Feeds

* Posts by Steven Roper

1373 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Bees use 'electrical SIXTH SENSE' to nail nectar-stuffed flowers

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Bees not as amazing as Australian face flies.

That is why I, and everyone else I know, explicitly ignore the big capital-letter warning DO NOT SPRAY DIRECTLY TOWARD EYES OR MOUTH printed on every Aerogard can. The only way to guarantee 100% coverage of every square millimetre is to close your eyes and mouth and do exactly that.

If you obey the warning and do what you're supposed to by spraying it on your hands and rubbing it on your face, then as you say, there'll be one fucking fly that finds the three square mm that you missed.

I also noticed the flies seemed particularly bad this year. At Victor Harbor last December, on top of the Bluff, we were mugged by the fucking things, even though a fair breeze was blowing that should have cleared them off. These flies seemed immune to wind, Aerogard and even the traditional Aussie salute. And the last time I'd seen so many was when I was up in the outback round Arkaroola years ago!

0
0

Dalek designer Ray Cusick passes away aged 84

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Americanism.

Actually, I encountered "survived" in a similar context as a small child back in the 70s, learning about the wives of King Henry VIII: "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived..."

0
0

BOFH: Climb the corp ladder - and use your boss as a bullet shield

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Facepalm

I've

also noticed the increasing use of "Architect" as a JD buzzword.

First we had "Manager". Everyone from the janitor up was a "manager" of some kind. Then there was "Specialist". Then "Engineer". Now we have "Architect". What's next? Doctor?

That'd be good: Toilet Cleaner -> Waste Manager -> Hygiene Specialist -> Sanitation Engineer -> Health Systems Architect -> Epidemiology Doctor...

0
0

Bundestag holds 'unusual' hearing on German Copyright Act

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: re. John Lilburne

Don't bother.

John Lilburne is a known copyright troll down there with the likes of Turtle and PirateSlayer et. al. and, like them, probably an RIAA / MPAA staffer. His brain cell likely isn't capable of assimilating the concept of publicity and revenue provided by big search engines linking to content, because all it's capable of is something like, "duh, it's all mine and I don't want anyone to see it without paying, duh..."

Just ignore him. If you can be bothered wasting the few seconds it takes, downvote him if it helps you feel a bit better after being subjected to his drivel. ;)

5
1

John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the 'net

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Yes. In a civilised society ;-)

As opposed to a politically correct one...

6
2
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Joke

@Eurypides Pants

Drop-bears would have no need of an autogyro to clean out Psychlos. Or anything else for that matter, since I'm sure they could depopulate the galaxy with just their claws and teeth...

3
0

Microsoft legal beagle calls for patent reform cooperation

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Linux

This is interesting

" Microsoft plans to make information explaining exactly which patents it owns available to anyone on the web by April 1, 2013."

Does that include the still-undisclosed 240-odd patents MS has been threatening and blackmailing the Linux community with for the past few years?

9
0

Rid yourself of Adobe: New Firefox 19.0 gets JAVASCRIPT PDF viewer

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: @AC 04:40 @Lusty Mixed blessing

Actually I do understand technology, better than you might think.

"Locking" electronics documents from being changed is simply not reliable or trustworthy, not now, not ever. There's not a DRM schema ever invented that hasn't been cracked. Ever heard the adage "What man can make, man can break?" There's no such thing as "uncrackable", and that means any electronic document can be untraceably altered, no matter how secure the DRM snake-oil purveyors claim the locking technique is. I know this because way back in the 80s I was a member of a well-known cracking crew and I've seen firsthand how these guys operate.

You obviously don't live in Australia, where power outages, while not that frequent, when they do occur can run to several hours. The longest one I experienced was nearly two days, during the floods in 2005. And travel across town to recharge my laptop? That wouldn't be necessary for paper records, would it? And even in a major natural disaster, paper records can be recovered a lot more readily. Even if they are fire- or flood-damaged, there's still a chance that some of the information can be recovered - which is not true of, say, a fire-damaged thumb drive.

I will grant that PDF is not likely to lose support any time soon, but as to old records being lost because of media and format issues, even with the most industrious record-keeping, archives can be forgotten until it's too late. Things turn up in basements and attics that were thought lost years ago and which could answer many unanswered questions. Yes, in most cases people will transfer data to new formats as they become available, but only if they know or remember that it's there. You know, PEBKAC - the human factor!

