Panasonic pitches Ultra HD 4K x 2K monster tablet

irneb

Re: The future

Reverting back yes! But that's a good thing - the mouses actually killed the good stuff.

Sooo ... when's the A0+ / E+ / around 50"x40" ~ 65" screens going to be available on those tilting stands? Now that I'd like! You actually have to move the screen up/down in order to reach it all. And of course our PPI should still be not much less than 300 - otherwise it's just not crisp enough: so 15000x12000 pixels then!

Now at that res I can work! No need for panning and zooming and stupid stuff like that anymore!

But wait ... do the CADs actually "work" with a pen tablet interface? I remember those digitizing tablets - and their interface was deprecated at some stage wasn't it? So they'll need to resurrect those SummaGraphics / Calcomp / Genius Sketch / etc. drivers which last time started failing when Win 2k came out, and were totally inoperable on XP. Those old digitizing tablets had that 15000 DPI accuracy then (on DOS of all things). The only issue was they were screen-less, you worked blind and needed to view what you were doing on a 24" CRT next to you.

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iPhones, tablets... Pah: By 2020, we'll froth over hot new SOFTWEAR

irneb
Alien

Re: that "dangerous" bit about augmented reality

Ever read the book WE by John Dickinson? http://thebooksmugglers.com/2010/08/book-review-we-by-john-dickinson.html

(Not to be confused with the much earlier We by Yevgeny Zamyatin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_%28novel%29)

Basically everyone on earth is implanted with a "World Ear". A device which allows everyone to communicate through thought: sights, sounds, tastes, feeling, smells, and ideas. Basically it evolves humanity into a people in no more need of language, and an addiction to confirmation by others as each idea is distributed and "discussed". Not to give the entire story away, but partly it devolves to show how each human becomes a cell in a neural net which in turn becomes self aware ... thus WE is in fact a living organism in the true sense of the word.

It's not too difficult to imagine that we're already on such road: These days with SMS / BBM / FB / Twits (no that's not a mistype) is this not already what we're doing? Becoming part of a bigger entity by sending and receiving - then altering and passing on messages. Same as your own brain cells are doing while reading this.

Now if you can imagine such happening, what do you think the WE concerns itself with any individual cell? Do you worry that you're killing some 1000 braincells each time you go on a bender? Be warned: you're only a mite on the wind-shield, no-one's concerned about your life, never mind your individuality.

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Happy now? Mobiles, cloud, big data now 'a growing security risk'

irneb

Please stop using the name Hacker for these criminals

A Hacker is NOT a cracker:

http://www.tcs.org/ioport/apr05/hackers.htm

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Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

irneb

Worst clause I've seen yet

Anyone ever had deelings with AutoDesk? Have you ever seen their "upgrade clause"? Here's the explanation from them about this in the FAQ:

http://south-apac.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=1157326&id=9737425#section12

Thus you upgrade to a new version, then (as nearly EVERY time happens) the new version is so bug ridden as to need a year's worth of service packs, you keep using the old version - otherwise your work is non-existent. But that's breaking the license agreement - you have 120 days to uninstall and destroy any hint of the old version. And if asked give proof that you've done so.

Now I can just imagine how a Vista upgrade with such a clause could have caused huge online venting and court battles.

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Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction

irneb

The Matrix excluded but Skynet included

For the same reason as you give: I.e. matrix excluded since it's more like a self aware software environment. Skynet was also a piece of software on the internet ... no specific hardware computer at all. How's this different?

And if you thus try to say that only specific "entities" even though software based is to be considered. Then how about say ... Agent Smith?

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Vauxhall Ampera hybrid e-car

irneb
Thumb Down

Same old

Aaaagggghhhhh!

So they made yet another excessively complex over engineered silly car, just so they could say "We have a hybrid eco car."

Why all the back-n-forth between the ICE and the Elec Motor(s). And then just to increase the complexity add yet another "generator" .... that's just adding huge amounts of stupid.

THROW THE DAMNED GEARBOX OUT! Use the elec. motors only and charge the battery from the ICE when it gets low. No need for these breakage prone, less efficient revving up-down gears at all!

Would probably cut the price in half, not to mention much less raw materials. And ... wait for it ... be more efficient and "eco" FRIENDLY! But ... as always ... stupid is as stupid does ... even if you need several engineers to engineer stupid!

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45% of Android users to upgrade to rival phone OSes

irneb

@GrantB : Stats

Have you actually read the page you linked to?

They state that for an error factor of 4% with a confidence level of 95% for a population of 100,000 you need 450 test subjects. I wonder what the error factor & confidence level is for a population of several million with only 500 tested.

And also the page states: "using simple random sampling". That means the 450/500 or whatever you think is a significant enough test population, MUST be chosen as randomly as possible - no bias to any feature. That's where the word "simple" comes from, i.e. no finicky calculations to exclude these and count those double ... like you usually get with those stats from any government.

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irneb
WTF?

Yep, again a useless, screwed up, and slanted survey

The numbers simply make for a big screaming laugh! Apart from the infinitesimally small sample, here's a figure which proves that this survey is a farce:

45% (of Android users) will switch to another OS.

55% (of Android users) will stick with Android but change to another manufacturer.

0% (of Android users) will stay with Android and the manufacturer they currently use.

Uhhhmmm ... NO! That is DEFINITELY impossible! You seriously want to tell me there's not a single Android user anywhere who is happy with their manufacturer & the OS? You're kidding right? So I wasn't counted then! I'm sticking with Motorola - have a Milestone and still happy as a pig in s... Will definitely go with Moto again, especially since they're now part of Google - probab;ly get the updates a lot sooner than any other manufacturer.

About the Samsung guys, doesn't it "look"as if they're going to push their Bada system instead? Just asking.

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Motorola pops Pro+

irneb
FAIL

Big MEH!

Definitely mediocre to say the least. Now if this is deemed an "entry-level" BB look-alike, then I could just barely understand. But then the name shouldn't have been anything with "pro" in it should it? Much less a "+" ... more like a "----".

A descriptive name would be: "High Cost - Cheap Functionality - Near mid-range" phone.

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Microsoft calls Intel's Windows 8 comments 'inaccurate'

irneb

Which portions are misleading / inaccurate?

We're all assuming they are referring to the backwards compatibility and / or inter-compatibility between the ARM versions.

What if M$ actually has a gripe with the statement that there will be a "working" ARM for each single ARM version ... AS WELL as a "TRADITIONAL" Win8 for x86's.

Or even worse, perhaps even the "traditional" won't be backwards compatible.

Or what else? Giving such an "open" denial could mean anything really!

...

So, M$'s response is actually: "Intel said some things which aren't correct. We WONT tell you what they are!" ... To be read in between the lines: "The things which are incorrect in Intel's statement is actually going to show up even worse problems!"

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Jaguar hybrid supercar gets green light

irneb
Thumb Up

Strange

Appart from its "beauty" / "ugliness" (each to their own) or the parking requirement, I find it very strange that a sports car uses (or at least appears to) the simple "hybrid" system which I'd advocate for those "eco-friendly" farce-cars we all know as "hybrids":

A petrol engine which is only used to charge the batteries when running low! One electric motor per wheel! That means they've saved huge amounts of weight and cost by removing the gearbox, diffs and synchronization system of the more fashionable "stupid-hybrid" like the pppp--ppp--prius. Not to mention they get the best possible performance out of the ICE as they only need to run it at its most efficient RPM.

I think they went this route to get the most power out of the least weight and/or cost. They probably didn't even consider economy! But this shows up those green-painted fancy @$$es wanting the public to believe their overly complex, uneconomical, slow, underpowered, breakage-prone, excessively-expensive, "hybrids" are the way of the future! If it can go into a super-sports car, there should not be a single reason to use the utterly idiotic hybrids they currently place on the market!

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US adds jobs, but unemployment rate jumps in April

irneb
Black Helicopters

Unemployment# is a farce!