I'm not saying electronic storage is inferior to paper, or that every single thing should be printed out. I'm simply saying that both have their place and their uses.

0
1
Steven Roper
Silver badge

@AC 04:40 Re: @Lusty Mixed blessing

I'm not just being contrary here. Lusty didn't mention anything about a paperless office and neither did I, nor did I state or insinuate that he had. As for documents specifically being "from the internet", how does that invalidate my argument? My first point in particular has validity here, since documents on a website can and do change frequently, so printing one out as it was on such-and-such a date is prima facie proof that this was what the document stated on that date. This is especially true of things like ToS and EULA documents where a print copy made before an online change could make or break a court case.

Lusty stated that he could think of only two reasons for printing a document, from the internet or otherwise. I added three more reasons to explain why people print out documents. So no, I didn't just feel like disagreeing. I simply articulated the arguments that were most likely to be behind the downvotes he got (none of which are mine, BTW.)

1
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

@Lusty Re: Mixed blessing

I can give you three very good reasons for printing a document that you haven't mentioned:

One, a print copy, once made, cannot be modified or altered. The problem with electronic documents is that they can be readily altered and the change erased to suit someone's agenda - for example, to facilitate corruption, fraud or theft, or to rewrite history. This is why many companies (including ours) still maintain filing cabinets with paper records of all meeting minutes, quotes, invoices, and transactions.

Two, a paper record is human-readable without requiring any machine or power to display it. In the event of a disaster, or even a protracted power outage, paper records can be retrieved, read and acted on even if there's no power for recharging phone or tablet batteries, or running PCs.

Three, a paper record does not rely on document or media formats that may quickly become obsolete or unreadable. Many records have been lost because they were stored on things like 8" floppy disks, which you can no longer obtain drives for, or in cryptic 70s and 80s file formats that modern spreadsheets and word processors cannot read.

A paper record has a permanence that cannot be contested in the way an electronic document can. This is why law courts, for one thing, want everything on paper. If, in a trial, you were to try to hand up a tablet with a Word doc on it, the judge would throw it at you. They want solid paper records than can be filed, retained, and retrieved without question or difficulty.

In the end, it's not about "not understanding technology." It's about understanding the limitations of technology and using it in its place, just as we need to understand that paper copy also has its place and purpose, and for the reasons posited above, will continue to do so for a long time to come.

9
1

Amazon ditches 'neo-Nazi' security firm over alleged harassment of workers

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: There's something

The media outlet that made the documentary may very well have gathered evidence. But media bias is a well-known phenomenon; in fact it's the primary driver of the witch-hunt mentality I'm concerned about. Selective evidence gathering is an obvious part of this process. What if you were in that business's position; who would you trust more - a team of police investigators out to uphold the law, or a two-bit media outlet out to make a quick sensationalist buck?

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

There's something

a bit "witch-hunty" about all this. The first line in the article is the trigger: that this security company was "accused" of habouring neo-Nazi sympathies being the reason for contract termination is actually a cause for concern. Was a proper, impartial investigation conducted to establish these claims? All we have to go on are some claims by workers and a "documentary" by a local media outlet - and this was enough to justify terminating a contract and publicly smearing someone's business?

Like "paedophile" and "terrorist", "neo-Nazi" seems to have become a common witch-hunt attack - the mere accusation is enough to ruin you, with or without proof or evidence. This sort of thing really does need to be watched very carefully, not only because of the travesty of justice that it entails, but also because it can easily undermine, by turning them into "witch-hunt victims", efforts to identify and bring real paedophiles, terrorists and neo-Nazis to justice.

4
1

Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Götterdämmerung

My thoughts exactly. This behaviour is symptomatic of a company that has finally woken up to the fact that its old business model has failed and is panicking over its increasing irrelevancy, hence the push to rentism to try to secure a revenue stream. And as with all such situations, everything they do merely fans the flames of their own demise, as more and more customers realise they are being shafted and start looking for alternatives.

22
1

Python-lovers sling 'death threats' at UK ISP in trademark row

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: sad all around

The complete breakdown in civility is a direct result of anger and rage at the insatiable greed behind the massive virtual land grab you refer to. The two are related; civility fails when greed prevails.

2
0

The cheap 3D craft pen that scribbles over 3D printing hype

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Except that

any car you can draw with that pen is most likely going to look like something out of The Flintstones...

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Joke

Printer to pen ratio?

You've got to be fucking kidding me. Several pens per printer? Not a chance in my place, home or office. Pens disappear within minutes, sometimes seconds of discovery or purchase, every time. What I have is an effectively infinite printer:pen ratio, because I have two printers and zero, count them, zero pens. Printers at least are too big to disappear into pockets, handbags or microscopic invisible black holes!

8
0

AMD: Star Trek holodecks within reach

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Pint

Me? Worldbuilding, much more so than sex. Sex only has so much appeal, after all. Even if it's with a generated ideal of your perfect partner, what happens when you've blown your load for the tenth time in a day and your hormones are past satiated? For me, worldbuilding would be far more satisfying use of such a technology.

OTOH, I am 46 and maybe I'm just getting on a bit! ;)

Beer, because like sex it's socially expected that there's no such thing as too much of it...

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Holodecks aren't just about processing power

Sure, we might be able to recreate the visuals and audio within a decade or so, but that's a long way from what the ST:NG holodecks were depicted as being capable of. Tactile and olfactory simulation being the biggest challenges here; how to simulate the roughness and solidity of a rock, or the furriness of a cat, or the softness of a comfy armchair? Then there's smell and taste, which are notoriously difficult to replicate, let alone simulate.

I can see "360-degree viewing rooms" emerging within the next 10 or so years: I imagine a cuboidal room, perhaps the size of a toilet cubicle, whose walls and ceiling consist entirely of hi-res monitors to create the effect of you being inside a "glass box" within a virtual environment. For real authenticity these monitors would need to be capable of parallactic 3D (not the simple stereoscopic pseudo-3D of today's TVs) so if you move your head to see around a nearby tree, for example, what's behind the tree comes into view. And that technology is quite a long way off yet, as it requires in-situ 3D positional mapping of every object in the scene, although the computational power discussed in the article certainly makes running this kind of display feasible.

6
0

Google misses privacy-policy deadline, incurs EU wrath

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Now we come to it

"I suggest you go and get popcorn, this will be interesting to watch."

Agreed. Which was why I asked for a large bucket of hot buttered and a Coke. I'm looking forward to seeing the fallout from this!

BTW I'm 46. Is that younger than you? You never know on these forums. ;)

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Go

Now we come to it

What's "repressive action"?

Are the collective goverments of the EU going to cut off public access to Google, YouTube, ReCaptcha and half the internet which Google controls? Can't wait to see the shitstorm that's going to result from that. Or are they just going to fine Google huge amounts of money, utlimately leading Google itself to cut off European public access to its own sites (resulting in the same shitstorm).

Either way, Google wins. Because so many people are so dependent on its services that it's become indispensable. But if Google wins, that means it can thumb its nose at laws and governments alike, and that is not a good thing. Forced nationalisation, anyone?

So may we live in interesting times. I'll have a large bucket of hot buttered and a Coke, please. This is going to be good!

1
3

Higgs data shows alternate reality will SWALLOW UNIVERSE

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Spider Robinson covered this a few years ago

James Blish also examined this "bubble universe" topic in 1959 with his Cities In Flight saga. In the final book, A Clash of Cymbals, he describes a collision between two universes (this one of matter and another of antimatter, since the Higgs wasn't known about back then) and how this entire universe would be engulfed as a result.

2
0

Indian government censors own web site after court order

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Facepalm

"organisations full of bribe-seeking corrupt people where even at the top they have a track record of being caught red handed and being jailed"

I hope this university has some really solid proof to back up that statement. Otherwise that has to be the most spectacular example of pots, kettles and the absence of colour I've ever seen!

3
0

Baby-boulder bowling burglar breaks Boulder Apple Store's $100k glass door

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Gimp

$100k for a glass door?

What the fuck is it made of - Waterford Crystal?

13
1

Iceland thinks long and hard over extreme smut web ban law

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: About this proposed ban

If you have radical feminists in your government you need to vote them out now, especially the male ones. During my nearly two decades of egalitarian* activism, I've noticed that the vast majority of male feminists I've encountered, are invariably the most radical self-righteous hypocritical bigots this side of the Taliban. And this Ögmundur Jónasson fits the profile perfectly.