This scenario actually proves the fact! The Economic definition of unemployment is the total amount of humans in the economy who do not have a job, but would willingly work. This would include those who have become despondent of finding anything any-more, those willing to go onto social grant systems, those relying on others to "help them through a bad time", those feeling the available work is beneath them, etc.

The government's wool-over-eyes ploy of only counting those who are still actively searching for non-existent jobs falls far short of the true figure. Similar to the infamous CPI and GDP skewed calculations, this "definition" is purely designed to obfuscate the true figure to allow for a more "positive" lookout in order to fool more votes into the government's inherent dictatorship.

Now when the economy finally takes a breath, those who have "removed themselves from the job market" (as the government would have you believe) show that they haven't simply disappeared. They "suddenly" count again! So as people start noticing more wanted ads in the paper, they feel more inclined to start searching again. It doesn't mean they changed their mind about now wanting to work again, it just means they now think there's more chance of finding something worth-while. I.e. having something which would put them in better stead than living off relatives / friends / social grants or just scavenging in the street.

A much closer, and much simpler measurement would have been for the government simply to count those on social grants (which figures they already have). There are much better (read more accurate) methods which are no more difficult to calculate than the current stupidly strenuous method ... see:

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

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Ellison's Oracle washes hands of OpenOffice

irneb
WTF?

Excel? Huh?

You want to compare MSO' Excel to OO.Calc? And then come up with MSO is better? You've clearly not used Calc at all, or if you had it was in version 2 or prior. Even then it was surpassing the prevailing version of Excel. The only point where Excel works and Calc doesn't is when formatting Engineering notation instead of scientific. And I like Excel's table formatting from 2007 and up more than that of Calc. As for limits on rows, you're just WRONG! And in any case, why would you force yourself into a program which would use huge quantities of RAM to work with 1000's of rows of data (Excel and Calc loads the entire spreadsheet into RAM). If I was you, I'd start looking at Access.

Now if you used any of 2 other MSO-Pro programs as comparison, then I could possibly sympathise: Access is simply MILES ahead of OO.Base, and Powerpoint is a bit easier to use than OO.Impress. But for everything else OO kicks MSO's @$$ in nearly every aspect of each. Not to mention OO at least HAS a decent vector drawing program.

As for the topic, I think it might be a good thing if Oracle lets the OO brand name go so it can be re-incorporated into LibreOffice. This for the only reason that the name already has a following. That following would either switch to LO (if they know of it) or to something else (if they don't). But if LO is rebranded back as OO then this would become a non-issue.

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Citroën lifts lid on looming diesel hybrid

irneb

Shows up Hybrid's most worthless idea

The point of having the elec motor on one axle and the gearbox on the other shows the stupidity of a hybrid: You get the worst of both worlds, a huge gearbox to sort out the ancient ICE and a huge bunch of batteries to make the E-motor go, and then just for fun you need to synchronize these 2.

Why in all that's holy do these manufacturers waste their time with something so incredibly complex and wasteful? Why not use simplicity itself: A Diesel-Electric (or go with Petrol-Electric if you hate diesel) - makes for NO GEARBOX, VERY SMALL BATTERY and nearly no synchronization, but gives all the benefits toted for the hybrid: i.e. no power used during standstill, allows regenerative breaking, and added to that doesn't need the ICE to rev up and down when it's used (it can simply turn at its most efficient RPM).

So, let me see: (1) much easier to produce (even easier than a current ICE), (2) much lighter since the gearbox is thrown out and the batteries are less - which also helps on (3) maintenance, it's been (4) tested for decades already in trains & large trucks so no unproven record, and using the same ICE & E-motors would by definition make for (5) more efficient use as the ICE would run at its best performance always .... Uhhmm, so why does every manufacturer jump to this "fashionable", complex, difficult, breakage-prone, heavy and less efficient hybrid system?