Ironically, most female feminists I've encountered, even those who are lesbians, are actually quite reasonable in comparison. After all, their agenda is to get a fair go for their own sex, not to disenfranchise men, which I've never had a problem with. It's the anti-male demonisation and disenfranchisement, most of which is driven by male feminists with a small smattering of hard-core female man-haters, which I oppose with such vehemence. And this anti-porn bill, such as you describe, is a typical modus operandi of such people.

So the old stereotype (and oft-used strawman) of the butch lesbian feminist man-basher is exactly that: a stereotype. It's the male feminists you have to watch out for. Warn your friends and get that bugger out of office come the next election, if you value your people's freedom and dignity at all.

* Egalitarian means advocacy of equal rights, with no preferential treatment, for all people regardless of gender, race or whatever. Some feminists (again mostly male ones) try to make the weasel claim that feminism is about equal rights for all, but that is a deception intended to validate their misandrist worldview. Feminism is, and has always been, about female rights in particular; that is why it is called feminism. Treat with suspicion anyone who makes this claim - and I'll give better than ten-to-one odds it's a male making it.

5
0

Wikipedia's Gibraltar 'moratorium' - how's it going?

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Wikipedia has its uses, with caveats

As long as the subject you are researching isn't politically charged (e.g. climate change, World War II or the Kennedy assassination) it is usually fairly accurate. In particular its articles on politically neutral subjects like mathematics or physics are a good starting point if all you need is a working understanding of the topic.

For example, the Wikipedia article on Mersenne primes explains the concept quite effectively (that is, that a Mersenne prime is a prime number one less than a power of two) without any political overhead or agenda. There is no dispute about what these numbers are or are not, just the simple fact of their existence and how they are calculated. For citation purposes of course you would look up the referenced articles at the bottom of the page for more authoritative discussion of the subject.

The danger comes when an article carries a political agenda. A good example, discussed on your findingdulcinea.com link above, is climate change. (TL;DR - A UK scientist, William Connolley, gained Admin authority on Wikipedia and used it to push a pro-climate change agenda while banning opposing contributors) In these cases, of course the references at the bottom will also all be in favour of the agenda in question by virtue of their being selected to support the article. This makes it very difficult to even locate opposing views from the references.

So as in all things, use your better judgement. If your topic of research is even slightly politically charged, don't go near Wikipedia at all. Use a variety of search engines (not just Google) and give equal attention to points made for and against. But for purely scientific or mathematical research where no political agenda is involved, Wikipedia makes as good a starting point as anywhere.

3
0

Russian boffins race to meteorite crash lake as shard prices go sky-high

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Where have I heard this sort of thing before?

"Next morning, a crowd gathered on the common, hypnotised by the unscrewing of the cylinder. Two feet of shining screw projected, when suddenly, the lid fell off..."

I need to catch a cold, and fast. Those bloboid bastards aren't injecting my blood into their own veins without a fight!

2
0

'Bah, this Apple Shop is full of APPLES'

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Go

Re: The fact that even New York got served..

You're not alone, friend. You should do what I do with my company.

When I'm running up a quote for a customer, if during the interview I see them pull out an iPhone or iPad, I add a small percentage to the quote (it varies depending on how devoted to the Church of St. Jobs the customer appears to be) as an "Apple tax". After all, I figure that if they've got money to splurge on Apple crap, they've got money to splurge on our services!

I've made my company quite a few grand extra by doing this. My partners know I do it too, but since they hate Apple almost as much as I do, there is no objection, as long as I disguise the increase amongst other itemisations on the quote sheet!

1
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Facepalm

@Saoir

Thank you for proving the exact point the article (and several commentards) were making about the behaviour of Apple fanbois. You're a textbook case.

0
0

Australia cuts Microsoft bill by AU$100m

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Coat

John Sheridan, eh?

Must be a relative (ancestor?) of one Capt. John Sheridan, who also proved his acumen for financial finagling by working the books so that EarthGov ended up paying rent to itself for his command staff's use of the officers' quarters on Babylon 5...

3
0

The universe speaks: 'It's time to get off your rock!'

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@JDX

"We're not dinosaurs, reliant on a certain climate or delicate environment..."