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Microsoft breaks own world record for IE nonsense

irneb
Gates Horns

@Don't take this the wrong way... Oh, too late. #

While I agree with most of what you've said. The "problem" is that from past experience MS has a tendency to take a standard and bend it to their way until it breaks. This is still the major reason so many are stuck with HAVING to use IE6, since no newer browsers work with HTML+JS code like IE6 does (not even IE7), these poor guys've got some IntraWeb sites they use for their daily work. And these were created in the years of M$-IE's dominance, so the HTML & JavaScript (or probably rather VBScript) was done specifically for IE6. They can't use any other browser, since those specifics of IE6 is not available in FF, Opera, Netscape, Safari, etc. ... not even is it available in IE7, never mind 8/9/10.

So while the "native HTML5 experience" statement "should" mean that the user would "feel" that it works as fast as if it was done specifically for Windows, that might not have been what Hachamovitch "meant". Perhaps a slip, or rather a forced-market-speak-mis-meaning to encourage people to think their product is "better" while it actually means their product is more of the same. I might be wrong in this, but (call it the conspiracy-theorist in me) I don't think so.

Apart from that, native code is usually faster than interpreted (even if interpreted through a JIT compiler). BUT!!!! The "usually" is quite an important word in that sentence. It's also possible to create a native program which is the absolute most inefficient thing available! AND!!!! plonking all the code to natively run HTML5 from libraries of the OS so that IE10 is "optimized" would most certainly mean Windows would become more bulky (read "slower") than its predecessors already are. M$'s OS's have always been swamped with useless CR@P which hogs the RAM & CPU for no reason whatsoever , this is just "more of the same". So IE10 gets optimized, but you'll need 50GB RAM to have IE and Word open at the same time!

Reading the article I wanted to laugh, however because I've seen what M$ usually does - it actually makes me quake instead!

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Avast alert finds WHOLE WEB malign

irneb
Alien

No such prob on mine

Strange. I must've missed the naughty update: since my web scanner's on, but I haven't seen any such page from Avast! Either that or I only browse the 5% which wasn't affected!

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Mozilla ditches Messaging wing, eyes social webby sweetshop

irneb

@xj25m Re:Maildir support

Thanks for the links.

As to the CalDav/CardDav being slow, that's due to the method used to communicate between TB and the server. It basically downloads the entire file (i.e. all events / contacts) to read from the server, and re-generates the entire file then uploads. That's just being silly IMO.

If they can use a similar idea to the MailDir format (i.e. a single file for each event / contact but combined with an index file) it should have a similar performance. It's only logical, since it would then only need to download / upload those files which are different between the client & server (instead of the entire thing). The index file is what makes for searches becoming faster.

Definitely true about a simple file share being only for something like a home network. I would never think of sharing such with more than 5-10 people (preferably no more than 2-3). Even then I'd watch out for corruption. But for a home network (especially if you're not a techy type) it's a quick-n-simple solution instead of trying to setup a true groupware server.

It should even be possible to use IMAP folders as calendars / address books - I know the Addressbook Sync addon has the capability of saving & restoring a VCard file to & from an IMAP folder - but again this is the entire book in one file (so it's not a feasible idea for a true backup / sharing solution).

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irneb
Thumb Up

@Thunderbird storage

Yep the MailDir is exactly what I was referring to. The EML file is a straight-forward text file containing the (single) RAW email message, then there is an Index file to make stuff like searches quicker. Both concepts are incredibly "simple" programming-wise, a lot more simple than re-inventing a full DBMS system, and a lot less problematic than incorporating a half-@rsed DBMS like SQLite which is used for TB settings.

As for shared calendars and contacts. It shouldn't be too difficult to simply use the current "standard" WebDav method.

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

It already has specific branches CalDav, CardDav, as well as GroupDav. At present only Lightning has any way of working with CalDav "out the box". And you need some add-ons to work with Card- or GroupDav for contacts. They should use these already robust systems internally as KDE Kontact & Evolution does ... it's just a file for Pete-sakes, there need not even be a server back-end - though that would become necessary when sharing with numerous clients.

And the -Dav file idea could also still be similar to the EML idea in that a single event / contact could be stored per file. Again making sharing even simpler (just a normal network share would do) and removing the fragmentation problem.

Not to mention, all this would make that stupid & SLOOOOOWWWWW "Compact folders" unnecessary.

BTW, could you post a link to the thread about the MailDir format for TB? I'd like to see the progress on that.

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irneb

@Steve Evans

I'm asking for them to start from scratch, since they seem to refuse to fix this dead-war-horse from the past. By all means, if Mozilla would put a similar emphasis on TB as they are onto FF, then there may just be a future for TB. But this article shows they're going to remove programming resources from it. So it's even more unlikely to get fixed!

If TB can at least incorporate a decent LDAP editor then the contacts sharing would be reasonable, but LDAP's not as robust as CardDav. And for LDAP you need a server back-end whereas in CardDav all you need is a shared folder on one of the PC's on your LAN.

As for spam, it does seem to get better over time as you keep marking messages as either Not-Junk or Junk. But I'm in agreement with using GMail's filters to augment TB's - that's caught nearly everything off the cuff. If you can't use GMail, then try some other stuff such as MailWasher - or even some AV's incorporate this like AVG / Avast! paid versions.

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irneb

@ Alister: Postbox?

Just checked their site. Their "features" are exactly the stuff available in TB3. They still don't have a built-in calendar and also require Lightning. And others are straight out of TB's feature list: "Ultra Fast Searches" ... uhhh ... that's global indexed search isn't it? "Tabbed email browsing" ... how's that different from TB's "Tabbed email browsing"? etc.

There seems to be some where they've simply installed an addon from TB by default: e.g. The signatures thingy looks soo close to the Signature Switch addon for TB as to have the exact same image in its button!

Now if Postbox is a "version" of TB which has all the necessary addons pre-installed I'd say yes! It's better. But I've seen similar which goes a whole lot further than PB. E.g. just look at Zimbra Desktop: http://www.zimbra.com/products/desktop.html

BUT! I don't like any one of the 3 ... since they still use that 80's (or rather make it 60's) file system: A flat text file to store all mail. This makes for huge performance issues due to things like fragmentation. Not to mention the 2GB limit per folder. It's only "slightly" better than Outlook's corruption-prone "Database" file with a PST extension, at least the 2GB limit is on folders not the "WHOLE" account. The TB mbox files only have disc fragmentation, but OL's "db" files have internal fragmentation on top of that!

I'd like to see some client which uses single EML files direct. That would enable backups to run smoothly, not to mention off-line syching of emails would be a breeze to something like a Smart Phone. Same should apply about contacts - that mbox is just being silly! And fragmentation would become a non-issue since the OS would handle it already (especially if you're on a Linux).

So actually I'd say to Mozilla, scrap the damned thing and start over. You don't want this Albatross no-one seems to want to fix. The ONLY thing I can say that's good about it is: "It's better than Outlook, only just!"

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Microsoft wraps Windows 8 in Ribbon UI?

irneb

Ribbons, ribbons everywhere!

I can't understand why everyone's so "upset" about the concept of ribbons. They're nothing new about them. I can think of several programs which used them since the 90's (e.g. Delphi). Jus look at a quick Google Image search:

http://www.google.co.za/images?hl=en&source=hp&biw=1585&bih=928&q=tabbed+toolbar&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

And then AFAIK the 1st "ribbon" concept was in Lotus123 for DOS:

http://www.google.co.za/images?hl=en&biw=1585&bih=928&gbv=2&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=lotus123+dos+menu+structure&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

I also hated ribbons at the start. It took me 6 months in MSO2007 to stop having to search every time I wanted to do something. But once you get the spacial memory (as I also had to do with the menu structure of Word 6.0, since I previously used Ability Office) you find it works so much "easier". Though I still think fondly of Ability's keyboard centric menu structure.

What I have against MSO's implementation of ribbons is its locked customizability. Another proggy I use is AutoCAD. When they introduced the ribbon in 2009 they also added a full-fledged customization to it. You can directly edit each tab / panel / button, add your own, combine with the existing, etc. You can even turn off the ribbon and turn the menubar back on, or have both on at the same time. The ribbon can even live freely together with toolbars if you so want. And you can move the "ribbon" as a floating toolbar, or dock it on the sides / bottom / top ... while also having it folded down to reduce screen wastage - and have it unfold with a mouse hover instead of a click.

http://www.google.co.za/images?hl=en&biw=1585&bih=928&gbv=2&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=customize+AutoCAD+ribbon&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

IMO AutoDesk did what M$ should have done. Instead of making a near Jobsian: "Our design or no design". They should have given the user the power to make with it is he/she pleases.