I recommend you look up a book/documentary called "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond. He's an anthropologist who spent 30 years researching why Eurasian civilisations dominated the world over other cultures, and his thesis states that geography - specifically the temperate conditions that allowed certain species of food plants (wheat, oats, barley) and animals (goats, cattle, horses) to exist - is what gave the Eurasian cultures their edge, by freeing them from the exigencies of survival and enabling specialisation. When they attempted to colonise the tropics, their traditional survival methods failed because the plants and animals upon which our civilisation depends were not adapted to survive there.

So we do need surprisingly specific conditions to survive, or at least to maintain the structures of advanced civilisation. Without our temperate-zone climate, wheat and other staple foods don't grow, and without them civilisation as we know it cannot stand.

In a post-impact Earth, survival alone becomes only a thin possibility. If we look at past extinction events - the Permian-Triassic or the Cretaceous-Tertiary, for example - we see that the climate changes that resulted from them weren't measured in decades or even millennia. The lushness of the Permian gave way to the deserts of the Triassic; likewise with the verdant Cretaceous and the barren Tertiary, both of which lasted for millions of years before the Earth recovered.

In a mass-extinction event of this magnitude, large, complex lifeforms cannot survive. Only the smallest, simplest creatures can eke out an existence, and give rise to new evolved forms over time; the dinosaurs from the Permian-Triassic, and the mammals from the Cretaceous-Tertiary. The poisonous atmosphere, the centuries of global winter darkness resulting from an impact - these effects would last far longer than our civilisation has already existed and developed, and so the chances of anything much more complex than a frog surviving them are marginal at best.

So "re-colonising Earth" is simply not a viable proposition in the aftermath of such an event. Not unless we can maintain a civilisation in underground bunkers for a few million years at a stretch, until the Earth becomes inhabitable again...

2
1
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Trollface

You're slipping, Eadon!

This article is about asteroids hitting the Earth. You should have been able to work in at least one little MS diss in there somewhere!

0
1
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

@Marketing Hack Re: fox awareness

"The fox doesn't see beauty or experience admiration."

How do you know that? Have you looked up any research on animal cognition? There is increasing evidence that many animal species are self-aware and capable of cognition in ways that we are only just discovering. A quick google of "animal intelligence" or "animal cognition" will turn up some very interesting articles on the subject, and if they teach us anything at all, it is that human intelligence differs from that of other animals only in the extent of our abilities to harness the natural forces and materials of our environment.

2
0

Fashionably slate

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

"umbilical you can tow a lorry with"

Yes, I also remember those from my childhood back in the 70s. There was one time when my parents were shopping for a new TV, and one had a "wired remote" with a rather hefty cable - about which I recall Dad commenting that "you could moor the bloody QE2 with that thing!" And that was back then...!

0
0

Forget wireless power for phones - Korea's doing it for BUSES

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Lateral thinking

The problem with your suggestion is that if we did use said "biological transport mechanism", we'd all be up to our necks in "bio-degradable waste products"!

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: One problem hopefully solved

As Mr. Orwell so rightly pointed out in 1984:

"...and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was all part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week."

Of course, the real reason the power was cut off was precisely to reduce the quality of life; part of the underlying principle that power is asserted by making people suffer.

1
0

Higgs hunt halts as CERN prepares LHC upgrades

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Joke

No.

This is gaffer tape, the magical fix-everything solution you're talking about here. Gaffer tape does not just "fall off."

0
0

Register reader Ray revs radio-controlled Raspberry Pi race rover

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

White-line following cars? How very 70s! ;)

I remember seeing a circuit for a white-line following model car in an ETI magazine back in 1979 or thereabouts. Only that one didn't use complex computer chips or software; as I recall, it simply consisted of two side-by-side phototransistors either side of a light bulb, feeding into an op-amp-based voltage comparator, which in turn fed current to the steering servo, according to which one of the phototransistors was receiving more light from drifting over the white line than the other. No CPUs or software involved, just a basic electronic feedback loop consisting of a handful of resistors, capacitors, transistors and a cheap op-amp IC (an LM 3900 IIRC.)

These days the solution wold consist of a billion-transistor CPU, a gig of RAM, a CCD camera and ten thousand lines of optical-recognition code to achieve the same result!

(Reg, we seriously need a "Get off o' my lawn" icon for us old farts that remember this shit...)

1
0

Intel's new TV box to point creepy spy camera at YOUR FACE

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

The problem with that philosophy is

that if enough sheep do buy it that it becomes a market standard, every other company jumps on the bandwagon, and then we have no choice left.