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Making sport of browser security, hackers topple IE, Safari

irneb

RE: So what does this mean for the iPhone?!?

Probably to an extent. I think the iOS is a small bit different than the OSX on the macbook. So the "commands" sent to the OS would need to differ once Safari has been hacked.

That's maybe also a small (but cumulative) reason why less even tried to hack chrome & FF. They could be on any OS, while Safari & IE only have the one OS to worry about.

But this really opens the flood gates for those IPhans: 2 weeks of hacking to crack Safari (which is supposed to be secure because of the "hidden" nature of the program's workings - the hacker even mentioned: "In (OS X) there is not even shell code available on the internet."), but IE took a whole: "about six weeks of full-time research to find the bugs and write working exploits for them."

... SO! ... even with more info available to the hacker it took him 3 times longer to actually get it hacked!

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irneb

RE: So what does this mean for the iPhone?!?

Oh, and there was me thinking that Opera had a chance on iPhone. Or was that only on iPad? Or did Stevie have some other mind-altering-drug and throw them out again?

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Electric cars not as 'green' as advertised

irneb

Oh Yippeee!!

Yet another ... here we did some arb check on one aspect only ... never mind the possible faulty premise of is it "really" 544g or 844g?

I still can't see EV / Hybrids being "the" answer (perhaps closer to the answer than ICE's, but only in some instances). As was discussed numerous times, there's several points to still consider in all scenarios, e.g.: manufacture / supply emissions and costs (for both EV and IC), other types of emissions (CO2 is hardly a "bad" thing in comparison to some of the others - just think of ICE's CO emissions which WILL KILL YOU, not just make you sweat a bit more), charging / refuelling times and costs, etc. etc. etc.

IMO a first step in a "right" direction would be to combine the best points from both - and I don't mean Hybrid. I mean an ICE (probably Diesel) generating the electricity for the electrical motor(s). This removes the entire gearbox system (as you'd have to have with Hybrids), allows the ICE to run at its most efficient RPM (and not need to rev-up each time you pull away), the "battery" (or I'd think capacitors instead) would be much smaller than EVs' (or even those in Hybrids), refuelling becomes a non-issue in comparison to either EV / IC. And the technology is here and now, it's used in ... wait for it ... "Diesel-Electric" motors for trains and large trucks. So there's very little to be done except for miniaturizing the existing tech.

After that we might start looking into fuel-cell technology. The H2 is a bit of a problem (even if you can use electrolysis to generate it, you're still stuck with EV's problem of where does the elec come from). Another option is using an alcohol fuel-cell, they're not as efficient as an H2 one, but have several advantages which may overpower the efficiency loss:

1. Alcohol can much more easily be produced through fermentation than H2 from extremely high voltages. And for best results the alcohol need not be pure, about 50-60% proof seems to work best - so you don't need to distil it as much as you'd expect.

2. It's not as dangerous to store liquid alcohol as it would be to hold enough H2 in a canister at thousands of atmospheres to get it into its liquid form (or at least smaller than your car). Imagine having an accident with the H2 canister rupturing - you'd take out a city block!

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Microsoft's IE9: Don't believe the hype

irneb
Gates Horns

HTML5?

Ha, ha ,ha:

"Microsoft is also serious about HTML5 as an application runtime, indicating at its Professional Developer Conference last year that this is its favored solution for cross-platform support."

And then ...

"While HTML5 support in IE9 is real and significant, it is not as comprehensive as the company's publicity implies. According to one test site [http://www.html5test.com], IE9 RC scores just 116, compared to 207 for Safari 5.0 and 244 for Chrome 10, in my tests."