Consider for example what has happened with IT: Apple enjoyed such massive success with the iPad and iPhone, and their attendant walled-garden and restrictive ownership conditions, that every other company is now emulating it - even Microsoft has now jumped on the walled-garden bandwagon with Windows 8, and for those of us who want to remain free of this paradigm, our options are fast running out.

Likewise with Facebook and Twitter; I'm seeing an awful lot of companies wanting to see your social networking profiles as a condition of application for employment. If you don't have one, your employment options are becoming increasingly limited.

Please note this is not to have a dig at Apple or Windows 8 or Facebook per se, but merely to illustrate the principle of how a restrictive, controlling paradigm can become the norm if enough people buy into it.

In the end, when someone says "If you don't like it, don't buy it", what happens when it gets to the stage where you need some version of it to function in modern society? These days, you can't get by in any first-world country without the Internet or a mobile phone; you may hate them, but you can't just "not buy one", because you'll find yourself unable to access essential services without it. Your only other option in such a situation is to go and join an Amish community.

This is why we complain about these sorts of trends - because we know from painful experience that if it remains unopposed, eventually we'll be forced into adopting it by the sheer momentum of mass-market takeup.

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Tape

If you close the shutter, or otherwise cover the camera, the service will still work as normal, but your name and address will be quietly added to a watchlist of people who have something to hide and therefore something to fear.

Then, the next time you go through an airport or a passing cop looks up your numberplate, you'll find yourself being "randomly selected" for some reason...

2
0

Canada cans net surveillance law

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Bill C-30 is dead! Long live Bill C-55.

Exactly. If they can't get it in through the front door they'll sneak it in piecemeal through the windows.

1
0

Opera joins Google/Apple in-crowd with shift to WebKit and Chromium

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

the "open source is automatically better" argument.

And your argument as to why open source isn't better is...?

1
0

Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Styx and Lethe?

Well, I was actually thinking of LV-426 when I said Acheron, but your point is also taken!

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Styx and Lethe?

Well, if Hadean rivers are permitted, one of the moons at least has got be called Acheron!

1
0

Microsoft needs to keep visible under waves of Blue

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: now I'm really worried

Like you, I'm also a desktop power user; as a programmer, graphic designer and 3D modeller it's not unusual for me to have Cinema4D, Photoshop, DAZ Studio, Notepad++ and a browser all open on my 4 monitors all at the same time. With the Windows 8 regression to the "one fullscreeen app at a time" interfaces replacing the windowed interface, it looks like I'd lose that capability. And as you can imagine, I also have terabytes of images, 3D models and source files on my hard drives.

No way am I trusting all that work - my life's work - to the cloud, or to a SaaS setup, to start with. But that's where the modern mentality seems to be going: no more once-off payments for your software, and no more bought-and-paid for storage either. In the future, everything is to be stored in the cloud, under the control of others, where you will be forced to pay and pay and pay or lose everything. Your computer is to be remotely controlled and subject to the whims of whichever company runs the OS for it - MS, Google, Apple, whoever. The only software you will be allowed to install is what 's permitted in their walled gardens. It's all abut taking control of your computer, your work, and ultimately your life.

Then there's my music and movie collection, which I've painstakingly built over the years. All this is now to be set up in the cloud and streamed to your system on demand - a set up which makes it really easy to rewrite history, restrict access by country, profile your entertainment tastes, delete an old favourite forever, and enables a pay-per-view/pay-per-listen model, in which nothing is ever really under your own control anymore.

So the way I look at it is this: I've become an upgrade refusenik from here on out. My heels are dug in, and the line has been drawn - THIS far, NO further. The version of Cinema4D I have (R12) is easily capable of photorealistic renders, it can do cloth simulation, hair, grass, trees, character modelling, the works - and it can render a scene so realistically it's indistinguishable from a photograph. The version of Photoshop I have also has more features than I'll ever need. The software I have now is more than capable of anything I'll want to be able to do in future. Consider - if my raytracing software can render to photorealism, why will I ever need anything more? In the past, it always fell short of photorealism, which was the Holy Grail of 3D modelling, but now that's been achieved. And with it's multicore support, this software is now set up handle however many cores I can throw at it in future: 4, 8, 32, whatever becomes available.