Doing a "quick" test on some of my older browsers: FF3.6 Portable = 139; Chrome Portable 6.0 = 217. They're not even keeping up with last years browsers on the HTML5 front ... even though they use this as a "sales" gimmick "feature".

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Flash versus HTML 5

irneb

HTML5, Flash, JS, Java, et al

What a load of bollocks.

Here's how I would rate any device:

1) What's contained in the pages I want to browse (i.e. what's used mostly)?

2) Does the device display this? If not, the device is in the bin.

3) Does it show at a reasonable response? If not bin time again.

4) If reasonable, then how is the battery life? Which is a sort of slide scale which tips to and from the bin.

I don't care what is used, as long as the device can handle it adequately following the above points I'm happy.

It's truly silly how some manufacturers want to force the issue. A standard across the net does not come to life because the client's suddenly support it. The "standard" arises because it provides for the needed functionality & looks which the developers are after. Or at least that's how it "should" work, the reality is it's more about what the dev knows and is comfortable with.

This whole HTML5 thing sounds so much like the debacle which basically killed SVG ... a supposed "open" standard, but each program has its own custom bits and pieces which are (at best) not interchangeable. A committee playing silly-buggers about how text should be handled in SVG killed that "standard's" usability. Just draw some stretched text in InkScape and open it in FireFox - you'll see what I'm on about! So they want to get this working for HTML5? Aaagggg pleeeeezzze! It's dead before they even considered it.

Even in other so-called "open" standards similar problems are prevalent. E.g. the ODF standard kills any possibility of using an Engineering format in a spreadsheet. There's no way of extending the ODF standard without breaking interoperability, which means a "fix" would take more than just the aeon or so for the committee to pull their fingers out.

As an anecdote: We asked a web developer company to create our web site for us. We had some very specific designs in mind. They suggested using Flash as "it would be the only form factor to support the design". ... but the Flash would have to be designed for the smallest res on which it would be viewed. Most of our clients have at least high-end screens, so seeing the 1024x768 flash on a 1920x1080 looks cr@p. Stupidity on the dev's part though, since the flash can resize ... but I since did a test using normal HTML & JS, using just open source libraries of JS code I could accomplish the same exact page as the Flash was doing ...

Only, the files were smaller, loaded quicker, were easier to edit in the future, worked much better with the database through PHP, ran smoother on most of the low-end PC's we tested it on (high ends didn't feature a measurable difference), was actually working on all major web clients (without artefacts), took one dev (me) less time to develop than an entire company doing the flash. So yes! Flash is better! Ha Ha Ha Ha!

AFAIKT, the main reason behind them not going the HTML+JS route was that they didn't like *programming*. The WYSIAWYG editor is the only "IDE" they were interested in, so couldn't / wouldn't use a text editor to code the HTML.

So to "introduce" a new standard? Make a comparative / better editing environment first. Then make sure the standard can handle what is being created on the web. Then make sure it does so with the minimum of performance loss. Then create some close as dammit import filters from the current "standards". Then get it optimized for the client apps. Then get the hardware optimized to suit.

If it's not done in that order, you won't find anyone using it. Or at least not anyone in the market place. So your "standard" is heading to a dead-end, without even the other usual killer factors of committees being a synonym for doing nothing and talking each other to death.

And what does Jobs do? He starts at the end: removes hardware and / or software support for the prevailing standard in favour of (in his opinion) the "new" standard. It was doomed to failure as soon as he had that idea, long before he uttered his typical Jobsisim.

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Intel 'Sandy Bridge' mobile platform

irneb

RE: Battery Drain

Exactly! The test was done with using the benchmark in a loop. I.e. each time the benchmark completes it's started again. Now on the Core2 Duo I bet the benchmark was only done about 10% of the times that it ran on the Sandy Bridge (if that). And from the results it seems that the HDD would thus only have been used about 50% of the times, compared to the SSD.

Therefore the read/writes to the SSD would be so much more, while the CPU also has a lot less time spending idle while the disc is performing its function. While on the dog-slow Core2 Duo, the disc was actually waiting more on the CPU - thus you see the opposite happen.

I'd say a better form of battery life testing would be playing a video, opening and closing programs (which could be scripted), running a CPU and / or graphics intensive app, and leaving on idle - then deriving an average from that. That way you'd have comprehensive tests for the widest range of border-line applications, and probably a good average as well.

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Who are the biggest electric car liars - the BBC, or Tesla Motors?

irneb

RE: Electric Power Lines for Cars

Uhmmm ... I'm not so sure about the "power lines" idea. I just feel it wouldn't be too safe or even practical. Might be wrong though, some design might just remove my concerns. Not to mention, you won't be able to go very far if you're not going to a place where these overhead supplies have been installed.

But here's an idea: Similar to the true Diesel-Electric (note it's NOT a HYBRID - there's ONLY electrical motors turning the wheels, the diesel only generates electricity), why not use a Sterling engine in this?

I can see several advantages:

1) Nearly any heat-generating fuel-source can be used ... nearly, as in 99.999999% of them (and then some).

2) The "problem" of Sterling engines needing a warm-up time is a non issue since the electricity can come from the batteries (which would be a fraction of those required for EV's). Thus you can start driving while the "generator" is warming up.

3) The Sterlings are already rated at 40% efficiency, that's not even considering future improvements in materials as has been done to get current Diesels up to 40% (from starting lows of around 20-25%).

4) A lot less moving parts than a diesel (or any type of ICE), and in some cases less lubricants are necessary.

5) Can be re-used as the source for heating & cooling in your AC, further adding to efficiency.

6) Stirlings are a lot more efficient in low ambient temperatures, so for the large majority of "1st world" they would actually work better than in other places.

Problems:

1) Materials need high resistance to heat, corrosion and friction.

2) Lower temperature difference Stirlings are a lot bigger than a similar powered ICE. Which means higher temps are necessary, which makes Problem #1 a bigger issue.

3) Heat exchanging needs to be more efficient, i.e. larger radiators would probably be necessary than for a similar ICE.

I really can't see true EV's getting ahead of the other alternatives, not with recharging / battery exchange problems. Hybrid AFAICT is not much more efficient than these new "optimized" diesel engines even in high traffic (e.g. google Volvo's DrivE cars), they may even be less efficient (especially when driving long distances). IMO an electric car with a diesel generator would make a whole lot more sense than any sort of Hybrid if only because it would not need any swich-over apparatus and / or gearbox, but also the diesel would not need to rev up and down each time the car's speed changes - thus much more efficient than even normal diesel.

Fuel cells may be the answer, but not with Hydrogen (just too explosive while pressurized), in which case it would need to be alcohol based fuel cells - which aren't as efficient and can't be "recharged" through electrolysis. FlyWheel, perhaps if you can get some material at that "possible" 100,000rpm you're alluding to - but then isn't your gearbox going to be one truly "awesome" engineering feat (never mind the pick-up to spin the FW up to that RPM)? Or do you mean to generate electricity from the FlyWheel (perhaps making the FW from some magnetized material) - maybe something like Vycon's VDC (though their smallest weighs +800 kg)?

Anyone any other ideas? Or also some figures about the life cycles of these alternatives? E.g. it doesn't help just looking at the efficiency when your materials' & fuels' sourcing causes greater pollution than a less efficient alternative.

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Official: Android rules OK

irneb
WTF?

Now what?

It just starts sounding strange. Wasn't the Apple guys boasting a larger share not that long ago? Or are these figures bogus? You know, like "Smart Phones" but omit the iPhone 4?

Or is the test demographic biased to only people who go for non-locked-in apparel? Or was the Apple quotes bogus previously? Why does it seem like a see-saw ride every time these "figures" are listed?

Don't get me wrong, with my Moto Milestone I'm actually an Android fan through and through. I can understand why Nokia might be loosing ground (having had a S60 based phone previously). But from all I've heard (and read) the iPhone isn't a dog-turd, usage-wise (except for those "upsets" like antenna-gate). It's hard to believe the Apple-lovers have suddenly become endangered in comparison to the 'Droidies.

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