Likewise, processor speeds, memory capacities, hard drive sizes, and monitor resolutions have all plateaued. I've been running 3.2 GHz cores for 8 years now, although in that time I've gone from single-core to dual-core to 4-core machines. Drive sizes have stalled in the low TB range for about the same time, and monitors have been running at 1920 x 1200 / 1080 for the same time as well. So it looks to me like the technology has finally matured and stabilised, and improvements are now incremental rather than revolutionary.

Windows 7 x64, which I now have, can handle more than enough hard drive space, processor cores, and RAM to satisfy my requirements for years to come. I can upgrade my hardware, and continue running the same software because the software is now geared to handle the upgrades, and it does all I want.

So I can see myself still using this same software in 10, 20, even 30 years' time. Because I've reached my ideal goals. Because the technology curve has flattened out. Because I WILL NOT hand over control of my life's work to power-crazed corporations hell-bent on raping my wallet with rentism and taking control of every aspect of my data and computing devices.

8
0

Boffins find RAT-SIZED bug-muncher links man to beast

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

The thing I find most fascinating about evolution

is this: I look at my Dad and see a man similar to myself. Then there's his father - my grandfather, who was a sergeant-major and tank commander in North Africa in WWII. Then his father, who was a coal miner who lived in Wales.

And so on, and so on, following father to father, back through the centuries. Ask yourself this: Who was your direct line ancestor at the time of Shakespeare? Or the time of William the Conqueror? Charlemagne? Julius Caesar? Hammurabi? During the times of each of these historical figures, there existed a man who had a son who had a son which eventually led directly to me. Who was he? What was he like? What did he do with his life? These are questions we've all asked at some point in our lives.

Now keep going back - into the time of the Cro-Magnons, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Australopithecus. 3 million years ago, there existed a hominid ape who had a son who had a son which eventually led directly to me.

Finally, as we go back through the millions of years, this patrilineal trail leads to completely non-human creatures - cynodonts like the "ratlike" creature described in the article, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and finally stromatolites and pond slime. Somewhere in Earth's distant past, billions of years ago in the warm salty waters of the Proterozoic, there existed a stromatolite who had an offspring who had an offspring which eventually led directly to me.

I'd love to travel back in time and meet one of these creatures and say to it, "Hi great-something-granddad, how's the nesting these days?" The idea that the vast majority of my lineage, from the first organisms on Earth, is non-human, is something I find absolutely fascinating.

It makes me wonder: At what point did my ancestors "become" human - human enough for, say, a modern woman, to mate with them and conceive a child? Obviously this wouldn't be possible with an australopithecine man-ape, most likely not even with H. erectus or habilis, so at what point would it become possible?

It leads to an interesting paradox; evolution occurs so slowly that, if you can mate with the offspring, you can mate with the parent - yet at some time in the past, there existed an ancestor with whom mating would no longer produce offspring. Where does this "break" occur?

3
0

Eric Schmidt to unload 42% of his Google stake

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Dead I suppose

Not just dead, mate. At 10k pints per day we're talking mummified and perfectly preserved here.

1
0

Space station 'naut supplies Reg with overhead snap of Vulture Central

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Galactic Imposter

Ha, you reminded of when I was a kid back in the 70s and 80s. I used to imagine that my city (Adelaide) was a galaxy and that my parents' car (or my pushbike) was a spaceship, with the streetlights representing stars and the nearby houses being the planets that orbited them. The car was of course capable of Warp 9, while my poor little pushbike was only good for Warp 3 or thereabouts. Sometimes we'd go up to Mt Lofty, where you used to have an awesome view of the whole city (they close the lookout at night these days, sadly), and it certainly looked like a galaxy then to my young eyes!

0
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Which camera? Lens?

He probably snapped it with his mobile phone.

1
0
Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Nickelback?

Considering the man's rather appalling taste in music as evidenced by his playlist, you should be thankful there's no Justin Bieber or Britney Spears in there.

Regarding the first album recorded in space, that honour was historically supposed to go to Jean-Michel Jarre, with his album "Rendezvous", of which the final part (the saxophone solo) was intended to be played by astronaut Ron McNair while in orbit aboard the space shuttle back in 1986. Except that the space shuttle in question was the Challenger...

1
0

British games company says it owns the idea of space marines

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Mushroom

Where do I donate

to Hogarth's legal fund? I have 100 bucks that wants to help her sue the shit-stained arses off these greedy fucking bastards.

1
0